The Middle East has long been thought of as an oil region, but the United Arab Emirates aims to change this with an intense focus on growing the country’s technology and startup scene.

UAE aims to convert oil wealth into tech prowess

For the first half of 2022, the Middle East region brought in $1.73 billion in investments across 354 deals, up from more than $1.2 billion in the first half of 2021 — a 64% year over year growth. The UAE took in 46% of the total venture capital received in the Middle East and Africa in 2021, according to the country’s Ministry of Economy. The UAE began focusing on its tech and startup hub goal in 2016 by establishing the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park to incubate companies in a variety of industries, including water management, renewable energy, transportation, manufacturing and agriculture.

TechCrunch highlighted some of the more recent technology activity coming out of the United Arab Emirates, including that the country was going to pour $800 million into a fund to invest in space initiatives, that the region is now home to the “world’s largest vertical farm” and a global investment in local proptech startup Huspy. In 2017, the UAE created an artificial intelligence ministry position, which it filled with H.E. Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, who had previously worked in the banking and telecommunications sectors. H.E. Al Olama recently spoke with me about the burgeoning Emerati startup and venture capital ecosystem, and the country’s approaches to attracting U.S. VC investment. What follows are highlights from our conversation, lightly edited for clarity and length.

Source: This news is originally published by techcrunch

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