NKN Media to honour Indian entrepreneurs in UAE with 'Icons of the UAE' Awards

NKN Media is hosting an award ceremony to celebrate the success stories of Indian business leaders in the UAE. The ceremony will take placei n Dubai on the 27th of September. India’s leading media house India Today Group is a media partner for this prestigious event.Boasting 16 icons from different industries, the event will be graced by the presence of Honourable Dr Shashi Tharoor, a prominent Indian politician, diplomat, and acclaimed author. He is a luminary known for contributing to human rights, education, and environmental advocacy.Abdul Majid Khan, CEO of NKN Media, expressed his enthusiasm about the event, stating, "The Icons of the UAE Awards is a testament to these entrepreneurs' unyielding spirit and resilience. Their fervour for business and success has created a lasting impact on the community, showing everyone that the sky is the limit. Additionally, we are proud to announce a special award for the rising Emirati Businessman of the Year, which recognises the exceptional contributions of a local entrepreneur."The ceremony will be broadcast on India’s leading news channels namely Aaj Tak and India Today TV. Aiming to celebrate visionary leaders and recognise their remarkable impact on UAE's business landscape and community, viewers can also watch engaging 30-minute episodes highlighting the Icons' inspiring journeys and accomplishments.Renowned actors and influencers, including Vivek Oberoi and Salman Yusuff Khan have shared exclusive video messages with their dedicated fan base, eagerly anticipating their presence at the ceremony. Furthermore, India's leading news anchors from Aaj Tak and India Today TV including Anjana Om Kashyap, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sweta Singh and Nabila Jamal shall make the event memorable.

McDonald’s UAE revamps its app experience

Dubai:  McDonald's UAE gives brand fans a reason to smile with the latest updates to the McDonald's App. The updates are focused on customer convenience while offering them the chance to earn and redeem Reward Points on delivery via the MyM Rewards Program.The ordering process has never been easier, promising a more convenient experience that caters to all customers’ needs. For the busy customers, you have the opportunity to order ahead for drive-thru or skip the que and pick-up your order from the front counter. For those who prefer ordering from the comfort of their homes, the App now offers a streamlined ordering process with order tracking. What's more, customers can earn and redeem Reward Points for delivery orders as well. For those who'd like to dine in, the App can be used to place an order, select table service, and enjoy a relaxed dining experience and your order will be served to your table.Continuing to enhance the ordering convenience for brand lovers, McDonald’s UAE has also introduced Curbside Pickup as an extension of their App services. The new service is currently available at the Umm Suqeim restaurant, with plans to roll it out across other McDonald’s restaurants in the UAE. This service allows customers to place orders through the App from designated parking spaces, and their orders will be delivered straight to their car, for increased convenience.Available exclusively via the App, customers can choose from great deals when ordering for delivery or pickup. Some of the deals include, for a limited time, receiving a complimentary meal when buying a meal for delivery, the opportunity to get large fries for only 5 AED when placing a pickup order, or redeeming only 800 Reward Points to get a Chickenburger or a Cheeseburger and for those looking for a great meal, you can also redeem 2,900 Reward Points to get a Big Mac Medium Meal or a McChicken Medium Meal!

Archie selects the UAE as its first global launch market

Dubai: Archie has chosen the UAE as its first global launch market, bringing the firm’s innovative new growth acceleration model to the region’s fast-growing fintech market.The UAE’s Digital Economy Strategy is targeted at increasing the digital sector's share in the UAE's GDP from 9.7% to more than 20% by 2031. Currently, the UAE's digital economy stands at an estimated $38 billion – by 2031, it is projected to surpass $140 billion in value.[1]With this ambition, the region is set to become an even more prominent part of the global fintech scene, with significant pools of investment and a strong focus on attracting some of the world’s best talent. Investor funding for fintech start-ups alone in MENAP more than quadrupled from nearly $200 million in 2020 to approximately $885 million in 2022.[2]Archie has therefore identified the UAE and wider GCC as a central part of the firm’s long-term ambitions to partner with some of the world’s most exciting fintechs. Led by some of the world’s leading fintech growth experts, Archie is launching with an ambition to help the UAE’s ecosystem and support the best fintechs to successfully deliver their go-to-market plans and propel their fintechs from early growth into hyper-scale.Offering a new partner model to accelerate fintech growth , Archie will invest its intellectual capital, go-to-market and growth expertise, along with the highly-prized ARCHIE NETWORK in exchange for equity – a key differentiator with the fintech ecosystem, designed specifically to ensure a true partnership with fintech founders, aligning all interests and focussing efforts on driving success.Archie has been founded by serial fintech entrepreneur Anthony Thomson who founded and Chaired both Atom and Metro Bank in the United Kingdom and digital bank 86 400 in Australia. Anthony currently also sits on the board of WIO Bank based in the UAE.Archie’s senior team also includes global tech and fintech leader Steve Brennen as Co-Founder and CEO (Uber, PayPal, eBay & Zip), along with fellow Co-Founders Tommy Mermelshtayn (global scaler and strategy, Zip and Equifax) and Richard McCandless (brand and performance optimisation, FCB and Publicis Groupe).Banking and tech veterans Fawaz Zu’bi (founder and CEO of global venture capital firm Silicon Badia) and Paul Pester (Chair of Tandem Bank, former CEO of TSB and Virgin Money globally, and founder of Loop) will also provide expertise acting as Non-Executive Directors.Co-Founder and CEO of Archie, Steve Brennen, said:“The UAE has set out an ambition to continue to grow and be one of the leading well-regulated and forward-thinking financial services hubs.“It’s set to be a prominent part of the global fintech scene, attracting some of the world’s best talent and global investors. Archie wants to help build on that dream and we’re thrilled to be here, and even more excited to get started in unlocking the growth potential for founders and the region as a whole.”The Archie team, will be hosting their first SUPERSCALE event at DIFC in Dubai on Tuesday 12 September.Archie is inviting fintech founders to attend the first SUPERSCALE event, along with leaders and investors from across the GCC fintech ecosystem, to learn from Archie’s world-leading team on the opportunities and challenges facing fintech scale-ups, and practical solutions to unleash their exponential growth. The event will be held in partnership with Wio Bank and Legal Intro.

The UAE government partners with Mastercard to accelerate adoption of AI

Dubai: The UAE’s Artificial intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications Office and Mastercard today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities and readiness in the region. An initial focus of the effort will be dedicated to battling financial crime, securing the digital ecosystem, and driving inclusive growth in the UAE and beyond.H.E. Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications emphasized the UAE government's dedicated efforts towards strategic collaborations with the private sector and leading international companies. These collaborations have been recognized as pivotal catalysts for expediting the adoption of Artificial Intelligence, a crucial component of the nation's journey towards digital advancement and prosperity.His Excellency pointed out the significance of bilateral cooperation. He emphasized the importance of realizing the aspirations outlined in the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031. This strategy aims to consolidate the UAE's position as a leading hub for Artificial Intelligence. Concurrently, it seeks to foster the development of comprehensive technology-driven frameworks within priority sectors.Furthermore, His Excellency praised Mastercard's efforts in adopting AI, as well as their inauguration of a global center dedicated to Artificial Intelligence and advanced technology within the UAE.Investing in Enhanced InnovationThe signing of this partnership comes as Mastercard unveiled its latest global Centre for Advanced AI and Cyber Technology in Dubai. In addition to developing AI-powered solutions to fight financial crime, the Centre will focus on securing the digital ecosystem and driving inclusive growth. It will also serve as a hub to nurture and hire local AI talent, including data engineers and data scientists, with a remit to accelerate AI innovation globally and service customers all around the world from the UAE.“AI plays a critical role in our operations, powering our products and fuelling our network intelligence to improve digital experiences, while reducing financial fraud and risk,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard. “The combination of this latest Advanced AI Centre and our partnership with the Government of the UAE will deliver greater value for our customers and ultimately reinforce trust in the digital ecosystem.”Mastercard's new centre – drawing on the company’s technical knowledge and expertise – will support a new Innovation Hub in the Emirate of Dubai. Under this program, governments and businesses from across the region will collaborate on new efforts to support the continued digital transformation."The UAE is a global leader in developing innovative technologies to foster economic growth and drive digital transformation. For more than 35 years, Mastercard has been investing in the UAE to harness the power of technology for the good of the nation. By embracing the power of AI through this new partnership, we are ushering in the next generation of transformative technology, and actively supporting the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031,” said Dimitrios Dosis, president, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.The Middle East is undergoing a rapid technological shift. According to IDC, investments in digital transformation are expected to double over the next few years in the Middle East. PwC estimates that AI will contribute $320 billion to the region and more than $15 trillion to the global economy by 2030. AI has the power to address some of today’s most pressing challenges, including reducing fraud while helping more people access financial services.Heritage of AI InnovationThis Centre in Dubai is the latest in a series of investments Mastercard has made in Advanced AI, with existing centres in the US, Canada and India. To date, Mastercard has made use of AI most significantly and successfully in its efforts to enhance cybersecurity and user experiences. By applying a sophisticated AI engine, Mastercard protects more than 125 billion transactions from fraud every year – at speed and scale.However, today we stand at the precipice of yet another transformative leap in technology, fuelled by the accessibility of generative AI. With its ability to create new content and predict a wholes series of next steps, it has the potential to transform customer experiences, enable personalized interactions and reshape industries.At Mastercard we are using generative AI for many purposes, including through synthetic transaction data to supercharge fraud detection and boost approval rates. Our Centre in Dubai will help us develop these new and ground-breaking use cases, and with this knowledge we plan to establish additional Advanced AI Centres across the globe, to drive continued innovation.

Majid Al Futtaim forays into luxury home and beauty sectors

Majid Al Futtaim, a prominent leader in shopping malls, communities, retail, and leisure activities across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, has marked its entrance into the beauty and luxury home segments. This expansion adds two new categories to its offerings, with the brand's focus on expanding its presence in the UAE.During this year, Majid Al Futtaim has successfully launched 11 new stores within its shopping malls. This achievement is largely attributed to the brand's strategic partnerships with notable names such as the Italian furniture brand Poltrona Frau and the Japanese skincare company Shiseido, among others.As a significant aspect of these collaborations, Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle has obtained the rights to distribute Poltrona Frau Products in the UAE. This venture represents the brand's initial step into the Luxury Home category, allowing the iconic Italian brand to embark on a new phase of growth in the Middle East. Poltrona Frau's global expansion strategies have positioned it as an influential international benchmark.Fahed Ghanim, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle, expressed excitement about the partnership with Poltrona Frau. He stated, "We are delighted to introduce Poltrona Frau's Italian masterpieces into Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle's expanding collection of world-class international brands. This collaboration aligns with our strategy of geographical and brand expansion, especially during a period of remarkable year-on-year growth. It reinforces Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle's mission to enhance the customer experience in the region."In a notable collaboration that occurred earlier in May, Majid Al Futtaim teamed up with the Japanese beauty innovator Shiseido Company. This partnership led to the inauguration of the Shiseido Ginza Tokyo brand store in the Mall of the Emirates. This store is a significant milestone for Shiseido's expansion plans and marked Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle's entry into the beauty industry.These partnerships contributed to a 12 percent increase in footfall within the shopping malls, with the Mall of the Emirates witnessing its highest-ever first-half footfall.Beyond these collaborations, Majid Al Futtaim has launched five additional stores in the region, including two Supeco low-cost hybrid concept stores in Egypt. The brand's entertainment division continues to expand its reach across the region, as evidenced by the opening of Snow Abu Dhabi in June – the capital's inaugural indoor snow park and the fourth snow destination within the group's portfolio.

McDonald’s UAE opens first restaurant with all-female workforce

Dubai: McDonald’s UAE has unveiled its 197th operating restaurant in the Emirates, located in Umm Suqeim 2, Dubai which is operated entirely by an all-female workforce. The milestone launch was made even more memorable as the restaurant is also partially solar powered, continuing McDonald’s UAE’s ongoing mission to have a greener future.The new venue will serve up the nation’s favourite meals and McCafé offerings 24 hours a day through the seamless efforts of its female led team – a concept that is the first of its kind for the brand in the UAE. Playing a growing role in prioritising gender diversity within the QSR sector, the Umm Suqeim restaurant follows on from the launch of the McDonald’s UAE Women Leadership Network in 2020. The WLN is dedicated to supporting inhouse female team members.Walid Fakih, CEO at McDonald’s UAE, commented on the launch, "Our people and our planet are at the heart of McDonald’s UAE operations, and the newest restaurant in Umm Suqeim brings innovation, sustainability and inclusivity all together. We take immense pride in empowering women and providing equal opportunities in every aspect of the business. The new restaurant forms part of our commitment to uplift our female talent, showcasing their drive and enthusiasm while also contributing to a greener planet.”The all-female workforce is complemented by a partially solar paneled power source and electric car charging ports. McDonald’s UAE has long cemented its commitment to offsetting its carbon footprint over the years, as evidenced by the BioDiesel program which has been running since 2011, converting used cooking oil into BioDiesel for McDonald’s trucks.The latest McDonald’s UAE venue is situated in Umm Suqeim, Dubai and promotes another first, as the branch has also introduced curbside ordering, allowing customers to place orders digitally from designated parking spaces for increased convenience. The restaurant is now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for orders, be it for customers placing these in person, via the McDonald’s UAE App, as well as the Drive Thru.???????

e& enterprise and Tap Payments partner for unified digital payments

Abu Dhabi, UAE: e& enterprise and Tap Payments today announced a strategic partnership aimed at revolutionising the digital payments landscape.The collaboration combines the strengths and expertise of both organisations to create an extensive payment acceptance ecosystem with unique features tailored to regional markets.The strategic alliance between e& enterprise and Tap Payments empowers businesses of all sizes to optimise their payment processes and expand their digital capabilities across the region, fostering growth and success in the ever-evolving digital economy.The partnership utilises Tap's extensive network of merchants and financial institutions and e& enterprise’s advanced digital payment platforms and technologies to deliver pioneering solutions that provide numerous advantages for businesses. These include diverse payment options, seamless integration, enhanced security, and an improved customer experience.Alberto Araque, CEO, e& enterprise IoT & AI, said: "Our partnership with Tap Payments signifies a remarkable milestone in redefining the digital payments landscape. By combining our strengths and expertise, we empower businesses to thrive in the digital era, offering a secure and comprehensive payment acceptance ecosystem. This collaboration revolutionises business transactions, enhancing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction."Ahmad Alwazzan, EVP and Managing Director of Tap Payments in the UAE, said: "By teaming up with e& enterprise, we will revolutionise how businesses accept payments by providing an extensive range of digital payment instruments tailored to regional markets. This partnership equips businesses with the tools and capabilities to adapt to the rapidly changing payment landscape and deliver enhanced customer experiences."Through e& enterprise' services, businesses gain access to Tap's regional digital payment instruments which encompasses a wide range of payment options tailored to each market's preferences. The seamless integration between the platforms streamlines payment operations and boosts overall efficiency, allowing businesses to focus on their core operations and growth strategies. Additionally, the partnership prioritises robust security measures, utilising state-of-the-art fraud detection and prevention tools to ensure secure transactions and protect sensitive customer data.As part of this strategic alliance, e& enterprise’s flagship Payment Gateway, "EPG", will be enhanced to provide businesses with a secure and unified payment solution. The platform will also offer a comprehensive range of value-added services, including dynamic currency conversion, acceptance of loyalty points, and customisable features, providing businesses with a competitive edge.With the global digital payments market experiencing rapid growth, Tap Payments and e& enterprise are committed to leading the charge in the region, empowering businesses, accelerating financial inclusion, and contributing to the ongoing digital transformation in the payment industry through their partnership.

PayTabs launches ReelsPay across MENA to elevate social media sales

Dubai: PayTabs, MEASA’s award-winning payments powerhouse, today announced that millions of freelancers, home based business owners and micro vendors across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt will now be able to sell even more over social media with ReelsPay, by Paymes.Paymes, which serves over a million merchant users across Turkey, Azerbaijan, Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, just launched its new feature – ReelsPay. The feature serves to increase sales by highlighting all the content available on an instagram Reels Video, making it easier for buyers to view the products on display and then purchase them under one payment link. Social media platforms such as Instagram allow brands to increase their sales by reaching a wider audience. With the growth of social media marketplaces, it is estimated that Instagram will have 2.5 billion active monthly users by the end of 2023. The Middle East is home to some of the biggest social media markets. In fact, the region makes up 10% of the world’s Instagram users, making it a prime platform to see, be seen and of course, generate sales. In line with customer behaviour and the increasing tendency of millennials, Gen Z to make purchases online or over social media, businesses across the region are keeping up with the social media trend and actively using digital sales channels to offer the best customer experiences. PayTabs brings the buyer and the seller together by enabling digital payment acceptance through the Social Commerce solution. PayTabs empowers and enables webpreneurs and homepreneurs to accept payments via social media platforms like Facebook Messenger, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and other channels.It does this via providing buyers with secure online payment links, QR codes and complimentary online store fronts for faster checkout experience.To this effect, reels videos are the most active type of content used by individual sellers and businesses for marketing. Statistics reveal that 91% of active Instagram users watch videos on the platform every week. Reels videos occupy a large part of the conversion rate within the Instagram ‘Explore Tab,’ and it has undoubtedly become one of the most used methods for advertising and product promotion.ReelsPay accelerates the sales process while giving the seller the opportunity to introduce products to users in an organic way. Via the Paymes merchant Dashboard, sellers can create and list their products on the Reels video and then introduce them to their customers or followers by sharing the ReelsPay link over any social media platform.Commenting on the launch of Reels Pay in the MENA region, Hany Soliman, Regional Head and Operating Partner GCC Region said: “This innovation by Paymes takes the social media purchasing experience to the next level, allowing buyers to purchase all the products they see on a Reels video with a single click, enabling seamless online sales. It further strengthens social media marketing strategies, enabling businesses to benefit. While sellers can reach a wider audience and market their products more cost effectively, they can also include the ease of searching for products in their sales adventures, thanks to ReelsPay. PayTabs is delighted to be the first to bring this innovation to the region via Paymes.”Sabrican Zaim, CEO of Paymes, on this new product that will change the pulse of social commerce, said, "The seller can deliver all the products on Reels to the buyer with a single listing on their shop page, and the buyer can easily buy all the products they see in the Reels video without getting lost on the shop page. ReelsPay, which provides quick purchases with a direct link to the link, meets with users as a big plus of social commerce and makes it easier for them to make sales with Paymes' reliable payment methods. ReelsPay, which provides great convenience for those who want to sell multiple products, such as outfit combinations, which are immensely popular on Instagram, and present their products together on a single page, will undoubtedly be one of the favorite purchasing methods of the digital world.”PayTabs acquired Turkey’s largest social commerce platform, Paymes in 2022.Paymes serves as PayTabs social commerce platform across the MENA region.

Etisalat by e& launches new business post paid plans with productivity tools

Dubai:  etisalat by e& today announced the revamp of its business mobile plans to meet customers' evolving needs in the changing business ecosystem with more data and other benefits than ever before at no additional charge. Business First Plus and Business Xtreme are plans designed to meet the growing demand for data businesses where customers enjoy increased data allowances, enabling them to stay connected and productive wherever they go. As the hybrid working environment becomes more prevalent, with more employees working outside the office using collaborative work tools, the new plans will add immense value to small businesses, enterprise and government customers.Esam Mahmoud, Senior Vice President, SMB, etisalat by e& UAE said: “The evolution of business plans is a testament to our commitment to providing our customers with innovative and value driven products and services. At etisalat by e&, we understand that our customers need more data to stay connected and productive in today’s fast-paced world. These plans are designed to provide our customers with the data they need for no additional charge on the most frequently used apps for collaboration like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and emails. With the new plans, customers can enjoy seamless connectivity with non-stop data and stay productive wherever they go.”Business First Plus comprises high-performing, affordable plans designed specifically for business needs, offering huge data allowances, local, international and CUG minutes, Flexi SMS, and the unique Carryforward feature, which enables customers to carry all unused local and international minutes across three months.Business Xtreme is a suite of plans designed to give customers more power with unlimited local and international minutes, huge data allowances, roaming data, and flexi SMS, among many other by e&’s existing valued customers will be able to experience these new features on their current plans. They can enjoy the new set of add-ons available with flexible payment options of one, six and 12 months starting as low as AED 15.

UAE's digital marketing trailblazers honored at DIGIXX Summit & Awards 2023

UAE: Emerged as a hub for digital marketing excellence, and the winners of the DIGIXX Summit & Awards 2023 from the region have demonstrated outstanding achievements in their respective fields. These winners have successfully navigated the rapidly evolving digital landscape to deliver innovative campaigns, creative content and exceptional results. With their exceptional digital marketing skills, they have not only elevated their own brands, but also set a benchmark for the industry as a whole. The DIGIXX Summit and Awards 2023 celebrates the achievements of these inspiring winners and recognizes their contributions towards shaping the future of digital marketing in the UAE.Congratulations to all the winners of the DIGIXX Summit & Awards in the UAE. Your exceptional achievements in digital marketing are truly inspiring!Gagan Uppal, Country Head, MENA, said: "I am really thrilled that the innovation and remarkable brand outcomes for our client, Myco, have been recognized through this award. We strategically leverage our expertise to create a campaign for Myco that resonated with their target audience for the campaign-Watch & Earn with MyCo."<img src='\55668ca717a0baf430515b7e4b38a0f0' class='content_image'>

Ramadan and Eid siscounts drive GCC shoppers to spend more

UAE: GIG Gulf, one of the largest insurance providers in the MENA region, has reported that despite intending to spend more this year compared to 2022, nearly 75% of GCC residents will postpone purchases to wait for special offers and promotions during Ramadan and Eid.The findings are based on two separate research pieces carried out to analyse consumer behaviour during the festive seasons of Ramadan and Eid. One study was commissioned by GIG Gulf and carried out by YouGov, a leading global market research and data analytics firm, while the other was commissioned by Toluna, a leading provider of market research and consumer insights.The research suggests that consumers are driven by inflation and a desire to 'make up for the pandemic years,' with nearly half of GCC residents expecting to pay more for Eid gifts than last year. A majority, however, will hold out for Ramadan in-store events and special offers before making their purchases. The data also reveals that thrifty motorists are likely to renew and pay earlier for insurance policies in exchange for Ramadan promotions.Interestingly, the studies highlight the value placed on love, education, and memories over material wealth by GCC residents. Six out of ten respondents prioritize their family, friends, and relationships over their health, home, or experiences. GIG Gulf's data suggests that while people plan to spend more on material goods this year, 40% would buy insurance for their love, education, and memories if they could. Moreover, 57% of respondents identified 'friends and family' as the most valuable aspect of their lives.The research also unveils how 53% of respondents enjoy pampering themselves with luxurious experiences during Ramadan. Despite this indulgence, many still prioritize protecting their loved ones and cherished possessions through insurance coverage. This sentiment reflects the importance of safeguarding valuable relationships and items against unforeseen circumstances.Caroline Bertrand, Chief HR and Marketing Officer, GIG Gulf said, “While insurance cannot protect the abstract concept of love, it can shield our loved ones from potential harm. For instance, home insurance can protect against legal liability for damages or accidental bodily injury to those we care about. Insuring what we love grants us a sense of freedom, enabling us to live in the moments that matter without worry or anxiety. During the holy month of Ramadan and Eid, when we want to be close to those we love, we can achieve peace of mind by protecting them from unforeseen circumstances.”The findings emphasize the desire to protect what matters most to people. When asked what they would choose to insure if possible, 54% would insure their love, 43% would insure their memories, and 34% would insure their passions. Those who opted for insurance coverage for their health or valuable possessions cited peace of mind and financial security as their motivations. Nearly half also acknowledged that insurance was a financially prudent decision in case of unexpected events.

Ramadan Nights 2023 kicks off at Expo Centre Sharjah

Sharjah: The 40th edition of Ramadan Nights 2023, a highly anticipated marketing and entertainment event in the Emirate of Sharjah, kicked off yesterday evening (Wednesday) at the Expo Centre Sharjah.Organized by the Expo Centre Sharjah with the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the event, which will run until April 21, offers an exciting array of entertainment programs, unique heritage activities, and captivating surprises in the world of shopping. With over 10,000 products on offer, visitors can enjoy discounts of up to 75%, valuable prizes, and promotions.The exhibition was inaugurated by HE Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of SCCI and Expo Centre Sharjah, and HE Salem Ali Al Muhairi, Chairman of the Sharjah Municipal Council. Present at the opening ceremony were several members of the Board of Directors of the Chamber and Expo Centre Sharjah, along with HE Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO of Expo Centre Sharjah, and Sultan Shattaf, Director of Sales and Marketing Department at Expo Centre Sharjah. This is in addition to a number of official figures and members of the diplomatic corps.The exhibition featured around 500 brands and over 170 exhibitors from major retailers. Following the opening ceremony, attendees toured the exhibition, met with various exhibitors, and learned about the products on offer. In addition, they witnessed a variety of heritage events and artistic performances at the Heritage Village. Visitors were also introduced to exhibits presented by productive families, showcasing traditional clothes, tools, handicrafts, incense, drinks, and popular Ramadan dishes. HE Al Owais emphasized that "Ramadan Nights" is a significant initiative and part of the 33rd edition of the "Sharjah Ramadan Festival," being organized by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The 17-day exhibition aims to provide various entertainment activities, special offers, and new programs that enhance shopping and entertainment experiences for everyone, ensuring that the festival spreads an atmosphere of joy and happiness among both residents and visitors of the Emirate. The event is also expected to reinforce Sharjah’s position as a global shopping and tourism destination.For his part, HE Saif Mohammed Al Midfa noted that the Ramadan Nights is an annual event that is constantly evolving to offer unparalleled shopping and entertainment experiences to the residents and visitors of Sharjah. This year, during the 40th edition of the exhibition, the Expo Centre Sharjah has curated an exciting schedule of entertainment and heritage events and activities. Additionally, visitors can take advantage of numerous promotions and valuable prizes offered by exhibitors, creating an inclusive environment for visitors to spend enjoyable Ramadan evenings with their loved ones. With the widest and most comprehensive space to shop, visitors can avail themselves of the great offers and discounts presented by exhibitors.The first day of the exhibition witnessed a remarkable turnout of visitors who flocked to enjoy the unique shows and exciting events offered, with the Heritage Village being a major highlight. This section showcased various aspects of the UAE's ancient and authentic society, offering parents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy beautiful heritage paintings, participate in live competitions, and win prizes.Running daily during the holy month of Ramadan from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. during Eid Al-Fitr, "Ramadan Nights 2023" occupies an area of over 16,000 square meters, displaying more than 10,000 products. This exhibition is designed to cater to the diverse needs and requirements of its visitors during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr.

Study: 76% of UAE’s consumers expect to send more money internationally

Citizens and residents of the United Arab Emirates (the UAE) expect to transfer more money internationally in the next 12 months, according to a study commissioned by Western Union. Exclusive insights show that 76% of consumers who send money and 75% of consumers who receive money, respectively, expect to transfer and collect even more funds over the next year.The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 UAE-based citizens and residents who send and receive cross-border money transfers, explores consumer sentiment on how, when and why they move money. The results bolster Western Union’s recently announced ‘Evolve 2025’ (E25) strategy of combining high-value, accessible retail and digital financial services.Family support is highlighted by 60% of senders as the primary reason for transferring money overseas. Saving for the future comes in a distant second, ranked by 11% of senders. A well-known melting pot of cultures, the UAE is home to more than 200 nationalities and ranks among the top most talent competitive countries. Some of its more sizeable communities come from the world’s largest remittance-receiving economies.Caring for family back home is further re-enforced as one of the main factors driving the number and amounts of overseas transfers. Furthermore, as increased living expenses and global currency fluctuations create additional pressure on personal finances, 74% state that because of higher cost of living in the country they send to, they need to transfer more money. Seventy-one percent state that they take the opportunity to send more money when the currency value falls in their receiving country.“To remit is often a very personal decision. Western Union data also supports that one of the most common reasons why consumers remit is to support loved ones and family,” said Jean Claude Farah, President of Middle East and Asia Pacific at Western Union. “So it is only natural that as the global economic climate challenges affordable ways of living, family support takes precedence over everything else as senders move money,”“Continuously attracting such a diverse range of nationalities is a true testament to the UAE’s efforts to position itself as a global partner, and an attractive and influential economic hub,” Farah added. “We believe that these ongoing efforts will also mean that the UAE will continue to ride the top spot as one of the biggest senders of remittances in the world. It also makes it even more incumbent on us as businesses to connect people to opportunity; Western Union has been doing this for consumers in the UAE for almost 25 years and is deeply committed to the country. As we evolve and grow in the years ahead, we remain steadfast in enabling an environment that drives financial inclusion and creates pathways for long-term economic success across the country’s societies.”Cultures and familial ties influence the frequency and flow of moneySending money shortly after payday regardless of wider economic circumstance (34%), or family needs back home (32%) are the two best-known drivers of money transfer flow and frequency. However, Western Union’s study also shows a third factor: almost a quarter (21%) of consumers say they focus on sending money during festive occasions such as Ramadan, Christmas, New Year and Diwali, as well as other special occasions, such as birthdays, graduations and anniversaries.In an interesting reversal of this trend, 37% of UAE consumers who receive money transfers also say frequency and amount is influenced most strongly by festive and other special occasions, ranking higher than family needs (27%) or the timing of their sender’s paychecks (18%).“We understand that diverse populations have equally diverse needs. Festive seasons and special moments are a great example, whereby every year, we see an uptick of approximately 6% in the volume of remittance transactions as these occasions approach,” Farah said. “Western Union offers a broad mix of digital and retail channels to serve the varying payment needs of millions of customers worldwide. We believe that the trust we enjoy with consumers in the UAE and around the world puts us in a unique position to help millions of people bring their best to society.”Tech-savvy population seeks choice in the futureAs consumers consider how they would like to send and receive money in the future, they value choice above all. Western Union’s study shows that 42% currently send money across borders exclusively through digital channels. However, as they look ahead, 46% want to be able to choose how they send their funds, whether in cash or digitally.A similar sentiment is echoed among receivers. Forty-three percent currently receive money through digital channels only. In the future, 57% want to be able to choose between digital and retail channels when collecting their funds.Those who do not use digital channels, say the top barrier preventing them from sending or receiving money online is their preference for face-to-face interaction, followed by trust. Process or customer experience is also another commonly cited barrier.Farah concluded, “Findings from the research show that while most consumers can be considered digital-first, many ultimately want to able to choose between digital and retail options, based on their convenience and needs. However, being able to trust in online services is critical, and as an industry, we have work to do helping consumers overcome their concerns. Ultimately, our end goal will always be to ensure that we can support even more people’s financial needs, wherever they are geographically, culturally or economically.”

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

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

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

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

UAE listed companies welcome first-time board directors

New additions to the board of directors of the top 40 UAE listed companies have shown a preference for first-time public board directors, according to Board Monitor United Arab Emirates 2022 by Heidrick & Struggles, the premier provider of leadership consulting, culture shaping and senior-level executive search services.Board Monitor United Arab Emirates 2022 report by Heidrick & Struggles marks the second time the firm has shared an analysis of trends of non-executive director appointments in the United Arab Emirates. The report accounted for 54 new directors in the various boards of the most prominent companies listed on Dubai Financial Market and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in 2021, up from 52 the previous year.First-time public board directors preferred for new perspectivesAmong the new directors, 61% of these seats were filled by first-time public board directors rather than those with experience, with a significant increase from 38% the prior year. A number much higher than those seen in Europe (43%) and in the US (43%).The first-time directors less often have CEO backgrounds (44% compared to 75% among experienced directors) and more often bring a wider set of C-suite experience. 13% had COO experience compared to 0% among experienced directors; and 19% other C-level beyond CEO, CFO and COO; compared to 10% across experienced directors.6% of first-time public board directors have a sustainability experience with no experienced directors having this background. “Internationally, a new corporate license to operate and a new conception of the corporation are developing. We see more boards looking for independent directors or individuals with international experience to help with this fresh direction. Another core business pillar is ESG which is becoming increasingly instrumental in corporate access to capital. Leaders are facing scrutiny as stakeholders demand more accountability and transparency; and to help organizations navigate this increasingly pertinent issue, we are starting to see boards in UAE add directors with sustainability experience in their portfolio,” said Maliha Jilani, partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Dubai office and Social Impact Practice lead in the Middle East and North Africa region.Additional findings on gender and age diversityThe share of seats going to women in the UAE saw an uptick in 2021 (17%), though compared to Europe (43%) and US (45%) it remains low. UAE also saw one of the largest shares of seats allocated to directors under 45 of any of the 24 countries Heidrick & Struggles’ tracks. The average age of newly appointed directors in ADX/DFM companies in 2021 was 50, a marked decrease from the previous year’s average of 53.What the future holdsAs UAE companies seek to build sustainable international growth, their boards will need agility to both deal with unexpected events and achieve a certain level of foresight, as well as to continue to integrate fresh perspectives into their leadership that will complement the experience of more seasoned business leaders.However, there is no single prescription for board composition. Each company is in a different stage of maturity, in different industries and locations, and pursuing unique strategies. Each board should ensure its refreshment strategy reflects the organizational purpose and goals for the long term and prioritize efforts to add fresh perspectives where they will make the most difference. Thinking of board succession planning as an ongoing exercise will help UAE companies to be resilient and future-proof.Other key findings in the report include:The percentage of active executives in 2020 vs 2021 is 79% to 96%Share of seats going to directors with CEO experience in 2021 was 56%The industrial industry saw the highest number of board directors with same-industry experience (91%), with technology & telecoms seeing the most board directors with cross-industry experience (75%)

UAE CEOs more optimistic, outpace global counterparts in diversification: KPMG

UAE CEOs are better placed than their global counterparts to respond to an economic crisis, with 68% of local leaders diversifying their business compared to a mere 32% of global CEOs, putting them ahead of their global counterparts by at least six months. This is according to the latest findings of the KPMG 2022 CEO Outlook Survey, which polled 1,325 CEOs from 43 countries, including 25 from the UAE.UAE CEOs remain optimistic about their business prospects, with 60% of them expecting earnings to increase 2.5 to 4.5% annually over the next three years, which is more than twice the number of CEOs worldwide.ESG also emerged a key priority, with more than two-thirds of global and UAE CEOs expressing significant demand from stakeholders to increase reporting and transparency in the future. This follows the UAE’s heavy investments in the green economy for the last 10 years and its announcement to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050, the first Gulf country to do so. In 2023, the UAE will also host COP28, the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference.Nader Haffar, Chairman and CEO of KPMG Lower Gulf, said: “The UAE has one of the most diversified economies in the region, which has enabled it to withstand a number of challenges, right from the global pandemic to geopolitical uncertainly and macro-economic challenges. The government’s comprehensive diversification program for a knowledge-driven economy backed by technology and sustainable development has pivoted the nation forward. This year’s edition of the CEO Outlook survey shows that the UAE is set for unprecedented growth, powered by a hybrid workforce and enhanced digital capabilities as a result of improved IT infrastructure, a focus on cybersecurity and diversified supply chains.”This sentiment comes as a vast majority of CEOs worldwide are expecting a recession in the next 12 months, with 86% saying they agree an economic downturn is coming. In the UAE, the situation is quite different, with only 24% of CEOs expecting a recession. However, local CEOs were less confident about growth prospects for the global economy, with only 56% expressing confidence in global growth over the next three years, compared to 71% of CEOs worldwide.Robust national policies, including Vision 2021 and Vision 2030, which set out to transform the country into a competitive knowledge-driven economy, have put the country on an accelerated path to growth. The UAE posted its strongest growth in more than a decade, driven by a sharp increase in oil production and a noticeable improvement in non-oil GDP. According to the UAE Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the UAE economy grew by 8.2% in the first quarter of 2022, with total annual growth projected to exceed 5% and inflation expected to remain well below the global average.The survey also revealed that a vast majority (96%) of UAE CEOs reported having an aggressive digital strategy in place, which was much higher than the global figure of 72%. Furthermore, given the rising threat of cyber-attacks, 92% of UAE respondents said their organizations were well-prepared for a cyberattack, compared to 56% of global CEOs.

UAE on track to record strongest annual GDP growth in over a decade

The latest in a series of quarterly economic reports released by Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, reveals the UAE economy is on track to record its strongest annual GDP growth since 2011 – with Oxford Economics predicting growth of 6.8% for 2022 – a significant increase in the recorded actual growth of 3.8% in 2021.According to the Q3 2022 State of the UAE Retail Economy report, the oil and non-oil sectors both played essential roles – with the biggest GDP driver being the oil sector, which saw a 13.4% increase driven by crude oil prices hovering around USD 100 per barrel for most of the third quarter. The non-oil economy also demonstrated robust growth, buoyed by the Government’s moves to create an investor-friendly environment, with a strong focus on both digital and creative industries, the results of which are reflected in the S&P Global UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index – which hit a three-year high in August.While inflation remains top of mind for many consumers, there has been a decrease in the level of concern over the quarter, with 92% of residents still expressing some concern but saying they are adjusting to the new norm by practising caution in their purchasing. This is evidenced by the economic data showing that increasing results are being achieved across all key sectors of the economy.The sharp rise of e-commerce continues, with sales projected to rise by 22% this year, exceeding USD 6 billion and putting the market on track to reach USD 9.2 billion by 2026. Spending in this area increased 34% in January-September compared with the same period a year earlier, with sales now accounting for 11% of total retail economy sales. The UAE’s strong economic indicators and investment-focused policy updates continue to attract international interest, while the ESG agenda continues to increase in public and private sectors' strategic viewpoints. The introduction of the new laws has seen plastic bag usage at Majid Al Futtaim retail outlets fall by 85% in the first three months, despite a 10% increase in customer visits. Reaching net zero by 2050 will put the UAE ahead of nearly every other nation in the region. The outcome is a robust and resilient retail economy, and a real estate market has defied global economic gravity.Alain Bejjani, Chief Executive Officer at Majid Al Futtaim – Holding, said: “Another strong quarter for the UAE retail economy showcases notable sector-wide resilience and reinforces the country’s steady march towards a return to sustainable growth. The continuation of forward-thinking government initiatives underpinning this progress is making the UAE highly attractive to international businesses – as are the Government’s steps to become a sustainability leader in the MENA region. With all indicators pointing to a strong fourth quarter this year, and the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, the UAE has put the pandemic-related turbulence firmly in the rear-view. We only need to consider the ongoing opportunity, security, and safety this nation offers to see why the world continues to flock to the region to build their future here.”Travel and tourism visitors have returned and are now spending more than before the pandemic-induced turbulence. As restrictions continue to ease, the pent-up demand for travel has been unleashed – with Dubai experiencing a 182% year-on-year rise in international visitors between January to August. Hotels have been a big beneficiary of increasing tourist arrivals, with the number of occupied room nights rising by 28% on the year in January to August and 17% above pre-COVID-19 levels from 2019, at just under 24 million.The research also indicates that business continues to boom for the UAE real estate market, with Dubai recording the most robust performance between January and September since 2011. Transactions saw a 60% jump compared with a year earlier and a 14% rise in the quarter to 25,500, climbing by 77% to AED 184 billion this year, setting new records for both metrics.Majid Al Futtaim’s Consumer and Business Insights (CBI) Initiative authored the report, drawingon The Happiness Lab – Majid Al Futtaim’s market research online community in three main markets (the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt), in addition to over 797 million point-of-sale (POS) transactions totalling more than AED 182 billion from over five million shoppers from multiple sources (Majid Al Futtaim’s own data and POS data), and reports by respected third-party analysts and organisations.Please visit the link below for an explanation of the methodology and sources relating to the data quoted and to read the State of the UAE Retail Economy report for Q3 2022.