Dubai’s ruler launches national program to empower coders and support UAE talent
Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, launched a national program for coders on Saturday that aims to establish 1,000 tech companies and increase start-up investments from 1.5 billion dirhams ($408 million) to 4 billion dirhams ($1 billion).
Sheikh Mohammed said that developing the digital economy is a major priority for the UAE government, which believes that young minds are the basis for creating a prosperous digital future based on science, knowledge, innovation and technology.
He said that the UAE’s successful digital and technological transformation will be the main pillar of its strategic plans and developmental path during the coming decades, state news agency WAM reported.
The program, which is in cooperation with Google, Microsoft, Amazon AWS, Cisco, IBM, HPE, LinkedIn, Nvidia, and Facebook, is aimed at training 100,000 coders and establishing tech companies that will go global within five years.
It will provide a comprehensive program for a package of national initiatives aimed at developing talent, expertise and innovative projects specialized in coding, and accelerate adopting its applications and tools in various economic and future sectors, in addition to creating a close link among the coding community, government, private sector and academic entities.
“The new program represents a new step toward establishing our digital economy. The world is rapidly changing and the fast-growing digital economy will create new types of jobs. To thrive in the ever-evolving world, we must be ready to quickly cope with the emerging trends,” Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter.
He added: “I say to our youth that the future has new tools ... it speaks a different language ... and it will work in a virtual environment ... and we want them to be at the heart of this future.”
Sheikh Mohammed said he wants the national program for coders to engage digital communities at the local level in the UAE’s digital transformation process, to advance its global role in designing the future, and to embrace talent, entrepreneurs, academics and emerging and global companies.
“We want to attract the best international programmers to the UAE, and we will provide them with the necessary infrastructure to develop innovative ideas that serve the world,” he said, adding that the program will support Emirati programmers to be among the global elite in their field, and develop 10 platforms for community and humanitarian projects in the UAE.
Sheikh Mohammed directed all government agencies in the UAE to support national and international talent in the field of coding, and to work with legislative bodies, business incubators, investment companies, universities and research centers to support coding-based initiatives and projects.
The program will be supervised by the UAE’s Artificial Intelligence Office, and several initiatives will be launched to implement the strategy’s output. The program will also support various government agencies to find innovative solutions in the software development sector.
Omar Sultan Al-Olama, the UAE’s minister of state for artificial intelligence, digital economy and remote work applications, said the program is an important step for the UAE’s, as it will consolidate the country’s leading position in many digital fields.
“The UAE has always been a center of intellectual, cultural and developmental radiation,” he said, adding that the launch of the program will “pave the way for the UAE to enter a new level of excellence based on knowledge with the vision of our leadership, which has always believed, from early on, in the importance of technology — and spared no effort in harnessing all the necessary ingredients in the best possible way to serve our development goals.”
He added: “The UAE will always remain a center for launching creative ideas that will help the world combat all the challenges it faces.
“We will work closely with all our partners to achieve the ambitious goals that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has set, and we will double the work in order to create the best, attractive conditions for coders from all over the world, and support them to launch their creative ideas.”
The national program for coders aims to grant “golden residency” to the best 100,000 coders from around the world, provide a range of facilities and financing options for entrepreneurs and coders, support the implementation of their innovative projects and ideas, and establish digital companies that support the competitiveness of the national economy globally.
During its next phase, the program will invite coders from around the world to find innovative solutions to 100 challenges in various governmental, economic, technological, health and service sectors. It will also organize 10 “hackathon” competitions for elite coders.
A comprehensive global campaign will also be launched to highlight the country’s leadership in coding, alongside a series of experiments that encourage people to come and work in the UAE and launch start-up companies.