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    17 March 2021, by ADGM's Staff Editor

    The year 2020 has taught us that market requirements can shift more rapidly than we could ever have imagined. When the pandemic began its rapid spread across the globe, the team at ADGM swung into action and leveraged its robust infrastructure, progressive frameworks and digital strategy to mitigate the impact on its ecosystem and safeguard business continuity.

    To provide maximum support to its community, ADGM introduced several targeted business support measures. The incentives to support its registered entities included a 100 percent waiver on business activity renewal fees until March 2021, a 50 percent refund of supervision fees imposed by the FSRA regulated entities for 2020, and a 100 percent waiver on annual funds fees until year-end 2020.

    These initiatives complemented the swift and effective actions taken by the Abu Dhabi and the UAE government, which worked towards the ambitious goal of laying the foundations for resilience and sustainable growth in the post-pandemic era.

    One example is the economic stimulus package announced by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council in March 2020 as part of its Ghadan 21 scheme. Comprising of 16 initiatives that aim to support both individuals and corporations during the economic downturn, it included measures directly targeted at startups, such as subsidising their electricity connection fees until the end of 2020 and exempting them of performance guarantees for projects up to AED50 million.

    This unwavering focus on ensuring business continuity helped businesses based at ADGM navigate through the pandemic and has reinforced Abu Dhabi as a preferred business capital.

    Accolade for Abu Dhabi’s pandemic response

    Renowned London-based analytics consortium, Deep Knowledge Group (DKG) has ranked Abu Dhabi first among 25 leading cities in the world for its rapid and robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ranking, based on 50 parameters across five categories, including healthcare and the economy, demonstrates the wide-ranging impact of the measures launched by the emirate to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic. Read more on the website of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO).

    Agility and flexibility

    With demand patterns having shifted rapidly, many startups operating in the e-commerce, e-grocery, FinTech, EdTech and healthcare sectors thrived during these unprecedented times. However, it is evident that some industries have experienced a financial decline. To mitigate losses, resulting from declining revenues, paused or postponed funding rounds and pressured cash reserves, startups in the UAE have embraced a new approach, comprising mainly of contingency planning to secure long-term growth whilst adjusting to the current situation.

    The UAE’s accelerated return to normality

    Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on Sunday, 2 May 2021 met Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to discuss ways to accelerate the UAE’s return to normality after the pandemic. repare for the next stage of the country’s growth with a set of new projects and policies and ways to improve the standard of living for Emiratis and make the UAE an even better place for its citizens.

    Accelerating the shift to a digital economy

    Abu Dhabi is leading the way in the drive to enable smart cities through adoption of digital tools. The emirate is investing in digital advancements and looking to attract the best talent to support the accelerated shift to a knowledge-based economy. Recently, the Department of Government Support represented by Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) and the Abu Dhabi School of Government (ADSG), in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Global Market Academy (ADGMA), have launched their first joint initiative, the Abu Dhabi Digital Programme. Through a multiple tiered learning journey, the programme aims to provide government employees with the most in-demand digital skills required to transform the Abu Dhabi government and economy into a knowledge-driven, global digital leader.

    In addition to the stimulus packages designed to cope with the immediate effects of the crisis, Abu Dhabi’s main players are pursuing and strengthening their efforts to implement the UAE strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and position the emirate as a global hub for innovation and progressive technologies.

    By continuously enhancing Abu Dhabi’s resilient and thriving economy, local authorities look to capture and mobilise additional foreign investments that will lead to the creation of new occupations and enhanced revenue generation, ultimately relaunching a new virtuous cycle of economic growth. This will enhance the future of business growth and the overall economy as Abu Dhabi looks to shift a forecasted recession into a growth opportunity.