DAVOS, Switzerland - The World Economic Forum has selected Dubai as the location for its first affiliate research centre for what the forum refers to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Across the globe, the economies of nations are being rapidly transformed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technologies including the Internet of Things, automation and the adoption of AI. The project's objective is to help governments, companies, civil society and sector experts everywhere to collaborate to ensure the application of technology maximises benefits for as many people as possible, and reduces the risks from misuse, including in areas such as cyber-crime or data fraud.
"The addition of affiliated centres to the network will accelerate our time to impact and ensure that the wave of innovation benefits the many, not the few", said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.
The forum's Fourth Industrial Revolution network has already helped Rwanda write airspace regulations taking into account drone usage. It has also provided corporate executives with tool-kits for the use of blockchain.
The main hub of the initiative is in San Francisco, while the World Economic Forum also operates research centres in China, Japan and India.
The Dubai centre is expected to serve as a hub for the Middle East, Africa and intitially Europe.
The Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed who was on hand for the signing of the agreement that will bring the centre to fruition, said enhancing international cooperation, and international partnerships is a cornerstone of the UAE's ongoing efforts to drive the future.
The Dubai Crown Prince was speaking at a meeting with Professor Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum founder and CEO, on the sidelines of the 49th edition of the event being held this week in Davos, Switzerland.
Dubai, which is already a dominant player in the innovation sector having developed massive projects such as Dubai Internet City, Knowledge Village, Sports City, Dubai Internet City, Dubai International Financial Centre and Dubai Healthcare City is now set to lead the region in the development of new technologies in areas including precision medicine, artificial intelligence and blockchain.
The new research centre will be operated by the Dubai Future Foundation, whose board of trustees is chaired by Sheikh Hamdan. Specialised project teams, including experts from the UAE and the forum's network, will run pilot programmes in AI and blockchain. Their results will assist international efforts to develop policy, protocol and governance systems for these technologies, the forum said. Applications of precision medicine and the study of the potential of genome sequencing, will also be developed at the centre.
Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future and managing director of the Dubai Future Foundation said the centre's research and projects will cement the UAE's "position amongst the world's best countries, and will support its Fourth Industrial Revolution strategy aimed at achieving a competitive economy based on knowledge, innovation and the application of emerging trends."
The Dubai centre is part of a broader strategic co-operation agreement between the UAE government and the World Economic Forum. In November, the two jointly issued a policy framework for personal data.
This week's forum at Davis saw the Dubai Crown Prince attending for the first time. The World Economic Forum brings together more than 3,000 government leaders and officials, CEOs, entrepreneurs and industry experts each year. 2019 is the orum's 49th get-together. The United Arab Emirates has a large delegation at this year's events, including 8 government ministers. The head of the delegation is Sheikh Hamdan.