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Oasis in the desert: Israel-UAE agreement sees benefits for both sides

Bankers see huge opportunities on both sides as Israel signs historic agreement with UAE and Bahrain.


On Tuesday, Israel signed agreements normalizing relations with the UAE and Bahrain in a move that is expected to unlock bilateral trade and investment between the parties running to billions of dollars.

Indeed, official memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to promote cooperation in finance and investment between Israel and the UAE have had businesses and investors rushing to prepare deals, and investment banks are already seeing a pick-up in activity.

“Personally, I’ve been working with a number of clients aiming to go to the region, be that trips or investments,” says Ilan Paz, country head and head of banking for Israel at Barclays. “I’ve even had a letter of credit across my desk – and these were things that were never going to happen without the agreement.”


Paz says that water is just one of the “humongous” number of potential synergies between Israel and the UAE. For Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Dubai’s ruler, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to ensure the nation is self-sustainable, with food and water security now a top priority for the Emirate.

Water scarcity is one of the UAE’s largest problems. Last year it ranked 10th in the world in a league table of nations where shortage of water poses the greatest risk.

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