The UK and the UAE share a deep and enduring friendship, built on decades of economic, cultural and people to people ties. This friendship, and the history that we share, lay the foundations for our future relationship.
The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with the UAE as the nation celebrates its 50th year, and looks ahead to the next fifty years. This is why the Partnership for the Future is so important. The Partnership for the Future was announced in September by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces during His Highness the Crown Prince’s visit to the UK.
I was honoured to have taken part in the visit which saw a wide ranging programme of engagement including a business reception at No10 Downing Street, lunch with the Prime Minister, and a number of bilateral Ministerial meetings over two days. One personal highlight for me was seeing His Highness inspecting the guard of honour on Horse Guards Parade.
A Partnership for the Future
The Partnership for the Future encompasses many areas of collaboration from trade and investment to climate change and energy transition to artificial intelligence. At its core, the Partnership addresses two central pillars of great importance to the UK and the UAE: sustainable prosperity and addressing global issues.
Within trade and investment, our countries extended the existing UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership (SIP) signed in March of this year by the UK’s Office for Investment and Mubadala Investment Company. In addition to the £1bn committed when the SIP was launched in March 2021, a further £9bn investment was agreed during the Crown Prince’s visit taking the total to £10bn.
The SIP will serve as the framework of our future-focused investment relationship. Over a five-year period, the SIP will invest across four key innovation-led sectors – technology, infrastructure, healthcare & life sciences, and clean & renewable energy – that will support job creation in both countries, strengthen national research and development capabilities and originate new areas of investment collaboration. These sectors were selected because they are of strategic importance to both countries as we address the challenges of today and tomorrow. Indeed, the UAE has already committed over £1.1bn across 12 transactions and we have visibility on a further £1bn this year, taking 2021 investment to over £2bn.
The UAE will gain access to world leading R&D in the UK. It provides a channel for the UAE to invest in tomorrow’s unicorns as well as encouraging more UK firms to establish a presence in the UAE in sectors that matter to the UAE’s economic plans.
For the UK, which is the leading destination for investment in new projects in Europe (EY UK Atrractiveness Report, June 2021), the SIP will provide much needed investment to drive R&D, provide a further source of growth capital for emerging firms, and ensure UAE investment aligns with UK priorities of attracting investment to all four corners of the UK.
A major focus of the SIP is identifying opportunities that benefit the whole of the UK, particularly outside London and the South East including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Greater investment in the UK’s industries of the future will create high-value jobs, boost the economy and level up the country as we build back better and greener.
Creating trade and investment foundations for the next 50 years
As the UAE celebrates its 50th year, the exchange of knowledge, innovation and ideas resulting from the Sovereign Investment Partnership will lay the groundwork as the nation looks ahead to the next 50 years.
The UAE’s Principles of the 50 is the strategic roadmap for the next fifty years, and hold important synergies with the UK’s levelling up agenda and our strategy to Build Back Better. Part of the Principles of the 50 includes the 10×10 goal to increase the UAE’s exports to ten key global markets – including the UK – by 10% per annum for ten years, and we look forward to supporting businesses in the UAE to achieve this.
While 2020 saw a drop in global trade figures, I look forward to the resumption of strong trade between the UK and the UAE, which saw a total of £18.6bn of bilateral trade in 2019.
When you look at the UAE’s economic roadmap for the coming decades and the UK’s growth industries, there’s a clear opportunity for our nations to be deeply linked as trade, investment and innovation partners.
Innovating for a Shared Future at Expo 2020 Dubai
This is clearly in evidence when we look at the UK’s engagement in Expo 2020 Dubai. Not only did the UK openly support Dubai’s bid for Expo 2020 back in 2011, it was also host to the Great Exhibition in 1851, the very first Expo if you will.
We are extremely proud of the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, and I am delighted to share some highlights with Kreston Menon News.
The building itself was conceptualised by Es Devlin OBE, and inspired by one of Stephen Hawking’s final projects, ‘Breakthrough Message’, where Hawking challenged the world to design a message representing Earth, life and humanity that could potentially be understood by another civilisation with the aim of encouraging us to think together as one world. Devlin took the concept further, drawing on the UAE and the UK’s shared history of poetry. Her idea was to invite humanity to create a poem using the power of Artificial Intelligence that could be beamed to outer space from Dubai.
Innovating for a Shared Future is the UK’s theme at Expo 2020 Dubai, and Artificial Intelligence underpins the UK Pavilion’s offer. The Pavilion will display AI technology first-hand, using a bespoke algorithm to generate poetry from contributed words. Crafted and designed by thought leaders and industry experts, and trained with thousands of poems, this unique technology will demonstrate the power of UK AI innovation.
Among the most notable elements of the UK Pavilion during the six-month long Expo will be the immersive Choral Space, where visitors will be surrounded by the Soundscape: music, voices and sounds donated from around the world. Visitors can contribute a word to the poem generated by our AI algorithm, which will be on display at the UK Pavilion. The poem will be known as the Collective Message and I hope all Kreston Menon readers will contribute to it, in person or virtually.
The UK Pavilion structure is simply stunning, and a truly accurate representation of Devlin’s vision.
The power of innovation is the driver behind the UK Pavilion’s Breakthrough Moments – a series of eight thought-provoking questions about our future designed to spark discussion around the world’s most pressing issues. These eight questions – which include How will we Travel?, What will we Eat? and How will we Thrive? – form the foundations of our programme, which will comprise exhibitions, panel discussions, seminars, podcasts, summits and much, much more.
Speakers from the UK and across the globe have been invited to contribute to the Breakthrough Moments, which will feature leaders and experts from a wide range of industries including fashion, design, technology and sustainability, showcasing the best of UK innovation. The UK Pavilion’s contribution will be presented alongside the 191 nations participating at Expo 2020 Dubai. Find out more about the Breakthrough Moments on the UK Pavilion website.
All this and more await you at the UK Pavilion.
I hope to see you there.
Photo Credit: WAM.ae