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Digital economy central to UAE-Greece partnership

Dimitris Papastergiou and Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi signed a deal to create a framework for investments in digital infrastructure, including data centres in Greece UAE Ministry of Investment
Dimitris Papastergiou and Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi signed a deal to create a framework for investments in digital infrastructure, including data centres in Greece
  • Digital infrastructure deal signed
  • Greece to expand from 15 data centres
  • Joint $4.2bn fund set up in 2022

The UAE’s Ministry of Investment and Greece’s Ministry of Digital Governance have signed an agreement to create a framework for investments in digital infrastructure. 

The UAE government is keen to invest in data centres and become a technological leader in south-east Europe.

Data centres to be developed under the deal will reach a total capacity of 500 megawatts. Greece’s data centre market is projected to reach $1.2 billion by 2028 from $735 million in 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of about nine percent.

Greece currently has 15 data centres and will expand its data infrastructure, with the additional power capacity planned over the next five years. 

The planned expansion would make the country the largest data hub in south-east Europe and the second largest in the Mediterranean by 2028. 

A $4.2 billion joint fund was set up between the UAE and Greece in 2022. New investments are likely to be announced soon, according to a top official.

George Gerapetritis, the Greek minister of foreign affairs, described the fund run by Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ as being “well on track”, adding that it is “examining investment opportunities from the full spectrum of the Greek economy”.

A debut investment was made in Blueground, a Greek property tech company that aims to expand its network of rental apartments to 35,000 in 50 cities.

Gerapetritis said that Greece could become the UAE’s entry point into Europe, adding that the two countries were keen to upgrade a partnership signed in 2020 to a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa). 

“Greece aspires to become the bridge between the Arab world and Europe, and the UAE have established themselves as a major actor in the region,” Gerapetritis said during a visit to the UAE in October.

George Gerapetritis, left, the Greek minister of foreign affairs, with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE, said the two countries are keen to strengthen their partnership

Greece’s technology plans are supported by a network of more than 10 submarine cables linking the country to crucial global markets.

According to the United Nations’ Comtrade database for international trade, UAE exports to Greece totalled $208 million during 2022, while Greek exports to the UAE reached $372 million.

Eco islands

Economic ties are also being strengthened by a focus on renewable infrastructure: Masdar, based in Abu Dhabi, has signed an agreement to sponsor projects on the Greek island of Poros.

The preliminary cooperation agreement, which was signed in December, is part of the GR-Eco Islands Initiative, which aims to transform Greece’s islands into models of sustainable development. 

Greece is committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and its renewable energy sources account for almost 50 percent of domestic demand, with an ambition to achieve 80 percent by 2030.

Free zone Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre also held its first Made For Trade Live roadshow in Athens and Thessaloniki in October. It is home to more than 130 Greek businesses.

More than 350 Greek companies are active in the wider UAE, mostly in the construction and shipping sectors.

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