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First International Innovation Forum Inaugurated By Ministry Of Economy & Dubai Customs
Forum to feature 40 innovative projects & host discussions in connection with UAE Innovation Month

The inaugural edition of the International Innovation Forum, a joint initiative through the Ministry of Economy and Dubai Customs in connection with the UAE Innovation Month, opened on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the Ministry of Economy in Dubai. The forum targets to provide a periodic platform for innovators and inventors from inside and outside the country to interact with the relevant authorities from research centers, business incubators and private sector companies.

The Forum was opened by H.E Eng. Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Economy; and H.E Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs; in the presence of senior officials from both entities in addition to a number of representatives from other governmental and academic authorities.

The week-long Forum will run from 23 to 27 presenting 40 innovative projects. It will host dialogue and discussion sessions on applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI); present day innovation methodologies; intellectual property (IP) rights; patent mechanisms and procedures; and other areas associated to the improvement of an environment that promotes innovation and empowerment of owners of innovative projects, to assist improve their competitiveness.

In his opening speech, H.E Al Shehhi emphasized the Ministry of Economy’s keenness to give a boost to cooperation frameworks with its strategic partners to promote and spread the culture of innovation and creativity in the society, as innovation has emerge as a key necessity for monetary improvement and the improvement of the quality of the life for individuals. It is additionally essential for the improvement of institutions and stays a fundamental pillar in the UAE’s efforts to prepare for the next 50 years by means of maximizing improvement opportunities and discovering innovative solutions to challenges in different sectors, he added.

Al Shehhi stated that the UAE’s efforts to support the innovation system cover a broad array of sectors that represent the future, such as applications of AI and other Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, research and development, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, and various innovative activities. The UAE believes in the significance of human capital with innovative talent and a flair for innovation in driving progress and development, which is vital to reap the desires of the UAE Vision 2021 and the UAE Centennial 2071.

He further pointed out that against this backdrop, the International Innovation Forum serves as an essential platform for the exchange of experiences and expertise between innovators and inventors from different sectors, highlighting the creative and creative talents inside the country and from different nationalities of the world. Furthermore, the Forum offers an opportunity for creators and inventors to introduce their innovations and communicate with professionals from research centers, governmental and academic organizations, business incubators and companies from the private sector, thereby promoting dialogue and exchanging experiences on innovation applications and the roadmap for future.

H.E Ahmed Mahboob Musabih praised the launch of the first International Innovation Forum organized by MOE in cooperation with Dubai Customs in connection with the UAE Innovation Month 2020, which brings together innovators from a number of sectors such as education, and the public and private sectors under one roof to show off their brand new innovations and inventions. Such innovations fall in line with the National Strategy for Advanced Innovation and create more awareness on the significance of creativity and innovation, in addition to enriching the dialogue on our governmental experiences in this field. He further pointed out that the forum acquires more importance in the year of ‘Towards the next 50,’ as it reflects integration and cooperation between the federal and local governments in spreading the culture of innovation in the UAE society throughout various segments.

He said: "The UAE has become one the most interested countries in creativity and innovation, as our experience in innovation has crossed the country’s boundaries and has moved to the global level, thanks to the constant guidance of our wise leadership and the future vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. His Highness has emphasized that innovation is the future of the government and of the community’s way of life. Reflecting the success of our efforts in this regard, the UAE leads the Arab countries in accordance to the Global Innovation Index for the year 2019 and climbed two spots to become 36th globally.”

“Reflecting our keenness to realize the vision of the wise leadership to position the UAE among the most main countries in the field of innovation, Dubai Customs remains eager to sponsor and support innovators and creators. The department launched 44 innovations previous year, taking the total number of innovations by Dubai Customs to 205 from 2012 till 2019. Besides, the department received 110 recognitions in the fields of excellence, innovation and creativity, which includes 94 global awards and 16 local awards. The year 2019 saw Dubai Customs winning the largest number of awards, a total of 17, along with the award for the best institution in innovation globally, along with a 6-star rating from the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM),” he added.

Dubai Customs became the first entity in the country to receive this international award, based on the new award criteria in 2019, and Dubai Customs continues to lead in terms of innovation in the international customs sector. The department executed an unprecedented achievement globally of being categorized as a pioneer institution in innovation by the International Institute for Innovation in the United States. Dubai Customs became the first customs department in the world and the Middle East to obtain this recognition.

He added: "Achieving major accomplishments in the field of innovation requires the improvement of a favorable environment that motivates and promotes talented and innovative people and sponsors their innovations by investing in transforming them into actual projects that may be integrated into the department’s operations. Such innovations improve efficiency and make contributions to strengthening the UAE's role as a global economic hub. We are confident that the first International Innovation Forum will lead to the improvement of innovations that are capable of changing working methods in essential sectors, in addition to promoting expertise exchange between innovators and inventors of all nationalities and age, as the UAE is the capital of creators and innovators.”

Over the coming days, the Forum will witness several sessions with the participation of speakers from the Ministry of Economy, Dubai Customs and the United Arab Emirates University in addition to professionals specializing in the areas of entrepreneurship, AI and innovative government services.

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