Youths as key players for ‘smart transformation’ in Dubai

With the goal of a smart nation, Dubai has strategized to capitalise on its Young Emiratis who are said to possess immense power in developing sustainable technologies which are smart and innovative. This is catalysed with relevant research claiming that the number of millennials in the UAE is set to rise to 3 million by 2020 – up from 2 million in 2014. Hence, there is great potential in technological innovation enhancements alongside cognitive curiosity where bright youths are able to contribute towards shaping the 21st century in its renaissance and growth.

There has been a recent peak in initiatives taken to incentivise youths to build a competitive, innovative and knowledgeable generation. This is to ensure there are ample examples of success that the government is taking action so that the younger generation does not have to fear for the future.

The recent Emirati Programmer Initiative was held on the 20th of May this year. This project is a fruitful collaboration between the Emirates Talent Association, HBMSU, and Microsoft, targeting the millennial generation in Dubai. This is a supportive step towards Dubai’s Smart Nation movement as it aims to  harness the potential of local human capital to be specialists in modern technology that has become the language of this age and the core of development (Source: Albawaba Business)

Concurrent with this event, transformation enabler SAP Innovations announced at the World Economic Forum in Middle East and North Africa, that it will build skills and knowledge amongst young talents worth $100M by 2022. The program is focussed largely on public-private partnerships that assist in driving economic growth within MENA. (Source: Emirates Business). It is hence important for both the investment and growth within Cloud, Analytics, Mobility and Social Media skills to increase alongside each other to aid this economic growth.

Heart of innovation ‘2071 Zone’ was also constructed with the success of future generations in mind. It is yet another initiative to encourage young people to lead the nation's institutions and push them towards the creation of opportunities for a brighter future, state news agency WAM reported.

The zone, located at Emirates Towers in Dubai, is designed to serve as the headquarters of global smart companies, services and labs, and will work to create innovative solutions and tools, in accordance with future requirements and technologies. The zone will seek to unify efforts and initiatives that target the future and will represent an umbrella that joins all government accelerators, Dubai Future Accelerators, and the World Youth Centre.

 “2071 Zone is in line with the UAE Centennial Vision 2071 which aims to provide future generations in the UAE with a happier life in a better environment, and with greater opportunities, stronger communications and more influence in the world. All the large and medium foundations and innovative minds are welcome to be the key partners and drivers in this massive project, which the entire world would benefit from and would draw a brighter future for the region” mentioned His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid who inaugurated the opening of "2071 Zone".

The 2071 Zone is named after the UAE's Centennial Vision 2071 - the government's long term plan that marks the 100 years since the establishment of the UAE, and aims to invest in the country's youth (Source: Arabian Business).

As more initiatives are pushed forth to harness a smart generation of leaders, its FinTech sector rides on the nation’s smart wave by launching its first digital-only bank ‘Liv.’ targeted specifically at the millennial generation. This is part of Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, with a planned investment of $136M towards digital innovation and a multi-channel transformation over the next 3 years.

Liv. offers customers a unique experience that will allow them to access the finest lifestyle opportunities while enabling them to better manage their finances. The Liv. mobile app will allow customers to open their bank account instantly from their smartphones by simply scanning their Emirates ID card. This allows them to deposit funds into their accounts immediately using any bank debit card they hold while carrying out routine transactions like local fund transfers and paying bills, free of any fees.

This ‘all-in-one’ app is multi-functional, encompassing a fitness tracker that will be linked to offers, a geolocation service that will provide exclusive offers to customers based on their location, and an ability to transfer funds through social media accounts such as Facebook and WhatsApp. Emirates NBD also plans to develop the Liv. brand internationally, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt as their two obvious targets given the fact that it has existing operations in both countries.

With more initiatives aimed at nurturing the talent pipeline of IT, the sector is on its way to maintain a sustainable future. However, recruitment strategies targeted at youths need to be further evaluated to become more specialised within niche fields of the sector. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is said to continue with his immense emphasis on the pivotal role of the nation's youth in all areas of development, growth and smart nation-building. With such commitment to create a fertile ground for smart innovations and innovators, it is more than important to support and incentivise the young generation which can be done by providing key opportunities that encourage their innovation and creativity to indirectly drive development and modernisation. (Source: Khaleej Times).

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