A Golden Ticket to Innovation

New permanent residence scheme is a golden opportunity for the continued expansion of the UAE’s growing knowledge economy.

By Xische Editorial, May 28, 2019

Source: Abscent/ Shutterstock

Source: Abscent/Shutterstock

As traditional definitions of work are being rewritten according to the demands of the fourth industrial revolution, countries around the world are focused on building knowledge economy. Instead of selling raw materials or even manufactured goods, these new economies focus on knowledge, technology, and innovation. They are already creating the products, platforms, and applications that help the world connect and create in new ways. By using artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and smart governance systems, knowledge economies are streamlining how societies operate and prepare the world for the future.

In the Arabian Gulf, the creation of knowledge economies has actually driven policy for years. Knowing that hydrocarbon resources will eventually come to an end, countries like the UAE have invested in infrastructure, education, and people in order to build a leading technology ecosystem. Even before Google and smartphones changed the nature of business, the UAE enacted liberal trade policies that positioned Dubai at the centre of the global movement of goods. Opening up real estate to foreigners in free zones also enabled the fast development of the country’s economy. People and investment followed and now the UAE is looking to pivot into the knowledge business. Indeed, the country just took a major step in bolstering its knowledge economy this month.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced that investors and entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria will be granted permanent residency in the country. The new programme has already been rolled out with close to 7,000 people receiving the status. With a special target for exceptional workers in the fields of health, engineering, science and art, this announcement is sure to bolster the UAE’s growing knowledge ecosystem.

To build a knowledge economy requires the best talent. Thanks to global connectivity standards, the best talent no longer come from one place but from every place. At the nexus of East and West, the UAE has long been home to hundreds of different nationalities. Thanks to investments in the country’s technology infrastructure, it is now the regional leader in tech startup scene. The mix of the right talent and the best infrastructure is a powerful combination that can kick start an exciting tech ecosystem.

Consider the fact that the two largest acquisitions of tech companies in the Middle East both took place in Dubai. Uber’s purchase of Dubai-based ride hailing application Careem and Amazon’s purchase of regional online shopping platform souq.com demonstrate just how deep technology runs in the country’s DNA. With the new visa changes, entrepreneurs that step up shop in the UAE have the chance to invest themselves fully into the country’s rapidly evolving technology economy. These blockbuster moves are one reason why the majority of UAE investors are optimistic about the country’s local economy even has warning lights flash about the state of global business. According to a new survey by UBS, 83% of UAE investors are optimistic about the local economy

The golden card scheme will certainly add to positive investor sentiment. The first round of visas under the new scheme focused on investors that are already established in the country and have a verifiable amount of wealth. Who will be in the next round? The decision on the next round of applicants especially with regards to those from the health, engineering, and science field will be critical for the continued growth of the UAE’s knowledge economy. With clear guidelines and more information about the criteria for receiving a golden card, the opportunity could send positive shock waves throughout the emerging world. It is a strong signal that the UAE is the best place to open a startup and invest in the country’s future. The UAE has a long history of inviting foreigners to make their home in the country and jointly work towards a shared future.