AIM Digital, the first digital edition of the Annual Investment Meeting, the world’s leading investment platform, concludes on a high note as it showcased major activities highlighting its six pillars, namely, Foreign Direct Investment, Foreign Portfolio Investment, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Startups, Future Cities, and One Belt, One Road.

AIM Digital’s mission to create a roadmap to build a resilient future for the global economy amidst the current pandemic was fully realised as the three-day mega digital event successfully concluded its last day. One of the highlights of Day 3 is the FDI session of its Conference where disruptive investments and investing in Industry 4.0 was discussed. It tackled how IPAs can manage technological disruptions such as AI and robotics, how to make the local environment conducive to change, and the promotion strategies that need to be utilised to attract the right investors.

As one of the panelists, Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, the Chief Executive Officer of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah) stated: “The first thing we did after going back to offices post-COVID is to review all the studies that we have done before, in terms of the sectors that we are focusing on regarding attractions. So, we call the report as the future trends of investments. Previously, we used to focus on sectors such as logistics and transportation, hospitality, healthcare and global energy and environment. But I think, what's happened with COVID, and the extensive use of technology, working from home, the e-learning and all of this definitely made us change all the previous focus and shift towards and new sectors, especially in technology, such as AI.

He added: “Food Security is something that we also started looking at even if it is not so much related to technology. But I mean, the new trends in agriculture like the horizontal farming, and all of this is something that we definitely started looking at, aqua farming, especially that we come from a geographical area where most of the lands are desert, and we used to be depending a lot on importing food products from abroad. So the shift definitely happened towards technology. Even in terms of transportation and logistics, the use of drones came into mind. So, I think the shift is definitely towards technology.”

Another significant part of the AIM Dıgital Conference on Day 3 was the SheTrades Middle East and North Africa (SheTrades MENA) sessions where the industry leaders and specialists from the investment community led the virtual discussions on empowering the role of women in economic transformation and growth. She Trades MENA, hosted by Dubai Exports, is a part of the global SheTrades initiative seeking to rally support from policymakers, the business community and various women's organizations to leverage international trade for the economic empowerment of women.

In his Welcome Adress, His Excellency Eng. Saed Mohamed Alawadi, the Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Exports said: “From a female point of entrepreneurship, technology is a factor in speeding up global gender equality. We can see that women on business are harnessing technology to grow their business and become global. Further, the ability to use smartphones, tablets, and cloud based services are allowing women to start business that are born global. For example, targeting an international customer base from the first day. Technology is bringing the entrepreneur closer to the customer. Moreover, it is reducing the cost of marketing and promotion through the use of social media, it is creating a global customer base the community. Technology has been an important enabler. However, it is the willpower that make it a power tool. I hope that entrepreneurs taking part in today's session, capitalize on the opportunities that are available.”

In the first session of SheTrades MENA entitled Digital Development: The New Opportunity, the session guided participants on how to take advantage of the opportunities of digital development in the future, as the new normal has brought about an ever accelerating digital world.

The second session, “Specializing for Growth – How to Scale Your Business Across Borders” brought together women owned businesses, entrepreneurs and experts to share the lessons learned and provide possible strategies for growth cross borders through specialization of products and services to differentiate from the big box and multi-national conglomerates.

SheTrades MENA Session 3, “Women’s Entrepreneurship and Responsible Leadership” discussed the increasing challenges of creating an economically sustainable business model blended with the responsibility of business to be socially and environmentally more sustainable. 

Also, the awarding ceremony of the AIM Investment Awards and Future Cities Awards were held on Day 3. For AIM Investment Awards, winners were from the 9 regions were recognized give tribute to the best FDI projects and honour their accomplishments in attracting sizable and beneficial investment project, and thus contributing to the economic growth and development of their markets.

One Belt, One Road Pillar sessions were also hosted to discuss economic matters related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).  The talks focused on the latest trends in Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) investment, the latest hotspots and changes in BRI countries and regions, strategies for scope expansion to deal with such trends and changes more objectively and comprehensively in a post-crisis era. The sessions also explored the strategies to strengthen the "Belt and Road" Internet international cooperation, the approaches to seize new opportunities for the development of a digital economy and strengthening new infrastructure in the post-epidemic era, as well as the solution benchmarks of BRI Countries for economic recovery.

Moreover, the Tourism & Hospitality Investment Roundtable was successfully held, which was led by Natalia Bayona, the Director for Innovation, Digital Transformation and Investments of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The World Tourism Organization is the United Nations specialized agency entrusted with the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

Among the notable participants were His Excellency Fadjar Hutomo, Deputy Minister for Investment and Industry of The Ministry of Tourism and Economy Creative in Indonesia; Mohamed Hedi Mejai, the Director of Investments Department of Islamic Development Bank; Dr. Khalid Wazani, Chairman of Jordan Investment Commission; and Atty. Karen Mae Sarinas-Baydo, Assistant Chief Operating Officer of Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.

Furthermore, the awarding ceremony of the AIM Investment Awards and Future Cities Awards were held on Day 3. For AIM Investment Awards, winners were from the 9 regions were recognized give tribute to the best FDI projects and honour their accomplishments in attracting sizable and beneficial investment project, and thus contributing to the economic growth and development of their markets.

For the Central, Eastern Europe & Turkey Region, the winner was Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency Nonprofit Ltd. (HIPA) from the Republic of Hungary for their investment project, SK Innovation.  For the Europe region, Flanders Investment & Trade from the Kingdom of Belgium was declared as the winner for their investment project, FIT. To receive the award, let’s all welcome Mr. Filippe De Potter, Director, Flanders Investment & Trade. In the Middle East & North Africa region, the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) from the Arab Republic of Egypt won for their investment project Lekela Egypt Wind Power BOO S.A.E.

In the South, East Asıa And Oceanıa region, Invest India from the Republic of India emerged as the champion for their investment project, Vivo Mobile & 8 Suppliers. For the Southern Africa region, Lesotho National Development Corporation from the Kingdom of Lesotho, became the frontrunner for their investment project Pure Salmon (8F Asset Management). Ghana Investment Promotion Centre from the Republic of Ghana, won in the West and Central Africa region, for their investment project PE Power Limited.

In the Latin America & The Caribbean region, Secretariat of Economic Development of the State of Hidalgo from the United Mexican States, for their investment project AB InBev / Grupo Modelo, S de R.L. de C.V. The winner for the Central Asia, Caucasus & Russia region was the IPA of Kyrgyz Republic from Kyrgyz Republic, for their investment project Kyrgyz Unaa Kurulush. In the East Africa region, Kenya Investment Authority from the Republic of Kenya, won for their investment project Hunan Construction Corporation.

Meanwhile, for the Future Cities Awards, smart city solutions providers were recognised on Day 3 for their brilliant ideas that are aligned to achieve increased operational efficiency and productivity, sustainability, and economic growth through the Future Cities Awards. The Future Cities awards are classified into 4 categories: The City of The Future Award, The Future Government Award, The Future Mobility Award, and The Smart City Innovator Award.

The City of the Future Award which is the most futuristic, and innovative project or initiative was given to the Municipality of Guadalajara, Jalisco, México from the United Mexican States for their project, Visor Urbano! “Visor Urbano” is a digital platform created with the objective of providing citizens with a tool to monitor the correct development of their city, evaluate the performance of the authority.

The Future Government Award which is the leading government organization adopting innovative approaches for efficient services, was given to Perbadanan Putrajaya from the city of Putrajaya, Malaysia for their project Osc 3.0 Monitoring System. this is a ‘one system for all’ where all stakeholders are using the same system in preparing and submitting applications (public and consultant), processing the applications (Ppj), giving technical comments (external agencies), updating project progress based on Osc 3.0 model (consultants) and data analysis from dashboard and reporting (management)

The Moscow City Government from Moscow City, Russian Federation won the Future Mobility Award which goes to the first-rate organization that created smart mobility and innovative measures. Their project Moscow Central Diameters. The Moscow Central Diameters (Mcd) are a system of city train services on existing commuter rail lines in Moscow and Moscow Region, Russia.

The Smart City Innovator Award which goes to the best in developing innovative technologies for the industry and environment was received by  Porto City Hall from Porto City, Republic of Portugal for their project, Porto. Innovation as City Catalyst. “Porto.Innovation as A City Catalyst” is a holistic approach to the city development and seen as a key in the long-term strategy of the city of Porto.

In addition, the five global winners of the AIM Global National Champions League were also announced. For the Social Impact Category, Malaysia’s GOGET, a community platform for part time help and an on-demand job marketplace that connects businesses to freelancers, emerged as the startup global champion. KUDOTI from South Africa, a scalable digital platform for efficient waste management and recycling in Africa, won in the Climate and Environmental Impact Category.  For the Cybersecurity Category,  ORIGINALMY from the country of Estonia was declared as the winner. ORIGINALMY is a suite for e-Governance with tools from digital ID to authentication of documents, enabling solutions to mitigate bureaucracy and fraud.

UPSTREET from Australia as announced as the startup champion for the Growth Category. UPSTREET rewards customers with shares as they spend building customer loyalty and wealth with the brands they spend their lives with. RESPIQ from Netherlands won as the best startup for the Best Use of Innovation Category. RESPIQ is a smart breath testing for health insights and empowers people to take control of their health with validated (dietary) guidance they can trust.

Each winner of the competition will receive USD 10,000 each. The Global National Champions League is a prestigious international competition for startups launched by AIM Digital to help startups in maximizing their opportunity to attract funding and promote their business ideas to a global audience.

With the theme “Reimagining Economies: The Move Towards a Digital, Sustainable and Resilient Future, the three-day mega digital event, an initiative of the Ministry fo Economy, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, witnessed the participation of more than 15 thousand participants from over 170 countries, including 70+ high-level dignitaries from across the globe such as H.E. Juri Ratas, the Prime Minister of Republic of Estonia; H.E. Rustam Minnikhanov, the President of the Republic of Tatarstan; and Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).