UAE firm led by key royal sets up data joint venture with Israel's Rafael
An Abu Dhabi firm led by the United Arab Emirates’ national security adviser has set up a venture with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. to develop Artificial Intelligence and big data analysis for sectors including health and public safety.
Group 42 signed an agreement with Rafael to form Presight.AI and plans to establish a research and development centre in Israel, it said on Monday. Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize ties last year and the collaboration on data will likely deepen the Middle Eastern nations’ relationship into the security sphere.
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G42, which describes itself as an artificial intelligence and cloud computing firm, was the first UAE company to set up an office in Israel. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s national security adviser and brother to Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, is the company’s chairman.
AI companies globally have been developing new types of processing software to manage big data that are large and complex. But the collection and use of such information has been a source of political tension, especially between China and the United States and feeds into debates over data privacy that also affect global companies.
“The new joint venture between Rafael and G42 is not just two companies coming together, but a strategic collaboration that further strengthens the relationship between Israel and the UAE,” Mohamed Al Khaja, the UAE’s ambassador to Israel, said in a statement.
G42’s board includes its Chief Executive Officer Peng Xiao and the CEO of Mubadala Investment Co. – Abu Dhabi’s $232 billion wealth fund – Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak. Last year, it bought data centers from Mubadala, handing the wealth fund a minority stake in G42.
Its technology portfolio includes a company that is set to start trials on autonomous vehicles in Abu Dhabi. G42 is also set to make millions of doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine in the UAE, in a deal that took manufacturing of the shot overseas for the first time.
U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake, which sold a stake to Mubadala in 2020, made a “substantial investment” in G42 last week, the company said.