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Heart-to-Heart Campaign concluded its missions in Egypt
posted on 28/01/2015

CAIRO: The Heart-to-Heart Campaign has concluded its mission to cure hundreds of Egyptians under the supervision of an Emirati, Egyptian, Saudi, and French medical and surgical volunteer team.
The campaign was a joint effort by the Zayed Giving Initiative at the Saudi German Hospital and the Dar Al Ber Charity to take action based on humanitarian ideals and the concept of accepting social responsibility for underprivileged groups.
The Heart-to-Heart Campaign aimed to raise the community's awareness of cardiac diseases and the best methods of prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, which is the most common cause of death in the region.
Statistics indicate that 85 percent of heart disease can be prevented through early detection and by following preventive health care methods.
The campaign provided free treatment, including free surgery, to hundreds of patients. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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Under Khalifa's directives, UAE launches Phase 2 of polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan
posted on 25/01/2015

ISLAMABAD: Upon the directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, (May God protect him) to provide humanitarian and development assistance to the friendly people of Pakistan, and implementing the initiative of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to eradicate polio globally, the administration of the UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE PAP) announced launching of the second phase of "EMIRATES POLIO CAMPAIGN" in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan targeting 17 million children, around 51 million vaccination dose under the slogan "HEALTHY AND BRIGHT FUTURE FOR ALL".
The administration of the UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE PAP) pointed out that the EMIRATES POLIO CAMPAIGN for polio eradication is a true interpretation of His Highness the UAE President's directives to boost efforts in support of health awareness plans in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, control epidemics, put an end to the negative health implications on the children in the affected areas. The campaign is, moreover, emblematic of UAE's humanitarian commitment to helping the poor nations, develop human development programmes and focus attention on the children in need of preventive health care.
His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, earlier made a personal AED 440 million (US$ 120M) contribution in support of the global efforts to eradicate polio by 2018 with particular emphasis on Pakistan and Afghanistan.
His Highness noted that saving children from curable diseases is a great humanitarian enterprise that can be only done by teamwork and collaborative efforts. His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed said that the UAE, under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, (May Allah protect him), is always seeking international partnerships to sort out these sensitive global issues.
This is the second contribution by His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed to make vaccinations and serums available to all children of the world. In 2011, His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a strategic partnership offering a $100 million contribution –on 50/50 basis- to purchase and deliver vaccinations to the children of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, Director of the UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE PAP) pointed out that the launch of the second phase of the Emirates vaccination campaign comes an investment breakthrough achieved by the campaign and the culmination of practical success in grafting 13,000,283 thousand and 701 Pakistani children against polio in the first phase.
Al Ghafli referred to the extraordinary role and the particular importance of "EMIRATES POLIO CAMPAIGN" in supporting the global initiative endorsed by the General Assembly of the World Health to eradicate polio by the end of 2018 and to support the national emergency plan launched by the Pakistani government to eliminate the polio virus, where the campaign include a geographical coverage of 53 area, 15 of them in the territory of the region's tribal areas and 25 district in the districts Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 12 regions in the province of Balochistan, as well as Karachi district in Sindh province, and the field's efforts to vaccination teams will include application of a plan to give three consecutive vaccination doses for 17 million children a plan to give the three vaccination doses in a row to 17 million children, through the implementation of 282 fixed and mobile vaccination campaign during the months of January, February and March of 2015.
Al Ghafli said that the UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE PAP) completed all the preparations for the implementation of EMIRATES POLIO CAMPAIGN in various Pakistani regions, where it began the implementation of an advertising campaign in various media to raise the population awareness of the seriousness of the polio epidemic and encourage them to receive vaccination team and cooperation with them, and it will also have direct supervision to follow up on the implementation of the campaign in various cities and villages, and at all dedicated centres for vaccination, pointing out that the UAE vaccination campaign will be carried out in cooperation with the Pakistani military leadership and the Ministry of Health of Pakistan and ministries of health in the provincial governments and the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and under the supervision and participation of medical staff specialist of those authorities.
Al Ghafli extended his thanks and appreciation to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and to His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces on their directives and their initiative to launch this humanitarian initiative to protect Pakistanis children from epidemics of dangerous diseases that threaten their health and safety and well-being, which is record a new addition to the permanent humanitarian initiatives of our leadership to help the world's children and to protect them, as well as to ensure a bright future for them.
He also expressed his thanks and deepest appreciation to the Government of Pakistan, Pakistani Army, the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF organisation, representatives of provincial vaccination committee, field teams and to all those who planned, prepared and executed the UAE polio eradication campaign.
It is worth mentioning that the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports indicated the seriousness of the increase in the number of cases detected in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 2014, where 303 child affected by epidemic of polio, it is the highest number of cases of the disease in a decade, as the total number of cases recorded at the global level reached 339 case, where about 90% of children who fell victim to polio through 2014 are Pakistanis children.
The polio is a highly contagious viral disease attacks the nervous system, and most people exposed to the disease are children under the age of five, and a child out of every 200-400 children affected by polio exposed to paralysis or death, where according to government reports and international organisations that lack of health awareness about the dangers of disease and erroneous beliefs hinder the campaigns of eradication it.
The 2013 Global Vaccine Summit held in Abu Dhabi announced a five-year ( 2013-2018) strategic plan to wipe out polio which will cost $5.5 billion, where a scientific study estimated that efforts of the global initiative to eradicate polio could save as much as $ 40 to 50 billion dollars. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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Bill Gates praises partnership with UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait
posted on 23/01/2015

Bill Gates, Founder and Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Foundation, has commended the GCC peoples and governments, especially the governments of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for their assistance to the needy worldwide.
He said on the occasion of launching the annual message of the Foundation that Muslims are top in donations, citing the teachings of their religion that urges them to pay alms 'Zakat'. Bill Gates said, "Our friends in the Middle East donated funds to help eradicate polio and meningitis. Through cooperation and exchange of expertise, we can make changes." On cooperation with the Muslim world to improve the living conditions of individuals, Bill Gates noted that "There is a lot of work that can be done to help the poor in the Muslim world, characterised with generous donors who do not hesitate to support such humanitarian issues." He commended the Muslim countries and Muslim scholars on refuting rumours that have been raised about the vaccines in those countries. "I was greatly impressed by the position of many Muslim scholars who have brushed aside the malicious rumours about the polio vaccines. They insisted that the protection of children is a noble act endorsed by Islam." Bill Gates noted that the scholars urged people to support and protect women who deliver vaccines to the needy families.
The UAE hosted in Abu Dhabi the Vaccine World Summit 2013, during which over $4 billion was pledged to fight polio. Then His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, donated $120 million, while the Gates Foundation committed $1.8 billion to support this programme.
The charity bodies in the UAE in cooperation with the Gates Foundation pledged in the past four years $249 million, including the allocation of $120 million to fight polio in addition to $33 million to support the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.
Upon the directives of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi , the UAE launched the campaign to vaccinate over 13.2 million children in northern Pakistan between June and September 2014. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -

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Masdar to deliver 12 MW of Solar Power in Mauritania
posted on 22/01/2015

Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, yesterday signed a contract with Mauritania's Ministry of Petroleum, Energy, and Mines, to deliver seven solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, with a total capacity of 12 megawatts, providing access to clean and reliable energy to seven towns across the country.
The projects, which are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2016, will likely to displace 6 million litres of diesel fuel annually and 16,134 tonnes of CO2 each year. Each of the power plants will, on average, meet 30 percent of each town's electricity demand.
"Projects like these unlock significant economic and social benefits by providing more reliable and efficient local sources of electricity," said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and chairman of Masdar. "Masdar is committed to showcasing how renewable energy can provide a cost-competitive solution to meeting rising energy demands and improving energy security for nations with isolated grids." The projects will add significant energy capacity to each of the seven towns, which include Boutilimit, Aleg, Aioune, Akjoujt, Atar, Al Shami and Boulenour. Three of the solar plants will be 1 megawatt, three 2 megawatt and one, 3 megawatt.
"The solar projects which Masdar is delivering will demonstrate the valuable role renewable energy is playing in the social and economic development by positively impacting the lives of citizens, through the provision of clean energy at commercial rates for our country," said Mohamed Ould Khouna, Mauritania's minister of petroleum, energy and mines. "Mauritania and the UAE have enjoyed a longstanding relationship of mutual cooperation. With the projects announced today, we will once again be contributing to the sustainable growth of the country." Masdar will tender the project in the first quarter of this year and intends to engage local suppliers and contractors wherever possible. It will also work closely with Mauritania's government and its energy company Mauritania Electricity Company (Somelec), throughout the planning and delivery of the project.
"The significant addition of clean and reliable energy capacity, will make a major difference for businesses and residents in towns across Mauritania," said Mohamed Salem Ould Vall, deputy director general, Somelec. "In Masdar, we have a trusted partner with on the ground experience. Its extensive background in project delivery, both in Mauritania and globally, ensure it has the understanding and expertise required for the project." The majority of the PV plants are oversized, so they can provide additional generation capacity as needed, following upgrades to the local electricity grids and increased demand from planned growth. Significant gains in the efficiency of energy generation will also be achieved by reducing the amount of energy diesel generators need to produce at points of peak demand by 70 percent. This will add greater durability to energy supply and significantly reduce costly maintenance of diesel generators.
This is Masdar's second project in Mauritania, as the company delivered a 15-megawatt PV plant in 2013 – the first utility-scale solar power installation in the country. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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Lubna Al Qasimi hails leadership on UAE's lead in global Indicators of Government and Economic Confidence
posted on 22/01/2015

Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Cooperation, Head of UAE Committee for the Coordination of Humanitarian Foreign Aid, has said the top global ranking of the UAE in Indicators of Government and Economic Confidence 2014, reflects the confidence bestowed in the leadership behind the achievements.
She added that the UAE leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, "is a unique one in a sense that it has established a rare development process, harnessed all resources and capabilities to make the people of UAE happy through upgrading the performance of all government institutions." Commenting on the feat, Sheikh Lubna reiterated the continuous efforts of the Vice President in the light of the directives of the UAE President, to improve the performance of cadres and staff of the federal government to enjoy the confidence rarely available in many countries of the world, to reap the first global place.
She added that all the initiatives launched by the leadership take into account the provision of the best service to clients of the federal government, whether citizens or investors, or even visitors to the country. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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ADFD supports infrastructure projects in Swaziland
posted on 19/01/2015

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has provided a development grant worth over Dh36.7 million to the Kingdom of Swaziland to fund the first phase of the Manzini-Mbadlane Road Highway Project.
An agreement to this effect was signed here in a ceremony held at the ADFD office in the presence of Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the ADFD, and Swaziland's Minister of Finance, Martin Dlamini. The road will contribute effectively to the socio-economic development of the Kingdom.
Commenting on the deal, Al Suwaidi said, "The agreement comes within the framework of our keenness to support vital sectors in different developing countries, where infrastructure sector, especially roads, play an important role in speeding up the economic growth and trade," adding that many developing countries lack vital infrastructure projects.
He commended the policies of the wise leadership that helped the UAE make a "paradigm shift" in the area of development aid worldwide.
On his part, the Swaziland's Finance Minister praised the UAE government for consolidating joint cooperation, citing the effective role of both, the UAE government and the ADFD, in sustaining the development in Swaziland in general and financing the road in particular. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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IRENA and ADFD bring renewable power to 280,000 people in rural communities
posted on 19/01/2015

The International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, yesterday announced US$57 million in concessional loans for five renewable energy projects in developing countries. The projects, to be financed in the second cycle, have a combined total capacity of 35 megawatts, bringing reliable and sustainable power to more than 280,000 people in rural communities that lack access to modern energy services.
The loans will go to projects in a geographically diverse set of countries including Argentina, Cuba, Iran, Mauritania and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
"Renewable energy offers the prospect of clean, affordable power to the 1.3 billion people currently off the electricity grid," said IRENA Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin, at a press conference yesterday on the side-lines of IRENA's fifth Assembly. "While renewable energy resources are abundant in many communities suffering from energy poverty, finance is still a key challenge for deployment. That is why the partnership between IRENA and ADFD is so important as a pioneering effort." This is the second loan cycle of seven, which together will commit US$350 million over seven years to the deployment of renewable energy in developing countries, with a total project value of an estimated US$800 million. The funds from ADFD mobilise other funds and will lead to more than double the invested amount.
Projects approved for funding in the second loan cycle include solar, hydro, hybrid (wind and solar) and geothermal energy. The projects selected represent a mix of renewable energy sources, are innovative, potentially replicable or scalable, and will improve energy access.
"As part of its mandate to work on projects with a profound impact on the economies of developing countries, ADFD has collaborated with IRENA to support the renewable energy sector as a tool for economic and social development," said Adel Abdulla Al Hosani, Director of Operations Department in ADFD. "Towards this priority, we are keen to support the economic development and deployment of sustainable energy projects in countries with immense clean energy potential, but lacking necessary financial resources and project management expertise." The IRENA/ADFD Project Facility pioneers the support of renewable energy as a viable and sustainable focus for foreign development assistance that offers long-term social and economic benefits to developing countries.
The third funding cycle of the Project Facility is now open for project proposals, with concessional loan interest rates of 1-2 percent. These new, lower rates will support an even broader range of renewable energy projects throughout the remaining five loan cycles.
"The UAE sees renewable energy as a new cornerstone of sustainable development, with dramatic cost reductions having made it the most competitive energy option in many developing countries," said Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, the UAE's Permanent Representative to IRENA and Director of Energy and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "The partnership between ADFD and IRENA provides a powerful way to demonstrate renewable energy's viability and speed up further deployment." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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Al Jaber: The UAE has allocated more than US$700 million to support renewable energy in developing countries
posted on 18/01/2015

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State, and Chairman of Masdar, yesterday said that the UAE is committed to supporting the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, in its work helping countries transition to the use of sustainable energy, and announced that five new projects will be introduced this year.
In a statement given during IRENA's fifth session of the assembly, which marked the opening of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, ADSW, Al Jaber said, "I would like to point out the exemplary model of cooperation between the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development Fund, ADFD, and IRENA, in sponsoring renewable energy projects. Since 2009, the UAE has allocated more than US$700 million towards the support of renewable energy sector in developing countries." Speaking about the UAE's future plans to help developing countries move towards a more sustainable energy future, the Minister said, "Five new projects will be launched this year in the form of instalment programmes offered by ADFD, as well as four new projects as part of grants the UAE is providing to islands in the Pacific Ocean." Speaking on the side-lines of the event to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to IRENA, and Director of Energy and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the latest projects reflect the UAE's serious stance on supporting the renewable energy sector internationally.
"These five projects, which are funded by ADFD through IRENA, send a strong message to the world on how serious we really are when it comes to energy security here and around the world," Dr. Al Zeyoudi said.
Regarding the UAE's future prospects for sustainable energy, Dr. Al Zeyoudi said that the UAE's sustainable energy awareness and efforts started decades ago, as a vision of the UAE's founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
"Since the 1970s, the late Sheikh Zayed asked the oil and gas industry to decrease the flaring of gas. It was part of a vision that came from our founding father," he said.
"In the last 10 years, the UAE has gone through a transition period where there was a major shift in our energy sector as we started investing in clean energy, namely renewable and peaceful nuclear programmes," he added.
Such examples, he said, include Masdar's 100 megawatt solar energy project, Shams 1, and the use of solar roof projects in buildings around the capital.
Some of Masdar's international ventures include its investment in the London Array, Gemasolar in Spain, and "Our grand projects in Mauritania and Seychelles, which are supporting those countries in achieving energy security," explained Al Zeyoudi.
IRENA is the primary, and one of the most important, partners for the UAE when it comes to helping it realise its renewable energy ambitions. "IRENA is helping us develop the UAE renewable energy map for 2030, finding the latest in the sector around the world, and is helping us achieve our targets. They also provide the expertise needed, which we have unlimited access to," he said.
Al Zeyoudi went on to say that the UAE believes that investing in renewable energy projects is highly beneficial on many levels.
"Sustainability does not only bring environmental and economic benefits, but we also look at the social aspects as well, like the amount of employment it generates, the expertise gained, the role it plays in promotion of the country and its global ranking. We like to look at the picture from a holistic approach," he explained.
"Based on findings, the oil supply in the UAE is expected to last for more than 120-150 years, but our leaders are always protective whenever it comes to our future generations, they want to protect our natural resources and start investing in new platforms and sectors to ensure that our natural resources last even longer, which is a visionary stance from our leaders," he concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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UAE announces four new renewable energy projects in the Pacific under US$50m Fund
posted on 18/01/2015

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday signed partnership agreements with four new Pacific island countries to deploy renewable energy projects under the US$50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund.
Grant funding is provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs managing the initiative and Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, leading implementation. The solar-powered projects, in the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, and the Solomon Islands, are expected to be completed in 2016.
The announcement brings the total number of projects under the fund to date to 10.
The partnerships were signed during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2015 – a yearly platform that addresses the interconnected challenges of energy and water security, climate risk and sustainable development.
"Renewable energy is one of the most cost-competitive power sources to deliver electricity to communities across the Pacific," said Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of Masdar. "For a region facing some of the highest energy costs in the world, access to sustainable sources of power, such as wind and solar, offer the Pacific a viable solution to enhance energy security and economic growth." The four new projects are estimated to save 1 million litres of diesel fuel annually, providing a cost saving of US$1.2 million, and mitigating 2,759 tons of CO2 per year. Combined with projects in six other countries already approved under the fund – with two completed and four under construction – they represent one of the largest investments in renewable energy in the Pacific.
With renewable energy technologies improving, driving down delivery costs in many regions, clean power has exceeded grid parity in the Pacific Islands, among other locations, when compared to traditional fossil fuel energy generation. For the last two years, the International Renewable Energy Agency has reported that renewable energy now outcompetes imported diesel on cost across the Pacific.
The projects also highlight the UAE and Masdar's growing expertise in delivering renewable energy to communities located in complex, remote regions of the world.
"As part of our mission to enable developing countries to achieve sustainable development, ADFD has partnered with Masdar to support these countries unlock their vast underutilised renewable potentials," said His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director general, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. "Such collaborative efforts demonstrate how developing countries' growing appetite for energy can be met affordably and sustainably. For the remote islands of the Pacific, access to clean energy is a critical component to enable their economic and social development." The four new projects to be delivered include: A 600 kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the Marshall Islands A 600 kWp solar PV plant in the Solomon Islands A 500 kWp solar PV plant in Nauru Three project components across Palau: Delivering and enabling 434 kW of solar PV across the islands of Koror, Peleliu and Angaur, including the delivery of 100 solar systems, each 1.7 kW, as part of a clean energy affordable loan programme.
An innovative water treatment plant, powered by renewables, providing 50 m3 of clean water a day.
Two cutting-edge diesel generators, with a total capacity of 254 kW, to maximise the amount of solar energy fed into the grid on Peleliu and Angaur.
The US$ 50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund was launched in March 2013 by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE's minister of foreign affairs. The fund covers project feasibility studies, engineering design, plant equipment supplies and installation, construction and, operation and maintenance training in addition to associated grid impact analysis of the project ensuring grid stability. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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Team inspects progress at two UAE-funded development projects in Egypt
posted on 15/01/2015

A team from the Coordination Office of the UAE-Funded Development Projects in Egypt has inspected progress of projects in Egypt's governorates of Giza and Cairo.
President of Al-Azhar University, Abdul Hayy Azab, Chairman of the board of Egyptian vaccine maker Vacsera, Nabil el-Beblawy, and representatives of media organisations took part in the tour to two UAE-funded projects: four buildings which will provide 81 accommodation units for Al Azhar students at Nasr City and a vaccine and sera production facility at Vacsera that will boost Egypt's self-efficiency, create more jobs and preserve the quality of domestic production.
Other UAE-funded educational projects in Egypt include an advanced health information system for Al Azhar University hospitals, the Islamic Studies Institute in New Cairo that will accommodate some 1500 students, and the Sheikh Zayed Arabic Language Institute which accommodates more than 1200 students from 102 countries.
In his remarks during the tour, Azab thanked the leaders and people of the UAE for their unwavering support for Al Azhar.
He said, "It is not unusual for the sons of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to walk in his steps and back Al Azhar and its mission. They appreciate the varsity's role as a cultural and scientific lighthouse against extremist ideology." The student accommodation project which started in September 2013 is now 51 per cent completed.
Other UAE-funded educational and cultural projects for Al Azhar University include a library which will house some 50000 manuscripts and documents.
The overhaul of Vacsera's vaccine and sera production facility is now 80 per cent complete, el-Beblawy noted adding that Egypt now imports 74 per cent of insulin, with local companies meeting 26 percent and Vacsera 9 per cent of the country's demand.
The UAE-funded development projects in Egypt include 87 family medicine centres in 32 governorates to serve more than 780,000 citizens, and 151 sewage treatment stations which will serve some 1,7 million citizens in remote villages. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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Lubna: UAE will pursue its humanitarian mission and role
posted on 13/01/2015

By launching the 2015-2021 strategy for the International Humanitarian City (IHC), His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is laying a future vision to develop and promote the message, mission and standing of the IHC at a time when humanitarian work is experiencing significant changes, Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, said.
'Updating strategies and reviewing plans are important for developing and improving the performance of the humanitarian work sector,' Sheikha Lubna said in a statement after Sheikh Mohammed launched the IHC's strategy on Monday.
She praised Sheikh Mohammed's far-sighted vision for establishing the IHC, enabling the UAE to become an active international partner through harnessing its economic and developmental capabilities to promote and support the noble message of humanitarian work under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
She said, 'The UAE is always looking to the future, particularly in terms of its leading humanitarian role and standing. Apart from its direct contributions and assistance, the UAE is also seeking to remove obstacles facing humanitarian works, especially in the area of ensuring timely delivery of assistance to those in need.' The IHC, Sheikha Lubna emphasised, has gained the respect and confidence of the international humanitarian organisations.
She added that the UAE, being the world's largest provider of Official Development Aid (ODA), would pursue its humanitarian mission, whose foundations were laid down by the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM-

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ADFD: Construction work at US$167m residential housing development in Kabul completed
posted on 11/01/2015

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) on Saturday said that construction work at its USUS$167 million residential housing development in Kabul, Afghanistan, has been completed and that work is underway to complete the project's infrastructure and amenities.
The fund says that the handover of the project, which will see 3,330 housing units built on a 54-hectare site in Kabul, will be handed over in July 2015.
The housing units were designed to suit family lifestyle of Afghans.
Director-General of the AFDF, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, reiterated the keen interest of the UAE government in standing by Afghanistan as a major partner in the country's social and economic sustainable development.
He added that such projects represent an effective and major contribution to the development of the Afghan capital and back the Afghan government's efforts to encounter the challenges of social welfare and economic development and eventually achieve sustainable development.
ADFD's involvement in Afghanistan goes back to 1977. Since then, the ADFD has offered and managed grants, loans and long-term direct investments totalling more than Dh1 billion to fund 13 projects in the country's most vital sectors of overall development.
To date, the fund which was established by the Government of the emirate of Abu Dhabi in 1971, has managed more than Dh64 billion of the UAE government's foreign aid to fund 238 development projects in 71 countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -

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50,000 school bags filled with care for Gaza children
posted on 10/01/2015

As many as 50,000 children in Gaza will have a reason to smile when they see their new school bags. Packed with school stationery and books, the school kits have been put together by thousands of UAE residents as part of a new initiative launched by Dubai Cares.
Hossein Omeid, a student of Philadelphia Private School was among the volunteers who turned up on the first day of the community campaign.
"Most of my classmates have come here to help in the initiative,” said Hussain, an Iranian national.
The school kits include notebooks, pens, calculator, sketchbooks, erasers, sharpeners and crayons among other stationery. The campaign is being hosted under the initiative "Rebuild Palestine. Start with Education.”
The latest round of fighting took a particularly devastating toll on Gaza's youngest and most vulnerable. Families lost, houses destroyed, classrooms razed — the hopes of a young generation were gunned down in the carnage.
Farzana Usman Zarifi, a university student, was upbeat about being a volunteer for the good cause of packing school bags for these children.
"This is the only way I can help and I didn't want to miss it,” remarked Farzana.
Holding three empty school bags in her hand, Farzana set out on her mission to fill the bags with essentials laid out on tables. With 10 tables turning into an assembly line, volunteers walked across a table to fill each school bag with a list of utilities.
"This bag will end up with a child in Gaza who will use these goods to continue going to school. It is wonderful to see so many people turn up for a good cause,” said Farzana.
Once the bags are filled, quality control teams check every bag to count if the right quantity has been packed. The bags are collected into large boxes, before being loaded onto trucks for their onward journey. Dubai Cares is inviting UAE residents to come and volunteer in assembling the school kits.
UAE residents, businesses and schools can register on site at Al Boom Tourist Village in Dubai anytime between 10am and 6pm until January 11.
Dubai Cares will then deliver the kits to the students currently studying in UNRWA schools in Gaza, in time for the start of the second half of the academic year.
Speaking with Khaleej Times, Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares said: "We want to engage the community and help bring back smiles on the faces of children of Gaza. Once loaded, the trucks will head to Jordan via road where they will be handed over to UNRWA.” He added, "We want more people to come here and assemble the school kits.” – Emirates News Agency, WAM -§ion=nationgeneral

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UAE, Egypt sign joint protocol for employing 10,000 job-seekers
posted on 09/01/2015

CAIRO: The UAE and Egypt, on Thursday, signed a joint protocol worth EGP50 million for providing training and employment to 10,000 job-seekers in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector as per the actual demand of the labour market.
Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State, and Chairman of the Coordination Office of UAE-funded Development Projects in Egypt, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Egyptian Minister of Trade, Industry, and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, and Atef Helmy, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, attended the signing ceremony in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
The protocol is part of the UAE - Egyptian Joint Protocol to activate the 'Training for Employment' Initiative, which seeks practical solutions that contribute to generating job opportunities and training a capable work force that meets the actual demand of the job market in Egypt and beyond.
The four-phase training programme will be implemented in 26 governorates to train and qualify 100,000 job-seekers to cover 50 percent demand of the job market for vocational professionals. Of the 25,505 job-seekers who have been trained, nearly 10,000 were offered jobs.
Commenting on the occasion, Dr. Al Jaber said, 'Provision of practical solutions to economic and social challenges facing the Egyptian citizen is at the heart of the UAE development projects in Egypt in line with directives of the UAE's wise leadership. I am pleased that the 'Training for Employment' initiative is making tangible progress by concentrating on fields that meet the actual demand of the labour market.' He stated that the programme will provide training courses for the ICT sector, whose services are witnessing significant growth in demand.
'The UAE will remain committed to offering whatever serves the interest of the brotherly Egyptian people and encourage positive energy and creativity,' he asserted.
UAE-funded Development Projects in Egypt, which stretch from housing to education to health and energy and food security, will generate more than 600,000 jobs. By financing 169 small and medium scale projects through credit facilities of up to US$200 million, the UAE will also contribute towards creating 200,000 job opportunities.
Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour paid tribute to the leadership, government and people of the UAE for supporting Egypt and particularly the ‘Training for Employment' initiative, which he said set a successful model for joint co-operation between the two countries.
He said that the programme had introduced a qualitative shift in the development of capabilities and skills of the technical workforce which will meet the demand of the labour market. By offering vocational and technical training, he said, the programme will contribute to modernising Egyptian industry and providing equal job opportunities for young Egyptian men and women.
The minister noted the positive impact of the project on Egypt's sustainable development plans and economic growth rates.
The project, he added, would help Egypt address the unemployment problem by training and offering job-seekers real jobs.
Atef Helmy said the UAE and Egypt share distinguished ties in various fields including the ICT, which he added, was projected to fuel development and economic growth given its potential to launch significant initiatives that create many job opportunities.
He noted that persons with special needs will be included in the ‘Training for Employment' initiative.
Inked by Hussein El-Gueretly, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, and Mahmoud El-Sherbiny, Executive Director of the Industrial Training Council (ITC) of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, the protocol comes as part of Egypt's efforts to implement the economic reform policy, address unemployment, encourage businesses and enhance co-operation among ministries, in order to develop the society and leverage employees' effectiveness.
According to the protocol, MCIT is to promote the project and identify training needs, job opportunities and young trainers, according to the ICT sector needs. It will guide job seekers, implement and follow-up on the training courses in the governorates according to work priorities agreed upon. It will also provide the Ministry of Industry with data and operating locations and co-ordinate with it to organise employment fairs for ICT sector.
The selection of trainees is based on certain criteria. These are as follows: the trainee must be Egyptian, aged 18 years or more, unemployed, capable of working and willing to work for not less than a year. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Nine million Syrian refugees require harsh winter conditions, says UAE's MICAD
posted on 08/01/2015

Over nine million Syrian refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will require humanitarian assistance to face a harsh winter, the UAE Ministry of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD) has said noting that 14 percent of the Syrian refugees are living in camps near valleys and slopes in the three neighbouring countries.
In its 'Humanitarian Brief: Snowstorm hits Syrian refugees and IDPs', MICAD said that nine million Syrian refugees and IDPs in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq are suffering from harsh winter conditions due to inclement weather, in particular the powerful snow storm, dubbed Huda or Zeina that is sweeping across the region.
The snowstorm started on 6 January, and wind speeds reached 110 km/h in some regions, with severe snow fall and temperatures dropping in some areas to below four degrees Celsius below zero in some areas.
In Syria, the effects of the polar depression started with a pouring rain, which raised concerns of floods and mudslides in valleys and inclines.
Temperatures, MICAD noted, are expected to reach seven degrees Celsius below zero with snow forecasted to continue falling for the next four days. Temperatures may reach as low as 10 degrees Celsius below zero and snow is expected to fall over all altitudes above 600 meters across the country.
In Lebanon, the polar storm hit Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon's north-eastern border town of Arsal disrupting tents and temporary shelters.
The escalating price of diesel up to US$100 per barrel is leading to diminished supplies thus limiting the refugees' capacity to heating their shelters and cook food.
In Jordan, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has increased their financial support to cover 21,000 Syrian refugee families for this month; however another 9,000 families remain in need of humanitarian assistance. UNHCR is calling for support from the international community.
As part of the UAE's response to the humanitarian situation of the Syrian refugees, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Tuesday, ordered the launch of a humanitarian airlift to transport urgent relief items, including winter clothing, blankets and food items to the refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, in addition to affected people in Gaza and other parts of Palestine.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai also called on all parties to .support Sheikh Khalifa's call.
Today, Wednesday, the UAE is launching a campaign tomorrow Wednesday to raise funds for refugees and people in the Levant to help them survive the powerful snow storm Huda expected to hit the region in the coming days.
A national committee comprising representatives of government departments and national media outfits was urgently formed to carry out the campaign, "Show Compassion" (Tarahamu in Arabic). It seeks to provide warmth for one million people, including refugees, affected by winter conditions.
On Friday, all the local media channels will also air a unified broadcast to cover the events of the humanitarian fundraiser. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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UAE helps supply prosthetic and assistive devices for those affected by the Syria crisis
posted on 06/01/2015

The UAE Ministry of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD) yesterday announced the signing of a one year, Dh 3.6 million (US$ 1 million) agreement with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to support the UN organisation's ‘Syria Crisis Response 2014'. The agreement, signed in December 2014, is part of UAE's continuous efforts and commitment to improving the health conditions and livelihoods of people affected by the crisis in Syria.
The agreement was signed by Hazza Al Qahtani, Undersecretary of MICAD, and Ms. Elizabeth Hoff, Representative of WHO in Syria, commissioned by the Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean. It establishes the principle of cooperation and consultation between the two parties, and specifies the provision of artificial limbs and assistive devices for people affected by the Syria crisis. Statistics indicate that more than 750,000 men, women and children have suffered an injury resulting in the loss of an upper or lower limb or, in some cases, both.
"This agreement is testament to the UAE's support to regional and international humanitarian issues and we are proud to work with the WHO on this important cause which aims to change the lives of many by giving them hope for the future," said Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of International Cooperation and Development. "We hope this project opens the door for further collaboration in future, as we remain committed to providing assistance to those affected by the unfortunate conflict in Syria," she added.
The two parties have agreed to work jointly to help individuals affected by the Syrian crisis. The UAE contribution of Dh 3.6 million (USD 1 million), is expected to supply 700 patients inside Syria with artificial limbs, in addition to repairing artificial limbs for another 300 patients.
Commenting on the agreement, Ms. Elizabeth Hoff said: "This contribution, which comes at a time when funding is critically short for the health sector and humanitarian needs are sharply increasing, demonstrates the commitment of the UAE to support humanitarian response in Syria through a strategic partnership with WHO". Ms. Hoff added, "When a crisis turns peoples' lives upside down, we count on the strong support of our partners and Member States to alleviate the pain of people in need. This benevolent donation of the UAE will contribute to the provision of prosthetics to hundreds of Syrians directly affected by the conflict." The project includes a work plan with a timeframe of activities and risk management strategy. The two partners will also be monitoring and evaluating the results to ensure the effectiveness of the project. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -

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UAE leading international development and humanitarian action with 1.34% ODA/GNI ratio, says Sheikh Mansour
posted on 03/01/2015

H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, has said that the final report of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (DAC/OECD), released earlier this week, has affirmed the UAE's worthiness to win the first position as the world's largest donor country of official development assistance (ODA) in proportion to its gross national income (ODA/GNI ratio) where the historic record leap, that none of the DAC member states has made in the past 50 years, saw the UAE exceeding UN's target of 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio by donating 1.34% of its GNI for official development assistance in 2013.
H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed said, "Since its establishment in 1971, the UAE has been contributing to supporting international sustainable development efforts and humanitarian response to global crises and disasters, based on the humanitarian philosophy of UAE's wise leadership, and generous contributions in the past decades to all international development arenas, thus securing the lives of millions of people around the world, establishing international peace and security, creating better opportunities and a brighter future for people in developing countries." "The UAE has attained this advanced position in international development efforts, according to the final report of Development Assistance Committee (DAC), thanks to our wise leadership's directives, namely President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his brother Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the keen follow-up of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who continue to follow the humanitarian approach and values of generous giving and fraternity that were established by the founding father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan," added H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed The final report released recently by the Paris-based Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that UAE donated Dh19.84 billion (US$5.4 billion), or 1.34% of its gross national income, in official development aid, an unprecedented contribution by a DAC member donor country in the past 50 years, where France was the only country to achieve this ratio in 1961.
DAC commended UAE's efforts to enhance and support international development.
According to DAC's report, Norway is the second largest donor of official development assistance with 1.07% ODA/GNI ratio, followed in the third place by Sweden (1.01%), Luxembourg (1%), Denmark ( 0.85%), United Kingdom (0.71%) and the Netherlands (0.67%).
For her part, Sheikha Lubna bent Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development (Micad) and Head of the UAE Committee for the Coordination of Humanitarian Foreign Aid, said, "The indices of DAC/OECD confirm beyond any doubt the UAE's leadership and precedence in all international development arenas as it continues to support the international community's efforts to create and improve the livelihoods of people in the developing countries, and consolidate its global stature in the international development arena." She added that these indices and international unprecedented results for UAE were made thanks to God, Glorified and Exalted, then to the vision and philosophy of our rational leadership, affirming that UAE is targeting to enhance the international sustainable development efforts, through all potential development aid channels, and contribute in establishing the mutual responsibility towards all global themes.
Minister Al Qasimi also noted that after DAC had released, in early April 2014, its preliminary analysis of ODA data for 2013 showing that the UAE was the world's largest donor country in terms of ODA/GNI ratio in 2013, it was almost certain that the UAE will maintain this position until the DAC's final report is released, which it did with a ODA/GNI ratio of 1.34 % exceeding all expectations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -

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Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cultural Centre and Mosque in China "an important cultural centre"
posted on 31/12/2014

The Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cultural Centre and Mosque in China, which was established by the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, is considered an important cultural centre to transfer the teachings of tolerance and moderation of the Islamic religion, as well as being one of the largest Mosques in the Republic of China.
The opening ceremony of the Mosque, which took place last Friday, attracted thousands of Chinese people from different cities and villages to enjoy the Islamic architecture beauty of the Mosque. The Mosque includes large spacious corridors and places for worship which can accommodate more than six thousand people. There are also many Quranic Centres, and the Mosque holds training sessions for imams, in addition to other facilities.
During the ceremony, Chinese officials expressed their delight and said that the centre expresses the human spirit of the leadership and people of the UAE. The ceremony was attended by Omar Ahmed Adi Nasib Al Bitar, UAE Ambassador to the Republic of China, who affirmed in an opening ceremony speech that this gift from the UAE to the people of China is an expression of love and friendship between both countries, which translates the faith in the importance of goodness and generosity of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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UAE Ambassador meets Chinese official, opens Sheikh Zayed Mosque in China's Ningxia region
posted on 28/12/2014

NINGXIA: Prof. Zhou Yu Dong, Deputy Ruler of Ningxia autonomous province, received yesterday in China, Omar Ahmed Adi Nasib Al Bitar, UAE Ambassador to the People's Republic of China.
The visit comes as part of the opening ceremony of the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cultural Centre in Wuzhong city of the Hong Bo C of the province.
Prof. Zhou Yu Dong extended thanks to the UAE, led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for the donation to build the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cultural Centre and a mosque in province, pointing out that the project would contribute towards achieving stability and ensuring settlement of the region's displaced inhabitants, who are minority Muslims.
He also highlighted the level of the Chinese-UAE bilateral relations, extending an open invitation to the Emiratis to exchange visits and cooperate with Ningxia.
He also pointed out that Ningxia, as per the strategy of the Chinese Government, is deemed an important gateway for cooperation with Arab and Islamic countries.
On his part, Al Bitar extended thanks to the Ningxia Government for cooperation with the UAE citizens to contribute in providing for humanitarian projects in the province, stressing the UAE's keenness on enhancing cooperation in all domains with China in general and Ningxia in particular.
The UAE Ambassador opened the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cultural Centre and Mosque in the presence of the representatives of the local government, Ningxia Charitable Association and the people of the province.
The mosque, which will provide services to Ningxia Muslims in particular and China in general, will accommodate more than 1,200 male and 300 female worshippers, school classrooms, housing apartments and other services. The construction of the mosque was completed in a record time of less than nine months. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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Khalifa Foundation completes Sheikh Zayed Mosque project in China
posted on 26/12/2014

The Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, a major UAE humanitarian agency, has completed construction of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in China's Ningxia region, which is one of the largest mosques in the People's Republic of China.
An official source at the Khalifa Foundation said the mosque which can accommodate more than 6,000 worshipers will be opened tomorrow, Friday. The construction of the mosque was completed in a record time of less than nine months.
He further explained in a statement to Emirates News Agency WAM that the project is a contribution of the Khalifa bin Foundation, in memory of the UAE founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -

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UAE Minister of State opens renovated St. Mina Orphanage in Ismailia
posted on 25/12/2014

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State officiated the opening of the newly renovated St. Mina Orphanage in Ismailia, Egypt. The ceremony took place in the presence of HG Seraphim, Bishop of the Holy Diocese of Ismailia.
As part of the restoration work carried out and funded by the United Arab Emirates, the building has been furnished and equipped with supplies and materials needed to ensure the maximum level of social and educational care for orphans until their graduation from university.
Commenting on the reopening of the orphanage, Dr. Al Jaber said: "The directives of the UAE leadership clearly focus on providing support to the people of Egypt across all sects through spearheading worthy humanitarian initiatives. Today, we are pleased to reopen the St. Mina Orphanage. We are confident the newly restored premises will provide social and educational care under appropriate conditions to help children build their future and achieve their dreams and goals." He added: "During our meetings with His Holiness Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Cathedral, we agreed to support a number of projects developed by the Coptic Orthodox Church. This orphanage that has just been opened is an example of our efforts to help and support those who have lost their parents and enable them to build a happy life. We are confident this new home will help children to become vital members of mainstream society." For his part, HG Bishop Seraphim thanked the UAE government and praised its pivotal role in supporting Egypt at all levels, especially in its engagement with socially-driven projects.
He said: "Today we witness the opening of St. Mina orphanage and we sincerely thank those who helped build something tangible that will benefit a number of children in time of need. Through giving back to the community, we are truly contributing to building a better tomorrow as children hold the key for the future." He added: "The orphanage, managed by the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Ismailia, is built on an area of 600 meters to ensure the provision of adequate accommodation, care and services." The building consists of a ground plus three floors. Including 35 rooms, four halls, and a main dining hall that can accommodate up to 120 people, the orphanage accommodates about 104 students providing them with social and educational care until university graduation.
The development work was carried out as part of the UAE's support on a range of projects for the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt. In addition to the St. Mina orphanage, work is ongoing on the establishment of medical clinics, a school and a heritage centre.
Work on the medical centre began in October 2014 and is expected to conclude in June 2015, while the Coptic Heritage Centre project is also underway and planned for completion in August 2015. Meanwhile, work on the Abu Gergas School is expected to be completed in May 2015.
In addition to the development projects in the housing, education, food security, health care, infrastructure and energy sectors, the UAE provides support to the Egyptian people through cultural, academic and social institutions that serve all segments of the society. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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ADFD plays pioneering role in supporting development in Morocco
posted on 25/12/2014

Established in 1971, The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, is the national organisation responsible for assisting developing countries through administering loans and direct grant aids on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government. Since its inception, ADFD has overseen the provision of Dh64 billion towards financing 424 development projects in 71 countries around the world.
In a report issued this week, ADFD has highlighted the active role it has played in supporting sustainable development in the Kingdom of Morocco since 1974. Over the past 40 years, the fund has implemented several successful development projects in Morocco, accelerating economic development throughout the country.
Related to key economic sectors, the projects have helped Morocco achieve social and economic development in areas such as infrastructure, social services, healthcare, housing and education.
Additionally, the UAE in 2013 offered Morocco an Dh4.6 billion grant (US$1.25 billion) as part of the US$5 billion GCC grant programme to support the Moroccan economy. Articulating the UAE's ongoing commitment to promoting sustainable development in Morocco, the grant was allocated to fund vital projects that have the potential to raise the Kingdom's social and economic conditions.
The latest allocation takes the total value of loans and grants managed by ADFD in Morocco on behalf of the UAE government since 1974 to Dh7.3 billion, earmarked to finance 65 development projects.
Stressing the importance of cooperation between the UAE and the Kingdom of Morocco, Mohammed Bou Saeed, the Moroccan Minister of Economy and Finance, said, "The UAE is one of the major contributors to the economic development of Morocco and has initiated various development projects through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development across the Kingdom. These projects have significant social and economic implications for the Moroccan economy especially in advancing the country's infrastructure, ports and railway stations, as well as in providing electricity, drinking water and housing services for thousands of our people." The Minister also commended ADFD's proactive and historic role in financing several major projects in Morocco such as the Tangier Port and the high-speed railway project.
Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said, "The development assistance provided by the UAE to the Kingdom of Morocco through ADFD is a reflection of the close ties and long-standing cordial relations between the two countries. The diverse portfolio of projects undertaken by ADFD in Morocco articulates our pledge to support brotherly and friendly countries in successfully overcoming their most pressing economic and development challenges. As part of our ongoing commitment to promoting sustainable economic and social development in Morocco, we support key economic sectors that strengthen the Moroccan national economy and ease the economic burden of its people." Al Asri Saeed Al Dhaheri, the UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, said, "Under the directives of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and with the active follow up by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of ADFD, the fund plays an active role in supporting sustainable and inclusive development in the Kingdom of Morocco, reflecting the distinguished relations that bind the UAE and the Kingdom of Morocco." The contribution of ADFD to the long-term development of Morocco, coupled with the successful completion of the many projects funded by ADFD in the Kingdom, underline the importance of efforts being made by the fund on behalf of the UAE government. These projects are indicative of strong bilateral cooperation between both brotherly nations at various levels, contributing to robust economic development and creating thousands of new job opportunities in the Kingdom.
In line with its belief that a sound modern infrastructure is an important first step to building a strong and well-developed economy, ADFD has provided more than Dh2 billion in loans and grants to Morocco to fund a total of 11 projects in the transportation sector.
Notable among these is the Dh367.3 million loan offered to finance the construction of a competitive and safe high-speed rail network linking the cities of Tangier and Kenitra in Morocco to meet the anticipated growth in merchandise and passenger movement. The project will also cater for the needs of the upcoming Tangier Port, another important infrastructure undertaking funded by ADFD in Morocco. Expected to cut travel time between the two cities from five hours to around 2.5 hours, the high speed train will accelerate the pace of economic growth through doubling container traffic as well as increasing passenger movements from three million to 10 million per annum.
ADFD is also focused on developing Morocco's maritime infrastructure through improving the role of seaports in propelling economic growth and boosting investment. The fund in 2002 supported the Tangier Port development through offering an Dh734.6 million loan and managing an Dh367.3 million grant.
The project included the construction of a deep water port east of Tangier on the Mediterranean Sea as well as a special economic zone that helped create thousands of job opportunities for Moroccan youth and generate new revenue streams for the economy.
Housing is another important sector supported by ADFD in Morocco as part of its priority to achieve social stability and development in the country. The fund has leveraged the UAE's contribution within the GCC's development grant programme for Morocco in 2013, supporting the housing sector through the allocation of Dh830 million. The grant has been used to build housing units in major cities of Morocco, offering a strong boost to the Moroccan government's efforts to raise the standard of living in the country. This project has provided housing assistance for hundreds of thousands of families from the low-income category in Moroccan cities, including 108,000 housing units in Marrakech, 42,800 units in Casablanca, 91,000 housing units in Pullman in Fez, 41,800 housing units in the east, 58,800 units in Tangier and Tetouan and 56,300 housing units in Meknes.
The total value of loans and grants offered by ADFD to the Moroccan housing sector since the fund began its involvement in Morocco amounts to Dh1 billion allocated for 13 projects.
In line with its commitment to support social and economic development in Morocco, ADFD manages seven projects aimed at developing water resources in the country, supporting the Moroccan government's priority to enhance the standard of living across the country through offering adequate access to water for the country's growing population. The total value of grants and loans offered by ADFD to this vital sector stands at over Dh738 million.
As part of the UAE's contribution to the GCC programme to support Morocco, the fund manages several government grants, including ADFD's contribution to the construction of Al Kharoub Dam, which aims to provide clean water to the people of Asseelah and Tangier areas. The project involves the construction of a dam for drinking water near the city of Tangier for storing rainwater as well as the water flowing from the nearby valleys. This project includes the establishment of a 60-meter high dam with the capacity to store up to 200 million cubic meters of water. The UAE's contribution to this project is Dh501 million. ADFD also manages a water treatment plant project aimed at providing the city of Khouribga and neighbouring areas with drinking water. The project additionally involves the setting up of a pumping station and six kilometre-long canal (1.8m width). The UAE's contribution to this project is estimated at Dh88.9 million.
In its efforts to advance the healthcare sector in the Kingdom of Morocco, ADFD has been funding and managing five healthcare projects across the country at a total value of Dh423 million. The Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Rabat, funded by a government grant in 1989, is a testament to the huge support provided by the UAE to the people of Morocco in the vital healthcare sector. The fund also manages a grant offered by the UAE government to finance the 8.8 hectare, 916-bed Mohammed VI University Hospital, an important healthcare facility in Morocco. The University Hospital also boasts a 247-bed mother and child hospital spread across an area of 20,260 square meters. The project comprises a 54,500 square meter specialty hospital with the capacity to accommodate 585 beds, an 84-bed cancer hospital and several in-patient clinics. The UAE's contribution to this project is Dh238.7 million.
Given the important role of education in the development and prosperity of nations, ADFD has prioritised the funding of several educational projects in Morocco through the UAE's allocation within the GCC development grant. This includes 12 projects worth Dh355 million aimed at improving the higher education landscape in the country. The grant was earmarked to establish several vocational training institutes, build and expand university campuses, and set up and equip a college of medicine and pharmacy in Morocco.
Agriculture is an important contributor to the Moroccan economy and ADFD has supported this sector through the allocation of Dh200 million for three vital projects. Of these projects, Western Plain Agricultural project was funded in 1979 with a loan from ADFD. The project aims to improve the living standards of people in the Western region of Morocco by creating new job opportunities as well as expanding agricultural land through bringing about fundamental changes to the irrigation system. The project covers an area of 45,500 hectares north of the city of Rabat. ADFD has also supported other agricultural projects in Morocco including Central Al Haouz that was supported in 1982 with the objective of raising the standard of living of people through accelerating agricultural production. The project also helped increase power generation from hydroelectric resources and facilitated the supply of drinking water to the city of Marrakech.
In the electricity sector, ADFD has managed three major projects that aim to supply adequate electricity for several Moroccan cities. Additionally, the fund has supported Moroccan electricity sector through its contribution to the GCC grant programme for Morocco. These projects involve renovation of a number of power stations as well as increasing the capacity of power transmission networks across large Moroccan cities. ADFD's contribution to the Moroccan electricity sector is estimated at Dh122 million.
All of the above development projects are in line with ADFD's commitment to improving the standard of living in Morocco and advancing sustainable development through financing infrastructure projects. The projects also aim to stimulate economic and social growth, create new employment and investment opportunities and achieve greater social stability.
ADFD has also been working with other developing countries to help them overcome economic hurdles and achieve sustainable economic growth. The fund has extended financial support and made massive investments in economically viable projects to help countries confront various economic challenges. ADFD also contributes to poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development across the world, especially in countries that suffer low development rates. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

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ADFD: Abu Dhabi-funded housing project in Asilah to be completed soon
posted on 18/12/2014

TANGIER: A 700-unit housing project in Asilah City, Morocco, will soon be completed at a total cost of Dh73 million, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) announced on Tuesday.
In a statement, ADFD said that its three-phased community housing project also includes a museum, a school and a bus station and will be handed over to the Moroccan government in the first quarter of 2015.
The ADFD noted that 400 units were built in the first phase, 200 in the second phase and 100 are under construction in the third and last phase of the project which is part of Abu Dhabi's efforts to support Morocco's economy and resettle residents of the city's slums.
ADFD 's Director-General, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, said that the fund supports the project as part of the UAE's keen interest to contribute towards Morocco's economic development.
He added that sustainable development in Morocco is prioritised by Abu Dhabi's fund, and that the Fund looks forward to further consolidate its fruitful work and developmental support in order to contribute to efforts to alleviate the suffering of the people.
ADFD was established in 1971 as a leading national entity to provide development aid to developing countries in the form of concessionary loans and administering grants on behalf of the government of Abu Dhabi. The aim is to finance development projects in order to support efforts to achieve economic and social development in developing countries. The ADFD also makes investments in order to encourage the private sector in the recipient countries to play an essential role in accelerating the economic development process. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -

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UAE Embassy's Charge d'Affaires attends handing over Khalifa Foundation's homes to Serbians
posted on 13/12/2014

Hamad Al Awadi, UAE Embassy's Charge d'Affaires in Serbia along with President of the Republic of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, have handed over the Khalifa bin Zayed Humanitarian Foundation (KF) homes for those affected by the floods in Serbia.
Also in attendance were Serbian Prime Minister, Alexander Vucic, Serbia's Defence Minister, Bratislav Gasic and Serbian Economy Minister, Zeljko Sertic.
The handover ceremony was attended by senior foreign and Serbian officials. Al Awadi also attended the handing over of 39 keys including 14 keys of houses to the families affected by floods which occurred in Serbia in May. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -

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Lubna Al Qasimi, Norwegian Secretary of State discuss cooperation in education
posted on 11/12/2014

Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, MICAD, and Laila Bukhari, Secretary of State at the Norwegian Prime Minister's office and her accompanying delegation, have discussed ways to enhance cooperation and partnership relations between the UAE and Norway in various education issues.
Sheikha Lubna highlighted the UAE's keenness to strengthen and promote relations with Norway and the UAE's commitment to supporting education issues for its important role in promoting development and contribute to poverty ratios reduction in developing countries.
The Minister of International Cooperation and Development noted that education represents an important part of development and humanitarian aid provided by the United Arab Emirates, as the UAE has contributed with nearly Dh 2 billion between 2004 and 2014 to support special education programmes.
Bukhari presented her government's plan to combat violence and extremism, which require extensive international cooperation to prevent the spread of the phenomenon globally.
The meeting was attended by Hazza Al Qahtani, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, Najla Al Kaabi, Assistant Under-Secretary of MICAD, and Sten Anders Berge, Ambassador of Norway. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -

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