The government of the United Arab Emirates has unveiled two national initiatives focusing on strengthening the position of the country globally in emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.
One of the programs that were launched during the second UAE Government Annual Meetings which took place in the capital Abu Dhabi was the AI and Blockchain Guide initiative, as initially reported by the Emirates News Agency. With this program, the goal is to offer a standardized definition of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence at the federal level.
The AI and Blockchain Guide, which will be offered to all the smart local entities across the seven emirates, will also focus on familiarizing the relevant authorities with the two technologies. This is important because the adoption of the two technologies will involve individuals drawn from across many sectors, some of who may not be technologically adept:
“The UAE is keen to adopt AI and Blockchain technologies in all the economic, health, educational and other vital sectors. It seeks to boost cooperation and forge partnerships between the various government, federal and local entities, international companies and startups in a bid to find effective and innovative solutions and make a positive impact,” UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, said.
Government Transactions on the Blockchain
According to the Emirates News Agency, the UAE aims to ensure that by 2021 half of its government’s transactions are conducted on a blockchain platform. The UAE has also set an ambitious goal of becoming the global leader with regards to AI adoption by 2031.
The other initiative that was launched is the National Programme for AI and Blockchain Capacity Building. The goal of the program which will be carried out in partnership with the higher education ministry is to provide scholarships and operate educational programs in the areas of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence. This will include rolling out educational programs that run for short periods of time for Emiratis in various professional levels.
The National Programme for AI and Blockchain Capacity Building will also identify the sectors and sub-sectors that will face job losses as a result of the adoption of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence and work towards reducing the number of workers in these fields. Additionally, the initiative will seek to retrain the affected workers allowing them to find alternative employment opportunities.
Private Sector Involvement
Besides the government, the private sector has also made contributions to the development and adoption of blockchain technology in the UAE. Early last year, leading healthcare firm NMC Healthcare partnered with UAE Telecom to store patient records on the blockchain within the Emirates.
Blockchain initiatives in the UAE have, however, not been restricted to the national level as the various emirates have also unveiled their respective projects. This includes Dubai which has partnered with IBM on a blockchain-based trade finance pilot among other initiatives.