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Tech Changes Tides For Israel-UAE Relations

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel have a long and complex history of trade and cultural exchange, but in recent years, the two countries have been working to strengthen their relationship, especially in the fintech sector.

Since the signing of the Abraham Accords in August 2020, which formalized diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel, there has been a surge in fintech collaboration between the two countries. This has been facilitated by a number of initiatives, including the establishment of a joint fintech task force and the creation of a fintech bridge to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

Israeli fintech firm PayKey has partnered with UAE-based payments provider Network International to develop a new mobile banking solution. The partnership aims to bring PayKey’s innovative keyboard-based payment technology to the UAE market, enabling users to make secure and convenient payments directly from their mobile banking apps.

Insurtech solutions are cropping up in the UAE market as a result of the collaboration between Israel

Another area of collaboration is in the development of insurtech solutions. The UAE has a large and growing insurance market, while Israel has a strong tradition of innovation in the tech sector. By combining these strengths, the two countries have been able to develop new technologies that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the insurance industry.

One example of this collaboration is the partnership between Israeli insurtech firm Lemonade and UAE-based Takaful Emarat Insurance. The partnership aims to bring Lemonade’s innovative peer-to-peer insurance model to the UAE market, enabling customers to purchase insurance directly from other individuals rather than traditional insurance companies.

Financial literacy and financial education are also reaping the benefits of the collaborative partnership between UAE and Israel

In addition to payment and insurtech, the UAE and Israel are also working together in the areas of financial education and financial literacy. With a growing population of young people in both countries, there is a need to ensure that the next generation has the financial skills and knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions.

To address this need, the UAE and Israel have established a number of initiatives to promote financial education and literacy. These include the launch of financial literacy programs in schools and the creation of financial education resources for adults.

Recent developments in their collaborative efforts

The $545 million scheme of Abu Dhabi Investment Office’s innovation program saw two more participants. The FinTech-focused Liquidity Group, a global credit automation specialist with offices in New York, London, Singapore, and Tel Aviv, is the first Israeli firm to join the program and they intend to develop machine learning enabled LendTech solutions for underwriting businesses.

Machine learning is an increasingly popular industry trend, with Liquidity promising its services to collaborate with universities in Abu Dhabi to create education programs and certifications that revolve around the understanding and further development of ML.

One key area of collaboration is in the development of payment and financial inclusion technologies. The UAE and Israel both have highly advanced financial systems and are home to a number of innovative fintech firms, such as Ria Money Transfer. By working together, these companies can leverage their respective strengths and expertise to develop new solutions that can benefit both countries.

The other Israeli firm that has jumped on the ADIO bandwagon is called OurCrowd, similar to GoFundMe or Kickstarter in the sense that it promotes innovation. However, its difference is that all the ideas are pre-vetted and they attract more angel investors than their predecessors. OurCrowd is based in Jerusalem and will be expanding in the UAE under a new umbrella brand in Abu Dhabi.

How the future for UAE-Israel relations look like

The collaboration between the UAE and Israel in the fintech sector has been highly productive and has the potential to bring significant benefits to both countries. By leveraging their respective strengths and expertise, the two countries have been able to develop innovative technologies that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the financial sector and promote financial inclusion.

As the collaboration between the UAE and Israel continues to grow, it is likely that we will see even more exciting developments in the fintech sector in the coming years. With both countries home to a thriving ecosystem of fintech firms and a strong tradition of innovation, the potential for further collaboration is vast and the possibilities are endless, though there are predictions that favor the tourism sector as well as inspiring other UAE countries to follow suit.

According to Hassan-Nahoum, the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, “We are very excited about the domino effect it had on other Arab countries, such as Egypt and Jordan, which are now benefiting from increased trade with Israel. We are blessed with a new era in our region that is creating stability and opportunities.”

About the Author
Justin Doebe is the President of Nevelis Media. Justin is interested in Israel's startup ecosystem and aims to share his insights learnt from expanding to and managing business in Israel.
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