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Investing in our future

Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme, is driving the emirate’s development through investing in business, innovation and people.  

The AED 50 billion three-year programme,  envisioned and launched by HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, in 2019 focuses on economy, knowledge and community.

Ghadan 21 is delivered by the Executive Committee, led by its Chairman, HH Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and has launched more than 50 initiatives in its first year with a raft of new plans to be rolled out in 2020 and 2021.

In response to global economic challenges in 2020, the Abu Dhabi Executive Council launched an economic stimulus package, fast-tracking the implementation of key Ghadan 21 initiatives. Under the package, 16 initiatives have been announced to improve the ease of doing business and reduce the cost of living in the Emirate.

Abu Dhabi has responded swiftly to the economic challenges caused by the global health pandemic. Discover more.

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Mangrove Walk

HH Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan provides directions on ‘Mangrove Walk’, a vital project that celebrates Abu Dhabi’s unique habitat and enriches access to natural sites.

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Hub71 to Create Climate Lab

HH Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan witnesses the launch of Abu Dhabi Climate Initiative, a coalition of Abu Dhabi government and government-backed partners that seeks to fast-track research and development in water and climate technology, including a Climate Lab at Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem Hub 71, one of Ghadan 21’s key initiatives.

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Developing Inclusive Communities

HH Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan reviews strategic plans to develop inclusive communities in Abu Dhabi. 

Abu Dhabi Moments

Abu Dhabi Moments

HH Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan attends the launch of ‘Abu Dhabi Moments’, a series of community events that attracted more than 320,000 visitors.

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Abu Dhabi Economic Stimulus Package

Abu Dhabi has responded swiftly to the economic challenges caused by the global health pandemic.

Discover more

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Ghadan 21 One Year On

Find out more about the Ghadan 21 initiatives launched so far.

Download our full infographic here

Initiatives Accelerating Our Future

Find out about the 50+ initiatives launched so far, and stay tuned for more to come.

Update - 2020 Abu Dhabi Economic Stimulus Package

2020 Abu Dhabi Economic Stimulus Package

The Stimulus Package comprises of 16 initiatives and range from waivers to subsidies, exemptions and other measures that support businesses and individuals through the current challenges.

To find out more on the rest of the initiatives under the Abu Dhabi Economic Stimulus Package, see the link below.

Update - 17 Financial Initiatives for Individuals and SMEs

17 Financial Initiatives for Individuals and SMEs

In line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) announced a comprehensive package of financial initiatives in March 2020 aimed at supporting the community and businesses in Abu Dhabi in response to unprecedented economic challenges. The package was developed in coordination with Abu Dhabi Department of Finance and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

The measures consist of 10 banking-related initiatives for individuals and seven financial initiatives for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Collectively, these initiatives seek to reduce finance-related costs, facilitate ease of access to financing, as well as maintain the resilience of the Abu Dhabi economy.

Individuals and SMEs can obtain these benefits upon request to their respective banks, although the initiatives are subject to the banks' respective credit approval processes for new loans. FAB, ADIB and ADCB may design and implement additional initiatives deemed as important, while the banks may revisit the initiatives and update them subject to market conditions.

Download the infographic

Update - Hub71

Hub71 One Year On

Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s international technology hub, has already welcomed 39 incubated start-ups. With start-ups being valuable for their untapped knowledge and pioneering ideas, Hub71 ensures their success by supporting them through key start-up enablers, such as Mubadala, SoftBank Vision Fund, Microsoft and Abu Dhabi Global Market. Such forward-thinking initiatives have positioned Abu Dhabi as a preferred destination for foreign companies seeking to invest in groundbreaking smart technologies.

In March 2020, Hub71 marked its first anniversary. Over the previous 12 months, the international technology ecosystem supported the transition of Abu Dhabi into a knowledge-driven economy and strengthened the UAE capital’s position as a global hub for innovation. Startups and venture capitals (VCs) in Abu Dhabi now have access to more than $500 million in new capital. The start-up community comprises of a broad spectrum of sectors, such as FinTech, artificial intelligence, aerospace and mobility. These start-ups join Hub71 from across the globe - the United States, the United Kingdom, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

Hub71 is located at its WeWork x Hub71 space, a three-storey open workspace centrally located in Abu Dhabi Global Market Square.

To find out more about Hub71's journey since launch download the infographic here →

Hub71

Launched in March 2019 – Hub71, named after the UAE’s formation in 1971, is a tech ecosystem located in the heart of Abu Dhabi that brings together several key elements for startup success: access to capital, access to market opportunities, and a favourable business environment. Backed by Mubadala Investment Company – its growing international tech community of tech giants, venture capitalists, tech ecosystem players, and global startups can expect to benefit from an interconnected global network. Alongside strategic partners Microsoft, SoftBank Vision Fund, and Abu Dhabi Global Market; Hub71 is creating the optimal environment for transformative tech companies looking to maximize success, produce outstanding tech innovations, and scale globally. For the greater social and economic good of Abu Dhabi, Hub71 is a flagship initiative of Ghadan 21. 

Update – Abu Dhabi Local Content Programme

Abu Dhabi Local Content Programme

Championing local businesses, products and talent

Through the Abu Dhabi Local Content Programme, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) has announced 1,244 government tenders worth a total of AED 15 billion. This followed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between DED and ADNOC in February 2020.

This aim is to unlock growth opportunities for the private sector to take part in Abu Dhabi Government investments through increased productivity and value-add on locally produced products. The announcement by DED reflects the directives of the Leadership of Abu Dhabi to continue capital development projects in the Emirate.

In partnership with ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) announced a unified In-Country Value (ICV) certification process across the Abu Dhabi Government’s procurement process. The Abu Dhabi Value Programme aims to stimulate economic diversification and encourage investment in Abu Dhabi through accelerating localisation measures and optimising synergies between government and semi-government entities. 

The ICV certification follows a standardised criteria to measure a company’s contribution to socioeconomic development by taking into account the number of goods manufactured locally, the value of spend on locally procured products and services, a company’s local investment and Emiratization record, as well as UAE-based expatriate employees’ contribution to the national economy. The rigorous certification process ensures that domestic businesses benefit from planned large-scale projects that are at the foundation of Abu Dhabi’s growth plans.

Update - AgTech Incentives Programme

ADIO invests in four AgTech companies as part of AED 1 billion Programme

AeroFarms, Madar Farms, RNZ and Responsive Drop Irrigation (RDI) are to establish new research and development (R&D) and production facilities in Abu Dhabi. ADIO will invest AED 367 million in these companies over the next three years through cash and non-cash incentives, such as land costs and rebates on R&D expenditures of up to 75%. This will strengthen Abu Dhabi’s position in revolutionising this well-established local industry.

  • AeroFarms has expertise in growing more than 800 types of crops, without soil or pesticides and using up to 95% less water. It is building an 8,200-sqm R&D centre in Abu Dhabi, which will be the largest indoor vertical farm of its kind. The centre will employ 60+ highly skilled engineers, horticulturists and scientists.
  • RDI The winner of ‘Best Innovation by a Startup’ at Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) in 2019, RDI has expertise in plant-responsive irrigation systems. It is developing an innovative irrigation system to transform water usage in UAE agriculture and increase crop yields in non-arable land.
  • Madar Farms plans to build the world’s first commercial-scale indoor tomato farm using LED lights in KIZAD, Abu Dhabi’s industrial free zone, using its expertise in containerised farming solutions with an established R&D facility to scale up commercialisation of microgreen growing.
  • RNZ has more than a decade of experience in producing fully customised crop-specific fertiliser blends for South Asia, East Asia, Africa and MENA region. It aims to set up a state-of-the-art R&D centre for ‘agri-input’ solutions for vertical farms, hydroponics and conventional farms.

ADIO launched its AgTech Incentives Programme in March 2019. Allocating AED 1 billion towards the Programme to support innovative AgTech companies in Abu Dhabi. The initiative helps position Abu Dhabi as a leading global centre for agricultural innovation in desert environments and plays a key role in attracting AgTech operations to the UAE capital. AgTech has been identified as a priority sector by the Abu Dhabi Government, especially to accelerate solutions for global challenges like food security, climate change, water scarcity and more.

Update – ‘Together We Are Good’ by Ma’an

In March 2020, the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an launched the ‘Together We Are Good’ programme in response to health and economic challenges posed by the global pandemic. The programme marks the first project under Ma’an’s recently launched Social Fund, which is the official government channel to receive contributions from the community to tackle pressing social challenges.

The ‘Together We Are Good’ programme promotes social responsibility and solidarity amongst individuals, the private sector and the civil community by presenting the opportunity to support the Abu Dhabi Government’s efforts through these unprecedented global challenges. In-kind and financial contributions of all sizes are welcomed and will be channelled to the Social Fund and disbursed based on priorities and in cooperation with relevant partners. Collected proceeds will be allocated primarily towards medical and food aid, as well as and supplies.

Update – Social Impact Bonds by Ma’an

Social Impact Bonds by Ma’an

Launched by Ma’an, Social Impact Bonds are the first-of- their-kind in Abu Dhabi and the GCC. These bonds are a financing mechanism to deliver social programmes. This model provides a win-win for both investors and social service providers by balancing the increasing demand to generate social good and CSR efforts with reduced dependence on capital.

Under this initiative, in March Aldar pledged to invest AED 2 million to address key social priorities identified by the Department of Community Development (DCD).

Social Impact Bonds are now used in more than 40 countries. It is a globally recognised and successful way to fund and develop an outcome-oriented approach to social challenges and encourage innovation and growth within the third sector.

For more details on Ma'an click here →

Abu Dhabi Calendar

Abu Dhabi Calendar

An incredible calendar of events has been set up for Abu Dhabi, ensuring year-round culture and adventure for everyone who calls the Emirate home. Abu Dhabi Calendar includes events such as Showdown Week, a seven-day celebration of all Abu Dhabi has to offer. Alongside various social and entertainment events, the capital was home to the highly anticipated UFC 242. The event, which showcased 12 Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) matches, with an audience of 14,000 people in attendance and broadcasted to 165 countries, was part of a five-year deal with UFC.

Meanwhile, VidCon, the world’s largest celebration of online videos, is also being held in Abu Dhabi for the first time in March 2020.

Abu Dhabi Instant Licence

Abu Dhabi Instant Licence

One of the cornerstones of the drive to improve the ease of doing business in Abu Dhabi is the instant licence scheme, which is streamlining the application process through a digital portal where approvals are processed immediately online. As a result, licence holders in most sectors can now start their business activities straight away.

Abu Dhabi Investment Office Mandate

Abu Dhabi Investment Office Mandate

In 2019, UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued the Abu Dhabi Investment Office mandate, establishing the ADIO’s responsibility for implementing a strategy that increases Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Abu Dhabi.

The Government of Abu Dhabi recognises the importance of attracting investment from international players. The Ghadan 21 programme is contributing to the capital’s vibrant commercial ecosystem and helping build an attractive FDI environment.

Abu Dhabi Moments

Abu Dhabi Moments

Launched by the Abu Dhabi Department of Community Development, Abu Dhabi Moments aims to build a strong sense of community through a range of recreational, cultural and sporting activities across the Emirate. The initiative has curated 25 events across key locations in Abu Dhabi, attracting more than 320,000 visitors. 

Advantage Abu Dhabi

Advantage Abu Dhabi

Instigated by the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi, Advantage Abu Dhabi is an initiative that provides event planners with support throughout the event planning cycle. This aims to boost social and economic development through attracting the best entertainment and business event organisers globally to establish Abu Dhabi as their preferred entertainment hub.

Advantage Abu Dhabi has resulted in the success of 47 events, including Cirque Du Solei, Abu Dhabi Engine week and Abu Dhabi Family Week, welcoming more than 250,000 people.

The Department of Culture and Tourism has also set up a AED 600 million mega-fund to support the emirate’s calendar of world-class leisure and business events through attracting more global event organisers.

Single-Use Plastics Policy

Single-Use Plastics Policy

In March 2020, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) launched a progressive policy to make Abu Dhabi free of single-use plastic bags by 2021, encouraging the use of reusable bags and introducing a levy on plastics with sustainable alternatives.

Under this policy, new legislation will be developed to gradually limit the use of all plastic materials in Abu Dhabi. It also sets out a framework to enable Abu Dhabi to realise a more sustainable and economical waste management system by targeting 16 common single-use plastics, such as beverage cups and lids, plastic cutlery and straws.

Abu Dhabi joins more than 127 countries around the world with similar measures to either limit or ban disposable plastic materials. This policy was developed by the EAD in coordination with government and private stakeholders, with the support of Emirates Nature WWF and in response to the sustainability aspirations of the people of Abu Dhabi.

Affordable Education

Affordable Education

Abu Dhabi is focused on developing the human, social and economic capabilities of all youth, irrespective of financial capabilities.

Ghadan 21’s affordable school initiative aims to set up affordable private schools offering 15,000 seats. In its first year, it witnessed success with almost 6,000 seats being filled.

Charter Schools

Charter Schools

The Charter Schools project, established by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, is dedicated to public school students based in Abu Dhabi and offers an American-based curriculum.

With 12 newly-opened schools and 15,000 places filled, the charter schools offer innovative learning practices in a stimulating learning environment. This project is a testament to Abu Dhabi’s competitive educational sector and high-quality learning services.

Corporate R&D programme

Corporate R&D programme

ADIO has launched a programme dedicated to supporting corporate research and development in Abu Dhabi, with the aim of creating more investment opportunities. Through the programme, AED 4 billion has been allocated to provide rebates towards R&D spend and costs of new R&D activities in the emirate.

Department of Community Development

Department of Community Development

The Department of Community Development was launched to promote the social welfare of everyone who calls Abu Dhabi home. The Department’s foundations are based on the vision of the nation’s Founding Father, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who recognised that social welfare and community development are important enablers of prosperity and growth. The DCD is guided by the values of respect, credibility, empathy, responsibility, passion for giving and kindness and its aspiration is to ensure a dignified life for all.

Ecotourism incentives

Ecotourism incentives

Abu Dhabi’s Ecotourism Incentive Programme supports the growth of Abu Dhabi’s ecotourism ecosystem and is helping to position the emirate as a global ecotourism destination. The programme includes competitive incentive packages for private developers, hotel operators and individuals looking to invest in ecotourism. These packages consist of five-year land lease exceptions and tax waivers for projects completed before January 2022, as well as marketing support and government infrastructure investment. The Ecotourism Programme is managed by ADIO.

Electricity Tariff Incentive Programme

Electricity Tariff Incentive Programme

The Department of Economic Development (ADDED) launched the ‘Electricity Tariff Incentive Programme’ (ETIP) to boost industry by helping companies to further develop their industrial products, enhance their business value, and improve competitiveness across the local and wider markets. Under the scheme, companies can invest the funds saved from lower energy bills into other parts of their operations, such as research and development, operational and market expansions, and new products and services.

Find Wonder

Find Wonder

The Abu Dhabi Find Wonder campaign (#AbuDhabiFindWonder) is a global communications platform that promotes Abu Dhabi as one of the best places in the world to do business, invest, work, study and live.

For Abu Dhabi

For Abu Dhabi

The Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport has launched a groundbreaking AED 8 billion ‘For Abu Dhabi’ project to enhance public spaces and nature sites. Under the initiative, Abu Dhabi is enhancing the beauty of every part of the Emirate, including Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

Some of the enhancements include city-wide public art projects, which are transforming Abu Dhabi into a living art gallery. The traditional Madinat Zayed market has seen massive transformation, including a giant mural by renowned Emirati artist Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim. Marsa Al Bateen has also been transformed by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra, who has created a stunning new mural that celebrates diversity, tolerance and respect, reflecting the foundations of Emirati society.

 

Housing loans

Housing loans

Under the directives of HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, housing loans were granted to UAE nationals, providing them with access to safe and affordable housing.

In 2019, the Government of Abu Dhabi distributed 6,000 new housing loans as well as houses and residential plots, with a total value of AED 11.6 billion.

Job creation

Job creation

The Government of Abu Dhabi developed a sustainable job creation system for Emiratis to generate jobs within the private sector and training opportunities for citizens, as well as develop their aptitude and proficiency across various industry sectors. This initiative has already been implemented by prominent companies such as EY, KPMG, SEHA, Etihad and Mubadala.

Ma’an

Ma’an

Launched by the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi, Ma’an is an authority that brings together the government, private sector and civil society to support a culture of social contribution and participation.

My Land

My Land

My Land is a digital platform providing live data on used and unused land in Abu Dhabi. In cooperation with several government entities, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities (DPM) launched the platform to enable landowners and developers to locate their plot and access building regulations to develop land. My Land contributes to improving transparency of data, fulfilling requirements of land planning and providing integrated data for investors, developers and landowners.

PPP 2020 Tendering Plan

PPP 2020 Tendering Plan

LED lights tender awarded in March 2020

The first tender was awarded to Tatweer for Traffic Assets and Systems Operation and Management with a 12-year contract to replace approximately 43,000 streetlights in the capital with energy-efficient LED lights. The tender was awarded through ADIO’s Partnership Projects framework. 

The use of the public-private partnership (PPP) model will give clarity to prospective bidders by providing guidelines on joint team structures and ways of working between the government and the private sector and detailing deregulatory measures to facilitate the contract award process.

In a new Ghadan 21 initiative to invest in business, the Abu Dhabi Government announced it plans to issue public-private partnership tenders to procure for AED 10 billion infrastructure projects across the emirate. The initiative defines a public-private partnership model which gives clarity on ways of working between the two sectors and transparency around the development and procurement of major infrastructure projects in Abu Dhabi.

Open Data

Open Data

The open data programme enables investors and other parties to ask Abu Dhabi Data Authority for information held by the government that can help them make informed decisions. The move is designed to create an “open data culture” that brings transparency in government transactions.

Research and Development Grants

Research and Development Grants

The Abu Dhabi Award for Research Excellence (AARE) is a competitive funding programme for research proposals in targeted areas within the Emirate. Research funded by the programme, which is run by the Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), is expected to advance scientific and technological development, as well as develop meaningful partnerships between Abu Dhabi scientists and leading academic and industrial collaborators, both nationally and worldwide. 

In January 2020, ADEK awarded more than AED 40 million in competitive funding to 54 successful research and development proposals, including six Abu Dhabi Young Investigator Awards, which are open to those within six years of obtaining their PhD, or equivalent degree, who have outstanding research proposals for Abu Dhabi.

Sharaka

Sharaka

The Sharaka initiative supports the private sector’s development and enhances the ease of doing business in Abu Dhabi. The online platform allows private sector companies in Abu Dhabi to submit their outstanding government invoices to be fast-tracked for payment. Cases are dealt with via a set of criteria that ensures payments are properly billed and settled in a timely manner.

Social Support Authority

Social Support Authority

Under the directive of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority was developed to financially and socially support families, as well as empower family members capable of working. Through a series of care programmes, the initiative improves quality of life by providing housing, healthcare, food support, and other subsidised services.

Tajer Abu Dhabi and Dual Licences

Tajer Abu Dhabi and Dual Licences

Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) is issuing Tajer Abu Dhabi licences and Dual licences that enable businesses to work in Abu Dhabi without the need for office space as well as allow free zone companies to open onshore branches.

This initiative has resulted in some 7,400 Tajer licences being issued to businesses, including online platforms, food trucks and mobile outlets, as well as dual licences to free-zone companies to operate inland.

TAMM Journeys

TAMM Journeys

TAMM is ensuring the services of Abu Dhabi Government are focused on the customer, making accessing each as simple, safe and swift as possible. Through the initiative, Abu Dhabi is creating a one-government model where all entities work together to offer an integrated and exceptional customer experience by harnessing the power of digital channels. 

Tourism Marketing

Tourism Marketing

In 2019, the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi reduced tourism fees from 6 to 3.5 percent, municipal fees from 4 to 2 percent and municipality hotel room fees per night from 15 dirhams to 10 dirhams.

This initiative has already benefited 2,570 long-term hotel guests.

 

Ventures Fund

Ventures Fund

The Ventures Fund is an AED 535 million fund designed to support Abu Dhabi startup and innovation ecosystems. The fund works to increase the funding pools available for startups and innovative businesses in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi continues to be a welcoming home for innovation and a place where entrepreneurs can confidently realise their commercial and creative vision.

XPRIZE

XPRIZE

In partnership with XPRIZE Foundation, the Abu Dhabi Government is investing AED 300 million in crowdsourcing innovation through a series of XPRIZE Abu Dhabi global competitions. The aim is to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s R&D ecosystem and strengthen the Emirate’s commitment to finding solutions to critical global challenges, including climate change, water scarcity and artificial intelligence.