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Emiratisation and strong SME sector key to developing manufacturing in UAE, Tawazun CEO tells Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit

Future of manufacturing requires strong SME sector, HE Saif Al Hajeri tells delegates


Daylight Programme has positive impact on females working in manufacturing sector


Partnership with universities has helped develop technologies which UAE can export

Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 30, 2017

HE Saif Al Hajeri, the CEO of Tawazun Economic Council & Tawazun Holding, told the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, taking place at the Paris-Sorbonne in Abu Dhabi, that manufacturing is “an important sector [that needs] to be ready for what’s after oil … but there needs to be a shift in skills.”

Speaking on the third and final day of the Summit, Al Hajeri said: “A strong SME sector is must… and the future of manufacturing requires strong SMEs.” He said that in most countries the SME sector represents around 70 per cent of the economy. While the sector is growing in the UAE and GCC, it is currently much, much lower. However, he said progress was being made in boosting the SME sector, citing the example of the National Manufacturing Association, which joins Tawazun at trade events and is promoted within Government and large local companies.

As well as growing SMEs, Al Hajeri said more needed to be done to attract Emirati workers into the sector.  “Manufacturing requires capable locals … we need ‘UAE made’ by UAE hands,” he said. He added that bringing in more Emiratis into the sector would create a snowball effect: “The more locals you have, the more will come,” he said, adding that the intergenerational aspect was also critical. “The innovators of the future will be the children of the locals, especially women, who are now working in manufacturing.” To reinforce this he explained that Tawazun had even held sessions with parents of students to convince them of the benefits of a career in manufacturing.

When asked if it was difficult to get women to work in the manufacturing sector, Al Hajeri said: “You think it’s difficult but it is not … and once you hire women you don’t want to hire men!” Tawazun introduced the Daylight Programme especially for Emirati women. Under the programme local women undertake a 4-6-month training programme in technical issues and in English. Tawazun has also provided an on-site nursery and introduced flexible working hours to encourage women into the workforce.

Al Hajeri highlighted the work Tawazun has done with local universities in developing this shift in skills. “We need the right skills, and we compete for the best human resources,” he said. Working with universities, engineering and technician students can work one-day a week with Tawazun or on nine-month projects. In addition, some students have been working in Germany on three-year projects.

Al Hajeri said that the manufacturing sector was relatively new to the UAE, but is growing rapidly. He cited recent work with Boeing and Airbus and in the field of laser technology to highlight that technology transfer can bring real benefits to the UAE. “Technology has to be usable and have an export value. We always think about exports and the sustainability of these technologies,” he said. He also spoke about Tawazun’s efforts to bring new technologies to the UAE through the Offset programme, which provided opportunities for foreign manufacturers to locate in the UAE.

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The inaugural Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit is being held at the Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi University, UAE, until March 30, 2017. A joint initiative by the UAE Ministry of Economy and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and co-hosted with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, the Summit is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The Summit is the world’s first global gathering for the manufacturing community, bringing together decision-making leaders from governments, businesses and civil society organisations to shape a vision for the sector’s future.

The Summit is a global platform for participating attendees to learn from best practices from across the world. This unprecedented global gathering will spark new ideas and set the stage for debate and action – addressing ways in which manufacturing can shape and reshape the world, integrating activities between developed and emerging markets, and delivering on social responsibility towards future generations. Leaders from the public and private sectors, along with representatives from civil society organisations, will gather to discuss global challenges within the manufacturing sector, looking specifically at six themes: technology and innovation; global value chains; skills, employment and education; sustainability and environment; infrastructure; standards, and stakeholder alignment.

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About the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit 
As the world’s first cross-industry forum, the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit is a global gathering for manufacturing minds. It is a voice and a venue for global manufacturing transformation. More than 1,200 delegates will attend, including world leaders, industry CEOs, policy-makers, specialist researchers and academics. The Global Manufacturing and Industralisation Summit will deliver (i) a voice for transformational ideas, (ii) a venue for the generation of new networks and cross-industry partnerships, (iii) a showcase for pilot projects arising from cross-industry research,

Global Agenda on the Future of Manufacturing 
The conference will focus on the role of manufacturing in reconstructing the global economy and restoring global prosperity. Leaders from the public and private sectors, along with civil society representatives, will gather together to discuss global challenges facing the manufacturing sector. The discussions will focus around six themes: technology and innovation; global value chains; skills, employment and education; sustainability and environment; infrastructure; standards and stakeholder alignment. The participants will form working groups to identify concrete action plans and recommendations that outline potential solutions to global issues, as well as showcase best practices and case studies from across the world. To highlight an example of global issues, the inaugural conference will focus on the issue of economic migration, with the aim of establishing a manufacturing platform that will bring together countries facing emigration or immigration challenges with regional countries that seek to support economic reconstruction. These countries will work together with manufacturers and the wider United Nations network on restoring global prosperity. 

The Manufacturing Expo 
Capitalising on the huge presence of the global manufacturing community under a single meeting venue, the Manufacturing Exhibition will offer space to corporations looking to showcase their products, services and latest innovations or technologies that can further contribute to promoting global economic development. The Manufacturing Expo consists of four components: an exhibition showcasing the manufacturing capabilities of the host country; international pavilions showcasing the manufacturing capabilities and economic incentives of each participating country; an innovation exhibition that demonstrates the latest fourth industrial revolution technologies; and an event for SMEs to present their products and solutions to potential customers.

The Global Value Chain Market 
The Global Value Chain Market (GVCM) is a business matchmaking platform dedicated to increasing regional and international partnerships and opportunities. The platform will provide networking and sourcing opportunities both online and onsite via pre-scheduled meetings with the vision of forging investment opportunities, commercial partnerships, and encouraging technological transfer and knowhow. The platform will enable countries to identify and meet global manufacturers to promote industrial development, and familiarise global manufacturers with targeted industrial activities in various countries. The GVCM will become a source of valuable information for global investments, providing insights on legislation and regulations, sovereign risk, political stability, and physical and logistical infrastructure.

For additional enquiries contact:
ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller 
[email protected]

Mohammad Shaban
[email protected]  

© Press Release 2017

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