Dual-use fact-finding mission to the United Arab Emirates

Submitted by Ziga Valic on 23 January 2020

KETs4Dual-Use (K4DU) partnership has carried out its second fact-finding mission to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between 13 and 15 January 2020. The country ranks among the top 15 defence spenders in the world and the defence expenditure as a proportion of GDP has remained comparatively high in recent years in response to various threats and events in the region. UAE’s 2016 defence expenditures stood at approximately $23.4 billion, while it is projected that the country’s defence expenditure will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.5% to value $31.8 billion by 2021. In November 2019 the UAE authorities launched EDGE, a government-owned company meant to position the country as a global player in advanced technology that can address the threat of hybrid warfare and streamline the local defense industry. With combined annual revenue of $5 billion, EDGE employs more than 12,000 individuals, and it will consolidate 25 national subsidiaries in the field of defense, focusing on five principal areas: platforms and systems, missiles and weapons, cyber defense, electronic warfare and intelligence and mission support. K4DU delegates have held meetings with Tawazun Holding as well as Emirates Defense Companies Council (EDCC) representatives in order to discuss how European dual-use SMEs could contribute to EDGE initiatives as well as about future collaboration opportunities, notably in form of participation at the UAE flagship defense exhibitions UMEX and IDEX. The agenda also included meetings with ATOS UAE office, with focus on possible involvement of European dual-use SMEs in the local supply chains, as well as with French and Danish military attachés. This fact-finding mission has enabled the K4DU partnership to establish initial contacts with the UAE defense & security ecosystem, which will be further pursued during the UMEX exhibition (February 2020) and EXPO 2020 hosted by Dubai (October 2020 – April 2021).
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