The UAE’s journey from knowledge importer to exporter

Modern economies are increasingly built around knowledge and the UAE has been planning for a post-oil knowledge economy for decades. Attracting global expertise was Phase I for the UAE. Now, the country has matured to the point it is able to start exporting its own knowledge and expertise to others, supplying intellectual capital, innovation and prowess to markets in MENA and beyond.

The first step to exporting knowledge is to create hubs capable of creating, sustaining and amplifying it. The UAE leadership – and particularly that of Dubai – has long understood the potential of dedicated freezones that bring businesses together in close proximity to develop network economies. The next step is to incubate the SMEs that inhabit these freezones, making them a true driver of innovation and human excellence in a world where the concept of the knowledge worker has developed. Then it’s about developing international relationships that allow local knowledge to travel to markets where it is in demand, empowering people and business.

DP World has been incredibly active in bringing its ports and logistical management expertise to global partners. We currently deliver expertise to 78 marine and inland terminals in 40 countries, with activities in the Asia Pacific, MENA, Australia and the Americas. We’ve been active exporters of knowledge for years from working with governments in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Rwanda to the rail networks cutting across swathes of India’s immense geography.

We want the UAE’s expertise to be available to the world. We want our management expertise and intellectual property to become a sustainable and growing revenue stream for our leaders to invest in future prosperity. That’s why we support incubation and knowledge transfer that can spur UAE-based innovation hubs and SMEs to a standard where global clients reach out to them. And we lead by example, showing how a network of long-term knowledge benefits everyone.


Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem

DP World Group Chairman & CEO