UK, UAE to launch ambitious ‘Partnership for the Future’

Prasun Sonwalkar/London
Filed on September 16, 2021

(Reuters file)

UK PM will host Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for a bilateral meeting at Downing Street today.

The UAE and the UK are expected to agree on an ambitious ‘Partnership for the Future’ today, building on the historic relationship between the two countries and setting a broad foundation for future cooperation, Downing Street said on Wednesday night.

The partnership will be underpinned by the annual UK-UAE Strategic Dialogues, beginning later this year and chaired by the UK’s Foreign Secretary and his Emirati counterpart.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for a bilateral meeting at Downing Street, a military Guard of Honour and a UK-UAE business reception today.

The UAE is already a key partner for the UK, with total trade between the two countries reaching £12billion in 2020.

As part of the visit, the UK Office for Investment and the UAE’s Mubadala Investment Company are expected to sign a major expansion of the Sovereign Investment Partnership (SIP) agreed earlier this year. The deal will secure investments across the UK in life sciences, technology, energy transition and infrastructure.

Johnson and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed will witness the signing of the expanded memorandum of understanding for the SIP at Downing Street.

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The investments are expected to create high-value jobs in both the UK and the UAE and support ambitious net-zero targets by turbocharging the clean energy transition, officials said.

Additional investments expected to be announced include a £500-million investment in digital infrastructure builder CityFibre, for the rollout of a high-speed broadband. The investment is part of a larger CityFibre capital raise which will support its £4 billion rollout of full fibre to 8 million homes in urban and rural areas, creating an estimated 10,000 jobs and catalysing economic growth across the country.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) is also announcing a new £31 million clean growth loan to complete the construction of the UAE environmental management company Bee’ah’s headquarters in Sharjah.

Johnson said: “The UAE and the UK share a long and rich history, but with Thursday’s agreement we are looking to the future. By working ever more closely together, our nations will be at the forefront of the industries of the future, helping to tackle climate change and boost prosperity.”

“Ambitious partnerships like this are central to the government’s strategy to be a leading global force in science and technology, driving major investments to level up across the UK and create high-value jobs. We will turbocharge this at next month’s Global Investment Summit in London,” he added.

The UAE and the UK will also launch ‘Partnership to Tackle Illicit Financial Flows’, recognising it as a significant shared challenge for two major global financial centres.

The two governments will develop a joint action plan to mitigate and address money laundering, financing of terrorism and other issues related to illicit finance, officials added.

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