Dubai launches Future Accelerators programme

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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) programme recently at its headquarters in Jumeirah Emirates Towers.

The programme is an initiative by the Dubai Future Foundation and aims to cement Dubai’s and the UAE’s  position as an international hub for designing the future. The DFA connects government departments with the world’s most innovative companies to find solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the world in the 21st century. The programme enables the UAE to benefit from the advantages of next-generation technology and the fourth industrial revolution by partnering directly with cutting-edge technology companies, the Emirates News Agency WAM reported.

The programme, run by the Dubai Future Foundation, aims to position the UAE and Dubai as an international centre for ‘designing the future’.

In his remarks during the inauguration, Sheikh Mohammed said that the UAE hosts the best minds in the world as it aims to shape the future, and it started a new era in which it proactively plans for the future.

Key economic sectors

Sheikh Mohammed visited the Dubai Future Accelerators programme’s 22,000-square-foot headquarters, where eight accelerators, working in collaboration with government authorities, will focus each on a key economic sector – namely, education, health, infrastructure, transportation, safety and security, energy and technology and finance. Each accelerator includes innovatively-designed office spaces, conference rooms, communal workspaces, specialised laboratories and a hall for events and workshops. Sheikh Mohammed also attended a presentation that detailed the phases of the project and its main objectives.

“The UAE embarks on a new era today – one where we establish a government that proactively plans for the future, and sets a future-focused economic example for the world, setting both the plans and the tools to achieve them in the process,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“A few days ago, we launched the UAE Strategy for the Future, and here we are today putting it into practice with an innovative system that connects our government departments with the world’s most innovative companies and turns government spending into an investment in the future. Our goal is to redefine the government’s role, whereby government entities are no longer mere operational units, but rather centres for planning the future and catalysing global innovation,” he added.

“The coming two decades are set to bring about enormous changes that will reshape our world,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Tremendous challenges

“The global population will exceed eight billion people, two-thirds of whom will live in cities. Demand for food, water and energy will increase by as much as 40%. The next generation of technology will also reshape the global economic map, as well as drastically alter the way people live their lives. This offers both tremendous challenges and extraordinary opportunities,” he said.

“What is most important here, however, is for us to be certain of the role we want to play in that world of the future. It is important for us to play a part in effecting positive change rather than simply undergoing its effects,” he noted.

“The Accelerators programme is a powerful tool that allows our government departments to identify the opportunities and challenges facing them in the future,” the Vice President explained, adding, “It helps us build a future-focused economy today, steering investment towards the kind of companies that will define the future and add billions of dollars to the global economy.”

“We launched this programme with eight government entities, but today, we have instructed other government departments to join the global momentum,” he added and said that he would be personally monitoring the progress of the various accelerators’ projects in co-operation with the relevant authorities.

“By attracting more than 2,200 innovative applications from around the world for the first round of the programme, the UAE has proven its attractiveness to the world’s brightest minds,” he said.

Sheikh Mohammed visited each authority’s accelerator and viewed a number of the most innovative projects in them.

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