The Ministry of Federal National Council Affairs has launched a Twitter account to enhance the culture of political participation and reach its target audience effectively.
"In this rapidly changing environment, social media tools play a vital role in engaging with the community. They also influence almost every aspect of our lives. We are drawing on the power of newest tools for further reach out to our stakeholders," said Tariq Hilal Lootah, Director General of MFNCA The Ministry's twitter account will communicate to the audience on its important initiatives, highlight messages that promote the culture of political participation, introduce them to the latest developments on these topics and listen to their views and comments, to further enhance the Ministry's services.
Tariq Lootah said that the Ministry is committed to adopt innovative communication channels for interacting with the public and that the Twitter account highlights the importance of social media today in shaping public opinion. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Abu Dhabi hotel guests jump 14%
The number of hotel guests staying in Abu Dhabi’s 137 hotels, resorts and hotel apartments rose 14 per cent during first 11 months of 2012, official data shows.
The statistics released by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) disclosed that 2,171,680 hotel guests stayed in the emirate’s accommodation during January to November end this year. The guests accounted for 6,312,359 guest nights. “This is extremely encouraging particularly when viewed in context of the significant number of rooms we now have available, which currently stands at 23,516,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, director-general, TCA Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi is currently gearing up for the January opening of the much anticipated Yas Waterworld waterpark and the Q1 opening of the luxury beachfront Ritz Carlton Grand Canal Abu Dhabi – a five-star resort which will mark the entry of the prestigious Ritz Carlton brand into the UAE capital.
“We are very positive about achieving our 2.3 million guest target for this year, and ending 2012 on a satisfactory note while looking forward to attaining more guest gains during 2013 when we have a mainline attraction and new resorts opening,” Al Muhairi said.
Last month proved to be the busiest this year in terms of guest nights with some 207,335 guests accounting for 676,593 guest nights. November’s results remained static in terms of guest numbers compared to the same month last year.
“November’s lengthier stays are likely down to the staging of the Grand Prix and an acceptance of the lead-up marketing campaign which focused on spelling out just how much there now is to do and see in Abu Dhabi,” said Al Muhairi. - Khaleej Times
Etihad airways flies record 10.29 million passengers during 2012
Etihad Airways has surpassed its target of carrying 10 million passengers this year and is set to achieve a 22 per cent increase on the total of 8.41 million passengers in 2011.
The increase in passenger numbers - up to a total of 10.29 million - represents an extra 1.88 million passengers travelling on the carrier's global network that now covers 87 of its own passenger and cargo destinations, and 245 codeshare destinations.
The passenger growth for Etihad Airways is mirrored by its equity partners. By the end of 2012, airberlin is expected to have carried 33.4 million passengers, Virgin Australia 19.5 million passengers*, Aer Lingus nearly 11 million passengers, and Air Seychelles 241,000 passengers.
Etihad Airways and its equity partners will have collectively carried more than 74 million passengers in 2012, with cooperation between the five airlines greatly contributing to passenger growth.
An example of the success of this cooperation is the 300,000 passengers airberlin and Etihad Airways have delivered onto each other's networks during the last 12 months.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways' President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "Etihad Airways has achieved significant expansion in 2012 and therefore it's very satisfying to pass our target of flying more than 10 million passengers during a year for the first time.
"We have launched flights to six new destinations during the last year - Tripoli, Shanghai, Nairobi, Basra, Lagos, and Ahmedabad - which have all contributed to the 22 per cent increase in passenger numbers." Based on year to date figures, Etihad Airways will have carried 73 per cent of all passengers at Abu Dhabi airport, a 5.3 per cent increase on 2011's figure of 67.7 per cent.
With the addition of Etihad Airways' equity partners that operate flights into Abu Dhabi, the combined passenger number total for 2012 rises to 76 per cent.
The further addition of Etihad Airways' codeshare partners that operate into Abu Dhabi - Air Astana, Alitalia, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesian, Hainan Airlines, Jet Airways, KLM, MEA, nasair, RAK Airways, Safi Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Ukraine International - the total percentage of all passenger traffic through Abu Dhabi increases to 81 per cent.
In 2012 Etihad Cargo has contributed 87 per cent of tonnage into, out of, and through the Abu Dhabi hub. The total handled hub tonnage by the end of the year will be more than 640,000 tonnes. Overall in 2012 Etihad Cargo carried a record 365,000 tonnes, which is 18 per cent more than in 2011.
Etihad Airways' busiest route was Bangkok with the airline carrying nearly 691,000 passengers to the Thai capital during the year, a 38 per cent increase on 2011.
This was closely followed by Manila, Heathrow and Jeddah. Sydney, Paris, Frankfurt, Manchester, Doha and Dublin complete the list of the 10 most popular routes.
During 2012 Etihad Airways beat its previous record for the number of passengers carried in a single day with 33,766 passengers flying on Saturday 14 July. The airline took delivery of seven new aircraft in 2012, three Airbus A320s and four Boeing B777s.
Etihad Airways will take delivery of 14 new aircraft in 2013, four A320 passenger aircraft, one A321 passenger aircraft, and one A330 freighter from Airbus; two B777 freighters, and six B777-300ER passenger aircraft from Boeing.
The airline has announced it will start flights to at least three new destinations in 2013, Washington DC in March, Sao Paulo in June, and Ho Chi Minh City in October. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
The UAE non-oil Foreign Trade witnessed a tangible improvement during 2012. It is expected to grow by 15 per cent amounting to Dh3.60 trillion according to year-end results, Abdul Rahman Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Trade, told Gulf News.
“The total value of UAE’s non-oil foreign trade in the first half of 2012 touched Dh718.4 billion compared to Dh646.6 billion for the same period in 2011, recording an increase by Dh71.7 billion, up by 11.1 per cent,” he said.
However, the overall trade values have grown further during the second half of 2012 and is expected to reach Dh3.60 trillion, increasing by 15 per cent by year-end, Al Saleh said.
This figure includes the value of trade in the UAE Free Zones which is expected to reach Dh440 billion, recording 20 per cent increase by the end of 2012.
Al Saleh attributed this growth to the developed economic and strategic plan that the UAE follows in foreign trade policies.
“It is a reflection of the ongoing improvement in the trade sector across the UAE,” he added.
“The policy of opening new markets, approaching new trade partners as well as economic diversification have strong impact on the UAE foreign trade result,” he said.
Pointing to the policy of expanding the scope of trade partnerships, Al Saleh said that while trade volume of Dh1 billion has been made with 65 trade partners in 2009, and with 70 trade partners in 2010 and 75 in 2011.”
Moreover, Al Saleh remarked that the trade value is expected to grow between 10 to 15 per cent in 2013 reaching Dh3.70 trillion.
Major trading partners
According to the latest report of the UAE National Bureau of Statistics about Foreign Trade 2012, 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 or 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.”
Increasing UAE trade competitiveness at regional and international markets is one of the main objectives of the ministry, Al Saleh remarked.
According to several international reports the UAE ranking has improved and today the emirates have an advanced competitive ranking not only across the Arab world but globally.
For instance, the UAE came in first place in the Middle East and North Africa, and the fifth globally in the Trading Across Borders index, according to The World Bank’s Doing Business Report.
Moreover, The World Economic Forum’s Global Enabling Report 2012 has revealed the UAE’s advanced standing out of 132 developed and developing countries included in the report, where it attained advanced positions in its primary and subsidiary indicators.
In addition to that, the UAE came in first place in the Middle East and North Africa, and the seventh Globally in the Efficiency of Import-Export Procedures index.
Al Saleh said that introducing a foreign trade policy that is consistent with international foreign trade developments and serves the economy of the UAE, is what the ministry looking is for.
“Moreover, maintaining UAE trade interests abroad, increasing UAE trade competitiveness at regional and international markets, educating people about the trade regulatory environment that is consistent with the best international practices, as well as pursuing institutional excellence through achieving efficiency are our main interest to boost trade in the UAE.” – Gulf News
UAE, Hong Kong trade to grow over 30%
Perry Fung, Regional Director, Middle East & Africa, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), recently visited Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) to explore possibilities to further strengthen trade ties between Hong Kong and the UAE through the Free Zone.
HKTDC Regional Chief was received by Ibrahim Mohamed Al Janahi, Deputy CEO, Jafza, at the Free Zone. Al Janahi, welcoming the Trade Development Council Chief also emphasised on the closer co-operation between the two sides. He briefed visiting dignitary about Jafza facilities and the Free Zone’s strategic status as the Middle East region’s trade and logistics hub.
Perry Fung commenting on his visit said: “HKTDC is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong based traders, manufacturers and service providers. Jafza on the other hand is the gateway and trade and logistics hub for the Middle East, West Asia and African markets. A stronger trade ties between the two is very important. I am looking forward to that and seek Jafza’s valued support.”
Ibrahim Al Janahi said: “Hong Kong is one of our most important trade partners. Since Jafza and Hong Kong both are gateway to two most dynamic regions, there is a huge possibility for stronger commercial relations between the two sides. HKTDC’s desire to further strengthen the bilateral relations echo’s our outlook in this respect. We must explore possibilities for further strengthening our commercial ties.” The Hong Kong - UAE trade has seen a remarkable growth in the last four years growing from Dhs15.8 billion in 2009 to Dhs25.2 billion in 2011. In 2012 Hong Kong - UAE trade has reached Dhs27.3 billion in the first 10 months. At this rate Hong Kong — UAE trade this year will cross Dhs34 billion, an increase of more than 30 per cent from 2011.
“Looking at the growth prospects in the Middle East we see huge possibilities for Hong Kong in the region and Hong Kong-Jafza cooperation,” Fung added.
Hong Kong’s major exports to the UAE includes watches, jewellery, computers, machinery, toys, garments and accessories while its imports include perfumes, beauty products, boats, auto parts and fish.
EZW is the global provider of sustainable industrial and logistics infrastructure solutions. The company aims to create a robust network of economic zones, technology, logistics and industrial parks as well as build-to-suit developments across the world with an objective to support the dynamic expansion of its rapidly growing international customer base. EZW’s current portfolio includes Jafza, Gazeley, TechnoPark and Dubai Auto Zone. – The Gulf Today
Abu Dhabi's manufacturing industries rate of growth doubled in 2011 as it rose to 22% compared 11% in 2010. This reflects the success of the efforts exerted by the Government of Abu Dhabi to develop the industrial sector, and other promising industries, which will constitute one of the main pillars of economic diversification for the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.
The Abu Dhabi Economic Report 2012, issued by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, contains six chapters, which deal with international, regional, economic developments, investment, commodity exchange through Abu Dhabi ports, productive activities, service activities and public finance and economic planning in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The report reviews the important economic issues pertinent to the local economy of Abu Dhabi.
Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Nasser Ahmed Al Suwaidi, in his foreword to the report, said that the Department timely issues its annual economic report, to serve as a reference for economic and social development in the emirate. He pointed out that Abu Dhabi economy had undoubtedly surpassed the repercussions of the global financial crisis, made great strides in its economic diversification surge and achieved high levels of development and progress in a short span of time, under the prudent leadership which spares no effort in utilising available resources for the betterment and prosperity of people.
The official stressed that the optimal use of oil revenues under the vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the continued support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, provided the opportunity to implement development plans and programs, which focus on the main objectives of diversifying sources of income, expanding the economy, and achieving sustainable development.
He explained that the judicious vision of the leadership is evidenced by the implementation of several strategic projects, which contributed to the enhancement of the competitiveness of Abu Dhabi, and the consolidation of conviction among investors from different countries of the world, to invest in the emirate, and that Abu Dhabi offers a spectrum of various opportunities for investment in the private sector, and supports balanced, stable and sustainable growth.
Al Suwaidi, hailed the progress achieved by Abu Dhabi during the past few years, despite the unfavourable external conditions. He said that this confirms the robustness and effectiveness of remedial policies adopted by the government, and the measures taken to overcome difficulties and challenges.
"I have great confidence in our ability to continue along the path of excellence, and realise the ambitious vision of the government of Abu Dhabi, in view of the unlimited support of our leadership, our determination and joint efforts. " For his part, the Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Mohammed Omar Abdullah, said in his introduction to the report, that the report provides a comprehensive analysis of the different variables and economic indicators, highlights the points of strength and improvement in the emirate's economy and provides detailed data on economic issues to aid decision-makers, businessmen, and researchers.
The Undersecretary said that according to the report, Abu Dhabi GDP had achieved a quantum leap in 2011, as it increased by 30% to Dh 806 billion; exceeding the levels that had been reached prior to the global economic crisis.
This strong growth provides a clear evidence that Abu Dhabi economy had completely recovered from the effects of the global crisis, supported by high oil prices, and the growth of non-oil economic activities good, which grew by 7% in 2011; as well the continued strong growth of the manufacturing activity, which achieved the highest growth rate among non-oil economic activities.
H.E. the Undersecretary, mentioned that despite the hike in oil prices during 2011, but the contribution of oil to GDP did not exceed 58.5%, which emphasises that the plans of emirate to expand its economy and diversify sources of income, were successfully implemented, in accordance with the objectives of the Economic Vision 2030.
The Undersecretary explained that Abu Dhabi's economy has become one of the best performing economies in the world, due to the emirate's continuous investment in human resources upgrading and innovation and development, in line with its long-term vision to transfer into a knowledge-based economy.
The first chapter of Abu Dhabi Economic Report 2012, deals with international and regional economic developments, and analyses international economic growth, inflation, international trade, unemployment, the current account and other issues. The report focuses on the general economic situation of the State.
The second chapter sheds light on the economic developments in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, and analyses performance data, GDP, inflation, trade balance, unemployment, population, labour force, total fixed capital formation and the relative importance of economic activities.
In its third chapter, the report reviews investment and commodity exchange through the ports in the emirate; and analyses commodity exchange, exports, imports and re-exports; and lists the most important trade partners of the emirate, as well as sources of foreign direct investment by economic activity.
The fourth chapter of the report highlights the productive activities in Abu Dhabi during 2011; and reviews manufacturing and extractive industries, construction, agriculture and fishing, and the electricity, gas, water and waste management activities.
Chapter five of the report focuses on services activities in the emirate of Abu Dhabi in 2011 and analyses relevant data and statistics issued by the Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi, in addition to the performance and developments in the activities of wholesale and retail trade, health, education, hotels and restaurants, real estate, transport and storage, financial institutions and insurance.
Chapter six of the annual economic report is devoted to public finance and economic planning, and the analysis of relevant data on finance, revenue and expenditure.
The report concluded by addressing important economic issues of concern to Abu Dhabi's economy, highlighting the recently launched "Abu Dhabi Economic Outlook Report 2012 - 2016", and the most important assumptions, predictions and forecasted results derived by using the macro-economic model for the emirate Abu Dhabi; in addition to the most significant engines of economic growth during the forecast period. The report also reviewed the first "Human Development Report for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi", which was launched recently.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development will publish the chapters of the report in media in the coming days to provide an analytical review on the performance of the Abu Dhabi's economy during 2011. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
UAE's aluminium exports grow 102% in H1 2012
A United Arab Emirates' total exports of aluminium and its products rose by 102% (US$1.5 billion) during the first half of 2012 in comparison with the same period in 2011, a study released by the Ministry of Foreign Trade (MoFT) has revealed.
The growth is a continuation of previous increases of 56% and 42 % in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
The study also revealed that UAE exports of aluminium products have achieved a competitive global edge and were capable of reaching 124 countries - especially in Asia and Europe - due to their production according to international standards and their high purity, as well as their widespread and intensive use in the automobile and aircraft manufacturing industry in the European Union.
The study, which was conducted by MoFT economic advisor Dr. Abdul Hamid Radwan under the supervision of Director of MoFT's Analysis and Trade Information Department Dr. Mattar Ahmed, pointed out that the UAE came in first out of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in terms of aluminium production and the accumulative investments and workforce it has in the sector.
It also revealed that the UAE came in the 34th position globally in its aluminium exports in 2011, advancing by seven places from the previous year. It however stated that this does not reflect the country's international standing in terms of aluminium production, where it stands among the top ten countries in the world, exporting around 92% of its domestic aluminium production.
India was the foremost receiving country of UAE aluminium exports in 2011, which were worth around USD 145 million (representing a 12.7% share of the UAE's total exports of the product), followed by Iran with USD 115 million (10.1%), according to the study.
The study pointed out that the value of UAE imports of aluminium reached USD 1.2 billion in 2011, up by 3.4% from the year before. It also stated that an aluminium import saving was achieved (worth USD 371 million) as a result of a 56% registered increase in the exports of the product compared to a lower 3% increase in its imports, resulting in a 87% decrease from 2010 - 2011 in the trade deficit of the product to USD 54 million.
In terms of the competitiveness of UAE aluminium exports, the study reported an improvement in this regard in 2011 according to the findings of the Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA) index, which is based on the Balassa index that is widely used around the world in calculating foreign trade indicators.
The study pointed out that the global aluminium manufacturing market is not a highly competitive one since global production is spread out among a limited number of global companies. It added that the world's aluminium production reached 43.99 million metric tons in 2011 with China, the largest global aluminium producer, owning a 40% stake of the world's production of the product.
The study revealed that the value of international imports of aluminium and its products in 2011 was around USD 162.7 billion, achieving a growth of 17% from the previous year, with Germany (owning an 11.9% share of the world's aluminium imports), the USA (10%) and China (6%), being the world's foremost aluminium importers, respectively.
In terms of exports, the study revealed that global aluminium exports grew by 17% in 2011 with China and Germany being the world's foremost exporters of the product owning an 11.3% share and 10.9% share of the world's total aluminium exports during that year, respectively.
The UAE has two plants for aluminium production: Dubai Aluminium DUBAL, one of the most important smelting installations in the gulf region. The facility was established in 1979 with an annual 135 thousand ton production capacity, gradually increasing over the years through a series of upgrades and expansions to 1 million metric tons per year. Around 92% of the company's annual production is exported to global markets.
The second facility is Emirates Aluminium EMAL, which was established in February 2007 and is expected, upon completion, to become the world's largest single smelter complex for the production of primary aluminium with an annual production capacity of 1.325 million tons. The facility was constructed over two phases, with the first phase now already operational with an annual production capacity of up to 750 thousand metric tons, while the second phase is scheduled for completion in December 2013 and will become fully operational at the onset of 2014. - Emirates News Agency, WAM