“The leadership of the UAE has expressed a bold vision for sustainable development; through financial and technology innovation, we can accelerate our progress in realizing that vision for our country.” This was the central message of a keynote speech from Yousef Baselaib, Executive Director for Strategy and Corporate Development at Masdar, during a FinTech webinar about opportunities to invest in a greener urban landscape.
The three-day FinTech Abu Dhabi festival took place virtually, from the 24-26 November 2020, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and hosted in partnership with Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and the Central Bank of the UAE. The event featured a packed agenda with over 150 speakers, engaging in high-level discussions about the challenges and the opportunities faced by the FinTech ecosystem in the UAE and the wider GCC region.
Mr. Baselaib gave the keynote speech on the topic of ‘Investing in a green environment’. He highlighted Masdar City as a pioneering sustainable community in the region that is accelerating innovation, start-ups and SMEs, the wider implications of renewable energy on our communities, and the role of green finance and OPEX savings in sustainable real estate.
“The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 aims to increase the efficiency of individual and corporate energy consumers by as much as 40 percent, while Abu Dhabi’s 2030 goal is to reduce the consumption of water by a third and electricity consumption by up to a fifth. Masdar City in Abu Dhabi is one of the most high-profile examples of successful low-carbon urban development, home to the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency, hundreds of businesses and more than 6,000 private residents. However, the sustainable transformation of our towns and cities requires collaboration across the real estate sector, and much greater involvement from investors.”
“Knowing this, Masdar announced the UAE’s first sustainable real estate investment trust – or ‘green’ REIT – at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January this year. To be established at the Abu Dhabi Global Market under the first private REIT regime in the MENA region, the Masdar green REIT will be the first instrument of its kind in the UAE to invest solely in sustainable real estate projects.”
Mr. Baselaib described how Masdar’s green REIT will cater to the growing demand for sustainable finance options and while privately placed initially, the long-term goal is to list the ‘green’ REIT publicly. This will provide first investors with an exit strategy and an avenue for smaller, retail investors to invest in sustainable real estate assets.
“Over time, the Masdar Green REIT will help to innovate new investment instruments to satisfy the growing local and international demand for sustainable assets that are as ‘green’ as they claim to be. Just as importantly, it will help change the perception of green building practices,” said Mr. Baselaib.