Finance World Magazine| Edition: January 2024

With the beginning of the new year, this month’s edition of Finance World magazine spotlights the global position of the United Arab Emirates's commanding role as an attraction for foreign direct investments. It explores the economic landscape of the UAE, navigating through the strategic initiatives and market dynamics that have propelled the nation into the Limelight. Among the multitude of global investments, the cover story highlights the top individuals who, discerning the immense potential of the UAE market, made lucrative gains through their strategic investments, contributing significantly to the nation's economic prosperity. Furthermore, the magazine thoroughly examines the factors that position the UAE as an attractive destination for FDI in various articles, such as "Benefits of Investing in Free Zones for Foreign Investors in the UAE", "Dubai Healthcare City's Impact on Empowering Business Growth", and “The Synergistic Impact: How Foreign Investments Fuel Local Economies in the UAE”. Moreover, this edition features insightful articles curated for individuals interested in investing or establishing businesses in the UAE. Explore essential information within pieces like "Complete Guide for Investing in Dubai Real Estate from India" and "DNFBPs: Safeguarding Global Finance Against Money Laundering." These articles offer comprehensive insights, aiding readers in navigating investment opportunities and regulatory considerations within the UAE market. 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.

With the beginning of the new year, this month’s edition of Finance World magazine spotlights the global position of the United Arab Emirates's commanding role as an attraction for foreign direct investments. It explores the economic landscape of the UAE, navigating through the strategic initiatives and market dynamics that have propelled the nation into the Limelight.

Among the multitude of global investments, the cover story highlights the top individuals who, discerning the immense potential of the UAE market, made lucrative gains through their strategic investments, contributing significantly to the nation's economic prosperity. Furthermore, the magazine thoroughly examines the factors that position the UAE as an attractive destination for FDI in various articles, such as "Benefits of Investing in Free Zones for Foreign Investors in the UAE", "Dubai Healthcare City's Impact on Empowering Business Growth", and “The Synergistic Impact: How Foreign Investments Fuel Local Economies in the UAE”.

Moreover, this edition features insightful articles curated for individuals interested in investing or establishing businesses in the UAE. Explore essential information within pieces like "Complete Guide for Investing in Dubai Real Estate from India" and "DNFBPs: Safeguarding Global Finance Against Money Laundering." These articles offer comprehensive insights, aiding readers in navigating investment opportunities and regulatory considerations within the UAE market.

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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How Dubai's Startups Garner Unprecedented Foreign Investment<br />

Top Companies Poised for Sports Investment Opportunities in UAE<br />

Dubai Healthcare City's Impact on empowering business growth<br />

Complete Guide for Investing in Dubai Real Estate from India<br />

THE<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong><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 />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />






We make Short / Long Term<br />

Investments in Growing Businessess<br />



How Dubai's Startups Garner Unprecedented Foreign Investment<br />

Top Companies Poised for Sports Investment Opportunities in UAE<br />

Dubai Healthcare City's Impact on empowering business growth<br />

Complete Guide for Investing in Dubai Real Estate from India<br />

THE<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong><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 />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />




Contact us at: +971 58 591 8580<br />

www.thefinanceworld.com | subscribe@thefinanceworld.com

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Reaching a visionary goal requires<br />

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

With the beginning of the new year, this month’s edition of The<br />

<strong>Finance</strong> <strong>World</strong> magazine spotlights the global position Editor’s Note of the<br />

United Arab Emirates’s commanding role as an attraction for<br />

foreign direct investments. It explores the economic landscape of the<br />

UAE, navigating through the strategic initiatives and market dynamics<br />

that have propelled the nation into the Limelight.<br />

Among the multitude of global investments, the cover story<br />

highlights the top individuals who, discerning the immense potential<br />

of the UAE market, made lucrative gains through their strategic<br />

investments, contributing significantly to the nation’s economic<br />

prosperity. Furthermore, the magazine thoroughly examines the<br />

factors that position the UAE as an attractive destination for FDI<br />

in various articles, such as “Benefits of Investing in Free Zones for<br />

Foreign Investors in the UAE”, “Dubai Healthcare City’s Impact on<br />

Empowering Business Growth”, and “The Synergistic Impact: How<br />

Foreign Investments Fuel Local Economies in the UAE”.<br />

Moreover, this edition features insightful articles curated for<br />

individuals interested in investing or establishing businesses in the<br />

UAE. Explore essential information within pieces like “Complete<br />

Guide for Investing in Dubai Real Estate from India” and “DNFBPs:<br />

Safeguarding Global <strong>Finance</strong> Against Money Laundering.” These articles<br />

offer comprehensive insights, aiding readers in navigating investment<br />

opportunities and regulatory considerations within the UAE market.<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, hospitality,<br />

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

and beyond.<br />

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

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

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

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

readers, aiming to advance financial literacy and contribute to Dubai’s<br />

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

- Ambrish Agarwal, Editor in Chief<br />

- Ambrish Agarwal, Editor in Chief<br />

THE<br />

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

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

may change.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 5<br />

September 2022 3




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

<strong>2024</strong><br />


P8 | Exploring Insurance Types<br />

to Make Informed Choices for<br />

Financial Protection<br />


P10 | Inside the Financial Frontier:<br />

Exploring Foreign Banks in the<br />

UAE<br />

P12 | UAE Banking News<br />


P16 | RAKEZ’s ‘Visa for Life’ to<br />

Fuel Ras Al Khaimah’s Global<br />

Investment Surge<br />


P18 | Neobanks Revolutionising<br />

Financial Transactions in the UAE<br />

P20 | Fintech News<br />

P22 | Fintech Application<br />


P24 | DNFBPs: Safeguarding<br />

Global <strong>Finance</strong> Against Money<br />

Laundering<br />

P26 | Business News<br />


How Dubai's Startups Garner Unprecedented Foreign Investment<br />

Top Companies Poised for Sports Investment Opportunities in UAE<br />

THE<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 />

P30 | UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis: Spotlighting<br />

Foreign Investments<br />

START-UP<br />

P42 | How Dubai’s Startups Are<br />

Attracting Significant Foreign<br />

Investments<br />

ENERGY<br />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />

P44 | Analysing the Impact of UAE<br />

Energy Regulatory Reforms on<br />

Global Investments<br />

P46 | Energy News<br />

Dubai Healthcare City's Impact on empowering business growth<br />

Complete Guide for Investing in Dubai Real Estate from India<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />


P50 | Dubai Healthcare City’s<br />

Impact on Empowering Business<br />

Growth in Healthcare<br />



P52 | UAE’s Global Reach:<br />

Acquiring Foreign Companies<br />

and the Shifting Paradigm<br />

P54 | Mergers & Acquisitions News<br />


P56 | Your Complete Guide for<br />

Investing in Dubai’s Real Estate<br />

Market from India<br />

P58 | Real Estate News<br />

6 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>


P60 | Exploring the Advantages<br />

of Foreign Investment in UAE<br />

Free Zones<br />

P62 | Funding & Investment News<br />



P68 | Corporate Results<br />


P70 | Exploring Sports Investment<br />

Prospects with Key UAE<br />

Companies<br />

P72 | Sports News<br />

Hospitality<br />


P80 | Art as an Impact Investment,<br />

delivering positive change<br />

P82 | Local News<br />

TRAVEL<br />

P64 | Fasset Secures VASP<br />

License in Dubai for its Digital<br />

Asset Investment Platform<br />


P74 | Exploring the Essence of<br />

École Ducasse Abu Dhabi Studio<br />


P84 | 4 places to visit this <strong>January</strong><br />

from UAE<br />

P86 | Travel News<br />

P23 | P29 | Launch Express<br />

P40 | P48 | Wheels<br />

P28 | P88 | Tech My Money<br />

P66 | The Synergistic Impact: How<br />

Foreign Investments Fuel Local<br />

Economies in the UAE<br />

P76 | Evaluating the Space Tourism<br />

Initiatives in the UAE<br />

GLOBAL<br />

P78 | Global News<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 7

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

source: freepik.com<br />

Securing insurance is essential to safeguard from financial risks and uncertainties.<br />

Exploring Insurance<br />

Types to Make<br />

Informed Choices for<br />

Financial Protection<br />

Experts consider insurance, including longterm<br />

disability, auto, life, and health insurance,<br />

to be essential.<br />

Financial literacy forms the bedrock of<br />

informed decision-making and stability in<br />

managing personal or business finances. A<br />

crucial aspect of it lies in comprehending<br />

the diverse landscape of insurance options<br />

available, each offering a unique shield<br />

against potential financial risks and<br />

uncertainties. From health crises to<br />

property damage, insurance provides a<br />

shield against the unexpected, ensuring<br />

that individuals, families, and businesses<br />

can weather the storms that life throws<br />

their way. However, the world of insurance<br />

is vast and varied, with a multitude of<br />

options available. To make informed<br />

choices for robust financial protection,<br />

it’s crucial to explore the different<br />

types of insurance and understand their<br />

significance.<br />

8 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

We cannot control what lies ahead,<br />

but we can certainly make informed<br />

decisions to safeguard<br />

ourselves from the financial challenges<br />

that may arise in life. Using insurance is<br />

one such way to maintain stability during<br />

life’s unexpected incidents. With advances<br />

in almost every aspect, insurance has also<br />

progressed. However, there are certain<br />

fundamental insurance types that every<br />

individual who aims to make informed<br />

financial decisions should know. Four of<br />

these are discussed as follows:<br />

Life insurance<br />

Life insurance stands as a cornerstone<br />

of comprehensive financial planning. It<br />

offers two fundamental types: whole<br />

life and term life, each serving distinct<br />

purposes.<br />

Whole life insurance acts as both an<br />

insurance policy and an income tool.<br />

It features a death benefit and a cash<br />

value component. As the cash value<br />

accumulates, it can be accessed through<br />

loans or withdrawals, and policyholders<br />

can terminate the policy by obtaining its<br />

cash value.<br />

On the other hand, term life insurance<br />

provides coverage for a specified period,<br />

typically 10, 20, or 30 years, with stable<br />

premiums throughout. Often more affordable,<br />

this policy type can be tailored<br />

to cover specific periods, such as the<br />

years of a mortgage or a child’s college<br />

education.<br />

Life insurance becomes crucial, especially<br />

if your family relies on your<br />

income. Experts often recommend a<br />

policy payout equivalent to 10 times<br />

your yearly income to provide adequate<br />

financial support.<br />

When determining the necessary coverage,<br />

consider various expenses. Start<br />

with funeral costs and then calculate your<br />

family’s daily living expenses, including<br />

mortgage payments, outstanding loans,<br />

credit card debt, taxes, childcare, and<br />

future educational expenses.<br />

Health Insurance<br />

Unlike life insurance, health insurance<br />

is mandatory for the residents of the UAE.<br />

It allows premium healthcare services<br />

without disturbing your budget.<br />

The UAE government mandates that<br />

all residents, including expatriates<br />

and nationals, have health insurance<br />

coverage. This initiative, introduced in<br />

phases starting in 2014, aims to guarantee<br />

access to essential healthcare services<br />

while lessening the financial burden on<br />

individuals seeking medical treatment.<br />

Health insurance policies in the UAE<br />

typically offer comprehensive coverage<br />

for various medical services, including<br />

hospitalisation, outpatient treatments,<br />

maternity care, emergency services, and<br />

prescription medications. The coverage<br />

often extends to pre-existing conditions<br />

and chronic illnesses, depending on the<br />

policy terms and conditions.<br />

Many employers in the UAE provide<br />

health insurance coverage as part<br />

of their employment benefits. These<br />

employer-sponsored plans often cover<br />

employees and their dependents, offering<br />

varying levels of coverage based on the<br />

employer’s chosen insurance package.<br />

Apart from employer-sponsored<br />

plans, individuals can purchase private<br />

health insurance policies from insurance<br />

providers operating in the UAE. These<br />

policies cater to specific needs, offering<br />

flexibility in coverage limits, additional<br />

benefits, and tailored options for individuals<br />

and families.<br />

The UAE government has established<br />

regulatory bodies, such as the Dubai<br />

Health Authority (DHA) and the Health<br />

Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), to oversee<br />

the implementation and regulation of<br />

health insurance across the Emirates.<br />

Long-Term Disability Coverage<br />

In the UAE, long-term disability coverage<br />

typically falls under the broader category<br />

of critical illness or permanent disability<br />

insurance. These plans are designed to<br />

provide financial support if an individual<br />

becomes permanently disabled due<br />

to an illness or injury, preventing them<br />

from working for an extended period<br />

or indefinitely.<br />

This type of insurance often covers a<br />

range of critical illnesses or disabilities<br />

that render an individual unable to work<br />

for an extended period. It provides a<br />

lump sum payment upon diagnosis of<br />

a covered critical illness or disability,<br />

offering financial support to cover medical<br />

expenses and replace lost income.<br />

Some insurance policies in the UAE<br />

include provisions for permanent disability,<br />

where individuals receive financial compensation<br />

if they experience permanent<br />

disability due to an accident or illness,<br />

resulting in an inability to work.<br />

Employers in the UAE may offer group<br />

insurance plans that include disability<br />

coverage as part of their employee benefits<br />

package. These plans can provide some<br />

level of long-term disability coverage to<br />

employees.<br />

When seeking long-term disability<br />

coverage in the UAE, individuals should<br />

carefully review the terms and conditions<br />

of the insurance policies available. It’s<br />

advisable to consider factors such as<br />

coverage limits, waiting periods, exclusions,<br />

and the extent of disability or<br />

critical illnesses covered by the policy<br />

before making a decision.<br />

Auto Insurance<br />

Auto insurance in the UAE is a vital<br />

component of vehicle ownership,<br />

providing financial protection against<br />

various risks and liabilities associated<br />

with driving. It is mandatory by law for<br />

all vehicles operating in the country to<br />

have at least basic insurance coverage.<br />

Understanding auto insurance in the UAE<br />

involves familiarising yourself with its<br />

types, coverage options, and regulatory<br />

requirements.<br />

There are different types of auto insurance,<br />

including third-party liability<br />

insurance. It is the minimum mandatory<br />

insurance required by law in the UAE. It<br />

covers damages caused by the insured<br />

vehicle to third parties, including bodily<br />

injury or property damage. However, it<br />

does not cover damages to the insured<br />

vehicle itself.<br />

Another type is comprehensive insurance<br />

which offers broader coverage,<br />

encompassing both third-party liabilities<br />

and damages to the insured vehicle. It<br />

covers theft, accidents, natural disasters,<br />

vandalism, and more, providing extensive<br />

protection for the insured vehicle and<br />

its occupants.<br />

Consulting with insurance providers<br />

or financial advisors can also help in<br />

understanding the available options and<br />

selecting a plan that best suits individual<br />

needs and circumstances.<br />

In the UAE, auto insurance is regulated<br />

by the Insurance Authority. It is<br />

mandatory for all vehicles to have at<br />

least third-party liability insurance to<br />

legally operate on the roads. Failure to<br />

comply with this requirement can result<br />

in fines, vehicle impoundment, or even<br />

legal action.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 9

UAE Banking<br />

Inside the Financial Frontier: Exploring<br />

Foreign Banks in the UAE<br />

The UAE’s geographical position, connecting the regions of Europe, Asia, and<br />

Africa, magnetises foreign banks to its borders. It serves as a gateway for these<br />

institutions to tap into a broad spectrum of markets and clientele spanning<br />

various industries and sectors. The country’s political stability, investorfriendly<br />

regulations, and world-class infrastructure create an environment<br />

conducive to business growth and expansion. Foreign banks operating in<br />

the UAE work under the supervision of the Central Bank. Even though<br />

many were established before the Central Bank’s inception in 1980, they<br />

must follow its regulations. Additionally, these international entities enjoy<br />

a unique positioning, benefiting from the UAE government’s concessions,<br />

such as the allowance of 100% foreign ownership and a tax exemption on<br />

corporate income spanning a substantial 50-year period.<br />

HSBC Bank Middle East<br />

HSBC’s involvement in what is<br />

now the UAE traces back to<br />

1946 when The Imperial Bank<br />

of Iran, an early version of HSBC Bank<br />

Middle East, first opened its doors to<br />

serve the merchants and residents of<br />

the Emirates.<br />

In 1994, the bank relocated its head<br />

office to Jersey and underwent a<br />

name change to HSBC Bank Middle<br />

East (HBME) in 1999. By 2001, the<br />

Group’s ownership stake in Egypt<br />

increased to 94.5%. In June 2016, the<br />

10 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />

bank announced the shift of its place<br />

of incorporation and head office from<br />

Jersey to the Dubai International Financial<br />

Centre. Following this transfer,<br />

HBME is currently under the primary<br />

regulation of the Dubai Financial Services<br />

Authority.<br />

HSBC holds the title of the largest<br />

and most widely spread international<br />

banking institution across the Middle<br />

East, North Africa, and Turkey<br />

(MENAT), with a notable presence<br />

in 9 countries throughout the region.<br />

Operating in the United Arab Emirates,<br />

Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain,<br />

Kuwait, and Algeria, the bank has established<br />

a significant footprint.<br />

This extensive reach positions HSBC<br />

as a key player in the financial landscape<br />

of the MENAT region, offering<br />

a diverse range of banking services<br />

and contributing to the economic<br />

dynamics of each country within its<br />

operational scope.<br />

HSBC Bank Middle East Limited’s<br />

(HBME) Issuer Default Ratings<br />

(IDRs) signify the potential backing<br />

from its parent, HSBC Holdings plc,<br />

if necessary, as reflected in its Shareholder<br />

Support Rating (SSR) of ‘a+’.<br />

HSBC’s strong inclination to provide<br />

support, given HBME’s pivotal role<br />

within the group. As a key and wholly<br />

owned subsidiary for HSBC’s Middle<br />

East and North African operations,<br />

HBME shares common branding, poses<br />

significant reputational risk for HSBC<br />

in the event of default, demonstrates a<br />

high level of integration, and boasts a<br />

solid track record of supporting group<br />

objectives.<br />

The SSR also acknowledges HBME’s<br />

relatively small size compared to the<br />

group (1.7% of HSBC consolidated<br />

assets). HBME’s Viability Rating (VR)<br />

benefits from its deep integration within<br />

the HSBC group, encompassing<br />

management, staff, IT systems, branding,<br />

products, and risk-management<br />

culture and policies. The VR also reflects<br />

improvements in loan quality and<br />

profitability, adequate capitalisation,<br />

and strong funding and liquidity. Ordinary<br />

support from HSBC underpins<br />

HBME’s capital and liquidity.

Standard Chartered UAE<br />

In the United Arab Emirates, Standard<br />

Chartered inaugurated its initial<br />

branch in Sharjah in 1958. The<br />

Group’s presence expanded steadily<br />

in the UAE through the establishment<br />

of multiple branches. Presently, Dubai<br />

serves as the bank’s regional hub for<br />

the Africa and Middle East region.<br />

Additionally, it functions as the focal<br />

point for its Islamic Banking division,<br />

Standard Chartered Saadiq.<br />

Standard Chartered foresees a sustained<br />

mid-single-digit growth in revenue<br />

from the Middle East and Africa<br />

over the next five years. The bank’s<br />

regional chief executive expressed<br />

confidence in the region’s growth<br />

potential, emphasising its resilience<br />

amid this year’s economic slowdown.<br />

Despite current challenges, Standard<br />

Chartered remains optimistic about<br />

the long-term prospects in the Middle<br />

East and Africa, anticipating continued<br />

positive performance and contributing<br />

to the economic vitality of the region.<br />

This forward-looking approach reflects<br />

the bank’s commitment to leveraging<br />

opportunities and navigating economic<br />

dynamics to ensure steady growth and<br />

stability in the years to come.<br />

Anticipating strong performance,<br />

Standard Chartered envisions robust<br />

growth across all business segments.<br />

The expansion of the non-oil sector in<br />

key economies such as Saudi Arabia,<br />

the UAE, and various African markets<br />

remains a significant driver of sustained<br />

top-line growth.<br />

The London-based bank is committed<br />

to further expanding its presence<br />

in the region, highlighting the pivotal<br />

role it plays in the institution’s global<br />

growth agenda, particularly focused on<br />

emerging markets. This strategic dedication<br />

aligns with the bank’s vision to<br />

harness the opportunities presented<br />

by dynamic economies and solidify its<br />

position as a key player in the evolving<br />

financial landscape.<br />

In the previous year, the bank<br />

demonstrated strong financial performance,<br />

reporting a noteworthy 25%<br />

increase in underlying profit to $937M<br />

(on a constant currency basis). Additionally,<br />

operating income witnessed<br />

a substantial rise of 14%, reaching<br />

$2.6B. These figures underscore the<br />

strategic importance of the UAE and<br />

the broader region in Standard Chartered’s<br />

global revenue landscape.<br />

Citibank UAE<br />

Citibank National Association,<br />

commonly known as Citibank<br />

UAE, operates as a franchise<br />

subsidiary of Citigroup, a global financial<br />

services corporation headquartered<br />

in New York City, United States.<br />

The bank is part of a vast network<br />

spanning 98 markets globally.<br />

Commencing operations in 1964,<br />

Citibank UAE established its initial<br />

branch in Dubai and later expanded<br />

with a second branch in Abu Dhabi in<br />

1971. This enduring presence reflects<br />

Citibank’s commitment to providing<br />

financial services and solutions in the<br />

dynamic landscape of the United Arab<br />

Emirates, contributing to the bank’s<br />

global footprint and reinforcing its<br />

position as a key player in the region.<br />

Citibank UAE operates comprehensive<br />

full-service branches exclusively<br />

in three of the seven Emirates:<br />

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah. The<br />

bank serves a broad spectrum, offering<br />

an array of financial products<br />

and services to both consumers and<br />

institutions.<br />

Its offerings span consumer banking<br />

and credit, corporate and investment<br />

banking, institutional equity research<br />

and sales, foreign exchange, credit<br />

cards, commercial banking, treasury<br />

and trade solutions, and an E-Brokerage<br />

platform. Through this diverse<br />

suite of services, Citibank UAE aims<br />

to meet the varied financial needs of<br />

individuals and businesses, contributing<br />

to the economic landscape of the<br />

Emirates it serves.<br />

Citibank’s operational focus in<br />

Dubai is centralised at the Dubai International<br />

Financial Centre (DIFC).<br />

Established in 2006, this entity operates<br />

under licences from Citigroup<br />

Global Markets Ltd. and Citibank, N.A.<br />

(DIFC Branch).<br />

Citibank UAE’s E-Brokerage for DIY<br />

Investors charges 1% of the traded<br />

amount per transaction and 0.2% custody<br />

fees annually, calculated based<br />

on the average balance of assets under<br />

custody and assessed quarterly.<br />

The DIFC serves as a strategic financial<br />

hub, providing Citibank with<br />

a prominent presence in one of the<br />

key global business centres. Through<br />

this branch, Citibank caters to the<br />

diverse financial needs of its clients in<br />

Dubai, contributing to the city’s status<br />

as a thriving international financial<br />

destination.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 11

UAE Banking News<br />

UAE to Lead <strong>World</strong><br />

Bank Cloud<br />

Computing Working<br />

Group<br />

The UAE has been appointed as<br />

the chair of the <strong>World</strong> Bank’s<br />

Cloud Computing Working<br />

Group, a testament to the nation’s<br />

strides in advanced technology<br />

and digitalisation, solidifying its global<br />

leadership in digital transformation.<br />

Recognised for successfully implementing<br />

international best practices<br />

in cloud computing, the UAE supports<br />

both government entities and<br />

private-sector companies in transitioning<br />

to cutting-edge cloud systems,<br />

incorporating advanced cybersecurity<br />

solutions. Previously co-chaired by<br />

Singapore and the United Kingdom,<br />

the working group comprises 27 countries,<br />

international organisations, and<br />

leading companies, aiming to advance<br />

global standards in cloud computing,<br />

foster innovation, and promote sustainable<br />

digital development.<br />

UAE Central Bank Takes Action: Revokes Licence<br />

of Cogent Insurance Broker<br />

The UAE Central Bank has<br />

taken decisive action by revoking<br />

the licence of Cogent<br />

Insurance Broker, a company<br />

operating within the Emirates. This<br />

move aligns with the central bank’s<br />

ongoing efforts to address regulatory<br />

and compliance shortcomings within<br />

the insurance sector. Cogent’s removal<br />

from the insurance broker registry<br />

follows the central bank’s discovery<br />

of a deficient compliance framework<br />

and failure to meet obligations. The<br />

regulator emphasised its commitment<br />

to upholding UAE laws, regulations,<br />

and standards to ensure transparency<br />

and integrity in the insurance industry<br />

and the broader financial system. This<br />

action is part of the central bank’s<br />

broader initiative to combat regulatory<br />

breaches, including measures against<br />

money laundering and financing.<br />

UAE Central Bank maintains a base rate of 5.40%<br />

The Central Bank of the UAE<br />

(CBUAE) has decided to<br />

maintain the Base Rate for<br />

the Overnight Deposit Facility<br />

(ODF) at 5.40 percent, following the<br />

U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on<br />

December 13 to keep the Interest on<br />

Reserve Balances (IORB) unchanged.<br />

Simultaneously, the CBUAE has opted<br />

to keep the interest rate for short-term<br />

liquidity borrowing from the CBUAE at<br />

50 basis points above the unchanged<br />

Base Rate for all standing credit facilities.<br />

Tied to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s<br />

IORB, the Base Rate not only signifies<br />

the overall monetary policy stance<br />

but also establishes a minimum for<br />

overnight money market interest rates<br />

in the UAE.<br />

UAE Banks Pledge $270B in Sustainable <strong>Finance</strong> Initiatives<br />

The UAE’s green economy is set<br />

to receive a substantial boost,<br />

with the country’s banking<br />

federation and affiliated national<br />

financial institutions committing<br />

to mobilise over AED 1T ($270B) for<br />

sustainable finance by 2030. Leading<br />

the initiative are major banks, including<br />

First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi<br />

Commercial Bank, Emirates NBD,<br />

Mashreq Bank, and Dubai Islamic<br />

Bank, as revealed by the UAE Banks<br />

Federation. Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair,<br />

Chairman of the UBF, underscored the<br />

federation’s role in uniting member<br />

banks for collective action. Mashreq<br />

Bank, recognised at COP28 for its<br />

support, solidified its commitment to<br />

facilitating AED 110B in sustainable<br />

finance by 2030, showcasing a robust<br />

track record and ongoing initiatives in<br />

sustainable finance implementation.<br />

12 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

UAE Central Bank Joins GCC Payments System ‘Afaq’ to Drive<br />

FinTech Adoption<br />

The UAE Central Bank has joined<br />

the GCC’s Afaq payments system,<br />

operated by Gulf Payments<br />

Company, to advance financial<br />

technology (FinTech) adoption. Afaq<br />

links payment systems in GCC countries,<br />

facilitating real-time financial transactions<br />

in local currencies with reduced fees.<br />

This move aligns with the central bank’s<br />

strategic objectives to shape the UAE’s<br />

FinTech and digitisation landscape by<br />

supporting innovation and payment<br />

systems initiatives. The participation in<br />

Afaq aims to provide secure and instant<br />

payment platforms, enhancing integration<br />

within the regional payment ecosystem.<br />

The UAE Central Bank joins Saudi Arabia,<br />

Bahrain, and Kuwait as members, with<br />

Barclays becoming the first UAE lender<br />

to join Afaq.<br />

Beyond ONE<br />

Introduces FRiENDi<br />

Pay in Saudi Arabia<br />

Digital services provider and<br />

TMT-sector investment<br />

company, Beyond ONE, has<br />

unveiled FRiENDi Pay, a<br />

digital mobile wallet service in Saudi<br />

Arabia. The new offering aims to<br />

streamline remittances, cut costs,<br />

and enhance efficiency for FRiENDi<br />

mobile subscribers. With access to<br />

banking services, the service facilitates<br />

seamless and instant international<br />

money transfers to countries like<br />

Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and the<br />

Philippines. FRiENDi Pay supports<br />

cash-to-account (CTA), account-toaccount<br />

(A2A), and wallet transfers.<br />

Given Saudi Arabia’s significant<br />

expatriate population, constituting 40<br />

percent of its residents, who regularly<br />

send remittances, FRiENDi Pay adds<br />

convenience, transparency, and peace<br />

of mind for customers in the remittance<br />

process.<br />

SCA-Registered Green Bonds and Sukuks<br />

Surpass $4.2B in 2023<br />

Green and sustainability-linked<br />

bonds and sukuk registered<br />

with the Securities and Commodities<br />

Authority (SCA) in<br />

the UAE have achieved a combined<br />

value of around AED 15.45B ($4.21B)<br />

in the first 11 months of the year.<br />

Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of<br />

the SCA Board, commended the UAE’s<br />

commitment to sustainability during<br />

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)<br />

is set to sell an 80% stake in its property<br />

management services subsidiary,<br />

Abu Dhabi Commercial Properties<br />

(ADCP), to Nine Yards Plus Holding,<br />

a subsidiary of Ethmar International<br />

Holding. The transaction values ADCP<br />

at AED 591M ($161M), with ADCB<br />

expected to gain nearly AED 490M<br />

($133.4M) upon closing before the<br />

end of December. ADCB will retain<br />

a 20% stake in ADCP and continue<br />

its partnership through a long-term<br />

relationship agreement. Ala’a Eraiqat,<br />

ADCB’s Group Chief Executive,<br />

stated that the transaction unlocked<br />

substantial value for shareholders<br />

while positioning ADCP for further<br />

growth. Established in 2006, ADCP<br />

manages around 51,000 units across<br />

1,900 properties.<br />

COP28, emphasising the authority’s<br />

role in regulating the issuance of such<br />

bonds and sukuk. Al Shorafa highlighted<br />

the SCA’s decision to exempt<br />

companies listing their green or sustainability-linked<br />

bonds or sukuk from<br />

registration fees, marking a significant<br />

step in meeting the growing demand<br />

for these financial instruments in the<br />

local market.<br />

ADCB to Sell 80% Stake in Abu Dhabi<br />

Commercial Properties, Expects $133M Gain<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 13

14 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Event<br />

41st Annual International Conference of<br />

the ICAI Dubai Chapter<br />

The 41st Annual International<br />

Conference of the ICAI Dubai<br />

Chapter unfolded under the theme,<br />

“Confluence of Vision, Sustainability,<br />

and Innovation.” This event showcased<br />

the dynamic intersection of vision,<br />

sustainability, and innovation within<br />

chartered accountancy. Chairman<br />

Harikishan Rankawat stated, “For all<br />

of us Chartered Accountants, foresight<br />

was our strategic advantage. As we<br />

navigated complex regulatory environments<br />

and technological advancements,<br />

it was our shared vision that propelled<br />

us forward as a community.”<br />

The first day of the conference featured<br />

Chief Guest His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan<br />

Bin Mabarak Al Nahyan, Minister<br />

of Tolerance and Coexistence. Other<br />

notable guests included Gurudev Sri<br />

Sri Ravi Shankarji, Padma Vibhushan<br />

Awardee and Founder of Art of Living,<br />

and Mr. Faizal Kotti-kollon, Chairman<br />

of KEF Holdings. Speakers like Mr<br />

Hardik Sheth from Boston Consulting<br />

Group, Ms Cheenu Gupta of HSBC, and<br />

author Mr Chetan Bhagat provided<br />

diverse insights.<br />

On the second day, Guest of Honor<br />

CA Aniket Sunil Talati, President of<br />

ICAI, was present along with Padma<br />

Shri T. V. Mohandas Pai, Mr Anupam<br />

Kher, Ms Devita Saraf, CA Ankur Aggarwal,<br />

and Moderator CA Abbas Ali<br />

Mirza. Panelists including Mr Anthony<br />

O’Sullivan, Ms Olga Ermo-laeva, and<br />

Mr Omar Saraswala, contributed to<br />

the comprehensive discussions with<br />

their varied perspectives.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 15

UAE Reforms<br />

source: freepik.com<br />

Foreign investors are drawn to RAK after the unveiling of its ‘Visa for Life’ initiative<br />

RAKEZ’s ‘Visa for Life’ to Fuel Ras Al<br />

Khaimah’s Global Investment Surge<br />

The advent of Ras Al Khaimah<br />

Economic Zone’s (RAKEZ) ‘Visa<br />

for Life’ initiative has ignited a<br />

significant buzz within the emirate’s<br />

real estate landscape, signalling a<br />

transformative phase for both investors<br />

and residents. This groundbreaking<br />

program, offering permanent residency<br />

visas, serves as a catalyst to attract<br />

foreign investments and establish Ras<br />

Al Khaimah (RAK) as a global epicentre<br />

for business and lifestyle.<br />

Ras Al Khaimah has experienced a<br />

surge in business activity, underscoring<br />

its allure among investors and entrepreneurs.<br />

Its strategic location, advanced<br />

infrastructure, and business-friendly<br />

environment have propelled it to become<br />

a favoured destination for those seeking<br />

growth and development opportunities.<br />

The ‘Visa for Life’ initiative, a standout<br />

feature introduced by RAKEZ, provides<br />

permanent residency visas to eligible<br />

individuals. This pioneering program<br />

seeks to instil a sense of belonging<br />

and security among expatriates and<br />

investors, allowing them to deeply<br />

connect with Ras Al Khaimah while<br />

contributing to its sustained growth.<br />

The benefits of the Permanent Residency<br />

Visa are multifaceted. Firstly,<br />

recipients enjoy long-term stability,<br />

ensuring a secure environment for<br />

themselves and their families. Entrepreneurs<br />

and investors gain a strategic<br />

advantage for business expansion and<br />

development, fostering confidence and<br />

long-term planning. Families benefit from<br />

high-quality education and healthcare<br />

facilities, while the initiative encourages<br />

cultural integration, creating a<br />

rich and diverse social fabric within<br />

the emirate.<br />

The impact of the ‘Visa for Life’<br />

initiative is expected to reverberate<br />

strongly within Ras Al Khaimah’s real<br />

estate sector. Anticipated growth in<br />

permanent residency seekers is likely to<br />

drive increased demand for residential<br />

and commercial properties. Investors<br />

exploring real estate options can delve<br />

into a diverse portfolio, from luxurious<br />

waterfront residences to strategically<br />

located commercial spaces.<br />

This visionary initiative not only<br />

strengthens Ras Al Khaimah’s position<br />

as a burgeoning business hub but also<br />

opens new avenues for individuals<br />

seeking a lasting connection with this<br />

vibrant community. As the real estate<br />

market responds to these transformative<br />

developments, opportunities abound for<br />

those considering Ras Al Khaimah as<br />

their home or business base. The ‘Visa<br />

for Life’ initiative signifies an exciting<br />

chapter in RAK’s journey, promising a<br />

future brimming with growth, prosperity,<br />

and an enriched quality of life.<br />

16 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

UAE Ministry of Investment: Uniting<br />

Strategies for Enhanced FDI<br />

The UAE’s Ministry of Investment,<br />

established in July 2023, stands<br />

as a beacon for consolidating<br />

the diverse investment policies of the<br />

Emirates into a cohesive strategy. In a<br />

recent discussion, Mohamed Alsuwaidi,<br />

the Minister of Investment, outlined<br />

the ministry’s pivotal role in unifying<br />

individual emirate strategies into a<br />

comprehensive UAE approach during<br />

the Milken Institute Middle East and<br />

Africa summit in Abu Dhabi.<br />

With a focus on fostering inward and<br />

outward investment flows, the ministry<br />

aims to propel the UAE’s companies<br />

beyond domestic boundaries, aiding<br />

them in expanding their footprint<br />

and establishing a global presence.<br />

Alsuwaidi emphasised the ministry’s<br />

position as a catalyst for investment<br />

and local companies’ growth rather<br />

than being a regulatory policymaker.<br />

The ministry’s primary objective<br />

revolves around advocating for local<br />

companies thriving within the UAE market<br />

and supporting their further expansion.<br />

Alsuwaidi emphasised the intention<br />

to facilitate growth opportunities for<br />

homegrown companies—public and<br />

private—enabling them to explore and<br />

penetrate new international markets.<br />

Alsuwaidi exemplified instances<br />

where UAE entities ventured globally,<br />

citing Taqa’s international power plant<br />

operations, Adnoc’s gas investments<br />

abroad, and Pure Health’s recent acquisition<br />

in the UK as indicative of the<br />

country’s expanding global footprint.<br />

Alsuwaidi also highlighted opportunities<br />

in the UAE’s industrial sector,<br />

pointing to initiatives in downstream<br />

oil and gas, petrochemicals, plastics,<br />

recycling, and export materials, making<br />

it an attractive destination for investors.<br />

Setting an ambitious goal to attract<br />

Dh550 billion ($150 billion) in foreign<br />

investment by 2031, the UAE has unveiled<br />

several initiatives and policies, such<br />

as allowing 100% foreign ownership<br />

and flexible visa programs, to bolster<br />

its appeal to global capital and talent.<br />

The country’s efforts have yielded<br />

positive results, with a record FDI<br />

inflow of $23 billion last year, propelling<br />

the UAE to rank first in the Arab<br />

world and 16th globally in FDI inflows.<br />

In essence, the Ministry of Investment’s<br />

concerted efforts align with the<br />

UAE’s broader economic diversification<br />

strategy, aiming to solidify the country’s<br />

position as an attractive investment<br />

destination and a global player in the<br />

world economy.<br />

UAE boosts Foreign Investments through Unifying strategies<br />

Image supplied<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 17

Fintech<br />

Neobanks Revolutionising Financial<br />

Transactions in the UAE<br />

In recent years, the financial technology (FinTech) scene in the United Arab<br />

Emirates (UAE) has undergone a significant transformation, primarily due to the<br />

emergence and rapid growth of neobanks. Foreign neobank applications that<br />

have entered the UAE market stand out notably, altering the dynamics of the<br />

banking sector in profound ways. Neo banks have revolutionised the financial<br />

sector. Their disruptive nature has captured the attention of consumers and<br />

investors alike, signalling a paradigm shift in the banking sector of the UAE. This<br />

article highlights three foreign Neobanks that are operating in the UAE.<br />

CurrencyFair<br />

CurrencyFair is an Ireland-based<br />

Neobank that was co-founded<br />

by Brett Meyers, Jonathan Potter,<br />

Sean Barrett and David Christian<br />

in 2010. With over a decade of operation,<br />

this online-based platform has<br />

garnered a substantial customer base,<br />

surpassing 150,000 users worldwide.<br />

What sets CurrencyFair apart is its<br />

unique peer-to-peer currency exchange<br />

model, which empowers users to<br />

determine their exchange rates when<br />

sending money abroad. This innovative<br />

approach to money transfer allows<br />

individuals greater control over their<br />

transactions, a distinct departure from<br />

traditional banking methods.<br />

In terms of functionality, CurrencyFair<br />

offers a user-friendly interface<br />

that simplifies the process of international<br />

transfers, catering to personal<br />

and business needs. While it may not<br />

tout the absolute lowest fees in the<br />

market, it strikes a balance between<br />

affordability and reliability, making it<br />

a viable option for those seeking consistent<br />

and reasonably priced money<br />

transfer services.<br />

The platform supports transactions<br />

in 20 major currencies, focusing primarily<br />

on well-established currency<br />

corridors including the UAE, enabling<br />

users to conduct international payments<br />

efficiently.<br />

CurrencyFair’s strengths lie in its<br />

accessibility and convenience, offering<br />

around-the-clock availability through<br />

both its online platform and mobile<br />

applications. Its two primary currency<br />

exchange methods, QuickTrade<br />

and MarketPlace, provide users with<br />

options to expedite transactions or potentially<br />

secure better exchange rates.<br />

For individuals and businesses making<br />

regular, smaller transfers, CurrencyFair<br />

emerges as an appealing choice.<br />

However, larger transfers might not<br />

align with their optimal utility due to<br />

limitations in currency offerings and<br />

the absence of cash pick-up options.<br />

On the security front, CurrencyFair<br />

adheres to stringent measures, ensuring<br />

the protection of customer funds<br />

through practices like separating<br />

customer accounts, maintaining high<br />

standards for systems and procedures,<br />

implementing two-factor authentication<br />

(2FA), and employing secure data<br />

storage protocols.<br />

The platform’s transparency further<br />

bolsters trust among its users,<br />

allowing them to easily track their<br />

transaction history. The simplicity of<br />

its interface and transaction process<br />

streamlines the user experience, allowing<br />

for swift and efficient management<br />

of accounts and transactions without<br />

unnecessary complexities.<br />

CurrencyFair’s success lies<br />

in its commitment to providing a<br />

Brett Meyers,<br />

Co-Founder<br />

straightforward, reliable, and cost-effective<br />

means for individuals and<br />

businesses to conduct international<br />

money transfers. While it may not<br />

cater comprehensively to all needs, its<br />

focus on simplicity and affordability<br />

makes it a noteworthy player in the<br />

neobanking landscape, especially for<br />

those seeking hassle-free and reliable<br />

financial services for international<br />

transactions.<br />

18 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Wise<br />

Wise, formerly known as TransferWise,<br />

has emerged as a<br />

frontrunner in the realm of<br />

international money transfers within the<br />

UAE’s burgeoning FinTech landscape.<br />

Established in 2011 by Estonian entrepreneurs<br />

Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo<br />

Käärmann, Wise revolutionised the way<br />

individuals and businesses conduct<br />

cross-border transactions.<br />

With its presence in over 70 countries<br />

and support for more than 40<br />

currencies, Wise has positioned itself<br />

as a convenient and cost-effective<br />

solution for navigating the complexities<br />

of global monetary transfers. Its<br />

strong peer-to-peer network bypasses<br />

traditional banking systems, ensuring<br />

lower fees and transparent exchange<br />

rates, distinguishing it from conventional<br />

financial institutions.<br />

Wise offers an array of services tailored<br />

to diverse user needs. Whether<br />

for personal transfers to friends and<br />

family abroad, facilitating business<br />

transactions with global partners, or<br />

managing multi-currency accounts, the<br />

platform caters to a broad spectrum of<br />

international financial requirements.<br />

The platform’s reputation as a regulated<br />

financial institution is bolstered<br />

by its commitment to stringent security<br />

measures and round-the-clock customer<br />

support. Its intuitive website<br />

and mobile app provide users with an<br />

easy-to-navigate interface, ensuring a<br />

seamless user experience.<br />

One of Wise’s standout features is<br />

its transparent approach to exchange<br />

rates. It refrains from inflating rates,<br />

making it a cost-effective alternative<br />

to traditional banks, especially evident<br />

when compared to high-street banks<br />

like Barclays.<br />

Wise’s user-friendly interface, coupled<br />

with its commitment to security through<br />

measures like two-factor authentication<br />

and constant monitoring, instil<br />

confidence in users. Wise’s success in<br />

providing a streamlined, efficient, and<br />

Taavet Hinrikus,<br />

Co-Founder<br />

transparent platform for international<br />

money transfers makes it a notable<br />

player in the UAE’s neobank landscape.<br />

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

<strong>World</strong>Remit, a UK-based<br />

neobank, emerged from its<br />

founder’s quest to simplify<br />

money transfers worldwide in 2010.<br />

Ismail Ahmad’s vision for an online<br />

future for an offline industry became<br />

<strong>World</strong>Remit’s mission: accessible and<br />

straightforward transfers for all.<br />

With over 30,000 agent locations<br />

spanning more than 130 countries,<br />

including the UAE <strong>World</strong>Remit’s<br />

extensive network fills the gaps in<br />

regions where traditional banking<br />

services are less accessible. The<br />

platform’s operations rely on a<br />

substantial banking network across<br />

various countries, facilitating funds<br />

transfer to recipients’ local currencies<br />

after users deposit funds into a local<br />

<strong>World</strong>Remit bank account.<br />

Specialising in personal transfers,<br />

<strong>World</strong>Remit offers a range of<br />

features, including a mobile wallet<br />

for convenient money management,<br />

airtime top-ups for extending mobile<br />

services, and WhatsApp notifications<br />

for transfer updates—adding to the<br />

platform’s user-friendly experience.<br />

While <strong>World</strong>Remit boasts several<br />

advantages, including multiple<br />

payment options and quick transfers,<br />

it’s important to note potential<br />

downsides. The platform faces<br />

criticism for hidden fees embedded in<br />

exchange rate markups, lower transfer<br />

caps, and reported challenges with<br />

customer service availability.<br />

<strong>World</strong>Remit caters primarily to<br />

quick and occasional transfers,<br />

with a focus on simplicity. In terms<br />

of costs, it applies exchange rate<br />

markups ranging from 0.5% to 1.25%,<br />

with additional fees varying based<br />

on currency corridors and transfer<br />

methods. Users benefit from fee<br />

transparency through the platform’s<br />

calculator, which displays fees and<br />

exchange rates before registration.<br />

<strong>World</strong>Remit supports multiple<br />

transfer types, including bank<br />

transfers, cash pickups, mobile money<br />

transfers, and airtime top-ups. The<br />

platform’s deposit and withdrawal<br />

options exceed industry standards,<br />

offering credit/debit cards, bank<br />

transfers, and online payment apps<br />

Ismail Ahmad,<br />

Founder<br />

among others.<br />

<strong>World</strong>Remit stands as a prominent<br />

option for individuals seeking flexible<br />

and accessible money transfer<br />

services. Its widespread network<br />

and range of functionalities cater to<br />

diverse transfer needs, emphasising<br />

convenience and speed in global<br />

remittances.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 19

Fintech News<br />

Pakistani Fintech ABHI Chosen Among UAE’s Future 100 Companies<br />

ABHI, an innovative embedded<br />

finance platform, clinched<br />

recognition as one of the<br />

Future 100 companies in the<br />

UAE. The Ministry of Economy and<br />

the Government Development and the<br />

Future Office spearheaded the initiative,<br />

honoring startups contributing<br />

to the nation’s future readiness and<br />

economic sector competitiveness. At<br />

the award ceremony, graced by H.E<br />

Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri and H.E<br />

Ohood bint Khalifa Al Roumi, ABHI’s<br />

Co-Founder and CEO, Omair Ansari,<br />

expressed gratitude for the honor. He<br />

reiterated the company’s commitment<br />

to advancing financial wellness in the<br />

region. This accolade further underscores<br />

ABHI’s pivotal role in shaping<br />

the future landscape of economic<br />

development.<br />

Emirates NBD Partners with Hub71 to Boost FinTech<br />

Innovation<br />

Emirates NBD, a leading banking<br />

group in the MENAT region,<br />

has entered into a strategic<br />

partnership with Abu Dhabi’s<br />

global tech ecosystem, Hub71, aiming<br />

to revolutionise banking services<br />

with cutting-edge FinTech solutions.<br />

This collaboration enhances Emirates<br />

NBD’s commitment to innovation and<br />

opens avenues for market expansion<br />

into Abu Dhabi. The alliance taps into<br />

the entrepreneurial spirit of Hub71,<br />

offering tailored financial solutions<br />

and streamlined services. Abdulla<br />

Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer<br />

at Emirates NBD, sees this collaboration<br />

as a significant step in elevating<br />

customer experiences. Hub71, home<br />

to over 260 startups, strengthens the<br />

ecosystem with incentives, programs,<br />

and access to a vibrant community. The<br />

UAE leads the MENA FinTech market,<br />

attracting record-high investments of<br />

$2.5B in 2022.<br />

Tamara Achieves $1B Valuation Following $340M Series<br />

C Funding Round<br />

Saudi fintech platform Tamara<br />

has achieved the coveted status<br />

of becoming the first homegrown<br />

fintech unicorn in the<br />

Kingdom with a historic $1B valuation,<br />

following a successful Series C equity<br />

funding round that secured $340M.<br />

Co-led by SNB Capital and Sanabil<br />

Investments, with participation from<br />

Shorooq Partners, Pinnacle Capital,<br />

and others, this funding marks one<br />

of the region’s largest investments in<br />

a fintech company. Tamara, founded<br />

in late 2020, operates in KSA, UAE,<br />

and Kuwait, boasting over 10 million<br />

users, and 30,000 partner merchants,<br />

and reporting six times annual run rate<br />

revenue growth in under two years.<br />

Circle and Fuze Forge<br />

Strategic Partnership in<br />

Fintech<br />

Circle Internet Financial, a prominent<br />

global digital financial technology<br />

firm, and Fuze, the leading<br />

digital assets infrastructure<br />

provider in the MENA region, have inked<br />

a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)<br />

to explore digital assets initiatives. As the<br />

issuer of the US-dollar-backed stablecoin<br />

USDC, Circle will collaborate with Fuze<br />

to extend USDC adoption among new<br />

customers in the Middle East, Africa, and<br />

Turkey. The partnership aims to enhance<br />

financial inclusion, driving the adoption<br />

of full-reserve payment stablecoins across<br />

the region and piloting new use cases<br />

relevant to these dynamic markets. Fuze’s<br />

Co-Founder and CEO, Mohammed Ali<br />

Yusuf, expressed excitement about developing<br />

the future of finance in close<br />

collaboration with the Circle team.<br />

20 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Coinbase Launches<br />

‘Diamond’ Smart Contract<br />

Project in Abu Dhabi<br />

A<br />

smart contract-powered<br />

platform “Project Diamond”,<br />

has been launched, allowing<br />

institutions to seamlessly<br />

create, buy, and sell digitally native<br />

assets. The platform, designed by experienced<br />

asset managers, executed its<br />

inaugural debt instrument transaction<br />

in preparation for entry into the Abu<br />

Dhabi Global Market RegLab sandbox.<br />

Built on the Coinbase technology<br />

stack and Base, an Ethereum layer-2<br />

blockchain, Project Diamond aims to<br />

facilitate secure, compliant capital<br />

market activities. With less than 0.25% of<br />

global assets currently represented on<br />

blockchain infrastructure, the platform<br />

seeks to bridge this gap and unlock<br />

institutional adoption of the global<br />

crypto economy, driving efficiency<br />

gains in the financial sector.<br />

MENA Fintech Association launches their new<br />

Sustainable Fintech Report 2023<br />

The MENA Fintech Association,<br />

a leading not-for-profit organisation<br />

in the Middle East and<br />

Africa, proudly presents its<br />

groundbreaking Sustainable Fintech<br />

Report 2023. This report, featuring<br />

insights from industry leaders such as<br />

Paymentology, Paymob, Mastercard,<br />

META, Heriot-Watt University, and<br />

more, explores innovative approaches<br />

driving positive change in the financial<br />

industry. It highlights collaborative<br />

initiatives fostering responsible innovation<br />

by institutions and companies<br />

like DIFC and ADGM. Through insights<br />

from key industry players and academic<br />

perspectives, the report provides<br />

valuable industry insights, addressing<br />

trends, challenges, and opportunities in<br />

sustainable fintech. Whereas, contributions<br />

from Heriot-Watt University offer<br />

a well-rounded academic perspective<br />

on responsible financial practices.<br />

Dubai Insurance Invests in OneDegree for Digital<br />

Asset Insurance Partnership<br />

Dubai Insurance Company<br />

has invested in Hong<br />

Kong-based insurtech One-<br />

Degree as part of its Series<br />

B funding round, aiming to establish<br />

a partnership for offering digital asset<br />

insurance in the United Arab Emirates<br />

(UAE). The funding amount from<br />

Dubai Insurance was undisclosed.<br />

OneDegree had previously raised $55M<br />

in June for its Series B from investors<br />

like Gobi Partners, Sun Hung Kai, and<br />

Bitrock. The collaboration seeks to<br />

provide innovative insurance solutions<br />

for the evolving digital asset landscape<br />

in the MENA region, starting with<br />

commercial liability insurance. Both<br />

entities plan to pursue regulatory<br />

approval for additional products,<br />

including custodial wallet insurance,<br />

bringing novel offerings to the UAE<br />

market.<br />

Aramco and SBI Holdings<br />

Ink MoU for Digital Asset<br />

Collaboration<br />

Aramco and SBI Holdings<br />

have signed a Memorandum<br />

of Understanding (MoU),<br />

indicating a potential business<br />

alliance. The agreement aims<br />

to explore collaboration in various<br />

areas, including digital assets, co-investments,<br />

and support for Japanese<br />

startups in the digital asset sector<br />

seeking expansion into Saudi Arabia.<br />

This collaboration sets the stage for<br />

discussions on additional high-technology<br />

business opportunities in digital<br />

assets and semiconductors, contributing<br />

to economic ties between Japan<br />

and Saudi Arabia. In tandem with this<br />

partnership, SBI Holdings is advancing<br />

the establishment of ‘SBI Middle<br />

East’ in Riyadh, further expanding its<br />

operational presence in the Middle<br />

East region.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 21

Fintech Application<br />


PayTabs Merchant App emerged<br />

from the vision of Saudi entrepreneur<br />

Abdulaziz Al Jouf,<br />

who founded the PayTabs platform in<br />

2014 to create an accessible payment<br />

gateway platform for investors. Al<br />

Jouf envisioned a solution that would<br />

cater to merchants seeking a secure<br />

online payment system without the<br />

complexities traditionally associated<br />

with obtaining one.<br />

The secure mobile payments app<br />

offered by PayTabs is a valuable asset<br />

for managing businesses of varying<br />

sizes, be it startups, SMEs, or enterprises.<br />

Crafted with security in mind,<br />

this app is designed to facilitate the<br />

sale of products and services globally,<br />

catering to an expansive market.<br />

One of its standout features lies in<br />

providing businesses with pre-built<br />

integration solutions and shopping<br />

cart plugins, ensuring a hassle-free<br />

and smooth checkout experience on<br />

their websites. With these integrations,<br />

customers can conveniently pay in multiple<br />

currencies using diverse payment<br />

options such as debit cards, credit<br />

cards, and digital wallets like Apple<br />

Pay. Enabling this array of payment<br />

choices not only enhances the ease<br />

for customers but also expands the<br />

reach of the online business, driving<br />

increased traffic to the web store.<br />

Moreover, the app significantly saves<br />

time for businesses by offering versatile<br />

invoicing options. Invoices can be<br />

effortlessly sent, received, and shared<br />

via QR code, email, SMS, or social media<br />

channels. This versatility in secure<br />

digital payment solutions catalyses<br />

fostering the growth of web stores,<br />

particularly within the MENA region.<br />

PayTabs mobile payments app is<br />

easily accessible and free of charge.<br />

Available for download on both the<br />

Apple Store and Google Play, this user-friendly<br />

application empowers businesses<br />

without any upfront costs. This<br />

accessibility ensures that businesses<br />

of all sizes, from startups to enterprises,<br />

can leverage its functionalities to<br />

manage transactions, expand their<br />

customer base, and streamline their<br />

payment processes, all at zero cost.<br />

Overall, PayTabs’ mobile payments<br />

app emerges as a robust solution for<br />

businesses looking to fortify their online<br />

presence, ensuring secure transactions<br />

while fostering growth and convenience<br />

for both businesses and their customers<br />

across the MENA region and beyond.<br />

source: Paytabs.com<br />

22 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

OPPO Find N3<br />

OPPO’s Find N3 emerges as a<br />

significant player in the realm<br />

of foldable smartphones, where<br />

the hinge becomes the linchpin of user<br />

experience innovation. Their Flexion<br />

Hinge undergoes a groundbreaking<br />

refinement, notably featuring the<br />

Torque Control System with four<br />

quarter-spindle elements on each side,<br />

ensuring a smoother and more resistant<br />

folding mechanism compared to its<br />

predecessors.<br />

The backbone of this hinge incorporates<br />

a specially developed high-strength<br />

steel for the anchor and joint core,<br />

making the Find N3 five times stronger<br />

than ordinary steel. This tech grants<br />

superior drop and impact resistance<br />

while maintaining a lighter profile,<br />

setting a new standard for durability.<br />

Moreover, a core made from liquid<br />

metal, twice as strong as traditional steel,<br />

reduces thickness by 30%, resulting in<br />

a slimmer, lighter, yet stronger device,<br />

serving as a testament to structural<br />

integrity.<br />

The Flexion Hinge, consisting of<br />

69 pieces (28 fewer components than<br />

its predecessor), creates a simple yet<br />

intricate system, reducing weight to<br />

an impressive 16.8g.<br />

Upon unfolding, the Find N3 reveals<br />

a seamless glass-like display, meticulously<br />

assembled with multiple layers.<br />

Carbon fibre support plates with<br />

over 5,000 microscopic laser-made<br />

holes form an almost invisible crease,<br />

enhancing durability and ensuring an<br />

uninterrupted view.<br />

The innovative 360º isotropic micro-cavity<br />

support structure guarantees<br />

outstanding folding performance, complemented<br />

by a self-healing film that<br />

smoothens out scuffs and imperfections.<br />

Coupled with a polarizer-free layer, this<br />

reduces screen power consumption by<br />

20%, extending the screen-on time by<br />

three extra hours.<br />

Durability remains a cornerstone, with<br />

advanced hinge lubrication ensuring<br />

a lifetime of smooth motion. Weather-sealing<br />

protects against splashes,<br />

and rigorous testing, verified by TÜV<br />

Rheinland, certifies the Find N3 for up<br />

to 1,000,000 folds.<br />

With resilience against extreme temperatures,<br />

robust cover screen glass,<br />

and a pro-grade triple camera system,<br />

Find N3 embodies a harmonious blend<br />

of design, productivity, and power.<br />

Availability: https://www.oppo.com/<br />

ae/smartphones/series-find-n/find-n3/<br />

source: oppo.com<br />

Price: AED 6,999/-<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 23

Business<br />

source: Pexels.com<br />

Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions Regulations safeguards business integrity.<br />

DNFBPs: Safeguarding<br />

Global <strong>Finance</strong><br />

Against Money<br />

Laundering<br />

Understanding the regulatory framework of DNFBPs<br />

is crucial for ensuring your business’s financial<br />

security and protection against money laundering.<br />

Designated Non-Financial Businesses and<br />

Professions (DNFBPs) hold a significant<br />

position within the business landscape,<br />

contributing to the broader framework<br />

of financial integrity. Understanding<br />

their pivotal role in combating money<br />

laundering and terrorist financing aligns<br />

with the ethos of maintaining ethical<br />

and transparent business operations.<br />

By highlighting how DNFBPs reinforce<br />

regulatory compliance and mitigate financial<br />

risks, This article resonates with<br />

businesses striving to uphold integrity,<br />

compliance, and security within their operations.<br />

Backing the efforts of DNFBPs<br />

aligns with businesses aiming for ethical<br />

conduct and robust financial practices.<br />

This reinforces a collective dedication to<br />

fostering a trustworthy global financial<br />

ecosystem.<br />

24 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Designated Non-Financial Businesses<br />

and Professions (DNFBPs) are<br />

recognised by the Financial<br />

Action Task Force (FATF) as playing a<br />

critical role in the global effort against<br />

money laundering and terrorist financing.<br />

Although anti-money laundering regulations<br />

traditionally focus on financial institutions,<br />

DNFBPs encompass various industries<br />

and professions.<br />

Illicit actors can exploit these diverse<br />

sectors, and DNFBPs have unique<br />

vulnerabilities and responsibilities in<br />

identifying and mitigating the risks<br />

associated with financial crimes. This<br />

article will explore the importance of<br />

DNFBPs, their regulatory framework, and<br />

the measures they can take to safeguard<br />

against money laundering, shedding light<br />

on their pivotal role in maintaining the<br />

integrity of the global financial system.<br />

Financial institutions have long been the<br />

primary focus of anti-money laundering<br />

regulations. However, DNFBPs, including<br />

real estate agents, lawyers, accountants,<br />

and trust service providers, form a broad<br />

spectrum of industries susceptible to<br />

exploitation by illicit actors.<br />

DNFBPs denote a varied collection of<br />

entities or individuals engaged in nontraditional<br />

financial sector activities,<br />

susceptible to exploitation for money<br />

laundering, terrorist financing, or other<br />

illicit financial pursuits. Regulatory<br />

authorities designate these businesses<br />

and professions, subjecting them to<br />

particular anti-money laundering (AML)<br />

and counter-terrorism financing (CTF)<br />

regulations.<br />

List of Designated Non-Financial<br />

Businesses and Professions<br />

1. Lawyers, Notaries, Conveyancers, and<br />

Other Independent Legal Professionals:<br />

This group comprises legal practitioners,<br />

such as lawyers and notaries, offering legal<br />

services like property conveyancing, trust<br />

establishment, and company formation.<br />

2. Accountants, Auditors, and Tax<br />

Advisors: Professionals responsible for<br />

maintaining financial records, conducting<br />

audits, and providing guidance on tax<br />

matters for both individuals and businesses.<br />

3. Real Estate Agents, Developers, and<br />

Brokers: Individuals in the real estate<br />

sector, including agents, developers, and<br />

brokers, facilitating property transactions,<br />

including buying, selling, and leasing<br />

real estate.<br />

4. Dealers in Precious Metals, Jewels,<br />

and Stones: Businesses engaged in buying,<br />

selling, or trading precious metals like<br />

gold and silver, as well as dealing with<br />

valuable jewellery and gemstones.<br />

5. Dealers in Vehicles: Entities involved<br />

in the trade of automobiles, motorcycles,<br />

and other types of vehicles.<br />

6. Trusts and Company Service Providers:<br />

Specialised entities creating, managing,<br />

and administering trusts, companies, or<br />

other legal structures for clients.<br />

7. Casinos, Online Gaming, and Gambling<br />

Establishments: This category encompasses<br />

casinos, online gaming platforms, and<br />

gambling establishments that handle<br />

financial transactions related to gambling<br />

activities.<br />

8. Insurance Firms, Agents, and<br />

Brokers: Businesses engaged in the sale<br />

and provision of insurance products and<br />

services.<br />

9. Sports and Betting Operations: This<br />

category includes businesses involved in<br />

sports events, betting operations, and<br />

associated financial transactions.<br />

10. Crypto-Fiat Exchanges and Virtual<br />

Currency Custodian Wallet Services:<br />

Entities engaged in cryptocurrency<br />

trading, exchange platforms, and virtual<br />

currency wallet services.<br />

Key Obligations and<br />

Requirements for DNFBPs<br />

Designated Non-Financial Businesses<br />

and Professions (DNFBPs) are obligated<br />

to adhere to diverse regulatory obligations<br />

aimed at preventing money laundering<br />

and countering terrorism financing. While<br />

these requirements can differ across<br />

jurisdictions, DNFBPs generally have<br />

the following expectations:<br />

1. Conduct Customer Due Diligence<br />

(CDD): DNFBPs must establish and<br />

verify the identity of customers and<br />

beneficial owners, incorporating risk<br />

assessments and ongoing monitoring of<br />

client relationships.<br />

2. Report Suspicious Transactions:<br />

DNFBPs must actively monitor transactions<br />

for suspicious activities and promptly<br />

report them to relevant authorities,<br />

such as financial intelligence units or<br />

law enforcement agencies.<br />

3. Implement Internal Controls and<br />

Policies: DNFBPs should institute robust<br />

internal controls, policies, and procedures<br />

to mitigate risks associated with money<br />

laundering and terrorist financing. This<br />

encompasses risk assessment, recordkeeping,<br />

and employee training.<br />

4. Comply with Record-Keeping<br />

Requirements: DNFBPs typically must<br />

maintain transaction records, customer<br />

identification data, and other pertinent<br />

information for a specified duration.<br />

5. Establish AML/CFT Compliance<br />

Programs: DNFBPs are expected to<br />

create and implement comprehensive<br />

anti-money laundering and counterterrorism<br />

financing (AML/CFT) compliance<br />

programs tailored to their specific risks<br />

and obligations. This includes appointing<br />

a designated compliance officer and<br />

conducting regular assessments.<br />

6. Undertake Risk Assessments:<br />

DNFBPs must identify and evaluate money<br />

laundering and terrorist financing risks<br />

associated with their business activities.<br />

This involves assessing customer profiles,<br />

geographic risks, offered products/<br />

services, and delivery channels.<br />

7. Cooperate with Regulatory Authorities:<br />

DNFBPs are anticipated to cooperate<br />

with regulatory authorities, respond to<br />

inquiries, and provide necessary information<br />

during investigations or audits.<br />

8. Stay Updated with Regulatory<br />

Changes: DNFBPs should stay informed<br />

about AML/CFT regulations, guidelines,<br />

and best practices, ensuring compliance<br />

and implementing necessary updates to<br />

policies and procedures.<br />

9. Periodic Review of Risk Assessments<br />

and Compliance Programs: Regular<br />

reviews of risk assessments and AML/<br />

CFT compliance programs are essential<br />

for DNFBPs to ensure effectiveness<br />

and alignment with evolving risks and<br />

regulatory changes.<br />

Monitoring and Reporting:<br />

DNFBPs are mandated to monitor<br />

and report various aspects, including<br />

suspicious transactions, dealings with<br />

Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and<br />

sanctioned individuals, transactions with<br />

virtual currency exchanges, transactions<br />

involving sanctioned entities or countries,<br />

and trading in prohibited goods or activities<br />

posing risks of money laundering or<br />

terrorist financing. Vigilance is required,<br />

especially for transactions beyond<br />

specified thresholds.<br />

It’s crucial to acknowledge that<br />

these obligations may vary based on<br />

jurisdiction and the specific DNFBP<br />

sector. DNFBPs should consistently<br />

refer to local regulations and seek legal<br />

advice to ensure compliance with their<br />

distinct obligations.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 25

Business News<br />

Mubadala Eyes Stake in Indian Logistics Firm, Reports Say<br />

Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth<br />

fund, Mubadala, is among the<br />

contenders vying for the 50%<br />

stake in India’s IndoSpace Core,<br />

currently owned by Canada Pension<br />

Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). The<br />

sale, managed by Morgan Stanley, is<br />

projected to reach $700M, with Dutch<br />

pension fund APG, Canadian investor<br />

Oxford Properties, and Ivanhoe Cambridge<br />

also in the running. IndoSpace<br />

Core, a joint venture between IndoSpace<br />

and CPPIB, is focused on warehouse<br />

ownership and development, with<br />

IndoSpace holding an 80% stake. As<br />

CPPIB seeks to exit its investment<br />

after six years, the matured portfolio<br />

is expected to be finalised in the coming<br />

months, following CPPIB’s initial<br />

$500M commitment. IndoSpace Core’s<br />

portfolio comprises 50 logistics parks,<br />

covering 57 million sq ft of delivered<br />

or under-development space.<br />

Hyundai Teams Up<br />

with UAE Sovereign<br />

Wealth Fund to Drive<br />

Eco-Friendly Mobility<br />

Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s<br />

leading car manufacturer,<br />

has announced a strategic<br />

collaboration with the United<br />

Arab Emirates’ sovereign wealth fund to<br />

advance eco-friendly mobility initiatives.<br />

This partnership underscores Hyundai’s<br />

commitment to sustainable and<br />

innovative transportation solutions. By<br />

joining forces with the UAE’s sovereign<br />

wealth fund, Hyundai aims to accelerate<br />

the development and adoption of<br />

environmentally conscious technologies<br />

and vehicles. The collaboration aligns<br />

with global efforts to address climate<br />

change and promote green alternatives<br />

in the automotive industry. Hyundai’s<br />

participation in this initiative exemplifies<br />

a shared commitment to creating<br />

a more sustainable future through the<br />

integration of cutting-edge technologies<br />

and responsible business practices.<br />

Warehouse Demand Surges in UAE and Saudi<br />

Arabia<br />

The demand for warehouses<br />

in the UAE and Saudi Arabia<br />

is on the rise, attributed to<br />

the burgeoning e-commerce<br />

sector and local economic diversification<br />

efforts. Arcapita, a Bahrain-based<br />

alternative asset manager, plans to<br />

boost its logistics portfolio in these<br />

key economies from $1B to $2B in<br />

the next two to three years. CEO Atif<br />

Abdulmalik emphasises the pivotal role<br />

of e-commerce growth in driving these<br />

investments. With Arcapita owning<br />

logistics assets worth $500M each in<br />

Dubai and Saudi Arabia, the company<br />

aims to double its total asset value by<br />

2025. The trend is further fueled by<br />

Careem, the leading multi-service<br />

platform in the region,<br />

introduces Dubai’s inaugural<br />

fleet of electric delivery<br />

motorbikes, supported by a charging<br />

infrastructure at Careem Bike stations.<br />

Available through a subscription model<br />

for Careem delivery Captains, the<br />

electric fleet promises up to 50% savings<br />

compared to petrol. Powered by<br />

4,000-watt lithium batteries, these bikes<br />

can be charged at 192 Careem stations<br />

across Dubai, ensuring efficient and<br />

eco-friendly operations. With enhanced<br />

safety features, a weight of 130 kg, and<br />

a top speed of 80 km/hr, the electric<br />

the GCC region’s e-commerce market<br />

projected to reach $9.2B by 2026, as<br />

reported by the Dubai Chamber of<br />

Commerce. International investments<br />

are also contributing to the heightened<br />

demand for warehouses, according to<br />

a recent report from Knight Frank.<br />

Careem rolls out Dubai’s first e-delivery<br />

motorbike fleet<br />

motorbikes will debut with Careem’s<br />

Quik Grocery delivery Captains before<br />

extending to Careem Food and Careem<br />

Box services, aligning with Careem’s<br />

commitment to environmental impact<br />

and community well-being.<br />

26 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

ShiplifierX by Shiplifier Unleashes 45-Minute Deliveries in Dubai<br />

Shiplifier revolutionises shipping<br />

logistics with ShiplifierX, offering<br />

a groundbreaking same-day<br />

delivery solution in Dubai. The<br />

feature ensures swift 45-minute deliveries<br />

within a 20-kilometre radius, covering<br />

packages up to 7 kg and dimensions<br />

of 40x40x40. Integrated seamlessly<br />

into the Shiplifier platform, ShiplifierX<br />

simplifies shipping for businesses and<br />

individual users. With a standardised<br />

flat fee, members enjoy cost-effective<br />

and reliable courier services, leveraging<br />

Shiplifier’s corporate rates for expense<br />

predictability. The service operates from<br />

7:30 am to 2:00 am, allowing scheduled<br />

pickups and deliveries with a minimal<br />

5 to 10-minute wait for courier collection,<br />

catering to diverse needs in the<br />

dynamic logistics landscape.<br />

Saudi Arabia Hits<br />

79.01 on UNCTAD<br />

Shipping Index<br />

Saudi Arabia achieved a historic<br />

milestone in Q4, scoring 79.01<br />

points on UNCTAD’s Liner<br />

Shipping Connectivity Index<br />

(LSCI), showcasing remarkable progress<br />

in global maritime standing. The<br />

achievement, in line with the National<br />

Transport and Logistics Strategy,<br />

results from collaborative efforts.<br />

Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) added<br />

28 cargo services with leading liners<br />

and significantly improved container<br />

handling, rising to the 16th position<br />

in Lloyd’s List rankings. Climbing 17<br />

places in the <strong>World</strong> Bank’s Logistics<br />

Performance Index, Mawani’s success<br />

reflects continuous infrastructure<br />

upgrades, automation initiatives, and<br />

cutting-edge equipment deployment.<br />

The commitment to streamlining import-export<br />

procedures contributes to<br />

reducing port operation costs, fostering<br />

national exports, and enhancing<br />

global maritime trade.<br />

Saudi Arabia Plans First Opera House for Arts<br />

and Culture Development<br />

As part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision<br />

2030 initiative, the kingdom is<br />

set to construct its inaugural<br />

opera house, the Royal Diriyah<br />

Opera House, in the historic Diriyah<br />

district. Planned for completion in three<br />

to four years, the opera house is a key<br />

component of the second phase of the<br />

Diriyah master plan. Designed by Norwegian<br />

architectural firm Snohetta in<br />

collaboration with Syn Architects, the<br />

building draws inspiration from the Najdi<br />

architectural style and Wadi Hanifah.<br />

Situated in the birthplace of the kingdom<br />

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest<br />

oil producer, is set to acquire a<br />

40% equity stake in Gas & Oil<br />

Pakistan (GO), a leading downstream<br />

fuels, lubricants, and convenience<br />

store operator. While the transaction<br />

value remains undisclosed, this move<br />

marks Aramco’s entry into Pakistan’s fuel<br />

retail market, aligning with its strategy<br />

to bolster the downstream value chain<br />

globally. The agreement provides Aramco<br />

near the UNESCO <strong>World</strong> Heritage Site of<br />

At-Turaif, the opera house aims to foster<br />

arts and culture, aligning with Saudi<br />

Arabia’s transformative vision.<br />

Saudi Aramco to buy 40% stake in Gas & Oil Pakistan<br />

with additional outlets for its refined<br />

products and presents opportunities for<br />

Valvoline-branded lubricants, following<br />

Aramco’s earlier acquisition of the US<br />

motor oil and lubricant maker’s global<br />

products business in February. Aramco<br />

anticipates leveraging GO’s storage capacity,<br />

high-quality assets, and growth<br />

potential to establish the Aramco brand<br />

in Pakistan.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 27

Lenovo Legion R45w-30<br />

Lenovo Legion R45w-30 monitor<br />

is a colossal gaming display that<br />

immerses users in a vast, curved<br />

screen, boasting a 32:9 aspect ratio<br />

and a massive 44.5-inch size with a<br />

DQHD resolution of 5120 x 1440 for<br />

detailed visuals.<br />

Its VESA Display HDR 400 certification<br />

ensures enhanced image quality,<br />

backed by a speedy 170Hz refresh<br />

rate and a lightning-fast 1ms MPRT<br />

response time, delivering seamless<br />

gaming experiences.<br />

Equipped with AMD FreeSync Premium<br />

Pro and Adaptive Sync, the R45w-30<br />

eliminates screen tearing and stuttering,<br />

promoting a smooth gaming experience.<br />

It offers versatile connectivity options,<br />

including USB-C, HDMI, DP, and a USB<br />

hub, ensuring effortless integration<br />

with various devices.<br />

Additional features such as smart<br />

network optimisation, True Split for<br />

multitasking, and Natural Low Blue<br />

Light technology enhance productivity<br />

and comfortable viewing.<br />

The packaging includes essential<br />

accessories like power and display<br />

cables, ensuring a convenient setup<br />

process for users. With dimensions of<br />

42.91×13.43×20.8 inches and weighing<br />

over 12 kg (including the stand), this<br />

monitor demands ample desk space.<br />

Connectivity-wise, it offers multiple<br />

inputs including HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort<br />

1.4, USB-C, and a robust 75-watt PD<br />

capacity. Ergonomically designed with<br />

tilt, rotation, height adjustment, and<br />

VESA mounting, it caters to various<br />

user preferences.<br />

The monitor’s OSD navigation is<br />

user-friendly, offering straightforward<br />

settings and modes. With a VA panel,<br />

1500R curvature, and DisplayHDR 400<br />

certification, it maintains a high refresh<br />

rate of 170 Hz, excellent contrast ratio,<br />

and impressive colour coverage.<br />

While the integrated speakers provide<br />

modest audio output at 3 watts each,<br />

the monitor’s true strength lies in its<br />

immersive display and multitasking<br />

capabilities, making it an ideal choice<br />

for gaming and professional use.<br />

Lenovo Legion R45w-30 impresses<br />

with its expansive display, immersive<br />

curvature, and affordability compared<br />

to competitors. Its rich feature set and<br />

performance make it a versatile option<br />

for gaming and multitasking needs,<br />

despite modest audio capabilities.<br />

Price: AED 3,400/-<br />

source: uae.microless.com<br />

28 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

GameSir G8 Galileo<br />

GameSir recently launched the<br />

GameSir G8 Galileo, a cutting-edge<br />

Type-C wired mobile gaming controller<br />

that promises to revolutionise gaming<br />

experiences without the intention of<br />

a sales pitch.<br />

Compatible with Android and iPhone<br />

15 series devices, this controller aims<br />

to redefine excellence in mobile gaming<br />

by incorporating top-tier connectivity,<br />

customisable software, and advanced<br />

features.<br />

The surge in mobile gaming’s popularity<br />

and the demand for technological<br />

advancements motivated the creation<br />

of the G8 Galileo. The controller intends<br />

to unlock uncharted potential<br />

for gamers, offering an unparalleled<br />

gaming experience that exceeds expectations.<br />

G8 Galileo boasts console-grade ergonomics,<br />

featuring sizable sticks and<br />

buttons for comfort during prolonged<br />

gaming sessions. Its movable Type-C<br />

port ensures a reliable connection to<br />

gaming devices, guaranteeing seamless<br />

and dependable gameplay.<br />

One of its standout features is the<br />

GameSir Hall Tech, comprising precision-tuned<br />

Hall Effect analogue triggers<br />

and sensing sticks that provide smooth<br />

and responsive control, enhancing<br />

gaming precision and durability.<br />

The controller also offers two additional<br />

back buttons for pro-level gaming,<br />

allowing users to map in-game actions<br />

on the fly. Pass-through charging ensures<br />

uninterrupted gameplay, allowing<br />

the controller to charge while in use.<br />

Moreover, its universal compatibility,<br />

courtesy of an extendable bridge and<br />

ample rear space, caters to a wide<br />

range of phone models, making it an<br />

adaptable choice for mobile gamers.<br />

G8 Galileo’s customisable design,<br />

including interchangeable magnetic<br />

detachable faceplates, laser-engraved<br />

texture grips, and high-saturation fluorescent<br />

ink buttons, aims to match<br />

the user’s unique style.<br />

The GameSir App further enhances<br />

customisation by enabling users to create<br />

personalised controller profiles, map<br />

buttons, fine-tune the D-pad diagonals,<br />

and adjust sticks and trigger zones.<br />

GameSir G8 Galileo introduces several<br />

features to enhance the mobile<br />

gaming experience. Its ergonomic<br />

design, advanced technology, and<br />

customisation options aim to elevate<br />

gaming experiences without pushing<br />

for a sales pitch.<br />

Availability: Bangood.com<br />

source: gamesir.hk<br />

Price: AED 272.00/-<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 29

Cover Story<br />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />

George Soros<br />

Chair, Soros Fund Management LLC<br />

George Soros, a global philanthropist and legendary<br />

hedge fund investor, has left an indelible mark on<br />

the landscape of foreign investments in the United<br />

Arab Emirates (UAE). With a philanthropic legacy that<br />

spans decades and a strategic approach to investments,<br />

Soros has seamlessly woven his commitment to societal<br />

progress into the fabric of the UAE’s evolving economic<br />

tapestry.<br />

Born in Hungary in 1930, Soros’s early life experiences,<br />

including surviving the Nazi occupation, shaped his<br />

worldview and instilled in him a deep commitment to<br />

combating intolerance and injustice. His philanthropic<br />

journey began in 1979 when he provided scholarships to<br />

black South Africans under apartheid. Over the years, his<br />

Open Society Foundations, fueled by a personal fortune<br />

exceeding $32 billion, have supported causes globally,<br />

promoting freedom of expression, accountable government,<br />

and justice.<br />

Soros’s foray into the UAE’s investment arena includes<br />

a strategic move to acquire a 4% stake in the Bombay<br />

Stock Exchange through his Quantum hedge fund. Valued<br />

at approximately $35 million, this investment reflects Soros’s<br />

knack for identifying opportunities in fast-growing<br />

economies. The move not only granted Soros a foothold<br />

in the thriving stock exchange but also positioned him as<br />

a key player in the UAE’s financial landscape.<br />

Dubai Holding, one of the emirate’s major government<br />

conglomerates, played a role in Soros’s UAE investments.<br />

Selling its 4% stake in the Bombay Stock Exchange to<br />

Soros provided Dubai Holding with much-needed liquidity<br />

amid restructuring efforts and debt repayments. Soros’s<br />

involvement demonstrated his ability to navigate complex<br />

financial scenarios while contributing to the transformation<br />

of Dubai Holding’s business portfolio.<br />

Soros’s strategic investment ventures extend beyond the<br />

financial sector. In 2017, he invested in Vice Media, a bold<br />

move that aligns with the UAE’s commitment to media<br />

growth. The $250 million debt financing injection, which<br />

included Soros Fund Management, aimed to propel Vice<br />

Media’s turnaround strategy and accelerate its growth.<br />

Vice Arabia, launched in 2017, stands as a testament to<br />

Soros’s investment in the region’s media landscape.<br />

Beyond the financial realm, Soros’s philanthropic efforts<br />

have embraced social causes. His support for marginalised<br />

groups, including Europe’s Roma people, resonates with<br />

the UAE’s commitment to inclusivity. Soros’s focus on<br />

tackling discrimination aligns with the UAE’s vision for<br />

a diverse and tolerant society.<br />

In the UAE, Soros’s contributions exemplify the<br />

symbiotic relationship between strategic investments,<br />

philanthropy, and the nation’s vision for a prosperous<br />

and inclusive future.<br />

30 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Cover Story<br />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />

Warren Buffett<br />

Chairperson, Berkshire Hathaway<br />

Warren Buffett, the iconic American businessman,<br />

investor, and philanthropist, renowned for his<br />

unparalleled success in the world of finance,<br />

has strategically expanded his investment portfolio into<br />

the United Arab Emirates (UAE), making waves in the<br />

country’s real estate landscape.<br />

With a net worth of $120 billion as of December 2023,<br />

Buffett’s reputation as the “Oracle of Omaha” is built on<br />

his decades-long adherence to value investing principles.<br />

His Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, of which he is the<br />

co-founder, chairman, and CEO, has become synonymous<br />

with prudent and strategic investment decisions.<br />

Buffett’s journey into the UAE’s real estate market began<br />

with the acquisition of Fine & Country (UAE) through<br />

Berkshire Hathaway, marking his first-ever investment<br />

in the Arabian Gulf. The move, while relatively small for<br />

Buffett, speaks volumes about his long-term judgement<br />

on the market. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gulf<br />

Properties, the real estate brokerage under Buffett’s<br />

umbrella, has since solidified its presence in the UAE,<br />

attracting U.S. investors and positioning itself as a key<br />

player in the region.<br />

In 2019, amidst a cautious real estate market, Buffett’s<br />

brokerage, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gulf<br />

Properties, increased its number of advisors, signalling<br />

confidence in the potential for growth in the UAE’s property<br />

sector. The expansion also included plans to offer<br />

exclusive services to institutional investors interested in<br />

commercial properties, demonstrating Buffett’s strategic<br />

vision for diversification within the real estate domain.<br />

The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gulf Properties’<br />

Luxury Collection Division, launched to focus on properties<br />

priced at $5,000,000 or higher, further emphasises<br />

Buffett’s interest in the upscale segment of Dubai’s real<br />

estate market. This move aligns with Dubai’s international<br />

reputation as a luxury real estate hub, attracting global<br />

attention and interest.<br />

Despite challenges in the local real estate market,<br />

including a slump in prices and an oversupply of homes,<br />

Buffett’s investment in the UAE real estate market reflects<br />

a long-term perspective. Buffett’s history of successful<br />

investments during economic downturns, such as the<br />

2008 global financial crisis, positions him as a strategic<br />

investor who looks for bargains in quality locations that<br />

may be down on their luck.<br />

As the UAE’s property market navigates economic challenges,<br />

Warren Buffett’s calculated entry into the sector<br />

not only reinforces confidence but also adds a touch of<br />

the “Buffett magic” to the country’s real estate narrative.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 31

Cover Story<br />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />

Jeff Bezos<br />

Executive Chairman, Amazon<br />

Jeff Bezos, the visionary entrepreneur and founder<br />

of Amazon renowned for reshaping the landscape of<br />

global e-commerce, has also made strategic investments<br />

that extend into the vibrant business environment<br />

of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).<br />

As the founder, executive chairman, and former president<br />

and CEO of Amazon, Bezos boasts a net worth of<br />

approximately $170 billion as of November 2023, securing<br />

his position as one of the world’s most affluent individuals.<br />

His influence has not been limited to revolutionising<br />

online shopping; Bezos has diversified his investments,<br />

including forays into the UAE.<br />

One of the notable moves was Amazon’s acquisition of<br />

Souq.com in 2017, a Dubai-based e-commerce platform.<br />

The acquisition, valued between $650 million and $750<br />

million, positioned Amazon to tap into the fast-growing<br />

e-commerce sector in the Middle East. By leveraging Souq’s<br />

existing customer base and infrastructure, Amazon secured<br />

a significant presence in key markets such as Egypt, the<br />

United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.<br />

The acquisition of Souq.com marked a strategic entry<br />

for Amazon into the Middle East, demonstrating Bezos’s<br />

calculated approach to expanding the company’s global<br />

footprint. It showcased Amazon’s commitment to adapting<br />

to regional dynamics by partnering with an established<br />

player.<br />

Beyond e-commerce, Bezos has extended his influence into<br />

the aerospace industry through Blue Origin, an aerospace<br />

manufacturer and spaceflight services company founded<br />

in 2000. In 2021, Bezos himself took a historic suborbital<br />

flight aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle. Now,<br />

Blue Origin is exploring the possibility of establishing<br />

a space tourism presence in the UAE, with discussions<br />

underway for a spaceport in the country’s desert.<br />

The Ministry of Economy in the UAE has collaborated<br />

with Blue Origin to explore the potential of space tourism<br />

flights, aligning with the country’s broader strategy for<br />

economic development through space activities. This collaboration<br />

not only signifies Bezos’s interest in the UAE’s<br />

ambitious space plans but also positions the country as<br />

a potential hub for the evolving space tourism industry.<br />

Jeff Bezos’s influence in the UAE goes beyond business<br />

ventures. His acquisition of The Washington Post<br />

in 2013 and co-founding of the biotechnology company<br />

Altos Labs in 2021 demonstrate his diverse portfolio of<br />

investments managed through Bezos Expeditions, his<br />

venture capital firm.<br />

As Bezos continues to make waves in various industries,<br />

his strategic investments in the UAE reflect a commitment<br />

to being at the forefront of technological advancements<br />

and economic development in the region.<br />

32 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Cover Story<br />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />

CEO of BlackRock<br />

Larry Fink<br />

Larry Fink, the esteemed American billionaire<br />

businessman and current Chairman and CEO of<br />

BlackRock, has played a pivotal role in fostering<br />

strategic investments, particularly in the context of the<br />

United Arab Emirates (UAE).<br />

BlackRock, one of the world’s largest money-management<br />

firms with assets exceeding $10 trillion, has been<br />

at the forefront of global investment strategies. In April<br />

2022, Fink’s net worth reached an estimated $1 billion<br />

according to Forbes Magazine, solidifying his status as a<br />

prominent figure in the financial world.<br />

A notable collaboration between the UAE and Black-<br />

Rock is the $30 billion commitment to ALTÉRRA, a newly<br />

launched private investment climate vehicle. This initiative<br />

involves a partnership to create the BlackRock Climate<br />

Transition Vehicle, which aims to invest $2 billion in climate<br />

opportunities across BlackRock’s private debt and<br />

infrastructure equity strategies. The ALTÉRRA project,<br />

touted as “the world’s largest private investment vehicle<br />

for climate change action,” is geared towards mobilising<br />

$250 billion globally by 2030.<br />

Within the BlackRock Climate Transition Vehicle, $1<br />

billion is earmarked for the Climate Transition-Oriented<br />

Private Debt strategy. This innovative private debt strategy<br />

is focused on financing middle-market companies,<br />

primarily in Europe and the US, that exhibit climate transition<br />

characteristics. Another $1 billion is allocated to<br />

transition-related infrastructure, including a commitment<br />

to the BlackRock Global Infrastructure Fund IV, which<br />

invests in decarbonization-related infrastructure assets.<br />

A portion of this investment, $350 million, is dedicated to<br />

infrastructure in the Global South, emphasising a commitment<br />

to climate-related infrastructure in emerging markets.<br />

Larry Fink emphasised the significance of BlackRock’s<br />

participation in ALTÉRRA, stating, “The launch of ALTÉR-<br />

RA will itself not only help mobilise much-needed capital<br />

to support the transition in the Global South, but it can<br />

also serve as a blueprint for other sovereigns and private<br />

sector actors to replicate.” The collaboration between the<br />

UAE and BlackRock exemplifies a commitment to global<br />

green finance and creating a climate investment landscape<br />

that stimulates sustainable growth.<br />

In addition to the ALTÉRRA initiative, BlackRock is<br />

set to invest up to $400 million in Positive Zero, a Dubaibased<br />

decarbonization company. This investment aligns<br />

with Positive Zero’s mission to promote sustainable<br />

energy adoption across the GCC, contributing to efforts<br />

to reduce carbon emissions and combat global warming.<br />

As the UAE continues to position itself as a hub for<br />

green finance and sustainable development, partnerships<br />

with key players like BlackRock contribute to the nation’s<br />

vision of a climate-resilient future.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 33

Cover Story<br />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />

Mukesh Ambani<br />

Chairman, Reliance Industries<br />

Mukesh Ambani, the renowned Indian billionaire<br />

businessman, Chairman, and Managing Director<br />

of Reliance Industries, has significantly contributed<br />

to the landscape of foreign investments in the United<br />

Arab Emirates.<br />

With an estimated net worth of $92 billion as of December<br />

2023, Ambani stands as the richest person in Asia and<br />

the 15th richest globally, according to Forbes Magazine.<br />

One notable investment in the UAE involves Reliance<br />

Industries signing a pact to invest in a massive petrochemical<br />

hub. This strategic move involves Reliance joining the<br />

Ta’ziz joint venture with Abu Dhabi’s state energy giant<br />

Adnoc and state holding company ADQ for the development<br />

of the Ruwais Derivatives Park in western Abu<br />

Dhabi. Adnoc, being a major player in the UAE’s crude<br />

oil production, plans to invest $45 billion, with partners,<br />

to develop downstream operations in Ruwais, including<br />

refining and petrochemical capacity.<br />

The collaboration includes the construction of a worldscale<br />

Chlor-alkali, ethylene dichloride, and polyvinyl<br />

chloride (PVC) production facility at Ta’ziz in Ruwais.<br />

Ambani stated that this venture is a significant step in<br />

globalising Reliance’s operations, emphasising the production<br />

of ethylene dichloride, a crucial component for<br />

the production of PVC in India. The agreement aims to<br />

capitalise on the growing demand for these industrial raw<br />

materials, leveraging the strengths of both companies as<br />

global industrial and energy leaders.<br />

In addition to the petrochemical venture, Reliance<br />

Industries has established a wholly-owned subsidiary<br />

in the UAE named Reliance International Limited. This<br />

subsidiary, incorporated in the Abu Dhabi Global Market,<br />

is intended for trading in oil, petroleum, petrochemical<br />

products, and agricultural commodities. The move follows<br />

Reliance’s announcement in June about developing<br />

a major chemicals facility in partnership with Abu Dhabi<br />

National Oil Company at the new Ta’ziz Industrial Chemicals<br />

Zone in Ruwais.<br />

Mukesh Ambani’s notable real estate purchase in Dubai<br />

further underscores his commitment to foreign investments<br />

and highlights his significant impact on the UAE’s real<br />

estate sector. The Indian billionaire acquired a luxurious<br />

villa on Palm Jumeirah, marking a substantial real estate<br />

investment. This purchase, reportedly surpassing his<br />

previous acquisition which was already the city’s most<br />

expensive residential real estate deal, reflects Ambani’s<br />

confidence in the UAE’s property market.<br />

Mukesh Ambani’s foray into the UAE’s business landscape<br />

showcases his commitment to fostering economic<br />

partnerships and contributing to the growth of the region.<br />

34 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Cover Story<br />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />

Ratan Tata<br />

Former Chairman, Tata Group<br />

Ratan Tata, the distinguished Indian industrialist<br />

and former chairman of Tata Group, has played a<br />

pivotal role in expanding the global footprint of<br />

the company, contributing significantly to foreign investments<br />

in the UAE.<br />

His strategic vision and leadership have propelled<br />

Tata’s ventures into diverse sectors, including trading,<br />

distribution, and luxury products, fostering economic<br />

growth and collaboration between India and the UAE.<br />

Tata International, the global trading and distribution<br />

arm of the Tata Group, marked a significant milestone<br />

with the inauguration of its new office premises in Dubai’s<br />

DMCC free zone. This move aimed to strengthen Tata’s<br />

presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)<br />

region, demonstrating a commitment to fostering business<br />

growth, collaboration, and engagement with stakeholders.<br />

The Dubai office, inaugurated by the Ambassador of India<br />

to the UAE, became a hub for Tata Companies, facilitating<br />

cooperation among various Tata entities operating<br />

in the region.<br />

In addition to trading and distribution, Ratan Tata’s influence<br />

extended to the luxury products sector, exemplified<br />

by Titan Company, a Tata Group entity. Titan, a renowned<br />

brand in the luxury products segment, announced plans<br />

to set up an international hub in Dubai, catering to the<br />

Middle East and beyond. The proposed international hub,<br />

possibly in the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA),<br />

signifies Tata’s commitment to leveraging Dubai’s strategic<br />

location as a global business hub. This move aligns with<br />

the UAE’s broader goal of attracting foreign investors and<br />

talent, showcasing the Tata Group’s confidence in Dubai<br />

as a gateway to the broader MENA region.<br />

Tata Group’s diversified portfolio extends its foreign<br />

investments in the UAE, notably through hospitality<br />

ventures such as Taj Exotica Resorts & Spa The Palm<br />

Dubai, Taj Dubai, and Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai.<br />

Additionally, the conglomerate’s presence extends to<br />

aviation, with Air India and Air India Express operating<br />

an extensive network of 450+ flights per week across the<br />

Gulf, Middle East, and Africa (GMEA) region, including<br />

key destinations like Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain,<br />

and Ras Al Khaimah.<br />

Furthermore, Titan’s ambitious Gulf region expansion<br />

plans, coupled with a focus on attracting top talent, underscore<br />

Ratan Tata’s commitment to contributing to the<br />

local economy and generating employment opportunities<br />

across the Middle East. As Tata’s ventures continue to<br />

unfold in the UAE, Ratan Tata’s legacy of global business<br />

expansion remains intertwined with the vibrant landscape<br />

of foreign investments in the region.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 35

Cover Story<br />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />

Ray Dalio<br />

Co-Chief Investment Officer of<br />

Bridgewater Associates<br />

Ray Dalio, the influential American billionaire investor<br />

and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater<br />

Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, is<br />

solidifying his presence in the Middle East with the establishment<br />

of a branch of his family office in Abu Dhabi.<br />

The Dalio Family Office (DFO), located within the Abu<br />

Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), marks a strategic move for<br />

Dalio, reflecting not only a commitment to expanding his<br />

investments but also a deepening of his more than 30-year<br />

relationship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).<br />

Bridgewater Associates, founded by Ray Dalio in 1975,<br />

manages assets exceeding $150 billion, making it a powerhouse<br />

in the financial world. Dalio, with a net worth of<br />

$16.2 billion, holds the 108th position on the Bloomberg<br />

Billionaires Index, underscoring his significant influence<br />

in global finance. The establishment of the DFO in Abu<br />

Dhabi signifies a pivotal step, not just for Dalio but also<br />

for the burgeoning financial landscape of the UAE.<br />

The Dalio Family Office, situated within the ADGM, will<br />

serve as a central hub overseeing the family’s ventures,<br />

managing investments, and steering philanthropic initiatives<br />

through Dalio Philanthropies. This strategic move<br />

aligns with Abu Dhabi’s growing prominence as a hub for<br />

diverse developments in the region, particularly in the<br />

UAE and Saudi Arabia. Dalio expressed his enthusiasm<br />

for this new venture, stating, “Abu Dhabi is also becoming<br />

a hub for many exciting developments in the region... For<br />

these reasons, I am thrilled to make Abu Dhabi a home<br />

for the Dalio Family Office.”<br />

Beyond managing the Dalio family’s substantial fortune,<br />

the Abu Dhabi office is poised to play a crucial role in<br />

cultivating strategic partnerships. These partnerships will<br />

extend into areas of shared interest, with a notable focus<br />

on ocean exploration. The DFO’s strategic presence in<br />

Abu Dhabi and its existing offices in the United States and<br />

Singapore reflect Dalio’s commitment to contributing to<br />

the long-term growth of the broader Middle East region.<br />

The UAE, and Abu Dhabi in particular, has increasingly<br />

become an attractive destination for high-profile investors<br />

and entrepreneurs. Dalio’s decision to establish a<br />

significant presence in Abu Dhabi adds another layer to<br />

the emirate’s appeal as a global financial centre and a<br />

hub for strategic investments. His recent acquisition of a<br />

luxury residence on Saadiyat Island further underscores<br />

the confidence placed in the UAE’s economic ecosystem.<br />

Ray Dalio’s move to deepen his roots in Abu Dhabi is<br />

not only a testament to the emirate’s growing influence in<br />

the financial world but also highlights the transformative<br />

potential the UAE holds for global investors seeking strategic<br />

partnerships and sustainable growth opportunities.<br />

As the Dalio Family Office positions itself within the<br />

heart of the ADGM, it symbolises a significant milestone<br />

in the ongoing evolution of Abu Dhabi as a key player in<br />

the global financial landscape.<br />

36 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Cover Story<br />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />

Richard Branson<br />

Founder, Virgin Group<br />

Sir Richard Branson, the British business entrepreneur,<br />

and founder of the Virgin Group, has significantly<br />

contributed to the landscape of foreign investments<br />

in the UAE. With a diverse business empire spanning over<br />

400 companies globally, Branson’s ventures have left an<br />

indelible mark on various industries. Two noteworthy<br />

instances of Richard Branson’s significant investments<br />

in the UAE involved introducing his companies Virgin<br />

Mobile and Virgin Galactic to the region.<br />

Virgin Mobile, officially launched in the UAE by Emirates<br />

Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), introduced<br />

the first fully digital mobile service to the country.<br />

Branson’s visit marked a pivotal moment, as he witnessed<br />

the development of this innovative app-based service.<br />

The Virgin Mobile UAE app, available for download on<br />

both Google Play and the Apple App Store, epitomises a<br />

paradigm shift in the mobile industry, providing customers<br />

with unparalleled flexibility and convenience. The digital<br />

platform allows users to hand-pick their mobile number,<br />

customise plans, manage usage in real-time, and have the<br />

Virgin Mobile UAE SIM card delivered anywhere in the<br />

country within an hour. This forward-looking approach<br />

aligns with the UAE’s commitment to technological advancements<br />

and customer-centric services.<br />

In the realm of space exploration and tourism, Branson’s<br />

Virgin Galactic has set its sights on Abu Dhabi to<br />

establish a commercial spaceport. This ambitious project<br />

is a joint venture between the Virgin Group and Abu<br />

Dhabi’s Aabar Investments, intending to position Abu<br />

Dhabi as a regional hub for space tourism and scientific<br />

research. Steve Landeene, appointed as chief adviser, is<br />

tasked with developing a business plan for the Spaceport<br />

Abu Dhabi initiative and guiding it through regulatory<br />

processes. The strategic vision includes facilitating space<br />

tourism and research and envisioning commercial flights<br />

between Abu Dhabi and New Mexico in under an hour,<br />

demonstrating Branson’s commitment to pushing the<br />

boundaries of innovation.<br />

These investments underscore Branson’s recognition<br />

of the UAE’s potential as a hub for technological innovation,<br />

connectivity, and space exploration. The ventures<br />

align with the broader narrative of the UAE’s efforts to<br />

attract global entrepreneurs and visionaries, positioning<br />

itself as a destination for cutting-edge technologies and<br />

groundbreaking initiatives. As Branson continues to<br />

leverage his global influence in shaping industries, his<br />

investments in the UAE contribute to the country’s aspirations<br />

of becoming a leading player in diverse sectors,<br />

from telecommunications to space exploration.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 37

Cover Story<br />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />

Wang Chuanfu<br />

Founder, BYD Company<br />

Wang Chuanfu, the Chinese chemist, billionaire<br />

entrepreneur, and founder of BYD Company, has<br />

significantly shaped the landscape of foreign investments<br />

in the UAE, particularly in the realm of electric<br />

vehicles (EVs). Under his leadership, BYD has emerged<br />

as the world’s largest EV company by sales, surpassing<br />

Tesla in 2022 and currently accounting for a substantial<br />

21% of the global market.<br />

One noteworthy aspect of Wang Chuanfu’s engagement<br />

with the UAE is the strategic collaboration between BYD<br />

and Al-Futtaim, a leading distributor in the United Arab<br />

Emirates. The partnership, announced on March 15, 2023,<br />

during the “Future Mobility Day” event in Dubai, reflects<br />

BYD’s commitment to fostering green travel in the country.<br />

Two BYD models, the BYD Han and BYD ATTO 3, were<br />

unveiled at the event, signalling BYD’s intent to contribute<br />

to the UAE’s sustainable mobility initiatives.<br />

Wang Chuanfu’s BYD is renowned as the world’s<br />

leading manufacturer of new energy vehicles and power<br />

batteries. In 2022 alone, BYD achieved the sale of more<br />

than 1.86 million new energy vehicles globally, serving<br />

over 3.7 million customers worldwide. The company’s<br />

commitment to environmental sustainability is evident<br />

through initiatives like “Cool the Earth by 1°C,” which, as<br />

of February 2023, has saved over 29 million tons of carbon<br />

emissions. BYD’s expertise encompasses the development<br />

of powertrain systems, power batteries, drive motors, and<br />

motor controller systems.<br />

Al-Futtaim, established in the 1930s and headquartered<br />

in Dubai, plays a pivotal role in BYD’s expansion into the<br />

UAE. The signing ceremony in Dubai marked the beginning<br />

of a collaborative effort to bring BYD’s cutting-edge<br />

electric vehicles to the Emirates. Al-Futtaim’s reputation<br />

for customer service and its commitment to building a<br />

customer-centric electric vehicle ecosystem align with<br />

BYD’s vision for sustainable mobility.<br />

The positive impact of Wang Chuanfu’s investments in<br />

the UAE is further underscored by the unveiling of BYD’s<br />

premier Han sedan in the country. The Han, along with<br />

the ATTO 3 model, signifies BYD’s relentless commitment<br />

to expanding its presence globally, particularly in the<br />

Middle East. BYD’s local website in the UAE now allows<br />

customers to purchase the ATTO 3 model, showcasing<br />

the company’s dedication to providing innovative and<br />

eco-friendly transportation solutions in the region.<br />

Wang Chuanfu’s BYD has not only contributed to the<br />

UAE’s green travel initiatives but has also positioned itself<br />

as a key player in the country’s fast-growing electric<br />

vehicle industry. The collaboration with Al-Futtaim and<br />

the introduction of new models highlight the positive<br />

trajectory of foreign investments, bringing state-of-the-art<br />

technology and sustainable practices to the forefront of<br />

the UAE’s automotive landscape.<br />

38 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Cover Story<br />

UAE’s Economic<br />

Metamorphosis:<br />

Spotlighting Foreign Investments<br />

Naguib Sawiris<br />

Chairman of Weather Investments<br />

Naguib Sawiris, an influential entrepreneur and<br />

scion of Egypt’s wealthiest family, has achieved<br />

substantial success in both the telecommunications<br />

and real estate industries. As part of a prominent family<br />

that includes his billionaire brother Nassef, Sawiris has<br />

left a permanent mark on various industries.<br />

Sawiris’s journey to success began with the telecommunications<br />

sector, where he built a formidable fortune.<br />

The pinnacle of his telecom achievements came in 2011<br />

when he orchestrated the sale of Orascom Telecom, a<br />

company he founded, to the Russian telecom firm VimpelCom<br />

(now Veon). This multibillion-dollar transaction<br />

not only showcased Sawiris’s business acumen but also<br />

added substantial value to his wealth portfolio.<br />

Currently serving as the chairman of Orascom TMT Investments,<br />

Sawiris continues to demonstrate his prowess<br />

in strategic investments. The company holds stakes in<br />

diverse assets, including an asset manager in Egypt and<br />

the Italian internet company Italiaonline. Sawiris’s ability<br />

to diversify investments reflects his astute understanding<br />

of global markets and economic trends.<br />

Through his ownership of Media Globe Holdings, Sawiris<br />

has a commanding 88% stake in Euronews, a pan-European<br />

pay TV and video news network. This venture showcases<br />

his interest in media and communication on a broader<br />

scale, aligning with the changing dynamics of information<br />

dissemination in the digital age.<br />

Venturing into the realm of real estate, Sawiris has<br />

embarked on ambitious projects that contribute to his<br />

personal wealth and also to the economic development<br />

of the regions he invests in.<br />

One notable partnership is with Abu Dhabi investment<br />

firm Q Holding for a USD 10 billion real estate project in<br />

the Ghantoot area, strategically positioned between Abu<br />

Dhabi and Dubai. The mega real estate project, spanning<br />

15 million square metres, is anticipated to be completed<br />

within the next 10-15 years. This collaboration signifies<br />

Sawiris’s commitment to playing a pivotal role in the<br />

economic growth and urban development of the UAE.<br />

Ora Developers, a company owned by Sawiris, is at the<br />

forefront of these real estate endeavours. The company<br />

recently acquired substantial land parcels, including 175<br />

feddans in New Cairo and 128 feddans in the North Coast.<br />

These acquisitions lay the foundation for upcoming real<br />

estate projects that are poised to enter the market in the<br />

coming years.<br />

The partnership with Q Holding for the development<br />

of a smart and sustainable city in the Ghantoot region<br />

underscores Sawiris’s dedication to creating communities<br />

that prioritise renewable energy and sustainability.<br />

As a strategic investor and entrepreneur, Sawiris continues<br />

to make influential contributions to various sectors,<br />

solidifying his legacy as a global business visionary.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 39

Wheels<br />

Specifications<br />

Torque: 600 Nm<br />

Horsepower: 490 hp<br />

Acceleration: 100 in 3.9 seconds<br />

40 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Maserati<br />

GranTurismo Modena<br />

Maserati GranTurismo Modena<br />

is a dynamic and stunning<br />

grand tourer designed for<br />

those who view travel as a unique<br />

and memorable journey. For these<br />

individuals, “long-distance” signifies<br />

more than just reaching a destination;<br />

it’s about savouring the sights, scents,<br />

and sounds along the way in true<br />

Italian style.<br />

GranTurismo Modena is the twinturbo<br />

3.0-liter V6 Nettuno engine, a<br />

masterpiece of engineering capable of<br />

producing 490 horsepower and 600 Nm<br />

of torque at 3,000 rpm. This powerplant<br />

transforms the experience of grand<br />

touring into a commanding display of<br />

finesse. Accelerating from zero to 100<br />

km/h in just 3.9 seconds and reaching<br />

a top speed of 302 km/h, the Modena<br />

provides brilliant acceleration that<br />

serves as a thrilling prelude to the<br />

multi-sensory pleasure of a grand tour,<br />

precisely as envisioned by Maserati.<br />

The GranTurismo Modena is equipped<br />

with COMFORT, GT, and SPORT driving<br />

modes, offering a spectrum from relaxed<br />

driving with maximum comfort to<br />

the most exhilarating experiences<br />

possible. In SPORT mode, the Launch<br />

Control command provides immediate<br />

acceleration, masterfully tamed to<br />

deliver the excitement of a racing start.<br />

Underpinning this grand tourer is the<br />

undeniably impressive Nettuno engine,<br />

a twin-turbocharged V6 that defines the<br />

essence of the Modena’s performance.<br />

Producing 490 horsepower and 601<br />

Nm of torque, the power per litre is<br />

an outstanding 166 PS, showcasing the<br />

efficiency and potency of Maserati’s<br />

engineering.<br />

The 8-speed DCT transmission and<br />

all-wheel-drive layout contribute to the<br />

Modena’s precise handling and control,<br />

ensuring a harmonious fusion of power<br />

and performance. As you engage with<br />

the GranTurismo Modena, it is not<br />

merely a car; it is an embodiment of<br />

Maserati’s commitment to delivering<br />

an extraordinary driving experience,<br />

where every journey becomes a sensoryrich<br />

adventure.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 41

Start-up<br />

source: Pexels<br />

Dubai’s investor-friendly regulations have transformed it into a global startup hub<br />

How Dubai’s Startups<br />

Are Attracting<br />

Significant Foreign<br />

Investments<br />

Dubai’s diverse startup scene attracts global<br />

investments supported by favourable regulations<br />

and robust entrepreneurial networks.<br />

Dubai’s startups have witnessed an influx<br />

of foreign investment, showcasing global<br />

confidence in the region’s potential.<br />

The diversity of the startup landscape,<br />

spanning sectors like technology, fintech,<br />

healthcare, and logistics, has been a key<br />

draw for international investors seeking<br />

promising ventures. The city’s rise as a<br />

global business hub stems from strategic<br />

initiatives, a favourable regulatory environment,<br />

and a commitment to fostering<br />

innovation and entrepreneurship. Additionally,<br />

co-working spaces, incubators<br />

and entrepreneurial training programs<br />

have been an attractive tool for startups<br />

and SMEs. Dubai’s comprehensive<br />

support network for startups contributes<br />

significantly to its reputation as a thriving<br />

hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.<br />

42 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

The UAE’s proactive measures<br />

in streamlining business setup<br />

processes have significantly contributed<br />

to its attractiveness. The <strong>World</strong><br />

Bank Group’s acknowledgement of the<br />

UAE’s favourable business environment,<br />

highlighted in its “Ease of Doing Business<br />

Rankings,” positioned the nation at the<br />

top among MENA countries. With just<br />

six procedures and eight days required<br />

to open a company, the UAE surpasses<br />

the regional average significantly,<br />

fostering a conducive atmosphere for<br />

entrepreneurial endeavours.<br />

Dubai stands out as an inviting destination<br />

for startups due to its tax<br />

environment. Most companies in Dubai<br />

enjoy exemptions from income taxes,<br />

making it an appealing location for<br />

budding businesses. Even with plans<br />

to introduce a minimal value-added tax<br />

(VAT), Dubai retains its attractiveness<br />

for startups by offering exemptions in<br />

crucial sectors such as healthcare and<br />

staple food items.<br />

The city’s numerous free zones serve<br />

as hotspots for startups, providing a<br />

regulatory and taxation environment<br />

that fosters growth. These zones bypass<br />

ownership regulations and grant tax<br />

holidays, creating an environment conducive<br />

to startup success. Dubai Media<br />

City and other renowned free zones have<br />

transformed into nurturing grounds for<br />

startups, drawing in foreign entrepreneurs<br />

seeking an optimal launchpad for<br />

their ventures.<br />

Entrepreneurs are drawn to Dubai’s<br />

free zones due to their supportive infrastructure<br />

and beneficial regulations.<br />

These zones have become incubators,<br />

attracting a wave of foreign talent eager<br />

to leverage the advantageous environment<br />

as a springboard for their entrepreneurial<br />

endeavours.<br />

The UAE’s commitment to fostering<br />

small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is<br />

evident in its legislation. The SME Law<br />

exempts SMEs from customs tax, mandates<br />

procurement allocation for SMEs,<br />

and encourages government-linked firms<br />

to allocate contracts to SMEs. Initiatives<br />

like Expo 2020 Dubai’s allocation of a<br />

significant portion of contracts to SMEs<br />

highlight the commitment to SME growth.<br />

Embracing an innovation-centric<br />

approach, the UAE’s Vision 2021 and National<br />

Strategy for Innovation underscore<br />

the nation’s commitment to becoming a<br />

knowledge-based economy. With clear<br />

In 2023, Dubai<br />

surged ahead<br />

among cities in<br />

funding, with<br />

its tech startups<br />

securing an<br />

impressive<br />

$579 million in<br />

investments.”<br />

directives focusing on sectors like renewable<br />

energy, technology, and space, the<br />

UAE propels itself as a breeding ground<br />

for cutting-edge innovations.<br />

The UAE backs its innovation agenda<br />

with substantial financial commitments.<br />

With multi-billion AED investments dedicated<br />

to science, technology, alternative<br />

energy, and innovation incubators, the<br />

nation actively supports groundbreaking<br />

ideas and research.<br />

Additionally, high-profile events like<br />

the annual Dubai Expo and various tech<br />

summits serve as platforms for startups<br />

to showcase their innovations, thereby<br />

attracting attention and investment<br />

from international venture capitalists,<br />

corporate investors, and angel investors.<br />

One notable trend in Dubai’s startup<br />

scene is the increasing interest from<br />

international corporate giants. Many<br />

established companies are establishing<br />

innovation labs, partnerships, and incubation<br />

programs within Dubai, aiming to<br />

collaborate with startups and leverage<br />

their agility and fresh ideas.<br />

Moreover, initiatives like the Sheikh<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum<br />

Fund to <strong>Finance</strong> Innovation provide a<br />

financial cushion for individuals and<br />

companies to materialise their innovative<br />

ideas, aligning with the UAE’s strategic<br />

innovation sectors.<br />

As Dubai continues to pave the way for<br />

innovation and entrepreneurship, its status<br />

as a global investment hotspot solidifies.<br />

The convergence of visionary policies,<br />

robust infrastructure, and a commitment<br />

to fostering innovation propels Dubai<br />

to the forefront of global entrepreneurship,<br />

attracting foreign investment and<br />

propelling economic growth.<br />

Dubai’s expanding startup investments<br />

owe much of its success to the abundant<br />

support infrastructure available for entrepreneurs.<br />

From co-working spaces to<br />

incubators, accelerators, and numerous<br />

networking opportunities, the city offers<br />

a robust ecosystem that nurtures innovation<br />

and growth.<br />

Entrepreneurs in Dubai have access<br />

to a variety of affordable co-working<br />

spaces where they can work alongside<br />

like-minded individuals. Astrolabs Dubai,<br />

in partnership with Google, stands as a<br />

prominent tech hub offering cost-effective<br />

pathways to full free zone licence at<br />

Dubai Multi Commodities Center. Other<br />

notable spaces like Impact Hub Dubai,<br />

The Bureau Dubai, GlassQube in Abu<br />

Dhabi, and Sharjah Entrepreneurship<br />

Centre provide supportive environments<br />

for startups to thrive.<br />

Dubai houses several incubators, such<br />

as The Cribb and in5 Innovation Centre,<br />

offering office space, business guidance,<br />

and funding for emerging startups. These<br />

incubators, including those associated<br />

with various free trade zones like Dubai<br />

Silicon Oasis and Masdar in Abu Dhabi,<br />

play a pivotal role in nurturing entrepreneurial<br />

ventures.<br />

Numerous accelerators like innovation360<br />

(i360), TURN8, Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, and<br />

The Catalyst facilitate the rapid growth<br />

of existing startups through funding,<br />

mentoring, and networking opportunities.<br />

These programs aid startups at different<br />

stages of their journey, fostering their<br />

development and expansion.<br />

In addition, Dubai offers several resources<br />

and networking tools such as<br />

“Startup Central,” “Dubai Startup Hub,”<br />

and platforms like MAGNiTT, providing<br />

valuable information, connectivity,<br />

and visibility for startups in the local<br />

ecosystem.<br />

The city’s commitment to fostering<br />

a conducive environment continues to<br />

attract and empower a diverse range<br />

of startups, solidifying its position as a<br />

global player in the startup landscape.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 43

Energy<br />

source: Pexels.com<br />

UAE’s Energy Regulatory Reforms have reshaped global investments in the country’s energy sector.<br />

Analysing the Impact<br />

of UAE Energy<br />

Regulatory Reforms<br />

on Global Investments<br />

The enactment of Federal Decree-Law No. 17/2022 in<br />

the UAE marks a pivotal step towards a sustainable<br />

and diversified energy sector<br />

With the rising interest in sustainability,<br />

investors are leaning towards choices that<br />

align with sustainable energy objectives.<br />

The UAE’s energy regulatory reforms,<br />

accessible through government websites,<br />

have positioned the country as a<br />

prominent player in the global renewable<br />

energy landscape. These reforms attract<br />

investments and contribute significantly<br />

to the UAE’s renewable energy targets and<br />

its vision of a sustainable future, making<br />

information readily available for interested<br />

global investors. In the ongoing global<br />

shift towards cleaner energy, the UAE<br />

emerges as a shining example of progress<br />

and a transparent hub for international<br />

investments. This article explores key<br />

aspects that make the UAE an attractive<br />

destination for global investors in the<br />

renewable energy landscape.<br />

44 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Federal Decree-Law No. 17/2022<br />

coming into effect in the United<br />

Arab Emirates (UAE) signifies a<br />

critical milestone in the nation’s pursuit<br />

of a sustainable and diversified energy<br />

sector. This extensive regulatory transformation,<br />

available for reference on<br />

official government websites, resonates<br />

on a global scale, exerting a substantial<br />

impact on investment dynamics.<br />

The UAE’s dedication to renewable<br />

energy and sustainability, detailed<br />

in official government documents,<br />

establishes it as a compelling hub for<br />

global investors. The clarity provided<br />

by well-defined regulatory processes,<br />

accessible on government platforms,<br />

enhances the country’s attractiveness.<br />

Ambitious renewable energy targets,<br />

clearly outlined in official documents,<br />

further bolster the appeal for international<br />

investors. This transparent and<br />

conducive regulatory environment not<br />

only aligns with global sustainability<br />

goals but also instils confidence, enabling<br />

investors to engage with assurance in the<br />

UAE’s renewable energy projects. The<br />

commitment showcased in government<br />

materials reinforces the nation’s position<br />

as a frontrunner in the global shift toward<br />

sustainable investments.<br />

Investors seeking insight into the<br />

UAE’s regulatory reforms can access<br />

comprehensive information directly<br />

from the government’s official websites.<br />

The detailed framework outlined on<br />

these platforms offers transparency and<br />

clarity concerning licenses, permits, and<br />

approvals, cultivating an environment of<br />

certainty for both local and international<br />

investors. This accessible and transparent<br />

approach enhances the investment<br />

landscape, providing stakeholders with<br />

a clear understanding of the regulatory<br />

processes. As a result, potential investors<br />

can make well-informed decisions,<br />

confidently navigating the regulatory<br />

landscape and contributing to the UAE’s<br />

burgeoning renewable energy sector.<br />

The UAE government’s commitment to<br />

diversifying energy sources is distinctly<br />

articulated in the regulatory reforms, acting<br />

as a catalyst for heightened international<br />

investments in renewable energy projects.<br />

Official government publications offer<br />

investors a detailed understanding of<br />

how this diversification aligns with global<br />

sustainability goals. By clearly outlining<br />

the strategic initiatives, the government<br />

invites investors to contribute to a more<br />

resilient and varied energy landscape.<br />

UAE’s regulatory<br />

reforms are<br />

attracting<br />

numerous<br />

sustainable global<br />

investments.”<br />

This commitment not only positions the<br />

UAE as a progressive force in renewable<br />

energy but also provides prospective<br />

investors with the necessary insights to<br />

participate in shaping a sustainable and<br />

diversified energy future.<br />

The UAE’s steadfast alignment with<br />

international conventions, notably the<br />

New York Convention on the Recognition<br />

and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral<br />

Awards, is meticulously documented on<br />

government websites. This commitment<br />

ensures that contracts and arbitral awards<br />

maintain enforceability within the country,<br />

adhering to well-established global<br />

standards for dispute resolution and international<br />

legal norms. By transparently<br />

showcasing this alignment, the UAE not<br />

only instils confidence in investors but<br />

also establishes itself as a jurisdiction<br />

that upholds rigorous legal standards,<br />

fostering an environment conducive<br />

to fair and internationally recognized<br />

dispute resolution mechanisms.<br />

For investors seeking opportunities<br />

in microgrid projects and distributed<br />

renewable energy systems, the Federal<br />

Distributed Energy Law, accessible on<br />

government websites, serves as a comprehensive<br />

guide. This legislative move<br />

seamlessly aligns with the prevailing<br />

global trend toward decentralized energy<br />

solutions. By providing transparent<br />

insights into regulatory frameworks,<br />

the government enables investors to<br />

actively participate in the development<br />

of sustainable and locally embedded<br />

energy systems. This accessibility and<br />

alignment with contemporary energy<br />

trends not only attract investment but<br />

also foster a collaborative environment<br />

that encourages stakeholders to contribute<br />

meaningfully to the advancement of<br />

renewable energy solutions in the UAE.<br />

The UAE’s approach to ownership,<br />

adeptly allowing foreign investment while<br />

retaining control over strategic sectors,<br />

is transparently outlined on government<br />

websites. This balanced approach accommodates<br />

international participation in<br />

the burgeoning renewable energy sector,<br />

ensuring a sustainable and secure future.<br />

By clearly communicating this strategy, the<br />

government provides clarity to potential<br />

investors, assuring them of the nation’s<br />

commitment to fostering collaboration<br />

while safeguarding key areas of national<br />

interest. This deliberate approach not<br />

only attracts global investments but also<br />

establishes the UAE as a forward-thinking<br />

destination that strategically manages<br />

foreign involvement in the renewable<br />

energy landscape for mutual benefit and<br />

sustainable development.<br />

Investors keen on understanding the<br />

UAE’s commitment to fair competition<br />

can turn to official government documentation<br />

detailing the implementation of the<br />

Competition Law. This documentation<br />

serves as a testament to the country’s<br />

unwavering dedication to fostering fair<br />

competition and preventing anti-competitive<br />

practices. By providing transparent<br />

insights into the regulatory framework,<br />

available on government websites, the<br />

UAE establishes a competitive market<br />

environment. This accessibility not only<br />

promotes a level playing field but also<br />

makes the market appealing to businesses<br />

and investors seeking an environment<br />

where fair competition is actively encouraged<br />

and upheld according to the<br />

standards outlined in official government<br />

documents.<br />

The UAE’s adoption of the UNCITRAL<br />

Model Law for arbitration, along with the<br />

incorporation of alternative dispute resolution<br />

mechanisms in energy contracts,<br />

is explicitly detailed on government<br />

platforms. These mechanisms, clearly<br />

outlined in official documents, significantly<br />

enhance the appeal of the country’s legal<br />

framework for international investors. By<br />

offering efficient and reliable methods<br />

for resolving disputes, as accessible on<br />

government platforms, the UAE not only<br />

promotes investor confidence but also<br />

positions itself as a jurisdiction committed<br />

to providing a robust and effective legal<br />

infrastructure for addressing potential<br />

conflicts in the dynamic landscape of<br />

energy investments.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 45

Energy News<br />

Cop28 climate summit accelerates hydrogen deals<br />

On the sidelines of COP28 in<br />

Dubai, hydrogen deals gained<br />

momentum as companies raced<br />

to advance fuel production<br />

crucial for emissions reduction in shipping<br />

and steel manufacturing. Announcements<br />

included plans for hydrogen projects<br />

and initiatives to boost international<br />

low-carbon fuel trade. Focused on the<br />

UAE and the Middle East-North Africa<br />

region, considered a potential global<br />

hydrogen hub, the initiatives involve<br />

the production, export, and blending<br />

of hydrogen. Abu Dhabi’s Masdar and<br />

Spain’s Iberdrola signed a ($16.35B)<br />

partnership for offshore wind and<br />

green hydrogen projects. Masdar also<br />

inked agreements with OMV and Hy24,<br />

signalling a growing commitment to<br />

large-scale green hydrogen initiatives.<br />

OPEC holds oil demand<br />

forecast on ‘resilient’<br />

economic growth<br />

OPEC remains steadfast in its<br />

oil demand growth projections<br />

for 2023 and <strong>2024</strong>, anticipating<br />

stable global GDP growth<br />

to bolster crude demand. The current<br />

forecast maintains 2.5 million barrels per<br />

day for 2023, with a subsequent rise to 2.2<br />

million bpd in <strong>2024</strong>, driven by improved<br />

economic conditions in China. OPEC<br />

highlights sustained economic activity<br />

in key regions such as China, Asia, the<br />

Middle East, India, and Latin America<br />

as primary contributors to rising oil<br />

consumption. Despite a November drop<br />

in OPEC’s crude production to 27.84<br />

million bpd, the alliance, including Saudi<br />

Arabia, commits to voluntary production<br />

cuts until March <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

Masdar, Adio, and Abu Dhabi’s DoE Forge<br />

Agreement to Advance Hydrogen Economy<br />

Abu Dhabi’s Department of<br />

Energy, Investment Office,<br />

and green energy company<br />

Masdar have inked a trilateral<br />

agreement at Cop28 to accelerate the<br />

development of a global low-carbon<br />

hydrogen hub. The collaboration aims<br />

to enhance the production and export<br />

of low-carbon hydrogen from Abu<br />

Dhabi, fostering market conditions for<br />

international investment and co-development.<br />

By linking production centres,<br />

off-takers, and hydrogen storage across<br />

the UAE, the initiative seeks to create<br />

a hub for clean hydrogen, facilitating<br />

the decarbonisation of challenging<br />

sectors. This comprehensive approach<br />

aligns with Abu Dhabi’s commitment<br />

to sustainable energy transition and<br />

the realisation of the UAE’s net-zero<br />

strategy. This trilateral agreement<br />

marks a pivotal step towards Abu<br />

Dhabi’s ambition for a sustainable<br />

future, illustrating its commitment to<br />

pioneering global solutions.<br />

Schneider Electric, Volts Plan Giga BESS Plant<br />

in Abu Dhabi<br />

Schneider Electric has inked an<br />

agreement with Masdar City’s<br />

technology firm, Volts, to establish<br />

a giga-scale industrial<br />

facility for Battery Energy Storage Systems<br />

(BESS) production in Abu Dhabi.<br />

Volts, founded in 2019, is recognised as<br />

the Middle East’s first energy storage<br />

device manufacturer. The memorandum<br />

of understanding, signed during COP28<br />

in Dubai, outlines collaboration areas<br />

between Schneider Electric and Volts,<br />

spanning technological, consulting, and<br />

automation services for the production<br />

of industrial and home energy storage<br />

systems and battery cells. This partnership<br />

signifies a significant stride in<br />

advancing sustainable energy solutions<br />

within the region, enhancing Schneider<br />

Electric’s commitment to innovation<br />

and industry leadership.<br />

46 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

UAE’s Amea Power to Build $600M wind farm in Ethiopia<br />

Dubai-based Amea Power has<br />

inked agreements during the<br />

Cop28 climate conference for<br />

renewable energy projects in<br />

Africa, revealed its chairman, Hussain<br />

Al Nowais. The company is slated to<br />

develop a $600 million wind farm in<br />

Ethiopia, with a potential energy output<br />

of 300 megawatts. Amea Power is<br />

actively engaging with entities like the<br />

African Development Bank, the International<br />

<strong>Finance</strong> Corporation, and the<br />

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development for<br />

project financing. Despite Ethiopia’s<br />

ambitious plans to boost hydropower<br />

capacity to 13.5 gigawatts by 2040,<br />

rapid GDP growth and a burgeoning<br />

population exceeding 120 million pose<br />

challenges, leading to power shortages<br />

and load shedding.<br />

Samsung C&T to set up mega Oman green<br />

ammonia project<br />

Samsung C&T Corp. is partnering<br />

with Marubeni Corporation<br />

and Oman’s OQ for the<br />

SalalaH2 green ammonia project<br />

in Oman. This collaboration aims to<br />

produce 1 million tonnes of green<br />

ammonia annually in Salalah, utilising<br />

renewable energy from solar and wind<br />

power within a free zone. The project<br />

involves constructing a large-scale<br />

complex, incorporating OQ’s existing<br />

ammonia plant. Samsung C&T plans to<br />

initiate construction in 2027, with full<br />

operational status expected by 2030.<br />

The consortium, securing exclusive<br />

business rights, recently signed an<br />

agreement for project development<br />

and land use with Hydrom, an Omani<br />

government entity promoting the green<br />

hydrogen business.<br />

Energy companies back Cop28 deal calling for<br />

transition from fossil fuels<br />

Energy companies, including<br />

France’s TotalEnergies, are<br />

expressing support for the<br />

COP28 deal that advocates<br />

transitioning away from fossil fuels<br />

by 2050. The global stocktake, unanimously<br />

approved by 198 countries in<br />

Dubai, marks a historic step in the fight<br />

against climate change. TotalEnergies<br />

welcomes the agreement and endorses<br />

the goals of tripling renewable energy<br />

and doubling energy efficiency by the<br />

end of the decade. The company notes<br />

that natural gas, as a transitional fuel<br />

with lower emissions, could play a role<br />

in achieving net-zero targets by 2050.<br />

This support aligns with TotalEnergies’<br />

multi-energy strategy, focusing on<br />

low-emission oil and gas assets and<br />

diversifying into renewables.<br />

COP28 Adopts UAE<br />

Consensus for Energy<br />

Transition from Fossil<br />

Fuels<br />

At COP28 in Dubai, nearly 200<br />

nations embraced the “UAE<br />

Consensus,” focusing on accelerating<br />

climate action in<br />

the energy sector for a net-zero target<br />

by 2050. While lacking a commitment<br />

to fully abandon fossil fuels, the consensus<br />

emphasises a “just, orderly,<br />

and equitable” transition away from<br />

them. The UN member states avoided<br />

explicit terms like “phase out” or<br />

“phasedown.” The agreement comes<br />

amid a context of plummeting oil prices<br />

and includes calls to triple renewable<br />

energy capacity, double global energy<br />

efficiency improvements by 2030, and<br />

accelerate the phasedown of unabated<br />

coal power. COP28 aims to drive substantial<br />

progress in addressing climate<br />

challenges.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 47

Wheels<br />

Specifications<br />

Torque: 545 Nm<br />

Horsepower: 641 hp<br />

Acceleration: 60 in 3.25 seconds<br />

48 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Hyundai Ioniq 5 N<br />

The Ioniq 5 N emerges as a<br />

compelling force in the realm<br />

of electric vehicles, distinguished<br />

by its dual-motor, all-wheel-drive<br />

configuration delivering a consistent<br />

601 horsepower.<br />

The N Grin Boost feature elevates<br />

the powertrain to an impressive 641<br />

horsepower temporarily, showcasing<br />

its dynamic prowess. Offering a<br />

personalised driving experience, the<br />

all-wheel-drive system allows drivers<br />

to distribute power between front and<br />

rear wheels.<br />

Diverse driving modes, including<br />

Eco, Normal, Sport, and N, finely adjust<br />

steering weight, damping, and throttle<br />

sensitivity. Introducing Endurance and<br />

Sprint modes provides users with the<br />

flexibility to either conserve battery<br />

range or unlock maximum power for<br />

specific tasks like qualifying or drag<br />

racing. The addition of a dedicated drift<br />

mode injects a sense of excitement,<br />

empowering drivers to confidently<br />

execute spirited slides.<br />

In a nod to high-performance gaspowered<br />

cars, Hyundai integrates a<br />

simulated gear shift feature, heightening<br />

the driving experience with a familiar<br />

touch for enthusiasts accustomed to<br />

multi-speed automatic transmissions.<br />

With a claimed 0-60 mph acceleration of<br />

around 3.3 seconds, real-world testing<br />

is anticipated to potentially reveal even<br />

quicker results.<br />

Transitioning to the essential electric<br />

vehicle components, the Ioniq 5 N is<br />

equipped with an 84.0-kWh battery pack<br />

capable of DC fast charging at up to 238<br />

kW. While official range estimates from<br />

the EPA are pending, an anticipated<br />

range of around 195 miles per charge<br />

positions it as a practical and efficient<br />

choice. Hyundai’s assertion that the<br />

Ioniq 5 N can complete two laps of the<br />

Nürburgring Nordschleife before any<br />

performance degradation underscores<br />

its endurance.<br />

The Ioniq 5 N seamlessly blends<br />

performance and electric efficiency,<br />

making a noteworthy contribution<br />

to the evolving landscape of electric<br />

vehicles.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 49

Healthcare<br />

Image Supplied<br />

DHCC permits 100% foreign ownership within a designated area in the emirate.<br />

Dubai Healthcare<br />

City’s Impact on<br />

Empowering Business<br />

Growth in Healthcare<br />

DHCC has surged with a 12% annual growth,<br />

emerging as a pivotal hub for healthcare and<br />

business development.<br />

In just seven years, the UAE has made<br />

a significant leap from the 28th spot<br />

to secure the 9th position globally in<br />

competitiveness, surpassing nations like<br />

Norway, Sweden, and Canada as per the<br />

IMD <strong>World</strong> Competitiveness Ranking 2021.<br />

This achievement can be attributed to<br />

the UAE’s business-friendly environment<br />

across various sectors. Notably, one<br />

strategic initiative contributing to this<br />

success is the establishment and growth of<br />

Dubai Healthcare City, drawing the interest<br />

of over 130 international companies within<br />

a relatively short time frame. Guided by an<br />

ethos of relentless innovation and strategic<br />

partnerships, DHCC persistently leads<br />

the charge in pioneering transformative<br />

breakthroughs in healthcare investment,<br />

solidifying its status as a pioneering force<br />

in the industry.<br />

50 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

In its 21-year journey, Dubai Healthcare<br />

City (DHCC) stands as a beacon of<br />

success, achieving a 12% year-on-year<br />

growth and becoming a cornerstone<br />

for business development, especially<br />

in the healthcare department. Guided<br />

by visionary leadership and strengthened<br />

by strategic partnerships, DHCC’s<br />

commitment to sustainable health and<br />

wellness has made it a pivotal force in the<br />

industry. This success is evident in the<br />

remarkable expansion of the free zone,<br />

reflecting its influential role in shaping<br />

the future of healthcare investment and<br />

contributing to the dynamic growth of<br />

businesses within its ecosystem.<br />

DHCC’s ecosystem thrives with 481 registered<br />

facilities, including 195 dedicated<br />

to clinical services. In the past year, 19<br />

facilities expanded operations, showcasing<br />

the dynamic nature of healthcare business<br />

within the zone. The groundbreaking of<br />

Prime Hospital, Moorfields Eye Hospital<br />

Dubai’s expansion, and the introduction<br />

of Kandinsky Clinic, Dubai’s first Russian<br />

clinic, highlight DHCC’s commitment<br />

to diverse healthcare services. These<br />

strategic developments underscore the<br />

Free Zone’s dedication to fostering a<br />

comprehensive and inclusive healthcare<br />

landscape, catering to the diverse needs<br />

of the community it serves.<br />

Foreign investments are integral to<br />

DHCC’s success, with 130 international<br />

companies establishing regional offices,<br />

a testament to their trust in Dubai as a<br />

healthcare hub. Operating within the<br />

free zone provides these companies with<br />

unparalleled benefits, and their presence<br />

underscores global recognition of DHCC’s<br />

significance in the healthcare industry.<br />

The influx of international businesses<br />

not only contributes to the free zone’s<br />

growth but also solidifies its position as<br />

a preferred destination for global healthcare<br />

enterprises, fostering collaboration<br />

and reinforcing Dubai’s standing as a key<br />

player in the international healthcare<br />

landscape.<br />

Allae Almanini, Chief Financial Officer<br />

of Dubai Healthcare City Authority,<br />

underscores the ongoing development<br />

in the UAE’s healthcare ecosystem.<br />

The impressive growth, marked by a<br />

commitment to relentless innovation<br />

and strategic partnerships, serves as a<br />

testament to DHCC’s dedication.<br />

Almanini’s emphasis on continuous<br />

development highlights the free zone’s<br />

pivotal role in creating unparalleled<br />

DHCC’s businessfriendly<br />

free zone<br />

environment<br />

offers direct<br />

access to an<br />

unrivalled<br />

network for<br />

business<br />

growth.”<br />

opportunities for business partners.<br />

DHCC’s unwavering commitment to<br />

excellence not only contributes to its<br />

status as a leading healthcare and wellness<br />

destination in the region but also<br />

positions it as a catalyst for positive<br />

transformation and advancement in the<br />

broader healthcare landscape of the UAE.<br />

Since 2002, Dubai Healthcare City<br />

(DHCC) has played a pivotal role in<br />

shaping the future of healthcare investment.<br />

In 2021, the Dubai Healthcare City<br />

Authority collaborated with KLAIM and<br />

Jade Healthcare Consultancy to optimise<br />

performance and streamline operations<br />

for business partners, fostering their<br />

growth within the free zone.<br />

The collaboration with KLAIM and Jade<br />

Healthcare Consultancy underscores DH-<br />

CC’s proactive commitment to elevating<br />

the business environment. By ensuring<br />

partners benefit from cutting-edge advancements<br />

in operational efficiency<br />

and performance optimisation, DHCC<br />

maintains its position at the forefront of<br />

healthcare innovation and investment.<br />

This dedication solidifies the Free Zone’s<br />

standing as a dynamic and forward-thinking<br />

healthcare destination. DHCC’s strategic<br />

approach not only enhances the success<br />

of its partners but also reinforces its role<br />

as a trailblazer in fostering a thriving<br />

ecosystem that pushes the boundaries<br />

of healthcare excellence and sets new<br />

standards for the industry.<br />

In response to the growing demands<br />

of the UAE’s healthcare sector, DHCC<br />

introduced C37 in 2021 – the UAE’s first<br />

private medical workspace fully managed<br />

and operated by DHCC. This innovative<br />

solution caters to UAE-based and visiting<br />

doctors seeking independent, part-time<br />

practice options, fostering healthcare<br />

beyond borders. Over the last year, C37<br />

has seen a threefold increase in the number<br />

of doctors, including 14 international<br />

experts, performing 5,619 procedures.<br />

Beyond business growth, DHCC has<br />

also dedicated efforts to support local<br />

entrepreneurship. Partnering with Dubai<br />

SME, the free zone aims to nurture<br />

Emirati entrepreneurs, contributing to<br />

the development of a robust healthcare<br />

ecosystem.<br />

The economic impact of DHCC on<br />

Dubai is substantial, with its contribution<br />

to the city’s GDP reaching AED 2.8B in<br />

2021. This economic success is a result<br />

of strategic agreements, expanded healthcare<br />

offerings, and consistent support for<br />

business growth within the community.<br />

Guided by innovative sustainable<br />

healthcare practices, DHCC has expanded<br />

its service spectrum while prioritising<br />

environmental sustainability. The adoption<br />

of eco-friendly measures throughout<br />

the free zone reflects a comprehensive<br />

commitment to health and wellness.<br />

This dual focus harmonises cutting-edge<br />

care with responsible environmental practices,<br />

showcasing DHCC’s dedication to a<br />

holistic approach. By integrating eco-friendly<br />

initiatives, the free zone contributes to<br />

the well-being of its community and also<br />

sets a commendable example within the<br />

healthcare industry, demonstrating that<br />

excellence in patient care can go hand in<br />

hand with a commitment to preserving<br />

and protecting the environment.<br />

Dubai Healthcare City’s impact on empowering<br />

business growth in healthcare<br />

is evident through its dynamic expansion,<br />

strategic partnerships, and support for<br />

local and international businesses. As<br />

DHCC continues to evolve, it remains<br />

a key player in shaping the future of<br />

healthcare investment and fostering a<br />

sustainable healthcare landscape in the<br />

UAE and beyond.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 51

Merger & Acquisitions<br />

Source. freepik.com<br />

In the first half of 2023, the UAE recorded 82 M&A deals totalling $6 billion.<br />

UAE’s Global Reach:<br />

Acquiring Foreign<br />

Companies and the<br />

Shifting Paradigm<br />

UAE’s strategic acquisitions are reshaping industries,<br />

contributing to a new economic landscape, and<br />

solidifying its pivotal role in the global economy.<br />

In a dynamic era of economic evolution,<br />

the UAE has positioned itself as a global<br />

force through a series of strategic<br />

acquisitions. This transformative journey,<br />

marked by the acquisition of foreign<br />

companies, has reshaped industries and<br />

propelled the UAE into a pivotal role<br />

on the international stage. This article<br />

explores the nation’s expanding global<br />

reach, examining the shifting paradigm<br />

brought about by its deliberate and<br />

calculated efforts in acquiring foreign<br />

entities. From significant investments in<br />

diverse sectors to navigating challenges<br />

and embracing opportunities, the UAE’s<br />

approach reflects a broader commitment<br />

to economic diversification and global<br />

influence. The article unfolds the narrative<br />

of the UAE’s global reach through the<br />

lens of strategic acquisitions.<br />

52 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

The United Arab Emirates (UAE)<br />

has emerged as a dynamic global<br />

player, not just in terms of its economic<br />

prowess but also in its strategy<br />

of acquiring foreign companies. This<br />

strategic manoeuvring has significantly<br />

altered the global economic landscape<br />

and exemplifies the country’s ambitious<br />

vision for growth and diversification.<br />

In recent years, the UAE’s investment<br />

strategy has seen it venture into diverse<br />

sectors, acquiring prominent foreign<br />

companies that have garnered attention<br />

worldwide.<br />

Notably, one of the landmark acquisitions<br />

was the purchase of Manchester<br />

City Football Club by the Abu Dhabi<br />

United Group, an investment firm based<br />

in Abu Dhabi and affiliated with the Abu<br />

Dhabi royal family, overseen by Sheikh<br />

Mansour. in 2008. The club was acquired<br />

for £200 million from Thaksin Shinawatra,<br />

Thailand’s former prime minister.<br />

After purchasing Man City, Mansour<br />

delegated club management to Khaldoon<br />

Al Mubarak and the City Football Group<br />

(CFG). The CFG operates as the parent<br />

company of City and holds interests in<br />

clubs across the United States, Australia,<br />

India, Japan, Spain, Brazil, Uruguay,<br />

China, Belgium, France, and Italy.<br />

This move marked the beginning of the<br />

UAE’s foray into the world of sports and<br />

entertainment, underlining its ambitions<br />

beyond traditional sectors like energy<br />

and real estate.<br />

During the initial half of 2023, the UAE<br />

marked the region’s most significant M&A<br />

activity by revealing the acquisition of<br />

Univar Solutions by Apollo Global Management<br />

and ADIA for a substantial sum<br />

of US$8.2 billion.<br />

Furthermore, the Emirates’ sovereign<br />

wealth funds, particularly the Abu Dhabi<br />

Investment Authority (ADIA) and Mubadala<br />

Investment Company, have been pivotal<br />

in this global expansion. These entities<br />

have made strategic investments in<br />

various sectors, including technology,<br />

finance, healthcare, and infrastructure.<br />

Among these acquisitions, Mubadala<br />

secured a minority stake in Bahrain’s<br />

Investcorp, signalling its interest in the<br />

investment management sector beyond<br />

its borders. Additionally, its investment<br />

in RHB Bank, a Malaysian financial<br />

institution, and partnerships with renowned<br />

entities like GE Capital and<br />

Carlyle Group demonstrate Mubadala’s<br />

foray into the global financial services<br />

industry. Moreover, collaborations with<br />

companies like Votorantim Group in Brazil<br />

showcase Mubadala’s intent to diversify<br />

its portfolio across different sectors and<br />

regions, embracing opportunities in Latin<br />

America’s markets.<br />

These acquisitions and partnerships<br />

underline Mubadala’s approach to expanding<br />

its influence and investments<br />

internationally, beyond the boundaries<br />

of the UAE, while fostering mutually<br />

beneficial relationships for sustained<br />

growth and development.<br />

In the technology domain, the acquisition<br />

of British semiconductor company,<br />

Arm Holdings, by a consortium led by<br />

Mubadala in 2020, highlighted the UAE’s<br />

interest in bolstering its technological<br />

capabilities. This acquisition expanded<br />

the country’s footprint in the tech industry<br />

and also signified a shift towards securing<br />

assets in critical sectors vital for future<br />

advancements.<br />

Moreover, the UAE’s approach to diversification<br />

and expansion is evident in<br />

its acquisitions in the healthcare sector.<br />

For instance, the acquisition of VPS<br />

Healthcare, a network of hospitals and<br />

clinics in the UAE, expanded its global<br />

reach with the acquisition of Lifecare<br />

Hospitals in India and other healthcare<br />

facilities in Oman and Kenya. Among<br />

these acquisitions, notable examples<br />

include Medeor Hospital, purchased for<br />

AED 10 million, and the acquisition of<br />

a majority stake in Lakeshore Hospital<br />

located in Kochi.<br />

Another notable M&A activity is<br />

PureHealth which has officially inked a<br />

substantial agreement to acquire Circle<br />

Health Group, solidifying its position as<br />

a major player in the healthcare sector.<br />

This strategic move, valued at AED 4.41<br />

billion, marks a significant milestone for<br />

PureHealth.<br />

The energy sector, traditionally dominant<br />

in the UAE’s economy, has also witnessed<br />

significant global acquisitions. Abu Dhabi<br />

National Oil Company’s (ADNOC) partnerships<br />

with international entities and<br />

investments in overseas refineries and<br />

petrochemical plants reflect the nation’s<br />

goal of securing its position as a global<br />

energy player.<br />

One noteworthy facet is ADNOC’s<br />

refining partnerships with global entities<br />

like Eni and OMV, enabling technological<br />

advancements and increased operational<br />

efficiency. The Ruwais Refinery expansion<br />

project, undertaken in collaboration<br />

with companies such as Bechtel and<br />

TechnipFMC, stands as a testament to<br />

ADNOC’s commitment to scaling up its<br />

refining capacity through substantial<br />

investments.<br />

Moreover, ADNOC’s foray into petrochemicals<br />

through joint ventures with<br />

industry leaders like Borealis and ADQ<br />

emphasises its endeavour to diversify<br />

and expand its downstream capabilities.<br />

Beyond refining and petrochemicals,<br />

ADNOC’s global footprint extends to<br />

investments in downstream assets,<br />

including acquiring stakes in storage<br />

terminals like VTTI and participating in<br />

strategic petroleum reserves in India.<br />

The paradigm shift in the UAE’s investment<br />

strategy from a regional focus to a<br />

global outlook aligns with its long-term<br />

vision outlined in initiatives like UAE<br />

Vision 2071. This vision aims to position<br />

the country as a hub for innovation,<br />

knowledge, and sustainable development,<br />

emphasising economic diversification<br />

and global competitiveness.<br />

However, it’s important to note that<br />

such global acquisitions also pose challenges.<br />

Cultural differences, regulatory<br />

landscapes, and the need for effective<br />

integration strategies are crucial factors<br />

that the UAE must navigate while<br />

integrating acquired companies into its<br />

fold. Additionally, geopolitical dynamics<br />

and economic fluctuations on a global<br />

scale can impact the success of these<br />

acquisitions.<br />

As the UAE continues to expand its<br />

global footprint through strategic acquisitions,<br />

it underscores the country’s<br />

commitment to diversifying its economy<br />

and securing a prominent position on the<br />

world stage. These acquisitions not only<br />

signify a shift in economic strategies but<br />

also reflect the country’s aspirations to<br />

become a global economic powerhouse<br />

while contributing to the international<br />

business landscape in multifaceted ways.<br />

The UAE’s pursuit of acquiring foreign<br />

companies across various sectors<br />

demonstrates a calculated approach<br />

toward realising its vision of sustainable<br />

economic growth and global influence.<br />

As the nation navigates through the complexities<br />

of global markets, its strategic<br />

acquisitions are reshaping industries<br />

and contributing to the evolution of a<br />

new economic landscape, reinforcing<br />

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

global economy.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 53

Merger and Acquisition News<br />

EDGE Group Secures Control of ANAVIA, Leader in Autonomous Air Systems<br />

The UAE’s e& is set to expand its<br />

footprint in Pakistan through the<br />

complete acquisition of Telenor’s<br />

local unit, marking a strategic<br />

move to tap into Pakistan’s burgeoning<br />

telecoms market. The binding agreement,<br />

signed by Pakistan Telecommunication<br />

Company (e&’s listed entity) and Telenor,<br />

values the acquisition at 108B Pakistani<br />

rupees ($381M). e&, formerly Etisalat<br />

Group, aims to leverage this acquisition to<br />

focus on building an advanced next-generation<br />

network, fostering digital transformation<br />

in Pakistan. Hatem Dowidar,<br />

e&’s Group CEO, emphasized the strategic<br />

opportunity for market consolidation<br />

and reiterated the steadfast commitment<br />

to advancing Pakistan’s telecom sector<br />

through innovative solutions.<br />

EFG Advises $625M<br />

Eastern Co. Sale<br />

to UAE’s Global<br />

Investment<br />

EFG Hermes, a leading investment<br />

bank, has successfully<br />

concluded advisory services<br />

for UAE’s Global Investment<br />

Holding Ltd on a $625M deal. The<br />

transaction involves Global Investment<br />

Holding acquiring a 30% stake in Egypt’s<br />

Eastern Company, a tobacco giant, from<br />

the state-owned Chemical Industries<br />

Holding Co. EFG Hermes acted as the sole<br />

financial advisor for Global Investment<br />

Holding Ltd in this acquisition, which<br />

was approved by the cabinet. Maged<br />

El Ayouti, Managing Director at EFG<br />

Hermes, highlighted the deal’s significance,<br />

marking one of Egypt’s largest minority<br />

stake sales and a substantial foreign direct<br />

investment (FDI) transaction. Egypt’s<br />

largest tobacco product maker holds a<br />

consistent 70% market share.<br />

Geopolitical Tensions Lead to 26% Drop in<br />

Middle East and Africa Deal Activity<br />

Deal activity in the Middle<br />

East and Africa experienced<br />

a significant 25.7% year-onyear<br />

decline from <strong>January</strong><br />

to November 2023, according to a<br />

report by London-based GlobalData.<br />

The global deal landscape also saw<br />

a 23.6% YoY decrease, attributed to<br />

macroeconomic challenges and ongoing<br />

geopolitical tensions. A sum of 48,953<br />

deals, including mergers & acquisitions<br />

(M&A), private equity, and venture<br />

financing, were concluded during this<br />

period, compared to 64,092 deals the<br />

previous year. M&A deals were down<br />

by 16.3% YoY, while private equity and<br />

venture financing deals saw declines<br />

of 28.4% and 32.5%, respectively. The<br />

report highlights the uniform impact<br />

of macroeconomic challenges and<br />

geopolitical tensions on deal-making<br />

sentiments across regions. In North<br />

America, which led to deal volume,<br />

there was a 28.6% YoY decline.<br />

Cenomi Retail Sells 18 Brands to Al-Othaim,<br />

Fulfilling Transformation Commitment<br />

Cenomi Retail, a leading retail<br />

brand partner in Saudi Arabia,<br />

finalised a share purchase agreement<br />

on December 6, 2023, for<br />

the acquisition of 100% of Innovative Outfit<br />

Trading Company by Abdullah Al-Othaim<br />

Fashion Company. This strategic move<br />

involves the sale of franchise rights for<br />

18 brands and their assets, aligning with<br />

Cenomi Retail’s transformation program<br />

and focusing on Champion Brands in<br />

the Fashion, Electronics, and Food and<br />

Beverage categories. The SAR 120M deal<br />

is expected to positively impact profitability,<br />

with the divestment contributing to<br />

EBITDA growth by approximately SAR<br />

10 million annually. The transaction is<br />

contingent on regulatory approval from<br />

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for<br />

Competition.<br />

54 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Adnoc to acquire OCI’s stake in Fertiglobe for $3.6B<br />

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company<br />

(Adnoc) is set to acquire<br />

OCI Global’s entire stake<br />

in Fertiglobe, the largest<br />

seaborne exporter of urea and ammonia,<br />

for $3.62B. The deal, expected to<br />

finalise in <strong>2024</strong>, will boost Adnoc’s<br />

shareholding in Fertiglobe to 86.2%,<br />

with the remaining 13.8% on the Abu<br />

Dhabi Securities Exchange. Fertiglobe,<br />

a major nitrogen fertiliser producer in<br />

the Middle East and North Africa, is at<br />

the forefront of sustainable ammonia.<br />

Adnoc’s purchase of OCI Global’s 50% plus<br />

one share stake at AED 3.20 per share<br />

solidifies its dedication to Fertiglobe,<br />

reinforcing a commitment to long-term<br />

growth and shareholder value.<br />

ADCB Sells 80% Stake in<br />

Abu Dhabi Commercial<br />

Properties<br />

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank<br />

(ADCB) has agreed to divest<br />

an 80% stake in its wholly-owned<br />

property management<br />

subsidiary, Abu Dhabi Commercial<br />

Properties (ADCP), to Nine Yards Plus<br />

Holding, a real estate subsidiary of EIH<br />

Ethmar International Holding PJSC.<br />

The transaction values ADCP at AED<br />

591M, with ADCB set to register a gain<br />

of approximately AED 490M, subject to<br />

closing conditions by December 2023.<br />

This move aligns with ADCB’s strategy<br />

to focus on core banking businesses,<br />

unlocking substantial value for shareholders.<br />

ADCB will retain a 20% stake<br />

in ADCP and continue its partnership<br />

through a long-term relationship agreement,<br />

fostering strategic growth.<br />

Top Abu Dhabi developer buys London Square<br />

for $291M<br />

Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties<br />

(ALDAR.AD) has acquired<br />

London-based developer<br />

London Square for an enterprise<br />

value of AED 1.07B ($291M),<br />

marking Aldar’s inaugural international<br />

acquisition. The strategic move aims to<br />

leverage Aldar’s expertise and financial<br />

strength to support London Square’s<br />

land acquisition strategy, facilitating the<br />

development of prime central London<br />

sites. The joint statement emphasises<br />

the potential positive impact on sales<br />

through cross-selling opportunities<br />

across their respective customer bases.<br />

London Square, established in 2010, is<br />

renowned for its Nine Elms development<br />

near Battersea Power Station,<br />

featuring over 750 luxury homes,<br />

affordable housing, and commercial/<br />

retail space spanning 21,500 square feet.<br />

United Printing Transforms into E7 Group Post<br />

ADC Merger, Initiates Listing<br />

United Printing and Publishing<br />

Sole Proprietorship (UPP)<br />

has rebranded as E7 Group<br />

following its successful<br />

merger with ADC Acquisition Corporation.<br />

The completion of this business<br />

combination infused AED 1.10B in cash,<br />

positioning E7 as the region’s inaugural<br />

Special Purpose Acquisition Company<br />

(SPAC) and facilitating accelerated<br />

growth. E7 Group commenced trading<br />

on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange<br />

(ADX) under the new ticker symbol E7<br />

on November 23, 2023. CEO Ali Saif<br />

Ali Abdulla Alnuaimi expressed the<br />

company’s commitment to becoming<br />

a leading national industrial champion,<br />

emphasising values of innovation and<br />

growth as E7 embarks on an exciting<br />

new chapter as a listed entity.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 55

Real Estate<br />

source: freepik.com<br />

Investing in Dubai’s real estate sector offers numerous benefits to indian investors<br />

Your Complete Guide<br />

for Investing in<br />

Dubai’s Real Estate<br />

Market from India<br />

Investing in real estate in the UAE holds the<br />

potential for substantial returns and enduring<br />

financial stability.<br />

Dubai’s real estate sector has consistently<br />

captivated global investors, boasting a<br />

fusion of opulence, progressive innovation,<br />

and promising returns. For Indian<br />

investors, this landscape represents an<br />

alluring prospect, fortified by strategic<br />

positioning, impeccable infrastructure,<br />

and attractive rental yields. Investing<br />

in this realm not only ensures financial<br />

gains but also qualifies you for UAE’s<br />

Golden Visa upon reaching a certain<br />

investment threshold. If you’re stepping<br />

into this vibrant market, navigating Dubai’s<br />

real estate landscape requires a deep<br />

understanding. This comprehensive guide<br />

aims to serve as your compass, offering a<br />

roadmap tailored to aid Indian investors<br />

in understanding Dubai’s dynamic real<br />

estate landscape, and facilitating informed<br />

decisions.<br />

56 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Since 2004, Indians have consistently<br />

ranked within the top three<br />

nationalities regarding property<br />

purchases in Dubai. From 2015 to 2021,<br />

Indian investors contributed significantly<br />

to the city’s real estate market, acquiring<br />

properties valued at AED 83.62 billion<br />

during this period alone.<br />

Dubai holds a distinct appeal owing<br />

to its simplified property registration<br />

procedures, a refreshing departure from<br />

the complexities often encountered in<br />

India. What’s more enticing for Indian<br />

citizens exploring Dubai’s real estate<br />

market is the sheer variety of options<br />

available, amplified by the prospect of<br />

securing a coveted 10-year Golden visa<br />

upon investing in properties exceeding<br />

INR 4.5 crores. These factors collectively<br />

position Dubai as an inviting prospect<br />

for Indian investors seeking to broaden<br />

their portfolios, attracted by its investor-friendly<br />

real estate environment and<br />

promising opportunities for expansion.<br />

Before delving into any investment<br />

venture, comprehending the landscape<br />

is crucial. When considering Dubai’s real<br />

estate market, a fundamental concept<br />

to grasp is the notion of freehold areas.<br />

Dubai’s freehold ownership areas stand<br />

as a testament to its openness to foreign<br />

investment, offering non-residents the opportunity<br />

to own property outright. These<br />

designated zones have been instrumental<br />

in attracting global investors, allowing<br />

them to acquire properties without local<br />

sponsorship.<br />

These areas, including prominent<br />

locations like Dubai Marina, Downtown<br />

Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, and others, grant<br />

investors the liberty to buy, sell, or lease<br />

properties with full ownership rights,<br />

irrespective of their nationality.<br />

Once you’ve chosen the freehold area<br />

for your investment, the subsequent<br />

step is to obtain pre-approval.To initiate<br />

the process, several key documents<br />

are typically necessary. These include<br />

a valid passport with an active visa,<br />

proof of residential address in India,<br />

financial statements like bank records<br />

or salary slips illustrating your income<br />

stability, evidence of funds available for<br />

the investment, and in some cases, a No<br />

Objection Certificate (NOC) from your<br />

employer affirming approval for property<br />

acquisition abroad. Additionally, providing<br />

a copy of your Permanent Account<br />

Number (PAN) card is often part of the<br />

required documentation.<br />

Indian investors<br />

have emerged<br />

as the foremost<br />

contributors to<br />

Dubai’s property<br />

market, wielding<br />

significant<br />

influence in<br />

shaping the<br />

city’s real estate<br />

landscape.”<br />

It is important to know that all Indian<br />

investors engaged in Dubai real estate<br />

transactions are mandated to report<br />

their property acquisitions to the Indian<br />

government through the Foreign Assets<br />

(FA) Schedule ITR and the Black Money<br />

(Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets)<br />

Imposition of Tax Act (Black Money Act).<br />

After getting the pre-approval, you will<br />

sign a reservation agreement and pay a<br />

reservation fee, which is usually around<br />

5-15% of the property value, to take the<br />

property off the market. Subsequently, you<br />

will sign a sales and purchase agreement<br />

that outlines the terms and conditions<br />

of the property purchase, including payment<br />

schedule, completion date, and any<br />

other relevant details. Both parties sign<br />

the SPA, and you will pay a percentage<br />

of the property price.<br />

After that, the next step is the transfer<br />

of ownership at the Dubai Land Department,<br />

where the remaining balance is<br />

settled, and the title deed is officially<br />

transferred. Following registration,<br />

payment of fees, and obtaining the title<br />

deed, possession or handover takes place,<br />

either for a completed property or after<br />

construction completion.<br />

Post-purchase considerations include<br />

managing service charges, maintenance<br />

fees, and potentially engaging property<br />

management services for non-resident<br />

owners.<br />

When investing in property in Dubai,<br />

it’s crucial to factor in various expenses,<br />

including those linked to mortgages, real<br />

estate agents or brokers, and developers.<br />

These costs, when aggregated, typically<br />

amount to an additional 5% of the overall<br />

property price. The expenses related to<br />

purchasing real estate in Dubai encompass<br />

several components, such as the Dubai<br />

Land Department (DLD) fee, constituting<br />

4% of the property price, along with additional<br />

charges for title deed issuance,<br />

admin fees varying for different property<br />

types, agent’s commission typically at<br />

2% of the property price, and NOC (No<br />

Objection Certificate) charges, ranging<br />

from INR 11,000 to INR 1,10,000.<br />

Seeking professional advice from tax<br />

experts specialising in international<br />

investments is an indispensable step in<br />

the Dubai real estate investment journey.<br />

These experts possess an intricate<br />

knowledge of cross-border taxation laws<br />

and can provide invaluable guidance on<br />

potential tax implications that may arise<br />

from property acquisitions in Dubai.<br />

Their expertise allows you to navigate<br />

the complex landscape of international<br />

taxation effectively, ensuring compliance<br />

with Indian and UAE tax regulations.<br />

With their insights, you can strategise<br />

to optimise tax liabilities, understand tax<br />

treaties between the two countries, and<br />

uncover opportunities for maximising<br />

returns within the bounds of legal and<br />

regulatory frameworks. Ultimately, their<br />

counsel will empower you to make informed<br />

decisions, mitigate risks, and capitalise<br />

on the lucrative prospects presented by<br />

Dubai’s real estate market while staying<br />

aligned with taxation requirements.<br />

Investing in Dubai’s real estate from<br />

India presents an exciting opportunity,<br />

offering potential financial gains and a<br />

gateway to an international property<br />

portfolio. However, thorough research,<br />

understanding legalities, and seeking<br />

expert guidance remain paramount for<br />

a successful investment journey. With<br />

the right approach, you can leverage<br />

Dubai’s thriving real estate market to<br />

its advantage, tapping into a world of<br />

opportunities beyond borders.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 57

Real Estate News<br />

Masdar City Unveils 844-Unit Residential Project<br />

in Latest Reportage<br />

UAE real estate developer<br />

Reportage expands its<br />

Masdar City portfolio with<br />

the launch of Royal Park, a<br />

sprawling 844-unit residential project<br />

in Abu Dhabi. Spanning 27,080 sq m, the<br />

development comprises 6 residential<br />

groups offering a mix of townhouses,<br />

penthouses, and apartments. With<br />

Royal Park, Reportage’s Masdar City<br />

portfolio now encompasses six projects,<br />

totaling around 2,750 residential units.<br />

The company, known for its sustainable<br />

urban developments, has successfully<br />

handed over previous projects like Oasis<br />

2, Oasis Residence 1, and Leonardo<br />

Residence in Masdar City. Currently,<br />

Reportage is actively developing two<br />

more projects, The Gate and The Plaza,<br />

in the same area.<br />

Arista Properties<br />

makes an inaugural<br />

entry into the UAE<br />

The UAE’s real estate sector,<br />

contributing 5.5% to the GDP,<br />

plays a pivotal role in Dubai’s<br />

economic landscape. Dubai’s<br />

ultra-prime property market, ranked<br />

fourth globally, witnessed a notable<br />

40% surge, reaching AED 97.55B in<br />

Q3 2023 from AED 69.5B in Q3 2022.<br />

Amid Dubai’s emergence as a financial<br />

and business hub, the real estate<br />

market attracts increased players and<br />

investors, fostering sectoral growth.<br />

Arista Properties enters this dynamic<br />

landscape, pledging over AED 5B<br />

investments in the next three to four<br />

years. Positioning itself as a beacon of<br />

luxury living, Arista aims to redefine<br />

opulence, targeting High-Net-Worth and<br />

Ultra High-Net-Worth Individuals with<br />

bespoke designs and lavish residences.<br />

Damac’s Maison Aykon City breaks new ground<br />

Damac Properties, a leading<br />

UAE real estate developer,<br />

has unveiled Damac Maison<br />

Aykon City, a luxurious<br />

addition to Dubai’s skyline located<br />

along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Safa<br />

Park and vibrant entertainment<br />

hubs. This visionary project aims to<br />

elevate standards in both real estate<br />

and hospitality, offering a range of sophisticated<br />

living spaces from modern<br />

studios to expansive three-bedroom<br />

58 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />

luxury hotel apartments. Boasting<br />

state-of-the-art design and panoramic<br />

windows with breathtaking views of<br />

Dubai, the development symbolises the<br />

city’s dynamic growth. It caters to the<br />

evolving preferences of residents and<br />

global travellers. Damac’s Senior VP of<br />

Hotels and Resorts Hospitality, Dean<br />

Rossilli, emphasises the project’s role<br />

in redefining luxury living and setting<br />

new benchmarks in the intersection of<br />

global luxury real estate and tourism.<br />

Dar Global Launches<br />

Tierra Viva, Aida, Les<br />

Vagues Construction<br />

Luxury real estate developer Dar<br />

Global achieves a major milestone<br />

with the simultaneous<br />

commencement of construction<br />

on three highly anticipated projects in<br />

December 2023 – Tierra Viva in Spain,<br />

AIDA in Oman, and Les Vagues in Qatar.<br />

This milestone underscores Dar Global’s<br />

dedication to timely delivery and longterm<br />

value for investors. Following a<br />

successful listing on the London Stock<br />

Exchange earlier in the year, the brand<br />

reinforces its global presence. CEO<br />

Ziad El Chaar expresses excitement<br />

about setting new benchmarks in luxury<br />

living, recording strong demand,<br />

and progressing as scheduled on these<br />

prestigious projects amid heightened<br />

investor interest worldwide.

Qatar’s Real Estate<br />

Trading Hits $411M in<br />

November<br />

In November 2023, Qatar’s real<br />

estate market recorded a substantial<br />

trading volume of QR 1.46B<br />

in registered sale contracts, as<br />

reported by the Real Estate Registration<br />

Department at the Ministry of Justice.<br />

The month saw 321 transactions, reflecting<br />

a 10% increase in the index of sold<br />

properties and a 7% rise in traded areas<br />

compared to October 2023. Leading in<br />

financial value were Doha, Al Rayyan,<br />

and Al Dhaayen municipalities, with<br />

Doha’s transactions alone amounting<br />

to QR 603.7M. This robust performance<br />

underscores the market’s resilience<br />

and highlights key contributors to the<br />

country’s real estate landscape.<br />

Azizi sees Riviera project Phase IV 40%<br />

complete<br />

Azizi Developments, based<br />

in the UAE, reports significant<br />

progress on its Riviera<br />

development in Dubai, with<br />

Phase IV nearing 40% completion and<br />

set for Q3 next year. Riviera, a French<br />

Mediterranean-inspired waterfront<br />

community in Mohammed Bin Rashid<br />

City, is strategically situated near key<br />

business, leisure, and retail hubs. Azizi<br />

Azure, one of six buildings in Phase<br />

IV, stands at 44% completion, with<br />

structural work at 100%, blockwork<br />

and internal plaster at 95% and 70%, and<br />

HVAC, MEP, and overall finishes at 14%,<br />

25%, and 18%, respectively. The swift<br />

advancement, with a total workforce<br />

of 3,100, reflects Azizi’s commitment<br />

to the Riviera mega-project, as CEO<br />

Farhad Azizi expresses excitement<br />

about the rapid progress.<br />

Taraf unveils Terra Golf Collection, luxury villas<br />

in Jumeirah Golf Estates<br />

Taraf, the real estate arm of UAEbased<br />

Yas Holding, unveils<br />

the Terra Golf Collection, a<br />

luxury residential villa project<br />

in Dubai’s coveted Jumeirah Golf<br />

Estates. Comprising 84 single-family<br />

properties, including six-bedroom<br />

villas and townhouses, this gated<br />

community marks Taraf’s third project.<br />

Designed to seamlessly blend with its<br />

natural surroundings, most properties<br />

offer picturesque golf course views.<br />

Terra Golf Collection aims to set a<br />

new standard for community living<br />

in the Emirate, providing world-class<br />

leisure facilities. With a commitment to<br />

architectural and interior excellence,<br />

the project reflects Taraf’s dedication<br />

to contemporary luxury, elevating<br />

lifestyle-centric communities in Dubai’s<br />

thriving real estate landscape.<br />

Arcilla Secures Contracts for 100,000 Sq Ft Luxury Real Estate Development in<br />

the United Arab Emirates<br />

Arcilla Property Partners, a<br />

prominent development and<br />

design firm, has secured<br />

contracts to develop and design over<br />

100,000 sq ft of luxury residential<br />

real estate in the UAE. Founded by<br />

property experts Alexis Stellakis<br />

and Harry Helsby, Arcilla has rapidly<br />

expanded its portfolio to eight sites<br />

across the UAE, including prestigious<br />

residences at Atlantis The Royal.<br />

Currently redeveloping and designing<br />

properties, including two penthouses,<br />

the company aims to meet UAE’s<br />

demand for a higher standard of<br />

quality and understated luxury. The<br />

penthouses, part of Atlantis The Royal,<br />

are set to be completed on schedule<br />

by the end of the year, showcasing<br />

meticulous interior architecture and<br />

design. Arcilla Property Partners, under<br />

the guidance of its founders, continues<br />

to set new benchmarks in luxury real<br />

estate development across the UAE.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 59

Funding and Investment<br />

source: Dubai Design District<br />

Investing in UAE free zones offers foreign investors a platform for global market expansion.<br />

Exploring the<br />

Advantages of Foreign<br />

Investment in UAE<br />

Free Zones<br />

UAE free zones offer foreign investors full<br />

ownership, tax waivers on imports/exports,<br />

complete profit repatriation and more.<br />

The UAE offers investors more than 40<br />

multidisciplinary free zones, in which expatriates<br />

and foreign investors can have<br />

full ownership of companies. These zones<br />

are characterised by their highly efficient<br />

infrastructure and distinct services that<br />

facilitate smooth workflows, saving businesses<br />

considerable time and effort. The<br />

country has made significant efforts to<br />

pull foreign investors in various business<br />

areas, including real estate, healthcare,<br />

fintech, and more. These designated zones,<br />

strategically established across the Emirates,<br />

offer an optimal environment for<br />

businesses to flourish and thrive. This<br />

article will explore the compelling reasons<br />

why investing in these free zones<br />

stands as an attractive proposition for<br />

foreign investors looking for a dynamic<br />

and growth-centric business landscape.<br />

60 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Investing in free zones within the<br />

United Arab Emirates (UAE) stands<br />

as an enticing prospect for foreign<br />

investors seeking streamlined business<br />

operations and a favourable investment<br />

environment. Free zones, also known as<br />

economic zones or free trade zones, constitute<br />

designated areas where goods can<br />

be landed, stored, handled, manufactured,<br />

reconfigured, and re-exported without<br />

involvement from customs authorities.<br />

Typically located near ports or airports,<br />

these zones offer special economic incentives<br />

to foreign investors.<br />

In the UAE, the government has<br />

introduced free zones to facilitate foreign<br />

investment and operational ease<br />

for international entrepreneurs. Each<br />

free zone is tailored around specific<br />

industry categories and comes with<br />

unique requirements regarding minimum<br />

capital, office or warehouse space, and<br />

permitted activities.<br />

These zones have witnessed a global<br />

prevalence, experiencing a significant<br />

increase in number worldwide. Countries<br />

looking to attract export businesses and<br />

foreign direct investment have found<br />

these zones to be highly appealing. With<br />

various types like Special Economic Zones<br />

(SEZs), Free Trade Zones (FTZs), Export<br />

Processing Zones (EPZs), Business Zones<br />

(BZs), and Industrial Zones (IZs), these<br />

areas offer diverse incentives, and countries<br />

across the Middle East, including<br />

Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, have<br />

also embraced similar zones.<br />

The evolution of free zones in the UAE<br />

dates back to the establishment of the<br />

Jebel Ali Free Zone in 1985. Since then,<br />

the nation has developed over 40 free<br />

zones, each catering to specific industries<br />

or business types, with each zone<br />

tailored to cater to particular industries or<br />

business sectors. A prime example of this<br />

specialisation is the Dubai International<br />

Financial Centre (DIFC), a distinctive<br />

zone situated at the heart of Dubai City.<br />

Renowned as a prestigious financial hub,<br />

it operates under the governance of the<br />

English Common Law framework. These<br />

zones have evolved to offer increasing<br />

advantages, including 100% foreign ownership,<br />

tax exemptions, capital and profit<br />

repatriation, corporate tax exemptions,<br />

and access to bustling areas and services<br />

surrounding Dubai.<br />

Tax Benefits and Financial Incentives:<br />

UAE free zones present a tax-efficient<br />

environment. Despite the introduction of<br />

The UAE’s free<br />

zone paradigm<br />

dynamically<br />

fosters investment<br />

and serves as a<br />

comprehensive<br />

tool for integrated<br />

business<br />

development.”<br />

corporate tax in the UAE, entities within<br />

these zones continue to enjoy a 0% tax<br />

rate, making them highly competitive<br />

and advantageous for foreign investors.<br />

Furthermore, financial incentives like<br />

capital and profit repatriation and corporate<br />

tax exemptions for a specified<br />

duration further enhance their appeal.<br />

Regulatory Flexibility:<br />

Free zones in the UAE provide regulatory<br />

advantages tailored to businesses. With<br />

more flexible licensing procedures and<br />

simplified immigration processes compared<br />

to the mainland, these zones offer<br />

a conducive environment for business<br />

setup and operations. The streamlined<br />

regulations enable foreign investors to<br />

navigate administrative requirements<br />

efficiently.<br />

State-of-the-Art Infrastructure:<br />

These zones boast modern infrastructure<br />

and cutting-edge facilities such as<br />

office spaces, warehouses, logistics<br />

centres, and advanced communication<br />

networks. The world-class amenities<br />

and connectivity empower businesses to<br />

operate seamlessly, enhancing efficiency<br />

in import-export activities and facilitating<br />

global trade.<br />

Global Connectivity:<br />

Situated at the crossroads of Europe,<br />

Asia, and Africa, the UAE’s strategic<br />

location makes it an ideal hub for international<br />

trade and commerce. Free zones<br />

leverage this geographical advantage,<br />

providing access to global markets<br />

without import-export duties. The stable<br />

political and economic climate, coupled<br />

with robust legal frameworks, strengthens<br />

investor confidence.<br />

Industry-Specific Focus:<br />

Each free zone caters to distinct industry<br />

categories, offering specialised<br />

zones for technology, logistics, finance,<br />

media, and more. This industry-centric<br />

approach fosters sector-specific growth,<br />

encourages innovation, and facilitates<br />

collaboration among businesses within<br />

similar domains.<br />

Job Creation and Economic<br />

Diversification:<br />

Foreign investment in UAE free zones<br />

contributes significantly to economic<br />

diversification. These zones generate<br />

employment opportunities for both<br />

nationals and expatriates, playing a<br />

crucial role in the nation’s economic<br />

development. The diverse sectors housed<br />

within the zones contribute to a vibrant<br />

and diversified economy.<br />

Government Support and Ease<br />

of Setup:<br />

The UAE government is committed<br />

to nurturing a conducive business environment<br />

and providing comprehensive<br />

support for foreign investors. Setting up a<br />

business in these zones is straightforward<br />

and requires minimal documentation,<br />

with dedicated support services offered<br />

by the authorities throughout the setup<br />

process.<br />

These zones play a pivotal role in the<br />

UAE’s economic growth by attracting<br />

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

economic development, and<br />

creating job opportunities for nationals<br />

and expatriates. The government’s continuous<br />

investment in the development<br />

and expansion of free zones aims to draw<br />

more foreign investors, diversify the<br />

economy, and foster overall economic<br />

growth in the nation.<br />

With a conducive regulatory environment,<br />

tax exemptions, streamlined processes,<br />

and access to world-class infrastructure,<br />

these zones provide an optimal platform<br />

for businesses to thrive and expand<br />

their global footprint in a dynamic and<br />

competitive landscape.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 61

Funding and Investment News<br />

COP28 gathers $2.4bln in<br />

funds to focus on forests,<br />

oceans, and NTDs<br />

On the fourth day of the UN<br />

Climate Change Conference<br />

COP28, commitments exceeding<br />

$2.4B were announced. UN<br />

Climate Change High-Level Champion<br />

for COP28, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak,<br />

unveiled $1.7B in nature conservation<br />

finance, emphasising nature’s role in<br />

climate action from COP28 to COP30.<br />

The first-ever COP Health Day witnessed<br />

pledges of over $777M to combat<br />

neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)<br />

in Africa. The <strong>World</strong> Climate Action<br />

Summit introduced new initiatives<br />

with an initial commitment of $1.7B<br />

to address climate and biodiversity<br />

goals. Brazil’s President Luis Lula<br />

da Silva and the COP28 Presidency<br />

announced a two-year partnership to<br />

mobilise resources for nature.<br />

Mubadala-Backed<br />

Andalusia Labs Raises<br />

$48M in Series A<br />

Funding<br />

Andalusia Labs, a pioneer in<br />

risk management infrastructure<br />

for digital assets, has<br />

secured $48M in a Series A<br />

funding round, valuing the company at<br />

over $1B. Led by Lightspeed Venture<br />

Partners and Mubadala Capital, the<br />

funding included participation from<br />

existing investors such as Pantera<br />

Capital, Framework Ventures, Bain<br />

Capital Ventures, and Digital Currency<br />

Group. Andalusia Labs announced<br />

its global headquarters in Abu Dhabi<br />

Global Markets (ADGM) to leverage<br />

the region’s growing prominence in<br />

the digital assets space. The company<br />

plans to use the funds for product development,<br />

institutional partnerships,<br />

and global expansion, with a focus on<br />

hiring across various roles.<br />

Saudi Debt Crowdfunding Platform Lendo<br />

Secures $28M in Series B Funding<br />

Saudi Arabia’s Shariah-compliant<br />

debt crowdfunding marketplace,<br />

Lendo, has successfully<br />

raised SAR 105M ($28M) in a<br />

Series B funding round led by Sanabil<br />

Investments, a PIF-owned company.<br />

Other participants include Shorooq<br />

Partners, AB Ventures, and additional<br />

investors. Lendo, licensed by the Saudi<br />

Central Bank (SAMA), facilitates the<br />

pre-financing of outstanding invoices<br />

for businesses in Saudi Arabia. The<br />

funds will support the platform’s rapidly<br />

growing customer base, introduce<br />

innovative financing products, and expedite<br />

market expansion plans. Lendo,<br />

expressing gratitude to regulatory bodies<br />

and supporters, aims to contribute<br />

to reshaping the financial landscape<br />

and addressing the substantial SME<br />

financing gap in the MENA region.<br />

Funding in UAE tech startups witnessed a 65%<br />

decline in 2023<br />

The UAE’s startup ecosystem<br />

experienced a funding decline<br />

of 65% in 2023, with capital<br />

inflows dropping to $638M<br />

compared to $1.83B in 2022, marking<br />

the least funded year since 2020,<br />

according to Tracxn’s ‘Geo Annual<br />

Report: UAE Tech 2023.’ The number<br />

of funding rounds for tech startups<br />

also decreased by 21% compared to<br />

the same period in 2022. Seed-stage<br />

investments in 2023 reached $223M, a<br />

7% decrease from 2022 but a 47% rise<br />

from 2021. Early-stage funding declined<br />

by 66%, and late-stage funding saw<br />

an 80% plunge. Fintech, Environment<br />

Tech, and Blockchain Technology were<br />

the top-performing segments in 2023.<br />

BlackRock to invest up to $400M in Dubai<br />

decarbonization firm Positive Zero<br />

Al Naboodah Group, a leading<br />

UAE-based conglomerate,<br />

has launched a digital venture<br />

aimed at transforming<br />

the construction sector. The initiative<br />

focuses on leveraging advanced technologies,<br />

such as artificial intelligence,<br />

machine learning, and data analytics,<br />

to enhance project efficiency, sustainability,<br />

and safety. The digital venture<br />

aligns with the UAE’s vision for innovation<br />

and technological advancement,<br />

contributing to the country’s position<br />

as a leader in the construction industry.<br />

By embracing digital solutions,<br />

Al Naboodah Group aims to drive<br />

significant improvements in construction<br />

processes, reduce environmental<br />

impact, and foster sustainable development<br />

in the region. The initiative<br />

reflects the growing trend of digital<br />

transformation across industries in<br />

the UAE.<br />

62 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

UAE’s Positive Zero Secures $400M for GCC Sustainable Energy Push<br />

Dubai-based decarbonisation<br />

firm Positive Zero has secured<br />

a substantial investment<br />

of up to $400M from<br />

BlackRock, channelled through a<br />

diversified infrastructure fund, as per<br />

Reuters reports. This financial infusion<br />

is poised to bolster Positive Zero’s<br />

mission as an infrastructure enterprise,<br />

concentrating on decentralised<br />

decarbonisation initiatives within the<br />

Gulf nations. Originating from the<br />

collaboration of SirajPower, a solar<br />

company, Taka Solutions specialising<br />

in energy efficiency, and HYPR Energy,<br />

an on-demand battery business,<br />

Positive Zero emerged last year under<br />

Creek Capital’s guidance—a climate<br />

investment-focused firm.<br />

Dubai-based gaming studio Farcana raises $10M<br />

in seed funding<br />

Dubai-based gaming studio<br />

Farcana has secured $10M<br />

in seed funding from a multifund<br />

round, with participation<br />

from Animoca Brands, Fenbushi<br />

Capital, Polygon Ventures, Merit Circle,<br />

and others. Farcana specialises in developing<br />

competitive interactive games<br />

set on Mars, offering players Bitcoin<br />

rewards. The funding will support the<br />

studio’s efforts to combine esports with<br />

emerging technologies like blockchain.<br />

Illman Shazhaev, CEO and founder of<br />

Farcana highlighted the role of games<br />

in contributing to society’s economic<br />

landscape, while Yat Siu, co-founder<br />

and executive chairman of Animoca<br />

Brands, expressed excitement about<br />

supporting Farcana as it leads the sector<br />

and introduces innovative products to<br />

the market.<br />

Invest in Sharjah at<br />

the <strong>World</strong> Investment<br />

Conference in India<br />

The Sharjah FDI Office, Invest<br />

in Sharjah, actively engaged in<br />

fostering economic collaboration<br />

and investment synergies<br />

between Sharjah and influential<br />

Indian business communities at the<br />

27th <strong>World</strong> Investment Conference<br />

in New Delhi. Held from December<br />

11-14 by the WAIPA, the conference,<br />

themed ‘Empowering Investors: IPAs<br />

Pioneering Future Growth,’ drew decision-makers<br />

and industry leaders from<br />

120 countries. Invest in Sharjah, led by<br />

HE Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, showcased<br />

Sharjah’s economic achievements<br />

and commitment to sustained growth,<br />

emphasising technology, innovation,<br />

and sustainability. The delegation<br />

participated in panel discussions, with<br />

HE Mohamed Al Musharrkh highlighting<br />

the role of investment promotion<br />

agencies in fostering sustainable FDI<br />

for climate initiatives.<br />

ADQ and Azerbaijan Investment Holding form a joint investment platform<br />

Abu Dhabi-based ADQ and<br />

Azerbaijan Investment<br />

Holding (AIH) have formed<br />

a joint venture to invest in<br />

mutually prioritised sectors such as<br />

agriculture, technology, pharmaceuticals,<br />

and energy infrastructure. The<br />

joint platform aims to identify and<br />

capitalise on investment opportunities,<br />

focusing on generating sustainable<br />

financial returns in Azerbaijan, the<br />

UAE, and Central Asia initially, with<br />

potential expansion to other countries.<br />

Each party will hold a 50% interest<br />

in the joint venture, committing<br />

$500M each. AIH, established in 2020,<br />

manages and enhances state-owned<br />

enterprises, actively contributing to<br />

Azerbaijan’s long-term development.<br />

ADQ, with diverse investments, brings<br />

its expertise to key sectors like energy,<br />

utilities, food, agriculture, healthcare,<br />

life sciences, mobility, and logistics.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 63

Digital Assets<br />

Source. pexels.com<br />

Dubai’s VASP licensing framework combats illicit finance in virtual assets.<br />

Fasset Secures VASP<br />

License in Dubai<br />

for its Digital Asset<br />

Investment Platform<br />

Fasset FZE completed the final stage and is ready<br />

to offer broker-dealer services and introduce<br />

tokenised assets with VARA in Dubai.<br />

With the establishment of Dubai’s Virtual<br />

Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), the<br />

Emirate embraced a progressive approach<br />

to regulating the digital asset landscape.<br />

The authority introduced a pivotal licensing<br />

framework for Virtual Asset Service<br />

Providers (VASPs), showcasing the Emirate’s<br />

dedication to consumer protection<br />

and preventing illicit financial activities<br />

in the virtual asset realm. Within this<br />

evolving framework, Fasset, a pioneering<br />

digital asset investment platform, has<br />

achieved the VASP licence from VARA.<br />

This pivotal accomplishment underscores<br />

Fasset’s commitment to compliance, innovation,<br />

and ethical financial practices<br />

within Dubai’s expanding digital asset<br />

ecosystem. Fasset’s VASP licence positions<br />

it as a leader in fostering financial<br />

inclusivity globally.<br />

64 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Fasset stands as a global digital<br />

asset gateway, offering unmatched<br />

accessibility to the digital asset<br />

sphere. Their user-friendly, secure, and<br />

innovative digital assets create pathways<br />

for individuals in emerging markets to<br />

forge a brighter future. Spearheading web3<br />

technologies, Fasset is at the forefront of<br />

propelling the adoption of digital assets<br />

for the next billion users.<br />

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Fasset<br />

was based in London, but it has transitioned<br />

to a dual-headquarter setup, now<br />

operating from both Indonesia and Dubai.<br />

In 2020, Fasset unveiled plans to provide<br />

zero-fee trades for users in six Gulf Region<br />

countries. Additionally, they introduced<br />

the world’s inaugural operating system<br />

constructed on the Ethereum blockchain,<br />

specifically designed for the ethical<br />

funding of sustainable infrastructure.<br />

Since then, Fasset has prioritised practical<br />

applications for diverse customer needs<br />

while establishing compliant remittance<br />

corridors. Expanding its operations, Fasset<br />

obtained licences and permissions to<br />

function within the European Union. Its<br />

expansion continued with a successful<br />

launch in Indonesia in August, marked by<br />

a strategic partnership with Mastercard<br />

Indonesia.<br />

Fasset CEO Mohammad Raafi Hossain<br />

remarked, “As one of the most progressive<br />

regulatory frameworks globally, the<br />

VARA approval serves as a pivotal element<br />

in our expansive licensing portfolio,<br />

bridging connections across regions<br />

like Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh,<br />

Pakistan, and Turkey.”<br />

According to Dubai’s public register,<br />

Fasset, an investment platform for digital<br />

assets, has obtained a licence to function<br />

as a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP)<br />

in Dubai. This accreditation enables<br />

Fasset to cater to institutional, qualified,<br />

and retail investors in the region.<br />

The acquisition of a full licence<br />

consists of three stages: a provisional<br />

permit, a preparatory licence, and an<br />

operational licence. Fasset FZE has<br />

completed the final stage, positioning<br />

itself to offer broker-dealer services and<br />

introduce tokenised bonds and stocks<br />

in collaboration with Dubai’s Virtual<br />

Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) in<br />

the foreseeable future.<br />

Below is an in-depth overview of VARA’s<br />

licensing framework tailored for Virtual<br />

Asset Service Providers (VASPs).<br />

The recent launch by the Dubai Virtual<br />

Fasset’s<br />

VASP licence<br />

success aligns<br />

with Dubai’s<br />

progressive<br />

regulation,<br />

enhancing<br />

digital asset<br />

accessibility and<br />

compliance.”<br />

Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) of its<br />

much-anticipated licensing framework for<br />

Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs)<br />

signifies a significant shift in regulatory<br />

oversight within Dubai’s virtual asset<br />

realm (excluding the Dubai International<br />

Financial Centre). This milestone enables<br />

firms intending to engage in virtual asset<br />

activities in or from Dubai to procure a<br />

comprehensive VASP licence from the<br />

pertinent Dubai authorities. It solidifies<br />

Dubai’s dedication to ensuring consumer<br />

protection and curbing illegal financial<br />

activities within the virtual asset sector.<br />

The VARA licensing framework<br />

spans various virtual asset services<br />

encompassing advisory, broker-dealer,<br />

custody, exchange, lending, borrowing,<br />

management, investment, transfer, and<br />

settlement services. Acquiring a VASP<br />

licence has become mandatory for any<br />

company aiming to participate in virtual<br />

asset operations within Dubai.<br />

Moreover, alongside the Virtual Assets<br />

Law and Marketing/Penalties Regulations<br />

introduced in 2022, the VARA’s licensing<br />

framework now incorporates a suite of<br />

compulsory general and activity-specific<br />

rulebooks. These enhancements aim to<br />

thoroughly regulate VASP activities, ensuring<br />

consumer protection and deterring<br />

illicit practices. The activity-specific<br />

rulebooks offer added oversight, tailoring<br />

regulatory supervision to each licensed<br />

virtual asset activity.<br />

Companies aiming to offer virtual<br />

asset services within or from Dubai are<br />

required to secure a VASP licence from<br />

either Dubai Economy and Tourism (DET)<br />

or any Dubai Free Zone Authority (FZA)<br />

within Dubai (excluding the DIFC). This<br />

licence is compulsory and a fundamental<br />

requirement for conducting virtual asset<br />

services in the region.<br />

Following the acquisition, a VASP<br />

licence remains valid for one year and<br />

necessitates annual renewal. This process<br />

involves applying along with the payment<br />

of an annual supervision fee.<br />

For new VASPs, the application process<br />

involves two stages. Firstly, Stage<br />

1 necessitates the submission of an<br />

Initial Disclosure Questionnaire (IDQ)<br />

to the Dubai Economic Department or a<br />

pertinent Free Zone Authority, alongside<br />

additional documentation and fee payments,<br />

culminating in an Initial Approval.<br />

Subsequently, Stage 2 entails the detailed<br />

submission of documentation in line with<br />

VARA’s guidance, engaging directly with<br />

VARA for feedback and potential meetings,<br />

paying remaining application and<br />

supervision fees, and ultimately securing<br />

a VASP licence, potentially subject to<br />

operational conditions. The duration of<br />

this process varies based on application<br />

complexity and proposed activities.<br />

After obtaining the licence, it is crucial<br />

to consistently adhere to the evolving<br />

regulations detailed in VARA’s rules,<br />

regulations, and directives. This ongoing<br />

compliance is essential and is tied to<br />

fulfilling specific prerequisites in corporate<br />

governance and legal structure as<br />

outlined in the VARA Company Rulebook.<br />

For effective navigation within this<br />

framework, VASPs ought to proactively<br />

strategise, uphold detailed documentation,<br />

and steadfastly ensure adherence<br />

to the evolving regulatory requirements<br />

set forth by VARA.<br />

The approval and acquisition of a Virtual<br />

Asset Service Provider licence by Fasset<br />

in Dubai marks a significant milestone,<br />

cementing its position as a reputable<br />

digital asset investment platform.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 65

Economy<br />

Source. freepik.com<br />

Dubai FDI foresees over 38,000 jobs from sustained foreign investment<br />

The Synergistic<br />

Impact: How Foreign<br />

Investments Fuel Local<br />

Economies in the UAE<br />

Aiming for AED 60 billion in annual FDI from<br />

2023 to 2033, the emirate anticipates a substantial<br />

positive impact on its economy.<br />

In a transformative shift, the United Arab<br />

Emirates (UAE) has redefined its stance<br />

on foreign direct investment, moving from<br />

historical restrictions to a more accommodating<br />

and investor-friendly framework.<br />

Since September 2021, certain onshore<br />

companies can enjoy full foreign ownership,<br />

eliminating the previous requirement<br />

for local majority ownership. This<br />

strategic move has not only spurred an<br />

impressive 80% year-on-year increase<br />

in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in<br />

2022, particularly in Dubai but has also<br />

positioned the UAE as an enticing global<br />

investment hub. This article explores<br />

the evolution of these regulatory changes<br />

and their profound impact on the nation’s<br />

economic landscape. It also highlights<br />

the direct influence of FDI on the local<br />

economies in the UAE.<br />

66 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

UAE law historically restricted<br />

foreign investors to a maximum of<br />

49% ownership in a UAE mainland<br />

company, with at least 51% required to<br />

be owned by UAE nationals. Specific<br />

activities were exclusively reserved<br />

for UAE nationals. The Foreign Direct<br />

Investment Law (FDI Law) eased these<br />

restrictions, permitting increased foreign<br />

ownership. However, the FDI Law was<br />

later repealed through amendments to<br />

the Commercial Companies Law (CCL).<br />

Recent amendments to the UAE’s CCL<br />

now permit 100% foreign ownership of<br />

certain onshore companies, eliminating the<br />

previous requirement for a UAE national<br />

to own at least 51% of shares. Effective<br />

in September 2021, these changes also<br />

remove the need for UAE national agents<br />

for branches of foreign companies.<br />

The Departments of Economic Development<br />

in different emirates have<br />

issued lists of approved activities, and<br />

wholly foreign-owned companies face<br />

no additional fees or higher capital requirements.<br />

The CCL allows discretion<br />

for 100% foreign ownership in other<br />

activities, subject to approvals and on<br />

a case-by-case basis, applicable to both<br />

new and existing companies engaging<br />

in specified activities.<br />

These alterations significantly changed<br />

the number of foreign direct investments<br />

in the country. Dubai experienced a<br />

remarkable 80% year-on-year increase<br />

in Foreign Direct Investment in 2022, as<br />

reported by Dubai FDI. The total number<br />

of FDI projects for the year reached<br />

1,173, marking an impressive 89% surge<br />

compared to the 619 projects recorded<br />

in the previous year. In another report,<br />

Dubai’s economy demonstrated resilience<br />

and growth, expanding by 4.4% in<br />

the year 2022. This positive momentum<br />

continued into the first quarter of 2023,<br />

with a sustained year-on-year increase<br />

of 2.8%.<br />

Foreign Direct Investment plays a<br />

pivotal role in driving the economic<br />

growth and development of Dubai. A key<br />

objective outlined in the D33 agenda is to<br />

elevate the annual FDI level to AED 60<br />

billion from 2023 to 2033, a target that,<br />

based on current trends, the emirate is<br />

well-positioned to achieve.<br />

The impact of FDI extends to fostering<br />

economic diversification in Dubai, with<br />

investments spanning sectors such as real<br />

estate, tourism, finance, technology, and<br />

logistics. These foreign investments serve<br />

as catalysts for technology and knowledge<br />

transfers, enriching local capabilities and<br />

bolstering competitiveness.<br />

Moreover, FDI is instrumental in<br />

catalysing business expansion and the<br />

establishment of new enterprises, leading<br />

to significant job creation. According<br />

to Dubai FDI, the total FDI inflow is<br />

anticipated to generate over 38,000 jobs,<br />

highlighting the positive employment<br />

outcomes associated with sustained<br />

foreign investment.<br />

Foreign investments have played a<br />

transformative role in shaping the local<br />

economies of the United Arab Emirates.<br />

The impact can be observed across various<br />

sectors, contributing to economic<br />

diversification, job creation, technological<br />

advancement, and infrastructure<br />

development. Here’s a closer look at<br />

how foreign investments influence the<br />

local economies of the UAE:<br />

Diversification of the Economy:<br />

The UAE has historically been heavily<br />

dependent on oil and gas revenues. Foreign<br />

investments have been instrumental in<br />

diversifying the economy by encouraging<br />

investments in non-oil sectors such as<br />

technology, tourism, renewable energy,<br />

and healthcare. This diversification strategy<br />

is crucial for reducing vulnerability<br />

to fluctuations in global oil prices and<br />

building a more resilient and sustainable<br />

economic base.<br />

Job Creation and Skill Enhancement:<br />

Foreign investments in the UAE lead to<br />

the creation of job opportunities for the<br />

local workforce. Multinational corporations<br />

establishing their presence in the<br />

country often hire locally, contributing to<br />

reduced unemployment rates and increased<br />

income levels. Moreover, these foreign<br />

companies bring advanced technologies<br />

and management practices, facilitating<br />

the transfer of skills and knowledge to<br />

the local workforce and enhancing overall<br />

competitiveness.<br />

Infrastructure Development:<br />

The UAE has witnessed substantial<br />

infrastructure development fueled by<br />

foreign investments. Major projects such<br />

as state-of-the-art airports, seaports, and<br />

smart cities have been made possible<br />

through partnerships with international<br />

investors. Enhanced infrastructure not<br />

only supports the growth of local businesses<br />

but also positions the UAE as a<br />

global business and tourism hub.<br />

Urbanisation and Real Estate<br />

Development:<br />

Foreign investments have contributed<br />

to the urbanisation of the UAE, with<br />

the development of modern cities and<br />

residential communities. The real estate<br />

sector has experienced significant<br />

growth, driven by foreign capital. This<br />

urban development not only caters to the<br />

increasing population but also attracts<br />

international businesses and investors<br />

seeking a favourable environment for<br />

their operations.<br />

Technology Transfer and Innovation:<br />

The UAE actively encourages foreign<br />

investments in technology and innovation.<br />

This has resulted in the transfer<br />

of cutting-edge technologies and the<br />

establishment of research and development<br />

centres. The collaboration between<br />

local and international entities has led<br />

to advancements in various industries,<br />

positioning the UAE as a hub for technological<br />

innovation in the Middle East.<br />

Diversification of Investment Channels:<br />

Foreign investments have diversified<br />

the channels through which capital<br />

flows into the UAE. The establishment<br />

of free zones, special economic zones,<br />

and investment-friendly policies has<br />

attracted a diverse range of investors,<br />

fostering entrepreneurship and creating<br />

a dynamic business environment.<br />

Global Competitiveness:<br />

Foreign investments have enhanced<br />

the global competitiveness of the UAE.<br />

By attracting multinational corporations<br />

and fostering innovation, the country<br />

has become a global player in industries<br />

beyond oil and gas. This increased<br />

competitiveness not only benefits local<br />

businesses but also strengthens the<br />

overall economic standing of the UAE<br />

in the international arena.<br />

The influence of foreign investments<br />

on the local economies of the UAE is<br />

profound and multifaceted. The strategic<br />

vision of the UAE leadership, coupled<br />

with a business-friendly environment, has<br />

positioned the country as an attractive<br />

destination for foreign capital, driving<br />

economic growth, and ensuring longterm<br />

prosperity.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 67

Corporate Results<br />

Dubai Investments<br />

9M Net Profit: $225M<br />

Dubai Investments recorded a net<br />

profit of AED 817.027M ($222.5M) for<br />

the nine months ending September 30,<br />

fueled by strong performances in its<br />

property and investment portfolio. Although<br />

lower than the previous year’s<br />

AED 1.49B ($410M), which included a<br />

one-off gain of AED 980.42M ($267M)<br />

from the divestment of a 50% share in<br />

Emicool, the diversified investment company<br />

showcased resilience. Total income<br />

reached AED 3B ($820M), and total assets<br />

amounted to AED 21.08B ($5.74B).<br />

Khalid Bin Kalban, Vice Chairman and<br />

CEO, highlighted sustained momentum,<br />

with the Danah Bay development in Ras<br />

Al Khaimah progressing well.<br />

Emirates<br />

Net Profit: 138%<br />

Emirates Group has reported a record<br />

half-year profit of AED 10.1B ($2.7B),<br />

marking a 138% YoY increase, driven by<br />

a 20% surge in revenue to AED 67.3B<br />

($18.3B). This surpasses its previous<br />

best half-year profit of AED 4.2B ($1.2B)<br />

last year. The flagship business, Emirates<br />

Airline, achieved a 19% increase<br />

in revenue to AED 59.5B ($16.2B) and<br />

a 134% growth in profit to AED 9.4B<br />

($2.6B). The overall capacity during<br />

the period increased by 25%, carrying<br />

26.1 million passengers and uplifting<br />

1,035,000 tonnes by Emirates Skycargo,<br />

up 31% and 11% YoY, respectively.<br />

Emirates Group’s remarkable halfyear<br />

performance signifies a period<br />

of unprecedented growth, driven by<br />

impressive results across its flagship<br />

business, Emirates Airlines.<br />

RAK Ceramics<br />

Q3’23 Net Profit: 77%<br />

RAK Ceramics PJSC, a leading ceramics<br />

lifestyle solutions provider,<br />

reported financial results for Q3 2023.<br />

The company faced a challenging<br />

market cycle, currency depreciation,<br />

and rising interest costs, resulting in<br />

a 7.7% year-on-year decline in revenue<br />

to AED 837.0M. However, net profit<br />

for the period increased by 13.3% to<br />

AED 83.9M compared to the previous<br />

year. Despite the quarterly decline,<br />

the 9-month revenue showed a marginal<br />

decrease of just 1% year-on-year,<br />

reaching AED 2.59M. The gross profit<br />

margin improved by 270bps year-onyear<br />

to 37.6%, driven by a favourable<br />

product mix shift. EBITDA increased<br />

by 16.0%, reaching AED 169.0M, with<br />

a notable margin expansion of 410 bps<br />

to 20.2%. Net debt decreased by AED<br />

49.8M in Q3 2023, and the Net Debt to<br />

EBITDA ratio improved slightly from<br />

2.44x to 2.43x quarter-on-quarter.<br />

Zoho<br />

Net Profit: 42%<br />

Zoho, a prominent global technology<br />

company, reports a substantial 42%<br />

increase in new customers in the UAE<br />

and a noteworthy 50% surge in the<br />

MEA region for its finance platform.<br />

The company has expanded its finance<br />

platform significantly, introducing over<br />

230 extensions in Zoho Marketplace and<br />

unveiling a dedicated developer portal.<br />

Additionally, Zoho Practice, an endto-end<br />

practice management solution<br />

for accounting professionals, has been<br />

launched. These enhancements fortify<br />

the Zoho <strong>Finance</strong> Platform’s ecosystem,<br />

empowering businesses in the MENA<br />

region to customise applications, collaborate<br />

with accountants, and optimise<br />

operations. Zoho’s commitment to<br />

building a robust ecosystem provides<br />

businesses with efficient enterprise<br />

tech solutions.<br />

ADNOC Drilling<br />

Q3’23 Net Profit: 36%<br />

ADNOC Drilling achieved robust growth<br />

in Q3 2023, reporting a 36% YoY increase<br />

in net profit to $257M and a strong 16%<br />

YoY revenue growth to $776M. The results,<br />

filed at the Abu Dhabi Securities<br />

Exchange, reflect the impact of new<br />

rigs in the operational fleet. Updated<br />

fiscal year 2023 guidance includes total<br />

revenue between $3 to $3.2B, EBITDA<br />

of $1.4-$1.5B, with a margin range of<br />

47-49%, and net profit of $0.9-$1B, with<br />

a margin range of 29-32%. ADNOC Drilling<br />

anticipates capex around $1.3B for<br />

the year. Q3 performance showcased<br />

effective cost management and a 27%<br />

YoY increase in EBITDA to $381M.<br />

Salik<br />

Q3’23 Revenue: 14.2%<br />

Salik achieved its best-ever Q3 performance<br />

since 2007, generating over<br />

110.8 million revenue-generating trips<br />

and recording revenues of AED 509M<br />

($138.6M), marking a 14.2% YoY increase.<br />

The net profit reached AED<br />

255M ($69.43M), up 5.3% compared to<br />

the previous year. Toll usage revenue,<br />

constituting 87.1% of total revenue,<br />

experienced a 14.6% YoY increase,<br />

the highest Q3 performance since inception.<br />

Although revenue-generating<br />

trips were slightly below the Q2 2023<br />

record, attributed to seasonal factors,<br />

active registered accounts and vehicles<br />

increased by 13% and 8.8%, reaching 2.4<br />

million and 3.9 million, respectively.<br />

68 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Investment Corporation of<br />

Dubai (ICD)<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: 20%<br />

Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD),<br />

the Government of Dubai’s principal<br />

investment arm, reported robust<br />

financials for H1 2023, capitalising on<br />

increased travel, tourism, and financial<br />

services revenues. Record revenues<br />

of AED 145.1B ($39.51B) marked a<br />

20% YoY surge, translating to a gain of<br />

AED 24B ($6.54B). Net profit reached<br />

AED 28.3B ($7.71B), a remarkable 91%<br />

increase, with notable contributions<br />

from banking, financial services,<br />

and transportation. Despite lower<br />

commodity prices affecting oil & gas and<br />

aluminium, real estate and hospitality<br />

exhibited strong performance. Assets<br />

soared to AED 1,252.9B ($341.2B), a<br />

6.5% increase, driven by banking asset<br />

growth.<br />

Dubai Financial Market<br />

(DFM)<br />

9M Net Profit: 109%<br />

Dubai Financial Market (DFM) recorded<br />

a 109% increase in net profit, reaching<br />

AED 186.2M ($50.7M) for the first nine<br />

months of 2023, compared to AED 89M<br />

in the corresponding period of 2022.<br />

The growth is attributed to increased<br />

trades, overall trade value, and new<br />

investors. Total consolidated revenue<br />

rose by 48% to AED 351.8M ($95.79M).<br />

Operating income contributed AED<br />

214.2M, and AED 137.6M came from<br />

investment returns and other income.<br />

The DFM General Index rose by 25%,<br />

reaching 4,136.58, and the total market<br />

capitalisation increased from AED<br />

576B in 9M 2022 to AED 697B in 2023.<br />

Financials led capitalisation at 41%.<br />

Dubai Financial Market exemplifies its<br />

pivotal role in driving market growth<br />

and fostering a thriving investment<br />

landscape in the region.<br />

Yahsat<br />

Q3’23 Net Profit: 81%<br />

Al Yah Satellite Communications<br />

Company (Yahsat) has seen an 81% surge<br />

in Mobility Solutions revenue for Q3 and<br />

a 22% increase in the nine months of 2023.<br />

The UAE’s satellite solutions provider<br />

announced consolidated financial<br />

results with revenue reaching AED<br />

1.2B ($323M), and normalised EBITDA<br />

up to AED 713M ($194M). Net income<br />

more than doubled, while normalised<br />

net income remained in line with the<br />

prior year at AED 274 million ($75M).<br />

Contracted future revenue for the<br />

group reached AED 25.3 billion ($6.9B),<br />

15.7 times last-12-month revenue,<br />

with a substantial increase from AED<br />

7.3B ($2B) at year-end 2022. Yahsat’s<br />

impressive financial performance<br />

in Q3 and over the nine months of<br />

2023 showcases a substantial surge in<br />

revenue and EBITDA, underscoring its<br />

robust growth trajectory and enhanced<br />

market positioning.<br />

Aramex<br />

Revenue: 5% Decrease<br />

Aramex faced a 5% YoY decline in<br />

third-quarter revenue, amounting to AED<br />

1.35B ($370M), attributed to currency<br />

fluctuations, macroeconomic challenges,<br />

and subdued global retail activity in<br />

certain markets. Despite this, the company<br />

implemented proactive measures for<br />

operational efficiencies and General and<br />

Administrative expenses (GA) optimisation,<br />

resulting in a resilient gross profit<br />

with a 4% YoY increase and an EBITDA<br />

of AED 134M ($36.5M). The reported<br />

net profit for Q3 2023 was AED 9.6M<br />

($2.6M), reflecting a decline from AED<br />

39.6M ($10.8M) in Q3 2022, primarily due<br />

to increased interest expenses related to<br />

the acquisition of MyUS. Aramex’s proactive<br />

measures to enhance operational efficiencies<br />

and optimise expenses amidst<br />

challenging market conditions demonstrate<br />

its commitment to resilience.<br />

AD Ports Group<br />

Q3’23 Results: 20%<br />

AD Ports Group reported robust financial<br />

performance in Q3 2023, with revenue<br />

growing 189% YoY to AED 4.24B. Excluding<br />

M&A activity, like-for-like (LFL)<br />

revenue growth reached 113% YoY. Key<br />

growth drivers included logistics (546%<br />

YoY), maritime & shipping (264% YoY),<br />

ports (71% YoY), and EC&FZ (20% YoY).<br />

Q3 2023 EBITDA rose by 28% YoY to AED<br />

759M, supported by acquisitions. Despite<br />

higher contributions from maritime &<br />

shipping and logistics, there was a dilution<br />

in EBITDA margin to 17.9% for the<br />

quarter compared to 40.5% in Q3 2022.<br />

The group maintains its EBITDA margin<br />

guidance of 25-30% in the medium term,<br />

expecting a rebalancing of the revenue<br />

mix and improved profitability with ongoing<br />

investments.<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank<br />

9M Net Profit: $3.95B<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the largest<br />

Islamic lender in the UAE, reported<br />

strong financial results for Q3 2023 and<br />

the first nine months of the year. Total net<br />

income for the quarter ending September<br />

30 increased to AED 4.82B ($1.3B), up<br />

from AED 4.1B a year earlier. For the first<br />

nine months of the year, total income<br />

reached AED 14.5B ($3.95B), marking<br />

a 47% increase compared to the same<br />

period last year. DIB’s net operating<br />

profit stood at AED 6.2B, up 12% from<br />

AED 5.6B in 9M 2022, with net operating<br />

revenues increasing 11.7% year-on-year<br />

to reach AED 8,547M. With a notable increase<br />

in net income, total income, and<br />

net operating profit, DIB demonstrates<br />

its strong market presence and effective<br />

financial management, positioning it for<br />

continued success.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 69

Sports as a Business<br />

Exploring Sports Investment Prospects<br />

with Key UAE Companies<br />

In a matter of a few years, the world has witnessed the rise of startups across<br />

various industries, spanning tech, hospitality, healthcare, and sports. Countries<br />

worldwide are strategically endeavouring to attract innovative minds and<br />

investment opportunities, recognising their pivotal role in national growth.<br />

Recently, sports investments have emerged as a robust landscape, appealing<br />

to both investors and startups. The UAE has positioned itself at the forefront,<br />

offering an ideal environment for startups to flourish, backed by numerous<br />

governmental and private funding opportunities. This article explores three<br />

such companies that provide funding to potential sports startups and SMEs.<br />

FasterCapital<br />

Hesham Zreik,<br />

Founder<br />

Amidst the landscape of companies<br />

fostering the growth of<br />

sports startups, FasterCapital<br />

emerges as a notable figure. Founded<br />

and led by Hesham, FasterCapital<br />

operates as an online incubator/accelerator<br />

on a global scale, distinguishing<br />

itself through a multifaceted approach<br />

to supporting startups.<br />

FasterCapital’s significant contributions<br />

lie in its extensive track record.<br />

Having facilitated more than 473 startups<br />

in raising over $1.6 billion and<br />

investing approximately $495 million<br />

in 190 startups, their global reach<br />

and financial impact are undeniable.<br />

The company prides itself on a vast<br />

network encompassing a staggering<br />

155,000 angel investors and over<br />

50,000 funding institutions, predominantly<br />

comprising venture capitalists.<br />

The company’s core mission revolves<br />

around aiding startups in their<br />

quest for funding. Leveraging its robust<br />

network, FasterCapital facilitates<br />

connections between startups and<br />

potential investors, boasting an impressive<br />

92% success rate in securing<br />

funding for these ventures. While their<br />

primary focus remains on funding, FasterCapital<br />

extends its support beyond<br />

financial backing.<br />

Their distinctive approach includes<br />

providing a suite of services tailored<br />

to various stages of a startup’s journey.<br />

For startups requiring software<br />

development or the creation of<br />

a Minimum Viable Product (MVP),<br />

FasterCapital offers a unique workper-equity<br />

model. By investing half<br />

of the costs in exchange for equity,<br />

they provide a full technical team<br />

capable of software development, and<br />

Android and iOS app development,<br />

alongside comprehensive business<br />

packages for market analysis and<br />

product conceptualization.<br />

Additionally, FasterCapital caters<br />

to startups seeking sales, marketing,<br />

expansion, and growth opportunities.<br />

Through services like Sales as a Service,<br />

Business Marketing Strategy, SEO<br />

Service, Business Development, and<br />

Business Growth, they assist startups<br />

in scaling their operations effectively.<br />

Moreover, the company extends its<br />

support to first-time entrepreneurs,<br />

guiding them through idea validation,<br />

proof of concept development, business<br />

feasibility studies, and market<br />

research.<br />

FasterCapital stands as a game<br />

changer for sports startups seeking<br />

funding. Through their work-per-equity<br />

model, they offer crucial software development<br />

support and a full technical<br />

team for startups building their MVPs.<br />

Moreover, their extensive network<br />

of over 155,000 angel investors and<br />

50,000 funding institutions amplifies<br />

the chances of securing vital funding.<br />

This multifaceted approach provides<br />

a comprehensive solution for sports<br />

entrepreneurs looking to secure funding<br />

for their ventures.<br />

70 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Global Ventures<br />

Established in 2018, Global Ventures<br />

stands as a prominent<br />

venture capital investment firm<br />

headquartered in Dubai, United Arab<br />

Emirates. Under the leadership of<br />

Noor Sweid, the Managing Partner<br />

and founder, the firm specialises in<br />

empowering growth-stage companies<br />

across emerging markets. With<br />

a strong focus on technology-driven<br />

transformation, Global Ventures boasts<br />

a diverse team of professionals with<br />

extensive experience in scaling and<br />

building companies.<br />

Distinguished by their strategic investments,<br />

Global Ventures operates<br />

across various sectors, including<br />

fintech, digital health, tech, food<br />

tech, insurtech, cybersecurity, web3,<br />

mobility & logistics, infotech, future<br />

of work, eCommerce, and agritech.<br />

Although not explicitly focused on<br />

sports, their investment philosophy of<br />

backing technology-driven companies<br />

positioned for global growth aligns<br />

with the core ethos of innovative<br />

sports startups.<br />

Their geographical footprint spans<br />

several countries, encompassing the<br />

UAE, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, the United<br />

States, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia,<br />

Bahrain, Turkey, Rwanda, Jordan, and<br />

Pakistan.<br />

The investment stages embraced by<br />

Global Ventures encompass early-stage<br />

funding, growth capital infusion,<br />

and exit strategies. Their investment<br />

strategy revolves around identifying<br />

globally scalable enterprise technology<br />

companies in the Middle East and<br />

Africa (MEA) region, capitalising on<br />

markets with lower valuations. Recent<br />

investments in Arrow Labs and<br />

CDP highlight their commitment to<br />

companies swiftly expanding globally<br />

post-investment.<br />

The firm’s investment strategy revolves<br />

around identifying and nurturing<br />

high-potential, globally scalable<br />

companies, leveraging the region’s access<br />

to talent, a youthful demographic,<br />

Noor Sweid,<br />

Founder and Managing Partner<br />

and favourable valuation multiples.<br />

Global Ventures’ approach, rooted in<br />

strategic investments positions it as a<br />

key player in propelling the growth of<br />

technology-driven enterprises across<br />

the MEA region and beyond.<br />

Wamda Capital<br />

Fadi Ghandour,<br />

Executive Chairman<br />

Wamda Capital, spearheaded<br />

by Fadi Ghandour, stands as<br />

a pivotal force in shaping the<br />

entrepreneurial landscape of the ME-<br />

NA region. Founded in 2010 by Ghandour<br />

after his successful venture with<br />

Aramex, Wamda Capital directs its<br />

focus towards bolstering the growth<br />

of technology-driven startups in the<br />

Middle East and North Africa.<br />

Operating as a leading venture capital<br />

firm based in Dubai, UAE, their<br />

investment strategy revolves around<br />

nurturing seed and early-stage technology<br />

companies. Through their investment<br />

vehicles, ‘Wamda Capital – Fund<br />

I’ and ‘Wamda Capital – Evergreen’, the<br />

firm prioritises long-term sustainable<br />

growth over short-term gains, backing<br />

a diverse array of innovative companies<br />

that drive positive change in their<br />

respective industries.<br />

A standout feature of Wamda Capital<br />

lies in its holistic approach towards<br />

fostering entrepreneurship ecosystems.<br />

Besides financial investments,<br />

their commitment extends to the development<br />

and support of high-growth<br />

technology and tech-enabled startups.<br />

With a knowledge platform that<br />

offers impactful thought leadership,<br />

research, community development,<br />

and advisory services, Wamda Capital<br />

emerges as a catalyst in empowering<br />

stakeholders across the startup ecosystem<br />

in the MENA region.<br />

While Wamda Capital’s primary focus<br />

lies in nurturing technology-driven<br />

startups, its commitment to sector-agnostic<br />

investments and support for<br />

companies driving positive change<br />

in diverse industries presents an intriguing<br />

prospect for sports startups<br />

seeking funding in the MENA region<br />

Ghandour’s entrepreneurial journey<br />

as the Founder of Aramex grants Wamda<br />

Capital a distinctive perspective<br />

in evaluating startups. This firsthand<br />

understanding of the challenges in<br />

building a company from inception to<br />

IPO shapes their approach, enabling<br />

them to assess startups from the lens<br />

of a fellow founder.<br />

With an impressive track record<br />

spanning over a decade and investments<br />

in over 100 companies, including<br />

notable successes like Souq, Careem,<br />

and Mumzworld, Wamda Capital<br />

leverages this experience and vast<br />

network to guide founders towards<br />

exceptional outcomes.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 71

Sports News<br />

Sharjah Launches Formula 1 Powerboat Racing <strong>World</strong> Championship<br />

The highly anticipated Formula<br />

1 Powerboat Racing <strong>World</strong><br />

Championship is set to kick<br />

off today against the stunning<br />

backdrop of Sharjah’s Khalid Lagoon.<br />

Organised by the Sharjah Commerce<br />

and Tourism Development Authority<br />

(SCTDA), the three-day spectacle<br />

promises exhilarating Formula 1 races<br />

on December 10, determining the 2023<br />

world champion. Concurrently, the<br />

Sharjah <strong>World</strong> Championship Week<br />

will feature the 22nd edition of the<br />

Sharjah Grand Prix. Khalid Jasim Al<br />

Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, expressed<br />

enthusiasm for significant improvements<br />

in venue, services, and facilities,<br />

enhancing the overall experience for<br />

global visitors. This year’s event also<br />

welcomes delegations and ministers<br />

from various countries, adding to the<br />

international appeal of the Formula 1<br />

Powerboat Racing <strong>World</strong> Championship<br />

at Khalid Lagoon.<br />

Abu Dhabi Unveils Extensive Road Closures in<br />

Preparation for the 2023 Marathon<br />

Abu Dhabi is poised for significant<br />

road closures as the city<br />

gears up for the 2023 ADNOC<br />

Abu Dhabi Marathon, attracting<br />

an impressive 25,000 participants from<br />

168 nations, including elite athletes.<br />

Scheduled for Saturday morning, the<br />

marathon route spans key city areas<br />

and prominent landmarks, prompting<br />

the closure of major roads from midnight<br />

to 2 pm. The Integrated Transport<br />

Centre, in partnership with the Abu<br />

Dhabi Police and Sports Council, will<br />

Dubai has given the green light<br />

to an ambitious sports strategy<br />

spanning <strong>2024</strong>-2033, aiming<br />

for a substantial increase in<br />

the sports sector’s contribution to the<br />

manage traffic flow through the central<br />

control room. Electronic signs, both<br />

fixed and mobile, will guide road users,<br />

while Road Service Patrols will assist<br />

in the designated areas, emphasising<br />

adherence to temporary road closure<br />

instructions. The marathon, commencing<br />

at the ADNOC headquarters<br />

on the Corniche, promises a scenic<br />

journey past iconic landmarks to the<br />

finish line near Baynunah Park at the<br />

ADNOC Complex.<br />

Dubai Greenlights 24-33 Sports Strategy<br />

emirate’s GDP and a surge in event<br />

hosting. Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed<br />

bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of<br />

the Dubai Sports Council, endorsed the<br />

comprehensive plan, aligning with the<br />

leadership’s vision. The strategy not only<br />

targets sustainability goals, such as a<br />

50% reduction in carbon emissions by<br />

2030 but also aligns with the Dubai 2040<br />

Urban Master Plan. Emphasising sports’<br />

pivotal role in community well-being,<br />

the plan underscores a commitment<br />

to enhancing the overall quality of life<br />

while driving economic impact through<br />

increased private sector participation<br />

in organising an impressive 450 annual<br />

sports events in Dubai.<br />

Saudi Arabia<br />

announces exclusive<br />

visa for football fans<br />

Saudi Arabia has introduced a<br />

new e-visa, in collaboration<br />

with the Ministry of Sports,<br />

exclusively for fans attending<br />

the FIFA Club <strong>World</strong> Cup in Jeddah this<br />

month. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs<br />

announced the initiative on social media,<br />

emphasising its aim to streamline<br />

travel procedures for football enthusiasts<br />

holding tickets for major sporting<br />

events. The tournament, taking place at<br />

King Abdullah Sports City and Prince<br />

Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium, marks the<br />

final FIFA Club <strong>World</strong> Cup in the current<br />

annual format before transitioning to<br />

a 32-team version played every four<br />

years starting in June 2025. The e-visa<br />

initiative aims to enhance the overall<br />

experience for fans visiting the Kingdom<br />

and supporting their teams amid<br />

an exciting atmosphere.<br />

72 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Dubai Grants Free Entry to UAE-Bangladesh Under-19 Asia Cup Final<br />

Hosts UAE, making history with<br />

their impressive journey to<br />

the final of the Asian Cricket<br />

Council Under-19 Asia Cup,<br />

have received a boost from the Emirates<br />

Cricket Board (ECB). In a Friday<br />

announcement, the ECB declared free<br />

entry to the final on Sunday, inviting<br />

fans to witness the historic moment<br />

at the Dubai International Stadium.<br />

The UAE team’s remarkable success<br />

includes victories against Sri Lanka<br />

in pool play and a triumphant 11-run<br />

win over cricket giant Pakistan in the<br />

semifinals at the ICC Cricket Academy.<br />

General Secretary Mubashshir Usmani<br />

urged fans to rally behind the young<br />

talents, expressing pride in their outstanding<br />

performance.<br />

BITS Pilani Dubai and DPS Sharjah Secure Top<br />

Honors at Sports Festival<br />

BITS Pilani Dubai emerged<br />

as the overall champions,<br />

securing 10 gold and 7 silver<br />

medals, in the five-day BITS<br />

Pilani Sports Festival held in Dubai.<br />

Meanwhile, Delhi Private School,<br />

Sharjah claimed the top spot among<br />

schools in a competition that featured<br />

5,000 students from 29 universities in<br />

the UAE and 1,200 students from 24<br />

schools in UAE, Oman, and India. The<br />

event showcased spirited sportsmanship<br />

and intense competition across<br />

various disciplines, including football,<br />

cricket, throwball, basketball, volleyball,<br />

tennis, athletics, chess, badminton,<br />

and table tennis. The closing ceremony,<br />

graced by former West Indian opener<br />

Chris Gayle as chief guest, celebrated<br />

the achievements of the participants<br />

and the vibrant sporting atmosphere.<br />

Saudi Arabia to host 2025 and 2026 AFC<br />

Champions League<br />

Saudi Arabia has been named<br />

the host country for the AFC<br />

Champions League Elite finals<br />

in the <strong>2024</strong>-2025 and 2025-2026<br />

seasons, as officially announced by the<br />

Asian Football Confederation (AFC).<br />

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation<br />

(SAFF) will oversee the final stage<br />

of the tournament, starting from the<br />

Quarter Finals. The competition will<br />

feature the top 24 Asian clubs divided<br />

into two leagues representing the<br />

West and East regions. The winners<br />

of the Round of 16 will advance to<br />

the final stage, with Quarter Finals<br />

scheduled to take place from April<br />

25 to May 4, 2025. The tournament’s<br />

victor will receive a substantial prize<br />

of $12M, while the runner-up will be<br />

awarded $6M. SAFF President Yasser<br />

Almisehal expressed gratitude for<br />

Saudi Arabia’s selection as the host<br />

of the AFC Champions League Elite<br />

finals.<br />

MBME Group Praises<br />

UAE Pro League<br />

Soccer Development<br />

Initiatives<br />

MBME Group, the technological<br />

partner of the UAE<br />

Professional League, lauds<br />

the league’s comprehensive<br />

efforts in advancing UAE football.<br />

Acknowledging the league’s commitment<br />

to leveraging technology and<br />

artificial intelligence in technical and<br />

administrative aspects, MBME Group<br />

supports the pursuit of excellence,<br />

anticipating a significant qualitative<br />

leap in the Adnoc Professional League<br />

and UAE football. The commendation<br />

aligns with the presence of juniors and<br />

youth accompanying players during<br />

the Al-Wahda vs. Al Ain match in the<br />

11th round of the Adnoc Professional<br />

League, emphasising the league’s<br />

dedication to fostering talent at various<br />

levels.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 73

Hospitality<br />

Image Supplied<br />

The studio hosts a culinary team mentored by executive chefs from École Ducasse Paris Campus.<br />

Exploring the<br />

Essence of École<br />

Ducasse Abu Dhabi<br />

Studio<br />

The studio aspires to promote culinary harmony by<br />

highlighting Abu Dhabi’s rich array of flavours and<br />

stories, making it a global culinary destination.<br />

The DCT Abu Dhabi and Erth Hospitality<br />

partnership marks a groundbreaking era<br />

with the launch of École Ducasse Abu<br />

Dhabi Studio, led by Chef Alain Ducasse.<br />

Located at Abu Dhabi’s Cultural Foundation,<br />

the studio redefines culinary<br />

education with contemporary design<br />

and personalised, professional classes.<br />

Beyond education, it houses a gourmet<br />

café and hosts corporate events. Offering<br />

diverse programs, the studio spans 418<br />

square metres in the historic Al Hosn<br />

site. Erth Hospitality, the licence partner,<br />

brings 25 years of expertise, while Alain<br />

Ducasse’s 20 Michelin stars elevate the<br />

local culinary scene. École Ducasse Abu<br />

Dhabi Studio aims to foster excellence,<br />

innovation, and cultural exchange in Abu<br />

Dhabi, positioning itself as a global culinary<br />

hub.<br />

74 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

The Department of Culture and<br />

Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu<br />

Dhabi) has officially announced<br />

a groundbreaking partnership with Erth<br />

Hospitality, ushering in the inauguration<br />

of École Ducasse Abu Dhabi Studio, the<br />

region’s premier institute by the esteemed<br />

Chef Alain Ducasse. This culinary venture<br />

was recently inaugurated and is set<br />

to reshape the landscape of culinary<br />

education in the United Arab Emirates.<br />

Nestled in the heart of the city at Abu<br />

Dhabi’s Cultural Foundation, the studio<br />

under the visionary leadership of Chef<br />

Alain Ducasse will provide an enriching<br />

culinary education experience. The studio,<br />

characterised by contemporary design<br />

and a friendly ambience, will offer short<br />

and professional classes equipped with<br />

state-of-the-art tools.<br />

Maintaining an intimate class size, with<br />

a small group of students per session,<br />

allows for personalised 1-1 attention,<br />

creating an ideal environment for clients<br />

and learners to hone their culinary talents.<br />

Moreover, the studio will not only serve<br />

as a space for education but will also<br />

feature a gourmet café and be available<br />

for welcoming corporate events.<br />

École Ducasse Abu Dhabi Studio is<br />

designed to cater to a diverse range of<br />

abilities, from aspiring culinary enthusiasts<br />

to seasoned talents seeking to broaden their<br />

skill sets. The Culinary Arts and Pastry<br />

programs, featuring the fundamentals of<br />

French and international cuisine along<br />

with the Ducasse philosophy, will be<br />

among the exceptional offerings.<br />

Program themes include “First Cooking<br />

Lesson – Learning to Cook Without<br />

Inhibition,” “Cooking for a Special<br />

Event,” “Do it Like a Chef – Cuisine 3*,”<br />

“Healthy Cooking,” “Kids and Teens in<br />

the Kitchen,” “Mediterranean Cuisine,”<br />

and the “Famous Parisian Macarons<br />

Madness Class.”<br />

Situated within the historic Al Hosn<br />

site, the meticulously designed 418-squaremetre<br />

École Ducasse Abu Dhabi Studio<br />

boasts a generous classroom area, a<br />

fully equipped workshop show kitchen,<br />

a bespoke Chef’s table, and a spacious<br />

outdoor terrace with stunning views of<br />

the Abu Dhabi skyline.<br />

Expressing his thoughts on the significant<br />

development, His Excellency Saleh Mohamed<br />

Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at<br />

DCT Abu Dhabi, emphasised, “The expansion<br />

of Abu Dhabi’s thriving culinary landscape<br />

is part of our commitment to fostering<br />

The inauguration<br />

of École Ducasse<br />

Abu Dhabi Studio<br />

in partnership<br />

with Erth<br />

Hospitality marks<br />

a significant<br />

milestone,<br />

further elevating<br />

the local culinary<br />

scene.”<br />

and encouraging cultural expression in<br />

the emirate.” He further noted that the<br />

arrival of École Ducasse Abu Dhabi Studio<br />

would not only transform the culinary<br />

sector but also significantly contribute<br />

to the growth of the hospitality industry<br />

in the region. Al Geziry highlighted the<br />

aim of nurturing local talent, fostering<br />

creativity and innovation, and creating<br />

a lasting impact on the culinary scene<br />

in Abu Dhabi and beyond.<br />

This inauguration aligns with the<br />

earlier launch of a comprehensive AED<br />

360 million culinary sector acceleration<br />

program, designed to attract leading<br />

brands to the UAE capital over five years,<br />

bolstering Abu Dhabi’s development as<br />

a gastronomical hub.<br />

Erth Hospitality, with over 25 years of<br />

expertise and passion for the hospitality<br />

industry, will play a crucial role as the<br />

licence partner for École Ducasse. Shaikha<br />

Al Kaabi, Chief Executive Officer of Erth<br />

Hospitality, emphasised the profound<br />

significance of this partnership, stating,<br />

“École Ducasse stands as a beacon of<br />

global culinary excellence, and its arrival<br />

in Abu Dhabi signifies a momentous<br />

milestone.” Al Kaabi expressed pride in<br />

spearheading this culinary endeavour,<br />

bridging the gap between tradition and<br />

innovation and ensuring that École<br />

Ducasse’s world-class philosophy and<br />

expertise become integral to the region’s<br />

culinary identity.<br />

With an impressive 20 Michelin stars<br />

to his name, Alain Ducasse, Michelin’s<br />

most decorated chef of all time, launched<br />

his first culinary and pastry school in<br />

1999. Since then, he has established<br />

globally recognised institutes in India,<br />

the Philippines, and Thailand.<br />

Elise Masurel, École Ducasse Managing<br />

Director, expressed her enthusiasm,<br />

stating, “The launch of École Ducasse<br />

Studio in partnership with Erth Hospitality<br />

in Abu Dhabi is a great milestone for us<br />

in the Middle East region, and we are<br />

very happy to contribute to enriching the<br />

local gastronomic scene and encouraging<br />

culinary talents to flourish.”<br />

Through its unique and personalised<br />

cooking classes, along with offerings<br />

such as the gourmet café and corporate<br />

events, École Ducasse Abu Dhabi Studio<br />

aims to promote culinary excellence,<br />

innovation, and cultural exchange in<br />

Abu Dhabi.<br />

As a melting pot of cultures with a<br />

diverse population of over 200 nationalities,<br />

Abu Dhabi provides an ideal home<br />

for the institute, welcoming talents<br />

from around the world and fostering a<br />

nurturing environment for creativity and<br />

the development of new culinary trends.<br />

Aligned with Abu Dhabi’s commitment<br />

to cultural expression, the studio not only<br />

serves as an educational space but also<br />

features a gourmet café and is available<br />

for corporate events. École Ducasse<br />

Abu Dhabi Studio, in collaboration with<br />

Erth Hospitality, aims to contribute<br />

significantly to the region’s culinary and<br />

hospitality industry growth, nurturing<br />

local talent and fostering creativity. It<br />

offers a transformative culinary education<br />

experience with contemporary design,<br />

state-of-the-art tools, and personalised<br />

attention in small class sizes. The institute,<br />

with its global reputation, adds a milestone<br />

to Abu Dhabi’s culinary landscape, offering<br />

diverse programs and promoting culinary<br />

excellence, innovation, and cultural<br />

exchange in the vibrant city.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 75

Tourism<br />

source: Pexels.com<br />

The global space tourism market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 37.1% by 2030.<br />

Evaluating the<br />

Space Tourism<br />

Initiatives in the<br />

UAE<br />

The UAE’s forward-thinking commitment to<br />

becoming a leading global nation has propelled its<br />

initiatives in the space tourism market.<br />

The UAE is actively forging a path in innovation,<br />

notably recognised for its vibrant<br />

tourism industry and its dedicated efforts<br />

to advance space tourism initiatives. With<br />

the space industry emerging as a focal<br />

point for the next fifty years, the UAE has<br />

allocated AED 22 billion for space-related<br />

activities spanning from 2015 to 2020.<br />

Notably, the UAE Space Agency has reported<br />

a 40 percent increase in contractual<br />

agreements for space services and<br />

applications. Over recent years, strategic<br />

plans have been introduced to consolidate<br />

the tasks and missions within the space<br />

sector. The UAE inaugurated the AED 3<br />

billion National Space Fund through the<br />

UAE Space Agency. This article assesses<br />

the space tourism initiatives in the UAE,<br />

emphasising various key aspects of this<br />

expanding industry.<br />

76 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

UAE’s Space Investment Drive:<br />

The “Space Economic Zones<br />

Programme” has been developed to<br />

assist space startups and SMEs contribute<br />

to the national space economy through<br />

partnerships. Key initiatives include<br />

Space Economy Stimulus Packages, Space<br />

Labs, and the establishment of Space<br />

Economic Zones, with the overarching<br />

goal of creating an attractive business<br />

environment, enhancing competitiveness,<br />

and stimulating innovation in the sector.<br />

The UAE Space Agency, in collaboration<br />

with the Federal Competitiveness<br />

and Statistics Centre (FCSC), launched<br />

the “Space Economic Survey 2022”. The<br />

survey involved contributions from various<br />

national entities, including government,<br />

private sector, academic, and research<br />

establishments operating in space technology<br />

and communications.<br />

The UAE unveiled the National Plan<br />

for the Promotion of Space Investment,<br />

intending to boost both domestic and<br />

foreign investment in the country’s space<br />

sector. This initiative seeks to position<br />

the UAE as a regional hub for commercial<br />

space activities and advanced research<br />

and development, encouraging local<br />

investment in the sector globally. The<br />

Space Investment Promotion Plan aligns<br />

with the UAE Vision 2021, UAE 2071,<br />

and the UAE Plan on the 4th Industrial<br />

Revolution, focusing on economic diversification,<br />

knowledge-based economy,<br />

R&D incentives, entrepreneurship, and<br />

SMEs’ role in the private sector.<br />

UAE’s Optimal Climate Boosts Space<br />

Launch<br />

The UAE benefits from a consistent<br />

year-round climate for space launches,<br />

ensuring stability crucial for mission<br />

success. The region’s warm, dry weather<br />

with minimal rainfall reduces the risk<br />

of disruptive adverse conditions, and<br />

its equatorial location aids rockets in<br />

utilising the Earth’s rotation for more<br />

efficient orbital reach.<br />

Space launch starbases must be situated<br />

away from populated areas for safety<br />

reasons. The launch process generates<br />

significant noise, heat, and vibration,<br />

posing risks to nearby structures and<br />

populations. Additionally, in case of<br />

accidents, rocket debris could potentially<br />

harm people or property in the vicinity.<br />

Logistically, space launches demand<br />

substantial infrastructure, including launch<br />

pads, fueling stations, and control centres.<br />

Finding suitable locations for these<br />

complex facilities in densely populated<br />

areas is challenging. Remote locations<br />

not only enhance safety but also provide<br />

a quieter environment for scientific and<br />

technological research, allowing easier<br />

access to natural resources and materials<br />

needed for experiments or testing.<br />

Global Shift: Private Space Tourism<br />

Private space tourism, championed<br />

by US companies like SpaceX, Blue<br />

Origin, and Virgin Galactic, is becoming<br />

a permanent feature. The impressive<br />

exploits of these companies inspire other<br />

nations, particularly wealthier ones, to<br />

join the trend.<br />

Advocates Anna Hazlett and John<br />

B. Sheldon of AzurX in Dubai propose<br />

establishing a space tourism hub in<br />

the UAE. They highlight key attributes<br />

enabling the Middle Eastern country to<br />

host space tourism facilities, runways,<br />

and astronaut training centres.<br />

Beyond private sector appeals for<br />

investment in space tours, the UAE<br />

government actively works towards<br />

realising space tourism, collaborating<br />

with foreign private entities. In October<br />

of the previous year, the Ministry of<br />

Economy, Abdulla bin Touq, disclosed<br />

a partnership with Jeff Bezos’s Blue<br />

Origin to introduce space tourism flights<br />

to the country. The collaboration aims<br />

to establish a UAE desert spaceport for<br />

suborbital flights, utilising Blue Origin’s<br />

expertise in space manufacturing and<br />

low Earth orbit flight services.<br />

UAE’s combination of factors, including<br />

government initiatives and private sector<br />

enthusiasm, positions it as an appealing<br />

destination for space companies.<br />

With ambitious investment plans and<br />

supportive policies, the UAE is poised<br />

to emerge as a prominent player in the<br />

global space industry.<br />

Given the substantial investments made<br />

by the UAE, it is poised to emerge as a<br />

leader in this industry. The country offers<br />

unique experiences such as space travel<br />

and high-altitude balloon rides, providing<br />

passengers with views of the vastness of<br />

space and the Earth’s curvature.<br />

Strategically positioned, the UAE is<br />

well-suited to attract a worldwide audience<br />

of space enthusiasts. This suggests that<br />

Dubai could evolve into a space hub in<br />

the future, not only drawing tourists but<br />

also scientists and engineers involved<br />

in developing innovative transportation<br />

options.<br />

Additionally, the UAE’s ambitions extend<br />

to exploring the asteroid belt between<br />

Mars and Jupiter. This interplanetary<br />

mission, part of the “Projects of the 50”<br />

initiative, aims to propel the UAE into<br />

its next 50 years. It will be carried out<br />

in collaboration with the Laboratory for<br />

Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP)<br />

at CU Boulder.<br />

UAE’s Unique Edge in Space Tourism<br />

The UAE’s unique advantages position it<br />

to offer a range of space tourist activities,<br />

aligning with its broader space ambitions.<br />

Firstly, the country’s favourable climate<br />

permits year-round space tourism<br />

flights, even during the Gulf’s hot and<br />

humid summers.<br />

Secondly, the UAE’s central location<br />

as an international air travel hub makes<br />

it attractive to space tourists spanning<br />

Europe to northeast Asia, establishing<br />

it as the prime space tourism hub for<br />

Eurasia.<br />

Thirdly, the nation’s well-developed<br />

luxury hospitality and entertainment sector,<br />

including luxury hotels, Michelin-star<br />

restaurants, and exclusive shopping<br />

experiences in Dubai and Abu Dhabi,<br />

caters to the high net-worth space tourist<br />

demographic. The existing infrastructure<br />

readily supports the establishment of a<br />

space tourism hub.<br />

Lastly, the UAE’s rapid ascent in the<br />

global space arena, marked by investments<br />

in advanced satellite technologies<br />

and the successful Hope Mars mission,<br />

positions it as a leading space power.<br />

Future plans, such as a Venus flyby and<br />

an asteroid belt rendezvous, demonstrate<br />

its ambitious space agenda. Establishing<br />

a space tourism launch site will contribute<br />

to the domestic space ecosystem,<br />

enabling microgravity research flights<br />

and enhancing the country’s global<br />

reputation.<br />

A world-class space tourism hub will<br />

not only bolster the UAE’s standing as<br />

an advanced global space power but<br />

also attract space tourism operators,<br />

manufacturers, SMEs, start-ups, and a<br />

significant number of aspiring space<br />

tourists worldwide.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 77

Global News<br />

UAE Ranks Fourth Globally as a Premier Remote Work Destination<br />

The UAE secures the top spot<br />

in the Middle East and ranks<br />

fourth globally as a prime destination<br />

for remote work, as<br />

unveiled by VisaGuide.<strong>World</strong>. Renowned<br />

for assessing visa system efficacy, the<br />

website evaluates countries’ efforts in<br />

fostering an appealing environment<br />

for digital talent. Spain, Argentina,<br />

and Romania precede the UAE in the<br />

rankings, considering various factors.<br />

Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of<br />

State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital<br />

Economy, and Remote Work Applications,<br />

credits the UAE’s success to visionary<br />

leadership. He highlights the nation’s<br />

pioneering digital initiatives and robust<br />

remote work infrastructure, positioning<br />

it as a global model of efficiency and<br />

adaptability.<br />

Goldman Sachs predicts<br />

series of <strong>2024</strong> interest<br />

rate cuts by US Fed<br />

Goldman Sachs anticipates a<br />

series of interest rate cuts<br />

by the US Federal Reserve in<br />

<strong>2024</strong>, citing eased financial<br />

conditions. The investment banking<br />

firm’s economists project three consecutive<br />

25-basis-point reductions in<br />

March, May, and June, followed by<br />

quarterly cuts until overnight borrowing<br />

rates reach a targeted range<br />

of 3.25% to 3.5%. The Federal Open<br />

Market Committee (FOMC) recently<br />

maintained the federal funds rate at<br />

5.25 to 5.5%, considering easing inflation.<br />

Goldman Sachs notes a durable<br />

easing trend since October and raises<br />

its Q4 <strong>2024</strong> US GDP growth estimate to<br />

2%, surpassing the FOMC’s forecast of<br />

1.4%, attributing it to lower inflation.<br />

DART and OffSec Forge Partnership to Advance<br />

Cybersecurity Landscape<br />

DART and OffSec announce a<br />

strategic partnership, merging<br />

DART’s cyber capacity<br />

building with OffSec’s expertise.<br />

DART, excelling in tailored training,<br />

becomes OffSec’s certified training<br />

partner, offering their certificates in<br />

training programs. With a cadre of 60+<br />

expert trainers, DART aligns seamlessly<br />

with OffSec’s commitment to empowering<br />

cybersecurity professionals.<br />

Together, they aim to revolutionise<br />

skill sets, enhancing the resilience of<br />

nations, governments, and organisations.<br />

DART, with a mission to boost<br />

cybersecurity capacity, has trained<br />

over 1500 professionals. Leveraging<br />

elite cyber intelligence trainers, they<br />

bridge skill gaps, elevating proficiency.<br />

The partnership introduces OffSec’s<br />

OSCP certificate in DART’s boot camp,<br />

enriching the training experience for<br />

penetration testers and cybersecurity<br />

professionals.<br />

China’s economic conditions to improve in <strong>2024</strong><br />

China’s economic outlook<br />

for <strong>2024</strong> appears optimistic,<br />

with officials emphasising<br />

favourable conditions and<br />

opportunities. The Central Economic<br />

Work Conference outlined ongoing<br />

macroeconomic policies supporting<br />

recovery, citing low prices and manageable<br />

government debt. Despite<br />

these positive indicators, challenges<br />

persist, such as weak demand, consumption,<br />

and enterprise investment.<br />

The focus for the upcoming year will<br />

shift from post-pandemic recovery to<br />

sustained consumption growth. The<br />

International Monetary Fund raised its<br />

growth forecast for China, anticipating<br />

a 5.4% increase. China plans to foster<br />

new consumption areas like smart<br />

homes and tourism while addressing<br />

challenges in the real estate market<br />

through policy measures, aiming for<br />

stability and risk prevention.<br />

78 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Oman and India Embrace Joint Vision for Enhanced Cooperation<br />

Oman and India embrace a<br />

Joint Vision titled ‘A Partnership<br />

For the Future,’ aligning<br />

Oman Vision 2040 with<br />

India’s ‘Amrit Kaal’ development objectives.<br />

Both nations express commitment<br />

to leveraging these synergies for<br />

deeper collaboration. During the state<br />

visit of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin<br />

Tarik to India, marked by a ceremonial<br />

Egypt Shields<br />

Healthcare and<br />

Subsidies in Public<br />

Spending Cuts<br />

Egypt’s public spending rationalisation<br />

excludes healthcare<br />

services, subsidised goods,<br />

petroleum products, social<br />

insurance pensions, and the Takaful and<br />

Karama program, affirms <strong>Finance</strong> Minister<br />

Mohamed Maait. Additionally, priority<br />

in contracts will be granted to Egyptian<br />

products, even if their prices surpass<br />

imported alternatives by approximately<br />

15%. The strategic decision intends to<br />

boost local production, foster industrial<br />

localisation, incentivise private sector<br />

investments in competitive industries,<br />

and facilitate exports to international<br />

markets. Maait’s emphasis on protecting<br />

essential services and promoting domestic<br />

industries reflects a comprehensive<br />

approach to economic sustainability<br />

and resilience.<br />

welcome and banquet dinner hosted by<br />

President Smt Droupadi Murmu, the<br />

leaders held consultations and talks,<br />

highlighting the enduring partnership<br />

built on historical ties, mutual trust,<br />

and shared interests. This significant<br />

visit reinforces bilateral relations and<br />

marks Oman’s Sultan’s first visit to<br />

India in over 25 years.<br />

Infobip Launches AI Hub for Enhanced Conversational<br />

Customer Experiences<br />

Infobip launches AI Hub, a transformative<br />

AI integration into its<br />

global cloud communications<br />

platform. This overhaul empowers<br />

businesses to craft seamless end-to-end<br />

conversational experiences throughout<br />

the customer journey. Infobip’s AI Hub<br />

combines advanced analytics, AI, and<br />

generative AI features within its Software-as-a-Service<br />

(SaaS) portfolio, supporting<br />

digital transformation efforts.<br />

In collaboration with Microsoft, the<br />

platform integrates OpenAI’s ChatGPT<br />

model to enhance security and isolate<br />

language models from potential threats.<br />

This evolution positions Infobip as a<br />

conversational ecosystem, allowing<br />

organisations to create personalised<br />

customer experiences, optimise marketing<br />

campaigns, and ensure customer<br />

loyalty through advanced analytics and<br />

predictive capabilities.<br />

Egypt Aims for $9B in Outsourcing Service<br />

Exports by 2026<br />

Egypt anticipates its outsourcing<br />

services exports to surge<br />

to $9 billion by 2026, as reported<br />

by Asharq Business,<br />

quoting Minister of Communications<br />

and Information Technology Amr Talaat.<br />

This growth will create diverse<br />

job opportunities in various IT fields,<br />

aiming to elevate the number of specialists<br />

to 550,000 by 2026. Former<br />

Head of Vodafone Intelligent Solution<br />

Egypt Center and Global Care, Ramy<br />

Kato, predicts a robust growth rate of<br />

over 15% for the outsourcing industry<br />

between 2023 and <strong>2024</strong>. Egypt’s strategic<br />

focus on expanding its outsourcing<br />

sector underscores its commitment to<br />

fostering technological advancement<br />

and job creation.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 79

Investment in Art<br />

source: photoeverywhere.co.uk<br />

Impact investors hold a pivotal role in the growth and success of the creative economy.<br />

Art as an Impact<br />

Investment,<br />

delivering positive<br />

change<br />

Fine art is gaining recognition as a distinctive and<br />

valuable asset class for impact investment, capable of<br />

producing both financial returns and social impact.<br />

In recent years, the concept of impact<br />

investing has gained significant traction,<br />

with investors increasingly seeking opportunities<br />

that generate both financial<br />

returns and positive social or environmental<br />

outcomes. While traditional sectors<br />

like renewable energy and education<br />

have dominated the impact investment<br />

landscape, the art world is emerging as an<br />

unexpected yet powerful player in delivering<br />

positive change. It underscores the<br />

importance of considering the broader<br />

implications of investments, acknowledging<br />

that cultural and artistic contributions<br />

can be as influential as traditional sectors<br />

in fostering positive change. This article<br />

navigates through the concept of impact<br />

investments and how art is influenced<br />

by it.<br />

80 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Impact investing is a strategic investment<br />

approach designed to generate<br />

financial returns and foster positive<br />

social or environmental change. The<br />

primary objective of impact investing is<br />

to leverage investment capital to support<br />

innovative solutions addressing pressing<br />

social or environmental challenges,<br />

ranging from poverty and climate change<br />

to inequality.<br />

In today’s market, such investments<br />

commonly manifest as private equity or<br />

debt instruments, and the asset class is<br />

continuously expanding. Typically, impact<br />

investors include individuals and institutions,<br />

such as foundations, philanthropic<br />

funders, or pension fund managers, who<br />

are committed to utilising their capital<br />

for profit and the advancement of positive<br />

social and environmental outcomes.<br />

In contrast to traditional investing,<br />

which predominantly prioritises financial<br />

returns with social or environmental considerations<br />

often relegated to secondary<br />

status or entirely disregarded, impact<br />

investors place equal emphasis on both<br />

financial returns and positive impact.<br />

This approach signifies a departure from<br />

conventional investment strategies and<br />

represents a conscious effort to align<br />

financial goals with a commitment to<br />

social and environmental responsibility.<br />

Measuring the effectiveness of impact<br />

investing involves employing diverse<br />

metrics, such as the United Nations’<br />

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),<br />

evaluations of social return on investment<br />

(SROI), and assessments of environmental<br />

impact. These metrics serve as valuable<br />

tools for impact investors, aiding them<br />

in tracking the progress and success of<br />

their investments in meeting predefined<br />

social and environmental impact goals.<br />

Art has a unique ability to provoke<br />

thought, inspire dialogue, and challenge<br />

societal norms. Impactful art pieces have<br />

historically played a pivotal role in shaping<br />

public opinion and driving social change.<br />

By investing in artists and projects with<br />

a clear social or environmental purpose,<br />

investors can actively contribute to<br />

movements addressing issues such as<br />

climate change, inequality, and human<br />

rights. Supporting artists who use their<br />

creative talents to promote positive social<br />

change turns art into a force for good.<br />

The art world has faced criticism for its<br />

lack of diversity and inclusivity. Impact<br />

investing in art provides an opportunity<br />

Investors<br />

acknowledging<br />

art’s<br />

transformative<br />

potential can<br />

shape a more<br />

sustainable,<br />

inclusive,<br />

and socially<br />

responsible<br />

future.”<br />

to address these concerns by supporting<br />

artists from underrepresented backgrounds.<br />

Investors can play a crucial<br />

role in promoting diversity within the<br />

art community, ensuring that a variety<br />

of voices and perspectives are heard and<br />

celebrated. This contributes to a more<br />

inclusive art world and also fosters social<br />

harmony and understanding.<br />

Artistic endeavours often involve the<br />

use of materials and resources that can<br />

have a significant environmental impact.<br />

Impact investors in art are increasingly<br />

directing their funds towards projects<br />

prioritising sustainable practices. This<br />

includes supporting artists who use<br />

eco-friendly materials, engage in recycling<br />

and upcycling, or contribute to<br />

environmental awareness through their<br />

work. By doing so, investors can align<br />

their financial goals with a commitment<br />

to environmental stewardship.<br />

Investing in art can be a catalyst for<br />

community revitalisation, particularly in<br />

economically disadvantaged areas. Art<br />

installations, public murals, and cultural<br />

events can transform neighbourhoods,<br />

attracting attention and investment that<br />

goes beyond the art itself. Impact investors<br />

can strategically support projects<br />

that not only contribute to the cultural<br />

enrichment of a community but also<br />

drive economic development and social<br />

cohesion.<br />

Laura Merage, a successful artist and<br />

venture philanthropist, spearheads initiatives<br />

that significantly influence the<br />

daily lives of thousands. Her generosity<br />

has left an indelible mark on Denver’s Art<br />

and Culture scene. In 2008, she catalysed<br />

the establishment of RedLine Contemporary<br />

Art Center, an urban art laboratory<br />

promoting education and collaboration<br />

between artists and communities for<br />

positive social change. Witnessing Red-<br />

Line’s success, Laura envisioned another<br />

innovative nonprofit and in 2015, founded<br />

Black Cube—a nomadic, experimental art<br />

museum aiming to foster artist self-sufficiency<br />

and encourage the exploration<br />

of contemporary art beyond traditional<br />

gallery confines.<br />

Quantifying the impact of art investments<br />

can be challenging, given the subjective<br />

nature of artistic expression. However,<br />

innovative approaches, such as tracking<br />

community engagement, social media<br />

reach, or collaborations with local organisations,<br />

can provide valuable insights<br />

into the real-world impact of art projects.<br />

One such example is the development<br />

of Newark CEDC’s Makers Village, an<br />

initiative by Newark’s economic development<br />

branch, that provides affordable<br />

studios and commercial storefronts for<br />

creatives to rent.<br />

Investors in this space are increasingly<br />

recognising the importance of developing<br />

metrics that go beyond financial returns<br />

to capture the broader positive effects<br />

on society.<br />

Art as an impact investment represents<br />

a dynamic and evolving frontier within the<br />

broader landscape of socially conscious<br />

investing. By recognising the transformative<br />

power of art to drive positive<br />

change, investors can play a vital role<br />

in shaping a more sustainable, inclusive,<br />

and socially responsible future. As the<br />

art world continues to embrace impact<br />

investing, we can see a shift towards a<br />

more holistic understanding of the value<br />

that art brings to both the cultural fabric<br />

of society and the well-being of our planet.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 81

Local News<br />

COP28 Delegates Laud Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park<br />

Dubai Electricity and Water<br />

Authority (DEWA) hosts 217<br />

COP28 participants on field<br />

visits to the Mohammed bin<br />

Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. Visitors,<br />

mainly international, explored the<br />

Innovation Centre and the park’s 4th<br />

phase, praising DEWA’s commitment to<br />

cutting-edge technologies in renewable<br />

energy. The Innovation Centre, a Dubai<br />

landmark, was impressed with over 35<br />

interactive exhibits showcasing advancements<br />

in clean energy. The DEWA Museum<br />

highlighted historical achievements, while<br />

visitors delved into solar technologies,<br />

Concentrated Solar Power, and Smart<br />

DEWA initiatives. The immersive experiences,<br />

including drone shows and<br />

Augmented Reality, underscored DEWA’s<br />

dedication to innovation in sustainable<br />

energy at this influential global gathering.<br />

RTA unveils its digital<br />

strategy 2023-2030<br />

Dubai’s Roads and Transport<br />

Authority (RTA) reveals<br />

a Digital Strategy for<br />

2023-2030, encompassing<br />

82 projects and initiatives with a total<br />

investment of AED 1.6B. Aligned with<br />

Dubai’s vision, RTA aims to lead in global<br />

digital transformation, emphasising<br />

fintech-driven mobility, achieving 95%<br />

digital service adoption, and digitising<br />

employees’ skill sets. The strategy,<br />

guided by the visionary leadership of<br />

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin<br />

Rashid Al Maktoum and H.H. Sheikh<br />

Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al<br />

Maktoum, focuses on creating an agile<br />

digital infrastructure. With pillars like<br />

people’s happiness and innovation,<br />

RTA aims to streamline services, stay<br />

ahead of contemporary demands, and<br />

position Dubai as a leading smart city.<br />

COP28 Secures Permanent Role for Youth<br />

Climate Champions<br />

COP28’s historic presidency<br />

leaves a lasting impact on<br />

youth involvement in climate<br />

governance by institutionalising<br />

the role of the Presidency Youth<br />

Climate Champion (YCC) for future<br />

COPs. This commitment is enshrined<br />

in the official COP28 negotiated text,<br />

compelling all upcoming COP Presidencies<br />

to ensure meaningful youth<br />

participation within the United Nations<br />

Framework Convention on Climate<br />

Al-Futtaim Automotive, as the<br />

Strategic E-Mobility Partner<br />

of COP28, unveils insights<br />

from a comprehensive survey<br />

conducted with YouGov, shedding light<br />

on UAE residents’ shifting perspectives<br />

on Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption. The<br />

survey of 2,008 respondents highlights<br />

environmental concerns, with 64% expressing<br />

worry about internal combustion<br />

engine vehicles. Notably, 26% of non-EV<br />

owners are keen to purchase one within<br />

Change (UNFCCC) process. Notably,<br />

Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrouei,<br />

appointed as the first-ever YCC at<br />

COP28, reflects the UAE’s commitment<br />

to empowering youth globally. Minister<br />

Al Mazrouei emphasised that COP28<br />

has catalysed transformative change,<br />

positioning children and young people<br />

at the forefront of climate action,<br />

and ensuring a legacy that transcends<br />

future COPs.<br />

Anticipating Full Electric and Hybrid Vehicle<br />

Takeover: UAE Residents’ Outlook<br />

the next 12 months, while 50% consider<br />

the shift. A remarkable 63% plan to make<br />

EVs their primary transport within 6<br />

months to 2 years, reflecting a swift move<br />

towards sustainable mobility. Confidence<br />

in UAE’s charging infrastructure growth<br />

is evident, with 7 out of 10 residents expecting<br />

widespread EV charging stations.<br />

Anticipations also point towards a future<br />

where 30–50% of the UAE’s population<br />

drives EVs or hybrids by 2030.<br />

82 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

UAE Ministry of <strong>Finance</strong> Joins G20 <strong>Finance</strong> Track During Brazil’s Presidency<br />

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

(MoF) accepts Brazil’s invitation<br />

to join the <strong>Finance</strong><br />

Track of the <strong>2024</strong> Group of 20<br />

(G20) under Brazil’s presidency. This<br />

move highlights the enduring bilateral<br />

relations between the UAE and Brazil.<br />

The Ministry’s involvement kicks off<br />

with the G20 <strong>Finance</strong> and Central<br />

Bank Deputies meeting in Brasília<br />

on December 14-15, 2023, addressing<br />

priorities set by Brazil’s Presidency.<br />

Expo City Dubai: Ideal<br />

Host for COP28, Making<br />

Climate Talk Accessible<br />

Expo City Dubai emerged as<br />

a sustainable living model<br />

and the perfect backdrop for<br />

COP28’s Green Zone, solidifying<br />

its standing as a premier global event<br />

venue. This innovative zone, accessible<br />

to all, pioneered by placing it adjacent<br />

to the Blue Zone, became a hub for<br />

diverse participants—youth, corporations,<br />

cities, and governments. With a<br />

vibrant program spanning exhibits, talks,<br />

workshops, metaverse experiences,<br />

and family-friendly shows, it fostered<br />

a festival-like atmosphere, symbolising<br />

a heightened global commitment to<br />

climate action. Expo City Dubai’s Chief<br />

of Education and Culture, Marjan Faraidooni,<br />

emphasised the enduring legacy,<br />

emphasising cooperation, collaboration,<br />

and inclusivity as essential for steering<br />

humanity toward a sustainable future<br />

beyond COP28.<br />

Mohamed Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of<br />

State for Financial Affairs, expresses<br />

gratitude for Brazil’s invitation and<br />

affirms alignment with the <strong>Finance</strong><br />

Track’s focus on reducing global inequalities<br />

and building a just world.<br />

The UAE MoF is prepared to contribute<br />

to key issues such as enhancing<br />

international financial institutions,<br />

tackling persistent debt burdens, and<br />

mobilising resources for a sustainable<br />

global economy.<br />

Dubai’s population grows by 100,000 in 2023<br />

Dubai’s population surged<br />

by 100,240 in 2023, reaching<br />

3.65 million, driven by a<br />

substantial influx of foreign<br />

workers, professionals, and investors.<br />

The emirate’s appeal stems from effective<br />

pandemic management, attractive<br />

property returns, diverse residency<br />

permits, and business-friendly conditions.<br />

This growth surpasses the 2022<br />

increase, with 71,495 new residents.<br />

Dubai’s allure for millionaires, evident<br />

in 1,500 relocations from London in the<br />

past decade, remains robust, with an<br />

additional 250 expected this year. The<br />

Henley Private Wealth Migration Report<br />

anticipates 4,500 millionaire relocations<br />

to the UAE in 2023, reflecting the emirate’s<br />

sustained economic dynamism,<br />

highlighted by notable wealth growth<br />

in key sectors and successful global<br />

events like Expo 2020 and COP28.<br />

RTA Implements Truck Ban on Select Roads in<br />

Dubai Amid Construction Activities<br />

Dubai’s RTA has enforced a<br />

continuous truck ban on<br />

select roads within Nad Al<br />

Sheba Reserve since December,<br />

aligning with the area’s extensive<br />

redevelopment plans. Nad Al Sheba<br />

is a focal point for future development<br />

in Dubai. The RTA encourages<br />

construction firms and heavy vehicle<br />

operators to utilise alternative truck<br />

routes. In cases requiring truck access<br />

to restricted roads, drivers must<br />

secure a mobility permit through the<br />

integrated RTA-Dubai Police traffic<br />

system. Monitoring, in collaboration<br />

with Dubai Police, ensures compliance,<br />

with violators facing penalties. This<br />

measure follows the completion of the<br />

initial phase of the Al Meydan Street<br />

improvement project, transforming<br />

roundabouts into signalised junctions.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 83

Travel<br />

4 places to visit this <strong>January</strong> from UAE<br />

As <strong>January</strong> begins, the call to travel emerges, free from the complexities of visa formalities.<br />

Reflecting the visionary spirit of the UAE, this article reveals four appealing destinations<br />

ready for exploration. These visa-exempt havens guarantee an immersive mix of cultural<br />

richness, natural wonders, and lively experiences. These destinations serve as the backdrop<br />

for an idyllic escape into the new year. Whether immersed in captivating landscapes or<br />

delving into the narratives of historical marvels, these <strong>January</strong> getaways act as portals to a<br />

world where exploration knows no boundaries.<br />

Bakuriani, Georgia<br />

Bakuriani, Georgia’s oldest winter<br />

resort boasting two centuries of<br />

history, has evolved into a premier<br />

mountain and ski centre. Nestled high in<br />

the mountains at the intersection of the<br />

Lesser Caucasus and the Trialeti Range,<br />

Bakuriani offers an ideal environment<br />

for Winter Olympic sports, catering to<br />

both professional and amateur skiers<br />

in the colder months. Beyond winter,<br />

it transforms into a haven for extreme<br />

mountain sports or family-friendly vacations.<br />

Transportation in and around<br />

Bakuriani is convenient, with the village<br />

being small enough for travel on foot.<br />

Bicycle and ATV rentals are readily<br />

available in the town centre, providing<br />

easy exploration. For convenient<br />

site visits, car hire is also available at<br />

just AED 88, providing an accessible<br />

means of exploring the picturesque<br />

surroundings.<br />

Bakuriani stands out as one of Georgia’s<br />

premier winter sports destinations,<br />

attracting families and professional<br />

sports enthusiasts alike. With slopes<br />

suitable for all levels of skiing and<br />

snowboarding, ranging from beginner<br />

to advanced, the resort offers a diverse<br />

range of activities such as tobogganing,<br />

ice skating, and snowmobile rentals.<br />

The snow season typically spans from<br />

November to March, making it an extended<br />

winter paradise. Flights from<br />

Dubai to Bankuriani start at an affordable<br />

AED 514, ensuring a reasonable travel<br />

expense. The city’s accommodation is<br />

also budget-conscious, with options<br />

starting from AED 353 per night, allowing<br />

travellers to enjoy a comfortable stay.<br />

Tabuk Mountains, Saudi Arabia<br />

The Tabuk region near the Jordanian<br />

border transformed into a<br />

winter wonderland on New Year’s<br />

Day, as desert sands were blanketed in<br />

pristine white snow. The Jabal Al-Lawz<br />

mountain range, accustomed to winter’s<br />

icy touch, becomes a picturesque<br />

landscape during this time, attracting<br />

locals and visitors alike. While Saudi<br />

Arabia is known for its arid climate,<br />

the diverse landscape sees snowfall in<br />

the northern mountainous regions like<br />

Turaif, Tabuk, Arar, and Rafha.<br />

Winter enthusiasts travel from across<br />

the Kingdom to partake in the cold<br />

weather and engage in snow activities,<br />

such as sledging. The Asir region in<br />

the southwest, home to the towering<br />

Soudah mountains, also experiences<br />

occasional snowfall, adding to the<br />

country’s surprising climatic diversity.<br />

The National Center for Meteorology<br />

forecasts further snowfall in the coming<br />

days, promising a captivating blend<br />

of thunderstorms and snow-covered<br />

landscapes in regions like Asir, Jazan,<br />

Al-Madinah, Hail, the northern borders,<br />

Al-Jawf, and Tabuk. Embark on a<br />

seamless journey from Dubai to Tabuk<br />

with flights starting from AED 900.<br />

After a day of exploration, unwind in<br />

comfortable accommodations starting<br />

at AED 400, ensuring a relaxing stay to<br />

complement your travel experience.<br />

84 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Uludag Mountains, Turkey<br />

Uludag, known as the ancient<br />

Mysian or Bithynian Olympus, is<br />

a prominent mountain situated<br />

in Bursa Province, Turkey, boasting<br />

an elevation of 2,543 m (8,343 ft). The<br />

Turkish name “Uludag” means “great<br />

mountain,” reflecting its majestic<br />

presence. For those seeking a more<br />

relaxed holiday, Uludag offers luxurious<br />

hotels, facilities, and chalets amidst its<br />

refreshing air and natural splendour.<br />

Camping enthusiasts can explore the<br />

Sarıalan Camp Daily Use Area, accommodating<br />

300 tents with amenities like<br />

country clubs, barracks, bungalows,<br />

and more—similarly, the Çobankaya<br />

Camp Daily Use Area. In recent years,<br />

paragliding has also gained traction,<br />

with suitable areas for flying around<br />

Bakacak at an altitude of 1700 m,<br />

adding an adventurous dimension to<br />

Uludag’s diverse offerings. With travelling<br />

expenses starting from AED 700,<br />

Choose from accommodations starting<br />

at AED 350, ensuring a comfortable<br />

stay that complements the charm of<br />

Uludag. Explore the region at your own<br />

pace by opting for car hires, available<br />

from AED 130, providing the freedom<br />

to discover breathtaking landscapes.<br />

Salalah, Oman<br />

Salalah, the residence of the Sultan<br />

of Oman, emerges as a captivating<br />

city, showcasing a wealth of culture,<br />

history, and breathtaking beaches. Its<br />

distinction on the Arabian Peninsula<br />

is accentuated by a climate that is<br />

both unique and famed. Surrounded<br />

by verdant mountains and lush greenery,<br />

Salalah transforms into a vibrant<br />

landscape during the monsoon season.<br />

The city’s spectacular beaches not only<br />

serve as picturesque retreats but also<br />

cater to the adventurous spirit with<br />

ample opportunities for snorkelling<br />

and diving.<br />

Positioned along the Arabian Sea,<br />

Salalah offers a culinary journey especially<br />

renowned for its delectable seafood<br />

choices. The tapestry of Salalah’s<br />

history and cultural heritage is on<br />

vivid display in its museums, forts,<br />

mosques, and bustling souks, making<br />

it a city of profound depth and visual<br />

allure. Salalah, in all its uniqueness,<br />

stands as a testament to Oman’s rich<br />

blend of natural wonders and cultural<br />

treasures. The journey from Dubai to<br />

Salalah with flights starting at AED<br />

600. Explore the charm of this Omani<br />

city, known for its cultural richness<br />

and stunning landscapes. Retreat to<br />

comfortable accommodations starting<br />

at AED 200, ensuring a relaxing stay to<br />

complement your travel experience.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 85

Travel News<br />

Saudi Arabia to build a version of the Champs-Elysees in Diriyah<br />

Diriyah Company, the force<br />

behind the transformation<br />

of Saudi Arabia’s historic<br />

city, unveils plans for a grand<br />

Parisian-style boulevard, King Salman<br />

Boulevard, mirroring the famed Champs-<br />

Elysées. Set to launch in December <strong>2024</strong>,<br />

the boulevard will accompany several<br />

projects, including a new opera house,<br />

contemporary art museum, mosque,<br />

convention centre, and performance<br />

Flydubai announces<br />

winter travel return<br />

flights from $300<br />

Flydubai introduces budget-friendly<br />

winter travel<br />

packages, with fares starting<br />

from AED1,105 ($300). The<br />

offerings span city breaks, beach holidays,<br />

and skiing adventures, catering<br />

to budget-conscious travellers seeking<br />

international winter getaways from<br />

Dubai. Among the ski destinations,<br />

Georgia beckons with pristine slopes<br />

in Bakuriani and Gudauri, promising<br />

a thrilling skiing experience amidst<br />

stunning landscapes. Salzburg in Austria<br />

offers a blend of cultural exploration<br />

and downhill adventures, while Serbia’s<br />

Kopaonik boasts modern resorts and<br />

diverse terrains for ski enthusiasts. The<br />

diverse options showcase Flydubai’s<br />

commitment to providing affordable<br />

travel opportunities, inviting exploration<br />

and enjoyment in various winter<br />

destinations.<br />

arena. These initiatives mark the city’s<br />

evolution into a tourism giga-project,<br />

emphasising cultural and entertainment<br />

offerings. Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of Diriyah<br />

Company, envisions continuous progress,<br />

with annual project reveals leading up<br />

to the <strong>World</strong> Expo in 2030. The $63.2B<br />

giga-project encompasses 14 square kilometres,<br />

featuring hotels, restaurants,<br />

museums, and homes by 2030.<br />

Dubai Airport expects more than 4M<br />

passengers in 16 days<br />

Dubai International Airport<br />

anticipates lengthy queues<br />

over the next two weeks,<br />

with a projected four million<br />

passengers from December 15 to 31,<br />

peaking at 279,000 on December 22. To<br />

enhance the festive travel experience,<br />

Terminals 1, 2, and 3 offer various activities,<br />

including 3D photo opportunities<br />

and a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus.<br />

The General Civil Aviation Authority<br />

(GCAA) Director-General<br />

reported a notable 15% surge<br />

in air traffic at UAE airports<br />

during the 28th Conference of the Parties<br />

(COP28). This increase underscores the<br />

significant international presence during<br />

the climate-focused event. The rise in air<br />

travel indicates heightened global participation,<br />

possibly attributed to delegates,<br />

New airlines and additional flights<br />

were introduced at the start of winter<br />

to attract more visitors to Dubai. Essa<br />

Al Shamsi, Senior Vice President of<br />

Terminal Operations, highlights the<br />

commitment to ensuring a cheerful<br />

and bright travel experience, offering<br />

tips such as at-home check-in services<br />

and self-service touchpoints to navigate<br />

the holiday rush effectively.<br />

UAE Airports Experience 15% Surge in Air<br />

Traffic During COP28<br />

experts, and attendees converging in<br />

the UAE for COP28. Such a substantial<br />

growth in air traffic emphasises the interconnectedness<br />

of nations in addressing<br />

environmental concerns. The link provided<br />

offers more in-depth information<br />

on this noteworthy development in air<br />

travel within the context of the COP28<br />

conference.<br />

86 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Dubai Ranks as <strong>World</strong>’s Second Most Popular City; Kenya to Implement<br />

Visa-Free Travel<br />

Exciting news for travellers<br />

as Kenya declares visa-free<br />

entry for all starting <strong>January</strong>.<br />

President William Ruto<br />

revealed this initiative during Nairobi’s<br />

celebration of Kenya’s 60th<br />

independence anniversary, stating that<br />

a new digital platform will facilitate<br />

electronic travel authorisation. This<br />

move aims to streamline the entry<br />

process, eliminating the need for visa<br />

Etihad Expands Maldives<br />

Reach with Flights to 16<br />

New Islands<br />

Etihad Airways and Maldivian<br />

unveil a strategic interline<br />

partnership, granting access<br />

to 16 new holiday destinations<br />

in the Maldives beyond Malé. This collaboration<br />

enables seamless navigation<br />

across the Indian Ocean archipelago,<br />

with passengers enjoying combined<br />

services and networks on a single ticket.<br />

Etihad’s Chief Revenue Officer, Arik<br />

De, emphasises the enhanced customer<br />

experience, simplifying travel for those<br />

bound for the Maldives. Facilitated by<br />

smooth connections from Malé, Etihad<br />

customers can easily transition to<br />

Maldivian’s services, reaching various<br />

domestic destinations. The partnership<br />

aligns with Maldivian’s global expansion<br />

efforts, offering customers opportunities<br />

to connect seamlessly within their<br />

growing route network.<br />

applications worldwide. In the UAE,<br />

Dubai has secured its position as the<br />

second-most sought-after global city<br />

for travellers. At the same time, Abu<br />

Dhabi earns a spot in the top 10 trending<br />

destinations for the upcoming year.<br />

These developments mark significant<br />

advancements in easing travel restrictions<br />

and enhancing global tourism<br />

experiences.<br />

Airline Expands India-UAE Flights, Connects Other<br />

Indian Cities to Dubai<br />

Air India Express announced<br />

the launch of a direct flight<br />

connecting Surat and Dubai.<br />

Becoming the first airline to<br />

establish this direct link, the inaugural<br />

flight coincided with the inauguration<br />

of Surat Airport’s new international<br />

terminal by Prime Minister Narendra<br />

Modi. Carrying 171 passengers, the flight<br />

landed at Dubai International Airport.<br />

Aloke Singh, Managing Director of Air<br />

India Express, expressed the airline’s<br />

commitment to Surat’s growth story<br />

and connecting the City of Diamonds<br />

to the City of Gold. The airline plans<br />

to operate four weekly flights on the<br />

Surat-Dubai route, strengthening its<br />

position as the exclusive international<br />

carrier from Surat.<br />

Fairmont The Palm: A Blend of Contemporary<br />

Charm and Arabian Flair in Dubai<br />

Dubai’s Fairmont The Palm<br />

seamlessly blends contemporary<br />

aesthetics with Arabian<br />

elegance, evident in both its<br />

artwork and architectural design. Since<br />

its inauguration in 2012, the five-star<br />

hotel has stood as an epitome of luxury<br />

with 391 rooms, four pools, and an<br />

800-metre-long private beach. A recent<br />

visit by The National delves into the<br />

hotel’s offerings over a decade since<br />

its opening. Positioned conveniently<br />

on Palm Jumeirah Road, the hotel’s<br />

welcoming ambience is accentuated<br />

by a valet and bellboy duo. Despite the<br />

bustling check-in time, the process is<br />

swift, allowing guests to swiftly ascend<br />

to their rooms, six flights above, amid<br />

the agreeable floral notes.<br />

<strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 87

Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini<br />

Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Mini<br />

represents a sleek and formidable<br />

audio innovation that emerged<br />

from a collaboration with the Fraunhofer<br />

Institute for Integrated Circuits.<br />

Designed for versatile spaces like<br />

living rooms, desktops, bedrooms, or<br />

game rooms, this soundbar, measuring<br />

a mere 70 x 10 x 6.5 cm, effortlessly<br />

blends into various TV or monitor<br />

setups while delivering exceptional<br />

audio quality.<br />

With 250 Watts of amplification, four<br />

high-end full-range drivers, and dual<br />

four-inch subwoofers, the soundbar<br />

ensures sharp fidelity, impactful bass,<br />

and clear audio presence. Its support for<br />

Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, MPEG-H codecs,<br />

and 360 Reality Audio formats offers<br />

a diverse range of audio experiences,<br />

excelling particularly in smaller spaces.<br />

The soundbar offers content-specific<br />

presets, Voice enhancement, and Night<br />

mode, catering to personalised listening<br />

experiences.<br />

Featuring HDMI1 input for eARC-enabled<br />

TVs or monitors and integration<br />

with the Sennheiser Smart Control App,<br />

managing features and updates becomes<br />

seamless via smartphones. Equipped<br />

with integrated microphones, it supports<br />

AMBEO room calibration, Alexa Built-<br />

In, Chromecast Built-In, and AirPlay,<br />

allowing versatile connectivity options<br />

through existing Google Assistant or<br />

Siri-enabled devices.<br />

The native AMBEO|OS operating<br />

system enables room calibration with<br />

one-touch functionality, adjusting surround<br />

virtualisation to suit room sizes<br />

and acoustic textures. Doubling as a<br />

streaming companion over Wi-Fi or<br />

Bluetooth, it offers vibrant sound and<br />

impactful bass, enhancing the overall<br />

audio experience.<br />

While excelling in smaller spaces<br />

and offering an outstanding soundbar<br />

experience, the AMBEO Soundbar Mini<br />

might not entirely meet expectations<br />

in larger home theatre setups. The<br />

soundbar provides a remote control<br />

for basic controls and preset modes<br />

like Music, Movie, Neutral, News,<br />

and Sports.<br />

source: amazon.com<br />

Price: AED 2,650/-<br />

88 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Host Partner<br />

Strategic Partner<br />

International<br />

Financial<br />

Institutions Partner<br />





Organized by<br />

19 – 20<br />

FEBRUARY <strong>2024</strong><br />


Strategic Road to Business Resilience and Superior Performance in AI-powered Future<br />

24 – 25 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | Crowne Plaza Al Minhal, Riyadh, KSA<br />

29 – 30 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | JW Marriot Marina, Dubai, UAE<br />

“Join us at the 2nd GPRC Summit <strong>2024</strong>!” The G[P]RC Summit is<br />

the world’s largest summit on GPRC: GRC integrated with<br />

Performance and Strategy, a pivotal event that brings together<br />

the brightest minds in global business leadership taking place in<br />

Riyadh on the 24-25 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>, Crowne Plaza Riyadh Minhal<br />

and in Dubai on the 29 <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong>, JW Marriott Marina. This<br />

year, we are excited to host this esteemed event under the<br />

theme "Strategic Road to Business Resilience and Superior<br />

Performance in an AI-powered Future". The summit promises a<br />

blend of enlightening keynotes, interactive panels, and exclusive<br />

networking sessions with C-Level Executives designed to foster<br />

meaningful collaborations and insights. We are eager to<br />

welcome you to an event that promises not just discourse, but<br />

the shaping of future business landscapes.<br />

Meet your speakers<br />

HE. Dr. Mohammed<br />

Al Kuwaiti<br />

Head of Cyber Security<br />

UAE Government, UAE<br />

Michael Rasmussen<br />

GRC Analyst and Pundit<br />

GRC 20/20 Research, Inc,<br />

USA<br />

Faisal Mohammed<br />

Al Shimmari<br />

Executive Vice President, Head<br />

of ESG & Corporate Strategy<br />

Mashreq Bank, UAE<br />

Your participation will not only enrich the discussions but also<br />

help in shaping the future of GPRC in an increasingly<br />

interconnected business world. As a G[P]RC Summit delegate,<br />

you will have an opportunity to earn a globally recognised GRC<br />

Certification from the Non-Profit Organisation that invented<br />

GRC: OCEG. The GRC professional (GRCP) certification<br />

validates that you understand and can apply GRC in your<br />

organisation. It equips executives and aspiring leaders with<br />

essential GRC knowledge and skills by integrating and advising<br />

on governance, strategy, performance, risk, compliance, ethics,<br />

internal control, security, privacy, and audit activities.<br />

Mario Foster<br />

Group CIO<br />

Al Ghurair Group, UAE<br />

Ahsan Ali<br />

Chief Risk Officer<br />

Tourism Development<br />

Fund, Saudi Arabia<br />

Suhaib Alhosainy<br />

Chief Risk Officer<br />

Saudi EXIM Bank, Saudi Arabia<br />

Mohammad Al-Nasser<br />

Chief Risk Officer<br />

Saudi Credit Bureau - SIMAH,<br />

Saudi Arabia<br />

Jason Davies<br />

Chief Internal Audit Officer<br />

NEOM, Saudi Arabia<br />

Nasser Saud Alsahli<br />

Chairman<br />

Saudi Governance Center,<br />

Saudi Arabia<br />

Strategic Supporters<br />

Strategic Partner<br />

Host Sponsor Platinum Sponsors Corporater Technology Expert<br />

Gold Sponsors<br />

Silver Sponsors<br />

Bronze Sponsor<br />

Training Partner<br />

Organiser<br />

Media Partners<br />

FOR MORE INFORMATION: info@gprcsummit.com www.gprcsummit.com

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India<br />

Abu Dhabi Chapter<br />

(A Company Limited by Guarantee and Registered in Abu Dhabi Global Market)<br />

ANNUAL<br />



Date & Day :<br />

27th & 28th <strong>January</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | Saturday & Sunday<br />

Seminar Venue :<br />

Conrad Hotel, Abu Dhabi Etihad Tower<br />

Gala Dinner & Concert Venue :<br />

VOGO Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa<br />

(Formerly known as The Westin Golf Resort)



14 years<br />




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