Search for:
Category

Middle East

Category

We are delighted to invite you to the Baker McKenzie Middle East Tax Forum in Dubai on Wednesday, 18 October 2023 – a full day of interactive discussions on tax updates across the Middle East and a special focus on the impact of global tax policy developments such as Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 (Global Minimum Tax).

The Central Bank of Egypt recently published regulations setting out the licensing and regulatory framework for digital banks in Egypt (“Digital Bank Regulations”) which came into force on 12 July 2023. The Digital Bank Regulations will effectively allow for the establishment and operation of digital banks in Egypt, thus taking a significant step in aligning the country with global trends in financial technology and catering for the needs of a growing Egyptian financial market.

The Financial Regulatory Authority recently issued decrees No. 139, No. 140 and No. 141 completing and complementing the Financial Technology L aw No. 5 of 2022 which sets out the framework for the development and use of Fintech in non-banking financial services. The decrees, which came into force on 11 July 2023, come as part of the FRA’s continuing efforts to transition Egyptian financial markets towards digitization by encouraging the use of Fintech.

With the pace of change in the UAE continuing to accelerate, the UAE authorities announced in July 2023, via Twitter, an expansion to the categories of companies that are subject to the Emiratisation quota requirements. This latest development further evidences the country’s commitment to increasing the numbers of UAE national employees employed in the private sector.

Today’s global economy demands that businesses expand beyond borders, but they face hurdles from customs, as well as regulatory barriers in different countries and regions that make this expansion challenging. The South African Revenue Service Authorised Economic Operators programme offers numerous benefits for businesses trading within the regional market of the Southern African Custom Union and internationally. Such businesses include manufacturers, importers, exporters, brokers, carriers, consolidators, intermediaries, ports, airports, terminal operators, integrated operators, warehouses, distributors, and freight forwarders.

Almost half of the population of Africa does not have access to electricity. It is, therefore, critical for the continent to increase its access to a clean, decarbonized, decentralized energy supply.
To enable this energy transition, countries across the continent are implementing policies that take into account the energy crisis. Alongside other jurisdictions, they are also launching initiatives and providing funding, investments and grants for African renewable energy projects.

In June 2023, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) proposed amendments to the JSE Listings Requirements including a new section which contains the listing requirements of the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Segment of the JSE. Among other things, these requirements include that trading in BEE securities must be restricted to a BEE-compliant person pursuant to the use of either a BEE contract or a BEE verification agent. The JSE has invited comments on the proposed amendments by 17 July 2023.

Hydrogen markets in Africa are expected to grow exponentially but there are still multiple barriers to the widespread development of decarbonized hydrogen. Each energy sector investment faces challenges in the form of infrastructure gaps, policy, regulatory, economic and financial barriers. A recent positive development in this regard is the announcement that a dedicated blended finance fund, SA-H2, has been launched to raise USD 1 billion for the construction of green hydrogen projects in South Africa. Once established, the SA-H2 will join the SDG Namibia One Fund to offer a blended finance solution for Southern African’s green hydrogen sector.