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Over the years, the UAE has steadily established itself as a leader in electronic governance throughout the Middle East. Dubai in particular has made great strides in this field, complementing its growth into the region’s commercial hub. I would like to honor the contributions of the people and the organizations that champion the use of technology in facilitating trade and achieving progress for this emirate and the entire country.
I would like to commend Dubai World’s Dubai Trade for successfully carrying out its role as the premier end-to-end online service provider and trade facilitator for the emirate. Your work exemplifies the forward-thinking vision of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 and presents Dubai as a top global destination for doing business.
The government fully supports your vision of transforming Dubai’s end-to-end trade supply chain and developing this emirate into a leading international trade and logistics hub. The UAE Government has been actively pursuing enhancements to its information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure in a bid to establish a knowledge-based economy and a truly digital society.
This is within the framework of the UAE Vision 2021 development plan which aims to transform the Emirates into one of the best countries in the world within the next decade. Several international studies affirm the steady growth of the UAE’s ICT domain. For example, the latest Global Information Technology Report jointly commissioned by the World Economic Forum and the INSEAD international graduate business school ranks the Emirates first in the MENA region in terms of ICT development.
We currently lead all Middle Eastern and African countries in IT spending per capita at USD 983 (AED 3,610) and we are on our way to allocating almost USD 1,000 (AED 3,672) per capita or around USD 5 billion (AED 18.36 billion) on IT this year to make us one of the world’s most prolific IT spenders. This special attention to ICT expansion has benefitted other domestic sectors as well, among them trade and logistics
The World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report for 2011 ranks the Emirates among the world’s top three countries for enabling trade across borders. This is a very impressive leap from our 5th position in 2010 and 13th ranking in 2009 and reflects how technology has played a huge role in enhancing our international commercial relations.
Over the past three years, The World Bank has been consulting with Dubai Trade as a key source of information for the ‘Doing Business’ report. Dubai Trade in turn has been closely coordinating with the UAE Competitiveness Council to ensure the integrity of the data and communications provided to the World Bank. Through the efforts of Dubai Trade I am hopeful that the UAE will continue to enjoy its competitive position in global trade.
Dubai has blossomed into the UAE’s trade hub, accounting for 75% of our non-oil trade. Its total non-oil foreign exchange was worth around USD 205.33 billion (AED 754.14 billion) in 2009, making it the prime commercial catalyst of the entire Gulf. As a global city and business hub, it leads the country’s diversification efforts, drawing its main revenues from growth sectors such as tourism, real estate and financial services. Through strategic business and economic adjustments Dubai is expected to achieve a real GDP growth of over 2% in 2011.
Please allow me to direct our attention to Dubai Trade, a pioneering model of hassle-free trade facilitation for the UAE. Through its innovative Portal, Dubai Trade offers a single sign-on, single-window platform to access and avail of the online services of DP World, Dubai Customs, Economic Zones World, and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre. This portal facilitates simpler, faster and cost-efficient trade transactions. Dubai Trade serves as a template for other Emirates to follow in line with the planned development of a single trade channel for the entire country.
It was as early as 1995 when the manifest was the first service that has been automated successfully in Dubai Ports Authority. Today, 100 per cent of manifests are submitted electronically through Dubai Trade Portal by shipping agents; over 135,000 of such documents have so far been processed last year. This has eliminated massive paper work for Dubai Customs, Dubai Ports and shipping agents and relieved customers from frequent counter visits. It is also a testament to the effectiveness of technology in optimizing commercial processes.
I would thus like to encourage all federal entities and Dubai’s local governmental departments to extend their full assistance to Dubai Trade and support its vision of shaping Dubai and the entire UAE into a leading global trade and logistics centre.
I would also like to commend Dubai Trade for recognizing and appreciating successful adopters of e-trading technologies via the e-Services Excellence Award or ESEA.
While Dubai has gained much respect as an international commercial hub, evolving global economic conditions have made the trading markets highly competitive and unpredictable. We need to support initiatives developed by dedicated organizations such as Dubai Trade to maintain our leading status in international trade. I congratulate tonight’s awardees for taking Dubai’s trading capabilities to a higher level, and hope that others will follow their lead.