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UAE leads in Mena region and second globally in business skills

According to Coursera’s Global Skills Report 2021, the UAE ranks 1st in the Mena region and 2nd globally in overall business skills, only after Luxemburg.

This year’s study draws on performance data since the pandemic’s onset from more than 77 million learners on the platform to benchmark skills proficiency across business, technology, and data science for over 100 countries.

Communication, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Management, and Strategy and Operations are areas where UAE learners have placed within the top 97 percentile or higher in business skills. These proficiencies are fundamental to accurately interpret and respond to the opportunities and challenges that determine an organisation’s success.

While UAE’s overall business skills proficiency ranks near the top of the list globally, technology and data science skills represent areas for continued growth. With the UAE government’s prioritisation of digital transformation as a driver of national development and economic advancement, the Global Skills Report highlights a significant opportunity for UAE professionals to upskill in these fields the country’s talent pools for technology and data science skills ranked just 72 and 71 respectively.

“In recent years, the UAE government has implemented numerous initiatives, aimed at promoting a skills-based economy. These are having a positive impact on the economy as evidenced by the UAE’s business leadership position in our rankings,” said Anthony Tattersall, Coursera Vice President of EMEA, “When it comes to technology and data science skills, access to a variety of job-relevant credentials, including a path to entry-level digital jobs, will be key to help reskill at scale, not just in the UAE but worldwide”.

It was, however, promising to see an increase in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) course enrollments – which account for many foundational digital skills – by women in the UAE. The share of STEM enrollments from women in the UAE rose from 33 per cent in 2018-19 to 41 per cent in 2019-20.

Another notable outlier in the overall technology skills performance of the country was its competitiveness in Security Engineering, where the UAE ranked in the 77 percentile. With the country witnessing a 250 per cent increase in cyberattacks through the pandemic, there has been a strong emphasis on attracting and developing cybersecurity skills within the UAE, which helps explain this high ranking.

Investor Demo Day: The Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF), an initiative launched by the UAE Ministry of Finance to support innovation in the UAE, has hosted its first-ever “Investor Demo Day” for its current cohort of the Innovation Accelerator Programme.

The Demo Day served as a platform for MBRIF members, representing several priority sectors including, HealthTech, Real Estate, FinTech, AgriTech, Data storage, E-commerce, CleanTech and Artificial Intelligence, to showcase their innovation and capabilities.

Over 42 local, regional and international investors, as well as over 50 interested partners and collaborators, joined the Demo Day, where the members pitched their unique business model to highlight how their product is poised to disrupt and advance the UAE market.

Networking breakout sessions followed the demos, where interested investors interacted with the members to learn more about their proposals.

Commenting on the Demo Day, Fatima Al Naqbi, Chief Innovation Officer at the Ministry of Finance, and official representative of the MBRIF, said, “We are extremely proud of our cohort of innovators and the high-quality solutions they have brought forward to strengthen UAE’s position as a leading innovation hub. The MBRIF Accelerator Programme is here to equip our members with the tools they need to grow and connect with the right corporate partners, helping them realize their commercial and expansion plans.”

The thirteen MBRIF members who presented include, Aitrics and P4ML – from the healthcare sector; Mobsting – an on-demand video crowdsourcing application; Northladder – an auction driven second-hand marketplace; Alesca Life Technologies – farming solutions & turnkey indoor vertical farms company; Ajar – a real-estate digital bank; Colosseum – a live interactive game streaming platform; let’s work – a shared workspace provider; Shorages – an E-commerce warehousing and fulfilment services provider; Giisty – a short peer-reviewed audio and video messages creator; Widebot – an AI Chatbot platform; Hotel Data Cloud – a B2B hotel content distributor; and Wahaj Solar – a concentrated solar power provider.

Over the years, the MBRIF Accelerator programme has significantly contributed towards bolstering the innovation ecosystem in the UAE. Since the inception of the programme in December 2018, the Accelerator has brought innovators from diverse sectors of the economy such as Technology, Healthcare, Education, Transportation, Clean Energy, Water and Space among others.

Separately, the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) highlighted the role that its Emirates National Accreditation System (ENAS) plays in boosting confidence in the UAE’s quality efficiency system and enhancing the global competitiveness of the UAE’s industries.



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