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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
Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund

PIF maps out plans to boost Saudi private sector

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has launched a package of initiatives aimed at increasing involvement by local businesses in its portfolio activities.  The three moves announced on Tuesday include the official launch of PIF’s Local Content Growth programme – known as Musahama – which aims to increase the share of local spend in the sovereign […]

Gulf Capital's Karim El Solh believes a stronger investment banking sector "would help all players"

GCC private equity sector held back by lack of competition

The GCC private equity industry is failing to reach its potential because of a lack of competition and a scarcity of local investment banks to help in dealmaking, according to Karim El Solh, chief executive of investment firm Gulf Capital. He believes a more mature investment banking industry would bring more players into private equity […]

Naqvi Abraaj

Abraaj Capital founder loses extradition appeal to the US

Arif Naqvi, the founder of what was once the largest private equity firm in the Middle East, has lost a bid to challenge his extradition from London to the US to face fraud charges.  US prosecutors allege that the Pakistan-born businessman defrauded investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, by concealing a liquidity crisis […]

Person, human, Woman, man

Oracle Energy looks to the Gulf after Pakistan hydrogen project

Oracle Energy – a joint venture between UK-listed Oracle Power and an investment vehicle of Dubai royal Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum – is “open” to developing clean energy projects in the Gulf. With its debut green hydrogen plant planned in Pakistan, Oracle Energy co-founder Naheed Memon told AGBI: “Expanding in the Middle East is […]

There are 25 percent more Ukrainian businesses in Dubai than there were a year ago, according to Ukrainian Business Council president for Dubai and North Emirates, Olena Shyrokova

Ukrainian companies flock to Dubai as conflict rages on

The number of Ukrainian businesses setting up in Dubai has risen by around 25 percent in the past year, as companies tap the Middle East to sustain growth while war continues at home.  “For business owners setting up in Dubai, it is not about leaving Ukraine,” Olena Shyrokova, president of the Ukrainian Business Council (UBC) […]

UAE trade minister

UAE minister predicts 2.8% GDP trade pact boost by 2030

The UAE’s first bilateral free trade agreements, signed in the past two years, will boost its GDP by 2.8 percent by the end of the decade, according to the country’s trade minister, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi. The growth will result from access to new markets and populations in Indonesia, Israel and India, as the UAE […]

Saudi Arabia's long list of mega-projects is taking up much of the construction capacity in the country, giving Ardco a hurdle to overcome

Ardco’s $1.6bn vision blurred by Saudi mega-projects

A slowdown in residential property demand and construction capacity issues due to Saudi Arabia’s bulging projects pipeline will be among some of the challenges facing Ardco, the latest player to the Riyadh property market and development scene, experts said. Ardco, which is also known as the Riyadh Development Company, announced last month it is becoming […]

Manchester City's Etihad Stadium can currently hold 53,400 people

Abu Dhabi owners reveal $361m Manchester City stadium upgrade

Manchester City FC, majority-owned by Abu Dhabi United Group, this week accelerated plans to expand its stadium in the north west of England by launching a formal consultation on the $361 million project.  As well as increasing the size of the North Stand by 7,700 people to create a new capacity of 60,000 at the […]

The Russia-Ukraine war continues near the frontline town of Bakhmut on February 21

One year on, what the war in Ukraine means for the Middle East

A year since Russia invaded Ukraine, the war’s impacts are reverberating across the Middle East and North Africa.  While some Gulf oil producers have prospered during the conflict, it has heaped suffering on some of the most fragile and volatile economies in the region.  “It has contributed to the difficulties in Egypt and the worsening […]

tower, gulf

Dar Al Arkan subsidiary completes $600m London listing

Saudi Arabian real estate firm Dar Al Arkan’s independent global subsidiary has completed a listing on the main market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), with a valuation of SAR 2.26 billion ($600 million). Dar Global has been admitted to the ‘standard segment’ of the official list of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority as part […]

Factory, Building, Architecture
  • Analysis

Southeast Asian investors flocking to Gulf to deploy capital

A growing number of businesses from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) are investing and expected to set up operations in the GCC to capitalise on deepening trade links. Freddie Neve, senior Middle East associate at UK-based think tank Asia House, said that rapidly expanding ties between the Gulf and emerging economies in Asia […]

ICD Brookfield Place opened in September 2020 at the DIFC

Dubai preps office projects to ease supply squeeze

Dubai needs a fresh wave of office development, analysts have said, to plug a shortage of prime space that could hinder the government’s efforts to attract more companies to the UAE.  “The big story in Dubai’s office market is the shortage of grade A office space,” said Faisal Durrani, head of Middle East research at […]

UK body spray maker Confetti maps Gulf expansion

Gulf countries may be synonymous with luxury but there’s a gap in the fragrances market for lower cost products, according to Ori Leslau, founder and chief executive of Confetti Group. The UK company is about to launch in the UAE, then in Saudi Arabia later this year.  Marketed as “perfume in a can”, Confetti’s products […]

Four Seasons Dubai

Investors circle to buy trophy Emirates hotel assets

The UAE’s relatively quiet hotel investment landscape will pick up this year as foreign buyers join local investors in competing for a slice of the resurgent, post-pandemic hospitality sector.  “The region is registering such high levels of occupancy at the moment that there is a lot of international money ready to invest in hotel assets,” […]

Bottle, Perfume, Cosmetics

Gulf fragrance market strikes the right note

Some of the Middle East’s biggest perfume makers, including Chalhoub Group and Ajmal Perfumes, are ramping up global growth plans as traditional Arabic scents gain in popularity abroad.  Luxury brands franchisee and distributor Chalhoub is close to striking deals to export its own fragrance brand, Ghawali, to countries including the UK and France. The first […]

Woman, Human, Building

Aldar forecasts $5.4bn by 2028 from Dubai partnership

Aldar, which entered into a joint venture with Dubai Holding for the first time this month to build homes in the emirate, is looking for other opportunities in Dubai. The developer’s chief financial and sustainability officer Greg Fewer said it was likely to look at investment opportunities in commercial offices and logistics property “in the […]

Woman, bride, man

New marriage laws set to boost Dubai’s wedding industry

Dubai hotels and wedding planners are preparing for an influx of new work following last week’s announcement that non-Muslim couples can marry in civil ceremonies run by local courts for the first time in the emirate’s history.  Industry representatives told AGBI that, contrary to international reports, the new service is unlikely to open the door […]

Coat, Clothing, Person

Aramco-backed Insilico opens new lab to ‘extend human life’

Insilico Medicine, the Hong Kong-based Aramco-backed health technology company, opened its eighth global laboratory this week at Abu Dhabi’s Masdar complex. The lab aims to support Middle East efforts to find new drugs that prolong human life. “My hope for the region is that it realises it can be a big player in drug discovery,” […]

GCC construction contracts

Gulf project contracts to hit $110bn this year

A combined $110 billion worth of project contracts are expected to be awarded in the GCC this year, with Saudi Arabia accounting for more than half of the total as it ramps up its Vision 2030 economic diversification plans.  Saudi Arabia make up $64 billion of the combined value, followed by the UAE ($23 billion), […]

Technology is believed to be the No1 disruptor this year

Technology is ‘biggest disruptor’ for regional CEOs this year

Two-thirds of chief executives in the Middle East view technology as having the biggest potential to disrupt their businesses in 2023 and beyond, above supply chain, regulations, energy and other issues. For its latest annual CEO Survey, PwC asked 4,410 chief executives across 64 countries the extent to which a range of potential disruptions would […]

All GCC capital markets are expected to be busy in 2023

‘Pent-up demand’ to lift GCC markets, says law firm boss

Appetite for GCC debt and equity will pick up this year after a sluggish 12 months, as investors take comfort in a more predictable interest rate environment and the region’s relative political calm.  That is according to Jonathan Fried, Middle East managing partner of global law firm Linklaters, who took over the reins heading up […]

Global Partners BTR property Dubai

UAE fund manager raises $212m to target build-to-rent market

Global Partners, a Dubai-based institutional fund manager, has raised $212 million from global investors through its debut property fund, and intends to build two residential projects near Dubai Water Canal.  Based in the emirate’s financial free zone Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Global Partners specialises in alternative investments and aims to tap the UAE’s growing […]