Strengthening Relations Help Bolster Israel-UAE FinTech Collaboration

It’s been two years since a U.S.-brokered deal that normalized diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2020, leading to the opening of embassies in Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv and launching a new era of bilateral cooperation in areas including trade, security and financial services.

For businesses located in two of the most innovative economies in the Middle East region, the Abraham Accords have opened up possibilities for collaboration that have the potential to significantly boost their respective technology sectors.

For example, this month it was announced that two Israeli companies are joining the Abu Dhabi Investment Office’s (ADIO) innovation program, a $545 million scheme to encourage global technology firms to expand their intellectual property in the emirate.

The FinTech-focused Liquidity Group became the first Israeli firm to join the program in a move that will also see the group open a research and development center in Abu Dhabi, where it intends to develop machine learning-enabled (ML) LendTech solutions for its underwriting business.

The global credit automation specialist, which also has offices in New York, Miami, London, Tel Aviv and Singapore, will further contribute to Abu Dhabi’s wider FinTech ecosystem by building a new center of excellence for enterprise ML to support other startups in the city in applying its credit-decisioning technology.

Finally, Liquidity said that it will engage with Abu Dhabi-based universities to develop educational training programs and certifications focused on ML.

The second Israeli firm to join the ADIO innovation scheme was announced shortly after the Abu Dhabi Finance Week earlier this month. OurCrowd, an investment platform headquartered in Jerusalem, revealed that it is expanding its operations in the UAE with a new venture capital (VC) office and artificial intelligence (AI) tech hub in Abu Dhabi.

The new VC office will see OurCrowd grow its team in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to 60 over the next four years while investing $60 million in the emirate.

See more: Abu Dhabi, Dubai Shine as Crypto Adoption Continues to Accelerate in MENA

Meanwhile, the company is entering into a joint venture with ADIO to launch a new AI-focused initiative that will operate out of ADGM’s Hub71. The new venture, Integrated Data Intelligence (IDI), is intended to enable tech startups in the financial center to leverage and commercialize AI.

The latest ties between startup ecosystems in Israel and the UAE build on what has already been a busy two years of collaboration and co-investment between the two countries. For example, ADIO opened an office in Tel Aviv last April and has signed several bilateral trade and investment agreements since.

Not to be outdone by the ADGM’s efforts to establish ties to Israel, the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) signed an agreement with Israel’s innovation enabler, Start-Up Nation Central (SNC), last October.

That deal, agreed upon last year, is intended to establish innovation bridges between Israeli startups and the DIFC with a special focus on FinTech.

As part of the agreement, the parties also committed to helping Israeli and Emirati companies that want to scale their operations in each other’s jurisdictions, including through programs such as regulatory sandboxes and accelerators to enable firms in each country to access markets in the other.

Prior to that in September, SNC signed a similar memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the ADGM with the goal of contributing to the development of their respective innovation ecosystems.

Another MoU signed between ADGM Academy and Avnon Group has allowed the ADGM to tap Israel’s world-leading cybersecurity knowledge in the establishment of its new School of Digital Assets.

Related: Israel: At the Confluence of FinTech, Cybersecurity Innovation


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