November 2021 / United Arab Emirates

November 24 2021

Dubai ranks first in Arab world on latest Innovation Index

- Released on the sidelines of the 12th World Chambers Congress in Dubai, the latest Dubai Innovation Index Report analyses innovation output across 39 global cities - Dubai ranked ahead of Beijing, Shanghai and Sao Paulo, as the emirate scores high in the categories of infrastructure, government and society

Dubai leads the Arab world in the latest edition of the Dubai Innovation Index, maintaining its 20th position globally in 2020, Dubai Chamber announced today as it released the Index at the 12th World Chambers Congress in Dubai.

The Index report, bearing the theme The Road to Recovery Through Resilience and Innovation, analysed a total of 39 cities. Seven new cities were added to the latest edition of the Index, which was developed by Dubai Chamber in collaboration with PwC.

HE Hamad  Buamim, President and CEO,  Dubai Chamber, said Dubai’s performance in the latest edition of the Index reflects its ability to deliver innovation-driven development in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform the emirate into a global innovation hub. “By providing a supportive environment, a robust regulatory and legislative framework and highly developed infrastructure, and comprehensively addressing various vital enabling drivers, Dubai is on track to achieve its aspirations under the follow-up and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai  and Chairman of The Executive Council. By embracing new ideas to raise excellence and rapidly implementing dynamic creative solutions, Dubai is raising the performance of sectors across its economy,” he added.

Under the first pillar of the Index, Agile Government, Dubai ranked 19th, scoring high marks for its e-Government services. Among the specific initiatives highlighted are the Dubai Paperless Strategy, which aims to achieve a paperless government by the end of 2021. As part of the transformation, 41 government entities have already halved their paper consumption and are moving towards 100% digitalisation. Also supporting Dubai’s performance on the Index is the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, which has facilitated the city’s adoption of blockchain records in 24 applications in various industries.

Under the Infrastructure category, Dubai was recognised for its academic institutions, including universities, boosting innovation by sharing their resources with startups and entrepreneurs. Also mentioned was the city’s attraction of foreign investment into its education sectors, with examples including the University of London’s Bayes Business School and the University of Birmingham setting up Campuses in the emirate. The Index also acknowledged Dubai’s Future District, with its research centre, incubators, accelerators and innovation space for future economy pioneers.

With regards to funding, Dubai performed well in the area of venture capital (VC), due to government-led incentives and support of global VCs looking to enter the market and those already invested in the market. Incentivisation approaches used include: tax incentives for VC funds, public-sector matching of investments and government support for early and mid-stage startups through additional services

The report highlighted positive change within Dubai’s funding landscape and a wider availability of funding channels in their ecosystems through ensuring a diversity of offerings that accompany the VC funding opportunities, with its offerings ranging from government-backed guarantee schemes like the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund to venture capital deals, angel investments, peer-to-peer lending and crowd funding. The Dubai Next platform, launched by the Dubai government in 2021, is expected to further enhance financial access for the city’s innovators.

Under the Society category, Dubai ranked 16th as the city embraces immigration, with expats drawn to its wealth of opportunities and tolerant cultural and religious environment. Further attracting expatriates to the emirate are its long-term visa schemes, which reward them for their contribution to the city.

The Index highlights how innovation is part of Dubai’s DNA, with its leadership strongly recognising the pivotal role that it plays in the country’s sustainable development. It also highlights the impact of the National Innovation Strategy launched in 2014 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which has played a major role in prioritising innovation across all sectors and as a vital pillar of the economy.

Singapore and Hong Kong maintained their first and second places on the Index respectively, with Stockholm climbing three places to replace London in third position, with the UK capital dropping five places to eighth position this year. Toronto makes the biggest jump of all the 39 cities on the Index, rising seven places to reach 10th place from its 17th position in 2019.

Examining the state of innovation in cities around the world during a time of unprecedented turmoil and change, the latest edition of the Dubai Innovation Index states that at the start of a new era, the global exchange of knowledge and learning is more important than ever.

Key takeaways from this year’s Index are that digitalisation underpins the transformation and success of the most innovative cities; governments in top innovative cities do more to promote innovation than just set policies, oversee regulations and provide incentives; and the collaboration that has resulted from the pandemic has accelerated innovation by offering innovators enhanced opportunities for knowledge sharing, market access and funding.

Another significant finding was that while Europe and North America remained the leading regions for innovative cities, metropolises in other regions - notably Asia-Pacific - have been closing the gap.

The report also highlights that 2014 saw the launch of the first Dubai Innovation Index, which was the first-of-its-kind city level assessment of innovation which has influenced a raft of new measures, including strategies policies and procedures introduced in areas that include public private partnerships, robotics, blockchain, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and 3D printing, all of which have placed Dubai firmly on the innovation map.

The assessment categories on the Dubai Innovation Index include Agile Government, Infrastructure, Funding, Business Environment, and Society, with Dubai scoring highly across a number of key metrics.

  Media Office - Government of Dubai
November 27 2021

UAE adopts largest legislative reform in its history

ABU DHABI, 27th November 2021 (WAM) - His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has approved a wide-ranging reform of the country’s legal system, which aims to strengthen economic, investment and commercial opportunities, in addition to maximizing social stability, security and ensuring the rights of both individuals and institutions.

The draft of new laws and legislative amendments came during the "Year of the 50th" and are intended to keep pace with the developmental achievements of the UAE and reflect the country’s future aspirations. Over 40 laws are included in the changes, which together represent the largest legal reform in the young nation’s 50-year history.

The amendments aim to develop the legislative structure in various sectors, including investment, trade and industry, as well as commercial company, regulation and protection of industrial property, copyright, trademarks, commercial register, electronic transactions, trust services, factoring, and residency, in addition to laws related to society and personal security including as the Crime and Punishment Law, the Online Security Law, and a laws regulating the production, sale and use of narcotics and psychotropic substances.

The new legislative changes came after intensive coordination at both the local and federal levels, where teams comprising 540 specialists and experts from 50 federal and local authorities have worked together over the past five months in consultation with over 100 private sector organisations in order to reflect global best practice in the new legal provisions.

Electronic Transactions and Trust Services The amendments to the Law on Electronic Transactions and Trust Services aim to keep pace with technological development and enhance ongoing digital transformation.

The law gives digital signatures the same weight as a handwritten signature, a step that obviates the need for personal presence in order to seal transactions and supporting the globally-based completion of government transactions such as contracts and agreements using a digital signature, provided that the country where the transaction originates has adopted sophisticated authentication mechanism and trust services similar to the UAE standards.

The Law of Electronic Transactions and Trust Services facilitates a wide range of civil and commercial transactions, including marriage, personal status, notary and real estate services such as renting, buying, selling and amending contracts.

Industrial property rights The law aims to protect industrial property and regulate the procedures for its registration, use, exploitation, and assignment, to ensure support for knowledge and innovation and to enhance the UAE’s competitiveness in the field of industrial property rights while adopting best international practices and standards.

The UAE industrial property rights law is dedicated to patents, industrial designs, integrated circuits, non-disclosure agreements and utility certificates. It applies across the UAE (including free zones). The law is concerned with applications and details surrounding the eligibility for patents and utility certificates and provides details about the conditions for granting patents.

The law includes sections on compulsory licenses, addressing the rights of the license holder, the multiplicity of compulsory licenses, and the exception to the conditions of compulsory licensing by the court.

Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights The amendments of the federal law concerning copyrights and neighboring rights maximizes the contribution of creative industries in the UAE economy and provide protection to authors of the works and the holders of the neighboring rights, in case an aggression against their rights occurs.

The amendments offer special benefits for people of determination in order to enhance their benefit and participation in this vital sector. The law covers all substantive issues pertaining to author’s rights and neighboring rights, including the right to determine first publication of the work, the right of writing the work in his name and the right to protest against alteration of the work if the alteration leads to distortion of the author’s intent.

Trade Marks The federal law concerning Trade Marks was amended with the aim of expanding the scope of protection. The amendments offer protection to three-dimensional trademarks, holograms, sound trademarks such as musical tones associated with a company and that distinguish its products, and smell trademarks such as creating a distinctive scent for the company or brand.

The updates also include registering geographical names of trademarks or products whose name is associated with the names of specific geographic regions, countries or cities and are famous for producing this product, in order to enhance the UAE position in promoting its famous products like dates.

Among the changes is the abolition of the requirement to have a trade license to allow the registration of a trademark, and granting SME owners a temporary protection to protect the trademark of their products during participation in exhibitions.

Commercial Register The Commercial Register Law has been amended allowing local authorities in each emirate to retain the right to establish and manage their commercial records, including registration, data monitoring and change.

A clearer scope for applying the law was also defined to include the registration of companies and economic institutions in all forms, whether commercial (companies) or professional, such as law firms, accountants, and others, to ensure the comprehensiveness of the data contained in the commercial registry for all economic establishments in the UAE.

The commercial register is an official log held by the Ministry of Economy containing details of all businesses operating in the UAE.

Factoring and Transfer of Civil Accounts Receivable The law is the first federal regulation in the United Arab Emirates dealing specifically with factoring and the assignment of receivables, it provides a new regulatory framework which sets out the legal requirements for assignments and transfers of receivables, validity and perfection requirements, as well as the rules for determining priority amongst competing claims over assigned receivables.

Factoring, a financing arrangement that enables a business to sell its receivables, aims at further supporting the business environment and SME’s. Factoring is a type of financial transaction in which a business sells its invoices to a factoring company.

The law organizes factoring legal requirements including the assignment of receivables and perfection. The new law applies broadly to any assignment of receivables made as part of commercial or civil transactions.

Commercial Companies The law allows investors and entrepreneurs to establish and fully own onshore companies in all sectors, excluding a small number of reserved "strategic activities". The amendment aims at boosting the country’s competitive advantage as a part of a wider UAE government agenda to economic diversification towards an innovation-led and knowledge-based economy.

The new Commercial Companies Law aims to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) and reaffirms the UAE’s standing as a leading business hub regionally and globally.

The law was issued to introduce certain amendments concerning Commercial Companies: it specifies the companies that are exempted from the provisions thereof, as well as corporate governance and strategic activities.

The law further details the approvals and licenses required by companies in order to undertake commercial activities within the UAE; in addition to the company’s name, contract, incorporation procedures, and conditions for increasing and decreasing the capital.

The law also clarifies the responsibilities of the board of directors, executive management, the authorities of the general assembly, the prerequisites for issuing bonds and instruments, acquisitions and the administrative penalties imposed on a person deemed to be in breach of its provisions.

Higher Education Law The law aims to regulate the licensing of higher education institutions in the UAE, it sets the legislative framework to approve curricula, ensure effective governance and management of higher education institutions, improve the quality and competitiveness of higher education in the country, and encourage scientific research in educational institutions.

Provisions of the law apply to all higher education institutions in the country, with the exception of those operating in free zones, the law covers all levels of higher education, including diploma, higher diploma, bachelor, postgraduate diploma, master degree and doctorate.

As per the law, the Ministry of Education is tasked with licensing and accreditation of all higher education institutions, in addition to evaluating performance, quality of educational outputs, classification and monitoring.

Crime and Punishment Law The UAE has ratified a new and updated Federal Crime and Punishment Law, a move intended to further develop and refine the legislative system of the United Arab Emirates. The new legislation offers enhanced protections for women and domestic servants, strengthens public safety and security provisions and eases restrictions on extra-marital relationships and it will be fully enacted starting from January 2nd, 2022.

The new law includes the amendment and revision of a number of areas of legislation, including new criminal penalties for public disorder offences and the de-criminalization of a number of behaviours.

The new law also prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages in a public place or in unlicensed locations. The law also prohibits the sale, provision or incitement or inducement to consume alcoholic beverages to any person below 21 years of age.

The new law stipulates life imprisonment for the crime of rape or non-consensual intercourse and if the victim is under the age of 18, disabled or otherwise rendered in a condition unable to offer resistance can be extended to capital punishment.

The new law also addresses the crime of indecent assault with imprisonment or a fine of no less than ten thousand dirhams regardless of the victim’s gender. If the use of force or threat is employed in the course of the crime, the penalty shall be imprisonment for a period of no less than (5) five years and not exceeding (20) twenty years.

The penalty will rise to a prison term of no less than (10) ten years and not exceeding (25) twenty-five years if the victim is aged under 18, disabled or otherwise rendered in a condition unable to offer resistance. Also, the more severe penalty applies if the crime takes place in a place of work, study, shelter or care.

The law also punishes with imprisonment for a period of no less than six months, consensual extra-marital intercourse with a person aged over 18 years, noting that a criminal case for this crime is only instituted on the basis of a complaint from the husband or guardian. In all cases, the husband or guardian has the right to waive the complaint, and the waiver entails the expiration of the criminal case or the suspension of the execution of the penalty, as the case may be.

The new law effectively decriminalizes consensual relationships out of wedlock, providing that any child conceived as a result of the relationship is acknowledged and will be cared for. Any couple conceiving a child out of wedlock will be required to marry or singly or jointly acknowledge the child and provide identification papers and travel documents in accordance with the laws of the country of which either is a national, considering the applicable laws of that nation. Failing this, a criminal case would introduce a prison term of two years for both correspondents.

One of the most important provisions newly introduced by the Crime and Punishment Law is that the law be applied to anyone who commits, or participates in, a premeditated murder that occurs against a citizen of the United Arab Emirates even if the crime takes place outside the country.

Online Security Law The law regarding cyber-crimes and combatting online harassment, bullying and ‘fake news’ will become effective January 2nd, 2022, it is one of the first comprehensive legal frameworks in the region to address concerns raised by online technologies and their applications and abuse.

The law aims to enhance community protections from online crimes committed through the use of networks and information technology platforms, protecting public sector websites and databases, combatting the spread of rumors and ‘fake news’, safeguarding against electronic fraud and preserving personal privacy and rights.

The new law addresses online false advertising or promotions, including unlicensed trading in crypto-currencies and medical products and supplements.

The law contains provisions related to fake news and misleading information, using online tools, networks and platforms to broadcast, publish, republish, circulate or recirculate fake news, including false and misleading information, false reports purporting to originate from official sources or that falsely misrepresent official announcements.

The law gives courts powers to confiscate devices, software, content or other means used in the pursuit of a crime, in addition to the deletion of such information.

Data Protection Law The Personal Data Protection Law constitutes an integrated framework to ensure the confidentiality of information and protect the privacy of community members by providing proper governance for optimal data management and protection, in addition to defining the rights and duties of all concerned parties.

The provisions of the law apply to the processing of personal data, whether all or part of it through electronic systems, inside or outside the country.

The law prohibits the processing of personal data without the consent of its owner, with the exception of some cases in which the processing is necessary to protect the public interest, or that the processing is related to the personal data that has become available and known to all by an act of the data owner, or that the processing is necessary to carry out any of the legal procedures and rights.

The law defines the controls for the processing of personal data and the general obligations of companies that have personal data and defines their obligations to secure personal data and maintain its confidentiality and privacy.

It also defines the rights and cases in which the owner has the right to request correction of inaccurate personal data, restrict or stop the processing of personal data. The law sets out the requirements for the cross-border transfer and sharing of personal data for processing purposes.

UAE Data Office The law establishing the UAE Data Office aims at ensuring the full protection of personal data.

The office, which will be affiliated with the Cabinet, is responsible for a wide range of tasks that include proposing and preparing policies and legislations related to data protection, proposing and approving the standards for monitoring the application of federal legislation regulating this field, preparing and approving systems for complaints and grievances, and issuing the necessary guidelines and instructions for the implementation of data protection legislations.

WAM/Hassan Bashir
November 16 2021

Dubai launches Five-Year Multi-Entry Visa for employees of multinational companies

Hamdan bin Mohammed: Dubai will continue to create new opportunities for professionals and talented individuals across the world to grow and thrive

New Visa is a joint initiative between the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai and Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism Mohammad Al Marri: We are keen to simplify procedures to facilitate the issuance of entry visas to increase the number of international business and leisure travellers Helal Saeed Almarri: The new entry visa will serve as a strong catalyst for business and tourism growth in Dubai  

As Dubai continues to drive global travel recovery and growth, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) - Dubai in cooperation with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) has launched a Five-Year Multi-Entry Visa for employees of multinational companies, to further accelerate momentum across tourism and all other business sectors.

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai said: “The new Five-Year Multi-Entry Visa is the latest in a series of initiatives launched by Dubai to create new opportunities for professionals and talented individuals across the world to grow and thrive. The city has been steadily rising in status among the world’s biggest metropolises as a hub for travel, business, investment and talent, offering visitors an experience that is not only productive for work and business, but also enriching in terms of lifestyle and culture. Dubai seeks to dynamically adapt to evolving global conditions, embrace change and develop innovative initiatives to deliver future growth and offer new avenues for development and transformation, while remaining one of the world’s safest and most secure cities.”

In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the best city in the world to live, work and visit, the Five-Year Multi-Entry Visa has been introduced to further simplify visa application procedures, provide ease-of-access to the city and extend the duration of stay of international visitors. The Five-Year Multi-Entry Visa is especially beneficial to employees of foreign-owned firms as it enables them to participate in events, conferences, training courses, exhibitions and similar activities hosted in Dubai by these companies.

GDRFA-Dubai has now fully activated this visa process and has started issuing it to employees of multinational companies, allowing them to visit and stay in the UAE for 90 days, with the option of extending their stay for another 90 days. The Five-Year Multi-Entry-Visa joins other new categories of visas and programmes launched by Dubai including the Golden Visa for entrepreneurs and property and business investors, as well as the Retire in Dubai and Virtual Working programmes, which provide more flexibility and options for talent looking to work and reside in Dubai. These have led to a significant increase in entry visas issued recently, with visitors looking to take advantage of Dubai’s world-class infrastructure, modern lifestyle, high vaccination rates and commitment to ensuring the highest standards of health and safety for residents and visitors, in line with international practices.

His Excellency Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General, GDRFA -Dubai, said: “This new step of providing a Five-Year Multi-Entry-Visa for major companies will bolster Dubai’s reputation as a global business and tourism hub. Dubai is committed to simplifying the procedures for issuing entry visas to all nationalities to help realise the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the preferred destination for international visitors.

“Dubai has always been top-of-mind among international business and leisure travellers and providing these multinational companies the opportunity to obtain five-year multiple entry visas for their employees will contribute towards increasing visitors to Dubai, particularly those who travel in groups, reflecting positively on all economic sectors, including tourism.”

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), said: “This significant initiative is a testament to the strategies inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to remain agile in the wake of the global pandemic and to drive business growth and lead the recovery of the tourism sector. From a governmental perspective, we have been focusing on initiatives designed to make the city even more attractive to people around the world and easing barriers to entry for business and leisure travellers. By making Dubai more accessible to employees of global corporations, we will be able to increase visitation and attract new talent, and pave the way for the continued and sustainable diversification of our economy.

“Dubai is the preferred destination for multinational companies to host their corporate events and activities, conferences and meetings. All this will have a positive impact across many business sectors and provide an additional incentive for travel to Dubai, building on our unique opportunity to drive growth in this landmark year featuring Expo 2020 Dubai and the UAE Golden Jubilee, and beyond. We look forward to hosting more international corporate events, and we will extend our full support to these companies and their employees through the provision of this Five-Year Multi-Entry Visa to allow them to enjoy a quick and hassle-free entry process and a memorable stay.

“It is imperative for us to further enhance the partnership and high level of cooperation between the public and private sectors to promote Dubai’s extensive and diverse destination proposition to business and leisure travellers and further strengthen Dubai’s international standing as the safe destination of choice for global travellers.”

The concerted efforts by the tourism authorities, supported by stakeholders and partners, have helped restore momentum in the travel sector; between January and September 2021, Dubai received around 3.85 million international visitors. There are 726 hotel establishments with a total of 123,868 rooms that are open in Dubai, with the overall 61 per cent occupancy being among the highest worldwide.

In September, the World Bank awarded Dubai a certificate for the quality of services that it provides to investors, and described it as a world-class logistics hub. The bank said in a report titled "At Your Service? The Promise of Service-Led Development" that Dubai is one of the most prominent models in the world for service centres, especially for logistics and financial services. Dubai also ranked first regionally and 11th globally among 25 global cities in the "Best Business Cities in Granting Residency Visas to Investors" index maintained by the British company Henley & Partners, which specialises in residency and citizenship advice.

Media Office - Government of Dubai