The UAE will host Expo 2020!
  • Arabic
Supported by the UAE National Media Council

What makes UAE a role model of cohesion

posted on 30/05/2016

"No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind the progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities.”

- Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Father of the Nation

In the 46 years of its existence, the UAE has nurtured the diversity of its expatriates with vigour, giving them a free environment in which to thrive and scale their heights of ambition. While the United Nations has 193 member nations, UAE surpasses that number with over 200 nationalities living in it in perfect harmony. Respect for each other's cultural identity and the common cause of humaneness are among the defining features of the UAE, which has set an example of what it means to enable expatriates and citizens alike to be global citizens.

Tolerance is one of the cornerstones of UAE society and there is no better example of how integral this virtue is to the country's ethos than the announcement of the Ministry of Tolerance by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in February this year.

Appointing Cabinet Minister Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi as Minister of State for Tolerance, Sheikh Mohammed said the new position would have a person who "will instil tolerance as a fundamental value of society”.

Before this, the UAE also promulgated an Anti-Discriminatory Federal law which forbids citizens and residents alike to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of caste, creed, culture or religion.

Sheikh Ali Al Masha'l, Grand Mufti in UAE

The Grand Mufti is appreciative of the Rulers who have preserved this harmony in people.

"Firstly, I thank God for blessing this country with a leadership which cares about its people's safety and security and exerts extensive efforts in accomplishing peace and spreading cultural awareness, civilised behaviour and proper morals among the public despite the differences in their religions, languages and nationalities. This is a blessing from Allah that deserves gratitude from all those who reside in this country.

"This comfortable and peaceful life is one that we ask Allah to maintain as it signifies a number of things, including the wisdom in the country's leadership and guidance and the fairness in treatment and good civil behaviour among people. Moreover, the continuous surveillance of all incidents and new happenings as well as the prevention of unfairness, coercion and other hateful actions that inevitably lead to worry, problems and disturbance among people are reasons why the UAE is a country of tolerance.”

Father Lenny Connully, head priest at St Mary's Parish, Dubai

In awe of the number of nationalities that congregate for church services every week, Father Connully said, "In the six years that I have been in the UAE, I have found this place to be a unique community with so many people from different countries and cultures coming together at one place of worship. What never stops amazing me is that so many strangers come together at our service in perfect love and harmony.”

Father Connully, who hails from India, said the church volunteers often conduct health and education camps for everyone. "People are ready to help each other. This kind of harmony I have seen only in the UAE.”

"I have lived in the UAE for over 40 years and have imbibed the best traditions of happiness and tolerance. There are over 50,000 Sikhs in the community. The UAE government has nurtured mutual respect in everyone. The new law against hatred is an example of the willingness and intent of the government and this is bound to have a strong impact on society,” said Kandhari.

The gurdwara or the Sikh temple in Jebel Ali which opened in 2012 was paid a visit by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, to send a message of mutual respect and tolerance in society.

"The Sikh Temple at Jebel Ali stands as a symbol of harmony and has become a regular with international tourists and serves at minimum of 1,000 meals free each day at its ‘langar' (public banquet),” said Kandhari. "On Fridays, especially, when-blue collar workers visit the temple, the langar serves 10,000 free meals.”

The gurdwara holds multifaith talks, has multilanguage priests, celebrates several multi-religious festivals and hosts over 40,000 people during such celebrations, including marriages that are solemnised here. "The Sikh community has received so much love and inclusion from the UAE society that we would like to give back to the community. We built the Sikh temple to serve people of all walks of life,” added Kandhari.

Seeking amity on common ground

In the warp and weft of UAE's social fabric, Indians and Pakistanis, who together comprise a large segment of expatriates, find a harmony that transcends their historic rivalry back home. Affable in each other's company, the two nationalities find much common ground in the UAE, both at work and in their private lives.

As Dr Faisal Ikram, General Secretary of the Pakistan Association, says: "We might have our differences [back in our respective countries] but in the UAE, we learn to agree to disagree and respect everyone's viewpoint.”

Dr Ikram feels the UAE is a true global village where every resident learns to co-exist in peace.

Dr Ikram who spent the formative years of his life in Kuwait studying in an Indian school, moved to Pakistan, and then to South Africa where he lived for 17 years. "I have seen apartheid and racial tensions in South Africa but, after coming to UAE, I was able to value the spirit of tolerance and inclusion in everyday life,” said Dr Ikram.

At the monthly health camps help by the Pakistan Association, their team attends to people from countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India. "Religion or nationality is not a barrier for us and we serve everyone equally at this health camp and also when we visit labour housing,” said Dr Ikram, who believes such harmony is possible only because the UAE provides an environment of peace and understanding wherein people have learned mutual respect.

Diplomats' point of view

In the diplomatic arena, where the cohesion of the global community is an overarching goodwill principle that works to create a more tolerant world, the UAE provides a perfect example of how nations can create harmony as a centrifugal force. Diplomatic heads of states representing their country's interest here in the UAE have also noticed the affable socio-cultural vibes of the country and appreciate it deeply.

Barbara A. Leaf, US Ambassador to the UAE

Praising the UAE's ability to celebrate diversity, Ambassador Leaf said, "The diversity of the UAE reminds me of home. The UAE has opened its doors to much of the world, and in so doing has created a microcosm of cultures and peoples. Learning to live, work, and grow together as a multicultural society can provide incredible benefits, including a well-spring of knowledge, innovation, and tolerance.”

Paul Raymund Cortes, Consul General of Philippines

The Consul General believes that it would be more appropriate to describe the UAE as a wonderful assorted salad rather than a melting pot. "In a melting pot, qualities [flavours] meld with heat, while the analogy of a salad is more appropriate as many interesting ingredients are tossed together [in a salad] — they can be separately identified but, together, they lend an unmatched flavour. The ethos in this country helps people to celebrate their roots and their identity even while they accommodate the practices and customs of others.”

Cortes feels the diversity enjoyed by UAE society can most certainly serve as a template for the rest of the world to emulate. "The UAE's emphasis on happiness and tolerance amongst all — no matter how diametrically opposed we might be — goes to prove that people can coexist without conflict. The precedence set by the UAE reflects the hope that [the world too] may be able to live in the spirit of peace and harmony.” – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/society/what-makes-uae-a-role-model-of-cohesion-1.1836341


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

Expo 2020 Dubai partners with Emirates

posted on 30/05/2016

The Expo 2020 Dubai yesterday announced Emirates Airline as its Official Airline Partner. The partnership agreement, which was signed by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, and Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Bureau Expo Dubai 2020, links Emirates airline with the Expo which will be one of the most-visited global mega events of 2020.

As Expo 2020's first Premier Partner, Emirates airline will play a key role in bringing visitors to the event. Under the terms of the partnership, Emirates will be a licensed ticket re-seller. Emirates' strong global brand and marketing efforts, and its extensive route network to over 150 destinations means that it is uniquely well placed to support Expo 2020 Dubai in attracting 25 million visitors, 70% of whom are expected to travel internationally to visit the Expo. The size and duration of the mega event means that Expo 2020 will be one of the most-visited global events that year. In comparison, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games attracted in the region of 700,000 international visitors.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed welcomed the partnership, saying, "We believe the Expo will contribute greatly towards future thinking and progress, and also strengthen the UAE's role as a global hub that brings together diverse people, institutions, and ideas from around the world, for the betterment of society. Emirates has played an important part in Dubai's transformation into an international centre for commerce and tourism, and a globally-connected host city for a truly global event like the Expo. The airline has been an early supporter of Dubai's successful bid to host the Expo, and will now partner with Expo 2020 to bring this event to Dubai, and to build a lasting legacy for the UAE and the entire region."

Al Hashimy commented, "Emirates Airline carried over 50 million passengers last year. It is a global super-connector, and has always been forward-thinking and innovative in its outlook, leading the way in offering greater opportunity and mobility to people. It is a natural partner for Expo 2020 Dubai, an event which will bring the world together here in Dubai to celebrate the power of connections to create the innovation and inspiration that will shape our future, as we step onto the global scene."

The Premier Partnership with Emirates Airline is the highest of three tiers of partnerships that Expo will be entering into. The agreement grants exclusive rights and benefits for Emirates Airline and other businesses within the Emirates Group, including branding and marketing rights, the ability to leverage signature events such as Youth Connect, a forum for young people across the GCC region, held in the run-up to Expo 2020, and the opportunity to have a pavilion at the Expo, giving the airline visibility on a par with the Expo's national participants.

In addition, Expo 2020 Dubai and Emirates Airline are exploring opportunities on the site in the post-event phase, as part of securing a lasting cultural and economic legacy for the Expo. The site is located in Dubai South, close to the Al Maktoum International Airport, to where Emirates will move its operations later in the 2020s.

Expo 2020 Dubai's theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future', recognises that generating sustainable solutions to global problems demands collaboration across cultures, nations and regions. It is a reflection of the modern world, connected as never before, and changing with great speed. Expo, its participants and visitors will together explore innovation, inclusion, and human and social development in the areas of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, Expo's three subthemes.

Emirates Airline is widely recognised as a leading innovator in the aviation sector. Last year, Emirates launched the Carnegie Mellon University, CMU, Emirates Silicon Valley Innovation Lab, and a Data Science Lab collaboration with the University of Oxford, to extend its own in-house capability to develop, test, and apply new technologies and innovation across the group.

The airline operates a technologically-advanced fleet of aircraft, offering its customers industry-leading services and experiences. It was the first airline to introduce audio/video on demand in all seats in all classes, and the first to introduce in flight calling on a commercial aircraft. It is the world's largest operator of A380 aircraft, and the low average age of its fleet means that it is one of the most environmentally efficient airlines in the world.

As an integral part of preparations for the global mega event, Expo 2020 is developing a number of commercial partnerships with leading global companies, such as Emirates Airline, in key areas including aviation, technology, finance, shipping and logistics, telecommunications and travel and tourism. Partners will play an integral role in the development of the first mega-event to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, working with Expo 2020 Dubai to create a collaborative and inclusive global platform and shape a long lasting legacy. Partner companies will benefit from global brand exposure, access to regional markets, and the chance to connect with millions of visitors.

Expo's partnership programme will comprise three tiers of partnerships, Premier Partners, Official Partners and Official Providers. Premier Partners will benefit from the highest level of rights and benefits and are currently being discussed. Official Partners and Official Providers will be sought in 2017 and beyond.

Almost half of the population in the Middle East and North Africa is under the age of thirty, and young people, often referred to as 'millennials' by marketing companies, are a critical target audience for Expo 2020 Dubai. Research increasingly shows that young people are much more likely to identify with brands that have an ethical dimension.

Expo 2020, which explores the power of connections to create opportunity, promote mobility and encourage sustainability, will allow businesses to demonstrate their positive role in society through their research and development, their products and technologies, and the hard work and expertise of their people. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395296062065.html


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

Aldar develops the heart of Abu Dhabi’s vision

posted on 30/05/2016

The sleek, modern luxury of the Yas Acres' sales centre on Yas Island is a throwback to the glory days of real estate eight or nine years ago. Except there is a very 2016 feel to it all.

The 1,315-villa project's every detail is shown to prospective buyers on big, interactive screens embedded in the tables around the lounge area. Seen through the window, retro-looking bicycles are a languid feature of the back garden. The parking lot offers a view of the Formula 1 track opposite, which was also built by the Abu Dhabi developer Aldar. There is an unmistakable air of an organisation whose people are confident of where they are headed.

The chief executive Mohammed Al Mubarak articulates this mood with passion and intensity.

"Today we are celebrating a big success for all the teams in Aldar, the sales team [in particular]. I put a lot of pressure on these guys to really sell, to go out there in a tough market, and they have accomplished the mission. There are a lot more missions to come," he says of the Yas Acres project, without giving any sales figures since it was launched last month.

Mr Al Mubarak also talks with humility about the journey that he and the property company has been on in the years since the boom ended.

"I've been part of this Aldar family from day one, so I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. It has helped me grow as an individual, mature as an individual, it has helped me take all the tools that I need to run an organisation like Aldar," he says.

He took on the role of chief executive in the summer of 2014, after the merger between Aldar and fellow Abu Dhabi developer Sorouh, a deal that helped to stabilise the local property market at a critical time for the emirate's entire economy.

In the past three years, the company has undergone a transformation that has doubled revenues and tripled net operating income, going "from a pure property play, Aldar is expected to generate the bulk of its revenue and profitability from a diversified and growing recurring portfolio", according to Citibank research.

However, it is the return to its roots as a developer that offers the most satisfaction for Mr Al Mubarak. Off-plan launches in the past two years, apart from the Dh6 billion Yas Acres, include Yas Island's West Yas, Mayan and Ansam schemes and the affordable housing project Meera on Reem Island's Shams Abu Dhabi as well as others at Al Raha Beach.

"I am a developer here. My DNA is a developer," says Mr Al Mubarak, waxing lyrical about the company's broad and rich land bank, which has a conservative book value of about Dh4bn, analysts say.

"Starting with that canvas puts Aldar in a very strong situation. Obviously we do not want to do everything at once. You start losing sense of quality, you start losing sense of time. You don't really have a finished product like you want it to be. This is where Aldar has really strategised itself over the last couple of years to focus on the developments it really wants to complete as a whole."

Yet, according to analysts, Aldar's share price – it is listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange – attributes no value to its land bank despite Dh3.2bn in off-plan sales between 2014 and 2015 and a steady pipeline of new launches. This is because of an assumption that the local property market could always crash again.

"I set very clear goals to my board [when I became chief executive] on what I am going to achieve, whether it is increasing my recurring revenue, decreasing my debt, making sure I have strong development pipeline, to manage my land bank," says Mr Al Mubarak, highlighting the company's enviable track record of delivery.

The sleek, modern luxury of the Yas Acres' sales centre on Yas Island is a throwback to the glory days of real estate eight or nine years ago. Except there is a very 2016 feel to it all.

The 1,315-villa project's every detail is shown to prospective buyers on big, interactive screens embedded in the tables around the lounge area. Seen through the window, retro-looking bicycles are a languid feature of the back garden. The parking lot offers a view of the Formula 1 track opposite, which was also built by the Abu Dhabi developer Aldar. There is an unmistakable air of an organisation whose people are confident of where they are headed.

The chief executive Mohammed Al Mubarak articulates this mood with passion and intensity.

"Today we are celebrating a big success for all the teams in Aldar, the sales team [in particular]. I put a lot of pressure on these guys to really sell, to go out there in a tough market, and they have accomplished the mission. There are a lot more missions to come," he says of the Yas Acres project, without giving any sales figures since it was launched last month.

Mr Al Mubarak also talks with humility about the journey that he and the property company has been on in the years since the boom ended.

"I've been part of this Aldar family from day one, so I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. It has helped me grow as an individual, mature as an individual, it has helped me take all the tools that I need to run an organisation like Aldar," he says.

He took on the role of chief executive in the summer of 2014, after the merger between Aldar and fellow Abu Dhabi developer Sorouh, a deal that helped to stabilise the local property market at a critical time for the emirate's entire economy.

In the past three years, the company has undergone a transformation that has doubled revenues and tripled net operating income, going "from a pure property play, Aldar is expected to generate the bulk of its revenue and profitability from a diversified and growing recurring portfolio", according to Citibank research.

However, it is the return to its roots as a developer that offers the most satisfaction for Mr Al Mubarak. Off-plan launches in the past two years, apart from the Dh6 billion Yas Acres, include Yas Island's West Yas, Mayan and Ansam schemes and the affordable housing project Meera on Reem Island's Shams Abu Dhabi as well as others at Al Raha Beach.

"I am a developer here. My DNA is a developer," says Mr Al Mubarak, waxing lyrical about the company's broad and rich land bank, which has a conservative book value of about Dh4bn, analysts say.

"Starting with that canvas puts Aldar in a very strong situation. Obviously we do not want to do everything at once. You start losing sense of quality, you start losing sense of time. You don't really have a finished product like you want it to be. This is where Aldar has really strategised itself over the last couple of years to focus on the developments it really wants to complete as a whole."

Yet, according to analysts, Aldar's share price – it is listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange – attributes no value to its land bank despite Dh3.2bn in off-plan sales between 2014 and 2015 and a steady pipeline of new launches. This is because of an assumption that the local property market could always crash again.

"I set very clear goals to my board [when I became chief executive] on what I am going to achieve, whether it is increasing my recurring revenue, decreasing my debt, making sure I have strong development pipeline, to manage my land bank," says Mr Al Mubarak, highlighting the company's enviable track record of delivery.

"We will be announcing a major attraction on that island that's going to benefit all the residents of that island and the city of Abu Dhabi," says Mr Al Mubarak, declining to give more details.

"That is a part of our thank-you to the city, the Government of Abu Dhabi and the residents of Reem Island."

This approach has also motivated the company's desire to help the Government to improve regulation of Abu Dhabi's property sector. New legislation that took effect at the start of this year was drafted with input from the property industry.

The law includes the establishment of a real estate register, provides for owner associations and requires developers to set up escrow accounts for off-plan projects. Mr Al Mubarak gives the Government a lot of credit for encouraging this dialogue which, after a longer than expected process, ultimately has provided much greater protection for investors and benefited Aldar.

"It has given a certain trust in the Abu Dhabi real estate market and a certain trust in Aldar," he says.

The maturing of both the market and Aldar has been critical in building up this trust, he says.

"The last economic crisis really helped everyone mature. Now is the right time to invest."

The current economic slowdown in the region and the softening of the property market in the UAE, triggered by the lull in oil prices, does not concern him too much.

"I like to use the word efficiency. I think times like this make you a lot more efficient, make you a lot more focused. I'm sure it is the same with the Government."

He is grateful for everything that the Government of Abu Dhabi has given the company. Support during the crisis, when billions of dirhams of assets were sold to the Government, including the F1 track, helped to stave off any lasting damage and gave Aldar the chance to turn itself around.

"But I don't want to rely on the Government. At the end of the day I am a publicly traded company. I have shareholders. I don't want to go to them and say my biggest revenue comes from managing projects for the Government. They don't want to see that. They want to see me take the calculated risk and coming back to them with some big returns on their investments," he says.

That the Government is committed to completing its major infrastructure projects such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the airport's Midfield Terminal expansion will, however, ensure that the flow of lucrative management projects remains steady beyond its visible pipeline of about two years currently.

"We are working closely with Musanada and some of the other government entities at an early stage and we are deciding together; ‘is this a project that is worthwhile?' ‘Is this a project that has to start in 2018, 2019 or 2020?' It is a collective understanding and based on these decisions there is going to be projects launched in the near future," says Mr Al Mubarak.

And what of that future?

"I think Aldar has the building blocks to be a world-class developer, to compete with some of the best, the Westfields of this world, the Relateds of this world," he says. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/business/property/aldar-develops-the-heart-of-abu-dhabis-vision#page3


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

Shams 1 wins at the 2016 MENASOL Awards

posted on 30/05/2016

Shams Power Company, developer and operator of the Shams 1 Concentrated Solar Power Plant, CSP, in Western Abu Dhabi, has been recognised for its contribution to local communities at this year's MENASOL Conference and Exhibition in Dubai.

Ali Buhaji, Senior Manager for Business Development at the Clean Energy Division of Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, received the event's Corporate Responsibility Award at a gala dinner on Wednesday.

The annual award goes to solar power companies that have made a ‘meaningful and measurable' difference to communities across the Middle East and North Africa, MENA.

Shams 1 was the world's largest CSP plant when it was inaugurated by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in March 2013.

The 100-megawatt capacity facility, occupying a 2.5 square-kilometre site in the Abu Dhabi desert, generates enough electricity to power more than 20,000 homes, and displaces on average 175,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Masdar is an 80% shareholder in Shams Power Company PJSC., alongside the international oil and gas company, Total.

Abdulaziz Al Obaidli, General Manager of Shams Power Company, said, "This award reflects the key role that Shams 1 is playing in the UAE's quest to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix, and the positive difference it is making to the quality of life of local communities. The success of Shams 1 has also inspired wider development of clean energy technologies across the MENA region, improving access to critical energy resources and driving social development and economic empowerment beyond the UAE's borders."

Now in its eighth year, MENASOL brings together leading industry executives, key influencers, government officials, developers and investors to share insights, technological breakthroughs and market analysis of solar power issues. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395296056337.html


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

Abu Dhabi's Midfield Terminal Building hits new milestone

posted on 30/05/2016

Abu Dhabi Airports has announced that the steel structure of the new Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) central processor roof has now been completed following the installation of the last piece of metal in the roof of the iconic building.

The MTB roof span is 319m at the widest point with 18 arches, the largest of which is 180m wide and 52m high.

With the main steel structure of the central processor roof now finished, the next major milestone will be the de-propping of the final arch in the central processor. Work is also progressing on the closure of the building envelope and fit-out of the four piers.

"We are delighted to have achieved this milestone, as we can now move forward with the closure of the central processor area by completing all de-propping works for the roof by the end of this month. Once the overall structural work and the closure of the building envelope are complete, we will hand over the internal space to our concessionaires so that they can commence fit-out of their retail concepts," said Sulaiman Al Siksek, chief programmes officer at Abu Dhabi Airports.

When complete, the MTB, along with the existing terminals at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), will serve the increasing number of passengers who fly through the UAE capital each year - a number expected to surpass 45 million within the next 10 years. In 2015, a record 23.3 million passengers used AUH as their origin, destination, or transit point.

The MTB will be the largest architectural structure in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, visible from more than 1.5 kilometres away. The new terminal is situated between the two runways at AUH, providing the shortest possible journey from runway to parking stand and allowing a quicker and smoother experience for passengers.

As part of this redevelopment, a second runway and a third terminal have been completed. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/abu-dhabi/abu-dhabis-midfield-terminal-building-hits-new-milestone


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

Abu Dhabi hotel guests to pay new fee on hotel bills from 1st June

posted on 30/05/2016

Hotel guests in Abu Dhabi will start paying a municipal fee of four per cent of their hotel bill and an AED15 charge per night per room starting 1st June 2016, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) announced yesterday.

The TCA Abu Dhabi has formally notified hotels and tourist facilities of the decision. It stressed the importance of separating municipal fees from tourist fees in all financial records so as to ensure that such fees are accounted for separately in all bills and financial statements.

The TCA Abu Dhabi will soon hold workshops to introduce the municipal fee collection and deposit mechanisms. Work is under way to set out procedures for fee collection as set forth in the resolution of the chairman of the Executive Council No 15/2016, published in the official gazette.

TCA Abu Dhabi is currently charting out guidelines and fee collection structures on behalf of the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport, which comprises the three municipalities of the emirate: Abu Dhabi City Municipality, Al Ain City Municipality and the Western Region Municipality.

Levying the new fees is in line with charges imposed on hotel guests in other destinations in the region and is standard practice in the hospitality services sector worldwide, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport said.

The municipality will use the collected fees to boost the sustainable development of Abu Dhabi's tourism infrastructure and enhance the services offered to hotel guests and customers.

In the same context, Abu Dhabi City Municipality said the municipal fees imposed on hotels are minimal and will not constitute a financial burden on hotel guests, given that the hotel charge per night in the emirate is the least compared to regional markets. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395296076873.html


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

348m-long cruise ship anchors in Dubai

posted on 30/05/2016

The inaugural visit to Dubai of Ovation of the Seas – a 348-metre long cruise ship – stopped in Dubai over the weekend at Dubai Cruise Terminal 3, on its way from Barcelona to Singapore.

The MS Ovation of the Seas harboured in Dubai on Thursday and was met by enthusiastic onlookers who admired the vessel while on its maiden voyage: the Global Odyssey cruise, according to a statement from Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

The ship was launched in mid-April 2016 and is currently en route from Europe to the Asia Pacific region via Dubai and Singapore, before reaching its final destination at Beijing.

The ship was launched in mid-April 2016 and is currently en route from Europe to the Asia Pacific region via Dubai and Singapore, before reaching its final destination at Beijing.

The vessel is Royal Caribbean International's (RCI) third Quantum-class ship, and with a gross tonnage of 168,666, is RCI's second largest class of passenger ships.

Jamal Humaid Al Falasi, Director of Dubai Cruise Tourism, Dubai Tourism, said: "We are delighted to welcome Ovation of the Seas and its dedicated crew and guests to our fascinating city, and are honoured to be its first port of call in the region with an overnight stay and major passenger turnaround.”

He added: "We remain on track to hit our target of 500,000 cruise tourists in the 2015-16 season, and thanks to the numerous cruise lines that home port and call in Dubai, we look forward to welcoming even more cruise tourists to our ports over the next few years.”

Ovation of the Seas follows Royal Caribbean International's launch of sister ships Quantum of the Seas in 2014, which called in Dubai in May 2015, and Anthem of the Seas last year.

With various major cruise lines operating in the emirate, Dubai Tourism revealed that as many as 455,616 cruise tourists arrived in the city over the 2014-2015 season.

Mohamed Saeed, General Manager Royal Caribbean Arabia, said: "As the midway point of the ship's Barcelona-to-Singapore sailing, Dubai is an important destination that is both rich in culture and well equipped to cater to Royal Caribbean's diverse guests.” – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/business/sectors/shipping/348m-long-cruise-ship-anchors-in-dubai-1.1836474


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

UAE Central Bank announces M1 increased to AED493.4 billion at end of April 2016

posted on 30/05/2016

The UAE Central Bank has announced that the Money Supply Aggregate M1 increased by 0.6% from AED490.3 billion at the end of March 2016 to AED493.4 billion at the end of April 2016.

Money Supply Aggregate M2 decreased by 1.3%, from at AED1,218.4 billion at the end of March 2016 to AED1,203.1 billion at the end of April 2016. Money Supply Aggregate M3 slightly rose from AED1,373.8 billion at the end of March 2016 to AED1,373.9 billion at the end of April 2016.

The increase in M1 was mainly due to an increase of AED2.2 billion in Monetary Deposits. The decrease in M2 was mainly attributed to a reduction of AED18.4 billion in Quasi-Monetary Deposits. The AED15.4 billion increase in Government Deposits cancelled the reduction in M2, with M3 remaining almost the same at its February 2016 level.

Gross bank assets, including bankers' acceptances, decreased slightly, going from AED2,491.1 billion at the end of March 2016 to AED2,491 billion at the end of April 2016.

Gross credit decreased by 0.1%, falling from AED1,517.5 billion at the end of March 2016 to AED1,516.3 billion at the end of April 2016.

During April 2016, total bank deposits decreased by AED3.4 billion due to an AED4.2 billion decrease in Resident Deposits, primarily on account of a reduction in Quasi-Monetary Deposits in commercial banks. However, an AED 0.8 billion increase in Non-Resident Deposits helped mitigate the reduction in deposits. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395296057251.html


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

DP World announces new US$1.2b Sukuk to be listed on NASDAQ Dubai

posted on 30/05/2016

DP World yesterday announced that the company has raised US$1.2bn in a new 7-year sukuk set to be listed on NASDAQ Dubai, the Middle East's international financial exchange. The issue received strong investor interest and was 2x oversubscribed receiving more than US$2bn in bids.

The new sukuk issue followed DP World's successful refinancing of over US$1.1bn of the existing US$1.5bn 2017 sukuk. The remaining US$387m 2017 sukuk matures next year and was at the time the largest and first 10 year sukuk done in the region. Similarly the current tender offer is the first of its kind for the region. The money raised from the new sukuk sale will fund the tender offer along with general corporate purposes.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DP World said: "As a leading enabler of global trade, we have taken advantage of attractive market conditions to successfully execute the first tender offer in the region and issue a new sukuk to drive our ongoing growth strategy. We have chosen to list our new issuance on Nasdaq Dubai, the largest sukuk market globally with over 50 listings worth US$40billion. NASDAQ Dubai gives this new listing, as well as our 2020 and 2037 bonds, global visibility at home and overseas. Our sukuk listing fits with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minster and Ruler of Dubai, to position Dubai as the Capital of the Islamic Economy globally.

"The strong demand for our new sukuk is a clear sign of support for the economic fundamentals of Dubai and the UAE, and a positive outlook on DP World's growth trajectory and credit ratings. Dubai is clearly the leading destination for global sukuk and a hub for those seeking attractive Islamic finance opportunities."

For the twelve months ending December 31, 2015, DP World reported a 31 per cent year-on-year increase in net profit to US$883 million. The company is rated Baa3 (stable) by Moody's and BBB- (positive) by Fitch.

The new sukuk was priced at a fixed coupon rate of 3.91% maturing in 2023, replacing over US$1.1bn of the 2017 6.25% coupon sukuk.

The new sukuk will keep the dual listing on the London Stock Exchange reflecting the same listing arrangements as the old issuance, in line with the tender offer. The settlement of the tender, as well as the new issue, will take place on 31 May 2016.

New Sukuk Joint Lead Managers and Bookrunners included: Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch, HSBC Bank plc, Barclays Bank PLC, Emirates NBD PJSC, First Gulf Bank P.J.S.C., J.P. Morgan Securities plc, National Bank of Abu Dhabi P.J.S.C. and Societe Generale.

New Sukuk Co-Managers : Noor Bank PJSC, Samba Financial Group and Union National Bank PJSC The issue attracted investment from 25 countries across the Middle East, America, Europe and Asia.

Dealer Managers on the Tender offer for the 2017 Sukuk: Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Deutsche Bank AG and HSBC Bank plc.

Co-Manager on the Tender offer for the 2017 Sukuk: Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395296084107.html


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

Consumer prices fell slightly in April

posted on 30/05/2016

Prices of health services, telecommunications, garments, footwear and services in restaurants and hotels fell between 0.01 per cent and 0.7 percent in April compared to the previous month, according to a monthly report released by the UAE Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority.

The increase in costs of transportation, education, housing, water, electricity, gas, food and non-alcoholic beverages ranged between 0.08 percent and 3.4 percent, using the same comparison period.

Meanwhile, the authority announced that at the end of the first quarter of 2016, the base year for calculating the consumer price index will become 2014 instead of 2007.

Changes in prices during 2013 and 2014 will be taken into account, the authority said. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395296074277.html


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

Fuel prices in UAE for June 2016

posted on 30/05/2016

The Ministry of Energy hiked fuel prices further for the month of June.

The new per litre prices are Super 98-Dh1.86, up from Dh1.78 in May, Special 95-Dh1.75, up from Dh1.67, and E Plus91-Dh1.68, up from Dh1.60. The diesel price has been increased from Dh1.60 in May to Dh1.77 for June.

The new prices were announced as global oil prices recover due to rise in demand and disruptions in supplies specially from Nigeria.

Brent, the global benchmark, was trading at around US$50 per barrel, the highest since November.

In a land mark decision in July last year, the Ministry of Energy liberalised fuel prices and new pricing policy linked to global prices was implemented.

A fuel price committee headed by the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Energy was constituted to determine fuel prices every month.

Other members of the committee include officials from the distribution companies and the Ministry of Finance.

The prices are based on the average global prices for diesel and petrol with the addition of operating costs and profit margins of the distributing companies.

The new fuel prices will come into effect from June 1. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/business/sectors/energy/fuel-prices-hiked-for-june-1.1836619


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

UAE seeks to ramp up trade ties with Germany: Al Mansouri

posted on 30/05/2016

BERLIN: Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, has stressed the importance of boosting cooperation between the UAE and Germany in the aviation sector.

In a statement made to the Emirates news Agency, WAM, on Saturday, Al Mansouri said that such cooperation would drive both countries' commercial relations forward and provide greater access for new markets as both countries enjoy strategic locations. Trade between the UAE and Germany touched AED57 billion in 2015.

Al Mansouri made his remarks during a meeting with Dr. Peter Ramsauer, a member of the German Parliament and President of the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on the sidelines of the Arab-German Business Forum held in Berlin.

Al Mansouri highlighted the importance of pushing UAE-German cooperation forward to cement their economic ties as both sides have a number of sectors of mutual interest, including start-ups and medium businesses.

He said that the UAE attaches the utmost importance to entrepreneurs and is always keen to provide them with the appropriate investment environment, which is in line with the UAE's vision to diversify sources of income and transform to a knowledge-based economy.

Al Mansouri pointed out that the UAE seeks to boost cooperation with Germany in the industrial sector as well and benefit from Germany's expertise as part of efforts to attract unique industrial investments that would contribute to the national economy.

He added that the Arab-German Business Forum has been given a great opportunity to upgrade cooperation between Arab businesspeople and their German counterparts.

Calling on Germany to send more economic delegations to the UAE, Al Mansouri stressed the importance of participating in economic events organised by both sides in order to gain a clearer understanding of available investment opportunities and explore new avenues to enhance cooperation.

The forum witnessed impressive engagement from the UAE's delegation during most of the panel sessions that ran for two days. A number of Emirati federal and local government bodies as well as many businessmen reviewed the available investment opportunities and incentives provided by the UAE and shared their investment experience.

Speaking on the occasion, Marwan bin Jasem Al Sarkal, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, said, "Shurooq's participation in the forum comes in line with its efforts to expand economic cooperation with Germany and aims to give the German businessmen ideas about the most important investment sectors in Sharjah and its facilities to investors."

During the two-day forum, Shurooq delivered a detailed presentation illustrating the most important investment opportunities available in Sharjah and how they positively affect tourism, the environment, transportation and logistics services.

Al Sarkal said that Germany is an important economic partner for Sharjah as it plays a large role in developing partnerships and investments with other European countries. Germany accounts for 13.5 percent of Sharjah's exports and re-export of non-oil products to Europe.

Dr. Hamid Al Suwaidi, Deputy CEO of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi in the Gulf and Africa region, said that the bank will play a pivotal role in supporting the UAE's commercial and investment relations with other countries in the world. The bank's participation in the forum stresses its steadfast commitment to underpin the UAE's economic strategies.

Al Suwaidi pointed out that the forum represented a dynamic platform that brought together many company directors and businessmen to discuss all available investment opportunities.

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, DMCC, the Government authority on trade, enterprise and commodities in Dubai and home to over 12,000 of the world's leading businesses, announced yesterday its signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the German Arabian Business Centre to establish the German Arabian Advisory in Dusseldorf. This DMCC representative office in Germany strengthens its presence in the European business environment by making services even more accessible to potential clients.

The purpose of the Memorandum is to formalise bilateral collaboration to identify and deliver a range of value-added opportunities that can be leveraged by existing DMCC member companies, while enhancing the ability of potential new members to establish their operations in the DMCC Free Zone in Dubai.

The announcement was made in conjunction with the 19th annual Arab-German Business Forum in Berlin organised by the Arab-German Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Krysta Fox, DMCC's Executive Director of Free Zone, participated in a set of panel discussions outlining the strategic advantages of doing business in the UAE, detailing how DMCC leverages these opportunities to tap into emerging markets across the East and West. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395296059125.html


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

MoI's Security Support delegation exchanges expertise with Los Angeles Police Department

posted on 30/05/2016

A delegation from the Security Support Department at the General Directorate of Security Support, the General Secretariat of the Office of H.H. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, has reviewed a variety of methods to handle dangerous incidents and major events, as well as the proper processes to take operational decisions, during their visit to the Los Angeles Police Department, LAPD, in the USA.

Major Hasan Al Shehhi, Head of the Training Section at the Security Support Department, said that members from the delegation met with Captain Philip S. Fontanetta, Commanding Officer of the Emergency Operations Section at LAPD. They reviewed the security support's experience and ways to handle security-related events and scenarios. They also exchanged expertise with the LAPD and were acquainted with ways to handle dangerous police operations, using documentary footage of real events.

Captain Fontanetta commended the experience of the Security Support Department in addressing different dangerous policing operations professionally and efficiently, as well as the speed of response, which, he said, reflects the high level of professionalism of the UAE police, their extreme readiness and the efficiency of their members.

A team from the security support delegation also participated in the field operations of the LAPD patrols at various locations around the city. They also participated in operations carried out by the air support patrols, monitoring the speed of response to incoming reports and notifications received by the Operations Room. The security support team also participated in surveillance operations and clampdown campaigns, in addition to arresting wanted criminals. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395296054504.html


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

MBRF and UNDP launch Arab Knowledge Index in Egypt

posted on 30/05/2016

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF) - a member of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives – and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organised the Egyptian Knowledge and Innovation Society Conference in Cairo as part of a series of events in key international and regional cities to announce the results of the Arab Knowledge Index. The event was organised in cooperation with the Egypt's Supreme Council of Universities.

The conference was attended by Jamal bin Huwaireb, Managing Director of MBRF, Dr. Ashraf Al Shehhi, Egypt's Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, as well as the heads of Egyptian universities and research centres, and a number of former ministers. The event, which witnessed the launch of the Arab Knowledge Index, discussed its methodologies and highlighted the results and plans for its development.

Addressing the conference, Jamal bin Huwaireb said: "The launch of the Arab Knowledge Index is the culmination of joint efforts between the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme to contribute effectively to the efforts to build knowledge based societies, and produce knowledge for sustainable development."

Dr. Ashraf Al Shehhi said that knowledge has become a focal area for countries in view of its critical role in achieving comprehensive development. He pointed out that countries that own knowledge are best placed to achieve economic prosperity and ensure the wellbeing of its citizens.

Dr. Hani Al Turki, a representative of the UNDP, said: "The Arab Knowledge Index is an ambitious project based on scientific criteria, and we hope it will become a reference platform for decision-makers and experts to help chart development plans and policies. Our effort is to contribute to creating a competitive environment that will inspire authorities to activate more knowledge initiatives to usher in a knowledge-based society and economy."

The conference discussed the various elements of the Knowledge Index, including the Information Technology and Communications Index and its components as well as the R&D and Innovation Index, and explored ways to link the Arab Knowledge Index with Egypt's Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. It also examined the activation of the index as a tool to measure development in the areas of education, and information and communication technology in Egypt. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395296062805.html


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and NYU Abu Dhabi agree on collaboration

posted on 30/05/2016

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and New York University Abu Dhabi have agreed to collaborate on research, knowledge sharing, education and training programmes.

The partnership is aimed at sharing expertise in medicine and higher education to improve health care and promote knowledge sharing in the UAE.

As part of the agreement, NYU Abu Dhabi will look to improve its academic offerings in medical and health-related fields, while Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi will receive support for the formation of an academic medical centre focused on clinical research and education.

The two institutions "are working together and positively influencing their respective sectors to generate significant social and financial returns, stimulating diversification," said Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, deputy group chief executive officer of Mubadala. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/uae/health/cleveland-clinic-abu-dhabi-and-nyu-abu-dhabi-agree-on-collaboration


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

ERC provides humanitarian aid to flood affected people in Sri Lanka

posted on 30/05/2016

The Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, has provided humanitarian aid to those affected by the floods and landslides in Sri Lanka recently.

The move follows the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, orders of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the follow-up of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent.

The Emirates Red Crescent began implementing a programme through which it can provide basic food needs, shelter materials and other supplies to families affected by the disaster to alleviate the tough humanitarian conditions they are facing.

The ERC, in coordination with the UAE Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, is working on providing the best relief services to reduce the suffering of those affected and to improve the humanitarian situation there.

A delegation from the Emirates Red Crescent continues its humanitarian and relief programmes and operations daily through its initiatives in the worst affected flood areas. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international-aid/1395296061589.html


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

Hamdan bin Mohammed orders application of Star Rating System in all government departments in Dubai

posted on 30/05/2016

In implementation of directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, has instructed that the Star Rating System for all service delivery channels be applied in all Government of Dubai services centres within one year from today.

According to Sheikh Hamdan's order, all services centres in government departments will be developed into centres for customer happiness.

The move is in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and instructions issued on Sunday by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince.

According to the instructions issued by Sheikh Hamdan, the system will be implemented for all service delivery channels in the Government of Dubai.

Sheikh Hamdan issued the order as he unveiled the six star rating plaque awarded to Dubai Business Club (DBC), located in Dubai's Department of Economic Development (DED).

Present at the unveiling were Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, Sami Dhaen Al Qamzi, director-general of DED, and a number of officials.

DBC is the first body in the UAE to receive a six star rating for providing exceptional experience for customer happiness across all service channels. The club was successful in achieving a qualitative shift in raising service efficiency to global standards, offering services to six different government bodies.

Later, Sheikh Hamdan toured the club, which was designed to provide outstanding services to VIPs in Dubai. Sheikh Hamdan was also briefed on services offered to businessmen, traders and investors by government bodies.

Sheikh Hamdan said that DBC reflects Dubai's competitive spirit and its efforts towards achieving excellence in services offered to customers.

"The directives of Sheikh Mohammed are to re-evaluate the quality of services rendered in government departments as part of a system and the star rating criteria that is based on the best possible practices in the public sector. Sheikh Mohammed views the UAE as the happiest country, and it is our job during the next phase to transform all government centres into centres for customer happiness," Sheikh Hamdan said.

Sheikh Hamdan congratulated DED on receiving a six star rating. "Dubai is committed to providing an exceptional experience at all service levels. The concept of prestige and luxury in services is not restricted to certain sectors such as hospitality, hotels and tourism. The words ‘prestige' and ‘luxury' are now synonymous for all facilities provided to Dubai's guests, such as investors, businessmen, tourists, residents and Emiratis," said Sheikh Hamdan.

"Dubai has worked for decades on providing the best services to customers by continuously improving its infrastructure, facilities and logistics services. Government departments also sought to facilitate services offered to customers. DBC is considered a qualitative shift in the area of providing various and comprehensive quality services to Dubai's business community," he added. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395296073172.html


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS

Mohammed bin Rashid crown Al Jazira champion of President's Cup

posted on 30/05/2016

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has crowned Al Jazira FC as champions of the President's Cup after defeating Al Ain FC on penalty shootout, following a 1-1 draw after extra time in the Cup final, played this evening at the Zayed Sports City.

Present were H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sheikhs, ministers, senior officials and fans. - Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395296090295.html


RETURN TO TOP | WAM UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS