Dubai’s AI campus has been officially inaugurated and is expected to play a key role in the city’s digital transformation.

As Dubai looks towards a $27bn digital economy boost, the AI hub will attract 500 companies and create more than 3,000 jobs by 2028.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Future Technology and Digital Economy, has inaugurated the Dubai AI Campus cluster at the Innovation Hub, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Dubai AI campus

The move is part of phase one of the annual Dubai Universal Blueprint for Artificial Intelligence (DUB.AI), which was recently launched with the aim of accelerating AI adoption across all relevant sectors, thus creating the optimal nurturing ecosystem for AI businesses and talents to drive innovation in AI.

Sheikh Hamdan said that Dubai continues to launch strategic plans with the aim of accelerating the adoption of AI and its applications in all sectors in line with the vision and directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to establish Dubai as a global hub of the digital economy and the preferred destination for major AI businesses and top talent from around the world.

Sheikh Hamdan said: “Our efforts continue to harness the huge potential of advanced technology. The Dubai AI Campus at DIFC is a key step towards achieving our goals of doubling economic growth and increasing AI’s contribution to Dubai and the UAE’s GDP.

“We are confident this campus will be a key addition to Dubai’s economy by hosting hundreds of businesses and offering thousands of jobs over the next few years, further cementing Dubai’s standing as a favourite destination for tech companies.

“We prioritise Dubai’s competitiveness and leading position as a hub for the digital economy in all projects and programmes we launch, in line with goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33).

“Today we move steadily towards a new era of leadership and sustainable growth of Dubai’s economy, which is based on knowledge, innovation, and future tech applications.

“Dubai will always remain a beacon of economic prosperity, regionally and globally, and the preferred choice of innovative minds”.

Announced in 2023, the Dubai AI Campus is the largest dedicated cluster of AI and advanced tech in the MENA region.

The launch contributes to boosting the objectives of Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), including generating an average AED100bn ($27.2bn) annually for Dubai’s economy through digital transformation.

Furthermore, it marks another landmark initiative in realising the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to establish Dubai as a global hub of the digital economy and a key player on the global digital landscape.

The new campus also aligns with Dubai’s vision to emerge as the chosen destination among tech businesses and will drive its contribution to innovation and tech integration across all sectors.

It is estimated that AI will contribute $230bn to the Middle East’s economy by 2030, while making up 14 per cent of the UAE’s GDP by 2030.

The inaugural ceremony was attended by Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications; Issa Kazim, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre; and Arif Amiri, CEO of the DIFC Authority.

The Dubai AI Campus cluster will be part of the DIFC Innovation Hub, which offers dedicated co-working spaces to tech startups, including AI businesses.

Phase one of the campus is already complete with more than 75 businesses registered on a 10,000sq ft.

Phase two of the campus will extend over 100,000 sq ft and is set to attract over 500 companies creating more than 3,000 jobs by 2028.

Essa Kazim welcomed Sheikh Hamdan to the opening of the Dubai AI Campus, saying the cluster will accelerate the realisation of goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda while supporting future technology and digital economy strategies of the emirate.

He said: “The opening of Dubai AI Campus is part of the first phase of the annual Dubai Universal Blueprint for Artificial Intelligence (DUB.AI), acting as a key enabler that will bolster Dubai’s position as a global hub accelerating the adoption of advanced technology.

“Through Dubai and DIFC’s innovative structure, startups have direct access to investors, investment funds, major corporations and traditional financial institutions.

“This ensures that high-potential businesses receive the necessary funding needed to achieve their goals”.

Arif Amiri, CEO of the DIFC Authority, said: “Dubai AI Campus helps accelerate the objectives of DIFC’s 2030 Strategy, which aims to further empower our growing fintech and innovation ecosystem.

“The cluster will also cement DIFC’s position as the largest incubator of the financial sector across the MEASA region as we look forward to collaborating with regional players to help them simplify and expand their business through AI”.

The Dubai AI Campus facilitates multinational tech partnerships with leading tech companies such as Amazon Web Services, HP, Microsoft, Oracle and Nvidia, who will join the cluster as key partners, further highlighting its empowering nature and making it home to the first innovation lab offering AI solutions to the UAE’s small businesses, in collaboration with du.

Additionally, the cluster will provide high computing capabilities, including DGX platforms, and state-of-the-art business accelerator programmes that advance implementation of AI applications in the private sector.

The Dubai AI Campus will be offering a unique AI licence specially designed to meet the requirements of the next generation of AI-dependent businesses.

This licence utilises DIFC’s independent legal framework.

Businesses within the cluster will also benefit from DIFC’s Digital Assets Law, the first of its kind globally, offering legal certainty to investors and users of digital assets.

Further testifying to its leadership and focus on leveraging technological advancements for the greater good, Dubai is set to host the premier Dubai AI and Web3 Festival, organised by Dubai AI Campus in collaboration with the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications Office, and DIFC, on September 11 and 12, 2024 at Madinat Jumeirah.

The event, highlighting Dubai’s unwavering commitment to promote future technology, is expected to attract over 5,000 visitors and participants, besides more than 500 investors and 100 exhibitors.

Since its launch in 2021, DIFC’s Innovation Hub continues to grow and forge milestone partnerships while driving innovation and helping shape forward-looking plans.

It is now home to over 1,000 startups. As part of the Dubai Metaverse Strategy, the Innovation Hub launched the Metaverse Accelerator Program, which enrolled more than 150 students in its first cohort.