Abu Dhabi and Israeli entities signed agreements and discussed ways to collaborate further during a visit by an official delegation from the UAE capital to Tel Aviv. This comes as the two countries seek to enhance bilateral business ties following the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in May this year.
Over two days of its visit to Israel, the delegation participated in a joint business forum co-organised by the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), in collaboration with the UAE Embassy in Israel.
On the sidelines of the event, ADGM on Tuesday signed three preliminary agreements with Israeli entities to enhance business co-operation in the areas of data protection, innovation and FinTech initiatives, a statement said.
"I hope to see the leading companies in both countries build on the strong foundations in place, including our CEPA trade agreement, to co-operate and forge business ties and create fresh ventures reaching new markets,” said Mohamed Al Khaja, the UAE's ambassador to Israel.
"This will, in turn, create jobs and drive further economic growth for the benefit of all Israelis and Emiratis."
ADGM signed one of the preliminary agreements with Start-up Nation Central, an Israeli organisation that connects the country's innovation ecosystem with global opportunities.
The agreement seeks to further develop the innovation ecosystems in both the countries through diverse initiatives. These include business partnerships and collaborations, as well as the opening of a commercial presence in Abu Dhabi and Israel. Inputs on policy and funding may also be exchanged, the statement said.
Another pact was signed between ADGM Academy and Israel’s Avnon Group Middle East, which includes establishing a framework of co-operation and exchange of information related to the development of an "ADGM Digital Asset Knowledge Hub". This will focus on cyber security, artificial intelligence and blockchain.
The third agreement, signed between the ADGM Office of Data Protection and the Israeli Privacy Protection Authority, seeks to enable mutual understanding of the legislative, procedural and information technology frameworks in their respective jurisdictions in the areas of data and privacy protection.
In addition to ADGM, the Abu Dhabi delegation to Tel Aviv included the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development; Mubadala; Mubadala Petroleum; Adnoc; Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange; The Health Authority – Abu Dhabi; Abu Dhabi Investment Office; AIQ — an Abu Dhabi-based AI and cloud computing company; the Department of Culture and Tourism; Abu Dhabi Chamber; Hub71 and First Abu Dhabi Bank.
The official visit comes after the UAE and Israel normalised relations in September 2020, which led to dozens of initial pacts in sectors from such as aviation and technology.
“The delegation to Tel Aviv is a testament to the long-term commitment of Abu Dhabi to foster stronger ties between the two nations and building bridges between Israel and the UAE,” said Ahmed Al Zaabi, chairman of ADGM.
“The existing UAE-Israel economic corridor has already topped $1 billion, according to estimates by the UAE-Israel Business Council. The projected growth for 2022 is said to be $2bn,” Mr Al Zaabi said.
As part of the CEPA deal, the two countries aim to increase bilateral trade to more than $10bn in five years and add $1.9bn to the UAE’s gross domestic product by 2030.
The CEPA is expected to create new opportunities in vital sectors such as energy, environment and e-commerce. It also seeks to enhance ties in hospitality, financial services, distribution and construction, while enabling small and medium businesses in both countries to expand abroad.
“We must open up the Israeli market to the eastern hemisphere as well," said Ittai Ben Zeev, chief executive of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
"Greater diversity of economic relations will place Israel in a better position to counter the rising cost of living. We are dedicated to constantly increasing the number and diversity of investors on the Israeli capital market."
ADGM said it also aims to leverage the synergies between the nations in high potential areas such as FinTech and entrepreneurship to enable mutual growth.
"We are excited to explore bilateral growth and investment opportunities through the joint efforts of our industry. We are confident that these collaborative efforts will help realise the true potential of the two markets when working together in unison," Mr Al Zaabi said.