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UAE's Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi to co-chair World Economic Forum 2015 in Jordan

posted on 05/04/2015

Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), has been bestowed with the distinguished honour of co-chairing the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, which will be held at the King Hussein bin Talal Convention Centre in the Dead Sea, Jordan, between 21-23 May 2015.
This is the first time an Emirati woman has been chosen to co-chair the World Economic Forum, a premier event that engages business, political, academic and other leaders of society in an effort to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Sheikha Bodour will join a prestigious line-up of global figures in co-chairing the World Economic Forum 2015, such as Gordon Brown, Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Strategic Infrastructure Initiative, Member of Parliament and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (2007-2010), Omar Al Ghanim, Chief Executive Officer of Al Ghanim Industries, Kuwait, Suma Chakrabarti, President of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), London, and John Rice, Vice-Chairman of GE, Hong Kong SAR.
The forum, titled "Creating a Regional Framework for Prosperity and Peace through Public-Private Cooperation", will bring together more than 800 key government, business, and civil society leaders from the region and beyond, to support a comprehensive and forward-looking vision for prosperity and peace.
Speaking on her selection as Co-chair of the World Economic Forum 2015, Sheikha Bodour said: "I receive this honour with pride for my country and humility for myself, as there is still a long way to go. The honour bestowed upon me is a strong positive affirmation of the major role being played by Arab women from various walks of life, and also demonstrates their growing passion for working in new fields that offer them an opportunity to prove their capabilities, use their potential to serve society, and contribute effectively to the development of their nations. I hope to see more Arab women co-chairing such prestigious events, especially considering we have many influential Arab women leaders who can do so in support of the progress of their communities."
She added, "This year, the forum will focus on new developments and institution–building efforts of countries in the Levant and North Africa that will be addressed in the context of significant geopolitical changes in the region in light of security and humanitarian challenges in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and in view of the fundamental transformations in the energy and technology sectors that are reshaping business models and economies."
Co-chair of the World Economic Forum is the latest in Sheikha Bodour's list of prestigious titles and distinguished honours. Sheikha Bodour, who is also the Founder and CEO of Kalimat Group, has been selected by Forbes Middle East magazine as one of its 200 most powerful Arab women - 2014 in family business, for her role in founding and managing the first publishing house in the UAE dedicated solely to publishing and distributing high quality Arabic children's books and Arabic educational content. Last October, the International Publishers Association (IPA) elected Sheikha Bodour to serve on IPA's Executive Committee, making her its first Arab female member.
The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the forum features business, political, academic and other leaders of society who aim to shape global, regional and industry agendas. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai at forefront of world's dynamic emerging markets: DEC chief

posted on 05/04/2015

Dubai is at the forefront of the world's dynamic emerging markets, according to the Secretary-General of Dubai Economic Council (DEC).
"Dubai economy enjoys a competitive combination of cost, market and environmental advantages that create an ideal and attractive investment climate for local and FDI alike. In fact, these advantages not only rank Dubai as the Arabian Gulf's leading multi-purpose business centre and regional hub, but they place it at the forefront of the globe's dynamic emerging markets,” Hani Rashid Al Hamli, while briefing a delegation from Deutsche Bank recently.
Al Hamli said: "We strongly believe in the vital role of strategic partnerships and alliances with local and international entities in order to exchange knowledge, advice and expertise on various issues.”
He also stressed that this vision has been translated into practical steps as the DEC has collaborated with a large number of governmental entities at both federal and local levels, leading global think tanks and top companies from China to North America. "These collaborations are inclusive of enhanced coordination and unified visions in many areas of common interest. China development Bank (CDB) and the US Ex-Im Bank are among those entities that the DEC has already linked in partnership projects.”, he added.
Al Hamli expressed his delight to add Deutsche Bank to the list of DEC strategic partners. "We look forward to benefitting from the long-standing experience and cutting-edge knowledge of Deutsche Bank in various financial and banking issues” he said.
Al Hamli said that Dubai has full potential to sustain its resilient economy in the region and in the world. "The modern infrastructure, sophisticated logistics and financial services, current trend towards clean energy, in addition to the growing development projects based on PPP approach, all these factors would maintain the resilience of Dubai's economy” he stressed.
"Nonetheless, DEC policy research and reporting suggest that financial sustainability is key to Dubai's future development and in its move into Expo 2020, hence this anchoring partnership and continued collaboration with Deutsche Bank will help a lot in understanding the critical success factors (CSFs) to maintain the financial sustainability of the emirate,” he added.
Last year DEC launched the ‘Global financial alliances initiative' aimed at creating a platform for export credit agencies and top world banks to boost investment in infrastructural mega projects and global trade initiatives in Dubai.
Majid Julfar from Deutsche Bank said, "We are pleased to have the opportunity to meet the DEC to discuss this region's dynamic economy. As a leading client-centric global universal bank with a critical mass of products and services in Dubai, we are well positioned to continue our productive dialogue with the DEC”.
Deutsche Bank delegation included Kees Hoving, Head of GTB EMEA and CEO of Nederland; Majid Julfar, Director, Corporate and Investment Banking Coverage, Mena; Mr Sayed-Kamran Zaidi, Head of Trade Finance and Cash Management Corporates Mena.
Accompanying the Secretary General from the DEC were Giovanni Carpenzano, Investment Director; Nasser Al Suwaidi, Secretary General Office Manager; and Ali Al Kaitoob, Strategic Alliance Manager. – Emirates 24│7 -


UAE-Spain Joint Economic Committee concludes in Granada

posted on 19/03/2015

GRANADA: The 3rd session of the UAE-Spain Joint Economic Committee meetings in Granada, concluded yesterday under the co-chairmanship of Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, and Luis de Guindos Jurado, Spanish Minister of Economy and Competitiveness.
The two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which covered a number of issues of joint interest. This new year's edition represented important step in the field of enhancing the distinguished economic and trade ties between the two countries.
The parties exchanged views on strengthening economic relations, improving trade and enhancing investment cooperation in both countries.
The two sides also expressed satisfaction on the increase in the number of Spanish trade missions and companies established in the UAE between 2009 and 2014, which is the same period that saw the rise of mutual trade between the two countries that stood at 1 - 1.9 billion euros.
Al Mansouri said that in 2010 the UAE-Spain Joint Committee was established as a strategic step towards enhancing economic cooperation between the UAE and Spain.
He added that the establishment of the Committee embodies a new era of growth and partnership that had started between the two sides. He also reiterated that since then, the Joint Committee has supported the efforts to boost trade and economic ties between the two sides.
He added, "The UAE has taken great strides in the field of excellence and succeeded in a record time to make its Union one the strongest competitors to major countries according to various economic and developmental indexes."
'I am proud that the UAE has become one of the major hubs for export and re-export in the Middle East, as a result of continuous investment in the infrastructure field. The UAE successfully exploited the opportunity and took advantage of its geographical location to become an international centre for logistic services and tourism," he added.
The UAE Minister of Economy referred to the existing bilateral relations between the two sides, highlighting the positive impact of the visit of Spain's former king, Juan Carlos, to Abu Dhabi, leading a high-profile Spanish delegation in April 2014. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Economy Minister meets Spanish counterpart

posted on 18/03/2015

GRANADA: UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri met here yesterday with the Spanish Minister of Economy and Competitiveness, Luis de Guindos, and discussed with him ways to enhance bilateral relations, particularly in economic, commercial and investment domains.
They also reviewed means to strengthen bonds between the business communities in the two countries and explored opportunities for joint projects in vital sectors.
The meeting, held on the sidelines of the 3rd UAE-Spain Joint Economic Committee, also touched on the potentials of increasing volume of trade and cooperation in SMEs and renewable energy.
Al Mansouri said the UAE represents a key gateway linking Europe, Middle East, Africa and South Asia while Spain connects Europe with South America.
According to Al Mansouri, the two-way trade between the UAE and Spain reached 1.9 billion Euros by the end of 2014. There are 40 Spanish firms operating in the UAE and 73 dealership agencies for 1,456 Spanish trademarks.
"The volume of trade between the two countries is satisfactory but they do not reflect their real potentials for wider cooperation," he said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Sharjah ranked among world’s top ten small and medium-sized cities

posted on 17/03/2015

Sharjah, the third largest city in the United Arab Emirates, has been ranked among the top ten small and medium-sized cities in the world in the Global Cities of the Future index for 2014/15 produced by FDI Intelligence, a division of the Financial Times Ltd.
A report by Sharjah 24 stated that in the ‘Top 10 overall small and mid-sized cities' category, Sharjah came in ninth globally and third in the Middle East. The judgment was made using a composite of data related to economic potential, business friendliness, human capital, lifestyle, cost effectiveness and connectivity, weighted by importance to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) decision-making process.
In certain categories, most notably connectivity, Sharjah achieved a high rating. In the ‘Top 10 Emerging Cities Connectivity' index, Sharjah came in fourth worldwide and top in the Middle East. In the ‘Top 10 Small and Mid-sized Cities Connectivity' category, it ranked sixth globally.
In terms of human capital and lifestyle, Sharjah came in seventh globally among small and mid-sized cities, and second in the Middle East. The city also ranked eighth worldwide in the category related to cost effectiveness, ninth in terms of economic potential, and tenth in business friendliness.
Sharjah's GDP has trebled over the past decade, during which time the city has established itself as one of the most diverse economies in the region. The driving force behind this transformation has been the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).
The ranking was significantly improved thanks to Shurooq's relentless efforts along with the various bodies and government departments to put Sharjah on the global map as an attractive FDI destination. By participating in various exhibitions, conducting roadshows and holding roundtables, as well as hosting global and regional forums, Shurooq and other government entities spared no efforts at showcasing what Sharjah has to offer. Shurooq has also been instrumental in signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with different entities around the world to speed up economic development and generate investment opportunities.
Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq: "Sharjah continues to realise greater accomplishments at every level. Achieving third place regionally and ninth place globally makes it one of the best small and medium-sized cities, reflecting the outstanding leadership in several sectors: investment and business, infrastructure, human resources, and the quality of life offered to its citizens and residents. This has been achieved as a result of the vision and directive of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and to establish Sharjah as one of the world's best cities for living and working in the 21st century."
She added: "Sharjah has been able to establish itself as a leading emirate in the Middle East in many crucial areas, such as in developing an optimal business environment, bolstering internet connectivity, and facilitating the ease of receiving permits. We will continue working to enhance Sharjah's attractiveness for foreign investment, to provide the necessary facilities and bring major international companies to Sharjah to attract global investment, and to further develop tourist and entertainment areas that enhance living standards for residents and create new job opportunities. We see unlimited growth opportunities for the emirate and for the UAE."
Sheikh Khaled bin Abdullah bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Seaport and Customs, said: "Sharjah has achieved substantial milestones in its infrastructure development this decade, so that it can enhance the business environment in the Emirate, it offers facilities for companies and investors, and creates more high-quality facilities for residents and visitors. These factors all led to this impressive ranking, regionally and globally. This achievement will highlight Sharjah's offerings and attract more investment and tourist activities."
Sheikh Khalid noted that achieving third place regionally and ninth place globally is a significant achievement amid strong competition from major cities across the world. He added that the Emirate had overcome the challenges facing modern cities today, and created a vision derived from its Arabic and Islamic identity. At the same time, Sharjah has succeeded in offering an attractive and distinctive environment to investors, from individuals and companies, as it becomes a preferred city for family living from all over the world.
Abdalla Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "Sharjah has been transformed into an ideal investment destination in the region, attracting companies wishing to take advantage of the Emirate's strategic location, its facilities and its services, in order to spread their presence in both the regional and international markets. Sharjah's attractiveness is made more evident still by the Emirate's advanced placement in the list of the best small and medium-sized cities around the world – not only for creating business and expanding, but also for accommodation. We believe that Sharjah is meeting all the criteria to rise to first place over the next few years."
Sultan Abdullah bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) stated that the Emirate of Sharjah today ranks among the world's leading cities in developed commercial and economic activities. A multitude of factors have contributed to this outstanding achievement: among which are Sharjah's diverse economy, its encompassment of the largest industrial area in the UAE, its placement on the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, and its accommodation of a number of crucial free zones. The Department has made considerable investment in technological infrastructure and in the development of a number of electronic services. There are 61 services available on the electronic portal to date, while 41 services can be accessed via smart applications designed for mobile devices. These services allow investors to access all procedures without the need to physically visit the headquarters of the department, offering significant savings in time and effort. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE delegation views experiences of innovation centres in Finland

posted on 05/03/2015

HELSINKI: A delegation from the UAE to Finland, headed by Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, has been briefed on the experiences and objectives of a number of well-known innovation and creativity centres and their objectives for supporting and promoting innovation and encouraging research relevant to linking investments to innovation.
The delegation's field visits included the Austrian company, Borealis' Innovation Centre Porvoo (Finland) and the headquarters of the Finnish Innovation Fund and Technology Complex in the city of Espoo, along with research centres affiliated with it.
Mr. Al Mansouri stressed the UAE's keenness to view the country's best experiences in all fields to benefit from international expertise and experience in areas of interest to the state and contribute to supporting the sustainable development especially in light of the shifting towards a knowledge economy based on innovation and creativity.
He added that the visit to the most important and most famous centres and complexes of innovation and creativity in the friendly Republic of Finland comes within this context. He pointed out that Finland occupies a very advanced position worldwide in the fields of private education and sustainability based on advanced technology.
Al Mansouri noted that viewing the Finnish experience in the field of linking investment to innovation in some important areas such as clean energy and the green and digital economies, comes within the framework of the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Cabinet's announcement of 2015 as the 'Year of Innovation' and in compliance with the country's strategy related to innovation launched by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
He added that the visit also embodies the Ministry's strategy to accelerate the transition to a knowledge economy based on creativity and innovation.
The UAE's Economy Minister commended the keenness of senior Finnish officials, led by Alexander Stubb, Prime Minister of Finland, Peter Stenlund, Foreign Minister, and Lenita Toivakka, Minister of European Affairs and Foreign Trade, to promote cooperation with the UAE, especially in the field of creativity and innovation, stressing that there will be more visits to promote cooperation in this regard between the two countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE Minister of Economy: "SMEs are playing dominant role in global economy"

posted on 01/03/2015

Investments in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be a key topic of discussion at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) 2015, to be held from 30 March to 1 April at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
AIM 2015 will bring experts and officials from over 140 countries to discuss major topics related to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), mainly in SME sector.
Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, the organiser of AIM 2015, has said that SMEs are the cornerstone of any economy, given their huge contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as employment generation. "Hence, it is important to have extensive discussions on SMEs being an incubator for creativity and innovation." Speaking about SME scene in the UAE, Al Mansoori said: "SMEs have become a springboard for creativity and innovation, given their economic value addition. Many of the SMEs have grown rapidly attracting a variety of investments, as well as funds and governmental support through bodies like Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED) and Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development." He said that SMEs are essential for accelerating innovation. An SME is established based on an idea, or as implementation of a patent, and keeps developing to become a productive entity. He added: "We support these institutions by providing facilities. This year's edition of AIM aims to discuss this subject threadbare, and recommend solutions that would be beneficial to the macro interests of the economies in the world." SMEs are facing many obstacles, particularly on the funding side, which calls for increased investment. Participants at AIM 2015 will highlight the significance of boosting investments in such institutions, and ways to address barriers to financing, development and investments.
Dawood Al Shezawi, CEO, AIM's Organising Committee, said: "The AIM agenda will include investments in general as well as FDI in SMEs and their integration with the overall financial system. It will also shed light on its financial obstacles and suggest solutions. We hope that AIM will come out with tangible results to strongly support this vital sector." The AIM programme includes in-depth debates on patents and orientations of investments highlighting preferences of investors and host countries. It will highlight the views of governments, investors and owners of SMEs, with the goal of finding ideal solutions and ideas for developing this important sector.
SMEs have shorter establishment process for foreign investors, as they find ready entities for investments and promotion in large open markets.
"SMEs invest in areas that are not on the radar of bigger investors, and develop themselves to become pioneers with huge potential of further growth, especially if they find foreign markets to sell their products or services," said Al Shezawi.
AIM 2015 will be held under the theme ‘Sustainable Development through FDI Induced Innovation and Technology Transfer'. - Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Study: UAE voted as the most creative country in MENA

posted on 19/02/2015

A study on education and innovation revealed that 56% of respondents voted the UAE as the most creative country in MENA, followed by Qatar (15%), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (11%) and Egypt (8%).
According to a study by, commissioned by Dubai Knowledge Village ; 'Education and Innovation in the Middle East and North Africa', 89% of MENA professionals agree that creative thinking is key to driving social and economic growth in their country, although 73% believe that creativity is currently being stifled by MENA's education system.
The poll surveyed 5,891 respondents from UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia to identify how professionals in the Middle East regard creativity and innovation, and explores opportunities and barriers to creativity in the region.
The UAE is currently ranked 24th for innovation according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index but has its sights on achieving a higher placement over the next three years as part of the 'National Innovation Strategy' for the UAE launched in October last year.
To complement this ambition, TECOM Investments will invest Dh 4.5 billion into innovation driven activities as part of its own innovation strategy, designed to stimulate creativity and the development of new technologies, creating smart and sustainable infrastructure, and driving entrepreneurship. As such TECOM's Education Cluster hosted this Breakfast Club event to bring together officials of leading companies in the UAE and human development professionals based in Dubai Knowledge Village.
The event featured a panel session during which experts discussed the drivers and barriers to creativity in the region. The panel included: Bob Chater Hult Intl Business School Executive Director, Suha Mardelli Haroun - Dubai Regional Sales and HR (Moderator), Dr Youssef Al Assaf Rochester Institute of Technology- Dubai President, Rania Rostom GE Chief Innovation Officer, MENA & Turkey, Majed Al Suwaidi TECOM ICT Cluster Managing Director and Tarek El Sakka Dubai Refreshments Co (DRC) CEO.
Using the event as a platform to announce the findings of the study, the panellists discussed the survey findings that identified three key challenges in prioritising creativity. It was found that 42% of respondents cited a lack of money as the reason they could not be as creative as they would like to be, followed by 16% who identified a lack of knowledge and 10% who said age was the biggest barrier to creativity.
The study also revealed that 56% of respondents voted the UAE as the most creative country in MENA, followed by Qatar (15%), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (11%) and Egypt (8%).
Dr. Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of Dubai Knowledge Village, said ,"The UAE's top ranking within the study as the most creative country in MENA is testament to the success of the Government's strategy to develop knowledge-based economy. As we move towards an innovation-based economy, it is important that we identify the barriers to us achieving further creativity and enables us to form a strategy to overcome them, as the study highlights.
'We see an important role for DKV and DIAC in this endeavour, primarily in bridging the gap between industry and academia by encouraging and enabling our universities and training institutes to teach and empower students to become more innovative so as to better prepare them for the workforce." Suha Mardelli Haroun, Regional Sales and HR Director, said: "This survey highlighted how professionals in the region believe they are living up to their own creative potential, and where the barriers to creativity lie. In identifying one key barrier is the perception of stifling by education systems, the sector can now facilitate a strategy to address the issue. Creativity is a core skill and one that is vital across all sectors, industries and professions. We must encourage collaboration and inspiration and actively tackle areas where barriers to creativity exist so we can assist in achieving the ambition to build an innovation-led economy." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi - Creating a sustainable future

posted on 17/02/2015

The statement of Abu Dhabi government in its Economic Vision 2030 and its intent to "build a sustainable and diversified, high value-added economy that is well integrated into the global economy and that provides more accessible and higher-value opportunities for all its citizens and residents," encompasses economics and social development - two of the three organising principles of sustainable development, according to a publication of the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, ADCED.
An article in the latest issue of ADCED's journal, 'Economic Review', says the 2005 World Summit on Social Development identified sustainable development goals - such as economic development, social development and environmental protection - as the three main pillars of sustainability that are not mutually exclusive and can be mutually reinforcing.
These sustainable development goals, the report said, are central to Abu Dhabi's holistic approach towards economic growth. Tourism, one of the main pillars of Abu Dhabi's drive towards economic diversification, falls under the remit of the Tourism and Culture Authority - Abu Dhabi (TCA). The TCA's stated aim is to move Abu Dhabi towards an economically sustainable tourism destination, towards a socially-responsible tourism destination, and towards an environmentally friendly tourism destination.
Similarly, the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) is tasked with ensuring that economic growth and environmental protection advance together. This is achieved by focusing efforts on four main cornerstones: regulation, conservation, education and awareness. In its corporate brochure, EAD states, "We work constantly to ensure that the economic vision for Abu Dhabi is achieved in a way that ensures a sustainable future for our emirate, the wellbeing of its residents and a good quality of life for all, now and in the future." Masdar, a subsidiary of the Mubadala development company, was established in 2006 with a mandate from the Abu Dhabi government to advance renewable development, investment and commercialisation. Masdar's domestic portfolio now accounts for about 68 percent of the GCC's renewable energy capacity, with its projects including Shams 1, a 100MW concentrated solar power initiative in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi and numerous other projects in the pipeline both in the UAE and abroad, the report said.
The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, UPC, is also taking sustainability seriously through its Estidama initiative ('Estidama' is the Arabic word for sustainability). Estidama began two years ago and is the first programme of its kind that is tailored to the Middle East region. In the immediate term, Estidama is focused on the rapidly changing built environment. It is in this area that the UPC is making significant strides to influence projects under design, development or construction within the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi is also playing a central role on the international sustainability stage. In 2014, the first edition of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, ADSW, welcomed over 30,000 participants from 150 countries to discuss pressing global issues such as renewable energy, water challenges in arid regions, food security and climate change.
In 2015, from January 19th to 22nd, ADSW featured the World Future Energy Summit, hosted by Masdar, the International Water Summit, IWS, and the EcoWASTE Exhibition. One of the event's highlights was the 6th annual Awards of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.
The dollar four million annual award in five categories was established by the UAE leadership to recognise and award excellence in renewable energy and sustainability across the globe in honour of late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the UAE, who championed sustainability and environmental stewardship.
The report ended by saying that from the above, it is clear that Abu Dhabi government takes sustainability seriously. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE Ministry of Economy to support publication of ‘The Business Year: Abu Dhabi 2015’

posted on 16/02/2015

The UAE Ministry of Economy has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the international business research company, The Business Year (TBY), to support the publication of The Business Year: Abu Dhabi 2015 as research partners.
Mohamed Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Under-Secretary for Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Economy, signed the agreement with Betul Cakaloglu, Regional Director for TBY. The macroeconomic publication will be released in Q2 2015. With a circulation of 97,700 printed copies, the publication will be distributed extensively, both locally and internationally.
The Business Year: Abu Dhabi 2015 will feature interviews with key decision makers from Abu Dhabi's public and private sectors, in addition to high-level guest speakers from foreign governments. Featuring extensive analysis of the macro-economic trends in the emirate, the content will include sections on diplomacy, economy, finance, energy, real estate and construction, transport, health, education, agriculture, tourism and sport.
Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency Eng Mohamed Al Shehhi said: "The 2015 edition of The Business Year Abu Dhabi will highlight the capital city's achievements at all levels, articulating the UAE Government's determination to diversify its economy in line with the goals outlined in the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.
"Through our partnership with The Business Year, the Ministry of Economy aims to support the contents of the publication with accurate data and statistics related to economic developments in Abu Dhabi. Our inputs will help provide a comprehensive snapshot of Abu Dhabi for potential investors, and for business professionals considering opportunities in the emirate and the UAE at large." The Business Year's decision to release the 2015 Abu Dhabi edition follows the successful response to the previous year's publication that has positioned TBY as the most comprehensive English-language review on Abu Dhabi's economy published internationally to date.
Speaking on behalf of TBY, Betul Cakaloglu, said: "We hope that TBY's Abu Dhabi publications will serve as a ready reckoner and go-to platform for key decision makers across all sectors of the local economy in Abu Dhabi. In addition, the publication provides a unique opportunity for industry thought leaders to share their insights with the global business community and communicate with international investors. This agreement aligns our goals with the macro-economic development goals of the emirate, and we look forward to our continued collaboration with the Ministry of Economy in stepping up the research and knowledge sectors in the UAE." TBY's business intelligence publications have been applauded by top executives, policy makers, and international media all around the world, including representatives from the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation, the World Economic Forum, the International Finance Corporation, and the Asian Development Bank. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Dubai, Abu Dhabi region’s most sustainable cities

posted on 11/02/2015

Dubai is the most sustainable city in the region, followed by Abu Dhabi and Doha, respectively, according to the inaugural Sustainable Cities Index from ARCADIS, the leading global natural and build asset design and consultancy firm.
The Index, which was conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) explores the three demands of social (People), environmental (Planet) and economic (Profit) to develop an indicative ranking of 50 of the world's leading cities.
Across the world, cities are performing better for being sustainable for Profit and Planet purposes than they are for People factors. Many of the world's economic powerhouses are becoming less affordable for their citizens, with the cost of property in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong penalising their rankings.
There is also a trade-off globally between strong education and poor work-life balance, particular demonstrated in Hong Kong.
Dubai leads in the Middle East at 33rd, followed by Abu Dhabi at 34th, Doha at 41st, Jeddah at 43rd and Riyadh at 44th. Dubai also takes first place in the region on the Profit sub-index at 27th, followed by Doha at 30th.
Abu Dhabi tops the Middle East People sub-index at 25th due to success in dependency ratio and income inequality. Meanwhile two cities in Saudi Arabia — Jeddah at 39th and Riyadh at 40th — lead the region's way on Planet factors, scoring particularly well for drinking water and sanitation and low levels of air pollution.
"City Leaders need to find ways to balance the demands of generating strong financial returns, being an attractive place for people to live and work in, whilst also limiting damage to our environment,” said Hisham Malaika, Jeddah City Executive at ARCADIS. "To truly understand how sustainable a city is, we must understand how it ranks in People, Planet and Profit. Then we can act to assess priorities and the pathway to urban sustainability — for the good of all.” – The Gulf Today -


Al Mansouri: Building a knowledge-based economy is a top priority

posted on 01/02/2015

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy on Saturday, affirmed that building an economy that is based on knowledge, innovation and creativity, investment in science, technology and research is a top priority of the UAE and is in line with the federal government's ambitious Vision 2021 and its strategy for sustainable economic growth and competitiveness.
In statements to WAM, Al Mansouri explained that knowledge in a knowledge-based economy accounts for the lion's share of added value, which means that it is a key driver of production and marketing and that economic growth is proportional with the driver that is based on information and communications technology (ICT), as the information highway has transformed the world to the highly-connected global village that it is now.
The minister highlighted the fast-paced growth of ICT on which modern-day business relies heavily and which drives economic growth and helps increase the gross national products of countries.
Minister Al Mansouri also highlighted the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), saying that the Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products was concluded by 29 participants at the Singapore Ministerial Conference in December 1996. The agreement was enforced by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1997.
He noted that in March 2007, the UAE joined the ITA which provides for participants to completely eliminate duties on IT products covered by the agreement.
The minister added that in January 2009, the UAE eliminate duties on all IT products covered by this agreement. All the seven members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are parties to the ITA.
Minister Al Mansouri also noted that in 2013 the UAE's total value of trade in information technology products, covered by ITA, stood at Dh29.6 billion as follows: Dh19.8 billion in imports, around Dh393 million in exports and Dh9.6 billion in re-exports.
The UAE Cabinet, in November 2014 and in accordance with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, approved the designation of 2015 as the Year of Innovation, as part of a plan to make the UAE a world innovative leader.
The Cabinet then directed all federal government bodies to boost cooperation and to revise their policies to develop a nurturing environment for innovation. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abu Dhabi economic growth to slow in 2015, says Moody’s

posted on 30/01/2015

Abu Dhabi's economic growth will slow to below three per cent in 2015 due to lower oil prices. However, the emirate's prudent economic policies will mitigate any negative impact of lower global crude prices, says ratings agency Moody's Investors Services.
"While the drop in oil prices will likely cause Abu Dhabi's (Aa2 stable) economic growth to slow in 2015 and put an end to four consecutive years of double-digit fiscal surpluses, the emirate's sizeable stock of foreign assets will help cushion the impact of lower oil revenues in the coming years,” says Moody's Investors Service in a recently published report.
The agency's report is an update of the market and does not constitute a rating action.
"We expect that resources accumulated during years of high oil prices and a prudent budgeting of oil proceeds will mitigate the negative consequences of oil price volatility on Abu Dhabi's fiscal and external accounts,” says Steven Hess, a New York-based analyst at Moody's.
The emirate has a sizeable stock of offshore assets in its off-budget investment vehicles, including in the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Abu Dhabi Investment Council, International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and Mubadala. These exceed the total liabilities of Abu Dhabi's government-related institutions and other emirate's governments, according to Moody's.
"At the same time, growth in Abu Dhabi's economy, which remains largely dominated by the hydrocarbon sector, will remain volatile,” continues Hess.
"We estimate that real GDP will slow to below three per cent from an estimated 4.1 per cent in 2014, while the government will likely incur a fiscal deficit estimated at 1.1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2015 after years of registering large surpluses.”
Dr Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, said: "Steady oil production will impact real headline GDP growth.”
"If the period of low oil prices is prolonged, that could also lead to the crystallisation of contingent liabilities on the Abu Dhabi government's balance sheet and erode fiscal buffers,” says Moody's, although it expected that the government will be able to finance fiscal deficits for several years if it liquidates assets.
Dr Malik said: "Abu Dhabi is in one of the strongest positions in the region to cope with the weak oil price environment, given its large foreign exchange reserve position. We continue to see progress on core investments, which will support non-oil activity.”
Meanwhile, in it economic outlook for the year, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi said: "The oil sector is expected to contract slightly while economic growth will be driven largely by the diversified non-oil sector and by structural factors, including a stable political environment, diversified economy and strong banking system.”
In 2015, the UAE economy is expected to grow modestly year-over-year, says Abu Dhabi's biggest lender by assets.
The sovereign wealth fund -— Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) — alone holds an estimated $498 billion in assets as of 2014.
Abu Dhabi's assets also comfortably cover its debt level, says Moody's. Including potential contingent liabilities related to government-related institutions, such as Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Taqa) and IPIC, as well as other Abu Dhabi-related debt, including the banking system. Abu Dhabi's total debt represents 40.5 per cent of GDP, or about $105 billion.
Abu Dhabi's central government debt represents 2.7 per cent of GDP, limiting the emirate's liquidity risks.
The rating agency noted that Abu Dhabi's expenditures have been rising at a quick pace: between 2008 and 2013, spending increased at a compounded rate of 15 per cent, mainly owing to an increase in federal services paid by Abu Dhabi outside of the federal budget, including on security and defence, and an increase in subsidies and transfers.
Moody's said the Abu Dhabi government will continue to derive the majority of its revenues from the oil sector, although authorities are making efforts to develop non-oil sectors, which at present account for 10 per cent of government revenues.
Abu Dhabi's population has more than doubled over the past decade, contributing to the demand for housing and other services.
Moody's also noted that Abu Dhabi is exposed to political risks stemming from regional tensions, but banking sector risk is low. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


Dubai ranks No. 5 globally in economic performance

posted on 23/01/2015

Dubai ranks number five in performance among 300 world cities in the annual 2014 economic rankings of cities worldwide released on Thursday by the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.
Macau, the Chinese territory known for its liberal leisure activities, outperformed the rest of the world's major cities economically last year, while four Turkish cities ranked among the top ten.
Abu Dhabi and four other GCC cities also figured in the list.
While Macau recorded a gross domestic product, or GDP, growth of eight per cent and employment growth of 4.2 per cent, Dubai posted 4.5 per cent GDP growth and 4.7 per cent employment growth.
Cities in the developing world, especially China, dominated the top of the annual economic rankings. One exception: Bangkok, Thailand, came in last, its economy wrecked by political strife.
Four Turkish cities made the top 10: Izmir, Istanbul, Bursa and Ankara. Turkish cities boomed last year despite political unrest. "If you look at world headlines, Turkey is not in the news for its economic success, but it probably should be,” Brookings' Parilla said. "It has pretty solid macroeconomic policies.”
Turkey benefits from its location at the boundary between Europe and Asia and from heavy investment in roads and other infrastructure projects, which creates jobs over the short term and is likely to make the economy more efficient over the long term.
Macau has enjoyed a tourism boom, with gamblers coming to bet at more than 30 casinos, including the Venetian Macau, the world's largest.
In India, Delhi ranked number 18, while Kolkata ranked 32. Surprisingly Mumbai was ranked as low as 52 in the worldwide rankings.
Cities in wealthy, developed countries tended to lag behind. Though most of the cities surveyed around the world have recovered from the Great Recession, 65 per cent of European and 57 per cent of North American cities have not, according to the study, which ranks cities by growth in employment and in economic output per person.
Joseph Parilla, a Brookings research analyst who co-wrote the report, said he was surprised by the "incredible differentiation within what are considered monolithic economic blocs.” Latin American cities, for instance, mostly sputtered. But Medellin, Colombia, and Lima, Peru, both broke into the top 50.
Cities in wealthy countries tended to perform poorly. But US and British cities showed improvement. Three US cities — Austin and Houston, Texas, and Raleigh, North Carolina — cracked the top 50. In the United Kingdom, London came in No. 26, Manchester No. 60.
The US and Britain have begun to pick up economic momentum five-and-a-half years after the recession ended.
"In developed economies like North America and Western Europe, cities like London and Houston are flying high, while others like Rotterdam and Montreal are struggling,” Parilla said.
Twenty-seven of the 50 top-performing cities were Chinese. Increasingly, strong growth occurred in the traditionally underdeveloped cities of China's interior, rather than its booming coastal cities. Land-locked Changsha, for instance, enjoyed economic growth per person of 8.6 per cent last year and wound up No. 15 in the overall rankings.
The coastal manufacturing powerhouse of Dongguan, next door to Hong Kong, registered per-capita economic growth of just 5.2 per cent (unimpressive by Chinese standards) and finished No. 70. Companies have begun to move inland as the cost of labour and land rises on the Chinese coast. And the Chinese government has invested heavily on infrastructure in the interior.
The 18 cities worldwide that specialised in producing commodities such as oil registered the highest rates of growth in economic output per person (2.6 per cent) and employment (1.9 per cent).
"The recent rise in oil and gas production in North America partly explains the success of metropolitan areas like Calgary, Denver, Houston, and Tulsa, which are epicentres of the region's shale revolution,” the report said.
Next year's rankings may be different. Oil prices have plunged to less than $48 a barrel from $107 a barrel last June, jeopardising the prospects of cities that had been riding the energy boom. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


Al Mansouri: National initiative targets Dh750b in non-oil exports in 2021

posted on 20/01/2015

Sultan Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy on Monday hailed the interest of the Ministerial Services Council, chaired by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, in the national initiative for developing exports, which targets Dh750 billion in non-oil exports in 2021.
Al Mansouri, who presented the initiative to the council for discussion at a meeting on Sunday, said that it is aimed at enhancing the UAE's non-oil trade balance through an exportation structure that enjoys sustainable and balanced growth. This, according to Al Mansouri, means that the UAE national non-oil exports should exceed Dh500 billion in 2018 and then go up Dh750 billion in 2021.
The initiative, he added, will allow Emirati exports to make their way into new and emerging markets, diversify industrial exports and increase the share of foreign trade in the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The initiative is based on the Economy Ministry's vision for a knowledge-based competitive and diversified economy that is led by nationals as well as on the economic aspect of the UAE Vision 2021.
Yesterday, Minister Al Mansouri was quoted by The National newspaper as saying, "Plunging oil prices will not have an effect on this year's federal budget, according to the Minister of Economy.
"We have diversified the economy in the last 42 years, and while it will not have any immediate impact on the federal budget, it will eventually in the next two to three years," he said on the side-lines of a new factory opening in Dubai.
"However, my expectations are that the prices will stabilise in the next six months to a year," added Minister Al Mansouri. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


MoE seeks to build knowledge-based economy to contribute 5pc to GDP

posted on 11/01/2015

The ministry of economy, in line with the federal government's ambitious UAE Vision 2021 and the seven-year National Agenda, is keenly interested in building an economy that is based on knowledge, innovation and creativity, and is led by a qualified cadre, in order to contribute 5 per cent to the UAE's gross domestic product (GDP ) by 2021, said Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy on Saturday.
In his speech at an annual meeting of the ministry's employees and officials, Al Mansouri noted that in accordance with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Cabinet in November 2014, approved designation of 2015 as the Year of Innovation, in a plan to make the UAE a world innovative leader.
The Cabinet directed all federal government bodies to boost cooperation and to revise their policies to develop a nurturing environment for innovation.
He reminded the ministry's employees and officials that Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, once said, "A job in the government is not just a way of making a living. Rather it is a means of contributing to your country. Government offices are for production, not for routine, reliance and indolence; they are places for creativity." At the meeting, minister Al Mansouri announced the launch of the Minister of Economy's Award for Government Excellence. The award is aimed at improving ministry employees' performance, advancing its practices and services through promoting positive competition, innovation and creativity. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE turns into regional economic power in 10 years

posted on 30/12/2014

A report on the online portal HotelandRest says that the United Arab Emirates, over the past ten years under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has turned into a major economic power in the region.
The report said that the country has witnessed a transition from an oil based economy to a productive economy with enormous diversity in various fields.
The report highlighted the fact that President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa has led the United Arab Emirates over the past decade to an economic superiority where the GDP rose to Dh1.54 trillion in 2014, noting that at the beginning of Sheikh Khalifa's leadership in 2004, GDP was Dh314.81 billion and is still undergoing further growth. According to an IMF forecast, GDP will rise in 2018 to Dh1.74 trillion.
"His Highness the President of the United Arab Emirates has succeeded in implementing a smart strategy of diversifying sources of income continuing the footsteps of his father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan." The report said that the UAE's strategy over the past ten years focused on the development of non-oil sectors that recorded a contribution of 69 percent of the total GDP, meaning that the contribution from the oil sector has dropped to almost one-third.
"The wise leadership of Sheikh Khalifa was behind this stunning economic development, as the UAE became one of the most economically-powerful countries in the world in terms of liquidity and cash surpluses, due to the success in implementing a diversified sources of income." In terms of national per capita gross income, the report predicted that the UAE will become one of the top 10 countries in the world by 2020, noting that the country currently holds 16th place.
Highlighting the travel and tourism sector, the report stressed that the UAE will be one of the best countries in the world in terms of attracting tourists due to its dominance over most other countries in the tourism infrastructure.
The report is based on recent research by the World Council of Travel and Tourism, which says that the travel and tourism sector will contribute about Dh122 billion to UAE's GDP, approximately 8.5 percent, during 2014, representing an annual increase of 4.5% percent over 2013 figures. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE stands out among GCC peers: Barclays

posted on 20/12/2014

The UAE stands out among its GCC peers as best equipped to cope with potentially prolonged weakness in oil prices given its diversified economy and solid buffers, Barclays said.
The impact of falling oil prices on the UAE's external and fiscal positions is likely to remain manageable with the current account surplus to remain at 12.3 per cent and 6.8 per cent of the country's gross domestic product respectively, in 2014 and 2015, the bank said in an analytical study.
The diversification of the economy and the composition of its resource base have allowed the UAE to keep its external breakeven oil price around $64 per barrel, based on exports of 2.6 mbpd in 2014, while its fiscal breakeven oil price has fallen from $93/bbl to $79/bbl over the past three years, it said
"In other words, and assuming UAE's oil export volumes over 2014/2015 remain constant, we estimate that the country will still enjoy a large current account surplus as long as the average oil price remains above $64/bbl.”
Barclays said in its Economic Research report that the ongoing official efforts to diversify the UAE's economic structure and encourage the expansion of the non-hydrocarbon sectors have seen the share of the non-hydrocarbon sector increase substantially.
Barclays analyst Alia Moubayed observed in the report that the renewed possibility of a prolonged period of low oil prices highlights the key challenges posed by the limited progress on diversification of export and fiscal revenue bases in many GCC countries, and their vulnerabilities to extreme oil price volatility. "Among those countries, we think the UAE stands out as the best equipped to face oil price headwinds and is the most capable of adapting to the structural changes in the global oil markets.”
The banking sector liquidity may be affected, but loan deposit ratio (LDR) is below 100 per cent, while sovereign support and continued deleveraging in the corporate sector should help.
The share of the non-hydrocarbon sector in the UAE increased from 44.7 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000 to 61.1 per cent of GDP in 2013. Diversification efforts have also contributed to containing the role of the public sector in driving non-oil GDP growth. After rising sharply in 2009 to 30.6 per cent of non-oil GDP, the share of public-sector consumption and investment in total non-oil GDP fell back to 25.3 per cent by 2013. This compares with 56.6 per cent of non-oil GDP in Saudi Arabia and underscores the reduced role of the public sector in steering UAE's economic activity, although it remains important, said the report.
"This reduced reliance on oil revenues is reflected in the increasing share of non-hydrocarbon in the UAE's exports and fiscal revenues. This is partly explained by the growing share of investment income earned on net foreign assets, as well as the rapid expansion in non-oil exports of goods and services, notably from Dubai,” it said.
On the fiscal front, Barclays expects the Abu Dhabi government to slow its expenditure growth through announced subsidy cuts and the review of some investment projects and possibly revisit and scale back its generous aid to neighbouring countries. "This would allow the UAE's consolidated budget to maintain a modest fiscal surplus of 6.1 per cent and 5.4 per cent of GDP in 2014 and 2015 respectively.”
The report said the UAE's fiscal capacity has been bolstered and its financial buffers strengthened significantly. The accumulation of large external and fiscal surpluses over the past decade and strategic management of its net foreign assets helped to increase foreign exchange reserves at the central bank and expand the asset base of Abu Dhabi's Sovereign Wealth Fund (ADIA) to almost 120 per cent of the UAE's GDP.
"UAE's overall public debt remains low at less than 12 per cent of GDP providing ample fiscal space if necessary to meet additional financing needs. Banking liquidity will likely to support growth despite falling oil prices. Recent improvements in the performance of the banking sector supports our view on the likely limited impact of lower oil prices on the UAE economy. The latest available data reported by Moody's highlight slight improvement in the banks' profitability on the back of higher asset growth and more moderate pace of provisioning,” said Barclays. – Khaleej Times -§ion=uaebusiness


Mohammed bin Rashid: UAE will benefit most from global transformations in 2015

posted on 15/12/2014

Transformations and changes the world will witness in 2015 will produce positive outcomes for the UAE, given its diversified and vibrant economic base which benefits from international trade, strong confidence in the stability of the State and rich accumulated experiences in handling various events and changes, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has stated.
Sheikh Mohammed made his remarks while attending the Arab Strategy Forum (ASF 2014) yesterday in Dubai, which explored possible political and economic prospects in the region in 2015.
Commenting on the sessions, Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE had earlier prepared itself to face many world economic scenarios and had devised its domestic and foreign policies so that they might respond and adapt to all social and technological changes, and even political changes, through diversification of its economy away from relying upon oil exports.
The UAE, he continued, had also built balanced relations with other world economic powerhouses, far from narrowed alliances, and established a transparent foreign policy that is based upon active cooperation with all countries to pursue its interests.
Further, HH said he remains optimistic that positive political indices would emerge in our region in 2015, despite the formidable challenges the region is currently facing, noting that Egypt had strongly begun to regain its economic and political stability, the impact of which will be seen next year. There are also many positive signals regarding Iran's nuclear file, whose the start of its closure could be in 2015.
Additionally, he said a strong international alliance to counter terrorism indicates that a state such as Iraq could witness more stability.
On the economic plane, Sheikh Mohammed predicted that many Arab economies that import oil could benefit from low oil prices in the next year, positively impacting on the development, stability and market movement. HH also expected that several development projects in the Gulf countries would be launched and strong economic partnerships with some countries, such as Egypt and Jordan, would be forged.
Concluding his outlook for 2015, Sheikh Mohammed said, 'Despite the many challenges we are living through every day, and those we are going to live through in the future, we must always look at the positive aspects in our region, work to develop and take the best of them, avoid exaggerated media analyses which paint a bleak future for the region, because good is always on the side of the optimistic, who work for it and vice versa.
In attendance were H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, and an elite of media persons, along with others. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -

Mohammed bin Rashid: Arab world braces for rapid changes
The Arab world will experience economic, political and social changes that require governments to adopt flexible and wise policies to cope with them, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had said.
In a statement made ahead of the opening of the Arab Strategy Forum, Sheikh Mohammed said that politicians, economists and intellectuals were also required to look for answers to the future and the changes it will bring.
"part of investing in the future is to invest in foreseeing it and to prepare the tools and plans for it," he said.
In order to succeed in this rapidly changing world, Sheikh Mohammed went on, we need a clear, long-term vision and flexible and short-term evolving plans.
Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE had become an economic and political force in the region and the world "because we had a head start in studying the future and its implications. We are part of an extremely complex region, a well connected global economy and a fast changing world of technology and therefore, there is more need to invest in the future." The Arab Strategy Forum, beginning tomorrow, will host, among others, political expert Francis Fukuyaman, author of End of History and Paul Krugman, holder Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and a number of experts in a bid to draw a map of the state of the world and the state of the Arab world in 2015.
The forum will discuss the main expected political and economic changes in addition to mapping the main influential powers and major economic trends. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE ranks among the most developed countries in the international indices

posted on 08/12/2014

On December 2nd, 2014, the UAE celebrated its 43rd National Day.
It has achieved, throughout its united journey, record-breaking rates of growth in all fields, which have placed it at the top in terms of global competitiveness, according to reports by specialised regional and international organisations.
These reports have ranked the UAE as one of the most developed countries in the world, with happy and contented citizens and other residents, as well as sustainable growth in many other fields, including the economy, trade, investment and communications, in addition to information, technology, tourism, infrastructure and human and social development. It has also shown impressive growth in gender equality and in the political and economic empowerment of women.
One of the most notable achievements is in terms of development, its GDP having increased from Dh6.5 billion in 1971 to Dh1.54 trillion in the current year. The Gross National Expenditure allocation in the annual budget increased from only Dh201 million in 1971 to Dh49 billion and Dh100 billion in 2015. This indicates the volume of development programmes carried out over the past 43 years in the areas of infrastructure and providing essential services for citizens and residents.
These successes are due to the wise policies and essential foundations laid down by the prudent leadership of the founding fathers of the country, the first two being the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who displayed economic, political, diplomatic and cultural openness, and built strategic partnerships with countries on all continents of the world.
Their policies and visions have been carried into the present by the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as well as the members of the Federal Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces.
Diplomatic relations have been established with more than 190 countries throughout the world, compared to relations with only three countries when the UAE was first established in 1971.
The UAE today has more than 75 bilateral tax agreements and some 50 bilateral investment treaties with strategic partners around the world, as well as air transport agreements with 168 countries on different continents of the world, as well as being signatory to hundreds of other bilateral and multilateral agreements.
The infrastructure of its ports and airports, as well as of its shipping fleet, now facilitates trading links throughout the world.
The UAE has now become an important player in the global economy and provides the regional headquarters for more than 25 per cent of the world's largest 500 corporations.

Latest World Economic Forum Report: In the latest World Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum at Davos for the year 2014-15, in September, the UAE rose seven places in terms of overall economic competitiveness over the previous year, to 12th place globally, outranking countries such as Denmark, Canada, and South Korea in many indicators. According to the report, which covered 144 countries, the UAE's performance improved dramatically in 78 of the 114 indicators in just one year.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has said that the country, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is advancing steadily in all developmental indicators.
He has said, "Our economy is constantly evolving, and indicators of security and stability in the UAE are among the best in the world, and the well-being of our citizens is our top priority." The UAE ranks high on a global level in the key indicators of the Global Competitiveness Report, and is ranked first in the world in terms of quality of roads, absence of organised crime, and lack of inflation. It is also ranked second globally in government procurement of advanced technology, the effectiveness of government spending, the infrastructure and quality of the aviation sector, and the lack of trade barriers. The UAE also ranked third globally in citizens' trust in the political leadership and the government, the lack of government bureaucracy, the quality of ports and efficiency of customs procedures, attracting technology through direct foreign investment, and attracting specialised talent in building a knowledge economy.
The UAE ranked 19th in the Global Competitiveness Report last year (2013-14), compared to 24th the previous year.
UAE- notable progress in human development: The Human Development Report 2014 noted the remarkable progress made by the UAE with regards to human health, education and gross national income, with the human development index increasing to 0.827 as compared to 0.825 last year, ranking it in 40th position among 187 countries around the world.
According to the report, issued by the United Nations Development Programme in July, the average life expectancy of citizens in the UAE has increased to 76.8 years as compared to 76.7 years in the 2013 report, while the average number of years of schooling for citizens has now reached 13.3 years, compared to 12 years in the last report.
Sayed Agha, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, said, "This great development has placed the UAE among the category of countries with very high human development," adding that it had made significant progress at all levels of human development since 1980.
Agha noted that between 1980 and 2013, the human development index in the UAE had increased from 0.640 to 0.827, a 29.2 per cent increase, with average life expectancy increasing from 67.6 years in 1980 to 76.8 years, and years of schooling from 8.6 years to 13.3 years.
Agha pointed out that the empowerment of women, involvement of youth, encouragement of national employment, development of human capital, and the ability to cope with environmental and human-made disasters, are some of the most important areas regarded by decision-makers, according to the Human Development Report for 2014.
Over the past decade, the UAE has ranked among the top countries in human development reports issued by the annual United Nations Development Programme. It also ranked second regionally, and 41st globally among 157 countries, in the Human Development report for 2013. In the Human Development Index, which includes 47 countries, it shared 41st place with Lithuania. This index, which measures the average achievements in basic aspects of human development.
Indicators of happiness and contentment of the people: The UAE figures among the countries at the top of several regional and international reports recording people's happiness and contentment indicators. As the second UN World Happiness report for 2013, the latest such index, revealed, not only did the UAE maintain its top place among Arab countries, but also advanced three places globally to 14th place in terms of indicators of happiness and contentment of world populations.
The UAE was also ranked first in the Arab world and 19th globally in the Social Progress Index, which measures the well-being of nations and their success in meeting the social and environmental needs of their citizens. The index is based on 52 different criteria, ranging from the availability of basic requirements to measures of well-being.
The index covered 50 countries around the world. The UAE ranked high in several categories, ranking 11th in basic requirements, 9th in personal safety, 30th in opportunities, access to higher education, personal freedom, and freedom of choice.
The index categorises countries according to their social and environmental performance in collaboration with the social progress initiative. This indicator is based entirely on social and environmental measures, which include basic human needs, the foundations of a decent living, and opportunities. It indicates the aspects on which a country must focus its efforts to improve the standard of living of its people.
The American Gallup organisation confirmed in a study prepared in collaboration with the Healthways Foundation, results of which were announced in September 2014, that about a third of the UAE's population enjoys three elements of well-being to an extent that is more than double that enjoyed by the Middle East and North Africa region as a whole, and that the high living standards enjoyed by the individual in the UAE, according to their share of the gross domestic product (GDP), is superior to the world average in terms of the five elements of well-being measured. Gallup noted that the rate of prosperity in the UAE at 49 per cent is among the highest in the world, surpassed only by a few countries, such as Panama at 58 per cent and the Netherlands at 55 per cent. The study pointed out that the high level of well-being in the UAE community reflects the satisfaction of citizens and residents in the country, as well as the leadership's commitment to secure high living standards for the citizens and residents alike.
At the same time, the UAE is one of the countries in the world that most attract employment and residency, due to the security and stability in the country, and its good reputation. The UAE ranked first regionally and third globally on the list of top 10 countries for residence, and 24th globally in the index of best expatriate destinations, in the report issued by the Expat Insider for the year 2014. The UAE also ranked 1st globally in peaceful coexistence among nationalities, with people from over 200 countries residing here, according to the report of the UN International Organization for Peace, Care and Relief for 2014.
The World Bank placed the UAE in the 5th rank among the top countries in the world for sending cash transfers to resident employees. This amounted to about Dh75 billion in 2013.
The UAE ranked 2nd in the Arab world and the Middle East and 35th globally, in the fifth annual list of countries with the best world reputation for the year 2014, issued by the international Reputation Institute for global consulting.
Global Innovation Index In the Global Innovation Index 2014 issued by New York-based Cornell University, in collaboration with INSEAD and the UN-affiliated World Intellectual Property Organisation, the UAE ranked 1st in the Arab world and 36th globally out of 143 countries around the world covered by the index, announced in July.
Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, has stressed that the UAE was established on principles of innovation, creativity, and knowledge, and there is no better evidence of that than the fact that President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa and Vice President His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid have announced the formation of the Emirates Space Agency, with plans for the first Arab Islamic project to send a probe to Mars.
The Minister said that the UAE is also characterised by its amazing ability to build an environment that encourages creativity, innovation and attracts talent, and that there are plans to make the transition towards a smart government and transform the cities into innovative, human-friendly smart cities. He added that large-scale projects are under way to transform education into smart education based on creativity and innovation, in addition to creating complexes for creativity in the fields of the internet, media, renewable energy, and manufacturing in the UAE. The UAE, he noted, has a leadership that believes that innovation is the capital of the future.
The capital, Abu Dhabi, is ranked 1st among Arab capitals in terms of inventions, according to data announced by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in October 2014, with 76 inventions being registered between mid-2010 and mid- 2014. Abu Dhabi, therefore, deserved the title Capital of Arab Innovation, WIPO said.
UAE 1st in government efficiency: The UAE ranked 1st globally in the field of government efficiency, the quality of government decisions, the absence of bureaucracy, and good management of public funds, according to a report in the annual World Competitiveness yearbook for 2014, issued by the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.
The country also ranked 2nd globally in the field of values and behaviour and in the ease of doing business, and 3rd globally in indicators of international trade, economic performance, and government financial policy, in a report measuring the global competitiveness of the 60 most important countries in the world. In addition, the UAE ranked among the top five countries worldwide in 35 indicators in the new global report, which consists of 330 indicators. The UAE ranked 8th globally in Global Competitiveness for the second consecutive year, outranking countries such as Denmark and Norway.
The UAE also achieved the 3rd rank globally in financial government policy, 4th globally in administrative practices, and 8th globally in labour market flexibility. According to the report, experts identified five main reasons for the UAE's superiority in all global competitiveness criteria, including government efficiency, strength of infrastructure, diversity of national economy, and attractive investment environment, as well as the lack of taxes in the country. This year's report confirmed that the UAE has improved a large number of indicators, and is now ranked 2nd globally in ease of doing business, 3rd globally in transparency, 8th globally in true growth of GDP, and 5th globally in infrastructure, ranking among the top 10 globally, and the leader in the Middle East, in many indicators.
The UAE ranked 1st globally in the Edelman Trust Barometer 2014, rising from 6th to 1st globally. It also ranked 1st globally in the list of emerging countries in the overall trust indicator, advancing 13 points between 2013 and 2014. The UAE was also ranked 1st globally in the trust for government indicator at 88 per cent, and 1st globally in trust in business at 82 per cent, according to the annual index released by Edelman.
Additionally, the UAE ranked 1st among Middle Eastern countries and 26th globally in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 released by Transparency International. The index, which assesses the integrity and transparency levels in 177 countries around the world, showed that the UAE surpassed all other countries in the region and outranked many developed economies, such as Spain, which ranked 40th, Portugal which ranked 35th, South Korea which ranked 46th, and Turkey which ranked 53rd.
UAE in a leading position on its economy The UAE cemented its competitive abilities on the economic level, ranking among the top countries in global competitiveness indicators and reports issued during 2014.
The UAE rose three places from last year's rankings in the latest World Bank report concerning ease of doing business, issued in October, maintaining its first rank among Arab countries and rising to 22nd place globally.
The International Monetary Fund predicted in its Financial Stability report, issued in October 2014, that the UAE would maintain a surplus in its government budget over the next six years from 2014 to 2019, at rates ranging from 6.9 per cent to 10.5 per cent of the GDP. In another report on exports, the IMF said that at the beginning of 2014, the UAE was on the list of the world's top 20 exporters and that its exports, including goods and services, will reach Dh 1.47 trillion at the end of this year. The report also predicted that exports will increase to reach Dh 1.59 trillion in 2015 and will reach about Dh two trillion in 2018.
The UAE ranked among the top ten countries in the Index of Economic Freedom 2014, issued by the Fraser institution in October, being the leader in the Middle East and North Africa region, and being placed 6th globally.
The UAE also ranked 1st regionally in the Middle East and North Africa and 16th globally in the Global Enabling Trade Report, advancing three places compared to its rank in 2012.
The methodology used in the classification of countries, according to the Global Enabling Trade Report, is based on four key indicators consisting of nine pillars, including access to the market, border management, transport infrastructure, and communications. In the business environment indicator the UAE ranked 13th globally out of 135 countries.
The UAE was ranked 1st among Arab countries and 6th globally in the world economic elasticity index, issued by the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development in December 2013.
The UAE also ranked 1st among Arab and Middle Eastern countries for the second year in a row in Global Competitiveness for 2014, and ranked 4th globally with regard to its image abroad as one of the best countries in the field of purposeful business, according to the annual world competitiveness report for 2014 issued by the IIMD's World Competitiveness Centre in Lausanne. It made particular reference to the UAE's economic elasticity, the possibilities and capacities it provides in the field of business, and its developmental performance.
UAE ranked 2nd globally in attracting investment The UAE ranked 2nd globally in attracting and receiving foreign investments, according to a 2014 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The report noted continued high inflows of foreign investments to the UAE for the fourth consecutive year. Overall, it said, the UAE had received in 2013 foreign investment of more than $10.5 billion dollars, pointing out that the rise in foreign investment has coincided with the economic recovery that the UAE has been witnessing since 2009, with the help of growth in the oil and non-oil sectors, expansion and sustainable development in the non-oil sector, especially in manufacturing, heavy industries such as aluminium and petrochemicals, and other sectors such as tourism, air transport and national airlines.
The UNCTAD report ranked the UAE 13th globally and first in the Middle East among the most promising destinations for investors from 2013 to 2015. The World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment report for 2013 noted that the UAE attracted foreign direct investment of Dh 36.7 billion ($10 billion dollars) in 2012, compared to Dh 28.14 billion (7.67 billion dollars) in 2013; a growth of 31.5%. The UAE ranked 2nd among Arab countries in terms of attracting foreign direct investment. It also ranked 3rd in West Asia, where foreign investment reached $47 billion dollars.
The UNCTAD foreign investment report for 2013 estimated total accumulated foreign direct investments in the UAE during the period from 2007 to 2012 at about Dh 202.1 billion ($55 billion dollars), while total investments of the UAE abroad during the same period reached some Dh 146 billion ($39.8 billion dollars).
The Arab Investment & Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (DHAMAN), based in Kuwait, confirmed that the UAE ranked first in the Arab world, in terms of attracting foreign direct investment in 2013. Citing UNCTAD statistics, it said that 92 Arab and foreign countries had had an annual flow of investments totalling more than US$ 300 billion during the period from 2002 to 2012. The most important, in descending order, are France, Kuwait, United States, the UAE, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Netherlands, China, and Germany.
The UAE ranked first in inter-Arab investments during the period from 2002 to April 2014, with the total value of projects amounting to $217 billion.
The UAE's record in attracting investment reflects the policies of openness it has adopted since its establishment. It ranks 4th globally and first in the Middle East in the openness to the world index and in benefiting positively from globalisation, according to the International Institute for Management Development report for 2013. In this report, in which Ireland ranked first, the UAE surpassed many developed countries in the world. According to this index, Ireland ranked first by obtaining 8.15 points out of 10, followed by Hong Kong in 2nd place at about 8.08 points, and the UAE at 7.82 points, while Malaysia ranked 5th at 7.8 points.
UAE 1st globally in foreign aid The UAE has made a major step forward in terms of foreign aid, rising from 19th place in 2012 to first place globally, according to the preliminary official statement released in July 2014 by the Relief Aid Commission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. It said that the UAE ranked first globally as the largest donor of foreign aid in 2013, in relation to its gross national income, with aid reached more than $5.2 billion dollars, an increase of 375 per cent over the amount of aid spent in 2012.
The UAE ranked as the 16th largest donor of foreign aid in the world, according to a rating issued by the OECD Commission of Humanitarian Aid in April 2013. It said that aid granted by the UAE since its establishment on 2nd December 1971 and 2010 had reached more than $163 billion dollars in the form of soft loans, non-returnable grants and relief aid, to around 137 countries and regions around the world. In 2011, a further $2.11 billion dollars was given, with another $1.59 billion dollars in 2012.
Information and Communication Technology The UAE rose to 24th place globally in the Global Information and Communication Technology report for 2014, issued by the World Economic Forum, and covering 148 countries. It also ranked 32nd globally in the Networked Readiness Index for 2014 issued by the United Nations.
Further, the UAE also ranks 12th globally in online services and 13th globally in e-participation.
The UAE was ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa region and 2nd globally in the e-government index, out of 144 countries included in the global ICT report for 2013 issued by the World Economic Forum.
The UAE also ranked first regionally and 4th globally in the field of cyber security, according to the World Competitiveness Yearbook for 2012, issued by the International Institute for Management Development, and 3rd among Arab countries and 30th globally in the networked readiness index issued by INSEAD and the World Economic Forum in 2012.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority announced in February 2012 that the UAE had been ranked 7th in the web services indicator, one of the four indicators that make up the Networked Readiness Index issued by the United Nations in 2012, having been ranked 49th in 2010. It also ranked 2nd globally in terms of deployment of its fibre-optic network, according to the annual rating by the FTTH Council Europe for the year 2012, after completing the laying of a submarine communication cable connecting India and Europe and passing through the Middle East and the UAE region, at a cost of Dh 57.2 billion.
UAE in the lead in gender equality The UAE's achievements in the field of political and economic empowerment of women have gained widespread and, according to a report issued by the World Economic Forum in October 2013 in Geneva, the UAE now ranks first in the Middle East and North Africa in terms of gender equality in the quality of education, health care, and political and economic contributions.
The report, covering 133 countries, confirmed that the UAE has achieved excellent rates of gender equality. The country has been elected to the membership of the Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women for a period of three years, from the beginning of 2013 to the end of 2015.
The UAE ranked first globally in terms of educational attainment rates for women, according to the 2012 annual report of the World Economic Forum with 10,000 points on the indicator. It also ranked 81st in terms of the political empowerment of women at 1206 points, and 122nd globally in the women's economic participation index at 4751 points.
The UAE ranked first among Arab countries in the 2012 gender gap index issued by the World Economic Forum in October 2012. The report ranks countries in terms of gender gap based on four key areas: access to health care, education, political participation and economic equality.
The UAE has also been ranked first globally in competitiveness within the travel and tourism sector, based on six indicators included in the World Economic Forum report for 2013, notably the sustainability of development in the travel and tourism sector, the effectiveness of tourism promotion, and infrastructure advancement in international airports, air transport facilities, and airlines and support services. It occupied 8th place globally and first in the Middle East on the list of the most advanced countries in the tourism and aviation sectors, according to the 2013 travel and tourism competitiveness report, having risen two places since 2011.
UAE on the Global Map of Tourism The UAE also ranked 9th in terms of tourism investment in the World Travel and Tourism Council report, covering 181 countries. The report said that the UAE's investments in this sector reached around Dh 92.9 billion in 2013, compared to Dh 84.3 billion in 2012, a growth rate of about 10 per cent. The report predicted that growth would rise to 7.2 per cent, increasing the volume of investment to Dh 104.4 billion by 2014, and to Dh 137.9 billion in 2022. The report explained that these investments are concentrated in the construction of international recreational facilities and luxurious hotels, along with other tourist services.
The World Travel and Tourism Council noted in its report that the UAE accounts for the highest percentage of investments in tourism development in the Middle East, reaching Dh 149.1 billion in 2012.
The UAE ranked 30th globally out of the 139 countries covered in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report for 2011, issued by the World Economic Forum, while it maintained first place in the Middle East in the travel and tourism sector.
11.2 million tourists visited the UAE in 2012, according to the Forum, which predicted a rise to 18.8 million tourists in 2022. Total tourist spending in the UAE reached Dh 111 billion, and is expected to reach Dh 113.8 billion by 2022.
The UAE ranked 31st globally in terms of tourism revenue and growth during 2012, according to a report by the World Tourism Organisation, covering top 50 global tourist destinations in terms of revenue and growth in the tourism sector. The UAE's revenue from tourism was reported as Dh 192.6 billion in 2012, out of overall global tourism revenues estimated at 1,075 trillion dollars in 2012.
The UAE also ranked 4th globally and top in the Middle East in terms of tourism infrastructure, particularly in terms of the infrastructure of airports and the air transport sector.
A distinguished global presence The UAE's high rankings in the various global competitiveness reports reflect a 43-year journey packed with major achievements in various fields, and confirm the country's leading position on a global and regional level and the respect and trust it has gained from the international community. Through the recognition earned from its diplomatic and political activities, the UAE has also come to be elected to the boards of a number of international and regional organisations and authorities.
Now the permanent headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the city of Abu Dhabi is the first Arab capital to host an international organisation and a global leader in the field of renewable energy.
The country also hosts, in Abu Dhabi, the International Centre for Countering Violent Extremism, Hedaya, in addition to the Muslim Council of Elders, which brings together Muslim scholars from around the world.
Further, the UAE hosts a number of other regional and international offices and organisations, including the Regional Office of the United Nations Development Group, the Regional Office of the United Nations Development Programme, the Regional Office of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Arab Monetary Fund, and the office of the Arab Trade Financing Programme. The International Air Transport Association is to open a regional office in Abu Dhabi while the World Organisation of Family Doctors in the Middle East also chose the UAE to be its permanent headquarters.
With the support and trust of the international community, the UAE was elected to host a number of international conferences and exhibitions, including Expo -2020, which will be held in Dubai, becoming the first city in the Middle East to host it, and the World Energy Summit 2019, which will also be the first time it is held in the Middle East, as well as the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2018.
The UAE was also elected to the membership and boards of many regional and international organisations. Amongst these are: The election of the UAE on 27 October 2014 to the membership of the ITU for the third consecutive year.
The UAE becoming a member of the World Tourism Organisation The unanimous election of the UAE by the International Atomic Energy Agency to membership of its board of governors in September 2013.
On 12 November 2012, the UAE was elected, by a large majority of the UN General Assembly, to a seat on the UN Human Rights Council for the third consecutive year, which ends in late 2015.
The UAE gained membership in the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) Council.
The election of the UAE to the membership of the UN Executive Council of UN Women for three years, from 2013 until 2015.
Selecting the UAE in November 2011 to participate in the Group of Twenty meetings.
The election of the UAE in October, for the third time, to the membership of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Election of the UAE in 2012 to the membership of the International Telecommunication Satellite Organisation advisory committee.
UNESCO selected the UAE in November 2013 for the position of Vice President of the Executive Council of the Arab Group.
Selection of the UAE in November 2013 to be a member of the Executive Council of the World Organisation for Educational Evaluation and Grading, which regulates international examinations on a global level.
The election of the UAE in 2013 to host the headquarters of the General Trust of the International Network of the Academic Certification Authority.
The UAE won the presidency of the permanent Arab Parliament in its first session elections.
On 26 November 2012, the Arab Women Organisation executive council, based in Cairo, elected Dr. Sheikha Saif Al Shamsi from the UAE as its General Director.
Journey of Achievements continues The UAE continues its journey of national achievements by completing all the goals of the UN Millennium Sustainable Development Index, thus becoming one of the first countries to complete the timeline set out by the UN Millennium Summit, which was held in 2000 at UN headquarters in New York.
The UAE achieved more than 95 per cent of the UN goals by the year 2012, finishing three years before the deadline of the end of 2015.
In celebration of the UAE's ranking among the top 10 countries in global competitiveness and its ranking first in government efficiency, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said on 3rd May 2013 that the UAE, thanks to its wise visions, its prudent policies, its unique government, and the efforts of its male and female citizens, is reaping the fruits of empowerment in the form of international respect and acknowledgement of its political efficiency and its economic and management capabilities, along with the wellbeing, security, reassurance and optimism enjoyed by its citizens.
In his 41st National Day statement he added that, "The wellbeing of our citizens and residents has always been at the core of our strategic vision and what drives all our vital programmes and initiatives, which have placed our nation at the top of the world in terms of stability, prosperity and wellbeing, and have made it a cultural, economic and tourist destination, according to all reports and international indices." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE accounts for 86 per cent of GCC licenses for economic activities

posted on 06/12/2014

The UAE scored the highest cumulative increase in the issuing of licences to GCC citizens, granting some 35,006 licences in 2013, accounting for 86 per cent of the total licences granted to the Gulf Cooperation Council for Arab States (GCC) to run businesses.
The number of licences granted to citizens of the GCC to operate a variety of businesses surged to 40,753 licences in 2013, compared with 11,095 licences at the end of 2004, an increase of 267 per cent.
According to a report prepared by the information sector of the GCC General Secretariat, Kuwait was ranked second with 3,453 licences, accounting for 8 per cent, the Kingdom of Bahrain came in third place with 1,118 licences at 3 per cent, Saudi Arabia granted 494 licences, while the number of licences issued by Sultanate of Oman was 426 licences, as Qatar granted 256 licences.
Citizens of Saudi Arabia topped the list in number of licences obtained for operating businesses in other Member States, with 18,658 licences representing 46 per cent of the total issued licences, followed by the citizens of Kuwait, who received 6,851 licences representing 17 per cent. The citizens of the Sultanate of Oman received 6,081 licences, representing 15 per cent of the total licences, the citizens of the Kingdom of Bahrain were issued 5,948 licences, representing 14 per cent of the total licences, followed by Qataris and Emiratis at the rates of 6 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Nahyan hails U.A.E.'s latest achievement in global competitiveness

posted on 05/09/2014

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, on Thursday attributed the U.A.E.'s high ranking in the latest Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) to the solid foundations laid by the nation's founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who created a unique human development model that has become a primary driver of the prosperity and progress of the country.
Sheikh Nahyan, in a statement, also praised President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, and General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, for providing a favourable environment that encourages excellence and nurtures creativity in all spheres of development in U.A.E.
In the latest Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2014-2015 issued by the World Economic Forum (Davos), U.A.E. advanced seven places in the overall competitiveness of its economy within just one year, becoming the 12th most competitive nation globally, after ranking in 19th position last year, and now is ranked first in the world in terms of the high quality of its roads on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) for 2014-2015 and in the absence of organised crime, as well as in the lack of inflation.
Sheikh Nahyan also said that U.A.E.'s achievements are not new, accidental, or just plain chance, rather they are based on the leadership's wise visions, careful planning of strategies and performance-enhancing programmes for advancing work in line with international standards and earning the country a top place in the global competitiveness report.
The U.A.E.'s new achievement in global competitiveness is but the latest in a series of steps towards further progress, Sheikh Nahyan noted.


U.A.E. ranks first in the world in terms of quality of roads, says Public Works Ministry

posted on 04/09/2014

The high quality of road projects in U.A.E. enabled the country to rank first in the world in terms of quality of roads on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) for 2014-2015, thanks to the wise policies of the government and the directives of the wise leaders, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Vice President and Prime Minister of U.A.E., and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on winning the first place in all spheres, said Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Public Works.
Al Nuaimi was commenting on the U.A.E.'s ranking in the Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015, issued by World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2014-2015, in which the country advanced seven places in the overall competitiveness of its economy within just one year.
The Ministry of Public Works, in coordination with Emirates Competitiveness Council, adopted the quality of roads as a global index for achieving the first place in response to the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid on charging ministries with the responsibility of achieving the first places on global indices.
Quality of roads is the second part of the second pillar, i.e., infrastructure, of GCI which assess the quality of roads in a certain country on scale of 1 to 7, with one being extremely underdeveloped and 7 being extensive and efficient among the best in the world.
Minister Al Nuaimi also noted that the federal ministry has constructed 800 km of federal roads across U.A.E. and is working on a strategic initiative to complete the connection of all municipalities and residential areas with the high-quality federal road network, in line with the directives of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid for ensuring the highest quality of life for all Emiratis and residents and the social cohesion of the country.
According to the GCI methodology used by WEF in the its latest report on global competitiveness, extensive and efficient infrastructure is critical for ensuring the effective functioning of the economy, as it is an important factor in determining the location of economic activity and the kinds of activities or sectors that can develop within a country.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 assesses the competitiveness landscape of 144 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. The Report series remains the most comprehensive assessment of national competitiveness worldwide. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – emirates/1395269215883.html


Mazrouei: U.A.E.'s high ranking in GCR is a testimony to its prominent standing globally

posted on 04/09/2014

The minister of energy emphasised that the U.A.E. has laid down the rules of excellence, constructive work, and taking lead and initiative, for building the Emirati human being who is capable of delivering achievements in all fields thanks to instructions of the wise leadership spearheaded by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of Emirates, and close 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.
Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei was commenting on the U.A.E. high ranking on the latest Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 issued by the World Economic Forum in which the U.A.E. was rated as the 12th most competitive nation globally. It also leads all the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries.
Mazrouei congratulated the wise leadership and the U.A.E. people on the honourable achievement, saying :' It is a source of proud to every Emirati and a testimony of the international community to the prominent place the U.A.E. occupies. The U.A.E. has joined the club of advanced countries in terms of investment in human resources and other areas.' 'The high ranking is no strange to a government chaired by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who leveraged the government work to the international standing and encouraged all to work as one team, pushing the U.A.E. to top ranking ahead of many industrialised countries,' he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Al Mansouri: U.A.E.'s progress in GCR demonstrates strong will and determination for success

posted on 04/09/2014

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy affirmed that the U.A.E. would have not made the successive landmark achievements globally if it had not for the far-sighted vision of the wise leadership led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of Emirates.
In a statement on the U.A.E.'s high score in the Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) issued by the World Economic Forum in 2014- 2015, the minister said: 'The U.A.E. advance of 7 places in the overall competitiveness of its economy within just one year, becoming the 12th most competitive nation globally, ahead of countries such as Denmark, Canada and South Korea, underlines the solid will and determination and endless ambition of our wise leadership and the dedication of the U.A.E. people to enhance its leading role regionally as well as globally.' 'Day by day, the U.A.E. is proving that it is a stand-alone case in everything and a source of inspiration in politics, economy, development, progress and other areas.
The U.A.E. rests only with the top rank and its future ambitious plans and visions are always seeking the first place in all fields,' he added.
He indicated that the U.A.E. Government was striving to be a leader in different key economic sectors to deliver sustainable economic development and the advanced ranking it scored in the Global Competitiveness Report spoke volume for the success of these efforts.
He stated that his ministry was acting upon instructions of the federal government and its agenda the U.A.E. Vision 2021 seeks to achieve.
'The advanced ranking the U.A.E. has achieved in the GCR has placed a heavy responsibility on us to maintain excellence and leadership and build upon them to deliver more achievements,' he stated. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –