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THE ECONOMY - ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT


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 - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/December/uaebusiness_December274.xml§ion=uaebusiness

ZURCK NACH OBEN | AKTUELLSTE NACHRICHTEN BEI WAM


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 - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395273806472.html

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 - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395273762970.html

ZURCK NACH OBEN | AKTUELLSTE NACHRICHTEN BEI 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

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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 - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395273459006.html

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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. http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general-economics-emirates/1395269249202.html

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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 – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general-economics emirates/1395269215883.html

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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 –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395269196251.html

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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 –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395269200909.html


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U.A.E. jumps 7 positions on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report


posted on 03/09/2014

Mohammed bin Rashid: under the leadership of Sheikh Khalifa our economy is constantly evolving; security and stability indicators are among the best in the world; the welfare of our citizens is our first priority - World Economic Forum: U.A.E. has made a remarkable progress in 78 sub-indicators during just one year The U.A.E. ranks first for the absence of inflation and the absence organised crime globally, second for the effectiveness of government spending and third in terms of absence of government bureaucracy; it also rated as having the third best infrastructure and the world - Mohammed bin Rashid: All agendas, strategies and plans, are subject to continuous review and evaluation in such a manner that reflects our growing aspirations in all sectors.
- Mohammed bin Rashid: A big thanks to federal and local teams working as one for the progress of the U.A.E..
- Mohammed bin Rashid: the well-being and prosperity of our citizens has been, and always will remain at the centre of our focus and priority. Our message to those around us is that the key to stability lies in the creation of real development.
- The U.A.E. jumps 7 ranks in the latest Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 issued by the World Economic Forum.
- The U.A.E. is the 12th most competitive nation globally ahead of developed economies such as Canada, Denmark and South Korea.
DUBAI, 3rd Sep. 2014 (WAM) - His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, U.A.E. Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, affirms that the U.A.E. under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is advancing steadily and dramatically across development indicators, reflecting the areas where our economy is progressing ... notably, security and stability indicators are among the best in the world... and the welfare of our citizens is our first priority. His Highness also added that the U.A.E. government is constantly monitoring these global indicators issued by reputable international organisations. Retreating is not an option in our government.
His Highness's comments came in the wake of the results of the Global Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum in 2014- 2015 in which the U.A.E. advances 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. The U.A.E. impressively leads globally in a number of indicators: 1st globally in quality of the roads and the absence of organised crime, 1st globally for having the lowest rate of inflation, 2nd globally for government procurement of advanced technology, 2nd globally for the effectiveness of government spending, and the impact of taxes on investment and the lack of trade barriers; it also ranks 2nd for the quality of its infrastructure in the aviation sector. The U.A.E. also came in 3rd place globally on indicators such as citizens' confidence in government and leadership, the absence of government bureaucracy, the quality of ports, efficiency of customs procedures, attracting technology through foreign direct investment (FDI); Significantly, for the knowledge economy, U.A.E. ranked 3rd globally for attracting professional talent. Overall, the U.A.E. improved its performance in 78 indicators out of 114.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum further commented that the U.A.E. has progressed in several areas because of the hard work of federal and local teams who are working as one, equipped with a vision that extends to the year 2021; our agendas and sector strategies change continuously as our ambitions keep growing.
His Highness also said, "Despite the many challenges facing our region, our main focus has been, and will remains on progressing in our nation, and developing our economy for the on-going welfare of our citizens. Our message to those around us is that the key to true stability lies in the creation of real development." The U.A.E. showed significant success in all overarching pillars of the report, over the last year. It ranked 2nd in up from 4th in Basic Requirements which measures the readiness of regulations and institutions, infrastructure, health and primary education; In Efficiency Enhancers which evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of higher education systems, labour market, financial market and technological readiness, the U.A.E. ranked 14th globally up from 20th, and 21st up from 24th in Innovation and Sophistication.
The GCR assesses 144 countries on their ability to provide high levels of prosperity and welfare to its citizens, along a series of performance indicators which evaluates the country's ability to provide the suitable infrastructure for investments. The U.A.E. is currently ahead of developed economies such as Denmark, Canada, France, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as being ahead of countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. The nation also leads all the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries.
The country's performance in the latest edition of GCR reflects the concerted and comprehensive national competitiveness strategy and its alignment with the economic and social objectives for the ultimate well-being and prosperity of the U.A.E..
The U.A.E. places high value on the private sector and investors and has unrelentingly tried to ensure a safe context in which to conduct businesses. A fact that was borne out by the report which shows that the U.A.E. is among the safest places to do business, not just in the Middle East, but indeed, internationally.
Our excellent performance can be attributed to the successful policies and breadth of businesses which have created a talented, highly diverse, stable, and competitive business environment across the U.A.E.. This is complemented by the generally high degree of trust in government and safety and security in the U.A.E.. Together these attributes have given U.A.E. a competitive advantage over most other countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395269176197.html

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Reem Al Hashimy lauds efforts by federal and local competitiveness teams


posted on 03/09/2014

Following the recent launch of the Global Competitiveness Report for 2014-15 by the World Economic Forum, Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State, and Chairwoman of the Emirates Competitiveness Council (ECC) has commended the efforts made by federal and local government organisations to step up performance of the U.A.E.'s competitiveness, leading the country to rank as the 12th most competitive nation globally for 2014-15, a jump of seven ranks from last year, and maintaining its regional lead.
Al Hashimy said efforts by different government teams led to the significant improvement in results of competitiveness indicators, with quality of the country's public institutions climbing 4 ranks from last year to become the 7th globally.
"This report is an international testimony to the U.A.E.'s global lead and position among the world's most advanced and innovative countries and this achievement could have not been achieved without the vision of our leadership who aspires to realise the ultimate goal of the U.A.E. Vision 2021 of making U.A.E. the best country in the world by 2021." She added by saying: "I thank all individual and organisations who contributed in supporting U.A.E.'s competitiveness, as well as the teams in different government institutions. All government institutions deserve to be commended for working together to achieve this remarkable result." Abdullah Lootah, ECC Secretary General, said the surge in the country's ranking year by year comes with more challenges to maintain this lead.
"We have a lot to do in holding this top position and in doing better. We will step up our efforts and work with the concerned institutions to ensure that the U.A.E. remains in the top all the time," he added.
Rankings of competitiveness in the Global Competitiveness Report are determined by two main factors; the Executive Opinion Survey and the data measuring performance of countries in vital areas such as healthcare, education, market size, patents, research and innovation programs.
Lootah underlined the important role of the private sector in improving the country's competitiveness rankings.
The ECC maintains continuous communication with national and international companies, chambers and business councils in the U.A.E. such as the British and French business councils.
The Global Competitiveness Report assesses the competitiveness landscape of different world economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. The Report series remains the most comprehensive assessment of national competitiveness worldwide.
The Emirates Competitiveness Council (ECC) is a U.A.E. federal government organisation that serves as a conduit between the public and private sectors to strengthen the U.A.E.'s competitiveness by actively informing policy creation and process development of federal and local government bodies to become more globally competitive.
It is committed to on-going partnership with the private sector to fortify its position as a leading centre for global businesses and to support effective policies, procedures and legislation to advance the U.A.E.'s competitiveness, regional and global leadership, and future prosperity. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emiratesinternational/1395269176243.html

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


posted on 27/08/2014

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

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Dubai economic growth may hit 5.6%


posted on 26/08/2014

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

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Dubai Economic Development Department launches Twitter account in English


posted on 19/08/2014

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

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


posted on 12/08/2014

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

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U.A.E. non-oil sector robust


posted on 06/08/2014

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

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


posted on 06/08/2014

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

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UAE officially joins membership of Development Assistance Committee of OECD


posted on 09/07/2014

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

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International Monetary Fund upbeat on Dubai


posted on 08/07/2014

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

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


posted on 18/06/2014

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

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


posted on 16/06/2014

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

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Boost for Dubai’s Islamic industry


posted on 14/06/2014

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

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Abu Dhabi economy grew 5.2% in 2013


posted on 04/06/2014

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

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UAE participates in New York Forum Africa in Gabon


posted on 25/05/2014

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

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Hamed bin Zayed attends St. Petersburg International Economic


posted on 24/05/2014

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

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


posted on 24/05/2014

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

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