DUBAI : The inaugural I2U2 Business Forum was held on 22 February 2023 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The Forum brought together senior private and public sector representatives from India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States (I2U2) to discuss opportunities for cooperation between the business communities of the four countries. It was the first event of this kind to take place since the official launch of the I2U2 Group during the I2U2 Leaders’ Summit in July 2022.
The I2U2 partnership, comprised of India, Israel, the UAE, and US, is a grouping focused on driving tangible economic cooperation between its members across a range of sectors, including food security, water, energy, space, transportation, health, and technology. It aims to mobilize private sector capital and expertise to, among other objectives, help modernize infrastructure, decarbonize industries, improve public heath, and promote development of green technologies.
The I2U2 Business Forum began with opening remarks by H.E. Mr. Ahmed Al Sayegh, UAE Minister of State; Jose W. Fernandez, US Under Secretary of State; Shri Dammu Ravi, Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs; Ronen Levi, Director General at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Brett McGurk, Deputy Assistant to the US President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa.
In their remarks, officials reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing economic cooperation under the I2U2 framework, noting the significance of direct engagement between decision makers from I2U2 countries and private sector stakeholders interested in forming future partnerships.
Secretary (Economic Relations) reiterated India’s commitment to the I2U2 partnership and made a strong pitch for all stakeholders to work towards achieving tangible progress in all I2U2 initiatives, including setting up an I2U2 Innovation Centre in Gurugram, Haryana, India. In line with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s clarion call for LiFE-Lifestyle for Environment, he urged I2U2 partners to work towards a sustainable and environment-friendly lifestyle for all.
This was followed by an official signing ceremony that welcomed the Republic of India as the latest country to join the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate, which was launched by the UAE and the United States at COP26 and includes Israel as a partner among 140 other governmental and non-governmental entities. Officials expressed their belief that such a move represents a stepping stone for greater cooperation in climate-change agriculture and food systems innovation.
The morning concluded with presentations on two major initiatives currently explored under I2U2, including a possible USD 2 billion investment in a project to build a series of integrated agricultural facilities across India and the potential development of a 300-megawatt wind and solar hybrid power plant in the Indian state of Gujarat.
Companies and private sector representatives then exchanged insights and discussed potential partnerships during seven parallel sessions focused on the food security, energy, water, space, transport, health, and technology fields.
The I2U2 Business Forum aims to become a regular platform for private and public entities from India, Israel, the UAE, and the US to convene and establish tangible joint business ventures in I2U2’s core economic and technological fields.