We have had quite a busy start to the year with some major events and activities.
Arab Health, Gulfood, and the Australia Unlimited MENA, were some of the major events that took place during the first quarter of the calendar year. On an operational front, Austrade restructured its organizational blueprint giving the UAE post responsibilities for the greater Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. To reflect the same, we have also changed our website and social media handles (please note the links at the end). Please visit www.austrade.gov.au/mea to get more information on the office locations and contacts in MEA.
Last month, Australia confirmed its participation in Expo 2020 Dubai. Australia will have one of the largest pavilions at the event. The Expo Business development team visited Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, and Perth from 1-9 May on a program coordinated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) with support from Austrade, and other State government, and industry stakeholders to promote potential procurement and sponsorship opportunities for Australian businesses at the Expo. Over 150 delegates attended the seminars across the five cities. There are significant opportunities for Australian companies in design and construction, major event delivery, education, training and services.
Dr Stephanie Fahey has been to the UAE in previous roles with Ernst & Young and Monash University but came to Dubai on 29 April for her first visit as CEO of Austrade. A meeting was organised with Expo 2020 Dubai to learn more about the plans and theme of ‘Connecting minds, creating the future’ Other meetings organised focused on showcasing multi-sector opportunities being created in sectors identified in the UAE Innovation Strategy, and in particular how Australian entities can leverage off some of the main accelerators like Dubai Future Accelerators, and Dubai International Financial Centre’s Fintech Hive.The Dubai Future Accelerators tour and presentation highlighted that partnership with local government entities, which facilitates application of solutions addressing specific challenges at a city-wide level, is a clear differentiator from other global accelerators/ incubators and that Australia is currently under-represented in these UAE accelerators A roundtable meeting with Australian universities and schools was an opportunity for Stephanie to inform the group about Austrade’s role in developing messaging to support the National Strategy for International Education 2025 enabling growth and innovation and also seek attendees’ views on online learning and platforms that support digital content delivery in the UAE.
Australian companies also participated at the Automechanika show in Dubai from 1-3 May with over 10 exhibitors promoting automotive performance parts and accessories. Australia has an established reputation in the region as a world class supplier of 4×4 accessories.
The inaugural and world first city-hosted blockchain event called Future Blockchain Summit took place in Dubai on 2-3 May. Nicholas Giurietto who heads the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA), was invited as chairperson for sessions through Austrade’s introduction.Two Australian start-ups participated in Smart Dubai Blockchain Challenge, and another start-up called Till Payments offering intelligent payment systems for VAT compliance received a lot of interest as an exhibitor at the event. The Dubai Blockchain 2020 strategy has been in place since 2016, and a federal blockchain strategy for the UAE was also announced at the Summit. Austrade is working with ADCA as well as Australian government stakeholders to engage with Smart Dubai on several fronts over the next twelve months on standards, regulations, and connecting Australian companies with opportunities
There is plenty of follow-up from the above mentioned activities as we head towards the end of the 2017-18 financial year. We are also currently working on our business plan for the next fiscal year, which will outline some new regional priorities and sectors. More on that in our next update.
I would like to wish you and your families Ramadan Kareem, Eid Mubarak, and safe travels if you are traveling over the summer.
Mr. Gerard Seeber.
Australian Consul-General, Dubai
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