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Raiven launches fund to strengthen UAE-Canada ties

Canada's minister of foreign affairs Melanie Joly co-chaired the first UAE-Canada joint committee meeting in Abu Dhabi last month Reuters/Blair Gable
Canada's minister of foreign affairs Mélanie Joly co-chaired the first UAE-Canada joint committee meeting in Abu Dhabi last month
  • $125m fund in Dubai
  • Focus on tech
  • $1.8bn trade between countries in H1

Raiven Capital, a venture capital company based in Toronto, has launched a new $125 million fund in Dubai with a focus on tech-based founders.

The fund, set up in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), will invest in entrepreneurs developing artificial intelligence to disrupt sectors including fintech and cybersecurity.  

“Raiven has ambitious plans for the region connecting Canada, the UAE and other high-growth tech ecosystems,” said Tracy Reynolds, Canada’s consul general in Dubai.

Experts expect to see technology playing a bigger role in the UAE-Canada trade and investment relationship.

Over the past year, the Canada-UAE Business Council welcomed new members including Montreal-based GHGSat, a satellite monitoring company, and BlackBerry, a global leader in cybersecurity.

Brookfield Asset Management has also acquired Dubai digital payments giant Network International. Mubadala Investment Company has bought CoolIT Systems, which deals in scalable liquid cooling.

“We see technology driving significant investment,” said Nour Kechacha, president of the Canada-UAE Business Council.

Head, Person, Face “We see technology driving significant investment,” said Nour Kechacha, president of the Canada-UAE Business Council
Nour Kechacha, president of the Canada-UAE Business Council, says tech is a driving force

Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s tech startup centre, is also seeing increased interest from Canada. Its latest cohort included Goodable, a Canadian company that uses AI to deliver mental health programming. 

Goodable joins fellow Canadian startups including HelpWear, Corona Aerospace and Vezgo in making Abu Dhabi its new home.

Kechacha told AGBI that Canada and the UAE are leaders in energy technologies and are “uniquely positioned to champion and advance the clean energies of tomorrow through their close bilateral relationship”.

She said businesses are increasingly exploring opportunities in decarbonisation and energy transition. 

“We are very encouraged by the interest being expressed by the Canadian business community in strengthening their presence here in the UAE, as evidenced by the large delegation of Canadian business leaders planning to attend Cop28,” she said.

Bilateral trade boost

Radha Krishna Panday, ambassador of Canada to the UAE, predicts that bilateral trade this year will beat 2022’s figure.

According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, bilateral trade was worth $4.1 billion in 2022, a 19 percent increase on the previous year. Figures also indicated that trade totalled $1.8 billion in the first half of this year, up from $1.7 billion a year earlier. 

“We are on track to surpass 2022’s numbers,” he said.

Panday agreed that energy transition is an important factor in Canada-UAE relations, predicting “some really good things” in hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and nuclear energy.

Tourism is also a key sector, he said, with the number of daily flights between the UAE and Canada expanding to serve a growing diaspora of 45,000 Canadians, mostly living in Dubai.

Last month, Air Canada inaugurated its new four-times weekly non-stop service between Dubai and Vancouver. 

Bilateral ties were further boosted last month by the first UAE-Canada joint committee meeting in Abu Dhabi, co-chaired by Reem Al Hashimy, UAE minister of state for international cooperation, and Mélanie Joly, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs of Canada.

“From working on initiatives and engaging on issues related to sustainable peace in the Middle East, to climate change and strengthening our trade ties, Canada looks forward to continue collaborating and deepening its multifaceted cooperation with the UAE,” said Joly.

A second meeting of the committee is scheduled to take place in Canada.

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