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Israeli PM visits UAE, as countries eye $5bn in trade

Indoors, Person, Human WAM
Topics discussed during the meeting in Abu Dhabi included opportunities in various investment, economic, and development sectors, as well as food security and health fields
  • Bennett met with UAE President in Abu Dhabi
  • Agenda included investment opportunities, food security
  • UAE and Israel report $2.5bn in trade since September 2020

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday, where he met President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at Al Shati Palace.

Bennett said he looked forward to working jointly with the UAE to expand cooperation between the two countries, and the peoples of the region, UAE state news agency WAM reported.

Topics discussed during the meeting included opportunities in various investment, economic, and development sectors, as well as food security and health fields, and other vital sectors, the report added.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, the UAE minister of state for foreign trade, said deals between UAE and Israel had reached $2.5 billion since the two countries, along with Bahrain and the United States, signed the Abraham Accords peace agreement in September 2020.

Al Zeyoudi added that more than 65 deals and preliminary agreements had been signed between Israel and the UAE and their Business Council had reported that more than 1,000 Israeli companies will be operating in the UAE by the end of this year.

He predicted that annual trade is likely to reach $5 billion in the “upcoming few years”.

Seasoned Emirati investor Sabah Al-Binali, executive chairman of OurCrowd Arabia, who was appointed to his role with the world’s largest global venture investing platform just weeks after the signing of the Abraham Accords, said these predictions were possible within two years.

“The expected growth, I don’t think it’s much of a surprise,” Al-Binali said.

“I actually think that the growth will be exponential over the next few years, as the two economies and markets get to know each other better and learn how to work with each other more.”

“I believe that [growth] will happen. It might not be today or tomorrow, but within, let’s say the next two years, I expect that to happen.

“In particular, with Israel closed for a long time with Covid … you’re just going to see more and more trade as people absorb each other’s cultures,” he said.

Israel shut down its borders to foreigners in March 2020 but from March 1 this year it has allowed entry to all tourists, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.

OurCrowd, which also has offices in Sydney, Toronto, San Diego and New York, in November became the first Israeli venture capital company to be granted a licence by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the city’s main international financial hub.