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Israel okays formation of R&D fund with UAE on tech projects

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid shakes hands with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, June 29, 2021. (Shlomi Amsalem/Government Press Office via AP)
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid shakes hands with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, June 29, 2021. (Shlomi Amsalem/Government Press Office via AP)

The cabinet approves a joint Israel-UAE R&D fund to support tech projects involving Israeli and Emirati companies.

The fund is designed to encourage collaboration on technological innovation and to help Israeli companies access resources that are not available in Israel, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

It will also help Israeli companies find Emirati partners, navigate local regulations and develop marketing strategies.

The fund, which was proposed by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen, will allocate NIS 15 million ($4.8 million) per year over the next decade. The UAE will provide matching funds, for a total of NIS 300 million ($95.5 million) for the life of the fund.

The UAE and Israel signed a normalization agreement in 2020 as part of the US-backed Abraham Accords.

During his December visit to the UAE, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his host Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan agreed to open the fund.

Lapid says in a statement that Israel and the UAE share a passion for advanced technology that improves citizens’ quality of life, protects the environment, and promotes economic development.

“The bilateral R&D fund is the engine to start the process in the private sector, by encouraging companies, with an emphasis on SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to connect, to develop, to create, and to market innovative technological products in the region and globally.”

He also thanks his Emirati counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed.

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