The UAE and Italy can join forces to lead the world through the “structural shift” underway in the biomedical sciences sector, the fourth Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS) Week heard recently.
Addressing the Manufacturing & Innovation conference, co-hosted by Italy and the UAE today, Badr Al-Olama, Head of the GMIS Organising Committee, said: “There is ample scope to work together in new areas, such as biomedical technology. Developing smart healthcare solutions is key to facing future pandemics as we recover from COVID-19.”
Pointing to the statistics that the UAE was able to respond to 80% of the global and regional demand for medical supplies and aid by distributing more than two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, he added: “As the biomedical sector undergoes a structural shift, targeted innovation along manufacturing and technology standards is crucial to serve the potential of new smart tools and smart factories.”
A challenge that can be met, Al-Olama said, by “combining the global leadership of Italy and the UAE in their respective manufacturing of medicine and medical supplies”. The two countries face “unmatched prospects for bridging access to healthcare and crisis aid”.
Al-Olama’s vision for cross-border, cross-sector partnerships between the UAE and Italy was earlier espoused by H.E. Nicola Lener, Italy’s Ambassador to the UAE, who highlighted the parallels between the two nations’ industrial and manufacturing strategies as presenting clear opportunities for bilateral growth.
“We both have the opportunity to benefit from the many complementarities in our respective national plans to develop and diversify our industrial and manufacturing sectors.
“In the UAE, we have Operation 300Bn, devoted to widening the industrial base of this country. And in Italy, we have our National Plan for Recovery and Resilience, which is charting a map for digitalisation, for businesses to transition,” he said.
The Ambassador went on to note that the momentum behind the UAE’s industrial sector, following the work done by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology to make industry a pillar of the country’s economy, is reason to believe it will attract a great deal of foreign direct investments.
“The UAE’s industrial and manufacturing base will play a major role in attracting investments from Italy and other parts of the world, especially Europe,” he said, adding that opportunities in the industrial and manufacturing sectors will form the basis of upcoming ministerial visits.
“When our foreign minister met with His Excellency Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, at GMIS this week, they agreed that the next joint economic commission will focus on this topic – on the complementarities between our two manufacturing sectors. It is the topic of focus for the future,” he said.
Later taking the stage, Barbara Beltrame Giacomello, Vice President for Internationalisation at the General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria) and Head of Communication at AFV Beltrame Group, said that while “there is lots of work to be done when it comes to the digitalisation of Italy’s manufacturing sector”, there is a plethora of “opportunities for new collaborations and synergies, which are crucial to increasing economic competitiveness and reaching sustainability goals”. She cited the UAE as an ideal partner to help drive the change required.
The Manufacturing & Innovation conference concluded with a panel discussion on the future of the manufacturing industry. Joining the panel were Alessandro Spada, VP of VRV Group and President of Assolombarda, Daniela Vinci, CEO of Masmec, Alberto Tripi, President of AlmavivA, and Ismail Ali Abdulla, CEO of Strata Manufacturing.
Panellists agreed that the shift towards a circular economy must be a collaborative effort, with Ismail Abdulla pointing to the importance of integrating an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) approach in future manufacturing efforts.
He also highlighted the abundant opportunities for driving sustainable economic growth through the increased use of advanced technologies and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) tools, like robotics and mechatronics, the Internet of Things, blockchain and AI, across value chains.
For his part, Spada emphasised the importance of public-private partnerships (PPP) in overseeing economic diversification strategies.
The stage for the Manufacturing & Innovation conference was set on 24 November with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between GMIS and Confindustria at the Italian pavilion at Expo 2020 in the presence of H.E. Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. The partnership seeks to boost bilateral economic and industrial growth by facilitating knowledge and technology transfers as 4IR powers society forwards ever faster and will explore possibilities for hosting a future GMIS edition in Italy.
GMIS hosted three country-focused conferences to accelerate cross-border collaboration and foster innovation in partnership with the UK, Australia, Italy, and the UAE. The events were part of the six-day GMIS Week that runs from 22 to 27 November at Expo 2020’s Dubai Exhibition Centre, featuring over 250 global speakers from the public and private sectors.