Annual ‘Majlis Jafza’ Honours Strategic Partners

Jafza Majlis 2015 - CopyHE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation and Chairman of DP World yesterday stressed the importance of innovation as a national priority for progress and the basis of achieving the Dubai 2021 vision.


Speaking at the Majlis Jafza annual gathering held under the title “Collaborative Innovation…Together for a Better Tomorrow”, organised by Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), a leading global economic zones operator and subsidiary of the global marine terminals operator DP World, HE Bin Sulayem said that innovation is crucial if Dubai wants to continue growing, developing, and competing to be a world leader.


He said that collaborative innovation increases in importance amidst global economic instability, open markets, ongoing technological developments, and the ever-changing needs of the customers.


He added that this follows the directives of the country’s leadership and the implementation of the National Innovation Strategy launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.


The strategy aims to place the UAE into the ranks as one of the most innovative countries in the world within the coming few years.


In order to achieve the goal of elevating the status of the country and propelling the growth of a knowledge-based economy, he noted that all members, institutions, and sectors of society must work cooperatively in a bid to find new methods and innovative ways to improve the performance of business and delivery of services.


He said: “A sustainable and diversified economy is built upon an integrated approach and involves cooperation and coordination across all sectors. It is not based solely on the individual efforts of institutions. The concept of teamwork has been one of the most influential factors for the success of Dubai and the UAE throughout the nation’s history. Teamwork is the cornerstone of progress that supports the building of a sustainable knowledge-based economy. We are on the right track towards becoming a leader thanks to the vision of our leadership and their quest for economic diversification and sustainable development”.


Stressing that the concept of innovation is not strange to Dubai, HE Bin Sulayem added: “Throughout Dubai’s history innovation was an important aspect for development and there are numerous examples, dating back to when the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum decided to expand the creek, to the building of Port Rashid, and later, to the building of the Jebel Ali Port.


“Today, Dubai has become a hub for tourism and a leading centre for business which is exemplified through the establishment of Emirates airlines, Jafza, the Palm projects, and other megaprojects that lead to the diversification of the  economy and promote its global reputation.


“If we are to maintain these accomplishments, however, and survive and grow amidst such a competitive environment, we must continue development and innovation. This can be done by taking advantage of the latest technologies and by using the bright, innovative minds and human resources that we have.”


Bin Sulayem praised Dubai Trade as a pioneering model for co-innovation. Dubai Trade collaborates with three pioneering trade related entities viz. Dubai Ports, Customs and Jebel Ali Free Zone to provide information and a platform for businesses to conduct their business transactions from.


His Excellency extended his deepest gratitude to Jafza for highlighting the importance of cooperation in the field of innovation, which will ultimately lead to fostering efforts and accelerating the process of achieving this noble national goal.


HE Salma Hareb, CEO of Economic Zones World (EZW), the parent company of Jafza, thanked all strategic partners for their continued efforts in providing the highest level of service to Jafza customers and playing a key role in building a business model that thrives on collaborative partnership.


She underscored the need for integration of all projects rolled out by different institutions to achieve the desired goal of the National Innovation Strategy launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, that aims to make the UAE one of the most innovative countries in the world by 2021.


Collaborative innovation is equally important to implement the Dubai Innovative Strategy approved by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, scheduled over the next three years to make Dubai the world’s most innovative city and  an innovation hub for more than 2 billion people in the region, she said. Speaking on the significance of innovation in economic development Salma Hareb, said:

“Innovation is one of the key drivers of economic development that accelerates and propels global trade. Innovation, supported with technology, has been the most effective tool in promoting sustainable economic growth in several countries around the world. With our insight from historical precedents, Dubai has successfully attracted many international companies operating in technology and innovation to position itself as a regional centre for innovation driven transformation.”


She added: “Innovation and prosperity are intrinsically linked today. The world is heading towards greater economic liberalisation giving rise to more intense competition. In these tough times, the only way to achieve success and prosperity is to be innovative and implement it through advanced technologies.”


Talking about the challenges that the drive innovation, she added: “The biggest challenge that we face in the quest of innovation is the general unwillingness to adopt change. The resistance is mostly driven by either the fear of failure or because of costs imposed by such a paradigm shift. But we need to work together to overcome these challenges.”


Majlis Jafza 2015 included a panel discussion on Collaborative Innovation, that was joined by eminent panelists - HE Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation and Chairman of DP World and EZW, HE Reem Al Hashemi, UAE Minister of State and HE Abdullah Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani, Secretary General of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Dubai. The panel discussion was moderated by Huda Al Hashemi, ‎Executive Director at Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation.


The panel discussion examined issues ranging from the importance of collaborative innovation in enterprises to how to achieve a balance between competition and innovation. It also reviewed the most important initiatives in this area and the role of they play in promoting a culture that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship.


HE Reem Al Hashemi said: “The first step towards achieving collaborative innovation is putting firmly in place comprehensive partnerships that will lead to the development of knowledge economy based on non-proliferation, cooperation and participation instead of competition.”


HE Abdullah Al Shaibani speaking about the importance of collaboration between governments, semi government entities and private sector at the panel discussion in Majlis Jafza said: Collaborative innovation is the best and the most efficient way to achieve Dubai’s goal to become a self-sustaining economy and also to become one of the world’s most innovative countries. Innovation has today become a prerequisite for achieving sustained economic development, global competitiveness and become a social welfare driven country.”


He further added: “We must move from competitive to collaborative innovation to achieve the objectives of Dubai Plan and National Innovation Strategy 2021 that aim to develop Dubai and the UAE into the world’s most innovative city and the country. We must ensure full coordination among government, semi-government and private entities to achieve Dubai and the UAE’s shared vision of becoming number one in the world in terms of innovation and competitiveness.”


The panel discussion was preceded by an audience poll on a range of questions which included:

What are the main challenges of innovation?

How would you describe the application of innovation initiatives in your organisation?

In case you had the opportunity, will your organisation cooperate with people from outside to achieve internal innovation?


The Majlis theme follows the new “Dubai Innovation Partners” initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, at the beginning of the year with the aim of boosting cooperation with a number of leading international companies to develop and introduce creative ideas and innovative solutions 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 enhance quality of life in the Emirate.


The initiative continues the Dubai Innovation Strategy approved by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan last year encompassing 20 initiatives scheduled to be implemented by 2017 to make Dubai the world’s most innovative city.

That Strategy focuses on 10 economic sectors — renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space, hospitality, economy, tourism and government services.


It seeks to stimulate the city’s innovation potential by engaging the population and business to develop new and creative ideas that will help Dubai achieve its objectives.


At the end of the event, His Excellency Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem and HE Salma Hareb honoured key partners in recognition for their continued efforts that have contributed to strengthening the position of Jafza locally and globally.