Cyber intelligence company Group-IB opens regional HQ in Dubai

MENA Newswire: Group-IB, a global threat hunting and adversary-centric cyber intelligence company specializing in investigating and preventing hi-tech cybercrimes, has officially announced the opening of its Middle East & Africa Threat Intelligence & Research Center in Dubai. The grand opening, held at the Habtoor Palace Dubai, was attended by representatives of the local financial organizations, government institutions, and the guest of honor, Mr. Craig Jones, INTERPOL Cybercrime director. 

Cyber intelligence company Group-IB opens regional HQ in Dubai

Group-IB's leadership views the opening of its MEA Threat Intelligence & Research Center as a critical milestone toward achieving the strategic goal of building the first ever decentralized global cybersecurity company with fully operational R&D centers in the key financial hubs. 

Group-IB's office would operate as a sales hub and a full-scale regional HQ, offering all core technological competencies and bringing with it the top skills that are found across its global HQ in Singapore and other offices. The new Center, located at the Dubai Internet City, will accommodate 18 employees from key Group-IB units: hi-tech crime investigations, Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) lab, Threat Intelligence, security assessment, Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-GIB), Threat and Fraud Hunting teams, Digital Risk Protection department, and other major divisions. 

"The threat of cybercrime is global, with regions being impacted differently," noted Mr. Craig Jones, Director of Cybercrime, INTERPOL. "By understanding first-hand how the threats are evolving and what impact and harm they are causing in the region, I know that together we can mitigate those far-reaching threats and reduce harm more effectively. Encompassing a wide range of expertise, experience and skills, this HQ will play a pivotal role for Group IB's research into the regional threat landscape and on-the-ground support for their customers and partners. INTERPOL's Global Cybercrime Program looks forward to further strengthening our partnership with Group-IB and increasing operational activities against cybercrime in the region in collaboration with this office."

Dubai is one of the regional strongholds for the coordination of cross-border efforts against cybercrime and research into threat actors and their techniques. The brand-new Threat Intelligence & Research Center enables local community to leverage Group-IB's in-depth knowledge of criminal schemes and close collaboration with international law enforcement and cyber police forces worldwide. The company's battle-tested experts carried out more than 1,200 successful investigations over 18 years around the world enriching the Group-IB's technology ecosystem with first-hand understanding of intrusion tactics used in the most sophisticated cyberattacks. Knowledge transfer and hiring of local talents are other key elements of Group-IB's strategy. The company plans to have more than 50 team members in the UAE within the next 18 months.

"Zero tolerance to cybercriminals has brought us to the forefront of the global fight against online crime," remarked Ilya Sachkov, Group-IB CEO and founder, commenting on the office opening. "Dubai is a perfect place to carry on this mission together with local institutions and international law enforcement. As part of our contribution to building a vibrant cybersecurity ecosystem in the UAE, we plan to develop world-class research, monitoring, incident detection and response capabilities here in Dubai and adapt them to the needs of the market," he added.

In his keynote speech, Group-IB CTO Dmitry Volkov highlighted underlying regional cyber trends such as ransomware attacks and sale of access to corporate networks. According to Group-IB's data, at least 12 victims suffered publicly known ransomware attacks in the Middle East in 2020, with most of them having taken place in the UAE. 

To that end, Group-IB brings to the region a product and service portfolio that includes a first-ever all in one solution Threat Hunting Framework for the protection of both IT and OT segments. Another innovation that becomes more accessible to local customers is Group-IB's Threat Intelligence & Attribution (TI&A), a system designed to create and customize a cyber threat map for a specific company. Every analyst who uses TI&A now gets access to the largest collection of dark web data, an advanced hacker group profiling model, and a fully automated graph analysis tool that helps correlate data and attribute threats to specific criminal groups in seconds.

Ashraf Koheil, an industry heavyweight, is the most recent addition to the Group-IB team in the UAE. Mr. Koheil brings over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience in IT&ICT security. He will lead Group-IB's regional business development team.

"The UAE is one of the most progressive and demanding markets striving for continuous improvement in all aspects including government, services, banking with cybersecurity at the forefront," comments Mr. Koheil. "This makes Group-IB a perfect fit as our mission is all about eliminating all facets of cybercrime, be it financially motivated, nation state activity, or social engineering scams. We expect a lot of our growth to come from the true partner friendly ecosystem that we've been creating in the region. We are also planning joint research & development with key government institutions in the financial sector and law enforcement to bring more localized solutions and develop local expertise."

Flydubai to connect Dubai to Sharm El Sheikh from 15 June

Flydubai, the Dubai-based airline, announced the launch of flights to Sharm El Sheikh. The carrier will operate three weekly flights to Sharm El Sheikh International Airport (SSH) from 15th June. The route will become flydubai’s second destination in Egypt alongside Alexandria Borg El Arab International Airport (HBE).

Flydubai to connect Dubai to Sharm El Sheikh from 15 June

The launch of flights to the popular resort city follows the launch of several holiday destinations brings the number of seasonal routes served by flydubai to seven destinations including Bodrum and Trabzon in Turkey, Batumi in Georgia, Mykonos and Santorini in Greece and Tivat in Montenegro.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer at flydubai, said: "As more countries gradually lift restrictions on international travel, we are excited to grow our network and give passengers more options to travel this summer. Sharm El Sheikh has been a popular holiday destination for many years and we expect to see strong demand for travel from the UAE and GCC."

Flydubai will restart its operations to Batumi in Georgia and Tivat in Montenegro from 25th June and both destinations offer UAE residents visa on arrival. Flights to Bodrum and Trabzon in Turkey will start from 4th and 24th June respectively with flights Mykonos and Santorini starting on 18th June. The carrier plans to start flights to Naples in Italy and Salzburg in Austria from July onwards. 

Flydubai’s passenger experience has been redesigned to enable travel in a safe environment that minimizes crew and passenger contact and offers passengers confidence to travel at every step of their journey. Passengers who book a flight through flydubai.com will receive complimentary global cover for COVID-19 related costs to offer greater peace of mind when traveling.

BMW Museum opens to visitors for the first time this year

BMW Welt and the BMW Museum open doors to the public again for the first time this year on May 25. Visitors to the BMW Museum will be admitted free of charge on opening day. During the first week of opening, visitors should look out for special promotions in BMW Welt, the BMW Museum shop and participating cafés. Of course, the health of our visitors and employees continues to be the main priority. For this reason, reopening will take place in compliance with all official regulations and measures.

BMW Museum opens to visitors for the first time this year

For the time being, BMW Welt will be open daily from 8 am to 8 pm. All the exhibition areas will be open for visitors, and customers can pick up their new vehicles as usual in BMW Welt. In addition, a limited number of visitors can get personal advice on new vehicles in the BMW Welt showrooms, or pop into the BMW Welt Lifestyle & Accessory Shop to purchase from a wide range of high-quality, BMW and MINI branded products.

Catering facilities, including Biker’s Lodge, Restaurant Bavarie and the outdoor terrace, are also available to visitors from May 25. By way of a culinary highlight to kick things off, Restaurant Bavarie is offering business lunches from midday to 3 pm, Monday to Friday, with a new menu each day. Each Friday evening from June 4 to July 30 it will also be providing an exquisite Hawaiian BBQ on the large terrace overlooking the Olympic Park. Guests can enjoy the genuine taste of Hawaii – everything from fresh seafood and grilled Huli Huli chicken to fruit-packed desserts and exotic cocktails.  

To celebrate the reopening, the BMW Museum offered free entry to all visitors today. The M1 bistro will also be open again. Visitors can look forward to two new exhibits with special stories to tell. The BMW 2800 GTS Coupé Frua (1969) bears the unmistakable signature of the renowned Italian designer Pietro Frua – a design icon that BMW has lovingly restored to its full glory. Also on show is the BMW 2200ti Garmisch (1970/2019) – a futuristic concept car by Marcello Gandini, head of the Bertone design studio, which was unveiled more than 50 years ago and which was rebuilt in 2019 after going missing without trace.

Sheikh Maktoum opens DIFC Innovation Hub in the new Dubai Future District

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of the Dubai International Financial Centre, officially inaugurated the DIFC Innovation Hub located in the Gate Avenue. The facility is part of the new Dubai Future District announced in January 2020 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Sheikh Maktoum opens DIFC Innovation Hub in the new Dubai Future District

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed said: "The establishment of the DIFC Innovation Hub is an integral part of the strategic roadmap for realising HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision for innovation-driven growth in Dubai. The new facility is a key initiative aimed at generating new economic value by fostering the development of innovation, enterprise and talent across sectors, especially in future-oriented industries. This initiative supports Dubai’s aspiration to become a leading global player in shaping the future of vital sectors and creating a thriving international innovation hub in Dubai."

"The DIFC Innovation Hub is also a testament to Dubai’s emphasis on creating strong partnerships with players across the financial services value chain, ranging from large global corporations to promising small and medium enterprises and start-ups. Dubai seeks to constantly enhance its hard and soft infrastructure for innovators, investors and entrepreneurs from across industries to transform ideas into ventures that create enduring value. Amidst the unprecedented changes that the world is currently seeing, Dubai’s leadership continues to place a high priority on creating new models for growth and development, discovering solutions for turning crises into opportunities and advancing the horizons of technology to help usher in a bright new post-pandemic world," he added.

Sheikh Maktoum commended DIFC’s management for contributing to Dubai’s sustainable development and economic diversification and establishing the Centre as the region’s foremost source of financial innovation. DIFC is recognized internationally as a leading global centre for FinTech, and the Innovation Hub is set to play a key role in driving collaboration between early-stage and growth start-ups, tech unicorns and big tech firms to accelerate success. Members of the Hub will benefit significantly from being part of DIFC, the region’s largest ecosystem of financial services related companies that are collectively shaping the future of the industry.

H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed approved the expansion of the DIFC Innovation Hub, which will increase its size four-fold to over 315,000 sq. ft. In just two months, the current 80,000 sq. ft. space is being fully utilized. Over the next two years, the expansion will include the development of an additional tower linked to the existing DIFC Innovation Hub. Accommodating up to 1,500 businesses, the building will have fitted offices, co-working spaces and light F&B outlets in the concourse and fine dining outlets at the rooftop level.

The region’s leading FinTech-focused ecosystem, the DIFC Innovation Hub is a major part of the Dubai Future District in 2020 with over 350 FinTech and innovation firms. The Innovation Hub will strengthen and enrich the DIFC ecosystem significantly by providing FinTechs at all stages of their evolution with unparalleled access to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and experts. Tenants range from early to growth-stage start-ups such as YAP, Beehive, Tabby, Xpence, Stake, Rain and Bayzat as well as Thunderbird School of Global Management, part of Arizona State University, Other established tech companies include Ebury, Huawei and Amazon.

FinTech and innovation businesses in the Hub can connect and collaborate with many of the world’s top financial institutions based in DIFC. Following 2020’s record performance, more than 2,919 businesses, of which 915 are financial and innovation firms, are active in the Centre.

DIFC Academy continues to accelerate the country’s economic growth by developing much-needed local talent. As part of the Centre’s vision to develop human capital and the skills needed for the future, DIFC Academy has launched the Future Campus, a knowledge platform that offers over 400 online degree programs, practical skills-based training courses and education opportunities to UAE nationals and residents from leading global academic institutions. The Future Campus, which can serve up to 25,000 students a year, offers programs that focus on skills and knowledge for the future.

In addition to the broader ecosystem for innovation, DIFC has developed several key initiatives to realize its goal of nurturing innovation and driving the future of finance. Led by the DIFC FinTech Hive, this program includes its FinTech Accelerator, which recently closed submissions for the first of its two 2021 ‘sprints’. The Accelerator provides its participants, of which there have been nearly 130 to date, a program that includes access to potential partners and investors, as well as workshops, events and co-working spaces within the new Innovation Hub.

DIFC also recently initiated the third edition of its AccelerateHer mentoring program, which supports gender diversity within the financial community. This career mentoring program ensures DIFC is actively encouraging the next generation of female business leaders by providing hands-on mentoring and career development support for up to 15 candidates selected every year.

DIFC recognizes the importance of enabling start-ups and entrepreneurs to establish, test and scale their innovative businesses within its world-class regulatory and legal framework. To facilitate this, DIFC offers a selection of cost-effective operating and regulatory licenses suitable for businesses of all sizes. For example, the DIFC Innovation License offers a subsidized commercial license for up to four years, enabling a quick and fully digital business setup for non-regulated FinTech and Innovation companies, while the DFSA Innovation Testing License offers a Launchpad for cutting-edge technologies to prove themselves within a regulatory sandbox.

Access to funding remains a key challenge for many start-ups. Not only does the DIFC Innovation Hub connect with a wealth of commercial partners, but it also actively delivers financial initiatives to provide funding. DIFC’s own USD 100 million FinTech Fund was established to bridge the funding gap for growth stage start-ups in the region and has successfully financed seven companies to date, including Sarwa, Beehive, NOW Money, FlexxPay, Rise, Rain and Clara.

Meanwhile, given DIFC’s track record in successfully fostering new FinTechs and innovations, the new Hub’s residents benefit from increased profile amongst Venture Capital (VC) firms looking to identify the next generation of tech unicorns. DIFC also provides greater access to funding from VC firms which are encouraged to join the Centre through its tailored framework for streamlined setup. FinTech firms based in DIFC have now raised more than AED 1.1 billion ($298.8 million). The Innovation Hub will continue to provide financial as well as practical support in delivering the future of finance.

Emirates announces special economy class fares to Egypt starting from AED1495

Emirates is helping take the stress out of travel for UAE travelers wanting to travel and reconnect to new experiences. The airline is offering special fares to 10 popular destinations, now open for visitors, so they can enjoy their long-awaited summer holidays. Destinations like the Maldives, Seychelles, Athens, Moscow and cities in the US included in the offer require little to no quarantine so holiday makers can pack for their long-awaited holiday with no stress.

Emirates announces special economy class fares to Egypt starting from AED1495

The offer is valid for booking from today, 24 May until 6 June 2021 for outbound travel until 30 September 2021. Economy and Business Class passengers can enjoy fares to the following destinations with eased entry requirements:

Emirates announces special economy class fares to Egypt starting from AED1495

Travelers can also plan a perfect holiday this summer with Emirates Holidays, starting from AED 1,979 per person in Economy class and AED 5,579 per person in Business Class for three night stays in five star hotels across Beirut, Los Angeles, Moscow, the Seychelles or Casablanca.
 
Emirates remains focused on taking the stress out of travel, and has led the industry in protecting the health of its customers to ensure a feeling of safety and confidence when deciding to fly.  Emirates customers travel with the assurance that the latest health and safety measures are in place at every step of the journey. The airline has also recently introduced contactless technology to ease customers through Dubai airport.
 
Knowing their safety and wellbeing is looked after, customers across all classes can enjoy more than 4,500 channels of entertainment on ice, the airline’s award-winning inflight entertainment system, along with regionally inspired gourmet meals.
 
Emirates continues to lead the industry with innovative products and services that address traveller needs during a dynamic time. Recently the airline took its customer care initiatives even further with even more generous and flexible booking policies, an extension of its multi-risk insurance cover, and helping loyal customers retain their miles and tier status. For more information on Emirates, including how to book flights and a complete list of terms and conditions, visit the website, travel agent or through the local Emirates Sales Office.

Role of Egypt in achieving regional stability praised by Sheikh Mohamed

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, held a phone call with Abdel Fattah El Sisi, President of the brotherly Arab Republic of Egypt, during which he welcomed the ceasefire in Gaza. His Highness expressed the UAE's support for Egyptian efforts aimed at achieving security and stability in the region.

Role of Egypt in achieving regional stability praised by Sheikh Mohamed

Moreover, His Highness praised Egyptian efforts that led to the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the important humanitarian role that President El Sisi played to end the bloodshed of innocent civilians. Furthermore, His Highness stressed the need for additional efforts, especially by Israeli and Palestinian leaders, stressing that the UAE is ready to work with all parties to maintain the ceasefire and explore new paths to reduce escalation and achieve peace.

Oris cotton candy watch elicits a smile

With spring comes fresh hope, and with it, more so than ever this year), light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. The new Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy has a simple ambition – to bring a smile. It picks up the all-bronze case, bezel, crown and bracelet combination engineered by Oris for the Hölstein Edition 2020, and adds a peppy palette of dial colors in either sky blue, wild green or lipstick pink. 

Oris cotton candy watch elicits a smile

The 38 mm case is intentionally unisex, while bronze creates its own story with its patina during the natural, charming process of oxidization. Each model is powered by an automatic Swiss Made mechanical movement and delivers the same quality standards the Divers Sixty-Five collection is now synonymous with: domed sapphire crystal, water-resistant to 10 bar (100 meters) and hands and applied indices filled with bright Super-LumiNova. 

Why the name Cotton Candy - because these are watches designed to bring warmth and the optimism of better times. The watch cases are made of multi-piece bronze and feature a uni-directional rotating bezel with bronze inlay and minute scale in relief. The watch is covered with a glass sapphire, domed on both sides with anti-reflective coating inside. The case back is made of stainless steel with special engravings. 

The watch is water resistant to 100 meters and has hands for hours, minutes and seconds, a date window, instantaneous date, date corrector, fine-timing device and stop-second. The watch is automatic winding with a 38 hours power reserve. In addition to the metal bracelet, the watch also has an optional brown leather strap with bronze buckle. The watch with leather strap retails for CHF 2,200 and the one with metal bracelet retails for CHF 2,500.                                                                                                         

Khalifa Fund starts SME hub in UAE capital

The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED), an independent entity of the Government of Abu Dhabi mandated to develop and support the Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector, launched the Abu Dhabi SME Hub, a new knowledge platform dedicated to supporting SMEs and startups in the UAE.

Khalifa Fund starts SME hub in UAE capital

Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and Khalifa Fund, commented, "The Abu Dhabi SME Hub provides support for all the stages of development of the SMEs, empowering them to work within an attractive entrepreneurial environment, and enabling them to grow, thrive and innovate both in the context of best business practices and new technologies and digital solutions.

Al Shorafa added, "The Hub will provide information and data relevant to the SME sector, as well as relevant updates on initiatives and announcements from the sector, and best business practices through engaging a multi-format educational content, implementing market-tested strategies and technologies through partnerships with key market players and connecting with the wider business ecosystem, including government entities, regulators, investors, mentors and peers.

"This platform will provide an engaging, multi-format content produced in English and Arabic and intended to educate and entertain entrepreneurs in a variety of topics including innovation, fundraising, finance and cash management, product development, marketing, and organizational scaling."

Al Shorafa concluded, "Our overarching objective is to further support the UAEs SME ecosystem through innovative digital platforms that will empower entrepreneurs. Today more than 400,000 SMEs are representing over 60 percent of the UAE non-oil economy. They provide employment opportunities for 86 percent of the workforce in the private sector. It is expected that the SME’s share of the private sector in the non-oil economy will reach 70 percent."

Khalifa Fund has launched several initiatives and formed many strategic partnerships aimed to develop and digitally empower entrepreneurs, such as e-Empower, which aims to support entrepreneurs grow and work within the digital ecosystem and offers valuable and non-traditional insight to SMEs to expand their customer base.

Lebanese Foreign Minister, Charbel Wehbe calls GCC nationals Bedouin in TV show

Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned and denounced derogatory statements made by the caretaker Lebanese Foreign Minister, Charbel Wehbe, during a TV interview on Monday regarding the Kingdom and its citizens. In a statement on Tuesday carried by the Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi foreign ministry said the disgraceful remarks were also directed against Gulf Cooperation Council member states apart from Saudi Arabia and its people.

Lebanese Foreign Minister, Charbel Wehbe calls GCC nationals Bedouin in TV show

The caretaker foreign minister Charbel Wehbe during his TV interview made derogatory remarks aimed at Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states and suggested that the Kingdom had helped fund the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Mr Wehbe was also heard referring to a Saudi guest on the TV show as a Bedouin in a derogatory reference to nomadic Arab tribes that have historically inhabited the Arabian Peninsula and other parts of the Middle East denoting that Arabs and Gulf citizens are still backward and uncivilized.

The foreign ministry said that these statements are inconsistent with the simplest diplomatic norms and are inconsistent with the historical relations between the two countries. Given the fallout that the derogatory statements may have on bilateral relations, the ministry summoned the Lebanese ambassador to the Kingdom to express the Kingdom's rejection and denunciation of the remarks made by the Lebanese foreign minister. The Lebanese ambassador was handed over a demarche in this regard.

Only last month, Saudi Arabia announced that it has officially banned all fruits and vegetables from Lebanon from entering the country after the customs authorities at Jeddah Port foiled an attempt to smuggle Captagon pills hidden in pomegranates that came from Lebanon. Lebanese fruit and vegetable imports were banned from entering Saudi Arabia or transiting via the Kingdom as of 9 a.m. on Sunday April 25, 2021 in a bid to prevent drug trafficking.

Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif warned that the Kingdom’s security was “a red line.” According to Al-Arabiya English, Lebanese officials quickly pledged to do more to combat drug smuggling following the ban. The repercussions of this ban could be very serious for Lebanon because the issue was very serious, has negatively affected the image of Lebanon in the rest of the Gulf countries that could take similar or stringent measures.

Lebanon is the smallest country in continental Asia and their financial woes and image are taking a battering globally. Lebanese economic growth has slowed consistently since 2011 following the Syrian conflict and internal political tensions. They have experienced a sharp decline in 2019 and 2020. Financial difficulties were compounded with a political catastrophe and led to dangerous social remonstrations. As the Lebanese economy was already severely destabilized, the civil unrest, together with the August explosion in Beirut's port and the Covid-19 outbreak, has created a profound and long-term impact on the country's socio-economic resilience.

According to the IMF's updated October 2020 forecast, GDP growth is projected at -25% in 2020. The traditional engines of growth in Lebanon (real estate, construction and tourism) have stalled and the banking sector, which until now has been praised for its resilience, has collapsed. In fact, on 9 March Lebanon failed to repay a $1.2 billion Eurobond, the first sovereign default in the country's history.

The country’s currency has collapsed to amongst the weakest in the world and the value is so low that nobody knows what Lebanon’s currency is worth anymore. Public debt was estimated at 171.7% in 2020, according to IMF figures updated in October 2020. Lebanon is the third most indebted country in the world, after Japan and Greece. The already high budget deficit has worsened to -12.8% of GDP in 2020. High public debt and a persistent overall deficit limited government action during economic downturns and following the Covid-19 crisis. The IMF estimates inflation at a record high of 85.5% in 2020.

The latest impasse with the Arab countries and Lebanon's political paralysis have accentuated one of the worst economic and financial crises to engulf the country since 2019, with the international community and Gulf states shying away from providing financial support given a lack of reform and Hezbollah’s tightening grip on the country - no end seems in sight.

UAE Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure supports World Utilities Congress

The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA) will host the World Utilities Congress, a new global exhibition and conference addressing the future of low carbon power and water supplies, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 9th to 11th May 2022. Organized by dmg events, the in-person event is supported by the UAE’s Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure, Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE), Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC).

UAE Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure supports World Utilities Congress

Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, commented, "The ministry’s objectives include strengthening the country’s focus towards renewable energy or clean alternative energy that uses safe, environmentally friendly and reliable technology in line with the UAE Energy Strategy 2050." Our strategic recommendations for the future show that increasing investments in renewable energy projects will allow us to make a very significant impact in future-proofing the energy sector and prioritizing renewable production technologies," he further commented.

Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO and MD of TAQA, commented, "We are excited to host the World Utilities Congress in Abu Dhabi and hope it will enable us to meet with our peers from around the world to learn from each other and to work together for a sustainable future. Developing low carbon power and water is not just a matter of doing good, but it is also good business. As we at TAQA embark on our own journey, we value our partners and are proud to be part of a sector that is fundamental to delivering a better tomorrow. This new global conference and exhibition will provide a great opportunity for the sector to showcase ideas, solutions and best practice in front of an audience that matters."

Saood Mohamed Al Hosani, Under-Secretary, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said, "We are honoured to be partnering with TAQA for the World Utilities Congress and I am looking forward to the great insights, opportunities and outcomes that will no doubt emerge from this event. The World Utilities Congress is an excellent platform for industry experts and leaders to come together and discuss the latest innovations and technological advancements shaping the future of this industry. We are confident that Abu Dhabi will continue to maintain its position as an increasingly attractive destination for domestic and international tourists through its involvement with such impactful and thought-provoking events."

Humaid Matar Al Dhareri, Managing Director and Group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, commented, "ADNEC consistently collaborates with our partners across the government and private sectors. We resolutely support the creation of new exhibitions and conferences, and look to welcome them to the UAE’s capital. In doing so, we create value for the whole of Abu Dhabi, increasing the direct and indirect economic contribution of the business tourism sector to the emirate’s economy, alongside transferring knowledge and advanced technology into the UAE.

"ADNEC is fully prepared to host the exhibition and conference for the World Utilities Congress 2022, ensuring its quality is aligned with Abu Dhabi’s regional and global reputation. Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre’s highly flexible facilities and infrastructure will meet and exceed participants’ and organisers’ aspirations, in line with the highest international standards for the sector."

Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE), said, "A rapid transformation is taking place in Abu Dhabi’s water and power sector and it is shaped by major trends of profound shifts to clean and renewable energy, technological advances, energy efficiency, and demand management. Such advances will require more flexible regulatory frameworks, advanced smart grid management, more integrated resource management systems and an adaptive network to drive sustainable development and an efficient energy transition. With this in mind, we view the World Utilities Congress as an important event that brings local and international expertise together to focus on delivering integrated transformation for the water and power utilities and we look forward to a successful inaugural edition in 2022."

Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, CEO, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), said, "The utilities sector will play a significant and strategic role in tackling climate change through increasing electrification of the energy sector, and decarbonisation of power production. As part of the UAE’s transition to cleaner energy sources, the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant will generate up to 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs for the next 60 years ahead, with zero carbon emissions, offering a proven solution to climate change, and we look forward to sharing the UAE model with experts and policy makers at the World Utilities Congress in 2022 to identify viable solutions that ensure a reliable, sustainable grid to support economic and social growth."

Cristopher Hudson, President, dmg events, organizer of the World Utilities Congress, said, "The World Utilities Congress will enable the energy and utilities sector to forge new strategic partnerships that will help shape the future of the global utilities industry. Through the exhibition, the energy industry will be enabled to showcase the latest technologies, products services and solution to support the drive to net zero."

Emirates welcomed Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum to its ATM stand

Emirates, the Official Airline of the 2021 Arabian Travel Market (ATM), welcomed His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum to its stand as he opened the region’s largest travel and tourism trade event and the first physical travel and tourism industry event in the world since the onset of the pandemic.

Emirates welcomed Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum to its ATM stand

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed was officially welcomed by senior airline officials, who gave a tour of the newly launched Emirates Premium Economy Class seats. This is the first time the new Premium Economy Class seats are being showcased at a travel and trade show. The Emirates stand is located in Hall 3 stand ME3310 at ATM.

UAE bucks pandemic fallout as 2020 FDI inflows grew 44.2 percent

The FDI inflows to the UAE grew 44.2 percent in 2020 to $19.88 billion as compared to 2019, despite the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic which has taken its toll on the global economy, according to a report by the Ministry of Economy. The cumulative value of foreign direct investments inflows amounted to $174 billion, a growth of 12.9 percent during the reference period. 

UAE bucks pandemic fallout as 2020 FDI inflows grew 44.2 percent

FDIs covered all economic platforms, primarily the Oil & Gas, considering the massive investment partnerships struck by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) with a number of foreign companies. The UAE has drawn FDIs for digital economy, including Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, medical knowhow, augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), robotics, self-drive automobiles, renewable energy, innovation, agri-tech, etc. In terms of FDI outflows, they amounted to $9.2 billion and covered various vital economic sectors, including aviation, transportation, mining, renewable energy, real estate, construction, communication, oil & natural gas, traditional & renewable energy, logistics, ports and infrastructure, tourism, leisure, banking, and agriculture sectors.

Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Cabinet Member and Minister of Economy, said, "The investment landscape of the UAE has been steadily developing over the past years with the rapid introduction of progressive measures that have earned the nation a coveted position internationally while leading regionally thanks to the directives of our wise leadership to provide a business-friendly environment conducive to facilitating doing business and development that serves the greater good of the country." He added that the next period will see more measures to strengthen the investment landscape and grow investor confidence in priority sectors.

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said the significant growth levels secured by the UAE in terms of FDIs are reflective of increased investor confidence in the country's investment ecosystem. Despite the challenges of the global pandemic in 2020, the UAE was able to strengthen its position as a global economic and financial hub. Taking advantage of its strategic geographical location, thriving business ecosystem and quality of life, more multinational corporations selected the UAE, creating new jobs and attracting global talent to live and work in the country.

Recovery in UAE tourism sector as Q1 2021 hotel occupancy rates up

The UAE tourism sector has continued to recover during Q1, 2021, with the average hotel occupancy rates across the country nearing 63 percent, according to initial data released by the local tourist authorities. Average length of stay in hotels during Q1 increased 27.6 percent to 4.3 nights as compared to the same period last year, with March recording a growth of 34 percent in the number of hotel guests comparatively with March 2020.

Recovery in UAE tourism sector as Q1 2021 hotel occupancy rates up

UAE nationals accounted for 25.6 percent of total guests in the reference period - one million guests - with March seeing a thumping 112 percent growth in the Emirati hotel guests as compared to the same month last year. Dubai proved to be the preferred destination for Emiratis, followed by Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah then Sharjah.

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, who is also the Chairman of the The Emirates Tourism Council, enunciated the distinctive performance of the UAE domestic tourism sector, commending the tireless efforts made by various local departments concerned to position local attractions as the favourite destination for Emiratis and residents alike.

"The UAE continues to enhance its coveted position on the global tourism scene, with domestic tourism now proving to be a significant catalyst for economic growth and a key contributor to GDP in implementation of the directives of the UAE's wise leadership," added the minister.

UAE to be first country outside USA to host Spartan World Championship

MENA Newswire: The Spartan World Championship will take place in the Liwa desert, Abu Dhabi's western region, from December 2-5, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council has announced. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of UAE National Day, the championship, held for the first time outside the United States, features the Elite Spartan World Championship, the Spartan Team World Championship and the Spartan Kids World Championship. The championship, previously slated for 2020 December 4-5, was postponed due to the international travel restrictions following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.

UAE to be first country outside USA to host Spartan World Championship

Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said, "The Spartan World Championship is a unique and ground-breaking event that is scheduled to take place at the spectacular Liwa desert in Abu Dhabi." He further added: "The championship will be even grander as it also coincides with the UAE's Golden Jubilee celebrations."

"The 2021 Spartan season is well underway, and our athletes are back with a vengeance," the Spartan Founder and CEO Joe De Sena added. "We cannot wait to create a whole new experience for our global community as we travel to the desert for the most epic World Championship in Spartan history, at a time when it is most needed. We’re grateful for the support of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council for welcoming Spartans to their spectacular Emirate," he concluded.

New 2,048-piece LEGO F.R.I.E.N.D.S Apartments Set out now

The LEGO Group announced the new LEGO F.R.I.E.N.D.S Apartments Set - which allows fans of the iconic Warner Bros. TV series the chance to recreate their favorite scenes. The 2,048-piece set, features both Monica and Rachel’s, and Chandler and Joey’s New York apartments, plus the adjoining hallway.
 
New 2,048-piece LEGO F.R.I.E.N.D.S Apartments Set out now

Following the hugely popular LEGO Ideas Central Perk set, which was released in 2019, the LEGO Friends Apartments set is complete with iconic features and props, such as the classic moment when Monica put the Thanksgiving turkey on her head, the one where Joey and Chandler only had a canoe as furniture and when Phoebe’s dollhouse went up in flames.
 
Other accessories from the show include the Poking Device; Gladys, Phoebe’s creepy art piece; the cheesecake that falls on the floor; Pat the Dog; the chick and duck, and many more.  The set also gives fans the real sense of the original filming studio with set lights and allows you to display both apartments either separately or linked together with the hallway.
 
Additional features of the set include; new mini figures of the whole gang, in some of their most memorable outfits; Rachel’s iconic plaid skirt; Ross’ too tight leather pants; Monica in an apron; Phoebe in a classic floral look; Chandler in a suit and loud designer tie; and Joey wearing all of Chandler’s clothes. And for the first time ever, Janice will also feature as a mini figure in a classic over-the-top gaudy outfit.
 
Anderson Ward Grubb, LEGO Set Designer commented “Following the success of the LEGO Ideas Central Perk set, we wanted to develop another tribute to this iconic TV show with a focus on the famous apartments.  We worked directly from production photos of the set as well as watching and re-watching a lot of episodes so we could capture as many iconic moments as possible.  One fun challenge was figuring out how to represent some aspects that change over the course of the show that appear in some episodes and not in others.  I am looking forward to seeing if the eagle-eyed fans will spot them.”

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi starts flights to Kiev, Bari, Salalah, Muscat

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has announced it will commence flights to its latest destinations, Kiev, Bari, Salalah and Muscat. The flight to Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev will be operated three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; flights to Bari, Italy will be operated two times per week on Tuesdays and Saturdays; routes to Salalah, Oman will be operated two times per week on Wednesdays and Saturdays; and flights to the capital of Oman, Muscat will be operated three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Since launching in January 2021, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi now operates to 22 destinations with further destinations to be revealed in the coming months. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has the youngest fleet composed of four brand new state-of-the-art Airbus A321neo aircraft, offering the lowest fuel burn, emissions and noise footprint.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi starts flights to Kiev, Bari, Salalah, Muscat

Kees Van Schaick, Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, commented, "We’re excited to offer these new routes giving travelers sustainable options to explore new places. Travelers will be dazzled by beautiful architecture found in every corner of Kiev, a wealth of history and gorgeous beaches in Bari, and the nature and diverse landscape found in Oman. Kiev, Bari, Salalah and Muscat are our next destinations in a series of new route announcements we have made, and will continue to make – we are committed to providing Abu Dhabi residents and tourists with new travel options and destinations at affordable prices."

Private jet flights at MBRAH surge by 336% in Q1 2021

The Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub (MBRAH) at Dubai South announced that private jet movements continued their impressive growth in 2021 with a 336 percent increase in Q1 2021, reaching 4,904 compared to 1,460 in Q1 2020 and 1,676 in Q1 2019. Aircraft movements include the four FBOs operating at MBRAH, which are Jetex Executive Aviation, Jet Aviation, DC Aviation and ExecuJet Middle East.

Private jet flights at MBRAH surge by 336% in Q1 2021

Tahnoon Saif, CEO of Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub, said, "Our private jet movements at the VIP Terminal in the MBRAH have been increasing steadily since last July, which is a testament to the successful national vaccination campaign, the emirate’s status as a preferred destination for tourists from across the world as well as Dubai’s ranking third globally and second in the "Major Cities" category in the recent "FDI Global Cities of the Future 2021/2022" report as a magnet for foreign direct investment (FDI). We look forward to sustaining the momentum of aircraft movements as Dubai gears up to welcoming the world to Expo 2020 in October."

The MBRAH offers global aerospace players high-level connectivity and is a free-zone destination for the world’s leading private jet companies and associated industries. Located in and developed by Dubai South, MBRAH is also home to maintenance centers as well as to training and education campuses and seeks to strengthen engineering industries.

Normalcy restored in Egypt for commercial and entertainment activities

Further to the Prime Minister’s Decree regulating certain commercial and entertainment activities in Egypt during the end of Ramadan and the Eid holidays (May 6-21, 2021), issued on May 5, 2021, Dr. Khaled El-Enany, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, clarified that beaches, coffee shops, and restaurants in hotels nationwide are exempt from applying the closing hours (9 PM) stipulated by the Decree.

Normalcy restored in Egypt for commercial and entertainment activities

He added that the exemption aims to ensure that tourists in Egypt, whose numbers have seen a significant rise the beginning of 2021, especially in the Red Sea and South Sinai Governorates, can enjoy their holidays, and benefit from all activities offered by hotels and resorts around the clock. Dr. El-Enany noted that tourism hospitality establishments will operate as normal in accordance with the mandatory hygiene and safety measures that have been in place since the resumption of inbound tourism in July 2020, and must continue to comply with the 50 percent capacity limit.

 

Dubai Ruler enacts new law on Dubai International Financial Centre

In his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued Law No. (5) of 2021 relating to Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The new Law replaces Law No. (9) of 2004 on Dubai International Financial Centre, which was the original founding law of DIFC. In line with global best practice, the new Law provides for more clarity on the duties and responsibilities of the President, the Governor, the Centre and bodies in DIFC. It also ensures the Centre’s operational, financial and administrative independence that is crucial for the continued growth and success of the Centre and confirms the requirements for their adherence to the highest governance and accountability principles.

Dubai Ruler enacts new law on Dubai International Financial Centre

The new Law expands the strategic objectives for DIFC which aims to further boost Dubai’s position as a global hub for financial services and promote the values of efficiency, transparency and integrity. These objectives now also include advancing sustainable economic growth for Dubai, developing and diversifying its economy and increasing the GDP contribution of the financial services sector, to promote investment into Dubai and to attract regional and international entities to establish themselves in DIFC as their principal place of business.

The Dispute Resolution Authority that existed under the previous Law will operate as two separate bodies under the new Law in the form of the DIFC Courts and the Arbitration Institute. This will allow each body maximum opportunity for growth and proper allocation of resources in respect of their separate mandates.

The new Law also provides clarity on what DIFC establishments may do outside their physical premises in the Centre. Details confirm that they may supply services and products to customers outside DIFC, providing they are primarily provided out of their premises in the Centre. Marketing and promotion of their activities can be conducted outside DIFC.

In addition, the new Law allows the DIFC President to exempt certain federal and local government authorities, companies and other entities from the application of any DIFC laws or regulations being applicable to them when present in the Centre in which case only UAE federal and local laws will apply to them. This is an important addition to allow the increasing number of federal and local government authorities in DIFC to be exempted from certain DIFC laws and regulations that were never intended to apply to them.

Legendary Limo will perform live during a hologram event in Dubai

The Dubai Opera will host its first hologram event of the late celebrated Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez who will take to the stage on 13 and 14 May during Dubai’s Eid al-Fitr festivities. Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment announced in cooperation with New Dimension Productions (NDP) and MBC Group as the organizers, that the 90-minute show will feature some of the singer’s most popular songs during what promises to be an exhilarating evening of music and nostalgia.

Legendary Limo will perform live during a hologram event in Dubai

Hailed as one of the greatest Egyptian musicians, along with Umm Kulthum, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Mohamed Fawzi and Shadia, Abdel Halim Hafez was a prolific singer and actor whose music and films were adored by fans across the region and beyond. A spectacular tribute to the star and the impact he had on the region, the Abdel Halim Hafez Hologram event marks the first time this innovative and exciting technology has been used to bring the much-loved singer and his songs to life in front of an audience.

Audiences at the hologram event will be able to watch Abdel Halim Hafez on stage thanks to NDP’s pioneering use of hologram technology and artificial intelligence to create a high-resolution 3D model that matches the artist’s face and body movements. The show’s audio content will also astound fans of the late artist, with NDP having extracted his voice over five months to produce vocals of the highest quality and purity, which will be supported by a live 28-person band.

To protect and guarantee intellectual property rights, and as a commitment to Abdel Halim Hafez, NDP cooperated with rights holders from the family and heirs of the late artist, the association of authors, composers, publishers and prestigious government institutions in Egypt, to obtain all permits and approvals necessary. The Abdel Halim Hafez Hologram event follows the success of a hologram show by the late artist Umm Kulthum by NDP and MBC Group in Dubai in 2019.  The Dubai Opera event will be held in accordance with all the important health and safety rules and procedures, including social distancing and the wearing of masks.

CBUAE collaborates with SWIFT to enhance speed of cross-border payments

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has announced that it has been working with SWIFT on an initiative to further enhance the speed and transparency of cross-border payments. The CBUAE will be the first central bank globally to implement such an initiative. The integration between the CBUAE’s domestic UAE Funds Transfer System (UAEFTS) and SWIFT’s ‘gpi Tracker’, will allow financial institutions sending cross-border payments to the UAE to benefit from increased transparency, certainty, and seamless transmission between the SWIFT network and the UAEFTS, by relying on the Tracker that is a tool offered by SWIFT, to enable banks to track their payment flows end-to-end in real-time.

CBUAE collaborates with SWIFT to enhance speed of cross-border payments

UAEFTS will update the SWIFT’s Tracker tool on behalf of its participants, both when a cross-border payment enters UAEFTS and when the funds are credited to the account of the final beneficiary in the UAE. The improvement in the functionality of UAEFTS will include the ability for the sending bank to track payments in real-time until they are credited to the final beneficiary’s customer account in the UAE. This will provide maximum visibility on ongoing cross-border transactions.

Egypt to showcase tourist attractions as - Dubai reconfirms hosting ATM 2021

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2021 has reconfirmed that Dubai will host the largest in-person travel & tourism event in the world, since the onset of the pandemic last year. Now in its 28th year, ATM 2021 will go-ahead at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) on Sunday 16 to Wednesday 19 May, as final preparations are being put in place. ATM 2021 will be spread across nine halls. Consistent with the existing density restrictions and social distancing guidelines and regulations, there will be 11,000 people in the halls at any given time.

Egypt to showcase tourist attractions as - Dubai reconfirms hosting ATM 2021

"The theme of this year’s show is ‘A new dawn for travel and tourism’ and the spotlight will be focused on the very latest ‘COVID’ news from around the world – vaccine rollouts, the current state of the industry and more importantly, what the future holds," said Claude Blanc, Portfolio Director, WTM& IBTM Portfolios.

ATM 2021 features 67 conference sessions with over 145 local, regional and international speakers overall. Onsite, there is a Global Stage which will include a hotel industry summit, dedicated buyer forums for Saudi Arabia and China, an International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC), as well as an aviation panel and a special session on Gulf-Israeli ties.

Other features this year will include Travel Forward at ATM, which has world-class technology experts, providing industry-leading insights about the latest technologies and trends that will undoubtedly shape the future of travel and tourism. A total of 62 countries are being represented on the exhibition floor this year such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Germany, Cyprus, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, the Maldives, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and the US.

The event will once again play an integral role in Arabian Travel Week, a 10-day long festival of travel and tourism events taking place in Dubai and online. In addition to the in-person Arabian Travel Market event, the travel events that are part of Arabian Travel Week are: travel technology exhibition Travel Forward, ARIVAL Dubai for the tours and attractions sector, GBTA’s half day virtual business travel conference, ITIC’s Middle East Tourism Investment Summit, speed networking events for digital influencers and regionally focused buyer groups including China, and of course ATM Virtual, the online edition of the ATM exhibition.

This year, for the first time in ATM history, a new hybrid format will mean a virtual ATM running a week later to complement and reach a wider audience than ever before. ATM Virtual, which made its debut last year, proved to be a resounding success attracting 12,000 online attendees from 140 countries. 

Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world to visit with a wide range of precautionary measures in place to ensure the safety of tourists at every stage and touchpoint of their travel journey, from arrival to departure. Over 10.6 million doses have already been administered in the UAE, which is also a major achievement.

UAE mobile network speed tops world index ahead of South Korea and Qatar

The UAE leads a global mobile index as the country with the fastest mobile network speed in the first quarter of 2021, according to the latest data from Ookla, a global leader in fixed broadband and mobile network testing applications, data and analysis. This significant achievement adds one more feather to the UAE’s cap, and comes at an opportune time with the recent declaration of 2021 as Year of the 50th as the nation celebrates its milestone Golden Jubilee. With a download speed of 178.52 Mbps in March, the country overtook South Korea and Qatar in the mobile broad speed test. The UAE also overtook both countries in January and February, with download speeds of 183.03 Mbps and 177.10 Mbps, respectively. 

UAE mobile network speed tops world index ahead of South Korea and Qatar

The Speed Test Global index, which assesses over 135 countries, compares internet speed data from around the world on a monthly basis. Data for the index comes from the hundreds of millions of tests taken by real people using the speed test every month. Mobile network speed is a major contributing factor to the well-being, economic wealth and social prosperity of a nation. This achievement has a lot of favorable implications for an enabling environment for future aspirations, country’s ICT agenda, productivity of businesses, amongst others.

UAE leaders meet to discuss COVID-19 national efforts

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, today received His His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, at Shati Palace in Abu Dhabi. During the meeting, Their Highnesses exchanged friendly conversations and addressed several issues concerning the nation and its citizens, most notably those related to providing Emirati citizens with decent lives and achieving their happiness and social stability under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as the national efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, reduce its repercussions on different areas of life and ensure the return to normalcy as soon as possible.

UAE leaders meet to discuss COVID-19 national efforts

Moreover, they also remembered, during this Holy Month of Ramadan, the work of the late Founding Leaders to establish the country’s foundations and its process of development, stressing that they will follow their legacy and preserve their achievements. The meeting was attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor; H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority; Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Airports Company; Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to the UAE President; Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority, and Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Under-Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court.

Dubai Food Tech Valley to lead regional agriculture transformation

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has launched the ‘Food Tech Valley’ a new initiative that seeks to triple the UAE’s food production. The launch event was attended by members of the royalty, senior ministers and other dignitaries.

Dubai Food Tech Valley to lead regional agriculture transformation

The initiative aims to create an integrated modern city that will serve as a hub for future clean tech-based food and agricultural products and an incubator for researchers, entrepreneurs, startups and industry experts involved in developing solutions that have the potential to shape the future of the food industry. The new city will spearhead innovation and leverage collaborative networks to lead regional transformation and export knowledge on sustainable food systems globally. It will support the use of technologies and applied research in food processing and agriculture and apply modern farming techniques – such as vertical farming, aquaculture and hydroponics - to accelerate self-sufficiency in fresh food produce and reduce wastage of resources.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, "Food Tech Valley is part of a series of projects that aim to sustain the UAE’s food, water and agricultural systems in line with the National Food Security Strategy. Food and medicine represent strategic sectors that help us ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for the next generation."

Food Tech Valley is the outcome of a partnership between the Ministry of Food and Water Security and Wasl Properties to explore urban planning of future smart and food independent cities. Equipped with cutting-edge technologies, Food Tech Valley aims to achieve the objectives of the National Food Security Strategy 2051 and support a diversified knowledge-based economy. 

The Food Tech Valley will host vertical farms, an advanced smart food logistics hub, Research & Development (R&D) facilities and a marketplace. Driven by a circular economy model, the city will bring together companies, investors and researchers in a sustainable agribusiness ecosystem to develop the latest aquaculture and hydroponics technologies. Over 300 varieties of crops will be produced in the new city using modern farming techniques and the latest agri technologies.

Through an innovation-based approach to food, the new site aims to enhance local food production, diversify investments and advance research to align and influence future food trends and preferences. It will act as a global hub for start-ups, SMEs and international companies with a wide range of expertise to exchange knowledge in the food industry.

Food Tech Valley will be a vital hub for applied research and development to support farmers and food production companies in the UAE and around the world. It will develop new solutions to solve multiple challenges facing the food sector including weak adoption of modern agri-technologies, lack of skilled workforce in agriculture and low competitiveness of local products. Food Tech Valley will be home to four main clusters: agricultural technology and engineering, a food innovation centre, R&D facilities, and an advanced smart food logistics hub.  With food and beverage investments in the UAE currently totaling AED62 billion, the Food Tech Valley will contribute to attracting further local and foreign direct investments in promising projects that help diversify the national economy and develop the supply chain and logistic services.

Sheikh Zayed death anniversary commemorated with Zayed Humanitarian Day

The UAE commemorates the Zayed Humanitarian Day today, the 19th day of Ramadan every year, corresponding to the anniversary of the death of the Founding Father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The Zayed Humanitarian Day is an annual occasion to celebrate the UAE's achievements since the era of Sheikh Zayed up to date in terms of humanitarian work through the aid it provides to other countries and peoples. It is also a fitting annual date to launch many humanitarian and charitable initiatives by the government and non-government organizations.

Sheikh Zayed death anniversary commemorated with Zayed Humanitarian Day

For the second year in a row, the day comes while the world is experiencing exceptional circumstances as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19, which requires emulating the human legacy of the Founding Leader for more cooperation and solidarity to face the challenges arising from the health crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE affirmed its commitment to the vision and humanitarian message embedded by Sheikh Zayed through its efforts and role in helping the countries of the world to address the crisis, as it sent about 2,000 tons of medical aid to 130 countries, as part of its efforts to spread the values of goodness, cooperation and solidarity between human beings.

The late Sheikh Zayed is considered a symbol of giving, providing aid to every needy in any region of the world. During his reign, the UAE turned into the most important countries contributing to humanitarian and relief work in the world, and today, thanks to his legacy, it occupies the world's largest source of foreign assistance. Sheikh Zayed’s giving and generosity have reached out to nearly every corner of the world. By the end of 2000, the value of grants, loans and aid provided by the UAE, under the direction of Sheikh Zayed, reached over AED98 billion. Sheikh Zayed was awarded many international awards and honours for his distinguished services and contributions to humanity.
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