Israel, the United States, India and the United Arab Emirates announce the launching of a new website for their fledgling I2U2 grouping that will enable private companies to submit business proposals for backing from the inter-governmental forum.
The announcement is made on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly by US Undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Jose Fernandez, Israeli Foreign Ministry director Ronen Levi, UAE Minister of State Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh and Indian External Affairs Secretary Dammu Ravi.
Established last year, the I2U2 partnership aims to bolster cooperation between participating countries in the fields of food security, water, energy, transportation, space, health and technology.
It is also seen as part of a US effort to limit China’s influence in the Middle East and Asia. From Israel’s perspective, the forum is another tool to bolster opposition to Iran while also strengthening the Abraham Accords.
“This website will give an opportunity for businesses to interact and collaborate together to do enduring projects and partnerships in various parts of the world,” says India’s Ravi.
“The creation of this website symbolizes another tangible step forward in our partnership to mobilize private sector capital and expertise to modernize infrastructure, decarbonize industries, enhance public health and promote the development of green technologies,” says the UAE’s Sayegh.
The US’s Fernandez also announces the establishment of the I2U2 Private Enterprise Partnership, a new public-private partnership between the US Department of State, the US-UAE Business Council, the UAE-India Business Council and the UAE-Israel Business Council.
The partnership will “work to increase awareness of the I2U2 initiative in business communities and support projects and other efforts that will further I2U2 goals,” Fernandez says.
Representatives from the three business councils join the event virtually and sign a memorandum of understanding establishing the new partnership.
Speaking to The Times of Israel after the website’s rollout, Fernandez said the general objective of I2U2
“is to galvanize investments by the four countries working together to show the benefits of cooperation in the region.”
He reveals that participants are also looking at investments from countries other than the four member nations, including in southern Africa.
“We wanted to create a bigger pipeline of projects, and so the idea of the website is to have projects submitted, and then the four countries will then decide which ones we want to support,” Fernandez says. “It’s a way of streamlining the process and trying to find more investment. We have interest, we have received projects, but we want more.”