50-year-old UAE to pour billions into UK

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street (AFP/JUSTIN TALLIS)
1 / 250-year-old UAE to pour billions into UKCrown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street (AFP/JUSTIN TALLIS)

The United Arab Emirates will invest billions into the UK under a strategic partnership marking 50 years since its founding after British rule, both governments announced Thursday.

The five-year investment worth £10 billion ($13.8 billion, 11.7 billion euros) will focus on technology, infrastructure and climate-focused energy transition, according to a joint statement.

It was announced following talks in London between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the UAE's de facto ruler.

The pair inspected a British Army honour guard as the energy-rich UAE builds up to the December celebration of its founding in 1971, after Britain had relinquished control over its constituent emirates.

Mubadala, Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund, said its investment plans would “drive a significant increase” across the three target sectors, building on an existing deal.

In March, Mubadala committed an initial £800 million to UK life sciences including healthcare research over five years.

The new investment is a boost to the Johnson government's vows to boost trade with the rest of the world, including the Middle East, after Britain left the European Union fully in January.

“This partnership has gone from strength to strength and its expansion is evidence of its effectiveness and what we can achieve with important trade and investment partners like the UAE through investment,” Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone said.

UK-UAE trade was worth £18.6 billion in 2019 and two-way investment came to £13.4 billion, according to British government data.

“Today's expansion of our Sovereign Investment Partnership will help accelerate funding and innovation in key sectors that are foundational to economic growth of both nations,” said Mubadala chief executive Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

In the run-up to Britain hosting the COP26 summit in November, the new partnership envisages energy giant BP collaborating with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and renewables firm Masdar on climate-focused investments.

Those potentially include “low-carbon hydrogen hubs” and the creation of a carbon-neutral air corridor between the two countries, the statement said.

The partnership also encompasses reinforcing strong military ties between Britain and the UAE, whose relations with Gulf neighbour Iran are tense.

Britain said it planned to increase land exercises in the UAE.


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