The Finance World Magazine| Edition: April 2023

The April edition of The Finance World Magazine (TFW) delves into the world of disruptive investment and its potential to transform markets, featuring an exclusive interview with Hadif Abdullah Zamzam, Senior Associate – Value Creation, Disruptive Investments at Mubadala, who shares his insights on this topic. In addition, we feature interviews with prominent CEOs, including Nilay Ranjan Singh of State Bank India, DIFC, Raman Thiagarajan, CEO & Founder of Zenda, and Naveen Bharadwaj, Group CEO of Trescon. They provide valuable insights on various topics related to business and investments, particularly in the fintech area. Through this edition, we also bring you insights on topics like the UAE and Turkey CEPA agreement that sets the ground for novel business opportunities, cryptocurrency adoption in the UAE and how it is expected to disrupt trade and payment systems, buying and selling properties in Dubai and strategies to boost profitability, and many more articles that offer critical analysis and insights on current trends and issues in the business and investment domains. 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 April edition of The Finance World Magazine (TFW) delves into the world of disruptive investment and its potential to transform markets, featuring an exclusive interview with Hadif Abdullah Zamzam, Senior Associate – Value Creation, Disruptive Investments at Mubadala, who shares his insights on this topic.

In addition, we feature interviews with prominent CEOs, including Nilay Ranjan Singh of State Bank India, DIFC, Raman Thiagarajan, CEO & Founder of Zenda, and Naveen Bharadwaj, Group CEO of Trescon. They provide valuable insights on various topics related to business and investments, particularly in the fintech area.

Through this edition, we also bring you insights on topics like the UAE and Turkey CEPA agreement that sets the ground for novel business opportunities, cryptocurrency adoption in the UAE and how it is expected to disrupt trade and payment systems, buying and selling properties in Dubai and strategies to boost profitability, and many more articles that offer critical analysis and insights on current trends and issues in the business and investment domains.

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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<strong>The</strong> UAE To Extend the Prospects of the 5-Year UAE Tourist Visa<br />

UAE Boosts Sporting Events for Sports Tourism and Business Opportunities<br />

ADNOC Gas makes record-breaking market debut in ADX<br />

M&A Deals in the MENA Region Hit Unprecedented Leve<br />

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

Disruptive Investment<br />

Reshapes the Market<br />

Hadif Abdullah Zamzam, Senior Associate – Value Creation,<br />

Disruptive Investments, Mubadala Investment Company<br />

UAE - AED 30 | 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 />

P22 | UAE and Turkey CEPA<br />

Agreement Sets the Ground for<br />

Novel Business Opportunities<br />

P96 | Art As Collateral Ways<br />

to Get the Best Out of Your<br />

Collection<br />




www.evonith.com<br />

Alferon Management Private Limited


N O W<br />

March <strong>2023</strong> FEBRUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />

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

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

DECEMBER 2022<br />

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Reaching a visionary goal requires<br />

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

Disruptive investment is an emerging trend in the UAE,<br />

focusing on innovative technologies and business models.<br />

<strong>The</strong> government’s support of entrepreneurship and the<br />

country’s business-friendly environment have facilitated<br />

distinguished growth, with fintech, healthcare, logistics, and<br />

e-commerce as the primary domains for investment in startups and<br />

emerging companies. In this edition, our cover story delves into the<br />

world of disruptive investment and its potential to transform markets,<br />

featuring an exclusive interview with Hadif Abdullah Zamzam, Senior<br />

Associate – Value Creation, Disruptive Investments at Mubadala, who<br />

shares his insights on this topic.<br />

In addition, we feature interviews with prominent CEOs, including<br />

Nilay Ranjan Singh of State Bank India, DIFC, Raman Thiagarajan, CEO<br />

& Founder of Zenda, and Naveen Bharadwaj, Group CEO of Trescon.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y provide valuable insights on various topics related to business<br />

and investments, particularly in the fintech area.<br />

<strong>The</strong> articles in this edition cover a diverse range of topics, such as<br />

the UAE and Turkey CEPA agreement that sets the ground for novel<br />

business opportunities, cryptocurrency adoption in the UAE and<br />

how it is expected to disrupt trade and payment systems, buying and<br />

selling properties in Dubai and strategies to boost profitability, and<br />

many more articles that offer critical analysis and insights on current<br />

trends and issues in the business and investment domains.<br />

With regard to the news segments, we have compiled a condensed<br />

compendium of the most notable advancements in the field of finance.<br />

We have meticulously sifted through the latest trends and updates,<br />

spanning an array of pertinent topics such as corporate results,<br />

corporate tax, startups, banking, funding, investment, fintech, digital<br />

assets, and beyond.<br />

We aim to espouse the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership on the<br />

nation’s development path, highlighting the social, economic, and<br />

developmental aspects shaping this dynamic nation. To that end, we<br />

tirelessly curate the latest and most credible finance news for our<br />

readers, with the aim of advancing financial literacy and contributing<br />

to Dubai’s journey to becoming one of the world’s most pioneering<br />

economies.<br />

- Ambrish Agarwal, Editor in Chief<br />

- Ambrish Agarwal, Editor in Chief<br />

Editor’s Note<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>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 5<br />

September 2022 3

Contents March<br />

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


P08 | Understand Your Credit<br />

Score and Why It Matters<br />



ENERGY<br />

P36 | EWEC’s Mirfa 2 Project:<br />

Another Ground-breaking Initiative<br />

Propelling UAE to the Forefront of<br />

Sustainable Development<br />

P40 | Energy News<br />


P10 | UAE residents get a chance<br />

to improve their credit score<br />

P12 | UAE Banking News<br />


P22 | UAE and Turkey CEPA<br />

Agreement Sets the Ground for<br />

Novel Business Opportunities<br />

P24 | Business News<br />


P44 | <strong>The</strong> UAE’s Healthcare sector<br />

to see significant growth and<br />

expansion in <strong>2023</strong><br />

P46 | Healthcare News<br />

Interview<br />

P14 | Central banks of UAE<br />

and India join forces to boost<br />

financial products<br />


P28 | Hadif Abdullah Zamzam,<br />

Senior Associate – Value<br />

Creation, Disruptive Investments<br />

at Mubadala, speaks about<br />

Disruptive Investment and its<br />

potential to revolutionize markets<br />

START-UP<br />

P48 | Nilay Ranjan Singh, CEO of<br />

State Bank India, DIFC<br />



P16 | Eight UAE-Based Fintech Startups<br />

to Watch in <strong>2023</strong><br />

P18 | Fintech News<br />

P20 | Fintech Application<br />

6 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

P32 | Four Promising Dubai-Based<br />

Agritech Startups to Watch in <strong>2023</strong><br />

P34 | Start-up News<br />

P50 | M&A Deals in the MENA Region<br />

Hit Unprecedented Levels<br />

P52 | Mergers & Acquisitions News



TRAVEL<br />

P54 | Cryptocurrency Adoption in<br />

UAE: How Will This Disrupt Trade<br />

and Payment<br />

P58 | Cryptocurrency News<br />

Interview<br />

P70 | <strong>The</strong> UAE Diversifies Investment<br />

Options to Boost Its Position as a Global<br />

Investment Hub<br />

P72 | Funding & Investment News<br />


P74 | Are NFTs Digital Assets?<br />

What Should You Know Before<br />

Investing in NFTs?<br />


P84 | Six Lavish Destinations to<br />

Escape from Business-Related<br />

Pressure<br />

P87 | Travel News<br />


P60 | Naveen Bharadwaj, Group<br />

CEO, Trescon<br />

P62 | Raman Thiagarajan, CEO &<br />

Founder of Zenda<br />


P64 | Buying and Selling<br />

Properties in Dubai: How to Boost<br />

your Potential for Profit<br />

P67 | Real Estate News<br />

P76 | ADNOC Gas makes recordbreaking<br />

market debut in ADX<br />


P80 | UAE’s Federal Tax Authority<br />

Sets the Ground to a Seamless<br />

Corporate Tax System<br />

P82 | Corporate Results<br />

P90 | UAE Boosts Sporting Events<br />

for Sports Tourism and Business<br />

Opportunities<br />

P92 | Sports News<br />

P94 | Tourism<br />

P96 | Investing in Art<br />

P98 | Global News<br />

P102 | Investing in Tourism<br />

P104 | Local News<br />

P21 | 39 | 57 | 69 |<br />

Launch Express<br />

P26 | P42 | P78 | P100 | Wheels<br />

P49 | P69 | Tech My Money<br />

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

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

Understand Your Credit Score and Why<br />

It Matters<br />

Credit score is a numerical representation of an individual’s creditworthiness<br />

based on their credit history. It is a crucial factor that lenders and financial<br />

institutions consider when deciding to approve or deny credit applications. A high<br />

credit score indicates a good credit history and responsible financial behaviour,<br />

making it easier to obtain credit with favourable terms and lower interest rates.<br />

Conversely, a low credit score can lead to difficulty in obtaining credit or result<br />

in higher interest rates and less favourable terms. Continue reading if you want<br />

to know more about your credit score and why it matters.<br />

Lenders rely on a credit score,<br />

which is a number consisting<br />

of three digits, to assess the<br />

level of risk involved in lending<br />

money to a borrower. Different types of<br />

lenders, such as credit card issuers, car<br />

dealerships, and mortgage lenders, use<br />

this score to determine the amount they<br />

can lend and the interest rate they will<br />

charge. Additionally, insurance companies<br />

and landlords may also consider your<br />

credit score to evaluate your financial<br />

responsibility before providing insurance<br />

coverage or renting out an apartment.<br />

What is credit?<br />

Credit provides the option to borrow<br />

money for necessary or desired purchases<br />

and pay for them later or in instalments.<br />

Examples of credit include personal<br />

loans, mortgages, car loans, and credit<br />

cards. Among these, credit cards are<br />

the simplest form of credit, providing a<br />

predetermined credit limit that can be<br />

used to make purchases. When utilized<br />

responsibly, credit enables individuals<br />

to make significant purchases, such as<br />

buying a car, that they may not have been<br />

able to afford upfront.<br />

However, using credit recklessly can<br />

result in accumulating excessive debt,<br />

increased debt payments, higher interest<br />

rates, and a diminished credit score,<br />

which can hinder one’s ability to obtain<br />

credit. Moreover, it can have a detrimental<br />

impact on one’s overall finances and lead<br />

to stress. It is, therefore, crucial to use<br />

credit only for purchases that can be<br />

paid off in a timely manner.<br />

Consolidate your debts?<br />

Having good credit could increase your<br />

chances of obtaining lower interest rates<br />

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

when applying for a loan to purchase a<br />

car or a house. Lenders take into account<br />

your credit score and payment history,<br />

and if they are satisfactory, you may<br />

qualify for a lower interest rate, which<br />

means you would pay less over the<br />

course of the loan. On the other hand, a<br />

poor credit score or unreliable payment<br />

history could lead to higher interest rates<br />

and less favourable financing options.<br />

Your credit history could also impact<br />

your ability to get approved for a rental<br />

application. Some landlords or rental<br />

companies may review your credit report<br />

to assess your likelihood of paying rent<br />

on time.<br />

In addition, when seeking employment,<br />

your credit report may be examined by<br />

potential employers, particularly for roles<br />

involving finances or management. This<br />

is because employers want to ensure that<br />

you are responsible with money.<br />

What are the factors that affect your<br />

credit score?<br />

<strong>The</strong> first factor that affects your credit<br />

score is payment history, which makes<br />

up 35% of the total score. It determines<br />

whether you pay your bills on time or<br />

not. Late payments negatively impact<br />

your score, and the later you pay, the<br />

more it affects your score. If you’ve had<br />

issues like bankruptcy, foreclosure, or<br />

collections, other lenders may see this<br />

as a warning sign and may be less likely<br />

to lend to you.<br />

<strong>The</strong> second factor is debt, which<br />

accounts for 30% of your score. Even if<br />

you pay your bills on time, having too<br />

much debt compared to your credit limit<br />

can harm your score. If you’ve reached<br />

your credit limit but have a balance of $0,<br />

this can still negatively affect your score.<br />

Credit history is the third factor,<br />

making up 15% of your score. This factor<br />

considers how long you’ve been using<br />

credit; a longer credit history with active<br />

accounts improves your score. However,<br />

having a short credit history with ontime<br />

payments can still be favourable<br />

for your score.<br />

New credit accounts for 10% of your<br />

score. Applying for several accounts<br />

within a short period can hurt your score<br />

temporarily, as lenders may check your<br />

credit information, leading to a slight<br />

decline in your score. Lastly, the types of<br />

credit you use make up the final 10% of<br />

your score; having a variety of accounts<br />

like credit cards, store accounts, and<br />

mortgages can be beneficial to your score.<br />

What should you do when you have<br />

a bad credit score?<br />

It takes time to increase your credit<br />

score, but the payoff in the long run is<br />

worth it. To start improving your score<br />

today, you can take certain actions,<br />

although it’s recommended to allow<br />

3 to 6 months before making a major<br />

purchase. Here are some suggestions<br />

that may aid in boosting and maintaining<br />

a good credit score:<br />

• Examining your credit report for<br />

errors: Any inaccuracies, such as<br />

a reported late payment that never<br />

occurred, can result in a significant<br />

reduction in your score.<br />

• Paying your bills on time: It is one of<br />

the most effective ways to enhance your<br />

credit score. You may make it simple<br />

for yourself by setting up payment<br />

reminders or enrolling in automatic<br />

drafts through your bank or lender.<br />

• Reducing your debt: It is another<br />

essential step in improving your score.<br />

Start by paying off your highest balances<br />

first, and if feasible, pay more than<br />

the minimum payment. Stop using<br />

high-interest credit cards, if possible.<br />

• Avoid new credit card purchases<br />

or card applications: Keeping your<br />

balances low will help improve your<br />

credit utilization ratio, which can have<br />

a negative influence on your score.<br />

Don’t cancel any loan accounts or credit<br />

cards because credit age contributes<br />

to your score.<br />

• Seek credit counselling if necessary:<br />

If you require assistance, various<br />

agencies are available to help you.<br />

With a positive<br />

credit score and a<br />

consistent payment<br />

history, you could<br />

be eligible for a<br />

reduced interest<br />

rate and save a<br />

significant amount<br />

of money in the<br />

long run!<br />

What the risks of using credit?<br />

Making impulsive use of credit can harm<br />

your credit score, making it harder for<br />

you to qualify for credit in the future or<br />

leading to higher interest rates on loans.<br />

It’s also easier to spend more than you<br />

can afford with readily available credit,<br />

which may result in larger debt payments<br />

that could be challenging to manage.<br />

However, by paying your bills on time,<br />

maintaining low account balances, and<br />

using credit sensibly, you increase your<br />

likelihood of obtaining a loan with a<br />

competitive interest rate, but if your<br />

credit score requires enhancement, it’s<br />

advisable to allow sufficient time before<br />

applying for a loan to allow for any<br />

modifications to take effect.<br />

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

UAE Banking<br />

UAE residents get a chance to improve<br />

their credit score<br />

<strong>The</strong> Al Etihad Credit Bureau<br />

is considering a proposal to<br />

implement a program that<br />

offers a chance for UAE<br />

residents with low credit scores caused<br />

by bounced cheques or payment delays<br />

to improve their ratings. <strong>The</strong> plan aims<br />

to reward individuals with positive<br />

points rather than solely penalizing<br />

them. If the program is approved, people<br />

with average credit scores will have an<br />

opportunity to reset their credit history,<br />

increasing their chances of securing<br />

loans or engaging in transactions that<br />

require cheque submission.<br />

According to Marwan Ahmad Lutfi,<br />

CEO of AECB, missing a few payments<br />

due to job loss should not negatively<br />

impact an individual’s credit history<br />

for five or more years. He proposes a<br />

new system that rewards individuals<br />

for positive behaviour instead of solely<br />

penalizing them for non-payments.<br />

<strong>The</strong> current credit rating system takes<br />

6-12 months of consistent payments<br />

to recover from non-payments, but<br />

Lutfi wants to implement a scheme<br />

that offsets any shortcomings with<br />

positive actions. He suggests that this<br />

10 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

system would be unique to the UAE<br />

and not currently in place anywhere<br />

else in the world.<br />

In the UAE, credit scores are based<br />

on a person’s history of defaulting on<br />

payments, including checks, utility<br />

and phone bills, and court judgments<br />

involving financial obligations. <strong>The</strong> Al<br />

Etihad Credit Bureau scores people<br />

on a scale of 300-900, and delayed or<br />

missed payments result in lost points,<br />

affecting their chances of obtaining<br />

loans or other services. <strong>The</strong>se credit<br />

ratings have become crucial for the<br />

banking industry, as they immediately<br />

determine the eligibility of applicants.<br />

If the proposed plan is approved, the<br />

AECB could include positive attributes<br />

that offset negative ones, allowing<br />

individuals to earn points for good<br />

credit behaviour. This system would<br />

differ from the current one, which only<br />

punishes those with poor credit scores.<br />

A reward scheme for good credit<br />

behaviour may be introduced by AECB<br />

as early as next year. To implement this<br />

scheme, the credit bureau will require<br />

extensive analysis, consumer behaviour<br />

modelling, and testing with banking<br />

<strong>The</strong> system would<br />

be ground-breaking,<br />

exclusively<br />

implemented in<br />

the UAE, and not<br />

replicated anywhere<br />

else globally, offering<br />

a distinctive approach<br />

to the country’s<br />

operations.<br />

partners. <strong>The</strong> aim of this change is to<br />

improve the credit scoring model and<br />

reward good credit behaviour, rather<br />

than solely penalizing individuals.<br />

However, the bureau clarified that<br />

they do not have any influence over<br />

a bank’s decision to lend money to an<br />

individual or business.

UAE Banks Federation organises workshop<br />

on combating money laundering<br />

UBF, which represents banks<br />

in the UAE, recently held<br />

an online workshop to<br />

address the issue of trade<br />

and credit document-based money<br />

laundering. <strong>The</strong> workshop is part of<br />

the federation’s continuous initiative<br />

to enhance frameworks and processes<br />

that promote compliance and risk<br />

management at its member banks.<br />

Under the guidance of the Central<br />

Bank of the UAE, the workshop aimed<br />

at improving the banking and financial<br />

system’s ability to prevent economic<br />

crime. It emphasized the important<br />

role played by banks in combatting<br />

money laundering that is based on<br />

trade and credit documents, which<br />

aims to disguise illegal proceeds as<br />

legitimate business transactions. Such<br />

practices negatively affect the global<br />

trading system, reduce financial system<br />

efficiency, and pose significant risks to<br />

the economic and social landscape. <strong>The</strong><br />

workshop also highlighted the severe<br />

consequences of money laundering,<br />

which often funds criminal and terrorist<br />

organizations that harm individuals<br />

and communities globally.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> UAE Banks Federation strives<br />

to enforce top compliance standards<br />

in banks and financial institutions<br />

through various initiatives.”<br />

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

committed to maintaining the UAE’s<br />

position as a leading financial centre<br />

that upholds high standards of<br />

transparency and compliance with<br />

international agreements. In this regard,<br />

the Federation has organised various<br />

events and discussions to promote<br />

awareness and equip stakeholders<br />

with the tools to identify, prevent, and<br />

prosecute illegal activities. With the rise<br />

of financial crimes that exploit global<br />

trade, the Federation acknowledges the<br />

growing risks facing the banking and<br />

financial sector and is taking measures<br />

to update legislation and introduce<br />

new laws to ensure safe banking for<br />

customers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Federation is making efforts<br />

to ensure that banks and financial<br />

institutions adhere to high compliance<br />

standards by taking multiple steps and<br />

initiatives. One of these initiatives is<br />

to educate customers and the public<br />

to create the necessary conditions for<br />

compliance. <strong>The</strong> federation organizes<br />

various events such as the annual<br />

Regulatory Compliance Conference<br />

and several seminars to ensure that<br />

banks comply with the Financial Action<br />

Task Force (FATF) requirements and<br />

national anti-fraud campaigns.<br />

Jamal Saleh, Director-General of UAE<br />

Banks Federation, said, “<strong>The</strong> banking<br />

sector plays a critical and decisive<br />

role in detecting money laundering<br />

based on trade and documentary<br />

credits, as banks represent the first<br />

line of defence against financial crimes<br />

through several procedures, including<br />

due diligence through effective risk<br />

assessments, monitoring of traderelated<br />

suspicious transactions, and<br />

comprehensive and regular training of<br />

staff to combat money laundering and<br />

other financial crimes. Furthermore,<br />

by sharing information within the<br />

banking sector and with regulators and<br />

law enforcement agencies, assisting in<br />

identifying and mitigating risks and<br />

promoting investment in cutting-edge<br />

technology that helps fight financial<br />

crime to promote a safer financial<br />

system.”<br />

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

UAE Banking News<br />

UAE Banks’ Investment<br />

Portfolio Surges to<br />

$144B in 2022<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s banking industry<br />

experienced impressive<br />

growth by the end of<br />

December 2022, with a new<br />

record high of AED 528B, reflecting<br />

an 11.5% year-on-year increase or AED<br />

54.5B in comparison to the same period<br />

in 2021. <strong>The</strong> data also highlights a<br />

monthly growth rate of 3.25% or AED<br />

16.6B in UAE banks’ investments, rising<br />

from AED 511.1B in November 2022 to<br />

AED 527.7B in December 2022. <strong>The</strong><br />

report reveals that bonds made up 49%<br />

or AED 258.5B of banks’ investments,<br />

while the investments in securities<br />

held to maturity accounted for 39.6%<br />

or AED 208.9B, and other investments<br />

amounted to AED 48.3B.<br />

Edmond de Rothschild establishes MENA Hub in<br />

Dubai’s DIFC<br />

Edmond de Rothschild, a<br />

Swiss private bank and<br />

asset management company,<br />

has opened a Middle East<br />

and North Africa (MENA) hub in the<br />

Dubai International Financial Centre<br />

(DIFC). <strong>The</strong> hub aims to meet the<br />

growing demand for sustainable and<br />

innovative investments in the region,<br />

and provide clients with a range of<br />

wealth management and advisory<br />

services. <strong>The</strong> DIFC’s strategic location,<br />

regulatory framework, and connectivity<br />

to global financial centres make it an<br />

ideal destination for financial institutions<br />

looking to expand in the MENA region.<br />

Edmond de Rothschild’s MENA hub is a<br />

significant addition to Dubai’s financial<br />

landscape, which is rapidly growing as<br />

a global financial hub.<br />

UAE’s Naqd Bank receives Preliminary Approval<br />

from Central Bank<br />

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

has granted preliminary<br />

approval to Royal Strategic<br />

Partners (RSP) for launching<br />

NAQD Community Bank (Naqd), a<br />

digital banking solution for companies<br />

operating in various sectors, with a<br />

focus on eCommerce and omnichannel<br />

entities. Naqd will provide financial<br />

offerings to the banked and unbanked<br />

population, micro-SMEs and start-ups<br />

in the UAE, using machine learning –<br />

artificial intelligence ecosystem (ML-AI)<br />

technology and others. <strong>The</strong> bank aims<br />

to promote the development of digital<br />

banking in the country and support the<br />

strong regulatory frameworks being<br />

established. It will offer customers a<br />

unique, secure and seamless banking<br />

experience to aid the UAE’s digital<br />

transformation goals.<br />

e& money partners with Mastercard to launch digital-first prepaid card<br />

e& money, the financial services<br />

arm of e&, has partnered with<br />

Mastercard to launch a digitalfirst<br />

pre-paid card, enabling<br />

users to make international fund<br />

transfers, peer-to-peer payments and<br />

more. <strong>The</strong> move aims to drive financial<br />

inclusion and accessibility for all<br />

segments of UAE society, with the<br />

company already offering integrated<br />

point-of-sale payments. Customers<br />

can make online or in-store payments<br />

instantly from anywhere in the world,<br />

initially using virtual cards before<br />

receiving physical cards for offline<br />

payments. With digital payments,<br />

such as e-wallets, increasingly popular<br />

among UAE consumers, the pre-paid<br />

card could see cash-based payments<br />

lose further ground.<br />

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

Shareholders of FAB greenlight $1.56B dividend payout for 2022<br />

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

the largest lender in the UAE,<br />

has announced the approval<br />

of a dividend payout of AED<br />

5.74B ($1.56B) for the fiscal year ended<br />

December 31, 2022. <strong>The</strong> full-year cash<br />

dividend stands at AED 0.52 per share,<br />

according to a statement by the bank.<br />

<strong>The</strong> announcement comes after FAB<br />

reported a 7% rise in its net profit for<br />

2022, largely driven by higher interest<br />

income and the strong performance of its<br />

core business. <strong>The</strong> bank also elected its<br />

board of directors for the next three-year<br />

term, including Mariam Al Mheiri as the<br />

first-ever female member.<br />

EDB approves $1.66B in<br />

financing during 2022<br />

Emirates Development Bank<br />

(EDB), a state-owned lender<br />

that focuses on financing<br />

the UAE’s priority sectors,<br />

has approved AED 6.1B ($1.66B) in<br />

financing during 2022 to drive the<br />

country’s industrial growth. <strong>The</strong> funding<br />

represents an almost eightfold increase<br />

compared to the previous year. EDB<br />

approved AED 1.8B in loans to small<br />

and medium-sized enterprises, which<br />

is a 387% YoY increase. EDB’s credit<br />

guarantee programme with partner<br />

commercial banks provided AED<br />

611M in indirect financing while<br />

loans disbursed through the EDB<br />

micro-lending platform, powered by<br />

Beehive, exceeded AED 100M. Loans<br />

approved for large corporates surged<br />

to AED 4.3B, mainly for projects<br />

in national priority sectors such as<br />

data centres, desalination plants,<br />

hospitals, transport, manufacturers,<br />

and specialised logistics.<br />

ICBC launches $2.2B Green Bonds on Nasdaq Dubai<br />

Industrial and Commercial Bank<br />

of China (ICBC) has listed four<br />

green bonds worth $2.2B on Nasdaq<br />

Dubai, making it the first Chinese<br />

bank to start the year with a multicurrency<br />

capital markets transaction.<br />

<strong>The</strong> carbon-neutral themed bonds, with<br />

tenors of two and three years, were<br />

issued by ICBC’s branches in Dubai,<br />

According to data from<br />

the Central Bank of the<br />

UAE, excluding interbank<br />

deposits, the amount of<br />

money saved in the UAE banking<br />

system increased to AED 245.867B at<br />

the end of December 2022, showing<br />

a YoY growth of approximately AED<br />

4.00B or 1.7% from AED 241.82B in<br />

November 2021. <strong>The</strong> Central Bank’s<br />

records demonstrate that there has<br />

been a significant increase in savings<br />

deposits in recent years, rising from<br />

AED 152B at the end of 2018 to AED<br />

Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney.<br />

<strong>The</strong> listing was marked by the ringing<br />

of the market opening bell by Zhang<br />

Yiming, Ambassador of the People’s<br />

Republic of China to the UAE, and was<br />

accompanied by top executives from<br />

ICBC and Nasdaq Dubai. <strong>The</strong> offering<br />

saw strong and diverse demand from<br />

international investors.<br />

$67B saving deposits in UAE Banks by end of<br />

December 2022<br />

172.2B in 2019 and AED 215.2B in<br />

2020. <strong>The</strong> bank’s statistics further<br />

reveal that demand deposits grew to<br />

AED 907.35B by the end of December<br />

2022, exhibiting a YoY growth of 7%<br />

from AED 533.57 in December 2021.<br />

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

UAE Reforms<br />

Central banks of UAE and India join forces<br />

to boost financial products<br />

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

the Reserve Bank of India<br />

have recently entered into an<br />

initial agreement to enhance<br />

cooperation and facilitate creativity<br />

in financial offerings and facilities.<br />

This agreement, which was signed<br />

in Abu Dhabi, involves both banking<br />

regulators collaborating on various<br />

emerging aspects of FinTech, such as<br />

Central Bank Digital Currencies, and<br />

investigating compatibility between<br />

their CBDCs, as stated by the UAE<br />

Central Bank in a statement. According<br />

to the agreement, they will carry out<br />

trials and initial implementations of a<br />

reciprocal CBDC bridge to allow for<br />

cross-border CBDC transactions of<br />

remittances and trade.<br />

With the increasing acceptance of<br />

cryptocurrencies as an asset class<br />

among individual and institutional<br />

investors, central banks are exploring<br />

the creation of digital currencies. Last<br />

month, the UAE Central Bank announced<br />

a programme to accelerate the digital<br />

transformation in the financial services<br />

sector, with initiatives spanning open<br />

finance and a new digital currency.<br />

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

<strong>The</strong> new CBDC will be used for both<br />

cross-border payments and domestic<br />

usage to “address the problems and<br />

inefficiency of cross-border payments<br />

and help drive innovation for domestic<br />

payments, respectively”, the regulator<br />

said at the time. <strong>The</strong> UAE Central Bank’s<br />

latest agreement with the Reserve<br />

Bank of India also includes technical<br />

collaboration and knowledge-sharing<br />

on matters related to FinTech and<br />

financial products and services.<br />

“This bilateral engagement of testing<br />

cross-border use case of CBDCs is<br />

expected to reduce costs, increase<br />

efficiency of cross border transactions<br />

and further the economic ties between<br />

India and UAE,” the statement said.<br />

In the previous year, India’s primary<br />

bank introduced its initial test program<br />

for the e-rupee, which authorized<br />

certain banks to employ the digital<br />

rupee to resolve secondary market<br />

transactions concerning government<br />

bonds. <strong>The</strong> bank intends to begin trials<br />

of retail applications for the digital<br />

version of the Indian rupee.<br />

Furthermore, Fitch Ratings stated<br />

that the swift advancement of CBDCs<br />

As<br />

cryptocurrencies<br />

gain acceptance<br />

among investors,<br />

central banks<br />

are exploring<br />

digital currency<br />

creation.<br />

could enhance financial inclusion<br />

and stability. According to a recent<br />

report by the Boston Consulting<br />

Group, CBDCs will continue to gain<br />

ground as regulators customize them<br />

to supplement cash with digital central<br />

bank currency.

DIFC hosts the official launch of the world’s<br />

first dedicated centre for family wealth<br />

Dubai International Financial<br />

Centre (DIFC) inaugurated<br />

the world’s first exclusive<br />

centre for family wealth,<br />

consistent with the UAE’s goal of<br />

assisting family businesses in optimizing<br />

their economic contributions. <strong>The</strong> DIFC<br />

Family Wealth Centre will play a crucial<br />

role in helping family businesses attain<br />

growth and success for generations<br />

to come. <strong>The</strong> recently introduced<br />

UAE Family Business Law and DIFC<br />

Family Arrangements Regulations will<br />

aid the DIFC Family Wealth Centre’s<br />

operations.<br />

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,<br />

Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime<br />

Minister, Minister of <strong>Finance</strong> of the<br />

UAE, and President of DIFC, praised<br />

DIFC’s commitment to boosting family<br />

businesses’ economic contribution.<br />

He emphasized the significance of<br />

family businesses in expanding the<br />

UAE’s economy and how DIFC’s<br />

experience and knowledge will enhance<br />

their capacity to accomplish future<br />

aspirations as the younger generation<br />

takes over their family wealth. By<br />

<strong>The</strong> Centre provides<br />

certification<br />

programs that cover<br />

various aspects such<br />

as governance, ESG<br />

standards, and other<br />

best practices for<br />

family businesses.<br />

utilizing DIFC’s expertise, family<br />

businesses in Dubai will prosper,<br />

which will benefit the economy and<br />

generate new job opportunities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE Minister of Economy<br />

and Cabinet Member, His Excellency<br />

Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, stated in<br />

his speech that the introduction of<br />

the Family Wealth Centre in the Dubai<br />

International Financial Centre aligns<br />

with the vision of His Highness Sheikh<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,<br />

Vice President and Prime Minister of<br />

the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to maintain<br />

and promote the family business sector<br />

sustainably.<br />

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of<br />

DIFC, commented: “<strong>The</strong> DIFC Family<br />

Wealth Centre provides a holistic<br />

solution for family businesses and<br />

enables them to grow their legacy for<br />

generations to come. As demonstrated<br />

through today’s inaugural event, the<br />

Centre is a key part of DIFC’s longterm<br />

commitment to offering quality<br />

private wealth management services<br />

at par with global standards.”<br />

DIFC has established a distinctive<br />

proposition for family businesses,<br />

making it the first financial centre in<br />

the world to do so, at a crucial period<br />

when around AED 3.67T (USD 1T) of<br />

assets are anticipated to be passed<br />

down to the next generation in the<br />

Middle East over the next ten years.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Centre offers certification for<br />

family businesses in areas such as<br />

governance, ESG standards, and other<br />

best practices.<br />

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

Fintech<br />

Eight UAE-Based Fintech Startups to Watch<br />

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

<strong>The</strong> UAE has been experiencing rapid growth in its FinTech sector over the past few years,<br />

with a growing number of startups entering the market. Fintech startups in the UAE offer a<br />

wide range of innovative solutions in areas such as payments, lending, wealth management,<br />

insurance, and digital banking. In this article, we shed light on eight of the promising fintech<br />

startups poised to accelerate the growth of the UAE’s FinTech landscape in the years to come.<br />

Huspy<br />

Tabby<br />

Tabby is a Dubai-based FinTech<br />

startup that was established in<br />

2019 by Daniil Barkalov and<br />

Hosam Arab. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

offers consumers the ability to defer<br />

payments for their purchases, allowing<br />

them to pay off their balances over four<br />

monthly interest-free installments. With<br />

a team size of 101-250 employees, Tabby<br />

has quickly become a major player in<br />

the financial technology industry in the<br />

United Arab Emirates. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

has successfully completed several<br />

rounds of funding, including a recent<br />

$58M investment, which has pushed<br />

its valuation to over $660M.<br />

Huspy is a Dubai-based FinTech<br />

startup that was founded in<br />

2020 by Jad Antoun and Khalid<br />

Ashmawy. <strong>The</strong> company aims<br />

to help consumers make better mortgage<br />

choices and get on the property ladder<br />

by providing fairly priced loans. With a<br />

team of 101-250 employees, Huspy has<br />

rapidly become one of the key players in<br />

the UAE’s financial technology market.<br />

Since its inception, the company has<br />

attracted significant investment, with<br />

its latest funding round in June 2022<br />

raising an impressive $37M. <strong>The</strong> funding<br />

has enabled the company to expand its<br />

operations and reach more customers<br />

in the UAE and beyond.<br />

Zenda<br />

Zenda is a FinTech startup that<br />

was founded in 2021 by Haseed<br />

Ahmed and Raman Thiagarajan.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company is headquartered in<br />

the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates,<br />

and currently employs between 51-100<br />

staff members. Zenda has developed<br />

a platform that is aimed at families<br />

who are looking for a more convenient<br />

way to pay for their children’s school<br />

fees. <strong>The</strong> platform offers an innovative<br />

“Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) solution<br />

that allows families to spread their<br />

payments over a longer period of time.<br />

Since its inception, Zenda has enjoyed<br />

significant success, attracting several<br />

investors in its early stages. In <strong>April</strong><br />

2022, the company raised $9.4M in a seed<br />

funding round, indicating the confidence<br />

investors have in the company’s vision<br />

and potential for growth.<br />

16 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

NymCard<br />

NymCard is a FinTech startup<br />

that was founded in 2018<br />

by Ayman Chalhoub and<br />

Omar Onsi. <strong>The</strong> company is<br />

headquartered in Abu Dhabi and currently<br />

employs between 11-50 staff members.<br />

NymCard has developed an innovative<br />

solution that provides businesses with<br />

the building blocks they need for their<br />

card-issuance projects. <strong>The</strong> platform<br />

allows businesses to issue digital-first<br />

bank cards and other payment solutions,<br />

helping to streamline the card-issuance<br />

process and improve efficiency. Since<br />

its inception, NymCard has garnered<br />

significant interest from investors,<br />

resulting in several successful funding<br />

rounds. In June 2022, the company<br />

raised $22.5M in its most recent funding<br />

round, signaling investors’ confidence<br />

in its vision and potential for growth.<br />

Tarabut Gateway<br />

Tarabut Gateway is a dynamic<br />

UAE startup that was founded<br />

in 2018 by Abdulla Almoayed.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company is based in Dubai<br />

and currently employs between 51-100<br />

staff members. As an innovative FinTech<br />

company, Tarabut Gateway uses a range<br />

of open-banking APIs to help banks and<br />

other financial institutions process the<br />

flow of money and information securely<br />

and quickly. By providing cuttingedge<br />

solutions to streamline financial<br />

services, Tarabut Gateway is one of the<br />

fintechs driving the industry forward<br />

and bringing it into the modern world.<br />

Since its founding, Tarabut Gateway<br />

has secured significant startup funding,<br />

with the total raised by the company<br />

currently standing at $25M.<br />

Ziina<br />

Ziina is a small yet innovative<br />

company with a team size of<br />

1-10 people. It was founded by<br />

three individuals: Andrew Gold,<br />

Faisal Toukan, and Sarah Toukan. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s headquarters are located in<br />

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where<br />

they have been actively operating in<br />

the fintech market since 2020. Ziina’s<br />

main focus is on creating a social<br />

P2P payment solution. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

also offers payment solutions for<br />

businesses to make it easier for them<br />

to send and receive payments. <strong>The</strong>ir<br />

services are user-friendly, making it<br />

easy for users to manage their finances<br />

and transactions. Since its inception,<br />

Ziina has been able to attract funding<br />

from a number of investors. In total,<br />

the company has raised $8.5M, which<br />

it has used to improve its growth and<br />

development. Like other promising<br />

startups, the company is poised to make<br />

a significant impact on the FinTech<br />

industry in the UAE and beyond.<br />

Qashio<br />

Qashio is a FinTech startup that<br />

was founded in 2021 by Armin<br />

Moradi and Jonathon Lau. <strong>The</strong><br />

company is based in Dubai,<br />

and has a team of 11-50 employees.<br />

Qashio specializes in providing virtual<br />

and physical corporate cards, expense<br />

management solutions, and complete<br />

spending tracking for businesses in<br />

the Middle East. Since its inception,<br />

Qashio has gone through several funding<br />

rounds, and to date, the company has<br />

raised a total of $12.5M in funding.<br />

<strong>The</strong> most recent funding round was<br />

a seed round, which raised $10M in<br />

November 2022. <strong>The</strong> company tries<br />

to simplify financial management for<br />

businesses in the Middle East. With its<br />

innovative solutions and commitment<br />

to customer satisfaction, it is poised to<br />

become one of the major players in the<br />

FinTech industry in the years to come.<br />

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

Fintech News<br />

DIFC’s Fintech and<br />

Innovation Sector<br />

Attracts $615M in<br />

Investments in 2022<br />

A<br />

recent report predicts that the<br />

fintech and innovation sector<br />

in the region will double in<br />

size to almost $300M in the<br />

next few years. <strong>The</strong> Dubai International<br />

Financial Centre’s (DIFC) fintech and<br />

innovation community received over<br />

$615M in investments in 2022, while<br />

the number of active DIFC companies<br />

in the sector rose by 36% to 686. Dubai<br />

is currently home to 60% of all fintech<br />

companies in the GCC. <strong>The</strong> Middle East,<br />

Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region’s<br />

market value was estimated to be worth<br />

$135.9B in 2021 and is expected to reach<br />

$266.9B by 2027. According to Mohammad<br />

Alblooshi, Head of DIFC Innovation Hub<br />

and FinTech Hive, Dubai’s government’s<br />

collaborative approach with the industry<br />

has made it an attractive destination for<br />

fintech companies, securing its economy<br />

for the future.<br />

National Bank of Kuwait launches Google Pay for<br />

its customers<br />

National Bank of Kuwait<br />

(NBK) has announced the<br />

launch of Google Pay for its<br />

customers, marking the first<br />

bank in Kuwait to offer the mobile<br />

payment service. With this move, NBK<br />

customers can now make fast, secure,<br />

and convenient contactless payments<br />

using their smartphones at millions<br />

of stores globally. In addition to that,<br />

users can also use Google Pay to send<br />

and receive money to family and friends<br />

instantly. <strong>The</strong> launch of Google Pay<br />

complements NBK’s digital strategy<br />

aimed at providing innovative payment<br />

Zywa, a fintech company based in<br />

the UAE, has formed a strategic<br />

partnership with Mastercard to<br />

provide its community-based app<br />

and card to young adults between 10 to 25<br />

years old. <strong>The</strong> partnership aims to provide<br />

Gen Z users with a smooth payment and<br />

money management experience, allowing<br />

them to save for their financial goals,<br />

pay bills, shop online, and split bills<br />

with friends. <strong>The</strong> partnership also offers<br />

parents the ability to transfer money to<br />

their children’s accounts, monitor their<br />

spending and saving habits, and improve<br />

their financial literacy. Zywa’s collaboration<br />

with Mastercard was initiated by Hub71,<br />

solutions and meeting the evolving needs<br />

of its customers in the digital era.<br />

Hub71 startup Zywa partners with Mastercard to<br />

empower UAE youth<br />

Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, as<br />

part of its initiative to support startups<br />

with commercial opportunities.<br />

HDFC and Lulu Exchange partner for Cross-Border Payments<br />

HDFC Bank and UAE-based<br />

financial services company<br />

Lulu Exchange have signed a<br />

partnership agreement to boost<br />

cross-border payments between India and<br />

the GCC region. <strong>The</strong> deal will launch a<br />

digital inward remittance service, called<br />

‘RemitNow2India’, in its first phase. It<br />

will allow residents of the UAE to send<br />

money to any bank account in India via<br />

IMPS and NEFT through HDFC Bank’s<br />

digital banking channels. <strong>The</strong> partnership<br />

aims to leverage each other’s goodwill,<br />

trust, regulatory tech and vast service<br />

network through a series of online and<br />

offline initiatives to ease money transfers<br />

for thousands of Indian expats living in<br />

the UAE.<br />

18 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Halo Investing Comes to Abu Dhabi<br />

Halo Investing expands to<br />

Abu Dhabi, bringing its<br />

innovative investment<br />

platform to the United<br />

Arab Emirates (UAE) for the first<br />

time. <strong>The</strong> Chicago-based fintech<br />

company has partnered with Abu<br />

Dhabi Investment Company (ADIC) to<br />

offer its unique investment products<br />

Areeba Brings Biometric Authentication to<br />

Online Payments in MENA<br />

Areeba, a leading payment<br />

processing service provider in<br />

the Middle East, is partnering<br />

with Swiss payment expert<br />

Netcetera to introduce Out-of-Band<br />

authentication (OOB) with biometric<br />

reading for e-commerce transactions.<br />

This enables Areeba to offer its issuers’<br />

customers (banks and fintechs) a<br />

tailored authentication experience<br />

through mobile apps using fingerprint<br />

or facial recognition instead of<br />

passwords or text messages. Areeba<br />

CEO Maher Mikati said the partnership<br />

to UAE investors. Halo’s platform<br />

allows investors to create customized<br />

portfolios of structured notes, a type<br />

of investment typically only available<br />

to institutional investors. By leveraging<br />

technology and automation, Halo aims<br />

to democratize access to structured<br />

notes and make them more accessible<br />

to individual investors.<br />

recognised the potential for improving<br />

customers’ lifestyles while keeping<br />

them competitive, adding that the<br />

technology was already widely used<br />

in the West.<br />

Liquidity Group Launches<br />

Global Initiative ‘Twenty<br />

Chairs’ in ADGM<br />

Liquidity Group, an Israeli fintech<br />

unicorn and asset manager, has<br />

launched its global initiative<br />

‘Twenty Chairs’ – a series of<br />

events aimed at bringing together<br />

key players in the financial services<br />

industry to discuss the latest trends and<br />

challenges. To mark the launch of the<br />

special edition of the series at Investopia<br />

X SALT <strong>2023</strong>, a VIP welcome dinner<br />

was held in partnership with SALT and<br />

iConnections in Abu Dhabi. A group of<br />

industry luminaries attended the event,<br />

with speakers discussing topics such<br />

as venture capital, entrepreneurship<br />

and technology transfer. Liquidity<br />

Group aims to provide fast and flexible<br />

capital to entrepreneurs to support<br />

their growth ambitions.<br />

Namshi partners with Tabby to introduce greater payment flexibility<br />

Namshi, the Middle East and North<br />

Africa’s (MENA) leading online<br />

fashion and beauty platform,<br />

has partnered with Tabby,<br />

the region’s top shopping and financial<br />

services app, to offer customers flexible<br />

payment solutions. Namshi shoppers can<br />

now choose to pay for purchases in four<br />

interest-free installments at checkout, as<br />

part of Namshi’s ongoing commitment to<br />

provide a seamless shopping experience.<br />

<strong>The</strong> partnership is the latest of several<br />

agreements that Tabby has signed with<br />

the region’s leading retailers and reflects<br />

the company’s goal of providing users<br />

with more payment options that are both<br />

flexible and user-friendly.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 19

Fintech Application<br />

OG Pay<br />

OG Pay is an innovative icon<br />

of technology progress<br />

transforming how people<br />

think about personal money<br />

management.<br />

OG Pay is a fintech application<br />

that provides online payment and<br />

international money transfer services.<br />

<strong>The</strong> app is designed to make it easy for<br />

users to send and receive money from<br />

around the world, pay bills, and make<br />

purchases online.<br />

OG Pay offers a range of features<br />

and services, including:<br />

• Money transfers: Users can transfer<br />

money to other OG Pay users, as well<br />

as to non-OG Pay users around the<br />

world. <strong>The</strong> app supports multiple<br />

currencies, so users can send and<br />

receive money in their local currency.<br />

• Bill payments: OG Pay allows users<br />

to pay bills online, including utilities,<br />

mobile phone bills, and more.<br />

• Virtual cards: Users can create virtual<br />

cards within the app, which can<br />

be used to make online purchases<br />

securely.<br />

• Rewards program: OG Pay has a<br />

rewards program that allows users to<br />

earn points for using the app. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

points can be redeemed for discounts,<br />

cashback, and other rewards.<br />

• Security features: OG Pay has<br />

multiple security features to protect<br />

users’ transactions and personal<br />

information, including two-factor<br />

authentication, encryption, and<br />

fraud detection.<br />

You can use your OG Pay mobile<br />

wallet to manage cash while earning<br />

2% APY interest on your average daily<br />

balance. Request funds from others<br />

one time or on a recurring basis. Pay<br />

your bills one time or through recurring<br />

scheduled transactions. Add your bank<br />

accounts, and credit and debit cards<br />

to your OG Pay account knowing your<br />

cash is FDIC insured and your personal<br />

and financial information is secure.<br />

20 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

TCL NXTWEAR S - XR Glasses<br />

<strong>The</strong> TCL NXTWEAR S XR glasses<br />

are a wearable device that uses<br />

micro OLED displays to provide<br />

a personal viewing experience.<br />

<strong>The</strong> device is designed to be lightweight<br />

and portable, making it easy to use on the<br />

go. It connects to compatible smartphones,<br />

laptops, tablets, and gaming consoles via<br />

USB-C and can display content in both<br />

2D and 3D.<br />

Engineered with a 130-inch screen at<br />

4 meters distances, FOV 45°, and dual<br />

Micro OLED display with 1920 x 1080<br />

at 2D, 3840 x 1080 at 3D content, and<br />

ultra-large screen, NXTWEAR S provides<br />

a cinematic visual experience. With 49<br />

PPD (Pixel per Degree), the glasses offer<br />

a private, high-quality screening space.<br />

TCL NXTWEAR S transforms personal<br />

admin and works while it becomes an<br />

everyday adventure for gamers and<br />

streamers anywhere, anytime.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 21

Business<br />

UAE and Turkey CEPA Agreement Sets the<br />

Ground for Novel Business Opportunities<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE and Turkey recently signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership<br />

Agreement (CEPA) with the aim of boosting trade and investment between the two<br />

nations. This agreement opens up new avenues for businesses in both countries<br />

to expand their operations and explore novel opportunities for growth.<br />

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

With the UAE and Turkey<br />

being two of the fastestgrowing<br />

economies in the<br />

world, the CEPA agreement<br />

promises to bring mutual benefits for<br />

both nations, for it covers a wide<br />

range of areas with a great potential<br />

for achieving significant growth; it is<br />

evident that the CEPA will pave the way<br />

for enhanced cooperation between the<br />

UAE and Turkey, creating a conducive<br />

environment for businesses to thrive<br />

and contribute to the economic growth<br />

of both nations.<br />

According to H.E. Dr. Thani bin<br />

Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the Minister of State<br />

for Foreign Trade, the trade partnership<br />

between the UAE and Turkey has grown<br />

by 40% in 2022 compared to the previous<br />

year, making Turkey the UAE’s sixthlargest<br />

trading partner. Last year, the<br />

non-oil foreign trade between the two<br />

countries reached $18.9B.<br />

Furthermore, the UAE-Turkey CEPA<br />

agreement will eliminate tariffs from<br />

83% of the goods traded between<br />

the two countries, and liberalize<br />

non-oil trade by 93%. This move will<br />

create new business opportunities<br />

in sectors such as agriculture, food<br />

security, telecommunications, logistics,<br />

renewable energy, and real estate.<br />

Dr. Al Zeyoudi predicts that the<br />

partnership will result in an annual trade<br />

volume of over $40B within five years,<br />

and generate more than 25,000 jobs,<br />

particularly in skilled labor sectors, in<br />

the UAE by 2031. Moreover, the UAE’s<br />

exports to Turkey are anticipated to<br />

increase by 20% during the next phase.<br />

He announced that the UAE-Turkey<br />

CEPA is expected to be approved by<br />

the end of the second quarter of <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

He mentioned that with the addition of<br />

Turkey to the list of countries with which<br />

the UAE has signed CEPA agreements,<br />

along with India, Indonesia, and Israel,<br />

the UAE will have access to new markets<br />

that reach over 2.2 billion people,<br />

including the Greater Arab Free Trade<br />

Area Agreement signed more than 15<br />

years ago.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se agreements are projected to<br />

increase the UAE’s GDP by over 2.4% by<br />

2031, and boost UAE exports by $120B<br />

over the next decade, creating more<br />

economic and trade opportunities. Dr.<br />

Al Zeyoudi explained that after signing<br />

the agreement with Turkey, the UAE’s<br />

economy will be linked to over 10% of<br />

the global economy, ensuring significant<br />

growth in the UAE’s economy.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s trade expansion creates ideal<br />

environment for foreign investors, unlocking<br />

thousands of new business opportunities.<br />

Dr. Al Zeyoudi also mentioned that<br />

the UAE is making rapid progress in<br />

establishing comprehensive economic<br />

partnerships. He stated that the UAE is<br />

finalizing agreements with Cambodia<br />

and Georgia in the next 3 to 4 weeks,<br />

as well as two agreements with Kenya,<br />

which are 85% complete, providing a<br />

crucial gateway to Africa. Additionally,<br />

he hinted at a forthcoming agreement<br />

with Colombia, noting that negotiations<br />

were postponed until after the elections<br />

and would resume soon.<br />

He added that the UAE intends to<br />

use CEPAs as a means of expanding<br />

partnerships with ASEAN countries,<br />

with negotiations already in progress<br />

with Thailand and Vietnam. He also<br />

stated that the UAE is also looking to<br />

expand in Africa and South America,<br />

which would have a positive impact<br />

on the country’s trade growth.<br />

Furthermore, he disclosed that the<br />

UAE is in the process of developing<br />

comprehensive economic partnership<br />

agreements with two economic blocs in<br />

the Eurasian region, with negotiations<br />

commencing soon and concluding<br />

within 6 months.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has been committed to<br />

enhancing its economic standing on a<br />

global scale, and the recently signed<br />

Comprehensive Economic Partnership<br />

Agreement with Turkey serves as a<br />

crucial milestone in achieving this<br />

objective, for it aims to strengthen trade<br />

and investment relations between the<br />

two nations, with a particular focus<br />

on increasing bilateral cooperation<br />

in the areas of industry, agriculture,<br />

and tourism.<br />

Moreover, the UAE’s proactive<br />

approach to engaging in strategic<br />

economic partnerships has been<br />

instrumental in paving the way towards<br />

becoming a mega economy. <strong>The</strong> CEPA<br />

with Turkey is an example of the UAE’s<br />

efforts to create a diversified and<br />

resilient economy that can withstand<br />

external shocks and sustain long-term<br />

growth.<br />

By expanding its trade relations<br />

beyond traditional partners and<br />

embracing new markets, the UAE<br />

is well-positioned to emerge as a<br />

key player in the global economic<br />

landscape, attracting more foreign<br />

investors and creating thousands of new<br />

business opportunities. <strong>The</strong> country’s<br />

commitment to creating a businessfriendly<br />

environment has been a key<br />

driver of its success in attracting foreign<br />

investors, as the country offers a range<br />

of incentives and benefits to foreign<br />

investors, including tax exemptions,<br />

access to advanced infrastructure,<br />

and streamlined regulatory processes,<br />

resulting in the emergence of a vibrant<br />

startup ecosystem, attracting some<br />

of the world’s most promising new<br />

businesses.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 23

Business News<br />

UAE-Turkey non-oil trade to reach $40 billion in five years<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s non-oil sector saw an<br />

increase in business activity<br />

in February, according to the<br />

S&P Global UAE Purchasing<br />

Managers’ Index. <strong>The</strong> index rose slightly<br />

to 54.3, following a 12-month low in<br />

January, indicating strengthened business<br />

expectations and well-performing<br />

supply chains. However, there were<br />

indications of softening demand trends<br />

as new business rose to the smallest<br />

degree since September 2021. Purchase<br />

prices also increased for the first time<br />

since November 2022, with some firms<br />

reporting rising shipment fees. While jobs<br />

were added at a marginal pace, backlog<br />

volumes rose modestly. Non-oil firms<br />

expressed stronger confidence for the<br />

next 12 months, but remained subdued<br />

by historical standards.<br />

UAE’s Non-Oil Economy<br />

Gains Momentum with<br />

Increased Business Activity<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s non-oil sector saw an<br />

increase in business activity<br />

in February, according to the<br />

S&P Global UAE Purchasing<br />

Managers’ Index. <strong>The</strong> index rose slightly<br />

to 54.3, following a 12-month low in<br />

January, indicating strengthened business<br />

expectations and well-performing<br />

supply chains. However, there were<br />

indications of softening demand trends<br />

as new business rose to the smallest<br />

degree since September 2021. Purchase<br />

prices also increased for the first time<br />

since November 2022, with some firms<br />

reporting rising shipment fees. While jobs<br />

were added at a marginal pace, backlog<br />

volumes rose modestly. Non-oil firms<br />

expressed stronger confidence for the<br />

next 12 months, but remained subdued<br />

by historical standards.<br />

Dubai’s Fajr in talks to buy Aster’s Gulf business<br />

Dubai-based healthcare<br />

provider Fajr Healthcare is<br />

reportedly in talks to acquire<br />

Aster DM Healthcare’s Gulf<br />

business, which includes clinics,<br />

pharmacies, and hospitals in the United<br />

Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi<br />

Arabia. <strong>The</strong> deal, which is still in its<br />

early stages, could be valued at up<br />

to $300M. Fajr Healthcare, which is<br />

backed by Dubai’s sovereign wealth<br />

fund, has been expanding its healthcare<br />

portfolio in recent years and currently<br />

operates hospitals and clinics in the<br />

UAE and Saudi Arabia. <strong>The</strong> acquisition<br />

of Aster’s Gulf business would further<br />

Alpha Dhabi Holding, the<br />

Abu Dhabi-based investment<br />

company, has reported a<br />

104% increase in net profit,<br />

reaching AED 40B ($10.9B) in 2022.<br />

<strong>The</strong> significant growth was driven<br />

by its strategic investments across<br />

various sectors, including healthcare,<br />

infrastructure, and technology. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s revenue also increased by<br />

73% to AED 94B ($25.6B), reflecting its<br />

successful investments in key markets<br />

around the world. Alpha Dhabi has been<br />

aggressively expanding its portfolio,<br />

recently acquiring stakes in various<br />

high-growth companies such as the<br />

strengthen its position in the regional<br />

healthcare market and provide new<br />

growth opportunities.<br />

Alpha Dhabi’s 2022 Net Profit Jumps 104% to Dh40B<br />

American fintech company, Stripe,<br />

and the global online fashion retailer,<br />

Farfetch. <strong>The</strong> company’s strong financial<br />

performance further highlights Abu<br />

Dhabi’s growing reputation as a global<br />

hub for investment and innovation.<br />

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

UAE Corporate Tax Implications in Focus<br />

Over 200 businessmen and<br />

professionals attended a joint<br />

session organized by India Club,<br />

Dubai, Indian Business and<br />

Professional Council (IBPC) and Taxation<br />

Society to discuss the forthcoming UAE<br />

Corporate Tax (CT). <strong>The</strong> event featured<br />

a panel of experts who discussed various<br />

topics related to the new tax law, including<br />

taxable persons and income, impact<br />

on free zone companies, exemptions,<br />

deductions, tax grouping, reliefs, transfer<br />

pricing, and general anti-avoidance rules<br />

GAAR. <strong>The</strong> session was moderated by<br />

Nimish Makwana and included speakers<br />

such as Malavika Kolera, Amit Mehta,<br />

Nirav Shah, Prateem Sengupta, Rishi<br />

Chawla, and Rajiv Hira. <strong>The</strong> Taxation<br />

Society plans to conduct more knowledgesharing<br />

sessions in the future.<br />

UAE Launches Its<br />

First ‘Foodverse’ to<br />

Revolutionize the Food<br />

Industry<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has launched its first<br />

‘foodverse,’ a digital platform<br />

that aims to transform the<br />

food industry by connecting<br />

consumers, producers, and suppliers<br />

on a single platform. <strong>The</strong> foodverse provides<br />

a wide range of services, including<br />

online ordering, payment, and delivery<br />

options, making it easier for consumers<br />

to access quality food products. <strong>The</strong><br />

platform also provides valuable insights<br />

and data to food producers and suppliers,<br />

enabling them to better understand<br />

consumer trends and preferences. <strong>The</strong><br />

UAE’s foodverse is part of the country’s<br />

broader efforts to promote innovation<br />

and digital transformation in various<br />

sectors, including the food industry.<br />

UAEIIC and Japanese JOIN sign MoU for infrastructure<br />

and transport investment in MEA<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE International Investors<br />

Council (UAEIIC) and Japanese<br />

infrastructure investment<br />

agency Transport and Urban<br />

Development (JOIN) have signed a<br />

memorandum of understanding (MoU)<br />

aimed at increasing cooperation and<br />

investment in infrastructure and transport<br />

sectors. <strong>The</strong> agreement will facilitate<br />

partnerships between business communities<br />

and private sector companies from<br />

both sides, encouraging bilateral and<br />

multilateral investments, particularly<br />

in the Middle East and Africa region.<br />

<strong>The</strong> MoU was signed at the UAEIIC’s<br />

headquarters at the Ministry of Economy<br />

in Abu Dhabi. Jamal bin Saif Al Jarwan,<br />

Secretary-General of UAEIIC, said the<br />

deal with JOIN will stimulate growth,<br />

create new projects and investment<br />

opportunities, and establish new economic<br />

partnerships.<br />

Dubai Derma <strong>2023</strong> generates $600M of deals<br />

Dubai Derma <strong>2023</strong>, the largest<br />

scientific dermatology event<br />

in the Middle East, North<br />

Africa, and the Indian Subcontinent,<br />

concluded with over $600M<br />

(AED 2.2B) worth of deals signed. <strong>The</strong><br />

event attracted over 24,000 visitors<br />

and participants from 114 countries,<br />

making it the largest edition to date.<br />

<strong>The</strong> exhibition showcased the latest<br />

breakthrough scientific research and<br />

findings in the field of dermatology<br />

and cosmetics. It also featured several<br />

new product launches from over<br />

480 regional and global companies,<br />

including prominent specialists and<br />

experts in the dermatology and cosmetics<br />

sector, industry leaders, and<br />

key decision-makers from the region<br />

and across the world.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 25

Wheels<br />


<strong>The</strong> Ferrari F8 Tributo is a highperformance<br />

sports car that<br />

offers an exhilarating driving<br />

experience. With its sleek and<br />

aerodynamic design, powerful engine,<br />

and advanced technology, the F8 Tributo<br />

is one of the most impressive vehicles<br />

in Ferrari’s line-up.<br />

At the heart of the F8 Tributo is a<br />

3.9-liter V8 engine that produces a<br />

whopping 720 horsepower and 770Nm<br />

max torque. This engine is paired with<br />

a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission<br />

that delivers lightning-fast gear changes<br />

and helps the car achieve a top speed of<br />

340 km/h. <strong>The</strong> F8 Tributo can accelerate<br />

from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.90 seconds,<br />

making it one of the fastest cars on the<br />

road. <strong>The</strong> exterior of the F8 Tributo is<br />

characterized by its aggressive lines,<br />

sculpted curves, and aerodynamic<br />

features. <strong>The</strong> car’s front end features a<br />

prominent grille, sleek headlights, and<br />

a low-slung nose that helps reduce drag<br />

and improve downforce. <strong>The</strong> sides of the<br />

car are dominated by massive air intakes<br />

and muscular haunches, while the rear<br />

features a prominent diffuser and quad<br />

exhaust pipes. Inside the F8 Tributo,<br />

you’ll find a driver-focused cockpit<br />

that’s designed to deliver a thrilling<br />

driving experience. <strong>The</strong> car’s seats are<br />

supportive and comfortable, while the<br />

steering wheel is wrapped in leather and<br />

features paddle shifters for manual gear<br />

changes. <strong>The</strong> dashboard is dominated<br />

by a large digital display that provides<br />

information on the car’s performance<br />

and other important data. the Ferrari<br />

F8 Tributo is an exceptional sports car<br />

that delivers thrilling performance,<br />

breath-taking style, and advanced<br />

technology. Whether you’re looking to<br />

race on the track or cruise down the<br />

highway, the F8 Tributo is a car that<br />

will leave you breathless.<br />

26 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Specifications<br />

Horsepower: 720 Hp<br />

Torque: 770Nm Max Torque<br />

Acceleration: 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 27

Cover Story<br />

Hadif Abdullah Zamzam,<br />

Senior Associate – Value Creation, Disruptive Investments<br />

Mubadala Investment Company<br />

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

Hadif Abdullah Zamzam, Senior<br />

Associate – Value Creation, Disruptive<br />

Investments at Mubadala, speaks<br />

about Disruptive Investment and its<br />

potential to revolutionize markets<br />

Hadif Abdullah Zamzam is a Fellow at UAE National Experts Program<br />

and Senior Associate – Value Creation, Disruptive Investments at<br />

Mubadala Investment Company. He has worked in several sectors,<br />

including healthcare, real estate, hospitality and tourism, and retail.<br />

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

Q. Can you give us a brief<br />

introduction about yourself?<br />

Hadif Zamzam: I’ve had the<br />

opportunity to work in multiple sectors<br />

over the past decade, including real<br />

estate, hospitality and tourism, retail,<br />

and healthcare. My skills in navigating<br />

socio-economic forces and trends<br />

have been recognized, and I’ve been<br />

fortunate enough to build an equitable<br />

skill set in strategy and business<br />

management. Right now, I’m part of<br />

Mubadala’s Value Creation Team (under<br />

the Disruptive Investments Platform),<br />

where I’m helping leading organizations<br />

achieve their goals and implement<br />

new initiatives. It’s a demanding and<br />

innovative environment that focuses<br />

on economic development, and I love<br />

the challenge of working out of my<br />

comfort zone.<br />

I’m also a father of three - two girls<br />

and a boy. <strong>The</strong>y are my biggest source<br />

of motivation and inspiration, and I<br />

work hard every day to create a better<br />

future for them. Balancing work and<br />

family life can be challenging, but I’m<br />

fortunate to have a supportive team at<br />

work and an amazing partner at home.<br />

Q. How would you define “disruptive<br />

investment”, and what makes<br />

it different from traditional<br />

investment forms?<br />

Hadif Zamzam: Disruptive<br />

investment refers to an investment<br />

strategy that seeks to identify and<br />

invest in companies or technologies<br />

that have the potential to fundamentally<br />

change the way a particular industry<br />

operates. <strong>The</strong> goal is to identify<br />

disruptive technologies or business<br />

models that have the potential to<br />

displace established players and create<br />

entirely new markets.<br />

Disruptive investments are different<br />

from traditional investment forms in<br />

several ways. Firstly, they often involve<br />

investing in companies or technologies<br />

that are still in their early stages of<br />

development and have not yet proven<br />

their viability. Secondly, disruptive<br />

investments tend to focus on innovation<br />

and cutting-edge technologies that<br />

have the potential to revolutionize<br />

an industry, or multiple industries.<br />

Lastly, disruptive investments often<br />

require a different investment approach<br />

compared to traditional investments,<br />

such as actively participating in the<br />

development of the technology or<br />

business model, as well as being willing<br />

to tolerate higher levels of risk and<br />

uncertainty.<br />

Q. How do you identify opportunities<br />

for disruptive investment, and what<br />

criteria do you use to evaluate<br />

potential investments in this space?<br />

Hadif Zamzam: It all starts with<br />

identifying an industry or market that<br />

is ripe for disruption, which involves<br />

understanding the current state of the<br />

industry and identifying areas where<br />

there is potential for significant change<br />

in the status quo. This is only possible<br />

after an in-depth analysis of trends,<br />

consumer behaviour, and regulatory<br />

environment. <strong>The</strong> next step is to build<br />

knowledge of emerging technologies<br />

and innovations in and around the<br />

space you’ve identified, as well as the<br />

impact they will have on the market.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se parameters generally provide<br />

a potential investor with an initial<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 29

Cover Story<br />

Industries<br />

slow to adopt<br />

tech or meet<br />

consumer<br />

needs are<br />

at risk of<br />

disruption by<br />

companies<br />

that bridge the<br />

gap and solve<br />

consumer<br />

pain-points.<br />

business case for the “theory” behind<br />

an investment.<br />

When it comes to putting theory in<br />

practice, though, there is no step more<br />

important than the assessment of the<br />

management team and their business<br />

model. This involves assessing the<br />

experience and track record of the<br />

management team, as well as the<br />

potential for scalability and profitability<br />

of the business model.<br />

Q. Could you describe a project<br />

or initiative you are particularly<br />

proud of in your work at Mubadala,<br />

and how your skills and experience<br />

were instrumental in its success?<br />

Hadif Zamzam: One project that I<br />

am particularly proud of during my time<br />

at Mubadala was when I was part of<br />

the Healthcare Unit and helped create<br />

a program to ensure the continuity of<br />

medical care for at-risk, chronically ill,<br />

and elderly patients in the emirate of<br />

Abu Dhabi during the early stages of full<br />

lockdown during the Covid Pandemic.<br />

As someone who has more diabetic<br />

family members than I can count,<br />

this project was especially fulfilling<br />

for me. Despite not being a medical<br />

professional, my skills and experience<br />

were instrumental in the success of<br />

this initiative. I worked closely with<br />

multiple stakeholders, including<br />

healthcare providers, insurers, and<br />

government agencies, to ensure that<br />

patients received the care they needed<br />

during a time of crisis.<br />

I am proud to say that the program<br />

was adopted by the Department of<br />

Health in Abu Dhabi and ensured that<br />

even in the midst of a global pandemic,<br />

care was being delivered to those<br />

who needed it most. Knowing that I<br />

played a role in improving the lives<br />

of vulnerable individuals and families<br />

during a difficult time is one of my most<br />

rewarding experiences at Mubadala.<br />

Q. Could you describe a project<br />

or initiative you are particularly<br />

proud of in your work at Mubadala,<br />

and how your skills and experience<br />

were instrumental in its success?<br />

Hadif Zamzam: One project that I<br />

am particularly proud of during my time<br />

at Mubadala was when I was part of<br />

the Healthcare Unit and helped create<br />

a program to ensure the continuity of<br />

medical care for at-risk, chronically ill,<br />

and elderly patients in the emirate of<br />

Abu Dhabi during the early stages of full<br />

lockdown during the Covid Pandemic.<br />

As someone who has more diabetic<br />

family members than I can count,<br />

this project was especially fulfilling<br />

for me. Despite not being a medical<br />

professional, my skills and experience<br />

were instrumental in the success of<br />

this initiative. I worked closely with<br />

multiple stakeholders, including<br />

healthcare providers, insurers, and<br />

government agencies, to ensure that<br />

patients received the care they needed<br />

during a time of crisis.<br />

I am proud to say that the program<br />

was adopted by the Department of<br />

Health in Abu Dhabi and ensured that<br />

even in the midst of a global pandemic,<br />

care was being delivered to those<br />

who needed it most. Knowing that I<br />

played a role in improving the lives<br />

of vulnerable individuals and families<br />

during a difficult time is one of my most<br />

rewarding experiences at Mubadala.<br />

Q. What are some of the main<br />

challenges or risks associated<br />

with disruptive investment, and<br />

how can we mitigate these risks?<br />

Hadif Zamzam: Disruptive<br />

investments are often made in<br />

emerging technologies or new markets<br />

that are untested, and they rely on<br />

emerging technologies that are still in<br />

development. This means that there is<br />

a risk that the market will not develop<br />

as expected, or the technology may<br />

not work as expected. To mitigate<br />

this risk, investors should conduct<br />

thorough market research and assess<br />

the potential demand for the technology<br />

or innovation as well as the strength of<br />

the company’s development team. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

is also a risk that, after investments<br />

have been made, the management team<br />

may not be able to execute on the plan<br />

or that the plan may not be successful,<br />

which is another reason it is important<br />

to place a huge emphasis on getting<br />

familiar with the management team<br />

and their ability to make it out of a<br />

tough situation.<br />

Q. What makes industries ripe for<br />

disruption and how do you identify<br />

potential investment opportunities<br />

based on these characteristics?<br />

Hadif Zamzam: While there is no<br />

clear-cut method, there are some<br />

symptoms an investor can look out<br />

for. Industries that have been slow<br />

to adopt new technologies or have<br />

not kept up with changing consumer<br />

needs are inherently at risk of being<br />

disrupted by companies that find a<br />

way to bridge the gap and address a<br />

consumer pain-point. Another sign is<br />

an industry which has, historically,<br />

had high barriers to entry, and is made<br />

up of a handful of large players with<br />

significant market power. Small startups<br />

with significantly higher levels of<br />

30 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Investing in early-stage ventures comes<br />

with inherent risks, which makes it crucial<br />

to spread your risk by diversifying your<br />

portfolio across various investments.<br />

agility, grit, and drive have been able to<br />

punch above their weight, leveraging<br />

technology and smooth user interfaces<br />

to meet the needs of the masses.<br />

Q. How do you see the field of<br />

disruptive investment evolving<br />

in the future, and what do you<br />

think will be the key drivers of<br />

this evolution?<br />

Hadif Zamzam: Disruptive<br />

investments are only disruptive, until<br />

they’re not. Apple and Microsoft,<br />

once considered to be extremely<br />

disruptive choices for the traditional<br />

investor, are now considered bluechip.<br />

Personally, I believe disruptive<br />

investing is a tendency, or an ethos,<br />

rather than a specific field with clear<br />

cut lines. That being said, though, there<br />

are certain ideas that are beginning to<br />

gain momentum, such as the concept<br />

of impact investing, which seeks to<br />

generate social or environmental<br />

benefits in addition to financial returns.<br />

This could include investments in<br />

companies that are addressing social or<br />

environmental challenges through their<br />

business activities. This is especially<br />

true when it comes to the growing focus<br />

on sustainability, and there is likely to<br />

be an increased in investments that<br />

directly address the challenges that<br />

our planet faces. This could include<br />

investments in renewable energy,<br />

sustainable agriculture, and green<br />

transportation, as well as countless<br />

other areas.<br />

Q. What suggestions do you have<br />

for early-stage investors?<br />

Hadif Zamzam: Before making any<br />

investment, it is important to conduct<br />

thorough due diligence to assess the<br />

potential risks and returns of the<br />

investment. This includes assessing the<br />

market opportunity, the management<br />

team and business model, and the<br />

potential financial returns. Investment<br />

is not about being sentimental and try<br />

to avoid falling in love with the idea<br />

of an investment if your due diligence<br />

tells you otherwise.<br />

Early-stage investments are<br />

inherently risky, so it is important to<br />

diversify your portfolio across different<br />

investments to spread your risk. This<br />

can help to minimize the impact of<br />

any individual investment that doesn’t<br />

perform as expected. <strong>The</strong>se investments<br />

also typically take longer to mature than<br />

more traditional investments, so it is<br />

important to be patient and take a longterm<br />

view. This means being prepared<br />

to wait for several years before seeing<br />

a return on your investment.<br />

Lastly, don’t underestimate the fact<br />

that you can provide valuable support to<br />

the companies you invest in by offering<br />

your expertise and connections. This<br />

can help to accelerate the growth of the<br />

company and increase your chances of<br />

a successful return on your investment.<br />

Q. What was the role and influence<br />

of NEP program in your career<br />

progress?<br />

Hadif Zamzam: <strong>The</strong> program has<br />

had a significant impact on my career<br />

progress, and I am incredibly grateful<br />

for the opportunity to have been a<br />

part of it. <strong>The</strong> chance to interact with<br />

individuals from so many different<br />

backgrounds and of such a high calibre<br />

was extremely beneficial for my<br />

personal and professional development.<br />

<strong>The</strong> program provided a platform for<br />

me to expand my knowledge, exchange<br />

ideas and collaborate with a diverse<br />

group of individuals.<br />

One of the most valuable aspects of<br />

the program was the exposure to new<br />

ideas and paradigms. Being able to<br />

engage with experts from various fields<br />

and learning about their perspectives<br />

and approaches has helped me to<br />

broaden my horizons and develop new<br />

ways of thinking.<br />

Overall, the program has been an<br />

inspirational experience, and it has<br />

had a profound impact on my career<br />

trajectory. I feel honoured to have been<br />

a part of such a transformative program<br />

and believe that it has equipped me with<br />

the skills and knowledge necessary<br />

to make meaningful contributions to<br />

society.<br />

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

our readers?<br />

Today, being open to taking calculated<br />

risks and exploring new ideas is crucial.<br />

By staying curious and seeking out<br />

innovative opportunities, you can<br />

position yourself to make a positive<br />

impact on the world through your<br />

investments. Keep an open mind, do<br />

your research, and stay focused on<br />

your goals. With perseverance and a<br />

willingness to take calculated risks, you<br />

can achieve great things. Thank you.<br />

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

Start-up<br />

Four Promising Dubai-Based Agritech<br />

Startups to Watch in <strong>2023</strong><br />

Agritech startups in Dubai are using technology to revolutionize the way food is grown, harvested,<br />

and distributed, with the aim of increasing efficiency, sustainability, and productivity in agriculture.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se startups are using a range of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT,<br />

robotics, and vertical farming to address challenges such as water scarcity, limited arable land,<br />

and changing consumer demands. With the support of the government and investors, agritech<br />

startups in Dubai are poised to transform the agriculture sector in the UAE and beyond. In this<br />

article, we introduce four of the promising agritech startups in Dubai.<br />

Meat-O-Door<br />

Rashid Khan and Ambreen Khan,<br />

Founders<br />

Meat-O-Door is an innovative<br />

marketplace platform based<br />

in Dubai, founded in 2021 by<br />

Ambreen Khan and Rashid<br />

Khan. <strong>The</strong> company currently employs<br />

11-50 individuals and has secured $500K<br />

in Pre-seed funding as of <strong>April</strong> 29, 2022.<br />

Meat-O-Door specializes in cold<br />

chain technology and food service,<br />

catering to the HoReCa industry. Its<br />

product catalog features a wide range<br />

of high-quality meat products, including<br />

beef and veal, mutton, poultry, lamb,<br />

seafood, and organic meat. <strong>The</strong> platform<br />

offers scheduled delivery, online and<br />

cash-on-delivery payment options, and<br />

order tracking with push notifications.<br />

Meat-O-Door is available on both Android<br />

and iOS platforms, providing a userfriendly<br />

experience for all customers.<br />

It is committed to creating an ecosystem<br />

for the meat industry by combining<br />

technology and data intelligence to<br />

make efficient local and cross-border<br />

trade possible. Its mission is to provide<br />

a trusted trade community for buyers<br />

and suppliers to connect, interact,<br />

negotiate, and do business with each<br />

other seamlessly through its Reverse<br />

Auction Technology. As the company<br />

continues to grow, it remains committed<br />

to delivering high-quality meat products<br />

and excellent service to its customers.<br />

FarmUnboxed<br />

FarmUnboxed, founded in<br />

2020 by CEO and Founder<br />

Kuruvilla Varghese Chalishery,<br />

is a digital marketplace based<br />

in Dubai. <strong>The</strong> company connects<br />

agricultural commodity buyers and<br />

sellers, and its primary goal is to help<br />

farmers obtain the right price for<br />

their produce while providing quality<br />

assurance to buyers.<br />

FarmUnboxed offers a wide range<br />

of services, including crop financing<br />

and insurance, end-to-end logistics<br />

and tracking solutions, crop quality<br />

inspections, and current market prices<br />

of agri-commodities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s innovative digital<br />

platform provides live wholesale<br />

rates for commodities in international<br />

markets, along with data-backed<br />

analytics and forecasting, making it<br />

easier for farmers to find the right<br />

price and for buyers to obtain quality<br />

produce at competitive prices.<br />

With a team of 2–10 employees and<br />

undisclosed pre-seed funding received<br />

on November 30, 2022, FarmUnboxed<br />

is one of the companies dedicated to<br />

transforming the agricultural industry<br />

through technology and data-driven<br />

solutions.<br />

Kuruvilla Varghese Chalishery,<br />

CEO and Founder<br />

32 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Greener Crop<br />

Greener Crop is a Dubai-based<br />

company that was founded in<br />

2020 by Alexander M. Kappes.<br />

With a team of 11-50 employees,<br />

the company provides hydroponic farm<br />

management services to farmers. As<br />

of March 31, 2022, the company has<br />

secured $100K in Pre-seed funding.<br />

Greener Crop specializes in vertical<br />

farming, hydroponics, aeroponics, agtech,<br />

agriculture, sales, business development,<br />

and startup. <strong>The</strong> company offers customized<br />

farm planning and setup, as well as<br />

plant growth management solutions<br />

via sensor-connected dashboards that<br />

monitor and adjust the temperature,<br />

humidity, lighting, and nutrition levels<br />

of the crops. Greener Crop also provides<br />

assistance to farmers in selling their<br />

produce to restaurants, hotels, grocers,<br />

and supermarket chains, along with<br />

procurement solutions.<br />

<strong>The</strong> mission of Greener Crop is<br />

to enable the deployment of more<br />

hydroponic farms and support clients<br />

with the design, set-up, and daily<br />

operation of their hydroponic farms.<br />

By utilizing cutting-edge technologies<br />

and data-driven farm management,<br />

the company promises to operate<br />

profitable farms in areas not suited<br />

for conventional agriculture. As the<br />

company continues to grow, it remains<br />

committed to supporting farmers and<br />

promoting sustainable agriculture<br />

practices.<br />

Alexander M. Kappes,<br />

Founder<br />

Right Farm<br />

Elie Skaf,<br />

Co-Founder and CEO<br />

Right Farm is a B2B e-commerce<br />

and supply-chain company<br />

based in Dubai, founded in<br />

2021 by Elie Skaf who serves as<br />

the co-founder and CEO. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

currently employs 51-200 individuals<br />

and has recently secured $2.8M in Seed<br />

funding in <strong>April</strong> 2022.<br />

Right Farm’s mission is to simplify<br />

and improve the food supply chain<br />

by utilizing data and technology. It<br />

sources fresh produce directly from<br />

local farmers and connects them with<br />

foodservice businesses such as hotels,<br />

restaurants, caterers, cloud kitchens, or<br />

cooking schools. <strong>The</strong> company offers<br />

a seamless and convenient end-to-end<br />

process from farm to kitchen, with the<br />

ability to place orders on the website<br />

or via its mobile application, available<br />

on iOS and Android platforms.<br />

Right Farm is committed to reducing<br />

waste across its supply chain, supporting<br />

local farmers, and building a restorative<br />

and regenerative value chain. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s control of the supply chain<br />

and use of predictive technology facilitate<br />

routing, operations, and purchasing,<br />

making it smarter and more sustainable.<br />

Its commitment to the environment<br />

is a core value, and it aims to lessen<br />

its carbon footprint while providing<br />

high-quality produce to its clients.<br />

With its innovative use of technology,<br />

commitment to sustainability, and<br />

focus on customer satisfaction, Right<br />

Farm is well-positioned for continued<br />

success in the years ahead.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 33

Startup News<br />

Saudi Arabia start-ups boosted by bumper Biban<br />

$1.5B deals<br />

Saudi Arabia’s start-up ecosystem<br />

is set to receive a major boost<br />

as Biban, the kingdom’s premier<br />

entrepreneurship platform,<br />

announced a series of deals worth<br />

$1.5B. <strong>The</strong> funding will be directed<br />

towards early-stage start-ups and<br />

small and medium-sized enterprises<br />

(SMEs) across a variety of sectors,<br />

including technology, healthcare, and<br />

renewable energy. <strong>The</strong> initiative is<br />

part of the country’s ongoing efforts<br />

to diversify its economy and reduce<br />

its dependence on oil revenues. Biban<br />

has been instrumental in promoting<br />

entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia and<br />

has already supported the creation<br />

of more than 300 start-ups since its<br />

launch in 2016.<br />

ADIA invests $500M<br />

into Lenskart for 10%<br />

Stake<br />

India-based eyewear e-commerce<br />

portal, Lenskart, has reached a<br />

definitive agreement with the Abu<br />

Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA)<br />

to secure a 10% stake in exchange for<br />

a $500M investment. <strong>The</strong> valuation of<br />

Lenskart will be set at $4.2B, and ADIA’s<br />

investment will include both primary<br />

and secondary deals, positioning the<br />

investment firm as one of Lenskart’s biggest<br />

shareholders. Following this transaction,<br />

Lenskart will have raised nearly $750M<br />

in capital over the past year, which will<br />

mark it as one of the most substantial<br />

growth-stage financing efforts.<br />

Digital content creation hub blinx launches in Dubai<br />

Dubai-based start-up Blinx has<br />

launched as the first digital<br />

native storytelling hub in the<br />

Middle East and North Africa<br />

(MENA) region. <strong>The</strong> platform aims to<br />

produce news and short-form storytelling<br />

content that will target Gen Z and<br />

millennials in the region and beyond.<br />

Blinx will be based in Dubai Media City<br />

and led by Arab journalist Nakhle Elhage.<br />

<strong>The</strong> platform will focus on producing<br />

relatable content that is both honest and<br />

engaging, delivered by a network of the<br />

region’s best storytellers. By providing<br />

news, entertainment and infotainment,<br />

blinx aims to inspire the youth and build<br />

a better tomorrow through spectacular<br />

storytelling.<br />

Spanish FoodTech startup<br />

Burger Index raises<br />

$1.3M to drive expansion<br />

in GCC<br />

Spanish food technology start-up<br />

Burger Index has raised $1.3M<br />

in seed funding to expand in<br />

the Gulf Cooperation Council<br />

(GCC) region. <strong>The</strong> funding round was<br />

led by Cairo-based venture capital firm<br />

Flat6Labs, which accelerated the startup<br />

through its Ignite programme, in<br />

collaboration with DisruptAD, the Abu<br />

Dhabi-based venture capital platform.<br />

F Capital and Cosmin Manea, founding<br />

partner at Instashop, also participated<br />

in the funding round. Burger Index<br />

provides food and beverage data analytics<br />

for restaurants, cloud kitchens,<br />

food brands and distributors, helping<br />

F&B businesses go to market faster by<br />

providing them with real-time market<br />

data to minimise risk.<br />

34 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Telr bolsters GCC’s digital payments transition<br />

Dubai-based start-up Telr<br />

is making headway in the<br />

Gulf Cooperation Council<br />

(GCC) region, providing a<br />

localised payment gateway service. <strong>The</strong><br />

company offers a cost-effective payment<br />

service for businesses operating in the<br />

region, which previously had to rely on<br />

European or US payment platforms at<br />

a high cost. Founded in 2014 by Elias<br />

Ghanem, Telr handles payments in more<br />

than 120 currencies and 30 languages,<br />

counting Visa, Mastercard, American<br />

Express, UnionPay, Apple Pay, PayPal,<br />

Sadad, Mada and STC Pay among the<br />

platforms it offers users.<br />

Start-ups enrolled in Dubai’s in5 incubator raised more than AED 2.4B in 2022<br />

Start-ups incubated under Dubai’s<br />

in5 have raised more than AED<br />

2.4B ($653M) since the incubator’s<br />

inception until the end of 2022,<br />

with fintechs dominating funding rounds<br />

last year, accounting for over half of<br />

total investments, according to in5. <strong>The</strong><br />

incubator welcomed 160 start-ups last<br />

year, an annual growth of 31%, bringing<br />

the total number of companies under its<br />

fold to more than 750. <strong>The</strong> number of startups<br />

led by women more than doubled in<br />

2022, with over half in the tech sector. In5<br />

is part of Dubai’s Tecom Group, which<br />

aims to diversify the country’s economy<br />

by supporting start-ups and innovation.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 35

Energy<br />

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

EWEC’s Mirfa 2 Project: Another Groundbreaking<br />

Initiative Propelling UAE to the<br />

Forefront of Sustainable Development<br />

<strong>The</strong> Mirfa 2 project is a significant undertaking in the United Arab Emirates aimed<br />

at advancing the country’s sustainable development objectives. <strong>The</strong> Emirates<br />

Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) is responsible for the project, which is<br />

expected to be one of the largest solar power plants ever constructed. Located<br />

in Abu Dhabi, the project will have a capacity of 2 GW, and its development<br />

will consist of more than 5 million solar panels spread across an area of<br />

approximately 8 square kilometres. Once operational, it is predicted to generate<br />

enough electricity to power 160,000 UAE households and reduce yearly carbon<br />

dioxide emissions by 3.6 million tonnes.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Mirfa 2 initiative marks<br />

a notable milestone for the<br />

UAE’s energy sector as it<br />

demonstrates the country’s<br />

commitment to transitioning to a more<br />

sustainable energy mix. Additionally,<br />

it aligns with the UAE’s objective of<br />

reducing its carbon emissions and<br />

emerging as a global leader in renewable<br />

energy. By investing in renewable<br />

energy projects like Mirfa 2, the UAE<br />

is positioning itself as a key player in<br />

the global shift towards cleaner and<br />

greener energy.<br />

It is expected that the project will<br />

not only promote sustainability but also<br />

bring significant economic benefits.<br />

During the construction phase, the<br />

initiative is predicted to create job<br />

opportunities for thousands of workers<br />

in the UAE while also fostering the<br />

growth of the local solar energy sector.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s leadership in renewable<br />

energy is likely to attract more<br />

investment, supporting the country’s<br />

broader economic diversification goals.<br />

<strong>The</strong> project’s capacity of 2 GW and<br />

more than 5 million solar panels will<br />

make it one of the largest solar power<br />

plants globally. It is expected to produce<br />

clean and renewable energy, capable<br />

of powering approximately 160,000<br />

homes in the UAE and reducing yearly<br />

carbon dioxide emissions by 3.6 million<br />

tonnes. Along with the solar power<br />

With its capacity<br />

of 2 GW and<br />

over 5 million<br />

solar panels,<br />

the project will<br />

rank among the<br />

world’s largest<br />

solar power<br />

plants.<br />

plant, the initiative also incorporates<br />

a separate reverse osmosis (RO) water<br />

project, which aims to enhance the<br />

water supply stability in Abu Dhabi<br />

Emirate by utilizing RO technology<br />

to desalinate saltwater, generating<br />

up to 150 million imperial gallons of<br />

water per day.<br />

In addition, the Mirfa 2 initiative will<br />

make a considerable contribution to the<br />

ongoing cost-reduction efforts in the<br />

water industry by adopting economical<br />

and efficient RO water desalination<br />

technology. <strong>The</strong> project’s location will<br />

be approximately 110 kilometres to the<br />

west of Abu Dhabi, in close proximity<br />

to the existing Mirfa Plant.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Mirfa 2 project features stateof-the-art<br />

equipment such as Siemens<br />

SGT5-4000F gas turbines, Siemens<br />

SST5-4000 steam turbines, and a 120<br />

MW solar field consisting of over<br />

880,000 photovoltaic panels. Moreover,<br />

the development of the M2 RO water<br />

desalination project has enabled EWEC<br />

to make significant strides towards its<br />

strategic objective of separating water<br />

desalination operations from power<br />

production. This project is expected<br />

to play a crucial role in achieving the<br />

objectives of the UAE Net Zero by 2050<br />

strategic initiative and the UAE Water<br />

Security Plan 2036.<br />

<strong>The</strong> primary source of fuel for the<br />

power plant is natural gas, which<br />

is procured from local suppliers<br />

in the UAE. During daylight hours,<br />

the solar field generates renewable<br />

energy, thereby decreasing the plant’s<br />

reliance on fossil fuels. <strong>The</strong> Mirfa 2<br />

project is designed to comply with<br />

global environmental regulations,<br />

including the Equator Principles and<br />

the Performance Standards of the<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 37

Energy<br />

International <strong>Finance</strong> Corporation.<br />

Through the implementation of energysaving<br />

technology and the use of<br />

renewable energy sources, the power<br />

plant’s carbon footprint is reduced,<br />

promoting sustainable development<br />

and safeguarding the environment.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Mirfa 2 project is expected to<br />

contribute to the economic growth<br />

of the UAE by providing a reliable<br />

source of electricity, attracting<br />

foreign investment, and creating<br />

job opportunities. <strong>The</strong> construction<br />

and operation of the power plant<br />

have already created employment<br />

opportunities for people in the UAE,<br />

thereby boosting the country’s economy.<br />

EWEC plans to make substantial<br />

investments in developing RO projects,<br />

using advanced techno-economic<br />

modeling to strategically assess the<br />

sector’s capacity needs. By 2030, EWEC<br />

anticipates that over 90% of its water will<br />

be generated through RO technology,<br />

resulting in a significant reduction<br />

in carbon emissions associated with<br />

water production. This would lead to<br />

a decrease in overall carbon emissions<br />

from 14.6 million tonnes in 2020 to 2.1<br />

million tonnes in 2030.<br />

According to TAQA Group, a<br />

significant stakeholder in the M2 RO<br />

project, the project is anticipated to<br />

enhance the UAE’s decarbonization<br />

initiatives and ensure long-term water<br />

security. To minimize carbon emissions<br />

from water desalination, TAQA has made<br />

a commitment to raise the utilization of<br />

exceptionally efficient reverse osmosis<br />

technology and segregate electricity<br />

and water generation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> collaboration between ENGIE<br />

and TAQA has been chosen to execute<br />

the Mirfa 2 desalination project in Abu<br />

Dhabi. ENGIE, French multinational<br />

utility company specialized in reverse<br />

osmosis technology, expressed<br />

enthusiasm for including the M2 RO<br />

project in its portfolio. After a rigorous<br />

technical and commercial evaluation<br />

process, the most outstanding proposal<br />

was selected before the project was<br />

awarded and the WPA was signed.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Independent Water Project<br />

(IWP) intends to use reverse osmosis<br />

(RO) technology with minimal carbon<br />

footprint to generate as much as 120<br />

million imperial gallons (or 550,000<br />

cubic meters) of potable water daily.<br />

<strong>The</strong> M2 RO project will be 60% owned<br />

by TAQA, while the remaining 40% will<br />

be owned by ENGIE. <strong>The</strong> project’s water<br />

production is expected to commence<br />

in the summer of 2025 and peak in<br />

Q3 2025.<br />

Boosting sustainable development:<br />

• Renewable energy: <strong>The</strong> Mirfa 2<br />

facility is a combined-cycle gas<br />

turbine (CCGT) power plant that<br />

primarily uses natural gas as its<br />

fuel source. It also includes a solar<br />

field that produces clean electricity<br />

throughout the day, decreasing<br />

the plant’s carbon footprint. By<br />

reducing greenhouse gas emissions<br />

and maintaining a reliable supply of<br />

electricity, this hybrid power system<br />

is highly effective.<br />

• Efficiency in terms of energy<br />

use: <strong>The</strong> Mirfa 2 initiative aims<br />

to improve energy efficiency by<br />

utilizing advanced technology such<br />

as high-tech gas turbines and heat<br />

recovery steam generators. This<br />

approach enhances fuel efficiency<br />

and decreases greenhouse gas<br />

emissions.<br />

• Efficiency in terms of energy<br />

use: <strong>The</strong> Mirfa 2 initiative aims<br />

to improve energy efficiency by<br />

utilizing advanced technology such<br />

as high-tech gas turbines and heat<br />

recovery steam generators. This<br />

approach enhances fuel efficiency<br />

and decreases greenhouse gas<br />

emissions.<br />

• Employment creation: <strong>The</strong><br />

construction of the power plant<br />

and solar field has created job<br />

opportunities for UAE nationals,<br />

leading to increased income and<br />

boosting the nation’s economy. Skilled<br />

professionals such as engineers,<br />

technicians, and other qualified<br />

personnel can now explore more<br />

employment possibilities.<br />

• Economic expansion: To reduce<br />

its dependence on oil and expand<br />

its economy, the UAE is striving for<br />

diversification, and the Mirfa 2 project<br />

is an integral part of this initiative.<br />

By providing a consistent power<br />

supply, attracting foreign investment,<br />

and creating job opportunities, the<br />

project contributes to the growth of<br />

the nation’s economy.<br />

• Environmental protection: <strong>The</strong><br />

Mirfa 2 project is designed to comply<br />

with worldwide environmental<br />

guidelines, such as the Equator<br />

Principles and the Performance<br />

Standards of the International<br />

<strong>Finance</strong> Corporation. Through the<br />

implementation of renewable energy<br />

and energy-efficient technology, the<br />

power plant’s carbon emissions are<br />

reduced, resulting in the protection of<br />

the environment and the promotion<br />

of sustainable development.<br />

Overall, the Mirfa 2 project is<br />

anticipated to play a crucial role in<br />

the UAE’s economic and environmental<br />

progress in the coming years. By<br />

diversifying the economy and<br />

reducing the country’s reliance on<br />

oil, the project is likely to attract more<br />

foreign investment and create more<br />

employment opportunities for UAE<br />

nationals. <strong>The</strong> steady supply of power<br />

from the power plant is also expected<br />

to meet the growing energy demands<br />

of the country, further boosting its<br />

economic growth.<br />

38 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

JBL Endurance Peak 3 earbuds<br />

<strong>The</strong> JBL Endurance Peak 3 earbuds<br />

are a pair of truly wireless in-ear<br />

sports headphones designed for<br />

active individuals who want<br />

high-quality sound and a secure fit.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Endurance Peak 3 earbuds are IPX7<br />

rated, making them water-resistant and<br />

sweat-proof, which makes them ideal for<br />

use during intense workouts or outdoor<br />

activities. <strong>The</strong>y also have a long battery<br />

life, offering up to 30 hours of total<br />

playtime with the charging case and a<br />

quick charge feature that provides one<br />

hour of playback with just 10 minutes<br />

of charging.<br />

Internally, 10mm dynamic drivers deliver<br />

a frequency range of 20Hz to 20 KHz with<br />

an impedance of 16 ohms. <strong>The</strong> earphones<br />

are compatible with Bluetooth 5.2 and<br />

work with just the AAC and SBC codec’s,<br />

not AptX. Android users get Google Fast<br />

Pair functionality.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 39

Energy News<br />

ACWA Power signs deal for 1GW wind and<br />

battery storage plant in Kazakhstan<br />

Saudi Arabian energy firm, ACWA<br />

Power has signed an agreement<br />

with the Kazakh government to<br />

develop a 1GW wind energy and<br />

battery storage plant. <strong>The</strong> project will<br />

be located in the Zhambyl region of<br />

southern Kazakhstan and is expected<br />

to start operations in 2024. <strong>The</strong> plant<br />

will include 300 wind turbines and<br />

200MW of battery storage capacity. <strong>The</strong><br />

development is part of Kazakhstan’s<br />

plan to increase its renewable energy<br />

capacity to 50% by 2050. <strong>The</strong> country’s<br />

first wind farm began operations in 2019<br />

and generated approximately 3.3% of<br />

the country’s electricity in 2020.<br />

Abu Dhabi Clean<br />

Energy Powers 80% of<br />

the City’s Electricity<br />

Needs<br />

Abu Dhabi’s achievement of<br />

generating 80% of its electricity<br />

from clean energy is a significant<br />

step towards a sustainable<br />

future. <strong>The</strong> Emirates Water and Electricity<br />

Company’s (EWEC) contribution of 6.2<br />

GW of the total 7.7 GW power demand<br />

from renewable and clean energy is<br />

commendable. This achievement is<br />

in line with the UAE’s future vision<br />

to develop world-class systems and<br />

energy infrastructure. By 2030, EWEC<br />

aims to raise Abu Dhabi’s solar power<br />

generation to approximately 7GW and<br />

produce more than 90% of its water<br />

using RO plants.<br />

Marubeni and PIF to Explore Clean Hydrogen<br />

Project in Saudi Arabia<br />

Marubeni Corporation has<br />

entered into a memorandum<br />

of understanding (MoU) with<br />

Public Investment Fund (PIF)<br />

of Saudi Arabia to create a framework<br />

for developing a clean hydrogen project<br />

in the kingdom. <strong>The</strong> two entities will<br />

begin by conducting a feasibility study<br />

to produce clean hydrogen, with the aim<br />

of supplying both local and international<br />

markets. PIF is spearheading Saudi Arabia’s<br />

economic transformation by working<br />

on projects to achieve the country’s net<br />

zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by<br />

2060. Marubeni already has ownership<br />

stakes in four projects in Saudi Arabia<br />

and plans to use its expertise in business<br />

development and operations to push<br />

forward with the hydrogen project.<br />

ADNOC Makes Strategic<br />

Investment in Sustainable<br />

Technology<br />

ADNOC Drilling Company has<br />

agreed to purchase 10 new<br />

hybrid power land drilling rigs<br />

for a total cost of $252M. <strong>The</strong><br />

purchase is part of ADNOC Drilling’s<br />

decarbonization strategy, which is aimed<br />

at reducing greenhouse gas intensity<br />

by 25% by 2030 and contributing to the<br />

UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 initiative. <strong>The</strong><br />

hybrid power rigs will use a combination<br />

of a high-capacity battery and engine<br />

automation alongside traditional diesel<br />

generators to reduce greenhouse gas<br />

emissions intensity by 10%-15%. <strong>The</strong><br />

rigs can also be connected to the<br />

electrical grid, which will further<br />

reduce emissions.<br />

40 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Barakah nuclear power<br />

plant considering Mars<br />

Mission Powered by<br />

Nuclear Energy<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s burgeoning nuclear<br />

energy program has the potential<br />

to power upcoming space<br />

missions, as nuclear power<br />

has the ability to propel spacecraft<br />

further and for longer durations. <strong>The</strong><br />

Barakah nuclear power plant in the<br />

UAE is considering future opportunities<br />

in space exploration. <strong>The</strong> country’s<br />

Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme<br />

is not only focused on generating clean<br />

energy, but could also serve as a driving<br />

force for the UAE’s space exploration<br />

ambitions for years to come. Emirati<br />

astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi set to spend<br />

180 days on the International Space<br />

Station alongside crew members from<br />

NASA and Roscosmos.<br />

EDF Renewables eyes UAE energy tenders, says CEO<br />

EDF Renewables, which is a<br />

part of the French utility company<br />

EDF, intends to increase<br />

its presence in the UAE by<br />

participating in future energy tenders<br />

in the country, according to the company’s<br />

CEO, Bruno Bensasson. EDF<br />

Renewables was previously involved<br />

in the third phase of the Mohammed<br />

bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in<br />

Dubai as part of a consortium led by<br />

Masdar, and it currently holds a 20%<br />

stake in the Al Dhafra solar project in<br />

Abu Dhabi. <strong>The</strong> UAE is heavily focusing<br />

on renewable energy as part of its<br />

Net Zero by 2050 initiative, and EDF<br />

Renewables aims to double its net capacity<br />

of global renewable energy to<br />

60 gigawatts by 2030.<br />

Eni and ADNOC join forces: Italy-UAE<br />

cooperation agreement signed<br />

Masdar project portfolio<br />

in clean energy hit<br />

$30B<br />

Renewable energy company<br />

Masdar, based in the UAE,<br />

has reached a significant<br />

milestone by surpassing<br />

$30B in its global portfolio of clean<br />

energy projects. <strong>The</strong> projects have<br />

a combined gross capacity of more<br />

than 20 GW and could reduce carbon<br />

dioxide emissions by up to 30 million<br />

tonnes annually, according to a Green<br />

<strong>Finance</strong> Framework (GFF) statement.<br />

Moody’s Investors Service gave the<br />

statement its highest rating, SQS1<br />

(Excellent), making it a credible source<br />

for investors. Masdar plans to issue its<br />

first green bond in <strong>2023</strong>, guided by its<br />

Green <strong>Finance</strong> Framework, which will<br />

comply with the best practices in the<br />

sustainable finance industry.<br />

Italian energy company Eni has<br />

partnered with Abu Dhabi National<br />

Oil Co (ADNOC) to accelerate the<br />

energy transition. <strong>The</strong> two companies<br />

aim to reduce new emissions, enhance<br />

energy security, and promote low-carbon<br />

economic and industrial growth. <strong>The</strong><br />

accord was signed during a visit to<br />

the UAE by Italian Prime Minister<br />

Giorgia Meloni, who also met with His<br />

Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed<br />

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

Ruler of Abu Dhabi. <strong>The</strong> Italian and UAE<br />

governments signed a declaration of<br />

intent on strategic cooperation, while<br />

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani<br />

signed a declaration of intent on climate<br />

strategy with UAE climate envoy Sultan<br />

Ahmed Al Jaber.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 41

Wheels<br />

BMW 7 SERIES<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>2023</strong> BMW 7 Series is a<br />

luxury sedan that combines<br />

comfort, performance, and<br />

cutting-edge technology. As the<br />

flagship model for BMW, the 7 Series<br />

sets the standard for excellence in the<br />

luxury car market.<br />

<strong>The</strong> BMW 7 Series is available in<br />

several different trim levels, each of<br />

which offers a unique set of features and<br />

specifications. <strong>The</strong> standard features<br />

of the base 740i Sedan model include a<br />

3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that<br />

produces 375 horsepower and 383 lb-ft<br />

of torque. This engine is paired with an<br />

eight-speed automatic transmission and<br />

rear-wheel drive. <strong>The</strong> car can accelerate<br />

from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds.<br />

One of the standouts features of the<br />

BMW 7 Series is its luxurious interior.<br />

<strong>The</strong> car features premium materials<br />

and craftsmanship, including Nappa<br />

leather upholstery and fine wood<br />

trims. <strong>The</strong> seats are comfortable and<br />

supportive, with plenty of legroom<br />

and headroom for both front and rear<br />

passengers. <strong>The</strong> car also features a<br />

high-tech infotainment system with a<br />

large touchscreen display, Bluetooth<br />

connectivity, and a premium sound<br />

system. <strong>The</strong> BMW 7 Series is also<br />

known for its advanced technology<br />

features. <strong>The</strong> car includes an array<br />

of driver assistance systems, such as<br />

blind spot monitoring, lane departure<br />

warning, and forward collision warning<br />

with automatic emergency braking. <strong>The</strong><br />

car also features a 360-degree camera<br />

system that provides a comprehensive<br />

view of the car’s surroundings. <strong>The</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong> BMW 7 Series is an exceptional<br />

luxury sedan that offers a winning<br />

combination of performance, comfort,<br />

and technology.<br />

42 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Specifications<br />

Horsepower: 375 Hp<br />

Torque: 383 lb-ft<br />

Acceleration: 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 43

Healthcare<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s Healthcare sector to see<br />

significant growth and expansion in <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong> healthcare industry in Dubai is expected to undergo significant growth in<br />

the coming years. <strong>The</strong> Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has predicted<br />

a 7.5% yearly increase in revenue for the entire UAE healthcare sector, leading to<br />

a total of $10.7 billion by 2025. Moreover, healthcare expenses are estimated to<br />

increase to 4.6% of the GDP by 2026 and 5.1% by 2029.<br />

<strong>The</strong> healthcare industry in<br />

the UAE is experiencing<br />

remarkable growth due to<br />

increasing efforts by the<br />

government. <strong>The</strong> government is actively<br />

enhancing and expanding the healthcare<br />

system to establish a high-quality worldclass<br />

infrastructure. Additionally, the<br />

private sector is being encouraged to<br />

participate in upgrading the current<br />

infrastructure and providing services<br />

that are on par with those offered in<br />

developed nations.<br />

Recent healthcare events held in<br />

the UAE demonstrate the country’s<br />

unwavering commitment to expanding<br />

and enhancing this critical sector. <strong>The</strong><br />

UAE government has been actively<br />

supporting healthcare events and<br />

implementing initiatives aimed at<br />

attracting foreign investment and<br />

expertise to the healthcare industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se efforts include the opening of the<br />

Arab Health Exhibition and Congress<br />

<strong>2023</strong> in Dubai by His Highness Sheikh<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,<br />

Vice President and Prime Minister of<br />

the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.<br />

Speaking on the occasion of the<br />

event’s inauguration, His Highness<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said,<br />

“Consistent with our unwavering drive<br />

for excellence, we continue to transform<br />

44 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

the sector by bringing together the<br />

globe’s leading healthcare expertise,<br />

talent and institutions and opening new<br />

avenues for innovation to flourish.” His<br />

Highness also emphasized that the aim<br />

is “to create a vibrant global healthcare<br />

hub that serves not only the needs of<br />

the people of our nation but also caters<br />

to the growing requirements of our vast<br />

region,” which indicates the potential<br />

of the sector for achieving significant<br />

growth in the near future.<br />

As a testament for the UAE’s efforts<br />

to expand the healthcare sector, Arab<br />

Health, the MENA region’s biggest<br />

gathering of healthcare companies,<br />

technology, and products took place<br />

from 30th January to 2nd February at<br />

the Dubai <strong>World</strong> Trade Centre, centered<br />

around the theme of “innovation and<br />

sustainability in healthcare.” <strong>The</strong><br />

event drew over 51,000 attendees and<br />

featured over 3,000 exhibitors from over<br />

70 countries, displaying their latest<br />

innovative healthcare technologies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> four-day conference included nine<br />

Continuous Medical Education (CME)<br />

conferences, featuring keynote speeches,<br />

scientific lectures, and industry briefings<br />

from over 300 regional and international<br />

speakers.<br />

On the other hand, Dubai Derma <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

<strong>The</strong> largest scientific dermatology event<br />

in the MENA region and the Indian<br />

Subcontinent region, was held from<br />

1st March to 4th March and gathered<br />

prominent dermatology specialists,<br />

industry leaders, and key decisionmakers<br />

from the region and across<br />

the world. <strong>The</strong> three-day conference<br />

and exhibition attracted over 24,000<br />

By investing in<br />

state-of-the-art<br />

medical facilities<br />

and promoting<br />

world-class<br />

medical tourism,<br />

the UAE’s<br />

healthcare sector<br />

is driving growth<br />

and prosperity<br />

across the region.<br />

visitors and participants from 114<br />

countries, featuring 480 regional and<br />

international companies presenting<br />

over 1,400 products. <strong>The</strong> conference<br />

concluded with $600m (AED 2.2B) of<br />

deals.<br />

Moreover, the government has been<br />

investing in cutting-edge medical<br />

technologies and state-of-the-art<br />

healthcare infrastructure, including<br />

hospitals, clinics, and specialized medical<br />

centers, to provide top-notch healthcare<br />

services to residents and visitors alike.<br />

This has led to an increase in medical<br />

tourism, as the UAE has become a<br />

preferred destination for patients<br />

seeking high-quality and affordable<br />

medical treatments.<br />

Furthermore, the government has been<br />

focusing on enhancing the skills and<br />

expertise of healthcare professionals<br />

by offering specialized training and<br />

education programs, ensuring that<br />

the healthcare workforce is equipped<br />

with the latest knowledge and skills to<br />

provide world-class healthcare services<br />

to patients.<br />

In his latest visit to HMS Mirdif<br />

Hospital and Barraquer Eye Hospital,<br />

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,<br />

Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman<br />

of <strong>The</strong> Executive Council of Dubai,<br />

emphasized that the development of<br />

the health sector is a top priority for the<br />

Dubai government. His Highness also<br />

stressed that the healthcare industry<br />

contributes to the expansion of Dubai’s<br />

economy, not only by investing more in<br />

medical facilities but also by promoting<br />

medical tourism.<br />

His Highness added that the healthcare<br />

industry plays a crucial role in promoting<br />

the welfare of the community and<br />

positioning Dubai as a worldwide leader<br />

in health and wellness, consistent with<br />

the guidance of His Highness Sheikh<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,<br />

Vice President and Prime Minister of<br />

the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 45

Healthcare News<br />

UAE Residents Embrace Technology for Health<br />

Management: Philips Study<br />

According to the latest Philips<br />

Health Trends Report, UAE<br />

residents are increasingly<br />

relying on technology to<br />

manage their health and well-being. <strong>The</strong><br />

survey revealed that 82% of respondents<br />

use wearable technology to track<br />

their fitness and health, while 61%<br />

use mobile apps to monitor their diet<br />

and nutrition. Additionally, 47% of<br />

respondents use telehealth services to<br />

consult with their healthcare providers,<br />

and 42% use virtual health assistants to<br />

manage their medication schedules. <strong>The</strong><br />

report indicates that UAE residents are<br />

becoming more proactive in managing<br />

their health, and technology is playing<br />

a vital role in this transformation.<br />

Dubai-based Math Professor<br />

to Run 77.2km<br />

in 48 Hours to Raise<br />

Funds for Education<br />

Haitham Solh, a mathematics<br />

professor at the American<br />

University of Dubai, is<br />

pushing himself to the limit<br />

by attempting the David Goggins<br />

challenge. <strong>The</strong> challenge involves<br />

running four miles every four hours for<br />

48 hours straight, and Professor Solh<br />

is doing it to raise funds for the Smile<br />

Train Foundation. This charity aims to<br />

provide cleft lip and cleft palate repair<br />

surgery to children in need. Professor<br />

Solh has set a target of AED 5000, and<br />

he hopes to inspire others to contribute<br />

to this worthy cause. He completed a<br />

similar challenge last year and raised<br />

AED 10,000 for Al Jalila Children’s<br />

Hospital.<br />

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi<br />

Named UAE’s Top Hospital<br />

for Second Consecutive<br />

Year<br />

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi<br />

(CCAD) has once again been<br />

named the best hospital in<br />

the United Arab Emirates,<br />

according to the 2021 rankings<br />

released by Newsweek Middle East.<br />

<strong>The</strong> hospital has been recognized for<br />

its excellence in patient care, advanced<br />

medical technologies, and world-class<br />

physicians. This is the second year<br />

in a row that CCAD has been ranked<br />

number one in the UAE, a testament<br />

to its unwavering commitment to<br />

providing exceptional healthcare<br />

services. CCAD is a multi-specialty<br />

hospital that offers a wide range of<br />

medical services, including cardiology,<br />

neurology, orthopedics, and more.<br />

Dubai: Visionary medical group celebrates 25 years<br />

of operations<br />

Dubai-based medical group,<br />

Visionary, marks 25 years<br />

of providing exceptional<br />

healthcare services to<br />

patients in the UAE. Since its inception<br />

in 1998, Visionary has been at the<br />

forefront of delivering innovative<br />

and specialized medical treatments in<br />

various fields, including orthopedics,<br />

neurology, cardiology, and more. With<br />

state-of-the-art facilities, world-class<br />

physicians, and advanced medical<br />

technologies, the group has earned<br />

a reputation for excellence in the<br />

healthcare industry. In its 25 years<br />

of operations, Visionary has treated<br />

over a million patients and continues<br />

to expand its services to cater to the<br />

growing healthcare needs of the region.<br />

46 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Dubai Derma <strong>2023</strong> generates $600M of deals<br />

Dubai Derma <strong>2023</strong>, the<br />

renowned dermatology<br />

and skin care conference,<br />

has been an incredible<br />

success, generating deals worth<br />

$600M. <strong>The</strong> event was a three-day<br />

affair that brought together some of<br />

the world’s leading dermatologists,<br />

skin care professionals, and plastic<br />

surgeons from over 100 countries.<br />

<strong>The</strong> conference included scientific<br />

sessions, workshops, and keynote<br />

lectures by renowned experts in<br />

the field, making it a major platform<br />

for the global dermatology industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> exhibition showcased the latest<br />

innovations and breakthroughs in the<br />

field of dermatology and featured<br />

over 700 exhibitors from around<br />

the world.<br />

GCC ambassadors to Korea discuss K-health<br />

promotion in the Middle East<br />

<strong>The</strong> GCC ambassadors to<br />

Korea recently met to discuss<br />

the promotion of K-health<br />

(Korean healthcare) in the<br />

Middle East. <strong>The</strong> meeting was held<br />

at the Korean embassy in Seoul and<br />

was attended by ambassadors from<br />

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab<br />

Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain. <strong>The</strong><br />

discussion focused on ways to promote<br />

Korean healthcare technology and<br />

medical services in the GCC region.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ambassadors praised the quality<br />

of Korean medical technology and<br />

expressed their willingness to cooperate<br />

with Korea to improve healthcare in<br />

the Middle East.<br />

Scientific & Medical<br />

Equipment House wins<br />

$18.4M project award<br />

in Saudi<br />

Saudi’s Scientific & Medical<br />

Equipment House Company<br />

has announced an SAR 68.84M<br />

($18.4M) project award for the<br />

operation of the Border Guard Medical<br />

Centre in Riyadh, according to a bourse<br />

filing. <strong>The</strong> Tadawul-listed company<br />

anticipates the project will reflect in<br />

its income statements during Q2 <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company plans to disclose further<br />

developments regarding the contract<br />

in due course. In January, Scientific &<br />

Medical Equipment House obtained a<br />

SAR 265M loan from Alinma Bank to<br />

support its awarded projects and fund<br />

its working capital.<br />

Crown Prince H.H. Hamdan bin Mohammed explores healthcare<br />

facilities in Dubai<br />

As part of his commitment to<br />

improving healthcare in Dubai,<br />

Crown Prince His Highness<br />

Hamdan bin Mohammed bin<br />

Rashid Al Maktoum visited HMS Mirdif<br />

Hospital and Barraquer Eye Hospital.<br />

During his visit, the Crown Prince learned<br />

about the latest medical advancements<br />

and technologies being used to enhance<br />

patient care. At HMS Mirdif Hospital,<br />

he interacted with medical staff and<br />

patients and observed how the hospital<br />

is addressing the ongoing COVID-19<br />

pandemic. At Barraquer Eye Hospital,<br />

His Highness was briefed on the latest<br />

procedures and treatments for eye<br />

diseases and vision correction.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 47

Interview<br />

Nilay Ranjan<br />

Singh,<br />

CEO of State<br />

Bank India, DIFC<br />

Nilay Ranjan Singh is the CEO of State Bank India, DIFC. He has<br />

great experience in credit, syndication, international banking,<br />

trade finance, treasury, risk, customer services, HR, and IT.<br />

He is also experienced in administration, developmental and rural<br />

banking, branch administration, as well as Financial planning and<br />

General Banking.<br />

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

Q. What do you think are the<br />

biggest challenges facing the fintech<br />

industry today, and how can they<br />

be addressed?<br />

Nilay Ranjan Singh: In the fintech<br />

area, what is going on is the transition<br />

of banking, which is normally the tip<br />

of the iceberg; either “Know Your<br />

Customer” (KYC) or the beginning of<br />

things. It is more for the consumer<br />

banking, credit card, and the starting<br />

of things, but then what is required is<br />

that they have to go forward and come<br />

to the field of corporate banking and<br />

trade finance, which is having a very<br />

large scope. Besides that, they have<br />

to address the risk and other areas<br />

because they are daring, but this area<br />

is very limited with a limited scope,<br />

which is the internet. So, they have<br />

to enlarge the scope and move further<br />

beyond the consumer banking.<br />

Q. In your opinion, what is the<br />

most exciting fintech innovation<br />

that’s come up over the past year,<br />

and why?<br />

Nilay Ranjan Singh: <strong>The</strong> most<br />

exciting fintech innovation is that<br />

we have just come into a sort of risk<br />

management. I think the blockchain will<br />

be able to help banks a lot in this area.<br />

So, there will be more collaboration,<br />

an area into which the fintech has<br />

started coming.<br />

Q. How do you think regulators<br />

will strike a balance between<br />

protecting consumers and affecting<br />

innovation?<br />

Nilay Ranjan Singh: What is<br />

happening today is that all those are<br />

converging; the regulatory world,<br />

the banking and other regulators<br />

are all converging and learning from<br />

each other, from various countries,<br />

geographies, and cases. Hence, they are<br />

becoming wise and trying to protect<br />

customers. At the same time, they<br />

don’t want to stifle the innovation.<br />

For instance, they are now giving you<br />

a startup wherein you can work upon<br />

and include the technology to serve the<br />

customer and meet compliance at the<br />

same time. So, we are going towards<br />

compliance and sticking into it. In this<br />

way, innovation is helping both the<br />

costumers and the banks at the same<br />

time in the fintech area.<br />

48 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

ChatGPT<br />

ChatGPT is a powerful artificial<br />

intelligence bot developed by<br />

OpenAI. Its makers, Altman,<br />

Musk, and other Silicon Valley<br />

investors, created an artificial intelligence<br />

research non-profit organization in 2015<br />

and unveiled it to the world on 30th<br />

November 2022. ChatGPT is short for Chat<br />

Generative Pre-Trained Transformer. It is a<br />

powerful AI bot capable of understanding<br />

human speech and producing in-depth<br />

writing easily understood by humans.<br />

<strong>The</strong> question-answer format used in<br />

ChatGPT makes it interesting.<br />

OpenAI’s ChatGPT has garnered the<br />

attention of the whole world with its<br />

unique feature to answer the public’s<br />

questions.<br />

Recently, the hype around ChatGPT has<br />

TECH<br />

MY<br />

MONEY<br />

accelerated to such a great extent that<br />

this tool has a huge potential soon. With<br />

so many uses of ChatGPT in daily life,<br />

it has garnered the attention of people<br />

of every age group. ChatGPT generates<br />

human-like responses through texts. It<br />

holds the capability of answering questions<br />

in a lucid and conversational tone. It can<br />

generate codes, write stories, poems,<br />

etc. It gives natural answers to generate<br />

responses like a human would provide.<br />

Google search helps you to get<br />

suggested answers to your questions<br />

by giving you a list of websites that are<br />

relevant to your questions. On the other<br />

hand, ChatGPT gives you to-the-point<br />

answers in a natural flow. It is like using<br />

a guidebook.<br />

Much comparison has been made<br />

between ChatGPT vs. Google searches<br />

since ChatGPT was launched. However,<br />

one should always do a deep analysis<br />

when using ChatGPT to get answers.<br />

Getting an answer through ChatGPT<br />

is getting a raw text with no credible<br />

source of information, citation, or link<br />

attached. One is advised to verify the<br />

answers when using it.<br />

Every answer you get on google search<br />

works on its own large language models<br />

and algorithm and uses extensive AI to<br />

bring you the most credible information.<br />

One can say that ChatGPT creators will<br />

modify it soon with more features to<br />

compete against google search.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 49

Mergers & Acquisitions<br />

M&A Deals in the MENA Region Hit<br />

Unprecedented Levels<br />

According to the EY MENA M&A Insights 2022 report, the Middle East and<br />

North Africa region, which typically sees 500-600 deals annually, experienced<br />

a significant increase in mergers and acquisitions, with a total of 754 deals in<br />

2022. This represents a 13% increase from the previous year’s 661 deals, with<br />

Dubai leading this activity in the region. However, the total value of these deals<br />

declined from $99B in 2021 to $82.5B.<br />

EY’s MENA M&A Insights 2022<br />

report revealed that there<br />

was a 13% annual increase in<br />

the number of mergers and<br />

acquisitions (M&A) in the Middle East<br />

and North Africa region last year, with a<br />

total of 754 transactions. <strong>The</strong> UAE was<br />

the leading country in M&A activity in<br />

the region.<br />

According to the London-based consultancy,<br />

this region saw an “unprecedented” surge<br />

in M&A activity due to several factors,<br />

including higher oil prices, reforms<br />

that attract investors, and governments<br />

easing Covid-related travel restrictions,<br />

all of which have led to improved market<br />

conditions.<br />

Three of the biggest M&A deals in<br />

the region were recorded in the UAE,<br />

according to reports. Caisse de Depot et<br />

Placement du Quebec, a Canadian fund,<br />

led the way with a $5B acquisition of a 22%<br />

stake in three of DP <strong>World</strong>’s Dubai-based<br />

assets. <strong>The</strong> second-largest deal was made<br />

by Abu Dhabi-based telecoms company<br />

e&, which acquired a 9.8% stake in the<br />

UK’s Vodafone Group for $4.4B. Finally,<br />

ADNOC made the third-largest deal with<br />

the acquisition of a 24.9% stake in OMV<br />

from Mubadala Investment Company<br />

for $4.1B.<br />

According to Brad Watson, EY Mena’s<br />

Strategy and Transactions Leader, M&A<br />

<strong>The</strong> biggest<br />

three M&A<br />

deals in the<br />

MENA region<br />

in 2022 were<br />

recorded in the<br />

UAE.<br />

50 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

activity in the Middle East hit new highs<br />

in the previous year, indicating that<br />

businesses have effectively adapted their<br />

M&A strategies to the changing market<br />

requirements.<br />

<strong>The</strong> report said the rise in M&A activity<br />

was fueled by an increase in investor<br />

confidence, which was due to the positive<br />

impact of high oil prices, favorable business<br />

reforms, and the relaxation of travel<br />

restrictions. George Traub, managing<br />

partner of Lumina Capital Advisers, who<br />

served as the lead financial adviser in the<br />

Dulsco deal, stated that significant M&A<br />

activity in the energy and related sectors<br />

between the Middle East and the UK was<br />

ongoing, “backed by bilateral trade and<br />

investment initiatives.”<br />

Strong investor demand and high<br />

oil prices have fueled a flurry of M&A<br />

activity in the UAE, the second-largest<br />

economy in the Arab world, and the<br />

wider GCC region, as they recover from<br />

the economic slowdown caused by the<br />

pandemic. According to EY, the UAE<br />

was the top target and bidder country by<br />

value, followed by Saudi Arabia.<br />

<strong>The</strong> proposed acquisition of a 51% stake<br />

in STC’s Tawal by the Public Investment<br />

Fund aligns with Saudi Arabia’s Vision<br />

2030, which aims to diversify the economy.<br />

In addition, Saudi Aramco’s purchase of<br />

Valvoline’s global products business for<br />

$2.7B was deemed a strategic transaction<br />

in the oil and gas sector. <strong>The</strong> M&A report<br />

Global M&A<br />

activity has<br />

experienced a<br />

very sluggish<br />

start this year,<br />

reaching a low<br />

point not seen<br />

since 2010.<br />

also revealed that Egypt and Oman climbed<br />

into the top five rankings of target and<br />

bidder countries in the MENA region.<br />

According to the EY MENA M&A<br />

Insights 2022 report, the US had the<br />

most significant number of deals in the<br />

MENA region, with 35 transactions, of<br />

which 19 were in the technology sector.<br />

<strong>The</strong> report indicated that domestic deals<br />

accounted for slightly over half of the<br />

total M&A deal volume in MENA, with<br />

388 transactions, representing 34% of<br />

the total value at $28.4B.<br />

<strong>The</strong> highest disclosed value was<br />

attributed to outbound deals at $40.1B,<br />

which accounted for a total of 201<br />

transactions. Meanwhile, inbound deals<br />

amounted to $14B, with a total of 165<br />

transactions. <strong>The</strong> report also highlighted<br />

that the number of government-related<br />

entities (GREs) involved in deals was<br />

the highest since 2017, with 137 deals<br />

recorded, accounting for 49% of the total<br />

disclosed deal value at $40.3B.<br />

<strong>The</strong> MENA region is aiming to become<br />

a center for tech start-ups by making it<br />

easier to do business, reforming laws and<br />

facilitating investment. This is reflected<br />

in the fact that technology comprised<br />

25% of the total deal volume in the<br />

region in 2022.<br />

According to a report by Goldman Sachs<br />

in March <strong>2023</strong>, global M&A activity has<br />

had a very slow beginning this year and<br />

is currently at its lowest level since 2010.<br />

Year-to-date, the activity is down 65%<br />

compared to the same period last year. <strong>The</strong><br />

report suggests that this slowdown is due<br />

to ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty<br />

and the potential for increased pressure<br />

on earnings, causing companies to be<br />

cautious and remain in “defence mode”.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 51

Merger and Acquisition News<br />

Egis and Omrania merge to become leading engineering and architecture<br />

firm in Saudi Arabia<br />

Egis Group has reached an<br />

agreement to acquire Saudi<br />

Arabian architectural and<br />

engineering consultancy firm,<br />

Omrania, marking a significant step for<br />

both companies. With a shared vision<br />

of designing sustainable and contextual<br />

environments, the acquisition will allow<br />

Egis to establish a leadership position<br />

in high-end design and architecture<br />

services in Saudi Arabia. Omrania,<br />

with its interdisciplinary approach to<br />

architecture, master planning, urban<br />

design, landscape, and engineering<br />

services, has built a strong reputation<br />

for its work with government entities,<br />

cultural institutions, and the private<br />

sector. <strong>The</strong> acquisition will enable both<br />

firms to leverage their joint footprint and<br />

client base to reach significant scale in<br />

Saudi Arabia.<br />

Qatar utility giant QEWC<br />

acquires 24% in Bangladesh<br />

power company<br />

Qatar Electricity and Water<br />

Company (QEWC) has<br />

expanded its international<br />

footprint with the acquisition<br />

of a 24% equity stake in Unique<br />

Meghnaghat Power Ltd. in Bangladesh.<br />

<strong>The</strong> deal was carried out by QEWC<br />

subsidiary, Nebras Power Investment<br />

Management B.V. <strong>The</strong> stake was<br />

purchased from Unique Hotel & Resorts<br />

Limited and Strategic <strong>Finance</strong> Limited,<br />

with General Electric retaining a joint<br />

76% stake. <strong>The</strong> 584 MW combined<br />

cycle power plant, which is currently<br />

under construction, has a 22-year<br />

power offtake agreement with the<br />

Bangladesh Power Development Board.<br />

<strong>The</strong> acquisition will serve as a “strategic<br />

foundation” for Nebras’s entry into the<br />

Bangladeshi power sector, according<br />

to Nebras Power Chairman Mohammed<br />

Nasser Al-Hajri.<br />

UAE’s FAB sells 60% stake in Magnati to Canada’s<br />

Brookfield Business Partners<br />

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

the largest lender in the UAE,<br />

has sold a 60% stake in its<br />

payments firm Magnati to<br />

Canada’s Brookfield Business Partners<br />

for up to $1.15B, implying a valuation<br />

of the company. FAB will retain a 40%<br />

stake in Magnati after the transaction,<br />

which is subject to regulatory approval.<br />

UAE telecoms group e&<br />

(formerly Etisalat) is<br />

eyeing expansion into new<br />

markets in Africa, Europe<br />

and Asia, as well as areas outside of<br />

telecoms such as financial technology,<br />

according to CEO Hatem Dowidar. <strong>The</strong><br />

company is considering potential joint<br />

ventures, acquisitions and listings of<br />

subsidiaries, with a focus on retaining<br />

control of all its units. <strong>The</strong> telecoms<br />

arm of the company, Etisalat, is the<br />

world’s seventh largest by market<br />

capitalisation. <strong>The</strong> company has<br />

separated its business into e& life,<br />

e& enterprise, and e& capital to drive<br />

acquisitions and mergers. Total revenue<br />

<strong>The</strong> bank plans to use the proceeds<br />

from the sale to support its growth<br />

and transformation plans. Magnati<br />

was launched by FAB in 2020 as a<br />

fully-owned affiliate. Morgan Stanley<br />

& Co. International is acting as the<br />

sole financial advisor to FAB, while<br />

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is<br />

acting as its legal advisor.<br />

UAE’s e& looks to expand in telecoms and other<br />

areas<br />

growth at e& was 3% in 2021, while e&<br />

enterprise grew by 17%.<br />

52 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Dulsco Group acquires Advance Global Recruitment Ltd<br />

Dulsco Group has acquired<br />

Advance Global Recruitment<br />

(AGR), a Scotland-based<br />

firm specializing in energy<br />

recruitment. <strong>The</strong> acquisition brings<br />

specialist oil, gas and renewables<br />

expertise, international reach, and<br />

builds on Dulsco Group’s capabilities in<br />

this space. Dulsco Group, with a history<br />

of nation-building services in the UAE<br />

dating back to 1935, is a leading provider<br />

of integrated People, Environment,<br />

and Talent solutions. <strong>The</strong> purchase<br />

of AGR will accelerate growth in the<br />

UAE and new international markets.<br />

Lumina Capital Advisers acted as the<br />

lead financial adviser to Dulsco LLC<br />

during the acquisition process. AGR<br />

will continue to be led by Stuart Hunter<br />

as CEO, along with their management<br />

team in all locations.<br />

Abu Dhabi’s IHC completes<br />

acquisition of 70% stake<br />

in Arena Events<br />

Abu Dhabi’s International<br />

Holding Company (IHC) has<br />

completed the acquisition<br />

of a majority stake in<br />

Arena Events Group, an event and<br />

entertainment services business, for<br />

$65M. <strong>The</strong> company was previously<br />

listed on the AIM market of the<br />

London Stock Exchange, IHC said<br />

in a statement. <strong>The</strong> acquisition is<br />

part of IHC’s strategy to increase its<br />

portfolio through mergers, acquisitions<br />

and strategic investments in sectors<br />

such as property, agriculture, health<br />

care, food and beverages, utilities,<br />

and manufacturing. <strong>The</strong> CEO and<br />

managing director of IHC said there<br />

is an opportunity for rapid growth<br />

in the events sector as the industry<br />

begins to reopen.<br />

GCC Banks Set to Ride Consolidation Wave Pursuing<br />

Expansion and Revenue Growth<br />

<strong>The</strong> consolidation trend in<br />

the financial industry across<br />

the GCC is expected to<br />

persist as banks strive to<br />

create institutions with greater scale.<br />

This move will help boost revenue,<br />

achieve cost synergies, and support<br />

the diversification of Gulf economies<br />

away from oil. Moody’s Investors<br />

Service noted that large GCC lenders<br />

are also looking to increase their<br />

market dominance to drive mergers and<br />

acquisitions. <strong>The</strong>se banks are aiming<br />

to capture large-scale transformation<br />

project finance business in the GCC,<br />

while also competing more aggressively<br />

outside their domestic markets. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

strategic objectives will continue to<br />

drive banks to seek consolidation<br />

opportunities to increase their scale.<br />

M&A deal volume in MENA up 13% in 2022 on<br />

higher investor confidence<br />

<strong>The</strong> Middle East and North<br />

Africa (MENA) region saw a<br />

13% increase in merger and<br />

acquisition (M&A) deals in<br />

2022, primarily driven by the UAE, according<br />

to the EY MENA M&A Insights<br />

2022 report. <strong>The</strong> report attributed the<br />

“unprecedented” 754 deals to higher<br />

investor confidence brought about by<br />

improving market conditions, elevated<br />

oil prices, business-friendly reforms,<br />

and easing government travel restrictions.<br />

Domestic deals represented<br />

51% of the total M&A volume, while<br />

outbound deals led in value at $40.1B<br />

<strong>The</strong> technology sector accounted for<br />

25% of the total deal volume, and the<br />

UAE dominated the lists of target and<br />

bidder countries by value.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 53

Cryptocurrency<br />

Cryptocurrency Adoption in UAE: How<br />

Will This Disrupt Trade and Payment<br />

Cryptocurrency adoption in the UAE has been increasing in recent years, with<br />

the government actively establishing a regulatory framework to support it. One<br />

potential benefit of cryptocurrency adoption in the UAE is the diversification of<br />

its economy. It also has the potential to disrupt trade and payment systems, as it<br />

is poised to streamline financial transactions and reduce costs. In this article, we<br />

explore the details of this adoption to analyse its pros and cons.<br />

Traditionally, the economy of the<br />

UAE has been heavily reliant on<br />

oil and gas exports. However,<br />

with the decline in oil prices and<br />

the shift towards renewable energy, the<br />

UAE has been looking for new ways to<br />

diversify its economy. Cryptocurrency<br />

presents an opportunity to develop a<br />

new industry and attract investment<br />

and talent from around the world, and it<br />

has the potential to streamline financial<br />

transactions and reduce costs.<br />

Cryptocurrency transactions are fast and<br />

inexpensive, which could be particularly<br />

advantageous for businesses operating in<br />

the country. In addition, cryptocurrency<br />

could help to reduce the dependence on<br />

traditional banking systems and improve<br />

financial inclusion for individuals and<br />

businesses. According to the “Digital<br />

Lifestyle” 2022 report published by the<br />

United Arab Emirates Telecommunications<br />

and Digital Government Regulatory<br />

Authority (TDRA), about 11.4% of<br />

UAE residents own or have invested in<br />

cryptocurrencies.<br />

Overall, cryptocurrency adoption in<br />

54 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Cryptocurrency can potentially<br />

revolutionize e-commerce in the UAE by<br />

offering a secure and efficient payment<br />

method that can be used globally.<br />

the UAE has the potential to disrupt<br />

trade and payment systems in several<br />

ways, some of which are the following<br />

scenarios:<br />

International Trade: Cryptocurrency<br />

can potentially simplify international<br />

trade transactions by eliminating the<br />

need for intermediaries such as banks<br />

and currency exchanges. This can<br />

reduce transaction costs and speed up<br />

the settlement process. Additionally,<br />

cryptocurrency can help to mitigate<br />

the risks associated with cross-border<br />

payments such as currency fluctuations,<br />

geopolitical risks, and fraud.<br />

Remittances: <strong>The</strong> UAE has a large<br />

population of expatriate workers who<br />

frequently send money back to their<br />

home countries. Cryptocurrency can<br />

provide a cheaper and faster alternative<br />

to traditional remittance channels, which<br />

are often costly and slow. This can be<br />

particularly advantageous for low-income<br />

workers who depend on remittances as<br />

a significant source of income.<br />

E-commerce: Cryptocurrency can<br />

potentially revolutionize e-commerce in<br />

the UAE by offering a secure and efficient<br />

payment method that can be used globally.<br />

This can enable businesses to expand<br />

their reach and access new markets<br />

without dealing with the complexities<br />

of traditional payment systems.<br />

Financial Inclusion: Cryptocurrency<br />

can provide an alternative means of<br />

payment for individuals and businesses<br />

who are not served by traditional financial<br />

institutions. This can help to promote<br />

financial inclusion and enable people<br />

to participate in the economy.<br />

However, the cryptocurrency scene<br />

in the UAE has witnessed some changes<br />

recently, one of which is what happened<br />

with FTX and Kraken, two of the world’s<br />

biggest cryptocurrency exchanges; FTX<br />

became embroiled in an international<br />

scandal and declared bankruptcy before<br />

it could establish a presence in the area<br />

last fall, while Kraken revealed this month<br />

that it would halt its AED services.<br />

Since Abu Dhabi and Dubai have high<br />

ambitions to make the UAE a global crypto<br />

hub, how can the latest changes affect the<br />

overall cryptocurrency landscape in the<br />

country? Jehanzeb Awan, Chairman of<br />

the Crypto and Blockchain Association,<br />

Middle East, Africa & Asia (MEAACBA),<br />

said that “<strong>The</strong>re will always be change<br />

in crypto blockchain because it is a new<br />

and developing sector; however, it is<br />

very important not to focus on cryptoexchanges,”<br />

because they are “just a<br />

small part of the overall ecosystem.”<br />

Awan also stressed that the UAE is a hub<br />

of innovation for the crypto-blockchain<br />

ecosystem, covering everything from<br />

regulation and education to assistance,<br />

which helps to “stimulate the sector<br />

across the region.”<br />

In that sense, the departure of FTX and<br />

Kraken may create a larger opportunity<br />

for those that have stayed, with Binance<br />

being the most apparent example. Binance<br />

acquired its initial license in Dubai in<br />

March 2022 and obtained its Financial<br />

Services Permission from Abu Dhabi in<br />

November.<br />

H. E. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister<br />

of State for Foreign Trade, talked about<br />

cryptocurrency during an interview with<br />

Bloomberg in Davos, Switzerland. He<br />

stressed that “Crypto will play a major<br />

role for UAE trade going forward,”<br />

and he emphasized that the country is<br />

“attracting some of the companies,” with<br />

aim of building “the right governance<br />

and legal system.”<br />

From his side, H. E. Omar Sultan Al<br />

Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial<br />

Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote<br />

Work Applications, reemphasized that<br />

“<strong>The</strong> UAE has not issued a single licensed<br />

crypto exchange in UAE, neither Binance<br />

nor FTX.” <strong>The</strong> Dubai Virtual Assets<br />

Regulatory Authority (VARA) is responsible<br />

for licensing and regulating the crypto<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 55

Cryptocurrency<br />

sector in the Emirate of Dubai and its free<br />

zone territories (excluding DIFC) under<br />

UAE law. A number of cryptocurrency<br />

exchanges, including Binance, FTX, Okx,<br />

Bitoasis, and Coinmena, have received a<br />

provisional license from VARA, clarifying<br />

that these crypto trading platforms are in<br />

stage one of a four-stage approval process.<br />

<strong>The</strong> partnership between Ripple and<br />

Dubai-based Joyalukkas Exchange is a<br />

recent example of the rapid development<br />

of the crypto scene in the UAE and<br />

MENA region as a whole. Joyalukkas<br />

Exchange is affiliated with Joyalukkas<br />

Group, a prominent global conglomerate<br />

with a multi-billion-dollar valuation and<br />

an internationally recognized name in<br />

jewelry commerce.<br />

<strong>The</strong> exchange provides a diverse<br />

selection of remittance options to each<br />

customer and has developed a series<br />

of collaborations to enable “rapid and<br />

effortless transfers to any location across<br />

the globe at the most competitive prices,”<br />

according to their website.<br />

Punnoose Mathew, managing director of<br />

Joyalukkas Exchange, reported on LinkedIn<br />

that he met with representatives from<br />

Ripple, “the market leader in enterprise<br />

blockchain and crypto solutions,” Mark<br />

Your crypto<br />

business plan<br />

should detail your<br />

organization’s<br />

objectives,<br />

tactics, and the<br />

actions you will<br />

undertake to<br />

ensure adherence<br />

to the DFSA’s<br />

regulations.<br />

Johnson, William Cooley, and Nick Taplin.<br />

Matthew penned. Mathew said that they<br />

discussed “how Ripple could be a great<br />

enabler for money transfer entities to scale<br />

up for affordable cross-border payments,<br />

instant settlement, and continuous liquidity<br />

access with their On-Demand Liquidity<br />

using the XRP platform.”<br />

Moreover, the CEO of Ripple, Brad<br />

Garlinghouse, recently compared the<br />

regulatory progress made worldwide to<br />

the challenges the US market is currently<br />

experiencing. <strong>The</strong> MENA region is one<br />

where crypto is considered a promising<br />

innovation and where the company has<br />

already been able to establish high-profile<br />

collaborations.<br />

However, there are also risks associated<br />

with cryptocurrency adoption, including<br />

volatility, regulatory uncertainty, and<br />

security concerns. Cryptocurrency is still<br />

a relatively new and untested technology,<br />

and there are ongoing debates about how<br />

it should be regulated and managed. As<br />

such, it is important for businesses and<br />

individuals to carefully consider the<br />

risks and benefits of cryptocurrency<br />

before adopting it as a payment method<br />

or investment.<br />

56 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

CORSAIR TBT200 Thunderbolt 4 Dock<br />

<strong>The</strong> CORSAIR TBT200 Thunderbolt<br />

4 Dock is a powerful docking<br />

station designed to expand<br />

the connectivity options of<br />

your Thunderbolt 4 enabled laptop or<br />

desktop computer. With the ability to<br />

deliver up to 94W of power, this dock can<br />

also charge your laptop while providing<br />

fast data transfer speeds and additional<br />

ports for peripherals.<br />

Besides the dock and the power<br />

supply, Corsair also bundles a small 0.8m<br />

Thunderbolt 4 capable USB-C cable, a<br />

1m USB-C to Display Port cable, and a<br />

1m USB-C to HDMI cable. Remember<br />

that the HDMI standard offered is HDMI<br />

2.0, which means you’re restricted to a<br />

maximum of 60Hz over a 4K display.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 57

Cryptocurrency News<br />

Dubai Crypto Centre and TDeFi partner to Launch Web3 Accelerator Program<br />

<strong>The</strong> Dubai Crypto Centre (DCC)<br />

and TDeFi have partnered to<br />

launch a Web3 accelerator<br />

program in the region. <strong>The</strong><br />

program is aimed at supporting the<br />

growth of blockchain-based startups and<br />

decentralized finance (DeFi) projects. <strong>The</strong><br />

initiative will provide funding, mentorship,<br />

and other resources to early-stage startups<br />

working on Web3 technologies, such<br />

as blockchain, smart contracts, and<br />

decentralized applications. <strong>The</strong> DCC<br />

is a leading blockchain and crypto hub<br />

in Dubai, while TDeFi is a global DeFi<br />

ecosystem that provides access to liquidity<br />

and other financial services.<br />

Ras Al Khaimah Launches<br />

First Free Economic Zone<br />

for Virtual Assets in UAE<br />

Ras al-Khaimah (RAK), one of<br />

the seven Emirates of the UAE,<br />

is set to launch the world’s<br />

first free zone exclusively for<br />

digital and virtual asset companies. <strong>The</strong><br />

RAK Digital Assets Oasis (RAK DAO) is<br />

expected to attract global crypto players<br />

and support non-regulated activities<br />

related to virtual assets. <strong>The</strong> free zone,<br />

which is set to launch in the second<br />

quarter of <strong>2023</strong>, will provide a space<br />

for companies working with emerging<br />

technologies such as blockchain, Non-<br />

Fungible Tokens (NFTs), decentralized<br />

applications (dApps), and decentralized<br />

autonomous organizations (DAOs).<br />

Entrepreneurs will operate under their<br />

own tax and regulatory systems.<br />

Dubai’s Crypto Industry Boosts with New Licensing<br />

Regime amid Global Uncertainty<br />

Dubai is set to launch a new<br />

licensing regime for crypto<br />

firms, aimed at boosting the<br />

growth of the industry in the<br />

region. <strong>The</strong> Dubai Financial Services<br />

Authority (DFSA) announced that it<br />

will create a new framework for crypto<br />

asset trading platforms, custodians,<br />

and other intermediaries. <strong>The</strong> new<br />

rules will also cover security tokens,<br />

which are digital tokens backed by<br />

real-world assets. Dubai is one of the<br />

leading fintech and blockchain hubs<br />

in the world, and the new licensing<br />

regime is expected to attract more<br />

crypto firms to the region. <strong>The</strong> DFSA<br />

said it had been working on the new<br />

framework for some time, and had<br />

consulted with industry stakeholders.<br />

Al Dana Resort first in region to allow Crypto<br />

Payments<br />

Novotel Bahrain Al Dana<br />

Resort has made history by<br />

becoming the first hotel in the<br />

region to accept payments in<br />

cryptocurrency. This innovative move<br />

has been made possible by partnering<br />

with Eazy Financial Services, which<br />

will provide a range of electronic<br />

payment services to improve the hotel’s<br />

operations and offer an enhanced<br />

experience for customers. In addition<br />

to standard debit and credit cards, the<br />

hotel will also accept payments using<br />

crypto assets via the Binance app,<br />

making it the first hotel in Bahrain and<br />

the wider region to accept premium<br />

payments in a secure and regulated<br />

manner.<br />

58 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

UAE’s Cryptocurrency Landscape achieves Major<br />

Milestones<br />

<strong>The</strong> Cryptoverse, based in<br />

Dubai, is a cryptocurrency<br />

exchange where individuals<br />

and businesses can buy and<br />

sell cryptocurrency within minutes. It<br />

has achieved new heights in the UAE<br />

and has successfully completed over<br />

15,000 client exchanges, making it a<br />

trusted and well-known exchange in<br />

Dubai for buying and selling Bitcoin,<br />

Ethereum, Binance, and Tether,<br />

according to reports. <strong>The</strong> Cryptoverse<br />

offers instant transactions, ensuring<br />

clients receive their crypto or fiat<br />

(AED) immediately after payment. It<br />

has facilitated significant payments for<br />

real estate purchases and worked with<br />

luxury car dealerships, watch brands,<br />

and hotels. <strong>The</strong> Cryptoverse aims<br />

to become one of the leading global<br />

cryptocurrency exchanges, offering<br />

reliable and hassle-free services.<br />

DMCC Crypto Centre<br />

and DWF Labs Partner<br />

to Attract Crypto Companies<br />

to Dubai<br />

DMCC, the Dubai-based free<br />

zone and commodities trade<br />

authority, has teamed up with<br />

Digital Wave <strong>Finance</strong> (DWF)<br />

Labs to offer a $5M growth platform for<br />

blockchain and web3 firms at the DMCC<br />

Crypto Centre. DWF will establish<br />

the DWF Ventures Studio to support<br />

start-ups using the Crypto Centre and<br />

Dubai as a hub for scaling operations<br />

locally, regionally and globally. <strong>The</strong><br />

DWF Venture Studio will offer services<br />

including consultancy, venture capital<br />

connections, workshops, market<br />

making services and direct investments.<br />

DWF aims to invest in 50 web3 start-ups,<br />

with additional investments for best<br />

performers and a $500,000 investment<br />

for the cohort’s most prominent firm.<br />

ABO Digital to Introduce<br />

Alternative Financing<br />

Structures to Regional<br />

Crypto Market<br />

ABO Digital, a new investment<br />

company, has been launched<br />

by Alpha Blue Ocean, which<br />

operates in the Bahamas<br />

and Dubai. ABO Digital will use<br />

Alpha Blue Ocean’s experience as<br />

a structured Private Investments in<br />

Public Equity (PIPE) investor, which<br />

has executed more than $2B in financing<br />

commitments globally over the past five<br />

years. <strong>The</strong> company will offer innovative<br />

and flexible funding solutions to give<br />

blockchain projects greater access<br />

to capital. <strong>The</strong> move comes at a time<br />

when many venture capitalists will<br />

have suffered losses due to the recent<br />

crypto credit contagion, reducing the<br />

pool of available growth capital.<br />

Crypto.com chief praises UAE as ideal<br />

environment for digital assets<br />

Eric Anziani, President and<br />

COO of Crypto.com, has stated<br />

that the UAE has a conducive<br />

environment for cryptocurrencies<br />

due to a fit-for-purpose regulatory<br />

framework, strong government<br />

willingness to invest in blockchain and<br />

Web3, and a fertile environment for<br />

digital assets. Speaking at Investopia,<br />

a UAE-based investment conference,<br />

Anziani noted that emerging markets<br />

such as Latin America and Turkey are<br />

actively pursuing stablecoins due to<br />

hyperinflation. He added that these<br />

assets are playing a critical role in preserving<br />

value in such markets. FinTech<br />

startups led in both funding and number<br />

of deals in the Middle East, Africa,<br />

Pakistan, and Turkey region in 2022,<br />

with $2.25B raised across 351 deals.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 59

Interview<br />

Naveen Bharadwaj,<br />

Group CEO, Trescon<br />

Naveen Bharadwaj is the Group CEO of<br />

Trescon, which is managing the Dubai<br />

Fintech Summit organized by DIFC. He<br />

has got 14+ years’ corporate growth experience,<br />

encompassing strategy, partnerships, alliances,<br />

divisional leadership, new market/business<br />

development, marketing, as well as full-cycle<br />

event production & management.<br />

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

Q. In your opinion, what has been<br />

the most exciting fintech innovation<br />

in the past year, and why?<br />

Naveen: I think pretty much<br />

everything in the fintech space is<br />

exciting. Fintech as an industry or as<br />

a segment in itself is quite innovative,<br />

but if I were to pick a few innovations<br />

that have either come into the front<br />

in the last year or so, or have started<br />

reaching the maturity curve, I would say<br />

open banking, blended finance, digital<br />

payments and also a lot of sustainabilityrelated<br />

fintech innovations are gaining<br />

popularity.<br />

Q. How can regulators strike<br />

a balance between protecting<br />

consumers and promoting<br />

innovation in the fintech space?<br />

Naveen: I think people often speak<br />

about this area, which is regulation<br />

vs. innovation. I don’t want to talk<br />

about this in general or globally, but<br />

more specifically here in Dubai. I<br />

think the regulators are innovationfocused,<br />

which actually helps the<br />

industry thrive. Take for instance<br />

DIFC, the DIFC Innovation Hub, and<br />

the regulatory sandbox that DIFC<br />

has set up. So, they are creating safe<br />

boundaries for innovation to thrive<br />

without bringing innovation down in<br />

the name of regulation.<br />

Additionally, regulators are working<br />

closely with the entire ecosystem, so<br />

the banking and financial institutions,<br />

startup and mature fintechs, investors,<br />

innovators, and the academia are all<br />

brought together to see what the need of<br />

the hour is and how they can accelerate<br />

the industry. At the same time, they are<br />

brought together to see how they can<br />

also be mindful of the legal boundaries<br />

and the regulations within the country,<br />

which is something happening in this<br />

city. I think this is just an example of<br />

how regulators can protect consumers’<br />

interests on one side, but also make<br />

sure that innovation is thriving on the<br />

other; it is to balance both sides.<br />

Q. What are you most excited for<br />

about the upcoming Dubai Fintech<br />

Summit?<br />

Naveen: <strong>The</strong> Dubai Fintech Summit<br />

is going to be arguably the best fintech<br />

event to be ever launched, with 5000<br />

– 7000 participants, who are all CEOs<br />

of banking and financial institutions,<br />

founders and owners of startups, people<br />

leading venture capitals, private equity<br />

firms, investors, people representing<br />

institutional investors, as well as<br />

high-net-worth individuals. Equally<br />

important, there is the incredible<br />

lineup of speakers that we have. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

are three stages, across which we<br />

have speakers like Bill Winters, the<br />

Global CEO of Standard Chartered,<br />

Piyush Gupta, the Group CEO of DBS<br />

Singapore, Michael Shaulov, CEO of<br />

Fireblocks, in addition to ministers and<br />

governors. <strong>The</strong> lineup is so magnificent<br />

that you have people that are thinkers,<br />

doers, and shapers on the regulatory,<br />

governmental, banking, investment,<br />

innovation, and the startup fronts. You<br />

have got the whole ecosystem coming,<br />

in addition to the representation of<br />

the ecosystem on the agenda. So,<br />

I think these are just some of the<br />

things that excite me, but of course<br />

everything about the Dubai Fintech<br />

Summit excites me.<br />

60 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Interview<br />

Raman Thiagarajan,<br />

CEO & Founder of Zenda<br />

Raman Thiagarajan is the CEO and Founder of Zenda, a fintech app for families, with a mission to<br />

reimagine financial services for the education ecosystem. Raman has over 20 years’ experience in<br />

strategic advisory and financial services. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Raman worked as a<br />

banker, running P&L for a global bank, then he spent more than ten years in a leading consulting firm,<br />

running its banking practice.<br />

62 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

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

Q. How do you see blockchain, AI,<br />

and machine learning continuing to<br />

change the finance industry over<br />

the next 5-10 years?<br />

Raman: If I want to talk from our<br />

company’s point of view, maybe we are<br />

not yet there to harvest the power of<br />

these technologies, but more broadly,<br />

I would say that the power of data and<br />

data-led insights coming from ML and<br />

AI is going to be significant. In our<br />

case, Zenda has got a parent-facing app<br />

on one side, and we integrated it into<br />

the educational institution system on<br />

the other. Through this in a simplistic<br />

way, we have a closed-loop ecosystem<br />

where we have got full visibility on<br />

every payment, every bill that is raised,<br />

and the dollar and dirham amount on<br />

it; every payment that is collected,<br />

identifying the person who paid, the<br />

time of the payment, and the nature of<br />

the payment (on-time payment or not).<br />

We also have a lot of insights about<br />

the background of the parents and the<br />

economic context of the education<br />

institutions.<br />

With this, we have the benefit of the<br />

big amount of insight and data that<br />

we think we can use in a much more<br />

meaningful way tomorrow, leveraging<br />

the power of ML and AI technologies<br />

to really find insights and to custombuild<br />

products and services.<br />

Q. What are the most promising<br />

emerging markets for fintechs, and<br />

what are some unique challenges<br />

that you think they will pose?<br />

Raman: From my personal point<br />

of view as a fintech founder, the first<br />

thing you hear is when you look, you<br />

will find that the largest fintechs in the<br />

world today are from the west and the<br />

USA. So, this is really seen as the large<br />

market out there that has deep revenue<br />

pools. However, we believe that this<br />

is just a start. We Started Zenda in the<br />

UAE, and we are based here. We also<br />

started in India earlier last year, and<br />

now we are expanding in the GCC. We<br />

are live in a school in Qatar, and we are<br />

looking at Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other<br />

parts of Africa. Southeast Asia is also<br />

massive in terms of opportunities. So,<br />

if you look into the revenue pool just<br />

between GCC and India, that’s about<br />

$100B of payments that are made by<br />

parents to private-sector education.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is also a similar large number<br />

in Southeast Asia, so we see that these<br />

markets between the Middle East,<br />

India, some parts of Africa, and some<br />

markets in Asia are very exciting<br />

for us personally. That’s where we<br />

are going to focus, and my view is<br />

that many of the fintechs that I know<br />

here or from the region, including<br />

Southeast Asia, are also very excited<br />

about the opportunities in this region<br />

because I think the type of problems<br />

that customers are facing in this region<br />

is different, and the type of the solutions<br />

and services to come up with to address<br />

these problems in a meaningful and<br />

sustainable manner is also going to<br />

be very different. I feel that most of<br />

the opportunities for us are going to<br />

be on this side of the world.<br />

Q. What do you think are the most<br />

important ethical considerations<br />

in the design and development of<br />

fintech products and services?<br />

Raman: I think there are many things<br />

that one can talk about and keep in<br />

mind, but giving the context of our<br />

geographies, our customer base, and<br />

the nature of our customers, I would<br />

say three things that come to mind.<br />

First, it is the transparency on pricing.<br />

If today people take traditional financial<br />

products, such as a credit card product,<br />

very few people really understand that<br />

they are paying interest rates with<br />

APRs of 40% to 60%. So, transparency<br />

on pricing in terms of what you are<br />

getting into, the prices you are going<br />

to pay, the overall cost, particularly if<br />

the customer base is somebody who is<br />

in the mass segment, the mass affluent<br />

segment, or in the segment where<br />

they have not taken the effort from<br />

their side to understand all of this in<br />

detail. I think that telling them about<br />

this upfront is a major responsibility<br />

that all fintechs carry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> second thing is the simplification<br />

of documentation because terms and<br />

conditions are complex, and nobody<br />

sees them; they just keep clicking and<br />

sign very easily, particularly in the digital<br />

era. I think it is important that you tell<br />

customers what they are getting into<br />

and give them bullet points about the<br />

legality or the structure of the product<br />

to make sure it is well-understood.<br />

<strong>The</strong> third ethical consideration is one<br />

of the big benefits fintechs can bring<br />

about and one of the things we are very<br />

inspired about, which is hopefully to<br />

be able to bring transformative change<br />

across different economic segments<br />

in the society. Our customers are not<br />

going to be only parents paying high<br />

fees to affluent schools or colleges, but<br />

there are equally going to be parents<br />

whose kids are going to budget schools<br />

or coming from less affluent segments.<br />

So, one of the responsibilities we carry<br />

and think deeply about is the way we<br />

can modify our products to make them<br />

relevant to the context; somebody who<br />

is in a particular segment of society<br />

where we can have a broader reach or a<br />

higher impact, and how we think about<br />

these products differently compared<br />

to those we are creating and selling<br />

to those in more affluent categories.<br />

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

aspiring fintech innovators and<br />

entrepreneurs?<br />

Raman: I jokingly say that I’m on<br />

my third career. I spent a large chunk<br />

as a banker, running P&L for a global<br />

bank, then more than ten years in a<br />

leading consulting firm, running its<br />

banking practice, and then six years<br />

as an entrepreneur. One might think<br />

that with all this experience, I would<br />

not make some of the mistakes that<br />

first-time founders make, but I made<br />

many of these as well.<br />

You would want to bear in mind three<br />

things. First, be deeply passionate<br />

about what you are trying to build<br />

and the problem you are trying to<br />

solve. Second, startup ideas look very<br />

appealing from the outside, but when<br />

you start building your MVP and start<br />

thinking about the business model and<br />

the economics, it is very important<br />

to ensure that you have a very strong<br />

grasp of your product market fit and<br />

your economics because markets<br />

can be up and down; markets can be<br />

volatile as we see them. If you are truly<br />

building something that you think can<br />

stand its ground in a few years, then<br />

it is going to be much easier for you.<br />

Third, be very thoughtful about whom<br />

you surround yourself with, whether<br />

these are investors, mentors, or anyone<br />

else, particularly when it comes to<br />

funding. All dollars are not the same;<br />

raising money is important, but be a<br />

little bit thoughtful about where the<br />

money is coming from and ensure that<br />

this money is going to support you in<br />

the long term.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 63

Real Estate<br />

Buying and Selling Properties in Dubai:<br />

How to Boost your Potential for Profit<br />

Dubai is a lively and swiftly expanding metropolis that boasts a varied economy,<br />

making it an appealing destination for investors seeking to purchase and sell<br />

real estate. <strong>The</strong> Dubai real estate market is widely viewed as one of the most<br />

competitive globally, with an abundant supply of properties accessible to buyers<br />

and sellers alike. Nevertheless, with such intense competition comes the obstacle<br />

of distinguishing oneself and earning substantial profits. In this article, we will<br />

examine the factors to take into account when buying and selling properties in<br />

Dubai, as well as strategies to enhance your potential for profit.<br />

When putting your property up<br />

for sale in Dubai, it is crucial<br />

to market it in a way that will<br />

attract potential buyers. This<br />

could entail staging the property to enhance<br />

its attractiveness, setting a competitive<br />

price, and utilizing online listings and<br />

social media platforms to reach a wider<br />

audience. However, it is essential to have<br />

a comprehensive understanding of the<br />

market conditions and trends in Dubai’s<br />

real estate sector. This encompasses<br />

monitoring property values, the number<br />

of vacant properties, and the demand<br />

for properties in particular regions. By<br />

doing so, you can make well-informed<br />

choices when it comes to purchasing or<br />

selling your property.<br />

To guarantee a hassle-free and prosperous<br />

experience, you may require some useful<br />

pointers. Whether your aim is to purchase<br />

real estate or sell your current property<br />

in Dubai, there are certain measures you<br />

must undertake to attain your objectives;<br />

you may consider the following effective<br />

tactics for buying or selling property<br />

in Dubai.<br />

v<br />

64 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

v<br />

Finding a Reputable Real Estate<br />

Agent is the key<br />

To achieve a prosperous sale of your<br />

property or investment in Dubai, it is<br />

essential to locate a reliable real estate<br />

agent. Verifying that the agent is registered<br />

with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency<br />

(RERA) in Dubai is crucial. RERA-approved<br />

agents are obligated to comply with ethical<br />

standards set forth by the Dubai Land<br />

Department (DLD), ensuring that their<br />

transactions are conducted with integrity<br />

and professionalism. To verify if an agent<br />

is approved by RERA, ask to see their<br />

RERA card. However, it is not enough<br />

to simply find a RERA-approved agent;<br />

you should also consider the following<br />

factors when selecting an agent:<br />

• Are they knowledgeable and proficient<br />

in the specific region you are interested<br />

in? For instance, if you are planning to<br />

sell your (Jumeirah Lake Towers) JLT<br />

apartment, seek out an agent who has<br />

a history of successful transactions in<br />

that locality.<br />

• Do you share a positive professional<br />

relationship with them? Selecting<br />

an agent who can furnish you with a<br />

truthful evaluation of your property’s<br />

strengths and drawbacks is crucial.<br />

Furthermore, you should be able to<br />

converse about any apprehensions<br />

and receive expert guidance.<br />

• Once an agent satisfies the aforementioned<br />

requirements, you can work with them<br />

with confidence. <strong>The</strong>y can assist you<br />

in navigating the process, establishing<br />

Conduct thorough<br />

research and<br />

analysis of the<br />

real estate market<br />

before making<br />

any investment<br />

decisions.<br />

a practical selling price, devising a<br />

marketing plan, and facilitating the<br />

sale of your Dubai property.<br />

Factors to Consider When Buying a<br />

Property in Dubai<br />

Location: <strong>The</strong> location of a property<br />

is one of the most important factors to<br />

consider when buying. It is crucial to<br />

research the area’s demographics and<br />

proximity to amenities and transport<br />

links. Properties located in prime areas<br />

are more expensive, but they are more<br />

likely to have a higher resale value in<br />

the future.<br />

Property Type: Dubai has a diverse range<br />

of properties, including apartments, villas,<br />

and townhouses. Each type of property<br />

has its advantages and disadvantages, so<br />

it is important to consider the purpose<br />

of the investment and the target market.<br />

Developer Reputation: Dubai has<br />

many reputable developers, but there<br />

are also some with a history of issues.<br />

Researching the developer’s reputation<br />

is essential to ensure that you are buying<br />

a high-quality property that meets safety<br />

standards.<br />

Payment Plan: Dubai has various<br />

payment plans, including installment<br />

plans and post-handover payment plans.<br />

It is essential to choose a payment plan<br />

that is affordable and suits your budget.<br />

Legal Requirements: It is important<br />

to comply with legal requirements when<br />

buying a property in Dubai. Ensure that<br />

the property is registered with the Dubai<br />

Land Department (DLD) and that the<br />

seller has the legal right to sell.<br />

Factors to Consider When Selling a<br />

Property in Dubai<br />

Price: Setting the right price is essential<br />

to attracting potential buyers. Research<br />

the market to determine the price range<br />

for similar properties in the area and set<br />

a competitive price.<br />

Property Condition: <strong>The</strong> condition<br />

of the property can significantly impact<br />

the sale price. Ensure that the property is<br />

in good condition, including the interior,<br />

exterior, and any appliances or fixtures.<br />

Marketing: Marketing is crucial<br />

to attracting potential buyers. Utilize<br />

various marketing channels, including<br />

social media, property listing websites,<br />

and real estate agents.<br />

Timing: <strong>The</strong> timing of the sale can<br />

impact the sale price. Research the<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 65

Real Estate<br />

market to determine the best time to sell.<br />

Real Estate Agent: A reputable real<br />

estate agent can assist with the sale<br />

process and ensure that the property is<br />

marketed effectively. Choose an agent<br />

with a good reputation and extensive<br />

experience in the Dubai real estate<br />

market, as mentioned above.<br />

Tips to Boost Your potential for profit<br />

Research the Market: Researching<br />

the market is essential to determining<br />

the right price for buying and selling<br />

properties. It is also crucial to stay upto-date<br />

with market trends to identify<br />

investment opportunities.<br />

Invest in Up-and-Coming Areas:<br />

Investing in up-and-coming areas can<br />

yield high returns in the future. Research<br />

areas with new developments and<br />

infrastructure projects.<br />

Improve the Property: Improving<br />

the property can significantly increase<br />

its resale value. Consider upgrading the<br />

interior, exterior, and any appliances or<br />

fixtures.<br />

To sum up, Dubai’s real estate market<br />

is highly competitive and attractive<br />

to investors looking to buy and sell<br />

Set a clear<br />

and effective<br />

investment<br />

strategy,<br />

taking into<br />

account your<br />

budget, goals,<br />

and risk<br />

tolerance.<br />

properties. Whether you are a buyer or<br />

seller, there are specific steps you need<br />

to take to ensure a successful process.<br />

To buy a property in Dubai, you need<br />

to consider factors such as location,<br />

property type, developer reputation,<br />

payment plan, and legal requirements.<br />

On the other hand, to sell a property, you<br />

should focus on setting the right price,<br />

property condition, marketing, timing,<br />

and hiring a reputable real estate agent.<br />

To boost your profit potential, it is<br />

essential to research the market, invest<br />

in up-and-coming areas, improve the<br />

property, choose the right payment plan,<br />

and hire a professional. Additionally, finding<br />

a reputable real estate agent is crucial<br />

in both buying and selling a property<br />

in Dubai. Overall, Dubai’s real estate<br />

market offers numerous opportunities<br />

for investors to make profits, but it also<br />

requires careful planning and execution.<br />

By following the tips mentioned above,<br />

you can increase your chances of success<br />

and make a profitable investment.<br />

66 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Real Estate News<br />

Inside Tria Tower:<br />

$140M Deyaar project<br />

coming to Dubai Silicon<br />

Oasis<br />

Deyaar Development has<br />

appointed the main<br />

contractor for its new luxury<br />

residential tower, Tria, in<br />

Dubai Silicon Oasis. <strong>The</strong> 32-storey<br />

project, set for completion in 2025,<br />

will offer studios, one-, two- and threebedroom<br />

apartments, townhouses,<br />

duplexes, and penthouses. With a total<br />

cost of AED 515M ($140M), Tria will<br />

also include smart-home automation,<br />

energy-efficient solutions, and brandnew<br />

appliances. <strong>The</strong> project boasts<br />

exceptional features such as swimming<br />

pools, a clubhouse, a gym, a yoga<br />

pavilion, steam and sauna rooms, squash<br />

and paddle courts, and an outdoor<br />

cinema, with stunning views of the city<br />

skyline. Tria is the latest addition to<br />

Deyaar’s impressive project portfolio.<br />

Dubai’s Off-Plan Property demand soars in first<br />

two months of <strong>2023</strong><br />

Dubai’s real estate market is<br />

witnessing a surge in off-plan<br />

property sales, as reported by<br />

Allsopp & Allsopp. <strong>The</strong> report<br />

shows a 42.1% increase in off-plan sales<br />

compared to the same period last year,<br />

driven by demand. This surge in demand<br />

is seen as a positive indication of the<br />

city’s future economic prospects, as well<br />

as a preferred destination for real estate<br />

investors. <strong>The</strong> government’s efforts<br />

to diversify the national economy,<br />

including the Golden Visa scheme<br />

for foreign investors, have helped<br />

transform Dubai’s property market.<br />

<strong>The</strong> report also highlights that the<br />

increase in off-plan sales is a sign of<br />

the real estate market’s continued<br />

growth, comparable to other major<br />

centers in the world.<br />

Expo City Dubai announces Mangrove Residences<br />

Expo City Dubai’s latest offering,<br />

the “Mangrove Residences,”<br />

launched on March<br />

15, marking the venue’s first<br />

residential community. <strong>The</strong> project<br />

is part of the city’s long-term goal of<br />

becoming a smart, sustainable, and<br />

people-centric city of the future. <strong>The</strong><br />

eco-friendly and luxurious residences<br />

offer stunning views of Al Wasl Plaza and<br />

easy access to Expo City Dubai’s various<br />

amenities, including educational,<br />

cultural, and entertainment offerings.<br />

<strong>The</strong> city’s car-free design promotes<br />

safety and air quality, and it is the<br />

first community in the region to be<br />

registered under the WELL Community<br />

Standard pilot, prioritizing the health<br />

and well-being of its inhabitants. Expo<br />

City Dubai’s green urban planning is<br />

exemplified by retaining 80% of Expo<br />

2020’s built infrastructure, showcasing<br />

the highest levels of sustainable design,<br />

construction, and operations.<br />

Dubai’s Residential Market sees surge in demand in <strong>2023</strong><br />

Dubai’s residential property<br />

market is experiencing a<br />

surge in demand this year,<br />

according to a recent report.<br />

With the emirate’s positive economic<br />

outlook for <strong>2023</strong>, the report suggests<br />

that significant end-user demand<br />

and investor confidence in Dubai’s<br />

property market are driving this trend.<br />

Additionally, the report points out that<br />

Dubai’s population is expected to reach<br />

5.8 million by 2040, leading to a rise in<br />

demand for residential properties. <strong>The</strong><br />

report also reveals that prime locations<br />

such as Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina,<br />

and Arabian Ranches are among the<br />

most popular areas for residential<br />

property purchases. Overall, this growth<br />

in demand indicates a promising outlook<br />

for Dubai’s residential property market<br />

in <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 67

Real Estate News<br />

Dubai boosts the real estate sector with 6 new<br />

industry bodies<br />

Business groups provide<br />

a valuable platform for<br />

stakeholders in the private<br />

and public sectors to engage<br />

in constructive dialogue and address<br />

policy issues that impact the real estate<br />

industry. According to Mohammad Ali<br />

Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of<br />

Dubai Chambers, the real estate sector<br />

continues to be a vital contributor to<br />

Dubai’s economy, with a share of over<br />

9% in the first nine months of 2022 and<br />

a 2.5% year-on-year growth rate. <strong>The</strong><br />

positive economic outlook for <strong>2023</strong><br />

and substantial end-user demand and<br />

investor confidence in Dubai’s property<br />

market are expected to keep the real<br />

estate sector strong.<br />

Alabbar launches $3.5B Mega-Island with Villas<br />

starting at $1.75N<br />

Emaar Properties Chairman<br />

Mohamed Alabbar has unveiled<br />

a $3.5B mega-island<br />

development, called “Island<br />

74”, off the coast of Dubai. <strong>The</strong> development<br />

will include 10,000 villas<br />

priced between $1.75M and $4.4M.<br />

<strong>The</strong> island, which will be accessible by<br />

boat or seaplane, will feature hotels,<br />

marinas, restaurants, and shops. <strong>The</strong><br />

project is expected to be completed<br />

in 2025 and will offer residents an<br />

exclusive island lifestyle with access<br />

to a range of luxurious amenities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> development is part of Alabbar’s<br />

plan to transform Dubai’s real estate<br />

market by offering unique, high-end<br />

developments to attract global buyers<br />

and investors.<br />

ROSHN unveils plans<br />

for Riyadh real estate<br />

development<br />

ROSHN, a leading real estate<br />

developer in Saudi Arabia,<br />

has announced its plans<br />

for a massive real estate<br />

development in Riyadh. <strong>The</strong> project will<br />

feature a mix of residential, commercial,<br />

and leisure facilities spread across<br />

20 million square meters of land. <strong>The</strong><br />

development will include over 30,000<br />

residential units, 7,000 hotel rooms,<br />

and 1,000 retail outlets. It will also have<br />

numerous parks and green spaces, a<br />

theme park, and a national landmark<br />

tower that will be among the tallest<br />

in the world. <strong>The</strong> development is<br />

expected to create over 200,000 jobs<br />

and contribute significantly to the<br />

growth of Riyadh’s economy.<br />

UAE Real Estate<br />

Investors willing to pay<br />

more for Sustainable<br />

‘Green’ Buildings<br />

According to a recent survey,<br />

70% of UAE-based real estate<br />

investors are willing to pay<br />

more for sustainable, ecofriendly<br />

buildings. <strong>The</strong> survey also<br />

revealed that 80% of investors consider<br />

sustainability to be an important factor<br />

in their investment decisions. With<br />

a growing demand for sustainable<br />

properties, developers are increasingly<br />

incorporating green building practices<br />

into their projects. <strong>The</strong>se practices<br />

include the use of solar panels, watersaving<br />

systems, and recycled building<br />

materials. <strong>The</strong> UAE government has<br />

also launched various initiatives to<br />

encourage sustainable development in<br />

the real estate sector. This trend toward<br />

sustainability in the UAE’s real estate<br />

market is expected to continue, with<br />

investors prioritizing environmentallyfriendly<br />

properties.<br />

68 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

TECH<br />

MY<br />

MONEY<br />

Apple M2 Max MacBook Pro 16 inch<br />

Apple’s update to the 16-inch<br />

MacBook Pro adds the M2<br />

Max to an already fantastic<br />

notebook, a change to satisfy<br />

creators and power users.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 16-inch MacBook Pro is the<br />

powerhouse in the portable Mac range.<br />

Its position as the largest notebook in the<br />

catalog and its ability to be configured<br />

with a powerful chip makes it desirable<br />

for creators and power users.<br />

With the introduction of the M2 Max<br />

edition, Apple’s following a tried-and-true<br />

formula of a specification bump while<br />

ironing out the kinks that come with a<br />

radical new design. With the previous<br />

generation being so good, there’s little<br />

that it can change to improve things for<br />

consumers, so it didn’t attempt to break<br />

what wasn’t already broken.<br />

Instead, the M2 Max version can be<br />

characterized simply as a performance<br />

boost to a high-performance notebook.<br />

It has a 12-core CPU, a built-to-order<br />

38-core GPU along with 64GB of unified<br />

memory, and 1TB of SSD storage.<br />

M2 Max comes with a 16.2-inch<br />

Liquid Retina XDR display with mini-<br />

LED backlighting. This screen offers a<br />

massive 1,000 nits of sustained full-screen<br />

brightness, with 1,600 nits at a peak for<br />

HDR content.<br />

<strong>The</strong> M2 Max base configuration includes<br />

a 12-core CPU with eight performance and<br />

four efficiency cores. It also includes a<br />

16-core Neural Engine, improved from last<br />

time, and a massive 400GB/s of memory<br />

bandwidth for its unified memory.<br />

Also, M2 Max has a trio of three<br />

Thunderbolt 4 ports, with two on the right<br />

and one on the left. <strong>The</strong>se can handle<br />

40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 and<br />

act as a DisplayPort or HDMI connection<br />

with the right cabling. You can also use<br />

the Thunderbolt ports for charging, which<br />

is handy if you have a dock with power<br />

delivery and don’t want to use MagSafe<br />

3. Speaking of MagSafe, Apple includes<br />

a color-matched Space Gray cable with<br />

the darker laptop this time. MagSafe 3<br />

can deliver up to 140W with Apple’s 140W<br />

GaN USB-C PD 3.1 power brick.<br />

<strong>The</strong> introduction of Apple Silicon<br />

brought a new low-power way of working,<br />

with a considerable increase in battery<br />

run time. That’s gone through a slight<br />

improvement to become even better.<br />

Apple claims the integrated 100-watthour<br />

lithium polymer battery can last<br />

up to 22 hours of Apple TV app movie<br />

playback, up from 21 hours in the previous<br />

generation. Meanwhile, wireless web<br />

surfing reaches up to 15 hours, up from<br />

14 hours.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 69

Funding & Investment<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE Diversifies Investment Options<br />

to Boost Its Position as a Global<br />

Investment Hub<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates has long been known as a global investment hub,<br />

with its strategic location, business-friendly policies, and robust infrastructure<br />

attracting investors from around the world. Recently, the UAE has been actively<br />

diversifying its investment options to further enhance its position as a global hub<br />

for investment. This article delves into the recent initiatives and strategies that<br />

the UAE is implementing to broaden its investment portfolio and attract more<br />

foreign investment.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Marketplace<br />

platform marks<br />

a new chapter in<br />

the UAE’s efforts<br />

to promote global<br />

collaboration<br />

among investors,<br />

business leaders,<br />

and governments.<br />

70 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed<br />

bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice<br />

President and Prime Minister<br />

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

has recently launched Investopia, a novel<br />

investment platform designed to promote<br />

global collaboration among investors,<br />

business leaders, and governments. <strong>The</strong><br />

platform aims to identify and launch new<br />

investment opportunities, foster economic<br />

growth, and incubate future economies,<br />

both regionally and worldwide. <strong>The</strong><br />

latest initiative of Investopia was the<br />

announcement of its newly innovative<br />

investment platform “Marketplace” on 1st<br />

March, <strong>2023</strong>, with the aim of enhancing the<br />

UAE attractiveness to foreign investments<br />

in various economic and commercial<br />

sectors, especially the new economy<br />

sectors, and with the aim to position the<br />

UAE as a leading investment destination<br />

on the regional and global level.<br />

“Marketplace” Platform was launched<br />

during the 2nd edition of the Investopia<br />

Conference in Abu Dhabi on March 2nd<br />

and 3rd. H. E. Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri,<br />

Minister of Economy and Chairman of<br />

Investopia, highlighted that the UAE’s<br />

competitive and flexible investment<br />

policies, directed by the country’s wise<br />

leadership, have helped to improve its<br />

investment climate and establish its<br />

position as a significant player in the<br />

global investment arena.<br />

According to Al Marri, the “Marketplace”<br />

platform aligns with the UAE’s ambitious<br />

“We the UAE 2031” vision, which aims<br />

to position the country as a preferred<br />

global partner and a highly influential<br />

economic center. <strong>The</strong> platform will<br />

provide business communities with a<br />

single portal for accessing new investment<br />

opportunities and enablers, boosting the<br />

country’s appeal to potential investors.<br />

Moreover, this initiative will support<br />

the national goal of doubling the gross<br />

domestic product to AED 3T by 2031.<br />

Investopia has partnered with industry<br />

leaders, including the International <strong>Finance</strong><br />

Corporation (IFC), SALT, Crypto.com,<br />

and iConnections, to develop its newly<br />

launched platform, and plans to work<br />

closely with them. <strong>The</strong> platform aims to<br />

provide opportunities for public and private<br />

companies, institutions, governments, and<br />

investors from around the world to invest<br />

and explore potential opportunities. It will<br />

feature investment options from various<br />

cities, including New York, Milan, Rabat,<br />

New Delhi, Mumbai, Cairo, Havana, and<br />

others, that have hosted Investopia’s<br />

Global Talks, as well as the UAE’s strong<br />

bilateral economic relationships with<br />

these cities. <strong>The</strong> process for registering<br />

and participating in the platform will be<br />

announced at a later stage.<br />

<strong>The</strong> platform functions by allowing<br />

companies, institutions, and governments<br />

to showcase their investment projects<br />

and opportunities, including information<br />

on sectors, locations, stages, goals, and<br />

required capital. Investors and partners<br />

from Investopia communities can then<br />

review and select projects that fit their<br />

investment strategies and portfolios.<br />

Furthermore, Investopia is actively<br />

seeking partnerships from all over the<br />

world to attract additional investment<br />

projects that can have a significant and<br />

strategic impact on the global economy.<br />

Additionally, the platform is providing<br />

investor communities with the opportunity<br />

to view project evaluations that align<br />

with their investment strategies and<br />

portfolios. By creating a comprehensive<br />

and readily available source of information,<br />

“Marketplace” aims to become the preferred<br />

platform for investment projects.<br />

<strong>The</strong> “Marketplace” at present consists<br />

of a range of investment projects put forth<br />

by multiple nations across the globe, with<br />

a focus on the energy sector, including<br />

hydroelectric power projects, as well as<br />

agricultural ventures from Kyrgyzstan.<br />

Additionally, there are electricity and<br />

energy-related initiatives from Romania<br />

and other sectors. Investopia aims to<br />

achieve a lofty objective of speeding up<br />

the investment attraction process in the<br />

country and garnering AED 550B worth<br />

of foreign direct investments by 2031,<br />

which is set to reach AED 1T by 2051.<br />

In 2021, the UAE attracted foreign direct<br />

investments valued at $20.7B, representing<br />

a 4% increase from the previous year, and<br />

making it the top recipient in West Asia,<br />

the Middle East, and North Africa. <strong>The</strong><br />

Institute of International <strong>Finance</strong> has<br />

predicted that foreign direct investment<br />

inflows to the country will continue to<br />

grow, with an expected value of $22B in<br />

2022, accounting for 4.3% of the country’s<br />

gross domestic product (GDP). This reflects<br />

the trust and confidence of investors and<br />

business people in the UAE as a global<br />

hub for investment and trade.<br />

Diversifying investment options in the<br />

United Arab Emirates has the potential to<br />

double its GDP. For instance, Khaldoon<br />

Al Mubarak, Co-Chief of Mubadala<br />

Investment, suggested that increasing<br />

investments in non-oil sectors could<br />

lead to a doubling of the UAE’s GDP<br />

and accelerate economic growth. He<br />

recommended investing in fields such<br />

as life sciences, clean energy, aerospace,<br />

and healthcare to ensure sustainable<br />

development. Al Mubarak made these<br />

comments the Investopia Conference<br />

in Abu Dhabi.<br />

On a global scale, the primary challenge to<br />

development is the absence of collaborative<br />

efforts to tackle shared problems,<br />

particularly the most critical danger to<br />

the planet, which is the climate crisis.<br />

Al Mubarak emphasized the need for<br />

individuals to recognize that climate<br />

change is the most significant threat to<br />

humanity, stressing the need to “prepare<br />

ourselves and our children for what’s<br />

to come,” because “future generations<br />

would be living in a world that is very<br />

different.” According to Al Mubarak,<br />

the UAE government is dedicated to<br />

addressing this challenge by promoting<br />

collaboration and finding solutions. Al<br />

Mubarak added that the government is<br />

already in the process of implementing<br />

plans to boost economic growth.<br />

According to Al Mubarak, the UAE’s<br />

GDP increased by 7.6% in 2022, and the<br />

non-oil foreign trade saw significant<br />

growth, reaching over AED 2T, a 17%<br />

increase from 2021. He cited the UAE’s<br />

achievements such as the Mission to<br />

Mars, the Abraham Accords, and CEPA<br />

deals with India, Indonesia, and Israel<br />

as examples of how collaboration can<br />

help tackle complex challenges.<br />

In conclusion, the launch of Investopia’s<br />

“Marketplace” platform marks an exciting<br />

new chapter in the UAE’s efforts to promote<br />

global collaboration among investors,<br />

business leaders, and governments. <strong>The</strong><br />

platform’s launch during the Investopia<br />

Conference in Abu Dhabi emphasizes<br />

the country’s competitive and flexible<br />

investment policies that have helped<br />

to improve its investment climate and<br />

establish its position as a significant<br />

player in the global investment arena.<br />

By creating a comprehensive and<br />

readily available source of information,<br />

the “Marketplace” aims to become the<br />

preferred platform for investment projects,<br />

providing investor communities with the<br />

opportunity to view project evaluations<br />

that align with their investment strategies<br />

and portfolios. This initiative is set to<br />

achieve a lofty objective of speeding<br />

up the investment attraction process in<br />

the country.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 71

Funding and Investment News<br />

Abu Dhabi Invests in<br />

<strong>World</strong>’s Largest Cargo<br />

Drone for UAE Headquarters<br />

Dronamics, the world’s largest<br />

cargo drone airline, has<br />

secured funding from the<br />

Strategic Development Fund<br />

(SDF), backed by Abu Dhabi, in a preseries<br />

A funding round. <strong>The</strong> funding,<br />

which raised $40M from venture capital<br />

funds and angel investors across 12<br />

countries, will enable Dronamics to<br />

expand its capacity and establish<br />

operations in the UAE as one of the<br />

main hubs for the Middle East and North<br />

Africa region. <strong>The</strong> SDF’s investment<br />

is the first step in creating a joint<br />

venture with Dronamics to establish<br />

a manufacturing and operations base<br />

in the UAE, with additional significant<br />

investment to follow.<br />

Ruwad Increases Direct Financing Ceiling by Over<br />

100%<br />

Ruwad, a Sharjah-based foundation<br />

that supports entrepreneurship,<br />

has increased its<br />

funding for pilot projects by<br />

more than 100% for the current year.<br />

<strong>The</strong> funding has been raised from AED<br />

2.5M in 2022 to AED 6M, with the aim of<br />

enabling entrepreneurs to expand their<br />

projects and take advantage of available<br />

opportunities in various fields. This<br />

move is in line with Ruwad’s objective<br />

of supporting citizens of the emirate<br />

to enhance their contribution to the<br />

national economy. <strong>The</strong> decision was<br />

taken during a meeting of the Foundation’s<br />

Project <strong>Finance</strong> Committee,<br />

attended by senior officials including<br />

Sultan Abdullah bin Hadda Al Suwaidi<br />

and Hamad Ali Abdullah Al Mahmoud.<br />

Hub71 and Investible team up to expand venture<br />

capital access for startups<br />

Start-up Funding in<br />

Smaller MENA Countries<br />

Reaches $468M<br />

in 2022<br />

According to a report by Magnitt,<br />

start-up funding in smaller<br />

Middle East and North<br />

African (MENA) countries<br />

has surged to $468M in 2022, compared<br />

to $176M in 2021. <strong>The</strong> report<br />

identified several factors contributing<br />

to the growth, including increased<br />

interest from international investors,<br />

the emergence of new incubators and<br />

accelerators, and more favourable government<br />

policies. Among the smaller<br />

MENA countries, Lebanon saw the<br />

most significant increase, with funding<br />

rising from $11M in 2021 to $116M in<br />

2022. Other countries seeing significant<br />

growth include Oman, Bahrain,<br />

and Kuwait.<br />

72 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Abu Dhabi’s tech ecosystem,<br />

Hub71, has teamed up with<br />

Asia-Pacific venture capital<br />

firm Investible to expand the<br />

access to venture capital for early-stage<br />

startups and tech companies in the<br />

UAE capital. Startups at Hub71 will<br />

get access to Investible’s Early-Stage<br />

Funds, worth approximately AUD180m<br />

under management, as well as its global<br />

network of over 130 high-net-worth<br />

investors in Club Investible. <strong>The</strong> partnership<br />

will also provide mentorship<br />

programmes and events for founders<br />

scaling early-stage startups. Additionally,<br />

ClimateTech startups will benefit<br />

from Investible’s Climate Tech Fund<br />

and Global Climate Tech Strategy, and<br />

will work with a team of investment,<br />

climate, and sustainability experts.

Peninsula Real Estate in talks with Abu Dhabi firm<br />

over pre-IPO funding<br />

Peninsula Real Estate is reportedly<br />

in discussions with Yas<br />

Holding, an Abu Dhabi-based<br />

investment group, to secure<br />

funding before its planned IPO, according<br />

to anonymous sources. <strong>The</strong><br />

IPO is expected to take place in Abu<br />

Dhabi during the first half of <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

and the sources suggest it could raise<br />

around $550M. <strong>The</strong> potential size of Yas<br />

Holding’s investment is unknown, and<br />

the discussions are ongoing. Peninsula<br />

had previously considered listing a real<br />

estate investment trust in London but<br />

abandoned those plans in favour of an<br />

IPO in Abu Dhabi due to a variety of<br />

factors, including the strength of the<br />

local market and government initiatives.<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin<br />

Rashid approves $100B<br />

Asian Infrastructure Investment<br />

Bank Office in UAE<br />

<strong>The</strong> Asian Infrastructure<br />

Investment Bank (AIIB) is<br />

set to establish an office in the<br />

UAE. <strong>The</strong> AIIB, which has 57<br />

member countries and an initial capital<br />

of $100B, aims to drive infrastructure<br />

investments and promote accelerated<br />

development in Asia. <strong>The</strong> UAE was<br />

unanimously chosen by the AIIB’s Board<br />

of Directors. <strong>The</strong> Cabinet also approved<br />

the UAE Circular Economy Policy 2031,<br />

which includes 22 policies related to<br />

sustainable transport, food production<br />

and consumption, manufacturing, and<br />

green infrastructure. Additionally,<br />

the Cabinet passed four international<br />

agreements and approved the ‘UAE<br />

Award for Market Leadership’.<br />

UAE’s Mubadala & Stone<br />

Point to Acquire 20% of<br />

Truist Insurance for $1.95B<br />

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala<br />

Investment Company and<br />

private equity firm Stone<br />

Point Capital are set to<br />

acquire a 20% stake in Truist Insurance<br />

Holdings for $1.95B. <strong>The</strong> subsidiary<br />

of Truist Financial Corporation is<br />

the sixth-largest insurance broker<br />

in the US and operates more than<br />

240 offices through its subsidiaries.<br />

<strong>The</strong> deal, which includes other coinvestors,<br />

values the broker at $14.75B<br />

and is expected to close in Q2 <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

After the transaction, Truist Financial<br />

Corporation will retain an 80% stake in<br />

Truist Insurance Holdings. Mubadala’s<br />

portfolio spans various sectors and asset<br />

classes with a total value of $284B.<br />

Saudi Arabia provides a $5B deposit to the Central<br />

Bank of Turkey<br />

Saudi Arabia has agreed to deposit<br />

$5B in the Central Bank<br />

of Turkey, as per an agreement<br />

signed by the Saudi Fund for<br />

Development (SFD). <strong>The</strong> announcement<br />

follows Saudi Minister of <strong>Finance</strong><br />

Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan’s<br />

statement in December about the<br />

country’s plan to make the deposit.<br />

While Turkey’s net foreign exchange<br />

reserves had improved since last summer’s<br />

low of just over $6B, the reserves<br />

lost $8.5B since a deadly earthquake<br />

hit the country in February, leaving<br />

over 45,000 people dead and millions<br />

homeless. <strong>The</strong> deposit was signed by<br />

SFD Chairman Ahmed Aqeel Al-Khateeb<br />

and Turkish Central Bank Governor<br />

Sahap Kavcioglu.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 73

Digital Assets<br />

Are NFTs Digital Assets? What Should<br />

You Know Before Investing in NFTs?<br />

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are digital tokens that indicate possession of unique<br />

assets or content, such as tweets, music, movies, and virtual real estate. <strong>The</strong>se tokens<br />

are stored on the blockchain, which is a decentralized digital ledger that records<br />

transactions and confirms the validity and ownership of an asset. Are NFTs classified<br />

as digital assets? What factors should you take into account before investing in NFTs?<br />

Continue reading to learn more.<br />

NFTs are digital assets<br />

that represent Internet<br />

collectibles like art,<br />

music, and games with<br />

an authentic certificate created by<br />

blockchain technology that underlies<br />

Cryptocurrency. NFTs are typically<br />

generated using the same programming<br />

methods as cryptocurrencies and<br />

are based on blockchain technology.<br />

Unlike other cryptographic assets, they<br />

cannot be exchanged or traded in the<br />

same manner.<br />

<strong>The</strong> term NFT implies that it is<br />

distinct and cannot be substituted<br />

or swapped out because it possesses<br />

special characteristics. Unlike physical<br />

currency and cryptocurrency, which<br />

are fungible and can be traded or<br />

exchanged for each other.<br />

An NFT is a non-fungible token,<br />

implying that it possesses distinct<br />

characteristics that prevent it from being<br />

replaced or traded interchangeably.<br />

It is a digital asset that represents<br />

collectibles on the internet, such as art,<br />

music, and games, and is authenticated<br />

by blockchain technology, which<br />

is the underlying technology for<br />

cryptocurrency. It is unique and cannot<br />

be counterfeited or manipulated. NFTs<br />

are exchanged on specialized sites<br />

using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.<br />

How NFTs Work<br />

Most NFTs are found on Ethereum’s<br />

blockchain, a decentralized public<br />

database that documents transactions.<br />

NFTs are tokens containing valuable<br />

data, and like physical artwork, they<br />

can be purchased and sold based on<br />

market value and demand. <strong>The</strong>ir distinct<br />

data allows for simple validation of<br />

ownership and transfer of ownership<br />

between individuals.<br />

NFTs are generated by a procedure<br />

called minting, which entails recording<br />

the NFT data on a blockchain. <strong>The</strong><br />

NFTs have the<br />

potential to simplify<br />

investment processes,<br />

such as tokenizing<br />

real estate and<br />

dividing a property<br />

into several parts,<br />

each with different<br />

characteristics.<br />

v<br />

74 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

v<br />

minting process involves creating a new<br />

block, verifying the NFT information<br />

by a validator, and closing the block.<br />

Smart contracts are often employed in<br />

this minting process to assign ownership<br />

and regulate NFT transferability.<br />

When tokens are minted, they are<br />

allocated a distinct identifier that<br />

corresponds directly to a blockchain<br />

address. Every token has an owner,<br />

and the ownership details, such as the<br />

address where the minted token resides,<br />

are publicly accessible. Even if several<br />

identical NFTs are minted, each token<br />

has a unique identifier, and they can be<br />

distinguished from one another. This<br />

is analogous to how general admission<br />

tickets to a movie are issued.<br />

Examples of NFTs<br />

<strong>The</strong> NFT market began with a focus<br />

on digital art and collectibles, but it<br />

has since expanded. OpenSea, a wellknown<br />

NFT marketplace, now offers<br />

various NFT categories, such as:<br />

Photography: Photographers can<br />

create tokens for their work and sell<br />

either full or partial ownership.<br />

Sports: Collections of digital<br />

art featuring celebrities and sports<br />

personalities.<br />

Trading cards: Tokenized digital<br />

trading cards that can either be<br />

collectibles or traded in video games.<br />

Utility: NFTs that can serve as proof<br />

of membership or provide access to<br />

exclusive benefits.<br />

Virtual worlds: NFTs that grant<br />

ownership of items ranging from avatar<br />

wearables to digital property.<br />

Art: An all-encompassing category<br />

that includes everything from pixel to<br />

abstract art.<br />

Collectibles: Examples of NFTs in<br />

this category include Bored Ape Yacht<br />

Club, Crypto Punks, and Pudgy Panda.<br />

Domain names: NFTs that signify<br />

ownership of domain names for your<br />

website(s).<br />

Music: Artists can tokenize their<br />

music, giving buyers the rights that<br />

the artist wishes to provide.<br />

How to Buy NFTs and Start Investing<br />

Once you have comprehended the<br />

applications and unique benefits of<br />

NFTs, you might consider investing in<br />

them. To do so, you will require certain<br />

essential items:<br />

Prospective<br />

investors must<br />

carry out thorough<br />

research before<br />

making any<br />

investment<br />

decisions regarding<br />

NFTs.<br />

• A digital wallet that permits you<br />

to store both your NFTs and<br />

cryptocurrencies.<br />

• You must buy cryptocurrencies,<br />

such as Ether, depending on which<br />

currencies your NFT provider<br />

accepts.<br />

• Once you have purchased your<br />

cryptocurrency, you can transfer it<br />

from the exchange to your wallet.<br />

• Keep in mind that several exchanges<br />

charge a small percentage of your<br />

cryptocurrency purchase transaction<br />

as fees.<br />

NFTs have the potential to simplify<br />

investment processes. For instance,<br />

real estate can be tokenized. A property<br />

can be divided into several parts, each<br />

with different characteristics, such as<br />

being closer to the lake or the forest.<br />

Each piece of land can be unique, priced<br />

differently, and represented by an NFT.<br />

With relevant metadata incorporated<br />

into a unique NFT associated with<br />

each section of the property, real<br />

estate trading can be simplified. This<br />

is a significant advantage since real<br />

estate trading is often a complicated<br />

and bureaucratic process.<br />

NFTs can also represent ownership<br />

in businesses, just like stocks. Stocks’<br />

ownership is already tracked through<br />

ledgers that contain information such<br />

as the stockholder’s name, date of<br />

issuance, certificate number, and the<br />

number of shares. Using blockchain<br />

and NFTs to represent shares provides<br />

the same function as stocks. <strong>The</strong><br />

primary advantage of using NFTs and<br />

blockchain over a stock ledger is that<br />

smart contracts can automate the<br />

transfer of ownership. Once an NFT<br />

share is sold, the blockchain can take<br />

care of the rest.<br />

Prior to making any investment<br />

decisions, prospective investors<br />

should be aware of the advantages and<br />

disadvantages of investing in NFTs. It<br />

is essential to consider the following:<br />

Advantages of Investing in NFTs:<br />

1. Unique ownership: NFTs provide<br />

exclusive ownership of a single<br />

digital asset or data, which can have<br />

significant financial and sentimental<br />

value.<br />

2. Possibility of big returns on<br />

investment: <strong>The</strong> potential for<br />

substantial investment gains exists,<br />

as evidenced by the multi-milliondollar<br />

sales of certain NFTs.<br />

3. Diversification: Investing in NFTs<br />

allows for portfolio diversification<br />

beyond conventional assets such as<br />

stocks and bonds.<br />

4. Support for creators: By investing<br />

in NFTs, investors can support artists<br />

and content creators, potentially<br />

helping them advance in their careers.<br />

Disadvantages of Investing in NFTs:<br />

1. Volatility and risk: NFTs can<br />

be subject to unpredictable price<br />

fluctuations and speculative<br />

behaviour.<br />

2. Lack of regulation: <strong>The</strong> NFT market<br />

is largely unregulated, which could<br />

expose investors to uncertainty and<br />

potential risks.<br />

3. High transaction costs: Purchasing<br />

and selling NFTs on certain blockchain<br />

networks can be expensive due to<br />

high transaction fees.<br />

4. Low liquidity: NFTs may not be<br />

easy to sell quickly due to their low<br />

liquidity.<br />

Before investing in NFTs, potential<br />

investors should consider the benefits<br />

and risks associated with them. In<br />

addition, consumers should thoroughly<br />

research the specific NFTs they are<br />

interested in, as well as the blockchain<br />

technology that supports them and the<br />

legal and regulatory issues associated<br />

with NFT ownership. It is also essential<br />

to avoid investing solely based on hype<br />

or speculation and to only invest what<br />

can be afforded to lose. While NFTs can<br />

offer exciting investment prospects,<br />

investors should approach them with<br />

caution and conduct adequate research<br />

before investing.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 75

Stock Market<br />

ADNOC Gas makes record-breaking<br />

market debut in ADX<br />

ADNOC Gas, a top-notch gas processing company, has listed its shares and started<br />

trading on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), after finishing the most massive<br />

IPO ever done on the ADX and the most extensive global IPO in <strong>2023</strong> so far.<br />

According to ADX’s press<br />

release, Abu Dhabi National<br />

Oil Company PJSC (ADNOC)<br />

raised around $2.5B<br />

(equivalent to approximately AED<br />

9.1B) by selling approximately 5% of<br />

ADNOC Gas’ total issued share capital<br />

in an IPO. <strong>The</strong> offering garnered an<br />

overwhelming response, with total<br />

demand exceeding $124B (equivalent<br />

to over AED 450B), oversubscribed by<br />

more than 50 times.<br />

<strong>The</strong> international institutional<br />

investors (excluding UAE) also showed<br />

remarkable interest, with orders<br />

amounting to about $25B (equivalent<br />

to approximately AED 92B), which<br />

is approximately 10 times the total<br />

offering size.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ADNOC Gas IPO has given both<br />

local and global investors a chance to<br />

own a share in a top-tier, large-scale gas<br />

processing company, which operates<br />

along the entire gas value chain. ADNOC<br />

Gas has access to almost all of the<br />

UAE’s natural gas reserves, which<br />

are the seventh largest worldwide,<br />

<strong>The</strong> Abu Dhabi capital market has remained highly<br />

active, building on the strong IPO and listing momentum<br />

garnered over 2022, despite the muted global outlook.<br />

(H.E. Hisham Khalid Malak, Chairman of ADX)<br />

v<br />

76 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

according to the press release.<br />

Moreover, it supplies over 60% of<br />

the UAE’s sales gas demand, has a<br />

diverse customer base in more than<br />

20 countries, and earned an adjusted<br />

revenue (as defined in the International<br />

Offering Memorandum) of $21.1B and<br />

net income of $4.2B for the ten months<br />

ended on 31 October 2022. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

is strategically positioned to benefit<br />

from the growing global demand for<br />

natural gas and is committed to future<br />

ADX continues to<br />

showcase its ability<br />

to deliver value as<br />

both a leading market<br />

for issuers and a<br />

global destination for<br />

investor capital.<br />

(Saeed Hamad Al Dhaheri, CEO &<br />

MD of ADX)<br />

dividend payouts, the PR says.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Company plans to distribute<br />

dividends of $1.625B in Q4 <strong>2023</strong> for<br />

the first half-yearly period ended 31<br />

December <strong>2023</strong> and an additional<br />

$1.625B in Q2 2024 for the second<br />

half-yearly period. It aims to boost its<br />

annual dividend target of $3.25B (equal<br />

to the yearly dividend for <strong>2023</strong>) by 5%<br />

per year on a per-share basis between<br />

2024 and 2027.<br />

His Excellency Hisham Khalid Malak,<br />

Chairman of ADX, said: “ADNOC<br />

Gas’ highly successful IPO is not only<br />

testament to the company’s strong<br />

growth and value proposition, but also<br />

speaks to the strong confidence in the<br />

Emirate’s robust market fundamentals<br />

and status as a premier investment<br />

destination.”<br />

ADNOC Gas is the fifth company<br />

that ADNOC has successfully brought<br />

to market, and the IPO’s outstanding<br />

achievement is the result of its ongoing<br />

value creation initiative. ADNOC has<br />

played a significant role in supporting<br />

the growth and development of the UAE<br />

economy and its capital markets. As<br />

part of this growth program, ADNOC<br />

will continue to find ways to expand its<br />

investor base and access to capital, as<br />

the PR states. This approach will give<br />

both domestic and foreign investors the<br />

chance to invest in ADNOC’s top-notch<br />

energy assets.<br />

Ahmed Alebri, Acting Chief Executive<br />

Officer of ADNOC Gas, added: “As<br />

ADNOC Gas moves into life as a listed<br />

company, we remain focused on our<br />

clear growth strategy, underpinned by<br />

upstream capacity expansion, which<br />

will allow us to process and deliver<br />

increased volumes to customers, further<br />

enhancement of our product mix and<br />

ensuring we deliver for our growing<br />

number of international customers as<br />

demand for gas continues to increase.”<br />

According to the aforementioned<br />

PR, ADNOC and ADNOC Gas have<br />

a steadfast dedication to achieving<br />

sustainable growth and long-term<br />

advantages for Abu Dhabi, the UAE,<br />

and their investors. Trading of ADNOC<br />

Gas’ shares on the ADX began at 10:00<br />

AM (GST) on March 13, <strong>2023</strong>, using<br />

the ticker symbol “ADNOCGAS” and<br />

ISIN “AEE01195A234”. Following the<br />

Admission, ADNOC controls about 90%<br />

of ADNOC Gas’ issued share capital.<br />

Moelis & Company UK LLP DIFC<br />

Branch acted as the Independent<br />

Financial Advisor to the Company.<br />

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC and HSBC<br />

Bank Middle East Limited served as<br />

the Joint Global Coordinators for the<br />

ADNOC Gas IPO. Joint Bookrunners<br />

were Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank<br />

PJSC, Arqaam Capital Limited, BNP<br />

PARIBAS, Deutsche Bank AG, London<br />

Branch, EFG-Hermes UAE Limited<br />

(working in conjunction with EFG<br />

Hermes UAE LLC), and International<br />

Securities L.L.C.<br />

Additionally, First Abu Dhabi Bank<br />

PJSC acted as the Lead Receiving Bank,<br />

while Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank<br />

PJSC, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC,<br />

and Al Maryah Community Bank served<br />

as the Receiving Banks. Moreover, the<br />

Offering has received a confirmation<br />

from the Shariah Supervision Committee<br />

of First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC that it is<br />

in compliance with Shariah principles.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 77

Wheels<br />


<strong>The</strong> Bentley Continental GT<br />

is a grand touring coupe that<br />

offers an exceptional blend<br />

of performance, luxury, and<br />

style. It is a flagship model from the<br />

renowned British automaker Bentley<br />

Motors.<br />

Under the hood, the Continental GT<br />

features two powerful turbocharged<br />

variants, a 4.0-liter V-8 engine that<br />

delivers an impressive 542 bhp and<br />

568 lb-ft of torque and a 6.0-litre W-12<br />

engine that delivers an impressive 650<br />

bhp. With the 4.0-litre turbocharged<br />

engine variant, the car can accelerate<br />

from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds<br />

and has a top speed of 318 km/h,<br />

making it one of the fastest cars in its<br />

class. One of the standouts features<br />

of the Bentley Continental GT is its<br />

luxurious interior. <strong>The</strong> car features<br />

premium materials and craftsmanship<br />

throughout the cabin, including highquality<br />

leather upholstery, real wood<br />

veneers, and metal accents. <strong>The</strong> seats<br />

are comfortable and supportive, with<br />

ample legroom and headroom for both<br />

front and rear passengers. <strong>The</strong> Bentley<br />

Continental GT also offers a wide range<br />

of advanced technology features. <strong>The</strong><br />

car includes a high-tech infotainment<br />

system with a large touchscreen display,<br />

Bluetooth connectivity, and a premium<br />

sound system. It also features a suite<br />

of driver assistance systems, such as<br />

blind spot monitoring, lane departure<br />

warning, and adaptive cruise control.<br />

<strong>The</strong> car also has a 360-degree camera<br />

system that provides a comprehensive<br />

view of the car’s surroundings.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Bentley Continental GT is a<br />

truly exceptional grand touring coupe<br />

that offers a winning combination of<br />

performance, luxury, and technology.<br />

It is a perfect car for those who seek a<br />

high-end driving experience and want<br />

to make a statement wherever they go.<br />

78 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Specifications<br />

Horsepower: 542 bhp<br />

Torque: 568 lb-ft<br />

Acceleration: 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 79

Corporate Tax<br />

UAE’s Federal Tax Authority Sets the<br />

Ground to a Seamless Corporate Tax<br />

System<br />

<strong>The</strong> Federal Tax Authority (FTA) in the UAE has recently announced measures to<br />

establish a seamless corporate tax system in the country. <strong>The</strong> new system aims to<br />

streamline tax administration and improve compliance, making it easier for businesses<br />

to meet their tax obligations. In this article, we will highlight the FTA’s latest efforts,<br />

which are part of the UAE’s ongoing efforts to diversify its economy and reduce its<br />

reliance on oil revenue, while also ensuring that the country’s tax regime is aligned<br />

with international standards.<br />

80 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> Customer Councils initiative aims to<br />

improve government services by aligning with<br />

customer needs, improving communication,<br />

and streamlining service access.<br />

<strong>The</strong> FTA recently introduced a<br />

new feature to the EmaraTax<br />

platform that allows tax system<br />

registrants to use their UAE<br />

PASS digital identity for all procedures<br />

and services. <strong>The</strong> FTA collaborated<br />

with relevant authorities to ensure<br />

the highest standards of security,<br />

confidentiality, and accuracy of<br />

information and procedures.<br />

<strong>The</strong> primary goal of the new feature<br />

is to improve user experience, speed up<br />

processes, and meet the aspirations of<br />

customers. Moreover, the introduction<br />

of the new feature is part of the UAE’s<br />

wider digital transformation initiative.<br />

Abdulla Al Bastaki, Executive Director<br />

of the Information Technology Sector at<br />

the FTA, has urged all FTA customers<br />

to activate their UAE PASS accounts<br />

and utilize the new feature to access the<br />

Authority’s services easily and quickly<br />

from their devices and smartphones<br />

without the need to create new login<br />

details.<br />

Al Bastaki explained that launching<br />

the single sign-on feature using UAE<br />

PASS forms part of the continuous<br />

development and upgrading of<br />

government services, using the UAE’s<br />

advanced digital infrastructure, which is<br />

among the most developed not only in<br />

the region but also internationally. “All of<br />

this was made possible by the forwardlooking<br />

vision of our wise leadership,<br />

which aims to forecast the future with<br />

strategies and initiatives designed to<br />

enhance the efficiency of government<br />

systems, improve quality of life for<br />

individuals, establish a sustainable<br />

environment, and promote happiness<br />

and wellbeing in the community,” he<br />

said. “<strong>The</strong> agreement also aims to offer<br />

an added value for users, allowing them<br />

to save time, cost, and effort, while<br />

offering them faster processing time<br />

for services and increased flexibility<br />

of data communication.”<br />

On the other hand, <strong>The</strong> FTA has<br />

initiated a ‘Customer Council’ program<br />

to enhance the quality of government<br />

services by engaging customers in<br />

the process of designing innovative<br />

experiences around their own ideas and<br />

suggestions. As part of this initiative,<br />

the FTA convened a Customer Council<br />

meeting at Majlis Umm Suqiem in Dubai<br />

to discuss ways to bolster tax culture<br />

and meet customers’ expectations.<br />

<strong>The</strong> session brought together<br />

representatives from various business<br />

sectors and stakeholders from the tax<br />

sector. During the meeting, FTA experts<br />

provided an overview of the UAE tax<br />

system and its advanced procedures<br />

that encourage voluntary compliance<br />

among businesses with easy and quick<br />

processes that are in accordance with<br />

best practices.<br />

During the Customer Council<br />

organized by the FTA, various issues<br />

related to the tax system, procedures,<br />

and legislation were discussed. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

included procedures for submitting<br />

requests for reconsideration, requests<br />

to pay administrative penalties in<br />

installments or be exempt from them,<br />

procedures and required documents<br />

for registration and deregistration,<br />

procedures for submitting voluntary<br />

declaration requests, and documents<br />

required to submit refund requests.<br />

<strong>The</strong> council also discussed the services<br />

provided by the Authority and its future<br />

directions. It was emphasized that all<br />

requirements must be adhered to and<br />

that the Authority-approved forms<br />

should be used.<br />

Furthermore, the FTA discussed<br />

typical mistakes that people make during<br />

registration, tax return submission, and<br />

payment of taxes, and provided tips on<br />

how to avoid them. FTA experts also<br />

fielded questions from representatives<br />

of various business sectors and listened<br />

to their opinions and suggestions for<br />

improving FTA services and procedures,<br />

which is a key objective of the FTA’s<br />

Customer Council initiative. <strong>The</strong> FTA<br />

reiterated its commitment to holding<br />

these meetings regularly in order to<br />

promote tax awareness across all<br />

business sectors and to provide them<br />

with the necessary information and<br />

support to overcome any challenges<br />

they may face.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Customer Council initiative<br />

aims to align government services<br />

with customer needs, improve<br />

communication, and streamline the<br />

process for accessing services. It<br />

also seeks to identify innoVATive<br />

ways to enhance government services<br />

and establish effective and direct<br />

communication channels with<br />

customers from different segments,<br />

providing opportunities to present ideas<br />

and initiatives that serve them, as well<br />

as explore ways to improve services.<br />

Additionally, the initiative provides a<br />

platform to present key projects that<br />

were developed based on feedback<br />

and suggestions received during the<br />

Customer Council meetings.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 81

Corporate Results<br />

Yanbu Cement<br />

FY22 Net Profit: $57.46M<br />

Yanbu Cement Company, a Saudi-based<br />

firm, recorded a net profit of SAR 215.41M<br />

($57.46M) after Zakat and tax in 2022,<br />

a 35% YoY increase from SAR 159.56M.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s revenues also rose by<br />

5.05% YoY to SAR 981.17M from SAR<br />

934.03M in 2021. Additionally, earnings<br />

per share increased from SAR 1.01 in<br />

2021 to SAR 1.37 in 2022. In December<br />

2022, Yanbu Cement paid SAR 118.12M as<br />

cash dividends for H2 2022. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

had a net profit of SAR 156.24M in the<br />

first nine months of 2022, up 4.38% YoY<br />

from SAR 149.69M.<br />

FAB<br />

Q4’22 Net Profit: 26%<br />

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

largest lender, reported a net profit of<br />

AED 2.46B in Q4 2022, down 26% YoY<br />

due to higher impairment charges and<br />

operating expenses. <strong>The</strong> full-year net<br />

profit of AED 13.41B was 7% higher<br />

YoY but missed Refinitiv’s analysts’<br />

estimates for both the quarter and<br />

year. <strong>The</strong> bank’s impairment charges<br />

were 55% higher YoY at AED 1.1B,<br />

while operating expenses increased<br />

by 35% YoY to AED 2B. FAB’s board<br />

recommended a cash dividend of 52<br />

fils per share for FY 2022, up from 49<br />

fils in 2021. CEO Hana Al Rostamani<br />

warned of global inflation and economic<br />

slowdown impacting the region.<br />

MoF (Preliminary State-Level<br />

Government <strong>Finance</strong> Statistics)<br />

Q422 State-Level<br />

Revenues: AED 143.1B<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ministry of <strong>Finance</strong> (MoF) in<br />

the UAE has released its preliminary<br />

government finance statistics report for<br />

Q4 2022, indicating positive growth in<br />

various areas. <strong>The</strong> report is based on<br />

the standards set by the Government<br />

<strong>Finance</strong> Statistics Manual issued by the<br />

International Monetary Fund. <strong>The</strong> open<br />

data policy of the UAE has allowed for<br />

the transparency and accessibility of<br />

these results. <strong>The</strong> state-level revenues<br />

increased from AED 133.9B in Q4 2021<br />

to AED 143.1B in Q4 2022, with the<br />

value of tax revenues increasing from<br />

AED 58.0B to AED 75.0B. Expenditures<br />

reached AED 120.3B in Q4 2022, with a<br />

significant increase in the value of net<br />

lending/borrowing from AED (-2.2)B<br />

in Q4 2021 to AED 22.8B in Q4 2022.<br />

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

FY22 Net Profit: $1.23B<br />

DP <strong>World</strong>, the Dubai-based global port<br />

operator, announced a 37% rise in its<br />

2022 net profit, amounting to $1.23B, on<br />

the back of strong revenue growth. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s revenue increased by 59%<br />

to $17.13B, supported by acquisitions<br />

and like-for-like growth driven by solid<br />

performance in ports and terminals, and<br />

marine services. DP <strong>World</strong>’s adjusted<br />

EBITDA grew 31% to $5B, with an<br />

adjusted EBITDA margin of 29.3%. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s capital expenditure guidance<br />

for <strong>2023</strong> is approximately $1.7B, which<br />

will be invested in various locations.<br />

However, DP <strong>World</strong> CEO Sultan Ahmed<br />

Bin Sulayem warned that growth rates<br />

may soften in <strong>2023</strong> due to the more<br />

challenging macro and geopolitical<br />

environment.<br />

Damac<br />

FY22 Net Profit: $382M<br />

Damac, a Dubai-based real estate<br />

developer, has announced a 2022 profit<br />

of $382M after going private last year.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company was de-listed from Dubai<br />

Financial Market following a takeover<br />

by its chairman and founder’s vehicle,<br />

Maple Invest Limited. Despite posting<br />

a loss of AED 528M in 2021, Damac’s<br />

revenue for 2022 increased to AED<br />

3B from AED 2.967B the previous<br />

year. <strong>The</strong> financial results documents<br />

posted on Nasdaq Dubai by Cayman<br />

incorporated Alpha Star Holding V<br />

Limited reported Damac’s assets to<br />

be at AED 21.6B, slightly down from<br />

AED 22.318B in 2021.<br />

Multiply Group<br />

FY22 Net Profit: $5B<br />

Abu Dhabi’s Multiply Group has<br />

announced impressive financial<br />

results for 2022, reporting a net profit<br />

of AED18.56B ($5B). This growth<br />

was primarily driven by the strong<br />

performance of the Group’s investments<br />

and the expansion of its operating<br />

portfolio. Despite global economic<br />

challenges, most of its subsidiaries<br />

recorded growth in operating profits,<br />

reflecting the strength of their industries<br />

and businesses. Notably, Emirates<br />

Driving Company saw a 51% increase<br />

in growth, while Viola Communications<br />

experienced a significant 203% surge,<br />

supported by the post-COVID-19 event<br />

and media spending and the expanding<br />

economy. <strong>The</strong> Group invested over<br />

AED 12B ($3.3B) in 2022, strategically<br />

targeting high-growth industries such<br />

as energy, which resulted in sustained<br />

increases in shareholder value.<br />

82 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

TECOM<br />

Q4 Net Profit: $24M<br />

TECOM Group, the Dubai-based<br />

business park operator, has reported<br />

strong Q4 2022 earnings, with a net<br />

profit of AED 87M ($24M) due to<br />

increased demand for its commercial<br />

and industrial properties. Full-year<br />

earnings for 2022 rose by 28% YoY<br />

to AED 725.6M, driven by growth in<br />

occupancy rates and an increase in<br />

new customers. However, Q4 profits<br />

missed analysts’ median estimates of<br />

AED 185.6M, according to Refinitiv<br />

data. Despite this, TECOM’s board of<br />

directors has recommended a dividend<br />

payment of AED 200M (4.0 fils per<br />

share) in <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>, bringing the total<br />

for H2 to AED 400M.<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank<br />

FY22 Net Profit: AED 5.6B<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has announced<br />

its impressive financial results for FY<br />

2022, showcasing a record-breaking net<br />

profit of AED 5.6B, up by 26% YoY. <strong>The</strong><br />

bank’s total income also saw a significant<br />

increase of 20% YoY to AED 14B, with<br />

a notable improvement in its Return on<br />

Tangible Equity (RoTE) by 17%, up by<br />

400 bps YoY. DIB’s growth was attributed<br />

to rising core revenues, effective cost<br />

management, and lower impairments.<br />

<strong>The</strong> bank’s proposed dividend of 30%<br />

is subject to shareholder approval in<br />

the AGM. DIB’s strong performance<br />

highlights its position as the largest<br />

Islamic bank in the UAE.<br />

e&<br />

Q422 Net Profit: $730M<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates’ leading<br />

telecommunications company,<br />

e& (formerly Etisalat), has seen a<br />

significant increase in net profit in the<br />

fourth quarter, with a rise of nearly 25%.<br />

<strong>The</strong> surge in the number of subscribers<br />

has been a key factor in driving this<br />

growth, with consolidated net profit<br />

after royalty attributed to the company<br />

owners totalling AED 2.7B ($730M) in<br />

the period from October to December.<br />

This increase has been attributed to<br />

higher income from associates and<br />

lower depreciation and amortisation<br />

expenses. As a result, e& has continued<br />

to strengthen its position as a major<br />

player in the UAE’s telecommunications<br />

sector.<br />

Aramco<br />

FY22 Net Profit: $161.1B<br />

Saudi Aramco has announced its fullyear<br />

2022 financial results, reporting<br />

a record net income of $161.1B – its<br />

highest annual profits as a listed<br />

company. <strong>The</strong> results were driven<br />

by stronger crude oil prices, higher<br />

volumes sold, and improved margins<br />

for refined products. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

continues to strengthen its oil and gas<br />

production capacity and downstream<br />

portfolio to meet anticipated future<br />

demand. Aramco also declared a fourthquarter<br />

dividend of $19.5B to be paid in<br />

the first quarter of <strong>2023</strong>. <strong>The</strong> CEO Amin<br />

H. Nasser highlighted the company’s<br />

commitment to long-term strategy,<br />

energy security, and sustainability,<br />

including investment in new lowercarbon<br />

technologies.<br />

SEC<br />

FY2022 Net Profit:<br />

SAR 15.13B<br />

Saudi Electricity Company (SEC)<br />

recorded a net profit after Zakat and<br />

tax of SAR 15.13B in 2022, up by 5.17%<br />

from SAR 14.39B in 2021. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

earnings per share also rose from SAR<br />

1.62 in 2021 to SAR 1.79 in 2022. SEC<br />

generated revenues of SAR 72.07B in<br />

2022, a 3.95% increase from the previous<br />

year. <strong>The</strong> company’s board members<br />

have recommended a cash dividend of<br />

SAR 0.70 per share for 2022, totalling<br />

SAR 2.91B or 7% of the capital. SEC<br />

will announce the distribution date at<br />

a later time. However, the company’s<br />

net profit during the first nine months<br />

of 2022 fell by 10.08% to SAR 13.39B<br />

from SAR 14.89B in 9M-21.<br />

Gulf International Bank<br />

Q4 Net Profit: $28M<br />

Gulf International Bank, which is<br />

supported by the Public Investment<br />

Fund of Saudi Arabia, has reported<br />

a net profit for the fourth quarter of<br />

2022, driven by strong revenue growth<br />

across all categories in the previous<br />

year. <strong>The</strong> bank reported a net income of<br />

$28M for the quarter ended December,<br />

a significant improvement compared to<br />

a loss of $1M for the same period the<br />

previous year. <strong>The</strong> bank’s total income<br />

during the quarter was over four times<br />

higher than the same period in 2021,<br />

standing at $12.9M. <strong>The</strong> CEO of GIB,<br />

Abdulaziz AlHelaissi, attributed the<br />

positive results to the bank’s prudent,<br />

diversified and solid balance sheet,<br />

well-managed risk, and strong culture.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 83

Travel<br />

Six Lavish Destinations to Escape from<br />

Business-Related Pressure<br />

Taking a luxurious vacation to get away from your business allows you to rest and recharge, both<br />

physically and mentally. When you work hard day in and day out, it’s easy to become burnt out and<br />

overwhelmed. A vacation gives you the opportunity to step back, relax, and regain your energy<br />

so that you can return to work feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. In this article, we suggest six<br />

lavish destinations for you to escape the business-related pressure and gain new experiences that<br />

can benefit you both personally and professionally.<br />

Turtle Island, Fiji<br />

Turtle Island gained worldwide<br />

recognition as a result of its<br />

appearance in the 1980 movie<br />

“<strong>The</strong> Blue Lagoon,” and since<br />

then it has been renowned for its clear<br />

blue waters and stunning beaches. It has<br />

become an exclusive tourist destination,<br />

with room for only 14 couples at a time,<br />

offering the perfect representation<br />

of South Pacific romance through its<br />

peaceful scenery, exotic cuisine, and<br />

luxurious Bures. <strong>The</strong>se are traditional<br />

Fijian huts made of wood and straw, and<br />

they offer stunning views of the Blue<br />

Lagoon. Visitors can enjoy 14 private<br />

beaches, romantic dinners by the sea,<br />

picnics for two, and horseback riding<br />

at sunrise. <strong>The</strong> island also provides<br />

various water activities such as diving,<br />

snorkelling, and swimming. Each<br />

private dwelling, spanning 1,500 square<br />

feet, is equipped with a fully stocked<br />

refrigerator.<br />

Hôtel de la Cité - Carcassonne, France<br />

Carcassone is a picturesque<br />

city that resembles a fairytale<br />

and is well-known for being<br />

one of France’s most famous<br />

medieval walled cities, steeped in history<br />

84 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

and legend. <strong>The</strong> Hôtel de la Cité is the<br />

only accommodation located within<br />

this UNESCO <strong>World</strong> Heritage Site and<br />

offers breath-taking panoramic views of<br />

the walls, which date back to 333 AD.<br />

What better way to enjoy a luxurious<br />

vacation than staying here, where you<br />

can have the entire place to yourself<br />

once the day-trippers have departed.<br />

Your experience begins with a warm<br />

welcome at the foot of Carcassone,<br />

followed by a walk across the Pont<br />

Levis and through the grand entrance<br />

with a stunning wooden fresco depicting<br />

the area’s historic and influential<br />

figures. You can watch an enchanting<br />

sunset while sipping an aperitif before<br />

indulging in a feast fit for royalty at the<br />

Michelin-starred restaurant. <strong>The</strong> hotel<br />

boasts beautiful gardens, an outdoor<br />

pool, and an on-site wine cellar for<br />

tastings, and the lavish rooms offer<br />

modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, iPod<br />

docking stations, flat-screen satellite<br />

TVs, and plush robes and slippers.

Ultima Thule Lodge - Anchorage, Alaska<br />

If you’re looking for a vacation that<br />

involves immersing yourself in a<br />

secluded natural setting, with plenty<br />

of exciting outdoor activities and<br />

opportunities to observe wildlife, all<br />

while indulging in luxurious amenities,<br />

then the Ultima Thule Lodge might be<br />

the perfect choice for you. This high-end<br />

lodge offers an all-inclusive package<br />

in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness,<br />

located 100 miles away from the nearest<br />

road, making it accessible only by<br />

plane. Despite its remote location,<br />

you’ll have access to a wood-fired cedar<br />

sauna and gourmet dining experiences<br />

featuring fresh fish and game, as well<br />

as homemade bread and pastries. <strong>The</strong><br />

package includes flights over Wrangell-<br />

St. Elias National Park, with the chance<br />

to land on glaciers and spot grizzly<br />

bears from above. Additionally, hiking,<br />

fishing, and kayaking activities can be<br />

arranged upon request.<br />

Gleneagles - Auchterarder, Scotland<br />

This expansive sporting hotel<br />

is situated on 850 acres of<br />

Perthshire’s Ochil Hills and<br />

offers the ideal location for a<br />

refreshing outdoor retreat. In addition<br />

to housing three championship golf<br />

courses, the hotel serves as a base for a<br />

diverse range of countryside activities,<br />

including horseback riding, hiking,<br />

fly fishing, and archery, all of which<br />

are accompanied by skilled guides.<br />

<strong>The</strong> hotel itself is grand, refined, and<br />

reminiscent of its early glory days in the<br />

1920s when it first opened. <strong>The</strong>re are<br />

205 rooms and 28 suites, all of which are<br />

luxurious and feature grandiose decor,<br />

such as heavy curtains, large windows<br />

offering panoramic views, freestanding<br />

bathtubs, and beds fit for royalty. You<br />

can indulge in the enormous spa and<br />

choose from a range of eight bars and<br />

restaurants, including the Century Bar,<br />

which boasts over 100 single malts on<br />

its menu, and the Art Deco Strathearn<br />

restaurant. Additionally, if the Scottish<br />

weather turns sour, the hotel provides<br />

guests with complimentary Barbour<br />

jackets and wellies.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 85

Travel<br />

Adare Manor - Co. Limerick, Ireland<br />

Adare hotel has traditional<br />

elements such as heavy velvet<br />

and armour, well-polished<br />

floors, and a well-maintained<br />

gravel driveway, but it’s been reinvented<br />

for a modern country escape, with<br />

no draft excluders and plenty of hot<br />

water in the bathtub that overlooks the<br />

River Maigue’s waterfall. A fascinating<br />

falconry session, which includes an<br />

introduction to captivating owls of all<br />

sizes, is accompanied by an open-faced<br />

grilled-prawn sandwich. <strong>The</strong> Gallery’s<br />

stained-glass fireplace is the perfect<br />

setting for this experience. Despite<br />

the understated lobby and check-in<br />

area, the hotel is a welcoming place<br />

without any pretension, frequented<br />

by a friendly mix of world travellers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> manor recently added an indoor<br />

pool, two paddle tennis courts, a yoga<br />

studio, and a steam room and sauna.<br />

<strong>The</strong> hotel can organize a day trip to the<br />

Cliffs of Moher on the Atlantic coast,<br />

but the recommendation is to visit<br />

the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime<br />

Museum, which is nearby. <strong>The</strong> museum<br />

was the first point of entry to Europe<br />

for transatlantic flights from the U.S.<br />

in the 1940s and is the birthplace of<br />

Irish coffee.<br />

Four Seasons Resort Langkawi - Malaysia<br />

86 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

In 2006, the Four Seasons opened a<br />

luxurious resort on the Langkawi<br />

archipelago in Malaysia. <strong>The</strong> resort<br />

is designed like a traditional<br />

Malay village, but with more luxurious<br />

accommodations and a blend of Indian,<br />

Balinese, and Middle Eastern influences.<br />

<strong>The</strong> beachfront villas are particularly<br />

opulent, featuring private plunge pools<br />

and spa rooms, while even the pavilion<br />

rooms are quite impressive. Notable<br />

features include the infinity lap pool<br />

with cabanas and Moroccan tents for<br />

private dining on the beach. <strong>The</strong> resort’s<br />

staff, who are mostly trained in Balinese<br />

hospitality, are exceptional, and the<br />

bathrooms are particularly noteworthy.<br />

Although it may be tempting to stay on<br />

the resort’s grounds, taking a boat trip<br />

to explore the Kilim River’s mangroves<br />

and the uninhabited outlying islands<br />

is well worth it.

Travel News<br />

Aviation Industry in Middle<br />

East to see significant<br />

growth by 2030<br />

<strong>The</strong> Middle East’s aviation industry<br />

has a promising future, with<br />

significant growth projected in<br />

the coming years. Oliver Wyman’s<br />

recent study indicates that the regional<br />

fleet is expected to expand by 5.1%<br />

annually over the next ten years, while<br />

the MRO sector is forecast to grow at a<br />

CAGR of 4.9% during the same period.<br />

Although the industry depends heavily<br />

on international travel, the region’s air<br />

traffic increased around events such<br />

as the <strong>World</strong> Cup in Qatar last year.<br />

<strong>The</strong> report also reveals that the Middle<br />

East’s share of the global fleet will rise<br />

from 4.9% in <strong>2023</strong> to 6% in 2033, with<br />

narrowbodies driving the fleet’s growth<br />

in the next decade.<br />

Saudi Arabia’s $550B<br />

Tourism Plan sets<br />

sights on new heights<br />

Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry<br />

has seen a significant boost, with<br />

a record 93.5 million domestic<br />

and international visits in 2022,<br />

marking a 121% increase in international<br />

tourism compared to pre-pandemic levels.<br />

As the world’s fastest-growing tourism<br />

destination in the G20, Saudi Arabia has<br />

committed $550B to developing new<br />

destinations by 2030. At this year’s ITB<br />

Berlin, a record number of partners are<br />

promoting trips, hotels, packages, and<br />

cruises in Saudi Arabia. <strong>The</strong> country aims<br />

to increase international air connectivity<br />

from 140 to 250 cities by 2030 to attract<br />

more visitors. <strong>The</strong> preservation of heritage<br />

and history is one of the highlights of the<br />

Saudi tourism experience, with a master<br />

plan to transform Diriyah, a 300-year-old<br />

city and birthplace of the nation.<br />

UAE Winter Tourism<br />

Campaign Spurs $490M<br />

in Hotel Revenue<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s “<strong>World</strong>’s Coolest<br />

Winter” campaign has proven<br />

successful, with a recorded 1.4<br />

million domestic tourists, an<br />

8% increase from the previous edition.<br />

<strong>The</strong> campaign, which received positive<br />

interaction from 100% of the global<br />

audience, also saw over 5.8 million<br />

social media interactions and more<br />

than 18,000 photos and videos on social<br />

media using the #<strong>World</strong>sCoolestWinter<br />

hashtag. <strong>The</strong> campaign’s success in<br />

enhancing the national economy and<br />

supporting domestic tourism aligns<br />

with the UAE Tourism Strategy 2031,<br />

which seeks to attract AED 100B as<br />

additional investments for the tourism<br />

sector and raise its contribution to the<br />

GDP AED 450B in 2031.<br />

Abu Dhabi airport named<br />

world’s best for arrival<br />

experience by passenger<br />

surveys<br />

Abu Dhabi International Airport<br />

has been named the best airport<br />

for arrival experience in the<br />

annual Airport Service Quality<br />

Awards. <strong>The</strong> awards, organized by the<br />

Airports Council International, are based<br />

on live surveys of the experience and<br />

overall satisfaction levels of travellers<br />

departing and arriving at airports.<br />

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International<br />

Airport in the US and Kempegowda<br />

International Airport in India were also<br />

recognized for their customer experience.<br />

Jamal Salem Al Dhaheri, managing director<br />

and chief executive of Abu Dhabi Airports,<br />

said the award was a testament to the<br />

team’s hard work and dedication in<br />

making the airport a welcoming and<br />

comfortable space for all.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 87

Travel News<br />

Oman offers visa-free entry to tourists from over<br />

100 countries<br />

Oman has opened its doors to<br />

tourists from over 100 countries<br />

with visa-free entry for<br />

up to 14 days, according to<br />

reports. Tourists from Portugal, Italy,<br />

Germany, Spain, the US, China, and<br />

Australia, among others, are allowed<br />

visa-free entry. Some Indian tourists<br />

can also obtain a visa on arrival,<br />

provided they have an entry visa of<br />

the US, Canada, the United Kingdom,<br />

Schengen countries, Japan, or have<br />

a resident permit of one of the GCC<br />

countries, and work in a profession<br />

approved by the Oman government.<br />

<strong>The</strong> move is expected to boost the<br />

country’s tourism industry, which has<br />

been hit hard by the pandemic.<br />

GCC countries first to get<br />

UK’s new ETA scheme<br />

<strong>The</strong> UK government has announced<br />

that visitors from the Gulf<br />

Cooperation Council (GCC)<br />

states and Jordan will be the<br />

first to benefit from the new Electronic<br />

Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme. <strong>The</strong><br />

scheme will expand worldwide through<br />

2024, with Qatari visitors being the first<br />

to apply for an ETA in October <strong>2023</strong>. By<br />

applying for an ETA in advance, visitors<br />

can benefit from a smooth and efficient<br />

travel experience. <strong>The</strong> application process<br />

is quick, light-touch, and digital, with<br />

most visitors applying via a mobile app<br />

and receiving a swift decision on their<br />

application. <strong>The</strong> ETA is not a visa but<br />

authorizes an individual to travel to the<br />

UK. On arrival, visitors will still need to<br />

obtain leave to enter by seeing a Border<br />

Force Officer or using an eGate.<br />

Seed Group partners with BizAway to revolutionize<br />

business travel<br />

Seed Group has announced that<br />

it has partnered with BizAway,<br />

an Italian scale-up, to bring its<br />

business travel solutions to<br />

the UAE and the region. BizAway is a<br />

corporate travel agency and technology<br />

company that simplifies every aspect of<br />

business travel by providing a single,<br />

quick solution to book and manage<br />

business trips. With Seed Group’s<br />

guidance, BizAway aims to reach the right<br />

audience, access top decision-makers in<br />

the government and private sectors, and<br />

make business travel easier and more<br />

seamless. <strong>The</strong> strategic partnership is<br />

designed to empower and revolutionize<br />

business travel experiences for customers<br />

in the UAE and the region.<br />

Emirates airline to<br />

introduce multilingual<br />

check-in robots to cut<br />

travel time<br />

Emirates is set to introduce<br />

multilingual robots to speed<br />

up passenger check-in at<br />

Dubai airport, with plans<br />

for over 200 units over the next two<br />

years. <strong>The</strong> locally developed robots<br />

will be introduced within the next two<br />

months after production reaches the<br />

commercial scale. <strong>The</strong>y will complete<br />

all check-in processes including issuing<br />

boarding passes, which will be sent to<br />

registered numbers or email addresses,<br />

and facial recognition through passport<br />

scanning. Emirates is the first airline<br />

globally to introduce portable check-in<br />

robots. <strong>The</strong> robots will be particularly<br />

useful in cases of flight disruptions or<br />

changes, and for passenger transfer<br />

and transit halls.<br />

88 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

LG OLED evo C3 series 4K smart TV<br />

<strong>The</strong> LG OLED evo C3 series 4K<br />

smart TV is a high-end television<br />

with OLED (Organic Light<br />

Emitting Diode) technology to<br />

produce stunning picture quality. OLED<br />

displays have individual pixels that can be<br />

turned on and off independently, providing<br />

perfect blacks and vibrant colors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> bracket is mounted to the TV<br />

rather than the wall, and it turns with the<br />

TV whilst also matching the TV design,<br />

making it a perfect fit for the 55-inch and<br />

65-inch models based on the soundbar’s<br />

compact size.<br />

On the back of the LG C3, you’ll find<br />

four HDMI 2.1 ports, supporting up to<br />

4K at 120Hz, along with VRR and Auto<br />

Low Latency Mode (ALLM).<br />

A feature called AI Super Upscaling Pro<br />

is designed to enhance sub-4K content<br />

and reduce noise levels, while OLED<br />

Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro enables<br />

the C3 to break up an image into 20,000<br />

zones compared to the 5,000 zones that<br />

the C2’s processor was capable of.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 89

Sport as a Business<br />

UAE Boosts Sporting Events for Sports<br />

Tourism and Business Opportunities<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s drive to boost sports tourism has led to an acceleration of sporting<br />

events, creating new business opportunities in the sports industry. By enhancing<br />

its offerings to sports enthusiasts from around the world, the UAE aims to<br />

establish itself as a premier destination for sports tourism while also boosting<br />

its economy.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has already established<br />

itself as a destination for various<br />

sports events and activities,<br />

with world-class facilities and<br />

infrastructure, and this has helped to<br />

attract visitors from across the globe.<br />

On March 2, <strong>2023</strong>, the eighth edition<br />

of the National Sports Day was held in<br />

various emirates of the UAE under the<br />

slogan “<strong>The</strong> Emirates Unite Us.” Over<br />

70,000 people took part in 500 activities<br />

throughout the day. Nasser Khamis Al<br />

Marri, the Director of the Local Events<br />

Department at the Abu Dhabi Sports<br />

Council, expressed his pride in the<br />

council’s involvement in the National<br />

Sports Day. <strong>The</strong> event aims to promote<br />

the principle of “sports for all” through<br />

various activities, including community<br />

sports, fitness sports, and challenges.<br />

<strong>The</strong> goal is to increase awareness of<br />

sports, promote a culture of interest in<br />

physical health, and encourage regular<br />

engagement in sports activities as a part<br />

of one’s daily routine.<br />

On the other hand, the significant<br />

celebration of the National Sports Day<br />

Focusing on sports tourism can help the UAE build on<br />

its reputation and provide a one-of-a-kind experience for<br />

sports enthusiasts and businesses.<br />

90 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Sports infrastructure<br />

investments can create a<br />

talent pool, boost participation,<br />

and attract global sports<br />

organizations to invest.<br />

represents an opportunity to showcase<br />

the country’s progress and achievements<br />

in the sports industry, including the<br />

development of state-of-the-art facilities,<br />

the establishment of world-class sports<br />

events, and the nurturing of local talents.<br />

It is also a testament to the UAE’s vision of<br />

becoming a leading sports destination in<br />

the world. Through strategic investments<br />

in the sports industry and the creation<br />

of an enabling environment for sporting<br />

businesses, the country aims to attract<br />

more sports tourists and generate<br />

economic growth.<br />

Numerous sports organizations in the<br />

UAE have been implementing creative<br />

methods to align with this vision. For<br />

instance, with the assistance of EA Sports,<br />

the UAE Pro League (UAEPL) has recently<br />

announced the launch of the third season<br />

of the UAEPL eSports Championship, with<br />

formal qualifications beginning in <strong>April</strong>.<br />

Individuals who are at least 16 years old,<br />

including UAE citizens and residents,<br />

are eligible to register and take part in<br />

the PlayStation 5 tournament, with the<br />

chance to represent the UAE in the EA<br />

Sports FIFA 23 Global Series Middle<br />

East Play-Ins. Valuable rewards have<br />

been assigned by the UAE Pro League,<br />

dependent on ranking, with the highest<br />

three finishers to receive AED 15K, AED<br />

10K, and AED 5K respectively.<br />

<strong>The</strong> eUAEPL tournament will be conducted<br />

with 14 distinct online qualification stations<br />

for each professional club to participate<br />

in the finals, which will be hosted in a<br />

location to be announced at a later time.<br />

<strong>The</strong> preliminary stage will take place<br />

from 4th to 19th <strong>April</strong>, and an indefinite<br />

number of players may participate. <strong>The</strong><br />

second stage, on 2nd May, will include<br />

the draw, while the third stage will be<br />

played on two days, 13th and 14th May,<br />

with 14 players distributed among two<br />

groups competing on the first day, and<br />

eight players who qualified from the<br />

group stage competing on the second<br />

day. <strong>The</strong> fourth and final stage will also<br />

be held on 14th May, featuring winners<br />

who qualified for the grand finale.<br />

Furthermore, the Abu Dhabi Cycling<br />

Club has recently announced a new<br />

initiative aimed at drawing sports tourists,<br />

particularly cyclists and their families,<br />

from all over the world. <strong>The</strong> objective of<br />

this initiative is to enhance the position of<br />

Abu Dhabi as a worldwide cycling tourism<br />

destination, especially after receiving the<br />

“Bike City” designation from the Union<br />

Cycliste Internationale (UCI).<br />

To encourage sports tourism, the Abu<br />

Dhabi Cycling Club has entered into a<br />

Memorandum of Understanding with Wilver,<br />

a leading European firm specializing in<br />

sports tourism, particularly in the field<br />

of cycling. <strong>The</strong> agreement will offer<br />

tour packages and programs to attract<br />

athletes and champions from around the<br />

world to the UAE in accordance with Abu<br />

Dhabi’s goal of providing advanced sports<br />

tracks and facilities, as well as tourist,<br />

entertainment, and hospitality venues.<br />

This effort will also help to support the<br />

club’s efforts to promote sports tourism.<br />

By focusing on sports tourism, the UAE<br />

can further build on its reputation as a<br />

sports hub and offer a unique experience<br />

to sports enthusiasts. <strong>The</strong> country has also<br />

made significant investments in its sports<br />

sector, with initiatives like the National<br />

Sports Day and the establishment of the<br />

UAE Pro League eSports Championship,<br />

highlighting its commitment to developing<br />

the industry.<br />

Moreover, sports tourism can have<br />

a positive impact on the country’s<br />

economy by creating job opportunities<br />

and increasing revenue. Investing in<br />

sports infrastructure and facilities can<br />

have long-term benefits by developing<br />

a talent pool of athletes and coaches<br />

and increasing participation in sports<br />

activities among the local population,<br />

with the aim of creating a businessfriendly<br />

environment for global sports<br />

organizations and business to invest in<br />

the country.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 91

Sport News<br />

Saudi Arabia, Morocco<br />

battle for <strong>World</strong> Cup<br />

2030<br />

Saudi Arabia and Morocco are both<br />

vying to host the FIFA <strong>World</strong> Cup<br />

2030, with each planning to submit<br />

their own individual bids. While<br />

Morocco has announced a joint bid with<br />

Spain and Portugal, it has also expressed<br />

interest in launching its own bid for the<br />

tournament. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s<br />

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman<br />

has said that the country is ready to host<br />

the <strong>World</strong> Cup on its own, following its<br />

successful hosting of the Dakar Rally and<br />

the Italian Super Cup. <strong>The</strong> two countries<br />

will be in competition with other potential<br />

bidders, including the United Kingdom<br />

and Ireland, Argentina, Uruguay, and<br />

Paraguay, and a joint bid from Greece,<br />

Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania.<br />

Ras Al Khaimah hosts<br />

UAE Minifootball<br />

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

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates<br />

hosted the <strong>2023</strong> Minifootball<br />

<strong>World</strong> Cup in Ras Al Khaimah,<br />

with thousands of fans and<br />

players attending. <strong>The</strong> tournament,<br />

which ran from March 31 to <strong>April</strong> 9,<br />

featured 48 teams from around the<br />

world, including the United States,<br />

Brazil, and Mexico. Minifootball, also<br />

known as 6-a-side football, is played<br />

on a smaller pitch with smaller goals<br />

and fewer players than traditional<br />

football. <strong>The</strong> event was a celebration of<br />

sports, with music, entertainment, and<br />

cultural experiences for visitors. <strong>The</strong><br />

UAE is rapidly emerging as a leading<br />

destination for sports events, having<br />

previously hosted the FIFA Club <strong>World</strong><br />

Cup, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and<br />

the Dubai <strong>World</strong> Cup.<br />

Lionel Messi Visits Saudi Arabia as Tourism Ambassador<br />

Lionel Messi, the PSG star and<br />

<strong>World</strong> Cup winner, visited Saudi<br />

Arabia last month in his role as a<br />

brand ambassador for the Saudi<br />

Tourist Board. <strong>The</strong> announcement of<br />

his visit was made by the Kingdom’s<br />

Minister of Tourism, Ahmed al-Khateeb,<br />

on social media. Messi’s visit was his<br />

second to the Kingdom, after attending<br />

events in Jeddah in May of last year. As<br />

a tourism ambassador for Visit Saudi, he<br />

is contracted to promote the Kingdom’s<br />

attractions and travel reforms.<br />

Skyexch.net named title sponsor for LLC Masters<br />

<strong>2023</strong> in Doha<br />

Sports goods platform Skyexch.<br />

net has been named as the<br />

title sponsor of the Legends<br />

League Cricket (LLC) Masters<br />

tournament, held in Doha from March<br />

10-20. LLC features T20 format matches<br />

played between retired international<br />

cricketers. As part of the sponsorship<br />

deal, Skyexch.net was part of all<br />

communications and campaigns<br />

around the LLC Masters. LLC CEO<br />

and co-founder Raman Raheja said the<br />

partnership helps the tournament reach<br />

new heights, and that Skyexch.net<br />

shares a vision of assisting cricket in<br />

all formats to reach a global audience.<br />

92 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> Dubai Sports Council approves new development guidelines<br />

<strong>The</strong> Dubai Sports Council, under<br />

the leadership of H.H. Sheikh<br />

Mansoor bin Mohammed bin<br />

Rashid Al Maktoum, has given<br />

its approval to a series of guidelines<br />

that have been created to improve<br />

the processes involved in scouting,<br />

recruiting, and signing football players<br />

for clubs and companies within<br />

Dubai. <strong>The</strong>se guidelines include the<br />

use of contracts that follow globally<br />

recognized standards and practices.<br />

H.H. Sheikh Mansoor has stated that<br />

these guidelines form a key part<br />

of Dubai’s strategic plan for sports<br />

development, which aims to enhance<br />

the performance of sports teams and<br />

promote Dubai as a leading sporting<br />

destination. <strong>The</strong> Dubai Sports Council<br />

has been directed to ensure that these<br />

guidelines are implemented across all<br />

football clubs and companies within<br />

Dubai, and will regularly review them<br />

to ensure they remain aligned with<br />

the evolving priorities of the sporting<br />

sector in Dubai.<br />

Sharjah Labour Sports Tournament concludes and honours winners<br />

<strong>The</strong> Sharjah Labour Sports<br />

Tournament featured 40<br />

football teams, 35 cricket<br />

teams, 25 basketball teams,<br />

20 volleyball teams, and 20 hockey<br />

teams all competing for trophies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> tournament was organized by<br />

the Labour Standards Development<br />

Authority (LSDA) in partnership with<br />

Sharjah Sports Council and Reach<br />

Target. <strong>The</strong> winning teams received<br />

gifts and financial awards totaling AED<br />

200,000 as recognition. <strong>The</strong> winners<br />

were announced by LSDA Chairman<br />

Salem Youssef Al Qaseer, who also<br />

thanked the participants for their<br />

enthusiasm and large turnout. Almost<br />

1,600 sports fans, divided among 140<br />

teams, participated in a three-monthlong<br />

sporting event for employees and<br />

residents of labour camps in the UAE<br />

that came to a successful conclusion<br />

at the Sharjah National Park.<br />

Abu Dhabi Schools<br />

Sports Cup <strong>2023</strong><br />

promotes a culture of<br />

physical exercise<br />

<strong>The</strong> Abu Dhabi Schools Sports<br />

Cup promoted significant<br />

values like sportsmanship,<br />

collaboration, resilience, and<br />

leadership with the goal of encouraging<br />

students to participate in a variety<br />

of sports, increase their levels of<br />

physical activity, and improve their<br />

overall physical health within the<br />

school community. <strong>The</strong> tournament’s<br />

second iteration saw more than 8,000<br />

children from 200 Abu Dhabi schools<br />

participate in the largest interschool<br />

school sports programme in the area.<br />

In January, over 600 teams began their<br />

ascent to victory by participating in the<br />

regional qualifying competitions held<br />

in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Under 13, Under 17, and Under<br />

19 playoffs for boys’ and girls’ teams<br />

in the Abu Dhabi Schools Sports Cup<br />

were held on February 25 and 26 at<br />

the Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub<br />

in Khalifa City.<br />

Dubai to host permanent headquarters of the International<br />

Federation for Falconry Sports and Racing<br />

Dubai will host the permanent<br />

headquarters of the<br />

International Federation<br />

for Falconry Sports and<br />

Racing. <strong>The</strong> agreement was signed<br />

between the General Authority of<br />

Sports and the newly established<br />

International Federation for Falconry<br />

Sports and Racing. H.H. Sheikh<br />

Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al<br />

Maktoum, President of the International<br />

Federation for Falconry Sports and<br />

Racing, has hailed the UAE’s efforts<br />

to promote the traditional sport of<br />

falconry and raise its global profile.<br />

He congratulated the UAE’s leaders<br />

for signing an agreement to host<br />

the permanent headquarters of the<br />

International Federation for Falconry<br />

Sports and Racing in Dubai. <strong>The</strong> move<br />

is part of the UAE’s strategic plan<br />

to reinforce its status as a hub for<br />

global sports governance bodies and<br />

reflects the leadership’s commitment<br />

to revive and promote heritage sports<br />

like falconry.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 93

Tourism<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE To Extend the Prospects of the<br />

5-Year UAE Tourist Visa<br />

Dubai’s growth has exceeded both global and regional tourism recovery levels,<br />

and this progress aligns with the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, a plan launched<br />

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

and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. As the plan aims to solidify<br />

Dubai’s position as one of the leading cities in the world for travel and business,<br />

the UAE has been reforming visa rules and offering more incentives for tourists<br />

and investors alike, one of which is the 5-year tourist visa.<br />

<strong>The</strong> visa program has been instrumental in fostering<br />

a significant rise in both tourism and business activity<br />

within the UAE.<br />

94 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> Federal Authority for Identity,<br />

Citizenship, Customs & Port<br />

Security (ICP) has introduced<br />

the provision of multiple-entry<br />

tourist visas for families. In the past,<br />

individuals had to apply separately for<br />

each family member, which involved<br />

submitting identical documentation<br />

for each application. However, the ICP<br />

website has now made it possible for<br />

families to apply collectively as a unit,<br />

thereby simplifying the process.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s announcement of the new 5-year<br />

UAE tourist visas has several objectives,<br />

including facilitating the entry process<br />

and improving convenience for visitors<br />

as well as enhancing the attractiveness<br />

of the destination and augmenting the<br />

tourism sector’s contribution to the<br />

nation’s economy.<br />

According to reports, the CEO of the<br />

Dubai Corporation for Tourism and<br />

Commerce Marketing, Issam Kazim, has<br />

stated that the response to the five-year<br />

tourist visa has been positive, although it<br />

has been implemented gradually so far.<br />

Kazim has expressed a desire to expand the<br />

program more extensively in collaboration<br />

with the authorities, as it would help to<br />

attract more tourists, particularly from<br />

the neighboring region. <strong>The</strong> availability<br />

of a multi-entry visa is expected to be<br />

advantageous in this regard.<br />

However, the UAE is in the process of<br />

developing a plan to broaden the scope<br />

of its five-year multiple-entry tourist visa,<br />

which enables visa holders to travel to<br />

and from the country multiple times,<br />

provided they spend a minimum of 90<br />

days during each visit and do not exceed<br />

180 days of stay per year.<br />

Introduced in March of the previous<br />

year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed<br />

bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister<br />

and Vice-President of the UAE and<br />

Ruler of Dubai, the visa initiative aims<br />

to strengthen the UAE’s status as a<br />

prominent global economic hub. <strong>The</strong><br />

visa program has played a critical role in<br />

increasing tourism and business activity<br />

in the country, as it allows individuals<br />

to spend extended periods of time with<br />

their families in the UAE without having<br />

to repeatedly apply for a visa.<br />

How to Apply for the 5-Year Visa:<br />

<strong>The</strong> extension of<br />

the five-year visa<br />

has the potential<br />

to attract a greater<br />

number of tourists<br />

and significantly<br />

stimulate the<br />

economy of the<br />

UAE.<br />

You can apply for a visa through various<br />

online platforms such as the GDRFA<br />

website, the ICP portal, or the GDRFA-<br />

Dubai Smart Application. To complete the<br />

application process, you need to upload<br />

the necessary documents and make the<br />

payment of the fees.<br />

Required Documents: <strong>The</strong> following<br />

documents are necessary for the visa<br />

application:<br />

• A bank statement from the past six<br />

months to demonstrate a minimum<br />

balance of $4,000 or its foreign currency<br />

equivalent.<br />

• Proof of UAE health insurance.<br />

• A recent colored passport-sized photo<br />

with a white background.<br />

• A photocopy of the front and last page<br />

of the passport.<br />

Additional documents required are a<br />

flight ticket copy, hotel booking or lease<br />

agreement, and proof of residence like<br />

an invitation letter from friends or family<br />

residing in UAE.<br />

How Much it Costs:<br />

According to the details provided on<br />

the GDRFA website, the cost of a five-year<br />

multiple entry visa is Dh1500 (USD 408).<br />

Furthermore, there will be a collection<br />

commission charged by the Commercial<br />

Bank of Dubai, which amounts to Dh20<br />

per transaction for individuals and Dh50<br />

for companies, and Dh15 for Emaratech<br />

companies. If applying through Amer<br />

Centers, the application process fee<br />

will be Dh100.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 95

Investing in Art<br />

Art As Collateral: A Way to Get the Best<br />

Out of Your Collection<br />

<strong>The</strong> market for fine art is thriving, with new auction records for the highest<br />

prices being set almost every day. Industry insiders refer to a growing sector<br />

that involves using art collections to access liquidity, as the worlds of finance<br />

and art continue to merge. <strong>The</strong> sector is made up of two main groups of players:<br />

specialist lenders who offer loans using art and other assets as collateral, and<br />

banks that provide loans to their clients while using their art collections and<br />

other assets as collateral.<br />

Wealthy art collectors are capitalizing on the current low<br />

interest rates by leveraging their valuable art collections.<br />

v<br />

96 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

v<br />

If you are a collector of fine art, you<br />

likely have a clear understanding<br />

of what attracted you to each piece<br />

in your collection. You may even<br />

possess detailed knowledge about<br />

the artists’ personal histories and<br />

creative inspirations. However, you<br />

may not be aware that you can use your<br />

artwork as collateral to obtain a loan,<br />

which can provide liquidity to pursue<br />

various financial opportunities. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

opportunities may include acquiring<br />

additional artwork, financing business<br />

objectives, or taking advantage of other<br />

prospects.<br />

While you may have purchased fine<br />

art primarily for your deep aesthetic<br />

interest and passion, your collection<br />

may also hold significant financial<br />

value. <strong>The</strong> art market has experienced<br />

fluctuations in recent years, and<br />

collector interest has grown in both<br />

established and emerging segments,<br />

meaning the value of your collection<br />

may have changed over time. Utilizing<br />

a fine art loan may be a beneficial<br />

approach to release capital that can<br />

be utilized to achieve other objectives,<br />

such as acquiring more art or investing<br />

in cash flow assets.<br />

Increasingly, affluent art collectors<br />

are taking advantage of low interest<br />

rates by borrowing against their<br />

valuable art collections, including<br />

pieces by renowned artists such as<br />

Picasso and Basquiat. However, this<br />

trend also increases the potential for<br />

a leveraged boom and bust in the art<br />

market. Although the larger banks<br />

currently dominate the art lending<br />

sector due to lower interest rates, art<br />

finance firms and auction houses are<br />

expanding their loan services to draw<br />

in more clients.<br />

According to sources, Sotheby’s is<br />

leading the non-bank category’s efforts<br />

to provide art loans. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

art loan portfolio is estimated to be<br />

approximately $1B, and it claims that<br />

this figure increased by 50% between<br />

2021 and 2022, which is impressive<br />

considering the challenges faced in<br />

2021.<br />

Additionally, the firm promotes its<br />

business by providing high-end buyers<br />

with a loan equivalent to 50% of the<br />

hammer price on purchases exceeding<br />

$2M at its auctions, with the entire<br />

process - from application to funding<br />

- taking only 30 days.<br />

It appears that Sotheby’s may soon<br />

provide clients with the option to<br />

securitize personal loans secured by<br />

their art collections. According to<br />

Bloomberg, discussions about this<br />

service are still in the early stages.<br />

Meanwhile, Yieldstreet, an alternative<br />

asset investment company that acquired<br />

the specialist art-secured lender Athena<br />

in 2019, announced that its members<br />

invested $1B on the platform in 2022,<br />

which is their highest ever total. Athena<br />

reports that it has funded over $500M<br />

in the art-lending sector to date.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are various types of loans<br />

available in the art financing industry,<br />

and different players offer different<br />

services. One type of loan is nonrecourse,<br />

which means that if the<br />

borrower fails to repay, the lender<br />

cannot seize other assets belonging<br />

to the borrower. Borro is an example<br />

of such a lender, and it specializes in<br />

short-term financing for artworks and<br />

other assets. Borro’s interest rates vary<br />

depending on the size of the loan, with<br />

larger loans attracting lower interest<br />

rates. On average, the interest rate is<br />

between 3% and 4% per month.<br />

By borrowing against your fine art<br />

You may unlock the<br />

value of your art<br />

collection to buy<br />

more art or invest<br />

in appreciating<br />

assets and<br />

diversify your<br />

portfolio.<br />

collection, you can use the funds to<br />

purchase additional art or invest in<br />

other assets that have the potential to<br />

appreciate, which can help diversify<br />

your portfolio. Borrowing against a<br />

potentially appreciating asset, like fine<br />

art, can provide positive leverage to<br />

achieve asset diversification.<br />

Additionally, art-related loans<br />

generally have lower interest rates<br />

compared to unsecured loans. Selling<br />

artwork at an inopportune time, such<br />

as when you are exhibiting your<br />

collection, can be avoided by taking<br />

out a loan instead. Furthermore, you<br />

may have a strong personal attachment<br />

to certain pieces in your collection and<br />

prefer not to sell them at auction. By<br />

taking out a loan instead of selling,<br />

you can avoid paying taxes on art sales<br />

that are not as tax-favorable as other<br />

asset classes. You retain ownership<br />

of the art and can still display it as<br />

usual. It may even be loaned out to<br />

galleries or museums, provided there<br />

are appropriate insurance, guarantees,<br />

and other agreements in place.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 97

Global News<br />

Saudi Arabia to allocate $800M in loans to least developed countries<br />

Saudi Arabia has announced that it<br />

will allocate $800M in loans to the<br />

least developed countries in an<br />

effort to support their economies<br />

and development projects. <strong>The</strong> initiative<br />

was launched by Saudi Arabia’s King<br />

Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief<br />

Centre and is aimed at supporting<br />

countries in need, particularly those<br />

affected by conflict, natural disasters, or<br />

other crises. <strong>The</strong> loans will be provided<br />

through the Saudi Fund for Development<br />

and will focus on funding projects in<br />

areas such as infrastructure, health,<br />

education, and agriculture. This move<br />

is part of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing efforts<br />

to contribute to global development and<br />

address humanitarian issues around<br />

the world.<br />

Jerome Powell<br />

previews tougher rate<br />

hike path starting soon<br />

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome<br />

Powell has hinted at a halfpoint<br />

increase in interest rates<br />

at the upcoming rate-setting<br />

meeting, and updated forecasts that<br />

feature a high point for rates above<br />

the 5.1% projected in December. Since<br />

the last meeting, economic data has<br />

consistently surprised on the upside,<br />

suggesting that the 4.5 percentage points<br />

of rate hikes since March 2022 have<br />

yet to sufficiently slow the economy<br />

to beat back inflation. Powell stressed<br />

that the data shows the Fed still has<br />

work to do, and just how high and how<br />

fast rates will increase will depend<br />

on several key reports ahead of the<br />

meeting.<br />

Saudi Arabia chairs WTO Trade Policy Review Body<br />

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

General Council has approved<br />

Saqer bin Abdullah Al-Moqbel,<br />

the Kingdom’s Permanent<br />

Representative, as president of the<br />

organization’s Trade Policy Review<br />

Body for the <strong>2023</strong>-2024 term. This makes<br />

Al-Moqbel the first Arab permanent<br />

representative to hold the position,<br />

which works to enhance integrity<br />

in national trade policies through<br />

review mechanisms based on each<br />

member state’s economy. <strong>The</strong> Kingdom’s<br />

presidency of the TPRB reinforces its<br />

<strong>The</strong> French government<br />

expects a “quarter of antiinflation”<br />

in food prices,<br />

aiming to slow down rising<br />

inflation and address the increasing<br />

cost of living. <strong>The</strong> measures include<br />

increasing market surveillance and<br />

the reinforcement of competition<br />

authorities, alongside creating an<br />

online price comparison tool for<br />

products sold in supermarkets. <strong>The</strong><br />

French agriculture minister suggested<br />

the period of lower food prices could<br />

last until the end of June <strong>2023</strong>. <strong>The</strong><br />

move comes as inflation across the<br />

eurozone hit 4.4% in February, the<br />

highest level since 2008, fuelled by<br />

leading role within the WTO and other<br />

global organizations.<br />

France expects a quarter of lower food prices<br />

to fight inflation<br />

rising energy costs and supply chain<br />

disruption due to the pandemic.<br />

98 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Pakistan to receive $1.3B financing from China’s ICBC<br />

Pakistan is set to receive<br />

$1.3B in financing from the<br />

Industrial and Commercial<br />

Bank of China in three phases,<br />

according to <strong>Finance</strong> Minister Ishaq<br />

Dar. <strong>The</strong> funding is vital for the country,<br />

which is dealing with a balance of<br />

payment crisis, with the foreign<br />

exchange reserves of the central bank<br />

only sufficient to cover three weeks<br />

of imports. <strong>The</strong> bank has already lent<br />

Pakistan $700M to boost its forex<br />

reserves. Dar stated that Pakistan<br />

requires $5B in external financing to<br />

close the financing gap for the year<br />

ending June 2022. He added that further<br />

funding would only come from the<br />

International Monetary Fund after a<br />

deal is agreed.<br />

Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed is the chairman of<br />

UAE’s $790B wealth fund ADIA<br />

<strong>The</strong> reconstitution of the Board<br />

of Directors of Abu Dhabi<br />

Investment Authority (ADIA)<br />

is a significant development<br />

for the UAE’s biggest sovereign wealth<br />

fund. With assets worth $790B, ADIA<br />

has a highly diversified portfolio that<br />

spans across multiple asset classes<br />

and subcategories. <strong>The</strong> appointment<br />

of H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al<br />

Nahyan as the new chairman of the<br />

board brings extensive experience and<br />

expertise to the role. He is currently<br />

the chairman of the wealth fund, ADQ,<br />

and the country’s largest bank, First<br />

Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), in addition to<br />

being UAE’s national security adviser.<br />

<strong>The</strong> new board is poised to guide ADIA’s<br />

investment strategy towards continued<br />

growth and success.<br />

Britain’s Tullow plans<br />

sale of Kenya oil stake<br />

for $252.6M<br />

Tullow Oil, a British oil and<br />

gas exploration company, has<br />

valued its Kenya operation at<br />

over $252.6M as it considers<br />

a potential stake sale to a strategic<br />

investor, according to Business Daily<br />

newspaper. <strong>The</strong> company’s financial<br />

report for 2022 states that the book<br />

value of its Kenyan assets is $252.6M, but<br />

uncertainties surrounding the project,<br />

such as finding an acceptable investment<br />

offer and government approval, may<br />

lead to the entire asset value being<br />

written off if not resolved. Tullow Oil<br />

and its joint venture partners, Africa Oil<br />

Corporation and TotalEnergies, have<br />

submitted an updated field development<br />

plan for the Turkana oil fields after<br />

being asked to revise it by regulators.<br />

U.S. bank loan plan provides Fed rate hike path<br />

amid SVB fallout<br />

<strong>The</strong> Bank Term Funding Program<br />

(BTFP) launched by the Federal<br />

Reserve aims to prevent<br />

deposit outflows following<br />

the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.<br />

This program offers one-year loans to<br />

banks at the rate of a one-year overnight<br />

index swap (OIS) plus 10 basis points<br />

(bps), backed by eligible government<br />

securities like Treasuries and agency<br />

mortgage-backed debt. <strong>The</strong> ability to<br />

pledge these securities at par rather<br />

than at mark-to-market, which contributed<br />

to SVB’s collapse, is expected<br />

to help banks considerably. <strong>The</strong> BTFP<br />

provides the Fed with the flexibility<br />

to continue raising interest rates to<br />

combat inflation without worsening<br />

bond losses for banks.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 99

Wheels<br />

<strong>2023</strong> LEXUS ES<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>2023</strong> Lexus ES is a mid-size<br />

luxury sedan that offers a<br />

comfortable ride, impressive<br />

fuel economy, and a range of<br />

advanced features. It is a popular choice<br />

among drivers who value reliability,<br />

comfort, and performance.<br />

Under the hood, the <strong>2023</strong> Lexus<br />

ES features a 3.5-liter V6 engine that<br />

delivers 302 horsepower and 267 lbft<br />

of torque. <strong>The</strong> car can accelerate<br />

from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds,<br />

making it one of the fastest cars in its<br />

class. <strong>The</strong> car also has an estimated<br />

fuel economy of 22 mpg in the city<br />

and 33 mpg on the highway. One of the<br />

standouts features of the <strong>2023</strong> Lexus<br />

ES is its comfortable and spacious<br />

interior. <strong>The</strong> car features high-quality<br />

materials and a range of amenities,<br />

including standard dual-zone automatic<br />

climate control, power-adjustable<br />

front seats, and a power-adjustable<br />

steering column. <strong>The</strong> rear seats are also<br />

spacious, providing plenty of legroom<br />

and headroom for passengers. <strong>The</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong> Lexus ES also offers a range of<br />

advanced technology features, including<br />

a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen display,<br />

Bluetooth connectivity, and a premium<br />

sound system. <strong>The</strong> car also features<br />

a suite of driver assistance systems,<br />

such as lane departure warning,<br />

adaptive cruise control, and automatic<br />

emergency braking. <strong>The</strong> <strong>2023</strong> Lexus ES<br />

is a reliable, comfortable, and featurepacked<br />

midsize luxury sedan. It offers<br />

a comfortable ride, impressive fuel<br />

economy, and a range of advanced<br />

features that make it a top choice<br />

for drivers who value performance,<br />

comfort, and technology.<br />

100 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Specifications<br />

Horsepower: 302 Hp<br />

Transmission: 267 lb-ft<br />

Acceleration: 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 101

Investing in Tourism<br />

Ajman Tourism Maximizes Efforts to<br />

Elevate Ajman’s Position as a Global<br />

Tourist Destination<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD) has been entrusted with<br />

the responsibility of devising a comprehensive plan to transform Ajman into a<br />

preferred tourist destination, attracting visitors from all corners of the globe.<br />

<strong>The</strong> department is actively engaged in formulating and implementing strategies<br />

aimed at enhancing the appeal of the emirate to potential tourists. Additionally,<br />

it oversees the process of grading and certifying hotels and hotel apartments,<br />

as well as the licensing, classification, and performance monitoring of tourism<br />

and travel agencies. In this article, we will delve into the most recent initiatives<br />

undertaken by the ATDD to promote tourism in Ajman.<br />

Ajman is attracting global tourists through its beaches,<br />

mountains, upscale hotels, museums, historic sites,<br />

and local markets.<br />

102 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> Ajman Department of Tourism<br />

Development is focused on<br />

promoting Ajman’s unique<br />

attractions as a leading travel<br />

destination in the UAE. To achieve<br />

this, the department implements global<br />

tourism campaigns, participates in<br />

events, regulates the tourism industry,<br />

and improves the services provided by<br />

local tourism facilities and businesses.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Department has been recently<br />

showcasing its leading strategic plans<br />

at the Berlin Travel Trade Show (ITB),<br />

the world’s leading travel trade show,<br />

taking place in the German capital<br />

Berlin from the 7th until 9th of March.<br />

During its participation in the exhibition,<br />

the Department entered into several<br />

memorandums of understanding with the<br />

objective of enhancing the emirate’s tourism<br />

potential and investment opportunities.<br />

Ajman Tourism’s objective in participating<br />

is to exhibit its newest tourism ventures<br />

and highlight the emirate’s sophisticated<br />

infrastructure, as well as inform visitors<br />

about its primary tourism initiatives and<br />

exceptional services. In this regard, the<br />

department intends to emphasize the<br />

popular attractions and tourist spots, which<br />

span from prominent landmarks such as<br />

unspoiled beaches, rugged mountains,<br />

and natural reserves, to upscale hotels<br />

along the coastline, and the rich cultural<br />

diversity, such as museums, historic sites,<br />

and local markets.<br />

To this end, the Ajman Department<br />

of Tourism Development and Bespoke<br />

Modular Solutions & RAW Hotels &<br />

Resorts, a prominent company offering<br />

modular products and services as well<br />

as hotel management in the Middle East,<br />

signed a memorandum of understanding.<br />

It was signed by His Excellency Mahmood<br />

Khaleel Alhashmi, the Director General<br />

of the Ajman Department of Tourism<br />

Development, and Jamal Wick, the CEO<br />

and Co-Founder of Bespoke Modular<br />

Ras Al Khaimah is<br />

at the forefront<br />

of implementing<br />

a novel method<br />

of promoting<br />

sustainable<br />

tourism, as the<br />

world moves<br />

towards more<br />

sustainable forms<br />

of tourism.<br />

Solutions & RAW Hotels & Resorts.<br />

<strong>The</strong> main objective of this MOU is to<br />

create investment prospects that will<br />

improve the tourism sector in Ajman.<br />

Furthermore, it endeavors to strengthen<br />

the means of collaboration between the<br />

parties and harmonize their collective<br />

endeavors in boosting the allure of the<br />

destination. As per the terms of the<br />

MOU, both entities will endeavor to<br />

entice investors to invest in tourismrelated<br />

undertakings within the emirate.<br />

Additionally, they will concentrate their<br />

efforts on promoting the Raw Resort<br />

Alzorah beach project.<br />

In spite of the worldwide political and<br />

economic challenges encountered in the<br />

year 2022, the tourism sector in Ajman<br />

made remarkable strides, as indicated<br />

by a 9% increase in the overall revenue<br />

generated in the hospitality industry, a<br />

26% upsurge in international visitors,<br />

and a 14% increase in the average room<br />

rates in comparison with the previous<br />

year. As per the STR reports, Ajman<br />

attained the topmost rank in terms of<br />

hotel occupancy rate in the UAE during<br />

2022, averaging 80%, which was 7% higher<br />

than the closest emirate.<br />

H.E. Alhashmi remarked: “ITB constitutes<br />

an important opportunity to promote<br />

Ajman’s leading position on the global<br />

trade and tourism map and which comes<br />

in line with the country’s national agenda<br />

to boost the economic and tourism<br />

sectors. This year, we aim to focus on<br />

highlighting the attractiveness of the<br />

destination with its remarkable features<br />

and potentials which have transformed<br />

the emirate into a preferred destination<br />

for tourists”.<br />

He added that Ajman’s exceptional<br />

offerings and services have drawn a<br />

multitude of visitors from various parts<br />

of the globe, and they are dedicated to<br />

continuing their endeavors in launching<br />

additional initiatives and projects that<br />

attract more tourists from diverse markets<br />

to Ajman. His Excellency also emphasized<br />

the significance of the German market<br />

and other European markets as crucial<br />

sources of tourism for Ajman. Moreover,<br />

he expressed a desire to strengthen the<br />

emirate’s connections with its global<br />

partners and enhance collaboration with<br />

other exhibitors via novel agreements<br />

and partnerships.<br />

Over the past few years, Ajman<br />

has made substantial investments in<br />

bolstering its infrastructure, promoting<br />

notable projects, and developing crucial<br />

regions, transforming it into a compelling<br />

destination for tourism that provides<br />

visitors with a distinctive cultural, natural,<br />

and recreational experience.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 103

Local News<br />

Saudi Arabia expands<br />

tourism visa to all GCC<br />

residents<br />

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

tourism visa scheme to include<br />

all GCC residents is a significant<br />

move by the country’s Ministry<br />

of Tourism. <strong>The</strong> move allows more<br />

individuals to visit the country’s various<br />

tourist destinations, attend entertainment<br />

events, and experience the Kingdom’s<br />

rich heritage and historical depth. <strong>The</strong><br />

ministry is encouraging interested<br />

applicants to apply for the tourist visa<br />

online through the designated platform.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ministry’s regulations also require<br />

tourists to comply with all instructions<br />

and carry identification documents at all<br />

times while in the Kingdom.<br />

Dubai Chamber of<br />

Commerce Unveils<br />

Six Business Groups<br />

to Boost Real Estate<br />

Sector<br />

Dubai Chamber of Commerce<br />

and Industry has launched<br />

six new business groups,<br />

aimed at supporting growth<br />

and development within Dubai’s<br />

real estate sector. <strong>The</strong> groups will<br />

focus on key areas such as property<br />

management, real estate brokers,<br />

developers, contractors, engineers and<br />

architects, and facility management.<br />

<strong>The</strong> move is part of the Chamber’s<br />

ongoing efforts to promote economic<br />

diversification, and to provide more<br />

targeted support to businesses in the<br />

emirate. By bringing together experts<br />

from across the industry, the business<br />

groups will facilitate knowledge sharing<br />

and collaboration, while also providing<br />

a platform for networking and business<br />

development opportunities.<br />

Presidents of UAE and Iraq’s Kurdistan Region<br />

review advancing relations<br />

During the meeting, His Highness<br />

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed<br />

Al Nahyan, President of<br />

the UAE, and Nechirvan<br />

Barzani, President of Kurdistan<br />

Region, discussed several areas of<br />

collaboration, including economic and<br />

investment opportunities, as well as<br />

cultural and educational exchanges.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y highlighted the importance of<br />

enhancing trade relations and exploring<br />

new avenues for mutual benefit. Both<br />

Saudi Arabia’s finance ministry<br />

has announced a budget surplus<br />

of SAR 103.9B ($27.7B) for the<br />

year 2022, surpassing earlier<br />

projections of SAR 102B. This surplus<br />

was primarily driven by the country’s<br />

strong oil revenues, which totalled<br />

SAR 857.272B in 2022. <strong>The</strong> positive<br />

budgetary figures reflect the Kingdom’s<br />

ongoing efforts to diversify its economy<br />

and reduce its reliance on oil exports.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Saudi government has launched a<br />

number of initiatives to promote nonoil<br />

sectors, attract foreign investment<br />

and create employment opportunities<br />

for its citizens. <strong>The</strong>se measures have<br />

helped to strengthen the country’s<br />

leaders expressed their commitment<br />

to strengthening cooperation in the<br />

fight against terrorism and extremism,<br />

and stressed the need for continued<br />

efforts to maintain regional security<br />

and stability. <strong>The</strong> visit of President<br />

Barzani to Abu Dhabi underscores the<br />

close ties between the UAE and Iraq,<br />

and highlights the UAE’s ongoing efforts<br />

to support Iraq’s stability, development,<br />

and prosperity.<br />

Saudi Arabia posts a 2022 budget surplus of<br />

$27.68B<br />

fiscal position, despite global economic<br />

challenges.<br />

104 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Oman’s Banking Sector Plays Key Role in Supporting<br />

Country’s Economic Growth<br />

Oman’s banking sector is<br />

playing a critical role in<br />

supporting the country’s<br />

economic growth and<br />

development, according to experts.<br />

<strong>The</strong> sector has undergone significant<br />

transformation in recent years, with<br />

increased digitization and innovation<br />

helping to improve efficiency and<br />

Sharjah Chamber<br />

of Commerce and<br />

Industry Signs MoU<br />

with Japan External<br />

Trade Organization<br />

Sharjah Chamber of Commerce<br />

and Industry (SCCI) has signed a<br />

Memorandum of Understanding<br />

(MoU) with Japan External<br />

Trade Organization (JETRO) aimed<br />

at strengthening bilateral trade and<br />

investment ties between Sharjah<br />

and Japan. <strong>The</strong> MoU will facilitate<br />

knowledge sharing, collaboration,<br />

and the exchange of expertise in key<br />

sectors such as healthcare, renewable<br />

energy, technology, and innovation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> agreement also seeks to boost<br />

investment opportunities and promote<br />

trade and investment missions between<br />

the two sides. <strong>The</strong> signing of the MoU<br />

highlights Sharjah’s growing stature as<br />

a regional business hub, and underlines<br />

its commitment to expanding its<br />

international trade relations.<br />

accessibility. Banks have also ramped<br />

up lending to key sectors such as<br />

construction, infrastructure, and<br />

SMEs, supporting job creation and<br />

diversification. Additionally, the<br />

Central Bank of Oman has implemented<br />

a number of regulatory reforms aimed<br />

at strengthening financial stability and<br />

enhancing risk management practices.<br />

UAE’s Ministry of <strong>Finance</strong> and Dubai Statistics<br />

Centre to Enhance Government Financial<br />

Statistics<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s Ministry of<br />

<strong>Finance</strong> (MoF) and Dubai<br />

Statistics Centre (DSC) have<br />

signed a Memorandum of<br />

Understanding (MoU) to enhance<br />

collaboration and information sharing<br />

in the field of government financial<br />

statistics. <strong>The</strong> partnership aims to<br />

strengthen the quality and accuracy of<br />

financial data, improve reporting and<br />

analysis, and support evidence-based<br />

decision-making. <strong>The</strong> MoU reflects<br />

the UAE’s commitment to driving<br />

efficiency and transparency in public<br />

financial management, and underlines<br />

the importance of data-driven decisionmaking<br />

in achieving national goals.<br />

<strong>The</strong> collaboration will also help to<br />

align financial reporting standards<br />

with international best practices, and<br />

facilitate the adoption of emerging<br />

technologies in data management and<br />

analysis.<br />

Saudi Arabia’s Economy Grows 5.5% in Q4 2022,<br />

Driven by Non-Oil Activities<br />

<strong>The</strong> Saudi economy grew 5.5%<br />

in the fourth quarter of 2022,<br />

with non-oil activities being<br />

the main driver of growth,<br />

according to estimates from the<br />

General Authority for Statistics. <strong>The</strong><br />

non-oil sector grew 6.2% in the quarter<br />

year-on-year, outpacing the growth<br />

of oil activities which expanded by<br />

6.1%. <strong>The</strong> government has increased<br />

investments in mega projects and<br />

initiatives to achieve its Vision 2030<br />

goals, aiming for non-oil GDP growth<br />

of 6% or higher over the next three<br />

to five years. Despite lower expected<br />

output, the IMF expects non-oil growth<br />

to remain robust, supporting the Saudi<br />

economy in the long term.<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 105



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Investments in Growing Businessess<br />


Giving Businesses<br />

Support to ease their<br />

Cashflow<br />

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