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GPT ready to welcome students with strict safety measures

Gulf Pinnacle Transport (GPT) has announced that it is ready to ferry students back to classes when education institutions resume activities for new academic year.

GPT also said that it is committed to student safety with a comprehensive operational plan to implement effective measures against the coronavirus pandemic. Under the plan, the company will ensure pre-trip bus sanitization, social distancing of students before boarding and de-boarding as well as onboard by maintaining a maximum bus capacity at 50 percent.

Mandatory face mask, personal hygiene, temperature checks, ID-card scanning, seat belts, and post-trip sanitisation are some of the key components of the plan.

Ganesh Sivaraman, director and head of Gulf Pinnacle Transport, said that student safety is “our top most priority” and that GPT will fully implement the government’s advisory for school transport service providers on social distancing.

“We have developed an effective initiative called ‘CARE’ (Comprehensive Action and Response to Emergency) to ensure effective implementation of social distancing norms as prescribed by KHDA for student transportation in new academic year,” he said.

GPT will be the first transport provider to maintain a record of body temperature of students and staff through its in-house mobile application. These records can be monitored through automated reports by the company and school administration. Moreover, GPT has also taken the disinfection requirement one step further by upgrading the mobile app that keeps record of disinfections carried out after every single trip. To cope with the added requirements of the Covid-19 precautionary measures, the company has also introduced online training modules to the drivers and bus supervisors before school opening this week.

GPT, which started with three school contracts in Dubai in August 2016, is currently serving 14 schools with 275 buses, transporting over 6,500 students. The company bagged the first place in RTA’s prestigious Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport in the “Transport Safety” category during the 2018 Awards ceremony.

UAE well-placed to lure firms shifting out of China

The UAE with its well-diversified economic ecosystem has laid strong foundations to leverage the new opportunities arising as global manufacturers gear up to shift up to 20-30 percent of their production capacity, valued at an estimated total of $500-750 billion in exports, out of China.

The UAE currently ranks first in economic diversification in the GCC and 16th in global rankings for ease of doing business after climbing up 12 spots within five years, according to UBS, the world’s leading global wealth manager.

The UAE has strong foundations to leverage the new opportunities arising while not all countries will be winners in this gradual shift from global to local. “We believe that those governments, entrepreneurs, and investors who incorporate this long-term thinking into their current decision-making will be better prepared for the future,” says UBS in its report on investing in emerging markets after the Covid-19 pandemic and the key implications of a less global world.

The China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone Project, established in the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi with Jiangsu Provincial Overseas Cooperation and Investment Company has attracted more than 20 Chinese companies since it was officially launched in 2018 with investments of more than Dh6.2 billion.

The UBS report highlights UAE’s potential to thrive under the new paradigm and capitalise on more localised supply chains thanks to its business-friendly environment, successful diversification of the economy, access to an international workforce, and the government’s forward-looking, technology-embracing attitude.

The UAE has set clear strategies on promoting robotics and advanced manufacturing techniques to better position the local economy for the future. The second largest Arab economy is already home to a diversified range of industries including, among others, metals, pharma, food and beverages, and transportation, defence, and aerospace equipment, the report said.

Niels Zilkens, head Arabian Gulf at UBS Global Wealth Management, said emerging markets will encounter opportunities and challenges informed and shaped by the new dynamics created after the Covid-19 pandemic. “Building human capital, developing a specialized yet flexible economic structure, and creating a business-friendly regulatory environment does not happen overnight -and neither does the relocation of supply chains.”

According to the report, globalisation and its boost to international trade have benefited emerging markets over the past decades, but negative side effects have evolved in parallel. The coronavirus crisis has accelerated the trend for increased localization.

Michael Bolliger, chief investment officer, Emerging Markets at UBS Global Wealth Management, and co-author of the report, said the Covid-19 crisis has made the world structurally less global, accelerating further the de-globalization and nearshoring trends which will be affecting significantly emerging markets in the years to come.

“Although the shift will take place gradually, investors should be exploring the increased importance of sustainable investing, the opportunities and challenges arising from the fourth industrial revolution-digitalization, automation, and the use of robotics are all on the rise and, finally, climate change and its effects on food security.”

Sanad group announces leadership

Following the consolidation of Mubadala’s financing, leasing and MRO businesses to create Sanad Group, the company has now announced the appointment of its leadership who will be tasked with the goal of delivering integrated and comprehensive solutions for its global client base through Sanad Aerotech, Sanad Powertech and Sanad Capital.

Troy Lambeth has been appointed as group chief executive officer and will continue to serve as CEO of Sanad Capital, which he has led since its launch in 2009. Mansoor Janahi has also been appointed as the deputy group CEO, and will continue to serve as CEO of Sanad Aerotech and Sanad Powertech, which he has led since March 2018. These appointments reinforce Mubadala’s aspirations for positioning Abu Dhabi as a global aerospace ecosystem that is driven by home grown talent.

Badr Al Olama, chairman of Sanad, and executive director of Aerospace at Mubadala, said: “Troy and Mansoor have been instrumental to Sanad’s growth and development. As a group, the combined companies will complement each other to deliver a range of comprehensive services and solutions that meet the challenges of a challenging sector. With significant developments that are taking place through fourth industrial revolution technologies, we are seeing new business models that are driven by major customer expectations. This requires us to integrate our offering and capitalize on our combined past achievements to deliver high quality innovative solutions that creates value for customers.”

Sanad integrates the synergies of Sanad Aerotech, the specialist aircraft engine maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) service provider; Sanad Capital, the dedicated aircraft engine and components leasing service provider; and Sanad Powertech, the energy and industrial MRO service provider. As a group, Sanad is becoming an aviation services powerhouse well positioned to provide comprehensive solutions that support the needs of its customers.


Waha Capital launches Islamic fund to raise over $500m

Abu Dhabi-listed investment firm Waha Capital has launched an income-focused Islamic fund to attract over $500 million (Dh1.83 billion) to invest in Shariah-compliant assets across sukuk and equity markets which will have a global outreach for investments.

The open-ended “Waha Islamic Income Fund SP” adds to Waha Capital’s existing three funds and is targeted at large regional institutions.

Its Waha Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa Credit Fund has achieved a cumulative return of over 180 percent since its inception in 2012 and the end of 2019. The Waha Mena Equity Fund, launched in 2014, has achieved a cumulative return of 175 percent since inception while Waha’s Mena Value Fund SP fund produced a return of 25.34 percent in 2019 and overall by 56.1 percent since its launch in 2015.

Amr Al Menhali, CEO of Waha Capital, said the new fund will invest in entities that have relatively low gearing.

“While our existing funds have some Shariah-compliant elements in them, there has been a steadily growing demand from our existing clients over the past couple of years for us to develop such a fully-fledged Islamic fund. We are confident that the new fund will be well received because it avoids investment in prohibited or controversial activities or assets and business sectors that may be considered as particularly risky or potentially volatile,” said Al Menhali.

Srti Park, AUC sign MoU to support MENA entrepreneurship

The Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park) and American University in Cairo (AUC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support entrepreneurship and strengthen the startup ecosystem in the Mena region.

The MoU will provide guidance and support to startups in the Egyptian and emirati markets.

“This collaboration marks a great step for startups in the Egyptian and Emirati ecosystems. We are facilitating knowledge sharing, extending market insights and resources beyond local boundaries, and expanding our offerings to create regional impact,” said Ayman Ismail, the Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship and associate professor at AUC School of Business and the founding director of the AUC Venture Lab.

Ismail added that through regional and international partnerships, AUC Venture Lab is committed to the growth of the region’s entrepreneurial capacity from two of Mena’s biggest startup ecosystems.

Cooperation will also include joint hackathons, knowledge sessions, and various startup exchange opportunities.

Hussein Al Mahmoudi, CEO of the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park, said: “The signing of this MoU with AUC is an important step towards further cooperation in joint research and development between Sharjah and Cairo.”

Al Mahmoudi also highlighted the need for cooperation with the academic and research institutions in the region to attract investment to Sharjah’s innovation sector.

DFM approves BH mubasher as market maker

Dubai Financial Market has approved BH Mubasher as a ‘market maker’. The move authorises BH Mubasher to now provide liquidity to companies listed on the Dubai Financial Market.

Hassan Al Serkal, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Dubai Financial Market said: “The DFM spares no effort to provide its participants with new services to strengthen trading activities and achieve supply/demand balance, in collaboration with our strategic partners of leading brokerage firms. Over the past years, the DFM has developed world-class regulatory frameworks that reinforces its leading position and attractiveness as well as creating favourable environment for market making and other trading mechanisms in line with international best practices. Accordingly, we are delighted to welcome BH Mubasher as the 6 licensed service provider and look forward to see the market making service gaining further momentum, which will benefit listed companies, investors and brokerage firms alike.”

Abdel Hadi Al Sa’di, chief executive officer of BH Mubasher, said “We are pleased to have been approved as a ‘market maker’ by Dubai Financial Market (DFM), which will be a valuable addition to the range of services provided to clients, at the highest quality and credibility. This step will enable DFM listed companies to enhance liquidity of shares and achieve a buy/sell balance with BH Mubasher.”

Al Sa’di further added: “Our thanks go to Dubai Financial Market for recognising BH Mubasher as a trusted financial company, and an integral part of the UAE’s capital market infrastructure. This approval will strengthen our position at the forefront of the financial markets in the UAE and beyond.”

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