The Finance World Magazine| Edition: January 2023

The January edition of The Finance World Magazine (TFW) is out now! Featured interview with Allae Almanini, Chief Financial Officer of Dubai Healthcare City Authority, highlights the efforts made by Dubai Healthcare City Authority to attract and retain best-in-class regional and international healthcare businesses and sheds light on future investment opportunities in the UAE’s healthcare sector. Through this edition, we also bring you insights on topics like the Central Bank of the UAE announcing new initiatives to promote transformation and digitalization, Dubai’s real estate expecting the best year ever, Saudi Arabia's construction sector remaining the strongest across MENA, and many more key informational articles in the finance sector. Keep yourself up to date with all financial sector news with our current news segments. Each person can find something unique from us. We believe our readers deserve real value from what we have to offer.

The January edition of The Finance World Magazine (TFW) is out now! Featured interview with Allae Almanini, Chief Financial Officer of Dubai Healthcare City Authority, highlights the efforts made by Dubai Healthcare City Authority to attract and retain best-in-class regional and international healthcare businesses and sheds light on future investment opportunities in the UAE’s healthcare sector.

Through this edition, we also bring you insights on topics like the Central Bank of the UAE announcing new initiatives to promote transformation and digitalization, Dubai’s real estate expecting the best year ever, Saudi Arabia's construction sector remaining the strongest across MENA, and many more key informational articles in the finance sector.

Keep yourself up to date with all financial sector news with our current news segments. Each person can find something unique from us. We believe our readers deserve real value from what we have to offer.


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Dubai Leads the Globe in Tourist Expenditure and Generates $29.4 Billion<br />

UAE Ranks Among Top Crypto Job Markets in the <strong>World</strong><br />

UAE Reinforcing its Position as a Beacon of Sustainable Energy<br />

Dubai’s Real Estate to Witness the Best Year Ever<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Future Investment Opportunities<br />

in UAE's Healthcare Sector<br />

Allae Almanini, chief financial officer of Dubai Healthcare City Authority,<br />

provides insight into investing in the UAE’s healthcare sector<br />

UAE - AED 60 | USA - USD 16.5 KSA - SR<br />

61 | Qatar - QAR 60 Oman - OMR 6.3 |<br />

Bahrain - BD 6.2 Kuwait - KWD 5 | UK -<br />

£12 | EU - €14<br />

P15 | CBUAE Announces New<br />

Initiatives to Promote<br />

Transformation and Digitalization<br />

P22| Saudi Arabia's Construction<br />

Sector Remains the Strongest<br />

Across MENA<br />




www.evonith.com<br />

Alferon Management Private Limited

UAE - AED 30 | USA - USD 8.5 | KSA - SR<br />

60 | Qatar - QAR 30 | Oman - OMR 3.5<br />

| Bahrain - BD 3.5 | Kuwait - KWD 2.5<br />

| UK - £6.5 | EU - €7.5<br />

September 2022<br />





N O W<br />

DECEMBER 2022<br />

NOVEMBER 2022<br />

Blockchain and its importance in virtual asset world<br />

Air Taxis: From fantasy to reality in Dubai<br />

DeFi modernizing crypto lending routes<br />




<strong>The</strong> government’s assistance has<br />

accelerated the development of<br />

EdTech startups.<br />




Golden visa holders in the<br />

UAE can purchase specialized<br />

health insurance plans.<br />

Regulation of NFT trading in the UAE:<br />

Why It Matters?<br />

JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />

OCTOBER 2022<br />

SEPTEMBER 2022<br />

Contact us at:<br />

+971 58 591 8580<br />

www.thefinanceworld.com<br />

4 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />


Editor’s Note<br />

Contact:<br />

+971 58 591 8580<br />

Advertisement queries:<br />

Editorial:<br />

Press Release<br />

For News<br />

For Partnerships<br />

Public Relations<br />

For Printed Copy<br />

Published By:<br />



Approved and Licensed By:<br />

National Media Council,UAE<br />

com<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Finance</strong> <strong>World</strong> (TFW) has taken constant<br />

efforts to make sure that content is accurate as<br />

on the date of publication. <strong>The</strong> published articles,<br />

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is published in a good faith and opinions and<br />

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We regret that we cannot guarantee and accept no<br />

liability for any loss or damage of any kind caused<br />

by this magazine and errors and for the accuracy<br />

of claims in any forms by any advertisers or<br />

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Trademarks of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Finance</strong> <strong>World</strong> and its content<br />

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Reaching a visionary goal requires<br />

one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE is reinforcing its position as a beacon of sustainable<br />

energy to further support its superior economic growth<br />

and prosperity. Under the leadership of His Highness<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President<br />

and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai,<br />

Dubai ranks among the top job markets in the world and leads the<br />

globe in tourist expenditure, generating $29.4 B.<br />

New deals and partnerships augment the global position of<br />

the UAE’s thriving healthcare sector, together with the agile<br />

policymaking that is attracting further investors from all over the<br />

world. In addition to pinpointing the efforts being made by Dubai<br />

Healthcare City Authority to attract and retain best-in-class regional<br />

and international healthcare businesses into its community, our<br />

cover story sheds light on future investment opportunities in the<br />

UAE’s healthcare sector.<br />

As our readers always expect, this edition includes the latest<br />

trends and updates from the finance sector, such as corporate<br />

results, corporate tax, startups, banking, funding and investment,<br />

fintech, digital assets, and topics such as the Central Bank of the<br />

UAE announcing new initiatives to promote transformation and<br />

digitalization, Dubai’s real estate expecting the best year ever, Saudi<br />

Arabia’s construction sector remaining the strongest across MENA,<br />

and many more.<br />

Providing our readers with latest and credible finance news, with<br />

the aim of raising financial literacy, is what defines our vision that<br />

goes hand in hand with that of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin<br />

Rashid Al Maktoum, to set Dubai apart as a fast-paced and forwardlooking<br />

economy.<br />

- Ambrish Agarwal, Editor in Chief<br />

Advertisers advertised in this guide are included on a sponsored basis.<br />

Details are correct at the time of going to press, but offers and prices<br />

may change.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 5<br />

September 2022 3

Contents <strong>January</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong><br />

P07 | Global News<br />


P08 | 12 Personal Financial Tips<br />

for Better Financial Planning<br />


P10 | New Partnerships Enrich<br />

UAE’s Banking Ecosystem and<br />

Offer Help to SMEs<br />

P12 | UAE Banking News<br />


P15 | CBUAE Announces<br />

New Initiatives to Promote<br />

Transformation and Digitalization<br />


P17 | A Fintech Boom in Africa<br />

is Attracting International<br />

Investments<br />

P19 | Fintech News<br />

START-UP<br />

P32 | <strong>The</strong> Cost of Starting a<br />

Business in Dubai<br />

P34 | Start-up News<br />

ENERGY<br />

P36 | UAE Reinforcing its<br />

Position as a Beacon of<br />

Sustainable Energy<br />

P38 | Energy News<br />


P41 | New Deals and<br />

Partnerships Augment the Global<br />

Position of UAE’s Healthcare<br />

Sector<br />

P44 | Healthcare News<br />


P54 | Dubai’s Real Estate to<br />

Witness the Best Year Ever<br />

P56 | Real Estate News<br />


P58 | Sheikh Mohammed bin<br />

Rashid approves integrated<br />

platform for investment in vital<br />

sectors<br />

P60 | Funding & Investment<br />

News<br />

P62 | Local News<br />


P22 | Saudi Arabia’s Construction<br />

Sector Remains the Strongest<br />

Across MENA<br />

P24 | Business News<br />


P26 | Allae Almanini, Chief<br />

Financial Officer of Dubai<br />

Healthcare City Authority<br />



P46 | Multiply Group leads GCC<br />

M&A in Q3 2022<br />

P48 | Mergers & Acquisitions<br />

News<br />


P50 | UAE Ranks Among Top<br />

Crypto Job Markets in the<br />

<strong>World</strong><br />

P53 | Cryptocurrency News<br />


P64 | Is Digital Gold a good<br />

investment<br />


P68 | ADX is MENA’s New Hive<br />

for Global Investors<br />

P70 | Corporate Results<br />

TRAVEL<br />

P72 | Dubai Leads the Globe<br />

in Tourist Expenditure and<br />

Generates $29.4 B<br />

P31 P74 | Travel News<br />

6 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Investors are still<br />

concerned about<br />

the inflation<br />

forecast<br />

<strong>The</strong> dollar weakened recently,<br />

but its losses were restrained<br />

by data released that showed<br />

wholesale inflation in the<br />

United States increased more than<br />

anticipated in November. This data<br />

supported the idea that the Federal<br />

Reserve might need to maintain<br />

higher interest rates for longer. <strong>The</strong><br />

US dollar made the most progress<br />

upward when compared to currencies<br />

that are linked to commodities, such<br />

as the Australian and New Zealand<br />

dollars. However, it briefly rose as<br />

much as 0.5% when compared to the<br />

pound after data showed that the UK<br />

economy recovered in October from<br />

a public holiday for Queen Elizabeth’s<br />

funeral, but still pointed to a gloomy<br />

outlook. Following a low of $1.2207<br />

earlier in the session, the pound was<br />

last up 0.2% at $1.2287. It was also<br />

down 0.1% against the euro at 86.03<br />

pence.<br />

Global News<br />

Bank of England: Increasing<br />

medium-term inflation<br />

expectations among UK citizens<br />

Despite a decline in forecasts<br />

for the coming year, the<br />

British public’s estimates<br />

for inflation over the<br />

medium term increased somewhat<br />

last month, according to a quarterly<br />

central bank survey released. From<br />

3.2% in August to 3.4% in November,<br />

the public’s forecast for inflation over<br />

the next one to two years increased,<br />

matching a level from May that was<br />

the highest since November 2013.<br />

Inflation expectations for the next<br />

year decreased from 4.9% in August<br />

to 4.8%, while those for the next five<br />

years increased from 3.1% to 3.3% in<br />

November.<br />

Dubai International Chamber<br />

broadens its global reach<br />

Dubai International<br />

Chamber opens three new<br />

international representative<br />

offices in Cairo, Tel Aviv,<br />

and Istanbul, respectively. Dubai<br />

International Chamber is one of the<br />

three chambers functioning under<br />

Dubai Chambers. In the presence<br />

of Mariam Khalifa Al Kaabi, UAE<br />

Ambassador to Egypt, Omar Khan,<br />

Executive Director, International<br />

Offices at Dubai International<br />

Chamber, and numerous prominent<br />

Emirati and Egyptian business<br />

leaders, the Cairo office was formally<br />

inaugurated at a special event. <strong>The</strong><br />

new opportunities serve Dubai<br />

Chambers’ strategic objectives<br />

to draw foreign investment and<br />

business to Dubai and to promote the<br />

international growth of its members.<br />

Europe’s energy industry falls<br />

under pressure<br />

<strong>The</strong> impact of the cold snap<br />

on Europe’s energy industry<br />

was evident as electricity<br />

prices rose. Electricity<br />

dealers charged an eye-watering<br />

£5,000 ($6,130) per megawatt hour<br />

for the height of the evening demand<br />

when Britain was covered in snow.<br />

A price in the hundreds would be<br />

more typical. <strong>The</strong> benchmark price<br />

on the Nord Pool exchange, which<br />

covers Norway, Sweden, and other<br />

countries, was expected to surpass<br />

€400 per MWh ($422). France’s<br />

nuclear power plants had their highest<br />

output since March, which was better<br />

news. <strong>The</strong> weekend saw no more cuts<br />

announced by the electrical supplier<br />

EDF in France following months of<br />

maintenance issues.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 7

Personal <strong>Finance</strong><br />

12 Personal Financial Tips for Better<br />

Financial Planning<br />

Being responsible with<br />

your finances isn’t always<br />

enjoyable, especially when<br />

your pals are pleading with<br />

you to go out on the weekends, or the<br />

newest technological advancement<br />

that you’ve been eyeing becomes<br />

available. <strong>The</strong> temptation to spend<br />

money can be great and might result<br />

in making bad financial decisions. To<br />

enjoy life’s simple pleasures while also<br />

managing your money sensibly, there<br />

are many options.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are some fundamentals of<br />

financial guidance that everyone,<br />

regardless of circumstance, needs to<br />

adhere to. Making this decision will<br />

help you maintain sound personal<br />

finances. Financial management can<br />

be considerably simpler once you<br />

get the fundamentals down. When<br />

you’re ready, you can continue with<br />

some of many more detailed money<br />

management advice.<br />

Invest in the Proper Insurance<br />

Whether a natural disaster takes<br />

off your roof or you are in a vehicle<br />

accident, insurance can be quite<br />

helpful in unfortunate circumstances.<br />

However, too many individuals<br />

frequently end up being forced<br />

Nobody enjoys<br />

paying taxes or<br />

filing them, but<br />

not doing neither<br />

can put you in a<br />

lot of financial<br />

difficulty.<br />

into expensive insurance policies.<br />

<strong>The</strong>refore, consider purchasing life<br />

insurance if someone depends on your<br />

income, but life insurance isn’t usually<br />

required if you don’t have dependents.<br />

Aside from just annoyances,<br />

you should think about purchasing<br />

insurance. Invest in health,<br />

auto, disability, and renters or<br />

homeowner’s insurance. By the<br />

same token, you may want to avoid<br />

purchasing payment protection<br />

plans, smartphone insurance, travel<br />

insurance, or extended warranties<br />

as these coverage options may not<br />

always be necessary and can be very<br />

expensive.<br />

Don’t overuse your credit card<br />

Similar to power tools, credit cards<br />

are practical but also potentially<br />

dangerous. Utilizing your credit card<br />

responsibly and maintaining your<br />

credit utilisation ratio under 30% can<br />

help you maintain a healthy credit<br />

score.<br />

It’s crucial to maintain your credit<br />

score because it’s used for many<br />

financial transactions, including<br />

getting a mortgage or applying for<br />

an auto loan. Verify that there are no<br />

mistakes on your free annual credit<br />

reports. You should perform this at<br />

least once a year as a routine action.<br />

You can check for any problems that<br />

might be reducing your credit score<br />

by periodically ordering a copy of<br />

your credit report.<br />

8 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Remember to file your taxes<br />

Nobody enjoys paying taxes or<br />

filing them, but not doing neither can<br />

put you in a lot of financial difficulty.<br />

Depending on your profession, taxes<br />

could come around once a year or<br />

every three months. In light of that, be<br />

sure to have a financial calendar that<br />

serves as a reminder of when it’s time<br />

to pay or file your taxes.<br />

Contributing to your 401(k) or other<br />

retirement plans is one financial tip<br />

for reducing your tax burden. Make<br />

sure you are honest and choose lawful<br />

strategies that can help you save<br />

money because clever tax-avoidance<br />

tactics are frequently against the law.<br />

Try completing your taxes yourself<br />

(or using tax software) once if you<br />

typically employ someone to handle<br />

it for you. Try hiring someone if you<br />

often do it yourself.<br />

Watch the interest rates<br />

Interest rates will generally follow<br />

whatever financial decision you make.<br />

Some of the loans, debts, and financial<br />

accounts you will have come with<br />

interest rates, include credit cards,<br />

student loans, mortgages, and savings<br />

accounts. You may be spending more<br />

or earning less on your various debts<br />

and savings obligations; therefore, it<br />

is crucial to know the interest rates<br />

on these different types of accounts.<br />

It is advisable to monitor your interest<br />

rates so that you are aware of which<br />

accounts to prioritise.<br />

Early planning for college costs<br />

Traditional four-year institutions<br />

are frequently out of reach for many<br />

students without incurring significant<br />

debt—and they don’t always offer a<br />

better education. Middle-class families<br />

should think about enrolling their<br />

children in a community college,<br />

in-state public institution, military<br />

academy, or prestigious private<br />

college. <strong>The</strong>y won’t take on as many<br />

student debts, which might take a very<br />

long time to repay. College savings<br />

come after retirement savings. Don’t<br />

make saving for your child’s college a<br />

priority just now if you can’t afford to<br />

do so.<br />

Plan your home purchase carefully<br />

Another crucial personal financial<br />

advice to think about is making rapid<br />

progress on a mortgage. Your down<br />

payment amount is the best indicator<br />

Think about making a small investment<br />

in target-date funds or inexpensive<br />

index funds to lower your risk of<br />

suffering a significant financial loss<br />

of how ready you are to purchase a<br />

home. Even when using a government<br />

loan programme, be cautious when<br />

making a down payment below<br />

20%. Stretching yourself to buy a<br />

bigger property than you can afford<br />

can frequently result in costly and<br />

preventable financial hardship.<br />

Utilize the resources available for<br />

budgeting<br />

Budgeting does not have to be done<br />

by yourself. It might be overwhelming<br />

and frustrating to keep a close<br />

eye on your finances on your own.<br />

Fortunately, there are several tools<br />

available that can make it easier for<br />

you to keep track of your income and<br />

expenses and make wise financial<br />

decisions. You can also ask for advice<br />

from a financial advisor of your<br />

choice.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 50/30/20 Budgeting Rule<br />

We have discussed this rule in our<br />

previous edition. Sometimes all you<br />

need is some direction to create a<br />

solid and sustainable budget. You<br />

spend 50% half of your salary on<br />

necessities including shelter, food,<br />

transportation, and utilities. You<br />

spend 30% of your money on wants<br />

like latest smartphone, entertainment,<br />

and travel. 20% of your income should<br />

be allocated to savings and debt<br />

reduction, including school, medical,<br />

and auto loans.<br />

Tips for Saving Money<br />

Managing your finances can be<br />

difficult, particularly if you have<br />

significant outgoings like rent, student<br />

loans, electricity, groceries, and so<br />

on. <strong>The</strong>re are numerous ways to save<br />

money while still being able to pay<br />

for your essentials and indulge in<br />

your favourite activities. For example,<br />

there is Early Saving; using deception<br />

to save money is perfectly acceptable:<br />

• Use a variety of savings accounts.<br />

• In the freezer, place your credit card.<br />

• Create automatic transfers.<br />

• Consider your next rise as an<br />

opportunity to increase your savings<br />

(not an opportunity to spend more).<br />

Make wise investment decisions<br />

Investing can be an excellent<br />

strategy to increase your savings and<br />

generate additional income that can<br />

be used to pay for important costs.<br />

Despite being conceivable, beating the<br />

market is frequently so unlikely that<br />

it may not be worthwhile to attempt.<br />

Instead, think about making a small<br />

investment in target-date funds or<br />

inexpensive index funds to lower your<br />

risk of suffering a significant financial<br />

loss. Never invest in anything that<br />

offers outstanding returns with little<br />

to no risk, as this is always a bad idea.<br />

Putting Family <strong>Finance</strong>s First<br />

Couples can combine their finances<br />

in a variety of ways. It’s critical to find<br />

common ground when it comes to<br />

handling family finances, regardless<br />

of the nature of your relationship.<br />

You will be able to prepare for future<br />

purchases such as a new vehicle,<br />

home, or college fund for your kids.<br />

Be Prepared for the Unexpected<br />

Emergency<br />

You should always have a strategy<br />

in place in case of an emergency<br />

because the unanticipated is<br />

something that is impossible to<br />

forecast. Because of the coronavirus<br />

outbreak, a lot of people discovered<br />

today just how crucial emergency<br />

savings are. Savings are more crucial<br />

than ever, especially with millions of<br />

workers out of job.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 9

UAE Banking<br />

New Partnerships Enrich<br />

UAE’s Banking Ecosystem<br />

and Offer Help to SMEs<br />

Ajman Bank and<br />

KMMRCE Pay agree to<br />

a strategic alliance.<br />

Ajman Bank, a prominent<br />

Shariah-compliant bank in the UAE,<br />

and PaaS enabler KMMRCE Pay have<br />

entered a strategic partnership. By<br />

introducing new payment options,<br />

the cooperation will enable Ajman<br />

Bank to quicken the process of its<br />

digital transformation and improve its<br />

clientele. Ajman Bank’s compliance<br />

and regulatory frameworks will assist<br />

KMMRCE Pay’s operations across the<br />

UAE as a result of the agreement.<br />

Mr. Mohamed Amiri, Chief<br />

Executive Officer, Ajman Bank, said,<br />

“We are continuously innovating<br />

and developing new capabilities to<br />

meet our customers’ expectations<br />

and requirements. Our partnership<br />

with KMMRCE will enable us to<br />

leverage our current technology<br />

to accelerate the delivery of better<br />

payment solutions in an ever-evolving<br />

market. It is another significant step<br />

in enhancing our payment services<br />

with simple, secure, fast and reliable<br />

solutions for a seamless customer<br />

experience.”<br />

By combining issuing, acquiring,<br />

and direct-to-scheme processing<br />

into a single turnkey PaaS tech<br />

stack, KMMRCE Pay can not only<br />

empower Ajman Bank but also other<br />

financial institutions and Fintechs<br />

with a full suite of digital solutions.<br />

<strong>The</strong>ir strengths include quick issuing<br />

kiosks, access to cutting-edge<br />

technology, enhanced issuing, APIbased<br />

solutions, POS and e-commerce<br />

acquisition services, and enhanced<br />

issuing. Ajman Bank may boost its<br />

influence in a fiercely competitive<br />

market by reaffirming its position as a<br />

full-service provider, which will allow<br />

it to add more accounts from Fintech<br />

clients.<br />

Justin Henry, Executive Director,<br />

KMMRCE Pay, added: “<strong>The</strong> strategic<br />

partnership represents a powerful<br />

collaboration between a tier one<br />

bank and an innovative PaaS enabler<br />

driving change for the industry as<br />

a whole. Working closely together<br />

with Ajman Bank, we can now offer a<br />

one-stop-shop to digitally onboard and<br />

propel Fintech payment companies<br />

launching a financial program in the<br />

UAE. This is a critical moment, as we<br />

demonstrate the impact of KMMRCE<br />

Pay’s unique single-contract, single-<br />

API approach bringing everything<br />

together under one comprehensive<br />

payments’ ecosystem.”<br />

Ajman Bank is an Islamic bank<br />

with a vision based on the principles<br />

of integrity, trust, and transparency,<br />

and it aims to offer a broad range of<br />

high-quality, Sharia-compliant banking<br />

services to clients from individuals,<br />

businesses, and governmental<br />

organisations throughout the UAE. It<br />

is also eager to stay current with the<br />

most cutting-edge technology, which<br />

will guarantee consumers a unique<br />

experimental banking experience<br />

with the restoration of the human<br />

touch that is lost in the modern era of<br />

banking applications. <strong>The</strong> government<br />

of Ajman is very supportive of the<br />

bank, which has its headquarters<br />

there and is an important part of the<br />

emirate’s economic growth plan.<br />

On the other hand, KMMRCE<br />

Pay is a fully functional platform<br />

for payments as a service that has a<br />

licence from the Dubai International<br />

Financial Centre. <strong>The</strong>y design custom<br />

solutions that are suited to specific<br />

requirements, giving public and<br />

private sector businesses the tools<br />

needed to improve the financial<br />

future of their stakeholders. It also<br />

provides issuance, direct processing<br />

for schemes, direct integration with<br />

Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and JCB, as<br />

well as acquiring for both online and<br />

offline transactions as a payments and<br />

systems enabler (through a fully EMVcompliant<br />

POS terminal).<br />

IFZA collaborates with Wio<br />

Bank to offer online banking<br />

services<br />

In order to give businesses<br />

operating in the IFZA Free Zone easy<br />

access to digital banking services and<br />

financial solutions, Wio Bank, the<br />

region’s first platform bank, and IFZA<br />

Dubai, the UAE’s most vibrant and<br />

10 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> latest government data shows SMEs<br />

represent more than 94 percent of all<br />

companies operating in the country, with 73<br />

percent in the wholesale and retail sector.<br />

truly international Free Zone, have<br />

partnered.<br />

Through this collaboration,<br />

businesses located in the IFZA Free<br />

Zone will be able to easily and quickly<br />

open a business account using Wio<br />

Business, Wio Bank’s first mobile<br />

banking application. IFZA Dubai<br />

Chairman Martin G. Pedersen and<br />

Wio Bank Chief Commercial Officer<br />

Prateek Vahie signed the contract.<br />

Commenting on the announcement,<br />

Pedersen says: “At IFZA, we are<br />

constantly evolving our offerings and<br />

expanding our business eco-system<br />

to ensure our Licensees are able to<br />

efficiently set up their business with<br />

peace of mind. We are pleased to<br />

announce our partnership with Wio<br />

Bank, providing our Partners and<br />

Licensees with an additional layer<br />

of support that is tailored to assist<br />

them in efficiently setting up their<br />

AED international current accounts in<br />

Dubai.”<br />

Vahie added: “We are delighted to<br />

be partnering with IFZA to provide<br />

its Partners and Licensees with<br />

cutting-edge banking services. With<br />

our curated financial solutions, we<br />

aim to support them in their business<br />

journeys and accelerate seamless<br />

transactions for customers.”<br />

In a recent IFZA study, 50% of the<br />

participants named obtaining a bank<br />

account as one of the major obstacles<br />

to starting a business because of<br />

drawn-out application procedures,<br />

complex compliance requirements,<br />

or a lack of information. Recognizing<br />

the difficulties faced by business<br />

owners, IFZA continues to place<br />

a high premium on assisting its<br />

Professional Partners and Licensees<br />

through customised services designed<br />

to streamline the business process.<br />

IFZA Licensees can sign up for<br />

Wio Business and gain access to<br />

simple and user-friendly digital<br />

banking solutions by using a special<br />

link. Businesses that have registered<br />

with IFZA will be able to quickly<br />

and conveniently open a fully digital<br />

corporate bank account without<br />

having to go somewhere in person.<br />

<strong>The</strong> latest government data shows<br />

SMEs represent more than 94 per<br />

cent of all companies operating in<br />

the country, with 73 per cent in the<br />

wholesale and retail sector. Wio gives<br />

start-ups, independent contractors,<br />

and SMEs effortless access to<br />

banking services as well as the<br />

chance to advance with cutting-edge<br />

beyond-banking services. It offers<br />

personalised options and seamlessly<br />

integrated services that are tailored<br />

to meet each client’s needs. This<br />

enables clients to automate their<br />

administrative tasks, keep track of<br />

their spending with limitless virtual<br />

cards for their team, create various<br />

Saving Spaces for VAT, rent, etc., and<br />

more.<br />

In order to support start-ups and<br />

entrepreneurs in their efforts to<br />

grow globally, IFZA Dubai will soon<br />

introduce new services and solutions.<br />

This will help to build an ecosystem<br />

that offers a variety of resources and<br />

opportunities for holistic business<br />

development. Using FinTech makes it<br />

easier to help finance-seeking SMEs<br />

connect with potential investors,<br />

which in turn supports economic<br />

growth and solidifies the local<br />

entrepreneurial industry.<br />

FAB Global partnership with<br />

Swiss Fintech Komgo<br />

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the<br />

largest bank in the UAE and among<br />

the largest and safest financial<br />

institutions in the world, has joined<br />

Komgo, a fintech that provides digital<br />

network, trade, and working capital<br />

workflow solutions for businesses<br />

and financial institutions. This makes<br />

FAB the first bank in the Middle East<br />

to do so.<br />

<strong>The</strong> major clients of FAB are able<br />

to start trade finance transactions<br />

across numerous worldwide locations<br />

and receive reasonable pricing<br />

through the Komgo Network. Further<br />

enhancing FAB’s trade secondary risk<br />

distribution capabilities, Komgo’s<br />

Market solution for FIs is being<br />

developed with FAB as a key player.<br />

Anirudha Panse, MD & Head<br />

of GTB Trade <strong>Finance</strong> Product<br />

Innovation at FAB, said: “At FAB our<br />

approach to digital technology is all<br />

about combining multiple solutions,<br />

embracing emerging technology,<br />

adopting evolving business models,<br />

and innovating in what we do. Our<br />

partnership with Komgo will have an<br />

immediate benefit for our clients. By<br />

working together with Komgo, FAB<br />

is strengthening its offerings for our<br />

investment and corporate banking<br />

clients.”<br />

Souleïma Baddi, CEO of Komgo<br />

added: “We’re very proud to work<br />

with forward-thinking financial<br />

institutions like FAB. Thanks to their<br />

support we are building a common<br />

digital framework for trade finance<br />

operations, which will modernize<br />

the entire industry and ensure the<br />

ongoing availability of liquidity which<br />

underpins all global trade.” With<br />

this partnership, FAB delivers on its<br />

commitment to building relevant and<br />

scalable fintech partnerships that<br />

better serve customers.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 11

UAE Banking News<br />

CBUAE to increase efficient supervision and<br />

regulation of insurance companies<br />

In Abu Dhabi, Khaled Mohamed<br />

Balama, Governor of the<br />

Central Bank of the UAE<br />

(CBUAE), presided over the<br />

Insurance Sector CEO Forum.<br />

<strong>The</strong> CBUAE conference aimed to<br />

enhance communication between the<br />

CBUAE and the insurance sector by<br />

working with the CEOs of insurance<br />

companies to address the aims of<br />

the sector. <strong>The</strong> CBUAE also looked<br />

at the objectives for increasing<br />

efficient supervision and regulation of<br />

insurance companies in accordance<br />

with the fundamental principles of<br />

insurance, as well as the execution<br />

of comprehensive corporate<br />

governance criteria for insurance<br />

enterprises. Additionally, the CBUAE<br />

unveiled a series of proposals that<br />

would increase Emiratization in<br />

the insurance sector to 30% by 2026<br />

and provide 1,500 new jobs for UAE<br />

citizens, demonstrating the nation’s<br />

goal for the ensuing fifty years.<br />

Saudi PIF receives the first<br />

corporate loan worth $17 B with<br />

a seven-year term<br />

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) received the largest selfarranged<br />

term loan ever financed for general corporate purposes for $17 B<br />

over a seven-year term. <strong>The</strong> new loan is a component of PIF’s 2022 Annual<br />

Capital Raising Plan and medium-term capital raising plan. <strong>The</strong> transaction<br />

was more than twice oversubscribed and supported by a large, international<br />

syndicate of 25 financial institutions from Europe, the US, the Middle East, and<br />

Asia. 15 financial institutions took part in PIF’s initial 11 B credit facility in 2018.<br />

PIF will pay off its current $11 B, five-year debt earlier than expected.<br />

GCC banks post<br />

Q3 interest<br />

income of<br />

$18.6 B<br />

Net interest income for listed<br />

banks in the GCC increased<br />

to a record quarterly high<br />

in the third quarter (Q3) of<br />

2022, jumping to $18.6 B from Q2’s<br />

$17.2 B, according to a report. In<br />

contrast, non-interest income fell to<br />

a four-quarter low of $7.4 B during<br />

Q3 2022 as compared to Q2 2022’s<br />

$7.8 B, reflecting a decline in the<br />

quarter’s global and regional financial<br />

markets. Data on listed banks also<br />

demonstrated increase, with total<br />

GCC gross loans setting a new high<br />

of $1.93 T, up 1.2% or $23.5 B over<br />

the course of the third quarter. At<br />

the end of Q3-2022, total quarterly<br />

growth in client deposits was at a sixquarter<br />

low of 1.0%, reaching $2.19 T.<br />

Customer deposits’ quarterly change<br />

remained unchanged.<br />

12 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> UAE is<br />

a “global<br />

leader” in<br />

financial<br />

services<br />

innovation<br />

According to Finastra study,<br />

Open Banking is considered<br />

as unquestionably crucial<br />

in the UAE, with 4 in 5<br />

financial institutions (80%) calling it<br />

a “must have,” up from 68% last year.<br />

In the context of data sharing, its<br />

extension, open finance, is viewed as a<br />

“must have” by 71% of respondents, up<br />

significantly from 50% last year. Both<br />

numbers are significantly greater than<br />

any other market that was studied.<br />

According to 94% of respondents, it<br />

is already encouraging collaboration<br />

and having a beneficial effect in the<br />

United Arab Emirates, indicating the<br />

industry’s growing interest in adopting<br />

an ecosystem approach.<br />

Manafa receives approval from<br />

SAMA to begin Saudi activities<br />

<strong>The</strong> Saudi Central Bank<br />

(SAMA) has announced<br />

that it has granted Manafa,<br />

a finance company<br />

that specialises in debt-based<br />

crowdfunding, a licence to begin<br />

operating in the kingdom. With SR40<br />

M in capital, Manafa is a closed jointstock<br />

company. After a successful trial<br />

period in SAMA’s Regulatory Sandbox,<br />

an experimental setting dedicated<br />

to cutting-edge financial goods and<br />

services in Saudi Arabia, the licence<br />

was awarded to the company. This<br />

programme is part of the crucial role<br />

SAMA plays in bolstering the finance<br />

sector by supporting innovative<br />

activities and luring a larger pool of<br />

investors and businesses that can<br />

generate value, according to SPA.<br />

CBUAE financially penalises an<br />

exchange company operating in<br />

the UAE<br />

<strong>The</strong> exchange house was<br />

fined AED 1,050,000 by the<br />

CBUAE for failing to comply<br />

with its obligations to carry<br />

out exchange activities<br />

only in the permitted premises, to<br />

utilise an authorised Cash-in-Transit<br />

Agent when carrying cash, and to<br />

notify violations to the CBUAE right<br />

away. <strong>The</strong> CBUAE works to ensure<br />

that all exchange houses, their<br />

owners, and staff adhere to the UAE<br />

laws, regulations, and standards<br />

adopted by the CBUAE to protect<br />

the transparency and integrity of the<br />

exchange houses’ business and the<br />

UAE financial system. It does this<br />

through its supervisory and regulatory<br />

mandates.<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank offers its $750 M debut<br />

sustainable Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai<br />

In honour of the listing of its first<br />

sustainable Sukuk, which has a<br />

$750 M value, on Nasdaq Dubai,<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) rang<br />

the market opening bell. <strong>The</strong> Sukuk<br />

was issued in accordance with the<br />

Sustainable <strong>Finance</strong> Framework of<br />

DIB, which was developed to make<br />

it easier to finance green and social<br />

initiatives and projects, and is the first<br />

sustainable Sukuk ever issued by an<br />

entity in the United Arab Emirates.<br />

With a profit rate of 5.493 percent<br />

annually, DIB has successfully priced<br />

the five-year senior issuance. This<br />

spread over five-year US Treasury<br />

notes is 155 basis points. <strong>The</strong> value<br />

of all of DIB’s Sukuk listed on Nasdaq<br />

Dubai as part of this initiative has<br />

increased to $5.55 B, and the value of<br />

all DIB’s securities has increased as<br />

well.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 13

UAE Banking News<br />

Goldman Sachs<br />

relocates<br />

bankers to Dubai<br />

F<br />

ollowing the hiring of<br />

a bankers from Societe<br />

Generale in June and<br />

several wealth advisers<br />

for the Dubai office in late 2021 to<br />

expand its Islamic finance offering<br />

for the Middle East and North Africa,<br />

Goldman has now added more<br />

employees in the region. <strong>The</strong> Middle<br />

East, which is home to a considerable<br />

number of extremely rich families,<br />

businesspeople, and royalty, is where<br />

this conflict is increasingly taking<br />

place as international banks compete<br />

to take a larger share of the wealth<br />

management industry. Particularly<br />

since the Ukraine conflict started,<br />

Dubai has grown into a popular<br />

destination for financial professionals<br />

leaving Europe or Hong Kong, as<br />

well as for Russian money. Due to<br />

this massive wealth movement, the<br />

UAE alone will welcome 4,000 new<br />

millionaires this year, the largest as<br />

compared to the past decade.<br />

Emirates NBD announces<br />

strategic managerial team<br />

changes<br />

Emirates NBD recently<br />

announced that after<br />

working for Emirates NBD<br />

for ten years, Suvo Sarkar,<br />

Group Head of Retail Banking and<br />

Wealth Management, would retire.<br />

Marwan Hadi would succeed him<br />

in office. In order to take on the<br />

post of Group Head of Wholesale<br />

Banking, Ahmed Al Qassim, who<br />

is currently the Group Head of<br />

Corporate and Institutional Banking<br />

and a member of the bank’s Group<br />

Executive Committee, would also<br />

assume responsibility for Global<br />

Markets, Treasury, and Research.<br />

Head of Global Markets and Group<br />

Treasurer, Ammar Al Haj, has been<br />

appointed. DenizBank has appointed<br />

Aazar Ali Khwaja, who formerly held<br />

the position of Group Head of Global<br />

Markets & Treasury, to the position<br />

of Group Head of International &<br />

Advisor to the Group CEO.<br />

Kuwait’s central bank declares<br />

an increase in discount rates of<br />

0.5% to 3.5%<br />

<strong>The</strong> Central Bank of Kuwait<br />

recently declared that the<br />

discount rate would rise<br />

by 50 basis points to 3.5<br />

percent. Given that it represents the<br />

cost of borrowing money for the<br />

majority of big commercial banks<br />

and other depository institutions, a<br />

high discount rate typically causes<br />

an increase in other interest rates.<br />

According to a statement by Kuwait’s<br />

governor of the central bank, Basel<br />

14 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Al-Haroon, the action is in line with<br />

the bank’s objectives of encouraging<br />

a growth-friendly environment,<br />

maintaining financial and monetary<br />

stability, and maintaining the<br />

attraction of the national currency as<br />

a store of wealth. Compared to other<br />

Gulf Arab nations, Kuwait is freer<br />

to deviate from Fed policy since the<br />

Kuwaiti dinar is tied against a basket<br />

of currencies that includes the dollar.

Central Bank of UAE<br />

CBUAE Announces New Initiatives to<br />

Promote Transformation and Digitalization<br />

<strong>The</strong> CEOs of the UAE banking industry and leaders of the Foreign Exchange and Remittance<br />

Group in the UAE met under the chairmanship of Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of the<br />

Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE).<br />

<strong>The</strong> new Instant Payment<br />

Platform will be<br />

implemented gradually and<br />

will be unveiled in the first<br />

quarter of <strong>2023</strong> with a test group<br />

of regulated financial institutions,<br />

according to the meeting, which<br />

focused on the financial sector’s<br />

ambitious digitalization goals. Realtime<br />

payments and financial transfers<br />

will be made possible in the UAE<br />

round-the-clock thanks to the Instant<br />

Payment Platform.<br />

<strong>The</strong> new platform will make it<br />

possible to provide customers and<br />

financial institutions in the UAE<br />

the newest generation of payment<br />

services. Financial institutions and<br />

other eligible providers of payment<br />

services must be prepared to deploy<br />

the Instant Payment Platform in<br />

accordance with the authorised action<br />

plan, the CBUAE emphasised.<br />

<strong>The</strong> CBUAE further reviewed<br />

supervisory expectations and<br />

programme progress with the officials<br />

of UAE banks. As of Q3 2022, the<br />

percentage of UAE citizens working<br />

in banks climbed to 32%. By the end<br />

of 2026, the UAE banking system is<br />

expected to be 45% more emiratized.<br />

In order to better support financial<br />

consumers, transform financial<br />

infrastructure, and modernise national<br />

payment systems, the CBUAE also<br />

emphasised the crucial role exchange<br />

houses play in the financial system<br />

of the United Arab Emirates and<br />

encouraged cross-sector cooperation<br />

with the banking industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> CBUAE has set out to pursue<br />

ambitious projects in financial<br />

infrastructure transformation and<br />

national payment systems in close<br />

collaboration with the financial<br />

industry officials, according to Khaled<br />

Real-time<br />

payments and<br />

financial transfers<br />

will be made<br />

possible in the<br />

UAE round-theclock<br />

thanks to the<br />

Instant Payment<br />

Platform.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 15

Central Bank of UAE<br />

Balama. It pushes the financial<br />

industry to adopt cutting-edge<br />

features and pass the advantages<br />

along to financial customers.<br />

Before making the necessary<br />

choices, the CBUAE Board reviewed<br />

the meeting’s agenda, looked over<br />

the concerns raised by the various<br />

CBUAE divisions, and assessed how<br />

effectively projects and plans were<br />

developing in relation to the country’s<br />

economic and future goals.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Board discussed the nation’s<br />

financial and insurance sectors’<br />

financial infrastructure reform agenda.<br />

<strong>The</strong> meeting looked at statistics<br />

and initiatives aimed at boosting<br />

Emiratisation rates in these sectors,<br />

particularly in exchange and financing<br />

companies, and covered a number of<br />

topics, including the development of<br />

the Central Bank’s initiative regarding<br />

the Emiratisation programme in the<br />

banking, financial, and insurance<br />

sectors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Board of Directors approved<br />

the creation of the “Union Payments<br />

Company” as a Central Bank<br />

subsidiary and discussed the<br />

company’s goals and services while<br />

also reviewing the most recent<br />

changes to the National Payment<br />

Systems Strategy Programme.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y looked through the latest<br />

changes pertinent to the domestic<br />

payment plan and made the requisite<br />

judgments. <strong>The</strong> Board also approved<br />

the issuance of pertinent regulations,<br />

such as the updated Takaful insurance<br />

system, the insurance company<br />

governance system and standards, the<br />

insurance company risk management<br />

system and standards, and the<br />

insurance company internal controls,<br />

all of which are meant to support the<br />

financial and insurance industries.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Board authorised the<br />

establishment of an independent unit<br />

to address complaints involving the<br />

banking and insurance sectors and<br />

to create policies and procedures for<br />

them. It also considered the requests<br />

from several banks and financial<br />

institutions during the meeting with a<br />

view to maintaining financial stability.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Board then made the necessary<br />

decisions within the parameters and<br />

rules established by the Central Bank.<br />

Sheikh Mansour praised the<br />

CBUAE’s initiatives and strategy for<br />

changing the financial architecture of<br />

16 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong> Central Bank<br />

of the UAE has<br />

launched a new<br />

corporate website<br />

with a variety<br />

of interactive<br />

digital services<br />

to augment the<br />

development<br />

of digital<br />

transformation.<br />

the financial and insurance sectors, as<br />

well as the measures taken to ensure<br />

monetary and financial stability and<br />

integrity, at the meeting’s conclusion.<br />

He also urged maintaining these<br />

initiatives in order to realise the<br />

Central Bank’s goals and vision for the<br />

financial industry.<br />

Board members Younis Al Khoori,<br />

Sami Dhaen Al Qamzi, Ali Mohammed<br />

Bakheet Al Rumaithi, and Assistant<br />

Governor Saif Al Dhaheri were<br />

present, as well as Deputy Chairmen<br />

Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh and<br />

Jassem Mohammad Al Zaabi and<br />

CBUAE Governor Khaled Mohamed<br />

Balama.<br />

A pilot group of authorised financial<br />

organisations will take part in the<br />

progressive rollout of the IPP. Khaled<br />

Mohamed Balama, governor of the<br />

CBUAE, stated: “<strong>The</strong> CBUAE has set<br />

out to pursue ambitious measures in<br />

the transformation of the financial<br />

infrastructure and national payment<br />

systems in close coordination with<br />

the financial industry officials. We<br />

encourage the financial industry to<br />

adopt the cutting-edge features and<br />

pass the benefits on to the financial<br />

customers.”<br />

According to the central bank’s<br />

Annual Report 2021, CBUAE began<br />

preparing to introduce IPP as a<br />

component of the National Payment<br />

Systems Strategy (NPSS), which aims<br />

to make digital transactions easier<br />

to aid UAE’s transition to a cashless<br />

economy.<br />

CBUAE and the group of companies<br />

selected to implement IPP came to<br />

an agreement in October of last year.<br />

IPP’s first phase was supposed to be<br />

introduced by CBUAE in October of<br />

this year.<br />

<strong>The</strong> CBUAE stated in the report<br />

that it had “launched numerous<br />

fintech initiatives, including the<br />

mBridge Platform to improve<br />

processing cross-border money<br />

transfers, the National Payment<br />

System Strategy (NPSS) to modernise<br />

the payments infrastructure, an SME<br />

funding platform, and the Financial<br />

Services Cloud Infrastructure with the<br />

objective of making the UAE a centre<br />

of excellence in MENA financial cloud<br />

services.”<br />

“<strong>The</strong> Central Bank of the UAE has<br />

launched a new corporate website<br />

with a variety of interactive digital<br />

services to augment the development<br />

of digital transformation.”<br />

A new corporate website with a<br />

variety of interactive digital services<br />

has been launched, according to the<br />

Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE).<br />

<strong>The</strong> launch of the new website in line<br />

with the banks’ efforts to realise its<br />

objective of being “among the top<br />

central banks globally in fostering<br />

monetary and financial stability,”<br />

according to a statement from WAM.<br />

Visitors will have access to a range<br />

of digital services, including the<br />

ability to arrange museum visits, buy<br />

commemorative coins, and use other<br />

interactive platforms.<br />

Additionally, the website will offer<br />

readers the most recent financial<br />

and monetary news, analysis, and<br />

statistics regarding UAE and CBUAE<br />

rules. According to a statement<br />

from WAM, “it [the website] reflects<br />

CBUAE’s commitment to the next<br />

fifty years’ development plan, which<br />

includes digital transformation and<br />

the adoption of modern financial<br />

technologies, and promotes its<br />

regulatory and supervisory role<br />

that will increase confidence in the<br />

financial services sector in the UAE.<br />

<strong>The</strong> most recent website has parts<br />

specifically created for the Museum<br />

of Coins and Notes, the Cyber<br />

Security Center of Excellence, which<br />

is building a safe infrastructure for<br />

the UAE’s financial industry, and the<br />

Consumer Education Center, which<br />

encourages financial literacy.

A Fintech Boom in Africa is Attracting<br />

International Investments<br />

Fintech<br />

<strong>The</strong> term “Fintech” refers to a quickly expanding sector that benefits both consumers<br />

and companies in various ways. Fintech has a huge array of applications, spanning from<br />

cryptocurrency and investment apps to mobile banking and insurance.<br />

Different financial technology<br />

products and services have<br />

different internal workings;<br />

some of the most recent<br />

developments use machine learning<br />

algorithms, blockchain, and data<br />

science to handle everything from<br />

processing credit risks to managing<br />

hedge funds. Regtech is a whole<br />

subset of regulatory technology<br />

created to help businesses in the<br />

fintech sector navigate the intricate<br />

web of compliance and regulatory<br />

requirements.<br />

As the fintech sector has expanded,<br />

so have worries about cybersecurity.<br />

Fintech infrastructure has become<br />

more vulnerable and a target for<br />

cybercriminals due to the enormous<br />

growth of fintech businesses and<br />

marketplaces on a global scale.<br />

<strong>The</strong> African<br />

fintech industry<br />

is booming,<br />

as fintechs<br />

in Africa are<br />

creating financial<br />

inclusiveness<br />

for undeserved<br />

communities.<br />

Fortunately, technology is constantly<br />

improving to reduce current fraud<br />

risks and neutralize emerging threats.<br />

Fintech and cryptocurrency and<br />

blockchain mingle in a variety of<br />

ways. To begin with, a number of<br />

cryptocurrency trading platforms<br />

have appeared in recent years<br />

that enable users to trade various<br />

cryptocurrencies and benefit<br />

from decentralized exchanges.<br />

Numerous crypto wallets have also<br />

emerged to protect people’s digital<br />

currency. Additionally, a number of<br />

fintech businesses use blockchain<br />

technology for secure digital identity<br />

management, money transfers,<br />

and payment processing. Fintech<br />

businesses using cryptocurrencies<br />

include Coin-base, Blockfi, and SALT,<br />

to name a few.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 17

Fintech<br />

<strong>The</strong> fintech sector in Africa is<br />

maturing. Fintech is booming on the<br />

continent in spite of the political,<br />

economic, and pandemic difficulties it<br />

is facing. <strong>The</strong> next step is as follows.<br />

<strong>The</strong> number of tech start-ups in<br />

Africa tripled between 2020 and 2021<br />

to reach about 5,200 businesses.<br />

About half of these are fintech<br />

companies, whose goal is to replace<br />

and improve conventional financial<br />

services.<br />

According to a McKinsey analysis,<br />

African fintechs have already<br />

significantly increased their market<br />

share, with projected 2020 revenues<br />

of between $4 B and $6 B and average<br />

penetration rates of between 3 and<br />

5 percent (excluding South Africa).<br />

<strong>The</strong>se numbers were consistent with<br />

market leaders around the world.<br />

<strong>The</strong> analysis demonstrates that<br />

fintech players are significantly<br />

enhancing customer value. In<br />

comparison to the services offered<br />

by traditional players, their<br />

transactional solutions can be up to<br />

80% less expensive, while the cost of<br />

remittances can be up to six times less<br />

expensive.<br />

If, as expected, African fintech<br />

markets follow the trajectory of<br />

more established markets like<br />

Vietnam, Indonesia, and India, this<br />

combination of factors, along with<br />

an influx of funding and increasingly<br />

accommodating regulatory<br />

frameworks, could indicate that the<br />

continent’s fintech sector is beginning<br />

to experience exponential growth.<br />

However, there won’t be a<br />

consistent increase in financial<br />

services across all 54 of Africa’s<br />

nations. While the majority of market<br />

value (roughly 40% of revenues)<br />

is currently concentrated in South<br />

Africa, which has the continent’s<br />

most developed banking system,<br />

francophone West Africa and Ghana<br />

are anticipated to grow at the fastest<br />

rates, at 15% and 13% per year,<br />

respectively, until 2025.<br />

Nigeria and Egypt follow, each with<br />

an expected growth rate of 12 percent<br />

per annum over the same period.<br />

Overall, it is anticipated that the<br />

growth opportunity in fintech is likely<br />

to be concentrated in 11 key markets:<br />

Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt,<br />

Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria,<br />

Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and<br />

Uganda, which together account for<br />

18 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

70 percent of Africa’s GDP and half of<br />

its population.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> African fintech industry is<br />

booming, as fintechs in Africa are<br />

creating financial inclusiveness for<br />

undeserved communities. From<br />

the number of fintech to the size of<br />

funding, African fintech is the newest<br />

investment magnet.<br />

Sector studies show that the African<br />

fintech industry has almost tripled<br />

in just one year (2020-2021). <strong>The</strong><br />

estimated number of tech start-ups<br />

in Africa is now at 5,200; no surprise,<br />

almost half of these are fintechs.<br />

According to the study, as of 2020,<br />

African fintechs are reeling in annual<br />

revenues in excess of $6 B, enough to<br />

describe the industry as booming. <strong>The</strong><br />

African fintech story only makes sense<br />

as the financial services sector on the<br />

continent has moved from reliance on<br />

traditional funding options like banks<br />

to smaller, more accessible and less<br />

stringent funding options.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is a lot of opportunity for<br />

financial technology firms in Africa<br />

to grow, but the path to sustainable<br />

profit remains elusive. At a maximum<br />

average penetration rate of 5% in<br />

2020 — excluding South Africa — the<br />

report estimated that some African<br />

fintechs would be generating revenue<br />

of about $4 B to $6 B per annum by<br />

2025 — in line with global market<br />

leaders.<br />

African fintech has a significant<br />

impact on day-to-day life on the<br />

continent and with its current upward<br />

trend it can be perfectly poised<br />

to rapidly advance Africa’s global<br />

competitiveness with an increase<br />

in the exporting of fintech services<br />

globally.<br />

New technologies are being<br />

developed and implemented in sub-<br />

Saharan Africa with the potential to<br />

change the competitive landscape<br />

in the financial industry. While it<br />

raises concerns on the emergence of<br />

vulnerabilities, FinTech challenges<br />

traditional structures and creates<br />

efficiency gains by opening up the<br />

financial services value chain. Today,<br />

FinTech is emerging as a technological<br />

enabler in the region, improving<br />

financial inclusion and serving as<br />

a catalyst for the emergence of<br />

innovations in other sectors, such as<br />

agriculture and infrastructure.<br />

On the western part of the<br />

continent, too, in places like Ghana,<br />

growth is at 15 percent per annum and<br />

will only get higher all through 2025.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n you have the larger economies<br />

coming in; Nigeria and Egypt are both<br />

expected to enjoy annual growth rates<br />

of 12 percent over the same period.<br />

While growth rates at these early<br />

stages are higher in less developed<br />

East African countries, economies<br />

with more mature financial systems<br />

and digital infrastructure, the likes of<br />

South Africa stand a greater chance<br />

of executing more innovation in the<br />

fintech industry and implementing<br />

security measures such as regulatory<br />

technology including anti-money<br />

laundering.<br />

However, in these younger East<br />

African markets, where financial<br />

systems and digital infrastructures<br />

are still in their infancy, fintech<br />

services will continue to reign in<br />

large amounts offering services<br />

ranging from underwriting, insurance,<br />

banking-as-service, and buy now, pay<br />

later services in retail and lending for<br />

SMEs.<br />

Investors eyeing an opportunity<br />

in Africa will do well to venture into<br />

the fintech industry that is creating<br />

financial inclusion. That said,<br />

regulators in Africa should also put<br />

more effort towards empowering<br />

local investment in fintech, including<br />

placing favourable policies for<br />

domestic investors entering the<br />

sector and fostering overall digital<br />

transformation.<br />

Bizzamm, for example, offers an<br />

electronic signature, on completion<br />

of a document it is anchored to the<br />

blockchain, providing an immediate<br />

unique digital fingerprint, with a<br />

permanent record of creation and<br />

making it tamperproof. Regulations<br />

around the safe gathering and storing<br />

of sensitive client information and<br />

how information is processed are<br />

becoming more robust, encompassing,<br />

and enforceable worldwide. Bizzamm<br />

assesses businesses to become<br />

compliant, providing absolute control<br />

with an all-in-one tamper-proof,<br />

end-to-end document management<br />

solution on blockchain, offering<br />

management, solutions, and control<br />

over the increasing regulatory<br />

demands discussed here, most<br />

importantly, with an emphasis on<br />

customer convenience.

Moove raises<br />

$30 M from its<br />

first sukuk for<br />

its UAE growth<br />

In order to fund the construction<br />

of the largest EV ride-hailing<br />

fleet in the MENA area, Moove,<br />

the first mobility fintech in the<br />

world and Uber’s largest vehicle<br />

supply partner in EMEA, is seeking<br />

$30 M via a debut sukuk issuance<br />

handled by Franklin Templeton<br />

Investments (ME) Ltd. <strong>The</strong> successful<br />

closing of this company’s first<br />

sukuk will give Moove access to<br />

the vast pool of Islamic investors<br />

who are especially keen on making<br />

investments that are socially and<br />

environmentally responsible. It<br />

will also undoubtedly open up<br />

new financing options for Moove’s<br />

ambitious expansion plans. In order<br />

to accelerate the electrification of<br />

mobility and improve the ride-hailing<br />

passenger experience in the region,<br />

Moove will use the funding to scale<br />

to 2,000 EVs in the UAE over the next<br />

year.<br />

Jordan becomes<br />

a new market<br />

for UAE-based<br />

fintech Ziina<br />

Ziina, a start-up with offices<br />

in the UAE with YC backing,<br />

is travelling to Jordan<br />

with the goal of bringing<br />

financial freedom to everyone in the<br />

Middle East. <strong>The</strong> fintech company’s<br />

entry into Jordan is the most recent<br />

development after the debut of their<br />

digital wallet in February 2022 and<br />

their own payment platform, the<br />

Ziiboard, just this month. <strong>The</strong> debut<br />

of Ziina as a worldwide brand serves<br />

as a sort of homecoming for its cofounders<br />

Faisal and Sarah Toukan.<br />

Before continuing their academic<br />

education in the US, both of the<br />

founders were Amman natives. <strong>The</strong>ir<br />

ambition to improve and strengthen<br />

their native country by enhancing<br />

access to financial services led them<br />

to choose Jordan before any other<br />

Middle Eastern nation.<br />

Fintech News<br />

Emirates NBD<br />

opens a cuttingedge<br />

branch in<br />

Jeddah<br />

With the inauguration of<br />

its brand-new Jeddah<br />

Tahliah branch, Emirates<br />

NBD, the largest banking<br />

organisation in the MENAT (Middle<br />

East, North Africa, and Turkey)<br />

region, has taken another significant<br />

step toward expanding access to topnotch<br />

banking services for individuals<br />

and communities throughout the<br />

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Importantly,<br />

it expands on Emirates NBD’s<br />

ongoing initiatives to provide Saudis<br />

and locals with a superior quality<br />

and cutting-edge range of financial<br />

services assistance. <strong>The</strong> location<br />

provides customers with access to<br />

the bank’s cutting-edge solutions<br />

and products, including salaried<br />

community members and company<br />

owners. <strong>The</strong> company’s specialised<br />

Priority Banking, Private Banking,<br />

Business Banking, and Corporate<br />

Banking teams will offer customers<br />

specialised, superior services that<br />

meet their demands.<br />

FAB Global Transaction Banking partners with Swiss<br />

Fintech Komgo<br />

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the largest bank in the<br />

UAE and one of the biggest and safest financial<br />

institutions in the world, has joined Komgo, a<br />

fintech that offers digital network, trade, and<br />

working capital workflow solutions for businesses and<br />

financial institutions. Komgo is the first bank in the Middle<br />

East to do so. <strong>The</strong> primary clients of FAB can initiate<br />

trade financing transactions across numerous worldwide<br />

locations and can also get competitive pricing through the<br />

Komgo Network. Additionally, Komgo’s Market solution<br />

for FIs, which will improve FAB’s trade secondary risk<br />

distribution capabilities, is being developed with FAB as a<br />

key player.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 19

Fintech News<br />

IFC opens a<br />

new platform<br />

for venture<br />

capital<br />

investments in<br />

tech startups<br />

Anew US$225 M venture<br />

capital platform has<br />

been established by the<br />

International <strong>Finance</strong><br />

Corporation (IFC) to invest in earlystage<br />

businesses in Pakistan, the<br />

Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.<br />

<strong>The</strong> IFC estimates that fewer than 2%<br />

of the US$643 B in worldwide venture<br />

capital funding was allocated to these<br />

regions in 2021. Additionally, digital<br />

ecosystems outside of the region’s<br />

more developed economies, including<br />

Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan,<br />

Senegal, and South Africa, are either<br />

developing slowly or do not exist.<br />

Through the new platform, the IFC<br />

will fund digital firms with equity<br />

or investments that resemble equity<br />

in order to help them develop into<br />

scalable businesses that can draw in<br />

conventional equity and debt finance.<br />

20 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Wio Bank and the IFZA Free Zone<br />

collaborate to offer digital banking<br />

services<br />

<strong>The</strong> first platform bank in the area, Wio Bank, and IFZA Dubai, an international<br />

free zone in the United Arab Emirates, have partnered to give IFZA Free Zone<br />

businesses easy access to digital banking services and financial solutions.<br />

Through this collaboration, businesses located in the IFZA Free Zone will be<br />

able to easily and quickly open a business account using Wio Business, Wio Bank’s first<br />

mobile banking application. <strong>The</strong> agreement was signed by Martin G. Pedersen, Chairman<br />

of IFZA Dubai. In a recent IFZA poll, 50% of respondents listed obtaining a bank account<br />

as one of the major obstacles to starting a business because of drawn-out application<br />

procedures, difficulty complying with regulations, or a lack of knowledge.<br />

UAE’s Rapidly Growing Crypto<br />

Ecosystem has more than 1400<br />

Stakeholders<br />

<strong>The</strong> Crypto Oasis Ecosystem<br />

Report 2022, a yearly report<br />

by the industry trade group<br />

created in collaboration<br />

with Roland Berger, offered<br />

insights into the current state of<br />

the cryptocurrency and blockchain<br />

industry in the United Arab Emirates.<br />

It explored the sector’s dynamism<br />

and took a close look at some of<br />

the most significant blockchain<br />

initiatives and organisations. <strong>The</strong><br />

report claims that the UAE is<br />

home to a thriving blockchain and<br />

cryptocurrency ecosystem that<br />

includes top exchanges like Binance,<br />

Kraken, and Crypto.com, as well as<br />

Web 3.0 businesses, startups focused<br />

on decentralised finance (DeFi),<br />

and experts in non-fungible tokens<br />

(NTF). <strong>The</strong>se global protocols include<br />

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano.<br />

UAE Consumers share Interest in<br />

Embedded <strong>Finance</strong><br />

According to a new survey<br />

released recently in 2022 and<br />

commissioned by provider<br />

of digital finance solutions<br />

Additiv, embedded finance is a booming<br />

trend that is spreading across the globe.<br />

This phenomenon is only anticipated to<br />

grow in the future as consumer demand<br />

for financial services to be delivered at<br />

their point of need in an easy and quick<br />

manner continues to rise. <strong>The</strong> study<br />

found that consumers are not very loyal<br />

to traditional financial services providers<br />

and are willing to switch to non-financial<br />

service providers if more cutting-edge<br />

services are offered. It surveyed 3,512<br />

consumers from the United Arab<br />

Emirates (UAE), the UK, Germany,<br />

Sweden, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Transworld Group invests in SAM Corporate<br />

<strong>The</strong> strategic investment<br />

aims to create synergies<br />

for SAM Corporate to offer<br />

specialised and complex<br />

FinTech implementation services as<br />

well as to introduce new FinTech<br />

products and services to the market<br />

by combining the deep domain tech<br />

expertise of SAM Corporate with<br />

the long and successful business<br />

experience of Transworld Group.<br />

Ramesh Ramakrishnan is one of the<br />

top businessmen in India who started<br />

from nothing and built the Transworld<br />

Group empire, which R. Sivaswamy<br />

founded in 1977. Using the UAE as its<br />

headquarters, the conglomerate has<br />

since expanded to include the USA,<br />

KSA, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan,<br />

and Sri Lanka.<br />

Fintactics attends the <strong>World</strong> Fintech Show in Saudi<br />

Arabia<br />

Fintactics debuted its new<br />

businesses Holoul and<br />

Leza’am at the <strong>World</strong><br />

Fintech Show, along with<br />

cooperation agreements with Aion<br />

Digital and Bitfy Holdings. According<br />

to a press release, the event, which<br />

got under way on December 5 in<br />

Riyadh, also saw the founding of<br />

Fintactics Studio, which will help<br />

determine the direction of fintech in<br />

the Kingdom. In keeping with Saudi<br />

citizens’ Vision 2030, Fintactics has<br />

introduced Holoul, a digital mortgage<br />

platform that supports and facilitates<br />

homeownership. Saudi Arabia’s<br />

mortgage sector is developing quickly,<br />

and the outcomes are seen favourably.<br />

Along with Haitham Al Sahafy, CEO<br />

of Fintactics, Basil Al Shamlan,<br />

founder and CEO of Holul Venture,<br />

participated in the signing.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 21

Business<br />

Saudi Arabia’s Construction Sector<br />

Remains the Strongest Across MENA<br />

With 33 percent of the<br />

world’s proven petroleum<br />

reserves, Saudi Arabia<br />

has the largest market<br />

economy in the Middle East and North<br />

Africa and is the largest exporter of oil<br />

globally. <strong>The</strong>re are approximately 33.4<br />

million people living there, and 39% of<br />

them are under 25.<br />

Private and public sector<br />

businesses in Saudi Arabia have<br />

been focusing on reforms as part of<br />

the country’s large-scale economic<br />

overhaul, which is furthering Vision<br />

2030. To innovate and diversify the<br />

Kingdom’s landscape, the government<br />

of Saudi Arabia is planning extensive<br />

reforms in the economy, education,<br />

and related fields.<br />

<strong>The</strong> National Transformation<br />

Project (NTP), a plan of action to<br />

raise three significant and important<br />

national pillars—economic<br />

enablers, citizen living standards,<br />

and government operational<br />

excellence—has been developed<br />

by the government to achieve these<br />

objectives.<br />

For four years running, the kingdom<br />

has maintained its dominance as<br />

the MENA region’s strongest market<br />

with the highest overall value of<br />

project awards. Saudi Arabia has a 35<br />

percent market share as of October<br />

2022, according to MEED Projects,<br />

with contract awards totalling $31 B,<br />

compared to a total MENA value of<br />

$87 B.<br />

Crown Prince Mohammed bin<br />

Salman has begun work on a $500 B<br />

megacity project called NEOM that<br />

will reach into Egypt and Jordan.<br />

<strong>The</strong> New Administrative Capital, a<br />

new city with enormous structures<br />

and hotels, is being built by Egypt’s<br />

Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi. However, a study<br />

by the Dubai-based MENA Research<br />

Partners found that the construction<br />

sector in the GCC alone experienced<br />

a 30 percent growth in 2017, bringing<br />

the sector’s current projects to a<br />

staggering $2.6tn.<br />

Due to reduced government<br />

spending brought on by low crude<br />

oil prices and the cancellation of<br />

numerous large-scale construction<br />

projects, the market for construction<br />

equipment in Saudi Arabia has<br />

experienced a decline over the<br />

past few years. However, the<br />

rising government infrastructure<br />

spending underpinned by initiatives<br />

such as Saudi Vision 2030 and<br />

National Transformation Program<br />

coupled with rising FDI, and private<br />

sector investment would drive the<br />

construction equipment market in the<br />

Kingdom. <strong>The</strong> spread of the COVID-19<br />

pandemic has resulted in a slowdown<br />

of the overall economy leading to a<br />

temporary halt in many construction<br />

projects across the region, thereby<br />

impacting the construction equipment<br />

market in Saudi Arabia, which was<br />

expected to regain momentum in the<br />

year 2021.<br />

Reports projected Saudi Arabia<br />

Construction Equipment Market<br />

size to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% in<br />

terms of revenues during 2021-2027.<br />

Growing economic growth coupled<br />

with increasing investment in the<br />

development of the construction<br />

sector is accelerating the Saudi Arabia<br />

22 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Construction Equipment Market<br />

Growth. <strong>The</strong> rising shift toward smart<br />

cities along with the partnership<br />

of private firms with government<br />

authorities is driving the development<br />

of the industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> majority of Saudi Arabia’s<br />

megaprojects will develop into<br />

significant tourist destinations, which<br />

will have additional multiplier effects<br />

on spending in the construction<br />

sector on amenities, lodging, and<br />

other infrastructure. <strong>The</strong> large-scale<br />

projects will therefore boost the<br />

tourism, construction, and real estate<br />

industries, among others, and are<br />

in line with the kingdom’s goal of<br />

revenue diversification.<br />

<strong>The</strong> challenge for the construction<br />

outlook in the kingdom is the<br />

availability of construction workers,<br />

especially skilled personnel, and<br />

rising construction material prices.<br />

Both factors are likely to be mitigated<br />

by further inflows of construction<br />

workers, predominantly from<br />

countries in south Asia and east<br />

Africa, and by the current fall in<br />

construction material costs following<br />

a commodity price peak in the<br />

aftermath of the war in Ukraine.<br />

<strong>The</strong> sheer demand could still lead<br />

to shortages for both materials and<br />

workers in the kingdom in the near<br />

term.<br />

Saudi Arabia’s 2030 vision is set to<br />

mark one of the most radical changes<br />

in the nation’s history as it represents<br />

a major transformation of the<br />

economy, built environment, appeal<br />

to tourists and more. On 29th October<br />

2021, Saudi Arabia announced the<br />

capital city of Riyadh’s intention to bid<br />

for hosting the <strong>World</strong> Expo 2030 to the<br />

Bureau International des Expositions<br />

(BIE), <strong>World</strong> Expo organising body.<br />

Furthermore, a new airport for Riyadh<br />

for a cost of USD 147 B has already<br />

been planned by the government.<br />

In addition, the construction of<br />

eight new cities totaling 1.3 million<br />

new homes, 100,000 hotel rooms, and<br />

three million square meters of topnotch<br />

office space has been budgeted<br />

at $575 B along the western coast of<br />

the country facing the Red Sea.<br />

On the other hand, government<br />

spending on construction activities is<br />

expected to support market growth<br />

in the UAE. Several government<br />

initiatives such as the Energy Strategy<br />

2050, the Sheikh Zayed Housing<br />

Program, and the Dubai Tourism<br />

Saudi Arabia’s 2030 vision is set to<br />

mark one of the most radical changes<br />

in the nation’s history as it represents<br />

a major transformation of the economy,<br />

built environment, appeal to tourists and<br />

more.<br />

Strategy are expected to support the<br />

growth of the construction sector in<br />

the UAE over the next four to eight<br />

quarters. Moreover, the government<br />

is also focusing on the development<br />

of smart cities, digitisation of up<br />

to 1,000 government services, and<br />

installation of 2,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in<br />

the country. <strong>The</strong> liberal trade policies<br />

of the government are also attracting<br />

foreign investors, thereby propelling<br />

the growth of the construction market<br />

in the country.<br />

<strong>The</strong> growth in the UAE’s residential<br />

construction sector has been assisted<br />

by the high national vaccination rate,<br />

improving mobility trends, company<br />

ownership rules, and government<br />

reforms. All of these, paired with<br />

more flexible residency visas, have<br />

also supported the sector growth in<br />

the country. <strong>The</strong> latest reports expect<br />

the trend to continue from the short<br />

to medium-term perspective, which<br />

will subsequently assist the overall<br />

growth of the construction industry in<br />

the UAE.<br />

All in all, the regional construction<br />

industry has over the last decade<br />

made meaningful strides in ensuring<br />

the adoption of sustainable<br />

processes, in addition to delivering<br />

environmentally-friendly projects.<br />

As part of the participation in this<br />

year’s international building and<br />

construction show in the UAE -<br />

<strong>The</strong> Big 5 - the regional leader in<br />

construction chemicals Al Muqarram<br />

Industry (Dolphin Products)<br />

showcased how the regional<br />

construction sector’s commitment to<br />

sustainability is delivering sustainable<br />

yet functional projects.<br />

Residential construction accounted<br />

for 33.1% of the industry’s total value<br />

in 2018 and was the largest market<br />

in the UAE during the review period.<br />

Residential construction will continue<br />

to dominate the market during the<br />

forecast period, accounting for 33.1%<br />

of the total industry value in <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Furthermore, government initiatives<br />

to balance housing demand and<br />

supply by building new homes are<br />

anticipated to support this market<br />

output.<br />

<strong>The</strong> second-largest market in the<br />

UAE’s construction sector during the<br />

review period, accounting for 26.7%<br />

of the sector’s total value in 2018,<br />

was energy and utilities construction.<br />

<strong>The</strong> energy and utilities construction<br />

market is anticipated to exhibit a<br />

similar trend over the course of the<br />

forecast period, accounting for 26.3%<br />

of the industry’s total value in <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

<strong>The</strong> government’s plan to spend<br />

AED600.0 B ($163.0 B) to develop<br />

renewable energy projects in the<br />

nation by 2050 would also support this<br />

industry.<br />

Major international players are<br />

present in the fiercely competitive<br />

Saudi Arabian construction market.<br />

During the anticipated time frame,<br />

it offers growth prospects, which<br />

is anticipated to increase market<br />

competition. <strong>The</strong> Saudi Arabian<br />

construction market exhibits a<br />

discernible degree of consolidation,<br />

with a small number of players<br />

controlling a sizeable portion of the<br />

market. JGC Corp., SNC-Lavalin,<br />

Fluor Corp., Van Oord Dredging &<br />

Marine Contractors BV, and VINCI are<br />

a few of the major players.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 23

Business News<br />

Founder of Emaar: Dubai real<br />

estate is “still a great deal”<br />

<strong>The</strong> founder of Emaar, Mohammed Alabbar, said that there was still “great<br />

potential” for development in Dubai real estate prices and that these<br />

values should be compared to those in other significant cities across the<br />

world. According to an analysis by Knight Frank, prices were predicted to<br />

increase by an average of 2% across the cities surveyed in <strong>2023</strong>. After the emirate,<br />

the cities of Miami and Los Angeles are in second and third place. <strong>The</strong> predicted<br />

rate has, however, decreased over the last six months as recessionary fears have<br />

grown. In the US, fixed mortgage rates have surpassed 7 percent, and Los Angeles<br />

was recently considering imposing a mansion tax on properties worth more than<br />

$5 M.<br />

Abu Dhabi’s private food and<br />

beverage industry is rapidly<br />

growing<br />

Abdulla Mohamed Al<br />

Mazrui, the chairman of<br />

the Abu Dhabi Chamber of<br />

Commerce and Industry<br />

(ADCCI), asserts that throughout the<br />

preceding few years, Abu Dhabi’s<br />

food and beverage (F&B) and<br />

hospitality industries have already<br />

seen substantial growth. According<br />

to a press statement issued, this<br />

growth was supported by the tourism<br />

sector’s good performance as well<br />

as the emirate’s real estate stock’s<br />

quick expansion. “<strong>The</strong> first Abu<br />

Dhabi International Food Exhibition<br />

(ADIFE) plays a significant role<br />

<strong>The</strong> value of UAE exports to<br />

reach $272.26 B in 2022<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s foreign trade is<br />

expected to increase by<br />

almost 16% by the end of this<br />

year, from Dh1.9 T last year<br />

to Dh2.2 T this year. His Highness the<br />

Vice-President and Prime Minister of<br />

the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,<br />

posted on Twitter that the UAE’s<br />

commerce increased by 19 percent<br />

in the first nine months of 2022. <strong>The</strong><br />

<strong>World</strong> Trade Organization’s most<br />

in promoting the development of<br />

the F&B sector in Abu Dhabi and<br />

enhancing its competitiveness,”<br />

said Al Mazrui. From December 6<br />

to December 8, 2022, the Abu Dhabi<br />

National Exhibition Centre hosted<br />

the inaugural Abu Dhabi International<br />

Food Exhibition (ADNEC). Numerous<br />

influential companies with a focus on<br />

the food, beverage, and hospitality<br />

sectors were represented at the<br />

event, together with many specialists,<br />

professionals, and decision-makers in<br />

this essential field.<br />

recent prediction indicates that trade<br />

growth would likely decline in 2022’s<br />

final months and into <strong>2023</strong>. “We are<br />

optimistic that the UAE economy<br />

will grow stronger and faster, God<br />

willing. May God protect the UAE<br />

and its people,” said the UAE’s Vice-<br />

President. After the epidemic, the<br />

economy of the UAE has strongly<br />

recovered, with all the major indices<br />

pointing higher.<br />

24 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

ADNOC and Petronas sign a<br />

historic concession contract<br />

His Highness President<br />

Sheikh Mohamed bin<br />

Zayed Al Nahyan and<br />

His Majesty Seri Paduka<br />

Baginda the Yang di-Pertuan Agong<br />

Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin<br />

AlMustafa Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum<br />

Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in<br />

Billah were present when the<br />

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company<br />

(ADNOC) and PETRONAS signed a<br />

historic concession agreement. <strong>The</strong><br />

unprecedented grant from Malaysia’s<br />

national oil and gas corporation<br />

has enabled the opening of the first<br />

unconventional oil concession in<br />

the Middle East. This strengthens<br />

the close bilateral ties between the<br />

UAE and Malaysia and is the first<br />

time a Malaysian company would<br />

invest in and conduct hydrocarbon<br />

exploration in Abu Dhabi, in addition<br />

to demonstrating the belief in Abu<br />

Dhabi’s significant unconventional<br />

recoverable oil resources.<br />

Saudi ACWA Power signs<br />

deals with 9 Chinese firms on<br />

renewable energy<br />

In order to lay the groundwork<br />

for the financing, investment,<br />

and development of the utility<br />

provider’s international clean<br />

and renewable energy projects in<br />

Saudi Arabia and in nations taking<br />

part in the Belt and Road Initiative,<br />

nine Chinese organisations have<br />

signed agreements with Saudi Arabian<br />

ACWA Power. <strong>The</strong> agreements<br />

were made at the first China-Arab<br />

Summit, which also happened to be<br />

the same time that Chinese President<br />

Xi Jinping visited the kingdom.<br />

Other agreements between Saudi<br />

Arabia and China have been made<br />

in a variety of fields, including green<br />

energy, information technology, cloud<br />

services, transportation, and logistics.<br />

Although no figures were given, Saudi<br />

official media said that agreements<br />

worth a combined $30 B were<br />

anticipated to be completed.<br />

Saudi Arabia:<br />

$27 B budget<br />

surplus<br />

and $328 B<br />

forecasted in<br />

revenue<br />

Saudi Arabia expects revenues<br />

of $328 B (SR1.234 T) next<br />

year and has a budget surplus<br />

of $27.13 B (SR102 B) this<br />

year. According to Al Arabiya TV,<br />

the budget surplus is greater than<br />

anticipated. Due to a better-thanexpected<br />

economic performance,<br />

it was marked up by SR12 B ($3.2<br />

B). Saudi Arabia’s GDP is expected<br />

to increase by 8.5%. In a pre-budget<br />

statement released in September,<br />

the Kingdom projected growth to<br />

be in the neighbourhood of 8%, up<br />

from its prediction of 7.5% growth<br />

at the same time last year. <strong>The</strong> GDP<br />

estimate for the coming year is a more<br />

reasonable 3.1 percent. <strong>The</strong> rate of<br />

inflation for 2022 was 2.6 percent,<br />

and it is predicted that in the coming<br />

year it would drop to 2.1 percent. <strong>The</strong><br />

Kingdom has created a budget for<br />

<strong>2023</strong> and projects spending of SR1.32<br />

T ($352 B) and revenue of SR1.234<br />

T ($328 B). 2.6% of GDP would be in<br />

surplus as a result.<br />

UAE’s Etisalat signs a contract with Bespin Global<br />

of South Korea<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE telecom company<br />

Etisalat (e&) and South<br />

Korean multi-cloud solution<br />

provider Bespin Global have<br />

signed a binding contract to establish<br />

a joint venture (JV) with an initial<br />

capital of $10 M. According to a report<br />

made by the telecom business to<br />

the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange<br />

(ADX), Bespin Global would control<br />

35% of the JV, which would be known<br />

as Bespin Global MEA, while e&<br />

enterprise would own 65% of it. <strong>The</strong><br />

capital contributions would be made<br />

proportionately. By making a primary<br />

investment of $60 M in Bespin Global<br />

in exchange for a stake of around<br />

10%, the UAE telecom company can<br />

possibly open up new opportunities<br />

for collaboration with current Bespin<br />

Global owners.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 25

Cover Story<br />

Agile policy making<br />

increases investor<br />

confidence, which<br />

was already strong<br />

and, as a result,<br />

investment in Dubai<br />

Healthcare City,<br />

and the industry in<br />

general, will continue<br />

growing.<br />

Allae Almanini<br />

Chief Financial Officer<br />

Dubai Healthcare City Authority<br />

26 26 www.thefinanceworld.com<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Allae Almanini, Chief Financial<br />

Officer of Dubai Healthcare City<br />

Authority<br />

Allae Almanini is the Chief Financial Officer of Dubai Healthcare City Authority,<br />

Government of Dubai, where he leads, implements and evaluates fully-integrated<br />

Investment and finance strategies. Almanini is experienced in Business Optimization &<br />

Efficiency Improvement, Preparation of Consolidated Accounts, Stakeholder & Board<br />

Level Management, Process Improvements & Digital Transformation, and many more.<br />

Exclusive to the <strong>Finance</strong> <strong>World</strong> Magazine<br />

Please brief us on your<br />

journey heading the group<br />

operations and investment<br />

activities in Dubai<br />

Healthcare City Authority.<br />

It has been one of the most<br />

interesting journeys in my career.<br />

I joined Dubai Healthcare City<br />

Authority back in March 2020, right at<br />

the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,<br />

which triggered many challenges<br />

both personally and professionally<br />

for the entire world. For those of us<br />

working in the healthcare sector,<br />

those challenges were multiplied as<br />

we strived to stay at the forefront of<br />

navigating through the pandemic and<br />

mapping out a recovery.<br />

Despite those challenges, we were<br />

still able to amplify our efforts as an<br />

enabler, attracting and retaining bestin-class<br />

regional and international<br />

healthcare businesses into the Dubai<br />

Healthcare City community while<br />

maintaining our focus of giving<br />

patients access to quality healthcare<br />

in a safe environment.<br />

While challenging, it was also<br />

exciting working with the senior<br />

management team to understand<br />

the needs of our business partners.<br />

This has enabled us to provide them<br />

with the best business environment<br />

in which to thrive and achieve their<br />

goals.<br />

Looking back, the way we adapted,<br />

with great agility and efficiency, to be<br />

able to offer relief packages to our<br />

community gives me great pride, and<br />

it is one of the highlights of my career.<br />

Managing change and business<br />

transformation have been at the core<br />

of my time with Dubai Healthcare City<br />

Authority. Joining the organization<br />

at such a challenging period has<br />

taught me many things, learnings<br />

and knowledge I can put to great use<br />

as we look ahead with big plans for<br />

DHCA in line with Dubai’s vision and<br />

health strategy.<br />

Q. In a post-pandemic world, what<br />

is your take on investing in the<br />

healthcare sector in Dubai?<br />

We are fortunate that Dubai’s<br />

visionary leadership has always<br />

acknowledged a high-quality &<br />

efficient healthcare system, that<br />

could be a key driver for economic<br />

development. Dubai, and the UAE,<br />

were at the forefront of the global<br />

post-pandemic recovery, in large<br />

part thanks to that desire from the<br />

leadership for a quality healthcare<br />

sector, along with agile policy making<br />

across all sectors.<br />

Agile policy making increases<br />

investor confidence, which was<br />

already strong and, as a result,<br />

investment in Dubai Healthcare<br />

City, and the industry in general,<br />

will continue growing. Within Dubai<br />

Healthcare City Authority, we mirror<br />

that agility with numerous investment<br />

options and seamless, efficient set-up<br />

for partners, allowing them to focus<br />

on their objectives.<br />

Since I joined the organization<br />

almost three years ago, we have<br />

been working in line with the Dubai<br />

Health Strategy 2021. One of the six<br />

objectives of the strategy is “creating<br />

an effective ecological system for<br />

the healthcare sector in Dubai in<br />

collaboration with the private and<br />

public sectors, which will enhance the<br />

investment opportunities in sector in<br />

Dubai.”<br />

Working to encourage and foster<br />

public-private partnerships has been<br />

a key strategic focus for us in the<br />

expansion of Dubai Healthcare City<br />

Phase 2. We have signed a number<br />

of agreements over the past few<br />

years, and quite a few in the past 12<br />

months alone, with leading healthcare<br />

providers to set up operations within<br />

our freezone. Dubai Healthcare City<br />

Phase 2 has become a blueprint for<br />

how public-private partnerships can<br />

drive growth.<br />

In November 2022, the UAE<br />

launched ‘We the UAE 2031,’ a 10-year<br />

plan to see the UAE ranked as one of<br />

the top 10 countries globally in the<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 27

Cover Story<br />

quality of healthcare. <strong>The</strong> drive to<br />

achieve this will be through continued<br />

development of the industry including<br />

updating its services and providing<br />

the best healthcare to the community<br />

in the UAE. We have a pivotal role<br />

to play helping reach this goal by<br />

continuing to attract best-in-class<br />

healthcare providers to Dubai,<br />

fostering public-private partnerships<br />

and enabling quality care.<br />

Another positive for business<br />

partner investment is Dubai’s<br />

growth in medical tourism. In<br />

2021, the emirate rose to become<br />

one of the top 10 medical tourism<br />

destinations in the world, according<br />

to the Medical Tourism Index. With<br />

more people seeking out Dubai as<br />

a healthcare destination, there are<br />

more opportunities for healthcare<br />

businesses to engage new and varied<br />

audiences. At Dubai Healthcare City<br />

Authority, we are here to enable that<br />

connection.<br />

Q. What is your advice to<br />

efficiently maintain the company’s<br />

financial records?<br />

Maintaining the company’s financial<br />

records is a must, irrespective of<br />

the company size. Keeping financial<br />

records is a regulatory requirement,<br />

but even if it were not, maintaining<br />

financial records is key to ensure<br />

business continuity and growth.<br />

Possessing the ability to shift and<br />

adapt to economic changes is<br />

important for a sustainable business.<br />

Furthermore, a major role of a finance<br />

department is how fast those financial<br />

records can be made available and<br />

in what format they are required to<br />

enable decision makers to navigate<br />

the company in the right direction.<br />

Q. Do you believe investors in the<br />

healthcare sector should worry<br />

about the corporate tax law?<br />

On the contrary, the new corporate<br />

tax law will further enhance the UAE’s<br />

development and transformation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> new corporate tax law based on<br />

international standards, together with<br />

the double taxation treaties the UAE<br />

has with 137 countries, will further<br />

cement the country’s position as<br />

leading destination for Investment.<br />

Additionally, investors in healthcare<br />

may also benefit further from the<br />

0% corporate tax rate applicable<br />

under the new law to a qualifying<br />

income of free zone-registered entity<br />

by setting up and operating within<br />

Dubai Healthcare City freezone.<br />

In my opinion, the introduction of<br />

corporate tax in UAE strengthens<br />

and further diversifies government<br />

finances, which could increase capital<br />

spending, especially in infrastructure.<br />

This will further enhance domestic<br />

and foreign investments.<br />

Q. Do you envision a significant<br />

change in the healthcare sector in<br />

<strong>2023</strong>?<br />

Healthcare is one of the world’s<br />

most rapidly evolving sectors and<br />

has been further accelerated by<br />

the need for post-pandemic<br />

recovery. Increased demand<br />

for quality healthcare<br />

creates opportunities for<br />

established operators,<br />

investors and startups.<br />

One key area of<br />

development is Artificial<br />

intelligence (AI),<br />

which will increase its<br />

applications in healthcare<br />

sector and will continue<br />

to be adopted throughout<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, considering the<br />

importance of big data<br />

analytics in healthcare. AI will<br />

also play a role beyond medical<br />

equipment applications,<br />

including in analysis<br />

of medical imagery,<br />

which involves using<br />

computer algorithms<br />

to detect early signs<br />

of disease in x-rays<br />

or MRI scans. It will<br />

be used further in<br />

analyzing patient<br />

data, processing<br />

insurance claims<br />

and management of<br />

medical records.<br />

<strong>The</strong> best<br />

investment<br />

opportunities for<br />

AI in healthcare<br />

over the next few<br />

years are the<br />

hybrid models,<br />

where physicians<br />

are supported<br />

in diagnosis,<br />

treatment planning, and identifying<br />

risk factors, helping to enhance<br />

operational efficiency.<br />

Q. How will digital transformation<br />

impact the CFO’s responsibilities,<br />

and what challenges do you think<br />

are ahead?<br />

With their role sitting at the center<br />

of the strategic-planning, CFOs<br />

are well positioned to become key<br />

adopters of digital transformation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> combination of the strategicplanning<br />

process and the financial<br />

disciplines become a main enabler of<br />

how to drive digital transformation<br />

with CFOs required to incorporate<br />

digital analytics thinking into the<br />

corporate strategy. Additionally,<br />

one of a CFO’s primary<br />

responsibilities is to ensure<br />

appropriate financial<br />

disciplines and resource<br />

allocation, which is<br />

also one of the biggest<br />

challenges for digital<br />

transformation.<br />

Some organizations<br />

tend to overinvest in<br />

reinventing the core and<br />

underinvest in inventing<br />

28 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> new corporate tax law will further<br />

enhance the UAE’s development and<br />

transformation and further cement<br />

the country’s position as leading<br />

destination for Investment.<br />

new business models. Hence, CFOs<br />

and their associated C-Suit teams<br />

need to get a sense of where the value<br />

is in digital-analytics transformation<br />

and be thoughtful about resource<br />

allocation. <strong>The</strong> second challenge that<br />

organizational digital transformation<br />

could face is the need to have<br />

technology savvy senior leaders.<br />

Q. How does Dubai Healthcare<br />

City Authority assist startups and<br />

SMEs in the healthcare industry?<br />

We believe startups and SMEs<br />

have an essential role to play in the<br />

development of economy, so we<br />

created a tailor-made and innovative<br />

business offering to enable startups<br />

and SMEs as well as individual<br />

doctors. DHCX is an accelerator<br />

center offering startups and SMEs an<br />

opportunity to get direct access to a<br />

network of health-focused businesses.<br />

<strong>The</strong> co-working space creates an<br />

environment for collaboration, an<br />

opportunity to gain insight and expert<br />

advice from established operators<br />

within the DHCC ecosystem and share<br />

knowledge on new trends and ways of<br />

working.<br />

From a financial and regulatory<br />

perspective, DHCX not only provides<br />

start-ups and SMEs with the best<br />

advice from the dedicated team at<br />

DHCA it also gives them access to<br />

sector leaders who know what it takes<br />

to grow and succeed in this rapidly<br />

changing sector.<br />

DHCX adds further support to<br />

startups and SMEs and to help drive<br />

homegrown healthcare businesses,<br />

SMEs owned by UAE nationals can<br />

also benefit from reduced commercial<br />

license fees and 20% discount on rent<br />

in Dubai Healthcare City in addition to<br />

priority in procurement.<br />

We have also developed C37,<br />

a first-of-its-kind private medical<br />

workspace in the UAE, designed for<br />

overseas and UAE-based doctors<br />

seeking to establish an independent<br />

practice without taking on the initial<br />

investment risk. This means the<br />

doctors can pass on the regulatory<br />

and set-up burden to the team at<br />

C37 allowing them to put their full<br />

focus on what truly matters to them –<br />

providing patients with quality care.<br />

Financing business set-up can be a<br />

stressful time and it certainly isn’t for<br />

everyone. C37 takes that stress away<br />

from the healthcare providers and<br />

hopefully the doctors who set up in<br />

C37 will share their experiences with<br />

their networks, incentivizing peers to<br />

join them.<br />

Q. What advice can you give to<br />

healthcare startups?<br />

First, we need to remember<br />

and acknowledge that healthcare<br />

is a heavily regulated sector.<br />

Understanding the requirements,<br />

communicating with the relevant<br />

government institutions and time<br />

taken for approvals can be difficult<br />

and have an opportunity cost. My<br />

advice to overcome this is to find<br />

the right people who can provide the<br />

required expertise, particularly in<br />

navigating the regulatory landscape.<br />

Second, when it comes to funding<br />

required for growth, typically startups<br />

struggle in their second round. My<br />

advice is to consider having an<br />

advisory board which can provide the<br />

required investor trust and help the<br />

founders get connected with the right<br />

people through their networks.<br />

Third, is about building strategic<br />

partnerships. Startups in many cases<br />

fail because they try to do it alone. A<br />

partnership with a reputed healthcare<br />

company can boost reputation and<br />

increase credibility when networking.<br />

<strong>The</strong> larger healthcare company can<br />

invest in the startup and share its<br />

supply chain, technology and industry<br />

expertise.<br />

Q. Will hospitals, in your opinion,<br />

accept cryptocurrency payments<br />

in the near future?<br />

Yes, we already know that many<br />

hospitals in USA are now accepting<br />

digital coins as payment options. In<br />

the UAE, there are schools, law firms,<br />

hotels and cafes that have already<br />

started accepting cryptocurrency and<br />

digital coins. Al Jalila Foundation,<br />

a nonprofit healthcare organization<br />

dedicated to transforming lives<br />

through medical innovation, and<br />

a member of the Mohammed Bin<br />

Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives,<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 29

DHCX is an accelerator center offering<br />

startups and SMEs an opportunity<br />

to get direct access to a network of<br />

health-focused businesses.<br />

recently announced that it has been<br />

granted approval to receive charitable<br />

donations in cryptocurrencies, making<br />

it the first healthcare charity in the<br />

UAE to accept donations in digital<br />

money. It is clear hospitals in UAE,<br />

among other businesses, will indeed<br />

start accepting cryptocurrency<br />

payment in the future.<br />

Q. What is one mistake that you<br />

believe CFOs should avoid in<br />

business strategy and planning?<br />

Ignoring a customer’s needs;<br />

any business strategy and planning<br />

should start with understanding<br />

your target audience, and what their<br />

needs are, then build your strategy<br />

and relate your value proposition<br />

to provide innovative solutions<br />

addressing simultaneously your<br />

competitors and market trends.<br />

Follow that with a business plan and<br />

a monitoring mechanism to ensure<br />

on-time implementation and to avoid<br />

losing relevancy. We must start with<br />

customer experience and work<br />

backwards to the business strategy. A<br />

good way to discover those needs will<br />

be by conducting market research,<br />

customer surveys or by welcoming<br />

feedback. This approach allows<br />

companies to quantify the potential<br />

value of a proposed offering, making it<br />

possible to anticipate which strategic<br />

plan will succeed in the market in<br />

advance of the implementation stage.<br />

Q. Can you tell us about a<br />

challenge you overcame to be<br />

where you are right now?<br />

After 24 years of extensive<br />

experience in the private sector with a<br />

main focus in family business groups<br />

around the GCC, my role with Dubai<br />

Healthcare City Authority is my first<br />

position in a government entity, a<br />

whole new career experience for<br />

me. Adding to the fact I joined at the<br />

beginning of the lockdown and I had<br />

to interact with all my colleagues,<br />

who I had never met before, through a<br />

14-inch screen, I needed to learn and<br />

adapt fast to be able to achieve our<br />

business goals. Working in a highly<br />

regulated entity and understanding all<br />

applicable laws and regulations both<br />

from local and federal governments<br />

and operating within such governance<br />

framework was an enriching<br />

experience, and I cannot thank our<br />

leadership enough for giving me the<br />

opportunity to apply my skills, learn<br />

and be part of the organizational<br />

success we have achieved as a team.<br />

Q. You have recently completed<br />

your masters in international<br />

business law (LLM) and<br />

graduated from Paris 2<br />

Panthéon-Assas University,<br />

what motivated you to go back<br />

to study?<br />

As H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin<br />

Rashid Al Maktoum said: “A true<br />

leader does not derive power from<br />

his position, but from his ethics, from<br />

people’s love for him, and from his<br />

knowledge, education and excellence<br />

in his field of work.” I have always<br />

been eager to learn new things, I<br />

graduated back in 1996, and ever since<br />

been constantly going back to study,<br />

gaining my international diploma in<br />

2001, then my MBA from University<br />

of Wales in 2012, and recently went<br />

into master’s in international business<br />

law programme driven by the need<br />

to understand global governance<br />

framework in today’s economic<br />

globalization. I would like to express<br />

my gratitude to <strong>The</strong> University<br />

Leadership Council (ULC) chaired<br />

by HH Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak<br />

Al Nahayan for the distinguished<br />

opportunity extended to me to study<br />

at Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas University.<br />

Q. Do you have any words for<br />

the readers of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Finance</strong><br />

<strong>World</strong> Magazine?<br />

In today’s dynamic and fast-paced<br />

economy, your ability to change, adapt<br />

and transform your business model to<br />

stay relevant will determine how you<br />

sustain and grow a business. It is no<br />

longer about doing it as per the book,<br />

we need all to think ahead, anticipate<br />

and be prepared. <strong>The</strong>re are no better<br />

words to reflect this idea than H.H.<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al<br />

Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, who said:<br />

“<strong>The</strong> future belongs to those who can<br />

imagine it, design it, and execute it. It<br />

isn’t something you await, but rather<br />

create.”<br />

30 30 www.thefinanceworld.com<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Emirates restarts services to its pre-pandemic<br />

network locations<br />

Travel News<br />

Emirates announced that<br />

95% of its pre-pandemic<br />

network destinations had<br />

flights resumed. <strong>The</strong> largest<br />

international airline in the world has<br />

been expanding operations since the<br />

epidemic to keep up with demand for<br />

growth in the travel industry. In order<br />

to improve connectivity between the<br />

two gateways and provide passengers<br />

more options, the airline announced<br />

a fourth route between Bangkok<br />

and Dubai beginning on <strong>January</strong> 1,<br />

<strong>2023</strong>. Given the rapid recovery of<br />

Thailand’s travel and tourist industry,<br />

the increased frequency will help meet<br />

the growing demand for international<br />

travel to and from Bangkok. <strong>The</strong><br />

Airbus A380, the airline’s flagship<br />

aircraft, will fly the additional<br />

Emirates service.<br />

Travel businesses in UAE now provide choices for<br />

visa renewal with vacation packages<br />

Due to a recent change in the<br />

UAE’s visit visa renewal<br />

rules, travellers must<br />

now leave the country<br />

before submitting an application for<br />

a renewal or extension. Agencies<br />

have begun providing packages for<br />

travellers to travel and renew their<br />

visa at the same time as the holiday<br />

season gets underway. Packages<br />

with nations that grant many<br />

nationalities e-visas and visas-onarrival<br />

are available through travel<br />

agents. It costs between AED1,800<br />

and AED2,000 to travel to places<br />

like Armenia, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka,<br />

Maldives, Bhutan, and Thailand<br />

without renewing your UAE visa.<br />

<strong>The</strong> cost might rise to AED3,000 with<br />

an extension of the UAE visa. <strong>The</strong><br />

package includes airfare, lodging,<br />

sightseeing and excursion trips,<br />

activities, an inbound country visa,<br />

and more.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 31

Start-up<br />

<strong>The</strong> Cost of Starting a Business in Dubai<br />

Entrepreneurs and investors<br />

from all over the world<br />

frequently travel to Dubai<br />

because as the economic<br />

centre of the Middle East, the city<br />

can boast of first-rate international<br />

connectivity and entrepreneurfriendly<br />

business policies. Due to its<br />

favourable demographics, launching<br />

a business in Dubai is therefore<br />

quite beneficial. However, knowing<br />

the initial fees for a firm is a crucial<br />

consideration when it comes to<br />

company creation in Dubai, for<br />

undesirable overheads may result<br />

from lack of information.<br />

Which free zone you want to<br />

operate in must be chosen before you<br />

begin your organisation. <strong>The</strong> many<br />

legal forms your firm will take and<br />

how much cash you’ll need to start<br />

a business in Dubai depends on the<br />

location you select.<br />

Launching a new company<br />

in Dubai is rewarding, but fast<br />

acclimatisation to a new environment<br />

and understanding of the global<br />

market are challenging task. Different<br />

laws and ordinances apply in Dubai<br />

Mainland and Dubai Freezone, which<br />

has an impact on how much it costs to<br />

start a business there. By separating<br />

the anticipated expenses before and<br />

after your company is founded, let’s<br />

take a closer look at how much it<br />

32 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

will cost to start up and operate your<br />

business in Dubai.<br />

During the initial phases of<br />

registering your business, you must<br />

pay a one-time charge to the free<br />

zone authority. <strong>The</strong> exact fee will<br />

depend on the company’s legal<br />

structure. Writing a corporation in<br />

a Dubai-free zone does not come at<br />

an exceptionally high or low cost; it<br />

normally costs between AED 9,000<br />

and AED 10,000.<br />

In order to operate in one of Dubai’s<br />

free zones, choosing a business<br />

licence is the most important step.<br />

Trading, services, and manufacturing<br />

are the three types of company<br />

licences that are most frequently<br />

obtained. Unlike fees for registering a<br />

corporation, licence fees are ongoing<br />

expenses that can cost between AED<br />

10,000 and AED 50,000 annually.<br />

Depending on the business<br />

activities and permits, each free<br />

zone has a different minimum share<br />

capital requirement that can range<br />

anywhere between AED 1,000 and<br />

AED 1,000,000. For Dubai free zones,<br />

the standard share capital minimum is<br />

AED 50,000.<br />

A company licence in Dubai must<br />

be obtained before renting an office<br />

space. For your business’s needs, each<br />

free zone in Dubai offers a choice<br />

of desk spaces, including service,<br />

innovation, and flexible workstations,<br />

which normally cost between AED<br />

15,000 and AED 20,000.<br />

Dubai Mainland and Dubai free<br />

zone<br />

<strong>The</strong> cost of starting a business in<br />

mainland Dubai is higher than in other<br />

free zones in Dubai, but because to<br />

the value-added services and business<br />

assistance offered to members, the<br />

mainland has been ranked as the top<br />

free zone in the world for the previous<br />

six years.<br />

<strong>The</strong> government has supported<br />

entrepreneurs over time and worked<br />

to streamline the company formation<br />

procedure to make it simple and quick<br />

for enterprises to launch in Dubai.<br />

Your business will be completely<br />

operating in 2 to 4 weeks, with 50% of<br />

knowing the initial fees<br />

for a firm is a crucial<br />

consideration when<br />

it comes to company<br />

creation in Dubai, for<br />

undesirable overheads<br />

may result from lack of<br />


the work being done remotely.<br />

With over 900 distinct business<br />

activity covering 20 industries, Dubai<br />

offers an almost endless array of<br />

business options. <strong>The</strong> mainland has<br />

made itself known with a recordbreaking<br />

2025 new enterprises<br />

registered in 2020.<br />

Costs of Free Zone Company<br />

Formation<br />

A company can benefit from<br />

being incorporated in a free zone,<br />

especially in terms of cost. However,<br />

it is important to keep in mind that<br />

there are different free zones, and<br />

incorporation fees will differ between<br />

them. Aside from the location, a lot<br />

of other criteria, like the business’s<br />

structure, nature, infrastructure<br />

needs, number of required visas,<br />

access to suppliers and raw materials,<br />

etc., will affect how much it will cost<br />

to operate the company.<br />

Rent and office setup costs<br />

<strong>The</strong> Free Zone where the business<br />

is located determines the rent for<br />

the building that is necessary for<br />

the operation. <strong>The</strong> total number of<br />

visas need will also depend on the<br />

business’s location and type. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

can also be a service fee that is based<br />

on a percentage of your lease. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

are all yearly charges for forming a<br />

business in Dubai.<br />

License for a Free Zone issued<br />

annually<br />

Every company is required to get a<br />

license before beginning operations<br />

in one of the Free Zones. Trading<br />

businesses, service businesses, and<br />

industrial businesses that establish<br />

themselves in the Free Zone will all be<br />

required to pay the license fee.<br />

Free Zone Business Registration<br />

Fees<br />

This charge is made when the<br />

necessary Free Zone Authority<br />

registers the business and confirms<br />

that it is situated in the Free Zone. <strong>The</strong><br />

type of firm launched—such as a Free<br />

Zone Establishment (FZE) or Branch<br />

Company—as well as the Free Zone in<br />

which it is founded, such as Hamriyah<br />

Free Zone, DMCC, etc.—determine<br />

this cost.<br />

Visa Extension<br />

Depending on the office location<br />

the management of the company<br />

chooses, the Free Zone must get Visas<br />

for its personnel. <strong>The</strong> cost of the visa<br />

may differ depending on whether<br />

the employees are nationals of other<br />

countries or UAE citizens, but it<br />

will be paid for. <strong>The</strong> fee for a visa is<br />

returned when it expires.<br />

Financial Security<br />

Every Free Zone business is<br />

required to offer a bank guarantee<br />

to each of its employees. This<br />

demonstrates that the business is<br />

indeed employing and will not be<br />

running a con. This might consist of<br />

a one-way ticket home and 45 days’<br />

worth of pay, for instance.<br />

Setup Fees for Mainland<br />

Businesses<br />

Similar to starting a business in a<br />

free zone, starting a business on the<br />

mainland involves fees that depend<br />

on the type of business, the number<br />

of visa permits needed, and the<br />

location of the enterprise. It should<br />

be mentioned that the expenses for<br />

business setup in Dubai that are<br />

listed here are simply estimates and<br />

could change depending on a range of<br />

variables like the nature of the firm,<br />

the type of business, the location, and<br />

the specific needs of the business.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are some other expenses as<br />

well, and they accumulate over time.<br />

Initial Business License Approval<br />

<strong>The</strong> management must acquire<br />

a business license, which is a<br />

requirement for opening a firm in<br />

mainland Dubai. <strong>The</strong> Department of<br />

Economic Development (DED) offers<br />

this license. <strong>The</strong> organisation will be<br />

able to start all business operations<br />

right away, thanks to this licence.<br />

Depending on the kind of license<br />

needed by a firm, the price of a Dubai<br />

Mainland license may change.<br />

Reservation for Trade Name<br />

Before starting operations, it is<br />

essential to get the business name<br />

approved. Some payments also must<br />

be paid in order for the business name<br />

to be approved.<br />

Affirmation of the Memorandum<br />

of association (MoA)<br />

Discussion among the partners<br />

or owners of a corporation results<br />

in the creation of the Memorandum<br />

of Association (MOA). Depending<br />

on the amount of capital that the<br />

shareholders have contributed or<br />

the share that has been allotted to<br />

them in accordance with the parties’<br />

agreement, the cost of attestation may<br />

change.<br />

Creating Court Agreement<br />

Attestation and Contract Drafts<br />

<strong>The</strong> cost of contract translation<br />

may be passed on to the business as<br />

this agreement must be written in<br />

both Arabic and English. <strong>The</strong> Court<br />

Agreement Attestation must be signed<br />

in court by each partner or by one of<br />

their attorneys.<br />

Ministry of Economy Fees<br />

<strong>The</strong> management of the company<br />

must annually pay this charge to the<br />

relevant authority in order to conduct<br />

business in Dubai Mainland.<br />

Trade License Company<br />

In order to start a business in<br />

Dubai, you must pay a Trade License<br />

Fee, the amount of which will depend<br />

on the type of enterprise you plan to<br />

launch. You can also be required to<br />

provide documentation for a security<br />

deposit for trade license fees.<br />

Chamber of Commerce<br />

Paying a fee to the Chamber of<br />

Commerce After paying the required<br />

cost, the company will receive a<br />

certificate from the Chamber of<br />

Commerce that will permit the<br />

recognition of goods and help with<br />

the calculation of customs taxes. A<br />

general trade firm’s cost could be<br />

different from that of an industrial or<br />

manufacturing company.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 33

Start-ups News<br />

KBW Ventures<br />

funds Black<br />

Sheep Foods<br />

Black Sheep Foods, a US<br />

company that makes plantbased<br />

alternatives to meat,<br />

has received funding from<br />

Saudi Arabia’s KBW Ventures, which<br />

was established by Prince Khaled<br />

bin Alwaleed Al Saud. <strong>The</strong> start-up’s<br />

$12.3 M in funding was obtained<br />

over several rounds. An investment<br />

round led by Unovis, a pioneer in the<br />

plant-based industry and a supporter<br />

of Beyond Meat and Oatly. According<br />

to KBW Ventures, Bessemer<br />

Venture Partners, AgFunder, and<br />

other investors participated in the<br />

financing round. Black Sheep Foods<br />

has received more than $18 M in<br />

investments overall since the business<br />

was founded in 2019.<br />

UAE Corporate Tax: Early-stage<br />

startups have sufficient payout<br />

flexibility<br />

Early-stage companies and<br />

startups in the UAE have<br />

enough time to start paying<br />

the newly implemented<br />

corporate tax (CT), which is set to<br />

take effect in June <strong>2023</strong>. According<br />

to the CT revisions, early-stage<br />

businesses that incur costs and<br />

experience startup losses in the first<br />

few years can “carry forward their<br />

losses indefinitely” and “set off their<br />

losses with revenues in the following<br />

years.” It is obvious that the UAE<br />

authorities want to reduce the CT<br />

burden on newly established or<br />

market-operating firms as much as<br />

feasible. According to consultancies<br />

and other sources, there will likely be<br />

an increase in company relocations to<br />

the UAE in <strong>2023</strong>, and GDP growth in<br />

the wider Middle East and the Gulf is<br />

predicted to remain above average.<br />

Shams Valley to assist businesses<br />

in media and technology<br />

Calo startup<br />

signs<br />

agreements<br />

to expand its<br />

markets<br />

P<br />

re-series A investment round<br />

co-led by venture capital<br />

companies STV and Nuwa<br />

Capital netted $13 M for<br />

Bahrain-based company Calo. Founded<br />

in 2019, Calo is a foodtech startup that<br />

offers customised meal subscriptions<br />

for people who are busy through its<br />

healthy and regularly-updated menu of<br />

more than 500 choices. <strong>The</strong> company,<br />

which has operations in Saudi Arabia,<br />

Bahrain, the UAE, and Kuwait, intends<br />

to use the funding to expand regionally<br />

while doubling down on current<br />

markets.<br />

34 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Anew venture builder<br />

named Shams Valley has<br />

been established in the<br />

freezone, Sharjah Media City<br />

(Shams). <strong>The</strong> project seeks to create<br />

an integrated system to introduce a<br />

new generation of media businesses<br />

and assist in determining the<br />

direction of media in Sharjah and the<br />

surrounding area. <strong>The</strong> business will<br />

act as a platform that integrates media<br />

specialists, entrepreneurs, and talent<br />

to create media initiatives that are<br />

supported by cutting-edge technology.<br />

<strong>The</strong> plan, which was introduced in<br />

partnership with the UAE-based<br />

venture building studio Grow Valley,<br />

builds on Shams’ innovative work<br />

in fostering entrepreneurship and<br />

advancing innovation and growth in<br />

the media industry.

Well-funded start-up ecosystem<br />

drives GCC’s Metaverse market<br />

According to a report by<br />

Chalhoub Group, the value<br />

of the metaverse business<br />

will be at $13 T by 2030, with<br />

$50 B going to fashion and luxury<br />

goods. <strong>The</strong> industry is currently<br />

valued between $40 B and $65 B,<br />

according to estimates. <strong>The</strong> potential<br />

is especially great in the GCC, where a<br />

mix of a young tech-savvy population,<br />

a favourable regulatory environment,<br />

and a well-funded start-up ecosystem<br />

has attracted about $553 M in<br />

investments, according to the<br />

Dubai-based luxury retail company;<br />

Web3 is one of the key underlying<br />

technologies of the metaverse.<br />

Right Farm collaborates with <strong>The</strong> Waste Lab to<br />

advance sustainability in UAE<br />

<strong>The</strong> Waste Lab, an impactdriven<br />

startup that helps<br />

divert food and organic waste<br />

from landfills and uses them<br />

to create healthy compost and other<br />

byproducts that benefit the UAE’s<br />

soil, farms, food, and create jobs,<br />

has announced its partnership with<br />

Right Farm, a disruptive Businessto-Business<br />

(B2B) digital platform<br />

based in the UAE that sources fresh<br />

produce from local and international<br />

farms for the food service sector. <strong>The</strong><br />

relationship will significantly help<br />

the UAE realise important projects<br />

including the Ne’ma Pledge, UAE Net<br />

Zero 2050, and the National Food<br />

Security Strategy 2051. Additionally,<br />

it will be in line with the UNSDGs to<br />

support the elimination of hunger,<br />

the development of sustainable<br />

cities and communities, responsible<br />

consumption and production, the<br />

fight against climate change, and the<br />

preservation of terrestrial life.<br />

Pakistani startup ABHI intends to enter the UAE<br />

market<br />

According to its top official,<br />

the Pakistani financial<br />

platform ABHI is looking<br />

to expand to the United<br />

Arab Emirates in order to compete<br />

in that nation’s fintech sector. CEO<br />

of ABHI Omair Ansari stated, “UAE<br />

is our first market as the nation is<br />

enabling new exciting entrepreneurs<br />

with exceptional capabilities. Hub71<br />

has chosen us, and we intend to<br />

seize this chance and maximise it”.<br />

As ABHI prepares for international<br />

development, Ansari anticipates that<br />

<strong>2023</strong> will be an incredible year for<br />

the company. In less than two years,<br />

the company raised $109 M in three<br />

phases from investors in the USA and<br />

the UAE. This start-up has received<br />

Series “A” funding for about eight<br />

months.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 35

Energy<br />

UAE Reinforcing its Position as a Beacon<br />

of Sustainable Energy<br />

<strong>The</strong> availability of energy<br />

resources in a nation<br />

affects its position in the<br />

world. <strong>The</strong> UAE is wellpositioned<br />

to ensure a stable energy<br />

future. <strong>The</strong> UAE has long invested in<br />

clean energy even though it heavily<br />

depends on fossil fuels to support<br />

its superior economic growth and<br />

prosperity. <strong>The</strong> UAE plans to clean<br />

up three-quarters of its energy supply<br />

before 2050 because the nation has<br />

already realized that nothing in life is<br />

permanent, including oil and gas.<br />

Through its policies and<br />

investments in this region, the UAE,<br />

led by the wise leadership of H. H.<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al<br />

Nahyan, President of the UAE, and<br />

H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid<br />

Al Maktoum, Vice President and<br />

Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler<br />

of Dubai, leads international efforts<br />

in clean and renewable energy. <strong>The</strong><br />

UAE announced its Net Zero by 2050<br />

Strategic Initiative in 2021, with over<br />

AED 600 B in clean and renewable<br />

Investments in<br />

natural gas today<br />

are assisting in<br />

the creation of a<br />

clean hydrogen<br />

ecosystem that<br />

will support further<br />

decarbonization in<br />

the future.<br />

energy investments made through<br />

2050. It now holds the distinction of<br />

being the first nation in the Middle<br />

East and North Africa to introduce<br />

such a program.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE consistently backs<br />

international efforts to combat climate<br />

change by announcing practical<br />

solutions that support low-carbon<br />

industries and by taking the lead on<br />

initiatives that advance the nation’s<br />

long-term plans and goals, like Masdar<br />

City in Abu Dhabi and the Mohammed<br />

bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in<br />

Dubai.<br />

Among other notable organizations,<br />

the UAE is home to specialized<br />

international institutions in the green<br />

economy, including the International<br />

Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)<br />

in Abu Dhabi and the <strong>World</strong> Green<br />

Economy Organization in Dubai.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> UAE, under the leadership<br />

of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed<br />

bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of<br />

the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,<br />

36 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Vice President and Prime Minister<br />

of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is<br />

committed to promoting energy<br />

sustainability and diversifying its<br />

sources because of its pivotal role<br />

in enabling a sustainable economic<br />

growth. <strong>The</strong> <strong>World</strong> Energy Day, which<br />

was launched from the UAE, raises<br />

awareness about the importance<br />

of diversifying energy sources and<br />

increasing the share of clean and<br />

renewable energy, in addition to<br />

developing national policies and<br />

strategies that support the sustainable<br />

development and contribute to<br />

enhancing the efficiency of energy<br />

production and use. This achieves a<br />

balance between development and<br />

environmental protection to combat<br />

climate change and protect the right<br />

of future generations to live in a<br />

clean, healthy and safe environment,”<br />

said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed<br />

Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai<br />

Supreme Council of Energy.<br />

Furthermore, the new gas<br />

processing and marketing company,<br />

ADNOC Gas, will begin operations on<br />

<strong>January</strong> 1, <strong>2023</strong>, the company said in a<br />

statement. “<strong>The</strong> flagship company will<br />

combine the operations, maintenance<br />

and marketing of ADNOC Gas<br />

Processing and ADNOC LNG into one<br />

consolidated entity,” it said. “ADNOC<br />

will proceed with an initial public<br />

offering of a minority stake in the new<br />

company on the ADX in <strong>2023</strong>, subject<br />

to applicable regulatory approvals.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> announcement came as President<br />

Sheikh Mohammed presided over the<br />

annual meeting of the ADNOC board<br />

of directors, in his capacity as its<br />

chairman.<br />

<strong>The</strong> group’s strategy to accelerate<br />

growth across its value chain in order<br />

to meet rising energy demand and<br />

support global energy security was<br />

also recently approved by the ADNOC<br />

board. ADNOC will establish a low<br />

carbon solutions and international<br />

growth vertical with a focus on new<br />

energies, gas, LNG, and chemicals as<br />

part of the strategy. In accordance<br />

with the accelerated growth strategy,<br />

the board also approved plans to push<br />

back ADNOC’s expansion of its 5<br />

million barrels per day oil production<br />

capacity from its original target date<br />

of 2030 to 2027.<br />

According to the company, ADNOC<br />

produces some of the least carbonintensive<br />

oil in the world, and this<br />

new goal will give it more flexibility to<br />

meet the rising global energy demand.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s substantial hydrocarbon<br />

reserves, which have grown by 2<br />

billion stock tank barrels (STB) of<br />

oil and 1 trillion standard cubic feet<br />

(TSCF) of natural gas this year, serve<br />

as the foundation for the accelerated<br />

production capacity target.<br />

With the addition of these reserves,<br />

the UAE’s base of reserves has<br />

increased to 113 billion STB of oil and<br />

290 TSCF of natural gas, solidifying<br />

the nation’s position as the holder<br />

of the sixth- and seventh-largest oil<br />

and gas reserves, respectively, in the<br />

world. Due to the UAE’s abundant gas<br />

reserves and rising global demand,<br />

gas and gas-derived products are a<br />

growing market for ADNOC and a key<br />

factor in the industrial diversification<br />

of the country.<br />

Natural gas is a critical bridging<br />

fuel in the global transition to a lowcarbon<br />

energy system. Compared<br />

to other fossil fuels, gas burns with<br />

fewer carbon emissions. Gas can<br />

substitute for other fuels to cut<br />

emissions in addition to ADNOC’s<br />

low carbon intensity production. By<br />

addressing reliability issues, it also<br />

makes renewable energy sources<br />

more widely available.<br />

Investments in natural gas today<br />

are assisting in the creation of a<br />

clean hydrogen ecosystem that will<br />

support further decarbonization in<br />

the future. Natural gas is a fuel that<br />

can be used to create clean hydrogen<br />

when combined with carbon capture.<br />

Additionally, natural gas facilities<br />

and infrastructure like boilers and<br />

pipelines can transport or even<br />

operate on clean hydrogen.<br />

ADNOC is investing and innovating<br />

to unlock more gas resources,<br />

guarantee UAE gas self-sufficiency,<br />

and expand its export capacity to<br />

support the global energy transition<br />

as gas plays an increasingly important<br />

role in achieving net-zero, according<br />

to the company.<br />

With a capacity of 10 billion cubic<br />

feet per day spread across eight<br />

onshore and offshore sites, ADNOC<br />

Gas will be one of the biggest gasprocessing<br />

companies in the world,<br />

according to ADNOC. Over 3,250<br />

kilometers of pipelines will be<br />

present in the system. To support the<br />

accelerated growth strategy, ADNOC’s<br />

five-year business plan and capital<br />

expenditure budget of $150 B for<br />

<strong>2023</strong>–2027 were approved.<br />

Minister of Industry and Advanced<br />

Technology Sultan al-Jaber lauded<br />

the vision and support of Sheikh<br />

Mohammed, adding that “through our<br />

Net Zero by 2050 ambition, we are<br />

placing sustainability at the centre<br />

of our growth.” Jaber explained that<br />

the world needs maximum energy,<br />

minimum emissions, and all the<br />

energy solutions to ensure global<br />

energy security.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> Dubai Supreme Council of<br />

Energy seeks, through the <strong>World</strong><br />

Energy Day, to promote the concept<br />

of saving energy and reducing carbon<br />

emissions. This achieves carbon<br />

neutrality, as part of the Dubai Clean<br />

Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai<br />

Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy<br />

2050 to provide 100% of Dubai’s total<br />

power production capacity from clean<br />

energy sources by 2050,” said HE<br />

Ahmad Al Muhairbi, Secretary General<br />

of the Dubai Supreme Council of<br />

Energy.<br />

“<strong>World</strong> Energy Day is a key<br />

opportunity to raise awareness of<br />

the importance of conserving natural<br />

resources, advancing renewable and<br />

clean energy use, and supporting a<br />

sustainable future for generations to<br />

come.” Said HE Othman Al Ali, CEO<br />

of Emirates Electricity and Water<br />

Company.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has taken the helm in<br />

efforts to safeguard future generations<br />

from the dangers of resource<br />

depletion, global warming, and an<br />

increase in environmental burdens,<br />

as well as in the areas of clean and<br />

sustainable energy.<br />

In order to strengthen the nation’s<br />

position as the keeper of the sixth<br />

largest oil reserves and the seventh<br />

largest gas reserves in the world,<br />

institutions in the United Arab<br />

Emirates are working to implement<br />

the wise leadership’s vision in this<br />

region. <strong>The</strong>y are putting forth effort<br />

in energy management techniques for<br />

water desalination and the provision<br />

of infrastructure that allows the<br />

spread of clean energy systems.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 37

Energy News<br />

$2 trillion<br />

will be spent<br />

globally on<br />

clean energy by<br />

2030<br />

According to the International<br />

Energy Agency,<br />

governments around the<br />

world have raised their<br />

spending on clean energy by more<br />

than $500 B since March as a result<br />

of new regulations aimed at reducing<br />

dependency on fossil fuels. According<br />

to the most recent update of the IEA’s<br />

Government Energy Spending Tracker,<br />

which includes 1,600 government<br />

financial measures from 67 countries<br />

passed, this increase brings the total<br />

amount of investment support that<br />

governments have allocated to clean<br />

energy since the start of the COVID-19<br />

pandemic to $1.215tn. According to<br />

the most recent policy settings, this<br />

government spending is expected to<br />

stimulate significant flows of private<br />

investment, increasing global clean<br />

electricity investment by another 50%<br />

to more than $2 T yearly in 2030.<br />

OPEC+ to maintain its output targets despite<br />

falling oil prices<br />

In spite of the declining trend in<br />

oil prices, OPEC+, the alliance<br />

of oil-producing countries led by<br />

Saudi Arabia, recently decided<br />

to maintain its oil output targets. <strong>The</strong><br />

decision, made at a virtual meeting<br />

of the grouping, was viewed by many<br />

as a rejection of efforts to halt the<br />

decline in prices through reductions in<br />

the global oil supply. <strong>The</strong> participating<br />

countries reiterated their readiness to<br />

meet at any time and take immediate<br />

additional measures in accordance<br />

with the decision made by OPEC and<br />

non-OPEC participating countries,<br />

which was solely motivated by market<br />

considerations and recognised in<br />

retrospect by the market participants<br />

as having been the necessary and<br />

appropriate course of action towards<br />

stabilising global oil markets.<br />

Bahraini Nogaholding agrees<br />

to purchase AI oil drilling<br />

equipment<br />

In order to incorporate and<br />

implement artificial intelligence<br />

(AI) and digital solutions into<br />

its upstream operations, the<br />

Bahrain-based Oil and Gas Holding<br />

Company (Nogaholding) established<br />

a collaborative agreement with UAE<br />

technology pioneer AIQ. To improve<br />

Tatweer Petroleum’s operational<br />

effectiveness, a Nogaholding<br />

subsidiary, the energy investment<br />

professionals will make use of<br />

the most recent AI technology<br />

given by AIQ under the terms of<br />

the collaboration agreement. <strong>The</strong><br />

digitalization project will modernise<br />

the current field architecture using<br />

machine learning and data science to<br />

optimise and improve performance<br />

while lowering operational risk.<br />

38 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Saudi Arabia<br />

lowers oil<br />

prices for Asia<br />

In a warning that the demand<br />

outlook is still uncertain because<br />

of China’s ongoing Covid<br />

lockdowns, Saudi Arabia cut<br />

the majority of its oil prices for Asia,<br />

its largest market. For sales to Asia<br />

in <strong>January</strong>, Saudi Aramco reduced<br />

the price of its essential Arab Light<br />

grade by $2.20 to $3.25 a barrel over<br />

the regional benchmark. According<br />

to a Bloomberg survey, refiners and<br />

dealers expected a $2.10 decline,<br />

and the price has now dropped to<br />

its lowest point since March. To<br />

roughly $88 per barrel, Brent crude<br />

has increased 13% this year. However,<br />

it has decreased from above $120 a<br />

barrel in June due to growing investor<br />

anxiety over rising prices and a<br />

slowdown in the global economy.<br />

Saudi Aramco plans a $1.32 B<br />

IPO for Luberef<br />

In the Middle East’s most recent<br />

IPOs this year, Saudi Aramco<br />

Base Oil Co, also known as<br />

Luberef, might raise as much<br />

as SR4.95 B ($1.32 B). According to<br />

a release, local private equity firm<br />

Jadwa Investment is selling 50 million<br />

shares in Luberef, the state-owned<br />

Saudi Aramco subsidiary, for SR91 to<br />

SR99 each. That might put the refiner’s<br />

value at SR16.7 B. Saudi Aramco owns<br />

70% of Luberef, which operates in the<br />

industrial hubs of Jeddah and Yanbu.<br />

Jadwa, which acquired the remaining<br />

30% from Exxon Mobil in 2007, is<br />

selling its entire stake.<br />

Sabic and Saudi Aramco collaborate on a<br />

petrochemical plant in Poland<br />

<strong>The</strong> largest energy company in<br />

Poland, PKN Orlen, and the<br />

Saudi diversified chemicals<br />

giant Sabic have formed a<br />

three-way joint venture to establish a<br />

new petrochemical production project<br />

there. <strong>The</strong> new plant is expected to be<br />

built in Poland’s Gdask. According to<br />

Sabic, it has inked a joint development<br />

agreement with PKN Orlen and<br />

Aramco to evaluate the petrochemical<br />

project’s technical and financial<br />

viability together. <strong>The</strong> collaborative<br />

development agreement, according to<br />

Sabic’s acting CEO Abdulrahman bin<br />

Saleh Al-Fageeh, lays the groundwork<br />

for possible petrochemical production<br />

collaborations with Aramco and PKN<br />

Orlen.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 39

Energy News<br />

Saudi Arabia to lead the world in<br />

solar energy and sustainability<br />

At the international tourism<br />

summit in Riyadh, experts<br />

advised attendees that Saudi<br />

Arabia may develop into a<br />

solar energy giant that spearheads a<br />

sustainability revolution and quickens<br />

the shift to renewable energy around<br />

the globe. During the 22nd <strong>World</strong><br />

Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC)<br />

summit in Riyadh, Jeffrey Sachs,<br />

director of the Centre for Sustainable<br />

According to the Saudi<br />

energy minister, Saudi<br />

Aramco has found two<br />

new unconventional<br />

natural gas reserves in the country’s<br />

eastern region. <strong>The</strong> newly discovered<br />

unconventional gas reserves are<br />

Awtad southwest of Ghawar field<br />

and AlDahna southwest of Dhahran,<br />

Development at Columbia University,<br />

emphasised the area’s potential to<br />

lead a concerted effort toward netzero<br />

emissions. “Tourism has clearly<br />

proved its potential to become a<br />

significant enabler of both, and the<br />

Kingdom has continued to illustrate<br />

how one may add value to the other,”<br />

Gloria Guevara, chief special advisor<br />

for Saudi Arabia’s ministry of tourism,<br />

said at the summit.<br />

Saudi Aramco discovers two<br />

new natural gas fields in the<br />

eastern region<br />

according to energy minister Prince<br />

Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.<br />

10 million standard cubic feet of gas<br />

and 740 barrels of condensate were<br />

produced daily from the Awtad-108001<br />

well and 16.9 million standard<br />

cubic feet of gas and 165 barrels of<br />

condensate were produced daily from<br />

the Awtad-100921 well, respectively.<br />

COP28 to<br />

provide a<br />

“complete<br />

picture” of the<br />

UAE’s future<br />

in sustainable<br />

energy<br />

<strong>The</strong> director general of the<br />

COP28 climate conference<br />

stated that the event will<br />

aid in the development of<br />

a trillion-dollar plan to transform<br />

energy systems. <strong>The</strong> global energy<br />

transition will be one of the primary<br />

areas of focus at the COP28 climate<br />

conference in the UAE next year.<br />

Majid Al Suwaidi, director-general of<br />

COP28 and UAE ambassador, said he<br />

hoped the event would also show the<br />

world the “full picture” of the UAE’s<br />

commitment to decarbonization and<br />

its goal of uniting the international<br />

community toward climate action and<br />

sustainability. He was speaking at the<br />

Renewables Talk in the capital, which<br />

was organised by the International<br />

Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).<br />

40 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

New Deals and Partnerships Augment the<br />

Global Position of UAE’s Healthcare Sector<br />

Healthcare<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has a thriving<br />

healthcare sector, with a<br />

wide range of options and<br />

services to meet the needs<br />

of different people, and there are<br />

ongoing developments that will<br />

hopefully make the sector even<br />

more accessible. Since the Covid-19<br />

pandemic, the most significant public<br />

health challenge in recent times, with<br />

a swift and effective response, the<br />

UAE continues to invest in healthcare<br />

as a national priority, but where will<br />

the next wave of modernisation come<br />

from? As the country’s population<br />

expands and healthcare needs evolve,<br />

the sector must move forward with<br />

them.<br />

Healthcare expenditure in the<br />

UAE is growing due to changing<br />

demographics, availability of better<br />

healthcare facilities, the positioning of<br />

the UAE as a destination for medical<br />

tourism, and many more. <strong>The</strong> digitalhealth<br />

market in the United Arab<br />

Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi<br />

Arabia is expected to reach about $4<br />

B by 2026.<br />

<strong>The</strong> region’s healthcare providers<br />

are receiving a much-needed capital<br />

infusion. Many hospitals and clinics<br />

are still dependent on insurance<br />

claims today, which can take months<br />

to process and cause significant<br />

financial repercussions. A medical<br />

claim purchasing solution developed<br />

by UAE-based fintech KLAIM is<br />

assisting healthcare providers in<br />

maintaining a positive cash flow and<br />

carrying on with the provision of highquality<br />

medical services.<br />

KLAIM offers hospitals and clinics<br />

a 5% discount on the medical claims<br />

it purchases in exchange for quick<br />

access to cash. As more providers<br />

recognize the advantages of using<br />

medical invoice factoring as a<br />

substitute for bank loans, which are<br />

particularly difficult to obtain for<br />

smaller clinics and hospitals, the<br />

demand for this type of cash-in-hands<br />

capital service is increasing. In fact,<br />

the growing global invoice factoring<br />

market’s fifth-largest customer is the<br />

healthcare sector.<br />

KLAIM has been at the forefront<br />

of the embrace of medical invoice<br />

factoring. In its first twelve months of<br />

operations, it gathered over 12 million<br />

claims from 250 healthcare providers,<br />

a period during which it also formed<br />

partnerships with Etisalat, Al Khair<br />

Capital, among others.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 41

Healthcare<br />

Healthcare expenditure in the UAE is<br />

growing due to changing demographics,<br />

availability of better healthcare<br />

facilities, the positioning of the UAE as<br />

a destination for medical tourism, and<br />

many more.<br />

KLAIM has recently established<br />

a partnership with Knuru Capital,<br />

a UAE-based venture capital firm<br />

whose mission is to aid fintech firms<br />

in scaling their businesses through<br />

access to smart capital, in order to<br />

maintain the growth of this healthcare<br />

capital solution.<br />

Knuru Capital will also provide<br />

KLAIM with an initial $5 M within<br />

an innovative securitised financing<br />

structure. This initial funding is<br />

expected to be complemented<br />

with funding from a pool of Shariacompliant<br />

investors sourced by Knuru<br />

Capital, taking the total investment to<br />

$30 M.<br />

In response to this new partnership,<br />

Karim Dakki, CEO of KLAIM, said<br />

“After one year since we did our first<br />

medical claim purchase transaction,<br />

we have now proven the business<br />

model and built a track record that<br />

institutional investors such as Knuru<br />

are very comfortable with. We are<br />

ready to scale with large debt facilities<br />

or funds structures. <strong>The</strong> capital<br />

provided by Knuru Capital will help<br />

us further contribute to this stability,<br />

ensuring that people in the UAE and<br />

across the GCC have access to better<br />

and diversified healthcare.”<br />

Moreover, residents of the<br />

UAE will now be able to access<br />

a comprehensive digital diabetes<br />

care programme. As a joint venture<br />

between AppCorp Global and<br />

Lal’s Group of Companies, Harley<br />

International Medical Clinic has<br />

announced a partnership with GOQii,<br />

a healthcare innovation company.<br />

“We would like to support Dubai’s<br />

vision to become a global centre for<br />

the metaverse through technological<br />

advancements in the healthcare<br />

sector by offering preventative health<br />

care and improved patient safety to<br />

diabetic patients,” stated Hala Bhat,<br />

CEO of Harley International Medical<br />

Clinic.<br />

“Together, with Harley International<br />

Medical Clinic, we will help<br />

people manage diabetes and take<br />

accountability of their health with<br />

expert guidance to improve their<br />

quality of life and outcomes,” stated<br />

Vishal Gondal, Founder and CEO of<br />

GOQii.<br />

Each user will be onboarded<br />

through an inclusive digital platform,<br />

and they will receive technology and<br />

coaches to change their lifestyles and<br />

manage their HbA1C values. Each<br />

user can create a virtual avatar and<br />

connect that avatar to their GOQii<br />

Age. Digitally aging users can take<br />

pleasure in the experience, share<br />

it with their friends, and remain<br />

perpetually inspired to maintain<br />

healthy lifestyles.<br />

Having addressed the Covid-19<br />

pandemic, a lesson for the<br />

healthcare sector overall was that<br />

it took a substantial collaborative<br />

effort between governments,<br />

global and local health authorities,<br />

biopharmaceutical companies,<br />

research institutions, medical<br />

providers, healthcare practitioners,<br />

manufacturers, transport, and<br />

logistics players, and many more<br />

to work together to manage the<br />

pandemic and to deliver vital<br />

equipment and vaccines<br />

<strong>The</strong>refore, public and private<br />

players (public-private partnerships<br />

or PPPs) will continue to be a vital<br />

tool towards realising the Vision 2030<br />

goals of a future-ready, knowledgebased,<br />

sustainable, and innovationfocused<br />

economy, which necessitates<br />

a first-rate healthcare system.<br />

Developmental goals are achieved<br />

as PPPs combine private sector talent,<br />

technology, innovation, and funding,<br />

with reduced risks, project efficiency<br />

and access to larger markets, thanks<br />

to government partners. In the case<br />

of healthcare, the promotion of<br />

PPPs comes at a time when driven<br />

by growing demand; the health<br />

expenditure is projected to rise to<br />

$26 B (AED95.5 B) by 2028. With<br />

these new growth opportunities, an<br />

increasing number of new healthcare<br />

players, both established as well as<br />

startups, are entering the market,<br />

driving innovation and competition,<br />

but at the same time encouraging<br />

more partnerships with local and<br />

overseas companies.<br />

PPPs, supported by recent<br />

regulatory reforms, are likely to<br />

support more in-country clinical trials<br />

and the launch of new biopharma<br />

manufacturing and production<br />

facilities, which is expected to support<br />

42 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

the healthcare industry’s next stage of<br />

major expansion, as the UAE places<br />

a strong emphasis on developing<br />

domestic research and development<br />

R&D capabilities.<br />

Healthcare sector adds more<br />

players and partnerships, especially in<br />

R&D; patients will enjoy the resulting<br />

benefits, some of which are reduced<br />

costs and greater range of choices.<br />

Simultaneously, the focus on R&D<br />

will also support the development of<br />

a more mature healthcare ecosystem,<br />

supporting the advancement of<br />

medical education and critical skills<br />

while helping to attract global talent.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE is right now proving that<br />

cooperation is essential to developing<br />

the healthcare industry in terms of<br />

exploring new areas, as well as in<br />

terms of efficiency and innovation.<br />

All participants must work together<br />

wherever synergies can be found<br />

and utilize one another’s strengths<br />

to meet tomorrow’s challenges if the<br />

healthcare industry is to be of the<br />

highest calibre; PPPs in the UAE are<br />

offering a framework to accomplish<br />

that.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE is right now proving<br />

that cooperation is essential<br />

to developing the healthcare<br />

industry in terms of exploring<br />

new areas, as well as in terms<br />

of efficiency and innovation.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 43

Healthcare News<br />

Himalaya Wellness global<br />

research centre opens in Dubai<br />

<strong>The</strong> cutting-edge Global<br />

Research Centre of<br />

Himalaya Wellness, a<br />

member of TECOM Group<br />

PSJC, was officially opened by<br />

Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed<br />

bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai<br />

Science Park. <strong>The</strong> establishment will<br />

create pharmaceutical-grade herbal<br />

NMC Healthcare<br />

appoints a new<br />

CEO<br />

David Hadley has been<br />

named as the new group<br />

CEO, according to an<br />

announcement made today<br />

by NMC Healthcare (NMC). Early in<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, he will take over as the group’s<br />

leader. David joins NMC after serving<br />

for 13 years as CEO of Mediclinic<br />

Middle East. He has worked in the<br />

medical field for 30 years in the UAE<br />

and South Africa. He is a well-known<br />

leader in the healthcare sector<br />

and is renowned for formulating<br />

bold strategic visions that advance<br />

corporate objectives. After Mediclinic<br />

entered the UAE market in 2006,<br />

David transformed the South African<br />

company into one of the nation’s<br />

top private healthcare providers and<br />

played a crucial role in the successful<br />

merger of Al Noor Hospitals.<br />

medicines, dietary supplements,<br />

and skin, hair, oral, and baby care<br />

goods for export to more than 100<br />

nations. Its opening reflects Dubai’s<br />

development as a major global<br />

R&D and healthcare hub; Himalaya<br />

Wellness is a leading herbal personal<br />

care and health product producer<br />

worldwide.<br />

UAE: Medical conference<br />

discusses strategies to improve<br />

healthcare quality<br />

<strong>The</strong> fourth Abu Dhabi<br />

Ambulatory Healthcare<br />

Foreign Congress featured<br />

more than 300 local and<br />

international researchers and<br />

specialists in family medicine and<br />

primary care. <strong>The</strong> conference was<br />

organised by Ambulatory Healthcare<br />

Services (AHS), a SEHA healthcare<br />

UAE leads in the adopting<br />

innovative medical technologies<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE is emerging as a<br />

regional leader in providing<br />

top healthcare solutions<br />

because it is a pioneer<br />

in using cutting-edge technologies<br />

that provide patients with the best<br />

care possible. “<strong>The</strong> UAE is already<br />

an established regional leader<br />

in the provision of world-class<br />

healthcare solutions, and it has<br />

demonstrated that it is committed<br />

to significant investment to maintain<br />

that international standing,” said Dr<br />

Nadine Hachach Haram, founder<br />

and CEO of Proximie, which offers<br />

a software platform that enables<br />

doctors to virtually enter any<br />

operating room from anywhere,<br />

enabling the top surgeons in the world<br />

to effectively be present in real-time<br />

for complex surgeries in clinics and<br />

hospitals across the nation.<br />

facility. Its main objective was<br />

to provide a forum for medical<br />

professionals to discuss ways to<br />

enhance the quality and effectiveness<br />

of healthcare services provided in the<br />

emirate and elsewhere; according to<br />

Dr. Noura Al Ghaithi, CEO of AHS and<br />

conference chair, primary care is the<br />

cornerstone of any healthcare system.<br />

44 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

NUMR’s Digital Platform<br />

processes over 4 M insurance<br />

claims worth AED 1.2 B<br />

<strong>The</strong> National Unified Medical<br />

Record (NUMR) program’s<br />

digital healthcare platform<br />

in the UAE has advanced<br />

significantly, processing more than<br />

four million insurance claims over<br />

the course of the previous eight<br />

months through the portal “Riayati.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> platform processed financial<br />

insurance claims worth more than<br />

AED 1.2 B in total. On this platform,<br />

28,000 transactions were processed<br />

every day on average. 26,000 preapproval<br />

requests per day have<br />

been made since the platform’s<br />

launch on April 1, 2022, according<br />

to the UAE Ministry of Health and<br />

Prevention (MoHAP). Averaging 7,000<br />

prescriptions per day, the platform has<br />

also provided over 1.4 million digital<br />

prescriptions.<br />

Aster expands its medical services<br />

to Iraq<br />

Aster DM Healthcare from<br />

the United Arab Emirates<br />

has partnered with Faruk<br />

Medical City, the top<br />

healthcare provider in Iraq, to provide<br />

educational and professional training<br />

programmes for clinical staff and<br />

healthcare professionals in Iraq. One<br />

of the biggest investment firms in Iraq,<br />

Faruk Investment Group, includes<br />

Faruk Medical City. Through this<br />

collaboration, medical professionals<br />

from Aster DM Healthcare will travel<br />

to Faruk Medical City’s cutting-edge<br />

facilities to consult with patients and<br />

perform surgeries that are not offered<br />

locally and need them to fly abroad.<br />

A Memorandum of Understanding<br />

between Faruk Investment Group<br />

and Aster DM Healthcare was also<br />

inked in order to investigate possible<br />

joint venture prospects to increase<br />

Aster Pharmacy’s services in Iraq,<br />

including the sale and distribution<br />

of pharmaceutical and wellness<br />

products.<br />

A new hospital in<br />

Dubai will cost<br />

AED450 M<br />

At the groundbreaking for<br />

Prime Healthcare’s new<br />

hospital at Dubai Healthcare<br />

City, Awadh Seghayer Al<br />

Ketbi, Director General of the Dubai<br />

Health Authority, laid the cornerstone.<br />

<strong>The</strong> AED450 M project will be a ninestory<br />

building with a 33,000 square<br />

metre footprint, designed by Stantec,<br />

a well-known international design and<br />

consultant firm. It will provide a broad<br />

range of additional specialisations in<br />

addition to cutting-edge non-invasive,<br />

interventional procedures, specialist<br />

rehabilitation facilities for heart, lung,<br />

and cancer disorders. He emphasised<br />

that the authority gives direction and<br />

support to help promote and expand<br />

the health sector in accordance with<br />

the highest quality of internationally<br />

recognised standards, and that the<br />

private health sector is a vital partner<br />

in the emirate’s healthcare journey.<br />

Abu Dhabi<br />

Police signs an<br />

agreement with<br />

Burjeel Holdings<br />

Major General Khalifa<br />

Mohammed Al Khaili,<br />

Director of the <strong>Finance</strong><br />

and Services Sector, and<br />

Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, Founder and<br />

Chairman of Burjeel Holdings, signed<br />

the MoU on behalf of the General<br />

Command of the Abu Dhabi Police.<br />

<strong>The</strong> MoU between the General<br />

Command of the Abu Dhabi Police<br />

and Burjeel Holdings establishes a<br />

partnership in the fields of training,<br />

medical research, and medicine as<br />

well as the provision of top-notch<br />

healthcare to Abu Dhabi Police<br />

personnel. Al Khaili emphasised the<br />

need to enhance sharing experiences,<br />

examining advanced practises,<br />

and monitoring developments that<br />

improve performance.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 45

Mergers & Acquisitions<br />

Multiply Group leads GCC M&A in Q3<br />

2022<br />

In Q3 2022, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) completed 59 merger and<br />

acquisition (M&A) transactions, representing a 23% increase year over year.<br />

Saudi Arabia had the largest percentage of growth in M&A from quarter to<br />

quarter, at 175%. <strong>The</strong> highest rate of growth, at 50%, was seen in the United<br />

Arab Emirates (UAE).<br />

I<br />

n Q3 2022, Multiply Group lead<br />

the GCC M&A. For a 7% interest<br />

in Abu Dhabi National Energy<br />

Company, it had paid $2.7 B in<br />

investment. Al Salam Bank tallied<br />

the transaction with the secondlargest<br />

value. <strong>The</strong> consumer banking<br />

operations of Ithmaar Bank were<br />

acquired for $2.2 B, together with<br />

a portfolio of sukuk issued by the<br />

Bahraini government, the group’s<br />

indirect shareholdings in the Bank of<br />

Bahrain and Kuwait, Solidarity Group<br />

Holding, Mastercard Inc., and the<br />

Benefit Company.<br />

Third place went to ADES Arabia<br />

Holding, which paid $628 M to buy<br />

the shares of seven Seadrill Limited<br />

firms. <strong>The</strong> company anticipates<br />

concluding the agreement in Q4 2022<br />

while awaiting regulatory approval.<br />

46 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

To become the sole owner of Nebras<br />

Power, Qatar Electricity & Water<br />

Company (Qatar Electricity) paid $530<br />

M for a 40% stake in the business.<br />

For a total of $413.8 M, the Saudi<br />

Public Investment Fund and Seera<br />

Group Holding entered into a nonbinding<br />

agreement to purchase a 30%<br />

stake in Almosafer Travel & Tourism<br />

Company from Seera Group Holding.<br />

Based on a $998.6 M enterprise value,<br />

this includes an earn-out component<br />

worth $102.8 M.<br />

Overall business activity in Q3<br />

2022<br />

Most closed agreements were<br />

completed by GCC acquirers in Q3<br />

2022 and Q3 2021. <strong>The</strong>y made up<br />

74% of all the transactions that were<br />

completed in Q3 2022, compared to<br />

19% from overseas acquirers. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

is no relevant buyer data for the<br />

remaining 7%.<br />

In Q3 2022, GCC acquirers<br />

completed 39 transactions in their<br />

local marketplaces, compared to a<br />

total of 23 in Q2 2022. Notably, they<br />

focused less on regional businesses<br />

and instead invested mainly in<br />

businesses operating in their home<br />

countries and abroad.<br />

GCC acquirers closed 18 crossborder<br />

transactions in Q3 2022<br />

as opposed to 24 cross-border<br />

transactions in Q2 2022. In these,<br />

the UAE ranked top in purchases,<br />

making up over 44% of the total,<br />

followed by Saudi Arabia with 33%<br />

and Kuwait with 17%. Additionally,<br />

compared to Q2 2022 and Q3 2021,<br />

Q3 2022 witnessed less interest from<br />

international purchasers. Foreign

Accounting for all the foreign-led deals that concluded<br />

throughout Q3, the UAE remained to be a desirable<br />

competitor in comparison to its GCC neighbours.<br />

purchasers completed 11 buys in the<br />

third quarter of 2022 as opposed to 15<br />

and 13 transactions in the second and<br />

third quarters, respectively. All of the<br />

closed foreign-led transactions during<br />

the quarter were led by the UAE.<br />

<strong>The</strong> companies targeted in the<br />

Q3 2022 transactions operated in<br />

several industries. <strong>The</strong> financial,<br />

industrial, consumer discretionary,<br />

and insurance sectors among them<br />

had significant activity throughout<br />

Q3 2022, accounting for 49% of the<br />

transactions that closed throughout<br />

the quarter. <strong>The</strong>re were 32 announced<br />

transactions in the pipeline as of<br />

the end of Q3 2022 as opposed to 30<br />

announced transactions in Q2 2022.<br />

Half of the announced deals (50%)<br />

came from Saudi Arabia, followed<br />

by the UAE (25%) and Kuwait (19%).<br />

Only Saudi Arabia and Kuwait showed<br />

an increase in pipeline compared to<br />

the previous quarter. <strong>The</strong> final 6% of<br />

transactions involved targets in Qatar<br />

and Oman. Bahrain had no pending<br />

transactions at the end of the quarter.<br />

Additionally, when compared to<br />

the previous quarter and the previous<br />

year, the GCC targets saw lower<br />

levels of interest from international<br />

buyers, with a total of 11 closed sales<br />

in Q3 2022, 13 closed transactions in<br />

Q3 2021, and 15 closed transactions<br />

in Q2 2022. Indicating a decrease of<br />

15% and 27%, respectively, from year<br />

to year and quarter to quarter. It is<br />

important to note that 11 transactions<br />

were completed during the quarter<br />

by international purchasers who only<br />

targeted UAE companies.<br />

“Accounting for all the foreign-led<br />

deals that concluded throughout Q3,<br />

the UAE remained to be a desirable<br />

competitor in comparison to its GCC<br />

neighbours.”<br />

Foreign Investors<br />

Compared to Q2 2022 and Q3<br />

2021, international buyers’ interest<br />

in the GCC market was marginally<br />

lower in Q3 2022. Foreign purchasers<br />

completed 11 transactions in the third<br />

quarter of 2022 as opposed to 15 in the<br />

second and 13 in the third. As seen by<br />

the fact that they accounted for all of<br />

the foreign-led deals that concluded<br />

throughout the quarter, the UAE<br />

remained to be a desirable competitor<br />

in comparison to its GCC neighbours.<br />

Al Salam Bank second largest<br />

transaction<br />

Al Salam Bank, which completed<br />

the $2.2 B acquisition of Ithmaar<br />

Bank’s consumer banking operations<br />

along with a portfolio of sukuk issued<br />

by the Bahraini government and<br />

the group’s indirect shareholdings<br />

in the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait,<br />

Solidarity Group Holding, Mastercard<br />

Inc., and the Benefit Company, came<br />

next. This transaction was the secondlargest<br />

one ever recorded. In the<br />

aforementioned deal, ADES Arabia<br />

Holding plc entered into a legally<br />

binding contract with Seadrill Limited<br />

to buy the shares of seven of its<br />

subsidiaries, each of which owns and<br />

runs a jack up drilling rig, for a total<br />

sum of $628.0 M.<br />

In Q4 2022, the business anticipates<br />

concluding the agreement, subject to<br />

regulatory approvals. Along with that,<br />

Qatar Electricity & Water Company<br />

(Qatar Electricity) completes its<br />

purchase of a 40% investment in<br />

Nebras Power for a total of $530.0<br />

M, making it the sole owner of the<br />

business. Through its fully owned<br />

subsidiary, Raslaffan Operating<br />

Company W.L.L., Qatar Holding L.L.C.<br />

sold this interest to Qatar Electricity.<br />

And last, the Saudi Public Investment<br />

Fund inked a non-binding agreement<br />

to buy a 30% ownership in Almosafer<br />

Travel & Tourism Company from<br />

Seera Group Holding for a total of<br />

$413.8 M, which includes an earn out<br />

component for $102.8 M. Based on an<br />

estimated enterprise value of $998.6M.<br />

Multiply Group Acquisitions<br />

For AED10 B, the Group bought<br />

a 7.3% share in TAQA, the Abu<br />

Dhabi National Energy Company.<br />

With activities in 11 nations on four<br />

continents. TAQA is one of the biggest<br />

listed integrated utility businesses in<br />

EMEA. It has made large investments<br />

in the assets used for the generation,<br />

transmission, and distribution of<br />

water and power.<br />

Additionally, Multiply Group<br />

bought 80% of International Energy<br />

Holding. Kalyon Enerji Yatrimlari A..,<br />

a Turkish firm that produces clean<br />

and renewable energy, recently saw<br />

the acquisition of a 50% share by<br />

IEH. A 1.3GW PV power plant project<br />

and other renewable energy projects<br />

in several Turkish cities are among<br />

Kalyon Enerji’s assets.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se investments are a part of<br />

a strategy to expand all verticals<br />

and represent the group’s belief<br />

that utilities and energy offer<br />

stable, recurring revenue as well<br />

as substantial growth potential as<br />

the world transitions to clean and<br />

renewable energy.<br />

Several of the most recent Dubai<br />

IPOs included Multiply Group as a<br />

cornerstone investor. A wise longterm<br />

plan would be to invest in<br />

Turkish renewable energy resources.<br />

Buying an asset when the value of the<br />

lira relative to the dollar is close to<br />

multi-year lows will result in returns<br />

on the capital appreciation front as<br />

well as on the currency front when<br />

the lira eventually recovers. With a<br />

market capitalization of Dh45 B, the<br />

company’s shares can continue to rise<br />

given its solid asset basis. In fact, it<br />

appears to be undervalued given that<br />

the TAQA stake alone is currently<br />

worth about AED24 B.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 47

Mergers & Acquisitions News<br />

Morni invests<br />

$10 M in Egypt<br />

to acquire<br />

mobility<br />

businesses<br />

M<br />

orni, a platform for<br />

mobility solutions located<br />

in Saudi Arabia, plans<br />

to invest $10 M through<br />

Exists.me, an M&A consultancy<br />

company, to explore fresh acquisitions<br />

in Egypt’s mobility sector. According<br />

to a press release, Exits.me will<br />

serve as Morni’s sole advisor under<br />

the new buy-side mandate, which<br />

will last until <strong>2023</strong>. This role will<br />

assist Morni in executing its growth<br />

strategy and meeting its financial<br />

targets. Morni, which was introduced<br />

in 2016, markets itself as a superapp<br />

for towing and emergency roadside<br />

help. Users can get complete logistics<br />

services for autos from the startup<br />

in urgent circumstances. Using a<br />

network of more than 33,000 service<br />

providers, it runs throughout Saudi<br />

Arabia and a number of GCC cities.<br />

Alpha Dhabi<br />

purchases<br />

a stake in<br />

Nammos<br />

I<br />

ncreasing its portfolio in the<br />

hospitality and food and beverage<br />

sectors, Alpha Dhabi, a division<br />

of Abu Dhabi’s International<br />

Holding Company, has purchased a<br />

stake in European luxury lifestyle<br />

company Nammos. Through a joint<br />

venture with Monterock International<br />

of Dubai, the agreement was<br />

completed. Alpha Dhabi stated in<br />

a filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities<br />

Exchange, where its shares are<br />

traded, that the cooperation is<br />

anticipated to support Nammos’ goals<br />

for worldwide expansion as well as<br />

grow the lifestyle and luxury hotel<br />

sectors in the UAE.<br />

CrossCountry Consulting is<br />

majority-owned by Investcorp<br />

CrossCountry Consulting, a top independent provider of specialist<br />

financial and accounting advice services in the United States, has been<br />

acquired by Investcorp, a prominent worldwide alternative investment<br />

firm, for a controlling share. Along with the founders of the company<br />

and its current financial sponsor, Investcorp is heading a group of international<br />

institutional investors. For the Offices of Chief Financial Officers in both public<br />

and private businesses, CrossCountry offers accounting, finance, risk, operations,<br />

cybersecurity, and technology-enabled transformation solutions. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

today covers clients in a wide range of industries, including private equity,<br />

financial services, life sciences, real estate, and hospitality, and it employs over 700<br />

people.<br />

GCC market<br />

closes 59 M&A<br />

deals in Q3<br />

According to a report<br />

released by the Investment<br />

Banking Department of<br />

Kuwait Financial Centre<br />

‘Markaz,’ Multiply Group is in the lead<br />

for GCC M&A in Q3 2022, 59 deals,<br />

a 23% year-over-year respectively.<br />

<strong>The</strong> highest level of increase in M&A<br />

(mergers and acquisitions) quarter<br />

over quarter was recorded in Saudi<br />

Arabia at 175%, while the highest<br />

level of growth year over year was<br />

reported in the UAE at 50%. A 7%<br />

interest in Abu Dhabi National Energy<br />

Company was purchased by Multiply<br />

Group for $2.7 B. GCC acquirers<br />

completed the majority of closed<br />

agreements in the third quarters<br />

of 2022 and 2021, accounting for<br />

74%, while international acquirers<br />

accounted for 19% of the total number<br />

of transactions that closed during Q3<br />

2022, respectively.<br />

UAE’s e&<br />

increases its<br />

ownership of<br />

Vodafone Group<br />

to 11%<br />

In an effort to broaden its<br />

business activities internationally,<br />

e&, formerly known as Etisalat,<br />

the largest telecom provider<br />

in the United Arab Emirates, has<br />

boosted its shareholding in Vodafone<br />

Group. According to a statement<br />

the telco made to the Abu Dhabi<br />

Securities Exchange, where its<br />

shares are traded, the business has<br />

expanded its stake to “aggregate<br />

3,015.5 million shares, representing<br />

11% of Vodafone’s issued share<br />

capital [excluding treasury shares]”.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> rationale of e&’s investment<br />

in Vodafone is unchanged from the<br />

original investment, as announced<br />

on May 14. 2022, which is to gain<br />

significant exposure to a world leader<br />

in connectivity and digital service at<br />

an attractive valuation,” the company<br />

added.<br />

48 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Discussions to acquire Telenor Pakistan by an<br />

Emirati company<br />

PayTabs acquires Turkey’s Paymes<br />

PayTabs, the award-winning leader in payments<br />

across the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia<br />

(MEASA), recently announced that it has acquired a<br />

100% share in Paymes, the biggest social commerce<br />

platform in Turkey. <strong>The</strong> acquisition announcement comes<br />

just a few weeks after PayTabs purchased Digital Pay in<br />

Saudi Arabia in November 2022. According to the terms of<br />

the acquisition, Paymes will act as PayTabs’ social commerce<br />

platform, enabling millions of independent contractors, small<br />

company owners, consultants, personal trainers, and other<br />

service providers throughout the Middle East and Africa to<br />

get paid right away. <strong>The</strong> acquisition is in line with PayTabs’<br />

ardent pursuit of tracking merchants throughout their<br />

lifecycle in order to improve their payment practises.<br />

Those with knowledge of<br />

the development claim<br />

that Telenor Pakistan is<br />

in discussions to sell its<br />

operations with an international<br />

telecom company based in the United<br />

Arab Emirates. Insiders reported<br />

that talks between Telenor and the<br />

Emirati company, which already has<br />

a significant presence in Pakistan,<br />

have proceeded to a “advanced stage,”<br />

despite the fact that a spokeswoman<br />

for Telenor Pakistan refused to<br />

comment on the development. <strong>The</strong><br />

existence of an agreement was also<br />

confirmed by a reliable source within<br />

the IT ministry, who declined to<br />

provide any further details on the<br />

record.<br />

Marble Point Credit to be acquired by Investcorp<br />

Leading US-based CLO manager Marble Point<br />

Credit Management LLC (Marble Point), a<br />

subsidiary of Investcorp, a prominent worldwide<br />

alternative investment firm, has agreed to be<br />

acquired. <strong>The</strong> transaction’s precise terms weren’t made<br />

public. In Investcorp’s 40-year trajectory of growth through<br />

diversification, global expansion, and developing scale,<br />

the planned acquisition of Marble Point is a critical turning<br />

point. Investcorp is prepared for the following stage of its<br />

expansion and development with $50 B in total firm assets<br />

under management after this transaction is complete,<br />

according to Mohammed Alardhi, Executive Chairman of<br />

Investcorp.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 49

Cryptocurrency<br />

UAE Ranks Among Top Crypto Job Markets<br />

in the <strong>World</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates has one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency<br />

ecosystems in the world, and it is home to over 1,400 industry<br />

stakeholders, including startups, professional services firms, academic<br />

institutions, and government offices that employ more than 7,000 people.<br />

50 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> Crypto Oasis Ecosystem<br />

Report 2022, a yearly report<br />

by the industry trade group<br />

created in collaboration with<br />

Roland Berger, offers insights into the<br />

current state of the cryptocurrency<br />

and blockchain industry in the<br />

United Arab Emirates. It explores<br />

the sector’s dynamism and takes<br />

a close look at some of the most<br />

significant blockchain initiatives and<br />

organisations.<br />

Blockchain and cryptocurrency<br />

ecosystem that includes top<br />

exchanges like Binance, Kraken,<br />

and Crypto.com, as well as Web<br />

3.0 businesses, startups focused<br />

on decentralised finance (DeFi),<br />

and experts in non-fungible tokens<br />

(NTF). <strong>The</strong>se global protocols include<br />

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano.<br />

According to statistics from the<br />

research, there are over 140 crypto<br />

and blockchain businesses and<br />

organisations operating in the nation,<br />

including 20 crypto exchanges, 25<br />

digital asset companies, 21 metaverse<br />

enterprises, and 40 worldwide<br />

protocols. Decentralized finance<br />

(DeFi), NFT platforms, and Web<br />

3.0 are further segments that are<br />

represented.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se 140+ businesses are now part<br />

of the 1,250+ industry stakeholders<br />

that also include venture capital (VC)<br />

firms, universities, economic zones,<br />

news organisations, governmental<br />

organisations, service providers<br />

like EY, KPMG, and IBM, legal and<br />

compliance experts like Baker and<br />

McKenzie, financial institutions like<br />

Sygnum, and Seba Bank.<br />

<strong>The</strong> biggest blockchain hub in the<br />

UAE is DMCC<br />

<strong>The</strong> greatest blockchain hub in the<br />

United Arab Emirates is situated at<br />

the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre<br />

(DMCC), the largest free-trade zone<br />

in the nation. At the moment, the<br />

DMCC is home to 489 blockchain<br />

stakeholders, including 460 startups<br />

that are “native” to the sector. <strong>The</strong><br />

other 89 are so-called “non-native,”<br />

or businesses from other sectors that<br />

have adopted blockchain technology<br />

or entered the market.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> DMCC crypto Centre has<br />

attracted over 460 businesses<br />

operating across the crypto spectrum<br />

in less than a year and has grown to<br />

serve as the headquarters for over half<br />

of the UAE’s crypto companies.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> DMCC Crypto Centre is<br />

a representative of the DMCC’s<br />

cryptocurrency sector. By providing<br />

a complete ecosystem for the<br />

development of blockchain and<br />

cryptocurrency technologies,<br />

including access to global capital<br />

and industry talent, as well as a<br />

progressive and supportive regulatory<br />

environment with a range of crypto<br />

licences, the centre, which was<br />

launched in 2021, aims to transform<br />

the free zone into a blockchain<br />

powerhouse.<br />

<strong>The</strong> DMCC crypto Centre has<br />

attracted over 460 businesses<br />

operating across the whole crypto<br />

spectrum in a little more than a<br />

year and has grown to serve as the<br />

<strong>The</strong> DMCC crypto Centre has<br />

attracted over 460 businesses<br />

operating across the crypto spectrum<br />

in less than a year and has grown to<br />

serve as the headquarters for over<br />

half of the UAE’s crypto companies.”<br />

headquarters for over half of the<br />

UAE’s crypto companies. Today, the<br />

DMCC Crypto Centre is the greatest<br />

blockchain hub not only in the nation<br />

but also worldwide. DeFi, NFTs, and<br />

the metaverse are just a few of the<br />

rising trends and categories seen in<br />

the UAE.<br />

According to the survey, DeFi has<br />

grown in popularity in the UAE as<br />

a result of growing interest from<br />

cryptocurrency investors and greater<br />

usage of cryptocurrencies as an asset<br />

class. Decentralized platforms that<br />

enable users to store, exchange, or<br />

use assets, as well as decentralised<br />

protocols that assist people in<br />

managing risk and investing in the<br />

best DeFi protocols in accordance<br />

with their preferred level of risk,<br />

are included in the domestic DeFi<br />

business, the report states.<br />

Meanwhile, NFTs have permeated<br />

a number of industries, including<br />

art, sports, and entertainment.<br />

Participants in the industry have<br />

noticed their potential to build new<br />

collector communities and increase<br />

access for athletes, entertainers, and<br />

artists to their fans and customers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> NFT startups in the UAE<br />

include 4ART Technologies, a<br />

specialist in art security and the<br />

digitalization of artworks, Elementum<br />

by dloop, a platform that enables<br />

artists and art enthusiasts to buy,<br />

trade, and exhibit art online, and<br />

Pulse, a social music platform that<br />

allows artists to manage, control, and<br />

monetize their data.<br />

Moreover, Dubai government<br />

has identified the Metaverse, an<br />

immersive virtual environment, as a<br />

crucial area of focus. This recognition<br />

was made in a manifest in July 2022<br />

with the introduction of the Dubai<br />

Metaverse Strategy. <strong>The</strong> objective<br />

is to make Dubai one of the top ten<br />

metaverse economies worldwide and<br />

a centre for the metaverse community.<br />

Additionally, it aims to contribute $4<br />

B and more than 40,000 virtual jobs<br />

by 2030.<br />

A growing metaverse industry<br />

has emerged as a result of this push.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 51

Cryptocurrency<br />

Among the notable startups in this<br />

ecosystem are Everdome, a project<br />

aiming to create the most hyperrealistic<br />

metaverse, MetaMall, a virtual<br />

shopping mall in the metaverse,<br />

and Virtua, a gamified metaverse<br />

that offers immersive social, Web<br />

3.0 gaming, digital collectibles, and<br />

interactive experiences.<br />

One of the largest markets for<br />

anyone looking for a job in the<br />

space, the UAE’s cryptocurrency<br />

industry offers some of the greatest<br />

employment prospects and pay in the<br />

world. <strong>The</strong> UAE is the ninth largest<br />

market internationally, with over 137<br />

crypto job listings, or around 14.51<br />

jobs for every million inhabitants,<br />

according to the research. According<br />

to CoinJournal, the UAE has more<br />

jobs in the cryptocurrency industry<br />

than countries like Germany, Canada,<br />

Australia, and France.<br />

Additionally, earnings in the UAE<br />

are higher, with annual pay packages<br />

average $132,000, ranking it as the<br />

fourth wealthiest country in the<br />

world. Salaries in UAE are higher than<br />

those in the US, Germany, Australia,<br />

Portugal, Egypt, and Hong Kong.<br />

With around 159.14 jobs per million<br />

inhabitants, or three times as much as<br />

any other nation, Singapore has the<br />

most crypto career postings.<br />

According to the survey, the US<br />

and the UK have more occupations<br />

related to cryptocurrencies than any<br />

other nation in the globe. <strong>The</strong> survey<br />

also notes that there are around 1,062<br />

employments in the UK and close<br />

to 5,700 in the US that are tied to<br />

cryptocurrencies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> highest average wage for wellknown<br />

roles in the cryptocurrency<br />

industry is $1,20,000 per year for<br />

smart contract developers, lead<br />

developers, and senior developers. Up<br />

to 13 blockchain business executives<br />

can be found among the University<br />

of California alumni, making it the<br />

school that has generated the most<br />

of them. According to the study,<br />

computer science makes up the<br />

majority (24.55%) of all courses taken<br />

by blockchain business executives.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE had 3,342 cryptocurrency<br />

searches per 100,000 people, ranking<br />

fourth among nations with the highest<br />

interest in cryptocurrencies, behind<br />

Australia, Ireland, and the United<br />

Kingdom, which each had 3,472 and<br />

3,409 searches per 100,000 people,<br />

respectively.<br />

52 52 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> December <strong>2023</strong> 2022

UAE welcomes major firms as<br />

the local cryptocurrency market<br />

expands<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE is implementing a<br />

number of measures to make<br />

the nation a global centre<br />

for cryptocurrency projects<br />

as well as projects based in the<br />

metaverse and on blockchains. <strong>The</strong><br />

Emirati government has made bold<br />

moves to create modified frameworks<br />

at a time when other jurisdictions<br />

continue to be unfriendly to the<br />

sector. This strategy has led to one of<br />

the sector’s best growth rates ever in<br />

2022. <strong>The</strong> UAE is a setting where an<br />

increasing number of businesspeople<br />

from various backgrounds are<br />

relocating permanently and taking<br />

<strong>The</strong> NFT Market to expand by<br />

45.5% and reach $982.1 M<br />

In the United Arab Emirates,<br />

the NFT market is anticipated<br />

to increase by 45.5% annually<br />

and reach $982.1 M by the end<br />

of 2022. Over the projection period,<br />

the NFT market is anticipated to<br />

expand gradually, with a CAGR of<br />

32.1% between 2022 and 2028. By<br />

2028, the NFT Spend Value in the<br />

nation will have increased from<br />

$982.1 M to $4746.3 M. As more and<br />

more entrepreneurs, businesses,<br />

advantage of an area that is not only<br />

well-positioned physically but is also<br />

experiencing rapid economic growth.<br />

and celebrities enter the quickly<br />

expanding market, the non-fungible<br />

token (NFT) scene is expanding.<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates (UAE)<br />

market is fast embracing NFTs, much<br />

like the rest of the world. <strong>The</strong> UAE<br />

appears to be developing into a major<br />

worldwide hub in the booming field<br />

of NFTs because the nation has long<br />

been regarded as a good location for<br />

conducting business.<br />

Cryptocurrency News<br />

Dubai’s<br />

cryptocurrency<br />

drive gains<br />

more attention<br />

Many UAE officials pushed<br />

virtual assets as a gold<br />

mine for economic growth<br />

and a key component of<br />

the country’s diversification strategy<br />

beyond fossil fuels, while some<br />

financial centres tightened rules. That<br />

aided Dubai’s positioning as a centre<br />

for the cryptocurrency business,<br />

drawing key figures in the field while<br />

also inspiring bankers, attorneys, and<br />

tech executives to change careers.<br />

Real estate agents recently reported<br />

seeing a surge in cryptocurrency<br />

investments in upscale properties.<br />

However, some people are regretting<br />

the way things turned out as a result<br />

of the bull market’s termination.<br />

In Dubai, the local exchanges Rain<br />

Financial Inc. and BitOasis have<br />

reduced staff. Hazem Shish, a former<br />

banker for Barclays Plc who just<br />

established a cryptocurrency hedge<br />

fund in Abu Dhabi, was one of several<br />

who were reconsidering their entry<br />

into the industry.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 53

Real Estate<br />

Dubai’s Real Estate to Witness the Best<br />

Year Ever<br />

<strong>The</strong> value and volume of real<br />

estate sales in Dubai are<br />

expected to reach more than<br />

AED250 B by the end of<br />

this year and total more than 100,000<br />

transactions according to UAE-based<br />

W Capita Real Estate. According to<br />

the latest data released by Dubai Land<br />

Department (DLD), the evaluation<br />

performed by the Dubai-based<br />

company revealed that the Dubai real<br />

estate sales have surpassed AED236bn<br />

from <strong>January</strong> to date through about<br />

87 thousand deals, which is more than<br />

the total sales recorded during the<br />

past two years together, when they<br />

amounted to AED219bn.<br />

According to the report, November,<br />

which hasn’t even concluded yet,<br />

saw the highest monthly total value<br />

of real estate sales agreements<br />

ever, surpassing AED27.6 B and<br />

dispersed across 9,900 deals. With<br />

8,635 transactions, the previous high<br />

amount was recorded in October of<br />

last year and exceeded AED25 B. With<br />

9,732 transactions, the sales value in<br />

August exceeded AED24.3 B.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> real estate sector in Dubai<br />

54 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Despite global<br />

instability that<br />

could intensify<br />

recessionary<br />

pressures<br />

elsewhere,<br />

investor<br />

confidence in<br />

Dubai real estate<br />

is still quite high.<br />

is currently going through a golden<br />

and historical period, as it continues<br />

to record exceptional numbers<br />

and unprecedented rates since the<br />

beginning of the year, which have not<br />

been witnessed before in this vital<br />

and important sector of the emirate’s<br />

economy,” said Chairman of W Capital<br />

Walid Al Zarooni.<br />

According to Al Zarooni, 2022<br />

was the best year for Dubai’s real<br />

estate market because it has been<br />

consistently breaking records and<br />

reaching previously unheard-of levels<br />

in terms of volumes and valuations.<br />

He noted that the value of sales would<br />

reach AED 260–270 B at the very<br />

least, and was progressing gradually<br />

toward concluding the current year at<br />

a quarter of a T dirhams.<br />

<strong>The</strong> chairman stated that real<br />

estate transactions have increased<br />

to at least AED 1 B per day, which<br />

is a clear indication of exceptional<br />

momentum and performance, and<br />

that the Dubai real estate sector is<br />

generally displaying signs of positive<br />

and sustainable growth this year.<br />

“This also reflects the maturity of

the market on the one hand, and its<br />

ability to continue to attract highnet-worth<br />

investors from all over the<br />

world on the other hand, while many<br />

other global markets are facing a state<br />

of uncertainty,” Al Zarooni continued.<br />

<strong>The</strong> government of the emirate<br />

has continued to support the real<br />

estate market in Dubai with an<br />

array of high-quality facilities and<br />

initiatives, including new residency<br />

laws, residency for entrepreneurs, and<br />

residency for investors, in addition to<br />

the high-quality infrastructure projects<br />

that have strengthened Dubai’s<br />

position at the forefront of global real<br />

estate.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> prospects for the real estate<br />

market in Dubai look very promising<br />

for the first half of <strong>2023</strong>, and it will be<br />

a matter of time to see if next year will<br />

be able to break the records currently<br />

registered, as demand is expected to<br />

continue to grow, and prices still on<br />

the onward trajectory, which makes<br />

the Dubai real estate market a fertile<br />

environment for investments,” Al<br />

Zarooni concluded.<br />

Despite global instability that could<br />

intensify recessionary pressures<br />

elsewhere, investor confidence in<br />

Dubai real estate is still quite high.<br />

Growing investor confidence in<br />

Dubai’s residential property market<br />

is reflected in the increased number<br />

of new real estate projects that have<br />

recently been launched.<br />

This is also demonstrated by<br />

the rise in real estate and land<br />

transactions around the emirate,<br />

which are significantly greater than<br />

those from the previous year. In<br />

comparison to the same period last<br />

year, the total value of 67,000 land<br />

and property sale and mortgage<br />

transactions increased by 75.43% to<br />

AED180 B in the first nine months of<br />

2022. At this pace, the total number of<br />

land and property deals will result in<br />

another record year for Dubai’s real<br />

estate market.<br />

<strong>The</strong> value of real estate transactions<br />

in Dubai hit AED70 B, confirming<br />

quarterly increase of 18% and 64.5%<br />

growth compared to Q3 2021, making<br />

it the best-performing quarter in<br />

the industry’s history. 22 residential<br />

projects totalling more than 5,380<br />

units were completed in the third<br />

quarter of 2022.<br />

It is anticipated that inflation<br />

would average slightly over 5% this<br />

year after rising in line with general<br />

trends. <strong>The</strong> increasing oil prices and<br />

the withdrawal of the short-term fiscal<br />

assistance provided to businesses<br />

and individuals during the COVID<br />

crisis as the epidemic gradually<br />

subsided have both contributed to<br />

the continued growth of the fiscal and<br />

external surpluses. Global uncertainty<br />

increased financial inflows, which<br />

in turn fuelled some real estate<br />

segments’ swift price growth.<br />

According to the latest reports,<br />

the UAE’s economic outlook is still<br />

favourable and is being supported<br />

by domestic activity; with the<br />

implementation of continuing<br />

reforms, non-hydrocarbon growth<br />

is anticipated to be around 4% in<br />

<strong>2023</strong> and to accelerate over the next<br />

few years. According to projections,<br />

inflationary pressures will eventually<br />

lessen as a result of tightening<br />

financial circumstances. Growth<br />

will also be supported by more<br />

domestic capital market development,<br />

especially by the federal government<br />

issuing local currency debt.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Dubai prime residential<br />

market is expected to rise at its<br />

fastest rate in <strong>2023</strong><br />

According to international real<br />

estate firm Knight Frank, the<br />

price growth for prime residential<br />

properties in Dubai, which includes<br />

the neighbourhoods of Palm<br />

Jumeirah, Emirates Hills, and<br />

Jumeirah Bay Island, is expected to be<br />

the highest worldwide.<br />

However, the ‘build it and they<br />

will come’ mentality of Dubai has<br />

been a recurring problem since it<br />

has led to the construction of more<br />

residences than the market can<br />

support. Knight Frank said in its <strong>2023</strong><br />

Prime Predictions that the quantity of<br />

new luxury residences planned in this<br />

cycle is not keeping up with demand.<br />

<strong>The</strong> majority of the brand-new<br />

luxury residences being built<br />

in the city’s most prestigious<br />

neighbourhoods are found in Bulgari<br />

Lighthouse on Jumeirah Bay Island<br />

(31 apartments) and Alpago’s Palm<br />

Flower on the Palm Jumeirah (11<br />

apartments).<br />

“Dubai’s premier residential market<br />

has and continues to be a global<br />

outlier, with record price increase in<br />

2022, even if this has been from a low<br />

base,” stated Faisal Durrani, Partner –<br />

Head of Middle East Research.<br />

“Adding to the city’s appeal is its<br />

relative ‘affordability’, with prime<br />

homes transacting for around $800<br />

per sq. ft, making Dubai one of the<br />

most ‘affordable’ luxury residential<br />

markets in the world. By the end of<br />

2022, prices in Dubai’s mainstream<br />

residential market are predicted to<br />

increase by 5-7%, and a similar pace<br />

of growth is anticipated in <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

according to Knight Frank. Eight<br />

villas in Dubai’s most prestigious<br />

neighbourhoods are anticipated to<br />

be produced by 2025, while supply is<br />

the other crucial component in <strong>2023</strong><br />

predictions.<br />

Knight Frank’s global research<br />

network now anticipates an average<br />

increase in prime home prices of<br />

2.0% across the 25 cities under study<br />

in <strong>2023</strong>, down from its previous<br />

prediction of 2.7%. In spite of this<br />

decrease, overall growth in <strong>2023</strong><br />

would still be larger than it was in six<br />

of the previous ten years.<br />

According to Knight Frank, the<br />

housing market has been transforming<br />

for the past two years after the<br />

pandemic fuelled a rise in house<br />

prices in most major cities around the<br />

world. Geopolitics are getting trickier,<br />

money is getting more expensive, and<br />

China is no longer the engine of the<br />

global economy.<br />

<strong>The</strong> unpredictable effects of<br />

skyrocketing inflation, the rising cost<br />

of debt, and greater taxes are issues<br />

that homeowners must deal with.<br />

Prime markets are more resistant to<br />

the effects of increasing mortgage<br />

rates, but they are not exempt. Many<br />

prestigious residential markets are<br />

already in the process of changing<br />

from a sellers’ to a buyers’ market.<br />

However, Knight Frank’s analysis<br />

found that for prices to reach the<br />

levels they were prior to the pandemic<br />

in 2019, prime home prices would<br />

need to decline by 30–40% in several<br />

areas.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com<br />


Real Estate News<br />

$2.478 B has<br />

been spent on<br />

real estate in<br />

Dubai<br />

R<br />

eal estate deals of over<br />

$2.478 B (AED9.1 B) were<br />

completed, continuing<br />

an exceptional trend in<br />

Dubai real estate. 3,186 transactions<br />

were reported in the city for the<br />

week ending December 9, according<br />

to data compiled by the Dubai Land<br />

Department. According to the Land<br />

Department data, 2,241 apartments<br />

and villas were purchased for $1.263<br />

B, while 419 plots were sold for $610<br />

M (AED 2,24 B) (AED4.64 B). <strong>The</strong> top<br />

three deals included the sale of land in<br />

Marsa Dubai for $72.3 M (AED265.69<br />

M), <strong>World</strong> Islands for $17.5 M<br />

(AED64.16 M), and Palm Deira for<br />

$10.3 M (AED38 M).<br />

UAE real<br />

estate sector<br />

expected to<br />

grow in <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong> real estate market in<br />

Dubai has risen dramatically<br />

over the last five years, and<br />

experts predict that it will<br />

continue to increase in <strong>2023</strong>. As fresh<br />

supply is just beginning to enter the<br />

market, real estate prices are likewise<br />

predicted to climb gradually, by 20<br />

to 25 percent annually. Dubai still<br />

has a high demand for real estate;<br />

therefore, it will take some time<br />

for the market to take in the fresh<br />

supply. <strong>The</strong> demand for luxury villas<br />

in Dubai has increased significantly in<br />

recent years. Additionally, prices have<br />

dramatically increased during the<br />

previous few years. <strong>The</strong> market is still<br />

quite competitive, and it is predicted<br />

that demand for villas would outstrip<br />

that for apartments.<br />

Saudi PIF to build Riyadh’s<br />

2-km-tall tower<br />

Saudi Arabia’s Public<br />

Investment Fund (PIF) is<br />

considering building a 2-km<br />

tall tower as part of an 18 sq.<br />

km development north of Riyadh.<br />

Contractors who have estimated<br />

mega-tall skyscrapers in the area<br />

claim that the tower might cost $5<br />

B to build. If built, the tower will be<br />

taller than the 828-meter Burj Khalifa<br />

in Dubai, which currently holds the<br />

record for the tallest building in the<br />

world. According to the latest reports,<br />

a design competition has been<br />

launched, and overseas businesses<br />

have been asked to participate,<br />

including Killa Design from Dubai.<br />

<strong>The</strong> building site is located west of<br />

the current King Khalid International<br />

Airport and is anticipated to be<br />

included in the recently announced<br />

King Salman International Airport<br />

project in the nation.<br />

B1 Properties<br />

sells six<br />

opulent villas<br />

for more than<br />

$185 M<br />

B1 Properties recently said<br />

that this season had seen<br />

one of its Palm Jumeirah<br />

property sales set records.<br />

<strong>The</strong> meticulously curated portfolio of<br />

the premium real estate firm includes<br />

the most sought-after properties<br />

in the Middle East. B1 Properties,<br />

which was established in 2021 and<br />

focuses on purchasing homes on the<br />

Palm Jumeirah, has swiftly become<br />

the leader in the luxury real estate<br />

investment sector. <strong>The</strong> brokerage is<br />

well-known for selling the priciest<br />

penthouse at <strong>The</strong> Royal Atlantis<br />

Residences for AED163 M in addition<br />

to selling other properties in locations<br />

like Bluewaters Island.<br />

56 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

A new record for residential land sales in Dubai<br />

<strong>The</strong> residential real estate<br />

market in Dubai is still<br />

experiencing record-breaking<br />

deals as 2022 comes to a<br />

close. One such transaction involved<br />

the staggering sale of a 100,000 square<br />

foot seafront plot of land in Dubai<br />

Marina for AED690 M ($187.6 M). This<br />

acquisition surpasses the AED600<br />

M purchase of a second property on<br />

the Palm by Indian tycoon Mukesh<br />

Ambani as the largest residential<br />

transaction in Dubai this year. This<br />

year, beachfront plots and homes<br />

have been among the most soughtafter<br />

in Dubai, driving record prices<br />

at the Jumeira Bay Islands and Palm<br />

Jumeirah.<br />

Saudi Arabia<br />

debuts its first<br />

luxury island<br />

resort at NEOM<br />

Crown Prince and Prime<br />

Minister Mohammed bin<br />

Salman, who also serves<br />

as Chairman of the NEOM<br />

Company Board of Directors, has<br />

announced the development of<br />

Sindalah, the first exclusive island<br />

resort in NEOM and one of the most<br />

significant initiatives advancing<br />

Saudi Arabia’s national tourism<br />

islands Sindalah, a major entrance<br />

to the Red Sea that offers unique<br />

nautical experiences, is anticipated<br />

to open its doors to visitors in early<br />

2024 so they may take use of its<br />

luxurious amenities and upscale<br />

services. 3,500 new employments in<br />

the tourism industry, hospitality, and<br />

leisure services are anticipated to be<br />

generated by the project. In NEOM, a<br />

number of islands will be developed,<br />

each in accordance with its own<br />

vision and design, covering an area of<br />

about 840,000 square metres; Sindalah<br />

is one of these islands.<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid<br />

attends the largest construction<br />

expo in the region<br />

His Highness Sheikh<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al<br />

Maktoum, Vice-President<br />

and Prime Minister of<br />

the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, paid<br />

a visit to the 43rd Big 5, the largest<br />

and most important building expo in<br />

the Middle East, Africa, and South<br />

Asia, on Tuesday at the Dubai <strong>World</strong><br />

Trade Center. Technology, according<br />

Alabbar visits Albania to establish<br />

“the second Monaco in the world”<br />

Mohamed Alabbar claims,<br />

“I am accomplishing<br />

something that has never<br />

been done before, never,”<br />

which is a bold statement coming<br />

from someone who has built Burj<br />

Khalifa, the tallest structure in the<br />

world, among many other notable<br />

accomplishments in the real estate<br />

sector. His Eagle Hills Group of<br />

enterprises is building the magnificent<br />

$2.5 B Durres Yachts and Marina<br />

project in Albania as the “something.”<br />

It will completely reshape a portion<br />

of the Albanian coastline near the city<br />

of Durres and when finished, will be<br />

the largest superyacht marina in the<br />

history of the Mediterranean.<br />

to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid,<br />

is causing disruption in a number of<br />

industries, including building. He said<br />

that the industry had included several<br />

elements of the fourth industrial<br />

revolution, including AI and its uses in<br />

projects. According to His Highness,<br />

infrastructure initiatives are important<br />

enablers of all-encompassing<br />

sustainable growth.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 57

Funding & Investment<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid approves<br />

integrated platform for investment in<br />

vital sectors<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister<br />

and Ruler of Dubai, recently approved the establishment of an integrated national<br />

platform for investments in sectors like fintech, tourism, manufacturing and<br />

renewable energy. His Highness chaired the UAE Cabinet meeting at Al Zorah Natural<br />

Reserve in Ajman, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid<br />

Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of <strong>Finance</strong>;<br />

and H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and<br />

Minister of the Interior.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE Cabinet meeting<br />

approved the foreign<br />

investor compass project,<br />

which represents one of<br />

the transformative projects of the<br />

Ministry of Economy, and constitutes<br />

a qualitative leap in promoting the<br />

investment environment in the<br />

UAE, and highlighting the country’s<br />

capabilities in the targeted sectors.<br />

According to a statement, the<br />

goal of this investment is to reduce<br />

the country’s carbon footprint and<br />

consumption of natural resources.<br />

Under the Ministry of Economy, this<br />

platform will look to promote the<br />

58 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

investment environment in the UAE in<br />

a number of targeted sectors ranging<br />

from fintech to and smart cities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> platform will highlight the<br />

nation’s abilities in the targeted<br />

industries by highlighting each<br />

one’s most salient characteristics. It<br />

will also provide opportunities for<br />

investors from all categories in the<br />

agricultural technology, healthcare,<br />

education, communications and<br />

information technology, media and<br />

entertainment, e-commerce, space,<br />

logistics, medical tourism, creative<br />

industries, smart cities, and other<br />

strategic sectors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Cabinet also approved a federal<br />

building regulations policy. It defines<br />

sustainability standards for roads,<br />

buildings and houses, among others,<br />

Sheikh Mohammed tweeted; “<strong>The</strong><br />

aim is to reduce the use of natural<br />

resources and our carbon footprint,<br />

and to enhance environmental<br />

sustainability standards for buildings<br />

in the UAE.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> campaign is a collaboration<br />

between the Ministry of Community<br />

Development and the Ministry of<br />

Climate Change and Environment. It<br />

aims at cleaning the tourist landmarks<br />

and destinations in the UAE, in line

Under the Ministry of Economy, this platform will look<br />

to promote the investment environment in the UAE in<br />

a number of targeted sectors ranging from fintech to<br />

and smart cities.<br />

with International Volunteer Day on<br />

December 5. <strong>The</strong> cabinet meeting<br />

also reviewed a detailed study on the<br />

monthly income ceiling for requests<br />

for housing assistance and grants<br />

within the Sheikh Zayed Housing<br />

Programme.<br />

<strong>The</strong> campaign which started by<br />

5th December for 10 consecutive<br />

days and continued until the 15th of<br />

December, witnessed the participation<br />

of officials, ministers and work teams<br />

of federal and local authorities in<br />

cleaning up tourist destinations in<br />

the country, in cooperation with the<br />

Emirates Environmental Group.<br />

<strong>The</strong> National Building<br />

Regulations and Standards, which<br />

include sustainability guidelines<br />

for construction of buildings,<br />

construction of roads, construction<br />

of housing, and operation and<br />

maintenance of buildings, were also<br />

approved by the Cabinet.<br />

<strong>The</strong> National Building Regulations<br />

and Standards will guarantee a 15%<br />

reduction in material and natural<br />

resource use, a 5% reduction in<br />

carbon footprint, a 45% reduction<br />

in road energy use, a 25% reduction<br />

in building and housing energy<br />

use, and a 16% reduction in water<br />

consumption, all while promoting the<br />

green economy and the welfare and<br />

comfort of UAE citizens.<br />

<strong>The</strong> initiative target was to enhance<br />

the role of federal government<br />

employees in supporting the volunteer<br />

work process, spreading the culture of<br />

volunteering in society, supporting the<br />

environment, and enhancing UAE’s<br />

efforts to host the COP28.<br />

Moreover, the UAE Cabinet<br />

reviewed the suggested requirements<br />

to support citizens with limited<br />

income who do not meet the<br />

conditions of loans in housing grants.<br />

Also, the meeting approved a number<br />

of agreements with the Federal<br />

Republic of Nigeria, the Kingdom of<br />

Lesotho and the Kingdom of Tonga,<br />

in addition to approving the UAE’s<br />

accession to the Beijing Convention<br />

on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts<br />

Related to International Civil Aviation<br />

for the year 2010.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Cabinet meeting also approved<br />

the Smart Health Initiative which<br />

aims at developing health services<br />

in the country through partnership<br />

and cooperation between various<br />

governmental health entities and<br />

private sector institutions. This<br />

initiative will work on developing and<br />

updating the rules governing the use<br />

of modern methods and technologies<br />

to provide advanced digital health<br />

services, and enhance the efficiency<br />

of health devices, as well as the<br />

accuracy of diagnosis, prescription<br />

and dispense medical products. <strong>The</strong><br />

initiative will encourage telemedicine<br />

interventions, remote medical followup<br />

and monitoring, in order to provide<br />

100% remote health services.<br />

UAE is known for its investorfriendly<br />

practices. An investment in<br />

Dubai attracts no annual property<br />

tax, income tax, capital gains tax,<br />

rental revenue tax, or Value Added<br />

Tax (VAT). This allows an investor<br />

to dedicate a much larger financial<br />

portfolio to purchasing property<br />

and, in turn, get higher returns.<br />

Interestingly, although investment in<br />

Dubai is devoid of direct taxes, you<br />

might be required to pay municipality<br />

fees and private community charges.<br />

Indians and other foreign nationals<br />

can invest, own, lease and sell<br />

freehold properties in Dubai. Dubai<br />

has a high expatriate population with<br />

almost 85 percent share of the total<br />

residents. Of this, Indians dominate<br />

over 30 percent of the demographics.<br />

As per reports, Dubai is trying to<br />

establish itself as a start-up pioneer.<br />

Although Indians comprise around<br />

30 percent of the start-up ecosystem<br />

in Dubai, the administration wants<br />

to take it up further by revising<br />

the Golden Visa program and tax<br />

policies to promote ease of business.<br />

Resultantly, over 8,000 affluent<br />

Indians are expected to migrate out<br />

of the country in 2022, and Dubai has<br />

emerged as their primary choice.<br />

<strong>The</strong> global city of Dubai is expected<br />

to continue its dominance as an<br />

investors’ paradise for the next few<br />

years at least. With a significant<br />

number of expatriates making the<br />

city their ‘home’, a favourable realty<br />

environment will be maintained.<br />

However, as is the case with any<br />

foreign investment, it is recommended<br />

to duly scrutinise each aspect of the<br />

deal before signing the documents.<br />

Investors in the UAE are fortunate<br />

to have access to a wide range of<br />

investment companies, each with<br />

its unique upsides and downsides.<br />

While there are many good options for<br />

investors, it can be difficult to know<br />

which companies to choose from.<br />

<strong>The</strong>refore, it is important to consider<br />

what investment proposal best meets<br />

your needs, for investing in a market<br />

without sufficient research is unlikely<br />

to yield the results you are seeking.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 59

Funding & Investment News<br />

Dubai-based<br />

fintech startups<br />

will receive<br />

$545 M in<br />

investment in<br />

2022<br />

Fintech companies operating<br />

in Dubai International<br />

Financial Centre (DIFC)<br />

got more than AED2 B<br />

($545 M) in funding in the first nine<br />

months of the year, according to<br />

the 2022 FinTech Report from the<br />

DIFC FinTech Hive. According to<br />

DIFC, more fintech and innovation<br />

businesses opened up shop in the<br />

zone between <strong>January</strong> and September<br />

than there were in 2021. Fintech<br />

funding activity nearly quadrupled<br />

in 2021, and start-ups in the MENA<br />

region raised $998 M in 2021, up 78%<br />

from the previous year. Graduated<br />

start-ups from the DIFC FinTech<br />

Hive programme cohort this year are<br />

included in that amount. Currently,<br />

more than 3,000 applications from<br />

around the world have been submitted<br />

to the region’s first and largest fintech<br />

accelerator programme.<br />

UAE funders<br />

are actively<br />

seeking India’s<br />

subsequent<br />

unicorns<br />

Indian expats in the UAE are<br />

heavily investing in gold and<br />

real estate back home, but<br />

there are other assets that can<br />

entice investors. For some NRIs, this<br />

entails looking for opportunities in<br />

India’s next big “unicorn” company,<br />

which has a $1 B valuation. Neelesh<br />

Bhatnagar, the managing director<br />

of NB Ventures based in Dubai,<br />

advises investors to consider all<br />

potential opportunities. Because of<br />

the CEPA (Comprehensive Economic<br />

Partnership Agreement) between<br />

the UAE and India, investment<br />

opportunities now actually flow both<br />

ways.<br />

EDB and<br />

ADCB agree<br />

to a credit<br />

guarantee<br />

agreement to<br />

increase SME<br />

financing<br />

Emirates Development Bank<br />

and Abu Dhabi Commercial<br />

Bank have signed a<br />

preliminary agreement for a<br />

joint credit guarantee programme for<br />

small and medium enterprises in the<br />

nation. Emirates Development Bank<br />

is a state-owned lender that focuses<br />

on financing businesses in important<br />

industrial sectors. <strong>The</strong> agreement is<br />

anticipated to increase SMEs’ access<br />

to strategic funding choices and<br />

increase their financial inclusion in<br />

the UAE, according to EDB. As part<br />

of the project, EDB would guarantee<br />

up to 50% of the financing provided to<br />

SMEs by ADCB, Abu Dhabi’s thirdlargest<br />

lender by assets.<br />

Startups in the HUB71 community raise $1 B in<br />

venture funding<br />

<strong>The</strong> Hub71 community has<br />

welcomed startups that<br />

have collectively raised $1<br />

B (AED 3.7 B) in venture<br />

capital since its launch in 2019. Hub71<br />

is Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem.<br />

<strong>The</strong> accomplishment was made in<br />

a year in which Hub71 onboarded<br />

53 high-growth technology startups,<br />

each of which had a demonstrated<br />

history of luring sizable investment<br />

from top venture capital firms. Nine<br />

firms that Hub71 onboarded this year<br />

have collectively raised more than<br />

$156.7 M (AED 575 M), or more than<br />

$10 M (AED 36.7 M) per start-up.<br />

Included in this is Axiom, a start-up<br />

that aids businesses in monitoring and<br />

analysing data, which raised $25 M<br />

(AED 93.6 M), the most of any startup<br />

Hub71 will onboard in 2022 and<br />

257% more than the highest-earning<br />

start-up.<br />

60 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

7.5% of MNT Investments are sold by GB Auto to<br />

Chimera in the UAE<br />

According to GB Auto, Chimera purchased a 7.5%<br />

share in the Dutch business MNT Investment.<br />

<strong>The</strong> portion of MNT Investment owned by GB<br />

Auto will drop to 49.5%GB, and Auto announced<br />

that the target shares would be sold for $60 M, or $71.3 M<br />

provided certain criteria were met. Prior to that, GB Auto<br />

had a binding contract in place to sell a 21.7% interest in<br />

MNT Investments’ “Chimprop 2 Investment SPV RSC Ltd.”<br />

At that time, the company announced that it would start the<br />

selling process for the 7.5% indirect shareholding in MNT<br />

Investments B.V. that belonged to GB Auto, with a total<br />

value of $60 M.<br />

Uolo secures $22.5 M in Series A funding<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE-based VC company Winter Capital led a<br />

$22.5 M Series-A investment round for the edtech<br />

start-up Uolo. Existing investors Blume Ventures and<br />

the brand-new Dubai-based fund Morphosis Venture<br />

Capital both participated in the investment round. According<br />

to a statement made by the company, Uolo had earlier raised<br />

a seed round of INR 20 headed by VC funds Blume Ventures<br />

in November 2020. <strong>The</strong> open architectural platform of Uolo<br />

enables the creation of physical learning programmes for<br />

K–12 educational institutions and students. According to the<br />

company’s statement, Uolo has worked with more than 8500<br />

schools in India and currently touches over 3.7 million kids.<br />

UAE-Qatar bilateral trade and investment are<br />

expected to increase<br />

Following the last visit<br />

of His Highness Sheikh<br />

President Mohammed bin<br />

Zayed Al Nahyan, bilateral<br />

trade and investments between the<br />

UAE and Qatar are expected to<br />

rise significantly. Due to the UAE’s<br />

promising initial public offering<br />

(IPO) pipeline, analysts predict that<br />

expanding links would lead to dual<br />

listings of the companies. <strong>The</strong> UAE<br />

President recently visited Qatar,<br />

following an invitation from Sheikh<br />

Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the<br />

Emir of Qatar. This year, the two<br />

nations hosted the Fifa <strong>World</strong> Cup<br />

and Expo 2020 Dubai, two significant<br />

international events that will boost<br />

foreign investment in the two Gulf<br />

nations.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 61

Local News<br />

UAE to the moon: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 ascent and the<br />

Rashid Rover’s successful launch<br />

<strong>The</strong> SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying the UAE’s Rashid Rover launched on its trip to the moon, finally fulfilling weeks of<br />

anticipation. It marked an important milestone in the history of the United Arab Emirates and the start of the first<br />

Arab lunar expedition. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE<br />

and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Sheikh<br />

Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, were present for the historic launch of Rashid Rover<br />

at the Mission Control Center inside the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.<br />

Dubai’s 4.6%<br />

GDP growth<br />

is evidence of<br />

its economy’s<br />

resilience and<br />

sustainability<br />

<strong>The</strong> Executive Council’s<br />

Chairman, H.H. Sheikh<br />

Hamdan bin Mohammed<br />

bin Rashid Al Maktoum,<br />

revealed that the first nine months of<br />

2022 saw a 4.6% increase in Dubai’s<br />

GDP over the same time in the prior<br />

year, bringing the total to AED307.5 B.<br />

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed<br />

pointed out that Dubai’s exceptional<br />

GDP growth was the result of the<br />

efforts of numerous public and private<br />

organisations to realise His Highness<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al<br />

Maktoum’s vision of making Dubai’s<br />

economy a global benchmark for<br />

sustainability and resilience. He is the<br />

Vice President and Prime Minister of<br />

the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.<br />

Dubai’s DMCC opens a gaming<br />

centre<br />

In an effort to capitalise on the<br />

AED 1.8 B gaming market in<br />

the region, which is predicted<br />

to grow to $5 B by 2025, Dubai<br />

Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)<br />

has opened its own gaming centre.<br />

Jumeirah Lake Towers’ (JLT) DMCC<br />

said that it is currently home to<br />

50 gaming companies, including<br />

producers and developers, as well<br />

as e-sports teams and tournament<br />

organisers, and that it is actively<br />

pursuing the recruitment of further<br />

firms. According to the free zone,<br />

businesses registered under the<br />

DMCC Gaming Centre will have<br />

access to the larger e-sports<br />

community through regular events<br />

and competitions as well as support<br />

from YaLLa Esports.<br />

UAE requests state organisations to<br />

purchase food locally<br />

According to the minister<br />

of climate change and<br />

environment, the United<br />

Arab Emirates has<br />

instructed government bodies<br />

including the military and hospital<br />

administrators to assist agri-tech<br />

initiatives in the desert nation by<br />

purchasing locally grown produce.<br />

According to Mariam Al Mheiri, who<br />

spoke at the <strong>World</strong> Policy Conference<br />

in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, which imports<br />

90% of its food, decided last month at<br />

its annual cabinet meeting to boost<br />

local production while maintaining its<br />

support for open trade policies. <strong>The</strong><br />

Gulf Arab oil exporter, which will host<br />

the COP28 climate conference the<br />

following year, is actively promoting<br />

food security both within the region<br />

and globally.<br />

62 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Mauritius emerges as a complementing and friendly<br />

partner for UAE investors<br />

Mauritius is a beautiful<br />

island nation in the Indian<br />

Ocean, with a diversified<br />

and growing economy.<br />

After growing by 3.7% in 2021 to<br />

$10.95 B, its gross domestic product<br />

(GDP) is estimated to have increased<br />

by a further 7.2% in 2022, and a further<br />

5% increase is anticipated for <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Due to the abundance of prospects<br />

that have come to the attention of<br />

GCC 5G<br />

subscriptions<br />

will increase<br />

30% yearly<br />

According to the most<br />

recent Ericsson Mobility<br />

Report, 5G subscriptions<br />

in the GCC region are<br />

expected to increase at an average<br />

annual rate of 30 percent, from 15<br />

to 71 million up to the end of 2028,<br />

accounting for 86 percent of all<br />

connections. “As communication<br />

service providers explore a variety<br />

of service offerings, 5G is predicted<br />

to be the segment with the quickest<br />

growth,” said Nicolas Blixell, Vice<br />

President and Head of Gulf Council<br />

Countries at Ericsson Middle East<br />

and Africa. <strong>The</strong> most recent Ericsson<br />

Mobility Report shows that Fixed<br />

Wireless Access demand and growth<br />

are also exceeding estimates. It is<br />

noteworthy that regional providers of<br />

communication services have been<br />

expanding their B2B chances as well.<br />

UAE investors since the Economic<br />

Development Board of Mauritius<br />

launched a representative office in<br />

Dubai in March, the nation also boasts<br />

one of the highest foreign investment<br />

rates in Africa. This should strengthen<br />

linkages between the two countries in<br />

high-potential industries like financial<br />

services, manufacturing, healthcare,<br />

the ocean economy, and renewable<br />

energy.<br />

GMG and Silal to assist 1,100<br />

UAE farms in accessing the local<br />

retail market<br />

A<br />

Memorandum of<br />

Understanding was signed<br />

by GMG, a worldwide<br />

well-being company, and<br />

Silal, a division of ADQ, to promote<br />

cooperation in the food industry<br />

by putting customers in touch with<br />

farmers. Through this collaboration,<br />

the food retail portfolio of GMG<br />

Consumer Goods division will support<br />

local farmers (up to 1,100 farms) who<br />

have contracts with Silal to provide<br />

consumers with fresh local produce<br />

that is purchased directly from local<br />

farms. A 30% local sourcing goal for<br />

GMG’s fresh food will be accelerated<br />

by the new relationship, which was<br />

established during the Abu Dhabi<br />

International Food Exhibition. Initially<br />

accessible at Geant supermarkets, the<br />

first phase will include more than 30<br />

product categories.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 63

Digital Assets<br />

Is Digital Gold a good investment?<br />

Businesses typically search<br />

for a safe option that offers<br />

them guaranteed returns<br />

when making investments.<br />

Although the commodity market<br />

does not guarantee certainty, “gold”<br />

stands out as a viable option. Gold<br />

is regarded as a safe bet that will<br />

protect your investment over the long<br />

term. How can Dubai be forgotten<br />

when discussing gold investment in<br />

the United Arab Emirates? Dubai is<br />

known as the city of gold, a significant<br />

hub for trading activities, and<br />

investing in the gold business there is<br />

not only safe but also simple.<br />

In the UAE, businesses view gold<br />

investment as a lucrative opportunity<br />

to boost profits. As there are<br />

<strong>The</strong> most<br />

compelling<br />

advantage of<br />

digital gold is its<br />

hassle-free and<br />

safe storage.<br />

numerous other ways to invest in<br />

gold, there are numerous advantages<br />

to doing so as well. Digital gold is<br />

one of the new options, which is<br />

essentially a substitute for purchasing<br />

the yellow metal in its physical form.<br />

Gold can be bought online, and an<br />

equivalent amount is kept as actual<br />

gold in a vault that is protected.<br />

Digital gold is a new type of digitalasset<br />

based on a blockchain that<br />

promises scarcity, value, easy<br />

transaction and ease of storage. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

assets are either digital ones that have<br />

a 1:1 ratio of real gold stored in a safe<br />

place or they are mined using the<br />

same methods as Bitcoin.<br />

At any time, investors have the<br />

option of selling all or a portion of<br />

64 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

their gold at the current market rates.<br />

All of these gold assets are 24K and<br />

have government certification, which<br />

guarantees purity and eliminates the<br />

possibility of fraud.<br />

People from different countries<br />

come to UAE to buy gold, but in<br />

digital gold investment people can buy<br />

online without any limit. <strong>The</strong> best part<br />

of investing in gold is the ability to<br />

invest as much as possible, for there<br />

is no limit of purchasing or investing<br />

in gold. On the other hand, the most<br />

compelling advantage of digital gold<br />

is its hassle-free and safe storage. <strong>The</strong><br />

company offering digital gold will<br />

store one’s purchased gold in secure<br />

vaults. As the buyer does not possess<br />

the gold, he also saves locker charges<br />

and needs not to worry about theft or<br />

loss of gold.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is no minimum investment<br />

requirement, so anyone can buy any<br />

quantity of gold. <strong>The</strong> amount that<br />

has been invested will be given to<br />

the person. Digital gold is 24K and<br />

thus comes with 99.99% purity. Since<br />

there is little chance of fraud, buyers<br />

don’t have to worry about purity and<br />

genuineness and receive what they<br />

paid for.<br />

Since the Blockchain revolution<br />

with Bitcoin, people are seeing the<br />

rise in digital assets only to make<br />

quick profits and not in terms of its<br />

usability till now. Nowadays, people<br />

are experimenting payments with<br />

Bitcoin and other online assets.<br />

Expecting the increase in usage,<br />

people are looking to turn other<br />

physical assets into digital (like<br />

gold, water, images, etc) to increase<br />

the selection of assets and to<br />

attract investors for more business<br />

opportunities for its creators. NFTs,<br />

digital gold, digital real-estate, and<br />

digital currency are all a part of this.<br />

In dubai, DMCC Tradeflow, that<br />

is Dubai Multi Commodities Centre<br />

free zone, launches a new blockchain<br />

network. Through this, many investors<br />

will be able to buy gold as a Digital<br />

Asset. DMCC is an online platform<br />

for registering the ownership of<br />

commodities stored in UAE facilities.<br />

DMCC – the world’s flagship free<br />

zone and Government of Dubai<br />

Authority on commodities trade<br />

and enterprise – has announced<br />

a partnership with Comtech Gold<br />

to digitize the trading of gold by<br />

tokenizing the precious metal backed<br />

by physical gold bars registered on<br />

DMCC Tradeflow.<br />

DMCC Tradeflow is an online<br />

platform for registering the ownership<br />

of commodities stored in UAE<br />

facilities. Comtech Gold Tokens<br />

(“CGO”) will be created on the XinFin<br />

Protocol (XDC) blockchain network<br />

based on the deposit of physical<br />

gold bars located in DMCC-approved<br />

vaults. Each gold bar will be backed<br />

by a Tradeflow warrant, meaning<br />

that the increased ease of trading a<br />

tokenized asset is combined with the<br />

additional security, transparency, and<br />

<strong>The</strong> best part<br />

of investing<br />

in gold is the<br />

ability to invest<br />

as much as<br />

possible, for<br />

there is no limit<br />

of purchasing<br />

or investing in<br />

gold.<br />

real-asset allocation provided by the<br />

Tradeflow warrant.<br />

With each token representing one<br />

gram of gold, investors and traders<br />

will be able to buy as little as one<br />

gram, democratizing the asset class<br />

by making it more accessible. <strong>The</strong><br />

tokens are Shariah compliant and fully<br />

backed by physical gold in the form<br />

of 1kg gold bars of 999.9 purity from<br />

globally-renowned brands.<br />

In line with international best<br />

practices for transparency in the<br />

precious metals sector, each bar<br />

will feature unique ID numbers and<br />

certificates direct from the refiners.<br />

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive<br />

Chairman and Chief Executive<br />

Officer, DMCC, said: “Recent market<br />

events have highlighted the need<br />

for greater transparency and crypto<br />

tokens backed by underlying, realworld<br />

assets. Our partnership with<br />

Comtech Gold to enable the trade<br />

of tokenized gold bullion backed by<br />

DMCC Tradeflow warrants addresses<br />

this need head-on. DMCC firmly<br />

believes that blockchain solutions will<br />

drive long-term growth in global trade<br />

across industries and asset classes,<br />

and this latest announcement is<br />

another testament to this core belief.”<br />

On the other hand, Navin D’Souza,<br />

Chief Executive Officer at ComTech<br />

Gold, said: “A partnership with DMCC<br />

is an exciting moment for us as we<br />

continue to grow with 122 kgs of<br />

gold already tokenized. Tradeflow<br />

warrants add the security, control,<br />

and transparency to the gold tokens<br />

necessary to build investor trust<br />

and confidence. This, along with<br />

the Shariah certification, makes<br />

Comtech Gold Tokens (CGO) an ideal<br />

and robust product developed on<br />

blockchain technology for regional<br />

and international investors.”<br />

This partnership adds to<br />

Tradeflow’s list of Shariah compliant<br />

products, given that the tokens are<br />

backed by physical assets. Tradeflow<br />

registered over 67,000 Islamic finance<br />

transactions in H1 2022, reaching a<br />

total value AED 746 B. This represents<br />

the highest six-month volume ever<br />

recorded for the platform.<br />

DMCC Tradeflow was launched<br />

in 2012 to address a gap in the<br />

regional trade finance market and<br />

has witnessed a substantial year-onyear<br />

increase in transactions, driving<br />

the platform’s expansion. DMCC<br />

Tradeflow now provides a range of<br />

online services specifically designed<br />

to facilitate collateral financing,<br />

jewellery financing, and provide<br />

Islamic finance solutions.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 65

Stock Market<br />

ADX is MENA’s New Hive for Global<br />

Investors<br />

<strong>The</strong> Abu Dhabi Securities<br />

Exchange (ADX) is the<br />

second-largest market in<br />

the Arab world, and its<br />

strategy of offering steady financial<br />

performance with diversified<br />

sources of incomes is in line with<br />

the objectives of the UAE’s “Towards<br />

the Next 50” initiative. <strong>The</strong> national<br />

plan outlines the UAE’s strategic<br />

development plan, which aims to<br />

create a sustainable, diversified,<br />

and high value-added economy that<br />

positively impacts the shift to a new<br />

global paradigm for sustainable<br />

development. Among the securities<br />

that can be traded on the ADX<br />

market are shares of publicly traded<br />

companies, bonds from governments<br />

or corporations, exchange-traded<br />

funds, and any other financial<br />

instruments deemed suitable by the<br />

UAE Securities and Commodities<br />

Authority (SCA).<br />

66 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>World</strong> Business Outlook recently<br />

recognized ADX for its achievements<br />

since 2021 with awards for “Best<br />

Trading Securities Exchange - MENA<br />

2022” and “Best Trading Derivatives<br />

Exchange - MENA 2022.” Tabadul,<br />

the first digital exchange hub in the<br />

region, was also introduced by ADX.<br />

Based on the mutual market access<br />

model, Tabadul enables investors to<br />

trade directly on numerous exchanges<br />

through authorized brokers in other<br />

markets while allowing investments<br />

across ADX and other exchanges.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ADX derivatives market,<br />

despite being the youngest in the Arab<br />

region, has grown to become the most<br />

liquid in just a year since its launch in<br />

November 2021. It achieved AED 1 B<br />

in traded value and over 1 M contracts<br />

traded in its first year, exceeding<br />

peers in the region by over 100%.<br />

Due to solid alliances and top-notch<br />

infrastructure, it has quickly become<br />

one of the most active in the region.<br />

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange<br />

will continue to attract the attention<br />

of international investors as the<br />

Arab world’s second-largest bourse<br />

focuses on new listings, according<br />

to a top executive from JP Morgan.<br />

“When you look at the strong stable<br />

of companies, which are actually high<br />

class, world-class companies which<br />

are coming to the ADX market to<br />

list, we think there is going to be an<br />

increased focus from international<br />

investors and there is plenty to go in<br />

terms of getting that global attention<br />

to the ADX,” Aloke Gupte, JP<br />

Morgan’s head of Europe, Middle East<br />

and Africa equity capital markets,<br />

said at Abu Dhabi <strong>Finance</strong> Week on<br />

Monday.<br />

As the economy has recovered<br />

from the coronavirus pandemic over<br />

the past two years, the number of<br />

new listings on the Abu Dhabi stock

market has increased. Nine companies<br />

were listed on the ADX last year,<br />

including satellite operator Yahsat,<br />

Fertiglobe, and ADNOC Drilling. This<br />

year has seen the stock market debuts<br />

of Bayanat, a provider of geospatial<br />

data products and services, Borouge,<br />

Burjeel Holdings, and Abu Dhabi<br />

Ports Group.<br />

“Abu Dhabi exchange has increased<br />

its liquidity in the last two years<br />

eight times and in terms of stable,<br />

targeted, strategic governance and<br />

regulatory framework I don’t think<br />

anyone is doing as a good job,” Mr.<br />

Gupte said. <strong>The</strong> stock market “will<br />

remain a premium market from an<br />

operating standpoint, but it also has<br />

a perfect mix. You have a great set<br />

of companies and you have a deep<br />

local pool of demand, which is now<br />

accentuated by the setting up of the<br />

IPO fund”, he added.<br />

Saeed Hamad Al Dhaheri, Managing<br />

Director and Chief Executive<br />

Officer of ADX, commented, “We are<br />

delighted to have been honoured<br />

by <strong>World</strong> Business Outlook for our<br />

performance since 2021. <strong>The</strong> record<br />

increase in our market capitalisation<br />

is a historic achievement for ADX<br />

and could not have been realised<br />

without the support of our partners,<br />

member brokerages, and investors.<br />

We aim to maintain this momentum<br />

for the remainder of 2022 and <strong>2023</strong><br />

with the launch of several high-profile<br />

initiatives to further the reach of ADX<br />

and strengthen our collaboration with<br />

regional markets.”<br />

H.E. Hisham Khalid Malak,<br />

Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Securities<br />

Exchange, said: “<strong>The</strong>se awards<br />

reinforce the successes of the<br />

ADX team in achieving several key<br />

milestones over the last 2 years. Since<br />

the launch of our new strategy at the<br />

beginning of 2021, we have witnessed<br />

a robust listing pipeline and took<br />

measures to drive the sustainable<br />

growth and enhance market liquidity,<br />

which has more than doubled the<br />

exchange’s market capitalisation. We<br />

have also launched several groundbreaking<br />

new products and services,<br />

including the introduction of a<br />

derivatives market.”<br />

Basically, ADX offers opportunities<br />

for saving and investing money<br />

in securities to help the national<br />

economy, ensures the accuracy<br />

and soundness of transactions, and<br />

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange will continue to<br />

attract the attention of international investors<br />

as the Arab world’s second-largest bourse<br />

focuses on new listings, according to a top<br />

executive from JP Morgan.<br />

ensures the interaction between<br />

supply and demand to determine<br />

prices. It protects investors through<br />

establishing fair and proper dealing<br />

standards among investors and<br />

by imposing strict controls over<br />

securities transactions to ensure<br />

proper conduct. In addition to<br />

promoting financial and economic<br />

stability and developing trading<br />

techniques to increase the liquidity<br />

and stability of prices of all securities<br />

listed on the market, ADX also<br />

promotes investment awareness by<br />

conducting studies to ensure that<br />

savings are invested in productive<br />

sectors.<br />

Following the decline in the world<br />

stock market in March 2020, the Abu<br />

Dhabi Securities Exchange Index<br />

increased by 48% before ending the<br />

year 0.6% lower at 5,045.332. For the<br />

first time, the market value of stocks<br />

listed on ADX exceeded AED 750<br />

B, up 39.7% from AED533 B in 2019.<br />

Market capitalization growth for<br />

stocks listed on the ADX coincided<br />

with high-profile mergers, such as the<br />

union of Abu Dhabi National Energy<br />

Company and Abu Dhabi Power<br />

Corporation, which established a<br />

dominant regional utility company.<br />

Securities traded on ADX saw a 28%<br />

increase in value from AED56.8 B in<br />

2019 to AED72.8 B in 2020. In 2020,<br />

there were 38% more foreign investors<br />

on ADX, and the value of the shares<br />

they traded increased by 6.5% to AED<br />

62.6 B. On the other hand, institutional<br />

trading of securities saw a 35.6%<br />

increase in value last year, reaching<br />

AED 111.1 B.<br />

On Monday, June 6, the market<br />

capitalization of the Abu Dhabi<br />

Securities Exchange (ADX) opened<br />

above AED 2 T ($545 B) for the<br />

first time in its history, marking a<br />

historic milestone that has elevated<br />

the region’s newest exchange to<br />

second-largest in the Middle East in<br />

just two decades. <strong>The</strong> introduction<br />

of a derivatives market in the fourth<br />

quarter of 2021 is just one of the new<br />

initiatives the exchange has developed<br />

since the launch of “ADX One” at the<br />

beginning of 2021 to increase market<br />

liquidity. An agreement to create cobranded<br />

indices, including a tradeable<br />

version of the FTSE FADX 15 Index,<br />

was then reached with FTSE Russell.<br />

Following a bumper year in 2021,<br />

when its market capitalization more<br />

than doubled to AED 1.6 T from<br />

AED 750 B, the exchange’s market<br />

capitalization increased. That was<br />

followed by a number of new listings<br />

on the Growth Market, including<br />

Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) and<br />

the IHC subsidiaries Palm Sports,<br />

Zee Stores, and Easy Lease. <strong>The</strong><br />

Growth Market, formerly known as<br />

the Second Market, underwent a name<br />

change in April of last year to better<br />

reflect Abu Dhabi’s rapidly expanding<br />

ecosystem for start-up businesses.<br />

However, winning the ‘Best Trading<br />

Securities Exchange - MENA 2022’<br />

award for reaching a record market<br />

capitalisation of more than AED 2.6<br />

T makes ADX the second largest<br />

exchange in the Middle East and<br />

further augments the acceleration of<br />

ADX strategy to attract listings and<br />

diversify its investment products.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 67

Corporate Tax<br />

<strong>The</strong> New Corporate Tax Law and its<br />

Impact on UAE Businesses<br />

For every nation, Corporate<br />

Tax plays a vital role in<br />

enhancing the development<br />

of their infrastructure<br />

and standard of living of their<br />

residents. On December 9, 2022, UAE<br />

Government released the Federal<br />

Decree-Law No. (47) of 2022 on<br />

the Taxation of Corporations and<br />

Businesses (CT Law). This law will be<br />

effective for financial years starting<br />

on or after 1 June <strong>2023</strong>. <strong>The</strong> tax year<br />

shall be the Gregorian Calendar Year<br />

i.e., <strong>January</strong> to December or any<br />

other 12- month period for which<br />

financial statement is prepared by the<br />

Taxpayer. This article aims to capture<br />

some key WHAT-YOU-NEED-TO-<br />

KNOW provisions:<br />

1. Will corporate tax impact my<br />

business?<br />

Corporate Tax is a Federal Level<br />

tax. It will apply to every business<br />

except few exempt ones which are<br />

government owned entities, public<br />

benefit entities, investment funds, etc.<br />

It shall be imposed on:<br />

• Resident persons conducting<br />

business – natural and juridical<br />

persons, including free zone<br />

persons and Non-resident persons<br />

– Permanent Establishment (PE)<br />

of foreign juridical person and<br />

business who derives income from<br />

sources in UAE or have nexus in<br />

UAE.<br />

2. Impact on start-ups or small<br />

businesses?<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE Government has always<br />

given importance to SMEs and Startup<br />

ecosystem, and due consideration<br />

is also extended in CT regime. As a<br />

relief, resident taxable persons, who<br />

do not exceed specified revenue<br />

threshold and fulfil mandated criteria,<br />

will be able to declare as not having<br />

any taxable income for that tax<br />

period.<br />

Further, start-ups may also benefit<br />

from tax loss relief and carry forward<br />

provisions of CT, as they tend to<br />

operate in losses in initial years due to<br />

substantial operating expenses.<br />

3. Impact on Free Zones?<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are over 40 multidisciplinary<br />

free zones in UAE. Each Free Zone<br />

is designed around one or more<br />

business industry and offers licenses<br />

to companies within those categories.<br />

<strong>The</strong> major USP for any free zone in<br />

UAE was the ownership structure<br />

and the tax holidays provided to the<br />

licensee.<br />

Though the Free Zone businesses<br />

(referred to as Free Zone Persons) are<br />

covered under the gambit of CT, they<br />

may continue to enjoy tax benefit,<br />

subject to certain conditions. As per<br />

CT Law, Qualifying Free Zone Persons<br />

can have Qualifying Income which<br />

will be taxed at 0% and Non-Qualifying<br />

income subject to 9% tax rate.<br />

Conditions and definitions<br />

regarding the qualifying income<br />

are yet to be emphasized by the tax<br />

authorities.<br />

4. Impact on transactions with<br />

Related Parties and Connected<br />

Persons?<br />

If a Taxable Person is conducting<br />

business or arrangements with<br />

Related Parties and/or Connected<br />

persons (within state or outside),<br />

following shall be considered while<br />

calculating Taxable Income:<br />

i. Transactions should meet “Arm’s<br />

Length” standards (Decree-law<br />

specifies 5 methods which can be<br />

adopted to derive the same and are<br />

in line with OECD guidelines).<br />

68 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

As now the Decree-Law is issued and implementation of CT Law is<br />

imminent, Businesses and other proposed taxable persons will need<br />

to re-align their framework in order to meet the compliances. Businesses<br />

will have to prepare before the law comes into<br />

effect on 1 June <strong>2023</strong>. <strong>The</strong>y need to understand available<br />

optimization strategies to ensure compliance and minimize the tax<br />

burden in the long run.<br />

ii. Transfer pricing related provisions,<br />

documentation and reporting<br />

requirements should be complied<br />

with.<br />

iii. Payments or benefits provided<br />

to Connected Persons (Key<br />

management persons) should be<br />

deductible only and to the extent<br />

it corresponds to the Market Value<br />

of such services.<br />

5. Criteria for Tax Grouping<br />

UAE juridical persons will be able<br />

to form a tax group and file a single<br />

tax return and make a single tax<br />

payment, subject to following key<br />

conditions:<br />

• Parent entity holds 95% ownership,<br />

voting rights and right to the assets<br />

and profit of the group entities.<br />

• Neither the parent nor the<br />

subsidiary is an exempt entity.<br />

• Neither the parent nor the<br />

subsidiary is a qualifying free zone.<br />

• Both the parent and the subsidiary<br />

follow the same financial year and<br />

prepare their financial statements<br />

using the same accounting<br />

standards.<br />

Detailed rules and provisions<br />

have been incorporated in CT law<br />

to deal with how a subsidiary can<br />

join and leave the Tax Group and the<br />

circumstances under which the Tax<br />

Group will cease to exist.<br />

6. Tax on dividend?<br />

Dividends and other profit<br />

distributions received from a resident<br />

juridical person will be treated as<br />

Exempt Income.<br />

Foreign dividends and other profit<br />

distributions and capital gains from<br />

sale of shares (domestic or foreign)<br />

would be exempt subject to key<br />

participation shareholding conditions.<br />

7. Importance of accounting/<br />

financial statement?<br />

Preparing accurate and standalone<br />

financial statements, shall now<br />

become indispensable. Whether<br />

the taxable person is a branch, or<br />

an individual taxable person or<br />

corporate, financial statements will be<br />

the ultimate basis of Tax calculation<br />

and Assessment.<br />

Also, getting these statements<br />

audited will add value, since this<br />

would be a third-party opinion and<br />

potential safeguard.<br />

8. How can we help?<br />

• Detailed impact assessment<br />

• Corporate restructuring<br />

• Transfer pricing – Policy and<br />

implementation<br />

• Evaluate System readiness for data<br />

capturing and reporting<br />

• Have Implementation Plan to be<br />

ready to be compliant with all<br />

reporting requirements<br />

• Maintaining Financial Records in an<br />

accounting software<br />

• Review of Accounting process,<br />

policies and documentation<br />

• Assistance with External Auditing.<br />

<strong>The</strong> information contained herein is in<br />

summary form and is therefore intended for<br />

general guidance only. This publication is not a<br />

substitute of professional opinion.<br />

Khushboo Agarwal<br />

Co-Founder and Partner – Tax & Compliance,<br />

FINCIRC International Management<br />

khushboo.agarwal@fincirc.com<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 69

Corporate Results<br />

International Holding<br />

Company (IHC)<br />

Net profits: 236%<br />

International Holding Company (IHC),<br />

with its headquarters in Abu Dhabi,<br />

posted a 236 percent increase in<br />

earnings for the nine-month period<br />

ended September 30 at AED24 B, the<br />

company said. In comparison to the<br />

third quarter of the prior year, revenue<br />

increased by 87 percent to AED34.3<br />

B. IHC, one of the biggest corporate<br />

investment holding companies in<br />

the Middle East and Africa, reported<br />

that its total assets increased from<br />

AED64.4 B in the third quarter of 2021<br />

to AED198.8 B.<br />

Salik - Dubai Toll Gate<br />

Operator<br />

Net profit: AED242 M<br />

Salik Company reported a net profit<br />

of AED242 M for the third quarter<br />

of 2022. Revenues increased 9.1%<br />

year over year to AED445 M, and<br />

EBITDA came in at AED291 M,<br />

yielding a healthy margin of 65.4%.<br />

<strong>The</strong> outcomes demonstrated the<br />

company’s power as the sole operator<br />

of Dubai’s road tolls. Salik’s robust<br />

business strategy places it in the<br />

centre of Dubai’s efforts to expand the<br />

roads and transportation industry.<br />

Eshraq Investments<br />

Net profit: AED 475 M<br />

Eshraq Investments released their<br />

financial information with a 27-fold<br />

increase year over year, the company<br />

announced its highest-ever quarterly<br />

net profits of AED475 M. At the<br />

conclusion of Q3 2022, Eshraq’s book<br />

value was AED 0.9238 per share.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s real estate assets and<br />

financial investments make up the<br />

entirety of the book value. Eshraq sold<br />

three land plots comprising about 27%<br />

of GFA for AED160 M in the previous<br />

two months, making quick progress<br />

toward monetizing its land bank. <strong>The</strong><br />

sales increase the assets that generate<br />

income and further increase liquidity.<br />

National Bank of Ras al<br />

Khaimah<br />

Net profit: 64.4%<br />

Total income climbed by 13.6% to AED<br />

915.1 M in Q3 2022 compared to Q3<br />

2021, driven by high gains of 19.5%<br />

in net interest income to AED 652.8<br />

M and 1.3% in non-interest income<br />

to AED 262.3 M. Gross Loans and<br />

Advances reached 36.0 B AED, up<br />

7.5% YoY and 5.3% YTD. Customer<br />

deposits increased by 8.8% YoY and<br />

6.9% YTD to reach AED 40.3 B. A<br />

47.1% YoY decrease in impairments<br />

was brought on by well-diversified<br />

asset growth and ongoing economic<br />

progress in the UAE.<br />

Foodco Holding<br />

Net profit: 20.3%<br />

According to Foodco Holding PJSC,<br />

its third-quarter normalised net<br />

income was 6 United Arab Emirates<br />

fils per share, up 21.9% from the prioryear<br />

quarter’s 5 fils per share. On a<br />

pre- and after-tax basis, normalised<br />

net income, which excludes<br />

unexpected profits or losses, was AED<br />

5.7 M, up 20.3% from AED 4.8 M in the<br />

same period the previous year. <strong>The</strong><br />

normalised profit margin decreased<br />

from 10.3% in the prior-year quarter to<br />

a negative 10.6%.<br />

ADNOC Distribution<br />

Net profit: 45%<br />

<strong>The</strong> largest fuel retailer in the UAE<br />

said that ADNOC Distribution saw<br />

profits of $634 M (AED2.33 B) in the<br />

first nine months of the year, a 39%<br />

rise. It stated in a quarterly earnings<br />

report that the Q3 profit climbed by<br />

45% year-over-year to $209 M (AED767<br />

M), driven by higher foot traffic, a<br />

rising non-fuel sector, and foreign<br />

development. <strong>The</strong> fourth quarter<br />

and beyond are anticipated to see<br />

continued development for ADNOC<br />

Distribution, thanks to an increase<br />

in volume, local and international<br />

expansion, and a bigger contribution<br />

from non-fuel retail sales.<br />

Shuaa Capital<br />

Net profit: AED20 M<br />

<strong>The</strong> region’s top asset management<br />

and investment banking platform,<br />

SHUAA Capital psc, has released its<br />

financial results for Q3 2022. SHUAA<br />

and its subsidiaries (the “Group”)<br />

recorded a net profit of AED20 M<br />

attributable to shareholders in the<br />

third quarter compared to a net loss<br />

of AED170 M in the year-ago period.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Group generated a net operating<br />

income of AED14 M (excluding<br />

one-off events), up from AED6 M<br />

in Q2 2022, as regular revenues<br />

continue to create a secure moat and<br />

previous cost optimization actions are<br />

beginning to boost profitability.<br />

Mashreq Bank<br />

Net profit: AED2.6 B<br />

In a statement outlining its financial<br />

results, the bank stated that Mashreq<br />

reported a net profit of AED2.6 B for<br />

the third quarter of 2022. According to<br />

the bank, operational income climbed<br />

by 24.3% over the prior year to<br />

AED5.3 B, mostly as a result of higher<br />

net interest income brought on by<br />

organic expansion across all business<br />

activities. <strong>The</strong> bank’s credit portfolio<br />

showed healthy growth, with total<br />

loans and advances rising 12.1% year<br />

to far to AED91.3bn.<br />

70 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Tabreed<br />

Net Income: AED 1.66 B<br />

District cooling provider in the UAE,<br />

Tabreed, released its consolidated<br />

financial results for 2022. <strong>The</strong><br />

company reported EBITDA of AED<br />

912 M, up 18% from the same period<br />

last year, and a net profit of AED<br />

400 M, up 3%. Tabreed officially<br />

announced that shareholders<br />

had approved raising the Foreign<br />

Ownership Limit (FOL) to 100% in<br />

order to comply with recent changes<br />

to UAE commercial law. This was<br />

a strategically significant decision<br />

that would increase flexibility and<br />

ensure the highest level of share<br />

marketability.<br />

Emirates NBD<br />

Net Profit: 51%<br />

By assets, Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest lender, reported a 51% increase in thirdquarter<br />

net profit on higher revenue and lower provisioning, while net interest<br />

income increased. Compared to the same time a year prior, net interest income<br />

increased 37% to more than AED6 B ($1.67 B) in the three-month period. In<br />

comparison to the same time the previous year, Emirates NBD’s total operating<br />

income before impairments increased by 62% to AED6.8 B.<br />

Majid Al Futtaim<br />

Net Profit: 60%<br />

Majid Al Futtaim is on track to record<br />

its strongest annual GDP growth<br />

since 2011 according to the latest in a<br />

series of quarterly economic reports.<br />

Oxford Economics predicts growth<br />

of 6.8%For 2022—a considerable<br />

improvement over the reported real<br />

growth of 3.8% in 2021. <strong>The</strong> oil sector,<br />

which saw a 13.4% increase in GDP<br />

due to crude oil prices that stayed<br />

around USD 100 per barrel for the<br />

majority of the third quarter, was<br />

the biggest GDP driver, according to<br />

the Q3 2022 State of the UAE Retail<br />

Economy report.<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank<br />

Net Profit: AED381 M<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) reported a<br />

profit of AED 1.4 B ($381 M) for the<br />

third quarter of 2022, according to the<br />

bank’s chairman. <strong>The</strong> bank’s net profit<br />

for the third quarter increased from<br />

AED 1.2 B to AED 1.4 B year over<br />

year. Profits for the first nine months<br />

of the year increased by 34% to AED<br />

4.1 B from AED 3 B during the same<br />

period in 2021. <strong>The</strong> third quarter’s<br />

total revenue increased from AED<br />

3.1 B to AED 3.6 B year over year.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first nine months of 2021 saw an<br />

increase from AED 8.9 B to AED 9.8 B<br />

in 2022.<br />

Sharjah Islamic Bank<br />

Net Profit: 59%<br />

<strong>The</strong> net income attributable to the<br />

shareholders of Sharjah Islamic Bank<br />

(SIB) increased by 24.10% annually<br />

from AED 458.02 M to AED 568.60 M.<br />

According to the income statements,<br />

the net income from financing and<br />

investment products increased to<br />

AED 885.02 M in the period of <strong>January</strong><br />

to September 2022 from AED 812.26 M<br />

in 9M-21. <strong>The</strong> UAE-based lender saw<br />

net profits attributable to the owners<br />

increase to AED 206.73 M in the third<br />

quarter of 2022 from AED 168.53 M in<br />

the same quarter the previous year.<br />

Abu Dhabi Commercial<br />

Bank<br />

Net Profit: AED1.591 B<br />

According to a filing with the Abu<br />

Dhabi Securities Exchange, where<br />

ADCB’s shares are traded, net income<br />

attributable to equity investors<br />

increased to AED1.59 B ($433 M).<br />

During that time, net interest income<br />

increased by about 20% to bank<br />

more than AED2 B, while income<br />

from Islamic financing and investing<br />

products increased by more than 17%<br />

to AED612 M. Trading income, net<br />

fees and commission income, and all<br />

three increased within the time frame.<br />

National Bank of Fujairah<br />

Net Profit: 155.1%<br />

NBF reported an operating profit<br />

of AED 932.5 M for the nine-month<br />

period, up 25.1 percent from AED<br />

745.4 M in the corresponding period of<br />

2021 and up 2.4 percent quarter over<br />

quarter and 32.9 percent, supported by<br />

higher net interest income, net income<br />

from Islamic financing and investment<br />

activities, fee, and exchange income.<br />

For the three-month period compared<br />

to the same time in 2021, the bank’s<br />

operating income increased by 28.1%.<br />

In line with the bank’s cautious<br />

recovery strategy, operating income<br />

increased by 21.7 percent to AED 1.32<br />

B for the nine-month period from AED<br />

1.1 B in the corresponding period of<br />

2021. This increase can be attributed<br />

to the environment of rising interest<br />

rates as well as improved fee income.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 71

Travel<br />

Dubai Leads the Globe in Tourist Expenditure<br />

and Generates $29.4 B<br />

According to the <strong>World</strong> Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Dubai is the<br />

city where foreign tourists spend the most money, bringing in $29,4 B this<br />

year. In the most recent Cities Economic Impact report from the WTTC, the<br />

Emirate surpassed Doha and London, where visitors spent $16.8 B and $16.1 B,<br />

respectively.<br />

Crowding will be a problem<br />

in some areas in 2022<br />

when the tourism industry<br />

returns due to the removal<br />

of travel restrictions and the increase<br />

in demand for international travel.<br />

<strong>The</strong>refore, cities must take the<br />

necessary steps to address it. Such<br />

steps should be taken before the<br />

issue even arises, according to<br />

Julia Simpson, president and chief<br />

executive of the WTTC.<br />

<strong>The</strong> study, which looked at 82 major<br />

cities around the world and found that<br />

their tourism industries had recovered<br />

greatly from the Covid-19 outbreak,<br />

which had stopped travel for about<br />

three years, was recently presented<br />

at the WTTC global conference in<br />

Riyadh. <strong>The</strong> report identifies cities<br />

that will remain the epicentres of<br />

international tourism and drive the<br />

industry’s and the world economies’<br />

recovery. It showed that major cities<br />

72 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

were well-liked travel destinations<br />

before the epidemic, accounting for<br />

about half of all foreign visitors, both<br />

as standalone travel destinations<br />

and as entry points to other tourist<br />

hotspots inside nations.<br />

Doha, Orlando, Florida, and Antalya<br />

in Turkey are the cities that have<br />

recovered the quickest from prepandemic<br />

levels of foreign visitor<br />

spending in 2019. Doha saw a 21%<br />

increase in visitor expenditure, while<br />

Orlando saw a 19% increase.<br />

In terms of the direct travel and<br />

tourist gross domestic product<br />

contribution to their economies,<br />

ten of the 82 cities examined are<br />

anticipated to return to pre-pandemic<br />

levels this year. With a predicted<br />

increase of 21% from 2019, Doha is<br />

predicted to experience the fastest<br />

growth in the travel and tourism<br />

sector’s contribution to the city’s GDP.<br />

Warsaw is predicted to grow by a<br />

significant 14% in the region, while<br />

Orlando is predicted to grow by 10%<br />

over the same time period in the US.<br />

Paris ($36 B), Beijing ($33 B), and<br />

Orlando ($31 B) are the three cities<br />

with the highest anticipated direct<br />

travel and tourism contributions to<br />

GDP this year, according to the poll.<br />

<strong>The</strong> importance of city tourism in<br />

promoting economic growth is shown<br />

by the WTTC’s prediction that the<br />

travel and tourism sector will directly<br />

provide up to 8% of all jobs in the<br />

cities under consideration by 2032, up<br />

from 6.6% in 2019 and a low of 5.1% in<br />

2020.<br />

In November and December, Dubai<br />

welcomed a huge influx of football<br />

fans as the FIFA <strong>World</strong> Cup took place<br />

in Qatar. During the tournament, the<br />

emirate was one of the Gulf towns<br />

that had daily shuttle flights to and<br />

from Qatar; of the more than 90 new<br />

planes that arrived daily in Doha,

the tournament’s host city, about 40<br />

aircraft departed from the UAE.<br />

With the introduction of “Autism<br />

Friendly Route” and pre-travel<br />

planning, Dubai Airports will give<br />

People of Determination preference<br />

through check-in, passport control,<br />

security checks, and boarding. More<br />

creative solutions, such as connected<br />

airports, quiet rooms, and an airport<br />

safari trip, will be implemented in the<br />

second phase of the roll-out.<br />

<strong>The</strong> tourism sector in Dubai is<br />

recognized all over the world and is a<br />

key driver of the city’s development<br />

and success. Dubai draws tourists<br />

from all over the world, but it also<br />

entices businesspeople and investors<br />

who want to profit from the industry’s<br />

numerous prospects. Thus, it is one<br />

of the main non-oil sectors boosting<br />

Dubai’s economy, the United Arab<br />

Emirates’, and its GDP is tourism.<br />

Moreover, the UAE’s ambitious<br />

economic diversification strategy<br />

has identified the travel and tourism<br />

sector as a significant development<br />

industry. <strong>The</strong> UAE Cabinet approved<br />

the formation of the Emirates Tourism<br />

Council to strengthen the tourism<br />

portfolio by developing a tourist plan<br />

that acknowledges the goals of the<br />

country and the UAE Centennial 2071,<br />

as well as incorporating all pertinent<br />

local agencies and ministries.<br />

<strong>The</strong> council would build a<br />

comprehensive database of<br />

information about national tourism,<br />

and it would work to promote the<br />

industry, which has been a major<br />

contributor to Dubai’s and the UAE’s<br />

overall rapid growth. Additionally, it<br />

would draft and revise legislations to<br />

promote tourism.<br />

Dubai continues to be the top<br />

location for tourism-related Foreign<br />

Direct Investment (FDI). Its top<br />

ranking as an FDI destination for<br />

tourism serves as a reminder of this<br />

industry’s importance as a driving<br />

force in the economy that presents<br />

significant opportunities for reliable<br />

and sustained returns to foreign<br />

investors. Dubai attracted Dh83.5 B in<br />

foreign investment through 205 FDI<br />

projects, opening up more than 30,000<br />

job opportunities.<br />

Additionally, the UAE has recently<br />

made a number of legislative changes<br />

in more than 40 areas, which have<br />

helped the country become one of<br />

the most competitive economies and<br />

the easiest places to do business.<br />

<strong>The</strong> introduction of a five-year<br />

multiple-entry visa for employees<br />

of multinational corporations, the<br />

well-known Golden Visa initiative<br />

targeted at investors, entrepreneurs,<br />

and specialized talent, and the Virtual<br />

Working Programmes were some of<br />

these changes.<br />

Thanks to new policies and<br />

regulations being implemented to<br />

bring the UAE economy into line<br />

with global developments and the<br />

long-term residency being granted to<br />

investors and entrepreneurs, Dubai<br />

and its tourism industry will maintain<br />

the FDI momentum in the upcoming<br />

years. <strong>The</strong> tourist industry in Dubai,<br />

a city that is rapidly growing, has<br />

already attracted a significant amount<br />

of foreign direct investment (FDI),<br />

and it is on track to become the top<br />

global tourism hub.<br />

<strong>The</strong> aforementioned research<br />

also takes into account the busiest<br />

airports in the world, the top tourist<br />

destinations, and the top ten countries<br />

that visit Dubai (data from travel<br />

companies). <strong>The</strong> authors of the<br />

literature review address some of the<br />

changes that Dubai’s tourism industry<br />

has brought about, such as physical<br />

improvements like new roads and<br />

airports as well as cultural changes.<br />

<strong>The</strong> article lists the natural assets<br />

that Dubai has that support its<br />

thriving tourism sector. <strong>The</strong> results<br />

show that infrastructure, hospitality,<br />

and cultural and religious variety all<br />

contribute to the expansion of Dubai’s<br />

tourism sector. <strong>The</strong> Sheik Muhammed<br />

Vision 2020 Awards and Expo 2020<br />

Dubai are two additional noteworthy<br />

remarks that are also included. <strong>The</strong><br />

current analysis shows the changes<br />

that Dubai’s tourism business has<br />

brought about as well as the sectorimproving<br />

tactics. <strong>The</strong> study can also<br />

be used to advance studies on other<br />

nations’ tourism industries.<br />

<strong>The</strong> land used for hotels and<br />

tourist attractions will increase by<br />

134% under the Dubai 2040 Urban<br />

Master Plan, which was unveiled<br />

by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid<br />

Al Maktoum, vice president of the<br />

United Arab Emirates and ruler of<br />

Dubai. Meanwhile, the area used for<br />

commercial activities will increase to<br />

168 square kilometres. By 2040, the<br />

length of public beaches will also have<br />

increased by up to 400%.<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid<br />

Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime<br />

Minister, and Ruler of Dubai,<br />

introduced the third iteration of the<br />

“<strong>World</strong>’s Coolest Winter” campaign<br />

during the UAE Cabinet meeting,<br />

which was held in Al Zorah Natural<br />

Reserve in Ajman. <strong>The</strong> meeting<br />

was attended by both H.H. Sheikh<br />

Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid<br />

Al Maktoum, the deputy ruler of<br />

Dubai, and H.H. Lt. General Sheikh<br />

Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the deputy<br />

prime minister.<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid<br />

Al Maktoum emphasized that the<br />

development of the business requires<br />

cooperation between the federal<br />

and local governments and that<br />

tourism is an important component<br />

of the Emirati economy. Due to the<br />

cooperation of UAE organizations<br />

devoted to history and culture, a wide<br />

variety of programs and activities<br />

highlighting the uniqueness of Emirati<br />

heritage will be provided over the<br />

campaign period.<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates’<br />

reputation as a popular travel<br />

destination with a laid-back<br />

atmosphere is fundamental to its<br />

values of tolerance, inclusion, and<br />

respect for every visitor from every<br />

background. This year’s <strong>World</strong>’s<br />

Coolest Winter campaign emphasizes<br />

the significance of the human element<br />

in every visit to the country.<br />

<strong>The</strong> second version of the<br />

campaign, which took place last year,<br />

had noteworthy results. Over 1.3<br />

million regional tourists visited the<br />

nation, up 36% over the initial iteration<br />

of the campaign, while hotel guests<br />

grew by 50%. In one month, AED1.5 B<br />

in sales were created.<br />

Today, Dubai is one of the<br />

renowned tourist destinations in<br />

the world. It harbours numerous<br />

tourist attractions that include<br />

zoos, recreation facilities, beaches,<br />

and museums. Thus, the tourism<br />

sector acts as a primary source of<br />

employment for local people in the<br />

city and has led to the growth of<br />

Dubai city and boosted the city’s<br />

profile globally.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 73

Travel News<br />

Dubai Destinations to promote<br />

the emirate’s winter attractions<br />

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al<br />

Maktoum, Chairman of the<br />

Dubai Media Council, has<br />

relaunched the “Dubai Destinations”<br />

winter campaign this year to<br />

promote the landmark attractions<br />

and memorable experiences that<br />

make the emirate a top choice among<br />

international vacation destinations<br />

during the cooler months of the<br />

year. <strong>The</strong> joint effort, run by Brand<br />

Dubai, the creative division of the<br />

Government of Dubai Media Office<br />

(GDMO), showcases a variety<br />

of things that people can do and<br />

see while taking advantage of the<br />

excellent winter weather. Dubai this<br />

Demand for<br />

Middle Eastern<br />

airlines is rising<br />

as pandemic<br />

restrictions fade<br />

<strong>The</strong> most current data<br />

from the International Air<br />

Transport Association (IATA)<br />

shows that air travel in the<br />

Middle East is still recovering as<br />

demand for passengers increased and<br />

pandemic restrictions were removed.<br />

When compared to October of last<br />

year, passenger traffic on regional<br />

airlines increased by 114.7%. Over the<br />

same time span, capacity increased<br />

by 55.7% and load factor increased<br />

by 21.8 percentage points to 79.5%.<br />

Globally, traffic is currently at 74.2%<br />

of levels from October 2019. In terms<br />

of revenue passenger kilometres, or<br />

RPKs, overall traffic increased 44.6%<br />

from the previous year. <strong>The</strong> increase<br />

was mostly the result of 102.4% spike<br />

in overseas traffic. International RPKs<br />

increased by 72.1% from October 2019<br />

levels, with robust growth seen across<br />

the board, but particularly in the Asia-<br />

Pacific region, where airlines reported<br />

a 440.4% increase in traffic.<br />

season offers residents and visitors<br />

incredible adventures, entertainment,<br />

food, art, culture, sporting and fitness<br />

opportunities, and more.<br />

Europe: a<br />

vacation<br />

destination for<br />

Emiratis again<br />

after resuming<br />

visa processing<br />

UAE citizens are learning<br />

how much simpler it will be<br />

to travel to Europe in the<br />

coming weeks once their<br />

visas have started to process again.<br />

UAE airlines are also participating<br />

with well-known promotions that<br />

provide short vacation packages to<br />

some of Europe’s most well-liked<br />

and quaintly distant locals. All of this<br />

represents a significant improvement<br />

over the summer, when UAE visitors<br />

with trip intentions to Europe had<br />

to wait weeks for confirmations of<br />

their visa interviews. As a result of a<br />

significant reduction in the processing<br />

time for a Schengen visa, Europe is<br />

once again among the most popular<br />

destinations for UAE travellers.<br />

Etihad to<br />

increase its<br />

cabin crew and<br />

restart its A380<br />

fleet<br />

Etihad Airways is now<br />

hiring additional people<br />

as it intends to redeploy<br />

its A380 fleet as a result<br />

of the increased demand for travel<br />

across the airline’s network. As of<br />

the summer of <strong>2023</strong>, at least four<br />

of the airline’s superjumbo planes<br />

will be reintroduced, according to<br />

a statement released by Etihad.<br />

<strong>The</strong> airline said that it is also<br />

actively seeking new employees,<br />

including pilots, flight attendants,<br />

and technical ground workers, to<br />

support the capacity expansion.<br />

Although the airline did not list all of<br />

the A380’s destinations, it did state<br />

that it intended to operate to London<br />

Heathrow and introduce additional<br />

flights in other cities.<br />

74 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Etihad Airways highlights the<br />

rich history and culture of the<br />

UAE<br />

In order to commemorate the<br />

51st UAE National Day, Etihad<br />

Airways has teamed up with<br />

creative Emiratis to reflect the<br />

country’s rich past, vibrant present,<br />

and promising future. <strong>The</strong> initiative<br />

places a strong emphasis on the<br />

principles and beliefs of the late<br />

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,<br />

who is regarded as the father of the<br />

United Arab Emirates. <strong>The</strong> national<br />

airline of the United Arab Emirates<br />

debuted a digital booklet that was<br />

written, translated, and co-authored<br />

by three Emiratis: Nadia Alnajjar,<br />

Alya Alhammadi, and Noura Khoury.<br />

Six runways will be included in<br />

Saudi Arabia’s enormous airport<br />

project<br />

T<br />

he King Salman International Airport masterplan was launched by Saudi<br />

Arabia’s Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, in<br />

an effort to enhance Riyadh’s standing as a significant global logistics<br />

hub, boost tourism and business, and act as a bridge connecting the<br />

east and west. Six runways will make the 57 square kilometres airport one of<br />

the biggest in the world, and it will contain the terminals currently found at King<br />

Khalid International Airport (RUH), which serves Riyadh. In contrast, Dubai’s<br />

newer airport to the south of the city, Dubai <strong>World</strong> Central (DWC), is expected<br />

to have five runways after completing construction. Dubai’s older airport, Dubai<br />

International Airport (DXB), has two runways.<br />

Wizz Air Abu<br />

Dhabi adds<br />

new A321 Neo<br />

aircraft to the<br />

fleet<br />

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is<br />

extending its cuttingedge<br />

fleet as it ramps up<br />

operations and realises<br />

its ambitious expansion goals. Wizz<br />

Air Abu Dhabi will be able to increase<br />

frequency and provide visitors and<br />

locals with convenient, inexpensive<br />

travel inside the UAE and to the<br />

most desirable locations throughout<br />

the region, thanks to the additional<br />

aircraft. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi offers<br />

a wide range of year-round travel<br />

options to areas that are rich in<br />

culture, such as bustling cities and<br />

unspoiled natural paradises.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.thefinanceworld.com 75


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