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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
Expat employees in the UAE traditionally leave with a "golden goodbye" bonus. But this is starting to change

Expats in UAE get ready to leave ‘golden goodbye’ behind

The “golden goodbye” has long been a staple of UAE office life. Expat staff are handed a lump sum by their employer when they leave, based on a percentage of their salary and length of service.  But the practice is starting to change. More companies are looking to set up workplace pension and saving plans instead.  […]

Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Cop28 president-designate, opened trading on Wall Street at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday

Fossil fuel phase-down ‘inevitable’ says Al Jaber

Cop28 president-designate Sultan Al Jaber this week implored world leaders to cut reliance on fossil fuels to meet carbon reduction targets.  Addressing the UN Climate Ambition Summit in New York, Al Jaber – who is also group chief executive of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company – urged nations to fast track the transition to a […]

A Bako electric car in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia. Clean transport is one of the many sectors that can benefit from HSBC's $1bn fund

Mena companies can tap $1bn HSBC climate tech fund

HSBC has set aside $1 billion to help finance early-stage climate tech companies around the world, and “transformative investment opportunities” exist in the Middle East and Turkey, according to its regional chief.  “The Middle East has a key role to play in the transition to a net zero global economy,” said Patricia Gomes, regional head […]

Climate health risks

Al Jaber: climate change health risks need more investment

Cop28 participating nations must increase financing to identify and mitigate climate change’s risks to human health, the summit’s president designate Sultan Al Jaber has said. “The connection between health and climate change is evident, yet it has not been a specific focus of the Cop process – until now,” Al Jaber told the UN General […]

Northern Ireland Gulf trade

Northern Ireland keen to deepen trade ties with Gulf

The recent Brexit deal for Northern Ireland places it in a strong position to deepen trade links with the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), especially in manufacturing and life sciences, according to the regional head of Invest Northern Ireland.  The economic development agency aims to grow the number of Northern Irish businesses active in […]


UAE companies offered free emissions assessments

ImpactGulf, a carbon accounting and sustainability consultancy, is offering 71 UAE-registered businesses a complimentary assessment of their greenhouse gas emissions over the past five years.  The ‘71 Climate Heroes’ initiative – named to reflect the year the UAE was established – is open to the first companies and institutions that register by December 2. Any […]

Expo City Dubai will host Cop28. Sponsors will be able to showcase their brand and stage a corporate presence in the Cop28 UAE Green Zone

Cop28 unveils first round of sponsors

Mashreq, Emirates NBD, Investcorp and DP World have been announced as among the first round of official sponsors for the Cop28 climate change summit, to be held in Dubai later this year.  Sponsors have been selected by the Cop28 Sponsorship Committee, which comprises seven internal Cop28 departments and an independent third party, professional services company […]

Foxtail millet could help Gulf food security

Resilient foxtail millet could aid Gulf food security 

Researchers in Abu Dhabi have identified what they claim is a highly climate-resilient cereal crop – never farmed at scale before in the Middle East – that could pose a solution to the region’s escalating food security problem.  Michael Purugganan, professor of biology at NYU Abu Dhabi, and his team published a study this summer […]

A Rolls-Royce aircraft engine on display in Dubai in 2019. The British manufacturer will provide technical expertise to Qatar's Project Oryx

Qatar plans $5bn UK-Doha green tech centre

The not-for-profit Qatar Foundation, which supports education, research and community development projects, is to invest in a £4 billion ($5 billion) green energy research and development centre spanning the UK and Qatar.  The project has been dubbed the “MIT for UK energy transition” by organisers at management consultancy McKinsey & Co, The Sunday Times reported, […]

Al Jaber first UN global climate stocktake

Al Jaber responds to first UN global climate stocktake

Cop28 president designate Sultan Al Jaber has urged nations to “urgently disrupt business-as-usual” to meet climate change goals, as the UN warned in its first global climate stocktake that progress made to date has been “inadequate”. The stocktake is a comprehensive review of countries’ progress on cutting emissions since the Paris Agreement was signed in […]

Saudi water agency Global Water Organisation

Saudi water agency seeking global partnerships

A Saudi government body set up this week to address global water challenges hopes to collaborate with other organisations across the world to meet its goals, the kingdom’s environment minister said on Friday.  “The vision for this initiative is not just about creating a research and policy platform,” said Abdul Rahman Al Fadhli, Saudi Arabia’s […]

Emirates NBD sustainable finance

Emirates NBD to expand sustainable finance offering

Dubai’s largest lender Emirates NBD plans to increase its provision of sustainable finance, including directly issuing green debt and other instruments to support social and environmental aims.  The bank previously issued ESG-linked debt instruments via its investment banking arm, EmCap (Emirates NBD Capital), in 2019 for what it claims was the region’s first corporate green […]

Education in the Gulf

UAE refocuses education to be fit for modern demands

The UAE is expanding its school curriculum beyond academic subjects and setting up vocational colleges to match the education demands of the modern labour market.  In one sign of its willingness to reform entrenched practices to boost outcomes, the Emirates has made its “Salama” Arabic language, Islamic studies and ethics curriculum for fourth-graders optional.    For […]

Saudi education plans include incentivising teacher training
  • Analysis

Inside Saudi Arabia’s plans to raise the bar on education

Saudi Arabia has launched a series of initiatives to address deep-seated issues in the quality of its education. Last month the giga-project Neom unveiled plans to roll out a “comprehensive” early-childhood-to age-18 education programme. The scheme includes a career-oriented talent academy, an education, research and innovation foundation and the Neom U university. Elsewhere, the kingdom’s […]

COP28 president-designate Sultan Al Jaber addresses delegates during the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya Video length: 03:55

Cop28 to invest billions in African clean energy

A UAE finance initiative led by Cop28 will put $4 billion direct investment and has pledged billions more into clean energy projects in Africa, the climate change summit’s president-designate Sultan Al Jaber said this week.   Al Jaber told the inaugural African Climate Summit in Nairobi on Monday that the initiative – involving high-profile UAE-based investors […]

The UAE Carbon Alliance is chaired by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, who is also president and CEO of UICCA

UAE companies pledge $450m to buy African carbon credits

The UAE Carbon Alliance, a coalition of UAE companies aiming to develop a carbon market in the emirates, has pledged to buy $450 million of African carbon credits by 2030.  The alliance signed a non-binding agreement with the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI), which was launched last year at Cop27 in Egypt to harness potential […]

Bicester Village

Middle East shoppers surge at UK’s Bicester Village

Travelling on the train to Bicester Village, do not be surprised if you hear announcements in Arabic as you approach the British designer outlet retail destination an hour from London.  This is just one example of the steps Bicester Village’s parent company Value Retail has taken in recent years to attract more Middle East shoppers.  The […]

Drought and desertification in China

Arab nations and China to launch drought research centre 

Representatives from Arab countries, China and a string of UN agencies on Tuesday agreed to establish a research centre for drought and desertification.  The China-Arab International Research Centre for Drought, Desertification and Land Degradation will be built in an as yet unnamed location by China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration and the Secretariat of the […]

Saudi net zero

Saudi Arabia plans zero carbon industrial park

Plans for a zero carbon industrial park at King Abdullah Economic City, the megacity being developed on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, are under way following an agreement with green investment company Skytower. Saudi Press Agency said that King Abdullah Economic City’s organising body signed the deal with Skytower on Monday. It reported that the […]

UAE food waste

HeroGo steps up fight against ‘ugly’ food waste

HeroGo, an online delivery service for “ugly” or surplus produce, is planning to cut food waste beyond the UAE via partnerships with supermarkets and hotels, its founder reveals.  “To have the biggest impact we need to be in multiple markets, so we’re in talks to expand in the near term,” HeroGo’s Daniel Solomon tells AGBI.  […]

US Saudi chemical deal Dow

Dow Chemical oils wheels for Saudi Arabia expansion

The Dow Chemical Company has put Saudi Arabia at the heart of its Middle East expansion strategy, its new regional president told AGBI. The multinational corporation, which makes chemicals used in everything from oil and plastics to paints and building materials, also wants to capitalise on higher gas demand in the region.  Moosa Al Moosa, […]

Cop28 Dubai agenda

Cop28 reveals programme for Dubai event  

The Cop28 UAE presidency has unveiled the two-week programme of topics to be discussed at the UN climate change conference on 30 November to 12 December. Cop28 will take place as a series of high-level talks alongside public discussions and other events at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai.  Last month the event’s president-designate Sultan […]