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Infrastructure investment key to tackling youth unemployment crisis

posted on 25/05/2015

THE DEAD SEA, JORDAN: Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum and a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Middle East and North Africa at the World Economic Forum, has highlighted that the strategic infrastructure investment plays a critical role in supporting much-needed growth and development in the region in order to tackle the major challenge of youth unemployment.
Speaking alongside former British Prime Minster Gordon Brown and the Vice Chairman of GE, John Rice, on the Plenary Panel entitled "Infrastructure for Development" on the final day of the Forum's MENA Summit at the Dead Sea in Jordan, Jafar described the key drivers of strategic investment into regional infrastructure, with a particular focus on power generation, regulatory challenges, and the role and duty of the region's private sector companies in partnering with governments in solving the infrastructure challenges of today, and creating the jobs and prosperity for tomorrow: "The key regional social and economic challenges, especially demand for jobs for young people, require new era of public-private partnership in infrastructure to support the over US$100 billion needed for investment and maintenance each year in the MENA region."
With youth unemployment rates rising in the region to 29.8% in 2015, Jafar stated that for every US$1bn invested in the region on infrastructure, over 110,000 jobs could be created in the oil-importing countries, or 26,000 jobs in the GCC, or 49,000 jobs in developing oil exporting countries. Annual spending needs of US$106 billion includes US$46 billion of new investment and US$59 billion of maintenance, and by meeting the investment needs, according to the World Bank, the MENA region could generate 2.5 million additional jobs.
Seeing infrastructure development as essential to provide the millions of jobs needed in a young and growing region, providing hope, stability and livelihoods, and encouraging entrepreneurship, Majid Jafar stressed the gap in such investments in the Middle East region compared to other developing regions: "On average across the MENA Region, about 5 per cent of GDP is allocated to infrastructure, whereas the proportion in China is three times higher at 15 percent. Tackling energy subsidy reform in our region can free up hundreds of billions of dollars for productive investment that will lead to more jobs, higher standards of living, and stronger economic competitiveness for our region's future," Jafar added.
The Infrastructure Development plenary and the World Economic Forum MENA 2015 Dead Sea Summit brings together over 1,000 leaders from government, business and civil society, to evaluate solutions to some of the defining regional issues, and the shared economic, social, environmental and geostrategic goals which will require multi-stakeholder approaches. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Bodour Al Qasimi encourages youth participation in World Economic Forum

posted on 24/05/2015

DEAD SEA, JORDAN: Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), has called to provide young leaders with the opportunity to participate in the upcoming events of the World Economic Forum as key speakers, to talk about their views, ideas and aspirations.
She also stressed the need to invest in qualified young people to stop the migration of Arab minds and empower them to become effective contributors to the economic, social, and political development of their nations, and to achieve prosperity and peace in the region.
Sheikha Bodour's call came during her participation in the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, which concluded yesterday (Saturday) at the King Hussein bin Talal Convention in the Dead Sea, Jordan, in the presence of more than 900 key government, business and civil society leaders representing 50 countries from the region and beyond.
Speaking in the panel discussion titled ‘The Youth Imperative: What Shifts Are Necessary to equip the region's youth for a future of peace and prosperity?' on the second day, Sheikha Bodour said, "There is no better investment than in youth and in empowering them in their home countries, especially given that the Arab world is replete with creative young minds that often resort to migrating abroad due to lack of opportunities at home."
She emphasised the importance of offering a platform for young people in the World Economic Forum and their taking part as speakers in such an important international event, in order to play a role in shaping their own future and solving their problems, notably unemployment, and finding practical solutions to the challenges facing the region a move that will raise hope in the hearts of young people and help them escape the circle of frustration and despair.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, the first Emirati woman to co-chair the world economic event, was joined in the session by Kuwaiti businessman Omar Al Ghanim, CEO of Al Ghanim Industries, Carolina de Borbon Parma, Head and Representative for Partnerships, Switzerland, UNRWA, and Mahmoud Jibril, Leader of the National Forces Alliance of Libya.
Attending the event were Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, and from the UAE Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State, along with a number of Emirati figures and a delegation from the Emirate of Sharjah, composed of representatives from various government departments and authorities, as well as an elite group of Arab and global figures.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi highlighted that Arab youth should be seen as a national wealth and a great opportunity to achieve development and prosperity in the region rather than a problem to solve, calling for concerted efforts between Arab governments and people to push ahead with the development process. She said, "Its collective responsibility, not just the governments' responsibility. I think everyone should play a role parents, governments, the private sector and civil society."
On the first day of the forum, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi took part in a closed-door panel discussion at the Young Global Leaders Community Bonding event, held as part of the Forum of Young Global Leaders. She delivered a key speech in which she called for a plan of action for youth empowerment and full engagement with all walks of life in the Arab world, while encouraging Arab youth to regain their right to realise their dreams and create a future of their choice.
The Forum of Young Global Leaders - an integral part of the World Economic Forum and part of the larger New Champions community - aims to make a positive impact on the global agenda by engaging the YGL community in initiatives and dialogues related to specific global challenges they collectively identify with.
The YGL forum is a unique, multi-stakeholder community of more than 900 exceptional young leaders from all backgrounds, nationalities and stakeholder groups. Bold, brave, action-oriented and entrepreneurial, these individuals commit both their time and talent to make the world a better place.
The 2015 World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, which was held under the theme of ‘Creating a Regional Framework for Prosperity and Peace through Public-Private Cooperation', is an international platform and institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


UAE shares commitment to regional development through partnerships at World Economic Forum meeting

posted on 24/05/2015

Education, youth employment, women's empowerment and public-private partnerships are key to ensuring sustainable economic growth and stability in the Arab world, according to Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, who led a high-level UAE delegation to the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa.
The forum, being held in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan between 21-23 May, brought together 800 key MENA region leaders from government, business and civil society to support a comprehensive blueprint for prosperity and peace, based on a framework for public-private cooperation.
Dr Al Jaber said, "The UAE leadership has long recognised the critical importance of transitioning from a resource based economy to an economy that is based on knowledge and innovation. A highly educated, skilled and motivated workforce has the capability to jump-start economic growth and foster job creation and entrepreneurship.
"The UAE, in line with our leadership's vision, is committed to contributing to the region's economic growth and stability. Achieving this goal requires public and private partnerships, with a particular emphasis on the advancement of youth, education and women's empowerment."
During the forum, Dr Al Jaber and the UAE delegation met with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and discussed the long standing political and trade ties between the two countries.
"The UAE commends His Majesty King Abdullah II for hosting a conference aimed at catalysing partnerships to enhance regional security and growth. These are objectives that are closely shared between the UAE, Jordan and the broader region".
Al Jaber also met with Jordan's Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Ibrahim Saif. Together they discussed the onshore 117MW Taflia Wind Farm project, which Masdar has a 31 per cent shareholding. The project, due to be completed later this year, will be the first utility-scale renewable energy project in Jordan, and will account for almost 10 percent of the country's 2020 renewable energy target and increase its total power generation capacity by three percent.
Dr Al Jaber also met with Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, to discuss the upcoming Summit on the Global Agenda, which will take place in Abu Dhabi in October. The Summit will bring together public and private sector leaders of the World Economic Forum's Network of Global Agenda Councils, comprising more than 80 groups of experts from academia, business, civil society, international organisations and government.
The World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa was attended by Their Royal Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan. The conference built on recent initiatives by leaders in the region and internationally, and provided a high-level public-private coordination platform to respond to shared economic, societal and geopolitical challenges.
The policy reform momentum in many countries including Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco was a focus of the meeting, along with the attendant infrastructure, energy and investment partnerships with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and international financial institutions and the role of the private sector in economic development. High-level discussions on regional security and humanitarian challenges were also held.
The UAE delegation to the Forum comprised government officials and business leaders, including Sheikha Budoor bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Vice Chairperson of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce; Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties; Jamal Al Ghurari, Managing Director of Gulf Sugar; Abdullah Saeed bin Thani, Chairman of Thani Investment Group; Noura Al Kaabi, CEO, Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi; Dr Ahmed Behoul, Masdar CEO, and Fahad al Tafaq, Director of the Department of Economic Affairs and International Cooperation - UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Bodour Al Qasimi to champion youth empowerment at World Economic Forum 2015

posted on 20/05/2015

Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, will encourage youth empowerment during the upcoming World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, which will be held at the King Hussein bin Talal Convention Centre on the eastern shores of the Dead Sea, Jordan, from May 21st -23rd.
Besides being the first Emirati woman to co-chair an event at the economic forum, Sheikha Bodour will take part in a panel discussion on the second day entitled, ‘The Youth Imperative: What Shifts Are Necessary to equip the region's youth for a future of peace and prosperity?' She will emphasise the vital need to encourage and empower the younger generation to become active contributors to the economic, social, and political development of their nations. Sheikha Bodour will also speak at a Young Global Leaders Community Bonding event on May 21st.
Speaking about the upcoming event, Sheikha Bodour remarked, "The Arab region has no shortage of young talent, but the challenge is to effectively utilise such talent and invest it in the development process both locally and regionally. As the youth population constitutes over 55% of the total population in the Arab world, it is crucial that we engage young people in core issues, instilling in them hope and optimism while harnessing their abilities and energy to create real and lasting peace and prosperity in the region."
An esteemed line-up of global figures will join Sheikha Bodour as co-chairs of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa.
A delegation from the Emirate of Sharjah, composed of representatives from various government departments and authorities, will also be in attendance to share and discuss different ideas, as well as exchange experiences with other participants, including political, intellectual, business and technology leaders from around the world.
The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the forum features business, political, academic and other leaders of society who aim to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Entitled ‘Creating a Regional Framework for Prosperity and Peace through Public-Private Cooperation', the 2015 World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa will bring together more than 800 key government, business, and civil society leaders from the region and beyond, to support a comprehensive and forward-looking vision for prosperity and peace. The World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa issues economic indices in competitiveness, business environment, labour force and market performance. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Al Mansouri, Finnish counterpart plan to boost innovation, scientific research

posted on 10/05/2015

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, has agreed with Finland's Economy Minister, Jan Vapaavuori, to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the areas of scientific research and innovation.
During the meeting held yesterday in the presence of the Finnish Ambassador to UAE, Ilkka-Pekka Simila, at Ritz Carlton Hotel, Dubai, the two ministers stressed the importance of business sectors in both countries to upgrade the level of joint cooperation.
They also discussed ways to develop economic cooperation between the two countries, focusing on areas of knowledge-driven economy and innovation.
Al Mansouri noted, "Finland has an outstanding track record at the international level in the fields of advanced technology, innovation, research and development, making it an important partner for the UAE in its quest to achieve a transition to a sustainable knowledge-based economy as a strategic national option."
He pointed out that the trend towards the adoption of innovation as the basis for economy was based upon the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, which were translated by the Cabinet to make 2015 a year of innovation, adding that this declaration was followed by the intensification of national efforts in this area from the Ministry of Economy and various government agencies.
Al Mansouri referred to the visit of Finnish President Sauli Niinisto to the UAE last April, and his meeting with UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, which confirmed the level of Finland's interest in strengthening the bonds of cooperation with the UAE in various fields.
He also emphasised the positive results achieved by his official visit to Finland at the head of an economic and a government delegation comprising various stakeholders from the public and private sectors last February. The UAE Minister said that the delegation met with Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb and a group of senior government officials and CEOs of major companies to discuss ways to develop relations and to review bilateral investment possibilities of common interest.
Al Mansouri said that the visit came within the framework of the UAE national endeavour to become acquainted with the distinctive Finnish experiences and practices in a number of sectors and areas, including innovation and education, as well as to discuss ways to promote joint economic and investments between the two countries.
Further, the UAE Minister said there were a number of investment opportunities that could enhance the volume of trade exchanges between the two friendly countries, noting that the exchange of trade stood at US$576.3 million in 2013, a figure that does not reflect the status of the historic friendship between the two countries.
For his part, the Finnish Minister commended the Schengen visa waiver for UAE citizens, which he said would have a far reaching economic impact on the EURO zone, including Finland, and on the UAE, in terms of tourism and investment.
The two sides also discussed the possibility of opening more avenues for Small and Medium Enterprise projects, given their vital impact on all successful economies throughout the world.
The Finnish Economy Minister hailed the UAE's leading role in the field of innovation and creativity in the Middle East, West Asia and Africa, and welcomed the UAE's interest in Finnish expertise and innovation. He said that the secret of his country's success in this area is due to its partnerships with friendly countries and existing partnerships between the public and private sectors. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Mohammed bin Rashid: UAE is the most competitive market in the Middle East and amongst the top 10 globally

posted on 08/05/2015

The UAE is the most competitive market in the Middle East and amongst the top 10 globally, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has affirmed.
'This did not happen by accident. Building on our heritage, our founding fathers charted the path for our nation's economic progress and prosperity more than 40 years ago. The UAE has always embraced competition and free market principles from our earliest days as a small trading post until today, Sheikh Mohamed said in the forward of the Emirates Group annual report 2014-2015.
HH said,' If we want the best talent, the best companies, and the best opportunities for our country, there is no room for protectionism. We have to be imaginative and innovative.
'If we want successful industries, we must invest in the right infrastructure and base our decisions on market need and commercial funding. Above all, we must never rest on our laurels.
'Dubai's strategy for economic development and diversification has always been underpinned by these principles. In the aviation sector, the UAE's Open Skies policy has brought over 140 airlines to operate at Dubai International airport today, connecting our city to 260 other cities spanning six continents around the world. Emirates, our home carrier, has to compete in an open marketplace with all of these other airlines. No short cuts, no protection, no subsidies. It must stand on its own feet and work hard to stay ahead of the competition.
'To date, Emirates and dnata have generated dividends of AED 14.6 billion for the Dubai government. Those dividends have been ploughed back into the economy, helping fund essential infrastructure projects including the various phases of expansion at Dubai International airport and Dubai World Central.
'In 2013, aviation contributed US$26.7 billion to Dubai's GDP, supporting 416,550 jobs. By 2020, aviation is projected to support over 750,000 jobs and contribute US$53.1 billion to GDP.
'This is not a surprise. Although Dubai and the UAE have thriving seaports, given our geography, air transport will remain the most important means of access for international travellers, as well as for the shipment of time-critical goods for the foreseeable future. That is why we invest in the aviation sector with a strategic long-term view, and strive to make every facet of this sector world-class, based on international best practice.
'Economic success is of course only one indicator when we look at the overall picture and the long-term goals of Dubai and the UAE, just as the Emirates Group's strong financial track record is only one aspect of its success.
'The well-being of our citizens and residents remain a top priority. I'm proud that the UAE is ranked the 14th happiest country in the world, and 1st among Arab countries, in the second United Nations World Happiness Report, which covers 156 nations. Just as I'm proud that our home grown companies like the Emirates Group, attract the most talented people from around the globe to live and work here the UAE, making our country one of the world's most diverse, competitive, and dynamic.
' Ours is an environment that encourages enterprise, and we will continue to build a country where citizens and residents can enjoy peace and prosperity, and where the public and private sectors work together to achieve meaningful results for the communities we serve. '


Mohammed bin Rashid issues Law on practicing economic activities in Dubai

posted on 06/05/2015

In his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued Law No (14) of 2015 partially amending Law No (13) of 2011 on the organisation and regulation of economic activities in Dubai and referred to hereafter as the Original Law.
The new Law amended Articles No. (4), (6), (19) and (31) of the Original Law which include the authorities and responsibilities of Dubai's Department of Economic Development, licensing, establishment's obligations and settlements by conciliation.
The new Law defined the authorities and responsibilities of Dubai's Department of Economic Development to include: establishing the rules and regulations for licensing, registering and listing businesses in the commercial register, organising and regulating economic activities in Dubai including retail sector.
Further, Dubai's Department of Economic Development is responsible for describing and classifying economic activities according to the world's most advanced systems, issuing commercial permits for advertising and marketing activities, regulating working hours for businesses and attestation of companies' article of association and their amendments, duly.
The Law also authorises Dubai's Department of Economic Development to establish, operate, oversee and enforce an electronic system to measure sales volume. Dubai's Department of Economic Development is also competent to inspect violation of intellectual property rights, combat commercial fraud, manage trademarks and protection of trademarks, consumer protection and monitor and inspect commercial entities including retail outlets to insure abidance to applied laws and licensing terms and conditions.
Article (6) of the Law stipulates that no natural or moral person may practice economic activity in the emirate of Dubai unless though a duly registered establishment and after obtaining a license from Dubai's Department of Economic Development and the Department.
The Law also prescribed the commercial establishment's obligations to include: abidance to all laws, rules, regulations and resolutions applied in the emirate of Dubai, informing the Department within ten days about any change, update or amendment occurs in the establishment's information or legal documents submitted upon registration, using the commercial name approved on the establishment's license in all business transactions and enabling the Department's employees to enter the establishment's facilities, review its records and perform his legal duties.
The Law also obliges the establishments to submit any data, information and/or statistics to Dubai's Department of Economic Development upon request, declare and register its selective country of origin and abide to the Department's decisions on violations within the period of time granted.
Pursuant to Article (31) of the Law, Dubai's Department of Economic Development may enter settlements by conciliation with the violating establishment conditionally the establishment submits a request for settlement within six months from the date of violation, discharges 50% of the fine due and enjoys a one-year clear record of similar violations starting from the date committing the violation subject to the settlement. The establishment must abide to the settlement's terms and conditions within the period specified by Dubai's Department of Economic Development otherwise the settlement is considered null.
This Law annuls any other legislation that contradicts or challenges its provisions. The Law is to be published in the Official gazette and considered valid from the date of publication. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


ADDED issues annual report of development indicators survey for 2014

posted on 22/04/2015

The Studies Department of the Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi, ADDED, has issued the annual report of the Development indicators survey for 2014, which includes the results of the consumer trust indicator in the economic performance, and local families conditions observatory, business training indicator, trust indicator in the business climate, indicator of the demand trends in the labour market, industrial performance indicator, foreign direct investment transparency indicator, businesswomen observatory and the financial sector indicator.
Ali Majid Al Mansouri, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development, Abu Dhabi, declared that the results of the development indicators of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in 2014 reflected the high levels optimism compared to 2013, in spite of some sub-indicators which are affected by the economic challenges that witnessed the previous year, specially the acute decline of global oil prices, decline in the global financial markets, and the currency's decrease of many countries against the US dollars.
He pointed out that all the respondents of the poll that have been relied upon the construction of indicators, individuals and businessmen, showed a great optimism about the future performance of the economy of Abu Dhabi and a great trust towards the government policies and procedures, that are considered as the real mainstay of strong economy.
He added that 2014 witnessed many of the global economic challenges from which the Emirate of Abu Dhabi was not immune, especially those related to the acute decline of the global oil prices, and this is due to the oil sector importance to the economy, where the contribution of the added value of oil activities to the gross domestic product GDP at current prices at 53% in the first quarter of the year.
Al Mansouri said that in addition to those international factors, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi faced a range of other internal challenges during 2014, consisting mainly of the rise in rent prices which is reflected in the rise of prices for consumers due to the relative weight rise of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels compared to other groups of recorded constituents.
He said that despite these challenges, the economy of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi through 2014 showed good performance, particularly in non-oil activities, the first indicators issued by Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre confirmed, where the add value of non-oil activities at constant prices rose by 12.7% during the first quarter of 2014, compared to the same quarter of 2013, while the forecast issued by the Department of Economic Development last December indicated that the growth rates of non-oil activities would be up to 7.7%.
The Chairman of the Chamber said that this situation reflects Abu Dhabi's strong economy and its forward progression to accelerate economic growth rates and to achieve diversification, in order to reach a sustainable economy based on knowledge.
The survey report of the development indicators of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in 2015 in its introduction included the analysis of the economic performance of the United Arab Emirates and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi during 2014, in accordance with expectations, and this is through the exposure of the country's economy, like other economies of the oil-exporting countries, to the decline implications that witnessed global oil prices since the second half of the year.
The report stated that under the affectation of the oil exports performance and capital markets, came the good performance of the economic and non-oil sectors' activities as reflected in the results of performance indicators for many sectors, where the International Monetary Fund estimates the growth rate in the state's economy by about 4.3% in 2014 as the fund expects the rate to reach about 4.5% in 2015.
In the banking sector, the report mentioned that the banks operating in the country have achieved good results during 2014, where the consolidated profit for the nine listed banks in local markets reached around Dh30.9 billion by the end of the said year, and with the growth rate reaching about 27.7 %, compared with 2013.
He added that deposits in the banks operating in the UAE rose by the end of November of 2014 to Dh1426 billion at a rate of 11.5% since the beginning of the year. Total capital and reserves of banks rose up 4.7% to about Dh281.1 billion by the end of November, while the capital adequacy ratio stood at about 18.3%, which is higher than the specified proportion by the Central Bank regulations at 12%, making the banking sector more solvent towards the burden of building additional provisions against loans and advances portfolio.
The report stated that the money supply (M2) increased by about 7.9% since the beginning of 2014 to reach Dh1140.1 billion at the end of November of the said year, while the money supply (M3) increased by about 11.3% over the same period to reach Dh1357.8 billion.
According to the report, the local financial market is one of the Gulf's best performing markets during 2014. The general indicator of ABD market of bonds rose by about 6% compared to 2013, to close at about 4,529 points by the end of December 2014 as the Dubai Financial Market indicator has risen by about 12 % in 2014 to close at about 3774 points. This came despite the pressures exerted on the market due to local and regional factors and is expected to support the good results achieved by the listed markets companies during 2014, especially in the banking and real estate performance of local markets in the first quarter of 2015.
The report pointed out that the inflation rate in the state rose in 2014 to its highest level in six years to reach 2.3% compared with 1.1% in 2013.This rate is higher than the expectations of both the National Bureau of Statistics average (1.1%) and the International Monetary Fund (2.2 %), where the centre expected the rate achieved in 2015 to be up to 1.5%, while the fund expected the country's inflation rate to reach 2.5% in that year.
According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Indicator, the consumer trust level indicator in the UAE has witnessed a noticeable increase in the last quarter of 2014, where the state indicator scored an increase of about seven points in said quarter compared to its level in the similar quarter of 2013, where the indicator value reached about 114 and 107 points for two quarters in a row.
The indicator value put the United Arab Emirates among the group of countries that come in the foreground in terms of consumer trust levels measured by the indicator through monitoring the opinions of respondents about the job market and their financial conditions, along with their consumption patterns.
The United Arab Emirates occupied first position in the world in the Edelman Foundation Trust Indicator of 2015 after having climbed five points from the previous year to 85 points and being first in the world in the trust's General rate, which includes all governmental, economic, and media sectors and non-profit organisations.
According to the said indicator, the state is ranked first globally in the trust the government indicator, where the proportion of trust reached 90% with an excess of two points from the previous year.
At the international level, the report pointed out that the International Monetary Fund, in its report about the international economy prospects updates issued in January 2015, reduces its expectations on growth rates in the global economy during 2015 at 3%, its forecast for growth in the global economy over the 2015 rate by 0.3% to reach about 3.5%, with expectations that the rate would rise up to 3.7% in 2016.
And according to the said report, the funds expect global growth to derive a boost from the decrease of oil prices, but only, it indicates, that the impact of some negative factors, such as investment decrease, and in keeping with low expectations for the growth in the medium term in many of the advanced economies and emerging market economies, may reduce the positive impact on the decrease of oil prices, if it won`t keep it totally immune.
The report also indicates that there are four major developments that have formed global economy prospects since the issuance of the previous report in October 2014, being the oil prices decline of about 55% since September 2014, the noticeable contrast in the growth rates among the major economies in the world, the rise of the dollar real value, the decline of the euro and the yen, the currency weaknesses of many of the emerging market countries, as well as the benefit rates rise in many of the emerging market economies and the risk differences spread among different types of assets, and those developments involve conflicting implications on growth expectations.
The survey report of the development indicators of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, presented an image of the economic performance of the GCC countries, explaining that while the GCC countries noted good performance during the first half of 2014, oil prices decreased in the second half of the same year, having an impact on the GCC countries' economies through the decline of oil exports and revenues, despite the limited impact and variability on the overall performance of the GCC countries' economies in that year.
The International Monetary Fund reduced its forecast for the growth rate in the GCC countries to about 3.4% in a January report, from about 4.4% in the October 2014 report. The fund indicates that the GCC countries would witness a deficit in their budgets in 2015 under the continuing low oil price levels during the year.
The fund expects that the deficit size of the bloc's member countries combined up to about 6.3% from the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015, compared with a surplus estimated at about 4.6% of the GDP in 2014, as it also expects that the current account surpluses of the group will decrease to about 1.6% of the GDP.
The availability of the financial surpluses of the majority of the GCC countries enhance the ability of its economies to overcome the shock caused by the decline of oil prices in the medium term. It is expected that the response of these countries to developments in the oil market will be characterised by efficiency, especially concerning the reviewing of budgets and public spending plans, so that does not affect negatively on the performance of non-oil sectors in both the short and medium terms.
According to the results of the consumer trust indicator issued by the House Foundation, BAYT, in collaboration with YouGov, consumers in the GCC countries expressed convergent levels of optimism where the indicator scored about 111.9 points, on average, for GCC countries, as its value ranged between about 110 points minimum and a maximum of about 113.9 points .
The assessment of the GCC countries consumers of their current financial status became more positive compared with other consumers in Arab countries concerned by the indicator: the GCC consumers are more optimistic than others about the future, whereby about 51% of them think that the economy's performance in their countries will improve in the future, and about 60% think that their working conditions will improve. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


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

posted on 05/04/2015

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


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

posted on 05/04/2015

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


UAE-Spain Joint Economic Committee concludes in Granada

posted on 19/03/2015

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


Economy Minister meets Spanish counterpart

posted on 18/03/2015

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


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

posted on 17/03/2015

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


UAE delegation views experiences of innovation centres in Finland

posted on 05/03/2015

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


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

posted on 01/03/2015

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


Study: UAE voted as the most creative country in MENA

posted on 19/02/2015

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


Abu Dhabi - Creating a sustainable future

posted on 17/02/2015

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


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

posted on 16/02/2015

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


Dubai, Abu Dhabi region’s most sustainable cities

posted on 11/02/2015

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


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

posted on 01/02/2015

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


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

posted on 30/01/2015

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


Dubai ranks No. 5 globally in economic performance

posted on 23/01/2015

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


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

posted on 20/01/2015

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


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

posted on 11/01/2015

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


UAE turns into regional economic power in 10 years

posted on 30/12/2014

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