Interview with H.E. Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi
1. As the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates in the Republic of Korea, please introduce the progress of bilateral cooperation in the economic, political and other areas so far made during your tenure of office in Korea and your view of the outlook of further development between the two countries.
The bilateral relations between the UAE and Republic of Korea has recently witnessed a great leap forward. 2019 March, President Moon Jae In visited the United Arab Emirates and during his visit the bilateral relation was upgraded to a Special Strategic Partnership, a move reflects the high importance the two countries place to each other. Also during my tenure, many agreements and MOU was signed between the UAE and the Republic of Korea in different areas covering health, public management, small and medium sized corporations, and defense among others.
2. Who are the Korean companies actively engaged in the promotion of economic cooperation between Korea and your esteemed country?
The UAE market is open to all Korean companies in different fields of services and products. A number of Korean companies, large as well as SMEs, established their branch offices in the UAE to promote and distribute their products in the country and beyond benefiting of the free zones built and the transit trade adopted in the UAE as well as other advantages including the geographical location of the country and the availability of labour force. The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry opened its office in Seoul with the purpose of promoting the economic and trade between the two sides. In line with the new government’s policy to support SMEs, there are great opportunities for these enterprises in the UAE market.
3. In tandem with the anniversary, the culture ministers of Korea and the UAE have agreed to designate 2020 as the Year of Cultural Dialogue. Why cultural dialogue in specific, and how will this affect Korea-UAE relations?
The anniversary is an opportunity for both countries to solidify their Special Strategic Partnership in all fields. Numerous visits by high-ranking officials are expected to take place throughout the year. The visits play a significant role in cementing bilateral ties. In addition, high-level meetings between our two sides are also set to be convened over the year. As for announcing 2020 as the Year of Cultural Dialogue, celebrations and festive events are a platform through which our two sides can enhance people-to-people exchanges. Cultural dialogue is a continuation of the spirit of tolerance championed by the UAE in its relations with other nations.
4. What are the plans or strategies the UAE is taking in the energy sector in the future?
The UAE’s commitment to sustainability aims to mitigate the tangible effects of climate change through economic diversification, water and biodiversity protection, food security strategies and renewable energy solutions. Also, The UAE has become a regional leader for clean energy technology, providing funding for renewable energy projects around the world and investing in fundamental research on energy, water, microelectronics, advanced materials and transport systems. UAE Energy Strategy 2050 has identified an energy mix combining renewable, clean energy sources and nuclear power to meet the UAE’s environmental goals of 50% of all energy coming from clean sources by 2050. The strategy identifies the combination as, 44% clean energy, 38% natural gas, 12% coal and 6% nuclear.
5. The importance of artificial intelligence in various sectors has become greater than before, in preparation for the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. What are the efforts made by the UAE in this field?
The UAE was one of the first countries to identify AI as an economic opportunity. Education must match the future job market, and AI and new technologies are an economic opportunity and tools for human advancement, in 2017, the government rolled out UAE 2031, an AI strategy which aims to make governance more efficient and transform eight sectors including space, renewable energy, water and education.
In this regard, the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) will begin classes in September 2020 and will attract students from around the world to advance AI technology and propel the UAE’s economic diversification efforts.
The UAE ranks 19th worldwide on the government AI readiness index, first in the region
6. What is the main goal that the UAE seeks to achieve in 2020?
The theme for 2020 focuses on fortifying the country’s reputation internationally, investing in education and advanced technology, nurturing and safe-guarding Emirati values, raising productivity of the national economy and enhancing society’s cohesion. The UAE’s remarkable achievements have laid the groundwork for a future defined by a knowledge economy. The year 2020 will be dedicated to preparing plans for the UAE’s next fifty years of progress and to planning the celebrations for the UAE’s upcoming 50th Anniversary.
In this regard, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces said “Given the significant role of 2020 in preparing for an unprecedented developmental leap, the UAE's readiness for the next 50 years does not start today or next year. Rather, it goes back to the long-term developmental plans, visions and strategies established and implemented throughout different phases of the country's history”.