The Finance World Magazine| Edition: May 2023

The May edition of The Finance World Magazine (TFW) is out now. Our cover story highlights this development of the fintech industry in the UAE and the Middle East, presenting an exclusive interview with Mohammad Alblooshi, the Head of DIFC Innovation Hub & FinTech Hive, whose insights into this exciting field provide valuable knowledge for industry stakeholders. The UAE has emerged as a preeminent global financial hub and a coveted destination for international investors. In light of this, our focus in this edition is directed towards the rapidly evolving domain of asset management. Through a meticulous screening process, we have identified 15 UAE-based asset management companies that have demonstrated notable proficiency and excellence in this arena. Our compilation furnishes valuable insights into the investment strategies and approaches employed by these firms and sheds light on the factors that have contributed to their resounding success. Focusing on Investment in the UAE as this edition’s main theme, our articles provide insights on the various investment options offered by the UAE’s different sectors, such as the UAE cryptocurrency market promising exciting investment opportunities, different investment options in the UAE’s sports industry, investing in emerging artists and the importance of risk management, investment opportunities and advantages in Dubai real estate market, UAE corporate tax creating new investment opportunities, 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 May edition of The Finance World Magazine (TFW) is out now. Our cover story highlights this development of the fintech industry in the UAE and the Middle East, presenting an exclusive interview with Mohammad Alblooshi, the Head of DIFC Innovation Hub & FinTech Hive, whose insights into this exciting field provide valuable knowledge for industry stakeholders.

The UAE has emerged as a preeminent global financial hub and a coveted destination for international investors. In light of this, our focus in this edition is directed towards the rapidly evolving domain of asset management. Through a meticulous screening process, we have identified 15 UAE-based asset management companies that have demonstrated notable proficiency and excellence in this arena. Our compilation furnishes valuable insights into the investment strategies and approaches employed by these firms and sheds light on the factors that have contributed to their resounding success.

Focusing on Investment in the UAE as this edition’s main theme, our articles provide insights on the various investment options offered by the UAE’s different sectors, such as the UAE cryptocurrency market promising exciting investment opportunities, different investment options in the UAE’s sports industry, investing in emerging artists and the importance of risk management, investment opportunities and advantages in Dubai real estate market, UAE corporate tax creating new investment opportunities, 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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M&A Activity in GCC Expects a Spike Amid Global Caution<br />

Abu Dhabi Boosts Business Tourism with Public-Private Partnerships<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE Reinforces Its Business-Friendly Environment with Global Partnerships Promising Investment Opportunities in the UAE Stock Market<br />

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

UAE Fintech Arena: A Huge<br />

Untapped Market to Leverage<br />

Mohammad Alblooshi, Head of DIFC Innovation Hub & FinTech Hive<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 />

P72 | <strong>The</strong> UAE Expands<br />

Economic and Trade Relations to<br />

Boost Investment Opportunities<br />

P82 | <strong>The</strong> UAE Corporate Tax to<br />

Create New Investment<br />

Opportunities<br />






We make Short / Long Term<br />

Investments in Growing Businessess<br />



N O W<br />

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

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

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

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

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www.thefinanceworld.com<br />


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Reaching a visionary goal requires<br />

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

<strong>The</strong> fintech industry in the UAE and the Middle East is undergoing<br />

rapid expansion, signaling the possibility of a substantial<br />

transformation in the financial landscape of the region. This<br />

issue’s cover story highlights this development and presents<br />

an exclusive interview with Mohammad Alblooshi, the Head Editor’s of Note DIFC<br />

Innovation Hub & FinTech Hive, whose insights into this exciting field<br />

provide valuable knowledge for industry stakeholders.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has emerged as a preeminent global financial hub and a<br />

coveted destination for international investors. In light of this, our<br />

focus in this edition is directed towards the rapidly evolving domain<br />

of asset management. Through a meticulous screening process, we<br />

have identified 15 UAE-based asset management companies that have<br />

demonstrated notable proficiency and excellence in this arena. Our<br />

compilation furnishes valuable insights into the investment strategies<br />

and approaches employed by these firms and sheds light on the factors<br />

that have contributed to their resounding success.<br />

Focusing on Investment in the UAE as this edition’s main theme, our<br />

articles provide insights on the various investment options offered by<br />

the UAE’s different sectors, such as the UAE cryptocurrency market<br />

promising exciting investment opportunities, different investment<br />

options in the UAE’s sports industry, investing in emerging artists<br />

and the importance of risk management, investment opportunities<br />

and advantages in Dubai real estate market, UAE corporate tax<br />

creating new investment opportunities, and many more articles that<br />

offer critical analysis and insights on current trends and issues in the<br />

business and investment domains.<br />

Within the news segments, you will find a condensed compendium<br />

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

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

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

startups, banking, funding, investment, fintech, digital assets, and<br />

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 />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 7<br />

September 2022 3

Contents <strong>May</strong><br />

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


P10 | 10 Things You Should Know<br />

Before Getting a Mortgage<br />


P12 | AED 245.5B Saving Deposits<br />

in UAE Banks by End of January<br />

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

P14 | UAE Banking News<br />



P26 | UAE’s Fintech Ecosystem<br />

and the upcoming Dubai Fintech<br />

Summit <strong>2023</strong>: Mohammad<br />

Alblooshi, Head of DIFC Innovation<br />

Hub & FinTech Hive<br />

START-UP<br />

P50 | Three Promising Investment<br />

Management Startups in the<br />

Middle East<br />

ENERGY<br />

P52 | Investment Opportunities<br />

in the UAE’s Sustainability and<br />

Energy Sector<br />


P56 | UAE’s Booming Healthcare<br />

Industry Offers Lucrative<br />

Investment Prospects<br />



P16 | <strong>The</strong> Central Bank of UAE<br />

Launches CBDC strategy<br />


P18 | Three UAE-Based Fintechs<br />

Attracting Investors’ Attention<br />

P20 | Fintech News<br />

P22 | Fintech Application<br />

P24 | Business News<br />

P58 | M&A Activity in GCC Expects<br />

a Spike amid Global Caution<br />

P60 | Mergers & Acquisitions News<br />


P62 | <strong>The</strong> UAE Cryptocurrency<br />

Market Promises Exciting<br />

Investment Opportunities<br />

8 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

P31 | Meet the Top 15 UAE-Based<br />

Asset Managers




P66 | Investment Opportunities<br />

and Advantages in Dubai Real<br />

Estate Market<br />

P68 | Real Estate News<br />


P80 | UAE Corporate Tax to Create<br />

New Investment Opportunities<br />

P82 | Corporate Results<br />

TRAVEL<br />

P90 | Abu Dhabi Boosts Business<br />

Tourism with Public-Private<br />

Partnerships<br />


P70 | <strong>The</strong> UAE Expands Economic and<br />

Trade Relations to Boost Investment<br />

Opportunities<br />

P72 | Funding & Investment News<br />


P74 | UAE’s Digital Asset<br />

Investment Landscape Gaining<br />

Momentum<br />


P76 | Promising Investment<br />

Opportunities in the UAE Stock<br />

Market<br />

P84 | 4 Destinations to Visit in<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> and Rejuvenate Yourself<br />

from Work<br />


P86 | Different Investment Options<br />

in the UAE’s Sports Industry<br />

P88 | Sports News<br />

P92 | Investing in Emerging<br />

Artists and the Importance of Risk<br />

Management<br />


P98 | Ras Al Khaimah’s Las-Vegas<br />

Resort Offers Great Options for<br />

Investors<br />

P94 | Global News<br />

P100 | Local News<br />

P23 | 64-65 | Launch Express<br />

P48 | P54 | P78 | P96 | Wheels<br />

P30 | P47 | Tech My Money<br />

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

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

10 Things You Should Know Before<br />

Getting a Mortgage<br />

Ensuring the long-term sustainability and feasibility of homeownership<br />

necessitates prudent and informed decision-making regarding housing<br />

finance, be it for a new property acquisition or an existing property refinance.<br />

Thoroughly evaluating and deliberating mortgage options in advance enables<br />

individuals to realize significant cost savings and fortify their financial<br />

resilience against unanticipated adversities. This article elucidates crucial<br />

aspects that individuals should be cognizant of before pursuing a mortgage.<br />

Several measures can be implemented<br />

to augment the probability of<br />

being granted a mortgage. It is<br />

imperative to comprehend the<br />

determinants influencing your eligibility<br />

for a mortgage, such as your credit<br />

rating, present liabilities, status as a selfemployed<br />

individual, and the magnitude<br />

of your down payment. To optimize your<br />

likelihood of success in acquiring your<br />

desired mortgage, consider adhering to<br />

the following 10 recommendations.<br />

Your Credit Report:<br />

Individuals with inferior credit ratings<br />

are subjected to exorbitant interest<br />

rates, culminating in inflated mortgage<br />

expenditures over time. Furthermore,<br />

those possessing a credit score lower<br />

than 620 may encounter difficulties<br />

securing a loan. A superior credit score<br />

amplifies the prospects of obtaining a<br />

low-interest mortgage. It is expedient<br />

to procure a copy of one’s credit report,<br />

ensuring its accuracy and rectifying<br />

any discrepancies before submitting a<br />

mortgage application.<br />

Set Your Budget:<br />

Create a budget before seeking a<br />

mortgage, ensuring that the loan amount<br />

is sufficient to cover the property’s price<br />

and associated expenses. Our guide on<br />

calculating the cost of buying your first<br />

home may be beneficial. <strong>The</strong> monthly<br />

mortgage payments are determined by<br />

the loan amount, the duration, and the<br />

interest rate.<br />

Reducing debts<br />

pre-mortgage<br />

application shows<br />

responsible<br />

financial<br />

management<br />

and enhances<br />

the chance of<br />

approval.<br />

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

Employment Stability:<br />

To secure a mortgage, lenders generally<br />

require evidence of long-term employment<br />

with the same employer. If considering<br />

a job switch, it’s advisable to wait until<br />

after securing the mortgage. A minimum<br />

of three to six months of tenure with the<br />

current employer is typically recommended<br />

before applying.<br />

Reduce Your Debt:<br />

When applying for a mortgage, having<br />

substantial credit card debt or unpaid<br />

loans is unfavourable to potential lenders.<br />

Reducing existing debts before submitting<br />

a mortgage application demonstrates<br />

responsible money management, increases<br />

the likelihood of a successful mortgage<br />

application, and potentially enables<br />

borrowing more in the lender’s affordability<br />

evaluation.<br />

Proof of Income:<br />

Lenders typically require evidence<br />

of income, which is provided annually<br />

by the employer and details the salary<br />

and tax deductions. Additionally, three<br />

months’ worth of bank statements and<br />

payslips are commonly requested to<br />

assess the borrower’s incoming and<br />

outgoing expenses.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Larger Your Downpayment, the<br />

High interest<br />

rates increase<br />

the borrower’s<br />

financial<br />

burden,<br />

resulting in<br />

an augmented<br />

future monthly<br />

payment<br />

obligation.<br />

Better:<br />

Experts recommend a 20% down<br />

payment to reduce mortgage size and<br />

interest paid over time. However, with<br />

FHA and VA loans offering lower down<br />

payments, some buyers question the<br />

need for 20%. A down payment under<br />

20% on a conventional loan requires<br />

PMI, adding 1% of the outstanding loan<br />

balance yearly to the monthly mortgage<br />

payment. Lower down payments can also<br />

lead to a higher interest rate, ultimately<br />

costing more.<br />

Consider a Co-buyer:<br />

If saving for a deposit on your own<br />

is difficult, consider buying a property<br />

with someone else. This may increase<br />

your chances of getting a good mortgage,<br />

especially if the other person has a high<br />

income and an excellent credit score.<br />

However, keep in mind that buying with<br />

someone else is a significant commitment.<br />

You’ll need to discuss with your co-buyer<br />

what will happen if one of you wants to<br />

sell the property in the future.<br />

Get Some Help:<br />

If you’re having difficulty locating<br />

the appropriate mortgage plan or don’t<br />

know what mortgage options you’re<br />

eligible for, employing the services of<br />

a mortgage broker could be beneficial.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y can conduct market research on<br />

your behalf and guide you through the<br />

application process, sparing you the<br />

trouble of completing everything on<br />

your own.<br />

Set Your Target:<br />

Bear in mind that applying for a<br />

mortgage or any other loan will result<br />

in a “hard inquiry” on your credit report,<br />

which can temporarily lower your score.<br />

If you apply for multiple mortgages within<br />

a two-week period, it will only count as<br />

one inquiry. However, if you spread out<br />

your applications over a longer period<br />

and apply to numerous lenders, your<br />

score may suffer, and you may end up<br />

with a higher interest rate than expected.<br />

Be Careful with Your Application:<br />

It is advisable not to alter the figures<br />

on your mortgage application once it has<br />

been submitted as it can delay the property<br />

purchase process. Any modifications to<br />

the application will require reassessment,<br />

which could result in additional delays.<br />

In conclusion, obtaining a mortgage<br />

requires careful consideration and<br />

planning. Before seeking a mortgage,<br />

it is crucial to assess your eligibility,<br />

set a budget, reduce debt, and secure<br />

stable employment. Having a co-buyer or<br />

enlisting the services of a mortgage broker<br />

can increase your chances of securing a<br />

favourable mortgage plan. By following<br />

these 10 recommendations, individuals<br />

can optimize their chances of obtaining<br />

a mortgage that suits their needs and<br />

fortify their financial resilience against<br />

unanticipated adversities.<br />

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

UAE Banking<br />

AED 245.5B Saving Deposits in UAE Banks<br />

by End of January <strong>2023</strong><br />

Saving deposits in the UAE<br />

banking system, excluding<br />

interbank deposits, increased<br />

to AED 245.537B by the end<br />

of January <strong>2023</strong>, a YoY growth of<br />

approximately AED 2.023B, or 0.92%,<br />

from about AED 243.31B in January<br />

2022, statistics by the Central Bank<br />

of the UAE revealed.<br />

Savings deposits in the UAE banks<br />

have grown remarkably over the recent<br />

years, from AED 152B at the close of<br />

2018 to AED 172.2B in 2019 and to<br />

AE 215.2B in 2020; and AED 241.8B<br />

in 2021, according to the statistics of<br />

the apex bank.<br />

Demand deposits grew to AED<br />

914.74B by the end of January <strong>2023</strong>, a<br />

YoY growth of 5.6% from AED 866.16B<br />

in January 2022, added the bank’s<br />

statistics. Term deposits surged to AED<br />

611.69B by the end of last January, a<br />

YoY growth of 19.5% from AED 512.04B<br />

in January 2022.<br />

Earlier, the Central Bank of UAE<br />

declared that deposits of ‘above AED<br />

20M’ in UAE banks until December<br />

2022 reached AED 1.31T. Large deposits<br />

(greater than AED 20M) made up 59%<br />

the total deposits held by the banks<br />

based in the UAE that totalled AED<br />

2.222T until the end of 2022, data from<br />

the Central Bank of the UAE revealed.<br />

Deposits of greater than AED 20M<br />

surged to AED 1.31T by the end of<br />

December, a growth of 11.4% from<br />

roughly AED 1.175T by the end of<br />

December 2021. Deposit accounts of<br />

more than AED 5M up to AED 20M<br />

accounted for roughly AED 269.24B, or<br />

12.1% of all deposits, an 11% increase<br />

from AED 242.46B in December 2021.<br />

Deposits from AED 1.00M up to AED<br />

5.00M made up roughly 13% of the total<br />

at the end of last December, up 15.2%<br />

from AED 250.63B in December 2021.<br />

Deposits of more than AED 500,000 and<br />

up to AED 1M totalled AED 108.5B,<br />

or 4.9% of all deposits, a rise of 13.5%<br />

from approximately AED 95.6B in<br />

December 2021.<br />

Deposits between AED 250.000 to<br />

AED 500,000 totalled AED 84.26B, down<br />

from AED 87.4B in December 2021.<br />

Deposits of up to AED 250,000 amounted<br />

to about 7.2% or the equivalent of AED<br />

160.8B at the end of last December, an<br />

increase of 11.3% compared to about<br />

AED 144.47B in December 2021.<br />

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

ADCB, Al Hilal Bank Partner with Bank of<br />

London and the Middle East<br />

ADCB and its Shari’ah compliant<br />

digital banking subsidiary Al<br />

Hilal Bank have announced an<br />

innovative new partnership<br />

with Bank of London and the Middle<br />

East (BLME) to bring digital UK banking<br />

to UAE nationals and residents through<br />

Nomo.<br />

Customers in the UAE can now open<br />

UK-based multi-currency current and<br />

savings accounts, as well as apply<br />

for UK home financing, from their<br />

smartphones using the newly launched<br />

ADCB-Nomo and Al Hilal-Nomo banking<br />

apps. This unique proposition, which<br />

gives UAE consumers a quick and simple<br />

way to bank in the UK from the UAE,<br />

demonstrates ADCB Group’s agility and<br />

commitment to consistently provide<br />

market-leading customer experience.<br />

Nomo is part of BLME, a subsidiary<br />

of Boubyan Bank, one of the leading<br />

financial institutions in the Middle<br />

East. Nomo was established to bring<br />

high-quality, Shari’ah-compliant digital<br />

banking to non-UK residents in the<br />

Middle East.<br />

Ala’a Eraiqat, ADCB Group CEO,<br />

and Al Hilal Bank Chairman, said,<br />

“ADCB’s partnership with Nomo is part<br />

of our strategy to drive digital-enabled<br />

growth. We are focused on maintaining<br />

ADCB’s leadership position in customer<br />

experience and are committed to<br />

providing customers with innovative<br />

digital banking solutions and an<br />

unparalleled banking experience. <strong>The</strong><br />

ADCB-Nomo and Al Hilal-Nomo apps<br />

will simplify international banking and<br />

unlock new financing opportunities for<br />

our customers with interests in the UK.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> ADCB-Nomo and Al Hilal-<br />

Nomo apps will give customers the<br />

ability to spend fee-free globally in<br />

six currencies (GBP, USD, AED, EUR,<br />

KWD and SAR), send money fee-free<br />

to UK bank accounts, and save in UKbased<br />

Fixed Term Deposits in GBP<br />

and USD. Customers will also have<br />

the opportunity to get finance to help<br />

them buy properties in the UK as an<br />

investment or as a second home.<br />

Adel Abdul Wahab Al-Majed, Vice-<br />

Chairman and Group Chief Executive<br />

Officer, Boubyan Group, added, “ADCB<br />

is a market leader in GCC banking<br />

when it comes to excellence, security<br />

and innovation, and it’s a hugely<br />

exciting prospect to be partnering<br />

with them. Our collective mission is<br />

to give customers in the UAE unique<br />

opportunities to invest and manage<br />

their wealth internationally, simplifying<br />

complicated banking processes and<br />

avoiding high cross-border fees. <strong>The</strong><br />

ADCB-Nomo and Al Hilal Nomo apps<br />

will make this a reality.” A fully mobile<br />

service, the ADCB-Nomo and Al Hilal-<br />

Nomo apps are available on iOS and<br />

Android operating systems.<br />

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

UAE Banking News<br />

UAE Banks Federation<br />

hosted lecture by Global<br />

Risk Management Expert<br />

<strong>The</strong> lecture by Professor Edward<br />

Altman, recently organised by<br />

the UAE Banks Federation,<br />

was a valuable opportunity for<br />

executives and staff from UBF member<br />

banks and financial institutions to<br />

learn from a global expert in the<br />

field of risk management. Professor<br />

Altman discussed the phenomenon<br />

of ghost companies, which manage<br />

to continue operating despite their<br />

inability to make profits or meet their<br />

obligations. He also spoke about credit<br />

risk management models and how<br />

they can be applied to counter these<br />

companies. In addition, Professor<br />

Altman provided an overview of the<br />

ZValue model, which has been used<br />

by banks in more than 20 countries.<br />

He also highlighted the evolution of<br />

resilient capabilities by companies and<br />

economic institutions in the current<br />

credit cycle, and the factors that<br />

contribute to determining the phases<br />

of the credit cycle.<br />

CBUAE cancels Abu Dhabi license of Russia’s<br />

MTS Bank<br />

On 31 March, <strong>2023</strong>, the<br />

Central Bank of the UAE has<br />

announced the cancellation<br />

of MTS Bank’s Abu Dhabi<br />

branch license, a Russian bank that<br />

had obtained a license to operate<br />

in the UAE in 2022. <strong>The</strong> bank’s Abu<br />

Dhabi operations will be wound down<br />

within six months of the decision. <strong>The</strong><br />

decision was made after considering<br />

the risks of sanctions associated with<br />

the bank after its designation by the US,<br />

UK and EU. During the winding down<br />

period, the branch will be prohibited<br />

from opening new accounts and<br />

conducting transactions, except for<br />

clearing prior obligations. <strong>The</strong> bank’s<br />

use of Central Bank’s payment systems<br />

will be restricted to this purpose only.<br />

UAE issues new AED 1,000 banknote for circulation<br />

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

launched a new AED 1,000<br />

banknote, made from ecofriendly<br />

polymer material.<br />

<strong>The</strong> banknote features cultural and<br />

development symbols that represent the<br />

UAE’s global achievements, reflecting its<br />

position as a leader among developed<br />

countries. <strong>The</strong> design also highlights<br />

the UAE’s achievements in space<br />

exploration, embodying its forwardlooking<br />

vision and ambitions. <strong>The</strong><br />

banknote will be available at banks and<br />

exchange houses, in alignment with the<br />

UAE’s declaration of <strong>2023</strong> as the year of<br />

sustainability. Khaled Mohamed Balama,<br />

Governor of the UAE Central Bank, said<br />

the banknote represents the new phase<br />

of the UAE’s developmental journey and<br />

ambitious future.<br />

UAE set to be a leader in digital finance with CBDC<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s leadership has a strong<br />

vision for digital transformation<br />

and non-oil production. To<br />

further diversify its economy,<br />

the central bank is planning a Central<br />

Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) - a digital<br />

version of the UAE’s fiat currency, issued<br />

and backed by the central bank. Unlike<br />

decentralized cryptocurrencies, CBDCs<br />

are created and maintained by a central<br />

bank, responding to the rise of cashless<br />

payments and providing greater access to<br />

financial services. However, challenges<br />

remain, such as ensuring cybersecurity<br />

and data privacy, regulatory compliance,<br />

and bridging the digital divide for<br />

underserved populations. CBDCs would<br />

allow for instant, secure transactions<br />

without intermediaries.<br />

14 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Blockchain adoption to be driven by central bank digital currencies and<br />

gaming industry<br />

Blockchain is a database<br />

technology that links digital<br />

transactions using cryptography<br />

to create a secure and efficient<br />

ledger, which is behind cryptocurrencies<br />

like Bitcoin. <strong>The</strong> Emirates Blockchain<br />

Strategy 2021, launched by the UAE<br />

in 2018, aims to shift nearly 50% of<br />

government transactions to blockchain<br />

within three years, potentially saving<br />

AED 11B ($2.99B) in costs and 398<br />

million printed documents annually.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Middle East, Africa, and Asia Crypto<br />

and Blockchain Association, launched<br />

in Abu Dhabi, aims to integrate digital<br />

assets into key economic sectors and<br />

address challenges facing the industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE Central Bank has also started<br />

implementing its digital currency<br />

strategy, Digital Dirham, with the help<br />

of infrastructure provider G42 Cloud<br />

and technology provider R3.<br />

GCC Banks well-equipped<br />

to withstand Turkish risks<br />

with ample buffers<br />

According to Fitch Ratings, GCC<br />

banks that have subsidiaries<br />

in Turkey have enough capital<br />

and profitability buffers to<br />

withstand any financial risks stemming<br />

from their operations in Turkey. Even<br />

in the event of a full write-down of<br />

the subsidiaries and before factoring<br />

in pre-impairment operating profit<br />

buffers, banks’ regulatory capital<br />

ratios would remain above minimum<br />

requirements. <strong>The</strong> banks’ Viability<br />

Ratings (VRs) already reflect the<br />

risks from Turkish operations, and a<br />

downgrade of Turkey would be unlikely<br />

to trigger VR downgrades due to the<br />

banks’ strong buffers and declining<br />

Turkish exposures. ENBD and KFH were<br />

the most affected, with above-average<br />

Turkish exposure and a decline in their<br />

operating profit/risk-weighted assets<br />

(RWA) ratio by about 60bp when net<br />

monetary losses were included.<br />

Dubai Police and Banks join forces to tackle<br />

Financial Crime<br />

Dubai Police’s General<br />

Department of Criminal<br />

Investigation has teamed up<br />

with ten banks and financial<br />

institutions to combat financial<br />

crime. <strong>The</strong> signed Memorandums<br />

of Understanding (MoUs) aim to<br />

enhance security and cooperation<br />

between the parties in investigating and<br />

predicting future economic crimes. <strong>The</strong><br />

collaboration seeks to create predictive<br />

frameworks that improve performance<br />

levels and promote preventive planning<br />

in line with global economic, criminal,<br />

and technological changes. As Dubai<br />

is a global economic and investment<br />

destination, the partnership aims<br />

to intensify efforts in cooperation<br />

with internal and external partners<br />

to strengthen the security system and<br />

prevent financial crimes in the region.<br />

Saudi National Bank Chairman steps down following<br />

Credit Suisse acquisition<br />

Saudi National Bank’s Chairman,<br />

Abdul Wahed Al Khudairy, has<br />

resigned for personal reasons<br />

and has been replaced by<br />

Chief Executive Saeed Mohammed Al<br />

Ghamdi. <strong>The</strong> bank has also appointed<br />

Talal Ahmed Al Khereiji as acting CEO.<br />

<strong>The</strong> bank, which acquired almost<br />

9.9% of Credit Suisse for $1.46B last<br />

November, suffered an 80% loss on its<br />

investment after UBS forced a takeover<br />

of the Swiss bank for $3.2B. However,<br />

the Saudi lender stated that the drop<br />

in investment value did not impact<br />

its growth plans and forward-looking<br />

guidance for <strong>2023</strong>. <strong>The</strong> announcement<br />

of new appointments followed after<br />

Abdul Wahed Al Khudairy, the former<br />

Chairman of Saudi National Bank, that<br />

the bank, which is the largest in the<br />

country in terms of assets, would not<br />

be able to purchase more shares in<br />

Credit Suisse due to regulatory reasons.<br />

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

UAE Reforms<br />

<strong>The</strong> Central Bank of UAE Launches CBDC<br />

strategy<br />

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

(CBUAE) jointly held a signing<br />

ceremony with G42 Cloud and<br />

R3 to mark the implementation<br />

of the CBUAE Central Bank Digital<br />

Currency (CBDC) Strategy, one of<br />

the nine initiatives of the CBUAE’s<br />

Financial Infrastructure Transformation<br />

(FIT) Programme. <strong>The</strong> CBUAE has<br />

engaged with G42 Cloud and R3 as<br />

the infrastructure and technology<br />

providers respectively for its CBDC<br />

implementation.<br />

Following several successful CBDC<br />

initiatives including Project “Aber”<br />

with the Saudi Central Bank in 2020,<br />

which confirmed the possibility of<br />

using a digital currency issued by two<br />

central banks to settle cross borders<br />

payments and was awarded the Global<br />

Impact Award by Central Banking<br />

Magazine, in addition to the first realvalue<br />

cross-border CBDC pilot under<br />

the “mBridge” Project with the Hong<br />

Kong Monetary Authority, the Bank of<br />

Thailand, the Digital Currency Institute<br />

of the People’s Bank of China and the<br />

Bank for International Settlements<br />

in 2022, the CBUAE is now ready for<br />

entering into the next major milestone<br />

of the CBDC journey and implementing<br />

its CBDC Strategy.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first phase of CBUAE’s CBDC<br />

Strategy, which is expected to complete<br />

over the next 12 to 15 months; comprises<br />

three major pillars, the soft launch<br />

of mBridge to facilitate real-value<br />

cross-border CBDC transactions for<br />

international trade settlement, proofof-concept<br />

work for bilateral CBDC<br />

bridges with India, one of the UAE’s<br />

top trading partners and finally, proofof-concept<br />

work for domestic CBDC<br />

issuance covering wholesale and retail<br />

usage.<br />

CBDC is a risk-free form of digital<br />

money issued and guaranteed by the<br />

central bank and serves as a secure,<br />

cost-effective and efficient form of<br />

payment and a store of value. As part<br />

of the UAE’s digital transformation,<br />

CBDC will help address the pain points<br />

of domestic and cross-border payments,<br />

enhance financial inclusion and the<br />

move towards a cashless society.<br />

It will further strengthen the UAE’s<br />

payment infrastructure, providing<br />

additional robust payment channels<br />

and ensuring a resilient and reliable<br />

financial system. More importantly, the<br />

CBUAE aims to ensure the readiness<br />

of the UAE to integrate the payment<br />

infrastructures with the future potential<br />

tokenisation world, the tokenisation of<br />

financial and non-financial activities.<br />

Khaled Mohamed Balama, the<br />

Governor of the CBUAE, said, “CBDC<br />

is one of the initiatives as part of the<br />

CBUAE’s FIT programme, which will<br />

further position and solidify the UAE<br />

as a leading global financial hub. <strong>The</strong><br />

launch of our CBDC strategy marks a<br />

key step in the evolution of money and<br />

payments in the country. CBDC will<br />

accelerate our digitalisation journey and<br />

promote financial inclusion. We look<br />

forward to exploring the opportunities<br />

that CBDC will bring to the wider<br />

economy and society.”<br />

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

MoF Issues Decision on Small Business<br />

Relief for Corporate Tax Purposes<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ministry of <strong>Finance</strong><br />

(MoF) has issued Ministerial<br />

Decision No. 73 of <strong>2023</strong> on<br />

Small Business Relief for the<br />

purposes of Federal Decree-Law No. 47<br />

of 2022 on the Taxation of Corporations<br />

and Businesses (Corporate Tax Law).<br />

<strong>The</strong> decision is issued in accordance<br />

with Article 21 of the Corporate Tax<br />

Law, which treats the taxable person as<br />

not having derived any taxable income<br />

in a given tax period where the revenue<br />

did not exceed a certain threshold.<br />

Small Business Relief is intended<br />

to support start-ups and other small<br />

or micro businesses by reducing their<br />

Corporate Tax burden and compliance<br />

costs. <strong>The</strong> Ministerial Decision on Small<br />

Business Relief specifies the revenue<br />

threshold and conditions for a taxable<br />

person to elect for Small Business<br />

Relief and clarifies the provisions of<br />

the carried forward Tax Losses and<br />

disallowed Net Interest Expenditure<br />

under the Small Business Relief scheme.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ministerial Decision on Small<br />

Business Relief stipulates the<br />

following:<br />

1. Taxable persons that are resident<br />

persons can claim Small Business<br />

Relief where their revenue in the<br />

relevant tax period and previous tax<br />

periods is below AED 3M for each<br />

tax period. This means that once a<br />

taxable person exceeds the AED 3M<br />

revenue threshold in any tax period,<br />

then the Small Business Relief will<br />

no longer be available.<br />

2. <strong>The</strong> AED 3M revenue threshold will<br />

apply to tax periods starting on or<br />

after 1st June <strong>2023</strong> and will only<br />

continue to apply to subsequent tax<br />

periods that end before or on 31st<br />

December 2026.<br />

3. Revenue can be determined based on<br />

the applicable accounting standards<br />

accepted in the UAE.<br />

4. Small Business Relief will not be<br />

available to Qualifying Free Zone<br />

Persons or members of Multinational<br />

Enterprises Groups (MNE Groups) as<br />

defined in Cabinet Decision No. 44 of<br />

2020 on Organising Reports Submitted<br />

by Multinational Companies. MNE<br />

Groups are groups of companies<br />

with operations in more than one<br />

country that have consolidated group<br />

revenues of more than AED 3.15B.<br />

5. In tax periods defined in the decision<br />

where businesses do not elect to apply<br />

for Small Business Relief, they will<br />

be able to carry forward any incurred<br />

Tax Losses and any disallowed Net<br />

Interest Expenditure from such tax<br />

periods, for use in future tax periods<br />

in which the Small Business Relief<br />

is not elected.<br />

6. With regard to the artificial separation<br />

of business, the Ministerial Decision<br />

specifies that where the Federal Tax<br />

Authority (FTA) establishes that<br />

taxable persons have artificially<br />

separated their business or business<br />

activity and the total revenue of the<br />

entire business or business activity<br />

exceeds AED 3M in any tax period and<br />

such persons have elected to apply for<br />

Small Business Relief, this would be<br />

considered an arrangement to obtain<br />

a Corporate Tax advantage under<br />

Clause (1) of Article 50 regarding<br />

the general anti-abuse rules of the<br />

Corporate Tax Law.<br />

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

Fintech<br />

Three UAE-Based Fintechs Attracting<br />

Investors’ Attention<br />

Fintech startups are on the rise in the UAE, with several companies<br />

making waves in the payments and digital banking space. In this article,<br />

we shed light on Postpay, YAP, and Pyypl, three promising fintechs<br />

attracting attention from investors and customers alike. With their<br />

innovative payment solutions, strong funding, impressive user bases,<br />

and innovative approaches to payment solutions, these three fintechs<br />

are well-positioned for continued growth and success in the years to<br />

come.<br />

Postpay<br />

Postpay is a fintech startup that<br />

provides payment solutions for<br />

customers through its buy now<br />

pay later (BNPL) service. Founded<br />

in 2019 by Tariq Sheikh and Dani Molina<br />

Carmona, Postpay has quickly become<br />

a leading payment solutions provider<br />

in the Middle East. Headquartered in<br />

the UAE, Postpay has a team of 51-200<br />

employees dedicated to providing topnotch<br />

payment services. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

has received a total funding of $63.5M<br />

from investors such as Afterpay, Touch<br />

Ventures Ltd, IMPACT46, and others.<br />

Postpay’s specialties include BNPL,<br />

fintech, AI, finance, UI excellence,<br />

payments, and ecommerce. Its innovative<br />

payment solutions have earned it a loyal<br />

customer base of over a million active<br />

users. <strong>The</strong> company has partnered<br />

with more than 1,500 brands, including<br />

regional merchants such as Ounass,<br />

Namshi, and Alshaya.<br />

In 2021, Postpay handled over $500M<br />

in transactions, demonstrating its strong<br />

foothold in the payments industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s app has also been<br />

successful, with 400,000 downloads<br />

as of July 2022. Postpay operates<br />

across the GCC, including in the UAE<br />

and Saudi Arabia, where it has gained<br />

a reputation as a reliable and userfriendly<br />

payment solutions provider.<br />

With its commitment to innovation<br />

and excellence, Postpay is poised for<br />

continued growth and success in the<br />

years to come.<br />

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

YAP<br />

YAP is a financial super app that<br />

offers a range of digital banking<br />

services to both individuals and<br />

businesses. Founded in 2021<br />

by Marwan Hachem and Anas Zaidan,<br />

YAP has quickly established itself as<br />

a leading player in the digital banking<br />

space. Since its establishment, YAP<br />

has secured a total of $45M in funding<br />

from angels and family offices. With a<br />

current team size of 11-50 employees,<br />

YAP has been able to offer a range of<br />

innovative digital banking solutions<br />

to its customers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s headquarters is located<br />

in the UAE. YAP’s consumer debit<br />

cards, virtual cards with Apple Pay<br />

and Samsung Pay, spending analytics,<br />

money transfers, bill payments, and<br />

real-time notifications of purchases<br />

have been well-received by users.<br />

In the UAE, YAP has partnered with<br />

RAKBANK for consumers and the<br />

Emirates Development Bank for SMEs.<br />

This has enabled the company to<br />

onboard over 190,000 users and 8,000<br />

SME partners.<br />

In July 2022, YAP raised $41M in<br />

funding to fuel its expansion plans<br />

in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and<br />

Ghana. <strong>The</strong> company has already<br />

partnered with Bank AlJazira to launch<br />

its consumer and business banking<br />

platforms in Saudi Arabia in <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

YAP’s innovative approach to digital<br />

banking has made it a standout company<br />

in the fintech space. With its strong<br />

partnerships, impressive user base,<br />

and funding, YAP is well-positioned<br />

to continue its growth and expansion<br />

in the years to come.<br />

Pyypl<br />

Pyypl is a mobile-led financial services<br />

app that specializes in fintech, mobile<br />

payments, mobile technology, blockchain,<br />

and financial inclusion. Founded in 2017<br />

by Antti Arponen and Phil Reynolds,<br />

Pyypl has quickly gained traction<br />

as a leading provider of innovative<br />

digital payment solutions. With a team<br />

size of 51-200 employees, Pyypl has<br />

been able to offer a range of virtual<br />

and physical prepaid cards, instant<br />

domestic and international user-touser<br />

transfers, and remittances to 38<br />

currency destinations. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

headquarters are located in the UAE,<br />

and it currently operates in the UAE,<br />

Bahrain, Kenya, Mozambique, Sierra<br />

Leone, and Kazakhstan.<br />

Pyypl has secured a total of $40M in<br />

funding from undisclosed investors. In<br />

November 2022, the company raised<br />

$20M in a Series B fundraising round to<br />

expand the reach of its digital payments<br />

and financial services across the Middle<br />

East and Africa. Pyypl claims that its<br />

user numbers, transaction volumes,<br />

and revenues have grown over four<br />

times since its Series A funding round<br />

in 2021.<br />

Pyypl’s commitment to financial<br />

inclusion and innovation has made it a<br />

standout company in the fintech space.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company aims to be fully operational<br />

in more than 20 countries in the next<br />

five years. Its focus on expanding its<br />

reach to underserved populations has<br />

set it apart from its competitors. With<br />

its strong financial backing, impressive<br />

growth, and innovative products,<br />

Pyypl is well-positioned to continue<br />

its expansion and make a significant<br />

impact in the digital payments space.<br />

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

Fintech News<br />

Qatar Financial Centre<br />

and R3 join forces to<br />

enhance fintech growth<br />

<strong>The</strong> Qatar Financial Centre<br />

Authority (QFCA) has signed an<br />

MoU with R3, a global provider<br />

of enterprise distributed ledger<br />

technology (DLT) and services, to bolster<br />

the growth of the fintech industry in Qatar.<br />

Under the partnership, QFCA and R3 will<br />

work to establish a lab environment for<br />

commercial banks and fintechs in Qatar,<br />

promote education and training on asset<br />

digitisation and the use of DLT, and create<br />

working groups to observe emerging<br />

regulatory paradigms. <strong>The</strong> agreement also<br />

supports QFCA’s deployment of DLT on<br />

a national level. <strong>The</strong> QFC’s CEO, Yousuf<br />

Mohamed Al Jaida, said the collaboration<br />

aims to foster innovation and support<br />

fintech growth in Qatar.<br />

Saudi Arabian Fintech Hakbah closes $2M funding<br />

Saudi Arabia’s Hakbah, a fintech<br />

savings platform, has secured<br />

$2M in a pre-Series A funding<br />

round following regulatory<br />

approval from the Saudi Central Bank.<br />

<strong>The</strong> round was led by Global Ventures,<br />

a MENA-based venture capital firm, and<br />

Aditum Investment Management, based<br />

in the Dubai International Financial<br />

Centre, which provided Hakbah with its<br />

first institutional capital. <strong>The</strong> funds will<br />

be used to expand Hakbah’s presence<br />

in Saudi Arabia, improve the user<br />

journey, and enhance its savings engine<br />

algorithm. <strong>The</strong> firm offers an automated<br />

savings platform that invests user<br />

Zero Two, a digital assets<br />

infrastructure company, has<br />

launched operations in Abu<br />

Dhabi, aiming to benefit from<br />

the emirate’s growing interest in Web3<br />

technology and ecosystem. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

offers a comprehensive range of digital<br />

asset infrastructure solutions, including<br />

power infrastructure development, latestgeneration<br />

technology sourcing and testing,<br />

data centre building and operation, and<br />

digital assets management services. Zero<br />

Two’s goal is to become a trusted partner<br />

for companies seeking to benefit from the<br />

transformative potential of digital assets.<br />

funds in Sharia-compliant fixed-income<br />

instruments, providing users with a<br />

profit-sharing ratio.<br />

Digital assets firm Zero Two launches operations<br />

in Abu Dhabi<br />

<strong>The</strong> company will also play a critical role<br />

in supporting the stability of Abu Dhabi’s<br />

power grid while contributing to the UAE’s<br />

Net Zero commitments and transition to<br />

a sustainable and decarbonized economy.<br />

MBME becomes first family-owned fintech to go public on ADX Growth<br />

Market<br />

MBME Group, the operator<br />

of the UAE’s largest online<br />

payment platforms for utility<br />

and government services, has<br />

become the first fintech company to list<br />

on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange’s<br />

(ADX) Growth Market. MBME, which<br />

is a family-owned business, saw its<br />

stock open at AED 12.000 and close at<br />

AED 12.300 on its debut day, under the<br />

trading symbol MBME. Listing on the<br />

ADX Growth Market allows MBME to<br />

expand and develop its digital payment<br />

solutions at a faster pace and promote<br />

adoption in the region, with more than<br />

90 million transactions involving over<br />

3.2 million clients, 650 APIs, and 4,000<br />

touchpoints across the UAE.<br />

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

Abu Dhabi’s RemotePass introduces physical debit<br />

card for remote workers<br />

RemotePass, a leading remote<br />

work platform based in<br />

Abu Dhabi, has launched a<br />

physical debit card to facilitate<br />

instant payments for remote teams<br />

in emerging markets, with no fees<br />

and bypassing international transfer<br />

delays and Swift fees. <strong>The</strong> new service<br />

also allows global remote workers<br />

to hold funds in USD, granting them<br />

greater control over their finances.<br />

<strong>The</strong> RemotePass card is equipped<br />

with 3D Secure for enhanced online<br />

transaction authentication, and offline<br />

transactions require a PIN for added<br />

security. RemotePass’s co-founder<br />

and CEO, Kamal Reggad, expressed<br />

excitement about delivering on<br />

the company’s vision of providing<br />

benefits and financial services to<br />

underserved workers in emerging<br />

markets, particularly in the UAE<br />

where Dubai is ranked as the thirdbest<br />

city for digital nomads to reside<br />

according to Savills.<br />

UAE’s Alaan partners with OpenAI to provide<br />

live expense insights<br />

UAE-based fintech Alaan has<br />

partnered with OpenAI to<br />

integrate advanced artificial<br />

intelligence technology onto<br />

its platform to offer real-time insights<br />

on corporate spend and improve<br />

expense management experience for<br />

its users. Alaan, which participated in<br />

the latest batch of startup accelerator<br />

Y Combinator and was given early<br />

access to ChatGPT-4, can now use<br />

OpenAI’s natural language processing<br />

capabilities to provide more intelligent,<br />

intuitive, and efficient expense<br />

management for its users. <strong>The</strong> AIpowered<br />

system enables users to type<br />

queries about spending activities and<br />

receive personalised, context-aware<br />

responses within seconds, while also<br />

categorising and analysing expenses in<br />

real time, detecting spending behaviour<br />

patterns and trends, and alerting users<br />

of unusual activities.<br />

MyFatoorah receives<br />

license from Qatar<br />

Central Bank for<br />

digital payments<br />

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

(QCB) has granted a license<br />

to MyFatoorah Company<br />

to provide digital payment<br />

services, making it the seventh company<br />

in the financial technology sector<br />

to come under QCB’s supervision.<br />

<strong>The</strong> move is part of QCB’s efforts<br />

to develop and reinforce the fintech<br />

sector in the country. MyFatoorah is<br />

a Kuwait-based fintech company that<br />

provides electronic payment solutions<br />

to businesses and individuals in the<br />

Gulf region. <strong>The</strong> company’s services<br />

include online payment gateway,<br />

e-invoicing, and mobile payment<br />

solutions. MyFatoorah’s expansion<br />

into Qatar is expected to boost digital<br />

payment services in the country.<br />

ADCB & Al Hilal Bank Partner with BLME for UAE-UK Banking<br />

ADCB and its Shari’ah-compliant<br />

digital banking subsidiary, Al<br />

Hilal Bank, have teamed up<br />

with Bank of London and the<br />

Middle East (BLME) to launch Nomo,<br />

a digital UK banking service for UAE<br />

residents and nationals. Customers<br />

can now open multi-currency current<br />

and savings accounts and apply for UK<br />

home financing using ADCB-Nomo and<br />

Al Hilal-Nomo mobile banking apps. This<br />

unique offering showcases ADCB Group’s<br />

flexibility and dedication to providing<br />

excellent customer experiences. Nomo is<br />

a subsidiary of Boubyan Bank, a leading<br />

financial institution in the Middle East,<br />

and is designed to provide high-quality,<br />

Shari’ah-compliant digital banking to<br />

non-UK residents in the Middle East.<br />

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

Fintech Application<br />


About<br />

Beam Wallet is a mobile payment<br />

and rewards app that allows<br />

users to make purchases, earn<br />

rewards, and redeem them at<br />

participating merchants in the UAE.<br />

Users can link their credit or debit<br />

cards to the app to make payments,<br />

and they can also earn rewards for<br />

every transaction they make.<br />

Review<br />

Beam Wallet is a popular mobile<br />

payment and rewards app in the UAE<br />

that provides its users with a variety<br />

of features and benefits. One of the<br />

key features of the app is its mobile<br />

payment functionality, which allows<br />

users to make payments at participating<br />

merchants in the UAE using their<br />

mobile phones. This feature is not<br />

only convenient but also secure, as the<br />

app uses state-of-the-art encryption<br />

technology to protect users’ payment<br />

information.<br />

In addition to its mobile payment<br />

feature, Beam Wallet also offers a<br />

comprehensive rewards program that<br />

allows users to earn points for every<br />

transaction they make using the app.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se points can then be redeemed for<br />

discounts, vouchers, and other rewards<br />

at participating merchants in the UAE,<br />

giving users even more incentive to use<br />

the app for their everyday transactions.<br />

To make the app even more appealing<br />

to users, Beam Wallet also offers a<br />

wide range of deals and discounts at<br />

participating merchants in the UAE.<br />

Users can find these deals on the app<br />

and use them to save money on their<br />

purchases, which is a valuable feature<br />

for many users who are looking to<br />

make their money go further. Beam<br />

Wallet’s user interface is also one of its<br />

key strengths. <strong>The</strong> app is designed to<br />

be user-friendly and easy to navigate,<br />

with a clean and intuitive interface<br />

that makes it easy for users to find<br />

merchants, make payments, and manage<br />

their rewards and discounts through<br />

the app. <strong>The</strong> app is available in both<br />

English and Arabic, which is a helpful<br />

feature for users who prefer to use the<br />

app in their native language.<br />

Beam Wallet is a comprehensive<br />

and convenient mobile payment and<br />

rewards app that provides its users<br />

with a variety of features and benefits.<br />

Whether you are looking to make secure<br />

mobile payments, earn rewards for<br />

your transactions, or save money on<br />

your purchases, Beam Wallet is worth<br />

considering.<br />

Availability: Google Play Store and<br />

Apple App Store<br />

Website: https://beamwallet.com/<br />

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

<strong>The</strong> Sonos Era 300 Speaker<br />

<strong>The</strong> Sonos Era 300 Speaker is a<br />

high-quality wireless speaker<br />

that delivers an immersive<br />

sound and is easy to use.<br />

This speaker boasts impressive<br />

features, including WiFi and Bluetooth®<br />

connectivity, the ability to stream content<br />

from all your favorite services and devices,<br />

and an auxiliary cable for connecting a<br />

turntable or other audio source. What<br />

sets the Sonos Era 300 apart is its<br />

ability to deliver mind-bending realistic<br />

surround sound when paired with Arc<br />

and streaming spatial audio with Dolby<br />

Atmos. This makes it ideal for movie and<br />

TV enthusiasts who want to experience<br />

immersive sound like never before.<br />

Setting up the Sonos Era 300 is incredibly<br />

easy, and controlling it is even easier with<br />

the Sonos app, next-generation touch<br />

controls, and your voice. You can use<br />

your voice to play and control music,<br />

change the volume, skip tracks, and more<br />

without using your hands.<br />

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

Business News<br />

UAE Joins G20 <strong>Finance</strong> Track’s 2nd IFA WG Meeting for <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong> International Financial<br />

Architecture Working Group<br />

(IFA WG) within the Gp20<br />

<strong>Finance</strong> Track for <strong>2023</strong> met in<br />

Paris, France, on March 30th and 31st.<br />

Attendees, including G20 members, invited<br />

countries, and international organizations,<br />

discussed progress made on the <strong>2023</strong> IFA<br />

WG work plan. <strong>The</strong> meeting focused on<br />

addressing the sustainability of sovereign<br />

debt, proposing solutions to support<br />

vulnerable countries, implementing<br />

recommendations on multinational<br />

development banks’ capital adequacy<br />

frameworks, and strengthening these<br />

banks to tackle global challenges.<br />

Members also discussed the effects<br />

of climate change-related policies on<br />

capital flows. <strong>The</strong> UAE team stressed<br />

the need for collaboration with regional<br />

organizations to promote global debt<br />

sustainability and encouraged incentives<br />

for debt transparency.<br />

Yahsat to invest<br />

$17.5M in IoT network<br />

operator<br />

Yahsat, a satellite communications<br />

firm based in Abu Dhabi, has<br />

revealed that its subsidiary will<br />

invest $17.5M in Astrocast, a<br />

network operator focused on IoT and low<br />

Earth orbit. Thuraya Telecommunications,<br />

which provides mobile satellite services,<br />

will provide the investment as a convertible<br />

loan, marking its initial investment in a LEO<br />

satellite constellation. <strong>The</strong> companies will<br />

also extend their technical cooperation<br />

agreement, which was first established<br />

between Thuraya and Astrocast in 2019,<br />

for an additional four years. Astrocast<br />

operates IoT networks using nanosatellites<br />

on a global scale and aims to provide low<br />

power wide area connectivity solutions.<br />

UAE Tops Kearney’s Emerging Market Index for<br />

MENA Region<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has been ranked as the<br />

third most appealing emerging<br />

market globally for investors,<br />

and the top one in the Middle<br />

East and North Africa (MENA) region,<br />

according to Kearney’s Global Emerging<br />

Markets Index. China and India secured<br />

the first two positions globally. <strong>The</strong><br />

UAE’s business-friendly policies and<br />

reforms, as well as its initiatives to<br />

attract talent, have made it an attractive<br />

H.E. Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri,<br />

the Minister of Economy in<br />

the UAE, announced that<br />

the country had reached an<br />

impressive milestone of 557,000 small<br />

and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)<br />

by the end of 2022. This achievement is<br />

in line with the UAE’s ambitious plan to<br />

increase the number of SMEs to 1 million<br />

by the end of 2030. Al Marri emphasised<br />

the significant role that SMEs play in<br />

the non-oil GDP, accounting for 63.5<br />

percent of it. <strong>The</strong> ministry’s vision is<br />

to establish a globally competitive<br />

knowledge-based economy, led by UAE<br />

nationals, by creating an investment<br />

environment that supports citizens<br />

who own SMEs. <strong>The</strong> ministry also aims<br />

to protect consumer rights, increase<br />

foreign direct investment (FDI), and<br />

destination for investors. <strong>The</strong> country is<br />

expected to receive a significant chunk<br />

of the $66B potential foreign direct<br />

investment (FDI) inflows into MENA<br />

and Pakistan this year, after logging<br />

around $22B in FDI inflows in 2022.<br />

However, investors have expressed<br />

concerns about commodity price<br />

increases, heightened geopolitical<br />

tensions, and political instability in<br />

emerging markets.<br />

Minister of Economy: 557,000 SMEs operated in<br />

UAE at end of 2022<br />

promote an entrepreneurial culture<br />

among future generations.<br />

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

UAE, Vietnam sign mutual declaration of intent to begin CEPA talks<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE and Vietnam have<br />

signed a mutual declaration<br />

of intent to begin negotiations<br />

for a comprehensive economic<br />

partnership agreement (CEPA). <strong>The</strong><br />

document was signed by the Minister<br />

of State for Foreign Trade, H.E. Dr.<br />

Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, and the<br />

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade,<br />

Nguyen Hong Dien. <strong>The</strong> UAE is Vietnam’s<br />

leading trade partner in the Arab region,<br />

accounting for 39 percent of Vietnamese<br />

trade with the region. <strong>The</strong> two sides<br />

discussed ways to strengthen cooperation<br />

in areas including trade, investment, the<br />

new economy, industry, energy, logistics,<br />

agriculture, and infrastructure.<br />

AD Ports Group secures<br />

$2B corporate facility<br />

with syndicate of 13<br />

banks<br />

AD Ports Group has signed a<br />

General Corporate Facility<br />

agreement with a syndicate of<br />

13 regional and international<br />

banks, including First Abu Dhabi Bank,<br />

Citibank, Mizuho Bank, and Société<br />

Générale. <strong>The</strong> multi-currency facility is<br />

worth around $2B and includes three<br />

tranches with a tenure of up to 2.5 years.<br />

<strong>The</strong> demand for the facility was overwhelming,<br />

with commitments of $7.4B<br />

in total from participating banks. AD<br />

Ports Group managed to improve pricing<br />

compared to the $1B RCF secured in<br />

2021. <strong>The</strong> successful funding reaffirms<br />

AD Ports Group’s strong financial position<br />

and supports its ambitious strategic<br />

development plans.<br />

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank’s SME financing totalled<br />

$272.2M in 2022<br />

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)<br />

has released its second<br />

Environmental, Social, and<br />

Governance (ESG) report,<br />

highlighting its progress towards<br />

ESG goals and commitments for the<br />

year 2022. <strong>The</strong> report also introduces<br />

a new three-year ESG strategy that<br />

integrates ESG risk considerations<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s trade with the rest<br />

of the world surpassed $1T in<br />

2022, with exports growing by<br />

41% and imports accounting for<br />

22% of the total amount, according to<br />

the <strong>World</strong> Trade Organisation. Higher<br />

crude oil prices were cited as the main<br />

driver of growth. His Highness Sheikh<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,<br />

Vice President and Prime Minister of the<br />

UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said that the<br />

figures will continue to increase in the<br />

year ahead. His Highness emphasised<br />

into the banking framework to support<br />

the UAE’s transition towards a more<br />

sustainable economy. <strong>The</strong> bank invested<br />

AED 23M in community development<br />

initiatives and provided AED1 billion<br />

in SME financing, maintaining a stable<br />

financial position with 60 percent of<br />

the bank’s funding portfolio meeting<br />

low or medium ESG risk standards.<br />

UAE’s trade surpasses $1Tin 2022 and eyes further<br />

growth<br />

the UAE’s economic priorities and its<br />

commitment to developing its economy<br />

through international trade. <strong>The</strong><br />

country’s exports accounted for 2.4% of<br />

the global merchandise exports share.<br />

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

Cover Story<br />

<strong>The</strong> region<br />

promises a<br />

lot of growth<br />

opportunities,<br />

and it is the<br />

right region<br />

for any fintech<br />

company.<br />

Mohammad Alblooshi<br />

Head of DIFC Innovation Hub & FinTech Hive<br />

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

UAE’s Fintech Ecosystem and the upcoming<br />

Dubai Fintech Summit <strong>2023</strong><br />

Mohammed Alblooshi is a specialist in FinTech & innovation. He contributes to the<br />

growth of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) by developing and managing<br />

its FinTech & Innovation functions in line with the Dubai Vision of a global business<br />

hub for tech.<br />

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

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

introduction of your experience<br />

at the DIFC Innovation Hub and<br />

FinTech Hive?<br />

I am Mohammad Alblooshi, and my<br />

role is to lead the DIFC Innovation<br />

Hub, responsible for advancing its<br />

innovation agenda. This includes<br />

overseeing a physical ecosystem that<br />

is home to around 650 fintech and<br />

innovation companies, as well as our<br />

accelerators and a strong network of<br />

venture capitalists. <strong>The</strong> ecosystem<br />

provides a comprehensive platform<br />

for startups and fintech companies to<br />

drive the evolution of finance within<br />

the financial center. Prior to this role, I<br />

worked in the banking industry, which<br />

has given me a background in finance.<br />

Now, my focus is on unlocking the<br />

potential of innovation and fintech<br />

companies and the future of finance<br />

sectors within DIFC.<br />

Q. What is your outlook on the<br />

current fintech arena in the UAE<br />

and the Middle East?<br />

I think it’s probably at a very<br />

interesting point because; if you are to<br />

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

Cover Story<br />

compare us now to the fintech outlook<br />

globally, our market is still very<br />

nascent and developing very rapidly.<br />

We are yet to see the real potential and<br />

real growth, and I think there’s a huge<br />

opportunity for growth. If you compare<br />

other markets, I would say a lot of<br />

them are mature and stagnated, while<br />

we are in exponential growth mode.<br />

Q. Which verticals under fintech<br />

do you think are moving towards<br />

saturation in the near future?<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are many business models<br />

that are yet to see their real potential.<br />

Fintech is relatively new in our part of<br />

the world. We could say that payments<br />

are saturated in some markets, but<br />

there is a lot more room to grow in<br />

our markets, and that presents exciting<br />

opportunities.<br />

Q. How feasible do you think it<br />

is for fintech companies to adopt<br />

advanced AI technology?<br />

I think that fintech companies<br />

leverage anything that is cutting edge,<br />

such as blockchain, to further enhance<br />

their offerings. Additionally, AI plays<br />

a crucial role, and we have companies<br />

that actually leverage AI when it comes<br />

to solutions around robo-advisory and<br />

things like that.<br />

Q. What can visitors expect from<br />

the DIFC Fintech Summit <strong>2023</strong>?<br />

This is the inaugural Dubai FinTech<br />

Summit, and the reason we’re doing it<br />

is really to create a platform where we<br />

attract the global fintech ecosystem<br />

to Dubai. We attract policymakers,<br />

fintech companies, and the banking<br />

community all under one roof to<br />

come and discuss the opportunities<br />

that fintech proposes, the challenges<br />

that the industry is facing, and how<br />

all of us can work together to shape<br />

the industry. <strong>The</strong> Summit also offers<br />

an opportunity for startups and<br />

fintech companies to showcase their<br />

technology; there’s an exhibition part,<br />

but it’s very heavy on content and<br />

policy-making as well. We want to<br />

make sure that it drives policy-making,<br />

and that’s why if you look at the agenda<br />

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

Middle East<br />

fintech arena<br />

is at a very<br />

interesting<br />

point, as<br />

the market<br />

is still very<br />

nascent and<br />

developing<br />

very rapidly.<br />

and some of the speakers that are<br />

coming in, you will see that it’s very<br />

heavy, diving deep into the sector, and<br />

provoking thought leadership.<br />

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

entrepreneurs looking to start a<br />

fintech company in the UAE and<br />

the Middle East?<br />

<strong>The</strong> region promises a lot of growth<br />

opportunities, and I think it is the<br />

right region for any fintech company.<br />

This is the region that even global<br />

fintech companies should look at. I’ve<br />

been traveling the world and seeing<br />

other markets; you can scale very<br />

quickly, as there is a huge untapped<br />

market to leverage. <strong>The</strong> regulators are<br />

very progressive, and the ecosystem<br />

is developing rapidly. From a talent<br />

perspective, I think the UAE is<br />

emerging as a hot talent hub when it<br />

comes to attracting tech talent.<br />

Q. Can you suggest a problem<br />

statement that requires addressing<br />

in the near future, but not much<br />

has been done regarding the same?<br />

I would say that we’ve done a lot<br />

of work in terms of regulation, as our<br />

regulators have been quite progressive.<br />

However, I still believe there’s more<br />

that can be done to further enable<br />

the fintech community. I think on the<br />

talent side as well, Dubai is a magnet<br />

for talent in the region, but those are<br />

also areas where there’s a lot more<br />

that can be done.<br />

Q. What is the purpose behind<br />

curating an event such as DFS?<br />

<strong>The</strong> first purpose is to basically<br />

show the world what Dubai’s fintech<br />

ecosystem is all about, telling the<br />

world that we’re here and this is who<br />

we are. More importantly, we aim to get<br />

everyone together to address specific<br />

areas and talk about opportunities and<br />

challenges. It’s not only fintech; we’re<br />

looking at the whole future finance<br />

space. So, getting policymakers,<br />

regulators, banks, and fintechs all<br />

together to collaborate and shape<br />

the future is very important; putting<br />

a banking CEO and a fintech CEO<br />

together on a panel to talk is a muchneeded<br />

collaboration. I think now<br />

people have kind of accepted that<br />

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

fintechs are not competing with banks.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y’re both complementing each<br />

other, so we want to make sure that<br />

kind of understanding and thought<br />

leadership is provoked and enabled<br />

by Dubai Fintech Summit.<br />

Q. What are the key topics DFS<br />

will address this year?<br />

Everything that falls under future<br />

finance and fintech will be discussed,<br />

but given the UAE’s hosting COP28<br />

this year, there is a big focus on<br />

sustainability. Web3 and digital<br />

assets are going to be quite relevant<br />

as well; regulating Web3 and its<br />

impacts on financial services. I think<br />

the metaverse is going to be a topic;<br />

<strong>Finance</strong> and the Metaverse. When<br />

it comes to regulatory challenges,<br />

it’s very important that the industry<br />

gets to hear about the regulatory<br />

challenges fintechs face, just as it is<br />

very important for regulators to hear<br />

from fintechs as well. So, all the key<br />

topics will be highlighted here.<br />

Q. What outcomes do you hope to<br />

see arising from this event?<br />

We’re expecting about 5000+<br />

people to attend the Summit as an<br />

inaugural summit, which I think is<br />

quite significant. I think we’re looking<br />

at 100+ speakers from all over the<br />

world. If you look at some of the<br />

names, you will find global leaders in<br />

the financial world, Jenny Johnson,<br />

President and CEO of Franklin<br />

Templeton Investments, Piyush Gupta,<br />

CEO of DBS Bank, Bill Winters, CEO<br />

of Standard Chartered PLC, and Brian<br />

Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase. I think<br />

it’s very important that people see that,<br />

and as an outcome, there are about<br />

100+ fintechs that will be exhibiting,<br />

which offers a good opportunity for<br />

fintechs to showcase what they have<br />

to offer and for the market to see what<br />

kind of technologies are over there.<br />

If someone is new and doesn’t know<br />

much, they could go and learn about<br />

technologies and hear from people<br />

about everything that’s happening in<br />

the industry. We also want to make sure<br />

that there are business opportunities<br />

for people who are showcasing and<br />

attending the event.<br />

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

the speakers and agenda lineup for<br />

the event?<br />

<strong>The</strong> agenda would give a snapshot<br />

of macro-financial aspects but then<br />

dive deep into specific areas and<br />

challenges within the fintech and<br />

future of finance space. Key speakers<br />

include Jenny Johnson, president and<br />

CEO of Franklin Templeton. She runs<br />

a company that manages about $1.5T.<br />

We also have Piyush Gupta, who has<br />

done wonders for DBS in Singapore,<br />

especially in the fintech space. Bill<br />

Winters, CEO of Standard Chartered,<br />

Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase,<br />

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, and<br />

other global CEOs are also coming.<br />

I go to events and rarely find an<br />

event that has people from all over<br />

the world, while here we have fintech<br />

unicorns coming from India, Europe,<br />

and the USA, in addition to people<br />

from the government. People are also<br />

coming from the region, such as the<br />

Central Bank of Bahrain and people<br />

from Saudi Arabia. Our aim is to make<br />

sure that the event will be seen as<br />

a global event with the right mix of<br />

people and companies from different<br />

jurisdictions. This event carries the<br />

brand of Dubai and positions the city<br />

as a global hub for fintech. As it is a<br />

global hub for many things, we want<br />

to make sure that it is a global hub<br />

for business.<br />

Q. What message do you have for<br />

our readers?<br />

I urge everyone to come to Dubai<br />

Fintech Summit. Attend, learn,<br />

network, and be part of the future.<br />

Let’s shape the future of finance<br />

together.<br />

In a one-to-one conversation with<br />

Manoj Sureka<br />

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

HP Omen Transcend 16 Gaming Laptop<br />


Gaming Laptop is a new beast<br />

in the gaming world that will<br />

take your gaming experience<br />

to the next level. With impressive<br />

specifications, this laptop is a powerhouse<br />

that will provide an unparalleled gaming<br />

experience.<br />

<strong>The</strong> laptop features a 16-inch display<br />

with up to WQXGA (2560 x 1600)<br />

resolution, mini-LED technology, and a<br />

240Hz refresh rate with a 5ms response<br />

time. <strong>The</strong> display delivers accurate colors<br />

and vivid visuals, providing gamers with<br />

TECH<br />

MY<br />

MONEY<br />

a more immersive experience.<br />

<strong>The</strong> OMEN TRANSCEND 16 is equipped<br />

with an Intel® Core i9-13900HX<br />

processor with up to 5.4GHz of speed<br />

with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology,<br />

ensuring that gamers can run their<br />

games smoothly and seamlessly. <strong>The</strong><br />

laptop comes with a whopping 130W<br />

TGP with NVIDIA® GeForce RTX<br />

4070 Laptop GPU with 8 GB GDDR6<br />

dedicated memory, providing gamers with<br />

exceptional graphics performance and<br />

a more immersive gaming experience.<br />

<strong>The</strong> OMEN Tempest Cooling system,<br />

coupled with the laptop’s up to 32GB<br />

DDR5-5600 MHz RAM (2 x 16GB) and<br />

up to 2TB PCIe® Gen4 NVMe TLC M.2<br />

SSD, ensures that gamers can play their<br />

favorite games without experiencing any<br />

lag or overheating issues.<br />

<strong>The</strong> OMEN TRANSCEND 16 is a top-ofthe-line<br />

gaming laptop that delivers high<br />

performance, reliability, and an immersive<br />

gaming experience. Whether you are<br />

a hardcore gamer or just starting, this<br />

laptop is a great choice for anyone who<br />

wants to elevate their gaming experience.<br />

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



Special Report

Special Report<br />



KAMCO Investment<br />

Company<br />

Faisal Mansour Sarkhou,<br />

CEO<br />

Despite the drop in total revenue in FY 2022<br />

compared to FY 2021, KAMCO Invest still<br />

managed to record a net profit of KWD 5.5M.<br />

KAMCO Investment Company,<br />

established in 1998 as a<br />

subsidiary of United Gulf<br />

Bank, is a regional non-banking<br />

financial powerhouse that has become<br />

a prominent player in the Middle East<br />

and North Africa. <strong>The</strong> company provides<br />

a comprehensive range of investment<br />

products and services, including asset<br />

management, investment banking, and<br />

brokerage. It has offices in key regional<br />

financial markets and operates as an<br />

independently managed subsidiary of<br />

KIPCO Group.<br />

KAMCO Invest’s success is attributable<br />

to its client-driven experience, which<br />

focuses on the latest value-adding market<br />

insights and customized investment<br />

opportunities to meet the diverse needs<br />

of high-net-worth and institutional<br />

clients. <strong>The</strong> company puts clients at the<br />

heart of its experience and implements<br />

an ethical, empathetic, and proactive<br />

approach to building long-lasting<br />

relationships while actively managing,<br />

monitoring, and reporting on portfolios.<br />

KAMCO Invest provides a variety of<br />

bespoke asset management solutions<br />

covering equities and fixed income,<br />

private equity, real estate, third-party<br />

solutions, and management of special<br />

situations. <strong>The</strong> company’s team combines<br />

the latest in-house market research with<br />

innovative investment strategies and<br />

solutions to suit each client’s unique<br />

needs. Its investment banking specialists<br />

have assisted some of the region’s<br />

top-rated institutions in successfully<br />

concluding M&As, Debt Capital Market<br />

and Equity Capital Market mandates.<br />

One of the key strengths of KAMCO<br />

Invest is its strong financial position,<br />

with KWD 62.5M in shareholders’<br />

equity as of 31 December 2022, an<br />

increase of 3.4% compared to the end<br />

of December 2021. Despite the drop in<br />

total revenue in FY 2022 compared to<br />

FY 2021, KAMCO Invest still managed<br />

to record a net profit of KWD 5.5M. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s asset under management<br />

as of 31 December 2022 exceeded<br />

$13.8B across various asset classes<br />

and jurisdictions, with investment<br />

banking credentials exceeding $34.7B<br />

across equity & debt capital markets<br />

and mergers & acquisitions.<br />

KAMCO Invest’s reputation in the<br />

financial industry is evident from its<br />

credit rating of “BBB” long-term credit<br />

rating and “A3” short-term rating with<br />

a stable outlook, maintained by Capital<br />

Intelligence in its most recent review<br />

in <strong>May</strong> 2022. <strong>The</strong> company’s brokerage<br />

arm provides quick and reliable access<br />

to Boursa Kuwait and several regional<br />

and international markets, which is<br />

beneficial for clients who want to<br />

grow their wealth with the freedom<br />

to choose the financial markets that<br />

suit their needs.<br />

In conclusion, KAMCO Investment<br />

Company is a well-established financial<br />

institution in the Middle East and<br />

North Africa that provides a wide<br />

range of investment products and<br />

services to meet the diverse needs of<br />

its clients. <strong>The</strong> company’s client-driven<br />

experience, strong financial position,<br />

and innovative investment strategies<br />

have made it a prominent player in<br />

the financial industry. Its ability to<br />

adapt to changing market conditions<br />

and maintain its credit rating despite<br />

the challenges of the pandemic shows<br />

that it is a reliable and trustworthy<br />

partner for investors seeking to grow<br />

their wealth in the region.<br />

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

Special Report<br />



Shuaa Capital<br />

Fawad Tariq Khan,<br />

CEO<br />

Shuaa Capital’s EBITDA in FY 2022 increased<br />

significantly from AED 54.7M in FY 2021 to<br />

AED 135M.<br />

Shuaa Capital, established in 1979,<br />

is a leading asset management<br />

and investment banking platform<br />

in the United Arab Emirates.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company has a strong track record<br />

and innovative approach to investing,<br />

offering a diverse range of global<br />

products focused on public and private<br />

markets, debt, and real estate. As of<br />

December 2021, Shuaa Capital manages<br />

$13.1B in assets under management,<br />

making it one of the region’s largest<br />

asset management companies.<br />

In 2022, Shuaa Capital reported a<br />

decline in revenue from AED 322.7M<br />

in FY 2021 to AED 265.7M in FY 2022.<br />

However, the company’s earnings<br />

before interest, taxes, depreciation,<br />

and amortization (EBITDA) increased<br />

significantly from AED 54.7M in FY 2021<br />

to AED 135M in FY 2022. Additionally,<br />

Shuaa Capital’s net profit rose from<br />

AED 24.2M in FY 2021 to AED 135.2M<br />

in FY 2022. <strong>The</strong>se figures indicate the<br />

company’s strong financial performance<br />

and demonstrate its ability to adapt to<br />

changing market conditions.<br />

Shuaa Capital’s recent acquisition<br />

of a majority stake in Souqalmal, a<br />

UAE-based fintech company, and the<br />

launch of three new Shariah-compliant<br />

funds managed by its wholly-owned<br />

subsidiary, SHUAA GMC Ltd, further<br />

demonstrate the company’s commitment<br />

to innovation and expansion. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s move into the fintech sector,<br />

in particular, shows its willingness to<br />

embrace emerging technologies and<br />

capitalize on the growing demand for<br />

digital financial services.<br />

Furthermore, the recent appointment<br />

of Fawad Tariq Khan as Group CEO and<br />

Head of Investment Banking in June 2022<br />

is expected to further strengthen Shuaa<br />

Capital’s position in the industry. Khan,<br />

who has over 25 years of experience in<br />

investment banking, is well-positioned to<br />

lead the company’s growth strategy and<br />

expand its market share in the region.<br />

In February 2022, Shuaa Capital filed<br />

a registration statement with the U.S.<br />

Securities and Exchange Commission to<br />

set up a SPAC that was listed on Nasdaq<br />

in March. This move demonstrated the<br />

company’s ambition to expand its reach<br />

beyond the UAE and take advantage of<br />

new investment opportunities globally.<br />

Shuaa Capital’s SPAC is expected to<br />

provide a new avenue for the company<br />

to raise capital and invest in promising<br />

startups and emerging technologies.<br />

Shuaa Capital’s recent financial<br />

performance and strategic initiatives<br />

indicate that the company is wellpositioned<br />

to continue its growth<br />

trajectory and expand its market share<br />

in the region. Its innovative approach<br />

to investing, commitment to emerging<br />

technologies, and expansion into new<br />

markets are expected to drive its future<br />

success. As Shuaa Capital continues<br />

to evolve and adapt to the changing<br />

financial landscape, it is likely to remain<br />

a key player in the asset management<br />

and investment banking sectors in the<br />

UAE and beyond.<br />

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

Special Report<br />



Emirates NBD<br />

Asset Management<br />

Steve Corrin<br />

CEO<br />

Emirates NBD Asset Management’s net<br />

profit of AED 13B in FY 2022 represents<br />

a YoY increase of 40%, while total income<br />

increased by 36% YoY to AED 32.5B.<br />

Since its establishment in 2006,<br />

Emirates NBD Asset Management<br />

has demonstrated impressive<br />

growth and a commitment to<br />

responsible investing, cementing its<br />

position as a major player in the UAE’s<br />

financial industry. <strong>The</strong> company has<br />

since become a 100%-owned subsidiary<br />

of Emirates NBD Bank, one of the largest<br />

banks in the MENA region. However,<br />

Emirates NBD Asset Management<br />

retains a degree of independence with<br />

its own board of directors, investment<br />

policies, and regulatory oversight.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s assets under management<br />

reached $5.9B as of December 2022, a<br />

testament to the company’s success in<br />

managing funds, real estate, and other<br />

investment products. <strong>The</strong> firm manages<br />

both conventional and Shariah-compliant<br />

funds, and its funds are domiciled in Jersey,<br />

Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands.<br />

This global reach allows Emirates NBD<br />

Asset Management to offer diversified<br />

investment opportunities to its clients.<br />

Emirates NBD Asset Management’s<br />

commitment to responsible investing<br />

is also noteworthy. <strong>The</strong> firm became<br />

a signatory of the United Nationssupported<br />

Principles for Responsible<br />

Investment in October 2021, indicating<br />

its dedication to environmental, social,<br />

and governance (ESG) factors in its<br />

investment decisions. This commitment<br />

is likely to resonate with investors<br />

seeking socially responsible investment<br />

options.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s impressive financial<br />

performance in FY 2022 is another<br />

indication of its growth potential.<br />

Its net profit of AED 13B in FY 2022<br />

represents a YoY increase of 40%, while<br />

total income increased by 36% YoY to<br />

AED 32.5B. <strong>The</strong> company’s net interest<br />

income also increased by 37% YoY,<br />

largely due to improved loan and deposit<br />

mixes with higher rates feeding through<br />

to margins. <strong>The</strong> balance sheet is well<br />

positioned to continue benefiting from<br />

rate rises, and the company’s non-funded<br />

income increased by 35% YoY, indicating<br />

growth in local and international card<br />

transactions, coupled with growth in<br />

FX and derivative income.<br />

Despite this impressive growth,<br />

Emirates NBD Asset Management has<br />

maintained well-controlled expenses,<br />

indicating disciplined cost management.<br />

<strong>The</strong> increased income has enabled<br />

accelerated investment in digital and<br />

data and the international network to<br />

drive future growth. Emirates NBD<br />

Asset Management’s launch of its UAE<br />

Strategic Investment Fund in 2021 is<br />

another indication of the company’s<br />

commitment to innovation and growth.<br />

<strong>The</strong> fund, which has assets under<br />

management worth over $630M, allows<br />

the company to expand its investment<br />

offerings further and provide clients<br />

with diversified investment options.<br />

Overall, Emirates NBD Asset<br />

Management’s impressive growth,<br />

commitment to responsible investing,<br />

and disciplined cost management make<br />

it a compelling investment option for<br />

those seeking exposure to the UAE’s<br />

financial industry. As the company<br />

continues to expand its offerings and<br />

capitalize on global market trends, it is<br />

likely to cement its position as a leading<br />

asset management firm in the region.<br />

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

Special Report<br />



Alkhair Capital<br />

Yousef Al-Shelash<br />

CEO (Dubai & Saudi Arabia)<br />

Alkhair Capital has signed an MoU with<br />

KLAIM to launch investment products<br />

worth $50M to support healthcare service<br />

providers across MENA<br />

Alkhair Capital is a prominent<br />

financial services company<br />

operating in Saudi Arabia and<br />

Dubai. Since its establishment<br />

in 2009, the company has grown to become<br />

a leading player in asset management,<br />

advisory, and private equity services<br />

across regional and international<br />

financial institutions. Alkhair Capital’s<br />

significant shareholder is Bahrain’s<br />

Bank Alkhair, and it has recorded<br />

assets under management worth $3.6B<br />

in Q1 2022.<br />

In 2022, Alkhair Capital made notable<br />

strides in expanding its services and<br />

products. For instance, the company<br />

signed an MoU with KLAIM to launch<br />

investment products worth $50M to<br />

support healthcare service providers<br />

across MENA. Additionally, Ways<br />

Marketing Solutions Company appointed<br />

Alkhair Capital as its financial advisor<br />

to list the company’s shares on the<br />

Saudi parallel market, Nomu. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

developments demonstrate Alkhair<br />

Capital’s commitment to innovation<br />

and providing tailored solutions to<br />

its clients.<br />

Alkhair Capital has a strong presence<br />

in leading Islamic finance hubs and<br />

adheres to Islamic Shari’ah standards<br />

in all of its operations. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

unique position among Islamic financial<br />

institutions sets it apart from other<br />

financial services companies in the<br />

region. Alkhair Capital is a pioneer in<br />

Islamic products and has successfully<br />

advised and structured many transactions<br />

to date.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s extensive experience<br />

in asset management, advisory, and<br />

private equity services has allowed it to<br />

deliver exceptional value to clients and<br />

shareholders. Its strong management<br />

team is committed to providing clients<br />

with the best possible services while<br />

adhering to Islamic finance principles.<br />

Alkhair Capital’s compliance with all<br />

laws, regulations, and decisions issued<br />

by regulators in all the jurisdictions<br />

where it operates also underscores<br />

its commitment to transparency and<br />

ethical business practices.<br />

Overall, Alkhair Capital is a wellrespected<br />

financial services company<br />

with a strong presence in Saudi Arabia<br />

and Dubai. <strong>The</strong> company’s focus on<br />

providing tailored, Sharia-compliant<br />

solutions to clients, coupled with its<br />

extensive experience in asset management,<br />

advisory, and private equity services,<br />

sets it apart from other financial services<br />

companies in the region. Its recent<br />

expansion into investment products that<br />

support healthcare service providers<br />

across MENA and its appointment as a<br />

financial advisor for the listing of Ways<br />

Marketing Solutions Company’s shares<br />

on Nomu highlight Alkhair Capital’s<br />

commitment to innovation and meeting<br />

clients’ unique needs.<br />

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

Special Report<br />



Gulf Capital<br />

Dr. Karim El Solh<br />

Co-Founder & CEO<br />

Gulf Capital has recently received a Full<br />

Asset Management License from the Financial<br />

Services Regulatory Authority in Abu Dhabi<br />

and established its global headquarters in<br />

ADGM.<br />

Launched in Abu Dhabi in<br />

2006, Gulf Capital has rapidly<br />

emerged as a leading alternative<br />

investment firm with $2.5B<br />

in assets under management (AUM).<br />

With offices across the UAE, Saudi<br />

Arabia, Egypt, and Singapore, Gulf<br />

Capital has been at the forefront of<br />

investment opportunities in growth<br />

markets across private equity, private<br />

debt, and real estate.<br />

At the heart of Gulf Capital’s success<br />

is its ability to partner with dynamic<br />

entrepreneurs and exceptional management<br />

teams, providing them with growth<br />

capital, strategic advice, and operational<br />

expertise to build market-leading<br />

businesses. Over the past sixteen years,<br />

Gulf Capital has leveraged its extensive<br />

network of contacts and deep industry<br />

expertise to create a portfolio of highly<br />

successful investments across diverse<br />

sectors, including technology and<br />

fintech, healthcare, business services,<br />

and consumer and sustainability.<br />

Gulf Capital’s commitment to<br />

world-class governance, industry<br />

best practices, and sustainability has<br />

earned it a reputation as a socially<br />

conscious alternative investment firm.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s mission is to generate<br />

sustainable and superior performance<br />

for its institutional investors and key<br />

stakeholders by building value through<br />

responsible investment strategies and<br />

thoughtful risk management.<br />

Recent developments have seen Gulf<br />

Capital receive a Full Asset Management<br />

License from the Financial Services<br />

Regulatory Authority in Abu Dhabi and<br />

establish its global headquarters in the<br />

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).<br />

<strong>The</strong> company has also opened new<br />

offices in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, and Singapore<br />

to capture the rising growth along<br />

the West-East Asia corridor. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

developments underscore Gulf Capital’s<br />

continued commitment to expanding its<br />

global footprint and delivering superior<br />

returns to its investors.<br />

With 47 employees, including 17<br />

investment professionals, Gulf Capital<br />

has a highly experienced and talented<br />

team of individuals who bring a wealth<br />

of industry knowledge to the firm. Gulf<br />

Capital’s thematic investment approach,<br />

which focuses on identifying and<br />

investing in key growth sectors, has<br />

proven highly effective in generating<br />

attractive returns for investors.<br />

Overall, Gulf Capital’s success is a<br />

testament to its disciplined investment<br />

approach, deep industry expertise, and<br />

unwavering commitment to responsible<br />

and sustainable investment practices. As<br />

the firm continues to expand its global<br />

presence and identify new investment<br />

opportunities, investors can expect to<br />

see continued strong performance and<br />

attractive returns.<br />

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

Special Report<br />



ADCB Asset Management<br />

Mark Friedenthal<br />

Chief Investment Officer<br />

ADCB Asset Management’s AUM have grown<br />

steadily since its establishment in 2018,<br />

reaching $2B at the end of 2021.<br />

ADCB Asset Management is a<br />

promising player in the asset<br />

management space, offering a<br />

range of investment solutions<br />

to its clients in the UAE and around<br />

the world. <strong>The</strong> company’s assets under<br />

management have grown steadily since<br />

its establishment in 2018, reaching<br />

$2B at the end of 2021. With its focus<br />

on customer service, innovation, and<br />

investment expertise, ADCB Asset<br />

Management has positioned itself well<br />

for further growth in the coming years.<br />

One of the strengths of ADCB Asset<br />

Management is its open architecture<br />

platform, which provides clients with<br />

access to a wide range of investment<br />

opportunities, including global mutual<br />

funds, international equities and ETFs,<br />

bonds, private equity, hedge funds,<br />

and structured products. This allows<br />

clients to diversify their portfolios<br />

and benefit from a broad range of<br />

investment strategies. In addition,<br />

ADCB Asset Management has a global<br />

network of market execution and<br />

custody partners, providing clients<br />

with access to major developed and<br />

emerging markets around the world.<br />

ADCB Asset Management also offers<br />

a range of advisory solutions, designed<br />

to identify new investment opportunities<br />

and proactively help clients make<br />

investment decisions. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

specialist advisory team uses complex<br />

modeling to construct and source<br />

innovative thematic ideas in global<br />

financial markets. This allows clients<br />

to take advantage of short-term market<br />

momentum and capitalize on long-term<br />

views. By bridging the gap between fully<br />

discretionary and self-directed services,<br />

the advisory proposition provides<br />

investors with greater control and<br />

oversight of their investment portfolio<br />

while benefiting from professional<br />

research and management.<br />

For clients who prefer a more handson<br />

approach, ADCB Asset Management<br />

offers tailor-made, actively managed<br />

discretionary portfolio solutions designed<br />

to meet their unique investment needs.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s portfolio management team<br />

uses a carefully selected combination of<br />

single securities, investment funds, and<br />

other financial instruments to achieve the<br />

optimal level of diversification for each<br />

client’s portfolio. With full consideration<br />

of each client’s understanding and<br />

attitude toward risk, the investment<br />

strategies and restrictions are tailored<br />

to the level of risk and complexity<br />

most suitable for them as individuals.<br />

Overall, ADCB Asset Management’s<br />

approach to asset management is highly<br />

client-focused and innovative. With<br />

its range of investment solutions and<br />

expertise in global financial markets, the<br />

company is well-positioned to continue<br />

growing its assets under management<br />

and providing value to its clients. As<br />

a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu<br />

Dhabi Commercial Bank, ADCB Asset<br />

Management benefits from the stability<br />

and reputation of one of the largest<br />

banks in the UAE. This combination<br />

of expertise, innovation, and financial<br />

strength makes ADCB Asset Management<br />

a compelling choice for investors looking<br />

to grow and diversify their portfolios.<br />

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

Special Report<br />



Mashreq Capital<br />

Robert Hahm<br />

CEO & Head of Asset Management<br />

Mashreq Capital has grown significantly<br />

since its establishment in 2006 and<br />

currently manages $1.9B in assets.<br />

Mashreq Capital, a subsidiary<br />

of Mashreq Bank, has<br />

established itself as a leading<br />

asset management company<br />

in the UAE, with a focus on delivering<br />

top-quality investment solutions to its<br />

clients in the Middle East and North<br />

Africa region. <strong>The</strong> company has grown<br />

significantly since its establishment<br />

in 2006 and currently manages $1.9B<br />

in assets.<br />

One of the key strengths of Mashreq<br />

Capital is its team of highly skilled<br />

investment professionals. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

has consistently invested in attracting<br />

and retaining the best talent in the<br />

industry, with many of its portfolio<br />

managers boasting a wealth of experience<br />

from global names. This expertise<br />

has enabled Mashreq Capital to offer<br />

world-class investment products and<br />

solutions that have been recognized with<br />

several accolades for their exemplary<br />

performance.<br />

Mashreq Capital offers a range<br />

of investment solutions, including<br />

conventional and Shariah-compliant<br />

options. <strong>The</strong> company’s portfolio<br />

includes the Makaseb family of mutual<br />

funds domiciled in Bahrain, DFSAregulated<br />

funds domiciled in DIFC,<br />

38 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

and discretionary accounts. Mashreq<br />

Capital has been a leader in fund<br />

management in the Middle East and<br />

North Africa, with its mutual funds<br />

and services becoming the vehicles<br />

of choice for sophisticated investors<br />

in the region and beyond.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s commitment to providing<br />

the highest level of service is reflected<br />

in its ‘fiduciary culture.’ This culture<br />

ensures that Mashreq Capital’s funds and<br />

portfolio managers are held accountable<br />

to the highest standards applicable to<br />

the asset management industry globally.<br />

Moreover, Mashreq Capital’s accounts<br />

and funds are benchmarked against<br />

internationally recognized indices,<br />

enabling investors to judge the long-term<br />

performance of the company against<br />

appropriate benchmarks.<br />

In 2021, Mashreq Capital launched<br />

the Mashreq MENA Equity Fund and<br />

the Mashreq MENA Fixed Income<br />

Fund, expanding its product offerings<br />

further. <strong>The</strong> company also partnered<br />

with BlackRock to launch the Mashreq<br />

Global Conservative Fund, the Mashreq<br />

Global Balanced Fund, and the Mashreq<br />

Global Growth Fund. <strong>The</strong>se partnerships<br />

demonstrate Mashreq Capital’s commitment<br />

to continuously improving the quality<br />

of its investment products and bringing<br />

world-class practices to the region.<br />

Mashreq Capital is positioning<br />

itself as a long-term business that will<br />

continue to expand and become a top<br />

provider of investment management<br />

services in the region. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

is continuously striving to expand its<br />

product offerings and improve the<br />

quality of its investment products to<br />

meet the specific requirements of its<br />

clients. Its dedication to excellence has<br />

earned it a reputation as a trustworthy<br />

and reliable asset manager in the UAE<br />

and beyond.<br />

In conclusion, Mashreq Capital has<br />

established itself as a leading asset<br />

management company in the UAE,<br />

with a focus on delivering top-quality<br />

investment solutions to its clients in the<br />

Middle East and North Africa region.<br />

Its commitment to excellence, fiduciary<br />

culture, and world-class expertise has<br />

enabled it to become a trusted partner<br />

for sophisticated investors in the region<br />

and beyond. With its continuous efforts<br />

to expand its product offerings and<br />

improve the quality of its investment<br />

products, Mashreq Capital is poised to<br />

become a top provider of investment<br />

management services in the region.

Special Report<br />



Waha Capital<br />

Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi<br />

Chairman<br />

Waha MENA Equity Fund won the EuroHedge<br />

Awards in 2021 for the best Emerging Markets<br />

Equity Fund.<br />

Waha Capital, a leading<br />

private sector investment<br />

house based in the United<br />

Arab Emirates, has made<br />

significant strides in the investment<br />

management industry. As of 31 December<br />

2022, the company managed $1.77B in<br />

assets, delivering consistent marketleading<br />

returns for its sophisticated<br />

investors. Furthermore, Waha Capital<br />

has a long-standing history of investing<br />

in public and private markets, deploying<br />

proprietary capital in alignment with<br />

the interests of its third-party investors.<br />

Waha Capital’s Public Markets business<br />

provides investors with actively managed<br />

emerging markets credit and equity funds.<br />

<strong>The</strong> business implements distinctive<br />

strategies to deliver consistent marketleading<br />

returns through a disciplined<br />

approach to investment. Notably, the<br />

Waha MENA Equity Fund won the<br />

EuroHedge Awards in 2021 for the<br />

best Emerging Markets Equity Fund,<br />

which demonstrates the company’s<br />

commitment to excellence and success<br />

in the investment management industry.<br />

Additionally, Waha Capital’s Private<br />

Investments business pursues a multiasset<br />

investment approach with the<br />

flexibility to deploy capital across<br />

diverse sectors and geographies. <strong>The</strong><br />

business leverages extensive international<br />

business networks to source deals and<br />

form co-investment partnerships. This<br />

approach highlights the company’s<br />

commitment to identifying investment<br />

opportunities globally and providing<br />

its clients with access to an extensive<br />

and diversified portfolio.<br />

Waha Capital’s key shareholder, the<br />

Mubadala Investment Company, anchors<br />

the company in Abu Dhabi’s increasingly<br />

dynamic and entrepreneurial ecosystem.<br />

This strategic relationship allows Waha<br />

Capital to create long-term value for its<br />

shareholders, fund investors, employees,<br />

and communities. Furthermore, the<br />

company’s commitment to aligning<br />

its proprietary capital with third-party<br />

investor interests is evidence of its<br />

fiduciary culture, which is vital in the<br />

asset management industry.<br />

Notably, Waha Land, a subsidiary<br />

of Waha Capital, has recently agreed<br />

to the sale of 17 leased warehouse<br />

buildings to Peninsula for AED 555M.<br />

This transaction highlights the company’s<br />

commitment to unlocking value in its<br />

investment portfolio and underscores<br />

its success in identifying opportunities<br />

in the real estate sector.<br />

Overall, Waha Capital’s commitment<br />

to excellence, fiduciary culture, and<br />

strategic partnerships has made it a<br />

leading player in the UAE’s investment<br />

management industry. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

ability to deliver consistent market-leading<br />

returns across its investment platforms<br />

demonstrates its investment expertise<br />

and its ability to identify investment<br />

opportunities globally. With its flexible<br />

multi-asset investment approach and<br />

extensive international business networks,<br />

Waha Capital is well-positioned to<br />

continue delivering long-term value<br />

to its clients and shareholders alike.<br />

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

Special Report<br />



Ithmar Capital<br />

Faisal Bin Juma Belhoul<br />

Founder & Managing Partner<br />

Ithmar Capital has a remarkable track record<br />

of delivering attractive returns to investors,<br />

with a realized internal rate of return (IRR)<br />

of 19% since its inception.<br />

Based in Dubai, United Arab<br />

Emirates, Ithmar Capital is a<br />

private equity and alternative<br />

assets firm that offers a<br />

multi-asset class investment platform<br />

with a focus on absolute returns. <strong>The</strong><br />

firm’s investment strategies target<br />

opportunities primarily operating in<br />

the MENA region, and it has $1.2B<br />

in assets under management as of<br />

December 31, 2022.<br />

Ithmar Capital’s investment philosophy<br />

is centered around identifying special<br />

situations in public equities, particularly<br />

in healthcare and education, as well as<br />

niche real estate opportunities. <strong>The</strong><br />

firm has a remarkable track record of<br />

delivering attractive returns to investors,<br />

with a realized internal rate of return<br />

(IRR) of 19% since inception. Even more<br />

impressive is the 45% realized IRR on<br />

the firm’s investments in education and<br />

healthcare since its inception.<br />

<strong>The</strong> firm’s investment team is highly<br />

experienced and dedicated to making a<br />

difference. With a regional mandate and<br />

global operations, Ithmar Capital’s focus<br />

is primarily on private equity growth<br />

and buyout situations. <strong>The</strong> company is<br />

sector-agnostic with extensive expertise<br />

in healthcare and education. It also<br />

capitalizes on special situations in<br />

public equities while utilizing a private<br />

equity approach to due diligence and<br />

upside value monetization, and invests<br />

in niche real estate opportunities. <strong>The</strong><br />

company strives to apply the highest<br />

standards of integrity, professionalism,<br />

and governance, and to uphold its<br />

responsibility to deliver on commitments<br />

to its investors, people, and stakeholders.<br />

<strong>The</strong> firm’s focus on healthcare and<br />

education is particularly noteworthy,<br />

as these are two sectors that have<br />

demonstrated significant growth<br />

potential in the MENA region. Ithmar<br />

Capital’s focus on these sectors is also<br />

aligned with the firm’s commitment to<br />

making a positive impact. By investing<br />

in healthcare and education, Ithmar<br />

Capital is helping to address critical<br />

societal challenges and support the<br />

development of these key sectors.<br />

In conclusion, Ithmar Capital’s success<br />

is a testament to its disciplined investment<br />

approach, deep industry expertise,<br />

and commitment to responsible and<br />

sustainable investment practices. As<br />

the firm continues to identify new<br />

investment opportunities and expand<br />

its portfolio, investors can expect to<br />

see continued strong performance and<br />

attractive returns. Furthermore, with<br />

a focus on healthcare and education,<br />

Ithmar Capital is well-positioned to<br />

make a positive impact on the region<br />

while delivering strong returns to its<br />

investors.<br />

40 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Special Report<br />



Safanad<br />

Kamal Bahamdan<br />

Founder & CEO<br />

Safanad’s team of investment professionals<br />

has completed over 40 transactions with an<br />

aggregate value of $10B since 2009.<br />

Safanad is a global principal-led<br />

investment house that has been<br />

making waves in the world of<br />

investment since its inception in<br />

2009. With assets under management of<br />

$1.2 billion, the company has established<br />

itself as a major player in the industry,<br />

known for utilizing flexible capital<br />

and investment structures to deliver<br />

differentiated opportunities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company invests with conviction<br />

around themes and builds and manages<br />

platforms with an owner-operator mindset.<br />

Safanad is a real estate and private equity<br />

investment firm with offices in Dubai,<br />

New York, and London. It employs<br />

about 50 investment professionals<br />

who have completed in excess of 40<br />

transactions with an aggregate value<br />

of $10B since 2009.<br />

What sets Safanad apart from other<br />

investment firms is its global approach<br />

and the way it leverages its vast network<br />

of partners. Although the company<br />

invests predominantly in the US and<br />

Europe, it is global in its approach and<br />

utilizes its network of partners to gain<br />

access to a broad range of opportunities.<br />

This approach has allowed Safanad<br />

to stay ahead of the curve and make<br />

smart investment decisions that deliver<br />

superior returns.<br />

Safanad’s investment professionals<br />

are known for their rigorous governance<br />

and their ability to create enduring<br />

long-term value beyond the life of the<br />

investment. <strong>The</strong> company’s board,<br />

team, and wider ecosystem provide<br />

preferred access to a broad range of<br />

opportunities and a network of worldclass<br />

operating partners. Safanad’s exits<br />

are value-driven, and it structures each<br />

deal to ensure that it creates lasting<br />

value that extends beyond the life of<br />

the investment.<br />

Overall, Safanad’s success can be<br />

attributed to its unique approach<br />

to investment and its commitment<br />

to building long-term partnerships<br />

based on trust and mutual advantage.<br />

As a global principal-led investment<br />

house, the firm has established itself<br />

as a major player in the industry. With<br />

its flexible capital and investment<br />

structures, Safanad has been able to<br />

deliver differentiated opportunities and<br />

superior returns for its investors. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s focus on building long-term<br />

partnerships and creating enduring<br />

long-term value has set it apart from<br />

other investment firms and contributed<br />

to its success over the years.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 41

Special Report<br />



NBK Capital Partners<br />

Yaser Moustafa,<br />

CEO<br />

NBK Capital Partners’ success is due in<br />

part to its focus on the MENA region and<br />

its deep understanding of the market.<br />

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

NBK Capital Partners is a pioneer<br />

in alternative investments in<br />

the Middle East and North<br />

Africa (MENA) region, with<br />

a focus on private equity, mezzanine<br />

debt, and real estate. Founded in 2005<br />

as a subsidiary of the National Bank of<br />

Kuwait, the firm has established itself<br />

as a leading alternative investment<br />

manager with over US$1.1B in assets<br />

under management.<br />

<strong>The</strong> firm has a diversified portfolio<br />

that covers a range of sectors, including<br />

consumer discretionary, consumer<br />

staples, education, healthcare, industrials,<br />

and energy. It invests primarily in midmarket<br />

companies in the GCC, Turkey,<br />

and North Africa that have significant<br />

growth potential and opportunities for<br />

value creation. <strong>The</strong> firm’s investment<br />

approach includes buying family-owned<br />

businesses, providing growth capital<br />

for organic growth initiatives, industry<br />

consolidations, buy-and-build situations,<br />

and supporting shareholder buyouts.<br />

NBK Capital Partners has a strong<br />

track record of sourcing and executing<br />

successful investments, with over 29<br />

investments made across a variety of<br />

sectors since the launch of its first fund<br />

in 2007. <strong>The</strong> firm has also executed 11<br />

mezzanine debt transactions since the<br />

inception of its first mezzanine fund<br />

in 2009. <strong>The</strong>se transactions reflect the<br />

firm’s expertise in advising on regional<br />

private debt investments and their<br />

management and exits.<br />

One of the notable achievements of<br />

the firm is the recent final close of the<br />

NBK Capital Partners Shari’ah Credit<br />

Opportunities Fund, L.P. <strong>The</strong> Fund<br />

is the firm’s third-generation private<br />

credit-focused strategy, which closed<br />

with approximately $215M of available<br />

capital, consisting of investor capital<br />

commitments and co-investment vehicles.<br />

This achievement is a testament to<br />

the confidence that investors have in<br />

the firm’s ability to deliver attractive<br />

returns.<br />

NBK Capital Partners’ success is<br />

due in part to its focus on the MENA<br />

region and its deep understanding of<br />

the market. <strong>The</strong> firm’s presence in<br />

Kuwait City, Manama, Istanbul, and<br />

Dubai International Financial Centre<br />

provides it with an extensive network<br />

and access to a range of opportunities<br />

in the region. <strong>The</strong> firm’s ability to build<br />

strong relationships with its clients and<br />

investee companies has also contributed<br />

to its success.<br />

<strong>The</strong> firm’s investment philosophy is<br />

aligned with the growing demand for<br />

responsible investing in the MENA<br />

region. <strong>The</strong> firm is committed to<br />

environmental, social, and governance<br />

(ESG) principles and has integrated<br />

them into its investment process. This<br />

approach not only reflects the firm’s<br />

values but also aligns with the values of<br />

its clients and the broader community.<br />

In conclusion, NBK Capital Partners’<br />

focus on private equity, mezzanine<br />

debt, and real estate investments,<br />

along with its deep understanding of<br />

the region, has allowed it to execute<br />

investments successfully and generate<br />

attractive returns for its investors. With<br />

its commitment to responsible investing<br />

and a diverse portfolio of investments,<br />

the firm is likely to continue driving<br />

alternative investments in the MENA<br />

region.<br />

42 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Special Report<br />



Fajr Capital<br />

Iqbal Ahmad Khan,<br />

CEO<br />

Fajr Capital’s partnership-centric philosophy<br />

has been a key driver of the firm’s success.<br />

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

Fajr Capital is a Dubai-based<br />

private equity firm that has<br />

made a name for itself as a<br />

leading investor in high-growth<br />

companies. With $700M in assets under<br />

management, the company has built a<br />

reputation as a values-based and impactdriven<br />

investor that seeks to create<br />

enduring value for all stakeholders.<br />

Its investment approach is rooted in<br />

the principle of investing in what it<br />

knows, where it knows, and with whom<br />

it knows. This partnership-centric<br />

philosophy has been a key driver of<br />

the firm’s success.<br />

Founded in 2009, Fajr Capital has<br />

attracted some of the world’s leading<br />

sovereign wealth funds as shareholders,<br />

including the Abu Dhabi Investment<br />

Council, the Brunei Investment Agency,<br />

the Government of Brunei Darussalam,<br />

and Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia’s<br />

strategic investment arm. This has helped<br />

the firm to build a solid foundation<br />

of expertise and experience that it<br />

leverages to create value for its clients.<br />

Fajr Capital’s investment strategy<br />

focuses on channeling strategic investment<br />

into regional growth companies. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

are businesses that are led by highquality<br />

management teams and operate<br />

in dynamic and growing sectors and<br />

markets. <strong>The</strong> firm’s approach is to<br />

act as a strategic partner rather than<br />

a passive investor, with a team of<br />

seasoned investment professionals<br />

that have a proven track record of<br />

supporting growth businesses.<br />

<strong>The</strong> firm has a successful track record<br />

of investing in industry sectors that<br />

exhibit tangible and sustainable growth<br />

potential. It targets “defensive growth”<br />

industries that have the fundamentals to<br />

succeed in both good and bad economies<br />

and have the long-term potential to<br />

achieve high valuations and returns<br />

at exit. <strong>The</strong>se sectors include financial<br />

services, education, food and beverage,<br />

healthcare, transportation, logistics, oil<br />

and gas services, industrial manufacturing,<br />

and renewable energy, among others.<br />

Post-investment, Fajr Capital aims<br />

to strengthen corporate governance<br />

and sustainability, enhance the capital<br />

structure, boost operational performance,<br />

increase product and technological<br />

innovation, develop distinctive capabilities<br />

and skills, access global management<br />

and industry expertise, and expand<br />

into new markets to become truly<br />

global players. This approach has been<br />

successful, with the company winning<br />

the 2017 award for Best Private Equity<br />

House in the Middle East at the EMEA<br />

<strong>Finance</strong> Achievement Awards.<br />

Fajr Capital’s focus on values-based<br />

and impact-driven investment sets it<br />

apart from many other private equity<br />

firms. <strong>The</strong> company’s commitment<br />

to creating enduring value for all<br />

stakeholders – from shareholders and<br />

employees to the communities served<br />

– is a refreshing approach that is sorely<br />

needed in today’s business landscape.<br />

<strong>The</strong> firm’s success in attracting some<br />

of the world’s leading sovereign wealth<br />

funds as shareholders is a testament to<br />

the strength of its investment approach<br />

and the quality of its team.<br />

Overall, Fajr Capital is well-positioned<br />

to continue its success; with its focus<br />

on high-growth companies, partnershipcentric<br />

investment philosophy, and<br />

commitment to values-based and impactdriven<br />

investment, the firm is poised<br />

to create enduring value for its clients<br />

and all stakeholders.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 43

Special Report<br />



Samena Capital<br />

Shirish Saraf<br />

Founder & Vice Chairman<br />

Samena Capital focuses on “defensive<br />

growth” industries to invest in companies<br />

that have the fundamentals to succeed in<br />

both good and bad economic conditions.<br />

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

Samena Capital is a principal<br />

investment group that focuses<br />

on the Subcontinent, Asia,<br />

Middle East, and North Africa<br />

(SAMENA) region. <strong>The</strong> company has<br />

raised over $1.5B of capital since 2008<br />

and has returned $950M to investors<br />

from over 51 full and partial exits. With<br />

approximately $390M in AUM, Samena<br />

Capital currently manages three primary<br />

investment strategies: private equity,<br />

direct investment, and credit.<br />

What sets Samena Capital apart is<br />

its unique model that brings together<br />

entrepreneurs and business leaders<br />

from different industries across the<br />

SAMENA region as shareholder-investors.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se shareholder-investors actively<br />

participate in originating investment<br />

ideas, supporting portfolio companies,<br />

sharing insights on markets and sectors,<br />

and exploring possibilities for increasing<br />

business collaboration. This approach<br />

creates a network of contacts and<br />

relationships that is crucial in a region<br />

where relationships play an important<br />

role.<br />

Samena Capital’s investment team<br />

leverages this unique network to gain<br />

an edge in a region that is largely<br />

opaque. <strong>The</strong> team sources proprietary<br />

transactions, gains valuable insights into<br />

particular markets and industry sectors,<br />

and provides strategic and operational<br />

value-added to its portfolio companies.<br />

This approach has proven successful, as<br />

evidenced by the company’s impressive<br />

track record of returns to investors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s primary investment<br />

strategies reflect its focus on the SAMENA<br />

region. Private equity investments<br />

focus on companies in the region with<br />

a track record of strong performance<br />

and high potential for growth. Direct<br />

investments are made in companies<br />

that the investment team believes have<br />

long-term potential for value creation,<br />

while credit investments are made in<br />

companies seeking debt financing for<br />

their operations.<br />

Samena Capital’s investment focus<br />

is on sectors with sustainable growth<br />

potential, including financial services,<br />

healthcare, education, energy, and<br />

infrastructure. By targeting these<br />

“defensive growth” industries, the<br />

company is able to invest in companies<br />

that have the fundamentals to succeed in<br />

both good and bad economic conditions.<br />

This approach has enabled Samena<br />

Capital to build a diversified portfolio of<br />

investments across a range of industries.<br />

In summary, Samena Capital’s unique<br />

approach to investing in the SAMENA<br />

region has proven successful, as evidenced<br />

by its impressive track record of returns<br />

to investors. <strong>The</strong> company’s focus on<br />

creating a network of contacts and<br />

relationships among entrepreneurs<br />

and business leaders in the region has<br />

enabled it to gain valuable insights and<br />

source proprietary transactions. By<br />

investing in companies in sectors with<br />

sustainable growth potential, Samena<br />

Capital has built a diversified portfolio<br />

of investments that are well-positioned<br />

for long-term value creation.<br />

44 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Special Report<br />



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

Company<br />

Zayed bin Aweidha<br />

Managing Director<br />

<strong>World</strong> Investments offers a comprehensive<br />

wealth management advisory service,<br />

sophisticated trading capabilities, and a<br />

wide range of asset management products.<br />

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

<strong>World</strong> Investments Company<br />

is a private shareholding<br />

company established in<br />

2005, based in the United<br />

Arab Emirates, Dubai. Over the years,<br />

the company has built a great legacy in<br />

its field that extends for decades and<br />

has become a leader in the fields of<br />

financial intermediation, investment,<br />

establishment, and management of<br />

funds in the United Arab Emirates.<br />

One of the most significant advantages<br />

of <strong>World</strong> Investments Company is its<br />

diverse range of services. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

provides an integrated platform for<br />

investors to implement strategies that<br />

suit their investment and financial<br />

requirements, as well as diversify their<br />

portfolios in the long and short terms. <strong>The</strong><br />

company facilitates investors worldwide<br />

who trade in stock - whether new or<br />

seasoned individuals. Consequently, for<br />

any investors looking to build modern,<br />

diversified - long or short-term financial<br />

transactions, <strong>World</strong> Investments offers<br />

a comprehensive wealth management<br />

advisory service, a sophisticated trading<br />

capability, and a wide range of asset<br />

management products.<br />

What sets <strong>World</strong> Investments apart<br />

from its competitors is its drive to serve<br />

a diverse customer base. To that end,<br />

the company has team members who<br />

are fluent in many languages, such<br />

as English, Arabic, French, German,<br />

Hindi, and others. This level of diversity<br />

reflects the company’s commitment<br />

to making its services accessible to a<br />

broad range of investors from different<br />

backgrounds and cultures.<br />

Moreover, <strong>World</strong> Investments Company<br />

is a licensed company subject to regulation,<br />

supervision, and control of the UAE<br />

Securities and Commodities Authority<br />

under No. (604092) and also licensed by<br />

the UAE Ministry of Economy and the<br />

Department of Economic Development<br />

under No. 342 <strong>The</strong> license includes<br />

two categories: <strong>The</strong> first category is<br />

the activity of dealing in securities;<br />

trading and clearing broker. <strong>The</strong> second<br />

category is (dealing in investment);<br />

investment fund management, and<br />

securities portfolio management.<br />

In addition, the company is a member<br />

of the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Stock<br />

Exchanges. Being a member of these<br />

exchanges enables <strong>World</strong> Investments<br />

Company to provide its clients with<br />

timely, accurate, and reliable information<br />

about the markets, as well as execute<br />

trades with speed and efficiency. This is<br />

a critical factor in the highly competitive<br />

world of financial intermediation and<br />

investment.<br />

In conclusion, <strong>World</strong> Investments<br />

Company’s diverse range of services,<br />

commitment to customer service,<br />

regulatory compliance, and access<br />

to information and trading platforms<br />

make it an ideal partner for investors<br />

looking to diversify their portfolios,<br />

expand their investment horizons,<br />

and achieve their financial goals. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s long legacy and successful<br />

record attest to its ability to navigate<br />

the complex and ever-changing world<br />

of finance and investment, making<br />

it a reliable and trusted partner for<br />

investors worldwide.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 45

Special Report<br />



ATI Investments<br />

Essam Al Tamimi<br />

Founder and Chairman<br />

ATI Investments’ commitment to creating<br />

mutually beneficial partnerships with likeminded<br />

companies and entrepreneurs is a<br />

key factor in its success.<br />

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

Since its establishment in 2006,<br />

ATI Investments has emerged<br />

as a key player in the financial<br />

landscape of Dubai. With a focus<br />

on a dynamic and decisive approach<br />

to investment, the company has built a<br />

reputation for identifying commercial<br />

potential and translating it into live,<br />

growing business entities. However,<br />

what sets ATI Investments apart is its<br />

vested interest in the people behind its<br />

businesses. This unique approach to<br />

investment has allowed the company to<br />

create mutually beneficial partnerships<br />

with like-minded companies and<br />

entrepreneurs, both in the Middle<br />

East and around the world.<br />

At the core of ATI Investments’ business<br />

model is a focus on innovation and<br />

sustainability. <strong>The</strong> company evaluates<br />

every opportunity based on its merit<br />

and growth potential, welcoming all<br />

ideas and embracing innovation. While<br />

ATI Investments’ specialty is start-up<br />

businesses, it invests in companies<br />

at all stages of their lifecycle. This<br />

approach not only allows the company<br />

to maximize each business opportunity<br />

presented to it but also ensures that it<br />

remains at the forefront of emerging<br />

industries and technologies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s portfolio reflects<br />

this commitment to innovation and<br />

sustainability, with investments in<br />

healthcare, hospitality, education, and<br />

retail. <strong>The</strong>se industries are not only<br />

critical to the economic development of<br />

Dubai but also reflect ATI Investments’<br />

focus on improving the lives of people in<br />

the communities it serves. By investing<br />

in businesses that are making a positive<br />

impact on society, the company is not<br />

only generating financial returns but<br />

also creating long-term social and<br />

environmental benefits.<br />

In summary, ATI Investments’<br />

commitment to creating mutually<br />

beneficial partnerships with like-minded<br />

companies and entrepreneurs, both in<br />

the Middle East and around the world, is<br />

a key factor in its success. By investing<br />

in businesses that are making a positive<br />

impact on society, ATI Investments is<br />

not only generating financial returns<br />

but also contributing to the social<br />

and environmental well-being of the<br />

communities it serves.<br />

46 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

TECH<br />

OPPO Find N2 Flip<br />

OPPO Find N2 Flip is a powerful<br />

smartphone with impressive<br />

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a 32MP front camera and a 50MP+8MP<br />

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OPPO Find N2 Flip is a powerful and<br />

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hinge technology. With its high-end specs<br />

and advanced features, it’s a device that<br />

is sure to impress.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 47

Wheels<br />

BMW XM<br />

<strong>The</strong> BMW XM is the upcoming<br />

luxury SUV that is designed<br />

to set a new benchmark for<br />

performance and style. As<br />

BMW’s first standalone ‘M’ performance<br />

model in over four decades, the XM is<br />

poised to make a big splash, arriving<br />

in spring <strong>2023</strong>. This five-seater SUV is<br />

a plug-in hybrid that offers impressive<br />

power and efficiency, with a sleek<br />

and sophisticated design that’s sure<br />

to turn heads.<br />

At the heart of the BMW XM is a<br />

4.4-liter V8 engine that’s paired with<br />

an electric motor to create the most<br />

powerful plug-in hybrid on the market.<br />

<strong>The</strong> XM boasts an impressive 644<br />

horsepower, with a Label Red version<br />

that will deliver an even more staggering<br />

735 horsepower. <strong>The</strong> XM can go from 0<br />

to 60 mph in under 4 seconds, thanks<br />

to its powerful engine and 27.5 kWh<br />

battery pack that provides 30 miles of<br />

full electric range. <strong>The</strong> SUV features<br />

a seven-speed automatic transmission<br />

that provides smooth and responsive<br />

shifting, while the advanced suspension<br />

system delivers a comfortable and<br />

stable ride. <strong>The</strong> exterior of the BMW<br />

XM is characterized by its sleek and<br />

modern design, with aggressive lines<br />

and aerodynamic features that give<br />

it a sporty and athletic look. <strong>The</strong> XM<br />

features a bold grille, LED headlights,<br />

and a sloping roofline that adds to its<br />

overall dynamic profile. <strong>The</strong> interior<br />

of the XM is equally impressive, with<br />

a spacious and luxurious cabin that’s<br />

filled with high-quality materials<br />

and advanced technology. <strong>The</strong> XM’s<br />

dashboard features a large digital<br />

display that provides information<br />

on the car’s performance and other<br />

important data, while the infotainment<br />

system offers seamless connectivity and<br />

entertainment options. <strong>The</strong> BMW XM is<br />

a true halo car, designed to showcase<br />

BMW’s commitment to performance and<br />

innovation. This luxury SUV is sure to<br />

impress even the most discerning car<br />

enthusiasts, with its combination of<br />

power, style, and technology. <strong>The</strong> XM is<br />

priced at $159,995, with the Label Red<br />

version starting at $185,995, making<br />

it a premium offering in the luxury<br />

SUV market. Whether you’re looking<br />

to make a statement on the road or<br />

simply enjoy the thrill of driving, the<br />

BMW XM is a perfect choice.<br />

48 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Specifications<br />

Horsepower: 644 Hp (735 Hp for Label Red<br />

version)<br />

Torque: 770Nm Max Torque<br />

Acceleration: 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 49

Start-up<br />

Three Promising Investment Management<br />

Startups in the Middle East<br />

In recent years, the Middle East has become a fertile ground for investment<br />

management startups, with an increasing demand for accessible and affordable<br />

investment options. In this article, we will highlight three promising investment<br />

startups in the region: baraka, Sarwa, and Thndr. <strong>The</strong> three startups have shown<br />

impressive growth and raised significant funding from investors, such as Valar<br />

Ventures, Mubadala Investment Company, and Tiger Global. With their innovative<br />

approaches and commitment to making investing accessible, these startups are<br />

poised to disrupt the investment industry in the Middle East and beyond.<br />

baraka<br />

Feras Jalbout and Kunal Taneja,<br />

Founders<br />

Baraka is a commission-free<br />

investment platform established<br />

in 2020 in the United Arab<br />

Emirates by its founders, Feras<br />

Jalbout and Kunal Taneja. <strong>The</strong> startup<br />

offers users the ability to invest in over<br />

6,000 U.S. stocks and ETFs without a<br />

minimum investment amount. With<br />

plans for expansion across the MENA<br />

region, baraka has quickly made a<br />

name for itself as a Robinhood-like<br />

investment app.<br />

In November 2022, baraka raised<br />

$20M in a Series A funding round led<br />

by Valar Ventures, bringing its total<br />

funding to $25M. Other participations in<br />

funding baraka came from Knollwood<br />

Investment Advisory, Y Combinator,<br />

FJ Labs, VentureSouq, Class 5 Global,<br />

Global Founders Capital, and Raptor<br />

Hold Co LLC.<br />

baraka’s CEO, Feras Jalbout, was<br />

previously an investor at a family office<br />

and worked in banking at Barclays and<br />

Standard Chartered. Meanwhile, CTO<br />

Kunal Taneja has experience leading<br />

several departments at Arab Financial<br />

Services, a digital payment and Fintech<br />

solutions company. Currently, baraka<br />

has 2-10 employees based in its UAE<br />

headquarters. As a startup that aims to<br />

fill a gap in the market by serving the<br />

younger generation who lack access<br />

to helpful investment apps, baraka’s<br />

mission is to provide investors with<br />

the tools and knowledge they need to<br />

make well-informed decisions on their<br />

investment journey. With its impressive<br />

growth and continued funding, baraka<br />

is poised to become a major player in<br />

the investment app space.<br />

50 www.thefinanceworld.com<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Sarwa<br />

Sarwa is an independent investment<br />

platform that was established<br />

in 2017 by its founders, Mark<br />

Chahwan, Nadine Mezher, and<br />

Jad Sayegh. <strong>The</strong> startup is based in<br />

the UAE and has quickly become a<br />

popular investment and personal finance<br />

platform in the Middle East.<br />

Sarwa employs 11-50 people and has<br />

more than 100,000 registered users. <strong>The</strong><br />

startup offers a hybrid model with access<br />

to on-demand investment experts and a<br />

customer support team. Sarwa Trade is a<br />

commission-free stock trading platform<br />

that allows investors to trade on all U.S.<br />

exchanges with zero-transfer fees for<br />

local AED accounts. Sarwa Crypto is a<br />

crypto-trading service where users can<br />

buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Sarwa<br />

Invest is a hands-off auto-investing<br />

service with customized passive globally<br />

diversified portfolios.<br />

<strong>The</strong> startup has raised $25M in<br />

total funding from investors such as<br />

Mubadala Investment Company, 500<br />

Startups, Kuwait Projects Company<br />

(Holding)-KIPCO, Shorooq Partners,<br />

and Middle East Venture Partners.<br />

Sarwa’s mission is to provide clients<br />

with the best possible return by offering<br />

easy rebalancing, dividend reinvesting,<br />

and tax optimization through cuttingedge<br />

technology. <strong>The</strong>y simplify the<br />

entire investing experience, making<br />

it accessible to anyone regardless of<br />

their investment knowledge or wealth.<br />

Mark Chahwan, Nadine Mezher,<br />

and Jad Sayegh,<br />

Founders<br />

Thndr<br />

Ahmad Hammouda and Seif Amr,<br />

Founders<br />

Thndr is a digital investment<br />

platform that was founded in<br />

2020 by Ahmad Hammouda<br />

and Seif Amr. <strong>The</strong> startup is<br />

based in Egypt and has quickly made a<br />

name for itself as a leading investment<br />

platform in the region. Thndr has 51-<br />

200 employees and has raised $22M in<br />

total funding from a range of investors,<br />

including Tiger Global, Prosus Ventures,<br />

BECO Capital, Y Combinator, 4DX<br />

Ventures, Endure Capital, Rabacap,<br />

MSA Capital, Global Ventures, JIMCO,<br />

fristminuite, Base Capital, and others.<br />

<strong>The</strong> digital investment platform allows<br />

users to invest in Egyptian mutual<br />

funds and publicly listed companies in<br />

addition to the U.S. stock market. Thndr<br />

has more than 800,000 downloads and<br />

has partnered with Fawry and Vodafone<br />

Cash to expand funding methods for<br />

customers. Cofounder and CEO Ahmad<br />

Hammouda is a former general manager<br />

of Uber in Egypt, bringing his expertise<br />

in technology and innovation to the<br />

startup. Cofounder and COO Seif Amr<br />

is a former operations manager of Uber<br />

MENA, contributing his extensive<br />

experience in operational management<br />

to the platform.<br />

Thndr’s mission is to democratize<br />

access to investment opportunities in<br />

the region, making it easier for anyone<br />

to start investing and growing their<br />

wealth. With its user-friendly platform<br />

and innovative funding methods, Thndr<br />

is poised to become a leading investment<br />

platform in the Middle East and beyond.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 51

Energy<br />

Investment Opportunities in the UAE’s<br />

Sustainability and Energy Sector<br />

<strong>The</strong> move towards renewable energy sources worldwide has created many<br />

intricate challenges for policymakers, corporate executives, politicians, and<br />

financiers. However, it has also developed into a promising prospect for private<br />

equity firms to provide financial support and facilitate business expansion, which<br />

is their forte. <strong>The</strong> shift represents a broad range of investment opportunities in<br />

various sectors of the global economy. In this article, we explore the investment<br />

opportunities the UAE offers investors in the energy sector.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE is one of the leading<br />

energy producers in the world,<br />

with its vast reserves of oil<br />

and natural gas. However, the<br />

country is also taking significant steps<br />

towards a sustainable and diversified<br />

energy future by investing in renewable<br />

energy sources such as solar and wind<br />

power. This transformation is creating<br />

exciting investment opportunities for<br />

both local and international investors<br />

interested in the energy sector in the<br />

UAE.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE is a promising market<br />

for investors seeking to capitalize on<br />

the growing demand for renewable<br />

energy and the country’s commitment<br />

to reducing carbon emissions. In this<br />

context, exploring the investment<br />

potential of the energy sector in the<br />

UAE could be a wise decision for those<br />

52 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

looking to diversify their portfolio and<br />

invest in a rapidly evolving market.<br />

With a growing focus on renewable<br />

energy sources and a need for<br />

diversification, many Emirati energy<br />

companies are now looking for strategic<br />

partnerships and joint ventures that<br />

can help them expand their operations,<br />

access new markets, and gain valuable<br />

experience in emerging sectors of<br />

the energy industry. Emirati energy<br />

companies bring not only their financial<br />

resources but also their technical<br />

knowledge and expertise to the table,<br />

making them an attractive partner for<br />

companies looking to break into the<br />

Middle East market.<br />

For instance, Abu Dhabi Waste<br />

Management, which is commonly<br />

referred to as Tadweer, has recently<br />

entered into a preliminary agreement<br />

with the municipality of Amman<br />

to explore investment possibilities<br />

in the waste management sector.<br />

Tadweer, a subsidiary of the ADQ<br />

holding company in Abu Dhabi, and<br />

the Greater Amman Municipality will<br />

assess potential collaboration and<br />

investment opportunities in the waste<br />

management sector across the United<br />

Arab Emirates and Jordan. <strong>The</strong> media<br />

office of Abu Dhabi stated on Wednesday<br />

that both parties will also exchange their<br />

knowledge, expertise, and research in<br />

the field of waste management.<br />

Moreover, UAE’s Masdar is<br />

considering investing in green hydrogen<br />

initiatives across Africa, according to<br />

an agreement it has signed with the<br />

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

(IFC). <strong>The</strong> partnership aims to explore<br />

opportunities to establish a green<br />

hydrogen platform in emerging markets,<br />

with a particular focus on African<br />

renewable energy projects and their<br />

financial feasibility. <strong>The</strong> IFC’s climate<br />

expertise across emerging markets<br />

will support Masdar in achieving<br />

breakthroughs in sectors such as<br />

renewable energy, green hydrogen, and<br />

green finance. Masdar is positioning<br />

itself as a leader in the sector by<br />

developing and investing in strategic<br />

projects, as global demand for green<br />

hydrogen is expected to increase<br />

significantly over the next decade.<br />

Furthermore, Dubai is consistently<br />

ranked as one of the most affordable<br />

places in the world to produce solar<br />

power. <strong>The</strong> creation of the Mohammed<br />

<strong>The</strong> region’s daily average of 8 to<br />

11 hours of sunshine makes solar<br />

energy a highly compelling and<br />

viable investment option.<br />

bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, with<br />

a capacity of 5GW, has also played a<br />

role in reducing the global cost of solar<br />

power. <strong>The</strong> successful bid for the park’s<br />

fifth phase expansion was less than<br />

1.7 US cents per kWh, setting a new<br />

standard for solar energy generation<br />

in the area. <strong>The</strong> pursuit of renewable<br />

energy is critical for sustainability<br />

and is a top priority for Dubai and<br />

the UAE. <strong>The</strong> UAE is leading regional<br />

efforts to adopt the latest innovations<br />

in addressing climate change and<br />

mitigating the effects of global warming.<br />

In this context, Entrepreneurs<br />

and investors can find numerous<br />

opportunities in the renewable<br />

energy industry. Given the region’s<br />

average of eight to 11 hours of daily<br />

sunshine, solar energy is a compelling<br />

option; by 2030, solar panels will be<br />

required for all UAE buildings. In<br />

conclusion, the UAE’s sustainability<br />

and energy sector presents a wealth<br />

of investment opportunities for both<br />

local and international investors. With<br />

the country’s commitment to reducing<br />

carbon emissions and its focus on<br />

renewable energy sources such as<br />

solar and wind power, investors can<br />

capitalize on the growing demand for<br />

sustainable energy. With innovative<br />

and sustainable initiatives like the<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum<br />

Solar Park and Masdar’s exploration<br />

of green hydrogen initiatives across<br />

Africa, the UAE is positioning itself as a<br />

leader in the renewable energy industry,<br />

making it an excellent choice for those<br />

looking to diversify their portfolio and<br />

invest in a rapidly evolving market.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 53

Wheels<br />

<strong>2023</strong> LAMBORGHINI URUS<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>2023</strong> Lamborghini Urus<br />

is a high-performance SUV<br />

that delivers the performance<br />

and luxury expected from the<br />

brand. <strong>The</strong> Urus is not just an SUV, but<br />

rather a fusion of a sports car and an<br />

SUV. Its design is inspired by the iconic<br />

Lamborghini supercars, with a sleek<br />

and aerodynamic body that features<br />

sharp angles and lines that give the<br />

Urus a bold and aggressive look.<br />

Under the hood, the Urus is powered<br />

by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8<br />

engine that generates 657 horsepower<br />

and 627 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain<br />

allows the Urus to accelerate from 0 to<br />

60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, making it<br />

one of the fastest SUVs on the market.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Urus also comes with an eight-speed<br />

automatic transmission that delivers<br />

smooth and seamless shifting, while<br />

the all-wheel-drive system provides<br />

excellent traction and handling. <strong>The</strong><br />

Performante model is the latest addition<br />

to the Urus line-up, and it is a lighter<br />

and more aggressive version of the<br />

standard Urus. It features a carbonfibre<br />

body that reduces weight and<br />

improves performance, along with a<br />

lowered steel-spring suspension that<br />

enhances handling and responsiveness.<br />

Inside, the Urus boasts a luxurious and<br />

stylish interior that is equipped with<br />

the latest technology and amenities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Performante model comes with<br />

unique interior trim and seats that add<br />

to its exclusivity and sportiness. <strong>The</strong><br />

Urus also features a large infotainment<br />

screen that controls various functions,<br />

including the audio system, climate<br />

control, and navigation. <strong>The</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Lamborghini Urus is a perfect blend<br />

of luxury and performance that is sure<br />

to turn heads on the road. With its<br />

unique design, powerful engine, and<br />

advanced features, the Urus is a true<br />

reflection of Lamborghini’s commitment<br />

to excellence and innovation.<br />

54 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Specifications<br />

Horsepower: 657 Hp<br />

Acceleration: 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 55

Healthcare<br />

UAE’s Booming Healthcare Industry Offers<br />

Lucrative Investment Prospects<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates is rapidly establishing itself as an attractive destination<br />

for healthcare investment, as it is becoming a growing healthcare center that offers<br />

significant investment prospects to investors looking to capitalize on the sector’s<br />

burgeoning growth. With its modern healthcare facilities, innovative healthcare<br />

technologies, and a favorable regulatory environment, the UAE is fast becoming a<br />

prime destination for healthcare investment. In this article, we shed light on the UAE’s<br />

latest efforts to boost its position as a hub for healthcare innovation and investment.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s efforts to enhance the efficiency of the sector and<br />

contribute to healthcare services driving the growth of the<br />

market further indicate the potential profitability of this market.<br />

56 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> UAE has made significant<br />

investments in the healthcare<br />

sector, and these efforts are<br />

now bearing fruit, with the<br />

UAE emerging as a hub for medical<br />

tourism, advanced medical procedures,<br />

and cutting-edge research, captivating<br />

investors’ attention from all around<br />

the world.<br />

Healthtech:<br />

Dubai is also quickly becoming a<br />

prominent healthtech hub, offering ample<br />

investment opportunities. <strong>The</strong> emirate is<br />

establishing itself as a digital health hub<br />

by leveraging cutting-edge technological<br />

advancements and innovative digital<br />

health solutions to build a world-class<br />

healthcare ecosystem that will solidify<br />

its position as a leading destination<br />

for both international investors and<br />

medical tourists.<br />

<strong>The</strong> healthcare industry in Dubai is<br />

valued at over $4.63B per annum and<br />

is expected to be a key driver in the<br />

growth of the healthcare sector in the<br />

MENA region, which is estimated to<br />

reach $243B this year. <strong>The</strong> emirate’s<br />

national strategies, which include<br />

substantial investments in AI, have<br />

positioned it as a regional leader in<br />

healthcare technology and AI.<br />

Additionally, Dubai boasts an<br />

exceptional high-tech medical<br />

infrastructure and is home to an<br />

increasing number of public and private<br />

healthcare entities, including renowned<br />

hospitals, outpatient medical centers,<br />

and diagnostic labs that have a global<br />

presence. This creates a favourable<br />

environment for investors, as these<br />

factors offer lucrative opportunities<br />

for investors to capitalize on the<br />

burgeoning growth of the sector and<br />

tap into the potential market demand for<br />

advanced medical procedures, innovative<br />

technologies, and high-quality healthcare<br />

services. As a result, investing in Dubai’s<br />

healthcare industry could be a smart<br />

move for investors seeking long-term<br />

returns on their investments.<br />

Healthtech Startups:<br />

A report by the Dubai Healthcare City<br />

Authority reveals that the healthtech<br />

startup ecosystem in MENA is now<br />

worth over $1.5B, which marks a 22-fold<br />

increase since 2016. <strong>The</strong> growth of<br />

healthtech is partially driven by the<br />

increasing demand for healthcare<br />

software development, in addition<br />

to AI investment opportunities that<br />

align with global trends. <strong>The</strong> Internet<br />

of Medical Things is expected to<br />

transform the healthcare industry,<br />

creating new investment opportunities<br />

for manufacturers and suppliers in<br />

connected healthcare technologies<br />

and services. Dubai’s data-centric<br />

approach to various economic sectors,<br />

including healthcare, is expected to<br />

drive significant healthcare investments<br />

in the coming years through Big Data.<br />

Home Healthcare:<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has experienced a significant<br />

surge in its home healthcare industry,<br />

with the government investing in the<br />

development of home healthcare<br />

services. This initiative aims to alleviate<br />

the burden on hospitals and offer patients<br />

more accessible and affordable care.<br />

Home healthcare services in the UAE<br />

comprise a range of medical services,<br />

such as nursing care, physiotherapy,<br />

occupational therapy, and other care<br />

services that are available in patients’<br />

homes. Additionally, private companies<br />

provide home healthcare services, and<br />

many insurance plans now provide<br />

coverage for these services.<br />

<strong>The</strong> initiatives taken by the government<br />

act as a major contributor to the growth<br />

of the market. For instance, in September<br />

2021, Abu Dhabi Health Authorities<br />

approved 77 home-care service providers<br />

in the emirate, which can continue to<br />

serve more than 4,000 patients. Such<br />

continuous efforts are undertaken by<br />

the Department of Health (DoH) to<br />

update and implement advanced models<br />

of care that enhance the efficiency of<br />

the sector and contribute to healthcare<br />

services driving the growth of the market.<br />

<strong>The</strong> growth of the home healthcare<br />

industry in the UAE presents a promising<br />

investment opportunity for investors. <strong>The</strong><br />

government’s investment in the sector is<br />

likely to create a favourable regulatory<br />

environment for investors, while the<br />

increasing demand for home healthcare<br />

services provides a potential market for<br />

investment. Private companies offering<br />

home healthcare services also offer<br />

opportunities for investment, especially<br />

those with innovative solutions that can<br />

disrupt the market. <strong>The</strong> inclusion of<br />

home healthcare services in insurance<br />

plans further indicates the potential<br />

profitability of this market, which is<br />

likely to attract more investors.<br />

In conclusion, the UAE’s healthcare<br />

industry is becoming an attractive<br />

destination for investment due to<br />

its modern facilities, innovative<br />

technologies, and favourable regulatory<br />

environment. <strong>The</strong> UAE’s increasing<br />

geriatric population and dependency<br />

ratio are expected to drive demand for<br />

healthcare services, making healthcare<br />

investment a smart move for investors<br />

seeking long-term returns. <strong>The</strong> country’s<br />

growth in healthtech startups, AI<br />

investment opportunities, and a datacentric<br />

approach to healthcare also<br />

create new investment opportunities<br />

for manufacturers and suppliers in<br />

connected healthcare technologies<br />

and services.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 57

Mergers & Acquisitions<br />

M&A Activity in GCC Expects a Spike<br />

amid Global Caution<br />

According to a report by the global rating agency Moody’s, it is predicted that there<br />

will be an increase in merger and acquisition activity in banks located in the Gulf<br />

Cooperation Council (GCC) region, leading to future synergies and divergences<br />

in oil revenue within the region. In this article, we explore the expected hike in<br />

the M&A activity and the latest trends that could affect this hike.<br />

Moody’s noted that the existing<br />

alliances among GCC banks will<br />

play a pivotal role in enabling<br />

the expansion of banking on a<br />

larger scale within the region during the<br />

upcoming decade, increasing the merger<br />

and acquisition activity among banks in the<br />

GCC region. This will create opportunities<br />

for synergies and diversification of oil<br />

revenues in the future.<br />

Francesca Paolino, an analyst at<br />

Moody’s, stated that the consolidation<br />

of banks in the GCC region will provide<br />

the necessary scale to support the<br />

diversification of Gulf economies away<br />

from oil, resulting in revenue and cost<br />

synergies. Despite the region’s strong<br />

bank financial fundamentals and low<br />

levels of over-banking, the ratings<br />

agency predicts that this development<br />

will occur. <strong>The</strong> concentration of GCC<br />

banks’ shareholder structure in a pool<br />

of state-linked entities and groups will<br />

facilitate tie-ups between lenders, and<br />

mergers and acquisitions are expected<br />

to continue, according to Paolino.<br />

Mergers and acquisitions allow big<br />

banks to expand their control over<br />

substantial projects in the GCC region,<br />

which in turn enhances their ability to<br />

compete on the global stage. As of June<br />

2022, the five biggest banks in each GCC<br />

economy collectively hold a market<br />

58 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

share of 60-90% of sector loans, up from<br />

50-80% in 2010.<br />

According to Moody’s, the consolidation<br />

of banks through mergers and acquisitions<br />

will provide them with pricing power,<br />

thereby improving their capacity to attract<br />

deposits and increasing net interest<br />

income. <strong>The</strong> agency further noted that<br />

the growth in M&A activities will help<br />

mitigate the impact of rising operating<br />

expenses, thereby leading to improved<br />

cost-efficiency.<br />

Moreover, Moody’s noted that Islamic<br />

banks have been the primary participants<br />

in most mergers over the last five years,<br />

and the growth in M&A activities will<br />

further promote the expansion of Islamic<br />

banking in the region. Given that largescale<br />

economic diversification programs,<br />

particularly in Saudi Arabia, are entering<br />

the construction phase, the region’s banks<br />

will need to expand their operations to<br />

support these initiatives.<br />

On the other hand, other reports<br />

stated that the recent losses incurred by<br />

Credit Suisse could result in Middle East<br />

banks becoming more hesitant towards<br />

engaging in mergers and acquisitions. This<br />

comes after the recent announcement<br />

that First Abu Dhabi Bank is interested<br />

in acquiring Standard Chartered, and<br />

the unsuccessful investment by Saudi<br />

National Bank in Credit Suisse, both of<br />

which have drawn attention to Middle<br />

East banks as potential acquirers of<br />

Mergers and<br />

acquisitions<br />

help big banks<br />

in the GCC<br />

region compete<br />

globally by<br />

expanding their<br />

control over<br />

major projects.<br />

international firms.<br />

Saudi National Bank (SNB) lost over<br />

80% of its investment value in Credit<br />

Suisse following the forced weekend<br />

merger with UBS on March 19. This<br />

experience is likely to dissuade the<br />

Jeddah-based lender from pursuing an<br />

M&A-based growth strategy in the near<br />

future, which may not necessarily be a<br />

negative development.<br />

However, despite suffering a loss of<br />

$1.2B on its investment in Credit Suisse,<br />

the situation is not catastrophic for SNB,<br />

given that it recorded a net income of<br />

approximately $5B in 2022. <strong>The</strong> rating<br />

agencies have declared the losses as<br />

having a neutral impact on the bank’s<br />

credit rating, and SNB has stated that it<br />

will not affect its growth plans or <strong>2023</strong><br />

outlook.<br />

It’s worth noting that SNB’s strategy<br />

has not been reliant on M&A. Although<br />

the bank’s shares experienced a steady<br />

decline in value from their high of SAR<br />

79 in April 2022, reaching around SAR 50<br />

by year-end, they experienced a sudden<br />

drop to a more than two-year low of SAR<br />

41.50 during the Credit Suisse crisis on<br />

March 16 before rising following the UBS<br />

deal announcement.<br />

Overall, Moody’s predicts more mergers<br />

and acquisitions among banks in the<br />

GCC region, leading to opportunities for<br />

synergies and oil revenue diversification.<br />

Large banks can control major projects<br />

and compete globally through M&A.<br />

Islamic banks have been leading in most<br />

mergers in the last five years. On the other<br />

hand, recent losses at Credit Suisse may<br />

make Middle East banks more hesitant<br />

to pursue M&A. However, the losses<br />

incurred by Saudi National Bank won’t<br />

affect its growth plans or <strong>2023</strong> outlook.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 59

Merger and Acquisition News<br />

Saudi Arabia sees unprecedented M&A opportunities in <strong>2023</strong><br />

Global consultancy PwC Middle<br />

East reported that the Middle<br />

East recorded 632 M&A deals<br />

in 2022, with 89% of them taking<br />

place in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt.<br />

Saudi Arabia has become a hot market<br />

for international companies seeking new<br />

M&A opportunities, thanks to the rising<br />

global demand for crude oil, ambitious<br />

Vision 2030 targets and increased focus<br />

on improving the private sector. PwC<br />

expects a further uptick in M&A activity<br />

in Saudi Arabia in <strong>2023</strong>, despite a strong<br />

IPO pipeline. <strong>The</strong> region is expected to<br />

continue with its impressive upward<br />

trajectory, as CEOs prepare for a dynamic<br />

period ahead, marked by transformation<br />

to strengthen their long-term resilience.<br />

PwC predicts Middle<br />

East to be Global M&A<br />

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

According to PwC’s <strong>2023</strong> Middle<br />

East report, the Middle East<br />

is a rare “global sweet spot”<br />

for mergers and acquisitions<br />

(M&A) activities despite global headwinds.<br />

Companies planning transformational<br />

deals in the region must devise wellthought-out<br />

strategies and ensure<br />

sufficient financial resources. While<br />

boldness is required, thorough research<br />

is crucial before committing to a deal in<br />

uncertain times. Saudi Arabia expects<br />

a further increase in M&A activity in<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, with the Saudi sovereign Public<br />

Investment Fund (PIF) continuing to lead<br />

outbound cross-border transactions and<br />

domestic deals. <strong>The</strong> Middle East benefits<br />

from deep resources for M&A investments,<br />

including the region’s sovereign wealth<br />

funds, due primarily to high oil prices.<br />

AD Ports completes KEZAD and Al Eskan Al Jamae<br />

merger<br />

AD Ports Group has completed<br />

the merger of KEZAD<br />

Communities with Al<br />

Eskan Al Jamae, creating a<br />

company worth AED 7B ($1.9B) with<br />

AD Ports holding a 52% controlling<br />

majority stake. <strong>The</strong> deal was completed<br />

through an equity share swap with no<br />

cash exchange. <strong>The</strong> merger is fully<br />

consolidated in AD Ports Group’s<br />

financials for the full quarter in Q1<br />

<strong>2023</strong>. <strong>The</strong> merger has created the<br />

largest integrated staff accommodation<br />

According to data from<br />

Refinitiv, the value of<br />

announced M&A transactions<br />

involving the Middle East<br />

and North Africa (MENA) reached<br />

$8.3B during Q1 <strong>2023</strong>, which is a<br />

significant decline of 65% from Q1<br />

2022. <strong>The</strong> MENA Investment Banking<br />

Review by the global data provider<br />

highlighted that the number of deal<br />

announcements in the region also<br />

dropped by 26%, marking the slowest<br />

start to a year since 2020. In particular,<br />

deals involving MENA targets hit a<br />

seven-year low and totalled $2.9B in<br />

Q1 <strong>2023</strong>, down 75% from a year ago.<br />

However, Saudi oil giant Aramco’s<br />

plan to acquire a 10% stake in China’s<br />

Rongsheng Petrochemical was the<br />

company in Abu Dhabi, and the deal<br />

was first announced in December 2022.<br />

M&A deals in MENA reached $8.3B during Q1 <strong>2023</strong><br />

top deal with MENA involvement,<br />

followed by the Saudi sovereign wealth<br />

fund’s investment of $1.3B in four local<br />

construction firms.<br />

60 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

UAE’s e& to acquire $400M majority stake in Careem’s super-app business<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE-based telecoms<br />

company e& has announced<br />

it will acquire a $400M majority<br />

stake in Careem’s super-app<br />

business, according to a regulatory<br />

disclosure. <strong>The</strong> acquisition of a 50.03%<br />

stake is expected to accelerate the<br />

development of the company and create<br />

a regional “Super App” champion. <strong>The</strong><br />

acquisition is part of e&’s strategy to<br />

diversify operations and extend its<br />

reach globally. <strong>The</strong> telecoms group<br />

recently became the largest shareholder<br />

in Vodafone Group after increasing its<br />

holdings to 14% earlier this year.<br />

First Abu Dhabi Bank<br />

open to acquisitions to<br />

spur growth, CEO says<br />

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)<br />

is considering acquisition<br />

opportunities in the Middle<br />

East, North Africa, and beyond,<br />

as long as they make commercial sense<br />

and create value for the UAE’s largest<br />

lender by assets, according to its CEO,<br />

Hana Al Rostamani. FAB is also open<br />

to acquiring international banks if the<br />

opportunity arises as it continues to<br />

expand its footprint in markets across<br />

continents. Al Rostamani stated that the<br />

bank only looks at opportunities that<br />

allow it to quickly build its portfolio,<br />

enter a new market, or enhance its<br />

platform. FAB will examine the potential<br />

acquisition within these three areas and<br />

how it fits within its overall strategy.<br />

Mubadala to acquire Bridgepoint’s Diaverum for<br />

$2.5B<br />

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala<br />

Investment is considering<br />

buying European dialysis<br />

clinic chain Diaverum<br />

from British private investment firm<br />

Bridgepoint Group for approximately<br />

$2.5B, according to people familiar with<br />

the matter. <strong>The</strong> sovereign wealth fund is<br />

among final bidders competing for the<br />

Swedish company, which operates 440<br />

clinics in 23 countries. Bridgepoint and<br />

Mubadala did not comment on the news.<br />

In December 2022, Mubadala’s CEO<br />

said that <strong>2023</strong> would be a challenging<br />

year for the global economy but the<br />

fund would focus on opportunities<br />

with a longer horizon. Mubadala has<br />

$284B in assets under management,<br />

with interests in sectors including<br />

healthcare, energy and real estate.<br />

Majority stake in Oman Cement sold to Huaxin for<br />

$193M<br />

Oman Cement Company<br />

has completed the share<br />

purchase agreement between<br />

<strong>The</strong> Investment Authority<br />

Company SPC, representing the<br />

government’s stake, and Huaxin (Hong<br />

Kong) International Holdings. As per the<br />

deal, Huaxin has acquired a 59.58% stake<br />

in the publicly-traded Oman Cement<br />

for $193.1M, subject to adjustment by<br />

the buyer after completion of the deal<br />

to account for net cash and working<br />

capital levels. Huaxin has assigned its<br />

ownership right to Abra Holdings, a<br />

wholly-owned subsidiary incorporated<br />

in the Republic of Mauritius. <strong>The</strong> board<br />

of Oman Cement has also appointed<br />

Li Yeqing and Ian Riley as temporary<br />

board members, pending approval at<br />

the company’s next Ordinary General<br />

Meeting.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 61

Cryptocurrency<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE Cryptocurrency Market Promises<br />

Exciting Investment Opportunities<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates has emerged as a new hub for the world of cryptocurrency<br />

and blockchain technology, with an increasing number of global conglomerates<br />

moving to set up shop in the UAE as the country keeps attracting investors from all<br />

around the world. In this article, we explore the potential of the UAE cryptocurrency<br />

market and the investment opportunities it offers to global investors.<br />

One of the main reasons for<br />

the increasing movement of<br />

cryptocurrency investors in the<br />

UAE is the country’s forwardthinking<br />

attitude towards cryptocurrency<br />

and blockchain technology. <strong>The</strong> UAE<br />

government has been proactive in creating<br />

a regulatory framework for digital assets.<br />

For instance, Dubai has implemented new<br />

regulations that require all organizations<br />

intending to provide cryptocurrency<br />

services within its jurisdiction to obtain<br />

the necessary licenses and authorization.<br />

<strong>The</strong> framework includes four mandatory<br />

rulebooks for service providers and seven<br />

rulebooks based on activities that specify<br />

the requirements depending on the type<br />

of service provided.<br />

Issuing crypto regulations means that<br />

the government has established a legal<br />

framework to regulate the use and trading<br />

of cryptocurrencies within its jurisdiction.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se regulations are intended to protect<br />

investors and consumers from potential<br />

risks associated with cryptocurrencies,<br />

such as money laundering, terrorist<br />

financing, fraud, and other illicit activities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s<br />

forwardthinking<br />

approach has<br />

positioned it<br />

as a magnet<br />

for the global<br />

cryptocurrency<br />

industry’s top<br />

players.<br />

62 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Moreover, by implementing clear<br />

guidelines and requirements for entities<br />

involved in crypto-related services, the<br />

UAE aims to promote a safe and stable<br />

environment for the development and<br />

growth of the crypto industry, while<br />

ensuring compliance with international<br />

standards and best practices. This is<br />

expected to be a primary factor in enticing<br />

a greater number of investors, creating<br />

a more steady market, and presenting<br />

additional possibilities for investment.<br />

This progressive approach has attracted<br />

many of the world’s leading cryptocurrency<br />

companies to the UAE. Companies like<br />

BitOasis, which operates a cryptocurrency<br />

exchange, and Binance, the world’s largest<br />

cryptocurrency exchange, have set up<br />

operations in the country.<br />

On 20 March, <strong>2023</strong>, Crypto.com, a crypto<br />

platform headquartered in Singapore,<br />

has announced that it has obtained a<br />

preparatory license for its minimal viable<br />

product (MVP) from Dubai’s Virtual<br />

Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). <strong>The</strong><br />

licensing process consists of three phases,<br />

which include acquiring a provisional<br />

permit, a preparatory license, and an<br />

operating license.<br />

“Once licensed to be operational,<br />

Crypto.com will be able to extend its<br />

approved suite of duly regulated virtual<br />

assets activities spanning a range of crypto<br />

exchange services (spot and derivatives),<br />

brokerage, margin/leverage trading and<br />

OTC (over-the-counter) offerings around<br />

settlements for institutional investors,”<br />

said company’s press release.<br />

“We are pleased to welcome Crypto.<br />

com to the MVP Programme preparatory<br />

phase,” Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority<br />

(VARA) CEO Henson Orser said in<br />

the statement. “As such, participation<br />

from credible players like Crypto.com<br />

will further our mission of delivering a<br />

progressive and future-focused regulatory<br />

framework.”<br />

On the other hand, DMCC, the world’s<br />

flagship free zone and Government of<br />

Dubai Authority on commodities trade<br />

and enterprise, has signed two Memoranda<br />

of Understanding with key South Korean<br />

entities in the blockchain and metaverse<br />

fields as it seeks to expand Dubai’s leading<br />

position as a hub for Web3 businesses<br />

from across the world. <strong>The</strong> MoUs were<br />

signed with the Korea Blockchain Industry<br />

Promotion Association (KBIPA) and<br />

Seongnam City during DMCC’s Made for<br />

Trade Live roadshows in South Korea.<br />

On 22 March, <strong>2023</strong>, Sygnum, the world’s<br />

first digital asset bank, has announced<br />

the opening of its Middle East hub in the<br />

Abu Dhabi Global Market international<br />

financial centre to provide a portfolio of<br />

Swiss-regulated crypto banking services.<br />

Sygnum Bank Middle East has received a<br />

Financial Services Permission (FSP) from<br />

the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)<br />

Financial Services Regulatory Authority<br />

(FSRA), following its in-principle approval<br />

in October 2022.<br />

<strong>The</strong> bank will offer personal, conciergestyle<br />

client service, enabling convenient<br />

local client access to a portfolio of<br />

Swiss-regulated digital asset banking,<br />

asset management, tokenisation and<br />

B2B banking services. With regional<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s<br />

investordriven<br />

influx of<br />

cryptocurrency<br />

conglomerates is<br />

set to establish<br />

the emirate as a<br />

major player in<br />

the digital assets<br />

realm.<br />

demand for regulated crypto services<br />

on the rise, clients will be drawn from<br />

a diverse range of sectors, ranging from<br />

existing local crypto foundations and<br />

projects to “traditional” institutional<br />

investors and qualified HNWI looking for<br />

trusted crypto asset exposure through a<br />

regulated partner.<br />

Sygnum Bank Middle East’s Senior<br />

Executive Officer, Giulia Finkbeiner-<br />

Bertoni, said, “<strong>The</strong> UAE has a proactive<br />

investment programme, a progressive<br />

crypto regulatory framework and a<br />

dynamic, tech-driven economy. We look<br />

forward to leveraging this momentum by<br />

bringing Sygnum’s trusted digital asset<br />

services to Abu Dhabi and the region.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s growing reputation as a<br />

hub for cryptocurrency and blockchain<br />

technology has also led to the establishment<br />

of several blockchain startups in the<br />

country. <strong>The</strong>se startups are working<br />

on innovative solutions that leverage<br />

blockchain technology to create new<br />

business models and disrupt traditional<br />

industries.<br />

As the movement of investors in<br />

the UAE continues to attract global<br />

cryptocurrency conglomerates, the<br />

country is set to become a major player<br />

in the world of digital assets. <strong>The</strong> UAE’s<br />

progressive approach to cryptocurrency<br />

and blockchain technology, combined<br />

with its status as a global financial<br />

center, makes it an ideal destination<br />

for companies looking to tap into the<br />

potential of this exciting new industry.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 63

Apple Beats Studio 4 headphone<br />

Apple’s upcoming Beats Studio<br />

4 headphone is set to release<br />

as early as October <strong>2023</strong>, just<br />

after the annual September<br />

product launch. While the specific details<br />

on the Studio 4 are limited, we can expect<br />

significant improvements in sound quality<br />

and active noise cancellation (ANC)<br />

technology.<br />

ANC has been rapidly evolving in<br />

the audio industry, with competitors<br />

like Sony and Bose leading the market<br />

with their premium headphones, such<br />

as the Sony WH-1000XM series. We can<br />

expect Beats to step up their game and<br />

deliver a product that can stand up to<br />

the competition.<br />

Additionally, the Studio 4 will likely<br />

have a new and distinct design, unlike<br />

the AirPods Max line. With the success<br />

of the Beats Solo Pro model, it will be<br />

interesting to see what new features the<br />

Studio 4 will bring to the table.<br />

64 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Google Pixel 8<br />

<strong>The</strong> Google Pixel 8 is the latest<br />

smartphone release from<br />

Google, set to be launched on<br />

<strong>May</strong> 10, <strong>2023</strong>. This device is<br />

equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon<br />

898+ 5G processor, making it incredibly<br />

powerful and able to handle even the<br />

most demanding apps and games. <strong>The</strong><br />

phone has a large 6.61-inch display that<br />

provides crystal-clear visuals, perfect for<br />

streaming videos or browsing the web.<br />

One of the standout features of the Pixel<br />

8 is its camera setup. <strong>The</strong> phone boasts<br />

a 64 MP triple rear camera and a 16 MP<br />

selfie camera, which will allow users to<br />

take stunning photos and videos with<br />

ease. With 128 GB or 256 GB of storage<br />

and 8 GB of RAM, the Pixel 8 has plenty<br />

of space to store all your media and apps.<br />

Additionally, the device has a longlasting<br />

5000mAh battery, ensuring you<br />

stay connected all day without having<br />

to worry about running out of power.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Google Pixel 8 will be available in<br />

black and white, with prices starting at<br />

AED 2,160 in UAE.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 65

Real Estate<br />

Investment Opportunities and Advantages<br />

in Dubai Real Estate Market<br />

Dubai’s real estate sector is a secure avenue for investment due to several factors,<br />

one of which is the emirate’s stable political climate that has been stable for<br />

many years. Dubai has a robust legal framework that protects property owners’<br />

rights and ensures that disputes are handled fairly and efficiently. In this article,<br />

we will highlight some advantages that makes Dubai’s real estate market safe for<br />

investors, in addition to the promising opportunities it offers to local and foreign<br />

investors.<br />

One of the factors that contribute<br />

to the safety of real estate<br />

investments in Dubai is the<br />

emirate’s open real estate market,<br />

which makes it accessible to both local<br />

and foreign investors. <strong>The</strong> market is also<br />

well-regulated by government bodies to<br />

prevent fraudulent activities and ensure<br />

that transactions are transparent. Moreover,<br />

Dubai’s real estate sector is diversified,<br />

with a range of properties available for<br />

investment; investors have the option<br />

to invest in residential, commercial, or<br />

industrial properties, depending on their<br />

preferences and investment goals.<br />

Hence, the market offers secure and<br />

diverse investment opportunities, which<br />

makes it an attractive destination for<br />

investors from all around the world.<br />

Add to this the efforts made by <strong>The</strong><br />

Dubai Land Department, for it always<br />

keeps a record of all property deals that<br />

is accessible to the public. This makes<br />

it simple for investors to examine a<br />

property’s background and ownership.<br />

Such transparency minimizes the chances<br />

of fraud and other fraudulent activities.<br />

Overall, the government has created<br />

investor-friendly policies, making it<br />

easier for foreign investors to invest in<br />

Dubai’s real estate market.<br />

As Dubai’s population continues to grow,<br />

the demand for real estate is on the rise,<br />

leading to higher property prices and an<br />

increase in short-term rental demand.<br />

v<br />

66 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Stable and Lucrative ROI<br />

In addition, Dubai’s real estate market<br />

has a well-established reputation for<br />

delivering profitable investment prospects<br />

for individuals seeking a stable Return<br />

on Investment (ROI). <strong>The</strong> consistent<br />

increase in property prices over the years<br />

serves as a clear indication of the market’s<br />

strength. <strong>The</strong> Dubai Land Department’s<br />

data reveals that the real estate market<br />

in Dubai presents a competitive yearly<br />

ROI of 5% to 8.4%, comparable to other<br />

major global cities such as London, New<br />

York, and Singapore. This presents an<br />

attractive opportunity for investors to<br />

earn a dependable and lucrative ROI.<br />

As the emirate’s population continues<br />

to rise, the demand for real estate is<br />

also on the increase, resulting in higher<br />

property prices. For instance, reports<br />

revealed that Dubai real estate market<br />

continued its upward trend as sales<br />

transaction surged 43% in February <strong>2023</strong><br />

on high demand from the foreign investors<br />

and end-users. <strong>The</strong> Latest data released<br />

by Property Finder shows that property<br />

transactions climbed to 9,020 February<br />

<strong>2023</strong> compared to 6,310 in February<br />

2022, generating sales revenue of more<br />

than AED 26.7B in February this year, an<br />

increase of 65%. <strong>The</strong> emirate recorded<br />

9,800 sales transactions in January <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Furthermore, the Dubai government<br />

has also implemented several initiatives<br />

aimed at luring foreign investment into<br />

the real estate market, such as the UAE<br />

With the influx of<br />

businesses to Dubai,<br />

the job market is<br />

also expanding,<br />

resulting in an<br />

upsurge in midterm<br />

rental leases.<br />

Golden Visa program, which offers<br />

long-term residency visas for property<br />

investors, contributing to the market’s<br />

growth and resulting in a higher ROI<br />

for investors.<br />

High Rental Demand, High Rental<br />

Yields<br />

Dubai’s popularity as a top tourist<br />

destination has resulted in a surge in<br />

short-term rental demand, creating a<br />

profitable market for investors. Due to<br />

hotels being fully booked months ahead,<br />

short-term rentals have become a viable<br />

alternative. As a result, many investors<br />

have shifted their focus from one-year<br />

leases to short-term rental properties.<br />

Moreover, Dubai’s job market is<br />

expanding as more businesses are<br />

attracted to the city’s financial benefits.<br />

This growth has led to an increase in<br />

mid-term rental leases, which will likely<br />

generate substantial profits for investors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> influx of businesses to Dubai serves<br />

as a clear indication that rental values<br />

will continue to rise.<br />

Furthermore, there will be a rise in<br />

off-plan properties becoming accessible,<br />

allowing companies to construct even more<br />

properties to meet the growing demand.<br />

This implies that we can expect to witness<br />

the development of several new projects<br />

in their initial phases, which will provide<br />

opportunities for investors to enter the<br />

market at a substantial discount. <strong>The</strong><br />

development of new residential areas<br />

will also draw in more companies to<br />

Dubai as they seek to tap into the skilled<br />

workforce available in the city.<br />

To sum it up, the real estate market in<br />

Dubai is a thriving and dynamic sector<br />

that caters to both local and foreign<br />

investors. With its stable political climate,<br />

robust legal framework, and transparent<br />

market regulations, the market offers a<br />

secure and diverse range of investment<br />

opportunities that are unparalleled<br />

in the region. In fact, the market has<br />

an excellent reputation for delivering<br />

profitable investment prospects with a<br />

yearly ROI that rivals that of other major<br />

global cities.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 67

Real Estate News<br />

Qatar’s Real Estate Sector Shows Promising Prospects,<br />

Say CEOs<br />

CEOs of Qatari real estate<br />

companies and research<br />

experts have expressed<br />

optimism for the sector,<br />

citing a strong Qatari economy,<br />

extensive construction operations, and<br />

completion of economic diversification<br />

plans within Qatar National Vision<br />

2030. <strong>The</strong>y note high domestic liquidity,<br />

increased spending on infrastructure<br />

and transportation, a rise in the GDP,<br />

and a growing number of tourists as<br />

driving factors behind the sector’s<br />

promising prospects. <strong>The</strong> experts<br />

also discussed the performance of the<br />

real estate sector during the current<br />

period, expectations for return on<br />

investment, and the possibility of<br />

mergers to create major real estate<br />

entities that can compete locally and<br />

globally. <strong>The</strong> hosting of the FIFA <strong>World</strong><br />

Cup Qatar 2022 is expected to further<br />

boost the sector.<br />

King Abdullah Financial District wins key building<br />

certification<br />

Nakheel awards contracts<br />

for new Jebel Ali<br />

gated community<br />

Nakheel, the Dubai-based<br />

master-developer, has<br />

awarded a construction<br />

contract for Jebel Ali Village,<br />

a gated residential community with<br />

luxury villas and townhouses. <strong>The</strong><br />

villas and their infrastructure will<br />

be built by iBuild Construction,<br />

while the townhouses and their<br />

infrastructure will be constructed<br />

by United Engineering Construction<br />

Company. <strong>The</strong> development features<br />

green spaces, water features, cycling<br />

tracks, sports courts, children’s play<br />

areas, community parks, a vegetable<br />

farm, and a recreation club. Jebel Ali<br />

Village is strategically located near<br />

Sheikh Zayed Road and Ibn Battuta<br />

Mall, providing easy access to key<br />

locations in Dubai. Work is currently<br />

underway on the project.<br />

Knight Frank, the global property<br />

consultancy, has awarded<br />

the WiredScore and Smart-<br />

Score building certification<br />

to the King Abdullah Financial District<br />

(KAFD) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.<br />

WiredScore is a certification of<br />

a building’s digital infrastructure and<br />

connectivity, while SmartScore is given<br />

to buildings that exhibit advanced<br />

innovation, market-leading technology,<br />

and future-proofing measures. Knight<br />

Frank praised the KAFD’s excellence<br />

in achieving the certification, noting<br />

that it followed on from the firm’s Platinum<br />

SmartScore certification of the<br />

Brookfield Properties’ ICD Brookfield<br />

Place in Dubai in November 2021. <strong>The</strong><br />

certifications are a testament to the<br />

KAFD’s quality, according to James<br />

Lewis, Managing Director Middle East<br />

and Africa, Knight Frank.<br />

Consortium appointed<br />

for master plan of<br />

Salalah Smart City<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ministry of Housing and<br />

Urban Planning in Oman<br />

has enlisted a consortium<br />

of international consultants<br />

to develop the master plan for the<br />

Salalah Smart City project. F&M Middle<br />

East, Cundall, MIC-HUB, Cavendish<br />

Maxwell, and Skyne are leading the<br />

consortium, with HMR Consultants,<br />

TRM Engineering Consultants, and<br />

Milcris Oman offering their local<br />

expertise. <strong>The</strong> consortium’s focus will<br />

be on creating a sustainable and livable<br />

city that prioritizes pedestrian-friendly<br />

designs, community engagement, and<br />

environmental stewardship. <strong>The</strong> plan<br />

will also emphasize reducing car use,<br />

increasing transit and mobility services,<br />

promoting shared and on-demand<br />

transportation, and integrating digital<br />

platforms for an efficient and connected<br />

mobility system. Salalah Smart City is<br />

expected to present a bold vision for<br />

the future of the area, with a focus on<br />

sustainability and innovation.<br />

68 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Bahrain’s iconic waterfront<br />

shopping and<br />

leisure hub set for Q4<br />

launch<br />

Eagle Hills Diyar announced that<br />

Marassi Galleria, a 200,000<br />

square metre shopping<br />

and leisure hub located in<br />

the Marassi Al Bahrain waterfront<br />

development, is nearly complete and<br />

set to open in Q4. <strong>The</strong> entertainment<br />

centre boasts a gross leasable area<br />

of 114,000 sq m with over 450 stores<br />

including prestigious brands, occupying<br />

three levels. <strong>The</strong> mall is connected to<br />

two five-star hotels; the Vida Beach<br />

Resort and the Address Beach Resort<br />

as well as luxury serviced apartments.<br />

Marassi Galleria is expected to<br />

become a must-visit attraction and a<br />

destination of choice for both residents<br />

and tourists who wish to experience<br />

luxury shopping, al fresco dining with<br />

uninterrupted sea views.<br />

Premium luxury project Baccarat Residences<br />

launched in Dubai<br />

Lu xhabitat Sotheby’s<br />

International Realty has<br />

launched the Exclusive Baccarat<br />

Residences, an ultra-luxury<br />

residential complex, in Downtown<br />

Dubai. <strong>The</strong> development features 49<br />

spacious apartments, including two- to<br />

five-bedroom units, across 24 floors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Baccarat Residences, which is<br />

owned by Shamal and developed in<br />

collaboration with H&H Development,<br />

offers unparalleled service and iconic<br />

design, while overlooking the Burj<br />

Khalifa. <strong>The</strong> branded residence is “a<br />

visionary real estate development that<br />

combines elegance and effortless style,”<br />

the company said in a statement. George<br />

Azar, chairman and CEO of Luxhabitat<br />

Sotheby’s International Realty, said the<br />

project has already seen “exceptional<br />

interest,” with residences selling for a<br />

record-breaking AED 14,000 ($3,811)<br />

per sq ft.<br />

ZāZEN sells 75% units at Dubai residential<br />

development<br />

ZāZEN Properties, a sustainable<br />

property developer in the UAE,<br />

has sold 75% of the units in its<br />

off-plan development in Dubai’s<br />

Al Furjan community. <strong>The</strong> development,<br />

called ZāZEN Gardens, features 159<br />

apartments ranging from 824 to 1,612<br />

square feet and is Leed-Gold-certified.<br />

Construction is over 25% complete, with<br />

a scheduled handover in April 2024.<br />

<strong>The</strong> off-plan sales market has seen<br />

an increase of 86% since 2021, with a<br />

42.1% increase in the first two months<br />

of <strong>2023</strong> compared to the same period<br />

last year. Developers are innovating<br />

to attract foreign direct investment<br />

(FDI) and boost the UAE’s economy,<br />

with wellness residential developments<br />

becoming increasingly popular.<br />

Dubai registers 88 luxury home sales over $10M in Q1 <strong>2023</strong><br />

Dubai’s luxury real estate<br />

market continues to grow,<br />

with 88 homes sales above<br />

$10M registered in Q1 <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

worth AED 6B, according to a new<br />

analysis from property consultant<br />

Knight Frank. <strong>The</strong> Palm Jumeirah,<br />

Emirates Hills and Jumeirah Bay<br />

Island were the most popular locations<br />

for luxury home sales, with average<br />

transacted prices for $10M homes<br />

reaching AED 8,800 per sq ft in these<br />

areas during the first quarter. Other<br />

locations in the city are also fast rising<br />

prime status. Dubai recorded 219 deals<br />

above $10M in 2022, making it the fourth<br />

busiest luxury homes market globally.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 69

Funding & Investment<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE Expands Economic and<br />

Trade Relations to Boost Investment<br />

Opportunities<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has been expanding its economic and trade relations with countries<br />

across the globe, including the United States, China, India, and the European<br />

Union. <strong>The</strong> government has been implementing various policies and initiatives to<br />

make it easier for foreign investors to do business in the country. In this article,<br />

we delve into the UAE’s latest agreements and initiatives to boost investment<br />

opportunities.<br />

70 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s efforts to boost its<br />

foreign partnerships have been<br />

successful in attracting more<br />

investment to the country, and<br />

it is likely that this trend will continue in<br />

the future. Recently, the UAE and China<br />

discussed investment opportunities in new<br />

economic sectors, trade, transportation<br />

& technology. Additionally, the UAE and<br />

Republic of Congo discussed enhancing<br />

economic cooperation and boost investment<br />

exchanges between the two nations.<br />

Moreover, they UAE is set to invest USD<br />

30 billion in South Korea over the next<br />

few years.<br />

During the recent UAE-China Economic<br />

Forum in Dubai, H.E. Abdullah Ahmad Al<br />

Saleh, the Undersecretary of the Ministry<br />

of Economy, held a bilateral meeting<br />

with Zhang Xiangchen, the Deputy<br />

International Trade Representative for<br />

the People’s Republic of China. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

discussed joint investment opportunities<br />

in various economic sectors such as trade,<br />

logistics, real estate, financial services,<br />

technology, and insurance activities.<br />

H.E. Al Saleh highlighted that the<br />

UAE is China’s top trade partner among<br />

the Arab and GCC countries, and China<br />

is the UAE’s top global trade partner.<br />

<strong>The</strong> non-oil trade value between the<br />

two countries exceeded $72B in 2022,<br />

indicating an 18% growth from 2021.<br />

Additionally, investment exchanges<br />

between the two countries are continuously<br />

growing in sectors such as real estate,<br />

logistics, storage, financial services,<br />

insurance activities, manufacturing, and<br />

information technology. In early 2021, it<br />

amounted to almost $12B. China is also<br />

the UAE’s third-largest foreign investor,<br />

with investments worth $9.3B as of the<br />

beginning of 2021, showing a 514.5%<br />

increase compared to 2013.<br />

Furthermore, H.E. Al Saleh briefed<br />

the Chinese side about the UAE’s<br />

economic policies that aim to improve<br />

its investment environment’s growth and<br />

competitiveness. <strong>The</strong>se policies include<br />

providing incentives and enablers to<br />

encourage the private sector to invest and<br />

expand in the UAE’s markets, amending<br />

the Commercial Companies Law to allow<br />

100% foreign ownership, enhancing labor<br />

mobility, and modernizing the country’s<br />

residency system.<br />

On the other hand, H.E Dr. Thani bin<br />

Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State<br />

for Foreign Trade, met with H.E. Denis<br />

Christel Sassou Nguesso, Minister of<br />

International Cooperation and Public-<br />

Private Partnership Development of the<br />

Republic of the Congo, to discuss how to<br />

enhance economic, trade, and investment<br />

cooperation between their countries.<br />

H.E. Al Zeyoudi highlighted the UAE’s<br />

commitment to strengthen their ties the<br />

Congo and increase non-oil trade between<br />

the two countries in order to diversify<br />

their investments. <strong>The</strong> two ministers<br />

explored ways to deepen economic and<br />

trade partnerships, particularly in the<br />

areas of transport and warehousing,<br />

ports and logistics, food security, and<br />

natural resources, in a mutually beneficial<br />

way. According to recent data, non-oil<br />

trade between the UAE and the Congo<br />

amounted to $2.3B in 2022, with nonoil<br />

exports from the UAE to the Congo<br />

totaling nearly $57M.<br />

Furthermore, H.E. Al Zeyoudi and H.E.<br />

Dukgeun Ahn, the Minister of Trade of the<br />

Republic of South Korea, met in Dubai to<br />

discuss joint investment opportunities in<br />

various fields, including trade, industry,<br />

real estate, insurance, health, technology,<br />

digital transformation, and food security.<br />

<strong>The</strong> meeting was attended by the South<br />

Korean Ambassador to the UAE and<br />

representatives from various South<br />

Korean government entities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> non-oil trade between the UAE<br />

and South Korea in 2022 reached nearly<br />

AED 19.5B, showing a 14% increase<br />

from the previous year. UAE exports<br />

to South Korea grew by 17.5% in 2022,<br />

exceeding AED 2.8B, while re-exports to<br />

South Korea totaled AED 1.3B. <strong>The</strong> two<br />

ministers agreed to enhance trade and<br />

investment cooperation between the UAE<br />

and South Korea through joint efforts,<br />

and to implement the recently signed<br />

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)<br />

between the UAE Ministry of Economy<br />

and the South Korean Ministry of Trade,<br />

Industry, and Energy. <strong>The</strong> MoU aims to<br />

facilitate import and export procedures<br />

for exporters and importers in both<br />

markets to create more investment and<br />

trade opportunities for the private sector.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE plans to invest nearly $30B in<br />

South Korea in the coming years, while<br />

South Korean FDI in the UAE totaled<br />

$2.2B up until the beginning of 2021.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has been increasing its<br />

economic and trade links with nations<br />

worldwide, and the government has<br />

been introducing diverse measures and<br />

programs to facilitate the operations of<br />

overseas investors in the country.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has been making tremendous<br />

efforts to enhance its economic and trade<br />

ties with nations worldwide to become<br />

an increasingly prominent player in<br />

the global economy. <strong>The</strong> government<br />

has implemented a variety of measures<br />

and programs aimed at facilitating the<br />

operations of foreign investors in the<br />

country, in addition to signing several<br />

bilateral and multilateral trade agreements<br />

with various countries to boost its trade<br />

relations and promote investment; these<br />

agreements provide investors with access<br />

to new markets, increased protection,<br />

and better trade terms.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 71

Funding and Investment News<br />

AD Ports signs funding<br />

deal worth $2B with 13<br />

banks<br />

AD Ports Group has secured<br />

a $2B funding deal with 13<br />

banks to improve its financial<br />

position. <strong>The</strong> general<br />

corporate facility agreement includes<br />

a multi-currency facility with three<br />

tranches amounting to $656M, $620M<br />

and $778M. <strong>The</strong> facility, which has a<br />

tenure of up to two-and-a-half years,<br />

was oversubscribed 3.7 times. AD<br />

Ports Group, which operates industrial<br />

cities and free zones, said the success<br />

of the funding reflected its “profitable<br />

and enduring business” and “strong<br />

financial position”. Capt Mohamed Al<br />

Shamisi, managing director and group<br />

CEO of AD Ports Group, said the deal<br />

showed the confidence banks had in<br />

its “long-term financial performance”.<br />

ADCEB, ADNEC launch fund to develop business<br />

tourism<br />

Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition<br />

Bureau (ADCEB) has<br />

partnered with ADNEC Group<br />

to boost business tourism in<br />

the emirate. <strong>The</strong> newly formed ADCEB<br />

and ADNEC Group Joint Fund will<br />

offer financial incentives and support<br />

to corporate meeting planners and incentive<br />

houses, and promote Abu Dhabi<br />

as a safe and fully open destination for<br />

business tourism. <strong>The</strong> partnership will<br />

combine the joint marketing efforts of<br />

ADCEB and ADNEC Group to attract<br />

large-scale and high-profile events to<br />

Abu Dhabi. This move is part of AD-<br />

CEB’s strategy to use public-private<br />

partnerships to increase B2B events<br />

and incentive travel in the emirate,<br />

and further establish Abu Dhabi as a<br />

leading global destination for business<br />

events of all kinds.<br />

Ajman Chamber explores trade and investment<br />

collaboration with Bulgarian Embassy<br />

Abu Dhabi’s Hub71<br />

startups raised $1B,<br />

created over 900 jobs<br />

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

Hub71, has revealed<br />

in its Impact Report that the<br />

startups it onboarded collectively<br />

raised almost AED 4B ($1B) in<br />

venture capital and created over 900<br />

jobs by the end of 2022. <strong>The</strong> report<br />

also stated that Hub71’s community<br />

of startups increased by 102% to over<br />

200 in 2022, with 51 new early-stage<br />

companies relocating to Abu Dhabi to<br />

scale exponentially. <strong>The</strong> ecosystem’s<br />

investors include Mubadala Investment<br />

Company, more than 30 VC firms, family<br />

offices, and commercial partners. Nine<br />

out of the 51 startups onboarded in 2022<br />

raised more than AED 36.7M ($10M)<br />

each, reflecting AED 575M ($156.7M)<br />

collectively.<br />

H.E. Abdullah Al Muwaji,<br />

the Chairman of the Ajman<br />

Chamber of Commerce and<br />

Industry (ACCI), recently<br />

met with H.E. Ivan Jordanov, the Ambassador<br />

of the Republic of Bulgaria<br />

to the UAE. <strong>The</strong> two discussed the<br />

possibilities of enhancing trade and<br />

investment cooperation between the<br />

two countries and promoting bilateral<br />

relations. <strong>The</strong> meeting, held at the<br />

Ajman Chamber’s headquarters, was<br />

also attended by other officials. <strong>The</strong><br />

chairman emphasized the importance of<br />

the meeting in expanding the economic<br />

network that supports business development<br />

and attracts more investments<br />

to Ajman.<br />

72 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Qatar’s Investment Landscape Goes Digital with<br />

IPA Qatar’s Invest Qatar Gateway<br />

<strong>The</strong> Investment Promotion<br />

Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar) has<br />

unveiled Invest Qatar Gateway,<br />

the first digital platform for<br />

investors looking to do business in Qatar.<br />

<strong>The</strong> free online resource will assist<br />

foreign investors and companies in the<br />

country by helping them search for new<br />

business partners and opportunities<br />

in the public and private sectors. <strong>The</strong><br />

platform will also provide resources<br />

for businesses looking to expand in<br />

Qatar. Investors can explore current<br />

tenders and connect with other members<br />

and IPA Qatar’s investor relations<br />

team for direct support in setting up<br />

or growing their businesses across<br />

various sectors. Additionally, IPA Qatar<br />

will launch Access Qatar, a platform<br />

to help foreign investors arrive in the<br />

country, in Q2 <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

UAE announces $135.8M<br />

investment in university<br />

infrastructure and smart<br />

clinics<br />

Investopia has announced the<br />

launch of “Smart Clinics” in<br />

the Middle East, with the aim<br />

of improving life quality and<br />

establishing wellness pathways using<br />

technology and precision healthcare.<br />

<strong>The</strong> announcement was made during<br />

the Investopia <strong>2023</strong> conference in Abu<br />

Dhabi, where the investment platform<br />

also signed a partnership with Italian<br />

GKSD Investment Holding Group and<br />

Gruppo San Donato (GSD), Italy’s<br />

leading private hospital group. <strong>The</strong><br />

collaboration will see an investment of<br />

€125M ($141M) in new projects in the<br />

UAE and the wider region, including<br />

university infrastructure and smart<br />

clinics. Investopia aims to drive global<br />

investments in new economic sectors,<br />

including healthcare.<br />

Masdar secures funding for<br />

Uzbekistan solar projects<br />

DP <strong>World</strong>’s overseas logistics investments since<br />

2012 cross $10B mark<br />

Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy<br />

company, Masdar, has<br />

secured funding from several<br />

banks for its three solar<br />

photovoltaic projects in Uzbekistan.<br />

<strong>The</strong> funding will be provided by the<br />

Asian Development Bank, Asian<br />

Infrastructure Investment Bank, the<br />

European Bank for Reconstruction<br />

and Development, and the European<br />

Investment Bank. <strong>The</strong> Dutch<br />

Entrepreneurial Development Bank,<br />

FMO, and ILX are also participating<br />

in the funding. <strong>The</strong> projects, which<br />

have a combined capacity of around<br />

900 MW, include the Sherabad Solar<br />

Project with a capacity of 457 MW,<br />

and the Samarkand and Jizzakh solar<br />

projects, each with a capacity of 220<br />

MW. <strong>The</strong> projects aim to displace more<br />

than one million tonnes of carbon<br />

emissions annually.<br />

DP <strong>World</strong> has emerged as a<br />

significant global investor<br />

in the logistics sector, with<br />

investments worth over $10B<br />

since 2012, according to recent foreign<br />

direct investment data. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

investments have placed it among the<br />

top five foreign investors in the logistics<br />

sector, along with industry giants such<br />

as Amazon and AP Moller Maersk. Interestingly,<br />

DP <strong>World</strong> is the only company<br />

in the top five that is headquartered<br />

outside of Europe and the US. Despite<br />

a global economic slowdown leading<br />

to a stall in the demand for logistics<br />

services, DP <strong>World</strong> has invested $320M<br />

(AED 1.18B) in the past year.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 73

Digital Assets<br />

UAE’s Digital Asset Investment Landscape<br />

Gaining Momentum<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has recently seen a significant increase in investments within the digital<br />

asset space, a growth that can be attributed to the country’s proactive approach<br />

towards fostering innovation and modern technology. With supportive regulatory<br />

frameworks in place, coupled with a favourable business environment, the UAE has<br />

been able to attract several key players in the digital assets sector. As the trend towards<br />

digitalization continues to gather pace, the UAE is poised to remain at the forefront<br />

of this fast-evolving landscape, driving innovation and shaping the future of finance.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s recent initiatives evince its<br />

dedication to bolstering Web3 start-ups and<br />

blockchain technologies.<br />

v<br />

74 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

v<br />

Several bodies are actively<br />

supporting and promoting the<br />

growth of the digital assets’<br />

ecosystem in the United Arab<br />

Emirates. For instance, the Dubai<br />

Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) has<br />

launched a comprehensive regulatory<br />

framework for digital assets and<br />

cryptocurrencies, which provides a<br />

clear and transparent framework for<br />

market participants. Additionally, the<br />

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)<br />

has set up a regulatory framework for<br />

digital asset exchanges and custodians,<br />

creating a conducive environment<br />

for digital asset businesses to thrive.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE Central Bank has also been<br />

actively exploring the potential of digital<br />

currencies, with plans to launch its<br />

own digital currency in the near future,<br />

making the issuance of digital currency<br />

one of the top priority objectives of the<br />

country’s <strong>2023</strong>-2026 roadmap.<br />

With such support from key regulatory<br />

bodies, the digital assets industry in the<br />

UAE is well-positioned for growth and<br />

innovation in the coming years. This<br />

will not only attract global investors an<br />

key industry player, but will also boost<br />

the country’s economy and reinforce<br />

its business-friendly environment.<br />

Moreover, the influx of global investors<br />

and key industry players also brings<br />

with it new technologies, expertise, and<br />

best practices that can help enhance<br />

the country’s competitiveness in the<br />

global marketplace.<br />

To that end, for instance, H.H. Sheikh<br />

Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of<br />

Ras Al Khaimah, has recently issued<br />

laws to establish the world’s first<br />

free zone dedicated to digital and<br />

virtual assets companies. <strong>The</strong> Ras<br />

Al Khaimah Digital Assets Oasis is a<br />

government authority that operates<br />

independently and is associated with<br />

the Department of the Future, created<br />

under Law No. 2 of <strong>2023</strong>. <strong>The</strong> law<br />

confers financial, administrative, and<br />

legislative autonomy to the RAK Digital<br />

Assets Oasis, enabling it to serve as a<br />

specialized free zone that promotes<br />

innovation in the virtual assets industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> RAK Digital Assets Oasis will<br />

be the first free zone globally that<br />

is dedicated exclusively to digital<br />

and virtual asset firms, featuring a<br />

customized and extensive digital asset<br />

strategy that fosters innovation. <strong>The</strong><br />

newly-established Department of<br />

the Future will have a crucial role in<br />

advancing innovation and propelling<br />

the Emirate’s economic growth in<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s collaborations with prominent<br />

research centres and digital asset exchanges<br />

have reinforced its standing as a dependable<br />

and innovative player in the digital asset<br />

arena.<br />

the era of digital technology. Its aim<br />

is to establish Ras Al Khaimah as a<br />

pioneering force in entrepreneurship<br />

and innovation within the digital and<br />

virtual assets industry.<br />

Moreover, Hub71, a technology<br />

ecosystem in Abu Dhabi, has introduced<br />

a new program known as “Hub71+<br />

Digital Assets,” with the aim of<br />

promoting Web3. With more than<br />

$2B of funding for Web3 startups and<br />

blockchain innovations in Abu Dhabi,<br />

“Hub71+ Digital Assets” gives startups<br />

access to a comprehensive range of<br />

resources, projects, and business,<br />

governmental, and investment partners<br />

in both local and global markets.<br />

<strong>The</strong> program is headquartered at<br />

Hub71 in the Abu Dhabi Global Market<br />

(ADGM) and provides Web3 startups<br />

with a modern regulatory environment<br />

and advanced blockchain and virtual<br />

asset infrastructure. FABRIC, the<br />

research and development centre of<br />

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

primary partner of Hub71+ Digital<br />

Assets, while digital asset exchanges<br />

and service providers help with the<br />

discovery, trading, and protection of<br />

digital assets.<br />

Furthermore, Dubai’s Virtual Asset<br />

Regulatory Authority (VARA) has<br />

released the Virtual Assets and Related<br />

Activities Regulations <strong>2023</strong>, which<br />

establish a thorough Virtual Asset (VA)<br />

Framework founded on principles of<br />

financial stability across borders and<br />

economic sustainability. <strong>The</strong> main<br />

objective of VARA is to position Dubai<br />

as a regional and international hub for<br />

Virtual Assets and related services and<br />

to develop a digital economy in the city<br />

to boost its competitive edge locally<br />

and internationally. Additionally, it aims<br />

to empower investors and increase<br />

awareness about Virtual Asset services<br />

and products and encourage innovation<br />

to promote real opportunity. Moreover,<br />

VARA promotes the new world of<br />

Virtual Assets and attract investments<br />

and businesses to set up their base in<br />

the Emirate of Dubai.<br />

Crypto.com, a company with over<br />

80 million customers globally and<br />

recognized as the industry leader in<br />

adhering to regulations, security, and<br />

privacy, has recently entered Dubai.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company has announced that it has<br />

obtained its MVP Preparatory License<br />

from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory<br />

Authority (VARA). “Once licensed to<br />

be operational, Crypto.com will be<br />

able to extend its approved suite of<br />

duly regulated virtual assets activities<br />

spanning a range of crypto exchange<br />

services (spot and derivatives),<br />

brokerage, margin/leverage trading, and<br />

OTC offerings around settlements for<br />

institutional investors,” as mentioned<br />

in the VARA’s PR.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s recent initiatives<br />

demonstrate the country’s commitment<br />

to supporting Web3 start-ups and<br />

blockchain technologies. With a growing<br />

regulatory environment and worldclass<br />

infrastructure, the UAE is wellpositioned<br />

to attract and accommodate<br />

digital asset investors from around<br />

the world. Furthermore, the country’s<br />

partnerships with leading research<br />

centres and digital asset exchanges and<br />

service providers have strengthened its<br />

reputation as a reliable and innovative<br />

player in the digital asset space.<br />

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

www.thefinanceworld.com 75

Stock Market<br />

Promising Investment Opportunities in<br />

the UAE Stock Market<br />

Investing in the UAE stock market provides investors with access to a wide range of<br />

investment opportunities in various sectors such as banking, real estate, construction,<br />

and energy. <strong>The</strong> DFM, ADX, and Nasdaq Dubai exchanges offer a diverse mix of local<br />

and international companies that provide investors with exposure to both domestic<br />

and global markets. In this article, we explore the UAE stock market and the promising<br />

investment options it offers to investors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> stock market of the United Arab Emirates provides a diverse<br />

range of investment opportunities, which have the potential to yield<br />

significant returns for investors.<br />

v<br />

76 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Investing in the UAE stock market<br />

can offer attractive returns, as the<br />

country’s strong economic growth<br />

and government initiatives have<br />

supported the development of a dynamic<br />

and rapidly evolving market. However,<br />

investors should also be aware of the<br />

potential risks associated with investing<br />

in stocks and should carefully consider<br />

their investment objectives and risk<br />

tolerance before entering the market.<br />

Overall, with the right research and<br />

investment strategy, the UAE stock<br />

market can provide investors with an<br />

opportunity to diversify their portfolio<br />

and potentially achieve long-term<br />

financial goals.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE stock market offers investors<br />

a variety of investment opportunities<br />

that can potentially generate returns.<br />

This include subscribing to Initial<br />

Public Offerings (IPOs), which offer<br />

investors several opportunities such<br />

as the access to promising new<br />

companies; these companies may have<br />

strong growth potential, innovative<br />

business models, and competitive<br />

advantages that could translate into<br />

long-term value for investors. IPOs also<br />

present great opportunities for capital<br />

gains, for investors have the chance<br />

to make substantial profits through<br />

IPOs because the stock price of a<br />

recently-listed company can experience<br />

significant growth during the initial<br />

days and weeks after the IPO, offering<br />

an attractive prospect for short-term<br />

investment gains.<br />

Recently, Abu Dhabi Securities<br />

Exchange (ADX) introduced the<br />

eIPO Investor Portal, which offers a<br />

straightforward, speedy, and hasslefree<br />

approach to completing the IPO<br />

subscription process. As long as an<br />

investor has a valid NIN (National<br />

Investor Number) and an active bank<br />

account with any UAE bank, they can<br />

apply for the IPO through the eIPO<br />

Investor Portal. Investors can also<br />

subscribe to the IPO through the portal<br />

or any of the receiving banks that are<br />

participating in the IPO.<br />

For instance, ADNOC Gas witnessed<br />

a significant increase in its gains and<br />

capital profits, surpassing AED 33.8B<br />

($9.2B) on its initial day of trading<br />

following the recent IPO launch at<br />

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s market capitalization<br />

jumped from AED 181.9B ($50B) to<br />

AED 215.6B ($58.7B) by the end of the<br />

trading session, with a closing price of<br />

AED 2.81 per share, marking an 18.6%<br />

rise compared to the final offering price.<br />

In the first trading day, there was a<br />

high level of activity, with 276.2 million<br />

shares worth AED 781.9M exchanged<br />

through 8,921 executed trades.<br />

Furthermore, Presight AI, a company<br />

under G42 and a major player in big data<br />

analytics driven by artificial intelligence<br />

in the region, has recently revealed that<br />

its IPO has been fully subscribed. <strong>The</strong><br />

IPO has garnered a gross demand of<br />

AED 94.9B ($25.8B), and in total, it was<br />

oversubscribed by 136 times, excluding<br />

the International Holding Company’s<br />

commitment as the cornerstone<br />

investor. Thomas Pramotedham, the<br />

CEO of Presight AI, expressed his<br />

pleasure at the great interest shown by<br />

both retail and professional investors<br />

in the company’s IPO.<br />

On the other hand, Nasdaq Dubai’s<br />

operating region has expanded its<br />

financing options by accessing the<br />

global capital markets through various<br />

types of traditional bonds such as<br />

Floating Rate Notes (FRNs) and<br />

Medium-term Notes (MTNs). <strong>The</strong>se<br />

conventional bonds, including Euro<br />

Medium Term Notes (EMTN) from<br />

leading UAE banks and a Medium Term<br />

Note (MTN) from a significant Dubai<br />

Government corporate entity, are listed<br />

with a total nominal value of $4B.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se bonds offer several benefits to<br />

investors, such as the regular income<br />

stream through coupon payments. It is<br />

also considered a safe investment; if a<br />

company goes bankrupt, debt holders<br />

are generally ahead of shareholders in<br />

the queue to be paid.<br />

Additionally, Dubai Financial Market<br />

offers several investment opportunities,<br />

including investing in assets such as<br />

company shares, bonds, and futures,<br />

which can help investors build wealth<br />

far more effectively than saving alone.<br />

Moreover, Dubai is ranked number one<br />

in attracting foreign direct investment<br />

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

with $3.73B in 2021. It is also a global<br />

leader in the Islamic economy, with<br />

$81.2B Sukuk listed as of 2022 and 62%<br />

of global Sukuk issuances originating<br />

in the UAE in 2020.<br />

Overall, the UAE stock market offers<br />

promising investment opportunities<br />

to investors with a diverse mix of<br />

local and international companies<br />

in various sectors. Investing in the<br />

market can provide attractive returns,<br />

but investors should also carefully<br />

consider their investment objectives<br />

and risk tolerance. Subscribing to<br />

IPOs, investing in bonds, and other<br />

investment opportunities can help<br />

investors build wealth and achieve<br />

their long-term financial goals. With the<br />

right research and investment strategy,<br />

the UAE stock market can provide a<br />

valuable opportunity for investors to<br />

diversify their portfolios and potentially<br />

earn substantial profits.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 77

Wheels<br />


<strong>The</strong> Aston Martin DBS 770<br />

Ultimate is an exclusive and<br />

limited-edition supercar that<br />

takes the iconic DBS design to<br />

new heights. It is the ultimate expression<br />

of the company’s performance,<br />

engineering, and design expertise,<br />

and it represents the pinnacle of the<br />

Aston Martin brand.<br />

<strong>The</strong> heart of the DBS 770 Ultimate<br />

is its 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V12<br />

engine, which is capable of producing<br />

a staggering 770 horsepower and 900<br />

Nm of torque. This power is transmitted<br />

through an eight-speed automatic<br />

gearbox to the rear wheels, providing<br />

an exhilarating driving experience<br />

that is sure to delight even the<br />

most demanding enthusiasts. <strong>The</strong><br />

suspension, steering, and transmission<br />

of the DBS 770 Ultimate have been<br />

extensively re-engineered to provide<br />

exceptional response and handling.<br />

<strong>The</strong> car’s underbody structure has<br />

also been optimized for improved<br />

aerodynamics, reducing lift and<br />

improving stability at high speeds.<br />

<strong>The</strong> result is a car that feels incredibly<br />

agile and nimble, yet reassuringly<br />

stable and composed even at the limits<br />

of its performance. In addition to<br />

its incredible performance, the DBS<br />

770 Ultimate also features striking<br />

design changes that give it a more<br />

aggressive and muscular appearance.<br />

<strong>The</strong> front splitter, horse-shoe vent,<br />

and rear diffuser all contribute to the<br />

car’s improved aerodynamics, while<br />

the larger carbon-ceramic brakes<br />

provide exceptional stopping power.<br />

Inside, the DBS 770 Ultimate features<br />

a luxurious and bespoke interior that<br />

is tailored to the individual tastes of<br />

each owner. Premium materials such<br />

as Alcantara, leather, and carbonfibre<br />

are used throughout, creating a<br />

sense of exclusivity and refinement<br />

that is synonymous with the Aston<br />

Martin brand. <strong>The</strong> Aston Martin DBS<br />

770 Ultimate is a truly remarkable<br />

supercar that combines exceptional<br />

performance, engineering, and design<br />

in a way that is unmatched by any other<br />

car on the road today. Its exclusivity<br />

and limited availability only add to its<br />

allure, making it a highly sought-after<br />

car among collectors and enthusiasts<br />

alike.<br />

78 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Specifications<br />

Horsepower: 770 HP<br />

Torque: 900 Nm<br />

Acceleration: 211 mph<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 79

Corporate Tax<br />

UAE Corporate Tax to Create New<br />

Investment Opportunities<br />

Although some may perceive the addition of corporate tax in the UAE as reducing<br />

the country’s attractiveness to international investors, it is necessary to consider the<br />

wider impact of this development in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of<br />

its implications. <strong>The</strong> implementation of this legislation is predicted to generate fresh<br />

investment prospects, and in this article, we explore the latest aspects demonstration<br />

this potential.<br />

80 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Corporate tax implementation in the<br />

UAE has the potential for reducing oil<br />

dependency and opening new avenues<br />

for investment and business expansion.<br />

RNG Management Consultancies<br />

located in UAE and Astrazure<br />

Legal Services Private Ltd<br />

from India have entered into<br />

a formal agreement (MoU) to assist<br />

companies and businesses operating in<br />

the UAE to prepare for the upcoming<br />

UAE Corporate Tax Law, which is<br />

scheduled to be enforced starting from<br />

June 1, <strong>2023</strong>. <strong>The</strong>y will collaborate on<br />

various domains such as UAE corporate<br />

tax law, global taxation, transfer pricing,<br />

and value-added tax (VAT). <strong>The</strong> two<br />

companies’ focus will primarily be on<br />

tax impact assessments, organizing<br />

business structures, outlining standard<br />

operating procedures, upgrading IT<br />

systems, and ensuring tax compliance.<br />

According to CA Chirag Gupta, a<br />

Partner at RNG Group, the combined<br />

expertise of both companies will<br />

provide customers in the UAE with<br />

a more cost-effective and efficient<br />

solution for complying with UAE<br />

corporate tax requirements, thereby<br />

decreasing the risk of non-compliance<br />

by implementing proper procedures<br />

before the deadline.<br />

During a workshop on “UAE<br />

corporate tax and transfer pricing”<br />

held on February 18 in Dubai by RNG<br />

Management Consultancies, CA Atul<br />

Gupta, Past President of ICAI and Board<br />

Member of IFAC, mentioned that the<br />

implementation of corporate tax in the<br />

UAE would create fresh growth and<br />

investment possibilities. <strong>The</strong> Consul<br />

(Economic, Trade & Commerce) at the<br />

Consulate General of India in Dubai,<br />

K Kalimuthu, was the chief guest at<br />

the event. Gupta emphasized that an<br />

open and transparent regime always<br />

welcomes new opportunities, and the<br />

implementation of UAE corporate tax<br />

would be a significant step in that<br />

direction.<br />

Although the introduction of<br />

corporate tax in the UAE might be<br />

viewed as reducing the country’s<br />

attractiveness to foreign investors,<br />

it is crucial to examine the broader<br />

context in order to fully comprehend<br />

its implications. <strong>The</strong> average global<br />

statutory corporate income tax rate<br />

is 23.37%, based on 180 jurisdictions,<br />

and rises to 25.43% when weighted by<br />

gross domestic product (GDP). With a<br />

rate of 9%, the UAE has the third-lowest<br />

corporate tax rate in the world and<br />

is one of only three OECD member<br />

nations among the top 20 countries<br />

with the lowest corporate tax rates.<br />

This underscores the UAE’s success<br />

in balancing its obligations and<br />

commitments to the OECD with its goal<br />

of remaining an appealing investment<br />

destination. It has found a delicate<br />

equilibrium between adhering to the<br />

OECD’s global minimum effective tax<br />

rate and maintaining investor confidence<br />

and interest, which is especially relevant<br />

as countries are under increasing<br />

pressure to revamp their tax systems<br />

and align with changing global standards<br />

and regulations. Furthermore, the<br />

introduction of corporate tax in the UAE<br />

represents a significant move towards<br />

the country’s goals of diversification,<br />

as this new revenue stream will enable<br />

it to further decrease its dependence<br />

on oil revenues and finance projects<br />

beyond the energy sector.<br />

Additionally, the government will be<br />

able to invest more in infrastructure<br />

projects, including transportation<br />

networks, water and electricity supply<br />

systems, and telecommunications<br />

networks, which will help promote<br />

the growth of other industries and<br />

create fresh opportunities for foreign<br />

investment. Corporate tax revenues will<br />

also enable the government to expand<br />

initiatives aimed at supporting small<br />

and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)<br />

which will have access to critical<br />

resources such as capital, mentorship,<br />

and networking opportunities, all of<br />

which will play a crucial role in fostering<br />

the UAE’s startup ecosystem and<br />

supporting entrepreneurs in achieving<br />

their goals.<br />

<strong>The</strong> implementation of the corporate<br />

tax law is a significant step forward<br />

in the UAE’s economic development<br />

and growth. Not only will it help to<br />

reduce the country’s reliance on oil<br />

revenues, but it will also create new<br />

opportunities for investment and<br />

business expansion. By establishing a<br />

more predictable and stable tax regime,<br />

the UAE is signalling its commitment<br />

to the business community and sending<br />

a message that it is open for business.<br />

Additionally, this will help to attract<br />

a wider range of investors, including<br />

those who are looking for stable and<br />

predictable returns over the long term.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 81

Corporate Results<br />

National Bank of Kuwait<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: KWD 134M<br />

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has<br />

reported a strong Q1 <strong>2023</strong> performance,<br />

with a net profit of KWD 134M, marking<br />

a 15% YoY increase. <strong>The</strong> lender’s growth<br />

was driven by higher net interest<br />

income, although this was partially<br />

offset by higher operating expenses<br />

and impairment charges. Despite these<br />

challenges, the bank’s results were in line<br />

with analysts’ expectations, according<br />

to Refinitiv data. <strong>The</strong> bank reported<br />

operating revenue of KWD 277.9M for<br />

the quarter, compared to KWD 234.6M<br />

in the same period last year. NBK’s<br />

performance is a positive sign for the<br />

Gulf country’s banking sector, which has<br />

been impacted by a challenging economic<br />

environment in recent years.<br />

Vodafone Qatar<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: QR 133M<br />

Vodafone Qatar has reported a strong<br />

Q1 <strong>2023</strong> performance with a net profit<br />

of QR 133M, up 24.2% YoY, and total<br />

revenue of QR 776M, up 6.2% YoY. <strong>The</strong><br />

telecom provider’s growth was driven<br />

by continued expansion in its post-paid,<br />

fixed broadband services (GigaHome),<br />

managed services, Internet of Things<br />

(IoT), and handsets. Service revenue<br />

also increased by 12.3% YoY to reach<br />

QR 687M. Vodafone Qatar’s EBITDA<br />

for the period increased by 6.4% YoY<br />

to QR 320M due to higher service<br />

revenue and effective cost optimization.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s EBITDA margin also<br />

continued to expand, reaching 41.3%.<br />

<strong>The</strong> telecom provider is now serving 2.1<br />

million mobile customers, up 4.1% YoY.<br />

United Arab Bank<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: AED 54M<br />

United Arab Bank (UAB) has reported<br />

a Q1 <strong>2023</strong> net profit of AED 54.8M,<br />

up 80% YoY from AED 30.4M in Q1<br />

2022, driven by improved net interest<br />

income and lower provision charges.<br />

<strong>The</strong> bank’s total operating income grew<br />

5% YoY, thanks to a 38% increase in net<br />

interest income. UAB also reduced its<br />

provision charges by 91% YoY in Q1<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, having improved its portfolio<br />

underwriting in higher quality assets<br />

and achieved higher recoveries. <strong>The</strong><br />

bank’s capital base was strengthened<br />

by $150M through the issuance of AT1<br />

capital instrument, which increased its<br />

capital adequacy ratio to 19.3% and Tier<br />

1 Capital ratio to 18.1%, both well above<br />

the regulatory requirements. UAB’s<br />

liquidity profile remains strong with<br />

an advance to stable resources ratio<br />

of 80% and eligible liquid asset ratio of<br />

21%, both comfortably above regulatory<br />

thresholds. <strong>The</strong> bank’s NPL ratio was<br />

7.8%, a significant improvement from<br />

11.4% in Q1 2022.<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: AED 1.5B<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank, the largest Islamic<br />

lender in the UAE, has announced a<br />

12% increase in its Q1 <strong>2023</strong> net profit<br />

to AED 1.5B ($408M) compared to the<br />

previous year, due to higher revenues<br />

and lower impairments. <strong>The</strong> bank’s<br />

earnings surpassed Refinitiv’s average<br />

analysts’ estimate of AED 1.43B. Dubai<br />

Islamic Bank reported a 1% increase in<br />

net financing and sukuk investments,<br />

amounting to AED 240B year-to-date,<br />

with AED 21B in new underwriting<br />

in Q1 <strong>2023</strong>, up from AED 15B in Q1<br />

2022. <strong>The</strong> bank also noted a 24% YoY<br />

decrease in impairment charges, with<br />

net operating revenues rising 12% YoY<br />

to AED 2.75B.<br />

Masraf Al Rayan<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: QR 385M<br />

Qatar’s Masraf Al Rayan has posted a<br />

Q1 <strong>2023</strong> net profit of QR 385M ($106M),<br />

down YoY due to rising fund costs,<br />

the bank’s CEO Fahad bin Abdulla al-<br />

Khalifa has said. <strong>The</strong> total income for<br />

Q1 <strong>2023</strong> was QR 2.27B, up 46% YoY.<br />

<strong>The</strong> bank’s capital base is robust, with<br />

a capital adequacy ratio of 20.73%, and<br />

it has a strong funding and liquidity<br />

profile, with a liquidity coverage ratio<br />

above the regulatory requirement. <strong>The</strong><br />

bank has laid the foundation stone for<br />

process enhancement to invest more<br />

in technology and enhance customer<br />

experience, said H.E. the Minister<br />

of Commerce and Industry Sheikh<br />

Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-<br />

Thani, who is also the chairman of<br />

the board.<br />

Ahli Bank<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: QR 205M<br />

Qatar’s Ahli Bank has announced a net<br />

profit of QR 205M ($56.31M) for Q1 <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

representing a YoY surge of 6.9%. <strong>The</strong><br />

bank’s CEO, Hassan Ahmed AlEfrangi,<br />

said the steady financial performance<br />

was due to the bank’s focus on business<br />

development initiatives, technology and<br />

digitisation programmes. He added that<br />

the bank has embarked on an ambitious<br />

strategy aimed at deepening customer<br />

relationships and meeting more of their<br />

financial needs. Ahli Bank’s chairman,<br />

Sheikh Faisal bin AbdulAziz bin Jassem<br />

al-Thani, said the results demonstrate<br />

that the bank is heading in the right<br />

direction with its chosen strategy<br />

despite global headwinds.<br />

82 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

QEWC<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: QR 401M<br />

Qatar Electricity and Water Company<br />

(QEWC) has announced a 3% YoY rise<br />

in net profit to QR 401M for Q1-<strong>2023</strong>.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company also reported a 17%<br />

YoY growth in revenue, reaching QR<br />

658M in the first quarter of this year.<br />

QEWC’s operating profits amounted<br />

to QR 339M, which is higher than the<br />

QR 332M recorded in the same period<br />

last year. <strong>The</strong> company’s total assets<br />

stood at QR 24.88B in Q1-<strong>2023</strong>, while<br />

its net debt for the review period was<br />

QR 3.2B. <strong>The</strong> financial results suggest<br />

a steady performance for QEWC in<br />

Q1-<strong>2023</strong> despite the challenges posed<br />

by the ongoing pandemic.<br />

ADCB<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: AED 1.878B<br />

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)<br />

has reported a 27% YoY increase in Q1<br />

<strong>2023</strong> net profit to AED 1.878B ($511M).<br />

<strong>The</strong> bank’s net interest income grew 33%<br />

to AED 2.851B, and non-interest income<br />

rose by 34% to AED 1.061B. Total assets<br />

amounted to AED 501B, up 13% YoY<br />

and 1% QoQ. Meanwhile, net loans and<br />

advances increased by 7% to AED 264B<br />

YoY, and customer deposits grew 19% YoY<br />

to AED311B. <strong>The</strong> bank granted AED 20B<br />

in new credit facilities during Q1 <strong>2023</strong>, and<br />

deposits in current and savings accounts<br />

amounted to AED 158B, accounting for<br />

51% of total customer deposits. <strong>The</strong><br />

capital adequacy ratio was 15.67%, and<br />

the liquidity coverage ratio was 132.9%.<br />

Saudi Ceramic<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: SAR<br />

14.70M<br />

Saudi Ceramic Company has recorded<br />

net profits after Zakat and tax of SAR<br />

14.70M in Q1-23, a 71.33% YoY drop<br />

from SAR 51.29M. <strong>The</strong> decline was<br />

attributed to lower revenues, which<br />

came in at SAR 368.89M, down by 6.88%<br />

YoY. Earnings per share also dropped<br />

to SAR 0.18 in Q1-23, compared to<br />

SAR 0.64 in the same period last year.<br />

However, the company had paid out<br />

SAR 39.98M in cash dividends or SAR<br />

0.50 per share for the second half of<br />

2022. <strong>The</strong> company’s net profits after<br />

Zakat and tax for the 12-month period<br />

that ended on 31 December 2022, were<br />

SAR 173.92M.<br />

Jarir Marketing<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: SAR 247.80M<br />

Jarir Marketing Company (Jarir<br />

Bookstores) reported a 1.39% YoY<br />

decline in net profit after Zakat and<br />

tax to SAR 247.80M in Q1 <strong>2023</strong>, while<br />

revenues rose 18.83% to SAR 2.71B,<br />

according to the estimated financial<br />

results. <strong>The</strong> Q1-23 earnings per share<br />

(EPS) decreased to EGP 2.07 from EGP<br />

2.09 in Q1-22. On a quarterly basis, the<br />

net profit after Zakat and tax decreased<br />

by 7.40% from SAR 267.60M in Q4-<br />

22, while revenues rose 5.44% from<br />

SAR 2.57B. Last March, the company<br />

disbursed cash dividends worth SAR<br />

264M for Q4 2022. From January<br />

to December 2022, Jarir Marketing<br />

Company, listed on Tadawul, recorded<br />

a net profit after Zakat and tax of SAR<br />

969.80M, showing a 2.23% YoY decline<br />

from SAR 991.90M.<br />

QIIB<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: QR 316M<br />

Qatar Islamic International Bank (QIIB)<br />

announced a 7.1% YoY increase in net<br />

profit to QR 316M ($95M) for the first<br />

quarter of <strong>2023</strong>. This growth is attributed<br />

to the bank’s progress and growth,<br />

strengthened by the opportunities<br />

offered by the Qatari economy,<br />

according to the bank’s Chairman,<br />

Sheikh Abdullah bin Thani bin Abdullah<br />

al-Thani. <strong>The</strong> Qatari market’s positive<br />

indicators and high trust in the state<br />

have contributed to a positive outlook<br />

for the business sector in the first<br />

quarter. QIIB continues to progress<br />

in its digital transformation strategy,<br />

resulting in improved operational<br />

efficiency, an expanded customer base,<br />

and increased services offered through<br />

digital channels.<br />

Almunajem Foods<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: SAR<br />

81.90M<br />

In Q1-23, Almunajem Foods Company<br />

earned a net profit after Zakat and tax<br />

of SAR 81.90M, which is a decrease of<br />

16.09% compared to SAR 97.60M earned<br />

in Q1-22. <strong>The</strong> estimated financial results<br />

indicate that the earnings per share<br />

(EPS) decreased from SAR 1.63 in<br />

Q1-22 to SAR 1.36 at the end of March<br />

<strong>2023</strong>. On the other hand, the revenues<br />

increased by 14.47% YoY, reaching<br />

SAR 902M in Q1-23 from SAR 788M.<br />

Almunajem Foods Company’s net<br />

profits in Q1-23 increased significantly<br />

by 384.62% compared to the previous<br />

quarter, rising from SAR 16.90M in<br />

Q4-22. Additionally, the company’s<br />

revenues also grew by 20.62% QoQ<br />

in Q1-23, reaching SAR 747.80M. In<br />

the previous year, Almunajem Foods<br />

Company earned an annual net profit<br />

of SAR 290.20M and recorded revenues<br />

worth SAR 2.97B.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 83

Travel<br />

4 Destinations to Visit in <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> and<br />

Rejuvenate Yourself from Work<br />

As the year moves forward, and we begin to inch closer to the summer season, it’s time to start planning<br />

your next vacation to rejuvenate yourself from your work. <strong>May</strong> is a perfect time to travel and indulge<br />

in some much-needed rest and relaxation. In this article, we chose for you four destinations that<br />

you can visit in <strong>May</strong> to escape from the stresses of work. From exotic beaches to tranquil mountain<br />

retreats, these destinations offer the perfect getaway for a much-needed break.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Scottish Highlands<br />

<strong>The</strong> Scottish Highlands in the<br />

spring is a breathtaking sight to<br />

behold. <strong>The</strong> region explodes with<br />

vibrant colors of wildflowers<br />

and rhododendrons, creating a natural<br />

spectacle. Additionally, the weather is<br />

mild, with temperatures averaging 13°C<br />

during the day and 7°C at night, and<br />

it’s the perfect time to visit before the<br />

midges arrive. <strong>The</strong> region retains its<br />

rugged, unspoiled beauty, with grand<br />

country estates such as Ardtornish<br />

and expansive lochs and lakes for<br />

fishing or exploring. <strong>The</strong>re are plenty<br />

of opportunities to escape from the<br />

world and enjoy the romance of the<br />

Scottish Highlands.<br />

When it comes to accommodation,<br />

Glengorm Castle on the north coast<br />

of Mull is a dreamy option. <strong>The</strong> castle<br />

boasts a Brontë-esque design, with<br />

harmonious turrets and towers, and<br />

offers guest cottages, flats, and B&B<br />

rooms with cozy tweedy decor. For<br />

a more unique stay, check out the<br />

incredible Airbnbs in the region, such<br />

as the smart airship-turned-cabin<br />

bolthole that overlooks the Sound<br />

of Mull, promising an unforgettable<br />

experience.<br />

Norwegian Fjords<br />

Norwegian fjords are a natural<br />

wonder and a must-visit<br />

destination during springtime.<br />

With temperatures ranging<br />

from 6°C to 16°C, it’s the perfect season<br />

for cruising through the fjords or<br />

embarking on a scenic road trip. <strong>The</strong><br />

countryside is painted in green hues,<br />

and wildflowers are in full bloom,<br />

adding to the beauty of the already<br />

awe-inspiring landscapes. With fewer<br />

tourists and no pesky midges, the hiking<br />

trails are quiet, and the experience is all<br />

the more serene. <strong>The</strong> Discovery Route<br />

from Bergen is a popular option, where<br />

you can witness the blossoming apple<br />

trees at the dramatic Hardangerfjord<br />

and catch breathtaking views of the<br />

Pulpit Rock. Once back in Bergen,<br />

unwind in the cozy red clapboard houses<br />

and treat yourself to some delicious<br />

cocktails at buzzy bars like No Stress,<br />

which offers a lively atmosphere and<br />

unique house-made syrups and juices.<br />

When it comes to accommodation,<br />

Hotel Brosundet is a perfect blend<br />

of contemporary design and historic<br />

charm. Snøhetta, the firm responsible<br />

for designing the Svalbard Global Seed<br />

Vault, reimagined this former fishing<br />

warehouse, and it now offers a unique<br />

stay for guests looking for an immersive<br />

experience. Alternatively, the seaside<br />

Airbnb offers stunning views that will<br />

leave you mesmerized. With so much<br />

to do and see, the Norwegian fjords<br />

in springtime are a dream come true<br />

for those who seek natural beauty and<br />

adventure.<br />

84 www.thefinanceworld.com<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Vancouver Island<br />

Vancouver Island in spring is a<br />

wonderland of lush greenery,<br />

vibrant wildlife and endless<br />

opportunities for adventure.<br />

As the most populated island in North<br />

America, it’s easy to forget about the<br />

urban hustle and bustle in the midst of<br />

the island’s thick evergreen forest. This<br />

season is the perfect time to explore<br />

the island’s natural beauty, with the<br />

sun shining and the temperatures<br />

rising. <strong>The</strong> island’s wildlife is a major<br />

drawcard, with black bears and grizzlies<br />

roaming freely in the interior, and<br />

excellent whale-watching opportunities<br />

available off the coast. Even if you’re<br />

not a wildlife enthusiast, there’s still<br />

plenty to see and do on Vancouver<br />

Island. Adventure-seekers can throw<br />

themselves down whitewater rapids,<br />

paraglide from mountain peaks or<br />

snorkel and dive in the crystal-clear<br />

sea. Alternatively, if you’re looking for<br />

a more relaxed pace, the surfer town<br />

of Tofino offers an incredible culinary<br />

scene, and Clayoquot Wilderness Resort<br />

offers luxurious glamping options.<br />

When it comes to accommodation,<br />

the Rosewood Hotel Georgia is an<br />

excellent choice for those looking for<br />

a luxurious and stylish stay. <strong>The</strong> hotel<br />

boasts a speakeasy bar with a range of<br />

dangerous absinthes, a buzzy courtyard<br />

café, a stunning pool and a five-star spa.<br />

Its distinguished, clubby and stylishly<br />

Edwardian decor will transport you<br />

to the wonderful era of grand hotels.<br />

Cape Verde<br />

Cape Verde is a hidden gem<br />

located in the Atlantic, offering<br />

a guaranteed hit of sunshine<br />

even during the dry season.<br />

Dubbed as Africa’s answer to the<br />

Galápagos Islands, this richly diverse<br />

archipelago boasts an abundance of<br />

natural resources that are finally being<br />

recognized. <strong>The</strong> dramatic interior of<br />

Cape Verde is home to volcanic hot<br />

springs and arid deserts, providing a<br />

unique landscape that is both rugged<br />

and beautiful. Meanwhile, the beaches<br />

with their azure seas and white sands<br />

are reminiscent of the Caribbean,<br />

offering visitors a slice of paradise<br />

that is unparalleled.<br />

One of the best places to stay in<br />

Cape Verde is the Odjo d’Aqua Hotel, a<br />

small, locally owned hotel that exudes<br />

anachronistic charm. <strong>The</strong> hotel is<br />

adorned with antiques, curios, and<br />

fishing equipment, giving it a unique and<br />

quirky feel. <strong>The</strong> open-air restaurant-bar<br />

juts out into the sea, offering guests<br />

a breathtaking view of the Atlantic<br />

rollers crashing against the shore while<br />

enjoying delicious local cuisine. In<br />

addition to its stunning natural beauty<br />

and charming accommodations, Cape<br />

Verde also boasts a rich African culture<br />

and charm that is evident throughout<br />

the archipelago. From the local music<br />

and dance to the traditional cuisine,<br />

visitors to Cape Verde can immerse<br />

themselves in a truly authentic African<br />

experience.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 85

Sport as a Business<br />

Different Investment Options in the<br />

UAE’s Sports Industry<br />

<strong>The</strong> sports industry in the UAE is thriving, with a notable increase in the number<br />

of major sporting events hosted in the country and the region. <strong>The</strong> rapid growth<br />

that this industry is witnessing is attracting the attention of local and global<br />

investors alike. In this article, we will explore different investment options in the<br />

UAE’s sports industry, highlighting the industry’s potential for significant growth<br />

in the coming years.<br />

<strong>The</strong> rapid expansion of the sports industry in the<br />

UAE is capturing the attention of both domestic<br />

and international investors.<br />

86 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> sports industry in the UAE is a<br />

promising sector for investment,<br />

offering diverse opportunities that<br />

can generate significant returns.<br />

As the UAE continues to emphasize<br />

sports as a vital aspect of its culture and<br />

economy, the sports industry is expected<br />

to grow, creating even more investment<br />

opportunities in the coming years:<br />

Sports Sponsorship:<br />

Sponsorship in sports is a mutually<br />

beneficial partnership between the sponsor<br />

and the sports team or event organizers.<br />

By providing funding, resources, or other<br />

support, sponsors can gain significant<br />

branding and marketing benefits. <strong>The</strong><br />

UAE has been rapidly establishing itself<br />

as a hub for global sporting events, with<br />

the region hosting several prestigious<br />

tournaments and competitions featuring<br />

renowned players in various sports. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

events provide an excellent opportunity<br />

for sponsors looking to gain exposure to<br />

a vast audience both locally and globally.<br />

<strong>The</strong> benefits of sports sponsorship<br />

include increased brand recognition,<br />

improved brand loyalty, and enhanced brand<br />

image. Additionally, it provides sponsors<br />

with the opportunity to align their brand<br />

with the values associated with sports,<br />

such as teamwork, determination, and<br />

excellence. With the continued growth<br />

of the sports industry in the UAE, sports<br />

sponsorship is becoming an increasingly<br />

attractive investment option for companies<br />

seeking to expand their market presence<br />

and reach a wider audience.<br />

Sports Infrastructure:<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE is committed to the development<br />

of world-class sports infrastructure,<br />

with significant investments being made<br />

in various areas of the sports industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se investments are aimed at attracting<br />

more international sporting events to the<br />

region, elevating the country’s profile<br />

as a sports destination, and promoting<br />

healthy living and an active lifestyle<br />

among the population.<br />

One example of the country’s commitment<br />

to sports infrastructure is the Mohammed<br />

Bin Zayed Stadium, which is one of the<br />

most modern and advanced stadiums<br />

in the world, boasting state-of-the-art<br />

facilities and amenities. Additionally,<br />

there are numerous other sports facilities<br />

and academies, such as the Nad Al Sheba<br />

Sports Complex, which offers worldclass<br />

facilities for athletes to train and<br />

prepare for competitions. Investors can<br />

take advantage of these opportunities by<br />

investing in the development of sports<br />

infrastructure and facilities, such as<br />

sports complexes, stadiums, training<br />

centers, and academies. Investing in sports<br />

infrastructure not only provides financial<br />

benefits to investors but also contributes to<br />

the growth and development of the sports<br />

industry, creating more opportunities for<br />

sports-related businesses and generating<br />

employment opportunities. As the UAE<br />

continues to invest in the sports industry,<br />

it is expected that there will be more<br />

investment opportunities in the future,<br />

making it an attractive sector for local<br />

and international investors.<br />

Sports Leagues and Franchises:<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has several professional<br />

sports leagues such as the UAE Pro<br />

League, UAE Football League, and UAE<br />

Rugby League. By investing in a league<br />

or purchasing a franchise, investors can<br />

gain a share of the revenue generated<br />

by ticket sales, merchandise sales, and<br />

broadcasting rights. Additionally, they<br />

may also benefit from increased brand<br />

exposure and recognition as their team<br />

competes in front of local and global<br />

audiences.<br />

Sports Technology:<br />

Sports technology is a rapidly growing<br />

industry that is transforming the way people<br />

engage with sports. From professional<br />

athletes to amateur enthusiasts, there<br />

is a growing demand for technology<br />

that can enhance performance, improve<br />

training, and offer new and exciting ways<br />

to experience sports. One area where<br />

investors can explore opportunities is<br />

sports analytics. <strong>The</strong> use of data analytics<br />

in sports is becoming increasingly popular,<br />

with teams and organizations using data<br />

to gain insights into player performance,<br />

team tactics, and opponent strategies.<br />

Investors can capitalize on this trend by<br />

investing in sports analytics companies<br />

that provide cutting-edge software and<br />

tools for data analysis and visualization.<br />

Fitness and Wellness:<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE is currently experiencing a<br />

significant surge in the fitness and wellness<br />

industry. <strong>The</strong> demand for fitness centers,<br />

gyms, and health clubs has been rapidly<br />

increasing in recent years, and this trend<br />

is expected to continue. Additionally,<br />

there has also been a growing interest<br />

in wellness practices such as meditation,<br />

yoga, and healthy eating habits, leading<br />

to the emergence of wellness centers and<br />

spas across the country. Investors seeking<br />

to capitalize on this burgeoning market<br />

can explore investment opportunities<br />

in fitness and wellness businesses. With<br />

a high number of expatriates living in<br />

the UAE and a growing focus on health<br />

and wellness among the population, the<br />

potential for growth and profitability in<br />

this sector is significant.<br />

In conclusion, the thriving sports<br />

industry in the UAE provides a promising<br />

sector for investment, with numerous<br />

investment options available to both<br />

local and global investors. <strong>The</strong> UAE’s<br />

commitment to sports infrastructure, the<br />

growing demand for fitness and wellness,<br />

and the increasing popularity of sports<br />

technology all contribute to the industry’s<br />

potential for significant growth in the<br />

coming years. It is crucial for investors<br />

to conduct thorough research and due<br />

diligence before investing in any option<br />

to maximize their returns and contribute<br />

to the growth and development of the<br />

sports industry in the UAE.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 87

Sport News<br />

Saudi Arabia makes<br />

‘monster offer’ to sign<br />

Lionel Messi<br />

Saudi Arabian football club Al-Hilal<br />

has reportedly made a “monster<br />

offer” to sign Argentine football<br />

superstar Lionel Messi. <strong>The</strong> deal<br />

is said to include all the advantages<br />

that Messi would demand as the FIFA<br />

Men’s Player of the Year and captain<br />

of Argentina, which recently won the<br />

2022 Qatar <strong>World</strong> Cup. While details<br />

of the offer have not been disclosed,<br />

reports suggest it could make Messi<br />

the highest-paid footballer in the world.<br />

Messi’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain<br />

expires at the end of this season, and<br />

there is speculation that he may consider<br />

a move to the Middle East.<br />

Saudi Arabia awarded<br />

flag for hosting 2024<br />

FEI <strong>World</strong> Cup Finals<br />

<strong>The</strong> FEI <strong>World</strong> Cup Finals<br />

bring together the world’s<br />

top equestrians to compete<br />

in dressage and show jumping<br />

events. Hosting the championship in<br />

Saudi Arabia is seen as a major milestone<br />

for the country’s equestrian industry,<br />

which has been growing rapidly in<br />

recent years. <strong>The</strong> event is also expected<br />

to boost tourism and showcase the<br />

country’s progress and development<br />

on a global stage. <strong>The</strong> handover of<br />

the flag marks the beginning of the<br />

countdown to the event, which is set<br />

to attract thousands of visitors and<br />

generate significant economic activity<br />

for the host city.<br />

Al Jawareh clinch Volleyball Championship at<br />

10th Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament<br />

<strong>The</strong> Nad Al Sheba Sports<br />

Tournament, organised by the<br />

Dubai Sports Council (DSC),<br />

came to a close in Dubai. <strong>The</strong><br />

event, held under the theme ‘Limitless<br />

Abilities’, was a massive success,<br />

with over 5,000 male and female<br />

participants across eight different<br />

sporting disciplines. <strong>The</strong> tournament<br />

spanned 19 days, and offered a prize<br />

<strong>The</strong> Department of Culture<br />

and Tourism - Abu Dhabi has<br />

released a new tourism video<br />

featuring six Manchester<br />

City first-team players as part of its<br />

partnership with the football club.<br />

<strong>The</strong> video, titled “Pace is Everything,”<br />

features Sergio Gómez, Erling<br />

Haaland, Rico Lewis, Riyad Mahrez,<br />

purse of AED 4M, drawing over 40,000<br />

spectators. <strong>The</strong> Al Jawareh team,<br />

consisting of French, Brazilian, and<br />

Spanish players, emerged victorious<br />

in the Volleyball Championship, with<br />

a comfortable 3-0 win over Zabeel.<br />

<strong>The</strong> prizes were presented by several<br />

distinguished individuals, including<br />

Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of<br />

Dubai Sports Council.<br />

Haaland and Mahrez feature in Abu Dhabi tourism<br />

video for Manchester City<br />

Stefan Ortega, and Cole Palmer, and<br />

showcases them immersing themselves<br />

in local traditions, cultural attractions,<br />

and family-friendly activities. <strong>The</strong><br />

video was shot during a winter break<br />

earlier this season and shows Haaland<br />

enjoying a round of golf in the city,<br />

while Mahrez can be seen jet-skiing<br />

in city waters.<br />

88 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Dubai Police team win NAS Wheelchair Basketball Championship<br />

<strong>The</strong> Dubai Police General<br />

Command team emerged<br />

victorious in the Wheelchair<br />

Basketball Championship<br />

final, defeating the Dubai Corporation<br />

for Ambulance Services 54-36 at the 10th<br />

NAS Sports Tournament in Dubai. <strong>The</strong><br />

event, which had the theme of “Limitless<br />

Abilities” and was organized by the<br />

Dubai Sports Council, is the biggest<br />

of its kind in terms of participation<br />

and prize money. <strong>The</strong> Dubai Police<br />

team’s success was largely thanks to<br />

the outstanding performance of former<br />

Egyptian national team player, Ashraf<br />

Abuzed. <strong>The</strong> event was attended by<br />

high-ranking officials, including Saeed<br />

Hareb, Secretary-General of DSC,<br />

and Hassan Al Mazrouei, Tournament<br />

Director. <strong>The</strong> winners were awarded<br />

their prizes by the officials, with Ashraf<br />

Abuzed winning the top player award.<br />

Emirates crowned champions of UAE Pro League<br />

Sponsors Tournament<br />

<strong>The</strong> Emirates team emerged as<br />

the champions of the UAE Pro<br />

League Sponsors Tournament<br />

held at the Emirates Palace<br />

Mandarin Oriental in Abu Dhabi. In<br />

the final, the UAE Pro League team<br />

ranked second, losing to the Emirates<br />

in a penalty shootout. <strong>The</strong> ADNOC team<br />

finished third in the tournament, which<br />

was attended by members of the UAE Pro<br />

League’s board of directors and guests,<br />

including fans of the participating<br />

teams. <strong>The</strong> event was part of the UAE<br />

Pro League’s efforts to engage with its<br />

partners and promote physical activity.<br />

A Suhoor party was organized after the<br />

coronation ceremony, during which<br />

Al Jneibi delivered a speech thanking<br />

the participants for their societal role<br />

and their efforts to promote sport as<br />

a sustainable lifestyle.<br />

Al Wahda, Baniyas, and<br />

Al Ain qualify for under<br />

18s finals of Jiu-Jitsu<br />

President’s Cup<br />

Al Wahda, Baniyas, and Al<br />

Ain have qualified for the<br />

Jiu-Jitsu President’s Cup<br />

under-18s finals following<br />

the conclusion of the preliminary<br />

rounds at Mubadala Arena in Zayed<br />

Sports City. <strong>The</strong> three clubs delivered<br />

convincing performances in the men’s<br />

and women’s categories, securing their<br />

spots in the finals. Youssef Abdullah<br />

Al Batran, a board member of the<br />

UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, expressed<br />

satisfaction with the athletes’ high<br />

level of skills displayed during the<br />

preliminary rounds. <strong>The</strong> championship<br />

has been a driving force behind the<br />

motivation of local clubs to invest in<br />

the development of the next generation<br />

of players, and to continually improve<br />

their performance.<br />

Abu Dhabi Summer Sports to return in June<br />

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition<br />

Centre (ADNEC) will host<br />

the upcoming Abu Dhabi<br />

Summer Sports (ADSS) in<br />

collaboration with Abu Dhabi Sports<br />

Council this June. <strong>The</strong> initiative aims to<br />

encourage people to stay active during<br />

the summer and will be open to the<br />

public with 25 indoor courts and fields<br />

available for various sports, including<br />

football, padel, basketball, volleyball,<br />

and badminton. In addition, there will<br />

also be a free-to-use running track and<br />

CrossFit area, as well as special events<br />

for individuals, families, and sports<br />

fans. <strong>The</strong> 27,000 sqm climate-controlled<br />

venue proved a success in 2022 and is<br />

set to be even bigger this year.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 89

Tourism<br />

Abu Dhabi Boosts Business Tourism<br />

with Public-Private Partnerships<br />

Abu Dhabi is rapidly becoming a major player in the world of business tourism,<br />

demonstrating its position as a secure destination that is fully open for business<br />

tourism. In this article will explore Abu Dhabi’s latest initiatives to boost its<br />

business tourism by utilizing public-private partnerships, such as the recently<br />

formed ADCEB and ADNEC Group Joint Fund, to provide financial incentives<br />

and support to corporate meeting planners and incentive houses.<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 />

90 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Abu Dhabi has recently taken<br />

several measures to boost its<br />

business tourism sector, including<br />

the establishment of publicprivate<br />

partnerships, the introduction of<br />

financial incentives, and the development<br />

of world-class exhibition and conference<br />

facilities. Abu Dhabi Convention and<br />

Exhibition Bureau (ADCEB), which<br />

operates under the Department of Culture<br />

and Tourism in Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu<br />

Dhabi), has joined hands with ADNEC<br />

Group, the owner and operator of Abu<br />

Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, to<br />

advance its business development plans.<br />

This move is part of ADCEB’s approach<br />

to utilize public-private partnerships to<br />

boost B2B events and incentive travel<br />

in the region.<br />

<strong>The</strong> newly established ADCEB and<br />

ADNEC Group Joint Fund will offer<br />

financial support and incentives to<br />

corporate meeting planners and incentive<br />

houses. It will also emphasize Abu Dhabi’s<br />

position as a secure destination that is<br />

entirely available for business tourism.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Director-General for Tourism at DCT<br />

Abu Dhabi, Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry,<br />

expressed that the collaboration with<br />

ADNEC Group is a significant move<br />

towards strengthening Abu Dhabi’s<br />

position as a top global destination for<br />

all types of business events. Al Geziry<br />

believes that the combined skills and<br />

knowledge of ADCEB and ADNEC Group,<br />

which possess an impressive portfolio<br />

of event, tourism, and hospitality assets,<br />

will allow them to provide an exceptional<br />

destination package that highlights the<br />

best of the emirate. <strong>The</strong> ultimate goal<br />

is to attract more large-scale and highprofile<br />

events to Abu Dhabi.<br />

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, the Managing<br />

Director and Group CEO of ADNEC Group,<br />

expressed his satisfaction in partnering<br />

with the Abu Dhabi Convention and<br />

Exhibition Bureau to establish the joint<br />

fund for international corporate meeting<br />

and event organizers interested in hosting<br />

their events at the Abu Dhabi National<br />

Exhibition Centre. This partnership is a<br />

part of ADNEC Group’s ongoing efforts to<br />

boost business tourism in Abu Dhabi and<br />

the UAE and attract more companies to<br />

select Abu Dhabi as the perfect location<br />

for any meetings, conferences, exhibitions,<br />

or events. Al Dhaheri emphasized ADNEC<br />

Group’s commitment to enhancing Abu<br />

Dhabi’s status as a remarkable global<br />

destination for hosting events. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

accomplish this by using contemporary<br />

facilities, advanced infrastructure, and<br />

high-quality services, which are capable<br />

of accommodating events of any scale.<br />

ADCEB has implemented various<br />

strategies to enhance and accelerate the<br />

Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and<br />

Exhibitions (MICE) sector, including<br />

upgrading its Advantage Abu Dhabi<br />

Meetings & Incentives program to 2.0.<br />

Additionally, the organization launched<br />

the MICE Agencies Reward Scheme,<br />

which aims to provide intermediaries<br />

such as agencies, planners, and travel<br />

management companies with training,<br />

industry updates, and the latest products.<br />

<strong>The</strong> newly formed ADCEB and ADNEC<br />

Group Joint Fund is another tool for<br />

Domestic and International Agencies,<br />

specifically DMCs and Event Planners,<br />

to promote Abu Dhabi and to address the<br />

gap in Advantage Abu Dhabi’s support<br />

for groups with more than 500 delegates.<br />

Interested parties can apply for support<br />

through the ADCEB-ADNEC Joint Fund<br />

by submitting their inquiry or Request<br />

For Proposal (RFP) to either ADCEB<br />

or ADNEC Group, for events scheduled<br />

until December 31, 2024.<br />

Abu Dhabi has taken various steps<br />

to become a leading destination for<br />

business tourism, including public-private<br />

partnerships, financial incentives, and<br />

world-class exhibition and conference<br />

facilities. <strong>The</strong> newly established ADCEB<br />

and ADNEC Group Joint Fund provides<br />

financial support and incentives to<br />

corporate meeting planners and incentive<br />

houses and emphasizes Abu Dhabi’s<br />

position as a secure destination that is<br />

entirely available for business tourism. By<br />

utilizing contemporary facilities, advanced<br />

infrastructure, and high-quality services,<br />

ADNEC Group is committed to enhancing<br />

Abu Dhabi’s status as a remarkable global<br />

destination for hosting events. Overall,<br />

these initiatives demonstrate Abu Dhabi’s<br />

commitment to strengthening its position<br />

as a top global destination for all types<br />

of business events.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 91

Investing in Art<br />

Investing in Emerging Artists and the<br />

Importance of Risk Management<br />

<strong>The</strong> advent of online art marketplaces has created a convenient way for<br />

contemporary art from various regions of the world to reach a broader audience<br />

and attract the attention of international investors. This provides a distinct<br />

chance for those seeking to expand their portfolio, build their assets, or venture<br />

into the world of art investment. This article will explore the concept of investing<br />

in emerging artists and offer guidance on how investors can effectively manage<br />

the potential risks associated with their investments.<br />

Wealthy art collectors are capitalizing on the current low<br />

interest rates by leveraging their valuable art collections.<br />

v<br />

92 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

v<br />

<strong>The</strong> art industry is a vast and<br />

expanding global market,<br />

but typically when people<br />

consider investing in art, they<br />

immediately think of investing in<br />

renowned artists like Banksy, Picasso,<br />

and Warhol. Nevertheless, investing<br />

in emerging artists can also offer an<br />

attractive opportunity for investors.<br />

Compared to investing in established<br />

artists, investing in emerging artists<br />

requires less initial investment. Hence,<br />

it presents a potentially lucrative<br />

opportunity for those who want to<br />

enter the art investment market with<br />

a smaller budget.<br />

Online platforms offer a chance for<br />

emerging artists, who may come from<br />

diverse backgrounds, to increase their<br />

visibility and reach a wider audience,<br />

resulting in excellent investment<br />

potential for early investors. This<br />

mutually beneficial arrangement<br />

benefits both the artists and investors<br />

alike.<br />

Contemporary art, especially works<br />

from emerging artists focused on<br />

identity, has the potential to generate<br />

substantial returns in the long run.<br />

As demand for new categories of art<br />

increases, there is a greater opportunity<br />

for investors to benefit from the growth<br />

of the art industry. Overall, the rise of<br />

online art marketplaces has opened up<br />

a whole new world of possibilities for<br />

art investment and has the potential to<br />

generate significant returns for those<br />

who are willing to invest their time<br />

and resources.<br />

Emerging Artists vs. Established<br />

Artists:<br />

Emerging artists are those who are<br />

still building their reputation in the art<br />

world, working to refine their skills and<br />

collaborate with galleries, collectors,<br />

and exhibitions to promote their art.<br />

While these artists have a portfolio,<br />

they are still in the early stages of<br />

their career and have yet to establish<br />

themselves as recognized figures in the<br />

industry. On the other hand, established<br />

art refers to works created by artists<br />

who have already gained recognition<br />

and credibility within the art community<br />

and among art collectors. Established<br />

artists have a large body of work, with<br />

many pieces previously sold through<br />

galleries or auction houses. Due to their<br />

established reputation and track record,<br />

their works are in higher demand and<br />

therefore more expensive compared to<br />

emerging artists.<br />

It is worth noting that investing in<br />

emerging art is typically less costly than<br />

investing in established art as emerging<br />

artists have yet to prove themselves in<br />

the industry. Consequently, it can be<br />

challenging to determine the potential<br />

appreciation or market value of their<br />

work. However, investing in emerging art<br />

presents a more accessible entry point<br />

for investors. Additionally, investing in<br />

emerging artists can result in significant<br />

gains for early investors in case an<br />

artist becomes more established and<br />

in-demand over time. As the demand for<br />

their earlier works increases, investors<br />

who purchased their pieces early on<br />

can potentially earn substantial returns<br />

on their investment.<br />

Risk Management:<br />

While contemporary art is increasingly<br />

recognized as an alternative asset class,<br />

it is important to understand that<br />

there is no guarantee of returns in this<br />

market. Achieving success requires an<br />

awareness of potential risks and an<br />

understanding of the art investment<br />

market. Unlike other investment assets,<br />

such as stocks, art is not as liquid and<br />

cannot be quickly converted into cash.<br />

Rather, it is a long-term investment that<br />

should be seen as a store of value. Art<br />

investments are not intended for income<br />

generation or providing dividends.<br />

Moreover, before investing in<br />

art, it is important to consider the<br />

initial and ongoing costs. <strong>The</strong>se costs<br />

include shipping, handling, storage,<br />

and maintenance, which is particularly<br />

important as artworks can require<br />

specific maintenance needs, and<br />

ignoring these can result in a decline<br />

in value. While increased access to<br />

contemporary art is generally positive,<br />

it also carries potential risks. Investors<br />

should avoid shortcuts and conduct<br />

thorough research to avoid investing in<br />

overvalued, poor quality, or illegitimate<br />

artworks. When in doubt, it is wise to<br />

consult art advisors, experts, galleries,<br />

or even the artists themselves who are<br />

immersed in the art world.<br />

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

www.thefinanceworld.com 93

Global News<br />

Global agreement to protect world from future pandemic<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>World</strong> Health Organization’s<br />

(WHO) member countries have<br />

made progress in negotiating<br />

a global agreement on<br />

pandemic prevention, preparedness,<br />

and response. During the fifth meeting<br />

of the Intergovernmental Negotiating<br />

Body, representatives from all 194<br />

countries discussed their ideas,<br />

concerns, and suggestions. <strong>The</strong>y also<br />

agreed to accept additional written<br />

proposals until 22nd April. All proposals<br />

made will be compiled into a package<br />

and made available to all drafting<br />

group participants. <strong>The</strong> INB Bureau<br />

will provide a text, including options<br />

based on submissions received, to<br />

the drafting group for consideration<br />

in June. <strong>The</strong> aim is to present a draft<br />

accord for approval at the <strong>World</strong> Health<br />

Assembly in <strong>May</strong> 2024.<br />

<strong>World</strong> Bank could<br />

lend $50B more over<br />

decade with reform<br />

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen<br />

has revealed that the <strong>World</strong><br />

Bank’s ongoing reform could<br />

lead to an extra $50B in lending<br />

over the next ten years. Yellen explained<br />

that one of the key topics for discussion<br />

at the forthcoming spring meetings in<br />

Washington will be the <strong>World</strong> Bank’s<br />

role in meeting global challenges, such<br />

as climate change. Yellen said that she<br />

expected the bank to update its mission<br />

to include “building resilience against<br />

climate change, pandemics, and conflict<br />

and fragility” as core goals. She also<br />

suggested that the bank will adopt<br />

changes or endorse changes that will<br />

enable it to stretch its financial capacity<br />

to meet these objectives.<br />

IMF Chief urges Central Banks to keep up fight<br />

against inflation<br />

International Monetary Fund<br />

Managing Director Kristalina<br />

Georgieva has urged central<br />

banks to continue the fight against<br />

inflation by increasing interest rates,<br />

despite concerns about financial<br />

stability. Central banks have been<br />

raising benchmark lending rates since<br />

last year to combat high inflation levels.<br />

<strong>The</strong> recent collapse of Silicon Valley<br />

Bank after taking on too much interestrate<br />

risk has complicated central banks’<br />

efforts, creating turbulence in the<br />

banking sector. Despite this, Georgieva<br />

Electronic payments see surge in Jordan after<br />

pandemic<br />

According to a report by<br />

the Jordan Payments<br />

and Clearing Company<br />

(JOPACC), over 78 million<br />

electronic payment transactions were<br />

conducted in Jordan in 2022. <strong>The</strong><br />

report emphasized the rapid growth<br />

of digital payments in Jordan, stating<br />

that 3.606 million people used the<br />

eFAWATEERcom service by the end of<br />

the year. Additionally, CliQ, a payment<br />

system launched in June 2020, had<br />

634,000 customers in February <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

with 1.35 million transactions worth<br />

believes central banks must stay the<br />

course and prioritize fighting inflation<br />

while also supporting financial stability<br />

through different instruments.<br />

JD 234M. <strong>The</strong> report also highlighted<br />

that the value of cleared cheques in<br />

the Electronic Cheque Clearing Unit<br />

(ECCU) grew by up to 8.4%.<br />

94 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

WTO predicts trade growth to slow down to 1.7% in <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>World</strong> Trade Organization<br />

(WTO) has predicted that<br />

global trade growth will slow<br />

to 1.7% in <strong>2023</strong>, following 2.7%<br />

growth in 2022. <strong>The</strong> subdued growth<br />

is due to several factors, including<br />

the crisis in Ukraine, high inflation,<br />

tighter monetary policy, and financial<br />

market uncertainty. <strong>The</strong> WTO’s forecast<br />

is set out in the new “Global Trade<br />

Outlook and Statistics” report, which<br />

also projects global GDP growth at<br />

market exchange rates of 2.4% for <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-<br />

Iweala has called for multilateral<br />

cooperation on trade, saying it would<br />

bolster economic growth and people’s<br />

living standards over the long term.<br />

Qatar’s GDP growth set to slow to 2.7% in <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

says S&P<br />

S&P Global Market Intelligence<br />

has predicted that Qatar’s actual<br />

gross domestic product (GDP)<br />

growth will decline to 2.7% in<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, before slightly recovering to 3.4%<br />

in 2024. In 2022, the Gulf state’s GDP<br />

grew at 4.8%, which had not been seen<br />

since the mid-2010s. During Q4 2022,<br />

Qatar’s real GDP expanded 8% YoY<br />

to 2.7%, according to the country’s<br />

Planning and Statistics Authority. S&P<br />

Global Market Intelligence’s principal<br />

economist, Jamil Naayem, stated that<br />

they expect the country to experience<br />

slower real GDP expansion throughout<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, affected by weaker global demand,<br />

higher domestic interest rates, and less<br />

favourable Q4 base effects.<br />

IATA’s ‘Focus Africa’ program<br />

aims to enhance aviation<br />

growth in Africa<br />

<strong>The</strong> International Air Transport<br />

Association (IATA) is launching<br />

“Focus Africa” to improve<br />

connectivity, safety, and reliability<br />

in African aviation and to enhance<br />

aviation’s contribution to Africa’s<br />

economic and social development. IATA<br />

said the initiative would align private<br />

and public stakeholders to deliver<br />

measurable progress in six areas, including<br />

infrastructure constraints, high costs, lack<br />

of connectivity, regulatory impediments,<br />

slow adoption of global standards, and<br />

skills shortages. While African airlines<br />

suffer from cumulative losses of $3.5M for<br />

2020 and IATA estimates losses of $213M<br />

in <strong>2023</strong>, Focus Africa aims to connect the<br />

African continent internally and to global<br />

markets sustainably, creating economic<br />

and social development opportunities to<br />

support the UN Sustainable Development<br />

Goals for Africa.<br />

Asia and Pacific economies to grow by 4.8% in<br />

<strong>2023</strong>-2024<br />

<strong>The</strong> Asian Development Bank<br />

(ADB) has projected that<br />

economies in Asia and the<br />

Pacific will experience faster<br />

growth in <strong>2023</strong> and 2024 as pandemic<br />

restrictions continue to ease, boosting<br />

consumption, tourism, and investment.<br />

According to the bank’s Asian Development<br />

Outlook (ADO) April <strong>2023</strong>, Asia<br />

and the Pacific are expected to grow<br />

by 4.8% this year and next, improving<br />

on the 4.2% growth rate in 2022. <strong>The</strong><br />

People’s Republic of China’s reopening,<br />

as it shifts away from its zero-COVID<br />

strategy, is a significant factor contributing<br />

to the region’s growth prospects.<br />

However, risks to the outlook remain,<br />

including global inflation spikes and<br />

elevated financial stability risks.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 95

Wheels<br />


Maserati has introduced<br />

its new all-wheel drive<br />

four-seater, comprising<br />

three versions for <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

the Modena, the Trofeo variant, and<br />

the GranTurismo Folgore, which is the<br />

first all-electric Maserati grand touring<br />

sports car, is the fastest and most<br />

electrifying car in the GranTurismo<br />

line. It has an 800-volt battery-electric<br />

system that powers a three-motor setup,<br />

producing a combined 760 horsepower.<br />

This impressive power output is enough<br />

to give the car a 2.7-second acceleration<br />

to reach 60 mph and a top speed of<br />

nearly 200 mph.<br />

One of the most significant features<br />

of the GranTurismo Folgore is its<br />

battery pack, which has a capacity of<br />

92.5 kWh. This battery provides the<br />

car with an impressive range of 280<br />

miles and can be fast charged up to<br />

270 kW. <strong>The</strong> battery pack is positioned<br />

low in the car to provide a low centre<br />

of gravity, which enhances the car’s<br />

handling and stability. <strong>The</strong> Folgore<br />

GT also features four driving modes,<br />

allowing drivers to customize the<br />

car’s performance to suit their driving<br />

style. <strong>The</strong> Vehicle Domain Control<br />

Module controls energy, torque, and<br />

vertical dynamics to optimize the car’s<br />

performance and handling. Inside, the<br />

car offers a comfortable and luxurious<br />

experience for all passengers, with<br />

seating for four people and high-quality<br />

materials used throughout. <strong>The</strong> car’s<br />

interior also features a 19-speaker<br />

sound system and is compatible with<br />

wireless Apple CarPlay and Android<br />

Auto. <strong>The</strong>re is a head-up display that<br />

provides the driver with essential<br />

information without them having to<br />

take their eyes off the road, and the<br />

car also features Amazon Alexa voicebased<br />

assistance.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Maserati GranTurismo Folgore<br />

is an exceptional high-performance<br />

electric grand touring sports car. It<br />

has impressive power, range, and<br />

handling, making it a great choice for<br />

those who want a luxurious car that<br />

is also environmentally friendly. <strong>The</strong><br />

car’s design combines a low centre of<br />

gravity with a sports car look, and its<br />

interior offers comfort, luxury, and<br />

advanced technology.<br />

96 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Specifications<br />

Horsepower: 760 combined horsepower<br />

Acceleration: 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds<br />

Top speed: Nearly 200 mph<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 97

Investing in Tourism<br />

Ras Al Khaimah’s Las-Vegas Resort<br />

Offers Great Options for Investors<br />

According to a report released recently by Colliers International, a proposed<br />

resort in Ras al-Khaimah modeled after Las Vegas could potentially bring in more<br />

than five million tourists, surpassing the projected number of visitors by three<br />

million before 2030. In this article, we explore this resort’s potential for boosting<br />

tourism and hospitality, maximizing investment opportunities in the emirate for<br />

potential investors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Wynn Al Marjan Island development is anticipated<br />

to exert a substantial influence on the tourism sector<br />

of Ras Al Khaimah, owing to its distinct concept and<br />

existing global demand.<br />

98 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> report says that the resort will<br />

be developed in partnership with<br />

Wynn Resorts RAK, as a significant<br />

development that will transform<br />

the emirate’s image as a sustainable and<br />

eco-friendly destination. <strong>The</strong> report also<br />

suggests that the Wynn Al Marjan Island<br />

Resort, which is set to open in 2026 and<br />

will feature the UAE’s first casino, could<br />

be a significant development for tourism<br />

in the emirate. <strong>The</strong> report indicates that<br />

the casino could help attract over 5.5<br />

million tourists to Ras Al Khaimah by<br />

2030, surpassing the target of 3 million.<br />

Ras Al Khaimah is currently in the<br />

process of developing gaming regulations<br />

for the casino, taking inspiration from<br />

regulations in Singapore and the US, while<br />

Wynn Marjan is planning the casino’s<br />

operations in the emirate.<br />

Wynn Al Marjan Island Ras Al Khaimah,<br />

which is expected to be the biggest<br />

foreign direct investment project in the<br />

emirate, has ambitious plans to become<br />

a landmark property. <strong>The</strong> resort will<br />

include over 1,200 hotel rooms, more than<br />

20,000 square meters of retail and dining<br />

areas, and over 20,000 square meters of<br />

gaming facilities. <strong>The</strong> estimated cost of<br />

the project is over $2 billion, and it is<br />

anticipated to open in late 2026, complete<br />

with various entertainment, leisure, and<br />

MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences,<br />

and Exhibitions) facilities.<br />

Investors can benefit from the Wynn<br />

Al Marjan Island Ras Al Khaimah project<br />

in several ways, for it is expected to be<br />

the biggest foreign direct investment<br />

project in the emirate, which means<br />

it could provide significant returns on<br />

investment. In addition, the project’s<br />

ambitious plans to become a landmark<br />

property could increase its value and<br />

attract high-end clientele, leading to<br />

higher profits. Moreover, the diverse<br />

range of facilities, including retail and<br />

dining areas, gaming facilities, and<br />

MICE facilities, could generate multiple<br />

revenue streams, creating a stable and<br />

profitable investment opportunity. <strong>The</strong><br />

project’s anticipated opening in late<br />

2026, with its extensive entertainment,<br />

leisure, and MICE facilities, could attract<br />

tourists and business travelers, generating<br />

high occupancy rates and returns on<br />

investment (ROI).<br />

According to the Colliers report, the<br />

Wynn Al Marjan Island project is expected<br />

to have a significant impact on the<br />

tourism segment of Ras Al Khaimah due<br />

to its unique concept and existing global<br />

demand. <strong>The</strong> report suggests that RAK<br />

will benefit from positive externalities,<br />

including increased visitation, additional<br />

hospitality demand, and an overall boost<br />

to the economy.<br />

<strong>The</strong> report analyzed the impact of the<br />

opening of gaming facilities on visitation<br />

and considered the characteristics of<br />

RAK’s tourism. It predicts that the Wynn<br />

Al Marjan Island will induce significant<br />

demand in its first year, followed by<br />

a prolonged secondary growth period<br />

lasting three years. As a result, the city<br />

is estimated to welcome over 3.8 million<br />

visitors by 2027, growing at a CAGR of<br />

28% from 2022.<br />

Assuming the success of the Wynn<br />

Resort, the city is envisioned to welcome<br />

over 5.5 million visitors by 2030, positively<br />

impacting the economy across all factors,<br />

ranging from employment to overall GDP.<br />

<strong>The</strong>refore, the report concludes that the<br />

Wynn Al Marjan Island project will be a<br />

significant contributor to the growth of<br />

the tourism industry in RAK.<br />

In addition to the predicted number<br />

of annual visitors to Ras Al Khaimah<br />

exceeding the Emirate’s stated target of<br />

3 million by 2030, the report identified<br />

the top five international markets for<br />

tourism in Ras Al Khaimah in 2022, which<br />

were Russia, Kazakhstan, UK, Germany,<br />

and India. To attract more tourists, Ras<br />

Al Khaimah has implemented various<br />

strategies, including financial incentives<br />

and investments in major projects such<br />

as Jebel Jais.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Emirate has also successfully attracted<br />

key strategic partners and raised capital<br />

from major players like Aldar Properties,<br />

EMAAR, ADNH, and Nobu. In further<br />

news, Wynn Resorts has named ALEC<br />

Engineering and Contracting (ALEC),<br />

a part of the Investment Corporation of<br />

Dubai (ICD), as the main contractor for<br />

the construction of the Wynn Al Marjan<br />

Island property in Ras Al Khaimah, in<br />

partnership with Marjan Island and RAK<br />

Hospitality Holding.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 99

Local News<br />

Digital assets firm Zero Two launches operations in Abu Dhabi<br />

Zero Two, a digital assets<br />

infrastructure company, has<br />

launched its operations in Abu<br />

Dhabi to cater to the emirate’s<br />

growing interest in Web3 technology and<br />

its ecosystem. <strong>The</strong> company aims to offer<br />

end-to-end digital assets infrastructure<br />

solutions, including power infrastructure<br />

development, sourcing and testing of<br />

latest-generation technologies, data<br />

centre building and operation, and digital<br />

assets management services. Zero Two’s<br />

goal is to become a trusted partner for<br />

businesses looking to benefit from the<br />

innovative scope and transformative<br />

potential of digital assets. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

will also play a vital role in supporting the<br />

stability of Abu Dhabi’s power grid and<br />

the UAE’s transition to a sustainable and<br />

decarbonized economy, while addressing<br />

structural challenges and enhancing<br />

operational efficiency through the use<br />

of digital assets.<br />

Bahrain draws over $7.8B<br />

demand for sukuk and<br />

bonds<br />

Bahrain has revised its guidance<br />

for the sale of U.S. dollardenominated<br />

sukuk and<br />

conventional bonds after<br />

receiving orders of over $7.8B for the<br />

debt sale. <strong>The</strong> guidance for the sevenyear<br />

sukuk was tightened to around<br />

6.5%, while the 12-year notes were<br />

revised to 7.75%-7.875%. <strong>The</strong> initial<br />

guidance was approximately 6.875%<br />

for the sukuk and roughly 8% for the<br />

conventional paper. <strong>The</strong> tightening<br />

of the guidance demonstrates strong<br />

investor demand for the Bahraini<br />

debt, which reflects confidence in<br />

the country’s economic and financial<br />

stability. <strong>The</strong> sale will enable Bahrain to<br />

raise funds for infrastructure projects<br />

and other development initiatives.<br />

Food inflation to weigh on MENA growth this<br />

year<br />

<strong>The</strong> Middle East and North<br />

Africa region is expected to<br />

experience a growth slowdown<br />

to 3% in <strong>2023</strong> from 5.8% last<br />

year due to double-digit food price<br />

inflation, according to a <strong>World</strong> Bank<br />

report released. <strong>The</strong> new forecast<br />

marks a downward revision from the<br />

3.5% growth rate projected in October.<br />

<strong>The</strong> report warns that high food prices<br />

could lead to deteriorating nutrition<br />

and have long-lasting impacts on child<br />

development and future prospects.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Sharjah Chamber of<br />

Commerce and Industry<br />

(SCCI) and Sharjah Media<br />

City (Shams) are exploring<br />

opportunities for collaboration to<br />

enhance coordination and support<br />

investors in the emirate. Discussions<br />

included exchanging best practices<br />

in media promotion and marketing of<br />

economic programmes, initiatives, and<br />

projects, with a focus on developing<br />

innovative marketing channels and<br />

mechanisms to promote investment<br />

opportunities in Sharjah. <strong>The</strong> meeting<br />

was attended by Abdullah Sultan Al<br />

Owais, Chairman of SCCI, and Dr.<br />

Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>World</strong> Bank also expects GDP per<br />

capita growth to slow to 1.6% in <strong>2023</strong><br />

from 4.4% in 2022, reflecting a decline<br />

in living standards.<br />

Sharjah Chamber and Shams Explore Upgrades<br />

to Emirate’s Investment Climate<br />

of Sharjah Media City, along with<br />

officials from both sides. <strong>The</strong> aim is<br />

to strengthen ties between the two<br />

entities and foster business growth<br />

in Sharjah.<br />

100 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Economic growth in GCC to more than halve in<br />

<strong>2023</strong> - <strong>World</strong> Bank<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>World</strong> Bank has lowered<br />

its <strong>2023</strong> economic growth<br />

projection for oil-exporting<br />

Gulf Cooperation Council<br />

(GCC) countries to 3.2% in its latest<br />

update, down from 3.7% forecasted in<br />

October 2021. <strong>The</strong> downward revision<br />

is due to an expected decline in oil<br />

prices following highs in 2022. Saudi<br />

ZāZEN sells 75% units<br />

at Dubai residential<br />

development<br />

Zā ZEN Properties has<br />

announced that 75% of the<br />

units at its sustainable off-plan<br />

development, ZāZEN Gardens,<br />

located in Dubai’s Al Furjan community,<br />

have been sold out. <strong>The</strong> development<br />

is Leed-Gold certified and offers 159<br />

apartments with units ranging from 824<br />

to 1,612 sq ft, as well as two retail outlets<br />

on the ground floor. ZāZEN Gardens is<br />

due for handover in April 2024, with<br />

construction progress at more than<br />

25%. <strong>The</strong> developer emphasized that<br />

off-plan transactions have played a<br />

significant role in driving growth, with<br />

off-plan property sales increasing by<br />

42.1% in the first two months of <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter,<br />

is expected to see the sharpest<br />

slowdown among GCC economies,<br />

with growth forecast at 2.9% in <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

down from 8.7% in 2022. Despite this,<br />

GCC growth is expected to outperform<br />

the wider Middle East and North Africa<br />

region, forecast to grow by 3% in <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

down from 5.8% in 2022.<br />

Inditex to sell Russian business to UAE’s Daher<br />

Group<br />

Inditex to sell Russian business to<br />

UAE’s Daher Group, set to open<br />

new stores in April and <strong>May</strong> under<br />

its own brand after the deal is<br />

approved by the Russian government.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Spanish retailer closed its 502<br />

stores in Russia earlier this year due to<br />

the Russia-Ukraine war. Daher Group<br />

will operate under the brands Maag,<br />

Dub, Ecru, and Vilet. <strong>The</strong> value of the<br />

deal was not disclosed, but Inditex’s<br />

financial statements for H1 2022 covered<br />

the impact of the termination of its<br />

Russian business.<br />

UAE President invites Egypt’s President El Sisi to<br />

attend COP28<br />

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed<br />

bin Zayed Al Nahyan,<br />

President of the United<br />

Arab Emirates, has invited<br />

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi<br />

to attend the upcoming COP28 Climate<br />

Change Conference, to be held in Dubai<br />

this November. <strong>The</strong> invitation was<br />

conveyed to the Egyptian President by<br />

H.E. Mariam Al Kaabi, UAE Ambassador<br />

to Egypt and Permanent Representative<br />

to the Arab League. President El Sisi<br />

expressed his appreciation for the<br />

invitation and affirmed his country’s<br />

readiness to enhance cooperation<br />

with the UAE and share expertise on<br />

climate change, taking into account<br />

the relevant concerns of developing<br />

and African nations.<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 101

www.evonith.com<br />

Alferon Management Private Limited

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