A visiting UAE delegation and Israeli officials signed several agreements on Tuesday to support cooperation in investment, tourism, financial services and technology financed via the newly launched Abraham Fund.
The Abraham Fund, launched under a commitment made in last month’s Abraham Accord peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, will mobilize more than $3 billion in private sector-led investment and development initiatives to promote regional economic cooperation and prosperity in the Middle East.
Focused on “people-centric investments, ”the fund also aims to inspire young Arabs and Israelis to build a future that serves both themselves and their communities," explains His Excellency Ahmed Al Sayegh, UAE minister of state and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Global Market.
“It reflects the desire of the three countries to put the well-being of people first, regardless of their creed or identity,” he said, adding that the UAE “is confident the initiative can be a source of economic and technological strength for the region, while simultaneously improving the lives of those who need the most support.”
The delegation visit comes in the wake of the historic peace accord between the UAE and Israel, where both countries committed to multilateral engagement that benefits the entire region. Officials say that countries outside the region are also invited to advance the fund’s objectives.
“The Abraham Fund will tackle challenges facing the region and increase economic opportunity for everyone,” said Adam Boehler, CEO of the US International Development Finance Corporation. “We are excited to take this historic partnership to the next level to promote shared prosperity.”
The UAE delegation was led by Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, and included Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, and Omar Ghobash, Assistant Minister for Culture and Public Diplomacy, as well as officials from the ministries of Finance, Economy, and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
During the visit, both sides also discussed ways to elevate relations in several critical fields through the signing of agreements that focus on the promotion and protection of investments, air services and entry visa requirements.
The countries along with the US will trilaterally open a development office based in Israel to identify and initiate strategic projects, including those that catalyze economic growth, improve standards of living, and create high-value, high-quality jobs.
The Abraham Fund will also help to increase energy security through the provision of reliable and affordable access to electricity and help to improve agricultural productivity as well as access to technology.
“The UAE can benefit from the Israeli tech sector by adopting Israel’s technological solutions to health problems for the UAE’s health system challenges. On the other hand, UAE investors can now take part in the Israeli tech industry, by investing in companies that are on their way to an exit or an IPO,” explains David Chertok, a partner at Meitar, one of Israel’s largest law firms.
Since the August 13 announcement that the UAE and Israel would normalize relations, the countries have rushed to expand cooperation across vital sectors, including health, technology, energy and tourism. The UAE’s Etihad Airways made history this week, as the first Gulf airline to operate a passenger flight to Israel.
Officials say that the fund is a manifestation of the new spirit of friendship and cooperation between the US, Israel and the UAE as well their common will to advance the region. “It’s an essential tool in the realization of the vision of our leaders to enhance regional cooperation. … The combination of business, finance and the government is essential in the creation of projects on the ground,” said Ronen Peretz, director-general of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.
The UAE is the third Arab state to make peace with Israel, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
Original story written by Hermoine Macura-Noble, published with permission from The Media Line