Khaleej Times | 6 December 2022
UAE eyes 26 CEPAs in 7-8 years: Minister of economy
by Waheed Abbas
Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (Cepas) will play a key role in the development of UAE’s new economy and the country aims to sign 26 such deals in the next few years, said Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy.
The UAE has signed Cepa deals with India, Indonesia and Israel while negotiations are underway or in the planning phase with Pakistan, Turkiye, Georgia, and Cambodia as part of the UAE strategy to double the size of its economy from Dh1.4 trillion to Dh3 trillion by 2030.
“We plan to sign 26 Cepa in the next seven to eight years,” Bin Touq said on Tuesday at the launch of the “Future 100” initiative to support 100 startups in new sectors that will shape the future economy of the UAE.
Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government Development and the Future; and CEOs representing local and international companies, startups, as well as entrepreneurs in the UAE, also attended the launch event on Tuesday.
On Monday, the UAE and Ukraine signed a deal to start negotiations for the Cepa to boost bilateral trade in key strategic sectors.
Al Marri added that the Cepas will help ensure enough supply of basic commodities and reduce inflation in the country. He added that inflation was around 5.5 per cent in the first nine months and it’s likely to drop next year.
“We monitor inflation on day to day basis and prices on shelves in retail outlets. We monitor prices of what go up and down every week. We speak to retailers and wholesalers, too. We recently got the support from the Cabinet to involve more in price setting to ensure prices are good for consumers,” said the minister.
The minister expects the UAE economy to grow over 6.5 per cent this year and the next, driven by the new economy sectors as well.
In November, the International Monetary Fund also hiked the UAE’s economic growth forecast to over six per cent for 2022 last month, a remarkable increase from 3.8 per cent last year. This is driven by the foreign investment inflow into the country’s different sectors in 2022 after the government successfully and effectively handled the pandemic which further boosted the trust of foreign investors in the country.
‘Future 100’ initiative for startups
The Ministry of Economy and the Government Development and the Future Office on Tuesday launched the “Future 100” initiative which will annually highlight the top 100 startups that will promote the country’s readiness for the future and the competitiveness of the future economic sector in the UAE.
Bin Touq noted that the UAE is keen to launch proactive initiatives whose impact extends over the coming five decades to support its new, futuristic economic model in line with emerging global economic trends.
"The Ministry of Economy continues to support innovative future projects that promote the UAE’s global leading position on competitiveness indicators and supports it as an attractive destination for future projects from all over the world," he said.
“It further enhances its position as a permanent hub for creativity and innovation, securing sustainable growth for the UAE’s national economy and creating new jobs, especially in sectors pertaining to the new economic fields, such as space, renewable energy, fintech, and AI,” he added.
Al Roumi said enhancing future readiness is a key pillar in the methodology of the UAE government.
The initiative aims to support new economic sectors that will shape the future economy of the UAE, especially startups that contribute to the national economy, as one of the main goals on the UAE government agenda.
What is ’Future 100’
’Future 100’ initiative will annually highlight the top 100 startups that will promote the UAE’s readiness for the future and the competitiveness of the future economic sector in the UAE. It also aims to boost the UAE’s position as a global hub for innovation, top-notch technologies and entrepreneurship.