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Dubai economic zone launches artificial intelligence ‘license’

The Emirates is seeking to become a regional leader in artificial intelligence, and wants to attract more technology startups.
Dubai AI

The Dubai International Financial Center launched a license for artificial intelligence (AI) and coding today. 

The designated economic zone’s license was launched in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates Artificial Intelligence Office to attract AI companies to the UAE. Licensed firms will receive access to the Dubai International Financial Center’s Innovation Hub, where several fintech companies operate, the center said in a press release

The Dubai International Financial Center is a financial hub with an English common law-based legal framework that is separate from the rest of the Emirates. The center is home to more than 2,500 companies. 

Why it matters:

The UAE is seeking to become a center of artificial intelligence. In 2017, the country appointed the first artificial intelligence minister in the world and set up the UAE Artificial Intelligence Office.

In 2020, UAE AI Minister Omar Al Olama told Al-Monitor that artificial intelligence helped the UAE’s response to COVID-19 by predicting how many ventilators and vaccine doses would be needed. 

In 2019, the government of Abu Dhabi launched the Hub71 fund to invest in technology startups. 

What’s next: 

The UAE wants to become a global leader in artificial intelligence by 2031. 

The Gulf state is undergoing several economic changes as it seeks to diversify and reduce dependence on oil revenues. In 2023, a first-ever tax on business profits will come into effect in the UAE. An Emirati official told Al-Monitor in February that the new tax regimen aims to attract startups by replacing businesses fees with the tax. 

The fintech and digital banking sectors are also growing in the UAE. Also last month, the digital banking platform Wio received permission to operate.