DIFC to build new campus to attract over 500 AI and Web3 startups

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Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region, has announced it will build the ‘Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus’, the largest cluster of artificial intelligence and tech companies in the MENA region.

The announcement follows the directives of Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and President of DIFC.

Over the next five years, the campus, situated within the DIFC Innovation One premises, will undergo expansion to encompass a dedicated area exceeding 100,000 square feet. Its primary focus will revolve around the use of AI and Web3 technologies within the financial services sector.

The ‘Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus’ will be home to entrepreneurs, disruptors and engineers who possess passion for emerging technologies.

The campus will provide physical and digital infrastructure including R&D facilities, accelerator programmes and collaborative workspaces, to attract, build and scale AI companies.

Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC, said: “DIFC’s 2030 strategy is central to shaping the future of finance and innovation. AI is expected to inject Dhs103bn into the UAE economy by 2035 and contribute 14 per cent to the country’s GDP by the end of the decade.

Essam Kazim

The Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus will significantly contribute to this growth as a global nexus for R&D, investment, and innovation by attracting over $300m in collective funds, over 500 global AI and Web3 startups, and create over 3000 jobs by 2028.”

DIFC has crafted its 2030 strategy with a strong focus on advancing the future of finance through technology, innovation and collaborative partnerships.

At the heart of this strategy lies DIFC’s Innovation Hub, which provides one of the most extensive environments for fintech and venture capital in the region. This includes affordable licencing options, regulations tailored to the industry’s needs, accelerator programmes, and funding opportunities for startups in the growth stage.

The fintech and innovation sector within DIFC has experienced remarkable growth, with 686 associated firms contributing to its expansion. In 2022 alone, the centre witnessed an impressive influx of funds, surpassing $615m raised for various initiatives.

The ‘Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus’ will act as a catalyst for growth, attracting global innovators, startups and industry leaders to establish an ecosystem of AI-driven initiatives within the region.

Arif Amiri

AI & Web3 companies will also benefit from a sector-specific dedicated licensing and regulatory framework, in addition to leveraging DIFC unique soft infrastructure.

Arif Amiri, chief executive officer, DIFC Authority, stated: “At DIFC we believe that being at the forefront of tech innovation and AI advancement is imperative as we pave the way for a digitally empowered future of finance.

The ‘Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus’ will act as a catalyst for growth by attracting global innovators, start-ups, venture capitalists, and industry leaders, as we establish MENA’s largest ecosystem for the AI and Web3 sectors.

By nurturing a collaborative environment, the Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus will accelerate the development of future-forward technologies and empower organisations to unlock the true potential of AI and Web3.”

Read: New artificial intelligence and coding licence launched in Dubai

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