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UAE DIGITAL INVESTMENT

Dubai: In three years, the UAE has grown the size of its investment in technology from $35 million (Dh128.5 million) in 2013 to $799 million in 2016, according to a new report released by Dubai SME. The State of Digital Investments in Mena report highlights how the UAE remains the preferred destination for investors and entrepreneurs for the fourth year in a row.

“The directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to develop an investor-friendly economy and provide data to ensure successful investments whether locally or from around the world, have led to tangible and documented achievements as the UAE maintained its position an investment destination of choice in the region,” said Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

He added that “the UAE has clear legislative and regulatory frameworks that not only protect the rights and interests of investors but also enable emerging investors and entrepreneurs to achieve the highest degree of success.”

In 2016, 90 per cent of all dollars invested in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) went in to the UAE. This trend is set to continue, driven by the fact that growth stage companies are increasingly Dubai-based.

UAE BANKS FEDERATION DISCUSSES CHALLENGES IN THE BANKING SECTOR

Dubai: The CEOs Advisory Council of the UAE Banks Federation (UBF), a professional representative body comprising 48 member banks operating in the UAE, met for the second time in 2017 to discuss the latest developments and challenges in the banking sector. The council also reviewed progress on current initiatives, namely the Ethical Selling Code of Conduct as well as the Customers Complaint Framework.

“We had a fruitful meeting looking at a number of proposals and initiatives of our technical committees, which aim to raise the standards in line with the best international practices in the banking sector,” Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the UBF, said in a statement.

“In line with [the] UBF and [the] banks’ mandate to promote innovation, we were able to explore potential digitisation standard for the blockchain, which will identify new rooms for improvement of efficiency and customer experience,” Al Ghurair added.

The CEOs council has also adopted the UBF Digital Banking Committee initiative to conduct a feasibility study for block chain technology and explore opportunities for creating an industry standard to digitise various processes within the banks. During the meeting, Daniel Glaser, a principal with the Financial Integrity Network, addressed the council outlining the measures that will enable banks in the UAE to enhance their AML (anti-money laundering) and sanctions compliance. The council also discussed key topics to be addressed during the fifth edition of the Middle East Banking Forum, a leading banking forum, which is scheduled to take place on November 22.

IRAN, RUSSIA SHARE BANK CARD SYSTEMS

TEHRAN- Iran and Russia integrated their bank card systems with each other for the citizens of both sides to be able to use their bank cards in each other’s countries, Public Relations Department of Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced.

According to CBI, the two countries have started related trial transactions since Monday and Iranian citizens will be able to use their cards on the territory of Russia, while Russian bank cards will automatically operate in Iran like local cards from the end of Iranian fifth calendar month of Mordad (August 22), IRIB

FRENCH CARS INFLUX INTO IRANIAN MARKET

TEHRAN- French carmakers are rushing into Iranian market in the absence of rivals.

PSA and Renault are turning the U.S. absence in the Iranian market into an advantage by piling into a resurgent market still off-limits to foreign rivals fearful of sanctions under Donald Trump’s administration, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Unrestricted by sanctions that remained on the books – keeping their U.S. and German competitors out, Peugeot and Citroen maker PSA and Renault are free to enter Iran’s relatively untapped market. Renault’s sales in Iran rose sharply (161.5%) for a market share of 9%, up 4.9 points, in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period of time in 2016, the company’s international website reported in late April. According to the report, the increase has occurred thanks to the success of Tondar and Sandero in Iran. Also, according to a report released by Renault in late March, the company could sell 13,449 cars during the first month of 2017 in Iran, showing a 348-percent increase compared to the same month last year. In January 2016, Renault sold more than 3,000 cars in the Iranian market. Meanwhile, Peugeot has agreed to make the Peugeot 2008 locally. This could be quite a boon for them because there’s a 40 percent import tariff at the moment.

UAE EXCHANGE EYES EXPANDED SHARE IN GLOBAL MARKET

DUBAI: UAE Exchange Group, a global remittance and foreign exchange business, aims to spend between $250 million and $300 million on acquisitions to build its global market share, its chief executive said.

The group aims to increase its share of the $575 billion global remittance industry to more than 10 per cent by 2020, from 6.75 per cent currently, Promoth Manghat said. “The group is exploring multiple bolt-on acquisition opportunities as well as strategic investments in remittances and payments space with a specific focus on fintech (and) digital,” Manghat said.

Exchange houses and other traditional payment processors such as banks are facing a challenge from fintech companies, which can increasingly transfer payments at more competitive rates. UAE Exchange’s majority shareholders bought Travelex in January 2015 for 800 million pounds ($1.1 billion).

Manghat said UAE Exchange was working with unidentified boutique firms and banks to advise it on two to three potential acquisitions in 2017. Global remittances to developing countries fell for a second year in a row in 2016 to $429 billion, a trend not seen in three decades, according to World Bank data, due in part to low oil prices and weak economic growth in the Gulf and Russia taking a toll on remittances to Asia.

 

GROWING TRADE BETWEEN DUBAI AND QATAR DUBAI

Dubai’s trade with Qatar grew 92 per cent in the period from 2011 to 2016, reaching Dh15 billion last year, according to Sultan Bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman and CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, PCFC.

“The GCC customs union is moving steadily towards a full integration between the GCC countries by supporting trade between them and helping them attract more global investment and trade to the region. This is why we, at Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, develop means of cooperation and coordination with the Qatari authorities. Dubai external trade with Qatar reached Dh15 billion in 2016 compared to Dh7.8 billion in 2011,” Bin Sulayem said during a meeting a meeting with a Qatari delegation headed by Ahmed Abdullah Al Jamal, Chairman of Qatar Customs Authority.

Bin Sulayem pointed out that PCFC works towards a full integration between customs authorities in the GCC. The Qatari delegation is in Dubai to learn more about Dubai Customs experience in developing and boosting customs work. They toured the client service centre in Jebel Ali.

Yousuf Al Hashemi, Director of Customs Centres Management briefed the visitors on the efforts and steps taken to make clients happier and their transactions done faster. The visit also included the customs passenger operation centres in Dubai airports and the Cargo Village Customs Centre.

SHARJAH TO BOOST LOGISTICS SECTOR

Dubai: Sharjah’s Chamber of Commerce said it is aiming to create new opportunities for exporters in the emirate, a move that will require increased cooperation with the transport and logistics sector.

The synergies between the chamber and the logistics sector are expected to “significantly accelerate growth and innovation,” the

Chamber said on Wednesday at the Sharjah Business Summit. The event, which convened with over 100 government leaders, explored the emirate’s investment outlook and showcased the latest logistics and supply chain solutions.

SOLAR PROJECT TO CREATE 7000 JOBS

Dubai: A massive renewable energy programme in Saudi Arabia is expected to generate thousands of jobs. The solar project seeks to harness renewable energy and build a local manufacturing industry that can boost the kingdom’s exports, and ultimately generate 7,000 employment opportunities by 2020, according to a Bloomberg report.

Saudi Arabia was earlier reported to require a $30 billion to $50billion investment to materialise its renewable energy programme that seeks to cut local crude consumption in one of the world’s largest oil exporters. Bidders have been invited to pitch for the construction of 3.45-gigawatt solar and wind plants by 2020. The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, however, is requiring bidders to spend 30 per cent of the capital through home-grown employees and companies.

“We want to create value. We don’t just want to bring in companies that open up manufacturing facilities at a very high premium, which the consumer will end up paying,” Turki al-Shehri, head of the renewable project development office in Saudi Arabia said.

“We want to ensure that whatever they are opening is competitive, that it can compete globally for exports.” With the kingdom’s population growing annually, domestic demand for electricity has also been on the rise, prompting the government to find ways to diversify its energy mix. Currently, only a small portion (less than 1 per cent) of the country’s power supply is derived from renewable sources.

SAUDI ARAMCO TO BUILD CHINA REFINERY

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. agreed to build a refinery and petrochemical plant in China, deepening ties between world’s biggest oil seller and its largest importer. Saudi Aramco, as the company is known, and state-owned China North Industries Group Corp. signed an agreement Tuesday for an integrated refining and chemical facility in Liaoning’s Panjin, according to a statement from China North. The project includes a 15 million tonnes-a-year (about 300,000 barrels a day) oil refinery, 1 million tonnes-a-year ethylene cracker, and other chemical projects.

The deal is part of Saudi Aramco’s strategy of investing in refining to help lock in demand for its crude and follows agreements earlier this year for stakes worth $13 billion in refining projects in Malaysia and Indonesia. The project makes Norinco, as China North is known, a player in the country’s energy industry from primarily being a defence manufacturer. It also allows it to invest in Saudi Arabian industries, including railways, power, mining, telecommunications and oil exploration.

“It’s consistent with Saudi Arabia’s policy to diversify their customer base and lock in potential buyers as much as possible, as the global crude glut has turned the game from ’who can produce more’ to ’who can sell more’,” said Tian Miao, an analyst at North Square Blue Oak Ltd in Beijing. “For Norinco, the deal can help it secure stable crude supply, while providing opportunities to sell products and services to Saudi Arabia’s market.”

90 MILLION AIR TRAFFIC AT DUBAI AIRPORTS IN 2017

Dubai Airports CEO cites challenges in aviation including economic growth, political unrest Published: 19:05 May 16, 2017

Sarah Diaa, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Dubai’s two airports are likely to welcome a combined total of 90 million passengers by the end of 2017, according to Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports.

In a speech in Dubai on Tuesday, Griffiths said, however, that the aviation industry is expected to face challenges this year including oil prices, slower global economic growth, and political unrest.

“If we look forward, the projection for passenger growth in Dubai remains very, very strong… As we edge up towards 2025, we believe that, globally, demand for air travel through Dubai will hit about 142.8 million – 118 million of that we’ve got to accommodate in our existing airport, Dubai International by 2023,î he said. In 2016, Dubai International welcomed 83.6 million passengers, marking a 7.2 per cent increase year-on-year. The airport is one of the world’s busiest, following airports in Atlanta in the US and Beijing.

“We are on the cusp of opening and finalising expansion of the airport terminal at Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International, which would give us capacity to 26 million by 2018, and of course, Dubai World Central phase 2 is scheduled to open by 2025 with an initial capacity of something like 120 million, with the space to grow significantly beyond that to double the capacity,” Griffiths said. Earlier this week, the Dubai government announced it had secured $3 billion in credit facilities to expand both the emirate’s airports to enable them to handle increased capacity.

Speaking at the Airport Show, which kicked off on Monday, the CEO cited “destabilising” factors impacting the aviation industry on the short term such as oil prices. He said that lower oil prices gave airlines an opportunity to restructure their business, and an oil price correction might halt that restructuring.

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