Ministry of Economy & Dubai Customs inaugurate first International Innovation Forum

The inaugural edition of the International Innovation Forum, a joint initiative by the Ministry of Economy and Dubai Customs in connection with the UAE Innovation Month, opened today (Sunday, February 23, 2020) at the Ministry of Economy in Dubai. The forum aims to provide a periodic platform for innovators and inventors from inside and outside the country to interact with the relevant authorities from research centers, business incubators and private sector companies.

The Forum was opened by H.E Eng. Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Economy; and H.E Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs; in the presence of senior officials from both entities in addition to a number of representatives from other governmental and academic authorities.

The week-long Forum will run from 23 to 27 featuring 40 innovative projects. It will host dialogue and discussion sessions on applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI); modern innovation methodologies; intellectual property (IP) rights; patent mechanisms and procedures; and other areas related to the development of an environment that promotes innovation and empowerment of owners of innovative projects, to help enhance their competitiveness.

In his opening speech, H.E Al Shehhi emphasized the Ministry of Economy’s keenness to strengthen cooperation frameworks with its strategic partners to promote and spread the culture of innovation and creativity in the society, as innovation has become a key necessity for economic development and the improvement of the quality of the life for individuals. It is also important for the development of institutions and remains a major pillar in the UAE’s efforts to prepare for the next 50 years by maximizing development opportunities and finding innovative solutions to challenges in various sectors, he added.

Al Shehhi said that the UAE’s efforts to support the innovation system cover a wide array of sectors that represent the future, such as applications of AI and other Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, research and development, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, and various creative activities. The UAE believes in the importance of human capital with creative talent and a flair for innovation in driving progress and development, which is essential to achieve the goals of the UAE Vision 2021 and the UAE Centennial 2071.

He further pointed out that against this backdrop, the International Innovation Forum serves as an important platform for the exchange of experiences and knowledge between innovators and inventors from different sectors, highlighting the creative and innovative talents within the country and from different nationalities of the world. Furthermore, the Forum provides an opportunity for creators and inventors to introduce their innovations and communicate with experts from research centers, governmental and academic organizations, business incubators and companies from the private sector, thereby promoting dialogue and exchanging experiences on innovation applications and the roadmap for future.

H.E Ahmed Mahboob Musabih praised the launch of the first International Innovation Forum organized by MOE in cooperation with Dubai Customs in connection with the UAE Innovation Month 2020, which brings together innovators from various sectors such as education, and the public and private sectors under one roof to showcase their latest innovations and inventions. Such innovations fall in line with the National Strategy for Advanced Innovation and create more awareness on the importance of creativity and innovation, in addition to enriching the dialogue on our governmental experiences in this field. He further pointed out that the forum acquires more significance in the year of ‘Towards the next 50,’ as it reflects integration and cooperation between the federal and local governments in spreading the culture of innovation in the UAE society across various segments.

He said: “The UAE has become one the most interested countries in creativity and innovation, as our experience in innovation has crossed the country’s boundaries and has moved to the global level, thanks to the constant guidance of our wise leadership and the future vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. His Highness has emphasized that innovation is the future of the government and of the community’s way of life. Reflecting the success of our efforts in this regard, the UAE leads the Arab countries according to the Global Innovation Index for the year 2019 and climbed two spots to become 36th globally.”

“Reflecting our keenness to realize the vision of the wise leadership to position the UAE among the most leading countries in the field of innovation, Dubai Customs remains keen to sponsor and support innovators and creators. The department launched 44 innovations last year, taking the total number of innovations by Dubai Customs to 205 from 2012 till 2019. Besides, the department won 110 recognitions in the fields of excellence, innovation and creativity, including 94 international awards and 16 local awards. The year 2019 saw Dubai Customs winning the largest number of awards, a total of 17, including the award for the best institution in innovation globally, along with a 6-star rating from the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM),” he added.

Dubai Customs became the first entity in the country to receive this global award, based on the new award criteria in 2019, and Dubai Customs continues to lead in terms of innovation in the global customs sector. The department accomplished an unprecedented achievement globally of being classified as a pioneer institution in innovation by the International Institute for Innovation in the United States. Dubai Customs became the first customs department in the world and the Middle East to receive this recognition.

He added: “Achieving major accomplishments in the field of innovation requires the development of a favorable environment that motivates and promotes talented and creative people and sponsors their innovations by investing in transforming them into actual projects that could be integrated into the department’s operations. Such innovations enhance efficiency and contribute to strengthening the UAE’s role as a global economic hub. We are confident that the first International Innovation Forum will lead to the development of innovations that are capable of changing working methods in vital sectors, in addition to promoting knowledge exchange between innovators and inventors of all nationalities and ages, as the UAE is the capital of creators and innovators.”

Over the coming days, the Forum will witness several sessions with the participation of speakers from the Ministry of Economy, Dubai Customs and the United Arab Emirates University in addition to experts specializing in the areas of entrepreneurship, AI and innovative government services.

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