Mol, 18 January 2016: Today in Abu Dhabi, VITO signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Economy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The signing took place in the framework of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), which takes place in Abu Dhabi, 18-21 January. This sustainability conference has a great international reputation with more than 3 700 attendees, 650 companies from 41 countries exhibiting their products or services, and 101 official delegations. Also deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Flanders and Flemish Minister for Budget, Finance and Energy, Turtelboom, was present in Abu Dhabi as head of the Belgian delegation at the annual general meeting of IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency).

With this collaboration, VITO aims to offer its expertise in the Middle East, where it has already been delivering successful projects in Qatar. The region experiences an accelerated transition phase to a sustainable economy because the growth – mainly based on the export of oil and gas – has been under pressure for the past few years.

Traditionally, the UAE realised lower revenues from oil and gas sales than their neighbours Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the UAE are heading towards a more diversified economy with also a few cities known in Flanders such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi.    

The Memorandum of Understanding focuses on: renewable energy, smart cities, sustainable materials management and the arrival of the circular enonomy. The agreement should enable VITO to not only realise projects itself, but also to attract interested Flemish SMEs to the region via FCA (Flanders Cleantech Association).

Minister Muyters, with responsibility for science, economy and sports within the government of Flanders warmly welcomes the signing: “The Memorandum of Understanding with the UAE is a direct result of the contacts we established during the economic mission last year. It shows once again that the Flemish knowhow of the strategic research centres including VITO, particularly in the field of energy, materials and smart cities is internationally appreciated. There is no question that the Memorandum of Understanding offers many opportunities for Flemish SMEs.”

Dirk Fransaer, Managing Director of VITO: “This signing is the further expansion of our research activities in this growth region and allows us to valorise our acquired knowledge internationally. VITO is already active in Qatar and China and we now also want to work more closely with the local authority in UAE.”

More info Memorandum of Understanding

Arnoud Lust
Manager Internationalisation VITO
Tel. +32 495 59 07 57


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