UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan sent a cable to Barack Obama yesterday congratulating him on his re-election to a second term as U.S President.
UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan also sent similar cables to the U.S President. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Manama: H. H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister led the UAE delegation to the 125th session of the Gulf Cooperation Council for Arab States' Ministerial Council, which commenced yesterday in the Bahraini Capital, Manama, under the chairmanship of Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.
The Bahrain's Foreign Minister and Chairman of the current session of the GCC Ministerial Council, opened the session, thanking the efforts exerted by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal during his presidency. He also thanked the GCC Foreign Ministers for their great efforts to bolster the joint GCC work. Sheikh Khalid also praised the role of Dr Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani, the GCC Secretary General, for developing the work mechanisms of the GCC general secretariat.
Sheikh Khalid hoped for next successful session of the GCC Supreme Council, commending the wise vision of the GCC leaders in the light of their belief in the objectives, principles and achievements of the GCC since its inception. "Though this session is ordinary, the nature of political situation and security threats around us, make this session very important to prepare for the GCC Supreme Council Summit in December." He noted that the move aims at taking a collective stand to keep any eminent danger at bay.
For his part, the GCC Secretary General thanked His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa of Bahrain for hosting the 33rd GCC Supreme Council Summit.
The Ministerial Council meeting discussed the political, economic, social, environment, education and health issues. It also reviewed the strategic talks between the GCC and a number of countries. The meeting tackled the strategic partnership file with the kingdoms of Morocco and Jordan, as well as the development on the issue of three UAE Islands occupied by Iran, Syrian standoff, Yemen situation, the latest developments in both Palestine and Iraq. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
UAE tourism guide launched
A tourism guide on the UAE for residents and tourists has been issued by the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities.
Entitled YourLives in the UAE and distributed to hotels and tourism agencies, the book contains vital information about the country, significant background about the UAE’s heritage, religious practices and rituals, traditions and customs.
“Issuing such a guide will help in raising awareness towards tourism within the country which can support the economic and social development and assist in changing people’s behaviour and some wrong practices as well,” Mohammad Khamis Al Muhairi, Director-General of the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities, said on Monday at the guide’s launch.
“Tourism also contributes to promoting mutual understanding and respect between different communities and enhancing moral values,” he added.
The tourism guide also provides an explanation of working hours, holiday programmes, transportation and some important phone numbers to help in communicating with the local community.
Your Lives in the UAE also adopts a series of initiatives to protect the environment and agriculture by explaining laws that regulate fishing and shield wildlife.
An e-version of the tourism guide is available online at http://www.uaetourism.ae/ar/. – Gulf News
Mein Schiff 2, the wellness flagship of Germany's TUI Cruises, is due to make its maiden arrival into Abu Dhabi's Mina Zayed port, the first of 20 calls to the UAE capital this cruise season for the 956 cabin vessel.
The ship's passengers will arrive to a traditional Abu Dhabi welcome featuring Ayalah dancers, falconry, regional food, traditional coffee, and demonstrations of local craft with the visit being marked by a formal Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) on-board welcome and plaque exchange ceremony.
Mein Schiff 2 will deliver 40,000 passengers to Abu Dhabi in its weekly overnight calls at Mina Zayed cruise terminal, spending the following full day in port before departing for Bahrain on its 7-day 'Dubai and the Orient' tours of the Arabian Gulf.
"Abu Dhabi is now an essential port-of-call on any meaningful Arabian Gulf cruise: The emirate’s increasing number of headline attractions such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Emirates Palace hotel provide our guests a very specific mix of tradition and modernity," says Richard J. Vogel, Chief Executive of TUI Cruises.
Passengers aboard the 77,000 tonne vessel have the choice of 18 different shore excursions to explore Abu Dhabi's diversity, including afternoon tea or evening dinner at the Emirates Palace - one of the world's most opulent hotels or a city tour calling at the cultural experiences of the Manarat al Saadiyat and the UAE Pavilion exhibition centres on Saadiyat Island; a visit to Ferrari World, the world's first Ferrari theme park; and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - the UAE's most imposing and religious national landmark.
"The timing of this maiden arrival could not be better, as within minutes of disembarking, passengers can easily reach Saadiyat Island - Abu Dhabi's cultural hub just a short drive from Mina Zayed Port - and be immersed in Abu Dhabi Art, the emirate's annual showcase of modern and contemporary art and design," said Noura Al Dhaheri, Leisure Product Development Manager, TCA Abu Dhabi.
TUI Cruises, the leading German cruise operator and the first to offer a Premium All-Inclusive cruise concept, last year invested Dh257m ($70m) refitting Mein Schiff 2 to offer a luxury, all-inclusive contemporary cruise experience for well-travelled, discerning passengers seeking relaxation and well-being. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
The capital is on the brink of a golden age, one of the world's top architects said last night.
"Everything is happening here," said Jean Nouvel, the Frenchman who has designed the new Louvre Museum on Saadiyat Island.
"I'm very proud to participate in the materialisation of this golden age, and this pushes us to go higher and beyond and further because we are doing something that the whole world is looking at."
He was speaking alongside the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi architect Frank Gehry and Norman Foster, designer of the Zayed National Museum.
The three buildings will become Saadiyat's cultural centre, and the three architects were at Manarat Al Saadiyat last night to discuss their work on the island and share their thoughts on their industry.
Gehry admitted to feelings of hesitation before taking on the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi project but said he was now glad he participated.
"I was hesitant because it was formidable to travel here," he said. "At the beginning I thought it was going to be impossible and once I came I fell in love with the region. My friends here have done other work here. This is my first and only project in the region."
He spoke of making an effort to understand the region, its culture, priorities and language. "Now I feel I have only scratched the surface. I wish I knew more and I want to know more and, as this goes forward, I will spend more time here."
When asked about his thoughts on the legacy of the building, his response, said with a smile, produced a laugh from the audience: "I'm 83 now. I don't know, I'm worried about whether they are going to finish in time so I can see it.
"I have been lucky though - a lot of buildings have made a difference in the cultures were they are built and I think this collaboration with the Emiratis has been very meaningful and I hope it results in a legacy."
The architect told the audience he believed the Guggenheim was "the hope for the future" because the art that will be shown there will be collected from artists from all over the world.
Lord Foster, whose firm Foster + Partners is also the designer behind Masdar City, spoke of renewable energy and doing "more with less".
He said: "What is quite interesting is you go there; the lights are blazing, it's a very energy-intensive environment because it's a laboratory complex devoted to a whole series of experiments about renewable energy. What is quite interesting is it is developing more power than it's consuming and, in that sense, it's totally solar and that's exciting.
"I agree with Frank. I think it's a great environment here. It's very progressive. There are a lot of explorations."
Jim Weier, a former architect who is now a lawyer in Abu Dhabi, arrived early at the event to ensure a seat. "It's a massive thing having these three people in one room. Their architecture speaks for itself," he said.
"The buildings are going to be three brand-new world icons and how rare it is to see the geniuses that created them all in one place."
The three much-anticipated, innovative buildings will be the centrepieces for Saadiyat Cultural District, which is being built by the Tourism Development and Investment Company on the 27-square-kilometre island.
The government-owned developer has been working on plans for the prestigious district since its inception in 2006 and it is one of its flagship development projects.
Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority, which formed after a merger of the separate tourism and cultural entities this year, is the owner of the three museums.
Each will have its own particular draw for visitors. The Louvre Abu Dhabi, the result of an intergovernmental agreement between France and the UAE, will span the centuries and the globe, showcasing work from different civilisations and cultures, from the ancient to the contemporary. One of its main features is a 180-metre-wide dome.
The Zayed National Museum is being developed with the help of the British Museum. It will include five galleries, a library, educational facilities and a fine-dining restaurant.
It will honour the life and achievements of Sheikh Zayed, founding President of the UAE, and also celebrate the country's rich heritage.
In a dramatic, eye-catching design, five steel towers will shoot hundreds of metres into the sky. The shape was inspired by a falcon's wing and a falconry and conservation centre will highlight Sheikh Zayed's favourite pastime, as well as his desire to make wildlife and land conservation one of the country's top priorities.
Transnational contemporary art will be the focus of the Guggenheim. Visitors will be able to view work from Emirati artists as well as taking in masterpieces from the museum's global collections.
It is designed to be the largest Guggenheim museum in the world and the only one in the Middle East. Eleven landmark cones are a distinctive feature of the building.
The construction of the museums has faced long delays. A new timetable for the projects was unveiled in January, promising they would be completed by 2017. Abu Dhabi's Louvre Museum is expected to be ready first, with an opening date of 2015. The Zayed National Museum will follow, throwing its doors open in 2016, and the Guggenheim will complete the world-class trio in 2017.
The Louvre and Guggenheim museums were initially expected to be finished by 2014, and the national museum later that year. – The National
UAE expected to grow 3% despite global uncertainty
The UAE economy is expected to grow three per cent in the year 2012 despite global economic uncertainty and a recent dip in oil prices, a top economic manager said.
“We have put the crisis behind us. Preparing for the next phase of development, we have managed to successfully forge ahead with new plans and strategies,” said Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary at the UAE Ministry of Economy, in a keynote speech at the Standard and Poor’s Leader’s Forum, in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
He said the growth has slowed down from 4.2 per cent in 2011, which he called “as the fastest growth rate achieved since 2006”.
“In 2010, the growth was 1.3 per cent,” he said while speaking to over 300-top business executives, who listened to discussions on the different aspects of the topic “Middle East Market Horizons: Towards developing economies and sustainable investment.”
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research graced the occasion as chief guest.
Al Shehhi said the UAE was one of the first countries to successfully take on the global financial crisis head on by employing a series of measures such as increased public spending on infrastructure, developing the private sector and supporting investments, both local and overseas.
“Applying governance into the financial system helped kick-start economic momentum but also attracted the attention of investors from around the world,” he said.
The undersecretary said: “Sustainable regional economic development is a priority before us, and the financial community has a leading role to play in helping the emerging markets in the MENA region tackle challenges and make the best use of available opportunities.”
As a key player in the regional market, Al Shehhi said, “the UAE has continued to demonstrate its strength in dealing with the aftermath of the financial crisis factors which have put us on track for further strong growth in the years ahead.”
The UAE economy has increased in terms of its relationship to the external economy, as exports and re-exports growth reached 31.9 per cent for the same period of comparison.
Official figures also indicated that the non-oil sector have shown a strong performance by recording a real growth of 3.1 per cent in 2011 compared to 2010.
With the strong business sentiments in the country, the UAE received Dh36.73 billion in the foreign direct investment in 2011, the economic official said.
The UAE saw the launch of 328 projects, up 13 per cent in 2011, comparing with the previous year.
Al Shehhi said the UAE vision 2012 aims to establish a knowledge-based economy that is diversified. “In this direction, we are investing heavily in education and focusing on mutually beneficial partnerships,” the undersecretary told the business executives.
“The efforts to create a knowledge-based economy call for innovation across key economic sectors, including oil and gas, construction, healthcare and hospitality. Private sector participation is critical to achieve this strategic objective,” Al Shehhi said.
Counting other achievements of the UAE, he said the nation scooped the first place in the field of efficiency of government fiscal policy. It has also clinched seventh place in the efficiency of financial management in the public sector within the Global Competitiveness Report 201, issued by the International Institute of Management Development in Switzerland. – Khaleej Times
UAE and Japan trade up 8% at Dh147.3b
The total value of trade between the UAE and Japan grew by around 8 per cent to Dh147.35 billion ($40.15 billion) during the first nine months of this year compared to Dh136.6 billion ($37.22 billion) in the corresponding period last year.
According to the data of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), the value of the UAE exports to Japan grew by around 4 per cent to Dh122.21 billion ($33.3 billion) over the first three seasons of 2012 compared to Dh117.26 billion ($31.95 billion) during the same period last year.
The UAE imports from Japan grew by around 30 per cent to Dh25.14 billion ($6.85 billion), up from Dh19.34 billion ($5.27) during the period of comparison.
By this, the surplus of the UAE trade with Japan fell by less than 1 per cent to Dh97.1 billion ($26.45 billion) during the first 9 months of this year compared with Dh97.92 billion ($26.68 billion) in the same period of 2011. – The Gulf Today
DGCX posts over 1m contracts
Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange, or DGCX, reached another new milestone in October 2012 trading 1,057,508 contracts, recording an increase of nine per cent over last month and crossing the one million mark in monthly volume trade for the first time in the history of the Exchange.
Total monthly volume was valued at $43.07 billion, surpassing the previous highest trading value $38.08 billion achieved in September 2012.
DGCX year-to-date volumes reached 7,781,669 contracts, a rise of 143 per cent. DGCX currency volumes were up by 159 per cent, trading 7,172,961 contracts year-to-date. Trading in rupee futures witnessed a substantial growth of 189 per cent. In addition, year-to-date trading in gold futures rose 29 per cent to trade 465,725 contracts year-to- date.
October 2012 volumes recorded a significant increase of 139 per cent over October 2011. Gold futures, a key contributor to this growth recorded a year-on-year increase of 490 per cent; followed by the DGCX currency segment which generated its highest ever volume in October trading 992,126 contracts — registering a growth of 131 per cent. – Khaleej Times
First Gulf Bank to arrange Dh1.84b credit facilities to Mercuria Energy
First Gulf Bank PJSC (FGB), a leading bank in the UAE, has been mandated by Mercuria Energy Trading Pte Ltd, one of the world’s largest independent energy traders, as one of 11 international Bookrunning Mandated Lead Arrangers (BMLAs) to arrange its Dh1.84 billion ($500 million) Syndicated Revolving Credit Facilities (RCF).
FGB said that the bank was the only financial institution from the GCC chosen to arrange these (RCF)s, comprising a 364-day Dh1.3 billion ($360 million) facility and a three-year Dh515.2 million ($140 million) facility.
The banks pointed out that the signatory to the final loan documentation relating to the RCF be on November 30th, 2012.
Dr Waddah Taha, Chief Analyst and Economist at Zarouni Group, told Gulf News that this is “an extraordinary deal”.
This is quite superb. This reflects that the bank has high cash and liquidity. The facility will be reflected in profits to the FGB as of the fourth quarter of 2013,” said Dr Taha.
He added: “This is a quantum leap as the FGB always finds means to invest and to finance projects or companies which are beyond any local bank’s expectations.”
Andre Sayegh, CEO of FGB said the mandate is significant and important to achieve mutual goals for both FGB and Mercuria Energy, a Geneva based company which has invested in energy infrastructure to produce alternative energy and upstream as well as refining and blending assets.
Solid financial support
Mercuria Energy usually receives financial support for its trading activities and energy assets acquisitions from many of the major financial institutions active in commodities businesses financing. The company enjoys the solid financial support of a pool of over 40 banks, including an aggregated credit line for business expansion of in excess of Dh55.2 billion.
According to FGB, the international transaction road show kicked off in Dubai on October 3 ending in Shanghai on October 10.
“Closing this transaction is a direct result of the bank’s solid foundation. It goes in line with our business strategy, which clearly reflects the high level of confidence that investors and peers have in our bank and its ability to provide sustainable value to all FGB stakeholders,” said Sayegh. – Gulf News
Abu Dhabi-based real estate developer (ADX: SOROUH) Sorouh Real Estate PJSC ("the Company" or "Sorouh") yesterday reported a 54.5% rise in its third-quarter net profit and said no decision has been taken so far about its proposed merger with rival Aldar Properties.
Sorouh had net consolidated profit of Dh129.2 million, up from Dh83.6 million in the prior-year period, it said in press release on its third quarter results for the period ended 30 September 2012.
Sorouh continued its strong performance in Q3. As its net profit was up 55 % year-on-year, reflecting continued strengthening of sustainable recurring income streams from Sorouh s National Housing projects, investment portfolio and the release of contingencies and provisions.
Revenues from National Housing projects increased significantly quarter on quarter to Dh607m from Dh68m in 2011, a nine fold increase.
A further 10 units at Sun and Sky (including 4 commercial units) and 2 villas at Golf Gardens were handed over, resulting in Dh94m of revenues.
The leasing portfolio generated Dh51m of revenue, 19% up on last year. Sun and Sky is now at 95% occupancy, and Al Murjan at 90%. Interest continues for bulk leases from corporate clients, and we are confident of reaching our goal of half a billion Dirhams of recurring revenues by the end of 2014.
Other income increased mainly through the release of Dh40m of contingency provisions for Sun and Sky, which are no longer required now that the towers are complete and have been operational for over 12 months.
Our financial position is robust, with cash collections of approximately Dh1.6bn up until the end of the third quarter, Dh774m of cash on the balance sheet and low gearing of 38%.
Sorouh's net asset value per share is Dh2.51 (Q3 2011: Dh2.43).
Managing Director of Sorouh , commented: "Profit growth has continued during this quarter driven primarily by our by National Housing developments. The quality of the business's overall earnings continues to mature as we build more sustainable revenues and a stronger investment portfolio.
"During the next quarter, we expect to make further progress on National Housing developments and move closer to the completion of the Gate Towers, which we will begin to handover early in 2013.
Sorouh has a strong balance sheet and remains well positioned to deliver its development portfolio in the coming years." Sorouh confirmed that discussions regarding the possible merger with Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties PJSC "continue to progress and are at an advanced stage. A decision will be taken by the Company's board of directors as to whether or not to recommend the merger to the Company's shareholders in due course. The Company will, in accordance with applicable disclosure requirements, provide the market with a further update in relation to the merger as and when appropriate." --- Sourouh's Q3 2012 Development Portfolio Update Shams Abu Dhabi Sun '&' Sky Towers are now an established community with over 1,000 families living at the development along with key commercial tenants.
BOUTIK Sun '&' Sky is generating solid footfall driven by Abu Dhabi's first Waitrose supermarket, together with numerous other retail operators, including Italianissimo, La Brioche, Yogen Fruz and Caf? Macondo, among others.
Commercial tenants at Sun '&' Sky Towers include the Austrian Embassy, Agthia Group, Al Ramz Financial Services, Advanced Integrated Systems and Arabian Construction Company.
The Gate Towers are over 91% complete and advancing rapidly. At present, all sections of the penthouse bridge structure have been raised and locked in place.
Sorouh has completed the infrastructure on Shams Abu Dhabi and continues its de-risking programme by handing over key utilities to the relevant authorities. Discussions for reimbursement of infrastructure continue with the local authorities. As at Q3 2012, 12 sub-developer plots were under construction, one sub-developer property has obtained its Building Completion Certificate and commenced handover to end users. Two more sub-developer properties are expected to be completed in 2012.
alghadeer : The development is almost 85% complete and progressing well, with infrastructure development and the construction of the residential buildings moving at a rapid pace. The development is on track for phased completion and delivery between the end of 2012 and 1Q 2013.
Saraya: All infrastructure works at the Saraya master-planned development, near the Abu Dhabi Corniche, are complete and five plots are currently under construction by sub-developers. This is a positive development for the location and is a catalyst for other sub-developers. It has also created an interest in the secondary market for the sale of land plots.
National Housing: Construction at the Watani development is progressing well, and Building Completion Certificates for phases one and two have been applied for. Both phases are on track for completion in 2012.
Construction work continues on Sorouh's two other National Housing projects, at Ghuraibah in Al Ain and Al Sila'a in the Western Region.
Investment Properties - Residential: al rayyana Following an incident with one of the courtyards at al rayyana, further leasing activity has been deferred pending completion of remediation works at the development. All existing tenants have been relocated and are expected to be able to move back into the development in the summer of 2013.
Al Murjan 90% of units have been leased as at end of Q3 2012. Almost half of the retail space has now been leased out to Spinneys, the high-end supermarket chain.
Investment Properties - Hospitality and Retail: BOUTIK Al Ain The development is complete and due to open in Q1 2013. Attractions include a cinema and children's entertainment area. Carrefour is on schedule to complete its fit out and be operational as the anchor tenant as soon as the mall opens.
Tilal Liwa Tilal Liwa, the hotel located in the Western Region, remains profitable and cash-flow positive with occupancy at around 70% for the first half of 2012. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Aldar Properties PJSC, yesterday announced strong financial results for the third quarter of 2012 with revenue for the period of Dh 1,604.5million (Q3 2011: Dh 3,132.9 million) and net profit of Dh 205.7 million up 43 per cent from Dh 144.0 million during the same period last year.
Revenues were driven mainly by the delivery and handover of 132 residential units, and 25 land plots at Al Raha Beach.
The Company continues to have strong on-going revenue and cash flow visibility with Dh 12.0 billion cash still to be received, and Dh 2.6 billion of revenue still to be recognised from land sales at Al Raha Beach, following the three main asset sale agreements signed with the Government of Abu Dhabi between 2009 and 2011.
Recurring revenues from investment properties and operating businesses were up 8% to Dh 306.0 million in the third quarter (Q3 2011: Dh 282.9 million) and broke through the Dh 1.0 billion mark over the first nine months of the year. These were driven by increased occupancy year-on-year from the office portfolio, notably HQ, and maturing retail operations, in particular Gardens Plaza and IKEA. We are delighted to announce that outline heads of terms have been agreed through a joint venture with Etihad Airways to purchase the 17,700sqm Al Noor building at Al Raha Beach, which is to be leased on a long-term basis to Etihad Airways.
Aldar has ample working capital and liquidity to deliver on its business plan. At the end of the period, free cash balances were Dh 888.2 million, in addition to available and undrawn liquidity of Dh 3.2 billion through revolving credit facility agreed earlier in the year.
The Company's on-going programme of debt reduction followed a normal schedule of repayments during the quarter with Dh 63.4 million repaid. A further Dh 309.4 million will be retired on schedule in Q4. Aldar's total borrowings stood at Dh 14,429.3 million compared to Dh 18,295.5 million as of 31 December 2011.
As a result of the recent detailed valuation exercise relating to the potential merger with Sorouh Real Estate PJSC, the Company has updated the valuation of certain of its assets to reflect current conditions. The Company has therefore elected to write down the value of its assets by a net amount of Dh 737.1 million reflecting principally impairments to its hotel assets that are partially offset by fair value gains on Yas Mall. As a further result of the valuation exercise, the Company has written back Dh 431.5 million of excess accruals and recoverable costs, which had been written off in previous periods.
Ali Eid Al Mheiri, Chairman of Aldar Properties commented: "We are pleased to see Aldar's communities are starting to thrive as more customers occupy our developments. We are proud of our contribution to Abu Dhabi's ongoing growth and that our established delivery record continues to produce stable cashflows and profits for our shareholders. We have moved from strength to strength - both financially and operationally - and remain well positioned to execute our business plan and confirm our position as Abu Dhabi's premier developer." - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Air Arabia announced yesterday that it has welcomed 458,316 passengers in October 2012, an increase of over 22 per cent compared to the corresponding month last year.
The airline also reported that the average seat load factor - passengers as a percentage of total seats available - for the month stood at 80 per cent, registering an increase of three per cent over the figure for October 2011.
"Combined with Eid break, which is a busy period for air travel across the region, October has seen Air Arabia adding set of new routes," said Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia.
"As we continue expanding into new markets, more customers continue to take full advantage of Air Arabia's affordable fares, demonstrating Air Arabia's proven business model and product offering," he added.
Air Arabia recently added six new destinations to its ever growing network - Erbil in Iraq, Uffa and Rostov in Russia, Odessa in Ukraine, Pristina in Kosovo and Astana in Kazakhstan. The carrier also expanded operations from its Moroccan hub and launched new flights between Morocco and London, bringing Air Arabia's global network to reach 81 destinations. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
The potential value of providing Digital Entertainment, Applications and other Digital and Commerce Services in the Middle East and North Africa could exceed US$3bn by 2015, according to the Etisalat Group's Chief Digital Services Officer who was speaking at a conference in Dubai on Tuesday.
Chief Digital Services Officer Khalifa Al Shamsi said: "Although telecommunications companies need to protect their core voice and access services, they also realise that digital services is a growth opportunity. This is why the Etisalat Group has created its own dedicated unit to launch innovations in digital entertainment and commerce services, as well as solutions that support healthcare and machine-to-machine (M2M) functionality." Khalifa addressed over 100 delegates in a keynote speech at STL Partner's Digital Arabia Conference which is taking place at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel this week.
Al Shamsi continued: "The world has been connected and changed forever as consumers are radically shifting their behaviour to the online world. This is a potential threat for certain traditional telecommunications services, but for us, it represents a great opportunity. Operators such as the Etisalat Group have significant assets and resources that can be activated to support Internet companies and other players in a win-win partnership, or to develop competitive services in their own right." Al Shamsi presented the many different digital services and the growth forecast for each. The most important is digital entertainment, although massive growth is also expected in areas such as mobile advertising, financial services, cloud computing and M2M.
Etisalat has won a plethora of awards and global recognition for its digital services portfolio. These include three Global Mobile Awards from the GSMA in 2012 and being named the Middle East's most innovative company for two consecutive years at the International Business Awards.
The Digital Arabia conference is sponsored by both Etisalat and its Saudi Arabian operator, Mobily and has been organized to bring together members of different business segments to identify the opportunities for mutual cooperation in the digital arena. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Interweaving UAE traditional makabbah with modernity
The makabbah is an evocative and aesthetically pleasing relic of the UAE's harsh, desert-bound past. These cone-shaped objects were once a vital feature of day-to-day dining, used to keep insects off food, and are still handwoven from dried palm fronds by craftspeople around the country today.
Modernisation may have made these objects less essential, but the designer Stuart Haygarth thinks that there's an artistic quality to the makabbah and has produced a lighting piece that incorporates its conical form.
Haygarth was commissioned as part of Abu Dhabi Art's design programme and will unveil the piece during the fair which is being held from Saturday at the Saadiyat Cultural District. He collaborated with Emirati artisans steeped in the tradition of palm-frond weaving and had them produce six makabbah cones.
The concept of the piece was inspired by research into the UAE Haygarth undertook in September. "I find the abaya quite striking and there's something mysterious about them," he says. "The abaya is used to hide very colourful garments underneath and I like that idea of a jewel concealed inside."
With that in mind, Haygarth has had each of the six palm frond cones dyed black, fitted lights inside them and wrapped them around wooden armatures to create an exterior. "Underneath that exterior is a very vibrantly coloured silk fabric covered in talli embroidery," he explains. Talli is another craft tradition native to the UAE and is still very much alive today as it is used for ornamenting the collars and cuffs of women's clothing.
"I'm very much into handmade wherever it may be in the world. I like that bespoke specialism," says Haygarth. "Around the world, we are losing these traditional crafts through mass production, so I was pleased to hear that Emiratis are aware that their country is changing rapidly and have picked up on the fact they should hold onto their heritage."
The British designer is recognised for his use of found objects. He has turned everything from discarded car tail lights to a thousand spent party poppers from the millennium celebrations into alluring light pieces.
As a result, this collaborative project in the UAE is quite different from his usual way of working. He says the process has been no less inspiring, though. "There's a lot of camaraderie between the women and they really get on with what they're doing."
Abu Dhabi Art's design programme aims to reignite understanding of the rich history of home-grown craft traditions that these palm-weaving women represent. But matching artisans with contemporary artists and designers also aims to show the continued relevance of these handmade ways of working. "We're trying to draw that connection between craft and contemporary design and art practices," says Tairone Bastien, the head of public programming at Abu Dhabi Art.
"The design programme is really looking at the aesthetics of the UAE - what is essential and specific about design in this region," Bastien explains. "It's quite remarkable what artisans here are doing and making and it gives a very specific flavour to UAE design."
For more information, visit www.abudhabiartfair.ae. – The National
The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) is giving an opportunity for students from across the UAE to take part in the 12th edition of its Annual Environment Competition.
To date, 250 institutions have registered and entries will begin being accepted as of December 1st.
EAD recently held an orientation session for those registered to present the competition theme and entry categories. Schools and universities will continue to be able to register for the competition until the beginning of December 2012. All registered entities will be asked to submit their entries during the period of 1st December 2012 to 14th March 2013.
The theme for this year's edition will be "Green Economy: Does it include you?" which is in line with the theme set forth by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for the World Environment Day 2012.
The focus will be on key environmental issues including the investment in reducing carbon emissions and air pollution, and enhancing energy and resource efficiency in manufacturing and production processes while simultaneously preventing the loss of biodiversity and protecting the ecosystem. Besides focusing on traditional environmental concerns for biodiversity, the competition hopes to see participants shed light on new environmental solutions including the reduction of water use, the use of solar power, and investment in green technologies.
The competition returns with its popular categories for schools including: Drawing and colouring, Short Story Writing, Essay Writing, Make a Difference - Conduct an Awareness Campaign, and Research Report. Secondary students will see the introduction of a new category under the title of: Take a Stand - Participate in a Debate. The university categories will be: Public Service Announcement and Newspaper Article.
Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of EAD, said: " 65% of UAE Nationals are under the age of 25, and it is through educational initiatives like this that we aim to raise awareness on the key environmental issues we are currently facing. This generation is set to be the foundation on which we build our sustainable economy, one that aims to develop well-being and social equity, while reducing environmental risks and human impact. We are excited that initiatives like this can help develop their greenskills, and allow them to apply what they've learned academically, professionally and personally."
Sharjah supplement by Nat'l Geographic Traveller
National Geographic Traveller has launched a 24-page supplement on the emirate of Sharjah which was presented at the opening of the World Travel Market (WTM) 2012 in London 2012.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre, said 80,000 copies of the supplement will be distributed in Britain and UAE, at the Sharjah International Book Fair and selected Sharjah destinations.
Sheikh Sultan said the fame and global reach of National Geographic Traveller will help boost Sharjah tourism
Osama Samra, Director of Sharjah Media Centre, said National Geographic Traveller was one of the milestones the media centre had worked on.
The supplement initiated by Sharjah Media Centre in co-operation with Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority and the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority – Shurooq, illustrates Sharjah with pictures accompanying information on infrastructural, cultural, environmental and tourism projects, for example, Sharjah Heritage Days and Sharjah Biennial.
Sharjah Media Centre has also launched the "50 Must Know Facts About Sharjah." – Emirates 24|7
Sultan orders free zone for book publishing
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has ordered the construction of the first specialised book-publishing free zone in Sharjah as part of his efforts to promote reading and the digital and traditional publishing industry towards a knowledge-based community.
The announcement was made on the sidelines of the 31st Sharjah International Book Fair opened by the Ruler of Sharjah at The Sharjah Expo Centre on Wednesday.
Sheikh Sultan also donated Dh2 million in support of participating publishers. He called on stakeholders of the Culture Without Borders initiative to use his financial support to upgrade libraries at Sharjah’s governmental departments.
GIFT FOR EGYPT
Sheikh Sultan has donated a large collection of original rare manuscripts, maps and books under more than 4000 titles to the Egyptian Scientific Academy in Cairo.
The announcement was made at the 31st SIBF, which was opened on Wednesday by the Sharjah Ruler.
The donation is from Sheikh Sultan’s personal collections and is part of efforts to make for the losses sustained by the Cairo Library which burned down in November last year.
Among the documents in Sheikh Sultan’s possession is a copy of Description de l’Egypte, written at the time of the French expedition to Egypt (1798-1801) and published between 1809 and 1822. – The Gulf Today
Global Village’s 3d show to run until National Day
Global Village’s 3D Mapping Projection Show — a world’s first especially commissioned for the theme park, comprising a 4-minute film using the main building of Global Village as the screen — will continue until Dec.2, 2012.
Without using 3D glasses, the planet Earth shaped Global Village main building comes to life, and viewers are taken on a birds eye tour over skyscrapers, and plunge in to the sea, all via some wonderful animation. The work required a large team, as it was designed feather by feather before the falcon’s wing begin to hover.
More than 20 people in their respective fields of digital technology along with an assigned team from Global Village in Dubai, have worked on the project. This exclusively owned film is presented using six projectors and using the latest voice technology and speakers to reach a capacity of 7,000 audiences. The works began last July, and the first scenario started with a storyboard, and eventually, a Dubai focused storyline came into the limelight. – The Gulf Today
Breast cancer awareness: Paint the town pink with polo
Breast cancer awareness month may have been in October, but the illness and general health is something that should never be too far from our minds, and so here’s another chance to make sure you’re in the clear, as well as have a bit of fun dressed in pink.
Pink Polo is back for its third instalment at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club (GRPC) this Saturday, and the whole family is invited to come down for a fun day of professional polo, as well as free activities and performances for all.
Founder Carrie McNeill said ahead of the weekend: “I started Pink Polo three years ago when I learned some of the alarming facts about breast cancer in the region, and when I started to study more about this I also found that all the events that were organised for breast cancer awareness were targeting women.
“Nothing was actually targeting families, including the men.
“So, this is one of the core ideas behind the concept [of Pink Polo] – to organise a community event that even men will enjoy coming to, and that’s where the sporting element of Pink Polo comes into play.”
The two teams meeting on Saturday are defending champions the ADCB team, headed by Argentine polo ace Oscar Colombres, and new team St Regis Hotels & Resorts (headed by Nicolas Petrachi of Argentina), who will be looking to make an upset.
Colombres – who has been training with his fellow Emirati team-mates ahead of this season-opening clash – said: “Pink Polo always gets a big crowd and it’s great to play in front of thousands of people and for such a good cause.”
Meanwhile, vice-chairman of GRPC, His Excellency Saeed Bin Houfan Al Mansoori, is looking forward to welcoming members of the public to the exclusive venue.
“It is always gratifying when we are able to throw open our gates and invite the community to come and share in our love of polo,” he said. “It is even more satisfying when we are supporting such an important cause and we are proud that we have been associated with Pink Polo since the very beginning of the concept.”
Built around this exciting exhibition game, the day also hosts activities for the entire family including camel and pony rides, falcon shows, golf lessons, camel polo, photo sessions with polo players, reserved picnic areas and even pampering stations for ladies.
Be sure to come dressed in all the pink you can dig up too, as there will be a prize awarded for the best pink outfit. The ADCB Pink garden returns this year too. Perfectly located on the edge of the polo field, it is an oasis of fun for kids, with a bouncy castle, garden games, arts and crafts and lots more.
And the first 300 ladies to come down will receive a special Pink ADCB giveaway gift bag.
Lastly, the key feature on the day will be the ‘Pink Majlis’, a centre point where guests have the opportunity to talk to medical experts, learn self-examination techniques and undergo free screenings at the mobile mammography unit.
Gates open at 14:00 and polo starts at 17:00. Pink Polo is a free family day out featuring activities for the entire family. – Sport 360°
Dubai 'ready' to host major sports event
Dubai is ready to host a major international sporting event such as the Asian Games despite deciding against bidding for the 2019 event.
That is the belief of Mohammed Al Kamali, Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) executive board member and secretary general of the UAE National Olympic Committee (UAE NOC).
The UAE were weighing up making a move to bring the continental sporting extravaganza – last held in Guangzhou, China in 2010 – to the Middle East in seven years’ time.
However, they decided against making a formal bid. That means the battle for today’s host city announcement is between Surabaya, Indonesia, and Hanoi, Vietnam, and means the event will be held in east Asia for the third time running, given the Games will be held in 2014 in Incheon, South Korea.
The XVI Asiad in Guangzhou saw 9,704 athletes from 45 countries take part in 476 events across 42 disciplines, but Al Kamali insists the scale of the Games would not be a problem for Dubai.
“The UAE is always ready to host a major event and I think that if we decide to host it then we are ready for that,” he said. “You know the UAE are ready, not just for major sports events, but any sector in the world, and to host the Asian Games would not be too difficult for us to do.
“But in the end if we are going to host a major event like the Asian Games then we must have a plan of why we want to host it and what the outcome would be of that hosting.
“We didn’t think on that, but that does not mean we are not looking to host it. We are always looking to achieve excellence in every event.”
Al Kamali admitted there had been some confusion over whether the Emirates were planning to bid, with delegates from other countries at yesterday’s 62nd OCA Executive Board Meeting under the impression they were still in the running.
And he added: “We have been thinking of hosting this type of major event.
“We have a plan to host many major events in the future. I’ve just heard many people asking ‘are you going for that?’ But in fact we didn’t go into the race.”
Al Kamali also revealed that yesterday’s OCA meeting had gone smoothly, with discussion centring on the two bidding cities as well as preparation for the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea and the organisation’s financial report.
However he would not be drawn on which bid, Surabaya or Hanoi, he wanted to win today.
“I can’t say because I am a part of the decision, but they both gave very good files and they were challenging files and I hope for the best for both,” said Al Kamali. – Sport 360°
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan yesterday at Al Rawda Palace in Al Ain the visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron and his accompanying delegation.
H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President's Representative, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, were also present.
Sheikh Khalifa welcomed Cameron and his entourage, praising the distinguished cooperation and friendship relations between the UAE and the United Kingdom.
The meeting held talks on bilateral relations and joint cooperation between the two countries and means of strengthening them in addition to discussing the latest international developments.
The two sides also stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation between the two countries in various political, economic, commercial, scientific and technical fields. In this regard, they expressed their satisfaction with the growth in bilateral relations, which is reflected in the volume of trade exchange between them. They pointed to the need to develop a common strategy that supports economic growth and diversifies the sources of technological development.
They also stressed the need to strengthen international understanding and cooperation to enhance security and stability in the Gulf region, the Middle East and the world as a whole, within the framework of international resolutions, the need for respect for the sovereignty of States and the need to promote world peace.
Sheikh Khalifa said that Cameron's visit will further strengthen and develop the coordination, consultation and cooperation between the two countries on the basis of their desire to achieve common interests.
He commended the role played by Britain on the regional and international levels to resolve crises and reduce conflicts.
For his part, the British Prime Minister praised the UAE's great achievements under the wise leadership of His Highness the Head of State, which had enabled the state to occupy a prestigious position on both regional and international levels.
He said that Britain appreciated the UAE's modern experience and that he was looking forward to strengthen cooperation between the UAE and his country for the benefit of both peoples. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
The UAE and UK have expressed their commitment to further strengthen and develop joint partnership in defence, trade, economy, education, investment and climate change.
A joint communiqué issued at the end of a two-day visit by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, to the UAE, said: ''We have today celebrated the longstanding and deep friendship between the UK and UAE and agreed an ambitious plan to develop our cooperation still further. Our partnership is built on respect for each other's sovereignty. Both countries have evolved their systems of governance, over time, to reflect their respective traditions and aspirations for the future. We stand together to combat many of the threats to the security of the wider region. We are strongly committed to maintaining tolerant open, outward-looking societies.
''We are partners across the broadest range of areas. Over 100,000 British citisens live in the UAE. British Nationals visiting the UAE make up one of the largest visitor groups. They appreciate the UAE's vibrant society and culture. Nearly two hundred thousand Emiratis visited the UK last year. We want to support and develop this interchange between our people. In the economic sphere, both the UAE and the UK have taken difficult decisions to ensure economic stability. Both have created environments in which investments thrive and both have invested significantly in each other's economies.
''We collaborate on our mutual defence interests, against external and domestic threats; we are political partners in international fora, where we cooperate together to support the peaceful resolution of conflict. Our partnership as governments is built on our partnership as peoples.
To further strengthen and develop this partnership, we will work together to: Deepen our defence ties by; continuing the development of our joint plans for the security of the UAE and wider Gulf region; increasing our joint exercises and training; and by investing in the British military presence in the UAE.
Establish a defence industrial partnership that involves close collaboration around Typhoon and a number of new technologies Grow UAE investment in UK infrastructure and British investment in the UAE in aerospace, ICT, service ventures, communications, munitions and capability, broadening the industrial and business partnerships between UAE and UK companies, aiding technological development and diversification.
Support all these measures by working towards facilitating travel between our two countries.
Build on the already substantial exchanges between the UAE and the UK in the field of education.
Cooperate on addressing new challenges in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as pressing global challenges such as climate change.
Promote mutual understanding in both our countries''. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Speaking at the end of the two-day visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, has spoken about the significance of the trip and its importance to the continued strengthening of the bi-lateral relationship between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
In thanking Mr Cameron for his visit, H.H. commented: "The Prime Minister's visit is further recognition of the vast potential for the bi-lateral relationship at every level. There is clearly a common sentiment that our deep historic ties can evolve to become an alliance for the future that continuously benefits both countries. Ours can be a partnership based on the closest possible political, economic, and defence collaboration." Mr Cameron's visit included several significant meetings with groups of senior UK and UAE business leaders, revealing a common ambition for increased commercial engagement and associated mutual economic development.
Sheikh Abdullah commented: "There is incredible potential for existing collaboration to act as a basis for much broader industrial partnerships and commercial initiatives. With both government's actively committed, it is up to both business communities to seise the opportunities at hand." The economic relationship between the UAE and the UK is strong, delivering ?9.6bn worth of trade in 2011, making the UAE the UK's largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa.
The UK Prime Minister's visit to Zayed University acknowledged the strong education ties that exist between the UAE and the UK and the shared belief in the societal benefits of investing in advanced and thriving education systems. The high number of female students who participated in the forum reflects the significant uptake in and engagement with educational opportunities by women in the UAE. Strong female participation in education is a manifestation of the UAE's wider policies to empower women in all facets of society Sheikh Abdullah said: "The Prime Minister's Zayed University visit was something I know was enjoyed by all who were involved. The chance for our students to engage candidly with a World Statesman is a rare and empowering opportunity and one that wonderfully exemplifies the benefits of promoting mutual understanding in both of our countries." Our respective education systems hold the key to the future strength and further growth of our bi-lateral relationship. Both governments are invested in seeing graduates in both countries with the ambition, creativity and drive to fulfil the potential and associated rewards that continued collaboration can deliver." - Emirates News Agency, WAM
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has emphasised the commitment that exists to maintain the constitution and to preserve rights and freedoms, these being the pillars of political work at all the institutions.
He said: "While preserving the constitution, we respect our Islamic belief, UAE traditions and norms
"Inaugurating the second ordinary session of the 15th Legislative Chapter of the Federal National Council, the UAE President said in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, that "We are going forward firmly to bring our political experience to its (desired) ends so as to achieve development and expand participation. We are also looking forward to the pivotal role of the FNC, as a supportive and control authority to further strengthen the government with its visions and innovative ideas."
Sheikh Khalifa noted that the FNC has witnessed a qualitative development with regards to the experiment in expansion of participation that resulted in the holding of the second elections on September 24, 2011.
He added that this was one of the phases of the gradualist political empowerment programme launched in 2005 to activate the role of the FNC.
The UAE President underlined that the UAE constitution protects rights and freedoms. "This makes the UAE a paradise for citisens and expatriates. All live in peace in a tolerant community that is free from segregation and injustice."
Sheikh Khalifa said Emirati women received full support from the leadership, noting that they have exhibited ability and responsibility and have come to occupy top jobs. "I called upon my daughters to sustain the efficiency and dedication they have demonstrated so far.
"Your membership in this Council is a great trust and responsibility," he told its members. "Governance here belongs to those who have bestowed their trust on you. So be solicitous to maintain your eligibility to have received this trust and be committed to the interests of the country and the citizens."
Sheikh Khalifa called on the FNC members to communicate always with fellow citizens and to protect the bond between the various segments of Emirati society "in our quest to entrench the culture of consultation and participation in decision-making, as well as to emphasise the importance of individual opinions in formulating the opinion of the society."
He greeted Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the emirates for their virtuous efforts in strengthening the pillars of the union. "I also greet every citizen, man and woman, who has contributed through his or her work to the building of our beloved nation and our precious union."
Sheikh Khalifa concluded, "Dear Members of the Council, I thank you and your predecessors. You have performed your duty with sincerity and integrity and we expect from you more effort and selfless work." - Emirates News Agency, WAM
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday opened the Second Ordinary Session of the 15th Legislative Chapter of the Federal National Council.
Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, the Speaker of Federal National Council thanked President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Their Highnesses Members of Supreme Council and Rulers of Emirates, for their sustainable support to the FNC to carry out its role in service of citizens.
Al Murr said the FNC's experience has developed to meet the endeavours of the leadership and Emiratis in line with the political programme launched by the UAE President in 2005.
He cited the two elections held in 2006 and 2011, the expansion of electoral colleges to elect half of the FNC members in line with the gradual political development programme to deepen the culture of political participation, a move described by Sheikh Khalifa as "the spirit of union".
Al Murr referred to the achievements scored by the UAE, which spurred the regional and international standing of the UAE.
He thanked the President for increasing the salaries of federal employees this year, granting citizenship to the children of Emirati mothers married to foreigners and setting up of the fund to tackle the loans of Emirati defaulters, construction of the roads, building of mosques and making the Ramadan ration (Al Mir) a permanent programme to provide food to citizens.
The FNC Speaker said the security, peace and stability enjoyed by the UAE had catapulted it into the comprehensive sustainable development. "The FNC plays its constitutional role to support the stability and development nationwide." - Emirates News Agency, WAM
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister has strongly condemned yesterday terror explosions in Gudhaibiya and Adliya in the Bahraini capital Manama which resulted in the death of two residents and left another critically injured.
"UAE condemns these terrorist and criminal acts which were aimed at damaging the security and stability of Bahrain," he said and stressed UAE's support for the neighbouring Gulf kingdom, its government and people.
"Security and stability of the Kingdom of Bahrain is the security and stability of the UAE," Sheikh Abdullah added.
He also expressed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Italian Ambassador to UAE Giorgio Starace, yesterday said Italy looks at UAE as a model for tolerance in the Arab world, and appreciates the progress achieved so far by the UAE in respect of human rights and religious dialogue.
Following is the statement of the Ambassador of Italy to the UAE: "In reference to the Resolution of the European Parliament on human rights in the United Arab Emirates dated 26th October 2012, I would like to underline few relevant points.
Italy, as a European Union Funding Member and as an established Western democracy takes into high consideration the role and the independence of the European Parliament and the protection of the Human Rights as crucial aspects.
Yet, we would like to underline that the mentioned Resolution does not reflect the official position of the Italian Government.
It is the result of the activity of an independent and supranational institution such as the European Parliament, where the Parliament Members are elected and organise their activity not on behalf of the national Governments or Parliaments but on the base of their agenda and on the agenda of the European political groups they belong to.
Italy welcomes the development in any form of an intensive and fair dialogue on bilateral as well as on multilateral base with the Governments of the friend countries as we consider the United Arab Emirates. Therefore, the Italian Government will increase its effort in all contexts in order to avoid the consolidation of prejudices and of positions which do not reflect the completeness of the scenario and do not give the possibility to the counterparts to present and disclose in an exhaustive form their point of view.
In the specific case of the UAE, Italy considers this country as a model of tolerance in the Arab world and appreciates the progress so far achieved by the Government of the UAE in the field of the respect of human rights and dialogue with all religions." - Emirates News Agency, WAM
A specialised American foundation has awarded Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development for its significant achievement in innovation in spreading awareness and knowledge about entrepreneurship among the Emiratis.
Abdullah Saeed Al Darmaki, CEO of the Fund, received the award on the sidelines of the World Summit on Innovation '&' Entrepreneurship which took place in Boston, United States of America, with presence of more than 600 delegates from different entities from 50 countries whom all were interested in innovation in SME.
"Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development follows a unique strategy to implement the direction of the government in providing the sustainable growth and to support the social welfare which the Emiratis people should enjoy, and that can be achieved through introducing many initiatives and programs which are designed to all of society segments", said Al Darmaki after being awarded.
During the past five years Khalifa Fund successfully emphasise the concept of innovation and creativity in entrepreneurship within different society segments especially the youth through many initiatives and programs designed mainly for school and university students. In addition to that, Khalifa Fund designed programs with social impact.
Delegates from Khalifa Fund as well as some of the applicants funded by Khalifa Fund participated in the World Summit on Innovation '&' Entrepreneurship, in which Mr. Al Darmaki made a presentation about the goals and programs of the Fund and some of its achievement in spreading the knowledge about entrepreneurship and innovation either through the economic programs or social programs.
"Khalifa Fund's participation in such events comes as part of its effort to stay of touch with the best practice in the field of innovation in SMEs worldwide, in addition to networking and building partnership with other organisations", said Al Darmaki "Khalifa Fund made several of meetings and discussion with the representatives of educational institutes as well as the investment companies in order to learn from their experience in different field", added Al Darmaki. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
President of Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) Raja Al Gurg has received the 'Most Influential Arab Woman in Family Business' award during the Forbes Middle East CEOs Forum that was held recently in Dubai, DBWC said in a press release.
The forum was held under the patronage of the UAE's Minister of Economy Eng. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri. The awards ceremony was hosted in celebration of the exceptional achievements of outstanding CEOs and distinguished leaders from diverse sectors, including some of the MENA region's most influential women.
Al Gurg, in a comment on the award, said she was glad that she had been able to influence other women in the region to realise their entrepreneurship dreams.
"An increasing number of women in the MENA region are demonstrating their business acumen and proving their ability as highly capable entrepreneurs, while at the same time efficiently managing their family commitments. I would like to dedicate this award to all women in the region who have made a positive contribution to the socioeconomic development of the Arab world, she said..
Founded in 2002, DBWC motivates women to be productive members of the society, while encouraging role models to rise up from the ranks and inspire other women around the world, especially in the Arab region, to discover their true potential. DBWC organises the high-profile monthly event 'Network Majlis' to provide information about the latest knowledge, skills and best practices for women entrepreneurs and leaders. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) yesterday announced its crude oil prices for October 2012. A company statement said that Government Selling Prices (GSP) for crude oil FOB Abu Dhabi ports for the month of October 2012 are as follows: Murban US$113.20 per barrel, Lower Zakum US$ 113.15, Umm Shaif US$ 112.80, and Upper Zakum US$ 110.25 per barrel. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) '&' its Group of Companies, a major diversified group of energy and petrochemical companies, are gearing up for a strong participation in the upcoming 15th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC), which takes place on 11 - 14 November 2012 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and fully supported by ADNOC and the UAE Ministry of Energy, ADIPEC 2012 is set to strengthen Abu Dhabi's position as the business hub for emerging economies.
The participation of ADNOC and its Group of Companies in ADIPEC which is the largest oil and gas show in the region comes in line with their strategy to support and effectively participate in all local, regional and international industry events. The Group will have strong presence in this widely anticipated international event as a key player in the international energy sector and an essential vehicle for the realisation of Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.
ADNOC '&' its Group of Companies will be participating extensively in both the conference and exhibition. In addition to supporting the various exhibition activities and facilities including the newly launched Middle East Petroleum Club, an exclusive club environment for oil '&' gas industry VIP's, ADNOC has set up a large stand that reflects the size of the Group and depicts the overall development witnessed by the UAE.
The two-level stand is well positioned in the main entry atrium of the exhibition venue. The design was created to be a welcoming place for both exhibition visitors and the company's distinguished guests and VIPs, as well as a showcase for the ADNOC's new vision of the future.
Inspired by Middle Eastern influence, the stand's design is offset by the host of high-tech multi-media LED screens and interactive 3-D experiences. This section will highlight the company's latest advances and investments, including new CO2 recovery technology; the completion of the Habshan-Fujairah Pipeline Crude Oil Pipeline (ADCOP), an iPad app designed for geological survey; and the company's brand-new recruitment centre for potential employees among UAE and foreign job seekers. Live technical presentations will be delivered by ADNOC specialists at the Stand.
ADNOC also has strong presence at the Offshore Hall which features the Oil and Gas Museum, a showcase of the UAE's oil and gas journey from 1928 to 1979.
The most anticipated event during the exhibition is the ADIPEC Awards, which recognise organisations that have been most successful in setting new standards of excellence within the Middle East '&' North Africa (MENA) oil and gas sector. Two ADNOC subsidiaries, ADMA-OPCO and ZADCO, have been shortlisted for three awards in this competition.
ADNOC Group's participation in ADIPEC Conference is part of their efforts to share their expertise with industry leaders. Delegates from ADNOC and its Group of Companies will be making technical presentations at the conference, mainly tackling issues related to oil and gas exploration and production and onshore and offshore operations.
Several ADNOC senior executives will contribute in various ways to the success of ADIPEC 2012 through their roles on the Executive Committee and the Technical Committee. The ADIPEC conference in this 15th edition is chaired by Mr. Ali Rashid Al Jarwan CEO of the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO).
Highlighting the important role ADNOC plays on the world energy stage, Mr. Al Jarwan said: "This is an excellent chance for ADNOC professionals to exchange their expertise and to learn from each other, also taking advantage of the networking opportunities ADIPEC presents".
According to him, this year's show will feature a strong focus on gas, covering both natural gas and unconventionals. New techniques being studied and applied across the industry will also be explained. Technology innovation is an area that has a specific focus within the conference programme. In addition to the main Exhibition and conference program several activities around ADIPEC were planned in education, training, cultural and higher management latest practices. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Etihad Airways, will have a championship-winning theme to its stand (ME350) at this year's World Travel Market.
The airline, which sponsors Barclays Premier League winners Manchester City and Aviva Premiership winners Harlequins, will be displaying both championship trophies on its stand.
There will also be a special guest appearance from the Harlequins Rugby team from 11am - 2pm on Wednesday.
Named the World's Leading Airline for the third consecutive year at the World Travel Awards, Etihad Airways will be promoting its global network including four new destinations - Ahmedabad (from 01/11/2012), Washington (from 31/03/2013), Sao Paulo (from 01/06/2013) and Ho Chi Minh City (from 01/10/2013). These routes have recently been added to Etihad Airways' network, which now spans 86 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.
In addition to the new destinations, Etihad Airways staff will be on hand to provide details about its airline partnerships, including the recently signed historic agreement with Air France-KLM to codeshare on flights across each airline's networks, the first phase of a much larger strategic partnership which commenced on 28 October 2012. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Emirates adds easyJet as new Skywards partner
Emirates on Tuesday announced European budget carrier, easyJet, as its airline partner for its frequent flyer programme, Skywards.
The redemption agreement, which is aimed at facilitating travel around Europe, will connect Emirates 31 destination strong European network with all of easyJet destinations, Emirates said in a statement.
“As of November 6, members will be able be use their Skywards Miles to fly with easyJet to over 30 countries across Europe and North Africa,” Emirates stated, adding that used in conjunction with an Emirates flight or for separate travel itineraries, Skywards members will have the choice to expand their travel options across Europe.
“With over 130 destinations within Europe and North Africa partnering with easyJet was an obvious choice for Emirates. Like Emirates, easyJet is committed to expanding its operation by connecting an increasing number of cities; offering passengers limitless travel opportunities,” Thierry Antinori, Emirates Executive Vice-President, Passenger Sales Worldwide, said in a statement.
According to Emirates, the agreement applies to redemption of Skywards Miles on easyJet flights only and will apply to all destinations across the easyJet network.
It added that easyJet operates on more than 600 routes from more than 130 airports in over 30 countries, offering extensive redemption options to the Skywards membership base; including upcoming five additional routes to be added between December 2012 and February 2013.
“Partnering with easyJet will help extend its [Emirates’] reach by providing Skywards members with the ability to access our market leading European Network,” Paul Simmons, easyJet’s UK Director, said in a statement. – Gulf News
DDF named Best Airport Retailer of the Year
Dubai Duty Free (DDF) scooped the top prize at the Frontier Awards held in the Hotel Martinez in Cannes, where they were announced as the ‘Best Airport Retailer of the Year’ for an unprecedented sixth time.
Hailed as the ‘Oscars of the industry’, the Frontier Awards are held to coincide with the annual Tax Free World Association (Tfwa) exhibition in Cannes, with this year’s awards ceremony attracting over 500 guests from the global duty free industry.
Launched in 1985, the Frontier Awards recognise excellence in the industry with trophies going to winners in 11 different categories. – The Gulf Today
DP World formally awarded new terminal project
Mumbai/Dubai: DP World further strengthened its relationship with India’s premier gateway port, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, on Tuesday with the ceremonial presentation and formal acceptance of the Letter of Award for the 330-metre new terminal project by DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem and port chairman L Radhakrishnan.
The ceremony was also attended by other senior members of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority and DP World.
Once constructed, the new terminal will add 800,000 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent container units) of container capacity to the port and help ease congestion, as the port is currently operating beyond capacity. The terminal is expected to commence operations in 2015. – Gulf News
The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has attracted the attention of a number of key players during its participation in the 34th annual World Travel Market (WTM), being held at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London.
The authority's participation in the four-day business-to-business event forms part of its efforts to promote Sharjah as a leading investment and tourist destination in the region and the world and the Authority's stand - its largest yet for this event - has been specially designed to showcase its new Kalba Eco-tourism development.
The Shurooq delegation had successful and productive meetings with key players from a variety of tourism bodies and organisations from sectors such as the cruise industry, as well as companies that cater for and support the Authority's eco-friendly focused initiatives and activities.
Other Shurooq projects also on show at World Travel Market include The Heart of Sharjah, one of the most significant tourism and heritage projects in the UAE; the Chedi Khorfakkan Resort; the development of Al Hisn Island in Dibba Al Hisn; the redevelopment of the landmark previously known as "Al Jazeera Park", Sharjah's oldest tourist destination, which is situated on an island within Khalid Lagoon; as well as a new leisure project at Al Badayer. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
UAE enjoys better 'brand' image abroad than US, Europe
A brand’s success always depends on its image. And countries are not different anymore. Trust is central to the image of a country abroad… and UAE is well aware of this fact and that’s why the Emirate enjoys excellent image abroad and is rated better than most of the developed countries in terms of encouraging business development.
The UAE has been rated ninth globally and second in the Arab world, according to IMD’s World Competitiveness Centre’s 2012 data for ‘Image Abroad’.
Encouraging business development helps attract foreign direct investment in to the country and also boosts confidence among foreign entrepreneurs as a major business-friendly destination. The UAE enjoys such a strong rating mainly due to the country's forward looking economic, financial and monetary policies.
The UAE enjoys better rating than advanced countries like Spain, South Korea, Norway, Netherland, Australia, UK, US, Japan, France and Italy among others.
Stephane Garelli, Professor and Director at IMD's World Competitiveness Centre, said trust is central to the image of a country abroad, but for many of them trust is disappearing no matter what they do.
“Financial markets and investors harshly sanction countries which they no longer believe in. Several nations now struggle not only to restore their finance and their economy, but also their credibility. This is competitiveness ‘perceived’ versus competitiveness ‘measured’... The perception of a country abroad is emotional but can and should be managed as a brand. Prime Ministers Mario Monti of Italy and Antonis Samaras of Greece are now spending a lot of time travelling and explaining their country abroad. Others do not. And if a leader does not proactively manage how his country is perceived, others will do it instead – and it will not be good,” said Garelli.
The UAE earned 8.27 points as compared to 7.96 by South Korea, 7.57 by Norway, 7.51 by Australia, 7.16 by UK, 6.72 by US, 6.19 by Japan and 4.21 by France in the survey.
Among the top ten, Singapore enjoys the best rating globally with 8.95 points followed closely by Chile (8.93), Switzerland (8.81), Qatar (8.74), Hong Kong (8.72), Sweden (8.58), Canada (8.43), Germany (8.42), UAE (8.27) and South Korea (7.96).
Countries which have been rated lowest and believed to be discouraging business development are Venezuela, Greece, Argentina, Hungary, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Russia, Romania, Italy and Portugal.
Around 60 developed and developing countries have been rated based on their image abroad for encouraging business development. – Emirates 24|7
Demand for shops and office space is increasing more in the UAE than anywhere else in the world, according to chartered surveyors.
A survey by the British-based Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors said demand for commercial property in the Emirates had risen to its highest level since 2008, ahead of rises in Thailand, Russia and the United States. However, there was still an oversupply in the UAE's commercial property market
The organisation found 48 per cent more of its UAE members reported that companies were looking to lease new shops and offices during the third quarter, compared with those reporting a fall in demand.
The study was based on responses from 942 surveyors around the world who were asked to gauge demand in their own markets, compared with the previous quarter.
Despite the surge in demand in the UAE, surveyors reported more empty offices and shops than there were businesses to fill them. A net 57 per cent more institute members reported an increase in available commercial space during the third quarter, compared with those reporting a fall.
Surveyors said they expected commercial rents would decline in the UAE. However, sentiment is improving, with fewer of those questioned during the third quarter expecting prices to drop.
The number of buyers hoping to invest in property in the UAE also increased during the quarter. According to institute members, demand from investors rose the third fastest in the world during the third quarter, behind Canada and Japan, with a net balance of 43 per cent reporting an increase.
Members were also optimistic about how the market will perform in the last three months of the year. According to the survey, a net balance of 40 per cent of UAE surveyors said demand would increase further, an improvement from 7 per cent the previous quarter.
A net 22 per cent of surveyors in the Emirates also reported that they expected capital values to increase in the coming quarter - the eighth-highest proportion of surveyors anywhere in the world and ranking behind places such as Russia, Brazil and Hong Kong.
"The improving economic picture in the UAE is likely to be lifting confidence in the domestic real estate market … Strong growth of key sectors such as tourism, commerce and retail will impact directly on the commercial sphere," said Simon Rubinsohn, the chief economist at the Royal Institute.
"The results of the survey are reflected by this, with strong gains in both occupier and investment demand. This turnaround is now shifting expectations for rents and capital values, which are no longer projected to fall." – The National
UAE to invest US$8bn in power
Power capacity to expand by over 53 terrawatt hours by end-2021
The UAE is expected to pump more than US$8 billion (Dh29.36 billion) in electricity generation over the next eight years with capacity expanding by over 53 terrawatt hours by end-2021, Business Monitor International said recently.
“Expansion is the name of the game in the UAE’s electricity market. With more than US$8 billion expected to be invested in the period up to 2020, covering thermal, renewable, coal and nuclear generating capabilities, the market will remain highly attractive to international developers; however, the tight time frames for some ambitious new projects, intended to hike output by more than 50 per cent, will present logistical challenges,” BMI said in a press release.
Total power generation in the UAE for 2012 is forecast at 90.48 terrawatt hours (TWh), representing a year-on-year rise of nearly four per cent. With plenty of new generating capacity coming online in Abu Dhabi in the next few years, BMI envisages an uptick in annual production, lifting overall capacity to more than 123TWh by 2017. With nuclear added into the mix, power generation is set to reach 144.2TWh by end-2021.
BMI anticipates that natural gas-fired generation will grow by a more modest 3.6 per cent between2012 and 2021. Nuclear is expected to account for 13.6 per cent of the total energy mix by the end of this period. Alongside nuclear, the UAE is also persevering with fossil-fuel based additions, with plans for coal-fired power stations in Dubai; however, the report did not factor coal into the wider energy mix.
It also sees solar and renewables making up a more significant contribution to the overall energy mix. The first, 13MW phase of the planned 1,000MW Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park, is due to be completed in2013. Under the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, the aim is to reduce energy consumption by 30 per cent through the implementation of enhanced energy-efficient initiatives like the solar PV park. By 2030, Dubai aims to generate at least 5 per cent of its energy from renewables, 12 per cent from clean coal and 12 per cent from nuclear power – an ambitious target. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) expects that distributed rooftop solar power sources would make a practical contribution to Dubai’s power needs, at around 20%, or around 2,500 megawatts(MW), by 2030.
With the nuclear ball rolling, BMI expects more contract awards through 2013. Emirates Nuclear Electricity Corporation (ENEC) was awarded its construction licence for two of four planned nuclear units in the west of Abu Dhabi in mid-July 2012. The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) granted the licence in mid-July 2012 and gave the green light for the building of two advanced pressurised water reactors (APRs), with each having a 1,400MWcapacity. In Q312, it signed deals with six companies to supply uranium over a 15-year period. These companies were ConverDyn of the US, Canada’s UraniumOne, Urenco of the UK with Rio Tinto, Russian’s Tenex and France’s Areva. These companies will provide enriched uranium to Kepco Nuclear Fuels, which will then make the fuel assemblies for the four planned units.
BMI forecasts a sharp increase in annual power demand over the 2012-2021 period, with an anticipated average annual increase in consumption of 5.6 per cent. Consumption of 81.0TWh will rise to 133.5TWh by 2021, under our forecast scenario. Much of this growth will be underpinned by a rising population, which we see increasing from 8.1mn in 2012 to 9.3mn by end-2021. – Emirates 24|7
Abu Dhabi Art 2012, held at the UAE Pavilion and Manarat Al Saadiyat in the heart of the Saadiyat Cultural District, opens to the public on Wednesday and runs until Saturday.
The fourth edition features 50 of the world's most exciting galleries representing 400 artists and includes top art world players participating in its public programme.
The event will be held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces "The calibre of art, galleries and leading figures from the art world at Abu Dhabi Art this year further confirms the vision for the Saadiyat Cultural District and Abu Dhabi's role as a cultural destination," said Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority, the organisers of the event.
"Abu Dhabi Art's diverse programme ensures that visitors of all ages and interests are immersed within a colourful, engaging few days. Our vast and growing audience will enjoy unprecedented access - seeing works of art, meeting artists and attending a rich public programme, that fascinate the senses and advance current cultural debate," he added.
This year's platform has attracted a growing number of collectors and museum representatives, highlighting Abu Dhabi's dedication to the cultivation of a cultural hub in the region: Modern and Contemporary Galleries again exhibit works by masters such as Picasso, Alexander Calder, Sam Francis, Joan Miro, Louay Kayyali and Chafic Abboud. Contemporary artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Hassan Sharif, Etel Adnan, Jeff Koons, Farhad Moshiri, Richard Serra, Yayoi Kusama, Rachid Koraichi, Saloua Raouda Choucair and Wael Shawky are also represented.
Many artists exhibited are also in attendance including Ghada Amer, Anish Kapoor, Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher, Timothy Noble and Sue Webster, Abdulnasser Gharem and Mohammed Kazem.
The 2012 Public Programme includes a unique and expanded design element where, through a variety of new programmes, contemporary design and craft techniques come together as a celebration of both traditional skill and visionary thinking. A commissioned work draws on the crafts of khoos (palm-frond weaving) and telle embroidery and is being developed in Abu Dhabi by Emirati artisans. UAE based artist UBIK joins other contemporaries, creating works and holding special design projects and workshops and storytelling performances.
Renowned Director of the Design Museum in London, Deyan Sudjic and writer Glenn Adamson will delve into greater detail about the role of craft in art and design and contemporary designer Stuart Haygarth will be working on commissions unveiled at Abu Dhabi Art.
20 talks with the world's best artists, architects, designers and gallerists include: pairing two of the world's leading contemporary artists, Barthi Kher and Subodh Gupta, three of the world's most renowned, Pritzker Architecture Prize winners, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Norman, Foster with moderator Saeed Al Hajeri will speak on a panel entitled Architecture Visionaries, the pioneer of performance art, Marina Abromovic, who makes her first visit to the UAE and the region. In addition to participating in a Conversation she will also be exhibited in the fair section of Abu Dhabi Art.
Exhibition Art, Talks and Sensations THE ISLAND: A Game of Life will open during Abu Dhabi Art and run until 6 January 2013. Curated by Fabrice Bousteau, visitors can explore live performances and installations by contemporary artists - including Anish Kapoor, Abbas Akhavan, Camille Henrot, Fabrice Hyber and Camille Zakharia. To celebrate the public opening on Wednesday 7 November visitors are invited to live performances at Manarat Al Saadiyat from 7 - 9pm.
Visitors can spend the day attending workshops, watching film screenings, participating in live art projects or wandering through the galleries. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Guinean President Alpha Conde on Sunday urged the UAE's companies to expand investments in Guinea's oil and gas, energy, agriculture, infrastructure and industrial sectors.
Conde stressed that Guinea is ready to provide all facilities for investments from the UAE, noting that the investment climate in his country is favorable as the government provides big incentives to attract foreign investments.
The Guinean president made his remarks at a meeting with Chairman of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce '&' Industry (FCCI) and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi and other senior officials.
Conde also said the long-term supply agreement signed by Guinea's Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG) and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Co. for bauxite, the main raw material in aluminium, will expand cooperation and open up new venues for Emirati and Guinean companies.
For his part, Al Rumaithi said ADCCI, upon directives from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan His Highness Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, is interested in bolstering cooperation with Guinea. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Dubai Trade has welcomed news that the UAE continues to be a world leader in facilitating trade, despite stiff competition from other world economies, retaining its position as number one in the MENA region, and number five in the world in Trading across Borders category, according to the latest World Bank's Doing Business Report 2013.
Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah, Chairman, Dubai Trade, the premier cross-border trade facilitator, said, "We are delighted that the UAE is recognised as a great place to do business, despite the challenges facing world economies. Dubai Trade actively supports the UAE's involvement in international trade by offering the world's easiest and fastest procedures and services for trade across borders. We will continue our efforts to keep the UAE at the forefront of trade in the region and the world".
Currently in its 10th edition, the Doing Business Report investigates the regulations and reforms that positively or negatively affect business activities in a country, using quantitative indicators based on more than 57,000 unique data points collected annually to rank 185 countries and guide policymakers on required reforms in 11 vital areas for business operations such as time and cost for starting a business, paying taxes, getting electricity, protecting investors, trading across borders and getting credit. Since the creation of the report about 2,000 reforms have been implemented by various economies, with about two thirds focusing on simplifying the complexity or reducing the cost of regulatory processes.
Bin Thaniah said: "The World Bank's report is a valuable reference for improving services at Dubai Trade and Dubai government, as we seek to be the best in all regulatory areas that foster business environment. The report helps us identify areas for improvement and benchmark our performance indicators against the top country in each business area to set our goals accordingly.
The UAE was among the first countries to use input from the Doing Business Report in its regulatory reform programme on both emirate and ministerial level. As a facilitator of trade across borders Dubai Trade has created an alliance with the World Bank, on the one hand, and the established committee of the Dubai Executive Council, the Emirates Competitiveness Council and other concerned government entities to use complete transparency in collecting data from the various trading communities, communicate them directly to the World Bank and validate the report".
Successive regulatory reforms have pushed UAE's overall global ranking in the Doing Business index from 37th two years ago to 33rd last year, up to 26th this year.
Commenting on the UAE standing in the Doing Business Report, Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President '&' Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region, said, "The UAE's rise to one of the world's top five economies in facilitating trade across borders is the result of a long history of process and service automation which was spearheaded by Dubai Trade in close cooperation with DP World and other strategic partners, and in consultation with the trading community at Jebel Ali Port.
Innovative electronic services, such as e-payment, e- token and e-gate pass have been instrumental in contributing to this achievement. The emphasis on innovative technology to enhance trade will continue with the expanded capacity at Terminal 2 and the brand new Terminal 3 facility now under construction".
Juma Al Ghaith, Executive Director of the Customs Development Division, commended: "We value our partnership with Dubai Trade, through which we aim to offer reliable, fast and highly efficient electronic services to facilitate legitimate trade movement as well as strengthen Dubai's position as a trading hub through the development of modern customs systems that contribute to the realisation of Dubai's vision and leadership, such as the customs clearance system, Mirsal 2, whose expedience and simplification of procedures has markedly contributed to growth in external trade in Dubai and the UAE.
This also makes Dubai an attractive destination for global investments since customers always expect to be offered user-friendly customs clearance services that are available around the clock, with the least administrative conditions and requirements - a matter that we now offer via Dubai Trade Portal, the leading institution under Dubai World to offer electronic services to companies and establishments".
Eng. Mahmood Al Bastaki, CEO, Dubai Trade, said: "We are glad to have our efforts to facilitate trade across borders acknowledged by the World Bank. Our rating today means that our performance has surpassed even that of several high-income member economies of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In all confidence, we can say that our trade across borders procedures require less documentation and are faster and less costly that those prevalent in most of Europe such as Finland and Sweden. Nonetheless, we still have much work to do to close the small gap with the world's top performer in the field, Singapore". - Emirates News Agency, WAM
UAE foreign trade at Dh499b in first half
The total value of UAE’s foreign trade in the first half of 2012 touched Dh499 billion compared to Dh451.6 billion for the same period in 2011, recording an increase by Dh47.4 billion, up by 10.5 per cent , the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Sunday.
The NBS said that the imports have also increased in H1 of 2012 to Dh321.4 billion compared to Dh286.3 billion for the same period of 2011, up by 12.3 per cent.
NBS figures showed that the national exports amounted to Dh77 billion in the first half of 2012 compared to Dh55.1 billion for the same period of 2011, up by 39.7 per cent and the re-exported commodities have increased to Dh100.5 billion during H1 of 2012 compared to Dh110.2 billion for the same period 2011, down by 8.8 per cent.
“About 30.2 per cent of the imported materials are heavy equipment and appliances at a cost of Dh97.1 billion,” NBS said, adding that re-exports sector witnessed tangible improvements in the last three years.
“Re-exports recorded Dh65 billion in 2009. In 2010, it increased to Dh95 billion; in 2011 it went up further to Dh110.2 billion and down to 100.5 billion in 2012,” NBS figures show.
The total non-oil foreign trade rose to Dh77 billion in the first half of 2012 compared to Dh55.1 billion in 2011, registering a 39.7 per cent increase, NBS said.
Non-oil industries have started to increase steadily since 2009 when it was only Dh30 billion and in 2010 it rose to Dh40 billion. However, the figure increased further in 2011 to Dh50 and it went up further to Dh77 billion in 2012,” according to NBS.
Major trading partners
Non-Arab countries in Asia were the main trade partners of the UAE in the first half of 2012.
“Non-Arab Asian countries ranked first amongst UAE trade partners with traded commodities amounting to Dh230.4 billion, 46.2 per cent of the traded volume of commodities with the rest of the world,” NBS revealed.
NBS said: “The EU came second with a traded amount of Dh107.2 billion in H1, 2012, constituting 21.5 per cent of the UAE’s trade exchange with other blocs. The American countries came third with traded commodities worth Dh46.6 billion, recording 9.3 per cent, and the GCC came forth with Dh46 billion at a ratio of 9.2 per cent of the UAE foreign trade exchange with other countries.”
Dr Mohammad Amerah, chief economist at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Gulf News: “Such figures reflect that the county is following strong economic and strategic plans and is diversifying its economic activities compared to other countries which face recession and serious economic difficulties and hardships.”
“The growth of the UAE’s national industries and commercial services as well as stability have contributed to the confidence and trust of the investors to have businesses in the country and various trade exchanges with the UAE,” said Amerah. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Businesses in Dubai look forward to closing the year 2012 on a high note, according to the latest quarterly business survey conducted by the Department of Economic Development (DED) during July-September 2012.
The composite Business Confidence Index in Dubai rose to more than 122 points during the third quarter of the year, an increase of over 15 per cent on the previous quarter and 6.5 per cent on the same quarter of 2011. High levels of activity expected during the fall was a key factor keeping businesses buoyant on sales and profits.
Nearly 68 per cent of the businesses see stronger results during the final quarter of 2012 while 22 per cent expect stable outcomes. Expectations are the highest among manufacturing firms.
A high level of optimism is reported by services and trading firms too due to the impending festive season and growing inbound tourist traffic. Overall business sentiment during the third quarter also reveals that 45 per cent of companies saw no notable business challenge, reflecting an improvement in the perception of the business environment in Dubai.
"It is now clearly established that business in Dubai is in full swing and growth is here to stay. The overall business sentiment and expectations for the rest of the year shows that the sectors key to Dubai's economy are set to perform remarkably well and fuel growth," commented Sami Al Qamzi, Director-General, Department of Economic Development.
"The measures being implemented by Dubai to shore up investor confidence and facilitate economic activity have had a profound impact as is evident from the inputs businesses provided in the latest quarterly survey," Al Qamzi added.
Dubai's persistent focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and on building export capabilities among local businesses also appear to produce rich returns. SMEs expressed higher optimism on sales, revenues, volumes and profits than large companies while exporters have higher expectations on almost all counts compared to domestically-focused firms.
Mirroring the rising expectation on sales, 63 per cent of the companies are planning to increase their new purchase orders in the next quarter. The manufacturing sector expects higher sales volume than other sectors, with 78 per cent expecting rising sales in the next quarter, compared with 67 per cent in the previous quarter.
Within the services sector, construction-related firms are the most optimistic as they expect new projects from local as well as regional markets. Among the service sub-sectors, advertising firms anticipate more business in the fourth quarter, compared to the second and third, as demand for advertisements and promotions go up during the festive season.
Businesses also painted a stable picture of the employment situation with 94 per cent determined to maintain their current workforce and a further six per cent planning to hire additional workers in Q4 2012. None of the businesses expect to decrease their workforce.
The overall assessment for Q4 2012 is that business will get better, with 95 per cent expecting either improvement or stability in comparison against 85 per cent only in Q3 2012. The investment outlook for Q4 is also stable compared to the outlook in Q3, with large companies expressing more interest in expanding their productive capacity than SMEs.
Challenges cited by businesses in the third quarter were almost similar for SMEs as for larger enterprises. While competition remains the top challenge, insufficient demand, cost of raw materials and government fees follow in that order.
DED conducts the quarterly surveys to measure the perceptions of the business community and capture the business outlook for the future. The survey serves as an effective tool for measuring the pulse of the business community and allowing the government and the private sector to track and analyse major trends and issues that have a bearing on business in Dubai.
A total of 520 companies in Dubai were covered in the survey. The companies were asked to indicate if they anticipated an increase, decrease, or no change in key indicators such as sales revenues, selling prices, volumes sold, profits and number of employees.
Conducted in collaboration with the global consultancy firm Dun '&' Bradstreet (D'&'B), the quarterly survey uses a rigorous sampling approach that ensures adequate representation of small, medium, and large enterprises across the manufacturing, trading, and services sectors, while giving due attention to the perceptions of the exporting firms in Dubai. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Injazat Data Systems, is fully committed to supporting the development of future Emirati leaders as part of their Emiratisation strategy, which is aligned to Abu Dhabi's 2030 vision.
Reaffirming the identification of potential leaders and supporting their professional development as a key component of this strategy, Injazat recently selected 14 Emirati female employees to participate in a Leadership and Management program tailored to their abilities and personality assessments.
The group underwent an intensive 6-month leadership program to earn Institute of Leaderships and Management (ILM) Level 3 Qualification in Leadership and Management Skills, certified by ILM, the UK's largest management body.
ILM provides a comprehensive range of products and services for supporting and developing existing and future leaders and managers. Its ILM Level 3 Qualification in Leadership and Management Skills program covers three mandatory units on Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Techniques, Leadership Styles, and Team Motivation and Development.
"We are extremely proud of our Emirati employees who have once again shown that women can excel in the world of business and in any field they engage in. Their achievement reflects the importance that Injazat places on Emiratisation and women's empowerment in pursuing ICT-enabled growth for the country. We commend the Ti2 team and our partners at ILM for preparing these aspiring women leaders well," said Ibrahim Lari, CEO, Injazat Data Systems. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
ADCB allies with Europe’s largest bank
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and Banco Santander, Europe's largest bank by market capitalisation, on Sunday signed a partnership agreement to provide integrated comprehensive financing solutions for their clients in countries where the banks are not mutually present and for enhancement of business flows between the institutions.
Through this partnership, Banco Santander and ADCB will be able to foster an alliance to provide greater services to Banco Santander's clients in the UAE and for ADCB's clients in overseas markets.
Ala'a Eraiqat, ADCB's CEO, said: "This partnership agreement with Banco Santander marks only the beginning of our long term partnership together. Through this initiative we want to play an even greater role in bringing together domestic and international companies."
Emilio Botin, Chairman, Banco Santander said: "I am very pleased to sign this MoU during our visit to the UAE. With banks in the Middle East emerging as important sources of financing for global clients, we recognise that there is an increasing need for stronger collaboration with strong financial institutions in the region. In this regards, I am confident that the MoU signed yesterday will open a new frontier for future collaboration and accelerate cooperation between Banco Santander and ADCB."
Colin Fraser, executive vice president and head of wholesale banking group at ADCB said: "This is an alliance which will help clients of both the banks trade together through the provision of combined expertise, financial strength and connectivity in the market." – Emirates 24|7
Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) yesterday announced its financial results for the period ending September 30, 2012, reflecting the bank's continued focus on strengthening its core operations through optimal utilisation of its large balance sheet while simultaneously ensuring a prudent approach to growth.
For the first nine months of 2012, DIB reported a net profit of Dh 854 million, compared to Dh 850 million for the corresponding period of 2011. For the third quarter of 2012, the bank reported a net profit of Dh 298.5 million, thereby maintaining its profitability over the same period last year.
The bank's total assets as of September 30, 2012, stood at Dh 93.7 billion, compared to Dh 90.6 billion on December 31, 2011, an increase of 3.5 per cent. DIB's operating profit i.e net profit before impairment losses, has increased by 9.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2012 compared with the corresponding period in 2011.
The third quarter of 2012 saw DIB continue with its conservative approach to provisioning, with Dh 309 million set aside for impairments, compared to Dh 217 million in the same quarter of 2011, an increase of 43 per cent. For the first nine months of 2012, DIB made provisions of Dh 849 million, compared to Dh 718 million over the same period of 2011, highlighting the management's focus to continuously strengthen the balance sheet of the bank.
Growth in customer deposits, which increased by 3.3 per cent to Dh 66.9 billion as of September 30, 2012, further demonstrates the bank's healthy liquidity position that continues to be the best in the UAE banking sector with a financing to deposit ratio of around 82%. Further, the strength of the balance sheet is clearly depicted in the robust capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of 18.4% under Basel II and a Tier 1 CAR of 14.3%.
"The performance of Dubai Islamic Bank in the third quarter of 2012 was notable for delivering strong results while continuing with its conservative approach to provisioning, as demonstrated by increases in key balance sheet ratios," said Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Director-General of His Highness The Ruler's Court of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Islamic Bank. "This prudent business strategy positions the bank well to benefit from positive economic conditions in the UAE." Abdulla Al Hamli, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Islamic Bank, said: "Alongside actively enhancing the efficiency of our operations, the focus for DIB over the past quarter has been the introduction of innovative products to the market, such as our Shaatir children's savings account. Thanks to our stable, well-diversified funding base and innovative product mix, DIB remains uniquely placed to serve the financing needs of individuals and businesses across the UAE." The third quarter of 2012 witnessed the launch of the Shaatir savings account, DIB's first account developed specifically for children. The account is designed to help young people understand financial responsibility from an early age, and includes a number of innovative features that encourage children to save towards specific goals in their lives.
The period also saw a number of significant initiatives in support of DIB's ambitious Emiratisation targets, including the launch of the annual Iktaseb summer training programme, offering professional training opportunities to 105 young UAE nationals aspiring to careers in Islamic banking and finance. DIB also welcomed 20 female UAE nationals each from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to the latest edition of its six-month long Emarati Programme, a customised training course to enhance their skills and knowledge of the banking industry. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Big 5 to capitalise on US$1.9t UAE construction market
With an anticipated US$1.95 trillion worth of construction projected in the UAE for 2013 , the industry will be looking to source the latest construction products and innovations at the the building, construction and facilities management events taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre this week.
The Big 5, Middle East Concrete, PMV Live and FM EXPO 2012 open their doors tomorrow (Monday) with a total of more than 3,000 exhibitors and the very latest products and technologies from the global industry.
“This week represents a barometer for the industry, and the UAE continues to position itself as a key player within the region,” said Andy White, event director, The Big 5.
“Through the alignment of Middle East Concrete, PMV Live and FM EXPO alongside The Big 5, which has a history of more than 30 years, visitors have access to complete building and construction solutions.”
The four-day events will see a range of product launches, showcasing of experts services and solutions, as well as a range of education focused conferences, seminars and training. With internationally acclaimed speakers providing insight across a range of topics, sustainability will form a key point of address across all events.
As the industry continues to look at ways in which it can decrease negative impact on the environment and developed sustainable building solutions, there will be a variety of platforms with information and solutions specifically focused on this topic. – Khaleej Times
UAE paves way for eTransformation
The UAE is investing heavily in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as part of an eTransformation initiative which authorities aim to implement at the federal level by 2014, Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi, deputy director general of the Emirates eGovernment said.
“The government has succeeded in paving the way for the eTransformation by setting up an advanced electronic infrastructure and providing appropriate legal basis across the emirates depending on a strategic framework consisting of three dimensions — eServices, eReadiness and ICT environment,” said Al Suwaidi as the UAE prepares to celebrate its 41st National Day on December 2.
According to the approved Federal Strategy 2014, the number of Emirates eGovernment services on offer will increase from 500 to 1,000 by the first half of 2013. “This is a major milestone in the process of eTransformation of the federal government and to enhance the eServices across the UAE,” Al Suwaidi said.
He added that the ultimate objective of the Emirates eGovernment initiative is to provide the government services through innovative channels in a time- and cost- effective manner. This will raise the UAE’s profile globally in terms of innovation at the government level while improving lives of its people by delivering the best eServices, he said.
While the UAE’s eGovernment achievements have been quite remarkable since its inception in 2011 under the umbrella of the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, Al Suwaidi remarked: “When we talk about the UAE’s eTransformation journey, we have to mention that the federal eGovernment project in the UAE started in the year 2001 when the Ministry of Finance launched eDirham — the first eService that facilitated the electronic payment for accessing the federal government services.”
Since then, many entities at the federal and local levels have launched several eServices that are proving to be time- and cost- efficient for the end users as well as the government, he said.
The official portals of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah have been streamlined to bring the services and information of the respective government entities under one umbrella with the aim of providing quick and easy access to users.
The portals offer many interactive and transactional services such as bill payments, licence renewals and so on. In addition, the Abu Dhabi and Dubai government portals offer information and advice to residents, businesses and visitors on a range of issues.
Al Suwaidi said that the latest United Nation Survey 2012 about eGovernment initiatives proved the unprecedented success the UAE had achieved in terms of eTransforamtion. Based on human capital, telecommunication infrastructure and eParticipation, the UAE ranked seven on the online service index, from 99th position in 2010. It had also improved its ranking to 28 on the eGvernment development index from 49 in 2010. In eParticipation, the UAE has leaped to 6 from 86 in the 2010 report.
“We are developing and customising our services according to 90 criteria to meet the international standard and to make the life of our customers easier,” Al Suwaidi said. “The country has managed to develop a good ICT-related infrastructure and a favourable framework for business and innovation that result in fairly good innovation in the form of new products, services and new organisational models.”
A new initiative is also in the pipeline to act as a single window to access different federal and local government eServices, Al Suwaidi said. He added that the Emirates eGovernment portal represents a channel to facilitate communication between customers and government representatives through an eParticipation approach that involved forums, blogs, surveys, polls and links to UAE eGovernment social media accounts.
Moreover, The Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) recently launched a weekly TV programme to introduce the UAE government’s online services to the public. The programme titled ‘I Am Connected’ features eService options offered across the federal entities and explains how people can access and benefit from them. The programme will officially air in January on 15 television channels across the GCC. – Gulf News
UAE woos Emiratis into tourism sector
Rafia Al Ameemi is a rare sight in a UAE hotel. One of just a handful of Emiratis in the country interacting with tourists, she is at the front desk of one of the country's most famous landmarks, the Burj Al Arab.
She knows her decision to go into hospitality is unusual, and even unpopular, but says the job makes her proud as an ambassador of her country.
Ms Al Ameemi has just graduated from the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management where she gained her postgraduate certificate in hospitality operations, and earned an associate degree.
She interned at Al Qasr hotel in Dubai during her final year at Zayed University while studying human resource management, and that was all it took.
"My first experience was front office and I loved that," she said.
She is among a slowly increasing number of Emiratis choosing hospitality and tourism, fields which until now have struggled to attract nationals, due to often low pay, low prestige and occasionally antisocial hours.
Ms Al Ameemi, 23, is the only Emirati among her 200 colleagues. "For most of them, this is the first time they have worked with an Emirati," she said. "There is a misconception that the people in these jobs are not educated. I wanted to break that image. I didn't want a routine job, and I love the interaction of working with so many nationalities and in the front office. "
She said that not only does her job offer tourists a chance to interact with a local, but it puts local guests and other Arabian Gulf nationals at ease to see a familiar face. "Guests from the GCC feel more comfortable when they see me," she said. "A lot of female guests, or those from the GCC, ask to deal with me."
Ms Al Ameemi works the same shifts as her team, often finishing in the early hours. "I will not ask my team to do anything I am not willing to do," she said. "I want to dispel the myth that we can't work. We work hard."
The college has been using Ms Al Ameemi as a role model, taking her to schools in an effort to make students aware of the industry.
"At the schools, I tell them how I worked even in housekeeping," she said. "I have worked in every department, so I really understand how the whole hotel works and exactly what every person does."
The potential to progress in the industry remains a strong motivating factor.
Since Emirates Academy opened in 2001, 19 Emiratis have graduated with degrees in hospitality management. This year, there are 13 Emirati students registered in the undergraduate programme, and 20 more in the master's programme.
About 10 or 12 scholarships are offered to Emirati students each year. All citizens get a 50 per cent discount on tuition.
The college is owned by the Jumeirah group whose hotels include Zabeel Saray on the Palm and the Al Qasr. Emiratis on scholarships are guaranteed jobs for two years following graduation.
Ahmed Al Kaitoob, head of Jumeirah's National Development Programme, said the company was setting a precedent with its outreach efforts. "Locals bring culture, and the UAE culture is key to the hospitality industry," he said.
By the end of the year, the group hopes to increase its percentage of Emiratis in management from 10 to 12 across all areas of the business.
Dr Khalid Al Khaja, dean of humanities at Ajman University, said, while many Emiratis take up tourism-related government jobs, such as working for the Department of Tourism, they are still a rare sight for visitors in hotels.
"These jobs in hotels just don't pay well," he said, which is a deterrent to many. He said more attractive options for Emiratis include museums and cultural institutions.
In Abu Dhabi, the Tourism Authority has over the past year been attending career fairs to reach out to Emirati school pupils and students to show them opportunities in the sector.
The federal Higher Colleges of Technology in Al Gharbia hoped to launch a diploma in tourism in the past two years but found little take-up in a sector challenged with cultural resistance.
Four Emirati women work at Desert Islands Resort and Spa on Sir Bani Yas Island, which opened in 2008. Other Emiratis play key protocol roles at Qasr Al Sarab hotel in Liwa, acting as a bridge between the hotel and local authorities as well as advising on the cultural suitability of the hotel's new projects. – The National
Emirates Post, in association with Dubai Municipality's Public Parks '&' Horticulture Department, Zoo Management, has issued special stamps on Desert Snakes of the UAE, in 5 denominations of Dh 1, 150 Fils, Dh 3, Dh 4 and 550 Fils, along with a souvenir sheet of Dh 25.
The stamps feature the Arabian horned viper, the carpet viper, the Arabian rearfang, Sochurek's saw-scaled viper and the sand boa.
"Emirates Post is delighted to support efforts in preserving the unique desert fauna of the UAE through these beautiful stamps. This is part of our move to spread awareness of the rich animal life in the desert and highlight the need to value and preserve it, for the larger benefit of environmental conservation," said Ibrahim Bin Karam, Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Post Group.
The United Arab Emirates' varied habitat supports a good variety of reptiles dominated by lizards on one hand and snakes on the other. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Abu Dhabi University dedicates Dh 4.5 million to scholarships and financial aid
Abu Dhabi University has dedicated Dh 4.49 million to be spent on scholarships and financial aid during the first semester of the academic year 2012 -2013, to benefit students enrolled to study at the University's Abu Dhabi and Al Ain campuses. Divided into 5 categories, Abu Dhabi University's scholarships program recognises academic excellence and awards students who exhibit exceptional academic achievement through: the "H.H Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan scholarship", the Chairman's scholarship, the University scholarship, the Academic scholarship and the Athletic scholarship.
Commenting on their importance, Dr. Nabil Ibrahim, Abu Dhabi University's Chancellor asserted that these scholarships and financial aid programs are designed to encourage students to excel in their academic performance. "The University had received students' applications for scholarships and financial aid up until the deadline of 22nd August. These applications were then carefully assessed and reviewed by a specialised committee of experts who considered each and every application before allocating the amount of Dh 4,491,050 to be spent on scholarships and financial aid during the first semester of this academic year.
This amount will enable 374 students to benefit from Abu Dhabi University's financial aid program "Sanabil", while 589 students will benefit from our diverse scholarship program", added Dr. Ibrahim. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
A group of labour inspectors and legal researchers attended Sunday a training programme on combating human trafficking.
The training programme organised by the Labour Ministry at its headquarters addressed various issues related to human trafficking and the subtle ways the traffickers use to exploit human beings.
The violation of labour rights, non payment of wages and other forms of human exploitations were among the topics discussed.
The trainers also shed light on various techniques of investigation to bust human trafficking rackets and the international protocols signed by UAE for combating the transnational crime.
They also explained how this heinous crime threatens the national security and social stability and the laws UAE has introduced to combat the phenomenon. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) on Sunday said its "Treasures of the UAE" art competition will be launched on 2 December in celebration of the UAE's 41st National Day.
More than 100 young artists aged 7 to 18 from schools nation-wide were invited by the Center to submit a piece of artwork that captures the essence of one of the UAE 's famous historical sites or landmarks.
Entrants are invited to find their own favorite historical landmark or site and let their creativity run wild.
24 winners will be selected by celebrated young Emirati artists. Winners will have their artwork printed in a special edition Treasures of the UAE Calendar and they will be invited to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding for an honorary celebration on 2nd December 2012 .
All winners will have their artwork displayed in a Treasures of the UAE exhibition at our traditional heritage house in the historic Bastakiya area of Dubai from 2nd December 2012 to 2nd January 2013 . Entry into the competition must be arranged through your School or College. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Du launches Social Media Awards
Du on Sunday launched the Social Media Awards, In conjunction with the 41st UAE National Day celebrations. Social media practitioners can nominate their initiatives for the awards through www.du.ae/awards until November 20.
“The UAE is a pioneer in all fields especially in emerging platforms and technologies, and this is a major reason why social media is so popular here. We wanted to have an initiative in promoting positive social behaviour that would contribute to the UAE society and came up with the Social Media Awards as a rewarding programme to motivate and encourage social media practitioners among people in the UAE,” du chairman Ahmad bin Byat said.
“We believe these awards will provide further impetus to the social media scene in the UAE,” he added. – Khaleej Times
Shopping centres enjoyed a substantial rise in visitor numbers at the weekend as the Formula One Grand Prix sped through the capital.
Across the six malls in Abu Dhabi owned by Lulu, which include Al Wahda and Mushrif, the number of visitors was up by about a third.
"It is fair to say we have seen 25 per cent to 30 per cent more shoppers during this time. Even last year we noticed this phenomenon," said V Nandakumar, a spokesman for Emke, which owns Lulu.
"A lot of tourists and Formula One fans all descend on Abu Dhabi during this time and of course this means they also spend time going around Abu Dhabi city and visit shopping malls," he said.
GCC residents may also have extended their stay over Eid to take in the F1 race, further boosting sales, added Mr Nandakumar.
Al Wahda, which has just opened an extension featuring more than 200 shops, welcomed more visitors, but there were also more shoppers at other centres including Mushrif Mall and Al Raha Mall, near Yas Island, where the F1 is held.
And it seems more people were also spending their money in malls, with chains also reporting a rise in sales.
"We have seen visitors and tourists in the Abu Dhabi stores," said Sajid Sayed, the general manager of the clothing retailer Giordano in the UAE. "I don't think it's been double digits, but it has definitely been positive, something that has helped drive foot traffic into our stores."
Some retailers said sales had risen as much as 50 per cent.
"It has been busy for the last two weeks. Sales have gone up 22 per cent to 25 per cent and some are looking at 50 per cent," said Firoz Merchant, the chairman of the UAE-based jeweller Pure Gold. "All the stores in all the malls are doing very well."
At Style Gallery, a jeweller in Emirates Palace that commissioned a 22-carat gold-plated, diamond-encrusted miniature F1 car to sell at its shop in the hotel, business was also up. The shop said it had increased sales by 25 to 30 per cent over the weekend, matching increases during the F1 race period last year.
Watches and rings in particular had gone down well with F1 fans, said Ahmed Abou El Anin, a sales assistant at the jeweller.
But the shop has yet to sell the bejewelled car, which costs Dh175,000 (US$47,645). Mr El Anin said he had no doubt it would sell before the end of the week.
"Everyone passing the shop wants to take a photo of the car." – The National
His Highness Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, heads of sates, crown princes and VIPs from friendly and sisterly countries attended the conclusion of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this evening at Yas Marina.
A large crowd of F1 fans attended the conclusion of the event. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
Raikkonen wins F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Kimi Raikkonen rode on Lewis Hamilton’s bad luck to help himself to his maiden 2012 win and become the eighth race winner this season in a dramatic Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit here on Sunday.
Chased on the last five laps by a superior looking Ferrari with Fernando Alonso on board, the Finn — known as the ‘Iceman’ for his cool and composed demeanour — held off his Spanish pursuer to win by 0.8 seconds clear and hand his Lotus F1 team their first triumph in 25 years.
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel finished in third place after being forced to start from the pitlane following a fuel infringement in qualifying.
After winning here last season from second on the grid, Hamilton made an impeccable start, blissfully unaware of all the drama unfolding behind him until a loss of engine power on the 20th lap knocked him out of the running.
If there was action aplenty during the course of the race, it was the closing laps that delivered a fantastic finale, when Vettel passed McLaren’s Button on the 52nd lap and then set out in pursuit of Raikkonen and Alonso.
But it was the Spaniard who had his own plans despite running on slower worn-out tyres as he chased down the Finn to just fall short as Vettel finished a further 3.3 seconds behind.
Shaikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Shaikh Hamad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister for Foreign Trade, were the chief guests at the trophy presentation.
Going into the race, the championship had been delicately posied, with Alonso the closest rival to Vettel for the world crown, just 13 points adrift of the 25-year-old German, who is aiming for his third straight title.
Now with two more rounds remaining — in Austin, Texas and Sao Paolo, Brazil — Vettel continues to lead the drivers’ championship standings with 255 points followed by Alonso with 245 points and Raikkonen in third with 198 points.
Raikkonen’s best this season had been three second places (Bahrain, Europe and Hungary) and the Finn, though obviously pleased with what he achieved on Sunday, was none too excited.
“This was not much for me,” he said. “I am just very happy for my team and for myself. It has been a hard season for the team and I hope this can turn the tables and give us many more wins this year and the next.
“This is nothing to jump around for. I am just so happy for everybody,” he added.
Raikkonen’s last win came at the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa in August 2009, while the last time Lotus had won a race was with the late Ayrton Senna in June 1987 at the US Grand Prix.
But from the start, Raikkonen seemed determined to end the drought and knew precisely what had to be done to achieve it.
“Just leave me alone,” was the message he gave his team on the 23rd lap and then later on the 41st lap when he told his team that he would “use all four tyres” in his push for victory.
This is only the third time this season that the Finn led a race — the other two occasions being in Spain and Hungary.
As he continued improving on the lead, it was Alonso who was desperately trying to gain ground on the leader after taking Pastor Maldonado in his stride.
The Lotus car, however, managed to hang in there and come up with a stunning performance that gives them a lot of confidence for next season.
Sunday's race turned out to be an eventful one, with Hamilton retiring. Red Bull’s Mark Webber also retired from the race.
Other retirees include Charles Pic, Romain Grosjean, Narain Karthikeyan, Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg.
Rosberg had a massive crash with Navain Karthikeyan's Hispania. Vettel, eyeing his third world title, started from the back of the grid and was struggling in seventh spot after damaging his front wing.
Rosberg's car smashed into the rear end of Karthikeyan's slower car and took off - flying over the Hispania before landing and hitting the barriers in the ninth lap of the 55 laps race. Both drivers were unhurt in the accident at around 310 kph as the race was suspended for the introduction of a safety car at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Karthikeyan, 35, appeared to lift off and slow down and was not seen by Rosberg, 27, who could not avoid hitting him.
The race was restarted on lap 15 with Hamilton's McLaren then stuttering to a stop and out of the race as his car lost all power on lap 20 to leave the Lotus driven by Raikkonen in front. – Gulf News
Thousands throng Sharjah desert park
The Desert Park of the Environment and Natural Reserves in Sharjah attracted thousands of visitors during the Eid Al Adha holidays.
The Arabian Peninsula Animals Centre, the Children’s Farm, and Natural History and Botanical Museums saw people crowding in to watch the animals and birds.
According to the most recent statistics released this year, as many as 203,882 people — old and young, men and women, tourists and locals alike — have visited the park from January to June this year.
Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairman of the Environment and Natural Reserves in Sharjah, said the significant rise in the number of visitors is mainly attributed to the diverse workshops and activities the Desert Park organises on a regular basis.
“The easily accessible Desert Park, located 28km off Sharjah city on Al Dhaid road (Interchange-9), comprises several eateries and cafes, apart from the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife.”
The park covers an area of one square kilometre and offers three venues in one with the Sharjah Natural History Museum and Botanical Museum, Arabia’s Wildlife Centre and the Children’s Farm. The Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife is also located in the park and is an impressive research and breeding facility, but one that is not open to the public.
“With over 300,000 visitors a year, this park is definitely one of the most popular and highly recommended attractions in the UAE,” Al Suwaidi said, adding that school and group visits are welcome but advance booking is needed.
Elaborating, Al Suwaidi said not only does the Wildlife Centre house the world’s largest collection of Arabian wildlife but it is also the only zoological park in the Middle East to be completely indoors, making it perfect for a day out, regardless of the weather.
“The Wildlife Centre has been divided into various sections, each dedicated to a group of species including reptiles, invertebrates, birds, nocturnal animals, ungulates and large carnivores.”
In September this year, a female cub was successfully bred at the breeding centre. The cub is genetically important as she is the first female cub that is not from the Omani line.
“The breeding centre is home to 30 Arabian leopards of which 25 were born here,” said Al Suwaidi explained.
Earlier this year, the centre also witnessed the breeding of an Arabian Oryx (a medium-sized antelope with a distinct shoulder hump, long, straight horns, and a tufted tail). “This is added to 26 Nubian Ibex, 10 mountainous deer and 26 sand gazelle,” she said. – Khaleej Times
Abu Dhabi's corniche revs up F1 fans
The excitement of the F1 weekend wasn't just confined to the Yas Marina Circuit.
Curious families and motorsport fans alike enjoyed a front-row seat for all the action on the grid at the FanZone on Abu Dhabi Corniche.
For those who didn't - or couldn't - snap up a ticket for the practice and qualifying rounds, or even today's main event, the FanZone was a chance to soak up the atmosphere on the big screens.
For petrol heads it was the next best thing to being at the circuit, while regular visitors to the Corniche enjoyed the added excitement of F1.
Emirati Rashid Al Kusairy, from Abu Dhabi, said: "The Corniche is my family's favourite destination. Most of time during the weekend we spend here. Ten times in a month I am here along with my family and children, but if there is a big event like this, then it's great for all of us."
Mr Rashid added: "We had a different experience at the F1 FanZone where my children were able to learn and play while gaming. But I will not able to catch up with the F1 competitions tomorrow as I have to go to work."
Student Humaid Abdullah, another Emirati, who lives in Khalifa City B, is also unable to attend today's race, so he jumped at the chance to come to the FanZone.
"I cannot miss my classes tomorrow. I am 17 so I do not drive, but once I get my driving licence I will try to watch F1 live."
Beats on the Beach, the three-day long celebration of local, music featuring performers from across the world, came to a close yesterday at Al Sahil Beach. But the FanZone will remain until the end of race day.
Interactive games, music and dance sessions, as well as sand art sculptures, attracted the youngsters, while adults were keen to check out the accident safety demonstrations and F1 simulators.
Emirates Driving Company used its own cars to give visitors an up-close experience of how seat belts can save lives in an accidents, while F1 simulator cars offered the adrenaline rush of powering around the Yas Marina Circuit.
Charles Jones, from the UK, was impressed by what the FanZone had to offer, which he described "outstanding" and something "which we never see in England".
"In the UK normally when F1 competitions are held I don't see anything like this where children can learn, play and engage in so many different activities."
His wife, Etna, simply added: "It's fun and I enjoyed lot."
Moroccan Essam Al Alaoi, who works as a front office manager at a hotel in Abu Dhabi, said: "This is my best place to unwind and every weekend I am here. But when there are some events like this, our entertainment is doubled, especially as we enjoy them for free.
"I would love to watch the Grand Prix live but I cannot make it tomorrow due to my work. But for sure I will be watching it on TV, like I have today on the big screen.
"It's more enjoyable as the replays give you a closer understanding of the cars."
Abdullatif, from Abu Dhabi, said: "It has been fun here throughout the week." – The National
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso may be locked in a battle to win a third Formula One title — but the fans have much bigger concerns.
While teams got down to the serious business of testing new parts out at the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in recent days, fans had already begun the party at Yas Marina Circuit.
Close to 6,000 fans turned up for the pit lane walk on Thursday, which allowed them the opportunity to walk along the pit lane and watch the teams up-close. Fans also got to walk on a part of the start/finish straight.
And it has been standing room only at the picturesque Yas Marina, which is littered with close to 140 spectacular and unique yachts from around the globe.
There was the OEL Serene, flying both the Indian and UAE flags, and another sporting the Red Bull Racing flag and the Australian flag. Then there was Sundancer, Naseem Al Bahar, Hannah and Yachty Alee.
But what stood out among the modern transport of luxury were the classic lines of a wooden-built traditional Arabic dhow.
Nary an inch of the spacious marina could be seen once twilight hit the marina, though the crowds were reminded of the reason behind the party when music from one of the yachts was drowned out by Formula One cars coming out of a left turn at the Yas Viceroy Hotel.
While qualifying begins on Saturday, and the main race hits on Sunday, it will be hard to steal the limelight from the stage, with rock group Nickelback performing on Saturday and rap icon Eminem taking on the baton on Sunday. This follows a performance by Australian pop sensation Kylie Minogue on Friday. – Khaleej Times
The 250 Takatof volunteers who will be at the 2012 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are all set and gearing up to go, Emirates Foundation's Chief Programmes Officer Maytha Al Habsi announced.
Following weeks of planning and training, Takatof, the volunteering arm of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, has now announced the completion of its preparations for the 2012 Grand Prix.
For the fourth year in a row, 250 local men and women will play a vital role in the Grand Prix weekend, including meeting and greeting spectators at Yas Marina Circuit and ensuring the safety of the crowd during the race itself.
Volunteers have been put through their paces over a number of weeks, including dry runs at Yas Marina Circuit, lectures on how to handle a number of different possible scenarios, and workshops on key positions in the Grandstand.
The main duties of volunteers will be welcoming guests at the Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports, organising transport, escorting VIP visitors, guest support at the grandstands, supporting media representatives, welcoming participants at the parking centre in Al Shahama, facilitating guests' trips by driving the Takatof courtesy cars inside the circuit and volunteering at Ferrari World.
Maytha Al Habsi said: "I am pleased to say we are going to provide a vital part of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix machine - highly qualified local men and women who will have the eyes of the world watching them while they quietly go about their business of helping up to 50,000 people.
"Each volunteer will play a significant role in representing their own country this weekend, and I would personally like to thank them all for being part of the Takatof story" added Maytha.
As well as exposing volunteers to one of the most exciting and anticipated sporting events in the region, a global event that attracts thousands of fans from around the world every year, it will also help develop their interest and skills in motorsport, event management and public engagement.
Hasan Al Ali, a volunteer who will be in the Grandstand said: "After weeks of preparation, I'm excited the big day has arrived. We have trained hard for this weekend, and I'm looking forward to being part of the biggest sporting event in my country". – Emirates News Agency, WAM
The Arab League has rejected the European Parliament’s (EP) report on human rights in the UAE, terming it as “prejudiced and inaccurate”.
The League wondered about the way the EP dealt with sensitive issues without consulting the UAE through its constitutional, executive, legislative and social institutions.
In a statement on Thursday, Arab League’s Deputy Secretary-General Ahmed bin Helli said the report issued by the parliament on ‘human rights violations’ in the UAE is unfair, pointing out that the European Union has its standards while the Arab countries have the Arab Charter for Human Rights.
“We all know that the UAE is an open country to the world, and home to more than 193 nationalities working in it,” he said, adding that “it (the UAE) has investments, socio-economic activities, and everyone realises that it is one of the open countries in the world, and everything is transparent here. Accordingly, these descriptions and reports should be based on facts and principles before being declared”.
Bin Helli said Bahrain has introduced an initiative for the establishment of an Arab court for human rights, and efforts are being made towards implementation of this initiative, which has been approved by the Arab foreign ministers, subject to ratification in the forthcoming Arab Summit. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
UAE ups profile at Indian Ocean group
The UAE is taking its green responsibility seriously and has offered to host the Indian Ocean Rim renewable energy forum next year. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, speaking at the 12th ministerial meeting of the association in Gurgaon on Friday, said UAE officials will discuss with the IOR-ARC secretariat on how to take the proposal forward.
The UAE is home to the International Energy Agency and much can be gained by the group in developing and promoting alternative forms of energy.
Dr Gargash also announced the UAE’s contribution of US$500,000 to a special fund of the association. He said the country is committed to the group of 20 nations, with Comoros joining as a full member on Friday. “The IOR-ARC must show will and determination for tangible results,” said the minister. He said the organisation needs to be energised through improved coordination, and new projects in member countries.
He warned of the dangers of the Eurozone financial crisis spreading to the region and said the group must shield itself with further investments and press ahead through sustainable growth. He mentioned the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Energy Week in January next year and said the UAE is taking the lead in tapping environment-friendly, sustainable sources of energy.
“We must promote cultural understanding and tolerance in this association with its diverse interests and rates of growth,” Dr Gargash said, and added the UAE’s efforts to host Expo 2020 will bring people and businesses together. He said the Indian Ocean Rim group of countries must interact more to grow and expand.
On maritime security, he said the UAE would continue to combat piracy and has been instrumental in bringing warring factions in Somalia together to tackle the problem at source. Pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia have fallen by 50 per cent since that meeting in June and with the formation of a new Somali government.
“There’s a lot more we can do. We must invest time and effort to further the interests of the group,’’ he said.
Earlier, the meeting of ministers was inaugurated by Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who echoed Dr Gargash’s call for the 15-year-old grouping to show tangible benefits for the two billion people of these countries.
“There must be greater structure for people in the IOR-ARC countries to grow together,” said Khurshid. Job creation and security are important for the region to prosper, he said. He laid emphasis on economic cooperation, technology exchange, education and development of fisheries in the region. The minister even mooted a university for the Indian Ocean Rim.
India has contributed US$1 million for projects being carried out by the association. China, which is a dialogue partner, chipped in with US$100,000.
The Indian External Affairs minister said he is committed to maintaining the momentum of the grouping, but suggested a pragmatic approach for holistic development.
The IOR-ARC, which was formed in 1997, is an apolitical body with interests in maritime security, trade and investment, fisheries management, disaster risk reduction, academics, science and tourism. It has three projects in Iran and Oman on fisheries, science and technology and maritime transport. – Khaleej Times
In line with its mission to increase awareness of the UAE's bid to host the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, the Expo team this week opened an informational kiosk on the campus of the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD). This kiosk, offering visitors key insights into the UAE's Expo bid, is designed to encourage students and faculty to take part in the UAE's ongoing campaign to welcome the world on the eve of its 50th anniversary.
This initiative at UOWD follows similar programmes recently held at the American University in Dubai, Zayed University and the Canadian University in Dubai. These events are part of an ongoing series of outreach initiatives to raise awareness and generate enthusiasm for the bid among diverse communities, including young people.
Throughout the daylong programme, the Expo team highlighted to visitors the many benefits the Expo can provide, such as increased economic opportunities, a platform for new ideas and a chance to learn first-hand about innovative solutions to the world's biggest challenges.
"The University of Wollongong in Dubai is delighted to support Dubai's bid to host the Expo 2020." Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment at UOWD said. "UOWD is strongly committed to community engagement and this is a great opportunity for students and staff to learn more about the Expo." The Expo team encouraged the academic community across the country to join the campaign, commenting that these ongoing outreach initiatives are key to raising awareness among students and strengthening the UAE's bid to welcome the world in 2020.
Dubai, UAE, is competing against four other candidate cities bidding to host the 2020 World Expo, including Ayutthaya (Thailand); Ekaterinburg (Russia); Izmir (Turkey); and Sao Paulo (Brazil).
The winning city will be announced in November 2013 following a vote by the 161 member nations of the Bureau International des Expositions - the international organisation responsible for overseeing the bidding, selection and organisation of World Expos. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
UAE, Guinea sign long-term bauxite supply agreement
In the presence of General Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Professor Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea, Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG) announced on Saturday the signing of an agreement with Mubadala Development Company, or Mubadala of Abu Dhabi, for the long-term supply of bauxite to the UAE.
This agreement secures a strategic resource and a key part of the aluminium value chain for the UAE’s aluminium industry, while delivering a significant uplift for the economy of Guinea and enabling the launch of a major investment programme to increase the capacity of CBG. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister was also present at the signing ceremony.
Mohamed Lamine Fofana, Minister of Mines and Geology of the Republic of Guinea and chairman of the Board of CBG declared: “This announcement is the first concrete result of the strategic partnership between Guinea and the UAE. The agreement with Mubadala will make a significant contribution to Guinea’s economy by enabling the expansion of CBG to more than 20 million metric tonnes of bauxite per year, creating many new jobs for Guineans both during the construction of the expansion, and during the future expanded operations.”
He added: “This is an important milestone in the history of CBG and a vital component of the company’s strategy of becoming the world’s leading producer of high-quality bauxite. Furthermore, the new supply agreement will bring close to US$0.5 billion of additional GDP to Guinea, with a significant increase in our fiscal revenues — further enhancing the rapid growth and stability of our economy. We look forward to continued results from this long-term, strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi and the UAE, including further developments in bauxite mining and alumina refining in Guinea and sustainable cooperation in other fields such as agriculture, energy and transportation. We are very encouraged by support for this collaboration and the continued strengthening of the relationship between our two countries”.
Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, chief operating officer of Mubadala said: “By securing a long-term, high-quality source of raw materials for the UAE’s aluminium industry, this agreement underpins our strategy to develop a global champion in this sector, active in all parts of the value chain. Our partnership with the Government of Guinea can create such positive results for both of our economies and look forward to more to come.” – Emirates News Agency, WAM
UAE's SWFs assets under management rise to US$811.7 billion
Total assets under management of the UAE’s sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) rose to US$811.7 billion in September 2012, registering an increase of US$28.7 billion since March, with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company assets jumping by a whopping 78 per cent in just six months.
Mubadala’s assets touched US$48.2bn in September from US$27.10 billion in March, while International Petroleum Investment Company assets grew 12.5 per cent to US$65.3bn from US$58bn during the same period, SWF Institute October update reveals.
The overall figures don’t include assets managed by the Emirates Investment Authority and Abu Dhabi Investment Council.
However, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) lost the top position as the richest SWF in the world to Norway’s Government Pension Fund.
SWF Institute said total assets managed by the Government Pension Fund, Norway, reached US$656.2 billion, while ADIA assets stood at US$627 billion.
Combined assets under management by SWFs rose six per cent to US$5.13 trillion in third quarter 2012 compared to US$4.84 trillion in the same quarter last year.
With a guess estimation of US$568 billion, China’s SAFE Investment Company continued to be in third position.
Saudi Arabia’s Sama Foreign Holding with US$532.8 billion was on the fourth position, followed by China Investment Corporation with US$482 billion.
Qatar Investment Authority with assets worth US$115 billion remained at the 12 position.
The sovereign fund has bought properties in London, backed the Shard project in London Bridge, bought Citigroup’s London headquarters and a quarter of the Canary Wharf development company.
In June, Boston Consulting Group said private wealth in the Middle East and Africa may rise 6.6 per cent annually to US$6.1 trillion in 2016 as the region’s oil- rich economies continue to prosper.
Wealth in the region increased to US$4.5 trillion last year, up 4.7 per cent from US$4.3 trillion in 2010, the consulting firm said. – Emirates 24|7
The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Cruise Tourism department are all set to cater to their fourth home porting cruise line, TUI Cruises. The Germany based company made their debut in the region with the maiden call of their cruise ship Mein Schiff 2, which translates as 'My Ship', to Dubai on the 3 November, 2012, DTCM said in a press release.
Dubai will be the home port of the ship this 2012/13 season.
In this season, the TUI Cruises's luxury cruise ship will set sail from Dubai up to 17 March, 2013 on a total of twenty cruises throughout the Arabian Gulf.
DTCM in collaboration with TUI Cruises has arranged for a grand welcome ceremony to commemorate the inaugural call of the ship at the Dubai Cruise Terminals in Mina Rashid.
A huge heritage village has been set up featuring various activities to portray Arabian culture and tradition to the passengers and crew of the ship.
A press conference was organised on board as a part of this event with Executive Director of Business Tourism of the DTCM Hamad M Bin Mejren, Senior VP and Managing Director of DP World Mohammed Muallem, CEO of TUI Cruises Richard Vogel and the Ship's Captain, Kjell Holm, delivering key note addresses and answering questions from the media.
Thereafter, a traditional plaque exchange ceremony was held, where DTCM and the invited dignitaries and senior officials from various Government Departments such as GDRFA, Dubai Customs, Dubai Police, DMCA, Dubai Airports and DP World exchanged plaques with the captain of the ship. A tour of the ship followed by lunch was arranged for all attendees.
Bin Mejren, commented, "The continual investment of the Government of Dubai in its infrastructure, confidence of the cruise lines in this destination in combination with the support and cooperation of all involved government departments, ship agents, DMC's and all other stake holders has resulted in Dubai emerging as a destination of choice for cruise tourism in the Middle East." "Dubai is an 'experienced' cruise ship metropolis. Its modern terminals and the strategically favourable location in the Arabian Gulf make it an ideal base port for us to discover this region, which is quite new for us. In particular we certainly appreciate the excellent cooperation with the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM)," said Richard J. Vogel, Chief Executive of TUI Cruises.
The 264 meter long century-class cruise ship with the capacity to carry 1,900 passengers and about 800 crew was built in 1997 and was recently renovated with an investment of Eur50m adding more space and many modern amenities on board. The passenger throughput of the cruise liner's calls to Dubai is expected to exceed 70,000 passengers for this season.
Dubai Cruise Terminals received over 390,000 passengers from 102 ship calls last season and the current season will bring 115 cruise ship calls and over a 410,000 passengers.
The initiatives and continual efforts of DTCM has reaffirmed Dubai's position as the cruise hub of the region the Department have remarked that there are a combination of highly favourable factors that are driving Dubai's cruise tourism business towards robust growth. Besides the obvious attractions that Dubai has to offer for tourists from around the world in the form of excellent air connectivity, good infrastructure, a multimodal transport system, world-class hotels '&' restaurants, vast stretches of sandy beaches, sprawling shopping malls and an array of outdoor activities, Dubai offers simple immigration formalities, customised operation procedures in a safe environment.
Dubai has been constantly enhancing its facilities and services in line with its business growth and accordingly the Dubai Cruise Terminals will have three dedicated facilities to cater to cruise lines and visitors this season. Spanning over 20,000 square meters and a pier length of 1900 meters which can conveniently accommodate up to 6 ocean going ships simultaneously, Dubai will have the largest facility in the Middle East dedicated to cruise tourism.
The continual efforts of DTCM and the Government of Dubai with the support extended by numerous government departments such as Immigration, Customs, Police, DP World, combined with the high levels of cooperation from the various cruise lines, ship agencies, DMC's and other stakeholders, the cruise tourism sector in Dubai is set to scale to even greater heights in the years to come. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
UAE showcases sustainable growth model
The UAE’s efforts to stake claim to some of the most developed infrastructure across the region has seen a variety of projects steadily adding to its road network while abiding by a vision of sustainable development.
As National Day approaches, Gulf News looks at the Ministry of Public Works’ role in keeping the wheels of progress moving. Over the last year, the Ministry of Public Works headed by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan has helped usher in rapid and extensive development, most notably in the country’s infrastructure.
“Citizens of the UAE are now engineers, technicians and administrators. They are able to construct and achieve high-standard buildings for this country,” Sheikh Hamdan said in an earlier statement.
One of the main projects recently undertaken by the ministry was the Sheikh Khalifa Highway — also known as the Dubai-Fujairah highway — which reflects the ministry’s strategy to develop far-flung areas of the country by providing easy access.
The three-lane motorway which stretches out to 40 kilometres was built with a budget of Dh1.7 billion and has halved the journey time from Dubai to Fujairah to about one hour.
The ministry also focused its attention this year on easing the heavy burden of traffic on commuters and is currently carrying out the redevelopment project at the fifth Industrial Intersection in Sharjah on Emirates Road — commonly known as National Paints roundabout.
The roads improvement work is part of an initiative to connect the emirates for which funds were approved by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In August, the third and last phase of the road works project was initiated and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.
The ministry aims to revamp the road by widening the number of lanes to five in each direction and building new bridges to address traffic bottlenecks. In addition, a new drainage network for rain water and street lighting is also being provided.
The National Paints Roundabout area is a vital junction on Emirates Road as it links traffic to and from Dubai to Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Qaiwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. It also leads to two major roads, the Bypass road and Emirates Road.
Achieving sustainable development is just as important to the ministry and it is actively pursuing this goal by promoting green buildings across the country.
In the middle of 2012, the ministry’s branch in the northern region announced a Dh24-million project for a school in Ras Al Khaimah that follows green architectural plans, in addition to catering to special-needs children.
The girls’ school will offer classes from the kindergarten level to Grade 5 and is the first of its kind in the UAE, as it is built according to green building specifications, with a large area that includes an extensive collection of plants.
The school has 16 classrooms and four multi-purpose areas and is being equipped with the latest technology to create a modern learning environment. It also includes three laboratories, a sports hall, a music hall, a library, art and creativity rooms, outdoor sports courts, and other facilities.
The lighting in the outdoor courts is solar-powered and the building is installed with sensors that turn off the lights if no one is in the area and turn them back on when someone walks in.
It also has an elevator and ramps to provide easy access to special needs children.
Meanwhile in Abu Dhabi, the minister of public works announced a ‘green laboratory’ project that aims to run a whole laboratory on solar energy and wind. The initiative also attempts to offer sustainable scientific devices to students and to prepare them for a curriculum highlighting the importance of sustainability.
The new project also includes an effort to cut power consumption in accordance with the government’s accent on sustainability. It was previously reported that the UAE aims to produce seven per cent of its power requirement from alternative energy sources by 2020.
The new initiative also focuses on spreading the word on sustainability and will be taken up in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. The initiative will see particular focus on waste recycling during the construction of buildings and the use of eco-friendly materials. – Gulf News
Business Bay canal extension to begin in 2013
The construction of the Business Bay Canal Extension Project which will extend the canal from Sheikh Zayed Road up to the Arabian Gulf will begin in the first quarter of next year, a senior official at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said.
Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA, recently visited the project site to bring forward the initial steps to the realisation of the Canal extension project, which has been endorsed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
RTA will award the Dh1.5 billion project contracts before the end of 2012 to enable contractors to begin construction work as early as the first quarter of 2013.
Al Tayer ordered the project to be prioritised due to the project’s ‘peculiar nature.’
The 2.8-metre canal will pass through populous areas including Sheikh Zayed Road (before Safa Interchange), then through Safa Park, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 2, and Jumeirah Road, before terminating at the Arabian Gulf.
Its width spans from 80 to 100 metres to allow the navigation of marine transit means in the canal.
Bridges up to 8.5 metres high will be constructed over the canal on the key roads intersecting it.
This comprises a six-lane bridge in each direction of Sheikh Zayed Road and a two-lane bridge in each direction of Al Wasl Road and Jumeirah Road. Marine transit stations will be constructed throughout the canal to ease movement of the public, thereby promoting marine and tourist mass transit.
Al Tayer likewise instructed the work team to conduct a comprehensive study on the traffic movement in the affected areas and to ensure that traffic will flow smoothly as soon as the project begins next year.
RTA will carry out a number of improvements on the surrounding areas such as Jumeirah and Al Safa neighbourhoods. Roads alongside the canal will be built to assist the mobility between those districts.
Designed to be another key tourist landmark in Dubai, the canal will have facilities for tourists and sports enthusiasts alike.
Tracks dedicated to practising light sports, such as jogging and cycling, will be constructed along both sides of the Canal. Greens, benches, and public relaxation areas and other facilities will not only add beauty to the canal but also give a boost to tourist-oriented projects.
Projected to be completed by early 2015, the priority project is expected to boost Dubai’s odds in its bid to become the host of the World Expo 2020. – Gulf News
Abu Dhabi sees US$49b new projects in 2013
The capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, is slated to witness US$49 billion worth of new projects being awarded in 2013, along with US$9.80 billion worth of projects being awarded in Al Ain, as part of its build up for its 2030 development strategy.
According to a report by MEED, the current year has seen the UAE capital invest heavily in the project markets, with more than US$81.67 billion worth of projects currently underway. The bulk of this comes from a US$32.6 billion in the oil and gas sectors.
A further US$26.6 billion is being spent on real estate and construction projects, the report said.
Abu Dhabi’s transport sector is expected to surge over the next year with ongoing projects worth US$13 billion. Healthcare is worth US$4.08 billion worth of projects, manufacturing and industrial sectors are equally healthy with projects amounting to US$5.9 billion. The power and water sector of the UAE capital is worth US$1.36 billion the report said.
Meanwhile, Arabtec has won US$115 million capital contract.
Abu Dhabi is also planning an expansion of airport involving US$2.9 billion.
The Abu Dhabi government plans to meet fixed-income investors in Asia during the second week of November for three days of roadshows, although no new sovereign bond issue is in the works, three sources familiar with the plan told Reuters on Wednesday.
The non-deal roadshows will be organised by HSBC, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the information isn’t public.
A spokesman for the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance declined to comment.
The meetings are part of Abu Dhabi’s regular programme of updating and engaging with investors, the sources said. The sovereign met investors in the United States in sessions arranged by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in April.
Middle Eastern debt issuers are keen to raise the standards of investor relations in the region, having been criticised for a lack of transparency in the past, through more frequent contact with bondholders.
Asian investors have become key for regional borrowers looking to diversify their investor base away from local and Western investors.
While there has been speculation in recent months about Abu Dhabi or one of the wealthy emirate’s quasi-sovereign entities tapping capital markets, nothing has emerged.
Abu Dhabi, which sits on 7 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves and is the largest and wealthiest of the seven-member United Arab Emirates federation, last issued a sovereign bond in April 2009. - Agencies
Abu Dhabi markets itself to American tour operators
With Etihad Airways’ daily non-stop flights to Washington DC being launched in March 2013 and increased on-ground trade engagement and promotional activities by Abu Dhabi in North America is expected to attract more US visitors to the emirate in the future, said leading American travel professionals, who were in Abu Dhabi as part of an eight day comprehensive tour organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and Etihad Airways, the United Arab Emirates’ national airline.
“Simply put, more air access to Abu Dhabi from the US is going to spur increased interest, and with options to get there from the major hubs of New York, Chicago and soon to be Washington DC is going to be extremely helpful in selling the destination,” said Nicole Beattie, Destination Manager of Cox & Kings, which has offices across North America.
Etihad currently operates daily non-stop flights to Chicago and New York, and will start daily flights to Washington, DC next year. Abu Dhabi has welcomed 58,574 US hotel guests in the first nine months of this year, with September alone seeing a 19 percent increase in US hotel guests over the same month in 2011. It makes the US the sixth largest inbound market for Abu Dhabi in 2012.
TCA Abu Dhabi also opened its dedicated US office last May, which is based in New York’s Trump Tower.
“My perceptions of the emirate have certainly changed from being here, away from thinking of Abu Dhabi as a business destination and more to it being one of leisure,” said Beattie.
The tour included many of Abu Dhabi’s leading leisure hotels and cultural products, in addition to a trip to Yas Island and the Yas Marina Circuit. The group also got a glimpse of the emirate’s future, earmarking the upcoming Cultural Distinct on Saadiyat Island - which will see its three core museum projects, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi come online from 2015 - as a key driver for future North American guest draw.
“Once the museums and cultural elements on Saadiyat Island come online, Abu Dhabi is going to be a much easier sell for customers for sure,” said Justin Smith, Product Manager at Travcoa, which is based in California. – Gulf News
DFM Company reports Dh38.9m net profit in first three quarters
Dubai Financial Market Company on Saturday reported a net profit of Dh38.9 million, a 411 per cent increase compared to the corresponding period in 2011.
The Company’s performance improved during the third quarter of 2012 with the quarterly net loss declining to Dh1.7 million compared to Dh9.3 Million in the third quarter of 2011.
DFM recorded a total revenue of Dh155.5 million at the end of the third quarter of 2012 compared to Dh145.1 million during the corresponding period in 2011. The revenue comprised of Dh121 million of operating income and Dh34.5 million of investment returns. The company’s expenses reached Dh116.6 million compared to Dh137.5 million recorded during the first three quarters of 2011. During the third quarter of 2012, DFM’s revenue reached Dh36.8 million compared to Dh31.7 million, while expenses amounted to Dh38.5 million in the same period compared to Dh41 million in the third quarter of 2011.
The bourse’s trading value significantly increased by 46.6 per cent to reach Dh40.4 billion during the first nine months of this year compared to Dh27.6 billion in the same period of last year. The trading value at the end of the third quarter of 2012 surpassed levels achieved during the entire year of 2011 by 26 per cent Meanwhile, trading value declined by 9.9 per cent to Dh8.1 billion in the third quarter of 2012 compared to Dh9.03 billion in the same period of 2011.
“Since the beginning of this year, the DFM Company has relentlessly endeavoured to create a thriving and supportive environment with the aim to restore normal market activity. For this purpose, we have accredited 3 new brokerage firms for Margin Trading in 2012, compared to one company to the previous year, raising the total number of DFM-licensed brokerages which offer this service to their clients, to 4. This is expected to leave a positive mark on the exchange’s performance, and ultimately on the Company’s revenue in the future,” said Abdul Jalil Yousef Darwish, Chairman of Dubai Financial Market.
The total value of Margin Trading reached Dh337.5 million since the introduction of this mechanism. “We believe that Margin Trading will gain momentum with the accreditation of more brokerage firms who have already applied. We are confident that DFM is well positioned for a new beginning given the various market infrastructure enhancements implemented over the last two years,” said
The exchange reported significant improvement in trading value making DFM as the best performing regional exchange with its general index increasing 20 per cent year to date.
“DFM is currently carrying out a series of measures to prepare its systems and procedures for the introduction of “Market Making” and three other supportive mechanisms including; Securities Lending & Borrowing (SLB), Short Selling and Liquidity Providing. These measures include the introduction of an SLB system whereby over the counter transactions will be settled by DFM, said Eisa Abdul Fattah Kazim, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Financial Market
Kazim said the bourse is also creating new trade types for short selling, market making and liquidity providing to facilitate the monitoring, reporting and settlement of such trades. “Our plans also include developing relevant new business rules, obtaining regulatory approvals, and communicating with the DFM market participants to explain the new business model, to ultimately ensure the effective introduction of the new trading mechanisms,” Kazim said. – Gulf News
Drydocks World expects 10% growth in profit
Drydocks World expects a 10 per cent growth in profit this year, and is looking at options to enter the Saudi Arabian market as part of its expansion plans, according to the company’s top executive.
“We expect a 10 per cent growth in our net profits for 2012, and we are doing well. We don’t need any financial aid from the government,” Khamis Juma Bu Amim, the company’s chairman, told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
Drydocks made a net profit of US$134 million in 2011, according to the company.
The firm is also “in serious talks to operate and manage dry dock facilities in Saudi Arabia’s Dhahran and Jeddah ports. We expect to see this agreement through by first quarter of 2013,” Bu Amim said.
This is expected to add 17-18 per cent to Drydocks’ existing capacity, which currently sees the handling of 35 vessels at each dock, he noted.
Besides Saudi Arabia, Drydocks is also eyeing new opportunities in Turkey. “We are in final talks to expand in Turkey at an already existing yard. They already have the manufacturing unit and we will be adding a repair facility to that,” Bu Amim said, but declined to give any other details.
A multi-purpose Maritime Business Centre within the Dubai Maritime City (DMC) was opened on Saturday by Lieutenant-General Saif Abdullah Al Shafar, Undersecretary, Ministry of the Interior.
The Centre will form the nucleus of DMC, which is evolving rapidly into a hub of maritime commerce, business and trade with a series of leading regional and international companies setting shop within the District, recently.
“All components have fallen into place as envisaged within our long term strategy for Dubai Maritime City, which is to develop the mixed-use maritime hub as a key contributor to the country’s economy as a driving force behind the growth and progress of maritime and relevant business in the region. The opening of the Maritime Business Centre will greatly facilitate the growth of the City,” said Khamis Juma Bu Amim, Chairman of Drydocks World and Maritime World. – Gulf News
DWTC to host 17 exhibitions this month
Maintaining the success of the on-going exhibition season, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) is set to commence the busiest month of the year with a record 17 shows this November. Starting from November 5, over 200,000 visitors are expected to attend a variety of leading exhibitions and conferences covering a wide array of key sectors that include construction, food, telecommunications, jewellery, education and healthcare.
This strong line-up reaffirms the continued growth of Dubai as a leading destination for meetings and conferences, and reinforces DWTC’s role as a crucial driver of regional economic growth.
“The events industry forms a central pillar of Dubai’s economy, bringing in large number of business executives and tourists, and generating revenue and activity in the wider economy,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre.
“The diversity of DWTC’s events calendar, showcased by the impressive November line-up, highlights our role in providing commercial opportunities and networking platforms to businesses spanning various industry sectors. We are proud to work with key international organisers to attract high-profile events to Dubai, targeting top-tier exhibitors, delegates and visitors from all over the world to drive tangible returns on investment for all”, he said.
Some of the events that DWTC will host in November include: Big 5 Exhibition, the largest building and construction show in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA), will run from November 5 -8. It serves as a platform for the construction industry to display the latest trends and technologies available to the market and allows professionals to network, develop their business and cultivate new opportunities. Last year, The Big 5 attracted 50,275 participants from across the Middle East and this number is expected to be surpassed this year.
Running concurrently with The Big 5 Exhibition will be a set of related shows in the construction sector. PMV Live, the premier regional showcase for the construction machinery and vehicles industry will run alongside Middle East Concrete, the region’s only complete event dedicated to the concrete industry, and FM Expo 2012, the region’s leading facilities management show.
DWTC will also host a number of exhibitions in the food sector from November 19 -21. The popular Sweets & Snacks Middle East the region’s largest and most influential trade show for the snack and confectionery industry, will see over 120 specialised exhibitors from 28 countries showcasing both, sweet and savoury snacks and confectionery.
The Specialty Food Festival is the Middle East’s only dedicated gourmet and fine food trade exhibition, and will bring the region’s F&B and hospitality professionals and the world’s top suppliers of gourmet food products together to source the finest ingredients, gain new knowledge, establish supplier and distributor connections, and network with fellow industry professionals.
Finally, the region’s first dedicated seafood trade show SEAFEX, will launch on November 19, covering the full spectrum of the seafood industry, from the fresh catch to the consumer’s plate, as well as cold storage, shipping and logistics solutions. The show will host 300 of the top influencers, managers and buyers from the region.
Technology will again be the centre of attention as the World Telecommunication Standardisation Assembly (WTSA) convenes at DWTC from November 20 -29. The WTSA defines the next period of study for the ITU Telecommunication Standardisation Sector, and the high profile attendees will review current International Telecommunications Regulations.
The Dubai International Jewellery Week, running from November 21 -24, will feature 250 exhibitors from over 20 countries. This consumer show will showcase unique fine jewellery and watches, never before seen in the Middle East, at accessible prices.
Now in its seventeenth edition, Dubai International Jewellery Week remains a strong platform for knowledge exchange within the jewellery industry, both at trade and retail levels. Activities this year will include seminars and workshops, including those hosted by the Gemological Institute of America, to educate visitors on how to buy diamonds and take care of their jewellery.
Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research, GETEX (Gulf Education and Training Exhibition) will bring together top regional universities and educational groups from India, Australia, USA, Turkey, Lebanon and Ireland among others.
The exhibition will host more than 500 exhibitors, offering over 2,500 study and training options in over 40 countries. It is scheduled to run from November 21 -23. The combined 33rd SICOT & 17th PAOA Orthopaedic World Conference (Société Internationale de Chirurgie Orthopédique et de Traumatologie and Pan Arab Orthopaedic Association) is scheduled to take place from November 28 -30 and will cover the latest advances in orthopaedic and trauma care. – The Gulf Today
Atlantis, The Palm wins three awards
Atlantis, The Palm won in three categories Best in Dubai Awards at Ahlan Group’s annual function, celebrating the people’s choice.
“We are honoured to have won three awards from Ahlan! Best in Dubai Awards. This is proof of Atlantis’ commitment to provide guests with the best experience possible.
The Atlantis Team continues to strive for perfection across the entire resort.
This dedication has translated into gaining the trust and votes from our guests and fans,” commented Serge Zaalof, Managing Director at Atlantis, The Palm. – The Gulf Today
Cutting-edge technology keeps racing venue squeaky clean
The Centre for Waste Management — Abu Dhabi (CWM) collected 640 tonnes of waste from the premises of the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2012, as part of the round-the-clock waste management services offered to Yas Island for the third consecutive year.
Using cutting-edge technology, nearly 23 per cent of the waste — totalling 150 tonnes — was recycled.
The CWM uses customised environmental solutions to ensure cleanliness at the sporting facility on Yas Island. The services cover all Formula One events, including the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2012, along with the concerts and other activities held on the sidelines of the events.
The circuit clean-up is overseen by Averda Waste Management LLC as part of a five-year contract with CWM.
The CWM rolled out its preparation on Yas Island two weeks ahead of the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2012 with intensive cleaning operations. This included washing 75km of roads and cleaning furniture, as well as collecting general and pneumatic waste.
Services provided by CWM during the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2012 weekend included mechanical sweeping, litter-picking, kerb-side street washing, waste collection and beach cleaning.
Specialised equipment such as Madvac, compactors, sweepers, and roll-on-roll-off (RORO) containers are used to maintain the Yas Island area.
As Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2012 represents an exciting time for the UAE, the level of dedication was higher to ensure a premium experience for all visitors to the capital.
This year witnessed increased manpower and state-of-the-art machinery deployed at Yas Island to ensure a thorough service throughout the Formula One weekend.
Up to 55,000 visitors attended the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2012, running from Nov.2-3, as compared to around 40,000 visitors last year. – The Gulf Today