Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Sign In

 UAE Economic Outlook Forum 2017

Getting a Head Start on Tomorrow: 
Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Growth and Diversification


Date:     January 17-18 2017​

Venue: Palazzo Versace, Gala Ballroom, Dubai 


Building on the 2016 Outlook focus on the role of innovation in promoting competitiveness, UAE Outlook 2017 will address how innovation and entrepreneurship drive growth and diversification.  The first day will feature presentations and discussions focused on the opportunities and challenges shaping Dubai and Abu Dhabi's economic prospects for 2017. The second day will focus on the policy environment that best supports innovation and entrepreneurship-driven growth and diversification.  Private sector champions and policy makers will share their views and experiences and highlight options for the future.  Each panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience.



Day One (Tuesday, January 17)

​ 09:30 – 10:00​Registration
​10:00 – 10:10  
Welcome Note by H.E. Sami Al Qamzi,                   
Director General, Dubai Department of Economic Development

​10:10 – 10.20   
Keynote speech by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum,
President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group; Chairman of Economic Development Committee​
​10:20 – 10:30  ​Speech by H.E. Ali Majed Al Mansoori                               
Chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development    
​10:30 – 12:00  

Session One: Recent developments in global and regional markets and their potential implications for the UAE economy​


Weak demand, continued uncertainties, and a slow pace of structural reforms continue to weigh on investors' confidence, preventing the world economy from reaching its potential. Growth in the volume of world trade remained sluggish in 2016 at 1.7%, its lowest level since the onset of the financial crisis in 2009. OECD economies are struggling to reach 2% growth per year, and emerging markets are slowing down. International organizations forecasts for 2017 indicate a modest growth in the global economy, between 3 and 3.2% for 2017, and all forecasts emphasize downside risks. Importantly, these forecasts continue to be progressively less optimistic over time. What are the implications of these and other factors on the UAE economy?


​Moderator: ​​Mr. Mohammed Shael Al Saadi
CEO, Corporate Strategy Sector, Dubai DED
​10:30 – 11:00     

Global and Regional Economic Outlooks 

Presentation by Mr. Paul Moreno-Lopez, Lead Economist, GCC Countries The World Bank​

​11:00 – 11:30      

Dubai Economic Outlook 2017

Presentation by Dr. Raed Safadi, Chief Economic Adviser, Dubai DED

​11:30 – 12:00   ​Abu Dhabi Economic Outlook 2017                         

Presentation by Mr. Khalifa Ali M. Al Hosani, Acting Director Planning and Statistics Sector, Abu Dhabi DED

​12:00 – 12:30 ​ Award Ceremony followed by Networking Coffee Break
​12:30 – 1:45

Session Two:

The UAE Economy: The Longer Term Outlook


The UAE, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Emirate of Dubai have each articulated complementary, ambitious, investment-led, citizens-focused economic plans and strategic visions. The main objectives are to achieve high, diversified, innovative, knowledge-based and sustainable growth, and high living standards and happiness. Investments in human and physical capital continue unabated and are complemented by regulatory improvements in doing business. Importantly, these plans have been conceived in consultation with the private sector and project implementation will proceed in partnerships between the public and private sectors. What are the defining pillars of these strategic economic plans? What role for the private sector in implementation?


​​Moderator:​Mr. Richard Dean, Presenter, Arabian Radio Network
​Panelists:​H.E. Dr. Aisha Butti Bin Bishr, Director General, Dubai Smart Office         

Mr. Christof Rühl, Global Head of Research, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority    

Mr. Marios Maratheftis, Chief Economist, Standard Chartered                  

Dr. Sulaiman Wared, Economic Expert, Economic Planning Section, ADDED
​1:45 – 3:00      Buffet Lunch

Day Two (Wednesday, January 18)


​09:30 – 10:00 ​​ Registration
​10:00 – 11:30 
Session 3:
The Path to Diversification: Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the UAE​


Innovation is critical for maintaining a competitive edge in the global economy, as well as for facilitating economic diversification and economic progress. The UAE has used various elements to drive innovation in both the private and public sectors including an enabling regulatory environment with modern physical as well as information and communication infrastructure; support for R&D and human capital development; and entrepreneurial capabilities and linkages to tap into global knowledge and financing arrangements. As a result, real economic growth in the country has averaged five per cent a year during the past decade and a half, while non-oil economic activities have grown steadily. What do macro and firm-level evidence tell us about the current state of innovation and entrepreneurship? What lessons of experience can be drawn to improve the flows of technology and information among people, enterprises and institutions?

​Moderator: ​​Dr. Wifag Adnan, New York University, Abu Dhabi    
​Panelists:​H.E. Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO, Dubai SME
Mr. Mohammad Saeed Al-Shehhi, CEO, Dubai Design District                       H.E. Dr. Shaikha Al Maskari, Chair, Al Maskari Holding 
Mr. Mohamed Ismaeel al Fardan, Director, City Zone, Masdar City
​11:30 – 11:45  ​ Networking Coffee Break
​11:45 – 1:15 ​Session 4:

Diversification Past, Present and Future

Tomorrow's growth and living standards will increasingly depend on an economy's ability to boost its capacity to innovate and to diversify its production base. A range of policies affects the various drivers of innovation and diversification. For example, well-functioning product, labor and risk capital markets as well as policies that do not trap resources in inefficient firms – including bankruptcy laws that do not excessively penalize failure – are central. Open markets and competition are particularly important to diffuse innovations, including to lagging firms. Other policies also matter and so does the policy mix. What are the lessons of experience in countries that have achieved inroads in innovation and in diversification? What specific initiatives have been successful in enhancing the innovative capacity of firms, particularly their ability to identify and absorb technologies?


 Richard Dean, Presenter, Arabian Radio Network

Paul Moreno-Lopez, Lead Economist, GCC Countries, The World Bank Group

Dr. Mohammad Lahouel, Chief Economist, DED

Dr. Fadi Farra, Co-Founder and Partner, Whiteshield Partners

​1:15 – 3:00   Buffet lunch

Skip Navigation Links2017