Dubai-born burger brand “Pickl” partners with Zayani Foods

Award-winning UAE-born burger brand Pickl is set to launch its first international franchise in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Zayani Foods, the food and beverages arm of Al Zayani Investments Group, has been chosen as the franchise partner and will open the first Pickl branch in the country in December 2022.Founded by Steve Flawith and Nabil Al Rantisi, Pickl launched in Dubai in 2019 and has rapidly grown with 10 locations operating across the UAE. It offers a trifecta menu of grain-fed beef, fresh fried chicken, and plant-based burgers all free from preservatives, hormones, and antibiotics. The brand has been well received by the public and food critics alike, and was crowned Best Burger at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2022 and Best Fried Chicken and Restaurant of the Year at the Deliveroo Restaurant Awards 2022. Zayani Foods is looking to replicate that success when bringing Pickl to Bahrain. Chairman of Al Zayani Investments and Zayani Foods Mr. Nawaf Khalid Al Zayani commented: “This is a great opportunity for Zayani Foods to expand its food offering, drawing on our experience of operating the globally recognised brand Costa Coffee since 2019 in the Kingdom of Bahrain. We are honoured to collaborate with the award-winning burger chain, Pickl, and launch its first restaurant outside the UAE. We are looking forward to this exciting new chapter and delight our customers with the multitude of choices and flavours in this segment of the market.” Pickl’s Chief Commercial Officer Ash Griffiths, who worked closely with Zayani Foods to finalise the partnership, stated: “From day one, we have been impressed by the passion and drive demonstrated by Zayani Foods and feel certain that Pickl will be a huge success in Bahrain thanks to their immense expertise.” For his part, Pickl Founder and CEO Steve Flawith said: “Early on, we identified Bahrain as a perfect location for Pickl, given its highly competitive Quick Service Restaurant sector. Bahrain’s residents have the same passion for quality burgers as we do, and we’re sure that Pickl will offer them a premium and fresh fast food experience unlike anything they’ve had before.”Lastly, Zayani Foods Managing Director Mr. Rashed Hamed Al Zayani further added: “We are excited to bring the award-winning burger chain to Bahrain with the first location in the Seef District, offering the Pickl trifecta which includes beef, fresh fried chicken and plant-based burgers”Pickl’s famous fresh fried chicken is available in five spice levels and its range of customisable cheese burgers includes the plant-based “Impossible Cheese Burger” which is suitable for vegetarians. “Impossible” uses 96% less land, 87% less water and 89% fewer greenhouse gases than beef but has the same irresistible taste. Since its launch, Bahraini residents who tried the burger brand when visiting the UAE have eagerly demanded opening the chain in the country, revealed Pickl’s social media team.The introduction of Pickl to Bahrain is the first step in a wide-ranging international franchise campaign that will see the opening of 200 stores in the next five years across the globe.Any Bahraini citizen or resident who find themselves in the UAE starting November 4 are gladly invited to sample Pickl burgers for free in an enticing offer effective until the launch date of Pickl Bahrain by showing their valid CPR at any Pickl restaurant. One per person. Ts&Cs apply.

Alshaya launches Aura loyalty programme in KSA

Alshaya Group (Alshaya), one of the world's leading international franchise operators, has officially launched Aura, its brand-new customer loyalty programme, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The innovative new scheme lets customers redeem points and unlock benefits across a uniquely wide choice of over 70 brands, with points earned both in-store and online. The launch in KSA follows the successful launch of the programme in Qatar, Kuwait and UAE earlier this year, with the number of members already reaching over 1.5 million so far.  John Hadden, Chief Executive Officer, Alshaya Group said: “We’re proud and extremely excited to bring our new, world-class loyalty programme to our customers in the KSA, one of our largest markets. Aura is an exciting new way for us to thank them for their loyalty and let them know that they are special.  “We offer our customers the widest choice of brands and experiences to suit their different preferences. Celebrating our customers’ individuality, and rewarding them, is what Aura is all about. By bringing together all of Alshaya’s well-loved international brands into one programme, we can unlock a personalised world of rewards, experiences and benefits that is unmatched.”  Aura members can earn and redeem points across their favourite brands, access a range of personalised shopping, dining, and lifestyle experiences, and receive priority notification of promotions and sales events across a portfolio that includes H&M, American Eagle, Mothercare, Victoria’s Secret, The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s, Shake Shack, Bath & Body Works, Boots, M·A·C, Pottery Barn, and West Elm. Members also get the chance to earn points through the brands e-commerce sites.  Aura membership is open to everyone aged 18 and above. It is free, quick, and easy to join, and members can use the Aura MENA app to track their benefits and access their rewards. Joining is as simple as downloading the app from the App Store or Google Play or registering for Aura in any participating Alshaya store or restaurant. From fashion to beauty, home furnishings to dining, members collect points every time they spend. Points can be used for future purchases or to access experiences such as a personalised gourmet treat, a bespoke shopping experience or a pampering beauty treatment. For every SAR 10 spent, 10 points are earned on spend across all Alshaya stores and restaurants (excluding Starbucks). The more customers shop with Alshaya brands the more benefits they can unlock. With so many brands in the Aura programme, members can enjoy unmatched opportunities to earn points. Aura Hello is the entry point membership and is for holders of 1 to 5,999 tier points  Aura Star is for holders of 6,000 to 23,999 tier points. Star members will earn points faster: 1.5 x than Hello Aura VIP, the top tier of Aura, starts with 24,000 tier points, gives access to VIP membership benefits, and earns points even faster: 2 x that of Hello Plans are already underway to launch Aura in all Alshaya markets in the GCC and beyond. Aura members will be able to earn and redeem rewards wherever they shop across the GCC, as each of these markets is included in the Aura programme.

Former Google and YouTube executive joins Rise Studios

Rise Studios, the newly-launched entertainment company driving investment in content from regional markets, appoints Diana Baddar as Managing Director for Digital Content and Development to drive the company’s digital content strategy and business. Diana will build relationships with major platforms and identify regional talent, focusing on bridging the gap between long and short-form content. Diana brings two decades of industry experience to Rise Studios, having spent eight years at Google where she spearheaded the growth of YouTube in the MENA and Turkey markets. As the first Head of Women at Google in MENA, she worked closely with regional female content creators to build their channels on the platform. Some of her major accomplishments include relaunching Sesame Street in Arabic after a 20-year hiatus; launching YouTube Space Dubai, an official blog and portal for creators in MENA, and achieving a Guinness World Record for the most viewers of an Iftar Livestream on YouTube. Prior to her work at Google, she directed the business development and affiliate channels at OSN, establishing new opportunities for OSN, Disney, Discovery and E! Entertainment. She also worked on the launch of OSN’s first VOD platform, OSN+.Watan Network, one of the largest multi-channel networks in the Arab world with over 5 billion combined views monthly on YouTube, Facebook and Snap, is already part of the Rise Studios group with certified partnerships in place with YouTube, Daily Motion and Facebook. The network supports original content owners with monetising their content, protecting their copyrights and building business strategies. Diana will propel the digital content strategy through Watan Network, in conjunction with the major platforms, by using into her network of content creators to develop untapped regional stories. She will also lead talent identification for long and short-form content, bridging the gap between TV and digital platforms.Commenting on the appointment, Amanda Turnbull, CEO of Rise Studios said: “We are ecstatic about welcoming Diana onboard. She brings exceptional digital knowledge to the business with over 20 years’ experience in our industry. She is perfectly positioned to drive our digital content strategy for the business, championing the rich talent we have in the region.”Diana Baddar said: “It gives me great pleasure to be working alongside industry veterans with such a clear mission: to work closely with our community of creators to showcase their talent to the world, delivering a lean-forward entertainment experience for viewers.”

LinkedIn: 76% of UAE executives worried about global economic uncertainty

Executives are forced to make tough choices that threaten recent progress around skills development, employee wellbeing, and flexibilityLinkedIn research finds that these decisions aren’t made lightly with 57% of UAE-based companies holding back on making benefit cuts to maintain productivityLeaders say keeping employees motivated and engaged is among their top workforce priorities over the next six months Dubai, UAE: As the world emerges from the Great Reshuffle and enters an era of economic uncertainty, employee flexibility and benefits introduced during the pandemic are now at risk. New C-level research from LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, finds that the current global climate is slowing down progress in important areas of working life such as skills development (93%), employee wellbeing (89%), and flexible work (76%) across UAE businesses.The LinkedIn study, surveying 2,900+ C-level executives from large companies across the world, shows that leaders are still grappling with flexible working measures. In the UAE, while 77% of executives believe that flexible work conditions will remain for the next five years at least, over three-quarters of them express concern that the prevailing economic uncertainty could push back the progress on flexibility that’s been made as leaders look to bring back employees to the office.This sentiment has already gained ground, with 44% of executives saying they plan on reducing remote and flexible working roles. There are also plans to reduce investments in financial support and professional development programs for employees (29%), as management prioritizes financial preparedness over the next six months to weather economic uncertainty and save costs (51%).This has resulted in a disconnect between company policies and employee preferences, and the difficult decisions that executives have been forced to make are taking a toll with 35% admitting to feelings of guilt over these decisions, and some going as far as experiencing imposter syndrome (36%) as their most valuable assets, their people, take a hit. Employee commitment is crucial to getting through tough timesThese decisions aren’t made lightly – with 57% of those who do not plan to cut costs saying they are holding back on making cuts to maintain workforce morale and productivity. In anticipation of challenging times globally, leaders say keeping employees motivated and engaged is among their top workforce priorities over the next six months. As a short-term remedy, some employers have sought to alleviate financial pressures on their employees by granting incentives through subsidized commuting costs (46%), or by offering direct financial wellbeing assistance (38%) to address the rising living costs.Additionally, UAE executives say that they will prioritize workplace mobility such as giving employees opportunities to move into different roles within the organization (41%) - as opposed to a global average of 34%. Employees who make an internal move are more likely to stay at their organization longer than those who stay in the same role.Leading for the timesAs companies navigate uncertainty, one area of agreement is clear - communication is critical. It’s the top soft skill leaders identified as necessary to get through this time, followed by creative thinking, problem-solving, and empathy. In fact, the soft skills of problem-solving, communication, and strategy were featured in 78% of jobs posted globally on LinkedIn over the last three months.60% of UAE business leaders believe a democratic management style to be key to increasing the motivation level of employees; a rather progressive approach compared to other key markets around the world. Thus, rather than making decisions at the top level before cascading them down to employees, leaders need to build bridges with their employees and include them in their decision-making journey. Ali Matar, Head of LinkedIn MENA and Venture Markets, said: “As we have seen in the last couple of years, flexible working and learning and development have become important elements in ensuring business resilience. These policies are essential to building diverse and robust teams that can adapt to a fast-changing world.He added: “While difficult decisions undoubtedly have to be made - it’s important to remember that people are a company’s most valuable asset, and protecting their wellbeing is vital to getting through this time. Employers that invest in their people during these times will be the ones that come out stronger.”More than half of the surveyed c-suite leaders believe it is currently more difficult to adopt a long-term approach to their workforce planning, however they identified key areas that they plan to implement to increase resilience in their workforce: Gradually introduce more opportunities for employees to develop their skills (51%), open up communication channels for improvement (46%) and for collaboration (43%), and encourage mental health & wellbeing (44%).LinkedIn also advises leaders to:? Take an adaptive leadership approach - Leaders must be transparent about the current reality and adapt to what lies ahead, whilst providing employees with clarity on short-term business priorities. They should see this period as an opportunity to iterate and adjust, which will stand them in good stead when the cycle ends. ? Maintain workforce connection and trust - Today, just 43% of employers encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing amongst employees. By helping employees to build connections with their colleagues, employers can energize their teams and strengthen their company culture. Furthermore, returning to command and control styles of leadership and dictating that employees must be in the office will quickly erode trust. ? Focus on skills - The skill sets needed for jobs has changed by around 25% since 2015 and this number is expected to double by 2027. By understanding the skills your employees have today, and the skills your company needs in the future, companies can hire or redeploy talent into growth areas. To help professionals discover opportunities that match their workplace preferences, LinkedIn has introduced new ways for workers to search for remote, hybrid or in-person roles through LinkedIn Job Search features. To help people and businesses manage remote and hybrid work, LinkedIn has made a number of LinkedIn Learning courses available for free until November 30th - including Hybrid Working Foundations, Level Up Your Remote Team Experience, and Enhance Productivity in a Hybrid Work Environment. LinkedIn has also published its Global Talent Trends report which provides leaders with insight into how labor market trends are affecting employees and workplaces.

Amazon Payment Services shares insights into the future of payments

Amazon Payment Services, a regional leader in digital payments operating across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) with a mission to empower online businesses with a simple, affordable, and trusted payment experience, addressed an audience of fintech innovators and business leaders at Seamless Saudi Arabia 2022 to share insights into the evolution of cashless payments in Saudi Arabia. Amazon Payment Services’ participation as a Platinum Sponsor at Seamless Saudi Arabia is in line with its commitment to engaging with the fintech and business communities in the Kingdom.A holistic payments solution, Amazon Payment Services supports merchants beyond payments through its extended services portfolio, advanced technologies, value-added services and a strong and growing network of partners throughout the region. Combining intimate knowledge of markets across MENA with Amazon’s global expertise, Amazon Payment Services has driven innovation in the payments sphere to facilitate millions of secure transactions across the region to date.In a presentation titled “Reimaging Payments for Today’s Saudi Consumer”, Mona Alsemayen, Country Head for strategy and growth in Saudi Arabia of Amazon Payment Services, highlighted how Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and a strong infrastructure for the digital economy in the Kingdom has been a catalyst for growth in the digital payments sphere across multiple industry verticals, with cashless payments overtaking cash for the first time in 2021 to represent 62% of transactions across all sectors.“As a result of government initiatives and industry trends, Saudi Arabia has shown a rapid evolution of digital payment and lending methods over the past few years, making the country a hotspot for Fintech players and banks that are open for development and cooperation. Today’s Saudi consumer wants choice, convenience, speed and security, but above all, they want a smooth, seamless payments experience that mirrors their day-to-day online interactions. Keeping the customer at the core of our focus and working backwards to address their needs, Amazon Payment Services is partnering with the government, merchants and the financial sector to advance the payments experience in Saudi Arabia,” Alsemayen said.Also contributing to the discussion at Seamless Middle East 2022, Mohamed Imtiyaz, Head of Business Development, Amazon Payment Services, participated in a keynote panel on the topic of “Pioneering the next generation of online retail with a ‘one-stop shop’ marketplace,” in which he highlighted how the digital marketplace of tomorrow is an interconnected landscape where different payment methods merge and overlap, helping to establish a seamless and fully embedded use case for all stakeholders.“Online marketplaces are increasingly looking for payment service providers which provide a seamless payment infrastructure in addition to offering added value by increasing checkout conversion with a wider choice of affordable payment options like BNPL and instalments. At the same time, they are looking to increase their reach by tapping into the vast opportunities offered by digitally native Gen Z and millenial consumers,” Imtiyaz said.Among the key solutions Amazon Payment Services displayed at Seamless Saudi Arabia 2022 was Installments, a highly targeted and tailored solution that breaks down large purchases into easy monthly payments that is proven to increase sales by 10-15% across average basket sizes, and rounded holistic solutions such as PrivateLink, a multi-solution product designed to increase security, improve the payment experience and success rate, and reduce data egress costs for merchants.

L’Oreal to be beauty sponsor for Red Sea International Film Festival

The Red Sea International Film Festival announced that L’Oréal Group will be the Festival’s beauty sponsor for this year’s edition with its two brands: L’Oréal Paris and L’Oréal Professionnel, respectively the makeup and hair partner for Festival guests, as well as hosting beauty suites at the hotels that will serve local and international talent.The Red Sea International Film Festival attracts talent and entries from across the world, with a particular focus on fostering Arab cinema. The Festival delivers a world-class event for its guests and for the people of Saudi Arabia. The partnership with a global company like L’Oréal Group supports the Festival’s international remit, providing high-quality beauty services on a par with the high caliber of film talent at the Festival.Mohammed Al Turki, CEO of the Red Sea International Film Festival, commented: “We are thrilled to welcome one of the world's leading beauty brands, L'Oréal Paris and L’Oréal Professional as an official sponsor of our second edition. The brand is a huge supporter of the cinema, celebrating and shining the spotlight on female voices in the industry, and we are grateful for their support.”L’Oréal Group is a leading beauty company, with over 110 years of history and 36 brands in over 150 countries. Their mission is to offer world-class, quality beauty products to men and women worldwide, meeting the infinite diversity of beauty desires and cultures. L’Oréal Paris and L’Oréal Professionnel committed to fulfilling this mission ethically and responsibly.Laurent Duffier, CEO of L’Oréal Middle East added, “We are honoured to be sponsoring the Red Sea International Film Festival, arguably the biggest cinematic event in the Arab world. At L’Oréal Group, we are committed to serving diversity in beauty, just as the Film Festival showcases diversity in cinematic talent. We look forward to working with the talent and stars on the red carpet.”The Red Sea International Film Festival will take place in Jeddah from 1st to 10th December 2022.

Output expands sharply in October: Qatar Financial Centre PMI

The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) survey data from Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) signalled an overall moderation in the non-oil private sector at the start of the fourth quarter. The rate of expansion in total activity remained marked, however, as firms prepare for an influx of sales in anticipation of the FIFA World Cup. New orders eased while purchasing activity also cooled. Meanwhile, firms trimmed their headcounts to a record degree in an effort to save on costs. Prices data signalled improving profitability with a near-record uplift in selling charges alongside only a marginal increase in input costs.Expectations were meanwhile boosted by the fast-approaching World Cup with sentiment at a two-year high in October. The Qatar PMI indices are compiled from survey responses from a panel of around 450 private sector companies. The panel covers the manufacturing, construction, wholesale, retail, and services sectors, and reflects the structure of the non-energy economy according to official national accounts data.The headline Qatar Financial Centre PMI is a composite single-figure indicator of non-energy private sector performance. It is derived from indicators for new orders, output, employment, suppliers’ delivery times and stocks of purchases.At 48.4 in October, down from 50.7 in September, the latest PMI pointed to a moderation in non-energy private sector business conditions. The latest result brought an end to 27 successive months of growth. That said the headline figure was only marginally below the 50.0 neutral value.Central to the deterioration was a cooling of new orders which fell for the second month in a row. The slowdown was more notable than that seen in the previous survey period. In contrast, output expanded at a marked and above trend pace amid efforts to boost output ahead of the World Cup at the end of November.The sustained moderation in new orders led non-energy companies in Qatar to scale back on their purchasing activity. The rate of decline was sharp, but softer than the contractions seen during the height of the pandemic.Softer inflows of new work allowed firms in Qatar's non-energy sector to progress existing backlogs. The rate of contraction was among the sharpest in the survey's history.Subsequently, firms cut their staffing levels at the start of the quarter thereby signalling three successive months of job shedding. The rate of decrease was sharp and the quickest in the survey's more than five-and-a-half-year history.Turning to prices, overall input prices rose for the third month running. A renewed uptick in purchase costs drove the latest increase. The rate of inflation was only marginal, however, amid a fall in staff costs.Firms in turn raised their selling prices sharply, and at the third-quickest rate in the survey's history, behind that seen only in the previous survey period and November 2021. According to panel comments, firms hiked charges to capitalise on greater tourist activity.Looking ahead, firms were widely upbeat about their output expectations over the year ahead. Firms were hopeful that the FIFA World Cup would have a positive impact on output growth.Financial sector activity continues to expand sharplyActivity expands for the sixteenth month in successionNew business rises marginally in OctoberSentiment remains firmly in positive territoryThe latest PMI data on Qatar's financial services sector signalled a further marked improvement during October, with business activity now increasing in each month since July 2021. The rate of output growth was robust and much quicker than the long-run series average.New orders rose again, as has been the case since June 2020. The rate of growth was the softest for 15 months, however.Qatari financial service firms continued to cut their headcounts, although the rate of reduction was only slight. Firms remained optimistic that activity growth would continue over the next 12 months.Prices data highlighted a slight decrease in input costs in October alongside a marginal reduction in selling charges.CommentYousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority:"The start of the fourth quarter revealed a cooling of business conditions in Qatar's non-energy sector. While output continued to expand robustly, firms reported a further softening in new orders. Subsequently, businesses were keen to make efficiency gains where they could and reduced their buying activity during the month. There were also efforts to scale back headcounts which reduced at the quickest rate in the survey's history."Looking ahead, the FIFA World Cup begins at the end of November and will bring with it a large influx of tourist activity to Qatar. Sustained increases in output suggest businesses are geared up for a busy four weeks of trading. There are also hopes that the sporting event will have a favourable impact on the country over the next 12 months with sentiment improving to a two-year high."-Ends-

RAK Properties records AED 289.58mln in revenue during Q3 2022

 RAK Properties achieved stable financial results during the third quarter of 2022, and achieved a net profit of AED 27.55 million throughout this period. The company’s’ revenue reached AED 289.58 million, and total assets were recorded at AED 6.24 billion in the third quarter, an increase from AED 6.21 billion recorded in December 2021.InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Mina Al Arab Resort & Spa assumed operations during the aforementioned period, adding significant profit and value to the company's revenue stream. The group currently focuses its efforts on curating another state-of-the-art hospitality project to add to its expansive portfolio - the Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort. The much anticipated hotel is currently progressing at a significant pace.H.E. Abdul Aziz Abdullah Al Zaabi, Chairman of RAK Properties, said: "We are pleased to announce our financial results this quarter, which reflect the company's ability to adapt to the current competitive business climate. We will continue to develop exquisite residential and hotel projects to meet the needs of the real estate market. This sector continues to show great growth potential, providing the best value to investors and shareholders alike”.Sameh Al Muhtadi, RAK Properties’ CEO also stressed that RAK Properties is eager to continue to provide the Emirate with exceptional residential destinations, providing residents a comfortable, safe and modern lifestyle according to the highest global standards.He added: “Construction started and progressing as per development plan at Gateway Residence II project, a luxury waterfront residential tower at Hayat Island. RAK Properties has also announced contract award and project construction of Bay Residence Phase 1.”RAK Properties announced future developments plans, with Bay Residence Phase 2, a set of additional 2 Towers will be launched soon. Marbella Extension, a residential villa in Hayat Island is under review and will be launched soon. RAK Properties also plans to develop 5 plots in Bay Area Projects, in Hayat Island, Mina Al Arab.

DCT – Abu Dhabi showcases new destination campaign at World Travel Market 2022

Experience Abu Dhabi, Find Your Pace will feature at World Travel Market (WTM), welcoming visitors and bringing the destination to life alongside 36 stakeholders and partners, from 7–9 November.The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) will sign a number of strategic partnerships during WTM, and delegates will have the opportunity to maximise their business potential by meeting partnering hotels and attractions.Visitors can unwind and enjoy Abu Dhabi’s living culture, with a celebration of Emirati craftsmanship at the House of Artisans zone, including a perfumery experience that introduces visitors to the fragrances of the emirate. There is also traditional Arabic coffee in the Bait Al Gahwa zone and the Abu Dhabi Senses Journey at the stand’s Cultural zone.Abu Dhabi will enable WTM visitors to experience the top sites and attractions throughout Yas Island, Saadiyat Island, Al Ain, Al Dhafra region and beyond. Attendees will experience how Abu Dhabi offers something for every visitor, available 365 days a year, at your own pace – with rich cultural history, natural beaches, unrivalled family fun and world-class sports offerings.Enriching destination experiences that excite, inspire and restore are showcased within an immersive stand experience that will host Q&As with global sports partners, including Manchester City and the UFC – with a special guest appearance from Batman, courtesy of Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi.Also on display, Abu Dhabi Calendar has partnered with the world’s best artists, entertainers and sports franchises for a 2022/2023 winter season to remember. Events range from live concerts with international stars Sting and Andrea Bocelli, as well as urban music festival Wireless, making its Abu Dhabi debut in March 2023.Other exciting events in Abu Dhabi Calendar include Disney’s The Lion King, as seen on Broadway and now making its debut in the Middle East, as well as Abu Dhabi Culinary Season – the emirate’s annual celebration of food. This all follows the first NBA Abu Dhabi Games which took place in October this year, followed by the return of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week, in partnership with the UFC.

Abu Dhabi welcomes visitors to discover experiences at their own pace

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has unveiled its latest campaign: Experience Abu Dhabi. Find Your Pace. The campaign shares the variety of experiences that inspire, excite and restore, welcoming the world to come and enjoy memorable moments that matter – in their own way, and at their own pace.Experience Abu Dhabi shows the seamless connections between a wealth of cultural heritage, alongside exciting experiences. Yas Island welcomes the world with year-round theme park action and waterfront attractions, with events and entertainment for families and all ages. Only 15 minutes away, Saadiyat Island is filled with living culture, home to Louvre Abu Dhabi’s timeless inspiration and unforgettable architecture.Located at the heart of the island, Saadiyat Cultural District hosts community events and exhibitions at Manarat Al Saadiyat, alongside Berklee Abu Dhabi, the pre-eminent institute of contemporary music and the performing arts. The district is also the future home of the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum, and the immersive art of teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi. Nearby, pristine beaches and coastal avenues are lined with cafes and dining options at Mamsha Al Saadiyat, to enjoy over a breathtaking sunset.Just over an hour from these remarkable island experiences, Abu Dhabi invites visitors to ignite their curiosity by visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites in Al Ain, experience adventure and tranquillity among the desert dunes, and embrace Abu Dhabi’s fascinating past with iconic museums and ancient forts.The campaign welcomes the world to enjoy Abu Dhabi’s enriching experiences at their own pace, with:Cultural inspiration: past, present and future Explore the nation’s living memorial and the narrator of Abu Dhabi’s history, Qasr Al Hosn, an 18th-century stone building in the heart of city.  It is also home to the House of Artisans, which celebrates Emirati heritage and enduring tradition of craftsmanship. Within the same day, you can discover inspiration at Louvre Abu Dhabi, through stunning architecture, art collections and artefacts.Back-to-nature moments that restore body and soulFrom stargazing and glamping at Jebel Hafit Desert Park to walking the shaded oasis pathways in the garden city of Al Ain, visitors can also enjoy the sun-kissed beaches of Saadiyat Island, take in wildlife safaris on Sir Bani Yas Island and escape to the tranquil desert serenity of the Empty Quarter.Excitement for everyone, all year roundAbu Dhabi’s sandscapes offer endless opportunities for dune buggies and sand surfing, while the thrills of the world’s largest indoor theme park, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi on Yas Island, will create memories to last a lifetime. Minutes away discover the world-famous Yas Marina F1 Circuit and indoor adventures at CLYMB and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. A calendar of events for everyone to enjoyAbu Dhabi is a global hub for events, with an action-packed calendar that has something for everyone to enjoy. Recently hosting the first-ever NBA games in the region, as well as sold-out UFC and WBA boxing title fights, Abu Dhabi also enchanted families and younger visitors with the Middle East debut of the internationally renowned Broadway show, Disney’s The Lion King musical, as well as the captivating Disney on Ice.Looking ahead, music lovers have so much to get excited about, with performances by Andrea Bocelli, Post Malone, Imagine Dragons, Blackpink, Sting and John Legend, with Kendrick Lamar and Swedish House Mafia headlining concerts at the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Pictured below: the peaceful Al Ain Oasis, indoor fun at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, and wildlife safaris on Sir Bani Yas Island. With so many experiences that inspire, excite and restore, there is something for everyone in Abu Dhabi and so much waiting to be discovered, at your own pace. Start planning your trip now at:

MoIAT unveils first 13 Technology Transformation Program projects

The Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) today announced the launch of the first 13 of 1,000 technology projects that will be implemented under the recently announced Technology Transformation Program. Launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the program is designed to supercharge the UAE’s industrial transformation and help turn the country into a global hub for Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and industries of the future.The new projects, revealed at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) 2022, are being executed by major national and international champions, such as Etisalat, Cisco, PTC, Oryx Data, and One Moto. The companies are proactively accelerating the pace of technological transformations across the UAE’s priority sectors, contributing to the development of a knowledge- and innovation-based economy.  The program will attract major international companies to test innovations in the country’s supportive environment, reinforcing the UAE’s position as a leading destination for tech and innovation. The UAE is inviting tech firms from around the world to engage with its innovation ecosystem under the Technology Transformation Program.Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology said: “The projects announced today mark the first step in the Technology Transformation Program, which will support our national priorities and the development of key sectors in the coming decades. The launch of this program represents the beginning of a new phase of national competitiveness and sustainable industrial growth in the UAE, enabled and driven by R&D and advanced technology.”“At the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, we have a clear roadmap for the next 10 years. It is a decade in which the UAE will further enhance its position as a global hub for science, technology, and innovation, in line with our leadership’s vision. Our partners are key to this journey and we are committed to exploring collaborations with all companies that seek to join the UAE in its bold technological and industrial transformation.” First 13 of 1,000 projectsThe new projects will have a significant impact on the companies in which they are implemented. By leveraging advanced technologies and Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions, businesses will be able to significantly reduce energy consumption and wastage, enhance efficiency, and increase productivity as well as competitiveness in global markets.The Technology Transformation Program also presents an opportunity for national and international champions looking to play a leading role in the country’s industrial journey. MoIAT is inviting these champions to join the program to benefit from its projects, as well as support smaller businesses on their own technology transformations. Businesses in the UAE can apply through MoIAT to participate in and benefit from the projects.Cisco’s project is currently supporting three local companies – Emirates Macaroni Factory, National Paints and Falconpack – in their digital transformation journeys. Under its Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, Cisco will focus on the convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) to provide companies with enhanced security, visibility, and connectivity. This project aims at driving digital transformation across the national industrial establishments in the UAE, which is an essential pillar in Cisco’s CDA program in the country.The projects are also focusing on leveraging IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). PTC is offering 25 companies free access to its IIoT platform, ThingWorx, which will enable companies to increase their manufacturing efficiency through ensuring asset optimization, workforce productivity, quality improvement and speed to industrialization. The platform can increase throughput by up to 20 percent, reduce unplanned downtime by up to 30 percent, and reduce energy consumption by up to 13 percent, according to PTC.Additionally, one of the country’s largest telecoms groups, Etisalat, is building a platform for industry 4.0 technologies. The company is deploying 4IR proof of concept projects within the manufacturing sector, working alongside companies to support the adoption of advanced technologies.Meanwhile, Oryx Data Incubator, a start-up specializing in real-time streaming and IIoT solutions, is working with Ittihad Paper Mill and Strata to enhance operations. This particular project will help to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent and will lead to 100 percent machine availability along with the prediction of 93 percent of potential failures.Finally, a global mobility company, One Moto, is working on a project to build the UAEs first electric vehicle (EV) assembly, and eventually manufacturing, facility in Dubai as part of its mission to electrify all last-mile vehicles in the UAE by 2024. The firm has set up its global HQ in DIFC and plans to target 100 cities by 2024.Technology Transformation ProgramThe Technology Transformation Program was announced in October by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. The project is aligned with the National Strategy for Industry and Advanced Technology, which supports the industrial sector’s digital transformation as part of the strategy’s objective to increase the sector’s contribution to GDP.The new program aims to boost exports of technological products by around AED 15 billion a year. The program will add AED 110 billion to GDP annually and drive AED 11 billion in technology investments. By automating the industrial sector, the program will also help to increase industrial productivity by AED 15 billion annually.       ADIPEC 2022ADIPEC is one of the world’s most influential gatherings for energy industry professionals. ADIPEC 2022 aims to accelerate the energy transition, unlock real value in a decarbonized future, showcase ground-breaking technologies and explore actionable strategies and solutions to the challenges and opportunities created by complex global energy market dynamics. Almost 30 countries are exhibiting at the event in addition to around 2,200 companies. 150,000 participants are participating at ADIPEC from 31 October to 3 November.

Future Leaders Programme' launched at ADIPEC 2022

The Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) 2022, witnessed at its fourth and final day the launch of the “Future Leaders Programme”, which aims to shed light on future leaders in the energy sector.The programme kicked off with an insightful Leaders Q&A session with Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, alongside Haitham Al Ghais, Secretary-General of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), who shed light on the starting point of their journey, challenges and lessons learned on their way to the top, and shared advice for the leaders of the future.Al Mazrouei said, "At the fundamental level, the ingredients of success are values. Values create professionalism and ultimately great nations. Everyone will have different opportunities depending on how much they believe in these values.”Touching on the importance of collaboration, he continued, “You don’t have to solve these challenges by yourself, look for teamwork. In the UAE, we are working towards a common goal, to make this country the best in the world. But to do this you cannot just think about this country or this region, but the entire world.”“We are fortunate to have the whole world convening here at ADIPEC discussing innovative solutions. The youth have technology at their fingertips and can access unlimited knowledge. Learning stops only when your mind stops” he concluded.For his part, Al Ghais echoed the importance of continuous learning. “Learning should never stop, and young people should say yes to any challenges. They need to think positively of all challenges and to make the most of them. Being open-minded, accepting challenges, as well as learning from other people is key to succeeding," he said.He continued, “It is very important that you learn from everybody in the company, no matter of their level. Myself, for example, I have learned so much from my young staff because they see the world differently, it’s a new perspective.”“The challenges you face today may be more complex, but we believe that you have more capabilities to deal with these challenges than we used to,” Al Ghais concluded.Participants also heard from industry decision makers on the key skills, experience and knowledge the next generation of energy professionals will need to navigate the energy transition and meet the global demand for energy, the challenges and obstacles faced by young talent entering the workforce, and the role they can play in the transformation of the industry.

The Saudi Music Commission appoints Paul Pacifico as Chief Executive Officer

The Saudi Music Commission announced today the appointment of Paul Pacifico as Chief Executive Officer, where he will be responsible for developing the Kingdom’s music sector in line with the National Culture Strategy.Mr Pacifico will assume his new role at the Commission from January 2023, continuing a distinguished career marked by extensive knowledge and experience in the fields of music creativity, entrepreneurship, policy, and education. Over the past six years, Mr Pacifico served as CEO of the Association of Independent Music (AIM), where he led the representation of the UK’s independent music sector including music entrepreneurs, independent labels, service companies, distributors, and artists. During his time at AIM, he initiated the Music Climate Pact, developed with the support of the UN Environment Programme, which brought together key industry leaders to take collective action to reduce the music sector’s greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate its contribution to global climate change, and ignite action on the climate crisis.Prior to that, he was CEO of the UK’s Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and the founding president of the International Artist Organization (IAO), working on uniting music artists organizations from all over the world. Mr Pacifico is Associate Professor at Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain and has served on the boards of English National Ballet, UK Music, Creative UK (formerly the Creative Industries Federation) and the Music Advisory Board of London’s Roundhouse, as well as international music organisations IMPALA (Europe) and the Worldwide Independent Network (‘WIN’). In April this year, Mr Pacifico was recognized as one of the top executives in the global music sector in Billboard’s 2022 International Power Players List.Commenting on his appointment, Mr Pacifico said, “Time and time again, music has been shown to be a powerful and sustainable enabler across both cultural and commercial development. It is truly remarkable to see the level of support and the pace of change within Saudi Arabia as it builds a strong music sector for all to participate in. The opportunity to help in that journey is a huge privilege. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Music Commission to build a vibrant, inclusive and effective music sector as a key part of the ongoing cultural transformation in the Kingdom, led by the Ministry of Culture."The Saudi Music Commission is one of 11 sector-specific commissions under the Ministry of Culture. It was launched in 2020 to oversee the development of the Kingdom’s music sector.  The Commission aims to enrich the music sector in the Kingdom and develop its ecosystem through building world-class infrastructure, providing universal access to music education, empowering musical talent, creating job opportunities, and increasing the sector’s contribution to the economy.

Americana offers 30% of its shares for subscription

Americana Restaurants International Plc today announced its intention to proceed with an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and to list its shares for trading on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) and the Saudi Stock Exchange through a concurrent dual listing process.Adeptio Investments AD Ltd. (Selling Shareholder) intends to offer 2,527,089,930 existing ordinary shares of Americana Restaurants (Offer Shares), representing 30% of the total issued share capital of Americana Restaurants, in a public and concurrent Offering on ADX in the UAE and on the Saudi Exchange in Saudi Arabia. The net proceeds of the Offering will be received by the Selling Shareholder.The Offering is expected to run from 14th November 2022 until 21st November 2022 for retail investors in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and from 14th November 2022 until 22nd November 2022 for institutional investors.Admission of the Offer Shares to trading on ADX and the Saudi Exchange is expected to take place on or around 6th December 2022.Completing the Offering and Admission is subject to market conditions and obtaining all necessary relevant regulatory approvals in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.Americana Restaurants was previously operated by Kuwait Food Company (Americana) K.S.C.C, under the wider Americana umbrella, which included both Restaurant and Food businesses. The Initial Public Offering is for the Restaurant business only.The Company is registered and incorporated in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and is subject to the ADGM Companies Regulations 2020 (as amended). The Selling Shareholder owns 96% of the total issued share capital of Americana Restaurants and is the jointly-held investment vehicle of Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar, Founder of Emaar Properties, and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).Commenting on the launch of the IPO process, Americana Restaurants' Chairman, Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar, said, "It gives us great pleasure to announce the start of our IPO process, a major milestone in our fifty-plus year history. We are proud of the fact that Americana Restaurants is a GCC-born food and beverage champion, which has grown to be the single largest player in the MENA region and Kazakhstan."Led by an experienced and deeply committed management team, Americana Restaurants has earned a reputation of being a stand-out operator of iconic global brands, with best-in-class digital capabilities, and a track record of breakthrough financial results. Our diversified restaurant platform serves the most popular food categories and delights millions of customers across our 12 countries of operation."He added, "A concurrent dual listing on ADX and the Saudi Exchange marks a first-of-its-kind transaction for both markets, and no company could be better suited than Americana Restaurants to carry this torch. With macroeconomic and demographic tailwinds that support our accelerating growth, this is an exciting time to be inviting investors in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and internationally to share in our onward journey of success."

Serco’s new regional hub opens its doors

Serco, international leader of public services within transport, citizen services and defence were honoured to mark the official opening of Serco's new regional hub in Riyadh with ribbon cutting by Badr AlBadr, Deputy Minister - Ministry of Investment and Neil Crompton, British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.The ceremony was attended by Serco Group CEO, Rupert Soames, Country Director Mona Althagafi, key clients, partners and colleagues.Mona Althagafi commented, ‘we are honoured to be able to celebrate this landmark event. Having our regional hub in Riyadh is strategically vital as we need to be as close to our key customers as possible so that we can continue to offer them the most responsive and innovative services available using global best practice and expertise delivered by our local team. At the same time, we are striving to offer our Saudi team the best possible training and the most rewording work experiences.”Located in the capital’s cosmopolitan Riyadh Front district, the new office comes as part of Serco's long-term strategy to develop its Saudi-based resources. Building on strong foundations which already engage specialist teams with 15% Saudi-national representation in the delivery of high-profile contracts such as EXPRO and Royal Commission of AlUla, Serco anticipates growth in Saudi projects will result in the Kingdom accounting for over 50 per cent of Serco Middle East’s revenues by 2026.The new Riyadh hub will also host ExperienceLab, Serco’s customer insight and service design agency centred around people and innovation. A dedicated space and team have been put in place to help organisations within the Kingdom use the unique understanding of data and insights to design, evolve and adapt services to cater to their end-users and deliver world-class experiences.

Saudi Advertising Creative Leader Mohammed Bahmishan

FP7McCann has announced that Mohammed Bahmishan will join its Saudi agency as both Chief Executive Officer and Chief Creative Officer, effective November 1, 2022. Mr. Bahmishan is an award-winning Saudi creative leader who ranks among the top ten creative leaders in the MENA region, according to the One Club for Creativity in their 2022 Rankings. He has also served as a jury member at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this year.Mr. Bahmishan will lead the FP7 McCann Saudi office based in Riyadh. Current clients comprise a mix of leading Saudi and international companies, including Al Rajhi Bank, Samsung, Tadawul, Aramco, Neom, and SABIC. He is replacing Marc Lawandos, FP7 McCann KSA Managing Director, who has taken on a new role as Executive Director at MCN.Said Tarek Miknas, CEO of FP7 McCann MENAT: “We are thrilled to have Mohammed Bahmishan on board as CEO and Chief Creative Officer. He brings over 20 years of creative and business leadership experience to our operations in Saudi Arabia. One of only a few Saudi creative leaders recognized globally for their award-winning work, his appointment to lead our operations in Saudi reflects our commitment to the Saudi market. Besides his professional caliber, he fits our culture and embodies our values.”Mr. Bahmishan said: “I am excited to be leading such a world-class creative agency in Saudi Arabia, and by working closely with our sister agencies, we will be able to provide full-service communications solutions for our existing and potential clients. From branding and advertising to social media, public relations, media buying, and events, FP7 McCann has an unmatched integrated approach to communications.”Mr. Bahmishan was the first Saudi to be featured at festivals like the Cannes Lions, The One Show, Art Director's Club, EPICA, CLIO, Dubai Lynx, AdFest, New York Festivals, Gerety, Effie's, and Caples. His experience with brands spans both global as well as regional and local Saudi brands including Unilever, Kodak, Volvo, P&G, Ikea, Al-Baik, ARAMCO, Saudia Airlines, McDonald’s, AMC, Almarai, Jeddah Season, Rabea Tea, Savola, and Goody.

Gartner unveils top predictions for IT organizations

Gartner, Inc. today revealed its top strategic predictions for 2023 and beyond. Gartner’s top predictions explore how business and technology leaders can reimagine assumptions and seize the moment to turn uncertainty to certainty.“Uncertainty carries as much opportunity as it does risk,” said Daryl Plummer, Distinguished VP Analyst and Gartner Fellow. “The key to unlocking those opportunities is to reimagine assumptions – especially those rooted in a pre-digital past – around how work is done, how relationships between customers and providers will evolve and how current trends will unfold.“The comforts of consistency are a detriment to the growth of any company seeking to lead in a modern digital world filled with unknowns. This year’s predictions provide a foundation for executive leaders to seize uncertainty, challenge thinking and change expectations while maintaining forward movement.”Gartner analysts presented the top 10 strategic predictions during Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™, taking place here through Thursday.Through 2027, fully virtual workspaces will account for 30% of the investment growth by enterprises in metaverse technologies and will “reimagine” the office experience.As employees continue to desire more flexible work scenarios, virtual workspaces in metaverses will emerge to support new immersive experiences. Fully virtual workspaces are computer-generated environments where groups of employees can come together using personal avatars or holograms.“Existing meeting solution vendors will need to offer metaverse and virtual workspace technologies or risk being replaced,” said Plummer. “Virtual workspaces deliver the same cost and time savings as videoconferencing, with the added benefits of better engagement, collaboration and connection.”By 2025, without sustainable artificial intelligence (AI) practices, AI will consume more energy than the human workforce, significantly offsetting carbon zero gains.As AI becomes increasingly pervasive and requires more complex machine learning (ML) models, it consumes more data, compute resources and power. If current AI practices remain unchanged, the energy needed for ML training and associated data storage and processing may account for up to 3.5% of global electricity consumption by 2030.Yet as AI practitioners become more aware of their growing energy footprint, sustainable AI practices are emerging, such as the use of specialized hardware to reduce energy consumption, energy efficient coding, transfer learning, small data techniques, federated learning and more.“AI offers huge potential benefits to optimize operational efficiency and sustainability, far outweighing its own footprint,” said Plummer. “Provided it is applied more pervasively and effectively than today, AI could reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by five to ten percent.”By 2026, citizen-led denial of service (cDOS) attacks, using virtual assistants to shut down operations, will become the fastest growing form of protest.Protests against businesses and government organizations are increasingly digital. Citizen-led denial-of-service attacks (cDOS) are led by average people rather than hackers, performed through virtual assistants.Gartner predicts that by 2025, 37% of customers will try using a virtual assistant to interact with customer service on their behalf; for example, by waiting on hold for them. These legitimate interactions using virtual assistants will pave the way for protests. By 2024, citizens will shut down a Fortune 500 company’s contact center through denial-of-service attacks launched by virtual assistants.Through 2025, powerhouse cloud ecosystems will consolidate the vendor landscape by 30% leaving customers with fewer choices and less control of their software destiny.The largest cloud service providers (CSPs) are creating ecosystems whereby they and preferred independent software vendors (ISVs) offer a range of pre-integrated and composable services. CSP ecosystems offer the potential for significant productivity gains from simplified sourcing, integration and composability of software components. As CSP ecosystems mature, there will be diminishing need for third-party ISV tools because CSPs can quickly release new features and become fast followers of innovation due to the speed and agility of cloud development.Through 2024, jointly owned sovereignty partnerships sanctioned by regulators will increase stakeholder trust in global cloud brands and facilitate continued IT globalization.As societies become increasingly globally interconnected and dependent upon digital information, more regulations and legislation are emerging from a desire to control and protect citizens and ensure continued availability of critical services. Specifically, governments and commercial regulators are tightening policies regarding the use of non-regional cloud providers for critical or sensitive workloads.“Due to recent geopolitical events and seeing the direct impact that de-platforming sanctions can have, demand for sovereign cloud solutions is evolving,” said Plummer. “Governments and regulators that sanction specific jointly owned approaches of cloud providers with local partners can meet tightened sovereignty requirements while facilitating continued technical globalization.”By 2025, “labor volatility” will cause 40% of organizations to report a material business loss, forcing a shift in talent strategy from acquisition to resilience.Challenges such as the Great Resignation, burnout and quiet quitting continue to challenge business leaders to find, attract, hire and retain talent. Within corporate announcements and financial disclosures, organizations will increasingly highlight material strategic shifts due to the inability to support existing products or services or launch new opportunities because of workforce challenges.“Labor volatility has a direct correlation to enterprise execution and delivery models that impacts financial performance,” said Plummer. “The resiliency dialogue must become a CEO and boardroom conversation, rather than one siloed to HR.”By 2025, shareholder acceptance of moonshot speculative investments will double, making them a viable alternative to traditional R&D spend to accelerate growth.To find advantages amidst uncertainty and volatility, industry leaders are increasingly accepting high-risk technology investments with little-known returns and potential failure, known as “moonshots.”“Winning enterprises have learned the real risk they face is doing too little too late. Adopting antifragile approaches, such as moonshots, allows enterprises to maximize their advantage from disruption by adjusting their risk appetite and raising their tolerance for failure,” said Plummer.By 2027, social media platform models will shift from “customer as product” to “platform as customer” of decentralized identity, sold through data markets.The current paradigm of users having to prove their identity repeatedly across online services is not efficient, scalable or secure. Web3 enables new decentralized identity standards which introduce several disruptive benefits, including giving users more control over which data they share, removing the need for repeated identity proofing across services and supporting common authentication services.By 2025, organizations that remediate documented gender pay gaps will decrease women's attrition by 30%, reducing pressure on talent shortages.Gartner data consistently shows that compensation is a top driver for talent attraction and retention, yet only 34% of employees believe their pay is equitable. There is no generally accepted methodology for calculating pay equity, challenging organizations to identify and account for gender pay gaps. A nascent market is forming for software tools that offer pay equity assessments, with specialist vendors emerging that provide more ways to analyze and model data related to equitable pay.Through 2025, employee value metrics like well-being, burnout, and brand satisfaction will override return on investment (ROI) evaluations in 30% of successful growth investment decisions.Investments in efforts such as employee well-being and customer experience can yield direct financial returns through revenue growth and cost reduction. However, their more significant impacts are often on brand value, reputation and employee and customer acquisition and retention. Such metrics are difficult to quantify in terms of short-term financial gains, but they influence longer-term financial outcomes that drive enterprise value.“Use of traditional ROI models to make investment decisions can discount or completely exclude non-financial benefits. Organizations that use more expansive valuation approaches will shift their investment focus to long-term growth, disruption and innovation,” said Plummer.Gartner clients can read more in “Gartner’s Top Strategic Predictions for 2023 and Beyond —Seizing Uncertainty.”é-purina-petcares-unleashed-accelerator-launches-4th-global-search-for-mos

Nestlé Purina PetCare’s UNLEASHED accelerator launches 4th global search for mos

Unleashed – a program powered by the Purina Accelerator Lab that helps grow disruptive pet care start-ups – has launched its fourth edition calling for the next generation of pet-care businesses to apply by November 30th.Open to new entries from the Middle East and North Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and across Europe, the 2023 program is designed to drive the growth of participants, supporting the development of innovative new pet-care products, in particular data enabled pet owner and vet services, sustainable novel nutrition and well-being technologies. It aims to bring relevant and new products and services to the forefront of the industry, providing an enriching life for pets and their owners.By the end of the 2023 application process, up to nine chosen start-ups will be accelerated for 20 weeks by Unleashed Champions and industry experts. This will include a thorough and structured, fully funded mutually agreed project of up to CHF 50,000 which will help to drive growth.“Unleashed is seen as the best-in-class pet specific accelerator and trusted partner of choice for start-ups. And this is because we have a unique methodology with a team, as well as a whole network of passionate pet-care and pet-tech industry experts to help nurture, support and guide our start-ups towards their business objectives,” said Sergej Pracevi?, Business Executive Officer, Nestlé Purina in the Middle East and North Africa. “We look forward to welcoming more candidates from our region in this upcoming cohort and hope regional start-ups will be among the winners once again.”From its inception in 2019, Unleashed has been the driver of pet-care innovation and has helped to grow and connect the pet start-up ecosystem, providing impactful solutions for pet owners. Unleashed has had over 600 applications from 50 countries, accelerated 18 start-ups and has a roster of success stories. Previously backed entrepreneurs from the MENA region include: PawPots, a Lebanon-based subscription service provider of fresh gently-cooked meals for dogs and cats and Vetwork, a Cairo-based pet care at home veterinary platform operating in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Q3-2022 emerges best performer in Dubai’s real estate market history

Dubai’s Real Estate market continued to build momentum fuelling demand for high-end luxury homes in Q3-2022. Considered the best-performing quarter in the history of Dubai’s Real Estate sector, the value of real estate sales reached AED 70 billion, confirming quarterly growth of 18% and 64.5% growth compared to Q3-2021. Since the beginning of 2022, property sales have jumped by 60% to reach 68,500 real estate deals worth about AED 184 billion, marking a 77% increase from last year.The monthly report by revealed that rents increased by an average of 22% across the city, in addition to an increase in all property categories except for ready-made villas, which are down -7% compared to last year. According to the report’s data, mortgage transactions decreased by -5 to 5,650 deals. Despite this decline, the value increased by 12.4% to reach AED 31.5 billion compared to Q3-2021.Confirming the numbers, Firas Al-Msaddi, CEO of Oratec, said: “Q3-2022 has indeed shown remarkable sales growth to become the best performer in the history of Dubai’s real estate market. The completion of large projects in different regions of the country has contributed to these numbers as the value of deals worth more than AED 100 million increased by 49 percent. It also increased by 56% for properties worth more than 20 million dirhams compared to the previous best performance in 2015.”Q3-2022’s commendable growth graph depicts the completion of 22 new projects consisting of more than 5380 units. They are distributed mainly between Damac Properties for 1560 units, Azizi Developments for 1192 units, and 954 units for Emaar Properties.

Beautyworld Middle East opens in Dubai

The 26th edition of Beautyworld Middle East – the region’s largest international trade fair for beauty products, hair, fragrances, and wellbeing – began a three-day run at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) today (Monday, October 31) as regional and international beauty companies and industry leaders come together to discuss industry pathways and discover new trends, technologies and business opportunities.This year’s show, spread across 14 halls, sees the return of the ‘Next in Beauty’ conference, which brings fresh thinking, new insights, and elevated business strategies to the fore. Running across the whole three days, the opening agenda was headlined by English scent maverick Jo Malone CBE, Creative Director and Founder of Jo Loves.In conversation with Lauren O’Connell, Beauty Editor of Cosmopolitan ME, Malone told her inspirational story of artisan beginnings to global success to a standing room only crowd, followed by a live demonstration of her new ‘Fragrance Tapas’ experience.“It is amazing to be here in Dubai, walking into the show this afternoon, and seeing so many amazing SMEs and entrepreneurs – it fills my heart with joy to know the future of the industry is in safe hands,” said Malone, who moved permanently to Dubai earlier this year. “Dubai is full of opportunity, and everyone wants to help each other here, which is incredible to see. It is also teeming with creativity which is a perfect atmosphere for us to be in.“The name Jo Loves came from my son who said I should call it that because I love perfume and perfume loves me. As a brand, Jo Loves is all about innovation, bringing people together, and family. When starting a new business, there are three things you need: Passion – you need to feel the heartbeat of your products; Resilience – you will hear the word ‘no’ more than you hear the word ‘yes’; and creativity – I believe everyone in the world has a bank account of creativity and you are the only one who can grow what is in there into something special.”Another highlight session taking place on day one included an outlook on the MENA market for Beauty and Personal Care from Amna Abbas, Senior Analyst at Euromonitor International. She revealed the region’s beauty and personal care industry is valued at US$36 billion with 11 per cent growth projected through 2026. Hair care, fragrances, and skin care are the top-performing categories.Abbas also explained industry growth in the region can be directly correlated to its growing number of millionaires – both nationals and expatriates. There are currently a little more than 75,000 UAE residents whose wealth is between US$1m and US$5m and that will continue to increase, she said.“Golden visas, five-year multiple-entry tourist visas, Qatar and Saudi opening up tourist visas preparing for the Fifa World Cup… all these things are leading to more millionaires entering the country,” said Abbas during her presentation at the conference.“As the number of millionaires increase, we see a greater number of cosmetic clinics, healthcare options, specialist clinics, products and services – not so much at a salon level, but a deeper level, such as dermatological peeling. Everything suggests the future is very bright for the regional beauty and healthcare industry.”The show features seven major product sections covering cosmetics and skincare, personal care and hygiene, hair, nails and salon supplies, machinery, packaging, raw materials and contract manufacturing, fragrance compounds and finished fragrances as well as natural and organic.It is also hosting Quintessence – an exclusive platform where the world’s ‘creme de la crème’ of perfume brands showcase their creations in an exceptionally luxurious and contemporary environment - while 16 major international fragrance houses will create their own interpretation of a signature scent for the show in the Signature Scent feature, with visitors having an opportunity to sample them and vote for what they felt most captures the essence of Beautyworld Middle East.“I am a distiller and perfumer by profession, and this is our fifth time exhibiting at Beautyworld Middle East and our first time back following the pandemic. Being a part of Quintessence has always benefited Areej Le Dore as our aim each year is to grow our existing network and find new business partners. Just within the first few hours of the show opening, we have spoken to some promising business partners and visitors alike. This year, we’ve brought our new collection to the show, where each scent has an Indian-Attar focused element. Since these Attar fragrances are very strong, they’ve been combined with various heart notes to give it a modernistic touch,” said Russian Adam, Director, Areej De Lure.Eurofragance, the Barcelona-based perfume house, has opened its ArtLab Gallery to visitors this year - a space that exhibits several works that are the outcome collaboration between different Perfumers and Artists. The artwork presented at Eurofragance’s ArtLab Gallery is the result of the collaboration of five young women Artists, currently established in Dubai, ranging between 17 and 21 years of age, and six Eurofragance perfume Creators. Antoine de Riedmatten, Global Business Unit Director, Fine Fragrance and the General Manager IMEA based in Dubai says: “There is a lot going on at the Eurofragance stand this year, but if there are two key things to take away from our ArtLab Gallery, they are our creativity and our values. We do things differently at Eurofragance and we are on the constant lookout for creative inspiration. This space is dedicated to creativity and to the collaboration between artists. Our values compel us to connect with people from different horizons and cultures. This is why we give young women Artists the opportunity to be seen, heard and celebrated.”

APM Terminals Bahrain announces the departure of Managing Director

Hidd, Bahrain: APM Terminals Bahrain announces the departure of the Managing Director, Maureen Bannerman.She will leave her assignment as Managing Director of APM Terminals Bahrain effective January 1st, 2023. The Chief Financial Officer, Farooq Zuberi, will act as interim Managing Director.Maureen initially joined APM Terminals Bahrain in March of 2021. During her tenure, along with the Board and her team, she advanced a strategic and transformational agenda for the company and Khalifa Bin Salman Port, strengthened the management team, and developed and promoted existing talent.Khalifa bin Salman Port ranks as one of the best and most efficient ports in the Middle East. It is well positioned to continue to deliver exceptional value for the Kingdom of Bahrain and shareholders in the years to come.

Siemens appoints Jamie Hoyzer as CEO in Oman

Siemens has appointed Jamie Hoyzer as Chief Executive Officer in Oman, effective October 1, 2022. Hoyzer replaces Franco Atassi, who led the business in Oman for a year and remains the CEO of Siemens Smart Infrastructure in the Middle East.  Hoyzer joined the Siemens apprenticeship program in 2002 and continued to work for the company in various roles in Germany, the UAE and Oman over the course of his career. He became the General Manager of Siemens in Oman in 2021. Hoyzer is a seasoned manager with broad experience across the Siemens portfolio. In the past two decades, he has held multiple positions of increasing responsibility in management, production, finance, sales, customer relationships and project management.“I'm excited to lead a great team and build on the successes achieved in Oman over Siemens long history in the country. Siemens is working hard to help Oman develop and diversify its economy, preserve its environment and achieve its social goals,” Hoyzer said. “I'm honored to have the opportunity to support Oman’s journey to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, digital transformation through technology and partnership-building, as well as driving in-country value contribution and building up the local workforce in the sultanate.”Siemens has a long track record in helping Oman build a more sustainable and diversified economy – a key objective of the Oman Vision 2040. Digitalization, electrification and automation are central pillars for Siemens. Siemens technology in Oman underpins the country’s infrastructure. Over the past 50 years, Siemens has deployed technology that is used in dozens of landmark buildings, the power grid, factories and the majority of hospitals across the country.“We are confident that Jamie will lead Siemens in Oman to even bigger achievements at this pivotal moment in the sultanate’s development. We look forward to deepening our partnership with Oman ensure that Siemens continues to contribute to the digital transformation necessary for the country to prosper in the decades to come,” said Franco Atassi, the CEO of Siemens Smart Infrastructure in the Middle East.

Capital Bank of Jordan launches revamped mobile banking experience

Capital Bank of Jordan, one of Jordan’s leading banks with a strong regional presence has launched its new mobile banking app for customers, powered by Codebase Technologies’ Digibanc platform. The launch of the revamped mobile banking experience is a milestone in the longstanding strategic technology partnership between Capital Bank of Jordan and Codebase Technologies. Over the past year both teams have collaborated on the launch of Jordan’s first neobank “Blink” that provides banking services through its smart digital platform, in addition to digital onboarding for Capital Investments – the investment arm of Capital Bank Group.“Codebase Technologies has been a longstanding and valued technology partner for us. The team’s in-depth knowledge of software, IT and the nuances of the banking industry have been of immense value on our journey of digitization” commented, Izzidin Abusalameh, Group Chief Operating Officer, Capital Bank of Jordan.Leveraging Codebase Technologies' award-winning Digibanc platform, the two teams have created the first of its kind in MENA, widget- based banking app experience, inspired by cutting-edge operating systems. Using a component-based development approach by customizing multiple market-ready solutions within the Digibanc platform accelerated the mobile app’s time to market, significantly. Furthermore, the Digibanc platform’s open and agile nature allowed features to be developed and integrated with the bank’s existing core banking system and IT infrastructure for a seamless deployment.Hani Khalil, Group Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Capital Bank of Jordan, stated “Codebase Technologies technical know-how and their ability to work under extreme time constraints is really impressive. Their Digibanc platform puts us in a strong position from a business and technology point of view and gives us the flexibility to innovate at scale, now and in the future.”With a population of over 10 million and just over 8 million active mobile connections, Jordan is a market ripe and hungry for digital services. Furthermore, with only 27% of women and 53% of men having access to a bank account, there is a strong need for digital financial services in the country. By enhancing customer engagement and acquisition through the new digital offering, Capital Bank of Jordan aims to increase its market share and drive growth across the organization.Mohammed Othman, Group Chief Consumer Banking Officer at Capital Bank of Jordan, added “We’re extremely proud of the new mobile app and the experience our customers will enjoy. The high level of personalization and ease of use is helping us grow our customer base, improve customer retention and acquire new customers, ultimately driving revenues across our business.”Tamer Al Mauge, Managing Director - MENA of Codebase Technologies, added “The recent mobile app launch is another milestone in our strategic technology partnership with Capital Bank of Jordan. We are honoured that Capital Bank of Jordan has placed their trust in us as a longstanding technology partner and chosen our Digibanc platform as their solution for multiple projects in their digitization journey.”

More than 80% of the public companies in the MENA do not disclose any data

Clarity AI, the leading global sustainability tech platform, announced today that in a sample of 40,000 public companies, approximately only 30% report at least one quantitative sustainability metric. As further requirements under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) come into force in fewer than 70 days, lack of available reported data may necessitate the use of estimated data to fulfill the regulator’s expectation to provide disclosures on a “best effort” basis.The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the region where public companies disclose the least when compared with Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. As mentioned, Clarity AI looked into 40,000 public companies and assessed how many disclose at least one quantitative metric. The overall disclosure level is 30% (~11,000 public companies reporting), with significant variations across regions. North America is the leader while MENA is the laggard for companies reporting at least one quantitative metric. Clarity AI observed the following levels of reporting:North America: 44% of public companies reportingEurope: 40% of public companies reportingAPAC: 20% of public companies reportingMENA: 11% of public companies reportingEven for the two most commonly reported E and S metrics in MENA – GHG emissions scope 1 and scope 2 and percent of women employed, respectively – public companies in MENA disclose six times less than European public companies. Approximately 30% of public companies report GHG emissions scope 1 and scope 2 in Europe, while only 5% do so in MENA. In terms of the percent of women employed, in Europe about 30% of public companies report this data while only 6% do so in MENA.MENA companies report less often than companies in other regions, and fall behind in some areas. In contrast to North American and European public companies that have an average ratio of 40% women employed, companies in MENA have a ratio of 30% women employed. The gap is larger in leadership positions. For example, for every female on a Board of Directors in MENA, we can find three in Europe.However, MENA doesn’t lag in every area related to the S pillar. In the turnover of employees and the gender pay gap1 MENA companies lead versus North American and European companies:Turnover of employees:North America is at 14%Europe is at 14%MENA is at 10%Gender Pay Gap:MENA pays women 90% of what they pay to menNorth America pays women 87% of what they pay menEurope pays women 83% of what they pay menOn environmental topics, we find a similar pattern: Companies in the MENA region perform as their counterparts in Europe and North America do in some metrics (e.g., energy consumption) but lag behind on others (e.g., CO2 scope 1 and scope 2, waste recycling).“Public companies worldwide have a long way to go in reporting even the simplest sustainability metrics,” says Patricia Pina, Head of Product Research and Innovation at Clarity AI. “While companies take time to figure out how and what to report, advanced technology and expertise in sustainability can help fill the gaps with machine learning estimation and reliability models.”

UAE FMA inks partnership agreement with ICMA

The UAE Financial Markets Association (UAE FMA) has signed a cooperation agreement with the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) to boost their cooperation and mutual membership as well as to exchange expertise and information on regulatory developments and international best practices in the financial markets sector.Under the newly signed agreement, both parties will coordinate their efforts to design educational training programs, prepare analytical reports for financial markets, read advanced data, and explore opportunities to improve automated trading technology.They will also cooperate in effective trading practices, clearing and settlement procedures, and will also work together to share their expertise and experience, with the ICMA briefing the other side on its global financial markets experience.Mohammed Al Hashemi, Chairman of UAE FMA, and Bryan Pascoe, CEO of ICMA, signed the partnership agreement, in the presence of a number of senior officials from both sides.Expressing his happiness with the promising partnership, Al Hashemi stressed that the agreement comes in line with the UAE FMA’s keenness to expand its network of influential strategic partners with extensive experience in the global financial markets, adding that it will help the association's members gain new experience and will provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to do business in the global financial markets, while also broadening the scope of investment opportunities for both sides.Al Hashemi said that the agreement will positively reflect on boosting local investment opportunities and drawing in further foreign capital thanks to the association's crucial role in giving partners a thorough and integrated view of the capital markets in the GCC countries, thus expanding its operations in cross-border markets and broadening its scope of work beyond local markets.For her part, Ohoud Al Ali, board member of the UAE Financial Markets Association, emphasized that the UAE FMA looks forward to keeping the influential partners up to date with the latest investment prospects offered by the UAE financial markets, which are provided based on a package of flexible legislative regulations, in addition to briefing the association's members on partners' extensive experience and skills.Bryan Pascoe, on the other hand, underscored that the UAE is one of the best destinations for capital looking to invest in its various sectors, especially in financial markets, now that it offers a safe haven for all types of investments, as evidenced by the rising growth in various sectors. "The agreement will undoubtedly contribute to strengthening the ICMA’s relationship with UAE FMA and expanding the frontiers of joint collaboration to create investment opportunities and bring about greater qualitative leaps in the regional financial markets," Pascoe said.Joint ConferenceMeanwhile, the UAE FMA co-hosted yesterday (Wednesday) a conference entitled, "Dynamics and Developments in International Repo Markets-A Lens on the Middle East and North Africa" in the presence of the International Capital Markets Association.The conference featured a series of interactive panel discussions with stakeholders in the local market who discussed opportunities and challenges that repo and guarantees face in the global financial market as well as related opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa region.The conference kicked off with a presentation by Alexander Westphal, ICMA director, market practice and regulatory policy, in which he addressed the main trends of repo in European markets as well as the settlement system, its efficiency, sustainability, and digitization of buyback.The conference also featured a presentation by Rahman Janjua, Credit Repo and Secured Financing, First Abu Dhabi Bank, titled "Global and Regional Repo Market Trends," in which he spoke about regional developments and applications of repo, crucial control points, automation, Islamic repo, and financing versus balance sheet management.While the second panel discussion focused on automation, digitalization, and legal technology in the financial market sector, another session, in which Dina Saudi, Senior Associate Director of ICMA, participated, covered legal opinions and business, associated advancements like the categorization project, and legal technology.

Alpha Dhabi reports record 9-month net profit of AED 9bln

Alpha Dhabi Holding PJSC (“Alpha Dhabi” or “the Group”), one of the fastest-growing investment holding companies in the UAE, listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX: AlphaDhabi), has announced its financial results for the 9-month period ending 30 September 2022.Throughout the year Alpha Dhabi has continued to ramp up its transaction activity, building on its strong performance across its core verticals and diversified platform. As a result, Alpha Dhabi reported a strong set of financial results for the 9-month period ending 30 September 2022 with net profit of AED 9.0 billion, up 150% year-on-year from AED 3.6 billion. Furthermore, revenues also grew significantly standing at AED 26.6 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of 133% with strong contributions from the existing portfolio in the healthcare sector, which continue to see strong demand, and from the real estate, construction and industrial verticals, which continue to be strong drivers of growth for the Group.Eng. Hamad Al Ameri, CEO of Alpha Dhabi Holding, said: "Alpha Dhabi has delivered another set of record financial results as we continue to cement our position as a leading regional investment holding company. Our diversified business continues to grow from strength to strength with a positive market sentiment in the UAE, underpinned by strong economic fundamentals and a buoyant capital markets landscape in contrast with the global outlook.”“Over the year, we deployed and committed a significant amount of capital adding considerable scale and diversification to our portfolio as we expanded into new markets and enhanced earnings growth across our platform. Looking ahead and backed by a strong liquidity position, we will remain active on the investment and acquisition front as we continue to deploy capital effectively in value-accretive opportunities that meet our strict return thresholds and also allow us to build scale and diversify our platform further while creating value for our shareholders.” Eng. Hamad Al Ameri added.Alpha Dhabi continues to pursue acquisitions and investments as part of Its growth strategy and has announced several key transactions over the quarter. This includes the acquisition (subject to closing and regulatory approvals) - through Alpha Dhabi's subsidiary Pure Health - of a minority equity stake in Ardent Health Services, the fourth largest privately held acute care hospital operator in the U.S which will serve to add both scale and diversification to Alpha Dhabi’s growing healthcare vertical. Furthermore, Alpha Dhabi continues to build on its ESG and sustainability commitment and credentials having acquired a minority stake in Kalyon Enerji, a clean and renewable energy company based in Turkey at the beginning of October.This transaction also represents Alpha Dhabi's first foray into the Turkish market as it continues to execute on its diversification strategy and capitalize on investment opportunities in new markets. Alpha Dhabi's portfolio expansion outside of the UAE continues to bear fruit with overseas revenue accounting for AED 3.4 billion year-to-date 2022, representing a 160% increase year-on-year.Alpha Dhabi’s balance sheet remains strong and continues to grow with AED 109.1 billion in total assets, up significantly from year-end 2021 on the back of strong investment activity and the recent consolidation of Aldar Properties. The Group remains well-funded with a strong cash position of AED 16.9 billion to support and drive the execution of the Company’s growth and expansion across both sectors and geographies. Through our strong operating model, financial position, capital deployment track record and agile investment approach Alpha Dhabi remains uniquely positioned to continue to drive growth further and capitalize on investment opportunities while also generating value for shareholders in both the short and long term.FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE AND METRICSQUARTERLY INVESTMENT HIGHLIGHTSArdent Health Services (Ardent)Alpha Dhabi entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire a minority equity investment in Ardent Health Services (Ardent), a leading U.S. healthcare provider based in Nashville, Tennessee, for a total investment of AED 1.8 billion. The investment is subject to customary closing conditions and will be finalized after receipt of all necessary U.S. regulatory approvals.Kalyon Enerji Yatrimlari A.? (Kalyon Enerji)During the current period, Alpha Dhabi agreed to invest AED 370 million alongside Multiply Utilities Holding LLC in Kalyon Enerji Yatrimlari A.?. The investment represents 20% of a 50% interest in the share capital of Kalyon Enerji. This transaction is the Group’s first investment in Turkey as part of its geographic diversification strategy.

Waha Capital reports net profit of AED 259mln for the first nine months of 2022

Waha Capital PJSC (“Waha Capital” or “the Company”), an Abu Dhabi-listed investment management company (ADX: WAHA), has reported net profit of AED 259 million year-to-date despite continued volatility in global markets. Waha Capital recorded net profit of AED 259 million for the first nine months of 2022, compared to AED 454 million for the same period last year. In Q3 2022, the Company reported net profit of AED 160 million, an increase of 125% on Q3 2021 (AED 71 million). This strong performance was achieved despite challenging macroeconomic conditions caused by high inflation and geopolitical uncertainty.The Public Markets business, which actively manages emerging markets credit and equity funds, reported net investment returns of AED 360 million and net profit of AED 307 million for the first nine months of 2022. The Private Investments business, which pursues a multi-asset investment approach across different sectors and geographies, recorded net investment returns of AED 68 million and net profit of AED 25 million. Meanwhile, Waha Land generated net investment returns of AED 37 million and net profit of AED 28 million.Waha Capital’s total assets under management stood at AED 6.5 billion at the end of September 30, 2022.In September 2022, Waha Capital was featured in Forbes Middle East’s Top 30 Asset Management Companies 2022 list. This is the second consecutive year that the company has featured in this prestigious ranking of the best regional asset managers.Public Markets HighlightsHigh inflation, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and a rising interest rate environment continues to impact global markets. In the first nine months of 2022, the Public Markets business recorded net profit of AED 307 million compared to AED 594 million for the same period last year. In Q3 2022, net profit reached AED 194 million, versus AED 150 million for the same period in 2021.The Waha MENA Equity Fund reported a total return of 12.1% for the first nine months of 2022, compared to 0% for the reference S&P Pan Arab Composite Index. The Fund has delivered a cumulative return of 278.8% since its inception in 2014, versus the S&P Pan Arab Composite Index’s return of 63.8%. Furthermore, the Fund has again been recognised among the top 50 hedge funds globally, ranking 15th in the 2022 survey by the Global Investment Report. It was the only fund based in the MENA region to feature in the ranking.The Waha CEEMEA Credit Fund returned -2.0% for the first nine months of 2022, with the reference JPMorgan CEEMEA CEMB Index recording total returns of -27.6% for the same period. The Fund has delivered a cumulative return of 168.1% since its inception in 2012, compared to 32.4% for the reference index.The Waha Islamic Income Fund returned -1.76% (gross of fees) for the first nine months of 2022, compared to -11.75% for the reference Dow Jones Sukuk Index.Private Investments HighlightsThe successful implementation of a new growth strategy for the Private Investments business has started to deliver value, with the business recording net profit of AED 25 million in the first nine months of 2022 compared to a net loss of AED 36 million for the same period last year. In Q3 2022, the business reported net profit of AED 5 million versus a net loss of AED 47 million in Q3 2021.The business continued to deploy capital into its Global Opportunities portfolio, bringing its assets under management to AED 1 billion as of 30 September 2022.The Core Portfolio recorded net profit of AED 28 million in the first nine months of 2022. A new platform, Waha Health, was launched this year and seeded with Waha Capital’s two premium healthcare assets, HealthBay and Orchid Fertility IVF. In Q3 2022, the company successfully divested its stake in Anglo Arabian Healthcare.The business continues to monetise its mature assets, with gains realised this quarter from the sale of stakes in Bahrain-based ADDAX Bank and SDX Energy, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange.Waha Land HighlightsIn Q3 2022, Waha Land, a wholly owned subsidiary of Waha Capital, agreed to sell 17 leased warehouse buildings at the ALMARKAZ Industrial Development in Abu Dhabi to Peninsula Real Estate Management Limited for AED 555 million.Waha Land, which owns and operates a light industrial real estate development in Abu Dhabi, generated a net profit of AED 28 million year-to-date, compared to AED 29 million in the same period last year. For Q3 2022, Waha Land recorded a net profit of AED 9 million, versus AED 12 million for the same period in 2021. The property portfolio is currently 95% leased.

WBD ups the content game in MENA

Discovery Inc. launched its streaming platform Discovery+ in the Middle East and North Africa in partnership with StarzPlay in January 2021.Later in February 2021, Discovery+ signed a partnership with the Saudi telecom company via its media arm, Intigral, to bring content to Jawwy TV subscribers.The content line-up includes shows like “Shark Week,” “MythBusters,” “NASA’s Unexplained Files” and “Say Yes to the Dress”. In April 2022, AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit and Discovery announced a merger which resulted in the formation of Warner Bros Discovery Inc, whose properties include Discovery Channel, Warner Bros. Entertainment, HBO, Cartoon Network; streaming services Discovery+ and HBO Max; and franchises such as “Batman” and “Harry Potter.”Warner Bros. Discovery and SRMG have announced their partnership to launch “Asharq Discovery,” a new Arabic-language channel, exclusively for audiences in the MENA region.Apart from this the company has also produced the “COVID-19: Dubai” documentary in alliance with the Government of Dubai Media Office; the first Arabian franchise of “Say Yes to The Dress” with StarzPlay; and Arabic travel gameshow, “Dare to Take Risks,” in partnership with Integral.The company is ready to continue its strong line-up of new shows to maintain the engagement for the network,” which includes “Star Chef,” a talent show for the MENA region, and two shows for Fatafeat: “Chef on a Bike”and “Musical Food Show”.In addition to shows and films, the company is also planning to expand its repertoire of content formats.For example, the company launched a culinary format game show “Escape Kitchen,”.“Earlier this year, the company announced its plans to merge Discovery+ and HBO’s streaming platform HBO Max into one platform. The new service will launch in the US next summer, followed by Latin America later in the year, And by 2024 in Europe,” Jamie Cooke, general manager of Warner Bros. Discovery CEE, Baltics, Middle East, Mediterranean and Turkey said.

Fatafeat launches new cooking gameshow Escape Kitchen

Fatafeat, Warner Bros. Discovery Channel’s Arabic food network, is ready to launch its first culinary format series “Escape Kitchen” from next month. In each episode, the audience will see chefs trapped in an escape room, and within 45 minutes of time they have to win.The cooking game show will also feature some of Fatafeat's resident chefs: Manal Al-Alem, Tarek Ibrahim and Sumaya Obaid.In this show the teams have to hunt for clues and solve the riddles to unlock a secret recipe. Not only the secret recipe they also have to hunt for the locations of the ingredients, kitchen appliances and tools needed to prepare the dish. The losing team will have to face the consequences with comedic challenges.“For a brand as iconic and ingrained in every Arab household as Fatafeat, the network needs to keep innovating and seek ways to cater to a booming new wave of consumers, while keeping loyal fans engaged with fresh and unique content. ‘Escape Kitchen’ is yet another milestone in this potent content strategy,” Girgory Lavrov, head of Fatafeat, said in a statement.“Escape Kitchen” will be available on beIN #351 from November 1 and on the Discovery+ library of streaming platforms, StarzPlay and Jawwy TV, from November 4.

Dubai Financial Services Authority signs an MoU with The Bangladesh Securities

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) to foster an open dialogue and enable exchange of information between the two authorities to fulfil their respective regulatory mandates.The MoU was signed by Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA, and Professor Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam, Chairman of the BSEC on 28 October 2022 in Dubai.The agreement provides a framework for facilitating cross-border collaboration between the two bodies on supervision and enforcement actions. Under the terms of the MoU, the DFSA and BSEC will enable knowledge sharing on best practices in regulatory, supervisory and licensing in the financial markets. The bodies will also confer closely on money laundering or terrorist financing risks amongst supervised entities and the existing AML/CFT systems and controls within firms.Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA said: “The reinforcement of supervision and regulatory cooperation between the DFSA and BSEC will result in greater market accessibility, ease of doing business as well as strengthened investor trust in both jurisdictions. We are confident that this in turn will encourage registered firms to raise their standards of fair dealing and drive further economic growth.”  Professor Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam, Chairman of the BSEC, said: "We are very excited that after 50 years of independence and friendship BSEC and DFSA are entering into a relationship anchored in cooperation, assistance, and research amongst other factors. This collaboration will take the capital markets of both our growing and vibrant countries forward. The signing marks a historical day for many reasons and we hope every citizen of each country will enjoy benefits from this engagement”

Dubai records over AED2.7 bn in realty transactions Thursday

Dubai real estate market recorded 612 sales transactions worth AED1.77 billion, in addition to 109 mortgage deals of AED1.03 billion, on Thursday, data released by the Dubai's Land Department (DLD) showed.The sales included 535 villas and apartments worth AED1.18 billion, and 77 land plots worth AED588.01 million, while mortgages included 83 villas and apartments worth AED877.91 million and 26 land plots valued at AED156.26 million, bringing the total realty transactions of today to over AED2.7 billion.

Mohammed bin Rashid’s vision made Dubai world hub for multinationals

H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE, and President of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), said that Dubai continues to progress as the world’s foremost hub for multinationals seeking to enter the region and grow their business, in line with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed made these comments during his discussions at the DIFC with Bruce Flatt, Chief Executive Officer of Brookfield Asset Management, one of the world’s largest alternative investment management companies with more than US$750 billion of assets under management.The discussions focused on how Dubai can further support the global investment major in enhancing its growth and investment in the UAE, the region and beyond. Sheikh Maktoum said Dubai is keen to expand cooperation with global investment leaders like Brookfield to shape a new future for the financial services sector.He noted that Dubai was a pioneer in fostering innovative models for partnerships between public and private sectors to create new growth possibilities and unlock fresh investment opportunities. He added that Dubai’s policy transparency and stability, its collaborative approach, and unparalleled access to international talent helped reinforce its position as a global hub for finance and investment.Sheikh Maktoum reiterated Dubai’s commitment to supporting global companies in expanding their business by providing them with a world-class business-enabling ecosystem and a growth-friendly legislative framework.The Brookfield CEO said during the meeting that Dubai’s state-of-the-art infrastructure, robust regulatory framework and business-friendly ecosystem provide the investment conglomerate with the ideal platform to serve its clients and tap new growth avenues across the region. The UAE, he said, represents one of Brookfield’s major growth markets across the world. He noted that Dubai was uniquely positioned to offer Brookfield the scale and flexibility it seeks to increase its global presence.He added that Dubai was at the centre of one of the most critical regions for the world’s drive to transition to a sustainable energy future, a business area that Brookfield was keen on growing further. Brookfield is present in more than 30 countries and has made more than 2,000 investments globally. The diversified investment major operates across several sectors, including renewable power and transition, infrastructure, private equity, real estate, and credit and insurance solutions.Also present during the meeting were Mohamed Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; Abdulla Al Basti, Secretary-General of Dubai Executive Council; Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director-General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism; and Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC.

SCDTA: Sharjah tourism sector performance during first half of 2022

The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) affirmed that the emirate’s tourism and hospitality sector has witnessed significant growth in the past year and that the launch of mega tourism facilities and projects during the pandemic reflects the strength and resilience of Sharjah economy and reinforces Sharjah’s status as a prominent international tourism destination.The first half of 2022 witnessed tremendous growth and expansion compared to the same period in 2021, the Authority announced during its annual hotelier meeting on Thursday at the Sheraton Sharjah Resort & Spa. The event brought together owners, operators and employees of hotel establishments and was held in the presence of HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, Sheikh Salem bin Mohammed bin Salem Al Qasimi, Director of SCTDA, officials and directors of various SCTDA’s departments, and media representatives.The Authority stated that figures for the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year reveal that the tourism and hospitality sector has registered a 12 per cent increase (626,000) in the number of hotel guests, in addition to an occupancy touching 66 per cent, representing a growth of nearly11 per cent.SCTDA revealed that earnings from hotels amounted to more than AED 200 million in the first half of the year, showing a 50 per cent increase in the same period in 2021. Sharjah hotels also registered a 46 per cent growth in revenue per available room (RevPAR) to touch AED 136, driven by an average daily rate (ADR) growth of around 20 per cent at nearly AED 202.According to statistics revealed by SCTDA, the emirate has more than 100 hotel establishments with around 10,000 rooms. These include 5-star hotels numbering 12 and comprising 950+ rooms; 4-star hotels numbering 20 and comprising 2,300+ rooms; and 33 hotels ranging between one and three stars, comprising 2,400+ rooms, in addition to 39 hotel-apartment facilities with 2,000+ rooms.SCTDA also revealed that the emirate witnessed a remarkable growth in the number of GCC tourists during 2022, attributing this rise to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions across the UAE. The Authority said that with 55,200+ hotels guests from Oman, the emirate witnessed an almost 10-fold increase in the number of Omani guests in the first half of 2022 compared to slightly more than 5,900 guests in the same period in 2021.Sharjah also registered 31,500+ hotels’s guests from Saudi Arabia, compared to 7,000+ Saudi guests in 2021 during the same period. Meanwhile, the number of Russian hotels’ guests touched nearly 56,000 and Sharjah received around 75,600 guests from India during the first half of 2022.SCTDA officials pointed out during the meeting that the promising statistics highlight the strength and competitiveness of Sharjah’s tourism sector, which is paving the way for further developments in the emirate’s tourism standards to bolster its status as an international tourism destination.In his keynote speech, HE Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA stressed that the launch of several key tourism facilities and projects in the emirate during the past few years is a clear indicator of the strength and resilience of Sharjah economy which aligns with its plans and strategies to bolster Sharjah’s status as an international tourism destination.He added: “Diversity is one of the unique characteristics that distinguishes Sharjah, especially in its tourism offerings. From entertainment and events to culture, arts, adventures, and eco-tourism, among others, Sharjah provides a wide range of comprehensive attractions that provide the hospitality sector with significant opportunities for growth.”The SCTDA Chairman pointed out that the multiple strengths of the emirate’s tourism sector has led to a high volume of tourists in various cities and regions across the emirate, and that entities must unite to seize the opportunities this growth represents to further develop the hospitality sector and its allied services and facilities and collectively bolster the emirate's leading position on the international tourism map.For his part, Ahmed Obaid Al Tunaiji, Manager of the Tourism Standards Department at SCTDA, said: "Tourism is not an economic activity isolated from other sectors. When we talk about the sector that is an all-important pillar of the economy of Sharjah, tourism is at the forefront of all leading sectors with promising sustainable growth."He added: "Through this meeting, we aim to develop more tourist attractions, explore new opportunities and advance the emirate's hotel facilities to a competitive level that elevates Sharjah's share in the global tourism market. Our continuous meetings with representatives of international travel and tourism agencies have yielded positive results and benefited the sector while our presence at major international events serve as platforms in attracting potential visitors to the emirate."During the meeting, SCTDA organised two introductory workshops on the 'Holiday Homes Project', which aim to offer an official framework of guidelines to Sharjah residents who wish to rent out places they own as holiday homes to tourists and visitors. The second workshop held by the Industry Professional Training Department at SCTDA, showcased the training plans and opportunities for the working force in Sharjah hotel establishments, which also highlighted the importance of SCTDA workshops in targeting entities and individuals across various sectors.The diverse workshops highlight the emerging trends in Sharjah's tourism sector and offer insights into the Authority's developmental plans to ensure the use of advanced technologies to meet sustainability goals in the tourism sector.