UAE Space Agency Releases Results of 2021 Space Economic Survey

19 September 2023

Simultaneously while announcing the launch of 2023 Space Economic Survey

  • 6.61% increase in the total spending in the UAE's space sector compared to the previous year
  • Commercial expenditure on the space sector made up 44.3% of the total
  • 14.8% increase in R&D spending
  • Young Emirati nationals comprise 59.2% of the space sector workforce
  • 83.6% increase in scientific publications
  • Communications sector was the biggest beneficiary, followed by other sectors such as security, tourism, and entertainment
  • Launch of the 2023 Space Economic Survey according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

In the presence of Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and Chairperson of UAE Space Agency, and Her Excellency Hanan Al Ahli, Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Center, the UAE Space Agency, in partnership with the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, announced the findings of the 2021 Space Economic Survey. This survey aimed to measure the performance of the national space sector, support its growth, and reinforce the UAE's position as a leading global hub for attracting talent, investment, and innovation.

The 2023 Space Economic Survey 2023 was also launched to measure the space sector’s contribution to the national economy, and provide a clear overview of this strategic and pioneering sector. The UAE Space Agency called on its strategic partners, entities, and companies operating in the national space sector to participate in this survey, and contribute to achieving its objectives and strengthening national capabilities.

The survey highlighted that the total spending in the UAE's space sector witnessed a 6.61% increase compared to the previous year. Government spending accounted for 55.7% of the total spending, marking a 12.7% increase year-on-year, while commercial expenditure made up 44.3% of the total.

In terms of research and development (R&D) spending, the survey showed a 14.8% increase, with R&D for space exploration accounting for 76.8% of the total. Emirati nationals comprise 38.5% of the space sector workforce. Additionally, the survey revealed that 59.2% of the employees in the UAE's space sector are Emirati youth.

The survey also demonstrated that 54.4% of the entities benefiting from the services and applications provided by space-related organisations were based in the UAE. The communications sector was the biggest beneficiary, followed by other sectors such as security, education, tourism, and entertainment. Furthermore, the survey revealed an 83.6% increase in scientific publications.

Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri, said: "The UAE government is prioritising the space sector for the next 50 years, following the vision of our wise leadership. With innovative plans and initiatives, we aim to become one of the world's leading developers of space technologies. The national space projects we undertake reflect our commitment to promoting global efforts to develop the industry."

In addition to the significant developments and investments in the space sector, Her Excellency highlighted the UAE's support for space small and medium-sized enterprises to boost the national space economy.

Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri concluded: “The 2023 Space Economic Survey will play a significant role in evaluating our future economic opportunities, and will give us a comprehensive vision to make decisions based on scientific foundations to design future plans and strategies in an accurate, systematic and scientific manner, in addition to setting a roadmap for sustainable development. In cooperation with our strategic partners, we aim to utilise the resources available in the national space sector, to support the UAE leadership’s ambitions to continue developing this strategic sector.

His Excellency Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, stated: "The 2021 Space Economic Survey offers a scientific base to build upon and develop the space sector, its national human resources, and investments. The government is committed to further developing the sector through various strategies and plans while building national organisations and human capital capabilities to establish the UAE as a leading global destination for talents, innovators, and investments."

His Excellency Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi continued: “As one of the leaders in the space industry, the UAE understands the importance of this field and strives to utilise the latest statistical and data analysis methodologies to support its vision, comprehensive future, and development plans to achieve development in all its fields.”

Her Excellency Hanan Al Ahli, Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Center, said: “We are proud of our strategic partnership with the UAE Space Agency in implementing this national project, with unlimited support from national statistics centres and private sector institutions to make the survey a success. The survey provides important data on the UAE’s space industry for decision makers, investors, researchers, and institutions working in the field of space. It supports decision-making, policies, development and sustainability of the space economy, and investments in the national knowledge-based industry.”

Ali Al Hashemi, Group CEO of Al Yahsat Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), said: “The UAE is steadfastly strengthening its leadership in the space sector. The country’s accelerated efforts to reinforce its successes in all space-related fields inspire Yahsat, as a national space champion, to increase our investments in space technologies and play an integral role in achieving the UAE’s strategic objectives.”

Al Hashemi added: “We will continue to offer progressive and innovative services that meet and exceed the requirements of the sector, while strengthening our partnerships to provide a nurturing environment for sustainable development.”

Dr. Ali Al Hammadi, Founder and CEO of Farmin, said: “The promising results of the 2021 Space Economic Survey highlight the vast opportunities for the sector's growth, and its role in fuelling innovation, advanced sciences and technologies, and knowledge economy over the next 50 years. This will allow stakeholders to increase their investments in research and development to realise the sector’s sustainable growth.”

Dr. Ali Al Hammadi added: “Innovation and investment are the key to further the success of the space sector. We work continuously to develop our partnerships with public and private organisations to support this vital sector and ensure the economic growth and prosperity of the UAE and the region.”

On the sidelines of announcing the results of the Space Economic Survey, the UAE Space Agency honoured the active participants who provided accurate and comprehensive information and data about their companies’ contribution to the national space sector. This supports the agency’s vision and objectives to develop the industry and ensure its sustainability in the upcoming years .