MENA to add 2 million pay TV subs

The number of pay TV subscribers in 20 MENA countries will increase from 17.32 million in 2022 to 19.20 million in 2028. Legitimate pay TV penetration will remain at only 19%. IPTV subscribers overtook pay satellite TV in 2022.About 62% of the region’s TV households will receive free-to-air satellite TV signals by 2028. FTA satellite penetration is highest in the Arabic-speaking countries. Another fifth of the region’s TV households will take FTA DTT.Pay TV revenues will fall by 36% between peak year 2016 ($3.84 billion) and 2028 ($2.47 billion). This comes despite the number of pay TV subscribers growing – which means that ARPUs are falling. Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Legitimate pay TV penetration will remain low in the MENA region. First was the battle against widespread piracy. Traditional pay TV subscribers are now converting to SVOD platforms.”

Sharjah Shopping Promotions continues activities emirate-wide

The Sharjah Shopping Promotions (SSP), organised by Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), announced its continuation of its activities and special offers in all cities and areas of the emirate of Sharjah to provide residents and visitors with a range of entertainment and promotional offers and major discounts on various commodities during the winter season.The participating shopping centres provide many special offers that take shoppers on a journey to a world of abundant rewards, in addition to valuable prizes and shopping vouchers.This year's surprises are propelled by a high momentum of discounts that run until 29th January and reach up to 75 percent on the most renowned international brands and products, not to mention the exceptional discounts that give shoppers the chance to benefit from mega offers and promotions in malls and shops across Sharjah.Hana Al Suwaidi, Head of the SCCI's Festivals & Exhibitions Department, said that the Chamber continues its cooperation with partners emirate-wide, including shopping centres and major shops, to organise one of SSP's best editions that show its role in cementing Sharjah’s position as one of the most popular shopping destinations.

Oliver Wyman appoints global head of cyber risk

 Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm and a business of Marsh McLennan, has appointed Souheil Moukaddem as the new head of its Cyber Risk platform.In the global role, seasoned strategy leader Souheil will head the development of solutions in the field of Cyber Risk – utilizing the breadth and depth of expertise and capability across Oliver Wyman, which employs 6,000 professionals in 30 countries around the world, to deliver breakthrough client impact.The strengthening of Oliver Wyman’s Cyber Risk Platform directly responds to fast-evolving client needs, and includes collaboration between Oliver Wyman and the full suite of capabilities across the Marsh McLennan ecosystem, which incorporates insurance and risk management consultancy Marsh, economic consultancy NERA, and human capital expertise from Mercer, among other specialist businesses.“Cyber Risk is a dynamic and fast-moving domain, which in turn requires smart, responsive action – Oliver Wyman and the wider Marsh McLennan group has the breadth and depth of expertise to deliver the right solutions for our clients across both the private and public sector. We are delighted that Souheil will add his 30+ years of experience to helping corral the best of our firm’s capabilities to meet our clients’ most important challenges and opportunities,” says Michael Zeltkevic, the Global Head of Capabilities at Oliver Wyman.Souheil, who has decades of experience in supporting private and public sector clients in both the U.S. and the Middle East, has overseen the design, build, and implementation of large cybersecurity programs.Cyber Risk as a platform encompasses capabilities and issues such as cyber security, cyber analytics, cyber threats, cybercrime, cyber espionage, and cyber recovery.Souheil says, of the growing cyber threat: “The question is no longer whether entities and individuals will get hacked, it is a matter of when they will get hacked, and how they will respond. These are all reasons why we are strengthening our cyber capabilities at Oliver Wyman, in support of our clients. Our rigorous approach looks at the Cyber Risk challenge holistically, covering technology, insurance, resilience, business processes, analytics, human capital, and human behavior.”   “From individual and institutional ransomware attacks to the shut down or manipulation of operations and/or physical systems, cyber attacks can have devastating consequences on an entity’s brand and its ability to sustain its operations, or worse, they can result in direct physical harm to humans.”In addition to his global role, Souheil is a partner in Communications, Media and Technology across Oliver Wyman’s India, Middle East & Africa (IMEA) region and a member of the business’s IMEA Executive Management Committee. Coming from an engineering background, he has experience in developing and managing strategy, organization, and human capital projects, as well as implementing large transformation programs for government and commercial clients in the United States and the Middle East.Prior to joining Oliver Wyman, he was Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Booz Allen Hamilton’s Middle East and North Africa business, which was acquired by Oliver Wyman in 2022. Before that, he established another global strategy consulting firm in the region. He also held the role of Chief Strategy Officer at a private equity firm, with projects ranging from the Middle East to Malaysia. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University. He is fluent in English, Arabic, and French.

Louvre Abu Dhabi’s exhibition, Bollywood superstars

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Louvre Abu Dhabi, inaugurated the museum’s first exhibition of the year, Bollywood Superstars: A Short Story of Indian Cinema, opening from 24 January and running until 4 June 2023. Organised in partnership with Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac and France Muséums, the exhibition showcases the depth and richness of the Indian sub-continent’s art and civilisation through its long tradition of image making, and the diversity of the Indian filmmaking industry.Bollywood Superstars is co-curated by Julien Rousseau, Curator and Head of the Asian Collections at Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, and Hélène Kessous, PhD in Social Anthropology and Ethnology, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, with the support of Dr. Souraya Noujaim, Director of Scientific, Curatorial and Collections Management at Louvre Abu Dhabi.Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, commented: “Bollywood Superstars demonstrates our enduring commitment to showcase the wealth of cultures that define so much of life in the United Arab Emirates. Our staff and partners have worked tirelessly to present together the most ambitious collection of artworks with movie projection which are at the heart of Indian society and popular culture. We hope that, by offering a glimpse into the subcontinent’s rich and diverse filmmaking history, visitors can better understand the myriad of our shared roots, common values and cultural connections.”The exhibition’s curators, Julien Rousseau and Hélène Kessous, said: “This exhibition is a tribute to Bollywood and can be enjoyed by both Indian cinema fans and the wider public. We hope that it portrays the full richness of Asian traditions and tells the stories that led to the birth of this cinema. The exhibition celebrates Bollywood superstars who are adored by their fans in India in a way that is rarely seen elsewhere in the world.”As the world’s leading film producer, India currently produces more than 1,500 films a year in about 20 languages, which are then exported throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Indian pioneers utilised nascent image technologies such as lithograph and photography, kickstarting the journey from the birth of the first films to grand musical features. Visitors will gain a deeper understanding of the international success of Bollywood and an appreciation of the diversity of Indian cinematography. The comprehensive displays span the history of Indian cinema from storytelling, dance, and pre-cinema to the influence of religion and mythology and the rise of Bollywood superstars.Dr. Souraya Noujaim, Director of Scientific, Curatorial and Collections Management at Louvre Abu Dhabi said: "Bollywood is more than just a film industry; it's a cultural phenomenon that has captivated audiences around the world. This exhibition offers a unique glimpse into the long and wondrous history and development of Bollywood and the Indian cinema, and underlines the continued presence of the great mythological and literary narratives in Indian culture. Bollywood Superstars is a special exhibition that complements our collections and aligns with our curatorial approach and we hope that it provides our visitors with a better understanding of our shared roots, common values and cultural connections.”Emmanuel Kasarhérou, President of the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, said: “Indian cinema can be approached from countless perspectives. “Bollywood Superstars” reveals a variety of narrative and stylistic repertoires that mirror the diversity of the country’s histories, local identities, and languages. The exhibition stands out for the quality and originality of its content. Dedicated to promoting the richness of the arts and cultures of all continents, the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac is honoured to be associated with Louvre Abu Dhabi, an inspiring and influential institution that shares values of beauty, opening and understanding.”Through more than 80 artworks including photographs, textiles, graphic arts, costumes and over 30 film extracts, the exhibition explores the rich history of the Indian cinema from its beginnings in the late 19th century up to the present. The artworks come from the collections of Louvre Abu Dhabi, Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Musée de l’Armée, Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet, al-Sabah Collection, Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation and Priya Paul Collection.Inspired by Bollywood Superstars exhibition, a rich cultural programme will be available to the public including an in-depth talk led by the exhibition’s curators on 24 January 2023, along with the screening of six iconic Bollywood films throughout March. The famous Secret Soirée event will return with a new larger scale edition, Secret Soirée: Mumbai Nights 2, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the world of Bollywood.A range of educational activities will be available for visitors of all ages. These include an Express Tour of the exhibition; Make and Play activities where families can explore different kinds of storytelling techniques inspired by Bollywood film posters; and a Young Visitor’s Guide, offering young ones the opportunity to learn about Indian cinema.Bollywood Superstars is supported by PureHealth, as Louvre Abu Dhabi’s exhibition season partner. Following its display at Louvre Abu Dhabi, the exhibition will be reinterpreted by Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris, offering new audiences the opportunity to explore this immersive experience. More than 150 objects and over 40 film extracts will be on view at Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac from 26 September 2023 to 7 January 2024.A recorded podcast by the curators of the Bollywood Superstars exhibition will be available for the public on Louvre Abu Dhabi’s website and mobile application. The exhibition catalogue is available in Arabic, English and French at Louvre Abu Dhabi’s boutique.For more information about the exhibition and to book tickets, please visit

Dubai Chamber of Commerce bolsters member support

Dubai Chamber of Commerce one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, today announced new sector-specific business groups for four economic sectors: Agribusiness, Furniture and Home Furnishing, Flower Traders, and Tyre Traders.The Chamber plans to increase the number of sector-specific business support groups to 100 by March 2023.Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President & CEO of Dubai Chambers, said, “This latest raft of business groups is designed to encourage greater cooperation, mutual knowledge sharing and greater understanding of the synergies that exist between competitors in each sector, in terms of domestic, regional and international trading opportunities.”Lootah noted that the four sectors are all key in the overall economic growth of Dubai’s economy, but equally, will all benefit from the wide range of support services offered by the Chamber. It is vital that we ensure every sector of Dubai’s growing economy receives the support they need to thrive."President & CEO of Dubai Chambers said that the aim is to promote the development of UAE-based companies and raise the profile of business group members in the international business community.The groups will deliver a suitable forum to facilitate mutual dialogue between government entities and relevant group stakeholders and update group members on relevant policy matters related to industry, domestic and international trade and investment.“Business Group members will also have a platform to exchange information and experiences and to communicate and interact with public and private entities on policy matters related to the group’s respective sectors, by means of meetings, gatherings, seminars, conferences, receptions, and other fora of exchange,” he explained.Each business group will also enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the development of knowledge, skills and best approaches in industrial, trade and investment policy, and promote exchanges on those policy matters with similar groups internationally.“The creation of sector-specific business groups is in line with our ongoing mission to continuously improve the business environment in Dubai and support member companies with their global expansion plans,” added Lootah.AgribusinessAs Dubai strives to increase food security and reduce reliance on imports, the agribusiness sector is a vital element in the economic mix. Dubai’s rich investment ecosystem has already seen development of the world’s largest vertical farm and is set to become the world's biggest 'agritourism' destination by 2030, with the opening of this ambitious farming and tourism zone.The UAE imports around 85% of the food it consumes. As a snapshot of total volume growth in different food categories, Euromonitor reports that between 2017 and 2022, sales of fresh vegetables grew by 17%, pulses by 21.4%, meat by 21.4% and other fresh food by 16.1%.Furniture and Home Furnishing A release of pent-up demand for home furnishing was seen in 2021, with sales exceeding the pre-pandemic level. Growth was also marked in new e-commerce channels in the home furnishing sector, with growth seen in bedding, home office furniture and gaming furniture – driven by enforced time at home and the global shift to working from home.According to Euromonitor International data, major sales growth categories between 2016 and 2021 include mattresses (with a 31.3% growth in sales volume) sofa beds (27.2% growth), curtains (28.1%) and light sources (35.9%), again reflecting the societal shift towards spending more time at home induced by the pandemic.To continue this upward growth trend, the business group will explore ways to maintain a positive upward sales volume growth.Flower TradersAccording to Dubai Customs, Dubai’s flower total trade value was AED1.5 billion in the period between 2011 and 2021.Dubai Flower Centre, a dedicated free zone within Dubai International Airport for the import and export of flowers, brings enormous cost benefits to international shippers, connecting more than 15 producing countries with Asian, African and Middle Eastern markets.Tyre TradersAccording to Dubai Customs, Dubai’s tyre total trade value was AED65.2 billion in the period between 2011 and 2021. This reflects the sector is in a growth phase, especially given that Dubai has one of the highest vehicle densities in the world.

Doha Festival City announces new brand slogan ‘It’s my place, my choice’

Doha Festival City, Qatar's one and only choice for shopping, dining, and entertainment, unveiled its new brand positioning “It’s my place, my choice” tailored for 2023.The new strategy and positioning aim to bolster the mall’s position as the ultimate destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment, while also emphasising that it will move toward enhancing this position and diversifying its offering, activations, and events to truly provide a bespoke experience to each of its visitors.Commenting on the announcement Robert Hall, Festival City General Manager, said: “We enjoyed a speeding start for the year with our partnerships with Qatar Charity and Hamad Medical Corporation and our platinum sponsorship of the Qatar Balloon Festival, and we are not slowing down. We have a powerful lineup of events and activations prepared for this year to truly deliver amazing experiences to our visitors and enhance their journey with us with more unique offerings”.From his part, Jihad Zarkout, Bawabat al-Shamal Real Estate Company’s General Manager, said: “We are starting this year with a new approach and positioning to reinforce the mall’s position as a destination of choice for all our visitors of all ages in Qatar. This entails offering them a wider, more diverse range of unique experiences, leaving them with fond memories and enticing them to visit us again. As a major Qatari company, we also aim to strengthen the role we play in supporting national awareness and development campaigns and initiatives under our #FestivalCares CSR programme in cooperation with our partners in Qatar and abroad to enhance our contribution toward Qatar’s development and the realisation of Qatar National Vision 2023 and beyond.”The new brand positioning comes amid a running start of the year for Doha Festival City, with the launch of its platinum partnership of the Qatar Balloon Festival, a wondrous 10-day event featuring 50 hot air balloons from around the world. The event will allow more than 1000 people to experience the pleasure of flying in one of these creations and help promote Qatar as a welcoming destination.The mall also enjoyed a powerful launch of its #FestivalCares CSR initiatives for the year with its partnership with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) for the flu vaccination campaign which will last from 13 to 26 January. The campaign features a booth located on the first floor between Debenhams and Marks and Spencer open daily from 1PM to 9PM in which health professionals from HMC are present to raise awareness regarding the importance of protecting oneself against the disease and to administer the vaccine to the mall’s visitors and customers.The mall is also hosting a charity exhibition in cooperation with Qatar Charity’s (QC) Colors and Sounds project. The exhibition, which is being held from 23 to 31 January under the umbrella of #FestivalCares, features the works of artists who donated their paintings to QC under the project to support the organisation’s winter charity campaign.Doha Festival City has lined up in its packed calendar for this year a series of events and initiatives that will provide world-class entertainment and raise awareness about societal issues.In line with the preventative measures set out by the State of Qatar to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and to ensure a safe shopping environment for all, Doha Festival City commits itself to continuous necessary health and safety measures throughout the mall. This includes a thorough mall disinfection treatment on a weekly basis, robust cleaning, and sanitization operations during mall trading hours, 127 hand sanitizing stations installed in the areas that have commonly touched surfaces.For more information on the mall’s operating hours please call on 4035 4444 or checké-eln-opens-its-first-branch-in-jeddah

London’s most Instagrammable café, EL&N opens its first branch in Jeddah

UK based café and restaurant sensation EL&N London, the world’s most Instagrammable café opened their first flagship in Jeddah, at Atelier La Vie with a stylish destination that blends creative spirit with the glitz and glamour of the French Rivera, labelling the new destination café as “The Riviera paradise in Jeddah”."EL&N London” is expanding their presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, after opening six locations in Riyadh and more locations in Jeddah opening later this year.EL&N, which stands for "Eat, Live & Nourish” has become famous for its iconic interiors, painting cities across the globe pink, with neon signs nestled in flower walls and unique photo backdrops where guests can get the perfect picture opportunity while benefiting from an interactive all-day dining menu.As well as featuring a patisserie display with freshly baked goods, EL&N also offers a variety of artisan coffee and speciality drinks and dishes on their menus including hot chocolates, colourful alternative lattes and cakes, as well as offering brunch options, main courses, and afternoon tea. The opening ceremony of EL&N in Jeddah was attended by VIPs, media and top of the notch social figures of Jeddah.Commenting on the latest launch, Alexandra Miller, Founder of EL&N London said: “Following our success in Riyadh, we are delighted to announce our new and first branch café in the Bride of the Red Sea, Jeddah,”She continued “Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest growing F&B markets in the Middle East, it’s an exhilarating time to be part of this booming era in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, we’re proud of our presence in Saudi Arabia and are energized by the opportunity to bring many more beautiful, unique cafés opening across the kingdom.”Find EL&N London at Atelier La Vie, King Abdulaziz Road via Atelier #1 from Saturday-Wednesday, 9am-12am and Thursday-Friday from 9am-1am.

YOTEL announces first hotel in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be in Oxagon

YOTEL – a global hospitality brand known for challenging the status quo – announces its first hotel signing in Saudi Arabia. Scheduled to open in 2025, the YOTEL property will also be the first hotel to open in Oxagon, which will be the home of advanced and clean industries in NEOM.“Oxagon’s ambition to house hospitality assets where innovative design, sustainability and technologies converge, echoes our core values at YOTEL,” said Hubert Viriot, CEO of YOTEL. “We understand that the Non-Stop traveller craves destinations that won’t slow them down, and Oxagon promises to be a unique destination where new tech-enabled hospitality experiences can be live-tested. It is an honour to be one of the first hotels to open within a city redefining industries through sustainable innovation.”The hotel’s location is at the heart of the integrated live-work-play Research and Innovation (R&I) district of Oxagon with a dedicated R&I campus. Strategically located on NEOM’s Red Sea coast, Oxagon is reimagining the traditional industrial city by developing multiple thriving residential and business communities. Additional to the R&I district, the city will be home to a next generation port with a fully automated and integrated supply chain and logistics network."Oxagon’s hotel strategy is built around several pillars including technology, which is key for integration within a wider smart-city infrastructure,” said Vishal Wanchoo, CEO of Oxagon. “After a competitive selection process, YOTEL was the clear hotel brand of choice for the district, given our shared ambitions to focus on people-centric design, circularity and digital advancements.”Upon check-in, guests will be immersed within the bustling energy of the innovation eco-system within the district. Featuring 300 rooms, the hotel will showcase YOTEL’s latest features including the brand’s signature robotic concierge, motorized SmartBeds™, and fully integrated technologies which YOTEL is known for. Guests will have access to Komyuniti – the brand’s signature multi-functional dining and co-working space, a 24-hour fitness centre, a Grab-and-Go Café, and meeting spaces used to network and relax. The surrounding areas will be walkable and connected to nearby communities through advanced, active, micro and autonomous mobility solutions.The partnership marks the latest hotel agreement with NEOM’s Hotel Development, the division responsible for building a future-centric hospitality ecosystem in the Northwest corner of Saudi Arabia.“YOTEL’s decision to open their property in NEOM’s Oxagon is a powerful endorsement of our ambition to redefine how people travel, stay and live. When complete, it will serve as the ideal home for modern travellers in search of thoughtfully curated and designed spaces, and we look forward to welcoming them,” added Chris Newman, Executive Director, Hotel Development at NEOM.Through groundbreaking urban developments, world class sport, hospitality, affiliate recreation and retail concepts, and next-generation mobility solutions, Oxagon is creating a new model for modern urbanism. Oxagon will be one of several cities and destinations within the NEOM development, all set to be powered by renewable energy sources, amplifying Saudi Arabia’s plan to sustainably diversify its economy, as part of its Vision 2030 strategy.The new announcement signifies YOTEL’s ambition to grow both management and franchised projects in the Middle East region, as part of its larger strategy to reach 50 hotels by 2025.

BFL Group predicts steady growth in Qatar’s retail market for Q1 of 2023

BFL Group, one of the leading off-value retailers in the UAE, predicts strong growth in Qatar’s retail market for Q1 of 2023. The country's retail market has benefited greatly from steady population growth, a high concentration of expatriates and high-net-worth individuals (HNWI), and mega events like the recently concluded FIFA World Cup 2022.BFL Group had opened two new stores in Qatar in 2022, amid developments and major events. The business has since advanced significantly due to the rise in footfall in outlets, which has positively impacted the sales. As outdoor activities have completely returned to normal in 2022, retail sales are on an upward trajectory, along with higher consumer spending. The government's assistance in easing travel restrictions, bolstering the investment landscape, and streamlining retail infrastructure also contributed to the industry's revival and boosted recovery by promoting tourism.Toufic Kredieh, CEO and Co-Founder of BFL Group, said: “As part of our expansion plans for 2022, we have successfully opened a number of stores across the GCC, in countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar. Due to the growing retail market and the magnified economy brought on by the mega events that were taking place in the country, Qatar stood out as an ideal location for business growth. Given Qatar's exceptional performance in retail sales, which reached USD 18.5 billion in 2022, we are confident that Q1 of 2023 will remain strong and attract more customers. It is also anticipated that more retail businesses will emerge in the 2023, owing to the recent exposure the country has received. With our innovative concepts, client-centered services, and products from various brands, we are well-positioned to ensure success in the country.”BFL Group is renowned for its distinctive business model, innovative retail concepts, and exclusive pricing on apparel from a range of. premium brands. The group's business performance will be further strengthened by its rapid growth in Qatar, paving the way for more strategic expansions in the future.

du, etisalat by e& sign corporation agreement with Aldar Properties

du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), and Etisalat UAE, branded as etisalat e&, today announced the signing of a Master Developer Agreement (MDA) with UAE-based Aldar Properties.Through the new partnership, both service providers will deliver essential telecommunications infrastructure for the developer’s major projects in line with the Taawun infrastructure deployment initiative.Taawun, a joint initiative to support the long-term vision of the government in developing smart infrastructure, gives customers an opportunity to select their operator of choice for telecom services. It is key to establishing a robust telecom infrastructure for property developers by deploying advanced fibre-optic and passive telecom solutions that are best-in-class and future-proof.Under the agreement, du and Etisalat will install, maintain, and oversee state-of-the-art fixed telecom services and solutions across Aldar Properties’ projects in Abu Dhabi’s most desirable destinations, including Yas Island, Saadiyat Island, Al Raha and Reem Island, as well as government housing and infrastructure projects.Through the development of advanced telecom infrastructure, Aldar residents will be able to choose their own service provider and have access to the latest fibre-optics and advanced 5G communication solutions. This will help transform these communities into smart, sustainable, and high-quality-of-life areas for their residents with modern ways of living.Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO of du, said, “We are excited to partner with Aldar Properties to provide the community members with state-of-the-art telecommunications services and other technologies sought after by tenants. du’s networks offer high-speed connections to empower residents and add value to communities as well as contributing to the UAE’s economic, social, and digital transformation.”Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, CEO of etisalat by e&, stated, “The newly developed telecom infrastructure of the UAE is key to reinforcing the role that the UAE’s telecom industry plays in this ‘connectivity renaissance’ era. In line with our commitment to maintaining our cutting-edge telecom infrastructure offerings and staying aligned with the UAE government’s vision for accelerating digitalisation and innovation, we are delighted to collaborate on this ground-breaking initiative. Through the Taawun initiative and partnering with Aldar Properties, we commit to doing our very best to provide state-of-the-art services and world-class connectivity solutions to the residents of these new property development projects.”Adel Abdulla Albreiki, CEO of Aldar Projects, commented, "At Aldar, we are committed to building integrated and thriving communities that enrich people’s lives and contribute to Abu Dhabi’s growing attractiveness as one of the world’s most liveable cities. Through this partnership with du and e&, not only will we further advance the telecom infrastructure across our developments, we will also reinforce our continuous efforts to remain at the forefront of digital transformation, sustainable development, and operational excellence. We look forward to seeing the impact that these advanced, state-of-the-art connectivity solutions will have on our communities.”Residents in integrated communities developed by Aldar Properties will now have the option to choose a retail telecom operator of their choice and the arrangement will further support the UAE government’s long-term vision to develop smart infrastructure and establishing a robust telecom sector for master developers and ensure a high quality of life for all.

Dubai Business Women Council: 137 MBC Group female employees join its membership

The Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) announced that 137 female employees from MBC Group have joined the council's membership as a result of a memorandum of understanding signed between the two sides during the "Women in Media Forum" last September. The partnership aimed to promote the services, initiatives, and events of both parties.The council offers its members and its new joiners from MBC Group a variety of benefits and privileges that can help them be more successful in the market and conduct business more efficiently in Dubai. The council also organizes over 65 activities annually, including training and educational events on topics relevant to the current business environment and other topics that provide members with valuable information and expertise in diverse industries.Positive ChangeNadine Halabi, Business Development Manager, DBWC, emphasized that the accession of 137 female employees from the MBC to the Council's membership will open new opportunities for growth and development. "We do believe in the importance of awareness, education, providing opportunities, and making a positive change in women's lives; therefore, the council will spare no effort to provide all means of support to motivate members to be active in society and help bolster the national economy."Halabi stressed that the collaboration between the two entities, which is based on mutual support and the exchange of knowledge, is aimed at empowering businesswomen and entrepreneurs by providing them with the necessary skills, knowledge, initiatives, and networking platforms to excel in their careers.Established in 2002 under the umbrella of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the Dubai Business Women Council is the UAE’s leading platform for the personal and professional development of business women in the Emirate of Dubai. It aims to support businesswomen and entrepreneurs taking their first steps in the world of business. The Council plays a vital role in enhancing the contribution of businesswomen to the country's economy and promoting economic development in all sectors of the business community.

Stc Bahrain collaborates with Huawei to support “Trees for Life” Campaign

stc Bahrain, a world-class digital enabler, has partnered with Huawei to plant trees as part of the company’s ongoing “Trees for Life” campaign. As part of the collaboration, Huawei will plant 2,000 trees in various locations across the Kingdom. The partnership is a part of stc Bahrain’s commitment to preserve the environment and combat climate change by increasing the number of green spaces in Bahrain, in line with the Kingdom’s vision to double the number of trees by 2035. The campaign also aims to reduce desertification, address increasingly high temperatures and promote environmental awareness and air quality enhancement in Bahrain. stc Bahrain’s “Trees for Life” campaign was launched in 2021, in collaboration with the Supreme Council for Environment and the Ministry of Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture.

Dubai wins 232 bids for business events in 2022, almost twice as many as 2021

Business events are poised to make a vital contribution to Dubai’s economic development and tourism growth, with another exceptional year of successful bids for international conferences, congresses, meetings and incentive travel programmes.Dubai Business Events (DBE), the city’s official convention bureau, part of the Department of Economy and Tourism, said it won 232 bids for business events in 2022, almost twice as many as the previous year.Set to be held over the coming years, the events will bring in an additional 135,000 visitors including scientists, thought-leaders and business executives to Dubai, enhancing the value generated by the business events and tourism ecosystem.DBE collaborated with a range of stakeholders for the successful event bids including Al Safeer Congress Ambassadors and the public and private sector entities they represent, industry partners including Dubai World Trade Centre and Emirates, and hotels and professional congress organisers (PCOs) across the city.Beyond their direct impact, the events, which include flagship conferences and congresses organised by international associations, as well as prestigious corporate meetings held by multinationals, will contribute to Dubai’s growth as a knowledge economy hub.Dubai won bids for a record 57 association conferences in 2022, the highest achieved by DBE.The successful bids are a testament to the organisation’s efforts to raise Dubai’s profile among international associations across a wide range of sectors.The strong performance in 2022 represented a 95 percent growth in the number of successful bids from 2021 and a 92 percent increase in the number of delegates added to the pipeline – all further accelerating the momentum of Dubai’s growth.Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, said: “The remarkable growth in successful event bids contributes to the goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to make the city one of the top three global destinations for tourism and business. Inspired by the Dubai leadership’s economic vision, our goal has not only been to grow the business events sector and drive further visitation to the city, but also to ensure it can feed into the development of key sectors and professions. Dubai’s success in capturing business events in 2022, especially international association conferences, will play a vital role in further propelling innovation, professional development and knowledge exchange in their respective sectors and industries, and elevate Dubai’s standing within them. As we work to further advance the objectives of the D33 agenda for the next decade, the collaborative approach taken with public and private sector entities across the city will be more important than ever before.”“We are grateful to our stakeholders, who have shown a firm commitment to collaborating with us to drive forward Dubai’s business events sector and ensure the city it remains an unrivalled host city. Combined with Dubai’s own home-grown trade shows and conferences, as well as other meetings being brought to the city, the business events sector continues to form an important pillar of Dubai’s destination offering and tourism growth.”The major association events captured in 2022 included the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine WorldLab Congress 2024, International Congress of Endocrinology 2024, World Sports Medicine Congress 2024, World Congress of the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologies 2026, and International Symposium on Dental Hygiene 2028.Meanwhile, the corporate meetings and incentive travel programmes that Dubai won bids for include IBM India and Europe Incentives 2023, Terpel Convention 2023, Envista EMEA Summit 2023 and Mary Kay Mexico Incentive 2024.In addition to the bidding activity, DBE kept Dubai top of mind among meeting planners and association executives through an intense, year-round calendar of almost 200 global sales activities, including study missions, roadshows and participation in major trade shows.Overall, this resulted in Dubai’s business events proposition becoming more familiar to meeting planners in 33 markets globally through face-to-face interactions – all further boosted by marketing and PR activities.Steen Jakobsen, Associate Vice President, Dubai Business Events said: “Engaging with meeting planners globally throughout 2022, we consistently heard that they were impressed with the way in which Dubai’s business events sector rapidly rebounded in the wake of the pandemic and appreciative of the platform the city provided them to safely resume their events. This has built on many years of efforts to consistently develop Dubai’s offerings, across not only the business events sector but also the knowledge economy – and drive awareness of it among meeting planners and association executives. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with our stakeholders in 2023 and leveraging our international partnerships to further elevate Dubai as a destination of choice.”To build on its 2022 successes, DBE is once again embarking on year-round activities in Dubai to further raise the profile of the city’s strengths and capabilities as a business events destination. These include sales missions to key target markets and participation in major trade shows including IBTM World and IMEX.DBE will also join forces with industry stakeholders to host meeting planners in Dubai for a series of study missions that will allow them to see first-hand Dubai’s business events and tourism infrastructure and its rapidly-growing knowledge economy.

Inaugural edition of MENA IPO Summit to begin in Dubai on 23 January

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Development of Financial Markets and Exchanges in Dubai, today said that the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has led to the transformation of Dubai’s financial markets and its emergence as a pivotal global financial hub.Sheikh Maktoum’s remarks were made on the occasion of the city hosting the MENA initial public offering (IPO) Summit, which will be held from 23rd-25th January at the Museum of the Future in Dubai.The inaugural edition of the Summit, jointly organised by the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), will shed light on the strong impetus and promising prospects of the IPOs sector in Dubai.Sheikh Maktoum said: “Last year, Dubai accounted for 40 percent of IPO activity in the Gulf region, representing a value of AED673 billion. Driven by the ambitious goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), Dubai will continue to accelerate its economic growth momentum and consolidate its position as a major international financial centre.”The Summit will gather industry experts who will share first-hand knowledge of the IPO process and the opportunities and challenges of becoming a public company, as well as how to advance ESG agendas.It will also showcase a roadmap for startups and SMEs in Dubai, including expertise around its regulatory environment, business culture and capital opportunities for scaling ventures through to an IPO.MENA IPO Summit will provide a platform for industry-shaping discussions, providing institutional investors, family businesses and startups with the opportunity to explore the latest regulations, best practices, and market trends in the Dubai capital market as well as learning about recent regional IPO success stories.Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with key IPO issuers and thought leaders from the investment and capital market industry.The Summit will spark lively discussion between issuers, investment experts, regulators and companies undergoing strategic preparations for a future listing.

DCDE holds workshop to discuss future trends and best practices in social media

 Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, has organised a high-level workshop for representatives of leading social media companies to discuss the challenges faced by the social media industry and ways to ensure current government policies, initiatives and strategies promote innovation and business friendliness in this critical sector.Held at the Dubai Chambers headquarters, the workshop is the second in a series launched recently by Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy to bring together industry leaders to connect and share insights into current and future trends impacting a specific sector in addition to the various ways of support the Chamber offers to foster partnerships and solutions that drive the private sector's growth in the digital era.In his opening remarks, Ahmed Bin Byat, Vice Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, stressed the Chamber's commitment to supporting forward-thinking businesses and entrepreneurs to fully harness the benefits of social media and all aspects of the growing digital economy."Social media continues to drive global growth by creating new jobs and expanding access to information. This vital sector has not only benefited big business but is also a boon to small and medium enterprises. It can be used as a tool to facilitate open innovation and user collaboration at the different stages of the innovation funnel," said His Excellency.Bin Byat added that the digital industry workshop series are an important platform to maintain two-way communications with members and industry leaders to promote growth and policy innovation in Dubai's social media and digital ecosystem. He said: "Connecting with and hearing from social media executives and decision makers is critical to promoting collaboration and partnerships while identifying best practices for an industry-level social media innovation framework."Attendees at the workshop discussed the importance of hiring skilled and competent professionals, calling for expanding investment in the education system, offering vocational training opportunities for graduates to gain the needed expertise, providing legal support and guidance for companies operating in this field, creating more digital training opportunities, and enhancing access to financing and to data from the sector.The UAE has the world’s highest social media utilization rate relative to its population, according to the “UAE Digital Lifestyle Report 2022”.The study — issued by the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority — suggests the country has a usage rate of 106 per cent and is the only place in the world to top 100 per cent. UAE residents, on average, spend a longer time on social media daily than any other users on the planet who are on social media, which online consumer data firm Statista estimates at 147 minutes a day.The digital lifestyle report suggest UAE citizens spend an average of 4.35 hours on social media each day, ranking them 12th globally. They also spend more than 8.3 hours a day online, making them the 10th most active globally. The worldwide average is just under 6.6 hours.

Core named title sponsor of the Formula E 2023 Core Diriyah E-prix

Organisers of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship races in Saudi Arabia today announced exclusive lifestyle company CORE as title sponsor of the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix.The 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix double-header of races take place this weekend, Friday 27 January and Saturday 28 January, and will be the Middle East debut of the GEN3 — the fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient electric race car ever built.As title sponsor, CORE will feature prominently across the 21-turn, 2.495km circuit located within the historic town walls of the UNESCO World Heritage site on the outskirts of the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh. As the only night races on the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship calendar, the CORE Diriyah E-Prix will be illuminated with low-power LED technology.Fans attending the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix will see two iconic motorsport names - McLaren and Maserati - line-up on the Formula E grid in Diriyah for the first time where they will compete with Porsche, Jaguar and Nissan among the 11 teams and 22 drivers in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.The GEN3 is a huge leap in technological development and innovation with engineers at the FIA and Formula E pushing the boundaries of EV development.Capable of a 200mph (322kph) top speed, the GEN3 is 53kg lighter than the GEN2 with a smaller chassis optimised for street racing. An additional front powertrain adds 250kW to the 350kW at the rear, more than doubling the regenerative capacity of the previous GEN2 car to 600kW, with more than 40% of the energy used in-race regenerated under braking.“We’re absolutely delighted to confirm CORE will be the title partner for the up-coming 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix, that will host rounds two and three of Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship,” said Carlo Boutagy, Founder and CEO of CBX, official promoter of the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix. “It’s great to have such a luxury brand partner associated with the race and we can’t wait to see the exciting new, lighter and faster GEN3 cars on-track under the floodlights in Saudi Arabia at this year’s event.”“It’s our great honour to be the title partner for the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix races hosted at the historic town walls of Diriyah at Saudi Arabia capital Riyadh,” said Mohammed Hefni, Group CEO at CORE. “Through this world-class event, CORE continues its commitment in playing a role in the realisation of Vision 2030 by contributing to enhancing the quality of life of individuals and families, creating jobs, diversifying economic activity and raising the status of Saudi Arabian cities to rank among the best cities in the world.”Alberto Longo, Co-Founder & Chief Championship Officer, Formula E, said: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome CORE as the title sponsor of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship event in Saudi Arabia. The 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix is a highlight of our race calendar and together with CORE and our valued local partners, we will welcome a global TV audience for the incredible spectacle of the GEN3 cars night racing for the very first time.”Title partner CORE is a privately-owned Saudi Arabian lifestyle brand with an international reach, operating and investing in a complete range of high-quality lifestyle products and services. Currently operating CORE Social Wellness Clubs, CORE Food & Beverage, CORE Residences & CORE Adventure & Excursions.

LigaData selected by Asiacell to implement new data governance program

 Asiacell has appointed data analytics and AI specialists LigaData to implement a new Data Governance Framework and Data Governance Center of Expertise. Asiacell will benefit from improved data management, data quality, and on-going data monitoring.The strategic partnership will enable more innovative digital services for Asiacell’s 17 million subscribers and significantly improve the organization’s return on investment from existing data infrastructure.This latest investment reinforces Asiacell’s commitment to their vision of empowering Iraq’s society by driving digital transformation to enrich people’s digital lives. By enhancing the organization’s data management infrastructure, customers will experience an even greater service.Hisham Siblini, Asiacell, CTIO, stated: “Asiacell is dedicated to continuously improving the digital services offerings for all our customers. The appointment of LigaData, with their demonstrable enterprise data expertise, will ensure our data governance frameworks and policies are world-class and accelerate our data-driven digital transformation plans.”Darya Nasr, CRO at LigaData, says: “Harnessing the true value of network and customer data is a top priority for Asiacell and is a critical part of their Digital Transformation mission. We’re thrilled to be appointed to deploy our unrivalled telco data governance and data management expertise to improve data quality and create additional value from existing data management infrastructure.”

Samsung Electronics opens new Galaxy experience spaces for unpacked 2023

 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., today announced it will open 29 interactive Galaxy Experience Spaces around the world in locations such as San Francisco, London, Paris, Singapore and Dubai, following the February 1 Galaxy Unpacked event. These venues will allow visitors and fans to see and interact with the newly unveiled devices and innovations. “Introducing innovation is about more than putting another device in customers’ hands,” said Stephanie Choi, EVP & Head of Marketing of Mobile eXperience Business at Samsung Electronics. “It’s about providing them with an open portal into new experiences, everyday connections, and the power to fuel their passions in new ways. That’s why we’re excited to expand the Galaxy Experience Space to provide more people around the world with an in-person, immersive look at all Samsung technology has to offer and our approach to purposeful innovation.”  Share the Epic at the San Francisco Galaxy Experience Space The marquee Galaxy Experience Space is located at 111 Powell Street in San Francisco. Consumers will be able to visit the space and participate in exciting interactive concept exhibits. Each concept will offer a unique experience, whether it’s getting behind the lens of Galaxy’s latest camera system, testing the potential of Galaxy’s connected ecosystem, or learning about Samsung’s efforts towards a sustainable future.When entering the space, visitors will step into Samsung’s 'Everyday Sustainability’ vision and glimpse how Galaxy technologies incorporate eco-conscious practices. Among other immersive exhibits is a chance to explore exciting new camera features – all from a movie director’s chair. Guests can get hands-on with movie set-like displays, and view and enjoy camera settings to create their own shareable content.  Bringing the Galaxy Experience Space to More People Around the WorldSamsung aims to make the Galaxy Experience open and accessible to as many people as possible. In August 2022, we introduced our first live experiences in New York City and London. This year, Samsung is continuing to bring that philosophy to life by introducing five Galaxy Experience Spaces and 24 Samsung stores or pop-ups globally[1]. Galaxy Experience Space venues:•   San Francisco: February 1 – 25 at 111 Powell Street•   London: February 1 – March 12 at Westfield White City•   Paris: February 1 – March 1 at Westfield Les 4 Temps•   Singapore: February 2 – 25 at Gardens by the Bay, West Lawn •   Dubai: February 2 – 28 at Dubai MallGalaxy Experience Space in Samsung stores:•   Bangalore: Samsung Opera House•   Bangkok: Central World•   Brussels: Docks Mall•   Dallas: Stonebriar Mall•   Houston: The Galleria•   Kuala Lumpur: Pavilion•   LA: The Americana At Brand•   London: Samsung KX, Oxford Street, and Westfield Stratford•   Manila: SM Megamall •   Mexico City: Perisur•   New York: Roosevelt Field •   Palo Alto: Stanford Shopping Center•   Shanghai: Samsung Shanghai Experience Center•   Singapore: Vivo City •   Taipei: Breeze Nanshan•   Tokyo: Galaxy Harajuku•   Toronto: Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Toronto Eaton CentreGalaxy Experience Space in Pop-up stores:•   Dusseldorf: Westfield Centro •   Helsinki: Kamppi Mall•   Milano: Il Centro•   Sao Paulo: Eldorado MallVisit Samsung Newsroom or for updates on Galaxy Unpacked 2023.

PowerDMARC and Channel Next expand their operations in UAE

Leading US-based email authentication SaaS provider, PowerDMARC attended the signing-off ceremony with Dubai-based value-creating distributor Channel Next at their headquarters in Dubai. After an incredible 2022, this will further their long-withstanding partnership and accelerate their email authentication efforts in the country.In the UAE, email fraud is a growing concern owning to its reputation of being the global business hub and financial center. Many companies in the UAE rely on email as the primary form of communication, making it an attractive target for cybercriminals. Email authentication protocols like DMARC and MTA-STS can help protect organizations in the UAE from falling victim to these types of attacks by allowing them to verify the identity the sender and ensure that the email is legitimate.The partnership will allow PowerDMARC to leverage Channel Next's extensive network of clients and partners in the region to expand its reach and better protect businesses from the increasing threat of email fraud. The collaboration will also enable Channel Next to offer its customers a powerful, effective solution for preventing email fraud and protection against cyber-attacks with PowerDMARC’s full-stack email authentication suite."We are excited to partner with Channel Next to bring our full suite of email authentication to fight fraud and Business Email Compromise (BEC) in the UAE" said Maitham Al Lawati, CEO of PowerDMARC."Email fraud is a growing threat worldwide, and we are committed to helping businesses in the UAE and Dubai protect themselves and their customers from this type of cyber-crimes” added Belgin Abraham, CEO of Channel Next.The signing-off ceremony took place at Channel Next’s headquarters in Dubai on the 20th of January, 2023.

Cenomi reinforces digital strategy with appointment of new technology leadership

 Cenomi, Saudi Arabia’s largest vertically integrated retail and lifestyle ecosystem, has appointed three new Chief Technology and Information Officers (CTIOs) dedicated to the implementation of world-class digital technology infrastructure. The appointment of three new CTIOs at Cenomi Group, Cenomi Centers and Cenomi Retail, further emphasizes the company’s commitment to adopting best-in-class technology to deliver next generation omnichannel retail and lifestyle experiences.Binoo Joseph joins as CTIO of Cenomi Group, Lijo Kankapadan as CTIO, Cenomi Centers, with Sunil Nair taking on the role of CTIO for Cenomi Retail. The appointments further bolster the company’s continued drive to enable a new era of retail, shopping and entertainment for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, supported by strong, innovative digital and technology infrastructure.The company has ambitious plans to develop and implement a world-class omnichannel presence in Saudi Arabia. The creation of these new roles is further testament to the pace at which the company aims to launch its customer-centric strategy, redefining the retail and lifestyle landscape for consumers across the country. At the heart of this lies the upcoming launch of the Cenomi ecommerce marketplace. The 100-strong team behind is expected to double this year, helping deliver an entirely new online shopping experience for Saudi consumers, with access to some of the world’s most-loved brands, offering in-country fulfillment and delivery services.“A core pillar of success for our organization is the strength and scale of our digital infrastructure and appetite to enable transformation through a digital-first business strategy,” said Mohamad Mourad, CEO and Managing Director, Cenomi Group.Mourad’s own career is steeped in technology, having spent a significant part of his career in technology companies, including in Silicon Valley. “It has always been clear for me that investment in world-class digital infrastructure and technology is a non-negotiable, integral area of focus for Cenomi,” he adds. “It will underpin our journey in 2023 and beyond. Not only through the launch of, but also by providing next-level customer service and experience through a seamless digitized consumer journey. I look forward to working closely with Binoo, Lijo and Sunil to drive this integral part of our business strategy.”Binoo joins Cenomi Group with more than 20 years of multi-national experience as an exceptional technology, product and engineering leader. He has led teams and projects across India, the UK, the US, Europe, China, Singapore and the Middle East. Working with some of the world’s largest and most prominent retail, hospitality and technology companies, including Tesco, Wipro and Damac Properties, and most recently as CTIO of Emaar Group.Lijo, joining Cenomi Centers, has been transforming organizations through digital innovation for more than 25 years. He brings strong expertise in developing new capabilities, enhancing customer experience and developing high-performance teams to deliver holistic digital journeys, most recently as Technology Leader – Business Verticals (Malls, Hospitality & Entertainment) with Emaar Group.Sunil brings close to three decades of experience to his role with Cenomi Retail. As a global digital and technology transformation strategist, Sunil has held diverse strategic and operational leadership roles with multinational organizations. He has expertise across retail, consumer, healthcare, manufacturing and omni channel/ecommerce. He joins Cenomi Retail from his position as Group Chief Information Office with GMG, the leading global well-being retailer and distributor.

Automation in employee expense management is crucial in tough economic times

In a worsening global environment, economies in the Middle East are being impacted by rocketing food and energy prices, according to the International Monetary Fund. This has resulted in businesses and employees both feeling the pinch, leading budgets, expenses, and salaries to become a point of contention within the workplace.Gabriele Indrieri, VP & Managing Director for SAP Concur EMEA South, says that this is evident especially with employers trying to make cutbacks to survive, while employees are looking to increase their salaries as much as possible to cover the rising cost of everyday life. “This workplace tension has led to expense management processes being placed under the spotlight.”For example, he explains that businesses are considering which policies need to be adjusted to account for the current climate and to support employees. “They are also looking at whether reimbursement timelines can be shortened to ensure staff aren’t out of pocket without causing human error.”To help with this process in light of the economic downturn, Indrieri refers to a recent survey conducted by SAP Concur which asked decision-makers what the expense management landscape looked like in their business, including the challenges and their future goals.Below, he outlines how automation is fast-becoming critical to addressing the challenges that have arisen from the cost-of-living crisis.  The necessity of automation “A lot of the current expense processes are long-winded, manual, and stressful. It’s these poor user experiences that have prompted a big appetite for automation,” points out Indrieri. “Currently, half of employees believe automation would simplify their efforts in claiming expenses, and 51% of finance and HR decision-makers similarly agree that they’re relying far too much on manual processes which aren’t suited to hybrid working.” With an automated process, he says that employees can easily upload photos of receipts to a centralised system, without the need for form-filling. “From there, automation can filter claims against company policies before being checked over by staff.” “Beyond making for an easy, intuitive, and fast service, automation has the capability to tackle some of the biggest challenges surrounding current expense management,” Indrieri adds.Firstly, he highlights that new policies can be rolled out quickly across the system which cuts down on training time for employees who would have done this manually. “This is particularly helpful as businesses begin to adapt their expense policies to those suited for the modern-day remote workplace.” “Secondly, automation leaves little room for error in terms of checking expenses against policies. It also means that expenses can be compliance checked at a much faster rate, saving the finance department valuable time to dedicate elsewhere, and ensuring employees are reimbursed quickly,” he notes.Investments with a quick ROI in a tumultuous financial period  Despite the evident benefits of automation for successful expense management, Indrieri points out that it’s not always easy to justify its investment – especially during financially testing times. “Two of the most common barriers to implementing automation within finance teams is a lack of buy-in from key stakeholders and a lack of perceived value for money,” he explains. “Understandably, key stakeholders are hesitant to spend money when their focus is on tightening the purse strings. In addition, if employees don’t realise the full benefits of automation, they’re unlikely to invest time in learning how to use it or understand the advantages it could bring.”Indrieri says that the first action businesses should take when considering implementing automation is not the investment itself, but education. “It’s all about ensuring everyone in the business understands that great employee expense management bolstered by automation can enable compliance, employee satisfaction, and efficient, cost-effective expense processing.”“If leaders can communicate these advantages, they will be in a much stronger position to gain support in using automation. This will shape the expense management needed to operate successfully in today’s volatile business environment, bringing further long-term benefits with it,” he concludes.

Dubai 2nd best city in the world for expats

 In the Expat City Ranking 2022, by InterNations, the top 3 destinations — Valencia, Dubai, and Mexico City — all do very well when it comes to the ease of settling in.In the ranking of cities, the second position went to Dubai. Most expatriates indicated that it is easy to deal with local authorities and that they are happy with the government services made available online by the city. Additionally, 70% said they are satisfied with their jobs and believe the local business culture encourages creativity. Valencia, in Spain, topped the list.Dubai comes first worldwide in the Expat Essentials Index and its Admin Topics Subcategory. Expats report that it is easy to deal with the local authorities (66% vs. 40% globally), and 88% are happy with the availability of government services online (vs. 61% globally). However, 18% are unhappy with the access they have to online services (vs. 7% globally).In the Ease of Settling In Index, Dubai comes 8th; expats are happy with their social life (68% happy vs. 56% globally) and feel welcome in Dubai (81% vs. 66% globally) — and the Quality of Life Index (6th) are two more highlights. Nearly all expats (95%) are satisfied with the infrastructure for cars (vs. 75% globally), and they rank both the culture and nightlife (5th) and the culinary variety and dining options (3rd) highly.Dubai comes sixth in the Working Abroad Index. Expats are happy with their job (70% happy vs. 64% globally) and report that the local business culture encourages creativity (78% vs. 51% globally).The Expart Insider survey listed which were the best countries and cities for expatriates to live and work in 2022. The study has been carried out annually, since 2017, by the company InterNations. In the 2022 survey, indices related to the quality of life and satisfaction of approximately 12,000 expatriates from 177 nationalities were evaluated.

Racing defeat Boca to win Argentine Super Cup in UAE

 Racing Club defeated Boca Juniors 2-1 to win the Argentine Super Cup on Friday at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, after coming from behind. Gonzalo Piovi converted the winning penalty in the 98th minute.In the 17th minute, Facundo Roncaglia gave Boca, the defending champions of the Argentine league, the lead. However, Racing's Johan Carbonero drew even three minutes later, and the score remained level well into stoppage time.It's the first time the Argentine Super Cup was played outside Argentina. Boca Juniors was crowned league champion in October while Racing Club won the Champions Cup in November.The Argentine Football Association and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) signed a four-year partnership in June 2022 to have a series of football events between both countries.

AD Gaming partners with AA Meta

AD Gaming, the entity driving Abu Dhabi’s fast-growing gaming industry, has signed a partnership agreement with AA Meta, a local Metaverse and Web3 development company, who will deliver cutting-edge Web3 solutions to the emirate’s game development eco-system.AA Meta provides metaverse infrastructure and Web3 technology solutions that enable next-generation gaming. Alongside using this technology for its own projects, AA Meta provides its offering to other gaming businesses as well. Metaverses and blockchain gaming allow gamers to interact in new, community-driven worlds, whilst providing businesses with new payment solutions to power new in-game economic models and innovative ways to deliver immersive experiences to audiences across the world. Based in Abu Dhabi’s purpose-built creative industries campus, Yas Creative Hub, AA Meta is part of a booming community of businesses that span all forms of interactive media and entertainment, including gaming. By partnering with AD Gaming to offer Web3 solutions to Abu Dhabi’s gaming ecosystem, AA Meta is empowering metaverse users as the global gaming industry capitalises on the advanced capabilities of a Web3-based environment.In partnership with AD Gaming, AA Meta aims to grow the local metaverse industry, providing job opportunities for UAE residents looking to forge careers in this expanding sector. The global metaverse industry, of which the MENA region is a leading investor, is expected to generate revenues of USD 966 billion (AED 3.55 trillion) worldwide by 2030.“By providing expert solutions for gaming businesses looking to leverage Web3 technologies, AA Meta is able to fully support the development of a blockchain gaming community in Abu Dhabi. This new avenue of interactive media presents an exciting career path for aspiring gaming industry talent, and for gamers across the world, it offers a new way to play-to-earn in the metaverse,” said Hussain Al Omaeirah, AA Meta Co-founder, Chairman & Managing Director.James Hartt, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Business Development at AD Gaming, added: “Abu Dhabi offers a comprehensive ecosystem for the gaming industry, with AA Meta adding yet another string to our bow. The increased immersion and focus on community-building provided by Web3 technologies makes this an incredibly exciting area for gamers and game developers alike, so we’re proud to be pioneering it in Abu Dhabi.”AA Meta’s platform recently saw the launch of the highly anticipated MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) Thunder Lands. Available on both on PC and Android, Thunder Lands allows gamers to be rewarded for the time they spend playing the game by earning cryptocurrencies through in-game activities.Following the success of Thunder Lands, AA Meta plans to us its expertise in the areas of Game Fi technology and decentralised apps (DApps) to grow its active user base to over 50,000 by Q2 2023. It will achieve this by building out its portfolio through the addition of new, immersive games.During a recent press conference, AA Meta recently announced two other strategic partnerships. The first was with INFTY ART - a community-based marketplace for digital collectibles and gamified loyalty programs for brands, based on the characters Chiko & Roko; and the second was with the CIS based media brand Black Star, which is launching a set of technologies for the tokenization of in-game assets and achievements, combining DeFi technologies and classic gameplay mechanics to build a real economy in Web2 games.

Multilateral collaboration essential to bridging the digital economic divideThe

The Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) today launched the Bridging the Gap Report during the World Economic Forum in Davos, highlighting the critical need for greater international, multilateral cooperation to close the digital divide and ensure all nations can benefit from digital economies.The report draws on an extensive global consultation with experts from multiple sectors and regions, which was undertaken by the DCO as part of its mission to achieve social prosperity and growth of the digital economy by unifying efforts to advance and promote interest in the digital economy. Included in the report is an in-depth look at the challenges facing multiple stakeholders to gain equal opportunities in the digital economy, and a review of some of the initiatives that will help to bridge the digital divide.HE Deemah AlYahya, DCO Secretary-General, commented on the report: “Over the past two decades, the digital economy has grown at an unprecedented rate to become the backbone of our societies and an essential part of achieving sustainable development. With the abundance of opportunities, however, the digital economy also brings formidable challenges, and it is critical to realize that these challenges can’t be addressed by any one nation or private entity alone. Only through multilateral and multi-stakeholder cooperation can we address the challenges, make the most of the opportunities, and create a more inclusive and effective digital economy.“The Bridging the Gap Report was commissioned by the DCO to highlight how cooperation among all stakeholders in the public and private sector, enterprises and SMEs, civil society and academia will be critical to overcome the challenges of the digital economy including global data flows and privacy, data sovereignty, regulations, markets, innovation, sustainability, and other factors that may hinder future economic growth,” AlYahya added.The report was compiled from a diverse range of original research and conversations, including a unique series of five round tables in five cities - Bangkok, Brussels, Kigali, New York, and Santiago – on five continents, which brought together over 300 experts in development and technology to discuss the digital divide. A new survey of 1,000 businesses and consumers from 12 countries was conducted, as well as interviews with 37 digital economy experts and knowledge reviews of existing publications.The Bridging the Gap report examines the barriers to more equitable digital transformation around the world – and how better cooperation can overcome these barriers to ensure more societies can take advantage of the burgeoning digital economy and create better opportunities for employment. The World Bank estimates that raising internet penetration to 75% in the developing world would increase global GDP by $2 trillion and create 140 million jobs around the world. Over half of the respondents in the proprietary survey of 750 people in 12 countries around the world agreed that better access to digital technologies would help them find higher-paying jobs or start their own businesses.The report also sheds light on the multiple bottlenecks to be overcome for the equitable and sustainable development of the digital economy. Existing issues such as lack of investment, access to capital, and regulation, lack of internet access and adoption, and lack of technology skills, are some of the main challenges to digital inclusion, all of which will be crucial to solve for nations to be empowered and drive their own digital economies.“Bridging the Digital Gap is intended to be a valuable information resource on the digital economy to guide our member nations as they develop their own digital economies. In addition to information, advocacy, and advisory services for member states, DCO is committed to building a more inclusive digital economy through effective multilateral cooperation to co-create and co-design impact-driven initiatives. We are calling on all stakeholders to come together and collaborate to create a digital economy that works for everyone, everywhere,” said HE Deemah AlYahya.The DCO Bridging the Gap report is available to download from the following link:

AI based Super Computing trials during World Cup by Qatar based Spectre

Spectre LLC setup in Doha, Qatar in 2021 has been pushing the boundaries of Artificial Intelligence [AI] and High-Performance computing [HPC] for SME’s in the region.‘AI and Machine Language [ML] based service was developed on the website and on twitter and Whatsapp channels to assist fans with their questions like best route to the next match?, best way to next match?, nearest food place on the way to stadium, taxi or metro close for fastest way to reach stadium, nearest fan festival village, etc. were among the many thousands of queries fans posted on live during the world cup and we used this queries posted on twitter and on our website as data which was processed in milli seconds and gave response to around 30,000 fans, ’ said, Spokesperson of the company. ‘Many of the customers continued to use the service until the final whistle and for SPECTRE System which has built Super Computing as a Service [SCAAS] this was a moment of recognition and learning that future events would need AI based services to provide real time feedback to many complicated queries from fans and general public’.‘Super Computing can make a real difference in scenarios which needs fast real time processing of large data which can be posted as complicated queries like how best to reach a particular location after a match or best transport route to take to the next batch with restaurants on the way or to grab.’ added Christudas Dai, Investor and main backer of the company. ‘To answer this kind of queries you need access to many inputs and then only can process and provide a clear response. Since we were doing a trial run we used internet usage with location based data as source for crowd and data available from Google maps, Waze, uber and metro websites for transport data inputs. Google maps API has really helped to provide response for queries related to nearest restaurants, burger, shawarma shop, fan village, hotel etc.’ added.SPECTRE Systems's Super Computing is a cloud based end-to-end solution for High Performance Computing that makes it easier and faster for customers to deploy HPC. SPECTRE LLC has its office in Doha, Qatar and more information is available at

DOCT– Abu Dhabi & NBA announce expansion of Jr. NBA League in the UAE

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced the launch of the expanded second season of the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League, featuring boys and girls leagues each comprised of 450 players, aged 11-14 from schools across the UAE capital city. The leagues will begin January 21 and culminate with the second annual Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League Finals on Sunday, March 12.The program tipped off with a draft event hosted by DCT Abu Dhabi and the NBA on Saturday, January 14 at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus’s three-court facility. The 60 participating youth teams (30 boys teams and 30 girls teams) were assigned an NBA team for the season, received corresponding NBA team-branded jerseys and participated in basketball development clinics, skills challenges and contests. DCT Abu Dhabi Chairman, HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, NBA Europe and Middle East Managing Director Ralph Rivera, seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady and 10-year NBA veteran Luis Scola attended the event and interacted with the youth players. The Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League expanded from 30 teams in its inaugural season in March 2022 to 60 teams for the upcoming season. The program is part of a groundbreaking multiyear partnership between the NBA and DCT Abu Dhabi that saw Abu Dhabi host the first-ever preseason NBA games in the Arabian Gulf in October 2022. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi said: “Abu Dhabi is contributing to the growth of global youth basketball as we inspire our youth to get active and enrich their lives with respect, teamwork and values of the game. It is a joy to witness the grassroots passion and excitement among our youth players that can only fuel more interest in sports and pave the way for a new generation of home-grown sporting talent, inspired by junior NBA and the many sports initiatives across Abu Dhabi.”“We are thrilled to expand the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League in partnership with DCT Abu Dhabi to provide more Emirati youth with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals and core values of the game,” said Rivera. “Interest from local schools has been phenomenal, so we are encouraged that the program has already doubled in size and will only continue to grow and provide youth players and coaches with greater access to the sport.”“It was so much fun to engage with the youth teams taking part in the second Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League and witness their excitement for the upcoming season,” said McGrady. “Basketball is a global sport that transcends countries and cultures, and I’m thankful to have played a role in helping grow the game here in Abu Dhabi.”McGrady, a 15-year NBA veteran who retired from the league in 2013, is a seven-time NBA All-Star, seven-time All-NBA selection, two-time NBA scoring champion, winner of the NBA Most Improved Player award in 2001 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017. Scola, a native of Argentina, currently serves as the CEO of Italian Lega Basket Serie A team Pallacanestro Varese. He signed with the Houston Rockets in 2007 and was voted to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, before going on to play for the Phoenix Suns, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets over his decade-long NBA career.The Jr. NBA is the league’s global youth basketball programme for boys and girls, teaching the fundamental skills and core values of the game – teamwork, respect, determination and community – at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents. The Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League aims to promote the values of the game and encourage youth to lead an active and healthy lifestyle through participation in sport. During the 2022-23 season, the Jr. NBA will run 111 leagues in Europe and the Middle East that will collectively reach nearly 50,000 youth in 28 countries.The partnership also sees DCT Abu Dhabi, under “Experience Abu Dhabi,” the tourism promotion initiative of the UAE’s capital, serve as the Official Tourism Destination Partner of the NBA in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and China.

HRH the Crown Prince launches Events Investment Fund

Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince, Prime Minister and Chairman of the Events Investment Fund (EIF), has announced the launch of EIF, a fund that aims to develop a sustainable infrastructure for the culture, tourism, entertainment and sports sectors across the Kingdom. The fund also aims to create strategic partnerships to boost local industry, increase foreign investment and contribute to Vision 2030’s aim of a vibrant society.EIF will conceptualize, finance and oversee development of more than 35 venues by 2030. The aim of EIF is to position the Kingdom as the global hub in these various event sectors, to provide world-class sustainable infrastructure for the delivery of an ambitious national events calendar and to create sustainable financial returns to support the Kingdom’s economic diversification efforts. EIF assets include indoor arenas, art galleries, theaters and conference centers, horse-racing tracks, auto racing tracks and other event facilities across the Kingdom, with the aim of delivering its first asset by 2023.Aligned with the Kingdom’s sustainability agenda, the fund is committed to upholding the highest environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. EIF’s strategy is focused on three main pillars, which include enhancing its environment, invigorating societies and maintaining strong governance.The Events Investment Fund is committed to attracting foreign investment and maintaining financial standards aimed at strengthening its investment portfolio and achieving sustainable growth in both returns and assets. EIF is also contributing to Vision 2030 with respect to diversifying the economy and increasing its share of non-oil GDP, as well as supporting the contribution of the tourism sector to annual GDP, from its current rate of 3 per cent to more than 10 per cent by 2030.Additionally, EIF will support the transformation of the Kingdom into a global tourist destination, attracting more than 100 million visitors by 2030 and making it one of the world’s most visited countries. This is aligned with the Kingdom’s quality of life program, which aims to improve the quality of life for individuals and families by developing the necessary sustainable venues. The fund will focus on developing and increasing direct foreign investment opportunities for a GDP impact of SAR28 billion by 2045. The focus will be on nurturing partnerships between the private and public sectors, securing a supportive environment for strategic partnership in the events industry and increasing the number of job opportunities for citizens.The Events Investment Fund’s vision is aligned with the National Development Fund’s strategy, launched by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, and aims to make the fund a pivotal enabler for the economic and social objectives of Vision 2030; overcoming existing development challenges in line with global best practices and stimulating a threefold increase in the private sector's impact on the Kingdom's economy by 2030.

Lime launches latest Gen4 e-bikes & e-scooters in Doha, as part of ME expansion

 Lime - the world’s largest shared electric vehicle company - has announced the launch of its industry-leading rental Gen4 e-scooters and e-bikes in Doha this week. It marks the company’s official launch in Qatar and will see Lime providing residents and visitors of Doha with convenient and carbon-free transport options to get around the city as it looks to reduce traffic. Both Lime’s Gen4 e-scooters and Gen4 e-bikes will be available to hire via the Lime app. As part of its commitment to providing the best and most responsible service possible to all riders in the city, an ‘end trip photo’ of the parked vehicle once the rider’s journey has ended will be required to ensure responsible parking. Lime’s launch in Qatar is the latest in a series of new city launches in the Middle East, with the city also recently launching in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It is part of the company’s commitment to growing its services in the Middle East region more broadly. The launch of Lime’s latest vehicles put Qatar on par with other global metropolises like New York, Paris, and London. Speaking about the launch, Mohamed Abouhussein, Regional General Manager for Middle East and Africa at Lime, said: “We are delighted to launch in Doha. Transportation systems all over the world are encouraging more people out of cars and onto sustainable options as a key way to tackle the climate crisis and reduce congestion. Building cities that look different from today - and most importantly are shared, affordable and carbon free - is core to our mission. “Our industry-leading Gen4 vehicles are firm favorites among riders globally, and will offer safe and sustainable ways to travel around Doha. We can’t wait to get started and to continue our expansion across the Middle East.”Highlights of the Gen4 e-scooter includes:Swept back handlebars, a first for shared e-scooters and reminiscent of bike handles, allowing for more a comfortable grip. Dual hand brake system to make slowing and stopping easier and more immediate when needed.Lowered baseboard to optimize the center of gravity on the scooter and make getting on and off easier. New kickstand with two legs to help avoid scooters from being tipped over when parked, which can help to reduce clutter on sidewalks. Enhanced suspension and larger wheels mean a smoother ride over cracks, warped pavement and anything else the cityscape can throw at you.Highlights of the Gen4 e-bike includes: Increased motor power to help riders easily climb hills and restart their ride when stopped/stationary at red traffic lights or pedestrian crossingsA new phone holder, allowing riders to easily navigate and follow directions without having to stop and look at their phones An automatic two-speed transmission that eliminates the prior generation’s gears for easier acceleration and smoother ridingA modular design, extending the usable life to 5+ yearsInterchangeable battery, which means its e-bike batteries will now be shared and swappable with Lime’s e-scooters. Previously, Lime’s vehicles had two different batteries

Hybribio returns to Medlab Middle East 2023

Medlab Middle East 2023 will be held at the World Trade Centre, Dubai, UAE from February 6 to 9. As one of the most well-known and professional exhibitions of trade platforms for the field of medical laboratory equipment and medical equipment, this expo draws more than 700 exhibitors from over 40 countries, with an exhibition space of over 45,000 square meters.Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hybribio (300639.SZ) was absent from Medlab Middle East for the last three years. This year, Hybribio returns to the Medlab Middle East with varieties of cutting-edge in-vitro diagnostic products and latest nucleic acid molecular testing solutions, covering HPV, STD, thalassemia, methylation (cervical cancer, bladder cancer, colorectal cancer) etc. In addition, four new self-developed, state-of-the-art instruments will also be unveiled for the first time, namely Automatic Sample Transfer Processing System (HBPS-4TA), Fully Automated Sample Preparation Liquid Handling System (HB-IEX96A), Fully Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction System AutoPrep96 (HBNP-9601A), and Automatic Liquid Handling Workstation (HBLH-9600A). To PCR laboratories, these automatic instruments can enhance laboratory efficiency by reducing human errors. Over the past three years, Hybribio (300639.SZ) has contributed enormously to the prevention and control of the pandemic in China. Hybribio successfully developed COVID-19 Real-time PCR Kit in the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. By 2023, Hybribio medical laboratories have provided approximately 900 million COVID-19 nucleic acid tests nationwide. Apart from combating the SARS-CoV-2, Hybribio's Monkeypox Virus Real-time PCR Kit provides an effective solution when WHO declared monkeypox outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in 2022. In October 2022, construction of the Hybribio Medical Science Park commenced, marking Hybribio's ambition of building a nucleic acid whole industry.Hybribio (300639.SZ) looks forward to meeting you at the Medlab Middle East 2023 and sincerely invites you to visit our booth to explore the future of nucleic acid testing!

StoneX Group Inc. joins the iFX EXPO Dubai 2023

From January 16th to 18th, 2023, A Fortune 100 company with a nearly 100-year track record, StoneX Group Inc – that serves more than 50,000 commercial, institutional and payments clients, and more than 370,000 retail accounts, from nearly 80 offices across six continents- will be participating in iFX EXPO Dubai 2023, the world’s first and largest financial business-to-business summit, taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Perceived as one of the most anticipated and influential financial events globally, iFX EXPO Dubai has become an unmissable annual rendezvous for C-Level executives representing the most prominent international firms that operate across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East in various industry fields including Technology & Service Providers, Digital Assets & Blockchain, Retail & Institutional Brokers, Payments, Banks & Liquidity Providers, Affiliates & IBs and Regulation & Compliance.Commenting the company’s participation to the event, StoneX Retail's Regional Director Ritu Singh says: “We’re always looking forward to taking part in the iFX EXPO series across the world, as such events offer us an innovative platform to share our expertise and best practices with other industry experts.”Singh continues: “For StoneX Group Inc., joining iFX EXPO Dubai this year highlights the group’s commitment to expanding its reach and further solidifying its operations in the Middle East, especially in the United Arab Emirates, where it’s currently present through, one of the most dynamic trading companies in the country. The event presents unique networking opportunities with key players and inspiring experts in the industry, while enabling the company’s executives to build strong rapport with potential partners to successfully grow our business locally, regionally and internationally.”

The Ritz-carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach appoints John Halliday

The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, is pleased to announce the appointment of industry veteran John Halliday as Director of Operations. With more than 28 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Halliday will bring a focused, proactive and committed approach to the role, along with a wealth of expertise in working across a host of luxury hotel groups. Halliday has worked across a variety of resorts including Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara and Desert Palm Dubai, as well as across a variety of other luxury hotel and resort brands in UAE, Oman and the UK. In his new role, Halliday will take responsibility of overall operations focused on implementing new initiatives and driving operational excellence.Boasting an impressive career in luxury hospitality management, Halliday prides himself on his leadership skills and his ability to grow and nurture a team, as well as identify and implement business opportunities in order to drive growth.  “We are proud to welcome John Halliday to the role of Director of Operations at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach and seek to benefit from his extensive knowledge of luxury hotel operations. John’s vast array of relevant experience and committed approach will strengthen the hotel team and bring fresh direction and innovation as we welcome in a new year.” said Tracey Oliver, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach.

MEBAL returns to the 2023 chapter of the international design trade fair

This January, Middle Eastern modern interior brand, aura Living, announces its participation for the second time in the 2023 chapter of the French international design trade fair, Maison et Objet, taking place from the 19th to the 23rd of January, 2023 at Paris Nord Villepinte exhibition center. Showcasing more than 700 brands and hosting over 38 industry-led conferences, this year’s edition of Maison et Objet is set to create an invaluable experience for guests, partners, and brands that not only sparks inspiration but forges meaningful connections across the design and furniture industry.Exclusively for this year’s version of the fair, aura presents brand-new, unique pieces from its not-yet-seen collection. Created to suit a broad range of tastes and preferences, the range of on-trend furniture displayed includes signature pieces such as the brand’s Croix chair and Bubble Bench seat in sleek new colours. Also taking centre stage at the exhibit is the newly-introduced Dina gaming table in striking black and gold - a signature aura best-seller, perfect for game nights with friends and family.The exhibition space will also land a spotlight on aura’s signature Bubble collection in its modern curved shape and soft, textured accent boucle fabric, providing a quirky yet sophisticated feel to the surroundings. The brand’s exquisite dining furniture ranges including the Helene, Ember, and Simona dining chairs as well as the distinguished Qudra dining table will also be on show.Miles Young, Managing Director at Al Hala Group, aura Living’s parent company, mentioned that aura’s participation in Maison et Objet for the second time underpins the brand’s reputation as an industry leader in the interior decor space.“Following the brand’s incredible success at the 2022 version of the renowned fair, it was natural for aura Living to return to this year’s exhibition. The impressive responses we’ve received from regional and international customers have been a tremendous encouragement for the brand, reinforcing its mission to make modern living interior solutions accessible to more consumers across markets globally.” he explained.Since its inception in 2011, aura Living’s promise has been to continuously blend cultural taste with the best of global design, showcasing innovation, and delighting discerning consumers of exquisite on-trend living across the globe. The brand is also set to launch its e-commerce platform later this year.Brand profile @auraliving_ae / @auraliving.

CNN Business Arabic goes live

CNN Business Arabic has launched as a digital business platform delivering global and regional economic, business, and finance news, facts and analysis for Arabic speakers around the globe.In addition to covering breaking news about key markets and industry sectors, CNN Business Arabic will offer daily, weekly and monthly shows to engage audiences, along with insightful podcasts, and exclusive interviews with both Arab and non-Arabic-speaking business leaders and influencers. Aimed not only at the business-savvy, CNN Business Arabic will provide content that unpacks and explains news in a clear and digestible way. Launch content includes a nine-part multimedia series featuring interviews, explainers and interactive infographics to address major global themes, including the interconnected crisis of climate, food and energy, the risk of a global recession and the digital future.CNN Business Arabic is operated by International Media Investments (IMI) through a partnership with CNN International Commercial (CNNIC), combining the digital knowledge within IMI and the brand recognition and newsgathering capabilities of CNN. Ahead of the launch, CNN has worked closely with CNN Business Arabic to prepare infrastructure and provide training and consultancy in areas such as content production and newsroom standards and practices.The editorial team, led by Editor-in-Chief Maher Chmaytelli, is experienced in working across the MENA region, and will also draw upon CNN’s network of journalists and presenters for global insight and perspective. Content will be delivered across a CNN Business Arabic App, website and social media channels, in a number of innovative, visual, data-driven formats.Phil Nelson, Chief Operating Officer, CNN International Commercial, said: “CNN Business Arabic is a new, complementary offering to both CNN’s business output and our engagement with Arabic speakers worldwide through our existing CNN Arabic platform. We wish IMI every success in this venture, and look forward to working with the team to bring a fresh approach to how Arabic audiences can access business news and information across a range of digital platforms.”Maher Chmaytelli, Editor-in-Chief of CNN Business Arabic, commented: “This is an incredibly exciting moment for us, and we are dedicated to providing high quality content that inspires and empowers Arabic speakers around the world, making CNN Business Arabic the go-to business news platform.”

Batelco rated best customer experience in Bahrain

Batelco, part of the Beyon Group, has achieved the highest scores according to the Bahrain Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) Consumer Experience Report for 2022. The report, which is the TRA’s first annual satisfaction comparison report, measures consumer and corporate customers satisfaction levels, with their Mobile, Broadband and Fixed provider. For consumer Mobile services, Batelco achieved the highest scores in 9 out of 15 areas of satisfaction including overall satisfaction, network and voice quality experience, speed of mobile Internet, data quality experience and both outdoor & indoor network experience.Batelco was also ranked as the best performing Broadband network operator by Bahrain’s consumers, scoring ‘delighted’ across 10 out of 13 areas, including overall satisfaction, service network experience, and connection speed.(The table above shows the top-scoring broadband network providers as per the TRA Consumer Experience Report 2022)For corporate customers, Batelco was also ranked as the top-performing mobile network operator scoring the highest in areas that include overall satisfaction, overall service experience, network coverage, and voice quality experience.Commenting on this achievement, Batelco Chief Operating Officer, Maitham Abdulla said, “We are proud to have received these high rankings in the Bahrain TRA’s Consumer Experience Report based on our services and delivery to both consumers and corporate customers.”“We greatly appreciate the trust our customers place in us and thank them for their loyalty to Batelco. We are committed to continuing with our efforts to exceed our customers’ expectations though the delivery of exceptional experiences that differentiates us from our competitors.”The report is in line with the TRA's goals to ensure consumer transparency and is aimed at helping customers to make informed decisions when choosing the provider that best suits their needs. By comparing the performance of Bahrain's telecom providers from the consumers' perspective, the report allows customers to look beyond price and consider such areas as service experience, complaints handling and shop experience.

DFSA’s Business Plan for 2023-24

The Chairman of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), Fadel Al Ali, today announced the publication of the DFSA’s Business Plan for 2023-24. The Business Plan has been developed to foster an enabling environment for firms as Dubai and the UAE continue to grow its reputation as a well-regulated and forward-thinking financial services hub.Encapsulated within four strategic themes, the new two-year plan outlines an ambitious roadmap to meet the DFSA’s statutory objectives for the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) including establishing and maintaining the DIFC’s reputation as a leading global financial centre.Fadel Al Ali, Chairman of the DFSA said, “The DFSA’s 2023-2024 Business Plan builds upon our commitment to international standards, high quality regulation and best practices to foster an enabling environment to support the DIFC’s continued growth and that of Dubai and UAE economies. The nation’s leadership continues to demonstrate a future-focused vision for the prosperity of the country and this clarity of vision and purpose continues to guide our role and understanding of the part we play as the DFSA moves towards its 20th anniversary.”As part of the Business Plan, the DFSA will be pursuing several key projects that cut across multiple strategic themes. The DFSA will further enhance its policy framework through the implementation of international standards, ongoing development of its support for trading venues and markets and strengthening its regime for the protection of client assets to maintain the integrity of the DIFC financial services industry.Fighting financial crime remains a key priority for the DFSA as it continues to support the federal authorities to implement the recommendations arising from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Mutual Evaluation of the UAE in 2020.The DFSA will remain actively engaged with the regulated community as well as its peer regulators locally, regionally and internationally. To strengthen the global response required to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, the DFSA will work at a national level to deliver approaches on corporate governance, disclosure and taxonomy and continue to work with DIFC firms to improve engagement and understanding of ESG issues.The DFSA will strengthen utilisation of technology to address regulatory obligations and challenges, as well as to enable development and use of new technology by the regulated community within the DIFC. In addition, the DFSA will continue to update the broader regulatory regime within the DIFC so that it addresses market developments – both risks and innovations - and remains in line with its vision to be an internationally respected regulator, leading the development of financial services through strong and fair regulation.“High quality regulation and supervision, as well as increasing our use of technology and automation will allow us to align further with the visions of Dubai and the UAE. The themes in this Business Plan reflect the context in which we operate: the continuing evolution of the DIFC as a financial centre and the DFSA as a regulator, placing continuing reliance on international standards as the basis of our approach. The population of the Centre continues to grow, as does the depth and breadth of activities conducted. This continues to demand a finely tuned risk-based approach to regulation, to maintain the integrity of the DIFC financial services industry, while also continuing our efforts to facilitate innovation in the industry,” Fadel Al Ali added.Internal capabilities will play a key role in achieving all the projects under the business plan and setting the foundation for further developments.The DFSA’s Business Plan for 2023 - 2024 can be viewed at:

Waha Capital appoints Mark Benn as Chief Financial Officer

Waha Capital PJSC, an Abu Dhabi-listed investment management company, has appointed Mark Benn as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Mr. Benn joined the company from Safanad, a Dubai and New York-based private equity firm.Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, Chairman of Waha Capital, said: “We are pleased to welcome Mark Benn to Waha Capital as the new Chief Financial Officer. Mark brings a wealth of financial expertise to the Company and I am confident that he will add immense value to the growth and success of Waha Capital. I look forward to working with Mark and the rest of the management team to achieve our strategic goals for 2023.”Having joined Safanad at its inception in 2008, Mr. Benn played a key role in its strategy development, capital raising and asset management operations, serving as CFO for over a decade. Mr. Benn previously held senior executive roles in Europe and is a chartered accountant, having qualified with Deloitte.

Bentley Motors appoints new Mulliner and Motorsport Director in Bespoke division

Bentley Motors today announced the appointment of Ansar Ali as the new Mulliner and Motorsport Director, reporting directly to Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and CEO. Ali will lead the reorganised Mulliner division as customer personalisation reaches record levels of demand. Ali, who has a 30-year career in the automotive industry, joins from McLaren Special Vehicle Operations where he was Managing Director. Before this, Ali held senior management roles at Ford, Lotus, Caterham and co-founded Zenos Cars.    Ali’s dual responsibilities at Bentley cover Motorsport activities, working closely with the GT3 race teams currently competing, and a focus on Bentley’s personal commissioning division, Mulliner, the oldest coachbuilder in the world and now with three distinct classifications; Classics, Collections and Coachbuilt. Commenting on Ali’s appointment, Adrian Hallmark said:                         “Mulliner represents the very pinnacle of automotive design and expertise, and Ansar joins at a time when we are experiencing record levels of demand across our features, collections, coachbuilt and classics possibilities. Ansar’s considerable industry experience, particularly leading low-volume, highly bespoke customer-led divisions will offer valuable insights that will reinforce Mulliner as the leading personal commissioning division and generate significant contributions to the wider Bentley business.”Ali will lead a reorganised Mulliner bespoke division in which Paul Williams becomes Chief Technical Officer, having held a number of senior positions in a 15-year career at Bentley, and Bob Martin, formerly Head of Final Assembly at Bentley, becomes Chief Operating Officer. All positions are effective immediately.Mulliner has been building bespoke bodies and cabins since 1923 and today handcrafts exquisite, personalised cars that epitomise luxury, performance, exclusivity and individuality. Mulliner’s portfolio includes coachbuilt cars such as the Batur, heritage limited editions including the Blower, and a wide variety of stunning and unique customer projects.          The high level of customer demand for bespoke services, reaching record numbers in 2022, helped push Bentley to its third consecutive record sales year, announcing last week a sales success of 15,174 in 2022, a four per cent increase on 2021.

Robodog joins Museum of the Future’s growing robot community

Museum of the Future introduces a four-legged robotic canine as the latest member of the museum’s growing family of advanced robots. The agile robodog, which has 3D vision and moves using 17 joints, will join Ameca, the museum’s AI-powered humanoid, along with Bob the robot barista and the museum's flying robots, among several others.The museum’s visitors will be able to interact and play with the new robotic pet. Robodog is an advanced robot that uses machine learning and navigates the terrain with unprecedented mobility for a robot. It will roam the museum lobby greeting and interacting with all those visiting.Majed Al Mansoori, Deputy Executive Director at the Museum of the Future said: “We are excited to welcome the latest addition to our family of intelligent robots. With Ameca, the robodog, and others, the Museum of the Future enables visitors to meet some of the most cutting-edge and advanced robots and AI systems currently on the market. We welcome visitors to come and meet our interactive robots and learn about the technologies that are shaping our future today and tomorrow.”The robodog was designed by US tech firm Boston Dynamics. It uses 360° perception to map terrain and avoid obstacles and can balance on uneven surfaces. The robodog’s base platform provides advanced mobility and perception to navigate stairs, gravel, and rough terrain while collecting 2D and 3D information with on board-sensors.The Museum of the Future is home to a collection of the most advanced technologies and robots in the world which includes but is not limited to Ameca, the AI-powered humanoid robot, Bob, the robot barista, a robotic flying penguin, and a flying jellyfish, among many others.The Museum of the Future is inviting people on social media to name the robodog. Individuals can suggest names via the museum’s social media handles: including Twitter, Instagram handles