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Mohamed bin Zayed, Serbian President discuss bilateral ties

posted on 20/09/2014

BELGRADE: His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic discussed cooperation and friendship ties between the U.A.E. and Serbia and the best ways of enhancing them for advancing mutual interests of the two friendly countries and their peoples.

The talks took place during President Nicolic's reception of Sheikh Mohamed and his accompanying delegation at the presidential palace in Belgrade on Friday.

The Serbian president welcomed Sheikh Mohamed and expressed his hope that the visit would contribute to pushing bilateral ties forward in various projects and programmes that bolster joint cooperation.

Sheikh Mohamed conveyed to President Nikolic the greetings of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his best wishes of further progress and prosperity for Serbia and its people.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi said he was delighted at meeting President Nikolic and discussing with him issues that support plans for enhancement of joint economic and trade cooperation and developmental projects between the U.A.E. and the Republic of Serbia. Expressing optimism about Emirati-Serbian ties, he said they would grow steadily, particularly after the tangible and vital steps the bilateral cooperation has taken within the framework of friendship, cooperation and mutual interest.

The two sides affirmed that they were looking forward for stronger coordination and cooperation in areas that serve mutual interest and working together to expand and diversify their joint economic and investment partnerships in a way that cater for development aspects in order to deliver the aspired benefits.

For his part, President Nikolic reciprocated greetings for Sheikh Khalifa and his best wishes for further progress and prosperity for the U.A.E. and its people, and expressed his country's willingness to develop ties with the U.A.E., given its development and progress model and the prominent place it enjoys internationally in terms building distinguished relations and constructive cooperation with other countries.

Sheikh Mohamed and the Serbian president exchanged views on current international developments and issues of mutual interest. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohamed bin Zayed meets Serbian PM

posted on 20/09/2014

BELGRADE: His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, and Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic held yesterday a session of talks on bilateral cooperation and friendship ties and best means of boosting them in a way that serves mutual interests of the two friendly countries and peoples. The two sides also explored mechanisms to strengthen economic and investment cooperation and to create opportunities for joint investment.

The Serbian prime minister welcomed Sheikh Mohamed, expressing his hope that the important visit would be instrumental in furthering cooperation between the U.A.E. and the Republic of Serbia in various fields.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi said the U.A.E., led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is keen to open up wide scope for establishing friendship and cooperation bonds with other countries based on mutual respect and contact in a way that realises mutual interests.

He stated that ties between the U.A.E. and Serbia were growing steadily and this would give a boost to joint efforts towards distinguished, inclusive cooperation that delivers interests of the two friendly countries.

Sheikh Mohamed added that the meeting represented an important milestone towards expanding and strengthening avenues of joint existing cooperation between the two friendly countries and their peoples and would push joint economic and investment to new height. He expressed his hope for further growth and development for bilateral ties.

In this context, the two sides emphasised their resolve to pursue their efforts to further bolstering these ties in various areas and to broaden the scope of joint cooperation in economic, investment, educational and health sectors in the best way that delivers ambitions and aspirations of the two friendly countries and peoples. He expressed his satisfaction at the level of progress the Emirati-Serbian ties have evolved under the umbrella of friendship, cooperation and mutual interests.

For his part, the Serbian prime minister indicated that both public and private sectors in Serbia were interested in crystalising innovative ideas for establishing joint projects with the U.A.E., given its stellar performance and progress in many sectors including economy, tourism and services.

He said that the U.A.E.'s principle and approach of establishing relations and cooperation with other countries of the world, based on mutual respect, constructive dialogue and crystal clear transparency, emboldens Serbia's desire to enhance its relations with the U.A.E. He hoped that Emirati and Serbian officials would intensify their visits for exploring potentials and resources and tap them for the best interest of the two countries.

During the meeting, Sheikh Mohamed and the Serbian prime minister exchanged views on current international developments and issues of mutual interest.

Hussein Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, Khaldoun Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority, Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Under-Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, and Juma Rashid Saif Al Dhahiri, U.A.E. Ambassador to Serbia, attended the meeting from the U.A.E. side.

Present from the Serbian side were Minister of Finance Dusan Vujovic, Minister of Economy Zeljko Sertic, Minister of Education and Science Srdan Verbic, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic, Minister of Health Zlatibor Loncar, and a number of senior Serbian officials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abdullah bin Zayed attends 69th session of UN General Assembly

posted on 20/09/2014

NEW YORK: H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, yesterday headed the U.A.E. delegation to the 69th session of United Nations General Assembly.

The U.A.E. delegation includes Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State, and a number of officials.

The U.A.E. Foreign Minister will deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly on 27th September. He will also attend the Climate Summit on 23rd September.

The UN General Assembly meetings, chaired by Ugandan Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kahamba Kutesa, are vitally important as they tackle important and sensitive regional and international issues. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


U.A.E. reaffirms commitment to contribute to the forming of a "New Urban Agenda" for the 21st century

posted on 20/09/2014

NEW YORK: Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, reaffirmed in a statement before the Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference on housing and sustainable urban development (Habitat III), the U.A.E.'s commitment to contribute to the forming of a "New Urban Agenda" for the 21st century, and to developing strategies aimed at creating more sustainable and equitable urban spaces, and shaping the urban development agenda for the next 20 years.

Nusseibeh commended the efforts made in preparing for this important conference, stating that more than half of the world's population lives in cities, a proportion expected to rise to 70% by 2030. Therefore, it is required to mobilise international efforts to confront rapid urbanisation and population growth in a sustainable manner.

Nusseibeh spoke about the U.A.E. as a testament to modern sustainable urban planning and global development in the heart of the Middle East, especially after the exponential growth of U.A.E.'s population from roughly 90,000 to five million people over the past five decades.

"The rapid development presented the U.A.E. with complex urbanisation challenges, however, it embraced this pace of development" she said, adding that the U.A.E. demonstrated its commitment to sustainable housing by building one of the most sustainable cities in the world: Masdar City, and mega-infrastructure in Dubai, a global ‘smart city' that connects the world by facilitating international trade and collaboration. The U.A.E. looks forward to sharing the many lessons learned and strategies developed along the way.

Nusseibeh referred as well to Dubai's Expo 2020, which has sustainability at its heart through its main theme: "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future", hoping that this will act as a catalyst for sustainable growth innovation and advancement.

Nusseibeh also reviewed how the U.A.E. benefited from the global innovation by implementing Estidama, a unique framework specifically designed for sustainable living in the desert environments of the Middle East, stating that this strategy may be translated into local solutions around the world facing similar sustainable growth challenges.

She views these initiatives as U.A.E.'s commitment to the urban sustainable growth. She also said "My country is creating growth opportunities in rural communities, an additional component of the Habitat agenda through partnering with IRENA to deploy renewable energy in rural communities in six developing countries around the world".

She further affirmed that stable investment environments are important to promote partnerships that will mobilise finance for sustainable growth solutions in developing countries, expressing the desire of the U.A.E. desire to achieve a sustainable way of life is embodied in the UN-Habitat's vision "for a better urban future".

At the same time, the preparatory committee for the United Nations conference on housing and sustainable urban development (Habitat 3) decided to establish a working group on operational and administrative matters chaired by counsellor Majid Al Suwaidi from U.A.E. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


U.A.E. tops Arab market for Brazilian exports

posted on 20/09/2014

SAO PAULO: Brazilian exports to the U.A.E. rose by 13 per cent in the first eight months of this year, compared to the period from January to August 2013, according to figures reported by the Arab-Brazilian News Agency, ANBA.

Citing figures issued by the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade and compiled by the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, the agency said that Brazilian exports to the Emirates over the period were valued at to US$ 1.767 billion, 20 per cent of Brazil's total exports to the Arab world of US$ 8.51 billion. The U.A.E. was followed by Saudi Arabia as a Brazilian export market, with 8-month figures of US$ 1.684 billion, down 10% from the same period last year.

For the month of August alone, exports to the U.A.E. were up 43 per cent from the August 2013 figure, to US$ 294.21 million, slightly ahead of those to Saudi Arabia, at US$ 293.96 million For the January-August period, Brazil's imports from Arab countries amounted to a combined US$ 7.5 billion, down 2.56% from the first eight months of 2013. The leading exporters to Brazil during the period were Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Morocco, Iraq and Kuwait, with the top imports being oil and oil products and fertilisers. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Dubai, UK trade hits Dhs19.4 billion in first half

posted on 20/09/2014

The UK came ninth in the list of Dubai's trade partners in the first half of 2014 totalling Dhs19.4 billion. This includes Dhs12.1 billion of imports, Dhs2.8 billion of exports and Dhs4.4 billion of re-exports.

DP World Chairman and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, met with the new UK Ambassador to the U.A.E., Philip Parham, to discuss trade, business and maritime issues.

During the introductory meeting, Ambassador Parham was given a tour of DP World's flagship Jebel Ali facility and briefed on the operational efficiencies that have made DP World one of the leading marine terminal operators worldwide, and Jebel Ali Port one of the top ten container ports globally — the only port ranked in the top ten outside the Far East.

Together with senior company officials, Bin Sulayem outlined the progress of DP World London Gateway, one of the UK's largest privately funded infrastructure projects this century, which is adding 3.5 million TEU (twenty foot equivalent container units) to the UK's port capacity and features Europe's largest logistics park.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman, DP World, said: "We are delighted to welcome the UK Ambassador to our flagship facility in Jebel Ali on which DP World London Gateway is modelled. The seamless logistics of Jebel Ali Port and the free zone draws businesses to the area and has created a world class-trading centre providing access to world markets. London Gateway mirrors this concept, and will create jobs, boost trade and contribute to the growth of the UK as Jebel Ali has done in Dubai.”

The latest significant milestone in the development of London Gateway Logistics Park is the awarding of the common user facility contract to the Buckingham Group. Following a period of ground preparation and development of key infrastructure by DP World, Buckingham Group has now started construction, with the new logistics centre planned for completion in Q1 2015. The 375,000 square foot multi-purpose specialist cargo handling centre will be built in two phases and will be fully integrated with DP World London Gateway port.

Drewry Shipping Consultants, a respected independent maritime adviser, indicates that by choosing DP World London Gateway shippers will be able to reduce round-trip transport costs by £59 per container to the Midlands and the North-West, which is where some 30 per cent of UK deep-sea volumes are destined. Drewry also indicates that for the London and the South-East, which is also over 30 per cent of the UK deep-sea market, savings of up to £189 per container can be made from choosing to ship to DP World London Gateway. Importantly, it will create 36,000 jobs in coming years, according to an Oxford Economics study on the employment generation.

Meanwhile, total capacity at Jebel Ali Port will increase to 19 million TEU by early 2015 with the opening of the new Container Terminal 3 which will add 4 million TEU. Jebel Ali will be able to handle ten of the next generation 15-18,000 TEU capacity mega vessels at the same time when the expansion is complete, making it the only port in the Middle East and wider region able to do so. – The Gulf Today -


Strong business growth expected for SMMES, says Dubai Tourism Chief

posted on 20/09/2014

As Dubai moves forward in developments towards 2020, including the fulfilment of its ambitious tourism strategy and the gearing up to host the landmark Dubai Expo 2020, Start-ups and the Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) are most likely to be the biggest beneficiaries, said Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing; CEO, Dubai World Trade Centre and Dubai Expo 2020 Higher Committee member.

Speaking at the Entrepreneurs' Organisation (EO) event in Dubai, Almarri outlined how Dubai's goal of welcoming 20 million visitors by 2020 - up from 11 million in 2013 - will deliver strong business avenues for Entrepreneurs and SMMEs as the diversification of service offerings swell to accommodate the expected influx.

"Entrepreneurship – big or small – is one of the most globally consistent and relevant phenomena, redefining the economic landscape in the developed and developing world. As such, the targeted doubling of tourism numbers, coupled with human capital development, are major contributors to sustainable growth," he said.

"We are all aware that today, the return on human capital is growing more rapidly than the return on financial capital. We want to make sure that the increased spectrum of opportunities being created across the tourism infrastructure and service sector value chain actively attracts innovative and dynamic businesses - both domestically and internationally." According to industry figures, Small & Medium enterprises (SMEs) comprise more than 90 per cent of all Dubai-registered companies, representing 42 per cent of the labour force and contributing 40 per cent of the emirate's GDP.

"Dubai has always been representative of an economy built on the strength of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and as we move towards the U.A.E.'s Golden Jubilee in 2021, we expect to harness the full potential of the young and high-growth businesses around the world. We offer a very strong and highly democratised proposition for Start-ups and SMMEs – from access to tools, infrastructure, policies and the wider ecosystem, through to options for full foreign ownership across our many free zones. As a strategic priority for the Emirate, we will continue to work very closely with policy makers and the international business and investment community to enable this sector to thrive moving forward," he said.

He also cited the role PPPs and SMMEs will play in the delivery of Dubai Expo 2020, the first event-of-its-kind to be staged in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA).

"Across the entire Expo project, there will be opportunities for small, medium and large business types to support and leverage the event, through tailored initiatives as well as a comprehensive service and delivery programmes. The investments made by the host city and participants, as well as incoming visitor spend, will directly and indirectly generate significant GDP contribution for Dubai, the U.A.E. and the region, the benefits of which must truly enable accelerated growth of smaller scale enterprises," he said.

In May, the International Monetary Fund said it is likely to raise its 2014 economic forecast for Dubai. The emirate's economy grew at its fastest pace last year since 2007, expanding 4.6 per cent as core sectors including tourism, retail, real estate, logistics and hospitality witnessed solid growth.

Almarri said this painted a positive picture for businesses moving forward.

"The scale of growth that Dubai expects to retain momentum for over the coming years, aligned with our tourism strategy, which will help drive Foreign Direct Investment into the country, in turn will attract skilled human capital, and increase our global competitiveness. Added to this, from an entrepreneurship and SMME perspective, there are a number of developing government-backed business ecosystems being driven by an increased focus on attracting incubators, accelerators and investment funds needed to help them grow," added His Excellency.

Speaking on the side-lines of the event, Vikram Shroff – EO President 2014/15 and Director of Regal Group said that SMEs would be a significant influencer in domestic and regional growth prospects.

"The future of every country is the SME segment and the U.A.E., especially Dubai, is no different. Dubai has rolled out the red carpet for entrepreneurs to open up companies with very transparent procedures. Once a business owner sees that his or her investment has potential to grow and that the government is pro-business, why wouldn't they choose to set up shop here for their Middle East expansion?" he said.

Aman Merchant, CEO and co-founder of Impact Hub Dubai - part of a global entrepreneur network which has more than 50 locations globally and a network of 8,000 'Hubsters' – echoed the sentiments, earmarking Dubai's pro-business mentality as a critical factor.

"This is a very exciting time for SMEs in Dubai. Expo 2020 is one strong ground for optimism, but even without that, Dubai's long term plans promote entrepreneurship, and with that, the growth of the SME sector. Whether it is banks looking more kindly to funding SMEs, government departments more open to partnering with lesser-known but very capable start-ups, and corporates looking more aggressively to align with smaller players to enhance their agility, SMEs are well-placed to leverage this paradigm shift," he added.

"As we all know, Dubai's government is the most pro-business in the region and the city continues to take the lead in attracting start-ups. Whether it's less red-tape, more business-friendly licensing, better mobility and logistics infrastructure, family-friendly environment or increased access to talent capital, the ecosystem in Dubai allows for start-ups to thrive if they have a distinctive offering that leverages these Dubai USPs." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Ajman hospitality sector highly represented in Moscow exhibition

posted on 20/09/2014

MOSCOW: Ajman hospitality sector was highly represented as part of the official emirate's delegation to the 20th International Russian Travel Market, held from September 16th through 19th.

Led by Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD) General Manager Faisal Al Nuaimi, the delegation included Kempinski Hotel Ajman, Ajman Saray, the Ajman Palace, Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman and Tulip Inn Royal Suites Ajman.

ATDD targets a 15 percent increase in Ajman hotel occupancy, Al Nuaimi said. Such a rate should come in line with another increase in the number o f hotel units, he added, noting that the five-star Fairmont Ajman is expected to be inaugurated by March 1st, 2015, according to its General Manager Henny Schaeffer, with 252 units.

Iftikhar Hamdani, General Manager of Ramada Hotel and Suites – Ajman, announced his hotel had the highest occupancy in the northern emirates in the period from October 2013 till May 2014. The hotel had 147,000 guests from Russia and the CIS market, he added, noting that this was the reason behind participation in the 20th International Russian Travel Market.

A new deal with GDS online booking company would target 100 more daily guests for Ramada Ajman; a 500 percent increase compared to 2013, he added.

Olesya Getunova, Assistant Director of Leisure Sales at Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort and Starwood's latest Middle Eastern hotel, said this exhibition was highly important to attract tourists who come to the U.A.E. in the winter season, lauding participation as part of a team led by ATDD.

Jennet Yevshanova, Assistant Director of Sales at Kempinski Hotel Ajman, said she continued to meet with tour operators to get posted on the latest developments in the Russian and CIS market as part of efforts to get ready to the new season, starting in October. She praised collective efforts to promote Ajman as a U.A.E. emirate.

Aftab Mukadam, Assistant Director of Sales at the Ajman Palace Hotel and Resorts, said the exhibition was a good opportunity to stabilise presence in the Russian market and establish new partnerships, noting that being under ATDD as an official government authority made clients and tour operators ready to forge new important deals.

Methsiri Ranasinghe, Business Development Manager at Tulip Inn Royal Suites Ajman, said his hotel's revenues grew by Dh 1.2 million in the first half of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013, and that between 65 and 70 percent of guests were from Russia and the CIS market; so that the hotel was keen to take part in this exhibition. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Blueprint for Design District set for unveiling

posted on 20/09/2014

The masterplan for the Dubai Design District (d3) — conceived as the future hub of high fashion and designers on a 21 million square feet canvas — is being unveiled at Cityscape Global, which opens Sunday. An 1.8-kilometre waterfront gets prime positioning in the District, while it will also host 2.5 million square feet for retail-related activities. The project was launched last year.

"d3 has evolved to be so much more than just a business district — the majority of those who will be based in d3 are driven by the desire to create,” said Dr Ameenah Al Rustamani, Group CEO of Tecom Investments, the master-developer. "Our creative communities told us that they wanted d3 to be a full lifestyle experience, so d3 will be alive both day and night,”

The first phase, which features the office and retail space, is to be released in the first quarter of next year. At the time, plots will also be made available. (Currently, 11 buildings are under construction.)

"We welcome the opportunity to work with global and regional developers to build the future for Dubai's design, fashion, art and luxury industries,” said Ameenah.

The business zone can be a base for more than 10,000 workers, while a dedicated cluster will house more than 4,000 designers, innovators and craftsmen. A vibrant art scene will be crafted into the district through a "fusion of high-end galleries, pop-up showcase and open-air installation spaces, workshops and studios”, according to a statement issued by the developer.

A hospitality component will have upscale and four-star hotels and furnished apartments, together adding up to more than 4,000 keys. In addition, contemporary-themed low-rise apartment buildings will offer easy access to the heart of the District.

For the masterplan blueprint, the developer did tap ideas from the local creative community. "From the very start we have worked with leading global figures as well as local talent to ensure we can provide the right facilities and infrastructure suitable for both international brands and emerging regional designers,” said Ameenah. – Gulf News -


Dubai Municipality to tender Phase 1 of US$9.5bn Desert Rose in 2015

posted on 20/09/2014

Dubai Municipality ( DM ) plans to tender Phase 1 of its US$9.5 billion (Dh 35 billion) Desert Rose, a smart and sustainable city in Dubai, U.A.E, in a year's time, a senior official from DM told Zawya Projects in an exclusive.

Abdulla Rafia, Assistant Director General for Engineering and Planning Sector at DM , said, "We are planning to tender Phase 1 of the Desert Rose, a satellite city in a year's time. We will break ground 18 months from now." "Going by today's [2014] prices, the total cost of the project will be about US$9.5 billion (Dh 35 billion)," he disclosed.

The planning and urban development of the city, which would be in the shape of a desert flower, had been approved by the government of Dubai in March this year, according to a statement from DM during the project launch in May 2014.

The project is located south of the Emirates Road towards the Al Lusail desert area, said Rafia.

"We are currently implementing our Dubai Master Plan 2020 and are [already] thinking of renewing our plans to 2030 as far as the urban planning is concerned. The city, which is part of that plan, is our star project at the moment," he said.

"We have already tendered the design works, which include infrastructure, superstructure, and sustainability. It will be done by seven companies," he revealed.

"So far, we have awarded only one contract for infrastructure design. The rest, including superstructure, energy management, facilities, waste management, mobility, and connectivity, are either in tendering or evaluation stage. Within a year, we will award all the remaining design contracts," he said.

"We have already finished the prequalification stage." He said that the concept master plan was done in-house adding that once all the seven contracts are awarded and designs are in place, they will constitute the integrated master plan for the whole project.

The project with a total area of 14,000 hectares could be developed in four phases, he said.

"Currently, the project will have four phases; it could be more or less [phases]. It is a long-term project and phasing can take up to 10 years," he added.

According to a statement from Eng Dawood Al Hajiri, Director of Planning Department [during the launch], the project will include diversified and simple sustainable housing areas, a city centre that serves the economic, administrative and service activities and an electronic train track connected with Dubai Metro.

It will also feature eco-friendly pedestrian paths with air-conditioning during summer as well as a green belt for agricultural purposes.

The houses will have solar panel-covered roofs that will provide 200 megawatts of electricity, said a May report in the Dubai-based English daily Gulf News. The city will also recycle over 40,000 cubic meters of waste water, it added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


The Palm to get a 100-metre high residential project

posted on 20/09/2014

The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai's priciest freehold residential destination, is to have its first 100-metre high development, courtesy of a joint venture project between Omniyat Properties and the construction major Drake & Scull International. Sales of the super-luxury units — only 90 will be there and with floor areas between 2,500 square feet and a substantial 20,000 square feet — will be done in the third quarter and that too by-invitation only.

"Existing tall structures on the Palm tend to be around 50-52 metres and from the moment we acquired the plot with Drake & Scull the plan was to create a signature development,” said Mark Phoenix, Managing Director at Omniyat. "Given the significant resources the project and its design entails, it was always felt having a strategic partner made more sense than doing it alone. Drake & Scull brings in financial strength and construction expertise to the project.”

Construction of the project — located on a plot near the Viceroy Hotel — should be complete by 2017. (In 2005, a Trump Tower was announced for the Palm which would have been more than 250 metres high. But it was cancelled during the subsequent downturn.)

Details of the pricing of the Omniyat-D&S units will only be revealed closer to the launch day. A model will be on display at the Omniyat stand in Cityscape. A trio of global firms — Tokyo-headquartered Super Potato, Lebanon's Vladimir and New York-based architects Soma — have already been signed up.

On why it wanted to have a by-invitation only sales programme, "If a prestige developer in Dubai targets a select buyer base, he doesn't seem to have much of a problem selling out,” said Phoenix. "There's a class of buyer globally who is extremely demanding in the kind of lifestyle he wants to buy into. Any developer who can create a property and a surrounding lifestyle around it can always expect to be successful. It's not just the property alone.”

International investors

Property, lifestyle and location have come together seamlessly at the Palm Jumeirah. Even with the current slowdown at the top end of the market, transactions centred on the Palm have held their own.

"It's relatively easy to offer luxury real estate as it fits in with the glamour of the city itself,” said Sameer Lakhani, who heads Global Capital Partners. "This may be true of any cosmopolitan city, but more so in Dubai where developers have relied extensively on international investors.

"The Palm more than any other luxury community has captured the zeitgeist of the address-conscious buyer. It is clearly reflected in the Dubai Land Department stats by virtue of having relatively stable volumes throughout the boom-and-bust and the subsequent recovery cycle.”

According to Simon Townsend, Business Development Manager at the consultancy DTZ, "There remains varied investor interest on the Palm much in line with the rest of Dubai, with demand reducing at the high-end signature villas where recent transactions have ranged between Dh2,750-Dh4,000 per square foot to potentially stronger demand for the apartments where Shoreline units recently traded around Dh1,500-Dh2,000 a square foot through to Dh3,000 for premium views.

"The enhanced service offering opportunities like at the Fairmont and Anantara have seen significant transaction activity.” – Gulf News -


DEWA resumes its annual ‘Be Water Smart’ campaign

posted on 20/09/2014

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is resuming its annual 'Be Water Smart' campaign. The campaign supports DEWA's vision to become a sustainable world-class utility and raises awareness on the importance of rationalising water consumption, protecting the environment and conserving natural resources.

"DEWA has launched the 'Be Water Smart' campaign to support Dubai's vision and DEWA's strategy to reduce the wasteful use of natural resources, and find sustainable solutions for extracting and using them. It underlines our efforts to support national and global efforts to preserve water. It also sheds more light on DEWA's initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of rationalising water consumption in Dubai and the U.A.E.. Since 97 percent of water produced in Dubai is desalinated water, an energy-intensive process, reducing water consumption is necessary to save fuel consumption and reduce carbon emissions," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director & CEO of DEWA.

The campaign targets residential areas. Compared to the industrial and commercial sectors, in 2013 water consumption was highest in the residential sector with 58.41% of total water use. Commercial customers used 28%, non-commercial buildings used 10.67%, while industrial customers use 2.92%.

Similar to last year, the campaign includes a comprehensive programme to educate consumers about steps they can take in their daily lives to reduce water consumption and save water resources in Dubai and the U.A.E. for generations to come. These include promoting the use of efficient water-fixtures such as water taps and shower heads equipped with flow reducers, using environmentally-friendly home appliances and regular inspection for water leaks in water pipes and tubes inside the house, in addition to other simple and non-costly measures that make a big difference in water consumption and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.

DEWA encourages its customers to reduce consumption in different ways such as using environmentally-friendly products and appliances. DEWA launches and supports many campaigns and initiatives that help to limit electricity and water waste, protect the environment, and reduce carbon emissions. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Postal system to give zip codes to Sharjah

posted on 20/09/2014

Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Urban Planning Council, has unveiled the implementation of the pilot phase of application of postal code system in the cities of Sharjah.

The initiative is scheduled to commence as of Oct 1, and will be implemented in coordination with the Department of Planning and Survey and the Emirates Post Group in the areas of Al Majaz 2 and Rahmanieh-5, The Gulf Today reported.

Adoption of the postal code system in Sharjah will contribute to raising efficiency of the post services in the emirate, which comes under the directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, said Sheikh Khalid. The UPC was entrusted by Sheikh Sultan to start implementing such a system which will be linked to the geographical info systems (GIS) as per the international applicable standards, and further integrates with the proposed federal postal code system.

Speaking about the system, Engineer Khalid Mohammed Al Ali, Secretary-General of the UPC, said that the postal code system is an essential element in the scheme and spatial guidance of the emirate. He indicated that the zip code, which is in the works, consists of five digits: the country – the emirate – the city – area – and the neighbourhood.

The pilot phase will include placing information signs about the project, along with awareness programmes for residents, to explain the benefits of a zip code through media and social networking. Service departments will be educated about the system prior to integrating and linking it to the systems used in each department. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Emirates ID system a foundation for a first-if-its-kind national ePayment system

posted on 20/09/2014

Emirates Identity Authority (Emirates ID) has stressed that its advanced ID management system developed over the past few years will form a foundation for a national ePayment system that has more secure and more comprehensive features introducing a first-of-its-kind model at global level.

In a new paper published by the Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal (ASSRJ), Emirates ID emphasised that U.A.E.'s smart ID provide advanced capabilities ranging from encryption, digital signatures, and strong authentication mechanisms. "Thus, the use of the government identity management infrastructure is likely to become an integral part of the electronic payment systems in U.A.E. in the few years to come," it added.

In the paper entitled "Electronic Payments: Building the Case for a National Initiative", Emirates ID pointed out the need for the government to consider legal protection as credit and debit cards do, especially when it is evident that alternate payment mechanisms will become dominant in the near future as digital cash overtakes physical cash.

The paper, prepared by Dr. Ali Mohamed Al Khouri, Director General of Emirates ID, threw light on the ePayment systems and their connection to the economic developments in the U.A.E., which had made strides in the transition into the digital economy, highlighting the role of the identity management infrastructure developed by Emirates ID in building a secure and reliable ePayment system in the country.

In its paper, a copy of which is available on its website, the Authority underlined that the explosion of the internet and mobile phones, as well as the other technological developments has significantly influenced momentous changes in the payments market, particularly the electronic one.

"The key drivers for the revolutionary speed in developments in the digital payments field are intrinsic in the cost and risks associated with handling physical cash. This has the potential to lead the development of more sophisticated and more efficient digital services," the Authority underscored.

The paper explored several international studies and reports about ePayment showing that the cost associated with handling physical cash could reach to a record amounts. "The European Payments Council estimates that the European Union's ?360 billion in cash transactions cost at least ?50 billion a year," it clarified.

The paper referred to a study that estimated the cost of handling cash in Germany at Euro 12.5 billion per year, while another study estimated that the average cost of payments in Europe is approximately 1.2% of the GDP. However there is huge variation in this with payments costs ranging from 0.6 in the most efficient country in Europe to 1.6% for the least efficient, the study said.

The paper also highlighted a recent study by Asian Bank which identified the cost and security as the primary factors associated with cash handling as cost is considered the key concern for banks in the mature markets, but security was perceived as more important in emerging countries.

"Today, the technology of money is racing to catch up to social changes that have radically altered how we interact. It is impossible to say what the unintended consequences of innovations in financial technology will be; we can only note that they will come and we can only make some intelligent guesses," the study concluded.

The U.A.E. had recently tested the possibility of using the ID card in ePayments in cooperation with Network International. The test proved the Emirates ID card's capability as ePayment tool in several online financial transactions that are normally done through credit cards and ATM cards. The move is in line with Emirates ID's vision and strive to actively contribute to the government and economic transformation in the country, and boosting U.A.E.'s global competitiveness towards realising the U.A.E. Vision 2021.

Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal (ASSRJ) is an international peer reviewed monthly on-line journal published by the Society for Science and Education, United Kingdom. The journal encourages the researchers and practitioners to publish their theoretical & empirical research articles, reviews and case studies related to all the field of social sciences. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Social media helps shape the future of the U.A.E.

posted on 20/09/2014

The internet is not only giving a voice to the public, it is assisting policymakers in serving people's needs

Social media has created a revolution in communications, providing people from all walks of life with a platform to voice their opinions and discuss their concerns. In doing so, it has provided decision-makers with a detailed insight into society, ­offering information that cannot be found elsewhere.

In the U.A.E., the government has recognised the critical role that social media can play in citizen engagement. With 60 per cent of the population actively participating on social media networks, the various arms of government are working out ways to incorporate the information they share into the policy-making process.

As The National reported yesterday, the social media brainstorming project announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, in December last year generated more than 82,000 ideas from the public and led to concrete changes in the way the country's education and health sectors operate.

Social media will increasingly be used by governments to engage with citizens and involve them in the decision-making process. It presents policymakers with an effective, real-time means of understanding society and its changing dynamics. This can range from responding to simple concerns – for example, about potholes in a road – to gauging the public mood on issues of national importance. Private enterprises can also use data gleaned from social media to understand and anticipate customers' needs and to position themselves in the marketplace.

But the sheer volume of information on social media presents a huge challenge. According to, a website that monitors social media usage, people in this country post 2.5 million tweets a day. Add to that the traffic on Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr and other platforms, and it's clear that there's an overwhelming amount of data to be analysed.

Without doubt, this is the age of big data. But it is also the age of increasingly sophisticated analytics and algorithms that can mine the useful data from the dross. Society has suddenly just got a whole lot more responsive. – The National -


Zayed University students design special banknotes

posted on 20/09/2014

Some talented Emirati students at Zayed University (ZU) created new banknotes with special features in the hope that these will be used across the U.A.E. some day.

Out of five competing teams, only one team — comprising three students — won a trip to Switzerland to introduce them to the world of designing, producing and issuing banknotes and to give them information on high-security printing industry.

The results were announced during a ceremony held earlier at ZU in the capital.

"Banknotes are seen as the most sophisticated security documents and design plays a critical role in their creation. A banknote is not only a means of payment but it also represents the business card for a country. The first thing that visitors to a foreign country are likely to see are the national flag and a country's currency,” Christian Rubino, instructor in the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at ZU, said.

Gulf News spoke to the students of the winning team.

Fatima Farah, a 23-year-old senior student at ZU, told Gulf News: "We have worked on this project for almost five weeks. A banknote is the visitor's window into our country, culture and heritage. Therefore, we wanted to include elements from the old and modern U.A.E.. We wanted both residents and visitors to interact with our banknotes and flip them to get more familiar.”

"We didn't change the colour, so residents and visitors don't get confused; however, we changed the design. The banknote has been designed to be viewed vertically and horizontally in English and Arabic. The English side showcases the modern U.A.E. and the famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the capital while the Arabic side features the oldest mosque, which was built in Fujairah years ago, keeping in mind the words of our father Sheikh Zayed ‘A nation without a past is a nation without a present or future',” Farah, who studies graphic design, said.

Gulf News also spoke to Noora Al Ali, another member of the winning team, studying graphic design at ZU.

The winners also pointed out that their designed currency notes will feature Braille characters so that they are readable by the visually impaired.

When asked about their future plans after graduation, Fatima told Gulf News: "I see myself as a graphic designer and social worker. I would like to find a career which combines both.”

Noora is looking forward to working as a freelance graphic designer after graduation.

"All our banknotes include Islamic patterns and curved lines around borders to represent the desert, but in a more modern style. The vertical and horizontal designs make the banknote much more interactive as the user flips the money over and plays with it. The more they interact, the more they remember,” Noora, a 20-year-old senior student, told Gulf News.

Shaimaa Al Ameri, who is part of the winning team, was not present at the ceremony.

The ceremony was also attended by Adrian Bless, deputy head of the Embassy of Switzerland, who spoke on the occasion.

"I am impressed by the students' creativity. Some of the banknote designs display a great deal of thought and attention to detail, showing originality and conveying a clear message. Out of this competition, enriched with new knowledge and skills, all teams come off as winners,” Bless said.

The Embassy of Switzerland in the U.A.E. and KBA-NotaSys of Switzerland hosted a workshop on banknote design at Zayed University in June, as part of the graphic design curriculum.

KBA-NotaSys in Switzerland is the main driver of innovation and excellence within the high-security printing industry. It offers a unique range of products and services to authorised security printers and central banks, enabling them to design, produce and issue banknotes according to their specific and individual needs. – Gulf News -


World’s largest tennis ball mosaic in Dubai

posted on 20/09/2014

Dubai has successful landed a new Guinness World Record after merging over 2,327 tennis balls to create the world's largest tennis ball mosaic.

The record to beat was 500.

The mosaic was installed on the 3,800 square metres Events Arena lawn of Jumeirah Beach Hotel, located on the main beach of the hotel in front of the Wild Wadi Waterpark, overlooking the Arabian Gulf and Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.

The hotel is operated Jumeirah Group, a Dubai-based luxury hospitality company and a member of Dubai Holding.

The mosaic design mirrored the three-finger Expo 2020 victory sign of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

To mark this special occasion and congratulate Dubai on breaking the Guinness World Record, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the world's most luxurious hotel, joined in the celebrations by transforming its helipad into a 4,467-square-foot grass tennis court.

Perched 212 metres above sea level and proven to be a magnet for showcasing many world class sports event, the helipad served as the centre stage to display the Davis Cup -- one of the oldest sporting trophies that weighs an impressive 105kg.
The unveiling of the Davis Cup on top of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah's helipad joins an elite list of world class sports events that have been hosted at the hotel in the recent years.

These include the famous Roger Federer and Andre Agassi face-off, Tiger Woods teeing off and David Coulthard's donuts in the Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula 1 car.

The draw for the 2015 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas was also held during the International Tennis Federation's Annual General Meeting at Madinat

The draw to decide who meets whom in the opening round of the 2015 edition was rounded off with a gala evening which witnessed some top

names and officials from the world of tennis. – Gulf News -