“Our mission is to turn sand to silicon,” says ADIO Director General HE Dr Tariq Bin Hendi


Abu Dhabi Investment Office Director General HE Dr Tariq Bin Hendi explains how Abu Dhabi is paving the way for an innovation-led digital economy, supported by AWS’ investment and enablement initiatives

Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) has doubled down on its digital initiatives to strengthen the emirate’s innovation ecosystem and provide companies in the region with an ideal launchpad for their global ambitions.

In line with this vision, ADIO has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to further its efforts to attract investments that build technology capabilities.

Earlier today, AWS announced its plans to launch a cloud infrastructure region in UAE in the first half of 2022 to offer local organisations access to advanced technologies and a full suite of cloud services.

Local data residency will empower organisations to store their data in the UAE and serve end-users with lower latency across the Middle East, accelerating large-scale digital transformation in the region.

ADIO will play a key role in connecting innovation-led investors and companies with the right opportunities and partnerships across Abu Dhabi and setting them up for long-term success.

In an exclusive interview with ITP.net, HE Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, Director General of ADIO, said that this collaboration with AWS will go a long way in positioning Abu Dhabi as a global hub for innovation and furthering its ambition to become the "centre of technology and innovation" in the region.

Highlighting AWS’s role in driving the region's digital ambitions, Dr. Bin Hendi said, “Partners like AWS bring with them the global expertise and experience required to understand what will work best for organisations in the region. This collaboration will cement our leaders’ vision of developing a smart infrastructure through innovation, knowledge transfer, knowledge creation, and ultimately, knowledge exportation.”

Smart is about to get smarter with the new AWS Region in the UAE, says Dr. Bin Hendi.

As part of the collaboration with ADIO, AWS will also invest in cloud skills training and education programs for people in the UAE.

AWS Vice President for Worldwide Public Sector, Max Peterson told ITP.net that AWS has made significant investments in education, training, and certification programs to help businesses interested in the latest cloud computing technologies and architectures, to advance their technical skills.

"Our partnership with ADIO will help us deliver innovative training programs to government, citizens and to students, and further support Middle East organisations in their digital transformation,” explained Peterson.

AWS will support Abu Dhabi’s initiatives across the knowledge economy to upskill the workforce and bring cloud learning to schools that prepare young students for the jobs of the future.

Dr. Bin Hendi outlined how the two entities will support Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy through education initiatives, training and startup enablement programmes.

“AWS and ADIO will work closely to create education programmes that will train and upskill our future technologists, and to enable a successful and innovation-driven economy. I think this is a very timely initiative and a very timely realisation of an ongoing collaboration with AWS,” added Dr. Bin Hendi.

The next generation will be the anchor of the next wave of economic growth in the UAE, and the AWS’ plans include enabling the new generation and giving them better visibility into future prospects and career opportunities.

Dr. Bin Hendi emphasised that the focus of this association remains on strengthening Abu Dhabi’s position as a regional and global centre of excellence within the ICT space.

"Such initiatives by ADIO will not only advance private sector investment in Abu Dhabi, they will give public and private sector companies access to world class infrastructure, allowing greater levels of service to customers in the region and beyond," he explained.

“Our goal is to help the public sector companies access new opportunities, get the support they need and grow in this region with the support of the government and a very strong technology platform.”

Last year, ADIO provided more than AED 735 million (USD 200 million) of support to ICT companies based in or setting up in Abu Dhabi. It also provided them with other non-financial incentives including immigration and licensing support, connections with education providers and dedicated investor care services.

Earlier this year, ADIO partnered with ICT leaders, music streaming service Anghami and cloud technology consulting and management company Bespin, under its Innovation Programme, and Dr. Bin Hendi stressed on the importance of a robust partner network in creating a knowledge-based economy.

“The entire business ecosystem will benefit from this collaboration, regardeless of company size and industry sector,” he explained.

“Ultimately, our goal is to make things as easy as possible for people that want to build a business or businesses that want to transform.

“We are executing on our mission to ‘turn sand into silicon’. Through our ICT partnerships we are driving improved capacities and capabilities that deliver opportunities for businesses across Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the region.”

Dr. Bin Hendi reiterated UAE’s resolve to be the centre of technology innovation.

“There aren’t many countries that put long term strategies into place and deliver them ahead of schedule, and UAE definitely tops that list,” he said.

“We will be the centre of technology and innovation in the region. And we can only do that with partners like AWS.”