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UAE ICT Strategy 2021

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

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The cabinet of United Arab Emirates (UAE) has approved “UAE ICT Strategy 2021”. It would increase broadband 15 times. It is one of the main pillars of its knowledge based economy. It has multiplier effects on socio-economic growth as well as national income of the UAE in the days to come. It would speed-up education ratios among the common people. It would promote connectivity which is crucial for rapid economic growth and massive industrialization. It would increase social awareness, sense of duties and responsibilities. It is a counterproductive development strategy which would definitely pay its dividends in the days to come.

We are living in a globalized world where webs of technological connectivity play very important role. It would facilitate civil aviation industry in the country. It would institutionalize qualitative life in the country. It would further strengthen the national drive of women empowerment. It would protect basic human rights.

While chairing a Federal Cabinet session at the Presidential Palace His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai approved the UAE’s ICT Strategy 2021.
It was formulated by the UAE ICT Development Committee on instructions by Shaikh Mohammed, was approved by the Cabinet as part of national efforts to enhance previous successes and align all component of the sector with the federal government strategy and vision for 2021.

It is a comprehensive strategy which covers each and every possible aspect of the production, regulatory mechanism, price control, speed, infrastructure, employment, education and the last but not the least, innovation. To achieve these goals the committee has already developed 36 strategic performance indexes in the plan towards 2021.One of the main aims of this long term strategy is to elevate the UAE ranking in the global ICT indexes.


UAE cabinet has provided many incentives for all the sectors in the country. A set of initiatives are also given.

Salient Features

(a) Speeds of broadband will be increased by 15 times
(b) Number of safe servers will be increased by 20 times
(c) Subscribers will be increased by five times.
(d) The sector is projected to generate 45,000 job opportunities between 2014 and 2021.

“The ICT sector constitutes the foundation for development of our human resources, and the key driver for the growth of our economy as well improvement of quality of life in our community. Development of this sector will be under continuous follow up,” Shaikh Mohammed added.

UAE ICT Sector

The UAE ICT sector is one of the advanced markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA). The UAE lead the world in terms of mobile penetration rates reaching over 200 percent penetration rate by the end of 2009 as well as sector readiness and regulatory environment.
UAE ICT Sector and its Global Ranking
1. 2013-2014 Networked Readiness Index (NRI)
Networked Readiness Index (NRI) study issued by the World Economic Forum ranked the UAE 2nd of all the Arab states in the 2014 and 24th among all 148 countries assessed, moving up by one position from 25th in the previous ranking of 2013
The NRI measures the capacity of an economy to fully leverage ICT for increased competitiveness and development. The NRI study was published in The Global Information Technology Report 2014 and is based on data collected by organizations such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the World Bank, and the United Nations (UN). In terms of the individual indicators analysed, the UAE ranked first among the Arab states in terms of:
UAE ICT Ranking (Arab World) UAE ICT Ranking
The availability of latest technologies Use of virtual social networks
E-Participation Index Secure Internet servers
low Software piracy rates Percentage of software installed
Business-to-consumer Internet use Business-to-business Internet use
Global Ranking
1st equal in mobile network coverage, In terms of the percentage of the population covered
1st in the importance of ICT to the Government’s vision of the future 2nd in Government success in ICT promotion
2nd in ICT use and Government efficiency 2nd in the impact of ICT on access to basic services
3rd oin Government procurement of advanced technologies products 4th in laws relating to ICTs
4th oin impact of ICTs on new services and products 4th in impact of ICTs on new services and products
9th- in the Government Online Service Index 9th in the impact of ICTs on new organisational models.
Source: TRA, UAE (2013-14)

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