APM Terminals Bahrain announces the departure of Managing Director

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

Siemens appoints Jamie Hoyzer as CEO in Oman

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

Capital Bank of Jordan launches revamped mobile banking experience

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

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

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

UAE FMA inks partnership agreement with ICMA

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

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

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

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

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

WBD ups the content game in MENA

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

Fatafeat launches new cooking gameshow Escape Kitchen

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

Dubai Financial Services Authority signs an MoU with The Bangladesh Securities

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

Dubai records over AED2.7 bn in realty transactions Thursday

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

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

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

SCDTA: Sharjah tourism sector performance during first half of 2022

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

Phoenix Technology eyes global expansion and announces an investment of $300mln

Phoenix Technology, one of the leading cryptocurrency mining hardware retailers, is eyeing global expansion in 2023 - after achieving unprecedented success in 2021/2022.The company behind the installation of the largest mining farm in the Middle East is spreading its roots beyond the region. The team is developing a large-scale site in the US that will be ready in Q2 of 2023 and will utilize advanced technologies, such as immersive cooling.In August 2022, Phoenix Technology welcomed its new CEO, Carl Agren. He has over 20 years of technical management in the IT and now crypto industries. Agren has served previously as the company’s Chief Operating Officer.Munaf Ali, the Group CEO and Co-Founder commented "We are delighted with Carl's new appointment, having proven himself as COO, we look forward to Carl's contribution to execute our future plans and strategy. Having a background in Technology and Data-centres, we see Carl as the ideal person to drive forward our global expansion plans for new mining sites and crypto initiatives."Building on this success, Phoenix Technology has entered into a strategic partnership agreement with MicroBT - a technology company based on blockchain and artificial intelligence, focusing on integrated circuit chips, products, and technical services - making it the exclusive sales partner of WhatsMiner in the region.“I am very excited to embark on this new journey with Phoenix Technology. The company has so much potential, and there is no doubt that we will grow internationally,” said Agren.“Phoenix Technology is aiming to switch from a regional player in the mining space to a global one. In other words, developing, maintaining, and operating sites all around the world. We have been currently focusing on the North American markets, mainly the US and Canada. However, we are planning on setting foot in other regions to try to identify opportunities in untapped mining areas,” he added.Agren shared that Phoenix Technology is devoting $300 million to be invested in different sites that are development opportunities, under development, or currently operational.“We are bullish about the overall market situation, and we are looking to invest our capital into diversified opportunities,” he said.Phoenix Technology has been doubling its efforts to expand its operations globally while maintaining its commitment to the environment. As a matter of fact, most of Phoenix Technology’s mining facilities are on hydroelectric grids - the company is always keen on delivering sites that are green powered.Moreover, Phoenix Technology is working closely with local municipalities and a crypto data center cooling business on new technologies - immersive and water-cooling technologies - that will improve energy usage by 20-30%.As part of its expansion plan, Phoenix Technology is also working on several products that will change the mining game and help customers develop their capabilities. Phoenix Technology is also hoping to establish partnerships with other companies that are also pushing the boundaries of mining, such as gas flaring, to bring more technologically advanced solutions to the local market and globally.

OX Cinemas set to screen Coldplay live concert

OX Cinemas is all set for the screening of Coldplay’s “Music of the Spheres” world tour live from Buenos Aires, across its cinemas in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt and Lebanon. The screening will take place on 29 October.There will be a guest appearance by Jin, a member of the popular Korean band BTS.The event will have lights, lasers, fireworks and cinematography directed by acclaimed BAFTA-winning and Grammy-nominated director Paul Dugdale.The event will showcase Coldplay hits being played through the night and will also feature Jin’s first-ever live performance of the new track “The Astronaut” co-written by Coldplay.The “Music of the Spheres” world tour kicked off earlier this year in March.Coldplay members Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Phil Harvey and Will Champion are set to end their six-month world tour with a live broadcast from Buenos Aires.

Qatar's beIN Sports announces Saudi firm as it's advertising partner

beIN, the Qatar-based sports broadcaster that was banned in Saudi Arabia until last year, announced a Saudi firm as its advertising partner in the Middle East and North Africa.In a statement, beIN said it has signed an agreement with a Riyadh-based media representative company SMC MC for all its channels and also includes coverage of the soccer World Cup.It is said that the deal is about 150 million dollars.BeIN Sports is the official broadcaster of the 2022 soccer World Cup in most countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and also in France.Last year after Saudi Arabia lifted its ban over beIN, a major hindrance was out of the way of the PIF’s takeover of English Premier League soccer club Newcastle United.The Saudi national team is ready to play in the World Cup, which will begin from November 20 in Doha.

7 startups from 4 countries handpicked for SRTI Park’s 3rd edition SAIA program

7 startups from Egypt, India, Poland, and the UAE have been selected for the 3rd Sharjah Advanced Industry Accelerator (SAIA) programme that offers global startups an opportunity to join the SRTI Park ecosystem, embedding them in a thriving ecosystem brimming with possibilities and complete with relevant industry linkages.Announcing this year’s finalists, the Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park (SRTIP) said it was tough to select from the huge number of entries that offered solutions to more sustainable living.This year’s SAIA programme finalists are:REBOOZ (UAE), which has developed a patent-granted hydrogen technology for combustion engine rejuvenation which reduces emissions as per government regulations for a sustainable future.Inovatica AGV (Poland), which produces autonomous forklifts that were developed by two graduates of Lodz University of Technology, Poland.Unitruder (UAE), which creates fully personalized footwear for masses while delivering full benefits of sustainable digital manufacturing using 3D technology.Efika (Egypt) which designs and manufactures solar robots that clean solar plants in a faster and cheaper way.Fuse (UAE), which drives e-mobility by making it accessible to all by retrofitting existing vehicles from petrol to electric.Dreamaerospace (India), which has developed a green propulsion system that provides customized solutions to each peculiar setback, helping make space exploration safer.3DMechX (UAE), which specializes in additive and subtractive manufacturing technology through smart use of 3D printing.Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of the SRTI Park, commented: “We were delighted with the flood of outstanding innovations from different parts of the globe, and we congratulate the selected finalists and all the participants. The seven we selected are just a sample of what startups are capable of doing. The SAIA finalists will benefit from networking opportunities, low-cost office space, funding, professional training and contact with other entrepreneurs. Above that, SAIA has a strong focus on empowering startups and driving inclusive innovation within the advanced industry economy.”Additional to providing the most attractive environment for startups, SRTIP will be holding an Investor Day on November 8, 2022, to showcase the finalists’ innovations to prospective investors and corporates with the goal of providing access to follow-on funding through its investor network.The startups will be engaged in a number of activities to help them advance their innovations to the next level. The mentoring workshops will feed into the entrepreneurial initiatives which in turn will support rapid technology development.The program has developed significant offerings and competencies over the past two cohorts to deliver a value chain of support to its beneficiaries. SAIA will play an important role in helping these fledgling businesses ascertain whether there really is a market for the product or service on offer. SAIA will help validate assumptions quickly and cost effectively, and if needed, help the start-ups pivot to meet a market need. They will also receive assistance to test and launch minimal viable products, so as to solicit early feedback, analyze and correct forecasting of their business's trajectory.SAIA will support and facilitate partnerships and collaborations by leveraging its relationship with industry partners. Mentors and Advisors for the selected startups for this cohort have been drawn from its corporate partners Google, Intel, Amazon AWS, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of Advanced Industry, as well as Sheraa, Ruwad, Shell Energy, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), General Motors, Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), Legal Circle, Kaplan, and more to come.SAIA participants will also be supported by other SRTI Park programs, with the added benefit of having identified suitable development capabilities to enhance and scale their businesses.SRTI Park celebrates these startups that are contributing to the economy through the positive impact their novel innovations have on the quality of life, transforming our communities and strengthening the economy.The SAIA 2022 programme attracted applicants from India, the UAE, Brazil, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Netherlands, Russia, the United States, Bangladesh, Poland, Germany, and a number of Arab countries such as Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, etc.

InMotion, Jaguar Land Rover’s corporate venture capital arm, appoints Mike Smeed

InMotion Ventures (InMotion), the corporate venture capital arm of Jaguar Land Rover, has appointed Mike Smeed as Managing Director, with the fund playing a key part in the Company’s recently launched Open Innovation strategy. By collaborating with start-ups, scale-ups and like-minded external organisations, Open Innovation is a fundamental building block of Jaguar Land Rover’s Reimagine strategy to become the creator of the world’s most desirable modern luxury vehicles and experiences for its clients, transforming into an electric-first business, leader in services and technology and carbon net zero company by 2039. InMotion, launched in 2016, has already invested in start-ups across key Open Innovation areas, such as autonomy, connectivity, electrification, sustainability, fintech, and intelligent enterprise.  Providing expertise and resources to founders to help them scale, it backs start-ups across all stages. Previous investments include Circulor, the supply chain visibility platform; By Miles, the usage-based insurance provider; Ascend Elements, a battery recycling company; and Carmoola, the mobile first solution for vehicle finance. Smeed joins from Chery Jaguar Land Rover, a Shanghai-based joint venture between Jaguar Land Rover and Chinese car manufacturer Chery Automobile Co., where he was the Vice President of Finance. He brings a wealth of experience enabling growth in multinational environments and is well versed in managing relationships between large corporations and disruptive high-growth business units.   Commenting on his appointment, Smeed said: “Jaguar Land Rover’s Open Innovation strategy is putting innovation at the heart of the business, bringing new thinking and opportunities, helping accelerate the delivery of the company’s Reimagine strategy. An established Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) arm is key to achieving its objectives. InMotion Ventures has an excellent reputation in the market, with an enviable portfolio today, and this is a fantastic opportunity to lead the fund to further success as we closer align with the business’ transformation plans.” Igor Murakami, Director New Services, Software and Open Innovation for Jaguar Land Rover, welcomed Smeed’s arrival saying: “InMotion is a key component of our global Open Innovation programme to accelerate the delivery of Jaguar Land Rover Reimagine strategy. Under Mike’s leadership the Corporate Venture Capital team will identify and invest in start-ups working in the territories of electrification, connectivity, digital services, intelligent enterprise, sustainability and metaverse that will be critical in creating new value chains for the business.” Smeed, who joins the recent hiring of Sam Nasrolahi as Principal, will oversee InMotion’s continued investment in transformative and disruptive mobility start-ups, maximising opportunities through Open Innovation, and delivering mutual value to InMotion and Jaguar Land Rover.

Talkwalker and Khoros release Social Media Trends 2023 report

Talkwalker, a leading consumer intelligence and deep listening company, and Khoros, an award-winning leader in digital-first customer engagement software and services, today released their annual Social Media Trends 2023 Report. The report follows the announcement of the companies’ strategic partnership to seamlessly deliver deep listening and social media management through a unified experience.The Social Media Trends 2023 Report, titled From insights to action: how to disrupt a disruptive consumer, highlights the social media trends that matter most for brands, marketers, and PR professionals to watch in the coming year. The report leveraged Talkwalker’s social listening and AI-enabled analytics capabilities to uncover the 10 most impactful social media trends to expect in 2023 and demonstrate how consumers are driving these trends. The insights behind each trend are further supported with industry-specific social engagement actions marketers can take from Khoros’s Strategic Services team. The report also features input from industry experts such as Daniel Nuss (Aramex), Anja Petrovski (Volkswagen), Ali Matar (LinkedIn), Tarek Amin (YouTube), and Antoine Caironi (Twitter). Key trends identified in this report include: ???Customer experience will get even more social – 75% of consumers say the pandemic has driven long-term changes in their behaviors and preferences, including a bigger focus on urgency. Brands must prioritize customer experience by providing support, information, or solutions as fast as possible. Daniel Nuss, Marketing Director at Aramex, said the ‘Workflows between customer support agents, social media managers and CX experts need to be 100% defined and adhered to - otherwise unhappy users will pile up and make themselves heard, leading to deteriorating brand perception.’ On the other hand, Anja Petrovski, Marketing and PR Director at Volkswagen ME, commented: ‘[Social media] are a channel where our customers can engage with us as a brand – whether this includes making it easy to book a test drive through chat functionalities, highlighting existing customers through UGC or showcasing the potential lifestyle customers can unlock when they are behind the wheel of a Volkswagen.’ Social media will operate at a new standard – The trend that struck most with the Middle East market is that social media platforms will need to adjust to a new standard, one that fosters trust and reliability with consumers. With the increasing proliferation of fake news, deep fakes, and AI-generated art, the borderline between what’s true and what’s not is becoming increasingly blurred. Ali Matar, Head of LinkedIn EMEA Venture Markets, commented that ‘authenticity has become the differentiating marker in the new age of social communication. Economic uncertainty and huge changes in the world of work have made it necessary for content creators to own their voice and demonstrate a deeper understanding of their audiences in order to build a resilient digital presence.’ Tarek Amin, Director of YouTube in the Middle East & Africa has said that ‘Transparency, which is a core value at Google & YouTube, is integral to our content moderation efforts. Our community demands it, and we see it as an important part of being trustworthy and accountable to them.’ Furthermore, Antoine Caironi, Interim Regional Director at Twitter, added: ‘Twitter has always been home to diverse voices, perspectives and ideas and our purpose is to serve the public conversation. As a result, we continue to invest in our approach and educate audiences on available tools that help tackle platform abuse, misinformation and spammy behaviors.’Brands will place emphasis on communities rather than personas – 66% of branded communities say that their community has led to increased loyalty. Brands will focus on gaining deeper knowledge of their consumer ecosystems to understand who is driving and sharing brand-focused conversations. Commenting on this trend is Janet Machuka, Founder of ATC Digital Academy and a Digital strategist, saying: ‘In 2023, brands will have to rethink strategies to not only build engaging communities but also to actively involve their communities by inviting them to share their experiences about the brand.’“We all know the digital ecosphere has disrupted how marketers engage with consumers,” said David Low, Talkwalker CMO. “In this new environment, marketers must focus on forging symbiotic relationships through a better understanding of online conversations and taking quicker action. It’s this new understanding that will help brands create meaningful experiences and become closer to their consumers.”"As marketers, we know the value of data and the importance of listening to our customers. But, we need to be more action-oriented and use those insights more effectively,” said Dillon Nugent, Khoros CMO. “Consumers’ comfort level for doing things online—shopping, researching, socializing—is not slowing down as the world opens up. They also care more about their communities—global, local, IRL, and online. Marketers need to tap into these trends and behaviors more deeply to personalize customers’ experiences and create more impactful strategies that empower your brand to stay connected to customers and grow your presence in the market.”To read all of the trends brands can expect from social and the actions they should be taking in 2023, download the Social Media Trends 2023 Report here.

Gartner identifies three factors influencing growth in security spending

Three factors influencing growth in security spending are the increase in remote and hybrid work, the transition from virtual private networks (VPNs) to zero trust network access (ZTNA) and the shift to cloud-based delivery models, according to Gartner, Inc.“The pandemic accelerated hybrid work and the shift to the cloud, challenging the CISO to secure an increasingly distributed enterprise,” said Ruggero Contu, senior director analyst at Gartner.“The modern CISO needs to focus on an expanding attack surface created by digital transformation initiatives such as cloud adoption, IT/OT-IoT convergence, remote working and third-party infrastructure integration. Demand for technologies and services such as cloud security, application security, ZTNA, and threat intelligence has been rising to tackle new vulnerabilities and risks arising from this exposure,” he said.Spending on information security and risk management products and services is forecast to grow 11.3% to reach more than $188.3 billion in 2023. Cloud security is the category forecast to have the strongest growth over the next two years. As organizations increase focus on ESG, third-party risk, cybersecurity risk and privacy risk, Gartner forecasts that the integrated risk management (IRM) market will show double-digit growth through 2024, until greater competition results in cheaper solutions.Security services including consulting, hardware support, implementation and outsourced services is the largest category of spending, at almost $72 billion in 2022, and expected to reach $76.5 billion in 2023 (see Table 1).Table 1Remote Work Continues to Drive InvestmentDemand for technologies that enable a secure remote and hybrid work environment will increase beyond 2022. As organizations look to create secure work-from-home environments, they are exploring solutions that offer quick return on investment. As a result, technologies such as web application firewalls (WAF), access management (AM), endpoint protection platform (EPP) and secure web gateway (SWG) will witness short-term demand at least until 2022.The Rise of Zero Trust Network AccessZTNA is the fastest-growing segment in network security, forecast to grow 36% in 2022 and 31% in 2023, driven by the increased demand for zero trust protection for remote workers and organizations’ reducing dependence on VPNs for secure access. As organizations become familiar with ZTNA, there is a growing trend to use it not only for remote working use cases but also for workers in the office.Gartner predicts that by 2025, at least 70% of new remote access deployments will be served predominantly by ZTNA as opposed to VPN services, up from less than 10% at the end of 2021.Shift to Cloud-Based Delivery ModelsDue to multicloud environments, organizations face increased security risks as well as the complexity of operating and managing multiple technologies. This will lead to a push toward cloud security and the market share of cloud-native solutions will grow, according to Gartner.The combined market for cloud access security brokers (CASB) and cloud workload protection platform (CWPP) will grow 26.8% to reach $6.7 billion in 2023. Demand for cloud-based detection and response solutions — such as endpoint detection and response (EDR) and managed detection and response (MDR) — will also increase in the coming years.Gartner clients can learn more in “Forecast Analysis: Information Security and Risk Management, Worldwide” and “Forecast: Information Security and Risk Management, Worldwide, 2020-2026, 3Q22 Update.”Learn about the top priorities for security leaders in 2022 in the complimentary Gartner ebook  2022 Leadership Vision for Security & Risk Management Leaders.

UAE firms keener to invest in the metaverse

Organizations in the UAE are paving the way ahead of their global counterparts in fulfilling their digital transformation ambitions, including investment in IoT, Edge, 5G and intelligent automation. This is according to the latest KPMG UAE Tech Report 2022, which revealed that a majority (93%) of UAE businesses plan to invest in the metaverse, triggered by widespread technology adoption and customer demand.eanwhile, 90% plan to harness the Web3 over the next five years. An encouraging number are also set to embark on these plans within the year (metaverse – 29%) and (Web3 – 24%), which is a higher proportion than global organizations.Growth, efficiency, agility and technology modernization emerged as key enablers of digital transformation. Half of all surveyed organizations in the UAE compared with just 33% of global organizations said that digital transformation is positively impacting their finance function. Fifty percent of UAE organizations also said that their marketing, sales and service functions were benefiting the most from digital transformation, compared with 44% of global organizations.Fady Kassatly, Partner and Head of Digital and Innovation at KPMG, Lower Gulf, said: “Disruptive new technologies have proved to be a catalyst for many organizations as they look to overcome the challenges of the past two years. Unsurprisingly, the UAE has emerged as a torchbearer in enabling digital transformation, with a majority of organizations earnestly exploring investments in technology to transform their business. Our report highlights that the UAE is on the fast-track to growth, with further investments in emerging technologies playing a transformational role in driving businesses ahead in the future.”The report also found that the UAE is still maturing with respect to Data & Analytics, AI & automation compared to the rest of the world, and that despite these developments, the talent gap remains the biggest hurdle in the effective adoption of new technologies in the UAE. Organizations reported that they were operating in a more challenging environment with this talent gap and a risk-averse corporate culture. Cyber security also emerged a major concern for organizations in their cloud journey.Encouragingly, UAE tech leaders are realigning their plans to address these challenges, with clear data strategies, cyber security, and robust controls. Future cyber security investments are also expected to drive changing business models and meet evolving customer expectations.Additionally, three quarters of UAE tech leaders believed their companies were equipped with adequate leadership support and funding to advance their strategy in these areas.

ZEE5 Global and LuLu light up Diwali in Dubai

The traditions and culture that tie South Asians worldwide together are deeply rooted in our festivities, and Diwali- The Festival of Lights, is one such festival that is celebrated globally with sweets, traditional attire and fireworks. To commemorate this joyous occasion and make South Asians feel closer to home, ZEE5 Global, in partnership with LuLu Group International, announced a special celebration in the Middle East, among not only Indians but also local audiences, flying in Bollywood sensation Huma Qureshi to KSA and UAE. ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest OTT service for South Asian content, has constantly been driving synergies with like-minded brands. The platform recently unveiled its partnership with the LuLu Group for their India Utsav celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence Day. Taking the relationship further, they recently unveiled a tremendous Diwali collaboration with LuLu in their malls from Riyadh to Dubai. The platform flew down the charismatic Bollywood diva Huma Qureshi, highly acclaimed for her performances in ZEE5 Global hits like Mithya and Valimai released earlier this year, to Riyadh and Dubai for a meet and greet with the fans across multiple Lulu stores in these regions. Huma Qureshi commented on the partnership, “It was a lovely experience sharing an occasion as wholesome as Diwali with the people of Dubai and Riyadh. It’s always heartwarming to see how deeply connected we are to our roots, no matter which corner of the world we come from. My association with ZEE5 Global has been wonderful - be it with Badlapur, Mithya or Valimai. South Asian voices are getting their due with platforms like ZEE5 Global supporting their craft and helping boost young creative minds.” Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, said, “Diwali is a special festival close to the hearts of all South Asians wherever they may be. With such a large Indian diaspora in the Middle East, this is one of the most popular festivals in the region. We therefore partnered with LuLu to make this an extra-lit Diwali for their customers by giving them a chance to meet and interact with Bollywood star Huma Qureshi, and it was a hugely successful initiative.” ZEE5 Global has had a tremendous year with a bunch of blockbuster releases like RRR, Valimai, Karthikeya 2, Jhund and other hits. With over 4000 movies and one of the most significant collections of content in South Indian languages, the platform occupies pride as the market’s best-loved streaming platform for South Asian entertainment, serving the enormous diaspora population in the region.??Amidst the upcoming festivities, the brand also announced that they would be giving a 1-month free subscription to ZEE5 Global to anyone who purchases above 50 AED/SAR and a 50% discount on a one-year subscription to anyone who spends more than 100 AED/SAR in LuLu stores.

Apple revises crypto currency guidelines

The company announced the updates on its App Store Review Guidelines.As per the new guidelines, users must use Apple’s in-app purchase system to sell NFTs and related services and “may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct consumers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase,” Apple said in a statement.The apps will be allowed to “display, share and browse NFT collections but they are prohibited from exploring other additional features and using their own mechanisms to unlock functionality.”In addition, the company mentioned that it will not allow any cryptocurrency to be used as a form of payment for in-app purchases.Apple has also introduced some updated new guidelines that will prohibit the developers from seeking profits from any recent events such as violent conflicts, riots, terrorist attacks, epidemics, etc.

Mall of the Emirates launches digital concierge service

Mall of the Emirates, based out of UAE, and owned and operated by Majid Al Futtaim, has launched an exclusive and new Digital Concierge service, as part of its vision to lead to the design of an omnichannel experience. Consumers can do shopping of more than 350 luxury designers, home-grown, international brands, through Whatsapp from the comfort of their homes. To get the perfect gift for loved ones, visitors can make use of the Digital Concierge service, apart from enjoying an easy and convenient retail shopping experience. Shoppers can also receive delivery free of cost at their doorstep through a simplified one-to-one Whatsapp conversation, within few hours. Digital Concierge of Mall of the Emirates falls under the several digital retail experiences which are curated from shoppers, besides their conventional shopping experiences. Experiences which are accessible on a mobile device, at home, in-store, are offered by the mall, which is leading the way in omnichannel. The gap between digital platforms and physical stores is bridged by its hybrid model which includes conversational commerce, in order for delivering a simplified shopping experience, with access to hundreds of brands to shoppers across the UAE. Faud Sharaf, Managing director, UAE Shopping Malls, said: “We recognize at Majid Al Futtaim, that shoppers are inclined to have many options, when it is about browsing through their favoured local or international brands. With the Digital Concierge service, we made the decision to elevate our offerings, enabling the shoppers to do shopping from their most loved brands, from the comfort of their homes,. Besides we are meeting consumer desires and needs via other digital retail experiences, soon expanding beyond the Mall of the Emirates. As a leader, our pride in providing omnichannel experiences which are innovative, is derived from the humbling need to always put the consumer first, offering simplicity, ease and convenience no matter where they are.”The new e-commerce website is one such elevated retail offering by Mall of the Emirates, customized to fit the behaviours of the consumers digitally, which include omnichannel services, including smart parking, personal stylist workshops with consultants, with an opportunity to shop more than 50 brands. For those who are looking to replenish their wardrobes, the professional stylist is great, which is designed in order to enhance the shopping experience. Consumers can book a stylist on the Mall of the Emirates, in order to avail of this service. A smart parking service has also been introduced by Mall of the Emirates, as a part of the ever-expanding omnichannel experiences of Majid Al Futtaim, catering to the extensive needs of the consumer, and it is known as digital reserved parking. By installing the Mall of the Emirates application, this service can be made available to shoppers, where a space can be reserved within the ‘Parking’ section, and the process can be completed post filling out details about their visit.

GWC announces Q3 results

During the nine-month period ending on September 30, 2022, the company achieved a net profit of QAR 174.20 million. The company also achieved total revenues of QAR 1.11 billion, and earnings per share of QAR 0.30 during the same period ending on September 30, 2022.Speaking about GWC’s mandate for the future, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Fahad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani, Chairman, GWC stated, “in this historic year of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM, GWC continues its endeavor to provide logistics services that will support the success of this mega event, and also continues to support and empower micro, small and medium enterprises in Qatar by giving them a platform to establish their businesses and grow beyond 2022 in line with the vision of 2030.”Being the Regional Supporter and Official Logistics Provider for the World Cup, GWC is playing a very crucial and pivotal role in the successful organization of this sporting event and is well- prepared to deliver timely, seamless and efficient suite of services pre, during and post event.Besides gearing up for this, GWC recently delivered two pandas – S’hail and Thuraya to the Al Khor Panda Park. These pandas, which have been gifted by China as a token of friendship and Qatar being the host for the World Cup, were taken to their new home successfully in temperature controlled containers with all safety and security measures in place.Ranjeev Menon, Group CEO, GWC remarked, “despite increased workload in the lead up to the tournament, GWC remains diligent in terms of commitment, quality standards and health and safety. We are eagerly awaiting the start of this mega sporting event which will set a new benchmark for how such events’ logistics are planned, executed and delivered.”He further added, “we remain committed to keep environmental protection at the heart of all our services. Whether it is a beach clean-up, tree plantation or recycling wooden pellets to delivering a sustainable FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.”GWC also took part in the Qatar Sustainability Week earlier this month to highlight the work being done by GWC to protect the environment.

ZainTech enters agreement to acquire leading managed cloud provider

 ZainTech, the one-stop digital and ICT solutions powerhouse of Zain Group, announces it has entered into an agreement for the complete acquisition of BIOS Middle East, a regional managed secure cloud provider with a presence in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. The acquisition, subject to regulatory approvals, will result in the full migration and integration of BIOS Middle East's operations within ZainTech over the next 12-18 months.Since its establishment in 2002, BIOS has served over 300 global and regional customers by offering managed services and cloud solutions with 24x7x365 support and a measurable SLA. CloudHPT, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, managed multi-cloud access, security as a service, infrastructure as a service, and disaster recovery as a service are just a few of the capabilities provided by over 140 BIOS professionals across the region.Commenting on the agreement, Bader Al Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO said, "This deal represents a major step in ZainTech's expansion strategy and our determination to transform Zain into a leading ICT and digital lifestyle provider. ZainTech is a key part of Zain's value accretive '4Sight' strategy centered on evolving Zain's core telecom business to maximize value and build on the company's many strengths to selectively invest in growth verticals beyond standard mobile services."Andrew Hanna, ZainTech CEO said, "Managed cloud is a highly relevant and critical business area for our region, and with BIOS's established strong customer base, years of experience, and exceptional team, this strategic acquisition will supercharge our capabilities in hybrid and multi-cloud managed services and expand our offerings."Hanna continued, "ZainTech is a young company focused on becoming a leading technology partner to corporates and governments in the region. We look to achieve this through organic growth and acquisitions of value-adding companies. The decision to acquire BIOS was driven by its relevance, presence, leadership, market access, and expertise."Hanna concluded, "Integrating the BIOS operations within ZainTech, coupled with leveraging Zain Group's regional footprint and advanced network, will enable us to provide customers the best enterprise cloud experiences in the region."Dominic Docherty, BIOS Middle East Managing Director, said, "BIOS shares with ZainTech the goal to become the region's leading multi-cloud managed service provider. This deal will allow us to accelerate and scale towards that goal, with further benefits to both our customers and people. I am excited and energized to become part of the ZainTech team".ZainTech's cloud business supports organizations, in regulated and non-regulated industries across its footprint, in leveraging the power of the cloud to deliver transformational IT outcomes. Through global alliances, significant investments in automation, and strong advisory, professional, and managed services, ZainTech's cloud business brings customers high-quality cloud capabilities with flexible pricing that helps optimize and reduce their total cost of ownership.