Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has launched an incentive programme and established the Smart Manufacturing Competence Centre (SMCC) to facilitate the transition to smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0 as part of the 34 initiatives mapped out by ADDED’s Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) to achieve the objectives of Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy (ADIS)

The establishment of the first-of-its-kind Smart Manufacturing Competence Centre (SMCC) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will support the industrial sector’s transformation to industry 4.0 technologies. Abu Dhabi SMCC will act as a catalyst for local and global industrial stakeholders to establish an innovative and sustainable ecosystem.

The Smart Manufacturing Incentive Programme (SMIP) was launched to support transition of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the industrial sector to smart manufacturing and adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies.

SMIP will enable the successful implementation of six transformational programmes of ADIS, namely Industry 4.0, circular economy, talent development, ecosystem enablement, homegrown supply chain and value chain development. Abu Dhabi is investing AED 10 billion across these programmes to more than double the size of its manufacturing sector to AED 172 billion, create 13,600 skilled jobs and increase the emirate’s non-oil exports to AED 178.8 billion by 2031.

The two new initiatives were announced at the sidelines of Make it in the Emirates forum, the premier event bringing together government entities, national and international industrial powerhouses, financial institutions, SMEs, and investors to explore investment opportunities and boost local content. The event is co-hosted by ADDED, the catalyst for the emirate’s economic growth, as part of its efforts to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s position as the region’s most competitive industrial hub towards a diversified, smart and sustainable economy.

His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said: “With a vision to become one of the world’s leading industrial hub, the Abu Dhabi industrial sector continues to grow exponentially, driven by leading initiatives, agile policies, and access to financing, complemented with a robust industrial infrastructure. The launch of these two new initiatives is a valuable addition to our efforts to turbocharge the next phase of diversification strategy, as we believe supporting the transition to Industry 4.0 will positively contribute to driving innovation, enhancing growth of knowledge-based sectors, and increasing non-oil GDP.

“The launch of Smart Manufacturing Incentive Programme (SMIP), which includes an AED 500 million fund, reflects our efforts to provide financial support to SMEs manufactures’ transformation towards Industry 4.0 applications and create a favourable, enabling investment environment. This will ultimately enhance the industrial sector’s competitiveness, support the attraction of domestic and foreign direct investments, and cement Abu Dhabi’s status as a leading industrial powerhouse.

“We remain committed to empower entrepreneurs and investors to benefit from ample opportunities provided by Abu Dhabi’s robust, resilient, and business-friendly ecosystem, bolstering our efforts to achieve a comprehensive socio-economic development, which places human development, innovation, and sustainability at the top of its priorities”.

The Smart Manufacturing Incentive Programme (SMIP) will support existing industrial SMEs throughout the transformational journey, from the development of a transformation roadmap with short to long-term business goals to implementation.

IDB has designed the SMIP based on the best practices to equip industrial SMEs with knowledge, methodologies, and digital tools. The 5-year programme aims to transform 30% of SMEs existing manufacturers in Abu Dhabi to smart manufacturing ways of production.

In line with the subsectors targeted by Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy, SMIP covers industrial SMEs operating in food processing, pharmaceutical, chemicals, machinery, transportation, electrical, and electronics.

To support existing industrial SMEs in their transformation to smart manufacturing, IDB has invested to certify a team of assessors to provide technical guidance to eligible manufacturers in Abu Dhabi with no cost on them. The team is certified by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MOIAT) to conduct the Industrial Technology Transformation Index (ITTI). 

The Smart Manufacturing Incentive Programme (SMIP) will be implemented in collaboration with Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED), the leading enabler of entrepreneurship and SMEs. KFED will act as the operating entity and service provider of the SMIP.

Abu Dhabi SMCC planned to commence operations in Q1 2024 and will focus on accelerating efforts to adopt Industry 4.0, developing and scaling new technologies to drive growth and increase competitiveness of manufacturing sector, and attract foreign direct investments (FDIs). Abu Dhabi SMCC will provide manufacturers with a detailed plan to understand, plan, and implement their digital transformation. This will include training, workshops, focus groups, innovation funding schemes, technical advisory, and reliable testbeds to conduct rigorous, transparent, and replicable testing to ensure smooth, tailor-made transformation to Industry 4.0 technologies and smarter ways of production.

The world-class centre will connect ecosystem stakeholders, aggregates smart manufacturing services and fosters knowledge exchange.  It will act as a one-stop-shop, focusing on Industry 4.0 technologies to help manufacturers in their digitisation journey. 

Since the launch of Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy, ADDED has been rolling out initiatives and partnering with leading global institutions to deliver the strategy’s ambitious objectives. It has launched land incentives programme, and expanded the Energy Tariff Incentive Programme (ETIP 2.0) by offering preferential rates for gas and electricity to the industrial sector.

IDB is leading the Smart Manufacturing Incentive Programme (SMIP) and Smart Manufacturing Competence Centre and will be working closely with manufacturers and ecosystem partners to ensure successful execution.