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Abu Dhabi Investment Office forms alliance with Israel tech, investment bodies

Collaboration with Invest in Israel and the Israel Innovation Authority seeks to boost joint ventures and strengthen economic ties in wake of Abraham Accords

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Tariq Bin Hendi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, signs a cooperation agreement virtually with David Leffler, director general of the Ministry of Economy and Industry of Israel (on screen). (Courtesy)
Tariq Bin Hendi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, signs a cooperation agreement virtually with David Leffler, director general of the Ministry of Economy and Industry of Israel (on screen). (Courtesy)

The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) has signed cooperation agreements with two Israeli bodies, Invest in Israel and the Israel Innovation Authority, to speed up private sector collaborations on investment and innovation, according to the government entity responsible for attracting and facilitating investment in the emirate.

The agreements are part of a series of strategic initiatives ADIO is undertaking to drive greater private sector opportunities with Israel, the emirate’s statement said.

Invest in Israel is the investment promotion agency within Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry. It serves as a one-stop shop for foreign investors and connects the private and public sectors with the aim of attracting investments to Israel. The Israel Innovation Authority is an independent public agency whose mission is to promote the nation’s innovation ecosystem and set out policies to help create economic growth in Israel. As part of the agreements, ADIO will work closely with both organizations to enable collaboration opportunities between companies in the emirate and in Israel.

“As a regional leader in technology and R&D, Abu Dhabi sees synergies with Israeli entities across multiple innovation-focused sectors including agtech, biomedicine and advanced manufacturing,” said Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) in the statement. “The cooperation agreements mark a significant milestone on a journey to advance collaboration between our two markets in pursuit of solutions that can benefit the wider region.”

US President Donald Trump, center, with from left, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump, and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, during the Abraham Accords signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, September 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Abraham Accords signed in September 2020 have normalized relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, followed by agreements with Sudan and Morocco, creating a buzz of excitement regarding the potential for economic cooperation, particualrly in the field of technology.

“These mutual alignments will further strengthen the economic dialogue between Israel and the UAE and promote collaboration between the nations,” said Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Amir Peretz.

The cooperation agreement with Invest in Israel includes creating company introductions and a series of webinars about each market, as well as deepening existing cooperation and supporting mutual investment by highlighting opportunities. ADIO and the Israel Innovation Authority are working to set up a joint program to complement and pilot the development of new Israeli technologies in Abu Dhabi, to demonstrate the applicability of a variety of technological innovations in a multitude of sectors.

“Abu Dhabi is an established destination for businesses and startups from all over the world,” said Tariq Bin Hendi, director general of ADIO. “We have had an amazing response from Israeli companies and are currently in discussions with a large number of Israeli entrepreneurs, startups and businesses about expanding to Abu Dhabi, some of which already have. The cooperation agreements with Invest in Israel and the Israel Innovation Authority will accelerate partnerships and opportunities for businesses in our two markets.”

Ami Appelbaum, chief scientist at the Ministry of Economy and Industry and chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority, said that the agreement with ADIO is a “unique opportunity” to match the UAE’s “dynamic economy and Israel’s sweeping innovative culture,” and will benefit both parties.

The agreements are part of a series of official partnerships ADIO has made with Israeli entities and institutions, including the Israel Export Institute, to strengthen the foundations for bilateral trade and investment with Israel. ADIO recently opened its first international office in Tel Aviv.

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