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Ease of doing business: UAE jumps 10 places to be 11th

The UAE has expedited its march towards making the economy more attractive for foreign investment and easier to do business as the latest World Bank report ranked the nation among the world’s top 20 countries for the ease of doing business.

According to the Ease of Doing Business 2019 report released on Wednesday by the World Bank, the UAE ranked 11th globally, jumping 10 places from last year’s ranking of 21. The UAE also maintained its highest ranking in the Middle East and North Africa region, with reforms captured in four areas.

Hailing the UAE’s judicial system, the World Bank said the UAE is experiencing improvements in court efficiency and quality of decisions.

“The UAE has been particularly active in promoting a coherent system for judicial training with impressive results in court efficiency and quality of decisions. Judges are embracing a culture of continuous learning and development, which allows them to acquire specialised skills.”

Sami Al Qamzi, director-general, Department of Economic Development, Dubai, attributed this huge leap in the UAE’s ranking to the government’s relentless efforts to make the country a global hub for investment at par with advanced countries in the world.

“Jumping to 11th place worldwide and maintaining the first ranking across the Arab countries in Ease of Doing Business Report 2019 is a results of the efforts exerted by the government entities in the UAE and Dubai, in particular,” Al Qamzi added.

He noted that the Department of Economic Development, Dubai, played a pivotal role in raising competitiveness and providing an attractive and catalyst to businesses.

The instant licence and e-merchant, for example, are some of the most prominent initiatives the DED launched to ease as well as accelerate the procedures to start a business in the emirate of Dubai, Al Qamzi said.

Among the measures taken by the UAE that helped improve the ranking include improved online registration; easier electricity connections for commercial and industrial usage of up to 150 kilo-volt-amperes; easier property registration with greater transparency of the land administration system; and easier access to credit by introducing the possibility of a non-possessory security right in a single category of movable assets without requiring a specific description of the collateral, out-of-court enforcement of the security interest, and a unified and modern collateral registry.

Jitendra Gianchandani, chairman and managing partner of Jitendra Consulting Group, said the UAE’s improvement in the ranking from 21st place to 11th is phenomenal.

ADIO’s dh5b projects to boost economic diversification

Abu Dhabi Investment Office is giving wings to the Government’s Vision 2030 of economic diversification with real estate projects worth Dh5 billion.

ADIO adviser Mohamed Al Hosani said Delma Island – considered the most difficult place to invest – will see massive uplift with implementation of the government’s masterplan.

“We are only implementing Abu Dhabi Government’s 2030 Vision. Our role is to market the government policy and vision to the private sector. We invite the private sector to join us and implement the masterplan,” Al Hosani told on sidelines of International Real Estate and Investment Show (IREIS).

He said Abu Dhabi is looking at a big push into the tourism sector.

“We have 5,000 people on Delma Island. By 2030, we will have 10,000 there. In bid to promote tourism, there will be three hotels on the island. One three-star hotel is Dh100 million and another is Dh30 million. There is one more being developed.”

Stressing on implementation of plans, Al Hosani said: “In July 2017, we had a masterplan ready for a hotel. In July 2018, 60 per cent project got complete and soon we will have new hotel. So this should encourage private sector to invest.”

LULU wins brand of the year at world branding awards

The leading hypermarket and shopping malls chain Lulu won the Brand of the Year Award in the Retail category at the 2018 World Branding Award ceremony on Wednesday.

The annual event evaluates brands from around the world through a three-step procedure including brand evaluation, public online voting and consumer market research.

At a glittering function held at the Kensington Palace in London Ashraf Ali MA, executive director of Lulu Group received the top award from Richard Rowles the chairman of World Branding Forum in the presence of top business leaders and dignitaries from around the world.

World Branding Awards are the top recognition given to an organisation or brand for their path breaking and innovative branding, marketing & communication initiatives over the years and are regarded as the top benchmark in the industry.

“We are obviously very delighted and proud to be chosen as the top global brand and the fact that this award is primarily based on public survey and customer feedback, makes this recognition much more valuable for us” commented Ashraf Ali after receiving the award.

Despite heavy competition the main reason for Lulu getting this coveted award was primarily because of their sustained brand credibility, brand awareness and brand communication, according to the World Branding Forum, the organisers of this prestigious event.

Port groups promote sustainability

Five of the world’s leading container port operators have jointly undertaken a week-long initiative to promote sustainable resource usage in their respective port and facility networks.

During the fifth annual Go Green Initiative, 8,332 employees of DP World, Hutchison Ports, PSA International, Port of Rotterdam and Shanghai International Port Group collected a total of 1,966 kg of aluminium cans and 2,227 mobile phones for recycling.

The choice of two very different waste products for collection and recycling was intentional. Aluminium cans are one of the most recyclable waste items, while mobile phones are e-waste that contain many valuable resources as well as toxic components that can negatively impact both human health and the environment if improperly disposed of. The purpose was to reinforce a simple message among participating employees – that of the need to think twice about the consequences of discarding waste.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive officer of DP World, said: “As we enter the fifth year of Go Green, our sector is more conscious than ever before about the universal importance of the campaign. This year we saw thousands of volunteers from across our global network committing their time to the campaign. Being green is part of our culture and with our Go Green partners we have demonstrated how collaboration can create social value and lasting impact worldwide. By coming together, we can all make a sustainable difference in the communities in which we operate.”

 

Dubai cements position as top Islamic economy hub

Dubai is ideally positioned to be a leading player in the Islamic economy with its well-established and flourishing trade, tourism, transport, logistics and financial sectors. As a vibrant trade hub connecting cultures and commodities in the East and West, the emirate is well-positioned to reap the benefits of growing halal sectors.

“We are at the fulcrum of trade and investment flows between some of the fastest growing economies in the world – in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The UAE’s initiatives to create an open economy and an environment for businesses to flourish make it a natural centre for Islamic manufacturing, services, trade and investments,” says Khamis Buharoon, Acting CEO and Vice Chairman of ADIB.

The global Islamic economy has grown to a $2 trillion market traditionally driven by Islamic finance, but now fast encompassing other key pillars such as halal food, travel, tourism, entertainment, art and culture, and fashion. The robust growth witnessed by the sector stems from various factors including a fast-growing consumer base and the focused, deliberate and strong regulatory support in key markets such as Malaysia, Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“The Islamic Economy has a critical role to play on the progression of sustainable initiatives through a focus on inclusiveness and financial independence,” notes Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Group CEO, Dubai Islamic Bank.

Since Dubai unveiled its ambition to become the global capital for Islamic economy, significant progress has already been made, according to the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), the government entity that is leading this drive. According to DIEDC, the Islamic economy sector contributed 8.3 per cent to Dubai’s GDP in 2016, or Dh33 billion.

The latest State of the Global Islamic Economy Report from Thomson Reuters found that Islamic finance is successfully using Sharia principles to attract new clients – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – and seeking more ethical ways to bank and finance projects. The report revealed that the penetration of Islamic banking in the GCC region surged from 31 per cent in 2008 to 45 per cent in 2017, with nonresident deposits in UAE’s Islamic banks growing by $1.14 billion in 2018 alone.

While conventional banking is leading the way in terms of technology adoption, Islamic finance is also increasingly leveraging digital banking and fintech. The digitalisation of financial services and payments is on the rise, most notably in the GCC region, according to Abdulla Al Awar, CEO of DIEDC.

Dubai turns Islamic economy hub

Key initiatives have helped position Dubai as a global hub of Islamic economy with the sector’s contribution to the emirate’s gross domestic product (GDP) registering 14 per cent growth, outpacing the global trend.

Driven by various strategic initiatives, the share of Islamic economy in Dubai’s GDP grew from 7.6 per cent in 2014 to 8.3 per cent in 2016, the UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri told participants at the Global Islamic Economy Summit 2018 (GIES) which opened on Tuesday.

The conference, the world’s largest forum on the global Islamic economy, was inaugurated by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai.

Highlighting the momentum gained by ‘Dubai: Capital of Islamic Economy’ initiative since its launch in 2013, Al Mansouri said the UAE is committed to boosting productive sectors and developing strategies that encourage responsible investment, entrepreneurship and innovation.

The minister said as a result of modern technology, such as blockchain, digital currencies and Artificial Intelligence, the dynamics of the global Islamic economy have changed through the introduction of new challenges as well as opportunities.

“As the largest event of its kind on a global scale, the GIES is the most fitting platform to address these issues and present outcomes that highlight the advantages of the new economic reality,” said Al Mansouri.

According to the recent ‘State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2018-19’, the UAE ranks top globally across five Islamic economy sectors as Islamic finance assets globally recorded a surge to $3.8 trillion while global Muslim spend on food and beverage is expected to reach $1.9 trillion by 2023.

Held under the theme ‘A shared future’, the fourth edition of GIES is being organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) .

Over 3,000 key decision makers, policymakers, business leaders and industry experts from around the world are attending the two-day summit. Coming under spotlight at the event are new trends and technologies that are reshaping the global Islamic economy as well as key challenges and growth opportunities.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Rustam Minnikhanov, President of Tatarstan, highlighted his country’s strong commitment to cooperating with the Dubai government to advance the Islamic economy.

“We cooperate closely with the DIEDC, especially in the sphere of halal lifestyle. This has become a main topic of the Kazan Summit, which this year celebrated its 10th anniversary. The Kazan Summit is an international economic forum that addresses major issues of strengthening relations between Russia and the Islamic world – it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Kazan Summit next year,” said Minnikhanov.

Majid Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and board member of DIEDC, highlighted the summit’s role as a global platform enabling various stakeholders to collaborate and support the development of the global Islamic economy.

Al Ghurair noted that Dubai has made considerable headway in achieving its vision of becoming the capital of the global Islamic economy.

“We look forward to transforming the ideas we explore today into a plan of action and to setting the necessary procedures and frameworks that can radically transform the Islamic economy and to establish it as a leading global economic model. These objectives and many others set our event apart; the GIES is a bold step towards sustainable economic development for all,” Al Ghurair added.

During the first plenary session, Chiara Appendino, Mayor of Turin, Italy, shared her perspectives on how technological disruption is complicating the economic frameworks and policies that governments have traditionally depended on. An examination of whether the Islamic economy’s inherent characteristics make it more readily adaptable to such disruptions was the subject of the second plenary session, while the third assessed the unprecedented growth opportunities for Muslim countries that are being created by China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative.

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