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Technology Park announced for Dubai.

International technology companies show growing interest in major new project for Dubai

Dubai, UAE - 21 May, 2002 (PRN):Dubai is taking another ambitious step with the announcement by Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman of Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation, of the 'Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park', which promises to reinforce Dubai's role as the premier regional technology and science hub.

The objectives behind the Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park are manifold. Not only is The Technology Park designed to serve as a regional platform to launch international, local and regional technology businesses across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, it also provides an ideal vehicle to utilise qualified local resources through sustainable capital-based development at the same time as boosting Dubai's competitive advantage.

Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park has been designed and developed after years of extensive research, and as part of phase one it will be located south of Sheikh Zayed road in Jebel Ali, covering a land area of 3 kilometres square.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said, "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. 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 channeled and applied to industry will benefit the region as a whole."

"Traditionally economic factors for success have centred on capital, raw material and labour," he explained. "Today in the era of knowledge-based economy promoted by entrepreneurial leadership, success must be built on a foundation of ideas and innovation. The Technology Park will enhance the development of the knowledge based economy, providing a wide range of opportunities for technology companies."

International Interest

Discussions surrounding the launch of the Technology Park have sparked off considerable interest from parties in the local, regional and international business and industrial communities.

MenaLink, a leading company in cross border technology transfer has signed an agreement to launch a business accelerator in the Technology Park. MenaLink has already mobilized a network of leading technology partners and begun accelerating an initial pipeline of projects. Dr. Theodore Moran, Chairman of the MenaLink Center stated, "Dubai is uniquely positioned to serve as the region's premier technology hub, serving as a window for leading companies to adapt, develop and launch technical products and services for the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia."

According to Stanley S. Borys, Chief Operating Officer of the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), the premier US gas institute, "As the US's premier, industry-led natural gas research, development and education organization, the Gas Technology Institute is optimistic about the potential of developing business in the Middle East, in collaboration with MenaLink, and with a base of operations in the Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park. I am confident that the GTI and MenaLink team will make tangible contributions to the growth and prosperity of the gas sector in Dubai and in the Middle East region as a whole."

Other groups that have declared their interest in joining the MenaLink Center in the Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park are: GE EDG, a GE subsidiary specialising in complex engineering and design; Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the leading US group specialising in technology transfer to manufacturers; and the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Lab (INEEL), the leading environmental lab of the US Department of Energy. Managing Director of MenaLink, said "MenaLink expects to make substantial investments in new projects from the Technology Park over the course of the next 5 years."

Both RNGS, leading developers of gas & oil technology from Russia and Middle East Development Co. specialists in intelligent control systems, have registered a base of operations in the Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park.

Companies providing services associated with industrial technology from across the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan, USA and Korea have also expressed interest and will potentially bring with them a range of activities that include laboratory services, renovation services for industrial plants, university research and technical services and engineering and R&D projects.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park will also focus on attracting business accelerators, consultancy firms and venture capital groups in addition to manufacturing and industrial companies. High Tech services such as design, consultancy, prototype production of incubated innovations, industry and spin-offs will also hold viable positions in the Park. Environmental management companies will focus on water resource management, biosaline products & technology, pollution management and control systems, recycling industries and 'clean energy' industries such as solar and wind technology. Health technology businesses will concentrate on Biotech products and processes, pharmaceuticals and medical devices and equipment.

Strategic Alliances

The Technology Park is in the process of forming strategic alliances with a number of local universities and research institutes such as the Biosaline Institute in Dubai, and ERWDA in Abu Dhabi UAE. International organisations such as the International High Technologies Consortium from Russia have also indicated their interest.

The Technology Park is also in the process of forming strategic ties with potential investment organisations and banks.

Selected Technologies

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park is designed to develop industrially-based knowledge economy 'clusters' in Dubai. These clusters are developed in strategic industrial sectors which will stimulate economic growth and ultimately boost Dubai's competitive edge in the region. Clusters will include a range of Research and Development & product development companies, laboratories, incubators, training institutes, technology transfer and technology acceleration organisations.

The focus of the Park will centre on 'demand-driven' industrial technologies. An important example of a demand driven technology for this region is desalination. Countries in the Gulf region use a staggering over 50% of the global desalination supply, with UAE demand expected to double by 2010. It is estimated that the Arab World will invest 30 billion US Dollars in desalination by 2025. As yet, there is no specialised centre dedicated to the development of this industry which is vital to the region.

The clusters will also include a range of companies in oil and gas, biotech, Pharmaceuticals, Agrotech and material science.

Far-reaching associated benefits

There are a number of economic benefits achieved through the creation of a Technology Park at both Macro and Micro economic levels. Companies within the industrial clusters in the Park will benefit from vertical and horizontal linkages amongst themselves but so too will Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation. Many companies located in Jebel Ali Free Zone will enjoy increased business ties and investments via investors based in the Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park.

The Technology Park will support and complement a number of Dubai's other initiatives and leading projects relating to technology application, such as The Palm. Many companies located in the Technology Park operate in the fields of agriculture, ecology and marine environment. The Technology Park will include over 100 technology application companies which can support The Palm as one of the world's pioneering developments.

Dubai's renowned services sector is also expected to see business increase as the Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park develops. Furthermore, the type of industrial companies in the Technology Park will potentially provide benefits to both Dubai and the region in terms of the study of pollution, improved safety automation with tailor-made intelligent control systems and an improved supply of components through central warehouses for desalination and other industries and components.

Bin Sulayem confirmed that Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park will not include research and study projects alone, but also technology transfer throughout the UAE and the region.

Golden opportunity for the region's workforce

Especially important for long-term development in Dubai and the region are the employment opportunities that the Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park will offer. In line with Dubai's focus as a proponent of the High Tech and new education strategy, and with the cooperation of universities locally and throughout the region, skilled national graduates in specialised industries will be able to find lucrative employment in Technology Park industries.

"This has been a key objective behind the development and research of the Technology Park," explained 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, the Park will also bridge the gap between industrial viability and the application of knowledge".

Advisory Board Of Mohammed Bin Rashid Technology Park

Dr. Farouk El-Baz, Research Professor and Director of the Centre for Remote Sensing at Boston University, USA, is a renowned expert in space research.

Mr. Theodore H. Moran holds the Marcus Wallenburg Chair at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, USA. For two decades Mr. Moran has been a consultant to the United Nations and to the international business and financial communities. He has also been appointed as Counselor to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank Group.

Dr. Adel Bushnak, former Chairman of The International Desalination Association, is an acclaimed international authority on the desalination industry.

Mr. Yevgeny Primakov, former Russian Premier and former Russsian Minister of Foreign Affairs and currently Chairman of Russian Trade and Industrial Chamber and a leading Member of the Russian Academy of Science.

Mrs. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, a pioneer Biochologist and Chairperson and Managin Director of Biocon of India and the Chairperson of the Vision Group on Biotechnology.

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