United Arab Emirates - Country Commercial Guide
Safety & Security

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2020-09-12


The safety and security sector is very promising in the UAE, which has a strong desire to maintain the nation’s status as a secure haven amidst regional instability. Ambitious socioeconomic reform programs such as UAE Vision 2021 continue to drive heavy investments in the sector. Policies set out in Vision 2021 mandate significant infrastructure and technological developments which require a large supply of security products and services. Growth is also being driven by over $270 billion in infrastructure projects currently under construction in the UAE and rapid population growth (7.7% in Dubai in 2018). The market relies heavily on imports and foreign security companies. This is largely because the UAE’s nascent domestic defense sector focuses primarily on military-grade products, providing more opportunity for foreign suppliers. The UAE’s safety and security sector can be grouped into several main categories: fire and rescue, safety and health, aviation security, homeland security and policing, and commercial and information security.

Market Entry

There are few trade barriers. Imported goods are subjected to 5% customs duties on CIF value.

The UAE is a hub for large trade shows that cater to the region. Attending and exhibiting at trade events helps many companies generate leads and network.


American firms have sizeable technological and qualitative advantages in outselling lower-quality competition. Competitors stem from Japan, South Korea, China, and the European Union in particular, and supplied products include: smart home secure network and systems , CCTV, thermal cameras, IP-based voice alarm systems, IP-based multi sensor cameras, identity management systems, video surveillance, security patrol robots, radar systems, drone systems, and counter-drone systems. Due to COVID-19, the UAE market experienced an increased demand for thermal cameras and body temperature monitoring systems.

The many infrastructure, real estate, and petroleum projects in the UAE offer great potential for security management services. The need to protect assets will result in greater demand for both digital and on-site security measures, particularly monitoring devices (e.g. thermal cameras, security patrol robots) and fire safety measures.

Similarly, Crisis Management and Incident Management preparedness based on software solutions is in demand, and the nation is increasingly relying on smart technology due to its rapid pace of development. The boom in development and construction means human capital alone cannot ensure the safety levels desired by the UAE government, resulting in tremendous opportunities for U.S. companies.

The market for security consultancy services is expected to grow, in response to the complexity and diversity of threats in the region.

With the growth witnessed in the infra-development sector, system integrations and security systems have gained high prominence in the region. The UAE market is rapidly absorbing old and new technologies in the system integrations sector. Voice alarm systems, infrared and thermal cameras, security patrol robots, and other solutions are part of the high standard that residents demand and which the government wishes to maintain in the UAE. These security products are used at commercial buildings, residential properties, shopping malls, hospitals, parks, museums, hotels, industrial facilities, and other sites.

The demand for various security products, especially unmanned vehicles, drones, closed circuit television sets (CCTV), surveillance cameras, perimeter control and access control systems has risen sharply, and the hospitality sector is one leading sector, as the UAE develops its tourism and leisure sector.


Aviation Security: The strategic nature of the UAE civil aviation sector and continued investment in airport and aviation infrastructure makes this an important segment with many opportunities. The UAE Aviation Security Affairs division consists of the following departments: air navigation and aerodrome (ANA), airworthiness (AW), flight operation (FOP), licensing (LIC) and policy, regulation and planning (PRP) and reports directly to the Director General (DG). The Head of Sector oversees the regulation and oversight of the safety of the aviation industry in the UAE, while the wider Aviation Security Affairs Sector approves Aviation Security Programs for airports and aircraft operators, inspects and audits airports, and maintains an aviation security intelligence network with domestic and international security authorities.

Homeland Security and Policing: The growing internal security challenges in the region have increased the importance of homeland security and require innovative solutions. The UAE’s law enforcement agencies have increased the budget for homeland security, and recently established police academies in different emirates to train Emirati police officers. Revenue for homeland security products in the Middle East is forecast to double by 2022 to reach $19.7 billion, with the UAE the second largest market as it prepares for mega events such as the World Expo in Dubai.

Fire & Rescue: The UAE’s fire and rescue sector is expected to reach $699 million by 2021. and grow annually by 14-16%, and the wider Middle East market is estimated to grow to $3 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 8%.  This is due to improvements in the enforcement of fire codes in the construction sector and constant need for fire protection. Repeated fire incidents have sparked a large fire safety promotion campaign and forced the Ministry of Interior to implement a centralized smart fire alarm system in its buildings, highlighting how demand is exponentially growing in the UAE. The regulations implemented by the government and greater demands for fire prevention by the public will also increase demand. Similarly, the renewed investments in commercial, retail, industrial, residential, and government infrastructure projects will require top-quality reliable fire safety systems and products.

Safety and Health: As the UAE’s construction industry continues to deliver multi-billion-dollar projects, the health and safety regulations in the country are becoming increasingly stringent. There is increased investment in more health and safety products such as jackets, shoes, helmets, and services to help ensure safety at work.

Trade Shows and Exhibitions


Date: January 24-26, 2021

Venue: Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center, Dubai


ISS (Intelligence Support for Electronic Surveillance) World Middle East

Detested (Postponed due to COVID-19)

Venue: JW Marriott, Dubai, UAE


ISNR (International Exhibition for National Security & Resilience)

Date: TBD (Postponed due to COVID-19)

Venue: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center, Abu Dhabi


Gulf Information Security Exhibition and Conference (Gisec)

Date: October 26 – 28, 2020

Venue: Dubai World Trade Center, Dubai


IDEX 2021

Date: February 21-25, 2021

Venue: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center, Abu Dhabi

Key Websites

Intersec 2019: Post-Show Report

UAE Government: UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence