What does the UAE - Saudi “Strategy of Resolve” mean for the future of clean tech?

When Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced their joint vision for the collaborative future of the two nations on 6th June 2018, it was the single most important seismic shift in the Middle East since the formation of the UAE itself. Undoubtedly, the “Strategy of Resolve” is a declaration of cooperation between two powerhouses of the GCC of such breadth and scale that its impact will still be felt in decades to come.

With 44 joint strategic projects outlined across three major axis (economic, human and knowledge, political, security and military), the KSA/UAE agreed strategy represents hundreds of billions of dollars in major infrastructural investments. A significant number of these projects focus on improving the future sustainability of both countries via the securing of renewable energy and water sources, among other sustainability metrics. These include:

  • Setting up the Saudi-Emirati Investment Fund for Renewable Energy, which will aim to attract the attention of both startups and large, established companies involved in renewables, aiding them with funding and all necessary means of support to enable successful research and development projects.
  • The Establishment of a research centre dedicated to the development of localised water desalination solutions and technologies. The centre will aim to utilise renewable energy sources for the evaporation and desalination processes used in securing potable water for the region.
  • Founding a joint venture company for agricultural investment with a capital fund $1.36 billion, dedicated to finding more economical and environmentally sustainable ways of securing food security for both countries.
  • Achieving the implementation of the Gulf electrical interconnection system, allowing all GCC countries to freely share and trade power while at the same time improving reliability and energy security, and eliminating waste.
  • Various projects promoting international joint investments that will improve the sustainability of the oil, gas and petrochemical sector.

Exciting as these projects are individually, what’s more important is how the Strategy of Resolve affects the future of cleantech in the Middle East and globally. The Saudi-Emirati Council announced that they have set a timeframe of five years to implement these joint strategic projects, which means that the ME cleantech landscape may well be unrecognisable by the end of 2023. With this kind of kickstart to the two nations’ ongoing sustainability efforts, the strategy will likely be taken as a path to emulate by other ME countries, prompting greater investment and confidence in cleantech innovations.

This pooling of resources and aligning of strategic goals is already opening up all manner of possibilities for implementing more sustainable solutions to age-old problems in the Middle East. As the joint projects proposed under the Strategy of Resolve begin to quickly take shape under the expediated 5-year deadline, they will continue to encourage further cleantech investments across the Gulf region, and may well come to be held up as an international example of what multiple countries can achieve together in terms of improving sustainability.