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Israeli and Emirati cultures are similar in many aspects and these similarities also extend into their economies, and with the two nations’ similarities as well as their differences complementing each other. 

The UAE is a diversified economy, the largest economy in the Arab world after Saudi Arabia, a market that imports billions of dollars of goods every year, is heavily service-oriented and with investments in Technologies. Then you have Israel, a world leader in Technology and Innovation, ranking first in Unicorns per capita. “Collaboration in R&D is of prime importance and this will be a win-win for the two countries,” said Aviad Tamir, Head of the newly established Israel Trade Mission to the UAE. “Israel can provide the technological know-how to the UAE which in turn, is a huge market and a gateway for Israeli companies to GCC countries, Middle East, Africa and even South Asia” he added. “Israel can gain from the advanced services industry of the UAE such as logistics, supply chain as well as financial services.”

One year since the historic signing of Abraham Accords, which brought full normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE, the two nations’ trade volume stands at US$700 million and is expected to reach US$1 billion by the end of 2021. Israel’s Economic and Trade Mission to the UAE was established by the Ministry of Economy and Industry in order to create a bridge for the two countries and further facilitate trade, investment, and business. According to Tamir, there are currently hundreds of active infrastructure projects in the UAE that are open for potential collaboration with Israeli companies and investors. “There are also already several MoU’s signed between the two governments that are paving the way for companies to follow and create partnerships” explained Tamir. For example, Delek Drilling has signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Petroleum to sell its 22% stake of the Tamar gas field for about $1 billion USD. Watergen, an Israeli start-up company that developed patented technology to turn air into drinking water has signed an agreement with UAE-based Al Dahra Group to bring its revolutionary water solutions to the UAE and other countries in the region. Another example is the investment of DisruptAD, the venture capital arm of the Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ, in Aleph Farms, an Israeli cultivated meat maker.”

Since the signing of the Abraham Accords, there was significant movement in sectors such as Agrifood Technology – driven by the National Food Security Strategy 2051 of the UAE – Water Treatment Technology, Energy Cyberspace and IT. Sectors such as Healthcare, Fintech, CleanTech, IoT and Big Data are expected to follow suit. 

In the field of energy, the UAE with an already developed Oil & Gas sector is keen on developing renewable energy as well, and cooperating with Israel in this field is of prime importance. “The UAE has the financial capability and technological ability to execute large-scale projects in this field and companies from Israel are already looking into developing collaborations” explained Tamir.

In addition, the UAE is a global financial services hub and Israeli Fintech companies are keen to collaborate with Emirati financial institutions as well as similar Fintech entities. “The potential for pilot collaboration with Israeli companies is huge” he added.

Aviad Tamir, who has been working for the Invest in Israel agency prior to joining the Foreign Trade Administration as the Head of the Economic and Trade Mission to the UAE, believes that this relationship has great potential and their task is to create build legacy for the future generations of both countries. “First of all, we need to teach both countries how to do business with each other as well as learning and understanding one another’s cultures. Then we need to build on this relationship and create the success story that other countries in the region would be keen to follow”, Tamir stated. It’s all about finding the match between the two countries, and then a win-win relationship will build a legacy for our future generations.”