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Banking

Abraham Accords tie Israel and UAE banks and wealth together

The pacts will normalise relations between Israel and the UAE, but it aims to do much more. The potential for regional détente and investment across real estate, energy and technology is great.

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It has been a tough, but illuminating, year. Banks have been tested and, in the main, not found wanting.

Digital adoption has soared as office workers fled home to work. In Beijing, China took the hammer to its financial technology champions. On the political front, there was disharmony and discord. Europe and the UK continued a painful separation; the US fell out with itself.

But there was one ray of light – and it was bright. On August 13, Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a peace deal that aims to normalize state-to-state relations between the two nations.

The Abraham Accords – named after the shared father of Christianity, Islam and Judaism – make the UAE the first Gulf nation to formally recognise the Jewish state. The ramifications of the pact will reverberate across the Middle East for years.

Israel and the UAE are hardly strangers. Even before the pact was signed, bilateral trade was flourishing – though quietly.

“Most of [the trade] was tech-based, with UAE clients buying Israeli software through third parties under the radar,” says Neil Corney, chief country officer for Citi in Israel.

But the signing opens up much wider opportunities and promises to turn a trickle of trade into a flood.


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