DUBAI, 25th April, 2022 (WAM) — Emirates Development Bank (EDB) has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Food Tech Valley, which is being developed by wasl Asset Management Group, to provide financing solutions to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups operating within the project.
The MoU will help support entrepreneurship and innovation as well as contribute to Food Tech Valley’s growing ecosystem.
Food Tech Valley, an initiative centred around food, innovation, knowledge, technology and sustainability, is set to attract tech-based entities in the agriculture and food production sectors. Its goal is to serve as a hub for future clean tech-based food and agricultural products, significantly disrupting traditional food systems through its emphasis on sustainability and resource conservation.
The agreement was signed by Hesham Al Qassim, CEO of wasl Asset Management Group and Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, Chief Executive Officer of the Emirates Development Bank, at wasl’s headquarters, in the presence of other senior officials from both entities.
Under the MoU, the parties have agreed to support any tech-based pioneers operating, or seeking to operate, in the project with financing solutions, road shows, seminars, mentorships and knowledge transfer.
In his comments, Al Qassim said, “We are pleased to sign this agreement with EDB that will provide its financial expertise and support existing and potential companies with all their financial needs. The partnership will further boost the government’s vision of diversifying the economy by encouraging tenants to set up their businesses at Food Tech Valley. It also aligns with the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051, and we are confident that all the partners on board will help attract local and foreign direct investments within the field to achieve the government’s mission of transforming the UAE into a global hub for tech-based food and agricultural solutions.”
Commenting on the agreement, Al Naqbi said, “This agreement is in line with our efforts to support economic diversification and sustainable growth in the UAE and cement the UAE’s position as a vibrant, enabling hub for businesses in key sectors. It is also fully aligned with the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051 by implementing resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity.”
Al Naqbi added, “The MoU also supports EDB’s strategy to drive the UAE’s industrial development, accelerate the adoption of advanced technologies across the industrial base, and empower the growth of SMEs in five priority sectors, including food security. We are delighted to collaborate on such a groundbreaking project as Dubai’s Food Tech Valley, which will serve as a testbed for pioneering solutions in the agriculture and food production sectors. Through this agreement, we aim to give value-added financing support to startups, SMEs and international companies, and we look forward to building new partnerships with emerging companies in such a vital sector.”
EDB is a key financial enabler of the UAE’s economic diversification and industrial transformation agenda. Its new strategy launched in March 2021 to support the UAE’s industrial development, accelerate the adoption of advanced technologies, and empower the growth of SMEs in the UAE. To achieve these goals, EDB will facilitate direct and indirect lending, totalling AED30 billion, to more than 13,500 companies by 2026.
Food Tech Valley, an initiative that was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, was established to be centred around food, innovation, knowledge, technology and sustainability.
The focus is to support and attract new agricultural technologies, bridging global and local knowledge in the field, while establishing a collaborative network to lead regional transformation and export knowledge toward sustainable food system. Food Tech Valley will act as a catalyst to transform the UAE generally and Dubai specifically to be a hub for future clean tech-based food and agricultural products.