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Dubai holding’s Madinat Jumeirah living on track for handover

Dubai Holding’s flagship residential development, Madinat Jumeirah Living, an exclusive freehold project located in the prime Madinat Jumeirah district, opposite the world famous Burj Al Arab is on track for timely handover in Q2 2021.

The 3.85 million square feet resort destination with iconic views was announced in 2018 and broke ground one year later.

Phase 1 of the project consists of two residential buildings offering modern spacious units priced at Dh1.7 million, ranging from one to four-bedroom apartments. Currently at 63 percent development, the two buildings are on schedule for completion by Q2 2021. Enabling works, such as the substructure and superstructure, are 100 percent complete while mechanical, electrical, plumbing works and finishes are 66 percent accomplished. Progress on the podium level, which will house the 180 square-metre swimming pool, is also on track. Following the growing uptake for the residence units owing to their prime location, superior built quality and premium amenities and design, Phase 1 is already 99 percent sold.

Construction works on phase 2 that includes three residential buildings comprising luxurious one- to four-bedroom apartments, is well underway with overall progress of the main works registering 42 percent completion and on schedule delivery set for Q3 2021. Phase 2 of the development is also witnessing brisk demand and is nearly sold out.

To date, Madinat Jumeirah Living has received an overwhelming positive response from local and international investors, with overseas investors purchasing 43.52 percent of all units. The success of the development in international markets is further proof of Dubai’s continued popularity as a preferred investment destination.

Al Maya Group to showcase Kashmiri saffron in UAE

After Kashmiri saffron was given a Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the government of India in May, Al Maya Group has announced that it is bringing the spice to the group’s supermarkets across the UAE.

Kashmiri saffron — the sweetest and most precious spice in the world — was inaugurated by Navin K. Choudhary, principal secretary for agriculture at the government of Jammu and Kashmir, and Dr Aman Puri, Consul-General of India in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, along with other dignitaries from the region who are currently in the UAE for the two day UAE-India Food Security Summit 2020.

“We are super-excited to bring India’s saffron in the UAE, and it is more important to mention that we are delighted to introduce this at Al Maya Supermarkets across the UAE,” Kamal Vachani, group director of Al Maya Group, said in a release.

Kashmiri saffron is renowned globally for its antioxidant properties and is also used in cosmetics. Its unique characteristics are its longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour, high aroma and chemical-free processing. It is the only saffron in the world grown at an altitude of 1,600m to 1,800m AMSL (above mean sea level), which adds to its uniqueness and differentiates it from other saffron varieties available the world over.

Travel plans back on track for UAE residents

UAE residents that ended up putting their travel plans on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year are now looking forward to making holiday plans to international destinations in 2021, new research has revealed.

Conducted by Hilton and YouGov, the survey revealed that 51 percent of UAE residents, including UAE nationals, are planning to take three or more holidays next year if global travel advice allows. The research identified ‘missed holidays due to the pandemic’ and a desire to ‘revisit treasured destinations with their families’ as the main reasons for wanting to travel. More than 90 percent of the respondents said that they had at least one overseas holiday cancelled this year, with close to half cancelling a holiday within the Middle East and North Africa region.

UAE ranks 16th globally in open data inventory

The UAE’s agenda to adopt open data policy as part of the digital transformation is a clear indication to boost transparency and this is evident with a release of latest Open Data Inventory (Odin), Report 2020.

The report has ranked the UAE 16th globally out of 187 countries, with an overall score of 75. Compiled by Open Data Watch, the 5th Odin assesses the coverage and openness of official statistics to identify gaps, promote open data policies, improve access, and encourage dialogue between national statistical offices (NSOs) and data users. The UAE jumped 51 positions from 2018, outperforming the US, South Korea, Switzerland, France, Spain, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Etihad airways launches first aircraft carbon offset programme in me

Etihad Airways has committed to purchasing carbon offsets, to completely neutralise the CO2 emissions of its flagship “Greenliner” 787-10 aircraft for a full year of operations in 2021.

The initiative is the start of the airline’s journey to reduce CO2 emissions to 50 percent of 2019 levels by 2035, and to achieve full net zero emissions by 2050 – a first for any airline in the Gulf and one of the first to set a target of this scale in the industry. Separately the airline will implement an additional voluntary offset programme for passengers via its website (etihad.com) in 2021.

Etihad’s Greenliner carbon offset programme has been sourced in partnership with Respira, an international carbon offset finance house specialising in tailored offset schemes across multiple sectors. Etihad’s plan is centred on a Tanzanian forestry project and will initially purchase 80,000 tonnes of CO2 offsets.

The Makame Savannah REDD project — developed by Carbon Tanzania — employs a unique community-based model to curb deforestation and promote better management of local natural resources across over 100,000 hectares in the southern extension of the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem.

Dubai-based GIFS allocates $1b for projects identified by ABiQ

Dubai based investment bank Global Islamic Financial Services (GIFS) will allocate $1B to fund projects identified by ABiQ Business Intelligence (ABiQ), global business intelligence firm.

Business intelligence provider ABiQ is based in Dubai with a team of researchers in Africa collating and validating information. The firm has developed AI to process base data into sought-after business intelligence that can accurately predict where resource shortages will occur, where current opportunities are, and future demand will be.

ABiQ signed an MoU with GIFS on Tuesday and under this agreement, ABiQ will leverage its extensive database to assist GIFS to identify investment and financing opportunities. ABiQ will focus primarily on PPP projects for critical infrastructure such as power, water, healthcare, manufacturing and transport infrastructure but also independent projects in: Agri – foodtech such as hydroponics; Power – solar – hydro – minigrids and ICT sector.

Emil Rademeyer, general manager of ABiQ, said: “With the UAE and the region maturing, both the public and private sector is taking an interest in Africa. The African continent has vast natural resources and still very underdeveloped. This provides ample investment opportunities. The UAE has shown the world what can be done when there is a vision and an underlying will to deliver that vision. Africa has taken note and is keen to learn. The UAE is probably one of the countries’ best connected to the African continent. Not only through its logistics network but also people.”

Abu Dhabi’s ADIA sees China, India as key growth drivers

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the United Arab Emirates’ biggest sovereign wealth fund, said in its 2019 annual review it saw China and India as key drivers of global economic growth, and climate change and data centres as investment opportunities.

ADIA, which manages capital on behalf of the oil rich Abu Dhabi government, does not disclose the value of its assets but financial advisory boutique Global SWF, which specialises in sovereign funds, has put them at $710 billion this year.

In 2019, ADIA achieved 20-year and 30-year annualised rates of return of 4.8 percent and 6.6 percent respectively compared to 5.4 percent and 6.5 percent in 2018, it said in its report, published on Tuesday.

“At ADIA, we view climate change as an opportunity. We already routinely incorporate climate change considerations into all of our investment proposals, and have been steadily expanding our exposure to renewable energy,” Managing Director Hamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan said in the report.

“On a geographic basis, we continue to see China and India as key drivers of global growth in the years to come,” he said, adding that African countries are among those offering the greatest potential for long-term investors.

ADIA employed 1,700 people at the end of 2019. Its portfolio was split between active and passive management with a 55 percent-45 percent ratio. It managed 45 percent of its investment portfolio internally and 55 percent through external managers, it said.

ADIA said it planned to continue to focus on real estate in emerging markets like China, India and Latin America, where a growing consumer class could provide attractive investment opportunities. It said its external equities department had identified a manager to chase opportunities in Mexico.

Dubai unveils affordable payments platform

To facilitate affordable and seamless transactions aimed at taking the UAE closer to its goal to be among the top 10 cashless economies, Dubai Economy announced on Tuesday at Gitex the launch of an inclusive platform that will bring together all payment service providers, and unbanked as well as underbanked merchants.

The platform offers zero onboarding cost to encourage merchant adoption.

With the Unified Payments Network (UPN), offering an affordable and seamless platform, Dubai Economy will seek to accelerate financial inclusion rate in the UAE by empowering local wallets to onboard and encouraging every payment service provider to be part of the network, Dubai Economy said.

The platform is a subsidiary of the flagship ‘EngageDXB’ initiative of Dubai Economy to promote engagement between the private and public sectors, and aims to empower the existing players in the payment ecosystem to accelerate the transition towards a cashless society.

Sami Al Qamzi, director general of Dubai Economy, said UPN would benefit the under-served merchants and individuals, while also empowering the existing players in the digital payments ecosystem. “UPN will enable and accelerate the digital and cashless initiatives aimed to enhance the competitiveness of Dubai and UAE in the digital transformation race globally.”

He said the platform will help achieve the secure and seamless transition of Dubai towards a cashless society in line with the vision of the government and the strategic plans of the Cashless Dubai Working Group constituted recently.

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