São Paulo – The opportunities to attract Arab investment were addressed in a webinar held by the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) from its office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Monday (14). The event featured Rabih I. Khoury, a partner of Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP); Jawad Qasim, director-general of DeNovo Corporate Advisors; and Ludmilla Figueiredo, Investment officer of Apex-Brasil in Dubai. The event was opened by Roberto Escoto, Investment manager of Apex-Brasil, who spoke from Brasília.
Figueiredo pointed out that the Gulf countries are trying to diversify their economies beyond oil and are open to do business with different countries. In this sense, Khoury stressed the role of technology companies that have taken advantage of this space in the region. “In the Middle East, we’ve been able to grow large technology companies like Careem that has merged with Uber, like Noon, which is now bigger than Amazon in ecommerce,” said he.
The MEVP’s partner went on pointing out that Arab sovereign funds were developed to focus on investments outside the Arab countries. “They will probably have more exposure to Brazilian VC funds than exposure to local funds,” he said. Despite this potential, Khoury still doesn’t believe that Gulf investor is keen to invest in Brazil. “The investors are looking for a good return, transparency, a good liquidity. That’s what you’d look for globally for investing. I have not seen a very specific appetite for Brazil, but that can change. It may sound funny, but soccer is a really great ambassador,” he explained adding that it’s important to develop seminars to show the opportunities in Brazil.
Jawad Qasim pointed out the evolution in the Arab-Brazilin relations over the last decades and bets on a continued growth of investments. “I remember that 15 years ago, we used to be very hesitant regarding investments in Brazil and Latin America because of the distance and the lack of knowledge about that part of the world. So these years have definitively seen a growth, and I believe this is going to increase,” said Qasim.
In the opening of the event, Escoto presented Apex-Brasil’s work, especially the actions for attracting investments to the main sectors of the Brazilian economy. According to him, the agency has a relevant role in fostering foreign investments in startups in Brazil through a partnership with the Brazilian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (ABVCAP).
Watch the full webinar:
Translated by Guilherme Miranda