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Jebel Ali port welcomes container ship HMM GDANSK on maiden visit

Gulf: DP World’s flagship Jebel Ali Port has welcomed HMM GDANSK, one of the world’s largest container vessels, which is now on the return leg of her maiden international voyage between the Far East and Europe.

Jebel Ali is the only port in the region connected to the arterial FE3 (Far East 3) loop with the ability to accommodate mega vessels.

HMM GDANSK is 400 metres long and has a capacity of 24,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent container units). The vessel and its crew led by Captain Hyungik Cho were welcomed by DP World UAE Region and other officials from Jebel Ali Port.

The landmark mega carrier arrived from DP World’s London Gateway at the port before sailing to Singapore, her next call in a journey that began in Busan, South Korea on 29th June, with calls at Yantian, Hong Kong, Hamburg, Rotterdam and Antwerp.

Jebel Ali is one of the few ports in the Gulf that can accommodate mega vessels with the capability to handle ten at a time. It has a total handling capacity of 22.4 Million TEU and the visit underscores its capability as the region’s premier gateway port on the Asia-Europe sea trade route.

Leading UAE group to hire hundreds of employees

Dubai’s Al-Futtaim Group will open 100 stores of health and beauty retailer Watson and will recruit hundreds of employees for this new franchise.

The new outlets will be opened in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain, with most of them coming up in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the family-owned group said in a statement, adding that it “will be hiring new employees in the hundreds”.

The first Watsons flagship store will open in The Dubai Mall on October 1, with all 100 stores opening across the region by the end of 2025. The expansion plan of Watsons in the region will see the opening of two outlets in Dubai Festival City and Mall of the Emirates in the fourth quarter of 2020, followed by the entry into Saudi Arabia in 2021.

It declined to disclose investment figures.

“As a local business operating across the globe, it is our duty to support and contribute to the economic growth of the region we belong to, while bringing quality and customer-oriented brands to our retail network,” vice-chairman Omar Al Futtaim said.

Dominic Lai, managing director of AS Watson Group, said the Middle East is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for beauty products. “We are excited to partner with Al-Futtaim to bring new offline and online beauty experience as well as numerous trendy brands to customers in the region.”

Saudi says resumption of international flights depends on coronavirus spread

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health Dr Tawfiq Al Rabiah said on Thursday that the resumption of suspended international flights is subject to continuous assessment on the basis of the extent of the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

“Accordingly, an appropriate decision will be taken based on the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman,” he said.The minister was speaking in an interview with the Al Ekhbariya channel.

He said that Saudi authorities are concerned with the safety of everyone amid the coronavirus crisis.

“As long as there are still cases of coronavirus infection, precautions have to be taken to ensure the health and safety of all,” he added.

Saudi Arabia temporarily suspended all international flight services on March 15 as part of a package of measures designed to curb the spread of Covid-19.

As reported by Saudi Gazette, earlier this month, Saudi Arabian Airlines provided guidelines for travel to 25 countries.

The national carrier also announced seven conditions for the transport of passengers returning to the Kingdom on board its flights once the Kingdom lifts travel restrictions.

The airline called on passengers to follow health instructions based on the directives issued by the Saudi health authorities.

The Kingdom reported 24 more deaths and 708 new cases of the novel coronavirus disease, the heath ministry announced on Thursday.

The new confirmed infections bring the total number of cases in the Kingdom to 323,720, including 19,533 active cases currently undergoing treatment.

Of these, there are 1,363 critical cases, while the health condition of the rest remains stable.

The 24 new deaths put Saudi Arabia’s tally of fatalities at 4,189.

As many as 1,032 new recoveries raised the Kingdom’s recovery toll to 299,998.

Department of government support launches open-data platform

The Department of Government Support in Abu Dhabi, represented by the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA), has launched the open-data platform ‘Abu Dhabi Open Data’, with a view to enabling the public and private sectors to exchange and share open data with users, start-ups, and academic institutions to improve public services, support decision-making, and strengthen the Abu Dhabi economy.

The project’s launch has come in conjunction with the recent visit of Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, to the Department of Government Support in Abu Dhabi, where he was briefed on the department’s strategy, its plans for the next five years, and the recent updates on the ‘Abu Dhabi Open Data’ platform.

The Abu Dhabi Open Data platform aims to create a digital ecosystem that provides quick and safe access to reliable data sources, in addition to proactive services that enrich the customer experience. Offering more than 550 open source datasets across 10 vital sectors in six different formats, the open-data platform was launched with the participation of the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority in partnership with 23 government entities. The launch reflects the ambitious vision of the wise leadership in Abu Dhabi to use Information Technology to serve the community and advance government services by providing a safe environment, enabling government entities to securely share data with users through innovative mechanisms and technologies that guarantee the standards of promptness, efficiency, quality, and transparency.

Additionally, the ‘Abu Dhabi Open Data’ platform strengthens cooperation between the public and private sectors and opens up new horizons which make it easier for government entities to share data while securing huge investment opportunities for private sector companies, thus ensuring continuity of success and appropriate decision-making.

Over 20 government entities are participating in the first phase of Abu Dhabi Open Data, playing an active role in the open-data sharing process, which is considered an essential foundation for achieving the objectives of the Abu Dhabi’s digital transformation strategy. The platform covers 10 vital sectors, including agriculture, environment, health, transportation, society, economy, tourism, education, energy, and technology.

Among the objectives of the platform is to strengthen the Abu Dhabi economy, support the growth of key sectors in line with the Abu Dhabi Vision, and the Ghadan 21 accelerator programme. The platform also aims to improve the competitiveness of Abu Dhabi in international indices of open data, increase levels of transparency by providing reliable and updated data at the appropriate time, and improve cooperation between all government entities, helping them to make informed decisions, in addition to facilitating better information sharing between government entities to improve public services in the interests of citizens, residents, and investors.

Speaking on the occasion, Ali Rashid Al Ketbi, chairman of the Department of Government Support, said he was very pleased with the launch of the platform, which contributes to consolidating the position of Abu Dhabi as a leading city in open-data sharing by building and developing the emirate’s digital infrastructure. He praised the cooperation between government entities in Abu Dhabi to launch the platform, which is designed to strengthen partnerships between the public and private sectors and open up new horizons.

 

Dubai chamber, Canada discuss post-covid economic recovery

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the consulate general of Canada in Dubai recently held a video conference meeting to discuss opportunities in areas such as digitalisation, logistics, e-commerce, life sciences and sustainable technologies.

The meeting was chaired by Hamad Buamim, president and CEO of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Jean-Philippe Linteau, consul general of Canada in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

The two leaders highlighted the fast-growing trade and investment relationships between the UAE and Canada. Recent examples of this include Dnata launching ground handling operations in Vancouver airport and DP World’s $8.2 billion co-investment platform with Canada’s pension fund, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec to expand its global port and terminal operations.

Buamim highlighted Dubai’s vast competitive advantages and incentives for foreign companies and investors, which he says have strengthened the emirate’s value proposition in recent years. He lauded the government’s swift response in addressing new challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic and accelerating digital transformation, which he said was a key factor helping businesses successfully navigate the new normal. He described Canada as strategic economic partner to Dubai and stressed the importance of the emirate as a preferred trade and investment hub leveraged by Canadian companies.

Linteau commended the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s leadership in establishing Dubai as a strategic global business hub, especially in the context of post-Covid economic recovery. He also highlighted that the digitalisation is certainly facilitating the business opportunities between the two countries as it reduces the distance that exists geographically. He also underlined that Dubai is already a select destination as a regional headquarters to many Canadian businesses and, in building upon the strong bilateral economic partnership, expects to strengthen collaboration in the lead up to Expo 2020 Dubai.

“The UAE-Canada trade and investment relationship is growing quickly, especially in strategic areas such as energy, infrastructure and life sciences,” Linteau said. “Our two countries are committed to work together on the post-COVID economic recovery to build a resilient global economy.”

“There is tremendous potential for Canadian companies and their Dubai-based counterparts to collaborate in innovation-focused sectors, explore new avenues of cooperation and build long-lasting partnerships that create mutual benefits and economic growth,” Buamim added

Arab world’s sole unicorn is based in UAE

The Middle East was home to eight unicorns in September 2020, however the Arab World has only one billion dollar company since scalability is responsible for hampering a startup’s trajectory to become a unicorn – despite there being a good ecosystem in the GCC.

According to CB Insights, the UAE-based Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) is the only unicorn from the Arab World among the 490 unicorns globally. All the other seven regional unicorns are based in Israel. The combined value of these eight unicorns is estimated to be $10 billion (Dh36.7 billion).

Valued at $1 billion, the Dubai-headquartered EMPG owns OLX Group, KCK Group and Exor Seeds. Its popular digital platforms include zameen.com, Bayut.com, Mubawaba.ma, bproperty.com, Kaidee, Sector Labs, Lamudi, and Dubizzle. The UAE’s Careem and Souq were acquired by the US-based Uber and Amazon.

Arshad Khan, co-founder and CEO of Arabian Bourse, said regional startups need scale to become unicorns.

“One major reason is that the population of the Gulf countries is smaller than Asia, Europe and the US. If we look at Careem, though, it was acquired at a billion dollar plus, the size of its business was mainly in other geographies. Once a company reaches a certain level, it is difficult to grow beyond that due to scalability,” he said.

May AI help you? artelligence forum returns in new virtual format

Moving beyond the hype, artificial intelligence (AI) and its applications are fast being considered and implemented across organisations in the Middle East compared to all other emerging technologies.

Aligning with the current national strategy for AI, the Artelligence Forum returns with world-class AI brains and unique energy that it is renowned for in a brand-new immersive virtual format.

Scheduled to take place on September 22-23, 2020, this year’s virtual edition of the Artelligence Forum will take the conversation ahead and provide unrestricted access to next-level actionable strategies and tactics that will ease AI implementation in organisations across the Middle East.

UAE firms can now obtain bank loans against moveable assets as collateral

Companies in the UAE, especially small and medium businesses, can now secure bank loans by using their moveable properties as collateral in order to help them meet their cash-flow needs amidst tough situation due to the pandemic.

The UAE has issued Federal Law No.(4) of 2020, which expands the scope of including more assets that can be used as collateral and through other amendments that improve enforcement in the case of defaults.

Generally, small businesses find it tough to secure bank loans due to their size and lack of financial history.

The law will also strengthen the UAE’s competitiveness, ease of doing business ranking and attract more foreign direct investment.

Younis Haji Al Khoori, Under-secretary at the Ministry of Finance, also announced the creation of an electronic registry to record assets to ensure project financing. This register would allow the use of “tangible and intangible” moveable properties such as equipment and tools, receivables, cash flows, crops and others as collateral against obtaining loans.

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