Dubai is to invest AED4.5 billion ($1.22 billion) over five years in its internet and media free zones, which will help fund technology laboratories, smart buildings, business incubators and financial funds.
The announcement by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was to mark the 15th anniversary of Dubai Internet City.
The AED4.5 billion investment will include 10 million square feet of space for innovation, the official state news agency WAM reported.
“Dubai Internet City has supported the transformation of our national economy into a knowledge economy. We have kept pace with great changes in technology. Now the time has come for Internet City to become a creator of change,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
“The future will belong to those who dare to take new paths. Recently we announced a national vision and a strategic plan on innovation, because this is how we will unlock added value for our nation. Today we announce a new bundle of initiatives that will make us the innovation capital for more than 2 billion people who live in the region around us,” he added.
The plan aims to boost the number of companies in the content, knowledge, technology, education, development and research sectors to 10,000 and to grow the number of people employed in these areas to 100,000.
Sheikh Mohammed also called on the private sector to contribute more to establishing the UAE a destination and capital for innovation. “Our innovation facilities will soon open their doors to every talented pioneers, whether they are from the UAE, from the Arab world, or any other nation around the globe. We will connect them with opportunity in the smartest innovation environment in the world,” he said.
Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City are home to nine specialized business districts within six key sectors: information technology, communication, media, education, biosciences and content.