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UAE and UK partner to support women entrepreneurs

Cherie Blair Supplied
Cherie Blair, lawyer and founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, is urging business leaders to mentor more female entrepreneurs
  • Cherie Blair Foundation for Women unveils UAE-UK partnerships
  • UAE ambassador to UK says countries addressing world’s challenges
  • UK-UAE project also launched for decarbonisation of built environment 

The UAE-UK Business Council announced a new partnership with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women on Monday as it rallies business leaders to mentor more female entrepreneurs in the least developed countries. 

The 100,000 Women Programme has already secured the participation of over 100 business leaders in the UAE but it plans to turbo-charge the scheme over the year ahead. 

Cherie Blair unveiled the new partnership in a keynote speech at the business council’s 20th plenary meeting in Abu Dhabi, held on the first anniversary of the signing of two landmark bilateral agreements – the UAE-UK Partnership for the Future and the Sovereign Investment Partnership.

She said: “There has never been a more critical time to invest in women entrepreneurs, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the distance still left to travel to meet our global goals for gender equality. 

“Through this new partnership, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women is looking forward to recruiting more fantastic mentors and supporters from the UAE to enable our programmes to reach even more women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries.” 

Mansoor Abulhoul, UAE Ambassador to the UK, added: “The relationship between the UAE and the UK continues to go from strength to strength.

“By unlocking further economic opportunities together, we will be able to future-proof our societies and address the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Person, Human, Audience
The 100,000 Women Programme secures the participation of business leaders in the UAE

At the plenary meeting, co-chaired by Ahmed Al Sayegh and Lord Udny-Lister, the business council also announced a project to spur opportunities for UK-UAE collaboration on the decarbonisation of the built environment. 

It launched its Energy Transition White Paper which sets out proposals for bilateral cooperation on energy transition and will be submitted to both Governments for consideration later this year.

Al Sayegh said: “With one year to go until COP28 in the UAE, sustainability, decarbonisation and the energy transition will present particularly strong opportunities for collaboration between the UAE and the UK.” 

Lord Udny-Lister added: “Our bilateral trade and investment relationship is becoming increasingly diverse, and new opportunities for collaboration are emerging in sectors that are rich in technology and innovation.”

Majid Al Suwaidi, director general of the COP28 UAE Presidency, said: “What unites us is a belief that through cooperation we can unlock vast economic opportunities and climate progress.

“The development of innovative, future-critical projects such as the London Array – one of the largest offshore wind farms worldwide – exemplifies that approach.

“We look forward to building on this foundation as we accelerate towards net zero by the mid century.”

The project builds on the success of the first year of the Partnership for the Future and the Sovereign Investment Partnership can be realised, according to the British Ambassador to the UAE, Patrick Moody.

Trade between the UAE and UK reached nearly £14 billion ($15.95 billion) last year and there are more than 5,000 UK businesses operating in the UAE.

“The business council’s current campaigns in areas such as energy transition, women in business, healthcare and the decarbonisation of the built environment are aligned with the UK Government’s own ambitions to enhance cooperation with the UAE,” said Moody.

“We look forward to identifying further opportunities to work together over the next year and beyond.”

Juma Al Kait, assistant undersecretary for international trade, UAE Ministry of Economy, added: “It is imperative that the UAE and the UK maintain and leverage the existing long-standing bilateral ties and closely cooperate to advance common interests.

“We must share lessons learned and good practices and stimulate exchange of knowledge and expertise in realms of digital economy, sustainability and SMEs, through capitalising on our complementarities and through innovative models of partnerships across a vast variety of sector constellations. 

“The current GCC-UK FTA negotiations serve as a catalyst and an enabler of broader national economic diversification for all parties and the anticipated trade deal is bound to represent an opportunity to elevate our economic relations to new strategic levels.”

The UAE-UK Business Council, an organisation that brings business leaders, academics and entrepreneurs together, also announced a project aimed at fostering collaboration in cancer screening, diagnostics, treatment and care.

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