May 2017

Dubai Data to add 10.4 Billion to Economy by 2021

Dubai Data has released findings from the 'Dubai Data Economic Impact Report', to quantify the potential economic impact of opening and sharing data for the city by 2021.

Dubai Data has released findings from the 'Dubai Data Economic Impact Report', to quantify the potential economic impact of opening and sharing data for the city by 2021: 10.4 billion aed added value to the economy every year. The report, which was launched at the ArabNet Digital Summit in Dubai, continues in the tradition of the Internet of Things Value at Stake Report and Dubai Blockchain Strategy, to guide Smart Dubai’s on-going efforts to achieve maximum positive impact for the city, through smart technology.

The study estimates that the opening and sharing of government and private sector data will potentially add a total of 10.4 billion AED Gross Value Added (GVA) impact to Dubai's economy annually by 2021. Opening government data alone will result in a GVA impact of 6.6 billion AED annually as of 2021. This is equivalent to approximately 0.8% to 1.2% of Dubai's forecasted GDP for 2021. Transport, storage, and communications are set to be the highest contributor to this potential GVA of opening government data, accounting for (27.8% or AED1.85 bn) of the total amount, followed by public administration (23.6% or AED 1.57 bn); wholesale, retail, restaurants, and hotels (13.7% or AED 908 million); real estate (9.6% or AED 639 million); and professional services (8.9% or AED 588 million). Finance and insurance, meanwhile, is calculated to make up 6.5% (AED 433 million) of the GVA, while mining, manufacturing, and utilities (6% or AED 395 million); construction (3.5% or AED 230 million); and entertainment and arts (0.4% or AED27 million) account for the remaining proportion.

This economic impact will be realized through the publication, exchange, use and reuse of Dubai data. The Dubai Data Law of 2015 mandates that data providers publish open data and exchange shared data. It 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, while 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. The law pertains to local government entities, federal government entities which have any data relating to the emirate, individuals and companies who produce, own, disseminate, or exchange any data relating to the emirate. It 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.

Her Excellency Dr Aisha bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, said: “At Smart Dubai, we are not looking to simply keep pace with data-related projects taking place around the world, we are, instead, seeking to play a pioneering role in this sector, and setting the precedent and the example for cities around the world to follow. Our vision relies on gathering, securing, and disseminating open and shared data. This strategy stands to galvanise research and development, as innovators around the city work to find new applications for the data, offer better integrated services, and improve overall governance. Dubai is taking the lead on the open and shared data front with the bold and comprehensive Dubai Data initiative.”

Meanwhile, Younus Al Nasser, CEO of Dubai Data, said: “Abiding by the Dubai Data Strategy, we, at Dubai Data, continuously work to drive the publication and exchange of all relevant data to integrate and harmonise the services provided by federal and local government agencies, and improve their decision-making process, enabling them to effectively process data, develop policies, and implement strategic initiatives. We put this study together for that specific objective; we consulted numerous stakeholders across a spectrum of government entities, such as the Dubai Statistics Centre, the Department of Economic Development, the Roads and Transport Authority, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, the Dubai Health Authority, and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.”

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 they are provided on; data developers, who design and build Application Programming Interfaces (APIs); and data aggregators, who collect and pool data, providing it to other stakeholders.

Furthermore, the report goes on to examine the economic impact of open and shared data, including enhanced transparency, trust in government, 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.

While the high-level estimates provide an indication of what could possibly be achieved, the actual impacts that are realised from open and shared data should be monitored and evaluated over time. Achieving this scale of impacts is not certain and will require input from the government and from other public- and private-sector players in the Dubai economy. This will allow the Dubai Data Establishment to track progress and to understand the key levers that it needs to pull to enhance the scale of outcomes and impacts that are achieved.

The report constitutes a firm first step forward towards understanding the potential economic impacts of open and shared data in Dubai. It demonstrates the potential contribution of open and shared data to the Dubai economy in terms of Gross Valued Added (GVA), which is directly linked to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and highlights how the Dubai Data Initiative can drive this economic impact, all the while detailing how end users can utilise data and derive benefits from it.