Since the signing of the Abraham Accords by the UAE and Israel 18 months ago, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have flocked to the capital city of Dubai, an international business and tourism center.
Israelis were curious to see in person this city that flourishes in the middle of the desert, but were also equally attracted by the abundant business opportunities that opened up thanks to the historic connection between the two countries.
Among the great promises of the Abraham Accords was the immense business and economic potential for both economies.
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), as home of the Israeli economy, took on the challenge of bringing together leading TASE-listed companies and UAE business leaders, and building a financial bridge between the two countries. The effort is based on the understanding that, in the long term, the connection between the two economies can create a powerful growth engine that will contribute to all economies in the region. The cooperation was part of an important and significant move to advance and develop the economic ties between the two countries, and, in particular, global investments in the Israeli capital market through TASE and the creation of a clear pathway for Israeli companies into the UAE market.
The existing momentum at TASE and the increase in the number of Israeli companies that joined TASE in the past year have piqued the interest of international investors, who are looking to invest in and collaborate with the Israeli companies and the innovation that they offer.
As part of TASE’s initiative, we joined hands with the UAE ambassador to Israel, H.E. Mohamed Al Khaja, and the Dubai International Chamber of Commerce, and at the end of February, for the first time, a delegation of executives from 25 TASE-listed companies, headed by TASE, visited Dubai.
We received a warm welcome and enjoyed direct access to all leading decision-makers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We were impressed by the unique perspective of the Government and business sector in the UAE, which looks far into the future for the purpose of building cooperations that will create value for the country for years to come. The significant effect that this will have on the economy and on the positioning of the UAE in the world on the day after their largest resources, oil and gas, are depleted, motivates them and drives their economy forward into the future.
The first step towards the realisation of business opportunities in the UAE is recognising its history and business culture and understanding its approach to doing business. Building trust between the parties is the main key. Before getting on to business, you must first get to know the person sitting across from you and understand the hierarchy of approvals that is part of the unique local business culture.
The UAE Government’s main focus at this time is digital transformation and advanced technologies, such as Blockchain, Fintech, cyber, Agritech, Foodtech and smart cities. These are fields in which Israeli companies are prominent and highly advanced. Israel’s technological achievements are highly appreciated and the UAE is interested in following suit and implementing similar processes. For this reason, the Israeli companies that joined the delegation included technology companies, which the Emirati investors were keen to meet and explore possible collaborations that will facilitate investments in the TASE-listed companies.
The connections that were created between leading international companies and major investment institutions from the UAE and the executives of the Israeli public companies were fruitful and paved the way for an open dialog and acquaintance that will translate into the performance of joint investments in the near future.
The UAE is ranked 16th in the world in the global Ease of Doing Business Index. Its strategic location between Africa, Europe and Asia will enable Israeli companies to develop business activities in the UAE and enjoy easy access to those markets, and at the same time will enrich the variety of foreign investments on TASE with investors from the Eastern hemisphere, unlocking a yet untapped potential that will benefit the entire Middle East.
The cornerstone for the bridge between the two economies is a connection between the leading financial institutions, followed by the development of a technological and regulatory infrastructure that will enable the transfer of monies, goods and IP between the companies in the business and the private sectors. All these will enable the two countries to attract significant investments that will, in turn, increase the trade between the countries.
TASE strongly believes that the closer ties that were created and the kickstarting of the joint activity in the business and the financial sectors will generate investments in the Israeli companies through TASE and expand the operations of the TASE-listed companies in the UAE. TASE will continue full steam ahead to create that added value for the TASE-listed companies and for the international investors.
Diversification of investors and trading sources is essential for Israel and the opening of the gates to the Eastern hemisphere is of great value not only to Israel, but to the economic future of the Middle East as a whole.
The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.