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AGWA gains steam as regulators and key partners unite behind Abu Dhabi's newest cluster

AGWA gains steam as regulators and key partners unite behind Abu Dhabi's newest cluster
11 June 2024 22:53


Regulators, key research centres, and infastructure partners came together to sign a flurry of agreements bring Abu Dhabi's AgriFood Growth and Water Abundance (AGWA) cluster, announced earlier this week by H.H. Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, closer to reality.

At an event held in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, a number of key agreements were made that would ensure the cluster, which aims to attract Dh128 billion in investments and create over 60,000 jobs by 2045, would come closer to achieving its vision of making the emirate a hub for novel food production and water technologies.

The cluster, which is in its first phase is seeking to capitalise on an global food industry expected to grow to Dh77 trillion by 2045 whilst tackling the issues of water scarcity and food security that impact the country greatly.

By providing incentives and focussing on several key areas, the cluster will hope to be able to catepult the emirate into a major player in the agricultural space and water space.

Infrastructure Four major Abu Dhabi infrastructure partners signed a collaboration agreement to support the growth of the cluster. Abu Dhabi Ports Company PJSC, Abu Dhabi Airports Company PJSC, Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC), and Masdar City will collaborate with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) to create an enabling environment for AGWA cluster companies.

"Our partnership with key infrastructure partners is crucial to aligning efforts with AGWA cluster companies to establish Abu Dhabi as a global leader in the development, commercialisation and export of transformative solutions in the food and water industry," Badr Al-Olama, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office said.

His comments were echoed by Capt. Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO, AD Ports Group, who likened the project to KIZAD and said expressed pride at being able to continue to support the emirates food security.

He was joined by the Elena Sorlini, Managing Director and CEO at Abu Dhabi Airports in welcoming the new oppurtunities for trade.

"Abu Dhabi is at the forefront of addressing critical global challenges through visionary initiatives. The launch of AGWA marks a significant step forward as we collaborate with our partners to set new benchmarks for innovation in food and water security," Ahmed Baghoum, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar City said.

Research and Innovation Five of the UAE top universities and technology enablers also signed on to colloborate on the AGWA project.

With the explicit aim of attracting high-tech and inovative solutions, the partnership of the following players will aim to bring the sophistication needed to ensure the success of novel and new ideas in the space.

The Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Lab (ADIA Lab), Khalifa University, the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), and Hub71 will all join forces with ADIO to bring the AGWA project forward.

"We are delighted to collaborate with key government, regulatory, and industry stakeholders and leading research institutions to contribute to the AgriFood Growth & Water Abundance (AGWA) cluster, a vital initiative for tackling the global challenges of food and water security. Khalifa University's diverse research and enterprise-oriented endeavors align with the directives of the UAE leadership," Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President of Khalifa University said.

"Our innovations focus on converting agricultural waste into sustainable resources, advanced water treatment solutions, climate-smart agriculture, and scientific breakthroughs that draw inspiration from the adaptability of the UAE's unique desert environment. By combining our novel findings and technologies relevant for agriculture and food security, and developing precipitation enhancement techniques to replenish water resources, we can create the necessary momentum for a more resilient future for the UAE."

Regulators The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), and the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council (ADQCC) also signed an agreement on Tuesday that will seem them work with ADIO to create a comprehensive regulatory framework.

The aim is that the establishment of robust regulations will attract innovative solutions to the cluster.

"As Abu Dhabi forges ahead to become a global food and water powerhouse through AGWA, it is essential that our regulatory environment matches our aspirations. Through cross-disciplinary collaboration, we will identify ways to create the optimal environment for innovators in Abu Dhabi," Badr Al-Olama said.

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