Predictions 2018: Dubai Chamber president and CEO Hamad Buamim

Buamim details the chamber’s efforts in fostering a culture of innovation



Following a remarkable year marked by a long list of milestone achievements, the UAE is gearing up for a new phase of economic development in which digital transformation will play a major role.

Today, we find ourselves on the brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as the UAE adopts new technologies that are merging our physical and digital worlds, and disrupting industries and business models.

Progressive and strategic policies have been put into place to invest in game changing technologies such as blockchain, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence, while Dubai’s government continues to make headway in its mission to make the emirate one of the smartest cities in the world.

The UAE’s e-commerce sector is increasingly attracting international interest and investment and the market is projected to reach a value of $10bn in 2018, according to a recent forecast from Frost & Sullivan. Growth in the sector is largely being driven by a fundamental shift among consumers towards innovative and digital solutions that add value to their lives.

At the same time, Dubai is positioning itself as a fintech hub for the Middle East and North Africa with the recent establishment of a $100m fintech-focused fund by DIFC to accelerate the development of financial technology. The number of fintech start-ups in the UAE continues to grow as more businesses realise the huge potential that exists in this dynamic market.

Dubai Chamber has taken all of these megatrends into account as we crafted our 2017-2021 strategy, under which we will plan to expand our efforts to develop Dubai’s entrepreneurial eco-system, and foster a culture an innovation within the business community.

Digitalisation and e-commerce have opened the door for UAE businesses to capitalise on growth opportunities in new markets and expand their global footprint. Keeping this in mind, Dubai Chamber will continue to provide companies in Dubai with valuable knowledge and tools they need to complete in an increasingly globalised business world.

In 2018, the chamber will expand its international presence by opening new representative offices in Argentina and India. We will leverage our Global Business Forum series by using the platform to identify new trade and investment opportunities in Latin America, which companies in the UAE can greatly benefit from.

The introduction of value added tax in the UAE is a natural and necessary step for a maturing and expanding economy like ours to maintain its stability. We expect such measures to have a positive impact on business and investor confidence, and ultimately enhance the UAE’s competitiveness.

We expect the New Year to be marked by great achievements in implementing the objectives of the UAE’s strategies policies. New projects and initiatives tied to Expo 2020 Dubai, UAE Vision 2021, Dubai Plan 2021, and the UAE Centennial 2071, will help boost the UAE’s global profile and fast track its economic and social progress.

Considering the country’s impressive track record in reaching its ambitious targets, I would say that the best is yet to come.