DIFC Unveils Ambitious Plan for AI and Web3.0 Hub, Targeting 500 Tech Businesses by 2028

In a bid to enhance its technology sector and expand its knowledge economy, the UAE is taking a major leap forward with the establishment of the Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus.

This groundbreaking initiative, spearheaded by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), aims to attract over 500 high-tech companies by 2028, solidifying its position as the largest cluster of such companies in the MENA region.

According to the Dubai Government Media Office, this ambitious project is projected to bring in a staggering $300 million in investments and generate more than 3,000 job opportunities within the next five years.

The significance of artificial intelligence (AI) cannot be overlooked, as it is expected to inject a substantial amount of Dh103 billion (equivalent to $28.04 billion) into the UAE economy by 2035, contributing around 14 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of the decade.

Essa Kazim, the governor of DIFC, emphasized the transformative potential of the Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus. He highlighted its role as a global hub for research and development (R&D), investment, and innovation, stating that it will play a vital role in driving economic growth and positioning the UAE as a leading player in the AI industry.

With this visionary initiative, the UAE is taking a giant leap forward in its pursuit of technological advancement, creating an environment that fosters collaboration, investment, and groundbreaking innovation.

The Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus will undoubtedly contribute significantly to the growth and development of the UAE’s economy, while solidifying its status as a global destination for cutting-edge technologies and digital transformation.

Web3, the next generation of the World Wide Web, is characterized by its core components of blockchain, decentralization, openness, and enhanced user utility.

Situated within the DIFC Innovation One premises, the Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus spans an expansive area of 100,000 square feet. Its primary focus will be on leveraging the power of AI and Web 3.0 in the financial services industry, aligning with DIFC’s 2030 strategy, which emphasizes the future of finance through technology, innovation, and strategic partnerships.

The rapid growth of FinTech and innovation within the DIFC is evident, with 686 associated firms, raising over $615 million in the previous year. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the adoption of online banking services and contactless technologies for seamless financial transactions and e-commerce payments.

As per the DIFC FinTech Hive 2022 report, the industry is expected to double in size, reaching approximately $270 billion by 2027 in the wider Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region.

On a global scale, digital payments are projected to soar to $8.26 trillion by 2024, a significant increase from $4.4 trillion in 2020, according to data from Statista.

The Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus will serve as a dynamic hub for entrepreneurs, disruptors, and engineers working in emerging technologies. It will provide both physical and digital infrastructure, including research and development facilities, accelerator programs, and collaborative workspaces, designed to attract, nurture, and scale AI companies.

Arif Amiri, the chief executive of DIFC Authority, envisions the new campus as a catalyst for growth, attracting global innovators, start-ups, venture capitalists, and industry leaders. Through fostering a collaborative environment, the Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus aims to expedite the development of forward-thinking technologies and empower organizations to unlock the full potential of AI and Web 3.0.

It is worth noting that the DIFC experienced remarkable progress in the past year, witnessing a 20% increase in the number of active registered companies, surpassing the milestone of 1,000 new registrations for the first time since its inception.

The financial center’s annual revenue also exceeded AED 1 billion, reflecting its robust growth and vibrant ecosystem.

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