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PROTECTIONISM TO HIT GLOBAL ECONOMY-WARNS UAE

Economic openness and free markets have been an incentive for the growth of economies, says UAE Economy Minister Protectionist policies would only undermine the growth of investments and negatively impact the prosperity of the global economy, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, said.

Inaugurating the seventh edition of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), the world’s largest annual gathering on foreign direct investment, the minister said economic openness and free markets have been an incentive for the growth of economies. “Trade protectionism policies have always served short-term objectives, but their long-term implications are negative.”

“Today, we meet to emphasise that FDI has always been a contributing factor in the development of the economies of receiving and exporting countries,” he said. in line with the 2021 Vision, the UAE has not only become a regional and global centre for investment and business but also a source of huge investment flows to several countries in the world. Al Mansouri said the UAE, ranked 16th in the Global Competitiveness Report in 2016-2017, has the most competitive position in the region, he said. The UAE is also the largest investment-attracting country in the Middle East and North Africa region, according to Unctad’s Global Investment Report 2016, he said.

FDI is a major driver of economic growth and sustainability. The world economy has seen a surge in FDI flows over the past decades, and it is clear that both developed and developing countries are working hard to develop favourable policies and incentives to attract more foreign investments. However, on a national level, “we must pay greater attention to the desired outcomes and the potential gains that can be achieved, by developing improved FDI strategies, to increase productivity and enhance national competitiveness,” Al Mansouri said.

“A key objective of the UAE Vision 2021 is to increase the volume of foreign investments in the country, by building strong and sustainable relations of mutual benefits between our wise government and the friendly governments and companies from around the world,” he said.

IRAN NOT CONCERNED OVER INDIAN THEAT TO CUT IMPORT OF IRANIAN OIL

TEHRAN – Iran does not consider India’s decision to cut oil imports from Tehran in 2017/18 by a fifth as a threat, ISNA quoted Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh as saying on Wednesday.

According to sources close to Reuters, Indian state refiners were going to cut oil imports from Iran, as New Delhi seeks to put pressure on Tehran to award the Farzad B gas field to an Indian consortium. “India is one of our good costumers, but we cannot sign (a) contract under threat,” Zanganeh said.

“India’s cut of oil imports from Iran will not cause any trouble to us as we have other buyers,” he added. Zanganeh said despite an extension of deadlines, India has not offered an acceptable proposal for the development of the gas field. “Their proposal was not profitable to Iran … We sent (the) Indians a letter and told them we are keen to continue negotiations, but under sensible conditions, not under threats.”

India, Iran’s biggest oil buyer after China, was among a handful of countries that continued to deal with the Tehran despite Western sanctions over its nuclear program. A consortium headed by ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas investment arm of Indian explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp, discovered Farzad B in the Farsi offshore block in 2008.

The consortium, which also includes Oil India and Indian Oil Corp,could not obtain permission to develop the field due to Western sanctions, but those sanctions were removed last year. India and Iran had both been hopeful of wrapping up the Farzad B deal by March, although Zanganeh said Iran has asked other countries to submit their proposals for its development.

OVL intends to spend more than $3 billion on Iran’s Farzad-B natural gas block. OVL last month submitted a revised plan to the Iranian government for the block, which the company will be able to develop within five years, Managing Director N.K. Verma told reporters in Mumbai. The Indian oil company is now waiting for feedback from Tehran, Verma said.

OVER 200,000 NEW ENTERPRISES IN ONE YEAR

TEHRAN- Over 200,000 enterprises were established in Iran during the past Iranian calendar year, which ended on March 20, IRNA reported quoting Iran Chamber of Guilds Chairman Ali Fazeli.

It shows that there is high potential for employment in the small-sized businesses, Fazeli noted. He referred to preserving stability in the business environment and facilitating condition for starting new businesses as some of the necessities for small-sized enterprises and said the mid-term plans of Iran Chamber of Guilds in this due will come to result this year.

 

DUBAI RANKS 7TH AMONG TOP 10 GLOBAL CITIES

Dubai attracted Dh25.5 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in 2016 and succeeded in maintaining its position among the top 10 global cities in attracting foreign investment, ranking seventh worldwide, said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council.

Dubai has also succeeded in attracting 247 new investment projects and stood third behind London and Singapore in new investment initiatives in 2016, as per the latest Dubai FDI Monitor report released by the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy. Sami Al Qamzi, Director-General of Dubai Economy, said that

Dubai’s success in maintaining its advanced position among the cities of the world in terms of capital inflow and the number of new FDI projects is a major achievement. It reaffirms investor confidence in Dubai while also underlining its role as a major hub in the global economy and its resilience amid global and regional economic changes and challenges.

Al Qamzi said FDI inflows and diversified investment projects are critical to achieving the objectives of the Dubai Plan 2021 and the Dubai Industrial Strategy, both of which focus on expanding the baseof high value-added economic activities. The economy in Dubai has continued to grow at a rate higher than that of the Gulf region and the world, Al Qamzi said. Dubai grew 2.7 per cent in 2016 while the growth expected in 2017 and 2018 is 3.2 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively.

Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai Investment Development Agency – an agency of Dubai Economy – said the vision and initiatives of the leadership have boosted investor confidence in Dubai and its readiness to bring in foreign investments as a city of the future seeking to besmart, sustainable and innovative. New opportunities created by world-leading companies opening their research, development and innovation centres in Dubai is a remarkable step in promoting sustainable investment in the emirate.

STRATEGIC ADVANTAGES

Al Gergawi mentioned companies such as Amazon and Tesla opening their regional headquarters in Dubai, adding that the emirate has strategic advantages in leading the push towards a knowledge economy at the local and regional levels and as a gateway for businesses to expand across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. He stressed the importance of attracting investments in advanced knowledge and technology, which will enhance the digital transformation in Dubai and strengthen the emirate’s position on the global digital business map. Investment in technology is one of the most important enablers of sustainable investment that has a positive impact on the economy, he said.

ETISALAT POSTS RECORD PROFIT

Telecom operator Etisalat has announced a net annual profit of Dh8.4 billion for 2016, and proposed a final dividend payout of 40 fils per share for the second half of 2016, representing a total dividend payout of 80 fils for the full year. The telecom giant reported twoper cent growth in consolidated revenues to Dh52.4 billion for 2016. In the fourth quarter revenues rose three per cent to Dh12.9 billion, while net profit after federal royalty was Dh2.2 billion.

While the group’s aggregate subscriber base reached 162 million, in the UAE it grew to 12.3 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2016 representing a year on year growth of six per cent. “Subscriber growth continued to be driven by strong performance of mobile and eLife segments. The mobile subscriber base grew year on year by seven per cent to 10.4 million subscribers,” the group said in a statement.

Etisalat, which was the first in the region to conduct live 5G trials, and to launch a live and operational Telco Cloud infrastructure as part of its virtualisation plans, said the UAE ranked number one globally for the highest fibre network connectivity, with household penetration of 93.7 per cent. Etisalat chairman Eissa Mohamed Al Suwaidi said the group continues to strengthen its position as one of the leading operators in emerging markets. “In the face of global economic pressure, Etisalat Group has, once again, demonstrated strong performance, evidence of a business that is both robust and resilient.”

“In terms of achievements, 2016 was a very important period for ‘Etisalat Group’ as we laid key foundational steps in our journey towards digital transformation.,” he said. Engineer Saleh Al Abdooli, group chief executive officer, Etisalat Group, said the financial results are a testimonial of the group resilience and ability to mitigate the pressures arising from the global economic slowdown. “Etisalat Group has maintained its high ratings with international credit agencies, and is serving a large and strong customer base across its international footprint, with a considerable potential to grow further”

“In 2016 we have crossed another critical milestone in our journey aswe started to pursue an ambitious agenda in the digital space; the same is a necessity in order to maintain our leadership position in local and international markets as digital becomes the next big thing. Our focus remains on providing governments, businesses and individuals with innovative, simple, and relevant solutions that harness the power of technology and maximizes their potential.”

Ibrahim Dikko, vice-president for regulatory affairs at Etisalat Nigeria, said etisalat missed payments due to an economic downturn in Nigeria, a currency devaluation there and dollar shortages on the country’s interbank market. “We are in discussions with our bankers and have been for quite a while. They have not taken over the business and we are hoping that we can resolve the issue and find a way to renegotiate terms,” said Dikko.

UAE ORGANISES 256 EXHIBITIONS IN 2016

The UAE ranks first in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region in organising and hosting exhibitions, says a recent report published by exhibition industry insights provider Explori. The results of the report were revealed during a meeting held by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) at the Expo Centre Sharjah. The meeting was presided by Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO of Expo Centre Sharjah and chairman of UFI’s MEA chapter, with the attendance of Mahir Julfar, vice-president of commercial exhibitions and conferences at the Dubai World Trade Centre, as well as a number of CEOs and executives working in the exhibitions and conferences industry.

The meeting reviewed the results of the report, which highlighted the success of the UAE in organising 256 exhibitions throughout 2016, followed by South Africa (209) and Turkey (197). Meanwhile, the number of visitors to exhibitions held across the Middle East, including the UAE, reached 17 million, compared to seven million visitors to South Africa’s exhibitions. The meeting discussed the various activities and schedule of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry for 2017 and its plans for 2018. It also discussed methods of utilising the report’s findings and research data to develop this sector to match international peers.

Gauge of economic growth Al Midfa explained that the sector represents an indicator of the level of economic development. He stressed on the importance of UFI as a meeting platform for senior industry officials and experts in the region and the role it plays as a knowledge and information exchange platform. Al Midfa noted that the report reflects the UAE’s high status in the field of exhibitions and conferences, both regionally and globally, and the vital role it plays in developing the industry and enhancing its competitiveness and overall advancement.

Kai Hattendorf, managing director/CEO of UFI, said the meeting presents an opportunity to discuss ways of cooperation between the Arab and international unions and to exchange views and experiences. It is also a platform for planning future projects and discuss prospects of joint action to serve the industry on regional and global levels. Mahmoud Al Jarrah, secretary-general for the Arab Union of International Exhibitions and Conferences, said the meeting will contribute to outlining the cooperation process between unions through a variety of activities and training programmes, noting that both parties will sign a memorandum of understanding in this context.

Julfar commended Al Midfa’s efforts in collecting information and data about the exhibitions industry in the region. He also said the Dubai World Trade Centre is keen on cooperating with its strategic partners in the union to support the exhibitions industry on a regional level. According to Explori, the number of construction and infrastructure exhibitions reached 143, followed by business and retail services, which ranked second with 135 exhibitions, then energy, oil and gas with 123 exhibitions.

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