UAE and Oman join forces in $180m boost for regional tech

ADQ and Oman's investment authority launch the Jasoor Fund to focus on investment to help digitalisation in Oman and wider region

President Sheikh Mohamed, right, and Sultan Haitham of Oman held high-level talks in Abu Dhabi on April 23. UAE Presidential Court
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Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company ADQ and the Oman Investment Authority have launched a new $180 million technology-focused fund, to support the technology momentum in the Middle East.

The Jasoor Fund will focus on investment that will help advance the digital economy of Oman, as well as the wider Middle East and North Africa, ADQ said in a statement on Tuesday.

The OIA is being represented by Oman Information, Communication and Technology Group (Ithca Group), a wholly owned subsidiary focused on developing the sultanate's digital infrastructure and investing in tech-focused organisations.

The fund will support companies in financial, education, health and clean technology, food and agriculture, and logistics, with its core focus on organisations within the sultanate, the statement said.

ADQ's role reinforces its commitment to "make investments that unlock the potential of key sectors of the economy, while creating lasting value for stakeholders", Mohamed Alsuwaidi, managing director and chief executive of ADQ, said.

"Together, we will continue to advance trade and promote investments that will contribute to the growth of both economies.”

The creation of the Jasoor Fund is part of a broader framework agreement signed by ADQ and the OIA in 2022, when both sides identified investment opportunities worth more than $8 billion in Oman's key industries.

It marks a "pivotal moment for Oman’s technology sector ... setting the stage for a new era of innovation and growth", said Abdulsalam Al Murshidi, president of the OIA.

The partnership is projected to "propel both nations into a future powered by digital transformation and technological advancement", he said.

ADQ's latest commitment comes at a time when Abu Dhabi's technology sector is burgeoning, as part of the UAE capital's strategy of preparing for the economy of the future.

Its tech focus gained further traction after last week's announcement that Microsoft, the world's most valuable company, had invested $1.5 billion into Abu Dhabi artificial intelligence company G42.

This week, G42 attracted another key US tech player: on Monday, it said it had entered into a collaboration with chipmaker Qualcomm Technologies to bring Qualcomm Cloud AI 100 solutions to the market through the Condor AI platform of Core42, a group formed by the merger of three key G42 units.

In October, G42 also announced a partnership with OpenAI, focusing on using its models in areas including financial services, energy, health care and public services.

These moves are helping position Abu Dhabi and the UAE to become a technology hub in the region.

Meanwhile, Oman, an oil exporter positioning itself to be a major hydrogen gas player, has been devising a national strategy that aims to steer it towards a knowledge-based economy and digital society.

Muscat's 2021-2025 digital transformation programme comprises a multipronged approach to improve services for the public and private sectors by developing the IT industry, according to the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology.

"The establishment of the Jasoor Fund aligns with our venture capital investment strategy, focusing on funding contemporary, emerging and cutting-edge technological projects, while also providing Omani youth with opportunities to develop their ventures and expand globally," Said Al Mandhari, chief executive of Ithca Group, said.

The UAE and Oman, two members of the six-nation GCC, have maintained strong economic and bilateral relations.

On Monday, President Sheikh Mohamed and Sultan Haitham of Oman held high-level talks in Abu Dhabi as the two nations struck deals to bolster ties in key sectors such as renewable energy, technology and rail infrastructure.

In September 2022, the two countries signed an agreement to link their rail networks, allowing for freight and passengers services, while the stock markets of Abu Dhabi and Oman signed a deal that allowed the dual listing of Muscat-traded companies in the UAE capital.

Updated: April 23, 2024, 2:09 PM