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ADGM office of data protection first in Gulf to join IECWG

The Office of Data Protection (ODP) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international financial centre in the Mena region, has become the first data protection regulator in the Gulf region to join the Global Privacy Assembly’s International Enforcement Cooperation Working Group (IECWG).

The IECWG is a permanent working group of the Global Privacy Assembly. Its purpose is to facilitate and support enforcement cooperation on live cases impacting multiple jurisdictions. The IECWG is co-chaired by the Canadian Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC), the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the United States’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Sami Mohammed, ADGM commissioner of Data Protection, said, “We are pleased to be the first Data Protection regulator in the Gulf to join the IECWG. The processing and misuse of personal data is a global issue as many of us rely on technological solutions and services on a daily basis. It is our responsibility to ensure that the business community at ADGM respects the rights of Data Subjects and complies with our Data Protection Regulations. Our participation and membership of the IECWG demonstrates that we will work with other authorities to safeguard the rights of these individuals.”

The Global Privacy Assembly, formerly known as the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, is a forum for Data Protection and Privacy Authorities across the world. The Assembly has over 130 participating authorities including ADGM.

The ADGM ODP was established as a result of ADGM’s enactment of a new set of Data Protection Regulations in 2021, replacing the current Data Protection Regulations of 2015. The ADGM ODP is responsible for promoting data protection within ADGM, maintaining the register of Data Controllers, enforcing the obligations upon Data Controllers and upholding the rights of Data Subjects.

Dubai to get new waterfront shopping destination

A new, waterfront shopping destination is all set to open in Dubai’s Deira Islands. Nakheel Malls will open Souk Al Marfa in April 2021 in partnership with DP World.

Stretching 1.9km along the waterfront, Souk Al Marfa is in close proximity with Mina Rashid, Mina Al Hamriya and Deira Wharfage. It can ship and import directly to its 2,500 shops and pavilions.

The retail and trading hub will operate seven days a week and 365 days a year. UAE citizens, residents and tourists are welcome to visit and “enjoy a diverse, large-scale shopping destination”, the Government of Dubai Media Office said in a Press note.

“A centralised one-stop-shop at Deira, Dubai’s oldest and most traditional trading hub, Souk Al Marfa provides affordable growth opportunities to traders by offering multiple benefits … These include 100 percent foreign ownership, repatriation of capital and profit, no restrictions on currency movement, logistical ease and ancillary amenities such as warehousing, office space, showrooms, ancillary retail and F&B facilities; all with minimal paperwork,” the media office said.

Dubai is the world’s third-largest re-exporting hub, serving countries including the GCC, Africa, Iraq and Yemen. “Souk Al Marfa brings a unique opportunity to unlock inbound investment and increase trade from surrounding countries.”

Omar Khoory, Chief Hospitality and Assets Officer, Nakheel, said: “Dubai excels in the movement of goods globally through its port facilities, but we uncovered an opportunity for SME traders at a wholesale level. “Souk Al Marfa will bridge this gap and provide a vibrant centralised trader experience and a new stream of economic activity.”

Adyen selects DIFC for its regional headquarters

Dubai International Financial Centre has welcomed global payment technology provider Adyen, a company that has a market capitalisation of euro 66.4 billion and processed over euro 303.6 billion worth of transactions in 2020.

Dutch firm Adyen announced their expansion into the Middle East in November 2020. The company selected the DIFC as the location for its regional headquarters, due to the Centre’s regional reach and comprehensive ecosystem.

Expanding to Dubai complements Adyen’s presence in other leading financial hubs across the world such as New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.

The move will enable Adyen’s existing merchant base to launch operations in the region seamlessly, whilst providing merchants from the region with frictionless access to the full strength of the Adyen platform.

The Centre’s comprehensive financial ecosystem continues to attract global payments and technology players to the region in order to scale via accessing MEASA markets. Adyen will join the region’s broadest and deepest community of growth stage start-ups, established financial services companies, venture capital and educational entities that are working together to create a bright future across financial and economic sectors.

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer, DIFC Authority, said, “We are pleased that Adyen has selected DIFC as their regional office for the Middle East. They are joining the region’s largest, most innovative and forward-thinking community of more than 2,500 financial related businesses who are working with us to shape the future of the industry. We are confident that our connectivity, ecosystem, infrastructure, laws and regulations will help them expand successfully across the region.”

UAE most prepared country for B2C e-commerce in middle east: UN

The UAE remains the most prepared country for B2C e-commerce in the Middle East region, followed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to the latest UN report.

Other regional countries in the top 10 include Oman, Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Bahrain, Jordan, and Iraq, said the UNCTAD’s Business-to-consumer E-Commerce Index 2020 released on Wednesday.

Globally, the UAE was ranked 37th on the index, slipping nine slots from its previous position.

Kearney Middle East has projected that the growth of the GCC e-commerce sector will be accelerated by the effects of Covid-19 to reach $50 billion (Dh183.5 billion) by 2025. It predicted that e-commerce will become the main source of growth in the retail sector over the next five years, which has grown from a mere $5 billion in 2015 to about $24 billion in 2020.

Globally, Switzerland replaced the Netherlands at the top of UNCTAD’s Business-to-Consumer E-commerce Index 2020, which ranks 152 countries on their readiness to engage in online commerce.

Denmark, Singapore, UK, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Norway and Hong Kong make up the top 10 countries. While the least prepared countries belong to Africa, led by Niger, Chad, Burundi, Comoros and DR Congo.

The UNCTAD said last year that e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion globally in 2018, up eight percent from 2017.

Europe remains by far the most prepared region for e-commerce, but wide gaps with countries with the lowest level of readiness need to be addressed by tackling weaknesses in those nations to spread the benefits of digital transformation to more people.

Fujairah oil products stocks drop to 2021 low

Oil products stockpiles at the Port of Fujairah dropped to the lowest level of 2021, with exports of fuel oil setting a record high.

Total inventory was 20.854 million barrels on February 15, down 1.6 percent from a week earlier and the lowest since November 30, according to Fujairah Oil Industry Zone, or FOIZ, data released February 17 exclusively to S&P Global Platts.

Heavy distillates, including marine bunkers and fuel oil, dropped 3 percent over the same period to 9.487 million barrels, also the lowest since November 30th.

Fuel oil exports for the week started February 8, 2021 were 440,000 b/d, setting a record 447,000 b/d for the four-week moving average, according to data intelligence firm Kpler. Shipments for the most recent week were heading for Singapore, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mauritius and Sudan.

Middle distillates stocks stood at 4.166 million barrels as of February 15, a four-week low and down 5 percent from a week earlier. The category includes gasoil, diesel and jet fuel.

Light distillates, including gasoline and naphtha stocks, rose to 7.201 million barrels as of February 15th, up 3 percent from a week earlier and the highest in two weeks.

UAE aviation agency clears boeing 737 max to fly again

The United Arab Emirates, a key international travel hub, announced on Wednesday it has lifted its ban on Boeing’s 737 Max, allowing the plane to return to its skies after being grounded for nearly two years following a pair of deadly crashes.

Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority, said the country gave clearance to the planes “as a result of intensive efforts by the authority’s technical committees,” according to the state-run WAM news agency.

The government ensured all safety conditions had been met after the US Federal Aviation Administration ended the grounding last fall, Al Suwaidi added, without specifying when flights would resume.

The planes were grounded worldwide in March 2019 following the crashes of a Lion Air flight near Jakarta on Oct. 29, 2018, and an Ethiopian Airlines flight on March 10, 2019, which killed a total of 346 people. Investigators have attributed the crashes to a range of problems, including a faulty computer system that pushed the planes’ noses downward in flight until the jets plummeted.

Al Suwaidi said the UAE’s approval included “corrective measures” applied by airlines operating the planes, particularly “modernization” of software known as MCAS, the flight control system, which was designed to push the plane’s nose down in certain circumstances. The UAE also will mandate an upgrade of pilot training procedures and readiness tests for all aircraft being returned to service.

The 737 Max returned American skies last December, after the Federal Aviation Administration approved changes that Boeing made to the automated flight control system. It has also been allowed by the European aviation safety agency to resume flights, in addition to Brazil and Transport Canada.

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