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Joint Israel-UAE taskforce to study ways to boost tech cooperation

Nonprofit Start-Up Nation Central and UAE’s Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Mahmoud Al Khajah to set up team to help connect Emirati and Israeli entrepreneurs in host of fields

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

UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Mahmoud Al Khajah, right, and Start-Up Nation Central's CEO Eugene Kandel; April 11, 2021 (Eyal-Marilu)
UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Mahmoud Al Khajah, right, and Start-Up Nation Central's CEO Eugene Kandel; April 11, 2021 (Eyal-Marilu)

The UAE’s new ambassador to Israel, Mohamed Mahmoud Al Khajah, and Start-Up Nation Central, a nonprofit organization seeking to boost Israel’s tech ecosystem, will set up a joint task force that will study ways to boost innovation cooperation between the nations.

The joint task force will aim to bring people together, share ideas and generate economic value for both countries, SNC said in a statement.

During his visit to SNC’s offices in Tel Aviv on Monday, the ambassador met with the nonprofit’s CEO Eugene Kandel and discussed areas of collaboration, including joint events, conferences, and ongoing meetings and programs to help both sides learn about each other’s tech ecosystems.

Teams from the embassy and Start-Up Nation Central also discussed ways of connecting Emirati and Israeli companies and entrepreneurs, especially in the fields of fintech, agri-food tech, education, cyber, digital health, energy, petrochemicals, cleantech and sustainability.

The parties agreed to use the UAE-IL Tech Zone community, set up last year, as the basis of the new relationship. Launched in December, the UAE-IL Tech Zone is an innovation community designed to enable practical collaboration between the two ecosystems. With over 1,000 members, the UAE-IL Tech Zone invites entrepreneurs, senior business executives, government officials and technology companies to join and cultivate the talent and resources shared by the UAE and Israel.

“In terms of tech cooperation there is an avenue of opportunities between the UAE and Israel just waiting to be harnessed,” Al Khajah said in a statement. “We are here to identify what sectors can prosper in the field of technological innovation and bridge together key partnerships that will thrive in the world market with contagious success.”

The UAE’s first ambassador to Israel, Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah, presents his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem on March 1, 2021. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

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, particularly in the field of technology.

“Start-Up Nation Central is an objective gateway to Israeli innovation tech ecosystem, and we are excited to play a major role in taking advantage of the historic opportunity presented by the Abraham Accords to connect UAE and Israel around technological innovation and create an immense value,” said SNC’s Kandel.

On Monday, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) officially launched its activities in Israel in a live online event to highlight the strategic opportunities and incentives for Israeli firms in the UAE.

“ADIO’s Israel office is our first international outpost, a reflection of our ambitions to support Israeli companies looking to set up in the UAE,” said Tariq Bin Hendi, director general of ADIO, at the event.

“Establishing our office here is an important milestone in the relations between our two markets and ADIO is fully committed to this partnership,” he added. “The Israeli office will enable companies, people and entrepreneurs to get to know us in-depth and understand how we operate.”

Both markets understand the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship, which will play a key role in creating solutions to address global strategies, he said.

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