Israeli & Emirati Companies Sign the First-Ever Deal For Green Tech
The Emirati United Stars Group (USG) and the Israeli business Gulf-Israel Green Ventures (GIGV) have signed a contract that lays the foundations for green technology trade between the two countries. According to Asher Fredman, GIGV CEO, the Gulf countries have set ambitious environmental targets that are quickly evolving, and Israel has a lot to give.
The agreement, which was revealed on Sunday and signed by Fredman and USG founder and president Omar Al Suwaidi, is aimed at promoting trade between the two countries, especially in green technology. The two companies said in a statement that “the historic deal is focusing on sustainable development projects in the broader Gulf region.” This is the first such partnership between an Israeli and an Emirati firm. The partners are already working together on a joint commercial and residential development project in Dubai.
“GIGV is working to bring green technologies and innovation to the UAE and to the wider Gulf as well. There’s great demand, there’s great interest, there’s very broad and ambitious goals,” Fredman said. The UAE is looking to become a leader in green tech, he says, “and Israel has cutting-edge green tech.”
Israel, according to Eitan Parnass, president of the Green Energy Association of Israel, is a world-class leader in green technology and has been for a number of years. “The first solar power plants in the world were built by a company from Jerusalem called Luz,” he said.
According to Parnass, a policy shift in recent years has propelled Israel to second position globally in solar energy integration. Israel has products to sell, he explains, “and now, on the other side, there are people that need to buy because Abu Dhabi, Dubai and so on, the Emirates, are growing and developing. There’s modern construction over there, sky scrapers, and they build everything state of the art.” He adds that “whatever succeeds in the UAE will succeed more easily in Saudi Arabia.”
A number of Israeli renewable technologies are currently being considered for export to the Gulf, according to Fredman. This include energy-efficient heating and cooling, energy-efficient utilities, and indoor air quality technology, which, according to Fredman, has recently grown in popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “And of course,” he adds, “the areas that Israel is classically associated with: water recycling, water management.”
Another justification for the agreement, according to Fredman, is the size of construction currently taking place in the Gulf. “The Gulf – the UAE, but other Gulf countries as well, are undergoing such rapid development, building, infrastructure development,” he says, and Israel has the tech to combine this growth with their environmental goals.
One of the factors driving interest in Israeli green technologies, according to Fredman, is the anticipation of the agreements. “There’s a lot of interest because now that we’re getting to know each other, there’s quite a lot of interest to see what Israel has to offer,” he said.
Al Suwaidi interest in Israeli technology, especially environmental technology, stemmed from the Israeli high-tech sector's prosperity and progress. “Despite the challenges facing high-tech companies in Israel,” he said, “Israel was able to achieve remarkable prosperity.”
The companies' arrangement is not meant to be a one-way street. At first, Fredman says, his company is looking to import “environmentally friendly construction materials,” in which, he says, “there’s some very interesting development happening in the UAE.” GIGV hopes to stimulate Emirati-Israeli co-development of new technology in the future.
Al Suwaidi looks ahead, pointing to long-term Emirati technological aims. The UAE has an artificial intelligence initiative in place to speed up development in this field and the technology’s integration into state functions. Furthermore, the Emiratis want to complete a smart police project in Abu Dhabi by 2057. Eventually, as difficult as it might be to imagine, the UAE wants to construct a residential city on Mars by the year 2117. Far in the future, indeed.
GIGV is expecting more such deals soon, and, Fredman said, “once Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries join the circle of peace, there’s a lot of potential in those directions as well.”