We are keen on learning from the Netherlands’ pioneering experience in innovation says, Al-Shehhi

DUBAI, 21st November, 2015 (WAM) — Engineer Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for economic affairs, stressed that the UAE and the Netherlands share long-standing and cordial relations.
“These ties have only deepened in recent times, especially in the fields of economy, trade and investments. They are projected to get stronger in the light of the positive interest registered by both sides to enhance synergies” added Al Shehhi.
Al Shehhi delivered a keynote speech in forum organised by the Netherlands Business Council (NBC) held in Dubai with the participation of new Netherlands Ambassador, Frank J.M. Mollen, Arjan Radder, Chief Executive Officer Philips Middle East Turkey, Kamal Hassan, Founder Chief Executive Officer Innovation 360 and Giovanni Angiolini Chairman of Netherlands Business Council Dubai Northern Emirates in the presence of 70 members of NBC entrepreneurs, managers and executives in a large variety of industries.
In his speech at the event the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy said, “the volume of non-oil trade between the two countries reached nearly US $2.67 billion by the end of 2014, up from US $2.17 billion in end 2013 – an 18.7 per cent growth. There are currently 69 Dutch companies registered with the UAE Ministry of Economy. In addition, some 165 trade agencies and 4145 Dutch trade brands operate within the UAE. Although this is an impressive figure, it does not reflect the actual potential or scale of relations between our two countries. The UAE and the Netherlands signed the first agreement for economic and technical cooperation in 1983”.
“The signing between the two countries of a final agreement to protect and encourage investment by end 2013 was a major milestone. It ratified the inclination of the UAE and the Netherlands to strengthen mutual investments in targeted sectors” he added.
On the subject of innovation, which was the main topic of the forum, Al Shehhi pointed that The UAE ranks No.1 in innovation in the Arab world. It ranks No.3 in West Asia and North Africa. Globally, it is ranked 36th in the year 2014. These numbers are courtesy the Global Innovation Index published by the New York-based Cornel University in association with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an affiliate of the United Nations Organization.
He said, “Last year, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has designated 2015 as the country’s Year of Innovation. Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has bolstered the concept of Innovation by launching the National Innovation Strategy”.
He said, “We will witness the UAE Innovation Week. Set to run from November 22nd to November 28th, the novel initiative will serve as a platform for local and federal government entities, pioneering private sector firms, universities and other educational institutions to hold events and showcase their most innovative accomplishments. The initiative seeks to spread a culture of innovation and out-of-the-box thinking”.
“We are keen on learning from the Netherlands’ pioneering experience in innovation. We wish to strengthen the presence of Dutch companies in our country. The Netherlands holds rich expertise and knowledge in several of the UAE’s targeted growth areas. It can effectively contribute to augmenting our national economy. The country can also strengthen our orientation towards establishing a knowledge economy by 2021”. Al Shehhi added.
On his part, Frank J.M. Mollen Netherlands Ambassador said, The Netherlands and the UAE share a longstanding friendship. For both of us, innovation is an important cornerstone of our economy and society and vital to our future economic development. We therefore have a lot to offer each other and I hope that through our partnerships and cooperation, the friendship between our two nations will continue to grow.
On his comment on the event, Giovanni Angiolini Chairman of Netherlands Business Council Dubai Northern Emirates said, “With the Netherlands being a leading country on Innovation globally, we look forward to share our knowledge and expertise with the United Arab Emirates”