By Vijaya George
Dubai is quickly moving ahead from one project to the next in an attempt to lure more foreign capital and create bigger opportunities for its national populace. The Mohammed bin Rashid Technology Park is the city's next attempt at achieving this objective.
After the DIC and the DMC, Dubai has moved on to yet another ambitious project with the launch of the Mohammed bin Rashid Technology Park, which is part of the city’s design to develop industrially-based knowledge economy 'clusters' in Dubai. The Park will serve as both a regional platform to launch international, local and regional technology businesses across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa as well as utilise qualified local talent. Phase one of the project will be located south of Sheikh Zayed road in Jebel Ali, covering a land area of 3 square kilometres."Over the last few decades Dubai has successfully established itself as an internationally reputed business hub and in recent years the Dubai Government's direction has focused strategically on our role as an international information technology centre,” commented Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation. “Through this Technology Park, we can utilise the gains made in both technology and knowledge-based systems in a specific and focused way, which when channelled and applied to industry will benefit the region as a whole. He added that economic factors for success had traditionally centred on capital, raw material and labour. However, all this was slated to change in favour of a knowledge-based economy promoted by entrepreneurial leadership. “The Technology Park will enhance the development of the knowledge-based economy, providing a wide range of opportunities for technology companies," he stated.Meanwhile, companies providing services associated with industrial technology from across the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan, USA and Korea have expressed interest in setting up facilities at the Technology Park. These companies, in turn, will bring with them a range of services incluidng laboratory services, renovation services for industrial plants, university research and technical services as well as engineering and R&D projects.The Technology Park will focus on attracting business accelerators, consultancy firms and venture capital groups in addition to manufacturing and industrial companies. 'Demand-driven' industrial technologies will be encouraged at the Technology Park. For instance, countries in the Gulf region use 50% of the global desalination supply, with the UAE demand expected to double by 2010. It is estimated that the Arab World will invest $30 billion in desalination by 2025. As yet, there is no specialised centre dedicated to the development of this industry, which is vital to the region. Such industries will find place at the Technology Park. Moreover, the project will also bring in its wake new employment opportunities for local students, who are graduating from UAE universities. "This has been a key objective behind the development and research of the Technology Park," commented Bin Sulayem. "The Technology Park will not only raise the expectations, skills and abilities of the region's workforce, utilising local talent as a source of long-term competitive advantage; it will also bridge the gap between industrial viability and the application of knowledge".