“We hear people talking about the UAE and calling it the Silicon Valley of the Middle East. That ambition to us is not enough. We want to ensure that we can become one of the Silicon Valleys of the world," said Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, the UAE's minister of state for artificial intelligence, digital economy and remote work, earlier this week. The minister spoke at the introduction of the first batch of the "Projects of the 50", a road map of 50 strategic economic projects intended to accelerate the economic and social development of the country as well as position it as a global hub in commemoration of the country's 50th anniversary.
In the framework of the new digital initiatives that were presented, the minister announced a new data law, the first federal law in the world that was drafted in cooperation with global technology companies, according to the minister, who said that the law is so comprehensive that it is a global law. According to the Gulf News website, the law allows the private sector to grow by ensuring the privacy of individuals and institutions as well as providing the possibility to control the manner in which their personal information is used and stored.
Al Olama emphasized that the law is intended to prevent commercial entities from using personal information for profit, but at the same time to develop the companies. "(People) have so many rights within this law. Individuals have the right to be forgotten, have the right of access, the right to information," Al Olama said in an interview by Emirati newspaper The National. "The law reflects our mindset of being a global country, a country that develops companies and scales them up. We don't believe that the role of government is to hinder the prosperity of the economy. We can do our job while allowing the private sector to grow and flourish as well."
In addition, the minister announced an especially ambitious plan: the recruitment of 100 coders a day from around the world – and of course, only the best ones. This is in addition to a plan announced earlier this year under which coders will be allocated 100,000 "golden visas", enabling them to live and work in the country without a sponsor. "We want to be home of the best talents and we want to ensure that every single day we are catering to individuals that create a digital economy globally from the UAE," the minister said.
"We are also launching programmes to create a community of coders in the UAE and also ensure that the Emirati and the local talents can be a part of this mission," the minister said, adding that there is a need to focus on female coders, for whom an upskilling program will be created. "We are going to have the highest per capita of the female coders in the world in the next five years and show how boys and girls are shaping the future digital economy."