Jeff Zucker, RedBird Capital, International Media Investments launch JV

 Jeff Zucker, RedBird Capital Partners (“RedBird”) and International Media Investments (“IMI”) today announced that they have partnered to create RedBird IMI, a joint venture investment vehicle focused on acquiring and investing in large scale media, entertainment and sports content properties on a global basis. RedBird IMI launches with initial committed capital of $1 billion.Jeff Zucker is the Chief Executive Officer of RedBird IMI, and he has also joined RedBird as an Operating Partner. Mr. Zucker brings more than three decades of leadership experience across news, sports, entertainment and digital innovation to the new venture. Mr. Zucker was the CEO of CNN from 2013 to 2022, leading a transformative turnaround of the global brand. He also was the President of Turner Sports from 2019 to 2022.  Prior to that, he spent 25 years at NBC Universal, where he served as the CEO from 2007 to 2011. In 2007, he co-founded the online streaming service Hulu.Jeff Zucker said, “I've spent 35 years running media businesses at the intersection of news, sports and entertainment, creating new brands and resurrecting old ones. That experience has given me unparalleled perspective for this unique time in media, and the combination of the RedBird and IMI capital and strategic discipline, combined with my operational experience, will give this joint venture a unique advantage in the current media landscape.”Nart Bouran, CEO of IMI, said, “The RedBird IMI joint venture has come together at an important time as the media industry continues to evolve in both content creation and distribution to meet the evolving expectations of consumers globally. Partnering with Jeff Zucker and Gerry Cardinale will enable us to bring tremendous operational, investing and financial expertise to make impactful and transformative investments across the media, entertainment and sports landscapes.”Gerry Cardinale, RedBird Founder and Managing Partner, said, “We are very pleased to partner with IMI to create a long-term, fully capitalized investment vehicle that can own and operate content-focused businesses across the media spectrum in the US and globally. The skill and experience of the combined team will allow us to identify assets that will benefit from the deployment of success-based capital to further scale or diversify, while also enabling the development of new companies competitively advantaged as market and consumer trends continue to evolve. With Jeff as our CEO, this platform will integrate substantial operating expertise with sophisticated financial and investing acumen to deploy transformational capital on a scaled basis.”

Dubai Shopping Malls Group all set to give AED 1mln in cash prizes this DSF

Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG) today announced the return of its highly anticipated Spin & Win campaign this Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) edition. Decked with plentiful shopping rewards and remarkable deals, shoppers are in for a treat from 15 December 2022 to 29 January 2023 across 16 participating malls Adding to the dazzle is DSMG’s DSF campaign as part of which 25 lucky shoppers spending AED 200 or more at any of the participating malls have the opportunity to take home cash prizes worth a whopping AED 1 million by entering the raffle.The 25 lucky shortlisted shoppers will be invited to the DSF main stage and can spin the wheel to win cash prizes of denominations starting at AED 10,000 and progressing through 15,000, 20,000, 25,000, 30,000 and 40,000.Majid Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Shopping Malls Group, commented: “We are delighted to bring back the annual Spin & Win campaign this year where shoppers can once again browse through the myriad of available selections and immerse in the unique ambience and fervour at our participating malls. At DSMG, we have the vision to provide the ultimate shopping experience and rewards for our patrons, and we believe this year’s promotion will mark a new milestone in our shopper reward journey and delight customers everywhere.” Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) commented: “Dubai’s retail sector is a central pillar of our economy, creating jobs and opportunities across the emirate and beyond. At DFRE, we are proud of the role we play in positioning Dubai as the world’s leading shopping destination. But we can only achieve this by working with trusted partners, like the Dubai Shopping Malls Group. It is these partnerships that enable us to further enhance shopping experiences for our residents and visitors – and to innovate and expand our offering to retain our sector leadership.”The malls participating in the Dubai Shopping Malls Group Diwali promotion this year include Al Barsha Mall, Al Barsha South Mall, Al Ghurair Centre, Al Bustan Centre, Al Khail Gate,, Al Warqa City Mall, Arabian Centre, Bay Avenue, Century Mall, Dubai Outlet Mall, Dubai Festival Plaza, Etihad Mall, Karama Centre, Lulu Silicon Central, Nad Al Hamar, Serena Marketplace.For more information, visit

Fake reviews are eroding digital trust and impacting retailers’ revenue

We may have entered a post-truth world, but the damage being caused by fake reviews is very real. Callsign, the digital trust pioneer, has today delivered a stark warning to the industry: tackle fake reviews or get ready to see sales drop.Counting the CostImpacting digital trust and ultimately leading to a loss of revenue for brands and retailers, unverified users leaving fake reviews is becoming a widespread problem.A recent report by World Economic Forum indicates that online reviews influenced a staggering $3.8 trillion of global e-commerce spending in 2021. As products fail to live up to these bogus reviews, consumers’ trust is dwindling, with many saying they trust online reviews less than they did just 12 months ago.Especially concerning for retailers was the revelation that if consumers suspect a product has fake reviews, 28% stated they would no longer trust that brand, and 25% would not purchase from the website.A Growing ConcernCallsign adds that action must be taken quickly: with the problem of fake reviews set to expand unless new solutions are put in place. Self-reported figures from leading e-commerce sites show that around 4% of all online reviews are fake.Even trusted online retailers are not immune to the problem and have become a prime target for large-scale fake review schemes by so-called ‘review farms.“Fake and unverified reviews are symptomatic of a broken digital identity system which lacks accountability,” says Saeed Ahmad, Managing Director of Callsign MENA.“To leave a retail review, we don’t have to prove who we are or that we’ve made a genuine purchase. Fake reviews are fast eroding digital trust and damaging businesses, their brand and impacting revenue,” he added.

New IDC study examines the critical role of AI in SA's digital transformation

Saudi Arabia is on the cusp of an artificial intelligence (AI) revolution. AI is at the core of the Kingdom's massive economic transformation programs, including ambitious futuristic infrastructure projects. Organizations across both the public and private sectors are increasingly embracing AI, with International Data Corporation (IDC) expecting adoption of the technology to grow massively over the coming years.The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) has been at the forefront of promoting AI adoption across the Kingdom and is contributing immensely toward fostering an environment for the development of a comprehensive AI ecosystem. With this critical goal in mind, the SDAIA organized the landmark second edition of the Global AI Summit in September this year. Hosted in Riyadh, the summit showcased Saudi Arabia's promising plans to become an international hotbed for AI adoption and development.With AI taking center stage in the rapidly evolving technological landscape of Saudi Arabia, IDC has undertaken a comprehensive study — titled 'Artificial Intelligence: The DNA of Saudi Arabia's Transformation' — in strategic partnership with the SDAIA to capture the current state of AI in the country. Launched at today's IDC Saudi Arabia Government Congress 2022, which hosted more than 100 of the Kingdom's most influential IT and digital leaders, the study begins by examining latest global developments in the AI arena, with a focus on the following elements:The history of AI, its key components, the importance of data, and key use casesNational AI initiatives undertaken by key global economies, global AI spending, and the significant benefits derived by economies, industries, and societiesGlobal AI best practices, international regulatory legislation, and the policy environment for AI adoption and innovationThe report then presents an extensive exploration into the following aspects of Saudi Arabia's evolving AI landscape:The role of AI in the Saudi Vision 2030 initiativeThe key trends shaping the Kingdom's AI landscape, AI ecosystem development, AI skills development, and stakeholder engagementsThe impact of AI in Saudi Arabia and commentary on essential use casesThe role of legislation, regulations, policies, and initiatives in shaping AI development across the countryThe barriers and challenges to AI adoption in the KingdomThe future outlook for AI in Saudi Arabia  "AI is humanity's next giant leap, and Saudi Arabia has done well to appreciated its importance early on," says Hamza Naqshbandi, IDC's associate vice president for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. "The Saudi government has made significant advancements in digitally transforming itself by effectively utilizing innovative and emerging technologies to deliver upon key business priorities, including citizen experience, digital operations, sustainability, and security. As Saudi Arabia accelerates its drive to become a true digital economy, artificial intelligence capabilities will be embedded into every single digital transformation initiative that is undertaken."Commenting on the importance of AI to Saudi Arabia's future, Majid Ali Al-Shehry, general manager of the SDAIA's Studies Department, says: "Based on our belief that data is the oil of the future, we at the SDAIA, are working to unlock the potential value of data through a value chain that covers all aspects of operation, regulation, and innovation."Sourav Bhanja, IDC's associate vice president for consulting in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, says, "Saudi Arabia's national digital transformation goals would benefit greatly from a collaborative effort around AI across government entities, research organizations, local and global enterprises, and emerging start-ups. The key drivers for AI innovation and adoption in the Kingdom will be the need to improve operations through intelligent automation, enhance customer and citizen experiences, manage skills shortages, augment workforce capabilities, and create new digital business models."

Reboot01, a new world-class coding institute comes to Bahrain

Reboot01 in partnership with 01Talent, an internationally renowned IT education program provider, launches a revolutionary coding institute, in the capital of Bahrain.Supported by Tamkeen, Reboot01 mission is to bring a life-changing training that will open the door to great Tech jobs. No degree or background requirement is needed. After passing the equal opportunity selection process, all candidates will be trained over 2 years in a brand new 1600sqm campus: 18 months of initial training followed by 6 months of chosen specialization fields among Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies, DevOps, Data Science & Artificial Intelligence, Mobile and Web Development, Cybersecurity, Game Development & Augmented Reality (AR) and UI/UX.Based on the proven peer-to-peer platform & pedagogy called 01Edu, learners will work in teams and 100% on projects throughout the curriculum. Beyond the coding skills, it will be a practical and problem-solving experience that is essential to all industries such as banking, IT, service and hospitality, healthcare and government.Currently there are 18 coding schools powered by 01Edu system deployed across Europe and Africa transforming thousands of lives. By joining the 01 Network, Reboot01 aims to fill up this critical digital skills gap in Bahrain and the GCC. Significantly, those schools have had graduates who did not have any university degree and are now earning high salaries as full stack developers!“There is a really easy way for people to understand the impact of this opportunity; simply call a bank and ask them if they are hiring full-stack developers and see how eager they are to interview you.” Says Yanal Jallad, Managing Director, Reboot01 Coding Institute“In a context of talent shortage, we need more digital talent than traditional academic systems can produce and who are more adapted to the new requirements of the companies and our environment. Bahrain is no exception" Says Deror Sultan, Cofounder & CEO, 01Talent International The initial free entrance test is an online game that is designed to be accessible to all. Play the game and see if you have the natural ability to join this high paying world of tech. Supported by Tamkeen and no degree needed, are you ready to change your life?Take the online testéropostale-opens-its-39th-store-in-the-gcc

Apparel Group brand Aéropostale opens its 39th store in the GCC

The leading global and fashion conglomerate, Apparel Group, has recently announced opening of the latest Aéropostale shop at Seef Mall – Seef District, becoming the brand’s 39th store in the GCC.The new Aéropostale store is located on the ground floor between Gate No. 8 and Gate No. 9, offering a wide range of trendy, comfy, and high-quality fashion for men, women, and kids Aéropostale is the leading shopping destination for fashionable young adults, which is also famous for its attractive prices, offers, and products made of eco-friendly fabrics.For over 13 years, Apparel Group has succeeded in doubling the value of the Aéropostale brand thanks to its deep awareness of the needs of consumers in clothing and accessories, exceeding their expectations through innovation in the world of casual fashion. The Group operates Aéropostale stores in the GCC, while Aéropostale stores are also located in several locations worldwide.On this occasion, Mr. Mohammed Al Qaed, Acting Chief Commercial Officer at Seef Properties, commented: “We are pleased to announce the opening of the latest Aéropostale store in Seef Mall – Seef District, which will represent a valuable addition to the group of stores hosted by the mall, which is keen to create a diverse shopping environment that meets the needs of all family members. Seef Mall – Seef District continues to attract more prestigious international brands, thanks to its strategic location in the vibrant business area of Seef District and the modern facilities it provides, making it a preferential destination for tenants of major brand names from around the world.”Neeraj Teckchandani, CEO of Apparel Group, stated: “Over the last few years, Bahrain customers have become increasingly discerning and attentive to global shopping trends while staying true to their culture and roots. Continuing Apparel Group’s commitment to providing an elevated shopping experience to our loyal customers, we are proud to be partnering up with Seef Mall and further expanding our strong retail footprint in the Bahrain market. Our brand’s expansion with Seef Mall is in line with our strategy of being responsive to consumer demand. Bahrain continues to be a strategic market for us and we are proud to be part of the country's growth.”

Colm McLoughlin named Global Brand’s Most Inspiring Leader - Retail in the UAE

Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman & CEO, Colm McLoughlin was named the “Most Inspiring Leader – Retail (UAE)” at the recent Global Brand Awards held at the Waldorf Astoria, The Palm on 10th December.Organised by Global Brand Magazine, the Global Brand Awards celebrate and recognise excellence in performance from brands and leaders across a broad range of sectors.Mr. McLoughlin was acknowledged for his outstanding contribution to the duty-free industry spanning over 53 years and in particular in his role as head of Dubai Duty Free since 1983..Commenting on the award, Mr. McLoughlin said; “'I am delighted that I have been selected to receive this award which I attribute to our team of staff and the effort they make in making our business successful for 39 years. I would also like to thank my Chairman, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum who continues to inspire me and who does an absolutely incredible job.”Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President for Marketing of Dubai Duty Free accepted the award on behalf of M.r. McLoughlin.Global Brands Magazine is one of the largest brand publications providing opinions and news related to various brands across the world. The company is headquartered in the United Kingdom. The magazine provides readers with up- to- date news, reviews, opinions and polls on leading brands across the globe

Swissotel Al Ghurair appoints Amal El Ansari as the new GM

Swissotel Al Ghurair and Swissotel Living Al Ghurair is pleased to announce the new appointment of Amal El Ansari as the new General Manager, leading the team and driving the business for the 620-room property.Born and raised in Morocco, she brings a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and commercials, and provides a strategic vision to the flagship hotel for Accor, connected to the historic Al Ghurair Centre shopping mall. She has been with Accor for 11 years, and held key positions and cluster roles of Director of Sales and Marketing, Hotel Manager and General Manager.Prior to this, she was the General Manager of Novotel Sharjah Expo Centre, and had successfully led her team through the global pandemic, maintaining Accor’s and the owner’s business strategy and upholding the highest standard of safety protocols and guest and employee satisfaction. While working in her role, she has successfully built brand loyalty through proactive communication while delivering impressive revenue results.An international hotelier, with business acumen and strong communication skills, Amal has successfully managed Pullman, Novotel, Ibis, Rotana and Sheraton brands while maintaining excellent relationships with the owners. She advocates innovation and strives to achieve great heights keeping the company’s mission, values and strategy in mind. A strong advocate of diversity and inclusion, she puts “Heartists” or her team members at the centre of the business. “We are in a people-centric industry, and it is of the utmost importance to value our people first, and in turn create a happy and positive environment that leads to the hotel’s commercial success” she says. Some of her key achievements include the Highest Reputation Performance score within the Economy Hotels 2017, the Customer Experience Community – Sparkle of the Month 2018, Highest Reputation Performance Score within “Ibis Brand” Middle East 2019. Amal holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, a Secondary degree in English Literature at Chouaib University Morocco, a Diploma of Technician of Tourism at C. E. G. I. S. Institute in Morocco and a Diploma of German Language. Her certifications include the Digital Distribution Campus by Accor Academy Middle East 2020, Distribution Excellence by Accor Academy Paris 2014, Influential Leadership by Accor Academy Middle East 2011. With exciting projects to lead, focussing on Swissotel’s brand elements of “Vitality”, “Sustainability” and “Craftsmanship”, Amal aims to deliver a strong commercial growth while bringing to life Swissotel’s promise of “Life is a Journey. Live it Well.”

Gartner forecasts MENA IT spending to grow 3.1% in 2023

 IT spending in the Middle East and North Africa region is forecast to total $178.1 billion in 2023 growing 3.1% from 2022, according to Gartner, Inc.Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.6 trillion in 2023, an increase of 5.1% from 2022, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. Demand for IT in 2023 is expected to be strong as enterprises push forward with digital business initiatives in response to economic turmoil.“Enterprise IT spending will be robust as CEOs and CFOs, rather than cutting IT budgets, are increasing spending on digital business initiatives,” said Miriam Burt, Managing VP Analyst at Gartner. “Economic turbulence will change the context for technology investments, increasing spending in some areas and accelerating declines in others, but it is not projected to materially impact the overall level of enterprise technology spending.“However, inflation has cut into consumer purchasing power in almost every country around the world. Consumer purchasing power has been reduced to the point that many consumers are now deferring 2022 device purchases until 2023, driving spending on devices down 8.4% in 2022 and 0.6% in 2023.”The technologies that are being maintained versus those that are driving the business are evident by their projected growth rates in 2023. There is sufficient spending within data center markets to maintain existing on-premises data centers, but new spending continues to shift to cloud options, as evidenced by the 11.3% projected growth for software spending in 2023 (see Table 1).In MENA, all segments will grow in 2023. Software segment is forecast to record the highest growth in MENA in 2023 (see table 2). MENA CIOs will follow the spending trend of their global peers by being cautious about the spending yet will not cut down on investing in tech for future resilience and to reduce business risk. Organizations Continue to Protect Efficiency-Driven Digital InvestmentsIn a down or deteriorating economy, conventional wisdom calls for reducing costs, including IT costs. However, a July 2022 Gartner survey of more than 200 CFOs found that 69% plan to increase their spend on digital technologies, while the 2023 Gartner CIO and Technology Executive Survey found that CIOs are being tasked with accelerating time to value on digital investments.“Companies will use digital technology primarily to reshape their revenue stream, adding new products and services, changing the cash flow of existing products and services, as well as changing the value proposition of existing products and services,” said Burt. “This trend has fed the shift from buying technology to building, composing and assembling technology to meet specific business drivers with agility. This shift is foundational to the growth of cloud over on-premises for new IT spending.“However, as organizations look to also realize operations efficiency, cost reductions and/or cost avoidance during the current economic uncertainty, more traditional back-office and operational needs of departments outside IT are being added to the digital transformation project list.”More detailed analysis on the outlook for global IT spending is available in the Gartner webinar “IT Spend Forecast, 3Q22: Is IT Spending Recession Proof?”  Learn about the top priorities for CIOs in 2022 in the complimentary Gartner ebook 2022 Leadership Vision for Chief Information Officers.Gartner’s IT spending forecast methodology relies heavily on rigorous analysis of the sales by over a thousand vendors across the entire range of IT products and services. Gartner uses primary research techniques, complemented by secondary research sources, to build a comprehensive database of market size data on which to base its forecast.The Gartner quarterly IT spending forecast delivers a unique perspective on IT spending across the hardware, software, IT services and telecommunications segments. These reports help Gartner clients understand market opportunities and challenges. The most recent IT spending forecast research is available to Gartner clients in “Gartner Market Databook, 3Q22 Update.”

Appetito & Jumlaty announce merger to join forces with Nomu

Two foodtech eGroceries startups, Saudi-based Jumlaty and Egypt-based Appetito, announce their merger into a new entity, NOMU. Aiming to become MENA’s leading food-tech supply chain platform, NOMU is currently present in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, with the capacity to cover the existing infrastructure of 25 million people and 100,000 F&B stores including strategic partners such as, Savola, Almarai and and Nestle. “Appetito and Jumlaty have been, separately but similarly, working hard to reinvent the grocery supply chain. Both have focused on reliability, speed, and affordability, building a solid reputation and a loyal customer base of families and F&B businesses. Our merger will set us on the path to reach SAR 100 Million in revenue (USD 25 Million) and positive EBITDA within 2023, with important synergies on the tech, marketing and procurement fronts.” commented Shehab Mokhtar, CEO of Appetito, now CEO of NOMU.The deal was facilitated by a shared mindset and direction, as Salman Attieh, CEO of Jumlaty, now Chairman of NOMU, stated, “Both companies shared the same vision on how to transform the industry, combining smart tech, lean operations with a deep focus on unit economics. Together we capture the entire value chain, from monthly shopping to weekly refills and outdoor dining. Most importantly our journey now as one company will be accelerated thanks to an incredible team of international talents and supportive investors.” Ahmed Demerdash, COO of Appetito, who continues as COO of NOMU comments on the impressive potential of the merge, “Our new entity is now present in four promising countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, with a smart grid of 16 warehouses, and a capacity to cover the existing infrastructure of 25 million people and 100,000 F&B stores, and delivery promises that range from one hour to next day fulfillment”.Speaking on the growth of the company and ambitions to achieve in the coming months, Yassir El Ismaili El Idrissi, Chief Growth and Expansion Officer at Appetito, and now at NOMU, shares, “We are redeploying our tech talent towards advanced AI-based algorithms covering smart pricing, predictive demand planning and LTV optimization, and new community-oriented features including group buying, loyalty and embedded finance. On the marketing front, we will keep local brands where it makes sense and all our apps in all our countries will use a common tech and growth platform.”NOMU will have its headquarters in Riyadh, with a holding structure in Abu Dhabi's International Financial Centre, ideally placed to develop its operations further, with ambitions to cover Pakistan and key sub-Saharan countries in the near future.

Alliance for creativity and entertainment surpasses 50 members

The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the world’s leading anti-piracy coalition, today welcomed an additional 11 media and entertainment companies from key markets. ACE’s latest expansion brings the total number of member companies to 52.This growth extensively increases ACE’s global network, including key partnerships with local law enforcement and other authorities, and its ability to shut down illegal piracy operations around the world. This year, ACE has added 18 members, including members focused on live sports piracy.“I am extremely proud of ACE’s explosive growth this year, which is a clear reflection of the impact it has had on combating the illegal piracy operations that threaten legal content creators,” said Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association and Chairman of ACE. “Every new member has seen firsthand the threat piracy poses to their business, and they recognized that joining ACE is the most effective way to combat that threat. With every new member, ACE grows stronger and better equipped to protect the creative economy.”Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Global Content Protection Chief for the MPA and Head of ACE, said the coalition aims to continue its rapid growth ­– in 2023 and beyond. “To be clear, we’re just getting started,” said van Voorn. “In both the near and long term, ACE will continue to expand our global reach and impact as we pursue and shut down illegal piracy enterprises.”ACE’s new members include some of the largest entertainment and media companies in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The new ACE members are:Ampro, media company in Latin America.Caracol TV, entertainment and information multi-media Colombian company that produces and broadcasts multiplatform content.Chilevisión, Chilean Free-to-Air television network.Estudios TeleMexico, media production company majority owned by Paramount Global based in Mexico.France Televisions, French national public television broadcaster.GMA Network, the Philippines’ leading broadcasting company.Ole Distribution, TV distribution division of Ole Communications in Latin America.OSN, entertainment content company servicing the Middle East and North Africa, based in Dubai.RTL Deutschland, Germany’s leading cross-media entertainment company.TeleColombia, media production company majority owned by Paramount Global based in Colombia.Total Media, media distribution company in Latin America.ACE is supported by a network of experts operating in high-tech investigations and law enforcement, in partnership with local governments and international organizations including Interpol and Europol, to take on the full supply chain of pirated content.Piracy of digitally streamed content, which accounts for 80% of overall piracy, puts innovation, creativity and investment at risk and threatens creators, innovators and consumers alike. According to the Global Innovation Policy Center, piracy amounts to as much as $71 billion annually in lost domestic revenues. Additionally, consumers are harmed when accessing illegal content – one-third of pirate sites target consumers with malware that can lead to a range of problems, including identity theft and financial loss, according to a report by Digital Citizens Alliance.

Sharjah Media City launches ‘Shams Valley’

Sharjah Media City (Shams) has launched a new venture builder called Shams Valley to launch startups in the media and technology sectors, create new opportunities for the growing economy of the Emirate of Sharjah, and play an active role in enhancing its diversity and competitiveness.Launched in collaboration with leading UAE-based venture building studio Grow Valley, the initiative builds on Shams’ pioneering role in supporting entrepreneurship and driving innovation and development in the media sector. The partnership allows Shams to tap into Grow Valley’s extensive expertise in the field, which covers everything from experimenting with startup ideas to developing them into viable businesses that cater to market requirement, in addition to ensuring their longevity and growth in the future.A launch ceremony for Shams Valley was held at the Shams Business Centre in Sharjah, attended by Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams); Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation (SRTI) Park ; Tariq Saeed Allay, Director-General, Sharjah Government Media Bureau; Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Mohammed Juma Al Musharrakh, CEO of the Sharjah Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Office (Invest in Sharjah) : Reem Bin Karam, Director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment H.E Alya Alsuwaidi, Director, Sharjah Government Media Bureau;b Dr. Mona Al Ali, Manager of Badiri Education and Development Academy.Speaking at the event, Dr. Al Midfa said, “Since its inception, Sharjah Media City has been working to help fulfil the visions and directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to strengthen the emirate’s position as a global centre for culture, civilisation, and innovation. Shams is committing to positioning itself as an international hub for media and creative industries in the region, opening the doors for talented and qualified professionals to transform their ideas into pioneering and inspiring media, innovation, and advanced technology projects.”“Shams Valley was launched in collaboration with our partners at Grow Valley to build and establish start-ups in the media sector, in accordance with the highest international standards,” added. “We strive to guarantee the continuity and prosperity of these businesses in the future, establishing a dynamic market for them to operate in – one that brings together innovators with creative idea, or projects that embrace advanced technologies.”“Our goal is to build an integrated system to launch a new generation of media companies, and play our part in shaping the future of media in Sharjah and the region. Shams Valley will be another step in our journey to establish a media industry that is rooted in advanced technology and innovation in Sharjah, the UAE, and the region,” Al Midfa concluded.Shams Valley aims to build an integrated system to launch a new generation of media companies and help shape the future of media in Sharjah and the region. The company will serve as an integrated platform that brings together media talents, entrepreneurs, and experts to establish ambitious media projects supported by advanced technology.The mission of Shams Valley is to evaluate ideas for startups in the media and technology sectors, making all necessary arrangements to launch these companies, in line with market trends and with the vision of Shams and the Emirate of Sharjah for the media industry. The idea is to ultimately establish a promising media sector with progressive ideas that keep pace with the rapid developments of our time.The agenda for the launch event included a panel discussion titled ‘Venture Building - The way to create winning startups’, This was followed by a workshop titled ‘Media Industry Challenges & Solutions Workshop’, that shed light on key challenges in the media industry and then proposed innovative solutions for them.

DMCC launches Gaming Centre to advance MENA region's gaming industry

DMCC – the world’s flagship free zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise – has announced the launch of the DMCC Gaming Centre in support of the increasingly growing global and regional video games industry. Currently standing at USD 1.8 billion, revenues generated by the gaming industry in the MENA region are expected to reach USD 5 billion by 2025.Launched during the Dubai Esports Festival, the DMCC Gaming Centre formalises DMCC’s efforts in the gaming and esports space, creating a supportive environment in which all gaming and esports companies can thrive. DMCC is currently home to over 50 gaming companies, from game developers and producers to esports teams and tournament organisers. The DMCC Gaming Centre will be based in DMCC’s award-winning free zone, providing unparalleled access to a vibrant community of gaming industry peers to unlock new opportunities for collaboration. Gaming companies looking to expand their global reach and connect with audiences across the world will also benefit from DMCC’s fully digital setup process, world-class infrastructure, and commitment to increasing the ease of doing business.Under the DMCC Gaming Centre, members will have access to the wider esports community through regular events and esports tournaments and industry support from DMCC’s ecosystem partner YaLLa Esports, a leading esports organisation in the UAE. Furthermore, members will have the opportunity to join gaming specific acceleration and market entry programmes through our ecosystem partner, AstroLabs, a leading tech ecosystem builder in the MENA region. Earlier this year, DMCC partnered with the global VC firm Brinc to provide members with access to USD 150 million in funding through their accelerator programmes ZK Advancer and The Sandbox Metaverse. Those programmes will also be open to DMCC Gaming Centre members developing games on blockchain and web3 technologies.  “Gaming is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, with nearly 3.2 billion people playing and spending a combined total of USD 196.8 billion in 2022. The size and growth of the industry today is staggering compared to when video games first appeared in the 1970s,” said Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC. “These passionate communities are constantly looking for greater immersion and storytelling in their chosen form of entertainment. As our roster of gaming companies expands rapidly and as we see more of our DMCC Crypto Centre members enter the blockchain gaming space, there is no better time to formalise our efforts by opening the DMCC Gaming Centre. Through this facility, we will solidify Dubai’s position as a global hub for all forms of gaming and esports.”Gaming has become the most popular form of digital entertainment across the world, with rich storytelling and greater immersion than other forms of content. DMCC’s research shows that eight out of 10 Gen Zs and millennials are gamers, and that gamers between the ages of 25 and 40 spend as much as seven hours gaming each week. Esports is also a rapidly growing industry, with 68% of the online population watching gaming-related content and 10% being esports enthusiasts. Esports has grown to become watched more than many traditional sports leagues such as the NBA and MLB.Find more information and learn how to set up at the DMCC Gaming Centre here.

Over 50 powerful discussions to be held at SEF 2022

The 6th edition of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF) — set to take place on the 17th & 18th of December at the inspiring location of the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park — will see more than 50 diverse discussions, covering visions and presentations from some of the leading authorities in global entrepreneurship.The festival, organised annually by Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), has been a highlight on the calendar for future changemakers, thought-leaders as well as investors looking to discover the next ‘Fortune 500’ company in the making.With the vision to easily find your business niche, under the theme “Where We Belong”, SEF 2022 will have five dedicated stages for visitors to associate their passions, namely Impact Stage, Creative Stage, Tech Stage, Community Stage, and Wellness Stage. Exciting activities, workshops, networking and investment opportunities, and inspiring discussions are lined up to cater to all communities of entrepreneurs, creators and changemakers.Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, said: “With over 130 speakers spearheading rich discussions on the latest trends and technologies, entrepreneurs and attendees of the two-day festival will have the opportunity to engage with and learn from industry leaders directly. Our speakers and sessions this year have been carefully curated to provide our community of changemakers the knowledge they need to realize their entrepreneurial dreams.”Here are 10 featured talks across the five different stages that display the diversity of the festival, as well as providing a good example of why SEF has become a global attraction for all those with an entrepreneurial spirit.VCs and the startup ecosystem: Bracing for headwindsThis discussion featuring VCs, Tala Al Jabri, Basil Moftah and Mahmoud Adi, will cover the role and trajectory of venture capitalists in the startup ecosystem especially in this economic climate, their relation to the Middle East and the type of businesses that are most attractive to them. Panel Discussion: Breaking stereotypes and championing a new path for young womenThe panel will feature two world famous professionals, Hamda Taryam (Drag-Racer) and Reema Al Mheiri (Industrial Designer and Architect), who will discuss their experience in breaking stereotypes in traditionally male dominated industries and what the future holds for women thriving in new sectors.From building the region's most popular podcast to selling a multi-million media companySaudi podcast host and media entrepreneur Abdulrahman Abumalih, the most popular podcast host in the Arab world, will recall his journey of building Thmanyah, a media company which he partly sold for over $9 million US. His story is proof that there's hope for independent media companies from the region to make it big.Sustainable InnovationThis discussion will feature Dr. Robert Wolcott, Co-founder and Chairman of The World Innovation Network, a global connective of innovators who power a ‘serendipity engine’ to manifest purpose and impact, and reveal how entrepreneurs can make innovation a sustainable practice and how innovation is central to our future.To infinity and beyond: The case for solar powered vehiclesThis informative talk will feature H.E Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTIP, and Tom Selton, VP Business Development of Lightyear. It will give insight into the world’s first solar powered car produced by Lightyear, the vision behind UAE Net Zero 2050 as well as the role and infrastructure of clean mobility in the world.Web3.0 and the tech ecosystemThis discussion will feature Azeem Khan (Gitcoin), Ola Lind (GBBC), and world renowned personality and blockchain expert Jamil Abu-Wardeh (METKAF), who will provide valuable information about how Web 3.0 technologies are being leveraged to create smarter and more efficient systems, and the role of decentralised technologies and digital economies.Branching out and expanding your horizonsLebanese media personality, communication advisor, and strategy-led business developer Wissam Breidy will host a discussion about turning challenges into opportunities and the unique position that entrepreneurs have to craft sustainable solutions to persistent global issues.Panel Discussion: MENA to Y-CombinatorThis panel discussion will be aimed at Y-Combinator graduates and feature one of the founders of DAPI — a real-time banking API that enables companies to accept bank transfer payments within any application instantly at a near-zero cost — as well as Nuha Hashem co-founder of Zywa — the first ‘neobank’ that is exclusively tailored for ‘Gen-Z’ in the Middle East and North Africa — and Faisal Toukan co-founder of Ziina, the UAE's first peer-to-peer payment app that is on a mission to simplify finance for everyone.Building psychological systems for Entrepreneurial Journey - BelongingThis empowering discussion will revolve around psychological theories of entrepreneurship that put emphasis on the emotional and mental aspects of the individuals that drive their entrepreneurial activities. The talk will feature royal guest HH Sayyida Basma Al Said (Whispers of Serenity Clinic), a pioneer and a champion of mental health accessibility.Engineering the path to happinessBest-selling author Mo Gawdat will host a talk that looks back on his 30-year career in tech and how one moment in his life motivated him on his mission of making one billion people become happier.Mariam Bin Al Shaikh, Director of the Sharjah Business Women Council, which is a major partner of SEF 2022, said: “We aim to foster female entrepreneurs who have already become integral part of the larger entrepreneurship community within Sharjah and the wider UAE. We are looking forward to working with Sheraa by initiating dialogues and addressing barriers that are proving hindrance to people attaining their full potential. This is just a taste of what to expect from the festival this year, in its efforts to empower and elevate interest in the entrepreneurial landscape and create a sustainable pathway to success.”For those interested in attending the two-day extravaganza and finding where they belong in their respective industries, should register and secure tickets at

ASICS partners with Apparel group to launch ASICS retail stores in the GCC

Japanese sports brand ASICS and leading regional conglomerate Apparel Group have partnered to launch ASICS retail stores in Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain.  Signifying the brand’s commitment to the region, the franchise contract encompasses the rollout of 20 stores within the next five years and kick starts with the official opening of ASICS store in Qatar on December 5th.Located in Doha Festival City Mall, the first ASICS retail concept in Qatar features 165 square meters of space, showcasing running, tennis, padel, volleyball and kids collections. Customers can find in store the new GEL-KAYANO™ 29 - the running shoe that is arguably ASICS’ most iconic model and that has now been improved even further through advanced technologies, as well as NOVABLAST™ 3 shoe - the third generation of ASICS’ unique cushioning running shoe that offers a bouncing running experience and combines Japanese origami design with technology.The new ASICS stores will also feature ASICS’ Run Analyzer™, a free ASICS specialized gait analysis and foot mapping technology that helps customers find the right running shoe for their personal running style, increases running efficiency andreduces load on the foot. Trained staff members in-store assist with fittings and diagnostic services, pronation analysis, supination and pressure distribution, creating a unique shopping experience for consumers.Commenting on this partnership announcement, Mano Takayuki, General Manager, ASICS Arabia says, “We are very proud to partner with Apparel Group for the launch of ASICS stores in the GCC. This marks a new stage of growth for the brand in the Middle East and signifies our commitment to enhancing communities through sports.”The next openings in line are set to roll out in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, bringing Europe’s #1 running and tennis brand’s retail concept to the rest of the Middle East, spearheaded by sustainable design and usage of sustainable materials throughout the stores, as part of the brand’s mission to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, helping conserve the ability of future generations to continue experiencing the uplifting power of sport on the mind.Neeraj Teckchandani, CEO of Apparel Group said, “As Apparel Group continues its journey to strengthen its position as one of the leading retail conglomerates in the region and globally, we are proud to announce our strategic partnership with ASICS. With this partnership, Apparel Group remains committed to identifying innovative approaches to strategic alliances that enable us to stay at the forefront of consumer trends and grow our global footprint.”ASICS will also be expanding its current ASICS FrontRunner program, a unique ambassadorship program that selects inspiring individuals from each of the countries ASICS is present on to become ambassadors for the brand. Those selected individuals have a unique role – to inspire, motivate and educate the communities on the importance of movement for better mental and physical well-being and help promote ASICS founding philosophy of, ‘A Sound Mind in a Sound Body’.“The opening of ASICS stores in the region allows us to connect further with local, grass root sports communities and share our passion for movement and Sound Mind Sound Body philosophy. We are witnessing unparallel growth in running, tennis and padel sports in the Middle East, and we want to ensure we help those sports enthusiasts to find the right footwear and apparel to increase their performance ’

Saudi's Ministry of Communications and IT inks MoU with Huawei

The Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and Huawei signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation in the field of communications and information technology. The MoU was signed in Riyadh on the sidelines of the historic visit of His Excellency President of China Xi Jinping to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by Eng. Bassam Al-Bassam, Deputy Minister for Telecom and Infrastructure Saudi Arabia, and Eric Yang, CEO of Huawei Saudi Arabia. The event was attended by HE Eng. Khalid AlFalih, Minister of Investment, HE. Eng. Haytham Alohli, Vice Minister, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mr.Steven Yi, the President of Huawei Middle East and Central Asia region, and several officials from both parties.Under the terms of the agreement, the Ministry and Huawei will collaborate to realize a '10Gbps Society', seeking to build a superfast broadband infrastructure to support the digital transformation goals of Saudi Vision 2030. These improvements will also enhance the competitiveness of Saudi ICT infrastructure globally. Towards this end, Huawei will leverage its global expertise and success stories to support the MCIT in finalizing the business case and designing the required regulations to accelerate the 10Gbps society goal. An initial 10GB district pilot will be launched in 2023.Small businesses are the backbone of the Saudi economy, while its bourgeoning startup ecosystem is inspiring unprecedented innovation and disruption across various domains. To support this evolution, Huawei will work with the Ministry to support digital entrepreneurs working on smart cities, IoT, AI, gaming, fintech, e-commerce, and blockchain projects. The two entities will also jointly promote the HUAWEI CLOUD startups program, a support program for empowering SMEs to develop their cloud capabilities.Additionally, the Ministry pledged to provide Huawei with support to build a cloud computing region in the Kingdom as cloud adoption accelerates in Saudi Arabia. Huawei will, on its part, work to strengthen partnerships with local data center service providers.Saudi Arabia recognizes ICT talent development as a key pillar of its Vision 2030. The MoU establishes a joint framework to launch a Huawei scholarship training program to train university students, including visits to Huawei headquarters to experience the company's technology first-hand. This initiative extends existing Huawei skills development programs in Saudi Arabia, including the ICT Academy and Seeds for the Future.    As Saudi Arabia accelerates the shift toward a digital government, the Ministry and Huawei will also collaborate to build a nationwide Unified Government Network Infrastructure standard to serve all government entities.Steven Yi, the President of Huawei Middle East and Central Asia Region, who had witnessed the ceremony said, "This partnership aligns with Saudi Vision 2030 and the Ministry's continuous efforts to advance digital transformation, enhance ICT skills, and foster a culture of innovation. As a long-term partner of Saudi Arabia's service providers and enterprises, this MoU reflects our continued commitment to supporting the Kingdom's efforts to become a global leader in ICT, leveraging our global expertise and technologies."

MoIAT and EDGE launch ‘Pioneers 4.0’ hackathon series

The Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) and EDGE Group PJSC (‘EDGE’ or ‘the Group’) have completed the first ‘Pioneers 4.0’ Hackathon series, as part of a series of initiatives to accelerate digital transformation. This follows the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the two parties in August 2022, which aims to expand the offerings of EDGE’s Learning & Innovation Factory to the UAE’s industrial ecosystem, and to collaborate on the establishment of an Industry 4.0 Enablement Centre.The ‘Pioneers 4.0’ Hackathon series will host two challenges per year. Each challenge will have a unique problem statement that addresses industrial pain points to encourage digital transformation and operational excellence in various factories setups, and to enable participants to better predict and prepare for the industry’s needs and future requirements.The inaugural challenge of ‘Pioneers 4.0’ took place from 21-22 November 2022 at the EDGE Learning & Innovation Factory in Abu Dhabi in partnership with Microsoft as a Technical Partner. It enabled 15 students from some of the UAE’s leading universities, including the American University of Sharjah, Higher College of Technology, Khalifa University, Mohammed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), New York University Abu Dhabi, Zayed University and the University of Manchester, to collaborate in teams and to propose an innovative solution for the chosen problem statement.The challenge required participants to leverage data from sensors and manufacturing execution systems to develop a solution using artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to enhance predictive maintenance. It aimed to enhance maintenance threefold: firstly, to predict machine outages and unplanned downtimes; secondly, to predict energy consumption and anomalies in sensors during a manufacturing process; and thirdly, to analyse manufacturing data of the production line during production cycles, and to assess the quality of the manufacturing process with the current available data.On the second day, 22 November, participating students pitched their solution to a jury of subject matter experts from MoIAT, EDGE, and Microsoft – in a bid to be crowned winners of the challenge.Zhaksylyk Kazykenov, Aidana Nurakhmetova, and Samar Fares from MBZUAI, and Shaikha Al Athmani from the University of Manchester, won the first Hackathon challenge for their unique business case and their ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking.The ‘Pioneers 4.0’ Hackathon is aligned with the UAE’s Industry 4.0 programme (I4.0), which aims to promote the adoption of advanced technologies in the industrial sector through various enablers and incentives. The Champions 4.0 Network, which is a group of leading national and international companies including the likes of EDGE and Microsoft, is a key pillar of I4.0. Under the network, companies explore collaborations and exchanges that lead to the acceleration of digital transformations and the adoption of 4IR solutions.Tariq Al Hashmi, Head of Technology Development and Adoption at MoIAT, said: “Through initiatives such as the Champions 4.0 Network, the Ministry is committed to bringing partners together to support the digitalisation and competitiveness of the UAE’s industrial sector. This Hackathon is a prime example of how leading national companies can work together with global corporations – and academic institutions – using the UAE’s industrial ecosystem as a platform to support not only one another’s objectives, but also the upskilling of national talent. We congratulate the winners of the first Pioneers 4.0 cohort and look forward to witnessing the longer-term impact of the initiative.”The ‘Pioneers 4.0’ Hackathon series aims to bridge the gap between the university studies and the industrial ecosystem, creating an opportunity for Bachelor, Master and PhD students to put theoretical knowledge into practice, and to contribute in solving some of the nowadays industry’s pressing challenges.Mohittin Milen Kourtev, Head of EDGE Learning & Innovation Factory, EDGE, added: “The Pioneers 4.0 Hackathon series is a key Industry 4.0 initiative that will promote the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies and encourage digital transformation in operations. In collaboration with MoIAT, EDGE is striving to bring together some of the nation’s brightest minds to solve current and future challenges within the industry, and help shape the future with smart and practical solutions.”EDGE Learning & Innovation Factory combines theory, technology and practice under one roof to drive improvements and inspire an innovative approach to encourage digital transformation and modernisation of operations. It provides trainees with experiential, gamified, and actionable learnings in line with the industry’s future requirements.Members of the Champions 4.0 Network include EDGE, Microsoft, ADNOC, Honeywell, Unilever, Schneider Electric, Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), Cisco, Siemens, Aveva, SAP, Etisalat, IBM, Huawei, Strata, PTC, and Ericsson. By supporting companies to integrate 4IR technologies into their operations, the network enhances the UAE’s overall industrial competitiveness, driving down costs, increasing productivity and efficiency, enhancing quality, improving safety, and creating new jobs.

Ericsson Mobility Report: GCC 5G subscriptions grow 30 percent annually

The November 2022 edition of the Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mobility Report forecasts that 5G subscriptions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region are projected to grow steadily at an average annual rate of 30 percent, from 15 to 71 million up to the end of 2028, accounting for 86 percent of total connections at that time.Currently, 4G accounts 72 percent of mobile subscriptions in the GCC with 5G at 20 percent of the total mobile subscriptions. With the expected growth of 5G subscriptions, 4G subscriptions are expected to decline from 55 million in 2022 to 8 million in 2028. The monthly data traffic per smartphone in the GCC will almost double from 25 GB per month in 2022 to around 53 GB per month in 2028.Nicolas Blixell, Vice President and Head of Gulf Council Countries at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “As communication service providers explore diverse service offerings, 5G is anticipated to be the segment with the fastest growth. The demand for and growth of Fixed Wireless Access is also exceeding our expectations, as depicted by the latest Ericsson Mobility Report. It is worth noting that we have observed communication service providers in the region increasingly building on B2B opportunities as well.”Global 5G subscriptions remain on track to top one billion by the end of this year, and five billion by the end of 2028, despite current and developing economic challenges in many parts of the world. By the end of 2028, five billion 5G subscriptions are forecast globally, accounting for 55 percent of all subscriptions. In that same timeframe, 5G population coverage is projected to reach 85 percent while 5G networks are expected to carry around 70 percent of mobile traffic and account for all contemporary traffic growth.On 5G itself, about 110 million subscriptions were added globally between July-September 2022, bringing the total to about 870 million. As forecast in previous reports, 5G is still expected to reach one billion subscriptions by the end of this year – two years faster than 4G did, following its launch. The statistic reinforces 5G as the fastest-scaling mobile connectivity generation.Overall mobile subscriptions are expected to top 8.4 billion by the end of 2022, and 9.2 billion by the end of 2028. Most subscriptions are associated with smartphones. At the end of 2022, 6.6 billion smartphone subscriptions are estimated, accounting for about 79 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions.The report also forecasts global fixed wireless access (FWA) connections to grow faster than previously expected. FWA – the wireless alternative to wireline broadband connectivity for homes and businesses – is one of the major early 5G use cases, particularly in regions with unserved or underserved broadband markets. FWA is forecast to grow at 19 percent year-on-year through 2022-28, and top 300 million connections by the end of 2028.The latest report also highlights the importance of reducing environmental impact. The telecommunications sector has a key role to play in addressing global sustainability goals, both by reducing its own emissions and through its potential to reduce carbon emissions across other industries.To reduce the environmental impact, the growing data traffic needs to be managed with smart network modernization combined with a balanced approach to network performance.Read the full November 2022 Ericsson Mobility Report.

The BIBF participates in the Arab International Cyber Security Summit

The Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance (BIBF), the region's leading training and development provider, participated as a Knowledge Partner in the Arab International Cyber Security Summit, which was held from December 6 to 8 at the Exhibition World Bahrain, under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander, and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and attended by a large group of regional and international experts.Bringing together cybersecurity experts and thought leaders from around the globe, the Summit aimed to drive innovation in information security, highlight major international initiatives and trends in the field, discuss main cybersecurity challenges in the MENA region, as well as explore the best practices and solutions to foster information security across all industries.Highlighting the Kingdom of Bahrain's effort to drive digital transformation in the region, Director of the BIBF Dr. Ahmed Al-Shaikh stated, "As an integral part of the Kingdom's national security and economic growth, cybersecurity comes on top of the Kingdom's national agenda. We are proud to have participated in this event which explores current and future trends in cybersecurity, especially in the banking and financial sectors"."The BIBF is committed to delivering quality training programmes and professional qualifications that are based on market demands, to develop the national cadres in the fields of digital transformation and cybersecurity.” Dr. Al Shaikh added.On her part, Acting Head of Digital Transformation and Project Management Centre at the BIBF, Ms. Maryam Majed, stated "Participating in the Summit has allowed the BIBF to further support digital transformation efforts by fostering cooperation with international partners in cybersecurity, digital transformation, and other related fields. As the Knowledge Partner of the event, the BIBF encouraged knowledge sharing by providing free sessions to raise the awareness of both individuals and organisation about the importance of cybersecurity and digital transformation.”At the Summit, the BIBF's expert trainers delivered a series of sessions which aimed to raise awareness about various topics related to the cyberspace. The Blockchain Expert, Mr. Fawaz Shukrallah, delivered a session entitled "Blockchain Security", and the BIBF Lecturer, Mr. Nishanth Kumar, presented a live demo of DevSecOps, while the BIBF Senior Lecturer, Mr. Yousif Faraj, delivered in a session entitled "Stay Secure", in which he addressed the risks of cybercrime and the effect of modern technology on the financial and business sector.Finally, IT and Management Consultant, Mr. Khalifa Aljawder delivered a session to explain more about the ISACA certifications offered at the BIBF in cooperation with ISACA Bahrain Chapter, and how these qualifications can significantly increase the learners’ chances of improving their career and getting high-paying jobs.

CNN expands the CNN Academy programme

CNN has delivered a unique journalism training experience to participants from its CNN Academy hubs from across the world as the network further develops its training and education programme, CNN Academy. Over five days, CNN last week created a realistic breaking news environment that enabled 88 participants – all currently enrolled in the network’s various CNN Academy programmes – to refine and utilise the skills obtained throughout their learning on various CNN Academy courses around the world.Hosted at twofour54’s Yas Creative Hub in Abu Dhabi, the large-scale event saw participants working in teams to explore a fictitious scenario that allowed them to function as reporters, news writers and content producers. This included verifying sources, attending mock press conferences, conducting mock interviews, responding to email updates, deciphering documents and navigating a custom-made simulated social media platform which was updated in real time throughout the event and included evidence, bots, decoys and news to sift through. The participants also investigated and news gathered at a scene built on a film set at the twofour54 Kizad backlot where they interacted with CNN journalists playing the roles of eye-witnesses, activists and corporate representatives. Devised by CNN journalists in conjunction with Prof. Rex Brynen of McGill University, a leader in serious gaming, and Jim Wallman of game design company Stone Paper Scissors, the scenario encouraged strategic thinking, team building, tact and decision making. After deducing the story and best angles the participants pitched to a panel of senior CNN staff, replicating the interaction with editors in a newsroom, and six teams were selected to write, produce and edit final packages.The ground-breaking initiative provided a safe-to-fail environment where participants could apply their skills under CNN guidance and supervision whilst experiencing the fast-paced environment that journalists work in each day.Alongside the simulation, masterclasses were chaired by Becky Anderson, Managing Editor of CNN Abu Dhabi and Anchor of Connect the World with Becky Anderson, delivering valuable insights into the operations behind CNN’s reporting from large-scale global events and the perspective of photojournalists, how they use various kit and operate in the field.The 88 participants comprised 28 different nationalities from CNN Academy partnerships with Loyola University Seville, Chu Hai College of Higher Education in Hong Kong, University of Nottingham Malaysia, University College Dublin, along with those taking part in the latest CNN Academy Abu Dhabi, where the programme is supported by Abu Dhabi talent development initiatives creative lab and Arab Film Studio, and CNN Academy Erbil (Erbil Media City, Iraq). Since the launch of CNN Academy in 2020, CNN has collaborated with creative, educational and media partners to combine CNN’s renowned global journalism expertise with academic excellence. The variety of innovative CNN Academy programmes offer dynamic learning through a wealth of resources, in-person exercises, digital courses and expert-led workshops, with CNN now developing new CNN Academy concepts and formats with other partners. Phil Nelson, Chief Operating Officer, CNN International Commercial said, “Beyond extending CNN’s mission in bringing exceptional journalism to the world, CNN Academy is also an innovative way for us to work with a wide array of educational, creative and media partners. Since the launch of the first CNN Academy in Abu Dhabi we have trained over 350 participants in our various programmes worldwide. I am delighted for the inaugural newsroom simulation to be hosted in Abu Dhabi, as we take this initiative to the next level and further expand the way we train emerging journalistic talent and contribute to CNN’s legacy of unparalleled global newsgathering and reporting.”Becky Anderson said, “This was a tremendous event, I’ve never known anything like it in the industry. It really replicated what it’s like to newsgather in a different environment, working with new colleagues and uncovering information to get the facts and to the heart of a story. The participants were fantastic throughout the week and demonstrated skills that are vital for a career in journalism. It has been great to collaborate with future talent from around the world and bring everyone together in Abu Dhabi to build connections with their international contemporaries and get first-hand advice and expertise from our global team at CNN.”

#Dubai Destinations campaign returns

Under the directives of Ahmed bin Mohammed #Dubai Destinations campaign returns to highlight Dubai’s unique winter attractions and experiences.Running until February 2023, the campaign tells the story of Dubai’s emergence as one of the world’s best winter destinationsMona Al Marri: The campaign will weave together diverse narratives about what makes Dubai a unique place to explore in the winterContent creators of all nationalities can participate in the campaign by contributing their unique stories and creative content about Dubai’s attractiveness as a winter destination.- The Winter Sun Index issued by leading global travel package provider ParkSleepFly ranks Dubai the “world’s best winter sun destination”Elements of ‘Land, Sky and Water’ form the basic theme of the collaborative campaign- The attractions and activities offered by the Hatta region will be a key focus of the campaign- #DubaiDestinations website launched to share content, videos & guides related to the campaignDubai was tagged on Instagram more than 111 million times and has the most winter-related ‘Things to do’ Google searches in the world, according to The Winter Sun Index Under the directives of Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, the #DubaiDestinations winter campaign returns this year to showcase the attractions and experiences that make the emirate a top pick among global destinations in the cooler months of the year.The collaborative campaign, implemented by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), highlights an array of activities and experiences that people can enjoy amidst the wonderful winter weather. This season, Dubai offers residents and visitors amazing adventure, entertainment, food, art, culture, sports and fitness experiences and more. Featuring engaging content from diverse stakeholders, the campaign tells the story of Dubai’s emergence as one of the world’s best winter destinations. To mark the launch of the campaign, Brand Dubai hosted an event for the media, influencers and content creators at the Government of Dubai Media Office to showcase the activations and experiences the latest campaign will be highlighting to local and global audiences. Brand Dubai also announced the launch of the #DubaiDestinations website, which will share content, videos and guides related to the campaign.Vindicating Dubai’s strengths, a global study released late last month named the emirate the “world’s best winter-sun destination”. According to The Winter Sun Index issued by travel package provider ParkSleepFly, Dubai has been tagged on Instagram more than 111 million times and has the most winter-related ‘things to do’ Google searches in the world, reaching 55,000. The iconic city is also blessed with more than eight hours of sunlight daily and a pleasant average temperature of 20.4 degree centigrade in the winter. Another study by Remote, a global talent consultancy, issued last month, ranked Dubai the second-best winter destination for digital nomads.Mona Al Marri, Vice Chairperson and Managing Director of the Dubai Media Council and Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), said: “The #DubaiDestinations campaign once again brings together government entities, industry stakeholders, the creative community and media to offer a new window into Dubai’s exciting winter destination experiences. The campaign is a celebration of the places, activities and attractions that provide memorable experiences in the season. The initiative will showcase the covetable culture, fascinating food, pristine beaches, stunning mountain landscapes, unique modern lifestyle, exciting adventures, centuries-old heritage and futuristic cityscapes that Dubai offers.”“The campaign will weave together compelling narratives from diverse sources about what makes Dubai a truly unique place to visit and explore. Content creators of all nationalities can participate in the campaign by contributing their unique stories and creative content about Dubai’s attractiveness as a winter destination. The campaign aims to convey Dubai’s distinctive character that combines its modern spirit and cosmopolitan ethos with its rich history and heritage,” Her Excellency added.The current season of the #DubaiDestinations campaign, running until February 2023, invites the local and global community to savour Dubai’s diverse winter attractions across land, sky and water. The elements of ‘Land, Sky and Water’ form the basic theme of the collaborative campaign whose ultimate objective is to enhance Dubai’s appeal as a destination of choice that offers enriching experiences and adventures.The Hatta region will be a key focus of the campaign. The region’s picturesque mountain scenery, archaeological sites and other tourist attractions such as the Hatta Fort, the Hatta Dam, the Hatta Heritage Village and the Hatta Hill Park will be prominently featured in the campaign. The campaign will also put the spotlight on the exceptional recreational facilities, luxury resorts and diverse adventure activities, such as camping, cycling, hiking and swimming. The Hatta Mountain Conservation Reserve, which is home to many rare birds and animals, will also be highlighted in the #DubaiDestinations winter campaign.Key partners in the campaign include: Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism; the Dubai Municipality; the Roads and Transport Authority; the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority; the Dubai Sports Council; Nakheel Properties; Shamal; Emaar; Al Serkal; the Dubai Design District; Dubai Holding; the Majid Al Futtaim Group; and the Merex Investment Group.Shaima Al Suwaidi, Director of Brand Dubai, said: “The creative initiative will highlight an array of top-rated experiences for people of different tastes and age groups at its beaches and waterfronts, public parks and entertainment venues, world-class hotels, restaurants, and natural attractions in the Al Marmoom area and Hatta. The collaborative storytelling campaign will share compelling content on Dubai’s winter destinations and events through guides, creative videos and social media as part of Brand Dubai’s objective to enhance Dubai’s profile as a must-visit destination.”Al Suwaidi added that as part of the winter campaign, Brand Dubai will continue to launch a series of guides to raise the visibility of the emirate’s various winter attractions. The guides will cover must-try winter activities, outdoor sports activities, camping journeys, winter pop-ups, outdoor dining options and other attractions. Brand Dubai will also partner with content creators to develop videos and promotional content that will highlight the city’s best activities, experiences and events and where to find them.The newly launched #DubaiDestinations website will allow users to get the latest updates about the winter campaign, helping to further raise the visibility of the city’s major attractions and recreational destinations while capturing Dubai’s distinctive winter vibe,” Al Suwaidi said.The #DubaiDestinations summer campaign earlier this year saw some of the emirate’s most accomplished creatives, including influencers, photographers, digital media content creators, animators and videographers, come together to create engaging content across traditional and new media. The campaign, which attracted the participation of over 150 influencers and content creators, drew high levels of interest from the creative community, families and visitors.The new #DubaiDestinations winter campaign will raise the profile of the activities, shows, culture, festivities and sights that make Dubai a one-of-a-kind winter hotspot.

Cinematic creations at ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert’ shows cultural diversity

The second ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert’ festival, which took place at the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve and concluded today, 11th December, showcased a diverse and culturally rich spectrum of Arab stories through the films screened.Organised by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the festival renews the hopes of filmmakers for a promising future for the film industry in Dubai and the UAE, as it is one of the tributaries of Dubai’s creative economy.In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to cement Dubai’s position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity and a thriving hub for talent, Dubai Culture launched the ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert’ festival in 2020, providing the community with an innovative cinematic experience in the open air within a unique, educational family atmosphere.This year’s edition enabled the audience and film enthusiasts to delve into the region’s rich history, long-standing traditions, and contemporary vibes, and showcased nostalgic issues related to identity and offered eloquent insights that reflect the remarkable diversity of the Arab culture.Shaikh Maktoum Marwan Al Maktoum, Project Manager of the ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert’ festival and Senior Officer in the Projects & Events Department at Dubai Culture, said, “The films showcased at the second edition of the festival were diverse and highlighted societal issues. The stories allowed the audience to learn about our authentic cultural heritage—a heritage that deserves to be shared with the world. The collection of films was a window to innovative narrative experiences. They exhibited our youth’s creativity and artistic techniques, highlighting their competence and perspectives.”Shamma Yahya Alzaffin, Project Manager of the ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert Festival’ and Senior Officer of the Arts & Literature Sector’s CEO’s office at Dubai Culture, highlighted the importance of the festival’s distinguished works that educate, entertain and inspire the audience. She said, “The festival is an innovative idea to give filmmakers an exciting opportunity and a platform to present inspiring works that reflect their perspectives and draw attention to community issues. This confirms Dubai Culture’s keenness to explore new experiences and experimental cinema.”Over three days, the festival screened 27 films—both feature films and films shortlisted for the Al Marmoom Short Film Competition. The feature films showcased included ‘Honey Rain and Dust’ by Emirati Filmmaker Nujoom Alghanem. In the film, she tells the stories of three of the most famous honey collectors in the UAE. It begins with the story of Ghareeb, a beekeeper who established a protective sanctuary at the top of the mountains where he can better manage the environs and protect his honeybees. The story then moves on to Fatima and Aisha, who prefer to roam the mountains freely to find the highest natural honey.Through her film ‘Costa Brava, Lebanon,’ Lebanese director and screenwriter Mounia Akl sought to tell the story of a family that decides to leave Beirut to live in nature. The parents believe they are saving their children from years of suffering living in the city. Nadine Labaki, Saleh Bakri, and Youmna Marwan star in this work, which Lebanon nominated for the Academy Awards.History of the marshes ‘Osha’s Gift’, a short narrative film by Emirati director Hind Abdullah seeks to introduce therapy through art and showcase how loyalty to friends remains after their departure. The film is based on the true story of the young Emirati visual artist Ashwaq, who lost her old friend, Hind, and highlights her new friendship with the child Osha.Through her short film ‘Why is my grandfather’s bed in our living room?’ Emirati director Sarah Al Hashemi tells the story of a family that lost their grandfather’s house to development plans. While its members remember their loss, an old wooden bed appears in the middle of the hall, representing the only remaining memory of the house.The short documentary ‘The Marshes of Iraq’ by director Ali Mohammed Al Hamami presents the history of the marshes, the stories of that region and, through real testimonies, an image of the close connection between the people and the land. The festival’s second edition also witnessed 23 specialised talks and workshops to promote local cinema. The festival was held in partnership with several public and private entities in Dubai: the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Municipality, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, the Department of Economy and Tourism, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, the Ministry of Education, Emirates Airline, Careem, Meraas, The American University in Dubai, ‘Proudly from Dubai,’ an initiative of Brand Dubai, Trust Your Water, VOX Cinemas, Weyyak, Zayed University, Nikon, Raindance, Project You, New Media Academy, GTV, and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.

Museum of the Future receives global recognition award for business practice

The Museum of the Future has received a global award recognising its commitment to diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and equity, reflecting its vision for a brighter future that is designed with everyone in mind. The museum won a Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award, also known as an ‘Edgie’, from the ASTC (Association of Science and Technology Centers). It was recognised for its outstanding accomplishments in administration and financial sustainability, winning the Business Practice Category. ASTC formally presented the ‘Edgie’ during a virtual award ceremony (#ASTCvirtual) that took place earlier this month.Majed Jakka Al Mansoori, Deputy Executive Director at the Museum of the Future said: “This award reflects and recognises our continued efforts to make the future – through the museum’s experiences – accessible to all. Our objectives are based on the notion that everyone has an important contribution to make to the future. We firmly believe that a future that is created without contributions from all segments of society is a future that does not cater to everyone in society.”Inclusivity and diversity are also at the heart of MOTF’s exhibits. For instance, the Future Heroes exhibition encourages young minds to make new discoveries about themselves and the technologies that will be a fundamental part of their futures. It focuses on the belief that everyone can contribute to the future, regardless of their background, age, or physical and mental abilities. Through its experiences, the Museum of the Future transports today’s generations to the world of tomorrow, offering them a glimpse of potential future scenarios. Its primary objective is to inspire and empower people to reimagine the future and build the kind of world they want to inhabit. Al Mansoori added: “The Museum of the Future provides a nurturing environment that connects Dubai’s and the world’s creative minds. Diversity and inclusivity are vital ingredients in the museum’s efforts to design and test future concepts alongside its partners. We seek to lead a global intellectual movement that actively explores and foresees future changes in scientific, economic, environmental and social sectors.” The Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards are presented to ASTC members and/or their staff and volunteers in recognition of extraordinary accomplishments that not only enhance the performance of their own organisations, but also significantly advance the science and technology behind it. Nominations were judged according to tangible impact or lasting effect on the institution’s business efficiency and effectiveness, as well as how the institution applies and demonstrates new ideas and best practices, and how it embodies ASTC’s commitment to diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and equity.

International Boxing Association concludes first day of Global Boxing Forum

The International Boxing Association has concluded the first day of its Global Boxing Forum (IBA GBF) in Abu Dhabi after a vast array of discussion panels, keynote speeches, roundtables and seminars.The key theme of this year’s IBA GBF is "ensuring sound opportunities for athletes and IBA’s place in the Olympic Games". The IBA GBF brought experts and industry leaders together to discuss relevant topics, such as “Sport for Peace and its Power to Support Conflict Resolution”, “Challenges and Solutions for Boxing Development on The Five Continents”, “Sports and Governance Integrity”, “Career Development Journey from the IBA to Professional”, “Digital Media and its Role in Developing Boxing in the Gulf Region”, “Social Responsibility and Humanitarian Initiatives Powered by Boxing”, and “IBA’s Digital Transformation”.Among those who participated in the IBA GBF Abu Dhabi 2022 press conference were Umar Kremlev, President of the International Boxing Association; Hassan Al Hammadi, Secretary-General of the UAE Boxing Federation’; legendary boxers Estelle Mossely, Evander Holyfield, Kostya Tszyu, Roy Jones Jr and Tammara Thibeault. Angela Barnes was the moderator. The IBA GBF Abu Dhabi 2022 is the first forum held in the Middle East. The previous two editions of the forum, held in 2018 in Sochi and in 2019 in Ekaterinburg, already proved the effectiveness of the IBA GBF as a platform for fostering the effective development of the sport.Umar Kremlev stated, “It has been my utmost pleasure to host the 3rd edition of the IBA GBF in Abu Dhabi. The IBA envisions this forum to be a catalyst for positive, two-way dialogue and the spark towards further advancements in boxing. The key and overarching theme of the IBA GBF is about the integral need for sound governance in international boxing; sports and governance integrity are essential to all international sports federations. That is why we recognise the need to bring together leading voices of the boxing community to engage in discussions which elevate us as a collective whole.”Kremlev added, “The IBA is committed to ensuring that the entire sport of boxing, boxers, and all international sporting federations connected to boxing, can work in cohesion to create a harmonious and thriving boxing ecosystem. Through forums and events such as the IBA GBF, we will remain dedicated to showcasing the IBA’s imperative role in all boxing-related activities, including the Olympic Games.”Hassan Al Hammadi said, “As boxing continues to grow and thrive in the UAE, we are delighted to host the IBA GBF in Abu Dhabi for its inaugural edition in the Middle East. The discussions, insight and transferable knowledge will help to enhance the sport in this region further.”Al Hammadi added, “It has been an honour to work closely with the IBA and recognise first-hand the esteem and merit they bring to boxing. I look forward to welcoming them again as we use the IBA GBF Abu Dhabi 2022 as the foundation of a fruitful working relationship.”Roy Jones Jr, multiple world champion in professional boxing and Olympic Silver Medallist, remarked, “The IBA GBF Abu Dhabi 2022 has been a resounding success. There is no boxing without the IBA; it truly is the home of boxing, and they have showcased that once again by creating imperative and meaningful discussions that prioritise the athletes first across all levels. Our athletes are the most important part of the boxing community. Without them, we have no boxing ecosystem. It deeply encourages me to see organisations like the IBA recognising that and being the vocal champion of all boxers.”The IBA GBF enables all participants of the international boxing movement to openly exchange ideas, learn from the best practice in the sports industry and create new connections.

MARAKEZ takes over the 4th annual “Race Through History”

MARAKEZ, the leading mixed-use developer in Egypt, has partnered with “The TriFactory” to sponsor one of the most iconic sports events in Egypt for the upcoming 2 years: 2022 – 2023, with the MARAKEZ Pyramids Half Marathon was successfully held on December 10th according to plan.Organized under the auspices of President Abdelfattah El-Sisi this year, the Pyramids Half Marathon took thousands of runners racing near the Giza Pyramids, showcasing the three legendary pyramids of Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, as well as the six lesser ones built for their queens. Gathering both old and young, the half marathon featured varying routes from a 5K flat course, to a 10K and 21K run.Basil Ramzy, Marakez CEO and The TriFactory founder & CEO Ayman Hakky completed signing the collaboration in a ceremony organized at one of MARAKEZ’s many iconic projects which span different parts of Cairo, Tanta and Mansoura and cover different types of mixed-use facilities.The MARAKEZ Pyramids Half Marathon comes under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Tourism, bringing together different entities to provide world-class organization and attract runners from all over the world to participate in the iconic “Race Through History”. MARAKEZ has also invited all its employees to join the race.Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sports Dr. Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, said: “The MARAKEZ Pyramids Half Marathon is an event we are most proud of, showcasing Egyptian grand historic sites and our ability to organize world-class sports events.”Ahmed Issa, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, said “The Pyramids Half Marathon is an optimum opportunity to show the world another face of Egypt that is not often highlighted in the media. With both foreign and local athletes participating, this is in fact a great meeting of civilizations to promote the values of sports and sustainable living.”Marakez CEO Basil Ramzy said: “ "At MARAKEZ, we always try to make sports and wellness an integral part of our developments. We are very proud to sponsor this run at the Great Pyramids of Giza - supported by the Ministries of Sports and Tourism It fits our strategy of bringing people together in places that add value to the community."The TriFactory founder & CEO Hakky said: “With MARAKEZ’s collaboration and sponsorship, this year’s Pyramids Half Marathon was another massive success. Last year, the marathon attracted 4,000 participants and saw even more hype this year with renowned athletes showing up for the run. The project is closest to our hearts as it gathers health and sports with an unparalleled historic setting. We’re proud and thrilled to have this support from one of Egypt’s largest mixed-use developers, particularly as we share a vision to observe environmental protection in every aspect of the race.”MARAKEZ is a strong advocate of health, fitness, and sports, sponsoring several Egyptian athletes, including several Olympians, empowering youth, and integrating health and sports-focused amenities in its projects. Recently, Marakez has also supported climate adventurer Ali Abdo through his Guinness World Record “Ride to COP27” which toured Egyptian governorate to arrive at the climate summit, raising awareness around clean energy transport and environmental issues.

New generation of female entrepreneurs set to drive economic activity in UAE

Women entrepreneurship in the UAE will gain further momentum and contribute a significant boost to gross domestic product (GDP) as more female investors have shown interest in setting up their business in the country, according to a business consultancy.Business Link, a leading business consultancy with operations in the UAE and KSA, said 47.5% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the emirate are owned by women and they make up 20% of the workforce. Women contribute about 20% to the country’s GDP annually and this share may increase to 25% in coming years, it said.Referring to latest data from LinkedIn, the business consultancy said that female entrepreneurship in the UAE surged by 68% as the pandemic advanced.Hatem El Safty, CEO of Business Link, stated: “Since post-pandemic, we have observed more women, both local and foreigners coming forward to establish their own business setup in Dubai, specifically. The UAE’s economy is a perfect landscape for women to launch their businesses due to the increasing government support and incentives, especially for SMEs.”“I truly believe investing in women-led businesses is an excellent investment for any country to progress as women, who are given financial independence, investment in families and communities, which boosts economic growth and helps societies become more healthy,” El Safty added.GCC leads women entrepreneurshipThe GCC's governments have been putting a lot of effort into improving the climate for female entrepreneurs. Currently, the UAE and KSA are the GCC leaders in terms of encouraging and promoting women's entrepreneurship and the benefits it will bring to the economy and society.Women-focused measures have also been incorporated into Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain's long-term development goals as the governments across the region are very active to build a strong ecosystem for female entrepreneurs.The Council on Foreign Relations report said GCC could add as much as $812 billion to their GDP in next three years by achieving a gender parity in the region while newswire Bloomberg forecasts that global economy could grow by $20 trillion by 2050 as more women enter the workforce.“Women empowerment is order of the day to increase their participation in economic activity. Female entrepreneurs will have a higher percentage in tech-based businesses in Gulf region,” El Safty said.Untapped marketWomen in the MENA area have the potential to drastically alter the job market because they significantly increase the talent pool in the majority of these countries, which is still mostly untapped. According to UNESCO, they surpass men in universities and comprise 57% of all STEM students.Faisal Qureshi, Chief Marketing Officer at Business Link, said that global events like GITEX also give a platform for women entrepreneurs to present their ideas to international audiences and receive the funding they deserve.“Women in the GCC are reportedly coming up with innovative methods for overcoming barriers that prohibit them from launching their own businesses or entering the workforce. Recent visa reforms and government initiatives have created a level playing ground for female entrepreneurs and they should take an advantage of conducive environment,” he said.

Arabic streaming platform Shahid now available on KONKA Smart TVs

KONKA Group Co., Ltd. a leading technology company, and MBC GROUP, the largest and leading media company in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, have recently announced a strategic partnership that will allow all KONKA Android (version 11 and up) and webOS smart television users in MENA countries to easily and quickly access MBC's Shahid, the world's leading Arabic streaming platform, via the homepage launch bar or the Shahid App.Kobe Liao, General Manager of International Business Division, KONKA, said, "In recent years, KONKA has actively expanded its international reach while prioritizing offering localized services through increased investment in after-sales service teams and closer collaboration with local business partners. The new strategic cooperation with Shahid will empower both sides to achieve mutually beneficial results. Meanwhile, KONKA will also continue to optimize product layout and strengthen product innovation and creation for more users in the region."Shahid, the world's leading Arabic streaming platform, offers premium content to Arab families, including binge worthy exclusive Shahid Original Series; Shahid Premieres; Arabic movies fresh off the box-office; live TV channels in true HD quality; FAST Channels, as well as sports and international offerings.KONKA has started promoting Shahid's content on its global social media channels this September. With their closer cooperation, the two parties will continue to serve local consumers in the region and provide more abundant and convenient entertainment content choices. The rich Shahid Originals content enables viewers to exclusively stay up to date with the latest Arabic series and films, while KONKA, as a leader in digital home entertainment, will provide ultra-high-definition picture quality on its smart TVs and create a more immersive viewing experience to the users.

Du wins Best 5G Innovation and Best Asian CSR of the year accolades

du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), has been awarded two accolades at the prestigious Telecom Review Leaders’ Summit Awards. The telco won the Best 5G Innovation of the Year Award for its outstanding showcase of a futuristic metaverse use case supported by 5G earlier this year. The award was accepted by Jasim Al Awadi, Head of Government & Key Accounts Segments at du.du also won the Best Asian CSR of the Year Award, which was accepted by Adel Al Raees, Head of Corporate Communications & Protocol at du. The award recognised du’s introduction of the exclusive senior citizen offers for Thukher El Watan, Barakat Al Dar and Pension Cardholders, which enabled them to avail 50% discount on standard Business Mobile and Government Plans along with a variety of value-added extra services.The Telecom Review Leader’s Summit Awards recognised the spirit of innovation that du brings to its projects that deliver real business value and drive faster growth in the new digital economy. The awards also highlighted du’s continued commitment to drive exceptional outcomes for local communities by leveraging the full potential of technology.

Mashreq signs regional sponsorship deal with the Argentine Football Association

Mashreq, a leading financial institution in the region headquartered in Dubai, becomes the new Regional Sponsor of the Argentinean National football team. Becoming in this way first regional bank sponsor for the Argentine National Football Team in Middle East & Egypt.The Argentine Football Association and Mashreq Bank have signed a Regional Sponsorship Agreement until the end of 2023. This results in Mashreq becoming the first and exclusive Regional Bank Sponsor for the Argentine National Football Team coinciding with the largest international football tournament FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.Since the Argentine Football Association has landed in the Middle East, football fans all around the vibrant region are able to witness precious moments with the great Argentinean football players.Mashreq will be the ambassador of the Middle East and Egypt region for the Argentine national team. As part of the agreement, the bank will be launching official joint campaigns featuring the Argentine national team and will also have the team players starring in its promotional campaigns.The Argentine National Team holds a high status in the hearts of football fans in the region, and this agreement with Mashreq that kicks of today brings together two leading organizations collaborating to celebrate the passion for the sport.Claudio Fabian Tapia, President of AFA, said: “We are delighted to have Mashreq, one of the region’s oldest financial institutions, as the first regional sponsor for the Argentine Football Association during such a vital global football period. A true milestone has been achieved for the international expansion of AFA, opening new opportunities with a prominent bank like Mashreq. This agreement allows our Association to consolidate its global leadership position in the football environment. We welcome Mashreq as the first supporter bank in the Middle East and Egypt territory.”Ahmed Abdelaal, Group Chief Executive Officer of Mashreq, said: “Partnering with the Argentine Football Association during the 2022 FIFA World Cup provides us with an opportunity to be associated with one of the most popular and most followed sports in the world, by both men and women– and especially so with the World Cup being held here in the Arab world for the first time. For us, this partnership goes way beyond the World Cup, where our ultimate aim is to support sports around the region. Football is one of our region’s most important and exhilarating sports – one that inspires people of all generations and backgrounds, and that brings people together, and only football has this kind of power. Now, as we partner with one of the most successful and important teams in footballing history, we are trying to communicate with the greatest number of our existing and potential customers in a more immersive and emotional way and explore new territories that goes beyond traditional engagements through inspiring campaigns that will encourage them to Rise Every Day and realize their dreams and ambitions.”Leandro Petersen, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer of AFA, said: “This regional sponsorship with Mashreq is a reflection of the hard work of the Argentine Football Association in the global expansion of the AFA brand to new markets such as China, the Middle East and Egypt. We are pleased that Mashreq Bank has been chosen as our sponsor during the World Cup period and until the end of 2023. AFA and Mashreq will be jointly developing commercial and marketing campaigns that increase the synergy and power of our brands in the Middle East and Egypt markets. With this agreement with Mashreq we are entering a new and significant market with a leading brand.”

Apparel Group’s TOMS Middle East brings social impact model to the metaverse

TOMS is bringing their social impact model to the metaverse by offering 10 limited-edition NFTs with proceeds from the sales being donated to TOMS Impact Partner International Medical Corps. Since TOMS founding in 2006, their mission has remained the same; they are in business to improve lives. When a customer buys TOMS, they help fund access to mental health resources for the millions of people who need them. TOMS does this by giving ? of their profits in support of organizations who are focused on creating more equity at the local level. Today, TOMS is bringing their social impact model to the metaverse.

Emirati Entrepreneur Association and talabat UAE sign MoU

 Emirati Entrepreneur Association (EEA) announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with talabat UAE in a ceremony that took place during the Abu Dhabi International Food Exhibition held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. This MoU is part of EEA’s continuous efforts to promote entrepreneurship in the UAE.The collaboration will allow Emirati small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the food and beverage sector to display and sell food items on the talabat app. Additionally, it will enable entrepreneurs to expand their business by increasing their brand’s online visibility and reach through direct access to the platform’s large customer database and logistics network.Under this MoU, talabat will grant eligible Emirati entrepreneurs a yearly contract that provides them with subsidized fees and special benefits, as well as a dedicated account manager for ongoing consultation and support as they start their online journey.His Excellency Sanad Al Meqbali, Emirati Entrepreneur Association Chairman: “SMEs represent a vital sector and a main catalyst for economic diversification and development in the UAE. We’re pleased to partner with the UAE’s leading online food delivery and q-commerce platform to provide their expertise, as well as mentorship and support to entrepreneurs, allowing them to increase their online presence and reach. The rapid growth of q-commerce in the region presents an opportunity for Emirati entrepreneurs in the food and beverage sector and we aim to provide entrepreneurs with the right tools to excel through our partnership with talabat. This is part of our commitment to fostering entrepreneurship, which is also in line with the UAE leadership’s vision.”Tatiana Rahal, Managing Director at talabat UAE commented: “We are proud to partner with EEA to develop a specialized programme and extend our knowledge and expertise to help entrepreneurs accelerate their digital footprint commerce and increase their visibility and order volume. It is through such strategic collaborations with governmental entities that we are able to launch initiatives that support local talent, which play a key role in introducing innovative concepts in the market. We are glad to be in a position to utilize our technology in meaningful ways to empower Emirati businesses and we look forward to more fruitful collaborations.”In a recent statement, the UAE’s Economy Minister, Abdullah bin Touq al-Marri, announced that SMEs account for 95 percent of the overall operating companies in the country.Through its collaboration with talabat, EEA aims to build strategic partnerships to develop the Emirati entrepreneurship sector and equip SMEs with the tools and best practices to grow their business.

Veeam names channel veteran leader as new Vice President of Global channel

Veeam Software, the leader in Modern Data Protection, today announced the appointment of Larissa Crandall as vice president of Global Channel and Alliances. Most recently, the Vice President of Global Channel and Alliances at Gigamon, Crandall is an industry leader that will guide Veeam’s investments in a global partner and alliance ecosystem that ensures customers’ data is protected across multiple environments, whether cloud, virtual, physical, SaaS or Kubernetes.“Data is the most important asset that businesses own, which also makes it vital that it is protected from ransomware attacks and unplanned outages,” said Larissa Crandall, vice president of Global Channel and Alliances at Veeam. “I’m excited to work alongside our sales, marketing, research and development and engineering teams to build strategies that are mutually beneficial to our Veeam partners and alliances, while also ensuring the highest level of data protection and recovery for our joint customers. I’ve long admired the strong Veeam brand and their commitment to the channel. I’m thrilled to be part of the team and am confident the alignment and collaboration we create will lead to even greater success as Veeam continues to accelerate its enterprise presence.”Crandall has spent her entire career in the channel working for security, networking and cloud vendors. The foundation of her career was spent working for Connection, a large solution provider leading enterprise, commercial and public sector teams. She joins Veeam after four years at Gigamon where she led the global channel and alliances organization to record channel contribution growth, developed the partner program and was an integral part of the partner-first strategy. Crandall also helped launch the creation of the Gigamon Playbook, built and executed creative demand generation, training and enablement programs, as well as the development of GTM solutions to accelerate revenue.“With more than 35,000 partners and alliances, our 100% partner-driven global ecosystem is critical to the success of every aspect of our company,” said John Jester, chief revenue officer (CRO) at Veeam. “Larissa’s appointment underlines the importance we place in our partners. She has a proven passion, vision and a track record of leading programs and extended teams to heightened success based on collaboration, alignment and mutual strategy. Veeam continues to evolve but our partner-focused approach to build, market, sell and integrate Veeam solutions and Veeam-powered services remains one of our highest priorities.”

e& enterprise forms joint venture with Bespin Global

 e& enterprise, part of e& (formerly known as Etisalat Group), today announced the signing of a binding agreement to form a joint venture with Bespin Global, a leading public cloud managed services provider. The joint venture will be branded “Bespin Global MEA, an e& enterprise company”, focusing on offering public cloud managed and professional services to serve the customers in the Middle East, Turkey, Africa and Pakistan (METAP).The JV will be 65 percent owned by e& enterprise and 35 percent by Bespin Global. Both e& enterprise and Bespin Global will contribute their existing public cloud businesses and related professional and managed services from the region to the JV. e& enterprise will be making a primary investment of $60 million in Bespin Global and join its Board of Directors. In addition, e& enterprise has the option to invest another $60 million within a period of 18 months from completion of the transaction. Both shareholders will contribute growth capital to the JV.The joint venture will leverage on the capabilities of both companies. e& enterprise will provide strong local market presence and its broad portfolio of digital transformation solutions. Bespin Global will provide deep expertise in cloud migration, cloud operations, cloud native application development, cloud optimisation and cloud billing. The joint venture will provide a one-stop cloud solution to help enterprises in its digital transformation journey.As a part of the agreement, e& enterprise will also invest in Bespin Global’s holding company. Bespin Global is one of the fastest growing cloud managed service providers serving over 1,700 customers from its locations in South Korea, China, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the US. Bespin Global has been recognised as ‘Visionary’ in the Gartner MQ for the Public Cloud IT Transformation Services category, and has over 1,000 cloud experts across AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and other cloud platforms.The total investment and future commitments announced today are worth over $100 million.Salvador Anglada, CEO of e& enterprise, said, "e& enterprise always works closely with customers to maximise their digital potential by designing, delivering and operating impactful, intelligent and secure end-to-end digital solutions. The joint venture with Bespin Global and the investment in the holding company are part of our ongoing efforts to extend our cloud offerings and establish our commitment as a trusted partner to governments and enterprises in the UAE.”John Hanjoo Lee, CEO and Co-founder of Bespin Global, said, “Bespin Global is very excited to partner with e& enterprise in the METAP markets as our enterprise customers accelerate their digital transformation. The joint venture between Bespin Global and e& enterprise will leverage capabilities that will help build the future of cloud business. In addition, we welcome e& as an investor in Bespin Global and appreciate their confidence in our strategy and operations. We look forward to accelerating our growth plan and profitably expanding our operations globally.”"The partnership with Bespin Global will allow e& enterprise to offer the right mix of cloud services based on customer needs, including cloud consulting, migration and managed services," said Miguel Villalonga, CEO of e& enterprise Cloud. "This will open up a plethora of opportunities in the public cloud space, especially as its deployment plays an integral role in many public and private sector projects today. With e& enterprise's reach across several sectors, particularly governments and large enterprises, and their needs set to accelerate, it is essential to leverage best-in-class capabilities to be able to capitalise on growth opportunities."Mouteih Chaghlil, CEO of Bespin Global MEA, said, “This joint venture brings together the comprehensive public cloud technologies and services of both parties to expand our geographic footprints and accelerate digital transformation and cloud adoption across the METAP region. Our employees are excited about the new venture, and we welcome our new colleagues to the joint venture. We are committed to building our company as not only the best cloud partner to our customers but as the best place to work for cloud experts. With e& enterprise’s support, we will create a more efficient customer experience through the cloud and advance our business goals while empowering METAP’s organisations and talent to reap the commercial advantages of being cloud-ready.”Cloud growth will increase with the rising adoption of technologies such as IoT, edge computing, 5G, and real-time analytics enabled by AI and Machine Learning (ML). With this joint venture, e& enterprise can leverage Bespin Global MEA's capabilities to serve multiple parts of the cloud value chain.

Yango Delivery launches in the UAE to empower e-commerce sector

Yango Delivery has launched in the UAE with its platform for delivery-bound businesses to seamlessly outsource logistics at the last mile. With a background in maptech, the company claims to offer traffic-proof and cost-effective deliveries at different speeds from express to next day for any type of goods from food to furniture.The company brings equal quality of last-mile services to both small shops and bigger companies, granting individual customers a streamlined experience and businesses an infrastructure that would support their launches into new territories and scale up their operations.The supported delivery modes range from express (one hour) to same- and next-day deliveries, with direct (to consumer) or reverse (pick-up) ways, the latter applicable to handle returns for example. When planning deliveries on Yango Delivery, partners are offered the selection of motorbikes, sedans, vans or chiller vans depending on the items they seek to deliver.Agam Garg, general manager at Yango Delivery UAE, explains: “In the competitive delivery field, companies need tools to quickly react to the changing context with volatile demands. We are working on digitizing last mile logistics to grant our clients access to various delivery types in one place and possibility to easily switch between them or combine them, experimenting and finding the balance between the needed level of customer service and operational efficiency.We take the hassle out of the delivery process for clients while taking care of optimal routes to deliver more with fewer vehicles. We also pride ourselves on our transparency in tracking, which ensures improved communication, easier analysis, and informed management decisions.”Yango Delivery employs an advanced algorithm that dispatches orders to routes by digesting all required operational parameters (like the time window promised to customers) and traffic forecasts, ensuring an impressive on-time delivery success rate of 98%.The platform is accessible via web interface and can be integrated into clients systems via an API or Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento modules.Yango Delivery can become a partner for both start-ups that do not have an infrastructure for deliveries or are not planning to have one, as well as for big players – with their inhouse, outsourced or hybrid fleet – as a fallback service during peak demand seasons.

Nogaholding to deploy AI and digital solutions with AIQ

The Oil and Gas Holding Company B.S.C. (closed) (“nogaholding”) has collaborated with AIQ, the UAE-based technology pioneer focused on the AI-powered transformation of the energy sector, to integrate and deploy artificial intelligence and digital solutions into its upstream operations.Through this collaboration, nogaholding will utilize the latest AI technologies provided by AIQ to increase the operational efficiency of Tatweer Petroleum, a subsidiary of nogaholding. The digitalization project will use machine learning and data science to enhance existing field architecture to optimize and improve performance, while reducing operational risk.Mark Thomas, Group Chief Executive Officer of nogaholding, commented: “The fourth industrial revolution has enabled companies to implement big data and AI to enhance operations and efficiency. Through this collaboration with AIQ, nogaholding aims to maximize the value of national resources and venture into new areas of growth and opportunity.”Omar Al Marzooqi, CEO of AIQ, said: “AIQ is developing breakthrough AI tools and applications that accelerate the sustainable digital transformation of the energy sector. We look forward to working with nogaholding to leverage the power of AI and data to unlock value for Tatweer Petroleum.”AIQ has enabled the development of breakthrough AI solutions across the energy industry, with the company focusing its expertise on critical AI projects across the oil and gas value chain. AIQ efficiently collects, categorizes, and models data allowing for smarter, safer, and more informed decision-making.

2022 Route to the Top: Middle East companies opt for experienced CEOs

Heidrick & Struggles' 2022 Route to the Top report found UAE CEO appointments went down to 6 in 2021; compared to 10 the year before. This was in line with the overall global outlook, as only 4 markets (Hong Kong, Belgium, Canada and Italy) out of the 25 analyzed saw an increase.With the relentless events of the past two and a half years delivering shock after shock to companies around the world; companies and leaders are expected more than ever to step up as the ultimate representatives of both their companies and the business sector in general. In the Middle East, Heidrick & Struggles’ found that 89% of CEOs have prior C-suite experience overall, highest globally. In particular, the market is opting for candidates with the prior CEO (54%) and other C-suite experience outside of CFO and COO (71%).“As the Middle East works to keep up with the increasingly volatile global landscape; businesses are leaning towards hiring more experienced CEOs with prior C-suite experience as well as cross-border experience. However, there are still some talent strategies that boards will need to review; such as increasing gender diversity at the top,” said Maliha Jilani, partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Dubai office and Social Impact Practice lead in the Middle East and North Africa region.Almost 1 in 2 CEOs in the Middle East have cross border experience (49%); compared to APAC (41%) and the global average (36%). While Middle East companies are welcoming CEOs with diverse market experience, the region trails behind in gender diversity, with only 3% of female leaders compared to the global average of 7%. In particular all the CEOs in Saudi Arabia were men.Diving into UAE, first-time CEOs newly appointed in UAE make up 33%, almost half of global average (60%) However, the CEO pool in UAE still remains young with the market having the lowest average current age globally at 53.1. 43% of newly appointed CEOs in UAE companies are also appointed before the age of 45; significantly higher than the global average of 25%.View the full global report here:

Arab National Bank leverages Confluent to advance collaboration and innovation

Confluent, Inc., the data streaming platform to set data in motion, today announced that Arab National Bank, one of the largest banks in the Middle East, has successfully leveraged the Confluent Data Streaming Platform to unlock the power of its operational and customer data. This is enabling the bank to introduce innovative new services that enhance customer experiences, and proactively collaborate with the Kingdom's new breed of agile FinTech companies.As a wave of digitalisation has been sweeping the banking sector in Saudi Arabia, a recent YouGov survey reports the vast majority (91%) of Saudi residents now prefer online/app banking to traditional alternatives. Consequently, in the first quarter of 2022, the Saudi Central Bank revealed that 13 bank branches and 81 ATMs were closed across the Kingdom. Recognising these rapidly evolving customer preferences, Arab National Bank embarked on its digital transformation journey several years ago and recently partnered with Confluent to capitalise on new opportunities for growth."One of the main drivers of our transformation was the disruption being caused by agile FinTech companies. Unlike other banks that are threatened by these organisations, we have embraced a collaborative approach with the aim of positioning ourselves as the banking arm of FinTech businesses in Saudi Arabia," explained Naif Alharbi, CIO at Arab National Bank."By Implementing Confluent's platform, we are able to harness the power of real-time data. Given the scale of our operations, we are able to use this to offer actionable insights to our FinTech partners. The value this provides is evidenced in the fact that we now support 65% of the FinTech ecosystem across the Kingdom," Alharbi added.Equally important has been the Bank's ability to create compelling new offerings for Its customers. One of these has been a service that simplifies and streamlines savings by analysing transactions in real-time, and automatically transferring funds to a customer's current account based on their predefined savings criteria.Arab National Bank is also utilising the real-time transaction insights made possible by Confluent's data streaming solution to implement a new loyalty program."Confluent empowers us to capture all the data a customer generates when interacting with us - be it at our branches or via our digital channels. Using this detailed information, we are able to assign loyalty points which customers will be able to exchange for rewards. Without the power of real-time streaming, we simply wouldn't have the insight we need to effectively create this attractive program," said the bank's Head of Business Technology, Omar Alageel.Having already realised these and other successes through its partnership with Confluent, Arab National Bank is committed to growing Its digital operations at an accelerated pace. "Our Bank's leadership sees that consumer preferences and trends in the sector are shifting dramatically. They recognise that digital is the future and have clear strategies in place to support innovative digital initiatives. This presents us with an inflection point at which we intend to leverage our agility to rapidly gain market share," Alharbi concluded.

Netflix’s ‘Because She Created’ shines a spotlight on Arab Female Filmmakers

Women storytellers have unique stories to tell and giving them a chance to tell their stories in their own voice, creates a space for more authentic stories that haven’t been told before. This year, Netflix is creating a dedicated space at Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival to celebrate the pioneering spirit of four iconic women filmmakers from the Arab world, helping amplify their voices to an audience of esteemed industry professionals and inspiring future generations of female storytellers. The Because She Created space is a creative exhibition that celebrates the women who have helped shape the Arab entertainment industry over the years. Open to festival attendees from 3 to 6 December, it aims to highlight the important role that women have, and continue to play in growing and enriching the Arab entertainment industry by shining a spotlight on their craft, and recognizing the unique challenges they’ve faced in their journey.   The star-studded lineup includes award-winning actress and Executive Producer of Netflix’s Finding Ola – Hend Sabry, acclaimed Saudi film director and creator of Netflix’s first Saudi Thriller, Whispers - Hana Alomair, the brains behind the first predominantly female Arabic Netflix production Al Rawabi School for Girls – Tima Shomali, and Kaouther Ben Hania, director of Baby Doll and Lamb Chops from Netflix’s anthology series ‘Love, Life, and Everything in Between.’ Nuha El Tayeb, Director of Acquisitions for MENA and Turkey at Netflix said: “Bringing forward talent that will inspire others and drive increased equality behind and in front of the camera opens up opportunities for untold stories. I hope that this space allows more women to take charge and tell their stories in their own voice, so that more people have the chance to see their lives reflected on screen, and be part of an industry that champions representation."Each of the filmmakers will have a dedicated corner recounting milestones from their careers, their passion for filmmaking, the ups and downs they’ve faced, and advice to young women embarking on careers in the film industry. Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn about Netflix’s Because She Created platform, which has celebrated and supported Arab women in filmmaking through various initiatives, training programs, content, and financial support.Through the Because She Created platform, Netflix has been shining a spotlight on the creative, talented, inspirational women who are blazing new trails in film. Whether it’s through content on the service like the Because She Created collection, financial grants through the Creative Equity Fund or initiatives like the Because She Created Writing Program, Netflix is providing a platform for female storytellers to pursue equal opportunities, and help break the glass ceiling for women in entertainment. The Because She Created Space at the Red Sea Film Festival is another step in this journey. Everyone accredited for the Red Souq is able to attend the exhibition. We look forward to seeing you there, and celebrating the remarkable female voices that are shaping the future of the Arab entertainment industry.

African Distribution Group bets on cloud as the future with cloud-hosted DRaaS

Alviva Holdings, one of Africa's largest ICT products and services providers has invested in a robust, cloud-based disaster recovery (DR) and backup solution. Partnering with VMware Cloud Verified Partner Routed, the distribution giant is reaping the rewards of a consumption-based DR-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solution hosted on VMware Cloud at two of Routed’s data centres. The engagement has been so successful that Alviva Holdings is now investigating using the cloud platform to run its enterprise application workloads too.With a strategy for growth underpinned by acquisitions, the company’s IT infrastructure is complex and lacked a single centralised DR solution. Recent widespread unrest and vandalism in South Africa that targeted key infrastructure sites and threatened data centres, has created the need for organisations to consider business continuity beyond just one location.While the company initially set out to create a single DR site in Routed’s Johannesburg data centre, the project evolved into a multi-site environment including hosting its DR in Routed’s Cape Town data centre. The extensibility of its systems was central to the success of the project, and because Alviva is predominantly a VMware house, Routed could easily replicate its entire DR environment in its Cape Town data centre. This strategic product alignment allowed Alviva to seamlessly integrate with Routed's infrastructure while ensuring the infrastructure remained secure, compliant, and scalable. In addition, Alviva benefited from Routed’s technical team, and its extensive VMware expertise as a Cloud Verified Partner, to architect the environment and provide the cloud real estate to host it and support the company’s migration to a full DRaaS environment.Morné van Heerden, Group CIO, Alviva Holdings, added: "The real deciding factor for our business was that we weren't required to invest in equipment, hardware, or software. It is scalable, customisable, immediately accessible DR, and it’s consumption-based – which fits our IT spend model. We achieved the first successful DR tests in the company's history that were quicker than any other alternative solution we had looked at.”“It wasn’t an easy decision for Alviva, as whatever technology they chose had to be better than what one of the group companies could provide," said Andrew Cruise, CEO, Routed. "While Alviva elected a specialist, third-party provider with specific expertise for only one product at the beginning, this has now expanded to a more encompassing VMware Cloud from which the company is starting to draw more company-wide value.”In the future, Alviva is looking to expand its cloud presence, moving enterprise application workloads onto the Routed VMware Cloud environment. In addition, it is looking at VMware Aria Operations Cloud from Routed to assist with monitoring, reporting, capacity planning and insight into its operations.“Within our cloud ecosystem, there's a common misconception that VMware Cloud providers just host virtual machines. Instead, partners like Routed offer the full stack, akin to a public cloud hyperscale provider, in terms of visibility and everything moving up the stack from the VM. In short, cloud providers have been put into a hosted cloud bucket or virtual machine hosting place, where in fact, if you look at Alviva and Routed as an example, they offer a whole lot more,” said Sumeeth Singh, Cloud Provider Business Head, VMware Sub-Saharan Africa.

IFS helps customers accelerate automation and boost connectivity

IFS, the global cloud enterprise software company, has announced the latest enhancements to its cloud-based solution, IFS Cloud. The Autumn 2022 release, part of a twice-annual release cycle of the software, contains numerous enhancements, designed to help customers accelerate their automation efforts; connect operations globally across sites, functions, people, and assets, and achieve their environmental social and governance (ESG) goals.Automation and analytics highlightsCentral to the new release are enhancements that will support end-to-end process automation, and advanced analytics capabilities. The heightened automation in this release will help organisations transform operations, work efficiently, and liberate staff. Key new features include a cash planning analysis model enabling customers to improve cash management and reduce risk and a streamlined Manufacturing Execution System (MES), designed to improve production quality control and performance.The Autumn rlease of IFS Cloud also includes enhanced analytics capabilities, which will allow customers to gain a faster understanding of key challenges across the business, transform operations, work more efficiently, and increase productivity. It also provides simpler, more intelligent analytics for faster time-to-insight, and improved predictive capabilities to support planning and reduce downtime.Enhanced connectivityThe new release also includes capabilities that will help global companies connect operations across sites, functions, people, and assets, helping them serve customers faster, reduce downtime, and meet compliance requirements. Highlights include a new capability to manage and visualise operations across multiple currency rates and the ability to set and manage absence limits based on each country's absence requirements, providing HR teams with a full absence view from multiple countries.Helping customers meet ESG goalsThe latest enhancements contain many features aimed at making it easier and faster for customers to collect, manage and record key data that provides visibility into their environmental performance. Key enhancements in this area include new functionality to track indirect greenhouse gas emissions. This will help organisations to better assess their overall carbon footprint in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, while also providing the ability to help company and project teams connect and extract data from various sources to assess their performance in Scope 1 and 2 of the Sustainability Hub.Christian Pedersen, Chief Product Officer, IFS, said: "With each successive evolution of IFS Cloud, we are continuously looking to develop the solution to ensure it is fully aligned to how customers buy and use technology across each industry we work with - from construction and engineering to energy to aerospace and defence. Today, our customers are telling us they are looking to accelerate automation and attain intelligent insights faster; connect operations as they scale and grow into new countries; and drive forward on their journey to sustainability. That’s exactly what we have delivered to them in this latest release of IFS Cloud.”IFS’s twice-annual release cycle, of which the Autumn 2022 update is the latest example, allows customers to constantly evolve their solution without the need for major upgrades or migrations, clearing their road to focus on business transformation.For more information about the Autumn 2022 release of IFS Cloud, please visit:

UAE Space Agency and Amazon Web Services sign agreement

 The UAE Space Agency and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have signed a Statement of Strategic Intent and Cooperation to support the creation of a vibrant, sustainable, competitive, and innovative space sector in the United Arab Emirates.The UAE Space Agency is responsible for the development of policies, strategies, and places related to the space sector. The Space Agency works closely with research institutes, industry, and fellow government agencies to build relevant space capabilities and support the long-term growth of the space ecosystem in the country.Through this cooperation, the AWS will collaborate with the UAE Space Agency and related UAE government space organizations and institutions on three specific initiatives, The Space Industry Development Program; Talent for Space Program; and Open Data Sponsorship Program.The Space Industry Development Program focuses both on the growth of existing commercial space organizations as well as the promotion of an environment conducive to new entrants like space startups. This initiative is set to provide them access to AWS Activate and the AWS Founders program, both designed to provide startups with AWS credits, technical training, and business support. In addition, this initiative will provide UAE commercial companies, startups, universities, and civil and government entities access to AWS experts.As for the second initiative, The Talent for Space Program, it includes outreach and training designed to support talent development for the space industry in the UAE, particularly with regards to cloud computing and big data. Specifically, AWS will offer related research institutions with the ready-to-teach Cloud Career Pathways curriculum.The Open Data Sponsorship Program initiative will encourage collaboration among the UAE space and research community through the sharing of data sets on AWS related to space data-driven initiatives such as space surveillance and space situational awareness programs. Ibrahim Al Qasim, Deputy Director General of the UAE Space Agency stressed the importance that the UAE Space Agency attaches to international cooperation between the public and private sectors in the field of space. Space is the next frontier of business growth set to propel the national economy for the next 50 years. The strategic intent agreement will support to create a competitive private sector, build national capabilities, promote public-private partnerships, boost R&D and encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship.Al Qasim said: "We have talented national cadres who are capable of innovation and creativity to achieve the best results and continue the country's march of achievement in the space sector. This agreement with Amazon Web Services comes as a part of our objectives and goals in provide our national talents, startups and SME’s with best skills and learning programs, in addition to enable companies working in this sector with best applications and facilities."“This agreement focuses on providing commercial and public space companies, and young professionals the technical tools and resources they need to be successful for the long term,” said Wojciech Bajda, Director, Public Sector Middle East and Africa, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “We look forward to working together on these initiatives as the UAE Space Agency continues to make important contributions to science and the global space industry and support the growth of the space sector.”Bajda noted: “This year we announced that the AWS Middle East (UAE) Region is now open. We have a long history of working with customers in the UAE, with many having used our services from the early days of AWS, including some of the region’s leading and most innovative enterprises and startups.”The new UAE region give customers in the UAE more choice and flexibility through local access to the most advanced cloud technologies, enabling them to store and process their data locally with the assurance that they retain complete ownership of their data and control over the location of their data.AWS also released data highlighting the economic impact of the new region. AWS estimates that the new AWS Middle East (UAE) Region will support nearly 6,000 full-time jobs annually at external vendors through investment of AED 20.1 billion (US $5.47 billion) with an estimated economic impact on the UAE’s GDP of AED 41 billion (US $11.16 billion) over the next 15 years.

Stellantis Middle East strengthens leadership team

Stellantis, one of the world’s leading automakers, today announced changes to its Middle East leadership team, as it continues its regional growth trajectory, rolls out ambitious plans for its portfolio of iconic American and European brands, and strengthens its aims to become the industry leader in climate change. Following the appointment in October of Frano Šušnjara as new Group Managing Director for Stellantis Middle East, Rakesh Nair moves from his position as Managing Director of European Brands to take on the role of Managing Director of American Brands, looking after a portfolio which includes Stellantis’ biggest selling brand in the region, Jeep, as well as fast-emerging contender Ram, and the much-loved Dodge and Chrysler brands. Nair will manage a period of significant change for the American brands, with major new product launches in 2023 and the planned introduction of electric vehicles across the portfolio.Taking the helm as the Managing Director of European Brands is Neeraj Kumar, moving from his current role as Head of Business Development. Kumar will be tasked with an ambitious plan to grow presence and sales for European brands in the region, with a major focus on EVs, with PEUGEOT in particular taking a lead in the move to more sustainable transport across both passenger and Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs).The new Head of Business Development is Adis Omeragic, promoted from his role as Regional Network Manager. Omeragic will work with the new leadership team to capture regional market opportunities, grow and deepen stakeholder partnerships, and expand market reach for the full Stellantis portfolio.Frano Šušnjara, Group Managing Director, Stellantis Middle East, said: “Stellantis is a company that is committed to shaping the future not just of the automotive industry, but of mobility. To help deliver this vision in the Middle East, we continue to evolve and strengthen our local team, with talented industry experts from within our business who are committed to championing change. With our portfolio of iconic brands and unrivalled market opportunity, I look forward to working with the team in their new roles to deliver outstanding results for our customers, partners and communities across the region.”In September, Stellantis unveiled its Dare Forward 2030 strategy for Middle East and Africa (MEA) which aims to be number 1 in Market share with 22% MS while leading the energy transition in the region with 100% of Stellantis’ product portfolio electrified by 2025; moving from 25% to over 70% regional production autonomy; and a total regional industrial capacity of 1 million vehicles per year by 2030.

IT more responsible for business innovation in the UAE than ever before

ManageEngine, the enterprise IT management division of Zoho Corporation, today announced results from its IT at work: 2022 and beyond study. This newly released data, involving IT decision makers (ITDMs) and business decision makers (BDMs), examines the democratisation of IT and the ability of IT teams to influence business decisions in large and enterprise-sized organisations in the UAE.According to the study, there is increased collaboration between IT and other teams within organisations, which may have contributed to non-IT employees possessing more knowledge about IT now than they did before 2020. IT structures within organisations are being increasingly decentralised, and non-IT departments now enjoy autonomy when it comes to technology decisions.However, any concerns over the role of IT teams being diminished are dispelled as the study found that they are pivotal in building tomorrow's enterprises. Around 76% of ITDMs expect IT to play a greater role in setting the organisation’s overall strategy in the next 5 years. This is 11% higher than the global average.The success of the IT team in playing its role has a significant bearing on the organisation’s success, with over 91% of all respondents pointing to a direct correlation between both. Furthermore, IT professionals are increasingly expected to be innovators, with more than nine in ten (91%) respondents agreeing that IT is more responsible for business innovation than ever before."Professionals are keen to gain new perspectives from industry peers in order to stay updated and advance in their career. Through this study, we hope to facilitate the sharing of knowledge among stakeholders in the UAE. These insights also help ManageEngine in its constant endeavour of evolving as a comprehensive and effective IT management platform," said Rajesh Ganesan, president at ManageEngine.Key findings from the study1. Increased collaboration leading to tech autonomy for non-IT teams.The vast majority (90%) of respondents report that collaboration between IT teams and other departments has increased during the past two years.More than four-fifths (84%) of respondents agree that non-IT employees in their organisation are more knowledgeable about IT now than they were before 2020.Around 44% of organisations have already decentralised their IT structure, with another 49% currently attempting to do so.Nearly all (98%) BDMs say their department has autonomy when it comes to making technology decisions. This autonomy relates to not only purchasing software (64%), and devices (47%), but also to hiring tech talent (62%).2. Leveraging AI and machine learning (ML) against cyberattacks.Around 91% of all respondents say AI and ML technologies will play a significant role in strengthening their organisation's IT security framework.Nearly all (95%) BDMs say that their organisation has invested in AI and ML technologies and are doing so for more than one use case, on average. A notable proportion of BDMs report that they are using AI to prevent cyberattacks (52%).IT and security teams are held responsible when it comes to defending against cyberattacks. Around 73% of decision makers (both ITDMs and BDMs) say it is the responsibility of IT and security teams to protect organisations.3. Development of skills and talent retention.Two-fifths (41%) of ITDMs in the UAE say they are actively looking for a new job, while pretty much the same number (45%) say they feel less loyal to their current employers than than they were two years ago.When it comes to what ITDMs want from their role in the next five years, these were cited as most important: the potential to learn new skills (55%), the ability to step into a more senior role (49%), and the ability to guide change within the organisation (48%).Around half of ITDMs say that they would be driven away from their organisation if their pay did not at least stay current with inflation (54%), if there were no potential for advancement/promotion (52%), or a flexible work model (50%), or any of several other existing benefits cited, were taken away.ManageEngine commissioned independent market research agency Vanson Bourne to survey 200 decision-makers across IT and other key business functions from a range of private-sector organisations in the UAE. Visit ManageEngine's website for access to the IT at work: 2022 and beyond report at

Trellix predicts heightened hacktivism and geopolitical cyberattacks in 2023

 Trellix, the cybersecurity company delivering the future of extended detection and response (XDR), today released its annual threat predictions report for 2023. Forecasts from the Trellix Advanced Research Center anticipate spikes in geopolitically motivated attacks across Asia and Europe, hacktivism fueled by tensions from opposing political parties, and vulnerabilities in core software supply chains.“Analyzing current trends is necessary but being predictive in cybersecurity is vital. While organizations focus on near-term threats, we advise all to look beyond the horizon to ensure a proactive posture,” said John Fokker, Head of Threat Intelligence, Trellix. “Global political events and the adoption of new technology will breed novel threats from more innovative threat actors.”The Trellix Advanced Research Center brings together hundreds of the world’s most skilled security analysts and researchers to serve the global threat intelligence community and organizations with the latest threat indicators and insights collected from Trellix’s extensive sensor network.Trellix Advanced Research Center forecasts the following threats in 2023:Geopolitics and grey-zone conflict. Geopolitical factors will continue to be a high motivation for misinformation campaigns and cyberattacks timed with kinetic military activity.Hacktivism takes center stage. As groups of loosely organized individuals fueled by propaganda align for a common cause, they will ramp up their use of cyber tools to voice their anger and cause disruption across the globe.Skeletons in the software closet will multiply. Both threat actors and security researchers will heighten their study of underlying software frameworks and libraries resulting in an increase in breaches related to software supply chain issues.Increasing activity by teen cybercriminals. Teens and young adults will engage at increasing levels in cybercrime – everything from large-scale attacks on enterprises and governments to low-level crimes that target family, friends, peers, and strangers.Declining accuracy of code-based attribution. The outsourcing of malware creation and operation, diversification of malware development, and use of leaked source code will make attribution of cyberthreats to specific threat actors increasingly challenging.Imminent global cyberthreat to critical infrastructure as cyberwarfare evolves. A significant rise in advanced cyberactors causing disruptions to critical infrastructure in vulnerable targets will be observed.With more collaboration comes more phishing. Weaponized phishing attacks will increase across commonly used business communication services and apps, like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and others.“Alexa, start mining bitcoins.” The advanced capabilities of consumer and enterprise IoT devices will be leveraged by hackers to mine cryptocurrencies.Space hacking: only going up from here. The compromise of satellites and other space assets will increase and become more public in 2023.Here's my number, so call me, maybe. There will be a huge jump in reverse-vishing – or voice phishing – attacks, with less tech-aware users being the primary target.Attacks against Windows domain will scale. More domain privilege escalation vulnerabilities will be discovered as well as more real-world attacks against Microsoft Windows with the explicit goal of complete network takeover.“We started 2022 with an industry-wide vulnerability in Log4J, which was closely followed by cyber and physical war targeting Ukraine. We’re closing the year observing hacktivists taking matters into their own hands, new actors in operation, and a changed but increasingly active ransomware landscape. As stress continues to weigh on the global economy, as we head into the new year, organizations should expect increased activity from threat actors looking to advance their own agenda – whether for political or financial gain,” commented Vibin Shaju, VP EMEA, Solutions Engineering, Trellix. “To outwit and outpace bad actors and advance defenses proactively, security must be always-on and always learning.”Additional ResourcesReport: Trellix Advanced Research Center 2023 Threat PredictionsWebinar: Top 3 Insights from the Trellix Advanced Research Center 2023 Threat PredictionsTrellix Advanced Research Center

UAE Space Agency and Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy sign MoU

The UAE Space Agency and Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy have signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance corporation to create opportunities for qualified Emiratis in space diplomacy and other related fields, projects, services, and potential academic programs.The agreement was inked on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, hosted under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The global event was signed by His Excellency Salem Al Qubaisi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, and His Excellency Nickolay Mladenov, Director General a.i. of Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy.The MoU aims to develop human resources, exchange expertise and studies, and benefit from the technical capabilities of both parties while working together to enable individuals to carry on the rich legacy of the UAE's space diplomacy.The memorandum provides for the exchange of academic expertise between the two parties in organizing programs of common interest, exchanging knowledge, and cooperation to attract international speakers and organize joint conferences and workshops.The UAE Space Agency and Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy will form a joint committee to develop, implement, follow up and supervise the implementation of the agreement. The two parties will explore effective ways to cooperate and exchange information to achieve the objectives of the MoU.Enhance collaborationH.E. Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, stressed the organization’s endeavor to collaborate with various local entities over common areas of interest, especially in building national capabilities.He underscored the importance of cooperation with AGDA in implementing a series of workshops, programs, and studies, describing the academy as an ideal platform to discuss a variety of topics related to modern diplomacy, including space diplomacy, with the help of a group of distinguished experts and academics, which contributes to the graduation of Emirati human resources that can lead space diplomacy and consolidate its position internationally.H.E. Al Qubaisi stressed the importance of the memorandum, which will work to devote the interest of Emirati youth in this industry and serve the national policy for the space sector, which aims to develop national capabilities and prepare young individuals to realize the UAE’s vision in this field.Qualifying Human ResourcesNickolay Mladenov, Director General a.i. of Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, said: ”Our new partnership with the UAE Space Agency gives us an additional opportunity to expand our relations with various sectors related to diplomatic work in the UAE and abroad. We are committed to grooming a new generation of diplomats that can use knowledge and skills to consolidate the UAE's position in various fields, including the space sector.”He added: “Over the past few years, the UAE has established a firm foothold as an influencer in the international space sector, especially when the UAE was chosen as the chair of the UN’s 65th session of the Committee of Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), which represented a remarkable achievement that reflects the success of the country’s foreign policy.”

DEWA’s website & smart app results exceed 99%

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)’s website and smart app results recorded 99.97% during the third quarter of 2022, according to the mystery shopper study for government entities in Dubai conducted by the Dubai Government Excellence (DGE) of the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai.Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, highlighted the importance that DEWA attaches to the results of the mystery shopper study as one of the most important tools for developing government work. Al Tayer expressed his happiness with these results, stressing that they are the result of DEWA’s work to achieve the wise leadership’s vision to make government services in the UAE the best in the world. This also supports DEWA’s efforts to provide a smooth, easy, and value-added experience for all stakeholders through digital services that save their time and effort. This is achieved by relying on the latest disruptive technologies and Artificial Intelligence tools.“We offer an unconventional model of digital services through smart devices and channels. This supports the Dubai 10X initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which mandates the Government of Dubai to be a global leader, and the Services 360 policy by Government of Dubai to provide seamless, proactive, integrated, and specialised services that meet customer expectations. Through Digital DEWA, our digital arm, we strive to redefine the concept of utilities and create a new digital future for Dubai, to become the premier digital organisation in the world; with autonomous systems for renewable energy and storage and the expansion of AI and digital services. DEWA provides all its services through its website and smart app, in addition to several digital channels that help customers complete their transactions at any time and from anywhere. This saves their time and effort, and contributes to protecting the environment and natural resources and reducing carbon emissions. This also enhances DEWA’s excellence and global leadership in all fields, and supports the Smart Dubai initiative to make Dubai the happiest and smartest city in the world,” added Al Tayer.Smart adoption of DEWA’s services reached 98.99% by the end of the third quarter of 2022. For the same period, DEWA scored 98% in the Dubai Government’s Instant Happiness Index by Dubai Digital Authority. This year, the Centre has been ranked among the top three call centres in the assessment conducted by the Dubai Model Centre in partnership with Digital Dubai Authority. The integrated interactive digital Centre, which is managed by Moro Hub (Data Hub Integrated Solutions), a subsidiary of Digital DEWA, the digital arm of DEWA, provides a wide range of procedural and information services through an Interactive Voice System (IVR) enhanced by AI and available around the clock.

Indian actor R. Madhavan becomes new brand ambassador for Al Ansari Exchange

Al Ansari Exchange, the UAE-based foreign exchange and worldwide money transfer company, announced during a press conference held at Grand Hyatt Hotel, Dubai, signing with the renowned Indian actor R. Madhavan as the company’s official brand ambassador. Mr. Madhavan is a successful actor, producer and writer who is highly recognised in Indian cinema and is a popular Pan-Indian artist. This latest move by Al Ansari Exchange aims to further enhance the brand's value and identity among customers.Mohammed Bitar, Deputy CEO of Al Ansari Exchange, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mr. R. Madhavan as our official brand ambassador. Mr. Madhavan has made a name for himself in the Indian cinema with his string of successful work, and will now be the face of Al Ansari Exchange. He was approached for this association as his values are strongly aligned with that of the company. We believe the brand will be able to reach more customers and effectively convey our business philosophy, owing to the actor's strong credibility and popularity with his audience.”R. Madhavan said: "I am honoured to have been chosen as the official brand ambassador for Al Ansari Exchange. With this partnership, I am optimistic that we will be able to connect with a wider audience who will benefit from the company’s diverse financial services and offerings. With its customer-centric culture, Al Ansari Exchange has gained the trust and confidence of its loyal clientele and I am excited to be part of this journey.”The latest announcement comes as part of Al Ansari Exchange’s efforts to welcome prominent individuals to participate in the brand’s journey, reach a wider audience, and further extend its service offerings. The company has developed a number of services and initiatives to expand its reach, improve customer experience and provide users with the most value for their transactions.

UK-born exclusive member’s circle, Akademy, announces its launch in the UAE

Akademy, the exclusive intellectual member’s circle, announces today its plan to launch in the UAE in January 2023. Following a successful launch in the United Kingdom in 2020, the private club serves as a base for the world’s intellectual, art and cultural circles, uniting the finest academic, creative, business and thought leaders who seek personal betterment through the power of education.Akademy brings together like-minded individuals who share an infinite curiosity and desire to learn and spark dialogue. The bespoke membership-based platform presents a curated programme of events and lectures, in partnership with leading organisations and world-renowned brands such as Cartier, Dior, Holland & Holland, Annabel’s, The Savile Club, and others, in an effort to encourage personal fulfilment and enrich the world of its members. In the UAE, Akademy aims to celebrate Middle Eastern heritage, raise further awareness of the thriving culture in the region, evolve wisdom, and demonstrate limitless learning.In a joint statement, Akademy co-founders, Anastasia Belyak, Kamilia Shaimieva and Olga Fler said: “We launched Akademy to create an exclusive platform for like-minded people to engage, connect and debate, whilst enjoying convivial social settings. As the Middle East continues to thrive and attract people from all over the world, it seems like the natural choice for us to expand to the Emirate and explore its booming business, art and cultural scenes. Akademy is a private members’ club for people who are keen on learning from academics, conversing with industry peers and leaders, with a simple aim to cultivate minds and nurture the grand pursuit of knowledge.”  Since its establishment in 2020 in the UK, the member’s circle continues to nurture infinite curiosity and build a discerning community that entices thought-provoking conversation, debate and dialogue. With a curated programme covering a wide series of topics ranging from science and technology, arts and culture, and philosophy to well-being, Akademy champions the power of knowledge and celebrates diverse thinking, profound reflection and the appreciation of one another.In the past two years, Akademy successfully presented over 40 events in partnership with world-renowned fashion brands such as Cartier, Christina Dior, Dolce & Gabbana as well as leading private clubs, including Holland & Holland, Annabel’s and Savile Club in the UK, providing unparalleled access to some of the world’s leading academics and thought leaders. With an official launch event set for January 2023, Akademy invites interested parties to join the club and apply for membership in Dubai. There are several types of membership and joining fees that will be applied to potential members.