An increasing number of professional associations setting up in Dubai are helping to drive the emirate’s knowledge economy.

The Dubai Association Centre (DAC) welcomed seven new associations into its membership in the first quarter of 2016, a 44 per cent rise in total membership, from last year’s 16 to 23.

Steen Jakobsen, Director, Dubai Business Events, says: “In Dubai’s transformation into a knowledge economy, the presence of international associations play an important role. Associations drive education, training and research, and they offer a platform for experts and scientists to network and exchange knowledge. The more international associations we can attract to Dubai, the stronger a knowledge hub the emirate will become.”

The DAC was established in 2014 in an agreement between the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dubai Business Events (DBE, part of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing) and the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). The DAC aims to encourage global associations to make their base in the region in Dubai, highlighting the emirate’s position as a strategic hub of trade and finance at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, alongside its stimulating investment environment and modern infrastructural facilities.

Associations that establish a permanent presence in Dubai not only add value to the emirate’s business environment and intellectual capital, but contribute to the sustainable development of the emirate and the region. The Centre’s efforts complement the Dubai Strategic Plan 2021, and the wider UAE National Innovation Strategy, which fosters innovation in seven main sectors: Renewable energy, Transport, Education, Health, Technology, Water and Space.

Jakobsen says: “The emirate of Dubai, in particular, is spearheading various smart initiatives that underpin its aspiration of becoming a global knowledge hub. In line with this strategy it is a primary goal for Dubai Business Events to target and encourage associations in these sectors not only to host their events in Dubai, but also to establish a permanent presence in the emirate, and bring in the invaluable expertise these associations have while providing assistance to set up office space and develop their activities and memberships in the city and beyond.

“We have seen the presence of associations in Dubai grow tremendously since the DAC was created less than two years ago. We successfully stepped up our activities in showcasing the city’s dynamic business offering and started to add a new layer of perception, positioning Dubai as a global knowledge hub which is starting to resonate with our audience. Currently, Dubai hosts 42 per cent of association conferences in the Middle East. Additionally, Dubai is currently placed 44th in the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) Worldwide Ranking, having jumped 19 places from 2014,” he adds.

“Associations are recognising the tremendous investment Dubai is making across key industry verticals and that includes the state-of-the-art innovations coming out of Dubai, such as the Smart City Initiative and commitment to invest in 3D printing technology and driverless transportation technology.”

Some of newest associations aligning with the key knowledge sectors of energy and water include the Middle East Facility Management Association (Mefma) and The British Institute of Facilities Management. They join organisations in other target sectors including the Arab Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes (Asped), Gulf Heart Association, UITP – Advanced Public Transport, and Middle East Gas Association (Mega).

Jamal Lootah, CEO, Middle East Facility Management Association (Mefma), adds: “We are glad to be based in Dubai under the DAC umbrella which helps us to benefit from the amazing developments taking place in Dubai and GCC region where we can use the facility management expertise to manage these facilities. This also helps us to enhance the company’s focus in creating a knowledge platform for professionals in the field as well as creating a sustainable facility management industry that will have positive impact on the regional economy in the long term.”

This month’s inaugural International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Middle East International Meetings Forum (May 2016) is set to further enhance the development of the association segment in the Middle East region. It will pave the way for the 2018 ICCA Congress, preparing the region to take advantage when more than 1,000 of the world’s top meetings experts converge on Dubai.


(via Emirates 24/7)