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10th World Islamic Economic Forum introduces new features to celebrate Dubai as land of creativity and innovation


posted on 27/08/2014

The World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation and Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (Dubai Chamber) yesterday unveiled at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur details of the upcoming 10th WIEF which will be held in Dubai from October 28 to 30, 2014 at the Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre. The annual forum will be hosted in Dubai for the first time following successes across the globe including Kuala Lumpur, Islamabad, Kuwait, Jakarta, Astana, Johor Bahru and London.
Themed ‘Innovative Partnerships for Economic Growth', the Forum aims to forge greater collaboration between nations, bringing a new era of prosperity for the global economy. Innovative partnerships is an important dimension required to recognise and develop different models for economic growth, offering tremendous opportunities for players with varying expertise and resources to join forces to create joint ventures that are greater in value than the sum of their parts.
Recognised for its significant contributions to progress in the global Islamic economy over the last 10 years, the annual forum will highlight Dubai's pursuit to play a key role in shaping the US$ 8 trillion Islamic economy, and introduce new features to celebrate Dubai as the land of creativity and city which embraces the culture of innovation. The new features include: Ideapad: Technology & Innovation Showcase – Platform for entrepreneurs and innovators to give a 15-minute pitch on stage to capture the attention, interest, and potentially, investment, of the forum's international audience Business Exchange – Business match-making programme where selected companies give a three-minute pitch about their business, followed by a networking session with delegates There will also be a specialised session on the second day of the Forum to inaugurate and drive the Halal bio-economy agenda focusing on food security, healthcare and well-being of the global Muslim community. ‘Mobilising Capital from Waqf, Pension Funds and Unit Trusts: Developing Best Practices' is another thought-provoking panel discussion which will be introduced at the 10th WIEF.
These new features will complement the current programme which includes panel discussions, Masterclass sessions, networking events and the Marketplace of Creative Arts Festival (MOCAFest).
Key topics of the 10th WIEF include: Global Economic Outlook: Developing a Resilient Model for Developing Economies Global Financial Landscape Islamic Finance's Pivotal Role in Enabling Trade & Streamlining the Halal Supply Chain Socialising Education and the Role of Universities Retaining Young Talents Sustainable Urban Planning – Creating Smart Infrastructure and Holistic Communities Rise of Women Entrepreneurs – Developing a Peer Network The Honourable (Hon.) Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of the WIEF Foundation, said; "The Islamic economy is not insulated from happenings around the world and our focus, at the World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation, is bringing to the fore opportunities which will ensure continued progress for the economy and the people. Three ways we can achieve this are by exploring prospects in smaller, non-majority Muslim markets, leveraging the continued growth of Islamic finance and, represented in our theme for 10th WIEF, forging innovative partnerships for business success." "The upcoming 2015 Asean integration, as well as the increasing purchasing power of Muslim consumers, underscores the strong growth potential of the Islamic economy. Our priority for the 10th WIEF is bringing global leaders, businesses and all members of the community together to realise these opportunities for sustainable development worldwide. We all have a part to play," he added.
Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said, "The Arab world offers one of the most comprehensive and attractive Islamic capital market systems in the world, and Dubai, already the region's key business hub, is the gateway for businesses to unlock the potential of the Islamic economy across the Gulf and wider Middle East." "The close collaboration between the WIEF Foundation, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy in preparation for this forum is testament to the success formula of innovative partners for economic growth, and we are confident that more such partnerships will be forged when global leaders and businesses converge in Dubai for the 10th WIEF," he added.
Discussions around economic and social matters continue to be key areas of focus at the annual Forum which is the largest international gathering of heads of government, economic experts and stakeholders to share experiences and knowledge about Islamic economy. The 10th WIEF which is expected to be attended by more than 2,500 participants from 140 countries, will offer a global platform to form innovative partnerships based on the seven pillars of the Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy initiative launched in 2013: Islamic finance, Halal food industry, Halal tourism, Islamic digital economy, Capital of Islamic art and design, Centre for Islamic economy standards and certification, and International centre for Islamic information and education.
The 10th WIEF continues to attract international partners and welcomes more organisations to be part of this prestigious, global Forum through various packages. Benefits include special access to key delegates, usage of Forum assets and resources, as well as numerous branding and communication opportunities.
In addition to the annual WIEF, the Foundation also organises and hosts roundtables, workshops, leadership programmes, business networking forums, internship and scholarship programmes and more such activities to educate, empower, exchange expertise and address economic challenges in a more personalised scale. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395268945256.html

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Dubai economic growth may hit 5.6%


posted on 26/08/2014

Dubai's economic growth could hit as high as 5.6 per cent this year if the global economy stays vibrant but the emirate's rebounding real estate sector faces a short-term price correction, Phidar Advisory, a recently established advisory firm specialising in real estate, said on Monday.
"The good news is that even if the global economy shows a tendency to apply the brakes, Dubai will continue show an upswing of 3.5 per cent GDP (gross domestic product) growth, and if it stays vibrant and robust then the emirate could hit as high as 5.6 per cent annually,” Phidar said quoting International Monetary Fund sources.
The IMF predicted in a recent report that Dubai's ability to finance its debts had improved because of stronger economic growth and more conservative spending, but warned that the emirate would still be vulnerable in a major downturn of the global economy.
The Institute of International Finance also endorsed this view in its latest forecast. "We see Dubai growing at 5.6 per cent in 2014, driven by tourism, transportation, and trade,” said Garbis Iradian, deputy director for Africa and the Middle East at the IIF.
In 2014-second quarter, residential sales prices and rents were still on the rise, but the rate of growth slowed dramatically for both sale prices and lease rates, leading to yield compression, Phidar Advisory report said.
Thee report states that as many as 30,000 additional units are needed in Dubai through 2018 to maintain rent stability. Phidar claimed that the figure is based on its internal monitoring of announced, launched, stalled and on-going projects.
Thee report said that nominal prices for single family homes declined four per cent and apartments declined 0.6 per cent according to transaction data for the first six weeks of 2014 third quarter.
Phidar's House Price Index reflects real prices adjusted in representative projects across Dubai that have been completed since 2009.
"Residential development opportunities are still ample in Dubai, but the market would benefit exponentially from developer specialisation, particularly in the most under-supplied assets. In this case middle-income housing could be a tangible and powerful catalyst,” said the report.
Phidar said that over this period another 15,000 units could be reactivated from stalled projects thereby creating a viable supply gap of as much as 20,000 units.
"While there are indications that transaction volumes are declining, the slack in the information in this sector makes it difficult to obtain a precise figure. All too often off-plan sales are not factored in because they are not reported consistently. Processing lags and inconsistent reporting create similar challenges to collecting and analysing real estate mortgage data,” the report said.
The report observed that after the U.A.E. Central Bank implemented mortgage restrictions linked to borrower's age, payment caps and maximum LTVs (loan-to-value ratio), mortgage-backed demand tapered. "This action was ostensibly taken to cool ‘hot' money and was mandated. What is worrying is the possible fall in transparency: after over 12 years of reporting Real Estate Mortgage data separately, the U.A.E. Central Bank consolidated Real Estate Mortgage data together with Loans, Advances, and Overdrafts in the quarterly Statistical Bulletin. Dubai real estate transaction data published through REIDIN, does not distinguish between refinance activity and new sales, so mortgage trends on a city or national level are difficult to quantify,” it said.
Phidar said individual properties in Dubai should trade at a trade at a six plus per cent yield to account for increased risk profile. However, the average net yields for individual properties compressed to 5.6 per cent and 4.5 per cent for apartments and villas.
Net yields have compressed and that it could be a step too far, it said. Market transparency appears to be regressing and that could increase the risk profile. Since speculation pays a major role in this market the property sector will continue to display volatility. "In the short term, this will likely lead to a price correction, following a two-year period of exuberant investor sentiment.”
Asiya Investments is also of the view that Dubai's property market is susceptible to overheating risks. "Fundamental factors indicate that prices should be increasing in Dubai. However, it is not clear to what extent the current growth rate of prices is sustainable.”
Phidar report also suggests that long term capital appreciation due to strong demographics is a foreseeable scenario but the current supply trends and affordability constraints will pose challenges to sustained long-term growth. – Khaleej Times – http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/August/uaebusiness_August269.xml§ion=uaebusiness
Dubai economic growth may hit 5.6%
Dubai's economic growth could hit as high as 5.6 per cent this year if the global economy stays vibrant but the emirate's rebounding real estate sector faces a short-term price correction, Phidar Advisory, a recently established advisory firm specialising in real estate, said on Monday.
"The good news is that even if the global economy shows a tendency to apply the brakes, Dubai will continue show an upswing of 3.5 per cent GDP (gross domestic product) growth, and if it stays vibrant and robust then the emirate could hit as high as 5.6 per cent annually,” Phidar said quoting International Monetary Fund sources.
The IMF predicted in a recent report that Dubai's ability to finance its debts had improved because of stronger economic growth and more conservative spending, but warned that the emirate would still be vulnerable in a major downturn of the global economy.
The Institute of International Finance also endorsed this view in its latest forecast. "We see Dubai growing at 5.6 per cent in 2014, driven by tourism, transportation, and trade,” said Garbis Iradian, deputy director for Africa and the Middle East at the IIF.
In 2014-second quarter, residential sales prices and rents were still on the rise, but the rate of growth slowed dramatically for both sale prices and lease rates, leading to yield compression, Phidar Advisory report said.
Thee report states that as many as 30,000 additional units are needed in Dubai through 2018 to maintain rent stability. Phidar claimed that the figure is based on its internal monitoring of announced, launched, stalled and on-going projects.
Thee report said that nominal prices for single family homes declined four per cent and apartments declined 0.6 per cent according to transaction data for the first six weeks of 2014 third quarter.
Phidar's House Price Index reflects real prices adjusted in representative projects across Dubai that have been completed since 2009.
"Residential development opportunities are still ample in Dubai, but the market would benefit exponentially from developer specialisation, particularly in the most under-supplied assets. In this case middle-income housing could be a tangible and powerful catalyst,” said the report.
Phidar said that over this period another 15,000 units could be reactivated from stalled projects thereby creating a viable supply gap of as much as 20,000 units.
"While there are indications that transaction volumes are declining, the slack in the information in this sector makes it difficult to obtain a precise figure. All too often off-plan sales are not factored in because they are not reported consistently. Processing lags and inconsistent reporting create similar challenges to collecting and analysing real estate mortgage data,” the report said.
The report observed that after the U.A.E. Central Bank implemented mortgage restrictions linked to borrower's age, payment caps and maximum LTVs (loan-to-value ratio), mortgage-backed demand tapered. "This action was ostensibly taken to cool ‘hot' money and was mandated. What is worrying is the possible fall in transparency: after over 12 years of reporting Real Estate Mortgage data separately, the U.A.E. Central Bank consolidated Real Estate Mortgage data together with Loans, Advances, and Overdrafts in the quarterly Statistical Bulletin. Dubai real estate transaction data published through REIDIN, does not distinguish between refinance activity and new sales, so mortgage trends on a city or national level are difficult to quantify,” it said.
Phidar said individual properties in Dubai should trade at a trade at a six plus per cent yield to account for increased risk profile. However, the average net yields for individual properties compressed to 5.6 per cent and 4.5 per cent for apartments and villas.
Net yields have compressed and that it could be a step too far, it said. Market transparency appears to be regressing and that could increase the risk profile. Since speculation pays a major role in this market the property sector will continue to display volatility. "In the short term, this will likely lead to a price correction, following a two-year period of exuberant investor sentiment.”
Asiya Investments is also of the view that Dubai's property market is susceptible to overheating risks. "Fundamental factors indicate that prices should be increasing in Dubai. However, it is not clear to what extent the current growth rate of prices is sustainable.”
Phidar report also suggests that long term capital appreciation due to strong demographics is a foreseeable scenario but the current supply trends and affordability constraints will pose challenges to sustained long-term growth. – Khaleej Times – http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/August/uaebusiness_August269.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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Dubai Economic Development Department launches Twitter account in English


posted on 19/08/2014

The Dubai Economic Development Department (DED), represented by the Commercial Control and Consumer Protection Sector, has launched its official Twitter account ‘@dubaiconsumers' to receive complaints from consumers in English.
The DED initiated the service to reach out to a large segment of consumers across the emirate of Dubai in particular, and the country in general.
Abdul Aziz bin Hathboor, Director of the Consumer Protection Department at DED, said the DED launched its official page on Twitter in English after the Consumer Protection's Arabic page attracted a large number of consumers.
"The English Twitter account will ease up the communication mechanism for consumers when contacting the DED regarding their comments, complaints, or even their feedback about products and commodities available in the local markets,” bin Hathboor pointed out.
Bin Hathboor said that the Consumer Protection page in English reflects how much the Commercial Control and Consumer Protection Sector is concerned with getting in touch with all categories of the society members by interacting with the consumers directly, attending to their inquiries, and solving their problems.
He said the page received a number of complaints related to automobiles, electronics, car rental, furniture and coffee shops, regarding warranty infringement and non-commitment to contract terms.
According to bin Hathboor, the English account is a qualitative stride ahead, which adds to the contact channels with the Commercial Control and Consumer Protection Sector.
The various channels to contact the DED now include the call centre at 600545555; email: consumerrights@dubaided.gov.ae; Sallati programme, which is a smart phone application through which consumers can contact the sector and lodge their complaints. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/government/2014/August/government_August26.xml§ion=government

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OBG's 2015 report will chart Dubai's bid to build on economic recovery


posted on 12/08/2014

Dubai's two-fold campaign to step up preparations for the World Expo 2020 and increase the number of tourists visiting the emirate to 20million by the same year will be detailed in a forthcoming report to be produced by the global publishing firm, Oxford Business Group (OBG).
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has once again signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on research with OBG for the publisher's forthcoming report on the emirate. Under the MoU, Dubai Chamber will assist OBG's senior analysts with access to the firm's resources for a third consecutive year to compile The Report: Dubai 2015.
The Report: Dubai 2015 will chart the construction work under way at Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, which is already providing a welcome increase in capacity. The publication will also shine the spotlight on Dubai's efforts to encourage growth among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through incentives and initiatives, such as the setting up of business incubators.
Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, said that the broad-based nature of the emirate's recovery sits well with investors.
"While 2013 brought heightened activity on the trade front and across Dubai's tourism industry, we also witnessed positive performances in real estate, retail and manufacturing. I expect our partnership with OBG to look at what's next for these areas of business and how investors can benefit in light of the opportunities arising from the build-up to Expo 2020," added Mr Buamim.
OBG's Regional Director, Jana Treeck, said 2013 brought several indications that Dubai's recovery was gathering momentum, led by the upgrades awarded to U.A.E.
"The decision taken by the New York-based MSCI Global Equity Indices last June to elevate the U.A.E. from frontier to emerging market status was particularly significant and paved the way for other agencies to follow suit," she said. "Our new report will explore the significance of the upgrades, with a focus on the new investment channels which are now available to the emirates. I am delighted that the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry 's team will contribute to our analysis on this and other topics, which are of huge importance to them also." Renewed activity in projects previously hit by delays was another hallmark of Dubai's financial turnaround, said OBG's Country Director Basak Pasali.
"Investors will note with interest the new regulations governing the emirate's property market and the introduction of business-friendly measures, such as the Dubai Smart Government initiative," she added. "The strength of Dubai's recovery, which comes as the emirate's preparations for Expo 2020 begin in earnest, is evident; as I'm sure our research with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry will show." The Report: Dubai 2015 will be a vital guide to the many facets of the emirate, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. It will also contain a wide range of interviews with leading political, economic and business representatives, including the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdul Latif Al Zayani, Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang and the Director General of the Dubai Land Department Sultan Bin Mejren. The publication will be available in print or online. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics-emirates/1395268534565.html

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U.A.E. non-oil sector robust


posted on 06/08/2014

July data shows business activity, job creation continue to expand at solid rates
The U.A.E.'s non-oil private sector business activity continued to witness strong performances in output, new orders and new export orders in, results of a survey by Markit Economics and HSBC Bank showed on Tuesday.
Generally, growth across the indices remained marked despite easing slightly from the previous month. In addition, job creation, purchasing activity and stocks continued to expand at solid rates.
The July data signalled a further strong improvement in operating conditions in the U.A.E. non-oil producing private sector, despite easing slightly from the previous month. The headline index posted at 58.0 during the month, down just slightly from 58.2 in June. The reading was well above the long-run series average. It stayed close to a peak of 58.3 points hit in April, which was the highest level since the survey was launched in August 2009. A reading above 50 points in the survey of 400 private sector firms indicates expansion and below 50, contraction.
Both new orders and export orders rose strongly in July, led by greater demand levels, but the rate of expansion was weaker from June. As a result, firms continued to raise their employment levels in July and the rate of job creation remained solid.
Output growth dropped to 61.6 points in July from 63.3 points in the previous month, while new orders growth fell more moderately. Employment growth slowed slightly but stayed comfortably in positive territory. Input price inflation edged down to 55.0 points while output price growth increased slightly but was still negative at 49.5 points
Simon Williams, chief economist for Middle East and North Africa at HSBC, said the July data is another very strong number for a U.A.E. economy that is still in the sweet spot. "Prices are stable, growth is good and high readings for new orders show demand still building momentum.”
The survey shows that the non-oil private sector output in the U.A.E. continued to grow during July in line with the historical trend. "The pace of growth did not match that of June's record high, but remained sharp overall as firms ramped up output in order to meet burgeoning levels of new business.” In tandem with this growth in output, the level of new orders and new export orders also increased strongly during the month, the bank said.
"As with output, the rates of expansion were slightly weaker than in the previous month. Panellists generally commented on strong economic conditions as the main factor contributing to greater demand levels,” the survey report said.
In light of rising output and stronger demand, firms continued to increase their payroll numbers in July. In line with the other indices, growth slowed slightly. That said, the rate of job creation remained solid. Despite this increase, the level of work-in-hand at U.A.E. non-oil producing private sector firms accumulated at the sharpest rate in the series history as companies struggled to keep pace with the rapidly expanding level of new orders and sales volumes.
Despite strong market conditions, firms reduced their selling prices for the fourth month in succession in July as they sought to win customers in a competitive environment. Overall input prices faced by the U.A.E. non-oil private sector continued to increase. Purchase cost inflation eased marginally, while wage inflation quickened fractionally. Purchase prices remained the dominant factor in the level of overall costs, as overall input prices rose at a slightly slower pace. Panellists linked higher prices to increased raw material costs and strong demand. Meanwhile, suppliers' delivery times shortened at a weaker pace.
Purchasing managers continued to ramp up their buying activity during July, with firms commenting on expected growth in demand as the motivating factor. Pre-production inventories also expanded during the month, although both grew at slower rates than in June. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/August/uaebusiness_August52.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre launches Global Islamic Economy Summit 2013 Report


posted on 06/08/2014

The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, DIEDC, in partnership with Thomson Reuters and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has launched a report outlining key findings from the Global Islamic Economy Summit, GIES, 2013.
The GIES 2013 Review details the discussions of 25 sessions held at the summit and outlines key recommendations across the six pillars identified by DIEDC to articulate Dubai's vision of developing as the capital of Islamic economy. The pillars include Islamic finance, Halal food, Halal travel, Halal lifestyle, SME development and Islamic economy infrastructure.
Essa Kazim, Secretary-General of DIEDC, said, "GIES 2013 Review is a valuable repository of information on the effectiveness and efficiency of efforts by industry leaders to drive the global Islamic economy, and serves as a roadmap for its growth. We are proud to share with the world the milestones Dubai has achieved in positioning itself as the capital of the Islamic economy. We will continue to bridge ideas and aspirations to achieve better outcomes at the Islamic Economy Summit 2015." A consensus highlighted in the review is that global growth of the Islamic economy must revolve around a more integrated interplay of three Cs: Common standards, Convergence, and Cross-border trade, or risk inefficiency and slower growth if the status quo of fragmented markets and disparate efforts persist.
It goes on to say that development of the Islamic economy has to yield to common standards and governance structures, notwithstanding cross-country differences. This is imperative for the Halal sector where the multiplicity of certification and accreditation standards is a handicap for market players, which are predominantly SMEs struggling to grow and reach new markets.
For Islamic finance, common standards and contract templates for banking, capital market, Takaful, and asset management will facilitate higher levels of cross-border flows currently blocked by different Sharia interpretations and legal practices.
The review reflects repeated calls for 'passporting' regimes to be implemented to break down barriers to cross-border flows, especially for funds and the coordination of Takaful operators. At the same time, convergence of the Islamic finance and Halal sectors is recognised as being long overdue, with the Islamic finance industry being asked to dedicate more resources to the financial requirements of SMEs in the Halal sectors. These SMEs, in turn, need to upgrade their business savvy to appeal better to potential investors and financiers.
Common standards and convergence will lead to greater cross-border links, while at the same time, trade barriers must be reduced through preferential trade agreements, especially to increase intra-OIC trade.
GIES 2013 Review has detailed key recommendations for each of the six pillars of the Islamic economy. While speaking in different terms, Islamic finance and the Halal sectors recognise that what the ‘Halal' or ‘Sharia-compliant' labels represent will require transformation; this includes the management of Awqaf (endowments). In the Halal sector, there is a clear shift towards ‘Tayyab' (wholesome) that incorporates a concern for animal well-being, organic food, and end-to-end sustainable value chains. In Islamic finance, the focus is towards moving from ‘form' to ‘form and substance', where Islamic banks, Takaful operators and fund managers are recognising the need to take back the ‘ethical' label in order to gain a larger and mainstream market share.
The review also presents recommendations based on key insights from industry leaders for the fledgling sectors of Halal travel and lifestyle. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395268364973.html

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UAE officially joins membership of Development Assistance Committee of OECD


posted on 09/07/2014

The U.A.E. has officially joined as a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Co-operation and Chairperson of the National Committee for the Coordination of Foreign Aid, said that the directives of the wise leadership to upgrade the various mechanisms and channels of partnership with relevant international organisations of international and humanitarian development, have contributed to strengthening the leading position of the U.A.E. in the most important platforms for international institutional humanitarian work.
Sheikha Lubna explained that the U.A.E.'s accession to the Development Assistance Committee, DAC, confirms the U.A.E.'s influential role in the field of international development, which culminated in it achieving the first rank as the most generous donor state in the world for development assistance, compared to its national income, for last year, 2013.
She added that the directives of the wise leadership, represented by 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, and the intensive follow-up of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, along with sponsorship of the developmental and humanitarian role of the U.A.E. on the international arena, made it ranked in a significant position, gaining the recognition of various international humanitarian and development organisations.
The Committee is considered a global forum to put forward topics related to development cooperation and fight against poverty in developing countries, and the formulation of policies and strategies relating to foreign aid, whereby the U.A.E. joining the committee will contribute to strengthening its international status in terms of international development as a major donor, in addition to benefiting from the best practices of humanitarian and development work in the world. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more: http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395267542871.html

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International Monetary Fund upbeat on Dubai


posted on 08/07/2014

Sustained fiscal consolidation and brightening growth prospects have been strengthening Dubai's resilience to external shocks as the emirate gears up for an economic upswing averaging 5.6 per cent in the next six years, the International Monetary Fund said.
The robust growth for Dubai in the coming years will be driven by big real estate projects and huge spend in preparation to host the Expo 2020 world's fair, the Washington-based Fund said in a report on Sunday as its chief Christine Lagarde sounded more upbeat about the global economic activity by noting that it should strengthen in the second half of this year and accelerate in 2015.
The IMF also sounded very positive about Dubai's ability to finance its debts as a result of stronger growth and more conservative spending.
However, the IMF hinted that Dubai's growth would only be 3.5 per cent and would be vulnerable if the global economy came under stress again.
The IMF's forecast for Dubai appears brighter in comparison with the outlook presented by Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Thursday. The bank predicted that Dubai's economic recovery had become more entrenched, and the 2020 Expo bid provided the emirate critical upside potential with the gross domestic product on track to accelerate to five per cent in 2014-15. The bank argued that Dubai's recovery is helped by high oil prices, support from the external sector, accommodative monetary policy, the rebound in the real estate sector, steady yet uneven progress on government related entities' restructuring and a mild fiscal consolidation drive.
The IMF report forecasts that Dubai's government finances would swing to a small surplus of 0.5 per cent of GDP in 2014, turning positive for the first time since 2006, from an estimated deficit of 0.3 per cent in 2013. The IMF cautioned that Dubai needed to introduce further measures to shield its real estate market from an increase in speculative demand that could cloud the U.A.E.'s buoyant economic outlook.
The overall scenario is that the U.A.E. is likely to cut its fiscal spending to Dh317 billion in 2014 from a record Dh324 billion in 2013. The country's budget stance is still too expansionary to save enough wealth for future generations, the IMF said.
The Fund said Dubai's government debt is expected under a baseline scenario to fall gradually to 41.6 per cent of GDP in 2019 from 60.2 per cent last year, the IMF said in its report prepared after annual consultations with the U.A.E. authorities.
That would be well below a peak of 66 per cent in 2009, when a property market crash pushed Dubai to the brink of default.
However, despite the overall solid economic outlook for the U.A.E., the IMF identified "potential risks from rapidly rising residential real estate prices and, more broadly, from the economy's dependence on the global oil market, albeit some recent progress in economic diversification has been achieved. The U.A.E. does possess sizeable buffers should it need to absorb a shock, the IMF said, warning that Dubai's real estate sector, specifically, continues to be a source of concern. "The strengthening real estate cycle, particularly in the Dubai residential market, could attract increased speculative demand, creating the risk of unsustainable price dynamics and an eventual, potentially disruptive correction,” the IMF said.
The IMF cautioned that U.A.E.'s economic and financial policies should continue to aim at mitigating the risk of "a renewed cycle of exuberance”, and at strengthening the fiscal position. "Efforts in deleveraging and restructuring GREs should continue.”
The IMF noted that monetary policy in coming years is expected to tighten under the US dollar peg, helping the U.A.E. mitigate the risk of potentially large private credit growth, and could be supported by macro-prudential tightening should deposit and credit growth accelerate further.
On real estate, the Fund said further measures, such as setting higher fees for reselling properties within a short time, and restrictions on reselling off-plan properties, are warranted, particularly if rapid price increases continue. "These measures could be supported by targeted macro prudential tightening in case real estate lending picks up further.”
On the U.A.E.'s financial stability, the IMF observed that its banking system maintained significant capital and liquidity buffers. – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?section=uaebusiness&xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/July/uaebusiness_July67.xml

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Upcoming OBG report on Dubai to show emirate's economic turnaround


posted on 18/06/2014

Dubai s recovery story, which is set to receive a further boost as preparations for Expo 2020 gain momentum, will be charted in a forthcoming report to be produced by the global publishing firm, Oxford Business Group (OBG).
OBG's 'The Report: Dubai 2015', which features interviews with H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, U.A.E. Minister for Cabinet Affairs, and Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, U.A.E. Minister of Economy, will highlight the list of infrastructure and transport projects earmarked for development, many of which bode well for tourism and logistics expansion in the Emirate and across the GCC. The publication will also explore Dubai s efforts to further strengthen its position as a global Islamic hub, against a backdrop of rising demand for Shari ah-compliant financial services.
The Group's Regional Director, Jana Treeck, said 2014 was proving to be a pivotal year for Dubai, with its dramatic financial turnaround generating newfound investor confidence. "Expo 2020 is galvanising construction activity, while new regulations governing Dubai s real estate market have helped to improve investor sentiment," she said.
"Our new report will look in detail at the many exciting projects under way in the Emirate, including its airport developments, tramline initiative and metro extension, which will be instrumental in driving new growth at this exciting time." OBG s Country Director, Basak Pasali, said, "Even before the outcome of the Expo 2020 bid was known, Dubai s economy was already expanding across the sectors." – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Economy Minister emphasises U.A.E. - Italy economic relations growing


posted on 16/06/2014

MARCHE REGION, ITALY: U.A.E. Minister of Economy, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, has emphasised that the long-standing economic relations with Italy are growing fast as the two countries are working on opening new avenues to boost their cooperation, reciprocal investments and trade.
"Figures of trade between the two friendly countries continue to grow and Italy has become today U.A.E.'s second largest trade partner in Europe. Non-oil trade between the two countries in 2013 stood at US$6.05 billion, but we believe that in the future there will be big promising opportunities that will enable us to increase this figure. Recently, a number of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed by the two countries on major sectors and also on cultural, arts and media cooperation," said Minister Al Mansouri in his opening remarks at the Italy-U.A.E. Business Forum, organised in Marche Region, Italy, on Sunday under the theme "Our vision, our future - From Milano Expo 2015 to Dubai Expo 2020." U.A.E. is bolstering its competitiveness through building a knowledge-based economy and transforming itself into a regional research and development (R&D) hub, Minister Al Mansouri added noting also that the government encourages entrepreneurship in industrial, tourism and industrial sectors.
The minister also noted that more than 200 Italian companies are operating in U.A.E. which became the top destination in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for foreign direct investments thanks to the favourable relevant legislations, tax exemption and easy money transfer.
"In the past few years, Italian companies were awarded contracts worth more than US$12 billion in U.A.E.'s oil and gas, infrastructure and other sectors." He noted that the recent Italian government's removal of restrictions on entry visa for U.A.E. nationals has strengthened the relations between the two countries.
"U.A.E. has also proved to be an attractive destination for Italian tourists. Nine daily flights operated by Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline between U.A.E. and Italy. In Dubai alone, hotels received more than 123,000 Italian tourists in 2013," added Minister Al Mansouri. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Boost for Dubai’s Islamic industry


posted on 14/06/2014

The board of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, or DIEDC, held a meeting to review the initiatives of government departments towards achieving Dubai's status as the capital of Islamic economy, as envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai.
The meeting was in line with the directives of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.
Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Chairman of the Executive Office of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Board of the DIEDC and U.A.E. Minister for Cabinet Affairs, chaired the review meeting.
Addressing the board members, he said: "In accordance with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the cooperation we are witnessing among different sectors and the unique partnerships between public and private sector entities engaged in this landmark initiative are crucial to strengthening Dubai's status as a global capital of the Islamic economy.”
He added: "We have great expectations of a bright future for the Islamic economy. We need to commit to focusing our energies towards specific targets. The U.A.E. is steadily moving towards becoming a unique world model for different sectors of the Islamic economy.”
Abdullah Mohammed Al Awar, chief executive officer of the DIEDC, opened the board meeting with a detailed presentation on the centre's activities for the first half of 2014. The initiatives implemented by Dubai Municipality, the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED), Tecom Investments and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority towards supporting "Dubai: Capital of Islamic Economy” were also assessed.
Issa Kazim, secretary-general of the DIEDC, said: "The initiatives that have been set in place successfully enhance Dubai's credibility as a global financial centre, and attract fresh investment opportunities that will lead to shaping a prosperous Islamic economy.”
He added: "The DIEDC's strong strategic pillars that span different key economic sectors have given Dubai a headstart in its efforts to evolve into a global capital of the Islamic economy. Dubai has proven to be a perfect platform for business and financial institutions, thanks to the governing regulations and the global legislative infrastructure. The Islamic economy will no doubt contribute significantly to Dubai's financial performance and accelerate GDP growth in the years to come.”
The board approved the DED's proposal to establish a global centre for the governance of Islamic institutions and organisations. The DED also recommended forging global partnerships to position the emirate as a manufacturing and re-distribution hub for halal products.
Malek Al Malek, chief executive officer of Tecom Business Parks, proposed a "business incubator” for entrepreneurs and SMEs working in the digital Islamic economy domain. The DIEDC board, for its part, recommended constituting a Sharia committee to offer consultancy and accreditation of digital content. Tecom Investments also presented a plan to identify and develop a specific cluster for the establishment of halal industries within Dubai Industrial City.
Dr Mohammed Al Zarouni, vice-chairman and chief executive officer of the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, also presented a plan to establish a business incubator to support entrepreneurs and SMEs working in the digital Islamic economy space.
Economic Zones World, represented by Jafza and TechnoPark, proposed the development of halal products through creating an enabling environment for companies operating out of Jafza and TechnoPark. The issue of gaining accreditation for the food standards that are adopted in the country was also examined.
Additionally, the DIEDC board reviewed the latest developments in establishing a global accreditation centre for certifying slaughterhouses, research labs, and other institutions engaged in the halal industry.
The board concluded its meeting with a call for the activation of activities built around knowledge, education and research. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/June/uaebusiness_June187.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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Abu Dhabi economy grew 5.2% in 2013


posted on 04/06/2014

Abu Dhabi recorded 5.2 per cent growth in economy in 2013, as non-oil economy grew much stronger.
Earlier, the official estimates for economic growth was higher than what the statistic Centre of Abu Dhabi has finally confirmed on Tuesday. There was optimism in the capital that economy may grow by 7.4 per cent.
However, the economic growth in fixed prices grew to Dh672.7 billion in 2013 over Dh641.8 billion in 2012.
The SCAD said on Tuesday, a much slower rate is still higher than 4.8 percent achieved in 2012. The contribution of the hydrocarbon sector to Abu Dhabi's GDP slid to 51.4 per cent in 2013 from 52.4 percent in the previous year, SCAD said.
The lower contribution of oil and gas sector to the economy is a sign of encouragement as leaders and policy-makers in Abu Dhabi have drawn ambitious plans to achieve economic diversification, away from oil dominated economy, by venturing into knowledge-based economy, under Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.
The statistical agency has also confirmed that the added value for the oil and gas industry for 2012 was Dh352 billion in 2013 over Dh252 billion in 2012.
According to the Centre's estimates regarding petroleum GDP for 2013 was Dh363 billion and growing at 3.21 per cent.
The growth rate of the non-petroleum activities was 5.9 per cent in 2012 compared with 7.4 per cent, which is Dh343.7 billion, according to the initial data of 2013.
The Centre stated that the contribution of crude oil and natural gas to the GDP of 2012 was 52.4 per cent compared with 52.9 per cent in 2011, whereas the initial data of 2013 revealed 51.4 per cent.
The Centre indicated that there is an increase in the total contribution of the non-petroleum activities 48.6 per cent according to the estimations of 2013 over 47.6 per cent in 2012.
The details provided by Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre revealed that the construction and building sector has emerged as the second biggest industry in Abu Dhabi whose contribution to the GDP was 12.1 per cent in 2013.
However, the contribution of the financial sector grew to 5.9 per cent in 2013 compared with 4.9 per cent in 2012, showing Abu Dhabi's financial prowess.
The estimates for 2013 revealed that the contribution of the real-estate sector to the GDP was 5.1 per cent compared with 4.7 per cent in 2012, showing growth in the sector which has witnessed local as well as foreign investment into the sector which saw a slower growth after economic crisis of 2008.
The information and telecommunications sector has jumped from -2.1 per cent in 2012 to 13.2 per cent in 2013, showing a tremendous growth. – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/June/uaebusiness_June39.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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UAE participates in New York Forum Africa in Gabon


posted on 25/05/2014

Libreville, Gabon: The UAE is taking part in the New York Forum Africa (NYFA 2014) being held in Gabon's capital, Libreville, from 23-25 May.
UAE Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative at the African Union Dr. Yousuf Isa Al Sabri is leading the UAE's delegation to the third NYFA.
The UAE's participation springs out of its policy for building economic ties and partnerships with Africa.
The Forum, which is in its third edition, is being hosted by Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba and attended by several African and world leaders to discuss Africa's transformation in all its facets.
Held under the theme 'Transformation of a Continent', the world's leading pan-African business summit focuses on unlocking the competitiveness of the African economy through building value chains around the transformation of the continent's natural resources, including its human capital.
The inaugural New York Forum Africa in 2012 was about recognising Africa's economic achievements and understanding the opportunities for business and investors. The New York Forum Africa 2013 focused on the hard work needed to make the opportunities a reality, with an emphasis on the six imperatives for African economies to grow (independence, investment, incubation, innovation, infrastructure and inspiration), where participants worked together to create an action plan, and to sign new partnerships between the public and private sector.
Founded in 2010 by Richard Attias, the New York Forum is a New York-based organisation that brings together top political and business leaders from around the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Hamed bin Zayed attends St. Petersburg International Economic


posted on 24/05/2014

St. Petersburg: H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF2014) in St. Petersburg, Russia.
H.H. Sheikh Hamed joined heads of state, business leaders, CEOs, economic experts and more than 5000 participants from 30 countries at the forum which concludes on 24th May.
The 2014 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is being organised between 22nd-24th May to discuss issues relating to global economy and the Russian economy.
During his participation in the forum, H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed met with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, a number of senior Russian officials, heads of states, CEOs of international corporations involved in investment and development.
During the meetings, there were friendly exchanges on a number of matters of common interest, and on international efforts to establish a common ground for all countries in order to enable them to ensure continuous development, the respect for mutual interests, confidence building as well as cooperation relations and the exchange of expertise between all parties involved in the process of development.
During the meetings, H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed affirmed that U.A.E. has established its global position in terms of investment and economy through a favourite economic environment and flexible and transparent legislations.
He noted that U.A.E. looks forward to wider cooperation with other countries and global corporations on partnerships, and welcomes the interest of these corporations in expanding their presence in U.A.E. markets.
The good relations founded on mutual respect and interests between U.A.E. and the rest of the world have significantly contributed to confidence building and the interest of all other countries and global investors in having presence in U.A.E. for establishing giant and successful economic joint ventures and investment programmes in partnership with national corporations, explained H.H. Sheikh Hamed.
This success, H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed went on to say, was possible thanks to U.A.E's economic potential and economic policies based on openness, diversification, flexibility, and structural, legislative and logistic incentives which have boosted the smooth flow of investments.
H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed stressed on the need for maximum efforts by countries and economic organisations to bolster the opportunities for economic and trade cooperation between countries, create significant opportunities for joint investments and provide economic information and indices which make it easier for financial capital to make appropriate and successful decisions that serve global economic growth.
The highlight of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2014 was the Global CEO Summit during which included a session under the theme 'Challenges And Solutions: Addressing Obstacles To Business-Driven Growth', where chief executives from the world's leading economies discussed key topics on the global agenda, including issues relating to international trade, investment and infrastructure, financial regulation, transparency and quality management practices, social investment and employment.
Another session of the Global CEO Summit was under the theme 'Translating Challenges Into Opportunities: Acting Together', where participants discussed the systemic issues related to improving the business environment and investment climate, de-off-shorising the Russian economy, and Russia's financial system development in line with the priorities of the global economic agenda. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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S&P affirms Sharjah’s credit rating on per capita growth


posted on 24/05/2014

The affirmation primarily reflects the solid growth in Sharjah's GDP per capita. "We also factor in the advantages of membership in the UAE, which include low external risks for Sharjah. We believe that, under certain circumstances, Sharjah would receive extraordinary financial support from the UAE if needed. We do not currently anticipate that such a need will arise, however,” S&P said in a statement.
Sharjah is the third-largest member of the UAE in terms of population, GDP, and geographic area. It has approximately 10 per cent of the UAE's total population and accounted for about five per cent of the UAE's GDP for 2013, according to S&P.
"The fundamentals of the real economy are strong... supported by a relatively diverse production base. The four largest sectors are real estate and business services [about 20 per cent]; manufacturing [16 per cent]; mining, quarrying, and energy [13 per cent]; and wholesale and retail trade [12 per cent]. We estimate GDP per capita at $25,000 in 2013. We estimate real economic growth at about five per cent this year, in line with trends in neighbouring emirates. Our estimate for real per capita GDP growth, which is a weighted average for the period 2008-17, stands at four per cent. This is relatively high compared with peers with similar wealth.”
"The Sharjah government's budget is small, largely because the federal budget covers a large share of public services. We estimate that Sharjah government expenditures will equate to eight per cent of GDP in 2014. The government's revenue base is similarly small — at about six per cent of GDP — but relatively diverse, in our view.”
"In our opinion, Sharjah's general government deficit will likely widen to more than two per cent of GDP in 2014, from 1.3 per cent in 2013, as capital expenditures expand. We think the government will post modest deficits of less than two per cent of GDP during 2014-17. In our baseline scenario, we expect that government borrowing will be limited to that required for capital spending, and that net government debt will average seven per cent of GDP over 2014-17. Nevertheless, due to the small size of the overall budget, government interest expenditures are high relative to government revenues. We think this ratio will average about 12 per cent in 2014-2017, absent revenue growth better than we currently expect.”
"The stable outlook balances our view that Sharjah's relatively high GDP per capita will benefit from the UAE's robust growth against the Sharjah government's rising interest burden. We expect the UAE's system of fiscal federalism to continue supporting Sharjah and covering its basic services.” – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/uaebusiness/2014/May/uaebusiness_May359.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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UAE calls Arab and Central Asian states to play a proactive role in reshaping the global economic landscape


posted on 14/05/2014

Riyadh: Amid the backdrop of current world economic changes and challenges that could upset the balance of world economic powers, the UAE yesterday called on Arab and Central Asian states and Azerbaijan to play a proactive role in reshaping the global economic landscape and re-directing the economic gravity and weight towards the South.
Addressing the First Forum on Economy and Cooperation of Arab Countries with the Central Asian States and the Republic of Azerbaijan hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, stressed the need for expanding the scope of joint cooperation between these countries in order to form a vibrant, effective economic alliance with the world order.
The minister, who chaired the UAE delegation to the forum, said these states need creative ideas to boost economic cooperation, and increase inter-state trade and joint investment. According to him, the private sector role should be maximised as a strategic partner and key player in turning economic cooperation policies into tangible reality through adoption of a clear action plan.
'The two regions have tremendous potential and resources, promising investment opportunities and strategic geographic location. They also need to share expertise in areas of trade, economy, investment and to leverage economic cooperation in key sectors like industry, agriculture, food, SMEs and others in order to address regional and international economic challenges,' Al Mansouri added.
'The First Forum can lay the foundation for a new chapter of ties between the two regions in all fields, particularly in economic, trade and investment areas for serving interests of peoples of the two regions. The Forum provides a fitting opportunity to establish a strong relationship, extend bridges of constructive cooperation between all stakeholders, and set principles and agenda for future meaningful dialogue between the two regions which can create together an effective economic giant in the international landscape,' Al Mansouri noted.
Held under the theme ' Prospects of Investment and Trade Exchange, the forum attracted ministers of foreign affairs, finance, economy, investment from 27 states and seven major financial and investment institutions in the Arab World, Central Asia and Azerbaijan to explore key common agenda in political, economic, social, cultural and academic fields.
Delegates called for finding a peaceful solution to the issue of the three UAE islands: Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa, occupied by Iran.
Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, inaugurated yesterday the activities of the Forum, stressing that the meeting is of a particular importance since it is convened within the activity and significant development of Arab relations with other countries and regional groups throughout our world in order to strengthen and develop these relations, including relations of the Arab world with the Central Asian Republics and Azerbaijan.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that 'when we meet today, we have a very clear and specific goal we have to achieve by activating all available means to revitalise our relations, breathing life into our channels of communication and activating cooperation mechanisms emanating from our common historical ties and to establish flourishing future relations.
Prince Saud Al-Faisal further said that 'we all have to develop a road map to ensure steady growth to enhance communication and cultural convergence between our countries by holding exhibitions, conventions, common cultural forums and intensify cooperation between universities and research centres as well as to provide opportunity for students and young people to get acquainted and exchange visions and ideas and awaken their sense of what connects our culture of historical legacy and the common interests. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum: Dubai economy robust, signs are reassuring


posted on 07/05/2014

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, and Chairman of Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee, yesterday affirmed that the measures, regulations and standards introduced by the government for property finance, on the local and the federal level, can protect the market against any volatilities, crises or bubbles in the property market.
"The protection of property market is guaranteed by a number of laws and measures and the economy of Dubai is robust and the signs are reassuring and very good," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed at a press conference in Dubai on the fringe of the Arab Travel Market in Dubai.
"The real growth of Dubai economy in 2014 is no less than 4 per cent in light of the current indications, which is a very good rate in the general economic situation. Results announced by firms. The growth of transactions at Dubai Financial Market, the growth of property market, tourism and air traffic reflect this fact." Sheikh Ahmed affirmed that as a commitment by its government, Dubai will repay all its obligations including all its debt on schedule.
Growth in Dubai economy varies from one sector to another and will exceed four per cent in some sectors as more firms, such as Nakheel, repay their obligations and debts ahead of schedule while some firms are re-launching planned projects.
Property market is governed by supply and demand, Sheikh Ahmed said ruling out that the government will resort to imposing fees or taxes to fund their obligations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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International Monetary Fund may raise UAE growth estimate


posted on 07/05/2014

Director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia department, said the UAE economy is benefiting from its role as one of the safe havens in the region and may record higher growth in 2014.
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday said it may improve its economic outlook for the UAE this year due to better growth prospects ahead.
Masood Ahmed, director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia department, said the UAE economy is benefiting from its role as one of the safe havens in the region and may record higher growth in 2014. The fund forecasts a 4.4 per cent growth for the emirate this year.
"The oil-exporting nations including the UAE, Yemen and Algeria may see another year of robust economic activity driven by growth in non-oil sectors,” Ahmed said during a presentation to launch the regional economic outlook update for the Middle East and North Africa here on Tuesday.
He said GCC countries will drive the growth in the region due to broader activity in non-oil sectors. However, he warned that geopolitical tensions and the Russia-Ukraine crisis may impact the growth in the region.
"If there is sharp slowdown in Russia due to the increasing tension with Ukraine and possible economic sanctions, it will have a negative impact in the region. We have already reduced the growth prospects for Russia from 1.3 per cent to zero,” he said.
About the US Federal Reserve's tapering, he said it will not impact the GCC due to limited borrowing needs of the region.
Earlier, delivering his opening address, Dubai Economic Council secretary-general Hani Al Hamli said the Middle East offers strategic importance to the world economy. He attributed rich tributes to His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for his policy initiatives on the economic front.
"The government initiatives on the Islamic economy, World Expo 2020 and Smart Government, among others, will put Dubai in better position for higher growth in years to come,” he said.
Dubai property
Ahmed hailed the various government initiatives to curb an abnormal hike in Dubai property prices and said authorities should consider stricter measures to discourage real estate speculation. "I think it is time to consider some stronger measures to check flipping and speculation in real estate sector,” he said.
Referring to Hong Kong and Singapore, which imposed 15 per cent and 30 per cent taxes, respectively, on property sales made within a year of purchase, the IMF director said the authorities in Dubai should adopt similar strict measures to check speculative transactions. "There is evidence that property prices in the emirate have been rising at a very rapid pace over the past 18 months,” he said.
Mohamed Lahouel, chief economist of Dubai's Department of Economic Development, at a panel discussion also echoed the same views and said that property prices are becoming "unrealistic”.
"It's important for Dubai to worry about the impact of speculative property transactions, and not aim for the maximum GDP growth rate,” he said.
Abdulla Hashim, senior vice-president of Digital Services at etisalat, who was also present at the event, said Dubai has developed an excellent infrastructure over a period of time and there is need to sustain this development for a longer period of time by stabilising the GDP growth rate.
Deutsche Bank chief executive for the Middle East and North Africa Askok Aram, who was also part of the panel, said global markets are positive on the Gulf region and it is evident in recent bonds launch activity including the 15-year bond issued by the Government of Dubai.
"Investors across the globe have a strong view towards the GCC region due to massive infrastructure spending and growth prospects. Investors from US, Europe, Japan, China and Korea are trying to develop close contacts in the GCC region.”
He said there is a shift in economic activity from West to East as 70 per cent of GCC oil is going to Asian powerhouses — China, Japan, Korea and India. "Most of the ships are moving towards the east as the Asia and Gulf region is engaged in close cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.” – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/uaebusiness/2014/May/uaebusiness_May109.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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Fourth UAE-Korea Joint Economic Committee concludes two-day meeting


posted on 01/05/2014

Seoul: The fourth UAE-Korea Joint Economic Committee yesterday concluded its fourth meeting in which the two sides sought to further strengthen trade and bilateral relations between the two countries.
UAE high-level trade delegation to the meeting was led by the Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy. The Korean delegation was led by Hyun Oh-seok, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance. Senior representatives of private and public institutions and corporations from the two countries participated in the discussions.
During the fourth Economic Joint Committee meeting, both sides reviewed the implementation of the activities identified at the previous meeting. The two parties exchanged views on ways to enhance cooperation in diverse fields including industry, renewable energy, construction, infrastructure, healthcare and medical services, science and technology, small and medium enterprises, innovation, investment, environment, agriculture, education, civil aviation, tourism, financial services, insurance, Islamic economics and education.
In his keynote speech at the meeting, Al Mansouri said, "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, are keenly interested in developing the country's external relations especially with allies and developed countries. Our interest in consolidating relations with South Korea, a developed nation with advanced expertise in modern technology, stems from our leadership's wise vision. We are confident that investing in this synergy will contribute to achieving the goals of comprehensive and sustainable development in the UAE" Minister Al Mansouri added, "The relationship between the UAE and South Korea is unique and goes back to more than 30 years. Today, our nations have established a strategic partnership, the success of which is validated by numbers. By the end of 2012, the volume of trade exchanged between the two countries reached US$7.76 billion, exceeding US$3.432 billion, which was made in 2010. Moreover, according to statistics released in 2012, 102 Korean businesses, 386 trading agencies and 1,056 brands are currently registered with the Ministry of Economy.
"On the tourism and immigration front, the number of travellers between the UAE and Korea has doubled from 50,000 in 2008 to 100,000 in 2012. The number of Korean residents and visitors to the UAE has witnessed a 200 per cent growth in the span of four years whereas the number of Emirati tourists to Korea increased by 18 per cent in 2012." Al Mansouri called on Koreans to invest in the UAE in the fields where they are most innovative, namely industry and technology. He stressed that the UAE holds a promising future for the manufacturing and technology sector driven by the country's leadership, which seeks to ensure the contribution of those two sectors to the country's GDP.
The Minister of Economy also invited the Korean government and private sector leaders to benefit from EXPO 2020, which is set to offer a global exposure for participating companies. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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UAE targets world’s top 10 in GDP per capita income, Al Tayer says


posted on 30/04/2014

The UAE has set its sights on increasing its gross national income per capita by 65 per cent by 2021, placing the country among the world's top ten economies per capita income, Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, told the Federal National Council on Tuesday.
Al Tayer was responding to a question tabled by Ali Eisa Al Nuaimi, a member from Ajman, on the government's steps to achieve that target.
The minister said the UAE, which aims to become the economic, tourist and trade gateway for more than two billion people, targets the attainment of one of the world's highest per capita income.
"The 10th place required an increase of 49 per cent on the UAE's per capita income, which does not live up to our ambitions. The fifth ranking was very difficult because it requires 97 per cent hike, but the 8th place was our choice as it requires 65 per cent increase on the country's income per capita,” Al Tayer said.
Dr Amani Al Anshasi, assistant professor of economics at UAE University, told Gulf News that a 65 per cent GDP growth over the next seven years may seem ambitious but the UAE can achieve it, considering the experiences of other countries such as China, India and Singapore.
"China, for instance, has doubled its GDP in 10 years and the UAE can achieve the same goal, providing that it further diversifies its economy,” Dr Al Anshasi said.
Dr Al Anshasi added while oil has fuelled much of the UAE's social and economic development in the last half-century, it is important to ensure that other areas of economic activity are also given every chance to succeed.
The minister said the UAE Government has set out a strategy to expand the contribution of the non-oil sector to the GDP and boost the creation of high-quality jobs in export-oriented, knowledge-based sectors.
"The UAE's GDP is expected to grow to nearly Dh1.5 trillion dirhams per year from just Dh180 billion in 1997. The country's GDP is estimated to grow to more than Dh1.7 trillion in 2018,” Al Tayer said.
Launching the UAE National Agenda for the next seven years, viewed as an extension of the UAE Vision 2021, earlier this year, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said over the next seven years, the country is set to not only increase the gross national income per capita by 65 per cent, but also to make the UAE the safest place in the world, in addition to achieving a four-minute response time for all emergency calls.
Smart government
Another objective is to make the UAE the top country in smartphone governmental services.
As the UAE proceeds with its diversification strategy, Sultan Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, recently said he expected that the knowledge economy will contribute 5 per cent of the GDP by 2021.
Al Nuaimi said the UAE — one of the happiest places, having topped the Arab world rankings and coming in at 14th place globally in the World Happiness Report 2013 — is right on target for the 2021 Vision and the next seven years are a golden chance for the country to diversify its economy and increase its GDP very rapidly.
Al Nuaimi stressed he was very optimistic about achieving the national agenda, as every citizen will work together as one team to ensure that the agenda is achieved. – Gulf News – Read more: http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/government/uae-targets-world-s-top-10-in-gdp-per-capita-income-al-tayer-says-1.1326017

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Business Cycle Index 2013 revealed strong performance of sectors with expectations of high growth rates


posted on 20/04/2014

The economic performance in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi improved significantly in 2013, driven particularly by the growth and development of real estate, tourism and trade sectors, amid expectations of continued stimulants of growth, backed by decision makers in the Government of Abu Dhabi.
The results of the business cycle index for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2013, issued by the Studies Directorate of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, showed that all sectors indicators reflected the strong performance of the economy of Abu Dhabi in 2013, especially during the second half of the year. Individuals, consumers, businessmen and industrialists praised the noticeable improvement in the economic performance of the emirate.
The results showed the significant improvement which streamed the real estate sector and the revival in demand for real estate units. The commercial activity, during the second half of the year witnessed rising demand for various fast moving and durable consumer goods.
The tourism sector recovered in the same period, especially during the month of December, when commercial licenses momentum was in place. The number of commercial and professional licenses in 2013 increased considerably compared to 2012.
The performance of the business community in general, improved as a result of Abu Dhabi government decision to inject huge funds in infrastructure and completion of projects that stumbled during the previous years, in the wake of the global financial crisis.
A quick review of most important economic developments revealed that the Emirate's real estate sector had performed well in 2013, with an increase in real estate buying and selling transaction. Selling prices soared in various regions of Abu Dhabi ranging between (14% and 26%), compared to 2012, driven by the positive growth experienced by the sector in the Emirate since the beginning of the year; and by the improvement in rental rates in Dubai, according to Asteco Abu Dhabi Q3 2013 report on the performance of the real estate sector in Abu Dhabi The data issued by Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority (ADTCA), indicated that the performance of the tourism sector had improve in the 10 first months of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. Hotel facilities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi registered record results during the second half of the year.
The total number of hotel guests during the period (January-March 2013) reached (2,270,000 persons) up 16% compared to the same period in 2012; while the number of hotel nights increased by 26% to approximately (7,077,789 hotel nights). Boarding rooms rose by 21% to reach around (5,050,936) and average stay increased to (3.12 days) rising by 9%.
This improvement resulted from conducting certain events which included the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, the Pharma Bio World 2013 Abu Dhabi, the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2013, in addition to the efforts to promote tourism in the Western Region in particular; and the large turnout observed by tourist destinations during holidays, especially from GCC countries, noting that Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait came on top of 20 external guests sources.
This good performance was attributed also to the increase in business meetings, exhibitions, conferences, and many tourist programs that sought to host 2.5 million guests by the end of 2013.
Comparing the period (January - March) 2013 to same period in 2012, revealed that hotel facilities revenue increased by 19%, reaching around Dh 2.7 billion. Revenues of hotel rooms and food and beverage, went up by 22% and 18%, respectively; while hotel occupancy rate increased by 9% to mark 69%, compared to 64% during the first 10 months of 2012.
The banking sector showed strong recovery in 2013, which reflected positively on the growth of banks profits. According to the expectations of the Emirates Banks Association, commercial banks operating in the country will expectedly achieve a growth of 20% in net profits for the year 2013, after having registered a net profit of Dh13.6 billion in the first half of 2013.
All reports, confirmed that local banks were able to surpass the global and regional turmoil, and the repercussions of the global financial crisis, to become the largest banking sector in the Middle East and North Africa.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is keen to support the industrial at the level of geographic regions, especially the in Western Region; and strengthen the role of the sector to increase its contribution to GDP. Consequently, the period (June-September 2013) saw an improvement in the performance of industrial activities, and witnessed more investment flows in some large industrial projects.
The Statistics Centre- Abu Dhabi (SCAD) indicated that the industrial sector embraced 94 new industrial facilities after completing construction during the first half of 2013. Statistics showed that Abu Dhabi city attracted the largest number of those projects by capturing 67 of the new firms during the first half of the year. Al Ain attracted 18 manufacturing facilities which completed their construction works during the same period, while the Western Region hosted 9 new productive facilities only.
As for the trade sector, the value of non-oil exports across the outlets of Abu Dhabi in September 2013 amounted to Dh 10,537 million, while imports reached Dh 8,206 million. Non-oil exports stood at Dh1089 million and re-exports totalled Dh1241 million, whereas with value of external trade in September 2013 increased by 7.2% compared to August 2013.
With regard to licenses issued by Abu Dhabi Business Centre of the Department of Economic Development to new members, the quarterly sub index showed that the number of new licenses issued in 2013 was 8,657 licenses, higher by 12.6% compared to 7,689 licenses issued in 2012.
The index showed an increase in the quarterly rates of change in 2013; especially during the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the third quarter of the same year. The rate of change in the third quarter of 2013, was also higher than the second quarter of the same year, registering (14.3%) and (-4.1%), respectively.
Statistics indicated that trading and the crafts activities captured more licenses compared to other activities. The city of Abu Dhabi acquired the largest number of new licenses by 4,958 licenses in 2013, compared to 5,348 licenses in 2012 lower by 7.3%, followed by the city of Al Ain, with 1,865 new licenses in 2013 compared to 1,626 licenses in 2012 up 14.7%. The Western Region experienced a drop in the number of new licenses by 9.9% over the same period.
The boom in licensing movement during that period, was due mainly to the high optimism of investors and businessmen about the policies of expansionary spending announced by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi at the end of 2012 and early 2013, and the improvement in the pace of the economy's performance during the first half of 2013; in addition to the government policies and actions aimed at enhancing the business environment, encouraging investment, exempting companies from waste fees in the first year of activity and developing systems in place to facilitate and ease procedures required for practicing activities in general.
The same period witnessed cancellation of licenses by some companies. Activities with the highest number of cancelled licenses were the commercial enterprises, followed by crafts and professional establishments.
Regarding the Abu Dhabi Murban crude oil prices sub-indicator, Murban crude price dropped during the months of October and November 2013 reaching US$112.45 /barrel and US$112.2/barrel respectively, which were higher compared to the period (March-August 2013).
Oil prices were affected by the trends of the world oil market, amid rising global demand for oil compared to 2012, coupled with the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, and increasing speculations.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) revised up its estimates for global oil demand growth by 145,000 bpd to 1.2 million bpd for 2013 and by 110,000 bpd to 1.2 million bpd for 2014.
Brent crude rose above US$ 110 a barrel as a result of the increased consumption of China, as well as the continued disruption of oil supplies from Libya. Manufacturing in China grew to its highest level in 18 months since November 2013, as a result of the increased domestic demand.
The sub index of the individual financial conditions, climbed up 9 points in 2013 compared to 2012, registering (131) and (122) points on average respectively.
The results reflected the optimism of individuals from different nationalities, about current and future economic conditions in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as well as the availability of real job opportunities, salary increases and improved living conditions. Respondents' views and answers were positive for 2013, as they expressed more optimism about jobs opportunities and the appropriate time for purchasing durable consumer goods.
The findings of the sub index for the current situation of economic establishments, revealed high level of optimism among economic establishments operating in all activities (services, industrial, construction and trade) in general; and services and construction activities in particular.
This came naturally, in view of the business results achieved by various economic sectors during the quarterly periods of the year, particularly the banking and real estate sectors; in addition to the revival of the tourism sector, which resulted in spurring demand in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The indicator showed low levels of optimism among small enterprises, compared to large establishment due to a series of challenges, most importantly the financing issues, which were fraught with conditions, considered by some small enterprises as hampering access to investment. This is a normal condition, since big companies are more able to withstand shocks than the smaller ones.
As for Abu Dhabi Securities Market Index (ADSMI), the recovery continued and market performance improved, especially in view of the profits made by listed companies and banks during the third quarter of 2013.
Preliminary data indicated the companies listed on ADX reaped high profits especially banks and real estate establishments. For example Aldar Properties net profits during the third quarter of 2013, rose by 98% to Dh 407.5 million compared to the same period in 2012; which contributed significantly to the ADX closing at the end of 31 December 2013 at (4290.30) points compared to (2630.86) points at the end of 2012.
It is expected that the revival of shares movement in Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange will continue through 2014, particularly in view of the profits that are expected to accrue to the companies listed on ADX, in addition to the rising rents, improvement of the real estate market in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as well as the abundant liquidity, which will contribute significantly to the revival of buying and selling transaction. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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UAE participates in Hannover Messe 2014


posted on 06/04/2014

UAE is participating in Hannover Messe 2014, the world's leading trade fair for industrial technology, which will open on Monday in the German city of Hannover.
More than 6,000 exhibitors from all parts of the world will take part in the five-day exhibition, which is expected to be visited by more than 200,000 people. The lead theme and official motto for Hannover Messe 2014 is "Integrated Industry - NEXT STEPS".
The UAE participation in this exhibition is led by the Ministry of Economy and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and will feature 35 participating entities, including 19 industries.
This big participation aims at focusing on integration in all industrial sectors and availing of machines, industrial equipment, work pieces and system components, which will soon be able to exchange data in real time, and boost efficiency, safety and resource sustainability in production and logistics; the technological development which experts have dubbed the fourth industrial revolution.
Participants in Hannover Messe 2014, besides the Ministry of the Economy and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, include the Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (ZonesCorp) which embraces 18 factories within its free zone, in addition to Kizad, Etihad Rail, Abu Dhabi Chamber, ADNOC Distribution, SENAAT General Holding Corporation, Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council, Ras Al Khaimah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ras Al Khaimah Free zone, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dubai Silicon Oasis and Emirates Aluminium (Emal).
Hamad Abdullah Al Mass, Executive Director of International Economic Relations Sector, at Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development who is lead the UAE delegation said that the UAE participation comes at a time when the industrial sector in UAE and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in particular, is experiencing a quantum leap in development and performance, and is registering remarkable growth.
The latest data and statistics confirmed the continued growth of the industrial sector, which contributed to UAE GDP by (13.4 per cent) at the end of 2012.
Al Mass said that Hannover Messe 2014 provides a valuable opportunity for UAE to benefit from industrial sophisticated technologies, and keep pace with advanced participating industries, especially the German technical and technological solutions which could contribute to the promotion and development of the industrial sector which is one of the most important strategic non-oil sectors in UAE.
He stressed that the industrial strategy 2011-2015 aims at building a dynamic and competitive industrial sector based on sophisticated methodologies and systems, contributing to development, strengthening competitiveness, upgrading the performance of the industrial sector and achieving sustainable development.
He explained that the Industrial Development Bureau of the Department of Economic Development, had identified 13 industrial sectors of focus in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, following the recommendations of the strategic plan for the Emirate; and reviewed plans of stakeholders in the industrial sector, with a view to identifying possible targets and industrial sectors that will contribute to achieving set economic goals, according to the determinants and pillars of Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.
He pointed out that the targeted industrial sectors in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi include building materials, petrochemicals, engineered metal, iron and steel, plastic, aluminum, food industries, renewable energy, oil and gas, semiconductors, packaging industry, aviation and transportation equipment.
According to the report issued by the Studies Directorate on the occasion of the participation of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development in the Hannover Messe 2014, UAE is still the first trading partner of Germany in the Arab region in general, and the GCC countries in particular.
The National Bureau of statistics revealed that non-oil trade between UAE and Germany increased by 4.4% during the period (2007-2011), to mark Dh 32 billion in 2011; whereas non-oil trade between the two countries exceeded Dh 14 billion in the first six months of 2012.
Germany was ranked 10th in terms of the relative importance of UAE's foreign trade with the world during the same period. According the Ministry of Economy, UAE is Germany's first trade partner in the Gulf region. Total trade between the two countries grew by 125% between 2004 and 2012, as it amounted to ?10.5 billion (Dh 52.5 billion) at the end of 2012.
In terms exports to UAE, Germany was ranked 6th as one of the biggest exporters to the UAE during the first six months of 2012, as UAE imports from Germany reached Dh 13.4 billion. However, despite the increase in UAE exports to Germany by approximately 31% in 2011 compared to 2010, imports increased only by 3.3% during the same year, leading to a balance of trade deficit of Dh 29.1 billion.
The data showed that non-oil foreign trade of Abu Dhabi with Germany increased by 19.27% in 2013 compared to 2012. However; despite this improvement, non-oil trade between Abu Dhabi and Germany is still low compared to the total volume of non-oil foreign trade of UAE with Germany over the period (2010-2013).
Non-oil exports of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to Germany did not constitute a significant proportion of total non-oil trade between the two sides, since it amounted to Dh 371.96 million, at the end of March 2013; while Abu Dhabi imports from Germany amounted to Dh 6.42 billion, to result in a trade deficit of Dh 5.68 billion with Germany during the same period in 2013.
Germany and UAE have strong trade and investment ties, especially that the number of German firms operating in the UAE, is estimated at 1,000 companies, most of which are based in free zones, particularly Jebel Ali free zone, Dubai Airport free zone and Ras Al Khaimah Emirate free zone.
The main activities practised by these companies include sales, distribution, marketing and services related to products and machines manufactured by companies in Germany.
The majority of these companies use their locations in UAE as regional centers for serving the Gulf region. Areas focused on by both countries include scientific research, energy and water desalination.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi in particular owns shares in major investments and companies in Germany, such as International Plumbing Inc. in Dresden and Thuringia PV Cells.
Abu Dhabi's Future Energy Company "Masdar" which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of "Mubadala Development Company", entered into joint investments with German companies specialised in fields of renewable energy.
This resulted in the launching of several initiatives, such as the "Masdar" and Deutsche Bank Clean Tech Fund, which was launched with a view to creating a variety of investment partnerships and a stock portfolio, involving a number of top international companies specialised in clean and renewable energy technologies. The strategic partnership agreement between "Bayer Material Science AG", and "Masdar" for the production of environment friendly construction materials, is a model for efficient energy utilisation and cooperation to achieve sustainable development.
According to the report, Germany maintains a dynamic investment environment in Germany, and is well reputed as one of the best investment havens in the world.
Germany came in the first place among European countries, and was ranked fifth worldwide in terms of the "most attractive business locations" category. Several factors helped Germany to acquire this rank; most notably its strategic geographic location in Central Europe, having borders with nine European countries and the outstanding infrastructure.
Germany is considered as Europe's economic engine, and it comprises a significant local market, which allows easy access to the growing markets in the European Union.
German markets are open to investors to invest in all industrial sector activities, which made the country an attractive and secure location for investments. More than 55,000 foreign companies operate in Germany, and provide jobs for nearly three million people. During the period 2003-2010, FDI markets registered 3925 investment projects in 2929 foreign companies, which contributed to placing Germany in the fourth rank internationally in terms of attracting foreign direct investment projects in 2010. This emphasised the attractiveness of Germany as a location for international business.
Germany also features several advantages including low labor cost, qualified workforce, reduced tax levels, the state's support for research and development, in addition to the safe environment for investment, furthered by the enforcement and application of the property protection laws; and the protection of new technical inventions.
The German economy is diversified, where foreign companies invest in 39 different sectors. In 2011 investment projects in information and communications technology and software industry, captured 18 per cent, of total new investment projects, while business and financial services, automobile machinery and industrial equipment accounted for 15 per cent of total new enterprises.
Among the most important countries which invested in Germany in 2011 were the United States by 27 per cent, United Kingdom 9 per cent and Switzerland by 7 per cent of total investments.
UAE and Germany signed many agreements, including the agreement between the UAE and the German Ministries of Health, with the aim of strengthening cooperation and coordination between the two sides in various fields of human health, to facilitate the exchange of experiences and related projects and further cooperation in planning and hospitals management.
Other important agreements include the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments, cooperation in the field of military technologies and development of industrial technology, as well as the avoidance of double taxation.
Many memorandum of understanding boost cooperation between the two countries, such as the MoU between the UAE Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of Economics and Technology in the Federal Republic of Germany, signed in 2010, to strengthen cooperation in the field of small and medium-sized enterprises; in addition to the memorandum of understanding between the UAE University and the Technical University of Berlin, which aims at promoting education and cooperation in research between the two countries.
Relations are also furthered by the memorandum of understanding between the UAE National Transport Authority and the Federal Republic of Germany, to strengthen cooperation and exchange experience in the transportation, railways sector, transportation security and technology systems. The memorandum of understanding between the Securities '&' Commodities Authority (SCA) and the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) came with a view to reinforcing cooperation in training of technical personnel and exchanging of experience, information and consultation between both entities on matters relating to the regulation and supervision of securities markets in both countries.
Most important and leading industries in Germany include automobile, machine-building, electronic technologies, chemicals among other industries. Manufacturing constituted 28.1per cent of GDP in 2012, while 24.6% of the labor force works in industry. Small and medium sized enterprises, together with large global companies, compose the backbone of the German economy.
Many of these SMEs companies are highly specialised, and occupy leading positions in the world, such as Bayer, Daimler, Volkswagen and Siemens.
On the investment side, according to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2008, Germany is home to 13 of the largest 100 transnational corporations in the world, and it is considered as a global investment attraction center. Total FDI in Germany amounted to US$998 billion in 2011, which placed Germany in the fifth rank worldwide on the list of countries most attractive to foreign direct investment flows. The value of mergers and acquisitions, (M'&'A) purchased across the border by Germany in 2012, amounted to US$15.4 billion, against what was sold for US$7.72 billion.
Two-thirds of the world famous fairs are organised in Germany, which makes the German economy open to the world in an unparalleled way. Germany also tops the list of patents registered in international markets, which helped Germany to benefit from the results of scientific research and the intensive collaboration between science and industry; which enabled accessing advanced ranks among world leading economies. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Qualitative performance must to achieve UAE Vision 2021: Al Mansouri


posted on 05/04/2014

In line with UAE Vision 2021, and the national agenda to step-up the delivery of all government services, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the UAE Minister of Economy, has reiterated his keenness to elevate the ministry's quality of services to world-class standards.
Emphasising his commitment to conforming to the ‘Emirates Government Service Excellence Programme' to meet the aspirations and expectations of concerned stakeholders, he shared that the ministry's migration to e-services is nearing completion, allowing easy access to its key services through smartphones and other intelligent devices.
He also called for greater effort, qualitative performance and professional commitment from all employees and stakeholders to facilitate the Ministry of Economy to achieve the strategic vision of the country's leadership.
He said this during his visit to the ministry's offices in Ajman, which has earned a four-star rating from the Emirates Government Service Excellence Programme.
During his visit, the minister toured the facilities and departments of the ministry's offices in Ajman and listened to suggestions and challenges faced by employees in carrying out their responsibilities on an ongoing basis. Al Mansouri also received customer feedback on the ministry's services and the problems encountered by customers in interacting with its employees.
The minister particularly commended the efforts of Shaikh Sultan bin Saqr Al Nuaimi, Director of the ministry's office in Ajman, in ensuring the delivery of high quality services.
On his part, Eng Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of UAE Ministry of Economy, praised the efforts of the Ajman office in adopting various electronic applications to facilitate the provision of select services. He assured that all services provided by the ministry will soon be available online through implementing integrated and data-connected mechanism between the Ajman office, the ministry headquarters and the concerned federal entity. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/April/uaebusiness_April81.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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Abu Dhabi ratings affirmed at ‘AA/A-1+’


posted on 05/04/2014

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its ‘AA/A-1+' long-and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The outlook is stable.
The ratings on Abu Dhabi are supported by its strong fiscal and external positions, which afford it fiscal policy flexibility. The exceptional strength of its net asset positions also provides a buffer to counter the negative impact of oil price volatility on economic growth and government revenues, as well as on the external account.
Abu Dhabi is one of the world's wealthiest economies, we estimate GDP per capita at $103,000 in 2014. The underpinnings of economic growth have strengthened since 2010, supported by the expansion in oil production, high public spending, and a broadening of the economy's production base, including services and manufacturing.
Real growth (that is, adjusted for inflation) and nominal growth levels have been robust.
We believe that in a heavily resource-endowed economy such as Abu Dhabi, nominal GDP growth — which averaged 13% annually during 2006-2012 — is a better measure of prosperity and could substantially cushion potential risk.
Assuming an oil export price of $100 per barrel this year, we estimate the fiscal surplus at 12% of GDP (including petroleum dividends and investment income) in 2014. We expect the fiscal surplus to average 10% of GDP in 2014-2017, helping to further bolster the emirates net asset position, which we estimate at 218% of GDP over the same period.

Regulations
By implementing regulations for public-sector debt, the government has strengthened its oversight over public-sector debt levels and aims to ensure sustainability and prevent financial stresses in the GREs.
We note that the government is considering the regular issuance of domestic debt from 2014 to strengthen domestic capital markets.
The government has made some progress in strengthening its economic institutions. It has established a debt management office, undertaken a public expenditure review, and set up a medium-term budget framework.
The stable outlook reflects our view of balanced risks to the ratings. We believe that Abu Dhabi's economy will remain resilient and its fiscal policy will remain prudent and flexible.
We could consider raising the ratings if there were significant improvements in data transparency, including on fiscal assets and external data. Moreover, measures to improve the effectiveness of monetary policy, such as developing domestic capital markets, could eventually be positive for the ratings. – Reuters/The Gulf Today - http://gulftoday.ae/portal/7f1481f4-44ea-4b08-a65b-cc13e1277d2d.aspx

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Centre for Economic Growth launched in Abu Dhabi


posted on 25/03/2014

Business leaders, senior officials and academic experts convened on Monday in Abu Dhabi for the launch of the Centre for Economic Growth (CEG) in partnership with the INSEAD international business school.
The Centre for Economic Growth (CEG) is the first of its kind in the region as a collaboration between the region's private sector and a business school to provide research and publications on the key economic issues for the region, including enhancing economic growth and job creation.
After welcome remarks from Dr. Arif Al Hammadi, Executive Director of Higher Education at Abu Dhabi Education Council, the attendees heard a keynote speech by Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, who gave insights into the challenges the region faces in improving economic growth and creating job opportunities, while highlighting the experience and success of the UAE Economy and the key lessons for the wider region.
Al Mansouri said during his speech that the UAE's top priority is to build national capacity and to direct its human energies towards a horizon of excellence, innovation and leadership: "The UAE leadership historically views human development as key. It is a crucial precursor to economic growth and development,” he said.
On the importance of SMEs, Al Mansouri added, "Taking the UAE as an example, small and medium-sized businesses represent 92 per cent of the trade sector and contribute 60 per cent to our country's GDP. SMEs are also responsible for 86 per cent of private sector employment”.
There followed a high level panel on the topic of "Tackling Youth Unemployment through Enhanced Investment and Growth”, comprising CEOs of major regional companies in different sectors including retail, contracting, and private equity, as well as senior officials from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The Centre for Economic Growth (CEG), which will be at INSEAD's Abu Dhabi campus, will address the need for timely and independent data, economic research and provide a new platform for private sector engagement on economic priority issues including youth unemployment, enabling job creation and enhancing sustainable economic growth.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that many countries in the Middle East and North Africa region need to have economic growth of seven per cent a year just to keep unemployment from rising further, whereas average forecasted growth for the region in 2014 is only 3.2 per cent and for many countries even lower than that. In addition the major challenge of creating 50 million new jobs for young people across the region in the next decade, and 100 million over the next two decades, is well-known.
"This new centre will provide original research and data on the key economic issues of the region, and marks an important collaboration in line with INSEAD's strategy and global perspective,” said Prof. Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD. "The Abu Dhabi campus is our regional hub and this important new initiative will provide a platform to share ideas and best practice, while deepening our engagement with companies from the region.”
"The economic challenges facing our region require the engagement of all sides to achieve success, including the private sector, governments and the academic world,” said Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum and Founding Chair of the CEG Business Council. "The CEG will enhance cooperation and dialogue between all sectors while producing new research and publications relevant to the region and encouraging the positive contribution of the private sector to the discussion, in order to enhance the objectives of achieving higher investment and economic growth.”
The Centre for Economic Growth (CEG) will develop new data resources and present recommendations based on careful analysis, with a view to enhancing decision-making and understanding of economic development in the region. It will provide a forum for discussion and input from different stakeholders including the private sector, government and academia, and will allow for exchange of regional and global best practice and expertise. The centre will also form collaborations with other leading universities, international institutions and multinational corporations. – Emirates 24│7 – Read more: http://www.emirates247.com/business/economy-finance/centre-for-economic-growth-launched-in-abu-dhabi-2014-03-24-1.542853

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