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Sarah Townsend

Commissioning Editor

Sarah is a UK-based award-winning business journalist, who lived and worked in the UAE at The National newspaper and Arabian Business from 2015 to 2019. She was editor of property news website Place North West in Manchester before joining AGBI and continues to focus on alternative investment topics such as real estate, education and healthcare, as well as on economics, business law and policy, startups and more

Sarah Townsend
Mahmoud Al Turk

Rising music streaming propels region’s artists into spotlight 

Not long ago, the only Arab music artists to make it big were traditional singers like Egypt’s Amr Diab and Lebanon’s Nancy Ajram, firm favourites in wedding playlists and live event calendars the region over.  Today, new names and genres are pushing into the mainstream. One recent prominent example is Egyptian rapper Ahmed Ali, better […]

Red Sea Global resort

Red Sea signs ‘pioneering’ carbon-negative concrete deal

Red Sea Global and Bahamas startup Partanna have agreed to trial the use of carbon-negative concrete and other products at the kingdom’s Red Sea and Amaala giga-projects. The deal – the value of which is not disclosed – is the next stage of partnership between the companies. As revealed by AGBI, the two began exploring ways […]

Dubai property construction Video length: 3:37

Dubai’s wealthy buyers short of new homes in prime areas

Global high-net-worth individuals are looking to Dubai to invest in property, but with only 289 units due to be completed in prime residential areas by 2026, supply in the emirate’s real estate market is low, driving prices up.  “We are short of easy-to-activate waterfront development sites – we have run out of coastline,” said Faisal Durrani, […]

Egypt commercial property on the rise in New Administrative Capital

Egypt’s commercial property sector resists economic woes 

Demand for commercial property in Egypt remains buoyant despite the fragile economy, as retail and office landlords offer “flexible and generous” terms until the market stabilises, according to a report. Landlords are resorting to making changes to retail and office lease terms in response to “challenges stemming from the current local and global economic volatility”, […]

Opec chief Haitham Al Ghais

Opec ‘would welcome’ Iran once sanctions lifted

Iran has the capacity to add “significant production volumes within a short period of time” and would be welcomed back to Opec when sanctions are lifted, its secretary general said on Monday.  Iran is a member of Opec – the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – but its oil exports are subject to US […]

Summer, Architecture, Building

Oman tourism goals face an uphill road to success

Mounting competition from Saudi Arabia, limited connectivity and a low profile are among the challenges to Oman’s progress on meeting its 2040 tourism goals.  “We’ve done great [as an industry] but I think we can do better,” said Amir Golbarg, senior vice-president of operations, Middle East and Africa, at Minor Hotels. “With its landscape, people, […]

Renewing an existing tenancy in Dubai is proving more attractive as rents rise

Dubai tenants staying put as rents continue to soar

More Dubai renters are opting to renew their existing tenancies than move to a different property altogether, to avoid being hit by soaring rental rates in a “very strong” property market, according to CBRE.  The number of rental renewals in Dubai’s residential market grew by 29.7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, compared […]

Dar al Arkan

Dar Al Arkan profit dip no cause for alarm

Saudi Arabian real estate firm Dar Al Arkan posted a 47 percent profit dip in the first quarter of the year to SAR117.6 million ($31.3 million), from SAR221 million a year earlier.  The decrease was attributed to lower property sales in Q1 and higher financing burdens, the company said in a filing to the Tadawul […]

Manama Bahrain

Rising cost of credit squeezes Bahrain luxury property

The increased cost of credit due to higher interest rates is starting to dent demand for luxury property in Bahrain, with apartments experiencing the most impact.  High-end apartment prices in Bahrain dropped by 1.3 percent quarter on quarter in the first three months of 2023, according to a report published this week by Savills. Luxury […]

Sanjay Shah

Sanjay Shah pleads for review of $1.3bn tax fraud case

Sanjay Shah, a UK citizen accused of defrauding Danish tax authorities, is appealing to Dubai’s Court of Cassation to review its decision this week to make him repay AED4.64 billion ($1.26 billion), plus 5 percent interest. The Court of Cassation – the emirate’s highest court – refused an appeal by Sanjay Shah in a judgment […]

W Hotel Abu Dhabi Yas Island

$500m Aldar green bond ‘four times oversubscribed’

Aldar Investment Properties – a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s biggest real estate developer Aldar Properties – has launched a $500 million 10-year green debut Islamic bond, it said in a stock market filing on Thursday.  The issuance marks Aldar Properties’ first return to international capital markets since 2019, when it launched its debut 10-year sukuk, […]

Dubai Pointe Palm Al Jumeirah

The Pointe is latest rebuild in Dubai’s property upswing

The Pointe is the latest in a string of retail and leisure destinations in Dubai that are being repurposed as landowners seek to capitalise on the emirate’s growing property market. State-owned Nakheel Properties confirmed this week that it plans to shut down and redevelop its 130,000 square metre The Pointe on Palm Jumeirah from next […]

Kuwait real estate

Kuwait to let expats buy property to boost market

Real estate activity in Kuwait has fallen over the past year, but the government is hoping to turn that around by allowing expats to buy property for the first time.  A ministerial committee has lodged a proposal to the cabinet to allow non-Kuwaitis to own investment residential properties, according to a local media report this […]

Wealthy individuals in the Gulf are turning to outsourced investment specialists to manage their portfolios

Gulf warms to outsourced investment market

A growing number of Gulf businesses and wealthy individuals are outsourcing their investment management, experts have told AGBI. Market volatility and a desire to invest in more complex assets are pushing up demand for outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) services, they said. The Gulf’s increased focus on governance and compliance – plus a recognition that […]

Qatar World Cup stadium

Qatar’s 2023 GDP growth to slow after World Cup

Qatar’s GDP growth is expected to weaken to 2.3 percent this year from almost 5 percent in 2022 as the positive impact of World Cup-related activity tapers off.  Ratings agency S&P Global Ratings said the country’s strong economic growth last year was “partly supported” by business momentum in the run-up to and during the Qatar […]

Braskem Adnoc

Brazil’s Braskem confirms takeover bid from Adnoc

Braskem confirmed on Tuesday that its controlling shareholder Novonor received a takeover offer from Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and Apollo Global Management. The Brazilian petrochemicals producer had previously said that a non-binding bid of 37.5 billion reais ($7.5 billion) had been presented to Novonor but did not say where the offer had come […]

Aldar Yas Island sustainable city

Abu Dhabi to spend $23bn on new neighbourhoods

Up to 76,000 new homes are planned over the next five years in Abu Dhabi to meet rising demand for residential property.  The emirate’s executive council has signed off a budget of AED85.4 billion ($23.2 billion) for a string of residential neighbourhoods with new homes and development sites.  The projects will also feature services, amenities […]

Braskem Brazil

Adnoc ‘in talks’ to buy Brazilian petro firm Braskem

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and US-based asset manager Apollo Global Management are said to have submitted a joint bid of 37.5 billion reais ($7.5 billion) to acquire São Paulo-headquartered Braskem.  Discussions are in the early stages, Bloomberg reported, citing sources close to the potential deal. AGBI has contacted Adnoc for comment.  The state-owned […]

Musabbeh Al Kaabi Adnoc

Adnoc taking on the world in renewable energy push

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is in talks to expand operations in the UK, US and East Mediterranean, with a focus on natural gas, hydrogen production and renewable energy storage, its newly appointed global growth director has said.  Musabbeh Al Kaabi, Adnoc’s executive director of low carbon solutions and international growth, told AGBI the company […]

People walk past the headquarters of Aldar Properties at Al Raha Beach in Abu Dhabi,

Saudi next on radar as Aldar builds on Mena expansion

Real estate developer Aldar Properties is scouting for development and joint venture opportunities in Saudi Arabia to help it expand in the region.  Based in the UAE, Aldar has projects in Egypt in addition to its core operations in Abu Dhabi and, more recently, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, following announcements in the past six […]

Nature, Outdoors, Sea

‘Pivotal’ year for Ras Al Khaimah, says property chief

RAK Properties, the Abu Dhabi-listed company developing much of the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, is seeking to capitalise on rising demand for local real estate.  It is in talks with several UAE developers and landowners to form joint ventures, according to chief executive Sameh Al Muhtadi. He declined to reveal names of prospective partners, […]

Arab banks UK property bond street

Arab banks tighten lending for Gulf-UK property investors

Middle East banks are reviewing lending criteria for GCC clients in the UK, responding to high interest rates and a trend towards investors diversifying portfolios to capture better yields.  For several years – and especially since interest rates shot up in the past 12 months – yields in sectors traditionally popular with Gulf investors, such […]