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News 11 Jan 13

Emirates Pledge Major Investments in Serbia

On a visit to Belgrade, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi announced major investments in Serbia, ranging from the defence industry and agriculture to banking sector and aviation.

Nemanja Cabric
BIRN
Belgrade
The meeting at Presidential Building | Photo by Beta/Vladimir Milovanovic

Representatives of the United Arab Emirates and Serbia agreed in Belgrade on Wednesday to put into action business deals made last October, when a memorandum of cooperation was signed between two countries.  

It is now certain that the agriculture company “Al Dahra”, owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who led the delegation, will became the majority owner of eight Serbian agricultural conglomerates.

For the sum of a 100 million euro the company will get 80 per cent of the ownership of over 9,000 hectares of land in Serbia.

It was also agreed that Al Dahra will take 14,000 hectares of arable land under lease for 250 euro per hectare, with a pledge to invest 100 million euro into farming equipment and irrigation systems.

The Sheikh also announced his intention to invest some 150 million euro into the development of new military technologies, especially in defence rocket systems, as well as in the export of ammunition and weapons made in Serbia.

Besides, the two countries also made a preliminary agreement for Serbia to obtain a donation or favourable loan through the Development Fund of Abu Dhabi, which will be used to modernize agricultural technology.

The Sheikh's brother, Tehnin, also elaborated plans to open a bank in Serbia whose founder would be one of the largest banks in the Arab world, First Gulf Bank.

The visit of the delegation from the United Arab Emirates also marked the beginning of negotiations on opening a factory to produce semiconductors and chips.

A company interested in this project already owns similar factories in Singapore and New York and the only open question, according to the newspaper Vecernje Novosti, is whether Serbia can provide about 2,000 engineers needed for the project.

An Arab company that specializes in servicing planes has also inquired about the possibility of moving its business from Switzerland to Serbia by buying JAT Tehnika, the state-run company that awaits privatization.

During the first of his three days in Belgrade, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with top officials, including President Tomislav Nikolic, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, and Deputy Prime Ministers Jovan Krkobabic and Rasim Ljajic.

The plane in which members of one of the richest families in the world came to Belgrade on January 9 is the biggest passenger jet to have landed at Nikola Tesla airport in two decades.

During his stay the Prince will also visit the Karadjordjevo hunting ground.

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