Dubai Chamber of Commerce launches Solar

Dubai Chamber of Commerce, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, has launched the Solar & Renewable Energy Business Group. Gearing up for COP28, the business group will drive the uptake of renewable energy amongst businesses and the private sector in Dubai. “As the world shifts to renewable energy and a decarbonized economy, the establishment of the Solar & Renewable Energy Business Group is timely and relevant. It comes at the heels of UAE’s COP28 presidency, highlighting the importance of the country’s Energy Strategy 2050 and Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy. The business group will foster better understanding of these clean energy targets amongst local businesses while providing them insights to drive the shift to renewable energy. This will boost their efforts to support and accelerate Dubai’s energy transition and the ambition of making the emirate a hub for the green economy,” said Maha AlGargawi, Executive Director of Business Advocacy at Dubai Chambers. Over the last couple of decades, the share of oil in the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP) has considerably decreased. From approximately 43 per cent in 2001, this share dropped a third of GDP to 33 per cent in 2011 and much lower to 27 per cent in 2021. The UAE is well on its way to achieve its clean energy targets as outlined in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050. Announced in 2017, the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 aims to reduce carbon footprint on power generation by 70 per cent, improve energy efficiency by 40 per cent, increase the contribution of clean energy from 25 per cent to 50 per cent and save a total of AED700 billion. The UAE has since launched notable initiatives and taken significant steps towards realising these goals by 2050. The UAE Government will invest AED600 billion in renewable energy by 2050 to meet the country's growing energy demand from clean and sustainable resources. Dubai launched its own Clean Energy Strategy in 2015, with the objective of producing 75 per cent of its energy demand from clean sources by 2050, making Dubai a hub for the green economy. One landmark project in solar energy is the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai which it is expected to have a production capacity of 5,000 MWh by 2030. L K Verma, Managing Director at Power n sun and founding member of the business group said, “Creating organizations such as this is important for our sector. It will drive the discussions that are necessary to enhance the competitiveness of our business and enable the dialogue amongst peers and other stakeholders on speeding up the solarization in the region.” Fellow founding member, Simon Brennan, General Manager at Al Shirawi Solar added, “I am very pleased to have been part of the setting up of this business group. It underlines the importance of environmental sustainability and I am certain with the establishment of this business group, our members will play a bigger role in supporting the UAE’s clean energy ambitions.” With renewable energy at the forefront of the government agenda, the chamber’s establishment of the new Solar & Renewable Energy Business Group is a significant step in supporting the UAE as it prepares to host the COP28 Conference in 2023. The chamber plans to increase the number of business groups that represent economic sectors and activities in Dubai as they are representatives and advocates for their respective business sectors. Business groups play a crucial role in recommending policy changes to improve a sector’s competitiveness and attractiveness while promoting international best practices and supporting economic growth. Dubai Chamber of Commerce plans to increase the number of economic sectors and activities represented by business groups to 100 by March 2023.SHARE NOW

Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup kick off 7 Jan

The Dubai International Endurance City will host the 119km Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup on Saturday, 7 January, at Seih Assalam. The Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup, the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Festival’s final and most prominent race, is sponsored by Emirates Airline, one of the largest supporters of equestrian and racing in the country and worldwide. Thanks to the quality of riders and horses, and the lavish prize pot, the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup is one of the most prominent events of the UAE’s endurance calendar. Some of the best riders and horses are expected to participate in the forthcoming event, aiming to lift the coveted title. Dubai Crown Prince: World-Class Equestrian AthleteSheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, is a world-class equestrian athlete. The festival reflects His Highness’ commitment to providing UAE citizens with diverse platforms to participate and excel in sports. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed is known for his love of equestrian sports, particularly endurance racing. He has competed in numerous endurance races and has had several notable accomplishments in the sport. His Highness the Crown Prince has an impressive record of achievements. After winning his second successive CISM World Military Endurance Championship in March 2014, His Highness was crowned world champion of the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, France, organised by the International Equestrian Federation. His Highness then went on to win the 2015 His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup for the second year in a row. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed has won several other prominent international titles and produced memorable riding masterclasses in endurance races. His achievements in horse racing, generally, and endurance racing, in particular, have contributed immensely to inspiring and attracting the young generation of UAE citizens to this sport. In addition to his competitive career, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed is also a patron of equestrian sports in the UAE and has played a key role in the development of the sport in the region. He has supported the establishment of equestrian centres and training facilities and helped promote the sport at the international level. HH Sheikh Hamdan’s love for equestrian sports and his endurance racing accomplishments have increased his popularity in the UAE and beyond. Among his notable achievements in endurance racing was winning the gold medal in the equestrian event at the Asian Games in 2006. TitleholderSalem Hamad Malhouf Al Ketbi won the previous Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup, which was held unusually at the beginning of the festival due to delays caused by rains last year. Al Ketbi, who holds the World Endurance Championship title, covered the 119km distance in 4:04:09 hours riding “Wilomere Anchor” for M7 Stables. At a press conference hosted today by the Dubai Equestrian Club, Adil Al Ghaith, Emirates Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for the Gulf, Middle East and Central Asia Region, said: “Emirates has a strong affiliation with horse racing and equestrian sports around the globe. We are honoured to be a partner of this year’s edition of the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup. In the UAE, we proudly embrace our traditions and culture. The love for horses is deeply embedded in the fabric of our heritage. These strong and beautiful animals, and the sporting traditions that celebrate horsemanship, echo strongly in our past and present and will continue to resonate in the future. “Emirates is well-established in the sports sponsorship arena. We are committed to supporting horseracing in the UAE and internationally. We have numerous partnerships with many elite racing clubs and marquee races around the globe. Our sponsorship of this world-class equestrian event reconfirms our commitment to this graceful sport. This race is a true testament to the horse’s endurance and the rider’s skills, and we look forward to the race.” Major General Dr. Mohammed Essa Al Adhab, General Manager of Dubai Racing Club and Dubai Equestrian Club, said: “The Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Festival is one of the most important events in the season’s endurance racing programme as it bears the name of Dubai Crown Prince His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “It celebrates the association of His Highness with this traditional sport in which he had personally accomplished many global titles. It is an appreciation for His Highness’ support and contributions to the sport, following in the footsteps of his father, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. HH Sheikh Hamdan is a world champion in endurance racing as he holds the title of the Endurance World Cup 2012 in the United Kingdom. “We thank Emirates Airline for their continuous support for this prestigious event in our endurance racing season. We look forward to seeing the region’s top riders and stables compete for this coveted Cup.”

Hero MotoCorp to become title partner of the Dubai Desert Classic

Hero MotoCorp has today been confirmed as the new Title Partner of the Dubai Desert Classic, the second Rolex Series event of the 2023 DP World Tour season.The Hero Dubai Desert Classic brings together Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles, and the DP World Tour’s longest-running event in the Middle East. The iconic tournament returns to Emirates Golf Club on January 26-29 for its 34th edition and will once again boast a stellar field headed by World Number One and two-time Dubai Desert Classic winner Rory McIlroy.The tournament was elevated to Rolex Series status in 2022 and next year will once again form part of the traditional ‘Desert Swing’, which annually attracts golf’s leading players to the region. The four-week series of events begins in January with the Hero Cup - a new team match play contest aimed at giving European players experience in the format ahead of the 2023 Ryder Cup – followed by back-to-back Rolex Series events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and concluding at the Ras al Khaimah Championship.The new agreement extends Hero MotoCorp’s long-term relationship with the DP World Tour which began in 2015 at the Hero Indian Open. Since then, Hero has also supported the Hero Challenge - a series of fast-paced showpiece events and short form social and digital content, which have taken golf to new audiences - as well as the Hero Open, which featured on the DP World Tour schedule from 2020 to 2022.Hero MotoCorp will be Title Partner of three events on the 2023 DP World Tour International Schedule – the Hero Cup, Hero Dubai Desert Classic and Hero Indian Open.Dr. Pawan Munjal, Chairman & CEO, Hero MotoCorp, said: “We continue to have a long -term partnership with the DP World Tour; and the Hero Dubai Desert Classic is an extension of this engagement. We are delighted to be associated with this iconic event and will now be supporting two much-awaited marquee tournaments in the Middle East – the Hero Cup and the Hero Dubai Desert Classic – as part of the traditional Desert Swing. It surely promises to be an exciting start to the season, and we look forward to seeing world-class golf on display.”Simon Corkill, Executive Tournament Director – Hero Dubai Desert Classic, said: “We are delighted to welcome Hero MotoCorp as the new Title Partner of the Dubai Desert Classic as we once again prepare to host a global field at Emirates Golf Club.“Hero have been supportive of golf, and particularly innovation in the game, for a number of years and we look forward to working together to continue the evolution of the tournament as we enter our second year as part of the Rolex Series.”Keith Pelley, CEO of the DP World Tour, said: “It is my pleasure to welcome Hero MotoCorp as the new Title Partner of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. We are proud to further develop our long-term relationship with Hero MotoCorp and thank Dr Pawan Munjal for his continued support of golf in general and the DP World Tour in particular.“January promises to bring yet another memorable edition of this historic event, as we once again welcome some of the best players in the world to Dubai for the second Rolex Series event of 2023, two weeks after an exciting season-opener in the new Hero Cup.”The Dubai Desert Classic was the DP World Tour’s first event in the Middle East region in 1989, cementing the Tour’s relationship with Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. That association has developed significantly since then, including through the introduction in 2009 of the season-long Race to Dubai, and the ground-breaking evolution of the European Tour group’s long-term partnership with DP World, with the leading provider of global smart end-to-end supply chain and logistics solutions becoming the Title Partner of the group’s main Tour from the start of the 2022 season.The historic event has been won by some of golf’s great names, including Major Champions Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Fred Couples, Jose Maria Olazábal, Mark O’Meara, Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Sergio Garcia and Bryson DeChambeau.For more information about the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, please visit the tournament website here.

Nokia and etisalat by e& show first 100 Gbps fiber broadband in Middle East

Nokia has today announced that the company -- in collaboration with Etisalat UAE, branded as etisalat by e& -- demonstrated the fastest passive optical network (PON) speed in the Middle East and Africa region. Nokia Bell Lab’s PON proof of concept (PoC) demonstration achieved speeds up to 100 gigabits per second (Gb/s) on a single wavelength -- four times faster than the most advanced networks available today.In the long-standing partnership between both the technology leaders, they have achieved multiple industry-firsts, including the world’s first single-carrier terabit-per-second field trial, setting optical transmission capacity record over etisalat by e&’s fiber network in the UAE.To achieve 100 Gb/s on a single wavelength, Nokia Bell Labs used pioneering digital signal processing (DSP) techniques. Once advanced DSP is adopted, the steps to 50G and 100G are straightforward and 100G could be commercially available in the 2030s.The Nokia Bell Labs 100G PON prototype is the world’s first application of flexible rate transmission in a PON network. Flexible rate transmission works by grouping fiber modems (ONUs) that exhibit similar physical network characteristics (e.g., loss or dispersion) and makes data transmission more efficient. Using flexible rate transmission results in lower latency on a PON and cuts power consumption in half -- two essential characteristics for fiber networks that have a rapidly growing role in the massive delivery of fixed and mobile broadband services.The PoC is Nokia's most recent industry-first in fiber access, following XGS-PON, TWDM-PON, and 25G PON. 100G PON could be commercially available in the 2030s.Marwan Bin Shakar, Senior Vice President/Access Network Development, etisalat by e& said: “Fiber networks are fast evolving into becoming the backbone of the entire telecommunications sector as they play an important role in delivering any service to any end point, including residences, businesses, and cell sites. As their use case evolves, they must become quicker, smarter, and more cost-effective. We are thrilled to have showcased a working prototype for 100G PON with Nokia. Our partnership with Nokia is a demonstration of our commitment to maximise value for our customers and bring positive change to their lives in the age of digitalisation. Through our partnership, we are looking forward to continuing our efforts in bringing in the best-in-class solutions to our customers and enabling the adoption of innovative technological solutions within the UAE and the region.”Samer Makke, Head of the Customer Team for etisalat by e&, UAE, at Nokia, said: “etisalat by e& is a pioneering operator in the region and we are proud to have demonstrated our industry-first prototype technology with the company. Fiber broadband continues to evolve and will play a critical role in enabling services for enterprise customers, premium consumers, and supporting 5G rollouts. 10G XGS-PON is now mainstream; the first 25G city is a reality; and 50G and 100G are being developed. This just shows the unlimited potential of fiber broadband.”Resources25G PON media gallery: Images and videoFiber for everything webpage. One fiber broadband network, many opportunities

LBank lists iTeller on its Digital Asset Exchange

 iTeller has announced the listing of their token ITLR on LBank exchange on January 5th, 2023, a leading cryptocurrency exchange. This listing will provide greater accessibility and liquidity for the project, as traders can now buy and sell ITLR tokens on the platform using a variety of trading pairs, including BTC, ETH, and USDT."We are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our reach in the crypto market through listing on LBank," said Mohammad Taher Khayami , COO of iTeller. "We encourage everyone to try out the platform and experience the fast and secure trading services that LBank has to offer," he added.Since its launch, iTeller has become a popular choice for individuals and businesses looking for a reliable and user-friendly payment solution. With the addition of the Lbank listing, the platform is aiming to make cryptocurrency easily accessible to the masses by providing users with myriad options to easily remit money to people living in another country without paying exorbitant fees.“Having ITLR token listed in our platform further empowers our users to explore more innovative cryptocurrency options. This cooperation is with no doubt of xmutual benefits,” said an LBank representative.To start trading $ITLR on LBank, visit

AmiViz certified as a Great Place to Work

AmiViz, the first B2B enterprise marketplace for the cybersecurity industry in the Middle East, is proud to announce that it has been certified as a Great Place to Work after a thorough and independent analysis conducted by Great Place to Work Middle East. This certification is based on direct feedback from employees, provided as part of an extensive and anonymous survey about the workplace experience.AmiViz has always been a believer in the spirit of people and the company has been able to create a platform that provides them with a flexible working environment where any member of the team can thrive, irrespective of their role in the company. Working with leading global brands and serving international markets, it is important that AmiViz offers a great workplace to all its employees.Commenting on the achievement, the COO for AmiViz, Ilyas Mohamed said “It has always been our endeavor to take care of employees and work as a team so that we can create an environment where everyone takes pride in their work. We have a clear mission to help people create, transform, and grow. I am glad that our efforts have helped us earn the trust of our employees to create a great workplace culture that delivers not just outstanding business results but also job satisfaction.”“The Great Place to Work certification is a validation of each and every employee in our company, which has tirelessly worked hard to create a work culture that is imbibed with integrity, respect, and compassion. We would like to thank every team member of AmiViz for making this possible,” Ilyas added.

Hevolution Foundation appoints William Greene, MD as Chief Investment Officer

Hevolution Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides grants and early-stage investments to incentivize research and entrepreneurship in healthspan science, has appointed William Greene, MD, as Chief Investment Officer (CIO). As CIO, Dr Greene will oversee all aspects of Hevolution Foundation’s investment strategy, planning, analysis, and execution.Over the course of his career, Dr Greene has been a life sciences company founder, operating executive, investor, and clinician. Most recently, prior to joining Hevolution as an advisor in May 2022, he served as CEO of Fountain Therapeutics, a longevity biotechnology company founded by Stanford Neurology professor Thomas Rando, MD, PhD.“After conducting a thorough search process, and working closely with Bill for over six months, I could not be more pleased to officially welcome him to Hevolution,” commented Mehmood Khan, MD, Chief Executive Officer. “Since our unveiling over the summer we have announced a number of promising collaborations and grants programs. In 2023 and beyond we look forward to building on this momentum, not only on the grants side of our operation but with some key investments and impact-focused initiatives, led by Bill and his team.”Prior to Fountain Therapeutics, Dr Greene was CEO of Iconic Therapeutics, ushering the start-up through discovery and development through to pharma partnerships and a successful sale of the company. Prior to that, he spent 12 years at MPM Capital where he was a Managing Director and member of its Investment Committee. He also served as founding Chairman of the Board and head of the Investment Committee at the Global Health Investment Fund, an impact-oriented venture fund founded with the Gates Foundation. Earlier in his career he was Assistant Professor of Medicine at University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and spearheaded strategy and clinical trials in several therapeutic areas at Genentech. He holds a BA in Biology and Neuroscience from Wesleyan University and an MD from UCSF. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).Dr Greene commented, “Hevolution Foundation and its bold mission speak to what has driven me throughout my career: a desire to tackle the most pressing problems, work with great teams, and use science and medicine to drive positive change. I am eagerly anticipating driving Hevolution’s investment strategy in partnership with the scientific team and the rest of the organization as we expand internationally and seek to play a global role in meeting one of humanity’s greatest challenges: unhealthy aging.”

MX Studios partners with Dubai Economy & Tourism for 'A Spin Around Dubai'

India’s leading OTT platform, MX Player is recognized for catering to its audiences’ diverse needs with engaging content across genres and formats. With a view towards building a wholesome entertainment ecosystem, MX Studios announces its association with Dubai Economy & Tourism for an adventure-packed three episodic mini-series ‘A Spin Around Dubai’. Starring siblings Jamie and Jesse Lever, the series will stream exclusively on MX Player starting today (5th January 2023).Popular comedy duo and siblings, Jamie and Jesse Lever who are known for their whimsical content share a passion for adventure during family holidays. On the hunt for their next destination, they choose Dubai, a city that offers timeless experiences and adventures. Only, this journey has a twist as they head to Dubai with no itinerary and just a spinning wheel in hand that decides where they head to in the city. The series explores nine exciting locations and quirky activities that the siblings undertake with their own comical twists. From witnessing a desert sunrise in a hot air balloon to a fountain show with a magnificent view of the Burj Khalifa, or experiencing the edge walk on the 53rd floor of the Sky Views Observatory, to meeting master chef Vineet Bhatia who matches the duo's vibe, Jamie and Jesse will take the audiences through some of Dubai's finest locations whilst being their hilarious selves.Bader Ali Habib, Head of Region – South Asia, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, commented: “We were thrilled to team up with MX Player to launch its new mini-series, designed to inspire Indian travelers to explore Dubai and all the excitement the city has to offer. As one of the most Instagrammed cities in the world, Dubai offers a diverse range of backdrops, from untouched landscapes to world-class attractions and experiences. Jamie and Jesse are truly a fun duo, popular for their brilliant comedy and we look forward to seeing Indian audiences journey our city in the true ‘Lever’ fashion.”Elaborating on their adventures, Jamie Lever said, “This is our first series together and we are extremely excited to see how the audiences react. We hope we have managed to create excitement and showcase the true connection with Dubai, its people, and its culture. This series taught me that sometimes, the best experiences are those which are unplanned and I think both Jesse and I can’t wait to come back to Dubai for more such adventures and let that wheel keep spinning”Jesse Lever further added saying, “Other than getting the chance to discover such a wonderful city and its adrenaline filled activities with Jamie - it was the unique experience that ‘A Spin Around Dubai’ offered us. Dubai has always been known for its innovative experiences and architecture but what we’ve shot is a variety of memorable experiences and I can’t wait for audiences to stream the show and start planning their unplanned vacation.”MX Player’s branded content arm, MX Studios creates bespoke solutions for various brands.Unravel the true spirit of Dubai with ‘A Spin Around Dubai’ that will stream exclusively on MX Player from 5th January 2023

Valor Hospitality Partners name Cluster GM for four properties

 Valor Hospitality Partners Middle East has appointed hospitality veteran Thierry Perrot as the Cluster General Manager to oversee the four hotels that have transitioned to be managed by Valor Hospitality Partners while continuing to work under their existing brands.Perrot’s most recent role as Cluster General Manager for the Wyndham Dubai, Deira, Days Hotel by Wyndham and Super 8 by Wyndham, saw responsibility for 515 keys for the three properties located in the Deira Enrichment Project, adjacent to Dubai’s historic Gold Souk area, Dubai Creek and the Corniche.The successful transition will see his role as Cluster General Manager for the Wyndham Deira hotels evolve to include the Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek, Dubai’s first-ever 5-star hotel, which opened in 1975. His purview now comprises a portfolio of 800 plus keys and more than 20 food and beverage outlets, covering two, three, four and five-star ratings across the four properties, with one of the most diverse scale of properties in the market.As a venerable hotelier, Perrot has spent more than 25 years in the region, of which the last 10 years have been in the UAE in cluster roles for IHG Hotels & Resorts and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. His international experience of over 40 years across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, covering multiple high-value hotel assets, has seen Perrot carry the transition, renovation and delivery of hotels and clusters to maximum performance through his stewardship. He has a consistent record of conceptualising and implementing innovative hotel operations that deliver on both service quality and profitability.When speaking of the appointment, Julien Bergue, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Valor Hospitality Partners Middle East, said: “Thierry Perrot is the ideal guardian for these properties; his ability to adapt to change and drive to perform have been evident in his successes with the Wyndham Deira properties and we feel he’s going to bring his operational excellence to the fore and build a team of future hoteliers through his transformational leadership.”A graduate of C.H.F Besancon’s Hotel School in France and the USA’s Cornell University’s Senior Executive Programme, Perrot has achieved a series of qualifications both within hospitality and the business spheres, as part of his drive to bring better performance to profit and motivating teams under his guidance. “The prospects that lay ahead with the joint venture, and these four properties in particular are an exciting challenge to any hotelier. I’m pleased to have this opportunity to show how a diverse portfolio of hotels can perform in concert, sharing market knowledge and industry exertise, serving the various customers that each of these hotels provide for, particularly in Dubai’s traditional business district, with its wealth of historical sites and the enduring legacy it plays in the city’s success” said Perrot.

Zain title sponsor of ‘Khaleeji Zain 25’

Zain, a leading mobile telecom innovator in seven markets across the Middle East and Africa, will be the title sponsor of the 25th Arab Gulf Cup silver jubilee edition, entitled “Khaleeji Zain 25”, to be held in Basra governorate, Iraq between 6-19 January 2023.Zain is a passionate supporter of youth and sports tournaments across the region, and the reintroduction of international football activities to Iraq re-establishes the country’s presence on the regional football map once more.The Arab Gulf Cup was last hosted in Iraq in 1979 when the country won the title, and 44 years later, the tournament triumphantly returns. The competition is held once every two years in one of the member states of the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation, namely Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE or Yemen.Supporting this milestone occasion and welcoming the teams and delegations participating in the tournament, Zain launched a campaign entitled “Eldenya Basra”, emphasizing the importance of this event and highlighting the joint efforts undertaken to maximize youth empowerment, sports development, and the return of regional competitions to Iraq.As part of its “Eldenya Basra” campaign running on social media platforms and media channels, Zain released a special song performed by Iraqi artist, Mahmoud El Turki to reflect Basra’s rich cultural background and historic links to the Gulf countries.“Khaleeji Zain 25” is organized and supervised by the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation in Basra, with live telecast and streaming available on various TV and online media channels. Following the successful hosting of the World Cup in the region, “Khaleeji Zain 25” will bring together fans, officials and the best Gulf players on Iraqi soil in Basra.

Elevatus ranks highest amongst the biggest software companies & startups in KSA

 Elevatus, the globally renowned and first recruitment and video interviewing software of its kind, today announced its recent listing in the report "101 Top Riyadh Software Companies and Startups" from BestStartup.Asia. The listed companies and startups have all picked up their pace in the KSA market and are taking a variety of approaches and steps to innovate the software industry.Elevatus has exemplified continuous efforts to disrupt the way companies across the globe find and hire the best candidates by offering an agile technology that helps them streamline the full hiring cycle in only a couple of clicks. Elevatus' rapid growth is fueled by the high adaptability and agility of its technology – which is built on years of scientific research and market best practices."Our partnership with Elevatus has played a monumental role in strengthening our innovative capabilities in preparation for Vision 2030. Elevatus' AI technology has been a major driver in evolving our work processes and helping us operate at a much faster rate. We now feel well prepared for the future that lies ahead, especially in realizing and achieving our Kingdom's vision with ease." said Ali Alzahrani, Director of Human Resources at the Middle East Propulsion Company.Elevatus' vast collection of success stories highlights the agile transformation companies are experiencing across the Kingdom. This has led the tech provider to be recognized as one of the top software companies in Riyadh based on four key categories: innovation, growth, management and societal impact. Elevatus covers a wide spectrum of innovative recruitment modules that support companies in creating job requisitions, shortlisting talent, interviewing candidates, assessing top performers, managing visas,accessing advanced analytics, inviting recruitment agencies, and onboarding new hires. This year alone, Elevatus powered over 120,000 job posts and 3 million video assessments to date – fully automated by its award-winning recruiting solutions."Elevatus is a phenomenal software that simplifies and automates the entire recruiting process. You can find all that you need to recruit top talent in one single place. It's easy, smart and user-friendly. If your company is growing, then Elevatus will definitely make the process more seamless and easier." adds Mohammed AlRasheed, Head Of Human Resources at AlRaedah Finance.This recognition marks the third consecutive year that Elevatus has been named a top software company in the recruitment industry – and carved its spot in top positions globally. This ranking further validates its commitment to building and designing the most innovative recruiting solutions the world has ever seen. Today, Elevatus is empowering enterprises and companies worldwide to recruit at scale and thrive in an increasingly challenging recruitment landscape.

Astra Tech's PayBy disrupts fintech solutions

PayBy, a leading fintech innovator recently acquired by Astra Tech in August 2022, has been licensed by the Central Bank of the UAE to conduct Stored Value Facility (SVF) and Retail Payment Services (RPS) operations. The license represents one of the country's highest levels of financial services approvals, enabling Astra Tech’s PayBy to continue altering the fintech landscape with its payment solutions. Customers and merchants will experience ultra-fast and secure services, such as international money transfers, seamless payment solutions, wallet top-ups, and more on Astra Tech’s upcoming app to be launched in the coming months.Founder and CEO of Astra Tech, Abdallah Abu Sheikh, commented: “We are honored to have secured the license from UAE’s Central Bank which marks a huge milestone achievement for both Astra Tech and PayBy. We’re excited to launch our secure payment solutions to customers and merchants in the UAE to enable smoother digital transactions and make everyday commerce friction-free. We have always aligned with the UAE’s vision of creating a cashless ecosystem and are thankful to the Central Bank for trusting us with our secure technology. Astra Tech will stay true to its mission of offering a more robust value proposition to customers and merchants by eliminating the burden of unfavorable & compounded commission structures that are usually passed on to suppliers, partners, and consumers by today’s super apps.”Astra Tech is acquiring and equipping sector-leading customer-centric businesses with disruptive and progressive technologies that will enrich merchants’ and users’ lives with effortless usability and efficiency, a gap that currently remains unfulfilled in the UAE digital commerce space today.Astra Tech is one of the biggest additions to the MEA’s ever-growing tech ecosystem aiming to raise 500 million USD (AED 1.8 Billion) from various strategic investors and partners, bringing the company one step closer to its vision of launching an app. PayBy is one of the largest fintech companies in the region, with over AED 600 million in transactions as of May 2022, and aims to build an all-in-one mobile payment ecosystem in the UAE and GCC, offering a safe and contactless payment solution. Astra Tech’s acquisition of PayBy follows the company’s recent acquisition of Rizek, a platform for on-demand personal and home services.

EA Sports and Anghami announce FIFA 23 global in game vanity drop

Anghami Inc., the leading music and entertainment streaming platform in the Middle East and Africa (MENA) region, announces a first ever in-game vanity drop in FIFA 23.FIFA 23 players, globally, will now be able to access an Anghami themed kit and stadium design in FIFA Ultimate Team. They are also able to customize an avatar of their own with an Anghami look in both VOLTA and Pro-Clubs.The creative direction of the kit was inspired by Anghami’s vibrant new positioning and rebranding that aims to empower Arab youth everywhere to create and connect with the world. With its tagline “The world is listening”, Anghami brings its new identity to the screens in a cool, bold and engaging way.Qossay Alsattari, Anghami's Distribution Partnerships Lead, commented: "The synergies between music, video gaming and football are unparalleled, allowing us to offer our audiences unique innovations that resonate with them and enriches their entertainment experience. We are quite excited to have FIFA 23' players across the world access and enjoy the Anghami Kit and to showcase their best kicks with our playful branding."The vanity items will be available in game from Friday 23rd December till Thursday 30th December, and can be unlocked through Squad Building Challenges.Earlier in the year, EA SPORTS had partnered with Anghami to celebrate the release of FIFA 23 with a special track and music video titled ‘Merengue’. The track was written and performed by Saudi based rapper and hip-hop artist, Lil Eazy and produced by DJ Outlaw and Sarah Nabil.Download the app and learn more at July 2022, Electronic Arts released details on EA SPORTS FIFA 23, available worldwide on September 30, which will feature updates to its groundbreaking next-gen HyperMotion2 gameplay technology† that elevates every moment on the pitch and much more. With 300 individual licensed partners, giving players access to more than 19,000 athletes across 700 teams, in 100 stadiums and over 30 leagues around the world, FIFA 23 is the place you can play in iconic competitions such as UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League, Premier League, Bundesliga, LaLiga Santander, CONMEBOL Libertadores and CONMEBOL Sudamericana.Join the EA SPORTS FIFA community on Instagram, or follow us on Twitter @EA_ME EA SPORTS FIFA 23 assets are available to download on the official EA press site at PRESS.EA.COM.†HYPERMOTION TECHNOLOGY ONLY AVAILABLE ON PLAYSTATION 5, XBOX SERIES X|S, PC, AND STADIA VERSIONS.

Etihad Airways appoints Arik De as Chief Revenue Officer

Etihad Airways today announced the appointment of Arik De as its Chief Revenue Officer, overseeing a new organisational division focused on revenue.Since April 2022, De has served as Vice President of Revenue & Commerce at Etihad Airways, responsible for revenue management and e-commerce.“With the world quickly returning to pre-Covid levels of travel, we have a unique opportunity to build on and strengthen our leading position at Etihad Airways,” said Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer.“Our new Revenue division will deliver state-of-the-art revenue management capabilities, broaden our airline partnerships and enhance our network to better serve our guests and our home of Abu Dhabi."Arik has had a substantial positive impact on our revenue performance over the past nine months, and I look forward to closely working with him as we build on these interdependent areas, which are critical for financial sustainability.”Having started his career over 20 years ago in finance at the International Monetary Fund, De has spent the last 15 years working within the aviation industry.He has previously held leading positions at WestJet, Air Asia, Aeroméxico, and most recently, TAP Air Portugal, where he was the Chief Revenue & Network Officer.In this newly created role, which will report to the Chief Executive Officer, De will oversee key revenue-related functions including Revenue Management, Distribution & E-commerce, Network Planning, Alliances & Joint Ventures, Aeropolitical & Industry Affairs, and Etihad Guest, the airline's loyalty programme.De holds a Master's degree in Finance and Policy from the University of Chicago."I am excited to take on the Chief Revenue Officer role at a time of such opportunity, as international travel demand kicks into high gear. Etihad Airways has an incredible product, service and team behind it, and I look forward to working together to enable growth and deliver value as we take our airline to new heights,” said De.

GFH acquires Big Sky Asset Management

GFH Financial Group (“GFH” of the “Group”) today announced it has completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Big Sky Asset Management (“Big Sky”), a US-based real estate asset manager focused on the attractive and defensive healthcare segment.This transaction further expands GFH’s presence in the US and builds on its thematic focus on attractive and defensive markets. It follows the earlier acquisition in May 2022 of US-based SQ Asset Management, a leading specialist in student housing in prime US states and cities.With the acquisitions of Big Sky, GFH has established a strong foothold in the growing, defensive healthcare market, making the Group one of the early pioneers in the region to penetrate this segment. Big Sky brings more than 20 years of experience in investing and managing healthcare assets in the US, with more than US$2 billion in cumulative transaction value and 130 in medical facilities.“We are looking forward to this partnership with an established and well positioned expert such as Big Sky, and believe it gives GFH a unique approach to the market by bringing together our regional expertise with Big Sky’s extensive know-how in the US healthcare market. This partnership will further strength our real estate offering and allow us to introduce unique and attractive products to our investors,” said Mr. Nael Mustafa, Co-Chief Investment Officer at GFH.“This acquisition is instrumental to the future growth of GFH by giving us strong management teams that are able to execute our growth strategy and give us a local presence, which in today’s market is a key ingredient to success. Big Sky’s strong track record further complements our strong performance in the US markets and boosts our market know how.”Big Sky has strong capabilities in sourcing, acquiring and managing healthcare assets with a specialized focus on medical clinics and life sciences real estate. The company seeks premier medical facilities where it can directly add value through active and enhanced asset management.Big Sky is being led by the Founder and CEO, Jason L. Signor, who brings an extensive track record of investing in the healthcare real estate sector, and is supported by a strong management team across the US. Mr. Signor has successfully grown a predecessor real estate company to become of the largest healthcare real estate platforms in the US. Following the transaction, the company will be owned by GFH alongside the founders.Mr. Nael Mustafa added, “We are looking forward to collaborating with Jason and his team to grow the platform and find unique ways of generating value across the spectrum of healthcare. The platform will be instrumental in providing institutional quality real estate to the top hospital groups and doctors in the US. We believe the healthcare real estate sector through Big Sky will present attractive returns for our investors.”“GFH has completed acquisitions of two medical clinics portfolios through a joint venture with Big Sky that is valued in excess of $800 million as part of our investment strategy of acquiring portfolios of stabilized assets supported by strong market fundamentals and operating growth. We are strong believers in the healthcare market which is positioned for steady, resilient growth following the shift in outpatient services and subsequent demand for quality medical clinics assets.”Mr. Jason L. Signor, CEO of Big Sky, said, “Having GFH as a strong partner will enable Big Sky to further offer unique investment opportunities to investors in the US and the GCC. Big Sky is well positioned to grow its AUM and become one of the largest healthcare real estate investors by combining our market capabilities with GFH’s strong global access.”

Cristiano Ronaldo presented by Al Nassr after transfer

Cristiano Ronaldo was officially presented by Al Nassr as the Saudi Arabian club’s superstar new signing on Tuesday, Associated Press (AP) reported.The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus forward signed a two-and-a-half-year contract to play in the Saudi Pro League in one of the most surprising transfers in the sport's history.“I'm so proud to make this big decision in my life. In Europe my work is done. I won everything and played for the most important clubs in Europe. This is a new challenge,” Ronaldo said at a news conference.The soccer great, who has won five Ballon d'Or awards for the best player in the world and five Champions League titles, will play outside of Europe for the first time in his storied career.Ronaldo was set to be presented to fans later at the 25,000 capacity Mrsool Park in Riyadh, which will become his new home after agreeing a deal reportedly worth up to $200 million a year, making him the highest paid soccer player in history.

Top 5 trends that will shape the media and advertising industry in 2023

2023 calls for a period when firms sharpen their attention on marketing and advertising trends to make an impression as consumers grow more cautious about which brands they spend their time on.Dubai-born and based, Nested VFX, a post-production and visual effects studio, shares its projections in the marketing and advertising sector for the upcoming year:Trend 1: Back to basics and traditional advertisingPost-Covid, a trend to go back to producing high-end quality commercials and shows started to take shape in the region, and, based on Nested VFX's predictions, we can anticipate this trend to take complete form in 2023. Long gone are both masks (hopefully), cutting corners, and production budgets.Brands today understand that they now face a brighter and more informed audience that cheap promotional videos cannot sway. In order to get their focus and, ultimately, their loyalty, brands need to give their audience a compelling story without insulting their intelligence. This trend will see its full potential only when a seasoned production partner and creative team work together for a brand.Trend 2: AI-generated content, copyright ambiguities, and stockAI-generated content is taking steam, but there are still many copyright ambiguities surrounding them. Any media creator or advertiser should be wary of using them if they are serious about monetizing their content or promoting their brands.In 2023, it is projected that brands and creators will increasingly opt for soundtracks and footage production to make videos stand out, as opposed to using stock footage and library music, a trend that took charge during the early days of the pandemic.Trend 3: Customize, customize, customize!One trend that the studio is personally rooting for in 2023 is for brands to choose the route to customization. Just before the new year, Nested VFX worked on a global telecommunication brand campaign where they delivered a different video for each social media platform, carefully divided into awareness, consideration, sales conversion, and call-to-action. A route popular within the western markets but yet to take shape in the MENA region.2022, witnessed how taking a master video, cutting it down to shorter bits, and roughly fitting a video shot for horizontal displays into the various new formats is proving ineffective and - we dare say - harmful for brands. Each platform demands a different narrative and needs videos curated explicitly for its intended format.Each medium calls for a different approach these days. It might have a higher upfront cost, but if it is carefully customized content for each, the rewards down the line will be far greater."We are dealing with an audience that is moving quickly, and if you can't keep them entertained, you will be replaced with just one click. With the ever-changing media and advertising industries, brands are in a do-or-die situation in which thinking outside the box is no longer an option but a necessity. To survive in this game of survival, the brand must understand where the world is going and stay one step ahead of the bandwagon," said Samer Asfour, CEO and managing partner of Nested VFX.Trend 4: Away from social mediaTaking a look at what is happening with Twitter and Meta's latest earning reviews, it is anticipated that international brands and their regional branches, as well as studios and content creators, will slowly steer away from social media in the upcoming year and start investing in free-to-air TV and platform ads through Shahid, YouTube and the ad-supported tier of Netflix to name a few.The region can also anticipate a lot more product placement and sponsored content videos being brewed for in the coming year.Trend 5: HDR- Expecting a colorful high for 2023Although a little wishful thinking, the studio is optimistic that broadcasters and brands will grasp the opportunity to use the full video mastering tools and take a step towards creating their media in a High Dynamic Range rather than the status-quo Standard Definition.The west might be heading into a recession that will affect all industries, including the media and advertising ones. However, the region, especially the Gulf, proved resilient and is indeed growing fast. Agencies and production houses alike in the region are confident and excited about the year to come and the opportunities coming with it.

‘Uber Travel’ launches in Egypt

Uber has launched its latest innovative travel feature in Egypt, Smart Itineraries. Once riders link their Uber profiles with their Google account by clicking on ‘Travel’ in the app, the feature displays upcoming travel plans and allows users to reserve an Uber to and from specific locations based on hotel and flight bookings, making the travel experience even more seamless. Smart Itineraries is part of the Uber Travel Suite of Offerings globally, with a range of features expected to launch in the region soon. Norhen Ali, Uber’s Head of Communications for MENA, said: “Uber Travel forms an integral part of Uber’s vision to make movement and local and international travel more seamless. We’re excited to introduce Smart Itineraries to the MENA region, as an enhanced offering to help ease the stress of travel, and we will continue to expand our services to accommodate increasing travel needs through the power of our technology.”In line with Uber’s constant efforts to create more affordable rides for riders and drive more demand for drivers to support their earnings, Uber will return 10% back in Uber Cash every time riders book a Reserve ride with Uber Travel, which means they can plan ahead and earn Uber Cash. Smart Itineraries is part of the Uber Travel Suite of Offerings globally, with a range of features expected to launch in the region soon. Once riders connect their Google account, Uber will do the rest, organizing all reservation needs in one place for stress-free travel.How to use Uber TravelOpen the Uber app and tap “Travel” followed by “Get Started” then “Sign in” with your Google accountOpt-in to give Uber-AwardWallet permission access your bookings Check the permissions box to continue. You will soon see all your upcoming trips appear right in the Uber appWith a vision to provide a variety of products available for every traveller’s need, the feature is the latest innovation in Uber’s product portfolio, following the expansion of Uber Reserve last year in Egypt.

Dubai Duty Free annual sales reach Dhs6.339bln ($1.74bln) in 2022

Dubai Duty Free ushered in the new year by announcing annual sales of Dhs6.339 billion (US$1.74 billion) in 2022, representing a 78% increase over the previous year.A sign that the operation was on track for a strong recovery after two challenging years was evident in August, when it recorded a 104% increase in sales for the first eight months of the year, when sales reached US$1.06 billion.December sales were further fueled by Dubai Duty Free’s 39th anniversary celebrations when the operation offered a 25% discount from the 18th - 20th December, which resulted in a shopping spree of Dhs107.3 million (US$29.4 million) during the 72-hour period.Reflecting on the year at Dubai Duty Free, Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO, said: “We are thrilled to announce such a positive year as travel returns, during which the operation went from strength to strength. I would like to thank our Chairman, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, for his ongoing support and I join him in thanking our great team of staff, our suppliers and of course our customers, who are fundamental to our continued growth and success.”The operation recorded over 17.3 million sales transactions throughout the year, or an average of 46,912 sales transactions per day, while a staggering 47.302 million units of merchandise were sold.With sales of Dhs1.134 billion (US$310.66 million), Perfume, which contributed 18% of total sales retained its position as the top selling category. It was followed by Liquor, Gold, Cigarettes & Tobacco, and Electronics. Sales of Liquor reached Dhs1.021 billion (US$279.84 million) and accounted for 16% of the total annual sales. Meanwhile, Gold recorded sales of Dhs629.292 million (US$172.41 million) and contributed 10% towards total revenue. Cigarettes & Tobacco came in fourth place with sales amounting to Dhs562.347 million (US$154.07 million) and accounted for 9% of total revenue while Electronics came in fifth place with sales of Dhs502.201 million (US$137.59 million) and accounted for 8% of total annual sales.Online sales accounted for 2.54% of the overall sales tally for 2022 and reached Dhs161.200 million (US$44.16 million).Sales in Departures across the operation totaled Dhs5.57 billion (US$1.53 billion) representing 88% of total annual sales, while Arrivals sales totaled Dhs573.385 million (US$157.092 million), representing 9% of total annual sales.Meanwhile, in line with the growth of the operation, rehiring and recruitment continued with the total employee count now standing 4,663. Throughout the year, the operation received a total of 19 awards, including its 21st consecutive Business Traveller Middle East Award for "Best Airport for Duty Free Shopping in the Middle East", the Gulf Business “Retail Company of the Year” award and the sixteenth consecutive Global Traveler Award for "Best Duty-Free Shopping in the World.”. Colm McLoughlin was also the recipient of two personal awards including being honoured with the inaugural Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) Lifetime Achievement Award and being named the "Most Inspiring Leader - Retail (UAE)" at the Global Brand Awards.Looking ahead, Dubai Duty Free will continue to maintain its busy events and promotional calendar which includes the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to be staged at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium from the 19th February – 4th March.

9 billion dirhams, the contribution of sport

The year 2022 was distinguished as the year of sport in UAE and the entire world, as it witnessed strong return to the organization of all championships and full return of the public & fans to enjoy watching sports competitions at the stadiums & pitches. In Dubai, 2022 was marked as the year of boosting the status of sport in society movement and the year of attracting more local & international events and championships, which have attained remarkable development in terms of names of participants, variety of sports and the huge numbers of fans.  The photos of the participation of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al- Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai & Chairman of the Executive Council, in the Dubai Fitness Challenge at Sheikh Zayed Road in the heart of Dubai, accompanied by more than 193,000 participants, has presented an excellent model on the status of Dubai and its continuous development to attain several unprecedented records regarding the increase of the level of awareness with the importance of sport & the numbers of participants, based on the proper governmental policy to support the exercise of sport & to provide top-level facilities along with the availability of competent & well-experienced staff who are qualified enough to host & organize the biggest international championships & forums. Sport supports Economy through Increase of Numbers of Events, Companies & Staff: A report, prepared by Dubai Sports Council through an international house of expertise, has unveiled that the contribution of sport to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Emirate of Dubai has attained an annual increase of more than Dhs 9 billion with a contribution rate of 2.3% of Dubai's GDP. The sports sector provides 105 job opportunities, as a result of the great & continuous sports development in the fields of the organization of sports events / sports industry / increase of the numbers of participants & fans of multi-nationalities in events & championships / development of sports tourism. The year 2022 has witnessed a significant increase in the numbers of various annual sports events, comprised more than 103 international events and championships, top of which are: the World Padel Championship, the biggest of its kind in the history of this world competition / Dubai World Golf Championship, the biggest of its kind in terms of tours, numbers of participants and valuable prizes / the World Tennis League, which has essentially been launched from Dubai and its first edition was held with participation of elite of world prominent male & female players in the presence of more than 42 thousand fans at Coca Cola Arena and it was watched by millions of followers via 125 world TV channels / two tours of the world beach volleyball championship / the 11th Emirates Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup / Dubai Super Cup, which took place at Al-Maktoum Stadium in Al-Nasr Club with participation of Liverpool & Arsenal from England, AC Milan of Italy and Lyon of France and in the presence of more than 50 thousand fans along with millions of followers via world TV channels.  The year of 2022 witnessed increase in the numbers of registered companies which are specialized in the field of the organization of sports events & training camps, i.e. increase to 700 companies. The numbers of various sports academies have increased to 400 academies, while the numbers of gym centers & specialized physical fitness centers increased to 400 for each. Numbers of clubs in Dubai raised to 100 clubs  Increase of International Training Camps: The year 2022 witnessed a significant increase in the numbers of training camps, which were held in the Emirate of Dubai throughout the year by clubs, national teams and Olympic & sports champions. In this regard, the Emirate hosted more than 120 international training camps, held at "Hamdan Sports Complex", Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex and the stadiums & pitches of many of Dubai clubs & resorts, which are all well-equipped as per top international standards and they have therefore become as annual favorite destinations for several world clubs & national teams to organize training camps. Sports Championships & Tourism: The year of 2022 also witnessed increase in the numbers of athletes & fans of multi-nationalities who arrived in Dubai from the different continents of the world. In this respect, various championships & events were held with participation of the more than 31 thousand athletes and in the presence of 713 thousand spectators & fans of multi-nationalities, most of them arrived from overseas. 165 local events were held with participation of 1.77 million persons from 200 nationalities and in the presence of 220 thousand fans, which represents an important addition to the sports tourism sector. The Emirate of Dubai witnessed the organization of 12 sports conferences & exhibitions, top of which are the 17th Dubai International Sports Conference and the Globe Soccer Award, which were held in prestigious presence of top world football stars. This event witnessed the historical reconciliation between Mohammed Salah & Sergio Ramos. 58 women events were organized, with a percentage of more than one event per week. Respective bodies organized 31 esports competitions, taking into account that the esport is witnessing remarkable development & distinguished participation of world athletes & corporates from overseas.  Sports Events at Dubai’s Landmarks: Dubai Sports Council was keen to organize 62 various sports events and rounds of international championships for professional & amateur athletes during 2022 at the eminent tourist landmarks of Dubai, among which are: Al Marmoom Reserve, Jumeirah and Hatta, Continuous Development for the Work’s Rules & Regulations: Dubai Sports Council continued its efforts during 2022 to develop rules and regulations to keep conforming to the latest developments in the country and the entire world. In this regard, the 2nd version of “Hamdan Bin Mohammed Order of Merit for Sports Education Schools” has been launched, while updating was made for the 9th version of the Sports Excellence Model 2020/2023 to honor clubs and football companies which attain excellence & achievements, based on financial competence, besides focusing on individual medals for juniors & talents.Dubai Sports Council has also continued its qualifying programs for technical & administrative staff working in Dubai. The Annual Forum for Dubai Clubs’ Coaches was organized with participation of more than 100 coaches from the different football categories. DSC is keen to provide opportunities for local coaches of first teams & reserve teams in Dubai clubs to attend the trainings of Milan Club in Dubai in order to be acquainted with the training styles, adopted by this ancient club aiming to enrich their coaching experiences & knowledge. In management field, DSC provided opportunities for CEOs and several employees of various administrative scopes in Dubai clubs to attend the eminent lecture on the inspirational management, creating of strong teams and successful competition system, which was presented at the Council’s premises by Mr. David Dean, one of the former prominent contributors in Arsenal Club and who is considered as the mastermind of the launch of the Premier League in 1992.

Hyatt appoints Stuart Deeson as Vice President Operations for MEA

Hyatt has announced Stuart Deeson as Vice President of Operations for the Middle East and Africa (MEA).In his new role, Deeson is responsible for Hyatt’s operating hotels across the region, with a current portfolio of more than 30 properties across 7 brands, including Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Alila, Andaz, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Place and Hyatt House.Deeson began his hospitality career at the age of 16 in the family country house hotel business, before joining the Hyatt family in 1995 and gaining extensive knowledge of Asia and the Middle East markets over nearly three decades. He started his journey with the company as Business Development Manager at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, and got promoted two years later to Director of Business Development at Hyatt Regency Xian in China. In 1999, Deeson was appointed the hotel’s Director of Rooms and successfully climbed the career ladder to his first Executive Assistant Manager (EAM) position in 2000, at Grand Hyatt Seoul in Korea. Continuing his journey across Asia, Deeson moved to Japan in 2002 to join the pre-opening team of Grand Hyatt Tokyo as EAM, Rooms. Three years later, he took on his first General Manager (GM) role at Hyatt Regency Johor Bahru in Malaysia, before making the exciting move to the Middle East as GM of Park Hyatt Dubai in 2010. Deeson moved to the UAE capital in 2014 and held GM positions at Park Hyatt and Grand Hyatt properties before taking on his former role as Area Vice President and General Manager of Andaz Capital Gate Abu Dhabi.A passionate hotelier from the get-go, Deeson studied at the University of Surrey, Guildford in the United Kingdom, completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Catering Management. He will be based at Hyatt’s regional office in Dubai and work closely with his sub-regional teams to further enhance the company’s operational excellence and success in the Middle East & Africa.Srdjan Milekovic, Senior Vice President Operations – Europe, Africa and Middle East, Hyatt, said, “I am delighted that Stuart has stepped into this new role. With his deep knowledge and experience across the Middle East and Africa, I know he will deliver great value for our colleagues, owners and guests, and successfully drive Hyatt’s purpose forward in the region.”

The ADJD raises awareness of the dangers of cybercrime for society

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD), in collaboration with “Majalis” Abu Dhabi at the Citizens and Community Affairs Office of the Presidential Court, held an awareness-raising lecture on "Cybercrime and its Dangers to Society", as part of its efforts to promote legal awareness among the components of society, in order to ensure their protection and to prevent them from the dangers conveyed by crimes involving the use of modern technologies and social media.The lecture, which was deliverd at Al Manhal Majlis in Abu Dhabi, is part of the "Majalisna" initiative launched by the ADJD, in implementation of the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, to promote the dissemination of legal culture among the components of society to support the maintenance of security and stability.The lecture, given by Dr. Abdulla Hamad Al Mansouri, Chief Prosecutor, addressed the nature and definition of cybercrime, the dangers of cyber-extortion and the sanctions provided by the law in this regard. The lecturer also focused on the causes and factors that lead members of society to become victims of cyber-extortionists, and provided in this regard a set of practical examples based on cases handled by the Public Prosecution.Dr. Al Mansouri also discussed the risks associated with the misuse of social media networks and the liability on the part of users in accordance with the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 34 of 2021 on Combating Rumours and Cybercrime.The Chief Prosecutor insisted on the most important restrictions and controls to which people should pay attention when surfing the Internet, in order to ensure the safe use of all kinds of information technology means, to avoid any attempt to endanger people's safety or to make them victims, or to refrain from anything that could lead them to commit acts that might expose them to legal liability.

Yas Plaza Hotels announces new Director of Entertainment

 Yas Plaza Hotels is stepping up its dynamic music offerings with seasoned radio veteran Steve Johnston taking the helm as Director of Entertainment.Steve has had over 30 years of experience working in radio all over the world; as an accomplished DJ, he has entertained music aficionados from the UK, Middle East, SE Asia and even the Falkland Islands. He currently co-owns two English language radio stations based in Chiang Mai, Thailand.He also has extensive experience with the radio industry in the UAE. He was part of the team that set up the first English language commercial pop radio station in the UAE, Chaneel4FMAjman, in 1997, which has just celebrated its 25th year. Back in 2007, he also helped put together Emirates Radio 1 and Emirates Radio 2 through Emirates Media in Abu Dhabi as well as the UAE’s first rock radio station - Rock FM - in Fujairah. He has even entertained British troops DJing for them in Cyprus, Falkland Islands and Iraq.On his appointment as Director of Entertainment for Yas Island Plaza, Steve shared, “I am really excited to be back home in the UAE and looking forward to meeting old and new friends in my new role.”As the UAE continues its growth as a global entertainment destination, Yas Plaza Hotels is mixing it up and offering fresh and exciting music experiences for both local and foreign guests.“We at Yas Plaza Hotels have always been committed to providing world-class leisure and entertainment offerings as part of our overall hotel experience. Steve brings in decades of experience in the music industry and is very in tune with what both our local and global guests are looking for - and we can’t wait to hear it!” said Fredrik Reinisch, Managing Director at Yas Plaza Hotels.

Water parks tap into digital transformation to offer innovative & fun experience

Not wanting to be left out in the era of digitization when intelligent automation rules the roost, the water parks sector has been exploring new technologies to improve its operations.Organizations all over the world are looking to create touchless experiences to streamline operations to reduce costs and pain points, which makes countries like Saudi Arabia double the size of its economy to $1.6 trillion, adding an additional $293 billion by 2030, according to a new study by Automation Anywhere.WhiteWater, the world’s largest supplier of water parks and services, has expanded beyond the world of attractions with a software arm called Vantage, which was awarded the 2022 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Impact Award for its ability to simplify the entrance process for guests and operators. Vantage enables guests to obtain their water park passes from the comfort of their homes, eliminating long entrance lines at the turnstile.Jeremy Gray, VP of Business Development at WhiteWater, said: “The implementation of technology in the entertainment space not only helps create a safer experience for guests but gives park operators more insight into the overall guest experience, enabling them to leverage that to make more money.”He added: “Knowledge is power. With technology comes access to data points that can provide suggestions on how best guests can enjoy the park by helping to improve services and their overall experience. At times, it could be just about putting an additional ice cream cart during a month of higher demand or deploying more staff to an area that is overloaded and lagging in its orders during the lunch rush.”Miral, a UAE-based creator of immersive destinations and experiences, began to integrate the facial recognition technology on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi with FacePass, enabling guests to access the park and process transactions through digital identification. This has not only saved time, but has also enhanced guests’ safety and well-being, thanks to the touchless interaction.Digital Transformation is a key pillar of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and will continue to be an area of growth within the country. According to the International Trade Administration, the Saudi information and communications technology (ICT) market is valued at over $32.1 billion and is the largest in the Middle East and North Africa region. With access to international connectivity through the Red Sea and the Gulf, and with the potential to serve the European, Asian, and African markets, the country is well positioned for rapid economic growth.A recent YouGov survey showed that for 96 percent of businesses in Saudi Arabia, customer experience is a top priority. This is because a great customer experience breeds loyalty and boosts happiness. Technology can assist this by creating an added layer of personalization to pleasantly surprise and wow visitors. At WhiteWater water parks, for example, by using Vantage’s technology, guests are able to play their favorite songs while enjoying their preferred rides at the venue.It can also be implemented to help prevent more than one guest from being at an attraction at the same time with its “tap in” feature, which is used to get the stoplight to change color and get the go-ahead to ride.Jeremy added: “Saudi Arabia has a unique opportunity to create the most advanced water parks in the world. Because the country is working to build these projects from scratch, there is an opportunity to build technology from the very beginning to make the water parks easier and safer to run.”As the Miral example illustrated, ticketing is only a small part of the picture. Versatile technologies have triggered a deluge of creative and operational advancements in water parks, offering operators and designers new options for improving guest experiences as well as safety. With Vantage, parents can use the technology to their benefit and work to put parameters on which rides their children can use, ultimately limiting access to scary rides that might not be appropriate for young children.

Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace announces its reopening

 Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace announces its reopening on Friday, December 30, 2022.The Jewel of Beirut, Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace will open its doors yet again offering a unique taste of luxury in the heart of Beirut. Opening on 30th December 2022, the hotel offers 185 luxurious rooms including 20 elegantly appointed suites, a variety of food and beverage selections all-day at the Summer Place and hotel's lobby lounge Tea Garden.Situated in the heart of Sin El Fil, this hotel boasts of magnificent views of the city from all the rooms. Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace has nine function rooms for 2,800 guests, including six multi-purpose meetings rooms practically located on one floor, a 24-hour business center and a dedicated Meetings Manager.In addition to this Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace Hotel provides guests with personalized services and advanced facilities including complimentary WiFi, a 24-hour business center, fitness center and outdoor pool. All designed to make every stay unforgettable.With its location only 15 minutes from Beirut International Airport, and Beirut City Center only a five-minute drive away from the hotel with an abundance of historical tourist sites in its vicinity, this hotel is an ideal base for exploring the charming Lebanese capital and the country's main attractions.Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace is part of Hilton Honors®, the award-winning guest loyalty program for Hilton’s 18 world-class brands. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else and free standard WiFi.For more information or to make reservations, please visit HiltonBeirutMetropolitanPalace or call +961 1 496 666.

EHS launches transformative project

 The Emirates Health Services (EHS) has announced the launch of a Metaverse-based Virtual Telemedicine Solution using 3D virtual reality technology.The launch is part of transformative projects which leverage advanced technology and promote smart services such as remote health solutions and telemedicine.Through the project, EHS aims to deliver virtual medical consultation services supported by advanced technologies. This first-of-its-kind technology enables members of society to access e-services via smart devices, thus scaling up service to reach broader segments of individuals and enhance the customer experience. Through the new virtual channel, patients can effortlessly access psychiatric consultation services, family health promotion clinics, and customer happiness centres.Dr. Yousif Mohammed Al-Serkal, EHS Director-General, said it is the first global healthcare provider to apply Metaverse technology to provide advanced services and promote sustainable health development goals by adopting best practices that leverage AI, IoT and Blockchain technologies.“This aims to strengthen governance, clinical review services, and research, promote global ethical standards and best practices, and enhance the sector’s competitiveness to world-class levels. The above aligns with our strategy of future-proofing our services against emerging challenges.”He added, “Our transformative projects aimed at promoting innovation, investing in national healthcare capacities, and continuing to keep abreast of the rapid global developments and changes in the sector by using the latest global medical devices and AI-based treatments and service automation.”The new initiative aims to promote telemedicine practices in virtual clinics and provide consultation services and medications through robotic pharmacies. It also focuses on increasing customer satisfaction and boosting patients’ confidence by delivering excellent outpatient services and updating service channels.The project will provide psychiatric consultation services for different age groups in addition to accessing the Customer Happiness Centre and family-centred health promotion services. The project complements the goal of EHS to be at the forefront in applying Metaverse technology and equipment-free services.Metaverse provides a 3D interactive space that allows customers to engage with healthcare professionals through a secure link using their devices equipped with a camera, microphone, and speakers. This way, patients need not purchase equipment such as headphones or controllers. Doctors can assess conditions, discuss treatment plans, and provide treatment and other clinical services.

Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr Football Club agree terms to sign Cristiano Ronaldo

Al Nassr Football Club, one of the most successful clubs in Saudi Arabia and Asia, and the current leaders of the Saudi Pro League (Roshn Saudi League) has agreed terms to sign Cristiano Ronaldo. The five-time Ballon D’or winner of Portugal will join on a 2.5 year contract. Ronaldo, one of the most successful footballers of all time, is set to undergo a medical at Mrsool Park, the modern home to Al Nassr, before completing formalities and being revealed to fans in the club’s yellow and blue colours in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh in coming days.Al Nassr, coached by Rudi Garcia, will enter a new year with their iconic new signing at the top of the league as they seek to claim their 18th Professional league title, having last won the league in 2019. Known for the passion of the club’s adoring fans, Al Nassr, which means victory in Arabic, has won 45 trophies in their celebrated history, with the progressive club now looking to add further to their success in the men’s and women’s game.During a record-breaking career so far, Cristiano Ronaldo has won five UEFA Champions League titles, four FIFA Club World Cups, seven league titles in England, Spain and Italy, and the UEFA European Championship and the UEFA Nations Cup for his native Portugal. He is the first player in history to have won league titles in England, Spain and Italy.Having won leagues titles and broken goalscoring records across Europe, Cristiano is ready for Asia and a new challenge by adding a league title in Saudi Arabia to his list of on-pitch achievements as well as aiming to help Al Nassr win their first ever AFC Asian Champions League.Loved and respected by hundreds of millions across the globe, this transformational partnership will combine one of the world’s most celebrated footballers with one of the most exciting sports nations in the world.Cristiano Ronaldo said: “I am excited to experience a new football league in a different country. The vision of what Al Nassr are doing and developing in Saudi Arabia both in terms of men’s and women’s football is very inspiring. We can see from Saudi Arabia’s recent performance at the World Cup that this is a country with big football ambitions and a lot of potential. I am fortunate that I have won everything I set out to win in European football and feel now that this is the right moment to share my experience in Asia. I am looking forward to joining my new teammates and together with them help the Club to achieve success.”Al Nassr Football Club President Musalli Almuammar said: “This is more than history in the making. This is a signing that will not only inspire our club to achieve even greater success but inspire our league, our nation and future generations, boys and girls to be the best version of themselves. He is a special footballer and a special person whose impact is felt far beyond football. Cristiano is joining a club with big ambitions, a competitive club amongst the very best in Asia and will be welcomed to a country that is making massive progress on and off the pitch with opportunities for all. But first and foremost, we can’t wait to see him in the number 7 shirt of Al Nassr doing what he does best, scoring goals, winning titles and bringing joy to those who love the beautiful game.”Al Nassr have always been known for breaking boundaries with the Ronaldo signing the latest pioneering move. The club was the first to ever represent Saudi Arabia in a global competition when they featured in the inaugural FIFA Club World Cup in 2000 in Brazil and first Asian club to play in four different continents, Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. Al Nassr also sits proudly at the top of the inaugural Women’s Premier League and is seeking a unique national domestic double.As the number one sport in the country, football has continued to gain prominence and momentum in recent years especially following the recent victory for the national team over Argentina in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, with the entire squad based in Saudi Arabia.The country has a population of 35 million with two thirds under 35 years old. Literally over 80% of the entire population play, attend or follow. Over 10% of the country play football. Over 2.6m under 30 play football. 65% of individuals aged between 15-19 that play sport, play football. And over 1 million fans attend the professional men’s league, the Roshn Saudi League every season.Cristiano’s move to a young country and region like Saudi Arabia and the Middle East represents a perfect fit to progress his impact as an all-round role model and inspire the nation's youth to lead healthy and active lifestyles.

MBZUAI brings together global AI experts in Abu Dhabi

Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), will hold its first AI Quorum of 2023 on January 3-6, with more than 200 AI experts confirmed to join. The four-day event is focused on challenges and opportunities related to deep neural networks (DNN), which are key in helping computers have the resources and space they need to answer complex questions and solve larger problems; they are used in various AI applications, such as chatbots.The event will take place at W Abu Dhabi Hotel on Yas Island, and will be streamed online and open for the public to register. It will consist of talks and workshops headed by more than 20 faculty members from top universities around the world, including UC Berkeley, Oxford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Washington, in addition to AI experts from top companies including Google and META.“In our first week of 2023, we are bringing together leaders in the fields of deep neural networks, deep learning, and data science to share ideas and expertise with the aim of overcoming some of the barriers that have held deep learning back from reaching its true potential,” said Professor Eric Xing, MBZUAI President and University Professor. “The high number of world-class speakers and attendees confirmed to attend the AI Quorum underscores the university’s ability to bring experts together to discuss the issues that matter within the field of AI, including the development of new solutions in fraud detection, gene mapping, and fake news.”Experts in fields including machine learning, applied mathematics, signal processing, and optimization will share recent progress and foster collaborations on the mathematical foundations of deep learning. They will also discuss the strength of deep neural networks in processing and learning from low-dimensional data, which is common in fields that deal with large numbers of observations and variables.The discussion will look at how deep learning, which is commonly beset by problems relating to data efficiency, could make better use of low-dimensional data to learn and solve problems. This could help develop vastly superior machine learning solutions capable of tackling challenges in a range of industries, including financial services, healthcare, and media.Launched in 2022 by MBZUAI, The AI Quorum is a winter series of gatherings designed to stimulate cutting-edge AI research with leading scientists and share an understanding of the discipline as a force for good. The series is strategic and high-level by design. The AI Quorum is focused on curiosity, collaboration, authenticity, and the pursuit of excellence – it is a coming together of the brightest minds to set the research agenda and to imagine both what AI could accomplish and how it might get there.

Sharjah gears up to host region’s first Footgolf tournament

Footgolf, a sport combining football and golf, is set to take center stage at Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club for the ‘Sharjah International Footgolf Tournament’ from 12 to 14 January 2023. The Professional Footgolf tournament will take place at Sharjah’s world-class country club, with some of the world’s best players traveling to the Emirate from across the globe to participate. The event will bring together over 140 players from more than 20 different nationalities to take on the challenging course. Organised by Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority (SCTDA) in partnership with Sharjah Sports Council and Professional Footgolf Tour, The Sharjah International Footgolf Tournament will host the world’s top footgolf players, with both men and women competing for cash purses over a two-day competition, utilising an 18-hole, stroke-play format. The tournament will consist of four players per group, teeing off every six minutes. Players will compete across two days, vying for more than $40,000 in total prize money. The event is also open to amateur footgolf players based in UAE with a prize fund of $1,500 up for grabs, with these players also eligible for the overall fund. While Footgolf tournaments have taken place all over the world to date, the Sharjah International Footgolf Tournament will be the first of its kind within the GCC.“We’re thrilled to be bringing the region’s first footgolf tournament to Sharjah. We have a line-up of world-class footgolf players flying in from all over the world, and we’re excited to show them the beauty of the UAE and everything Sharjah has to offer” said Dan Ferretti, Co-Chairman of Professional Footgolf Tour. “While there are some immaculate golf courses across the UAE, to date there have been no true footgolf courses built, and so not everyone is familiar with the sport. We’re hoping to change that with the launch of Professional Footgolf Tour events across the region, that will ultimately leave a legacy for players of all ages and skill levels to experience the sport and get themselves playing in one of our elite events.”Combining golf and football, footgolf has become a global phenomenon in recent years. Requiring little equipment, skilled players utilise precision and foot control to kick the football into specially designed large holes on an eighteen-hole course. Footgolf can be played on a regular golf course and is one of the fastest-growing sports in golf communities. Footgolf uses a regulation size five football, and a hole big enough to accommodate one. Unlike regular golf, if a shot goes astray, players can detect the ball easily and play moves on swiftly. However, like regular golf, there are hazards — and the difference often comes down to putting.Following the two-day tournament, a family friendly footgolf course will be installed at Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club. The club will have tee times on sale for this course to enable families, friends, and workmates to experience the game first-hand, creating a legacy for the sport in the Emirate. HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, said: “The Sharjah International Footgolf Tournament further emphasises the efforts being made in Sharjah to enhance Sharjah’s position as a premier tourist destination. We are delighted to be welcoming professional footgolf players from all over the world to Sharjah next month, and we look forward to inviting these players to enjoy the Emirate’s rich history, geography, nature, culture, heritage, archaeology, and arts.”The SCTDA continues to launch various initiatives to support the activities of the tourism sector in Sharjah, which include strengthening its partnerships with the private and public sector as well as local and international entities to enhance the overall tourism experience within the Emirate.The competition venue at Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club offers a premier one-stop venue for a vast range of recreational facilities both indoor and outdoor. Located only five minutes from Sharjah Airport and 20 minutes from Dubai Airport, it provides a convenient location for both local and international competitors and participants.Registration is now open with limited spaces available for UAE citizens and residents to sign up to participate in the Sharjah International Footgolf Tournament. Entry fee is AED 370 per player. For more information or to sign up to participate, visit

Dubai Chamber of Commerce launches Cloud Computing Business Group

Dubai Chamber of Commerce, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, has announced the launch of the Cloud Computing Business Group, connecting companies within the sector to encourage productive dialogue on ways to propel and embed cloud computing services across the various business industries in Dubai.Commenting on the launch, Maha AlGargawi, Executive Director of Business Advocacy at Dubai Chambers said, “As one of the most future-ready nations in the world, a cloud-powered advanced digital infrastructure is essential to support Dubai’s goals of fully integrating digital technology into all government operations and plans. The setting up of the cloud computing business group is a pillar of this infrastructure as it will encourage transparent conversations between its members, supporting the sector in advocating beneficial policy changes that will in turn enhance its competitiveness.”One of the business group’s founding members, Miguel Villalonga, CEO of e& enterprise Cloud, added, “The formation of this business group comes at the right time as cloud computing has become integral to businesses and the overall Dubai economy ecosystem. It will serve as a platform for fruitful discussions between stakeholders in the sector. Such collaboration enables leveraging expertise while aiming to enhance cloud computing landscape in the UAE. It resonates with our efforts to be the leading digital enabler for cloud solutions.”Sharing similar sentiments, Omid Mahboubi, Founder of MENA Cloud Alliance and co-founder of the Cloud Computing Business Group, said, “I am pleased to be part of the establishment of this business group and look forward to constructive dialogues with peer members on ways and means we can support businesses in the cloud computing sector. This business group will be a catalyst for driving adoption of cloud computing in various organisations across the board.”The adoption of cloud technologies has allowed businesses in Dubai to become more agile, flexible, and efficient, helping to drive innovation and competitiveness within the local economy. The UAE has consistently outperformed 15 other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region as the most cloud competitive economy. SMEs and start-ups in the UAE are expected to gain a total of $17.1 billion (AED 62.6 billion) in economic benefits from hyperscale cloud computing between 2022 and 2030, equivalent to 2.3% of the UAE's GDP in 2021.The new Cloud Computing Business Group will focus on promoting the development of cloud computing companies, raising the profile of Dubai’s cloud services sector in the international business community. By providing a forum that facilitates mutual dialogue between the sector stakeholders and government entities, the business group will address policy matters related to the industry, amongst others.Dubai has a thriving and growing cloud computing industry, with a number of well-established international companies and local start-ups providing a range of cloud-based services. Cloud computing has become increasingly important to the economy of Dubai in recent years and the launch of the business group comes at a prime and opportune time for the sector.The new business group is part of the chamber’s plans to increase the number of business groups that represent economic sectors and activities in Dubai. They act as representatives and reliable advocates for their respective business sectors and play a crucial role in recommending policy changes to improve a sector’s competitiveness and attractiveness while promoting international best practices and supporting economic growth. Dubai Chamber of Commerce plans to increase the number of economic sectors and activities represented by business groups to 100 by March 2023.

Uber appoints Hachem as GM to lead UAE and Levant

Uber has announced the appointment of Pia El Hachem as the General Manager at Uber across the UAE, Jordan, and Lebanon. In her new role, Hachem will be leading Uber’s strategy, operations, policy, and business development, while overseeing the company’s end-to-end business.Hachem has been at Uber since 2018 as the Strategy & Planning Lead for the Mena region and later expanded her scope to the Sub-Saharan Africa region. In her previous roles at Uber, Hachem contributed to developing the strategy and business plans for the MEA region, and most recently, setting priorities and growing the business in various markets.“It is an honour for me to take on this new role at Uber, building on my tenure developing the business,” said Hachem. “I am looking forward to leading the Uber business with a focus on our efforts towards achieving our sustainable mobility goals, expanding our product portfolio to meet local needs, as well as, and of course, growing our ride sharing business across all 3 countries.”Strategist and leader“Through her years of experience and previous roles at Uber, Pia has proven to be an exemplary strategist and leader, perfectly suited for her new role as GM of UAE and Levant,” said Frans Hiemstra, Director and General Manager of Uber Middle East & Africa. He added: “I'm looking forward to Pia elevating our offerings and advancing the Uber business in these strategic markets, as she takes on this new responsibility.”Prior to joining Uber, Hachem was a management consultant at Strategy&, where she worked closely with clients across different industries on developing and implementing strategies in the Middle East and South-East Asia.

Deira Enrichment Project unveils exciting DSF line up

 Deira Enrichment Project (DEP), the modern vibrant mixed-use community developed for Dubai’s residents and tourists to live, work and play, and home to the Dubai Gold Souk Extension (DGSE) raises the 2022 Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) momentum with its amazing all-new ‘Shop & Win’ raffle promotion.Kicking off along with DSF all the way until 29 January 2023, residents and visitors to Dubai can look forward to exciting and unique offerings from hundreds of retail outlets including jewellery stores, perfumeries, clothing and footwear retailers, and pharmacies, as well as numerous restaurants and cafes located throughout the 1,181,025 square foot development.To spread the cheer, DEP is offering up to AED 250,000 in giveaways to shoppers who make a purchase between AED 50 - AED 1000 during the DSF season. Shoppers spending AED 50 or more at participating stores and cafes have a chance to win travel and dining vouchers worth up to AED 50,000 in the Fun Win category, whereas all those spending AED 1000 or more at jewellery, electronics or perfume outlets will have the opportunity to walk away with two Nissan Kicks as well as jewellery vouchers worth AED 50,000 as part of the Big Wins category.Speaking enthusiastically of the offers, Lachlan Gyde, Executive Director, Asset Management of Ithra Dubai said: “Deira has always been the destination for shopping where bargains await the intrepid shopper and these retail businesses have always been recognised as an integral part of the vibrant and ever-changing Dubai scene. Through our ongoing contribution and commitment to Deira we are building a community around the innovative, engaging, and diverse offerings we have introduced into DEP that will create unforgettable and distinct experiences that leave customers coming back for more.”He added: “With this raffle, we look forward to encouraging Dubai’s residents and visitors to explore and discover the large variety of businesses that Deira Enrichment Project houses.”The Deira Retail District notably comprises the Dubai Gold Souk Extension, Sherina Plaza, Osha Plaza, One Deira, Shamma Plaza and Moza Plaza, among others. For the convenience of shoppers, ample parking spaces have been allotted through multi-storey car parks as well as other parking facilities throughout the project. DEP is connected to two metro stations and an integrated Transport Hub, giving visitors a wide variety of transportation options to choose from.

Azizi Developments appoints new Chief Facilities Executive and Senior Advisor

 Azizi Developments, a leading private real estate developer in the UAE, has appointed a new Chief Facilities Executive and Senior Advisor, Dr. Mahmoud Reza Taheri, to lead its Facility Management & Commercials, DLP and Security Services.Dr. Mahmoud, a veteran in the industry, has over thirty years of experience in management and operations, and has a proven track record in effectively leading high-performing teams, developing and streamlining processes, and implementing avantgarde systems to boost efficiency and optimise productivity.Dr. Mahmoud has served as Deputy Special Envoy as well as Head of Missions along with other key positions in the specialised agencies of the United Nations. Dr. Mahmoud has also taught as a university professor, and holds two PhD degrees in social communication sciences and international relations. Moreover, he has served as CEO of Azizi Investments from 2007-2012. Dr Mahmoud is an expert in facility management. Hired to help Azizi’s projects reach their fullest potential, he will be overseeing those who operate and maintain Azizi’s completed projects.Commenting on the appointment, Mr Farhad Azizi, CEO of Azizi Developments, said: “Dr. Mahmoud is an exceptional executive with vast experience. His management and operations knowledge is well suited for the position we’ve entrusted him with. He will play a crucial role in driving our strategy and adding long-term value to the progression of our organisation. We are committed to enhancing the lifestyles of our residents through our now even more proficient facility management department and our long-standing partnership with VCM.”

SimpliFi accelerates disruption in digital payments

SimpliFi, the leading Cards as a Service (CaaS) platform in MENAP, empowers organizations to drive new revenue streams, manage costs and streamline business operations, with the introduction of Multi-Currency cards across the region. With businesses moving to digital channels and borders increasingly becoming less relevant, the ability to pay and get paid globally in local currencies is becoming a necessity. By providing the ability to create and issue Multi-Currency cards, SimpliFi is helping businesses create unique and relevant payments experiences to solve their pain points.SimpliFi Multi-Currency lets businesses issue cards in multiple currencies to match their spend with in-depth insights into how their cash flow movement is being managed across currencies while reducing exchange losses and administrative costs. Founder and CEO of SimpliFi, Ali Sattar says, “Cross-border spending is increasing rapidly and will continue to do so; this is an opportunity to accelerate access to efficient, reliable cross-border payments. Multi-Currency cards offer consumers, freelancers, and businesses better payment experiences by providing more choice, convenience, operational efficiencies, and savings. At SimpliFi, we aim to be the driving force that supports businesses to supplement their revenue streams, while having more control over foreign exchange costs. This truly is the future of payments.”SimpliFi Multi-Currency offers businesses the opportunity to generate additional revenues through foreign exchange while reducing the complexities related to administration and operational costs. It also allows companies to boost their bottom line and benefit from unique payment experiences, and forecast spending in matching currencies.SimpliFi offers single cards with Multi-Currency options, where the cardholder can move funds across various supported currency pockets, or multiple cards each with a single currency.Key use cases include: Corporate ExpenseMake supplier or subscription payments in billed currencies with control over FX rates.Personal Finance ManagementOffer users the option to have funds saved in multiple currencies, whether in single currency cards or multi-currency pockets.Business/Personal TravelMove money ahead of trips by easily and cost-effectively converting funds into different currencies to spend while travelling.Freelance WorkProvide users with a solution to collect money in their choice of currency.SimpliFi, the leading CaaS platform, currently offers 8 currencies with multi-currency cards available in the US Dollar (USD), UAE Dirham (AED), Saudi Riyal (SAR), Bahraini Dinar (BHD), Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD), Omani Rial (OMR), Qatari Riyal (QTR), Jordanian Dinar (JOD).

Samsung Electronics announces ‘New Year. New You. Smart Start.’ packages

To celebrate the New Year and allow customers to get a head start on their New Year’s goals, Samsung Electronics announces ‘New Year, New You, Smart Start’ exclusive offers for their wide range of connected products to encourage consumers to shop smart this year. Samsung’s devices and technological innovation enable consumers to convert surroundings according to individual needs with efficiency, productivity and comfort, allowing more time for what really matters.Samsung’s solutions have the SmartThings* functionality built-in for a level of interconnectivity that is virtually unrivalled across electronics. The innovation offered to consumers has revolutionised the convenience around televisions, mobiles and home appliances empowering consumers to connect their devices under one platform, providing connectivity and device management opportunities that streamline living.Mohammed Al Azzawe, Marketing Director, MENA Regional HQ at Samsung Electronics, said: “New Year is a time to create new set of resolutions that resolve around wellness and self-improvement. Therefore, we take it upon ourselves as technology leaders to encourage our valued consumers to upgrade to smarter homes and foster a dynamic ecosystem through our exclusive bundle packages.Samsung's latest products transform homes into operationally connected ecosystems, redefining the true meaning of smarter living. These best-in-the-market, contemporary electronics perform together to improve active wellness, family interaction, work from home, and cater to the varied uses of the entire household, simplifying consumers’ everyday life.Samsung is laying on exclusive offers, packages and not-to-be-missed flash sales for customers to make the transition into 2023 with a smarter, connected home. The price reductions will be on select Samsung products, ranging from mobile phones and home appliances to TVs and home-entertainment devices. To shop smarter this year, discover amazing offers on SmartThings ready-devices on Samsung’s eStore: what everyone is wishing for this New Year with Samsung! To download the SmartThings app, visit

NGN reveals its new logo reflecting company’s growth and expansion

NGN International, the security services provider and systems integrator headquartered in the Kingdom of Bahrain, announced the launch of its new logo and identity, reflecting the company's continuous growth, renewal, diversity of fields and future aspirations.The new design of the company's identity presents its core values and philosophy of work in a simple, clear and easy-to-understand manner. It portrays the harmony of its elements, additionally, its prominent triple dimension look indicates the implications of advanced technical fields and modern applications of the ICT field.Mr. Yaqoob Al Awadhi, CEO of NGN International, said: "With the introduction of this new logo, we aim to keep up with the significant advancements we have made to our work in recent years, as well as our expansion from the Kingdom of Bahrain to various regional and international markets. We also wanted to present ourselves to our clients in a modern way that would help them recognise the high-quality standards of the services we offer them.""It took a while to create the new logo until we arrived with this refreshed and outlandish design that depicts the rapidly advancing modern technologies. We were also eager to engage our workforce in this project to strengthen their feelings of belonging and loyalty and to ensure that they are once again part of the company's journey towards growth and expansion.”The objective of the new design of the company's identity, according to Mr. Al Awadhi, is to show the depth and extent of the business. It also suggests that the company roams the globe to offer the best services that satisfy its clients' needs. As the new identity comes to give another dimension and a profound revelation to the ambitious new strategy of the company in the next stage, this is also a new shift that affirms the company's keenness to connect and keep pace with global advancements.Mr. Al Awadhi indicated that the new identity also reflects the development witnessed by "NGN Training Center”, and its efforts in the field of upskilling and reskilling national cadres in different areas of emerging technologies.

The Spinneys Dubai 92 cycle challenge is returning to DIS in 2023

The Spinney’s Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge, in partnership with Dubai Sports Council, continues to shatter records and bring in amateur and professional cyclists from around the world. Early next year, the Outride edition of the 32 Km race is set to return, a shorter course ride allowing families and new cyclists to join in the fun alongside the main race on 19th February 2023. As one of the region’s premium sporting events and UCI Gran Fondo World Series 2023 qualifier, the Spinney’s Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge is joined by American Express Middle East (AEME) as the Official Payment Partner of the event.The Main event and Outride races will be held at the iconic Dubai International Stadium. Participants and attendees can expect an exciting post-event race village brimming with fun activities and hospitality experiences, suitable for the entire family.Stewart Howison, Race Director for the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge, said: “We are delighted to have American Express Middle East as our Official Payment Partner and excited to be back at Dubai International Stadium. We cannot wait to welcome all the fans, family, and friends to this spectacular event. We also encourage the non-cycling enthusiasts to visit as the post-event race village, which will be offering exciting activities for guests to participate in.”Saud Swar, Chief Business Officer of American Express Middle East, said: “We recognize the incredible effort by the organizers and the Dubai Sports Council in their journey to becoming one of the region’s most anticipated cycling events. We are pleased to strengthen our support to Spinney’s Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge over the years by becoming this season’s Official Payment Partner. This partnership is in line with our Sustainability commitment to foster well-being in the communities we operate.”As the Aster Pharmacy BIG 5 competition passed its halfway point with Build-Up Ride 3, Borja Sanz, and Michelle Lindqvist emerged as the owners of the coveted yellow jerseys following their strong start to the season. In the newly introduced Vet’s category for this season, Si Cox and Claire Martin will wear the blue leaders’ jerseys going into the final Build-Up Ride of the season, taking place on 22nd January 2023.The Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge have not forgotten about the younger crowd. Young cyclist enthusiasts can look forward to the Junior Rides launching early in January 2023. These rides are untimed and are solely designed for the enjoyment of children between the ages of 2-12. The Junior Rides are set to take place at the Dubai International Stadium on 18th February 2023, a day before the main event.Cyclists from around the world will visit Dubai to participate in the main event on Sunday 19th February 2023. The 92km race will draw in competitive cyclists as they look to qualify for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland next year. With flatter terrain and a cooler climate, Dubai’s track provides a unique opportunity for riders to perform well and make the top 20%. Once again, a qualifying race for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships 2023, the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge continues to leverage its appeal and leave a mark on the global sporting stage.Riders looking for the perfect fit for the main event can purchase the official Spinney’s Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge apparel. From the balanced sport fit cut event jersey by Ciovita and breathable UV Sun Sleeves to limited-edition Versus cycling socks with moisture-wicking technology, the 2023 merchandise was created for cyclists, by cyclists and is available to pre order at www.cyclechallenge.aeHeld in partnership with Dubai Sports Council, Spinneys and Dubai 92, The Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge is one of the Middle East’s premium sporting races, regularly attracting thousands of riders from all over the world.

Analysing the tepid response to Netflix’s AVOD version

Is Netflix’s ad-supported offering a dud? While it is too early to come to that conclusion, the much-touted ad tier, launched in 12 countries in November, isn’t eliciting encouraging response from the audience, at least in the US. The basic ad plan has garnered only 9% of new subscribers in the US in November, according to subscription analytics firm Antenna. Netflix has rebuffed Antenna’s data with its spokesperson telling The Wall Street Journal that it is still “very early days for our ad-supported tier and we’re pleased with its launch and engagement, as well as the eagerness of advertisers to partner with Netflix”.The advertisers, however, aren’t as eager as the streamer claims. Netflix has reportedly returned money to advertisers after it fell “short of ad-supported viewership guarantees made to advertisers,” according to Digiday. The report, quoting five agency executives, says that Netflix has “only delivered roughly 80% of the expected audience”.“They can’t deliver. They don’t have enough inventory to deliver. So they’re literally giving the money back,” said one of the agency executives, who blamed the streamer for the lack of a big marketing push to promote the ad-supported tier and attract subscribers.Yes, Netflix was in a hurry to launch the ad-supported version, as it faced the toughest of times since its launch. The first six months of 2022 saw the streaming giant laying off 450 employees on two different occasions. The streaming company’s share price fell almost 20% after it lost, during the first quarter, 200,000 subscribers worldwide, especially in markets like the US, fuelled to a great extent by increasing competition from rivals like Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, Paramount+, etc. (The target for the year was 2.5 million new subscribers.) The tough conditions prompted the streamer to resort to measures like imposing a ban on account-sharing, and launching an ad-supported tier, which the company has shunned for long.For the ad-supported tier, Netflix tied up with Microsoft to sell its ad slots, and signed with BARB (the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) and Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify for the purpose of measurement.According to reports, the streamer was selling its slot at a price of around £50 for every 1,000 viewers reached; that is double the rate charged by streaming services owned by Channel 4 or ITV. Some of the brands that joined were L’Oréal and the world’s biggest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns popular names like Budweiser. But there is neither independently assessed audience data nor the option to target specific demographics. Well, analysts feel that, going forward, brands will demand sophisticated and advanced targeting capabilities from Netflix. And there are no popular titles such as ‘Peaky Blinders’ on the ad-supported platform. Licensing restriction was the reason cited by Netflix COO Greg Peters for this. He said that only 5% to 10% of Netflix’s total catalogue would not be currently available in the ad-supported tier.Too early?Meanwhile, industry observers say that it is too early to arrive at a conclusion that Netflix ad tier is a failure.Netflix is always known for its subscriber-based plans and providing the best of the experience to its viewers, says Faqhrul Husaini, Producer and Co-founder, Smiley Films. “Now this is the early stage of their AVOD roll-out; yes, it has not got the desired results, but we will have to wait for another 2-3 years before making up our minds about it. It will be more clear when they will expand AVOD-based plans in more markets. I think as SVOD has failed to get any streaming giant in a profitable position and economical situation is getting worse, so AVOD is going to be the main revenue generation system for all the streamers, but SVOD will be there for premium customers who prefer experience over money,” he adds.It’s still early days for the ad tier and we’ve yet to hear from Netflix, says analyst Paolo Pescatore. Therefore, he adds, we can expect some guidance during the next quarterly earnings call.“Let’s not forget the calendar fourth quarter tends to be a good one in terms of subscriber growth due to seasonality. This has been a good quarter of programming with ‘The Crown’, and of course, the Harry & Meghan documentary. Netflix will hope that the huge anticipation for the show will lead to sign-ups. The streamer is not dead. The show will reinforce its market-leading position as an indispensable streamer in people’s homes,” he says.According to him, the show is a blockbuster in its own right that will draw attention among users who have not already subscribed to the streamer. “Unquestionably, this ensures that Netflix ends the year in a far stronger position, building on blockbuster third quarter, with normal service having been restored. This is in stark contrast to the first half of the year. Significantly, this excludes the move into advertising, which will help broaden its base, business model and much more.”Rosy future for AVODAnalysts feel ad-based tiers, or the hybrid model, will catch up in the days ahead. According to a forecast by Bloomberg Intelligence report, Netflix’s ad-based subscription plan has the potential to boost revenue and user growth. “Longer term ads are expected to reboot user growth and while cannibalisation is the single biggest worry, robust ad average revenue per user should help to reaccelerate sales,” say Bloomberg Intelligence senior media analyst Geetha Ranganathan and senior associate analyst Kevin Near.Going forward, we can expect a hybrid model to take precedence, according to a research report by Digital TV Research.The report says that only 24% of Netflix’s total subscribers (which is 63 million) will pay for a hybrid AVOD-SVOD tier by 2028.Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, feels that the majority of Netflix’s SVOD-only subscribers will remain on these plans, despite the cheap availability of AVOD-SVOD tier. “The hybrid tier will appeal most to developing countries where disposable incomes are lower. The hybrid tier will also be attractive to new subscribers that do not have legacy SVOD-only subscriptions,” he says.Globally, ad-supported tiers will drive SVOD subscriptions to increase by $428 million between 2022 and 2028 to reach $1.76 billion, according to the Digital TV Research. A hybrid SVOD-AVOD model, led by giants like Netflix, Disney+, Warner Bros. Discovery, etc. will drive growth.According to Murray, Netflix will provide its hybrid AVOD-SVOD tier in 85 countries by 2028, followed by Disney+ in 91 countries, and HBO in 55 and Paramount+ in 56. The research firm estimates that these four platforms will have a combined 372 million hybrid AVOD-SVOD subscribers in the next five years.Given that Disney+ subscribers in most markets are expected to convert automatically to the hybrid AVOD-SVOD tier, Digital TV Research predicts that the platform will have 206 million subs to this tier by 2028 – or 88% of its total.

Dubai property market set to hit new peak in 2023

Dubai real estate market will continue its upward trajectory in 2023 as the property prices and the annual rent are expected to increase further amid rising demand and interest from high net worth individuals (HNWIs) and foreign investors, according to the Zoom Property Insights.The latest data from Zoom Property Insights forecasts that Dubai property prices are expected to increase up to 20 per cent increase on average and the luxury segment will continue to dominate with 13.5 per cent year-on-year growth in 2023.Ata Shobeiry, CEO of Zoom Property, echoes the sentiment that the property market will continue its upward momentum on the back of strong demand from end-users and foreign and local investors.“The Dubai property market has cemented its position as a leading real estate destination, with 2022 proving to be a remarkable year (so far) for the sector. It is expected to end on a strong note, paving the way for an even stronger 2023,” he said."I believe popular communities, such as Palm Jumeirah, Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, JBR, etc., will continue attracting buyers and investors in the next year as well,” Shobeiry said.High-end properties on the riseReferring to a recent report by Knight Frank, the Zoom Property Insights said the high-end properties in Dubai will have another remarkable year, with an anticipated 13.5 per cent increase in prices next year. This is the highest increase among the top 25 foreign destinations.Miami ranks 2nd with an expected 5 per cent increase in prices while Los Angeles, Paris, and New York are other prominent names on the list.Top areas expected to remain popular in 2023Data obtained from the Zoom Property Insights indicates that Palm Jumeirah witnessed the highest price increase of 5 per cent in the apartment sector in recent times. It was followed by MBR City, Meydan City, and Living Legends. All these communities recorded a 4.7 per cent increase in the average property prices.For villas, the highest growth of 4.6 per cent was recorded in Emirates Hills. Mudon (4.1 per cent), Jumeriah Village Circle (3.9 per cent), and MBR City (3.1 per cent) remained other prominent areas.For rental apartments, The Old Town, Dubailand Residence Complex, Green Community (DIP), and Downtown Dubai showed the most promising figures of 4.9 per cent, 4.6 per cent, 4.5 per cent, and 4.4 per cent, respectively.The Sustainable City (4.9 per cent), DAMAC Hills (Akoya) (4.8 per cent), The Villa (4.8 per cent), and Reem (4.7 per cent) remained the popular choices for renting villas.Besides the aforementioned areas Jumeriah, JBR, Arabian Ranches, and Dubai Marina are expected to drive the property market in 2023.“Dubai's position as a leading tourist destination, reformed policies by the government, relaxation in visa rules, and an expat-friendly environment; it’s a combination of all these factors that have helped to make Dubai property market a roaring success. I believe they will continue to contribute to the sector’s success in 2023 as well,” Shobeiry concluded.

ZBC to boost trade volume and business relations with Dubai

 Dubai Chamber of Commerce has supported the establishment of the Zimbabwean Business Council with a main objective of promoting commercial interests of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean business in Dubai. The business council also aims to promote Zimbabwean owned UAE registered companies as well as their goods and services in the UAE.The launch of the Zimbabwean Business Council is in line with the chamber’s plans to establish new country-specific business councils and expand their roles to boost Dubai’s foreign trade and promote cross-border business opportunities for member companies.“We aim to create new channels of economic cooperation between business communities in the emirate and promising markets around the world. Covering markets of strategic importance to Dubai, business councils provide the right platforms for businesses in the UAE and abroad to connect, collaborate and build mutually beneficial partnerships. These councils will support us as we further expand our presence across Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and attract more companies and investment from these regions,” said Maha AlGargawi, Executive Director of Business Advocacy at Dubai Chambers.Commenting on the establishment of the new business council, Rungano Innocent Nyaude, one of the founding members of the council said, “The Zimbabwean Business Council in the UAE looks to play a pivotal role in growing the Dubai-Zimbabwe business relations by bringing together Zimbabwean businesses operating in Dubai, building an ecosystem of coordination and networking which will in turn build further trade corridors between the UAE and Zimbabwe. The UAE is Zimbabwe’s second largest export destination market and through coordination with stakeholders, it is our mission to play a part in strengthening the trade relations between the two countries and grow the business footprint of Zimbabweans in the UAE.”Bilateral trade between UAE and Zimbabwe witnessed strong growth between 2019 to 2021. UAE imports from Zimbabwe reached US$ 2.3 billion in 2021 compared to US$ 1.5 billion in 2020 and US$ 904 million in 2019, while UAE exports to Zimbabwe accounted at US$ 209 million in 2021. Main products of trade between the two countries are precious stones and metals. The new business council will further strengthen burgeoning trade relations between Zimbabwean companies and the business community with other companies in the UAE, contributing to an increase in trade volume between the two countries.The establishment of the Zimbabwean Business Council is a collaborative effort in improving the ease of doing business in Dubai in addition to creating a supportive, enabling and world-class business environment in the emirate.

GFH’s ratings upgraded by S&P to ‘B’ on resilient business

GFH Financial Group B.S.C (“GFH” or “the Group”) today announced that S&P Global Ratings raised its long-term issuer credit rating to ‘B’ from ‘B-‘, Outlook Stable. At the same time, the agency also raised the credit ratings on sukuk issued by GFH Sukuk Company Ltd to ‘B’ from ‘B-‘.The Group’s ratings upgrade is said to reflect GFH's strong business and financial performance. The report noted that GFH’s revenue has proved resilient over the 2020-2022 period as well as noting that return on equity has improved to 8.6% over the first nine months of 2022. Despite pressure on the Group’s treasury activities from rising interest rates, the report also cited GFH’s ability to have delivered good investment banking revenue, building on its real estate specialization in Europe and the U.S. and steady commercial banking performance after a restructuring in 2020. The stable outlook, according to S&P, reflects its view that GFH can reduce its exposure to real estate assets while maintaining moderate capitalisation over the next 12-18 months.S&P went on to highlight that the macroeconomic environment will continue to support GFH's activities. The report expects that oil prices will remain high through 2023-2024, which would support abundant liquidity in the Gulf Cooperation Council region. In turn, this is expected to keep demand for alternative investments elevated, support commercial banking, and likely keep regional money markets relatively stable despite higher interest rates.The steady divestment of GFH’s real estate activities was also a contributing factor to the ratings upgrade. Following the spinoff of Infracorp, S&P noted that the Group has successfully reduced its exposure to real estate.Commenting, Mr. Salem Patel, Chief Investment Officer, Debt and Capital Markets at GFH, said, “We’re pleased to announce S&P’s upgraded ratings for the Group and ongoing market recognition of the strength of GFH’s business and the steps we have taken to further enhance our results and financial position. Despite challenging market conditions, our performance across each of our core business lines has remained resilient, enabling us to deliver solid returns for the Group, our shareholders and investors. We will continue to build on this momentum and strong demand for our unique and well-diversified investments.”

DXB expected to welcome around 2 million passengers over holiday season

Dubai International (DXB) will remain exceptionally busy over the remainder of the holiday season and well into the New Year, with nearly 2 million passengers expected to pass through DXB.The operator urged passengers to plan their trips to and through the airport and follow simple travel tips to ensure a smooth airport experience.DXB’s average daily passenger numbers have risen almost back to pre-pandemic levels on the back of strong recovery throughout 2022, making this latest seasonal peak one of busiest since 2019. Over the next eight days starting 27th December, nearly 2 million passengers are expected to pass through DXB, with average daily traffic reaching as many as 245,000 passengers. 2nd January is expected to be the busiest day with traffic exceeding 257,000 passengers.December has been exceptionally busy for DXB due to a combination of factors including the seasonal influx of visitors, the recently concluded World Cup football event in Doha, and the strength of Dubai’s position as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.Dubai Airports is working closely with airlines, control authorities, and commercial and service partners to ensure a smooth airport experience for arriving and departing passengers. The operator has urged travellers to follow a few simple tips to beat the holiday rush:- For those travelling with families, children over the age of 12 can use Smart Gates to speed up the passport control process.- The roads to the airport could get busy during peak times. It’s best to plan some extra time to get to and through the airport.- Travellers flying out of Terminal 1 should arrive at the airport no earlier than 3 hours before departure.- Use online and self-service options wherever available to get off to a smooth start to your journey.- Those travelling from Terminal 3 can use Emirate's convenient early and self-service check-in facilities.- Weighing luggage at home, checking documents in advance, and being prepared for security checks can save a lot of time at the airport.- Use the Dubai Metro to get to and from the airport. Dubai Metro, which has stations at DXB’s Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, will be operational round the clock from 31st December, 2022, to 1st January, 2023.- Friends and families are advised to use the airport’s designated car parks or valet service to receive their guests in comfort as access to the arrival forecourt in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 are limited to public transport and other authorised vehicles.

Dubai to ring in the New Year with dazzling fireworks

Dubai is all set to welcome the New Year with dazzling fireworks displays in 30 locations across the city, headline concerts featuring superstars, a stellar entertainment line-up, family-friendly activities and spectacular drone shows. Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) and Dubai Calendar, the official guide for events in the city, have joined hands to provide a round-up of the best celebrations that make the city one of the world’s best destinations to ring in 2023.Spectacular fireworks displaysEpic fireworks shows will take place throughout the city at a number of popular hotels, tourist destinations and public spaces. As the clock strikes midnight, the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, will present an awe-inspiring spectacle. In addition to this, an array of other well-known Dubai landmarks will be exhibiting their own displays to mark the occasion, including The Dubai Frame, Bluewaters, The Beach, JBR and Burj Al Arab.Celebrations taking place in over 30 picturesque locations throughout Dubai include a breath-taking show at Atlantis, The Palm. The city’s golf courses will also be popular destinations to enjoy New Year’s Eve festivities. Jumeirah Golf Estates Golf & Country Club, Emirates Golf Club, Montgomerie Golf Club Dubai, Arabian Ranches Golf Club and Topgolf Dubai will be hosting a number of activities, parties and fireworks displays.The New Year celebrations being held in the city are among the key #DubaiDestinations experiences that residents and visitors can enjoy amidst the wonderful winter weather.Dubai’s sandy beaches will also be part of the action, with iconic beachside destinations such as Palm West Beach and Club Vista Mare offering opportunities to partake in the seasonal festivities. Similarly, a host of Dubai’s best resorts will be hosting their own fireworks displays, events and parties to mark the coming of 2023. These include Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai, One&Only Royal Mirage, JA Beach Hotel - Jebel Ali, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort, One&Only The Palm, Sofitel Dubai The Palm, Palazzo Versace Dubai, Park Hyatt Dubai, Bulgari Resort Dubai and Four Seasons Resort Dubai, Jumeirah Beach.Families can choose from a number of destinations to enjoy colourful exhibitions and seasonal extravaganzas: Dubai Creek, Al Seef, Global Village, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Dubai Festival City Mall and Town Square by Nshama. Alternatively, families and groups of all ages can opt for a unique desert experience to ring in the New Year at the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Al Khayma Desert Camp.Drone showsVisitors and residents can also look forward to the DSF Drones Light Show at Bluewaters and The Beach, JBR, with shows at 8.00 PM and 11.00 PM. The free-to-watch performances involve hundreds of drones entertaining crowds with spectacular lights and displaying patterns and messages in the night-sky. Diners can pitch up for a front row seat at the multitude of restaurants in the area.Also lighting up the city is the Dubai Lights exhibition, with stunning artistic light installations from leading artists in this media on display at City Walk 2, The Pointe Nakheel Mall, and Dubai Design District.Celebrity concertsOne of Australia’s most famous singers of all time, Kylie Minogue, is set to headline a concert at Atlantis, The Palm during the final hours of 2022. The theme for this year’s gala is A Night with the Stars and, apart from Minogue’s performance, the resort will provide a front-row seat to watch one of Dubai’s biggest fireworks displays as the clock strikes midnight. Multi-award-winning artist, Enrique Iglesias, will perform live at the trendy beach-side spot, Naamos on 31 December. The celebrated singer will be joined by the well-known Cuban reggaeton duo Gente De Zona.The biggest names from the Sudanese entertainment industry will be performing a musical extravaganza on 31 December featuring pop music queen Nada Al-Qalaa, hitmaker Taha Suliman and Maghrebi pop band MarSimba.New Year’s Eve at Burj Al Arab will provide visitors with a Michelin-starred dining experience and performances of ballads like Samba Belogo Motylka, Prityagenia Bolshe Net and Heaven by award-winning artist Valery Meladze. At the stroke of midnight, visitors can step out on the terrace for a panoramic view of the dazzling fireworks.The legendary Russian boy band Ivanushki International will be putting on a live act of their top tracks like Zolotye Oblaka and Beznadega Tochka Ru. New Year revellers can also head to The Theatre Dubai for the Big Art Festival’s exclusive gala dinner and festivities for the entire family.The night will also see performances by Nigerian-Swedish artist Dr. Alban, Danish pop star Tomas Nevergreen, Dutch band Ten Sharp, Russian stand-up comedian Artur Pirozhkov, Illusionist Graf Voronin and TV presenter Pavel Volya. Visitors can also groove to DJ Zamir's party hits and children can stay engaged with interactive games and activities.Unique experiencesAt Dubai Opera, one of the city’s most iconic entertainment venues, a Disco till Dawn-themed celebration will unfold with performances from internationally-acclaimed dancing duo Jasmine & Aaron of Britain's Got Talent. At the stroke of midnight, guests will be ushered outside to the promenade to witness the legendary Burj Khalifa fireworks.For more information, please visit and

Khaleeji Commercial Bank introduces payment service via “Samsung Wallet”

Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain: Khaleeji Commercial Bank (KHCB), one of the leading Islamic banks in the Kingdom of Bahrain, has recently introduced a payment service via “Samsung Wallet” to its Credit and Debit Card Holders. This new service ensures high security and privacy, as well as provides a swift and seamless payment option for users of Samsung smart devices. Moreover, this step comes in line with the Bank’s continuous pursuit of creativity and innovation through building the foundations of digital transformation and applying the latest in financial technology.Commenting on this occasion, Mr. Osama Ali Nasr, Chief Technology Officer, stated: “This payment service via “Samsung Wallet” is a convenient and simple way to pay via mobile phone using Samsung smart devices. This service provides a quick and easy payment experience, as it adds a high level of security to clients’ payment information by relying on advanced coding technology. This service will allow the bank's clients to make secure and fast purchases, enabling them to make payments by simply swiping their Samsung smart device over POS terminals or while shopping online, creating a fast and secure shopping experience.”Explaining further, Mr. Osama added: “We are delighted to introduce the payment service via “Samsung Wallet” to our valued clients, as it reflects our keenness to take proactive steps towards providing the latest technologies, while ensuring the highest levels of user data protection. The addition of this new service comes in line with the bank's constant endeavours to develop our banking experience to valued clients, as well as achieve their aspirations to obtain a wide range of innovative banking products and services.”KHCB is a leading Islamic bank that strives to achieve clients' aspirations through an Islamic banking model that offers a comprehensive range of high quality Shari'a-complaint banking services and investment opportunities to individuals and companies.

UAE Cybersecurity Council warns against cyber attacks during NY celebrations

- The UAE Cybersecurity Council has warned all public and private institutions, as well as individuals, of the risk of cyber attacks, especially during the New Year celebrations and the holiday season.The council highlighted the need for all authorities and institutions to activate their cyber defence systems and raise the security awareness of individuals about cyber attacks, as well as cooperate with relevant authorities to share relevant information proactively.It also noted that hacking tools have now become easier to use, enabling hackers to take advantage of the holiday season, especially with the increasing dependence on digital services.The council warned of all types of cyber attacks against vital sectors, stressing the importance of adopting cybersecurity policies and protection mechanisms, as well as raising the awareness of public and private institutions and individuals, which will play a key role in protecting the community against malicious cyber attacks.The council then pointed out that many countries have witnessed the rapid digital transformation in services and daily transactions, which has increased the risks posed by cyber attacks against various sectors, including electricity, gas and water.

The BIBF hosts annual insurance market dialogue

 The Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) hosted its annual Insurance Market Dialogue at its headquarters in Bahrain Bay, bringing together C-Level executives, training and technical managers of leading Insurance companies in Bahrain to discuss the latest trends and requirements in training and development for the Insurance sector.The annual forum kicked off with an overview of the BIBF's major programmes and strategic directions for the coming year and introduced its latest initiatives in partnership with international organisations and awarding bodies. The forum also highlighted the institute’s noteworthy achievements and the effective role it plays in meeting the training needs of the insurance sector.In addition, the forum focused on direct dialogue with representatives of the insurance sector, in order to ensure that programmes and initiatives are in line with the sector’s needs, which contributes to the development of qualified insurance professionals and enhances the role of the sector in achieving the objectives of the economic vision and enhances its contribution to the GDP.On this occasion, Director of the BIBF, Dr. Ahmed Al-Shaikh, stated, "The BIBF has more than 40 years of experience in the field of training and development, and is working to continuously launch new programmes in partnership with international training bodies, to meet the growing needs in the insurance sector in line with its requirements locally and regionally."On her part, Head of Insurance Centre at the BIBF Ms. Manal Mashkoor, said,” "The BIBF is committed to its primary responsibility of providing the best training programmes for the insurance sector in Bahrain, as we believe that the way to do so is based on maintaining a close connection with the insurance sector based on the sector needs and developing training programmes in cooperation with renowned international partners. The outcomes of this dialogue will play a major role in setting the priorities and plans with regard to the insurance programmes provided at the BIBF."

Bigo Live brings the Arab world together to celebrate regional achievements

 Bigo Live, a leading social livestreaming platform, has provided an ideal platform for football supporters to showcase their skills and share their enthusiasm for the sport since the start of the World Cup this year. The platform featured a variety of unique activities designed to engage football players and fans and encourage them to produce and share original content with other users who share similar interests on Bigo Live’s ‘Community’ feature. The World Cup communities have provided daily football highlights compilations and enabled fans to come together to share their experiences and support for their favourite teams or players. As a result, over 200,000 users on Bigo Live joined regional teams’ communities to share the spirit of football and celebrate the achievements of each country including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Morocco, and Tunisia during the World Cup. Most notably, Morocco’s astounding achievements this World Cup will go down in history as it became the first Arab team to reach the semi-finals and compete against France. The Atlas Lions’ victories during the tournament brought joy to Arabs all over the world, with thousands across the MENA region celebrating online on Bigo Live. As Morocco stunned World Cup favourites Portugal in the quarter-finals of the tournament this year, the number of posts on the Morocco team community increased by roughly 43% in just a week on the platform. Broadcasters on Bigo Live were encouraged to use their creativity to make their videos stand out while forming real-time connections with their viewers in order to diversify content and give users a special glimpse into the football spectacle. Bigo Live enhanced the platform's multi-guest room feature to enable the creation of chat rooms for up to 500 people to share their enthusiasm for the global event in real time, fostering more positive interactions and allow fans to gather and participate in football discussions. Bigo Live recorded the largest peak in conversations on December 6, 2022, during the Morocco vs. Spain match, which garnered great interest from the region. Having a strong regional presence, Bigo Live strives to create diverse and compelling content that appeals to local communities. In this effort, the company continues to invest in enhancing user experiences for Arab audiences throughout the MENA region. Accordingly, the platform is preferred by Arabic football fans as they find it easier to access, allows them to follow their passion, interact with their favourite broadcasters, and allows them to participate in the region's expanding football communities in their own local language. Bigo Live invited well-known footballing personalities such as Mohammed Awaad (Bigo ID: mohammedawaad) and Naseem Kora (Bigo ID: sportcafe) to provide in-depth match analysis and discuss football strategies during their live streams of the games in order to highlight the platform's support for regional creators and content. Football fans delighted in engaging with the personalities in real time and answering football trivia questions while learning more about their expertise thanks to the platform's highly interactive nature of the platform. “The performance of national teams from the Arab region during this year’s World Cup have been absolutely phenomenal. Football is known for its ability to bring people from across the world together and football fans from Arab World are some of the most passionate in the world. We are delighted to bring the football community together to celebrate this truly unique World Cup on Bigo Live,” said a spokesperson from Bigo Live. “Our users on Bigo Live are encouraged to exchange ideas and interact with people of similar interests from around the world. Morocco’s historic victory will certainly be remembered for ages and be regarded as a showcase of the Arab region’s great football talents. Through the passion of football, we are confident that users of Bigo Live will continue to showcase their talents, share their enthusiasms and inspire each other through real-time interactions while streaming.”In order to give football fans a more immersive experience, Bigo Live's most recent update also allowed users to dress up their personalized 3D avatars with sportswear supporting the regional teams under the platform's Virtual Live feature, in addition with two new exclusive football backgrounds while going live. During the duration of the World Cup, the number of users that tried on football jerseys for live streaming accounted for one-third of the users using male avatars via virtual live.Bigo Live empowers users across the MENA region with various tools to manage and host captivating and enriching live streams. Users are encouraged by the diverse meaningful and engaging content available and display of creativity through which broadcasters share their skills and talents on Bigo Live to build and nurture meaningful connections with millions across the world.