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Data will add AED10 billion to Dubai economy: Arabnet Digital Summit

The opening up and sharing of data from both the government and the private sector will potentially have an annual impact of AED10.4 billion GVA (gross value added) to Dubai’s economy by 2021, according to a new study released this week at the Arabnet Digital Summit held in Dubai.

Dubai Data Economic Impact Report, commissioned by Dubai Smart Office and prepared by leading audit firm KPMG, has found that transport, storage and communications are set to be the highest contributor to this potential GVA of opening government data, accounting for 27.8 per cent of the total amount.

Data sharing in public administration is expected to make up 23.6 per cent of the GVA, followed by wholesale, retail, restaurants, and hotels (13.7 per cent), real estate (9.6 per cent) and professional services (8.9 per cent).

Finance and insurance, meanwhile, is estimated to amount 6.5 per cent of the GVA, while mining, manufacturing and utilities (six per cent); construction (3.5 per cent); and entertainment and arts (0.4 per cent) account for the remaining proportion.

Dubai Data Law 2015

The law mandates that data providers publish open data and exchange shared data. It pertains to local government entities, federal government entities that have any data relating to the emirate, and individuals and companies who produce, own, disseminate, or exchange any data relating to the emirate.

The legislation aims to realise Dubai’s vision of transforming itself into a smart city, manage Dubai Data in accordance with a clear and specific methodology that is consistent with international best practices, integrate the services provided by federal and local government entities, and optimise the use of the data available to data providers, among other objectives.

What is open data?

The law defines open data as any Dubai data which is published and can be downloaded, used and re-used without restrictions by all types of users.

What is shared data?

Shared data is the data that has been classified as either confidential, sensitive, or secret, and can only be accessed by other government entities or by other authorised persons.

Who are the main stakeholders?

The study identifies several stakeholders involved in the use and reuse of open and shared data. These stakeholders – some of whom are qualified as “data creators” – play an important role in the process of generating the economic impacts. They include:

Data enrichers: who combine open data with their own sources and/or knowledge

Data enablers: who do not profit directly from the data, but do so via the platforms and technologies this data is provided on

Data developers: who design and build Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

Data aggregators: who collect and pool data, providing it to other stakeholders

Economic impact

The economic impact of the data will be realised through the publication, exchange, use and reuse of Dubai data. Opening up data and its exchange helps in enhancing transparency and trust in government, and encourages innovation and entrepreneurship.

Open and shared data can also foster additional collaboration and engagement between government entities and the private sector, as well as citizens.

It also benefits private-sector innovation and efficiency (with the creation of new businesses, and the growth of existing businesses) and further engages residents and visitors directly with data to influence or inform their decisions.

Arabnet Digital Summit

The fifth edition of the ArabNet Digital Summit was held in Dubai on May 16 and 17 in partnership with the Smart Dubai Office and Publicis Media.

The organisers claim that the annual event has set new records this year, with more than 1,600 attendees, 120 speakers, 60 exhibitors, as well as 100 international and regional investors gathering to discuss the latest trends and opportunities in the UAE and the region.