EDB and Social Development Bank of Saudi Arabia in talks to deepen their collaboration

The UAE Development Bank (EDB) and the Social Development Bank of Saudi Arabia are in talks to expand their collaboration to support businesses and entrepreneurs looking to diversify their economies.

The move comes after a high-level delegation from the kingdom’s Social Development Bank visited the EDB, the Abu Dhabi-based lender said in a statement on Thursday.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia “have strong trade and economic relations, accounting for more than half of the region’s imports and exports,” said Ahmed Al Naqbi, chief executive of EDB. “As banks, we have a responsible role to play in this development process by creating more business and investment opportunities in both countries.”

EDB, founded in 2011 through the merger of Emirates Industrial Bank and Real Estate Bank, plays a key role in supporting the UAE’s manufacturing sector through financing programs. It has allocated 30 billion dirhams ($8.16 billion) to finance more than 13,500 SMEs, start-ups and businesses in priority sectors over the next decade.

The lender actively forged local partnerships. Last October, it signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office to further stimulate foreign direct investment and attract more businesses to the capital. A month earlier, it had partnered with Ajman Free Zone to support the development of Emirates-led SMEs.

It also signed a preliminary agreement with the Dubai Islamic Bank last month to offer credit guarantee to small and medium enterprises in priority sectors in the UAE. Under the agreement, DIB will offer up to 10 million dirhams to SMEs, half of which will be guaranteed by EDB.

“The visit of the Social Development Bank of Saudi Arabia is part of our efforts to exchange our knowledge and experiences with our partners in other countries,” said Al Naqbi.

“We presented our strategic roadmap and its envisioned goals with the SDB team and explored opportunities to collaborate on joint projects, including innovation, to ensure economic prosperity in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Saudi.”

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have ambitious diversification strategies and are investing heavily to develop their non-oil sector to drive growth. The kingdom is developing projects in sectors such as real estate, petrochemicals, transport and hospitality to attract investment and boost employment.

Last year, the UAE unveiled a new industrial strategy to increase the contribution of the industrial sector to Dh300 billion over the next 10 years from Dh133 billion.

The country has also revised its commercial companies law to attract more foreign capital and removed the requirement for onshore companies to have an Emirati shareholder to spur growth.

Updated: March 03, 2022, 10:31 a.m.

Joel C. Hicks