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Dubai and Luxembourg financial regulation sign agreement

Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), and the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) Luxembourg, have signed an agreement to collaborate on fintech development.


The agreement, building on DFSA’s existing MoU with the CSSF, signed in 2007, aims to promote innovation in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and in Luxembourg, a statement said.

The agreement stipulated that subject to laws and regulations, the authorities will share information regarding innovations in financial services in their respective markets. It will also include information pertinent to emerging trends and developments, as well as regulatory issues related to innovation, the statement said.

Saeb Eigner, chairman, DFSA said: “We firmly believe that cooperation with the CSSF is paramount to creating more stable and innovative financial services.”

“We look forward to working with the CSSF to develop our fintech proposition and contribute to the efficiency and further enhancements of our respective financial markets.”

The cooperation is DFSA’s eighth fintech agreement, the statement said.

In May 2017, the DFSA launched its Innovation Testing Licence, a financial services licence that enables fintech companies to develop and test related innovative concepts from the DIFC.

In August 2017, the DFSA became the first regulator to introduce a customised regulatory system for loan and investment crowdfunding platforms in the GCC, the statement said.


Source: https://gulfbusiness.com/dfsa-luxembourg-financial-regulator-sign-agreement/

UAE National Day on Monday, 2nd December



National UAE Day is celebrated on 2 December each year in the United Arab Emirates. It marks the UAE’s Union Day between the seven emirates which was followed by the joining of the seventh emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, in 1972. The National day of UAE stands for the nationalisation from the British Protectorate Treaties which were declared in 1968 and also falls on the anniversary of the federal unification of the seven emirates in 1971 which combined to form the modern-day country, headed by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the federation’s first president. Grand celebrations are held across the country to mark the event.

All public and private sector workers in the UAE will have a three-day holiday to mark Commemoration Day and National Day.

While Sunday, December 1, will be observed as a holiday to mark Commemoration Day, Monday and Tuesday, December 2 and 3, will be off for National Day, according to the Federal Authority for Federal Human Resources (FAHR).

How the Emirates can celebrate the National long weekend? There are many different ways to spend the National Day in the UAE:


There will be many places with fireworks shows from Al Seef, La Mer, The Beach, Dubai Festival City, Global Village or The Pointe for a show over Dubai’s horizon.


There will be plenty of international and UAE famous singers performing that day in different locations for example:

  • Usher Live in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
  • Dubai Rugby Sevens with Kylie Minogue
  • Junoon Live in Concert
  • Armaan Malik and Amaal Mallik Live at Bollywood Parks
  •  And many more (local singers)

UAE National Day Parade

The highlight of the celebration is the colourful UAE National Day Parade on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Boulevard from November 28 (except November 30) until December 3.

UAE National Day Traditional Bands

The habitats will Enjoy Emirati bands, flag processions, dance performances and live acts while you learn about traditional arts and crafts such as clay pot painting and carpet weaving.

And many more such as special brunches, exhibitions, and etc.

Source: Wikipedia and GulfNews

Revealed: Abu Dhabi’s plan to become global air cargo hub

Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad Cargo announce major project to enhance Abu Dhabi International Airport into air cargo centre of excellence.

Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad Cargo on Tuesday announced a major project to enhance Abu Dhabi International Airport into a global air cargo centre of excellence.

The two entities said they will implement a multi-phased cargo infrastructure development strategy, starting with the imminent upgrade of Etihad’s existing air cargo terminal facilities on the Southside airport perimeters.

The program will culminate with the inauguration of Etihad Cargo’s future home, a new air cargo terminal in the East Midfield section of the airport, an area designated by Abu Dhabi Airports for future integrated cargo, logistics and integrator activities, a statement said.

The first phase – the upgrading of the Southside Etihad cargo facilities – will start immediately and is due for completion in phases between by the end of the third quarter of 2020.

The scope includes the enhancement of RFS loading docks with levelers, insulation and floor works for faster and more efficient loading with stricter temperature controls, increased storage space and additional build-up and breakdown zones to improve production workflow, and upgraded cool chain facilities for both its fresh and pharma handling and storage operations, the statement added.

This phase will also enhance Etihad’s pharmaceutical logistics capability through a dedicated Southside Pharma Terminal, adding 3,500 sq m’s of space for temperature-controlled handling and storage across both 2-8 degrees Celsius and 15-25 degrees Celsius categories.

Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad Cargo said they have also agreed to designate a plot of land at the East Midfield site, with the team soon inviting expressions of interest to bid for the design and construction of Etihad Cargo’s plan to create one the world’s most advanced and automated air cargo terminals.

The facility will be designed to handle incremental UAE import and export demand, boost Etihad’s growing cargo network flows as well as cater for the significant rise in e-commerce and express mail and cargo operations, the statement said.

Bryan Thompson, CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “Geographically, Abu Dhabi is situated at the heart of the east to west trade routes. Additionally, the transport and logistics fabric of the emirate of Abu Dhabi is well planned and structured to create undeniable potential to grow the cargo traffic exponentially.

“Today we are putting in place the right foundations and frameworks for our future cargo activity, which in a few years will re-shape this industry for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is the future’s cargo hub for the region and the world.”

Tony Douglas, group CEO, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Today’s announcement is a major milestone in the development of Etihad Cargo’s logistics strategy that will see our hub continue to grow as one of the world’s most important trade facilitators connecting East and West.

“The immediate investment in the Southside terminal will deliver a step change in the efficiency and capability of our existing facilities while the announcement of the development of a new facility reinforces Etihad’s commitment to develop Abu Dhabi as a world class hub for the logistics of the future.”

Abu Dhabi Airports also announced it is setting the groundworks for the first phase of a bonded, non-bonded and free zone area adjoining the airport designated as “Al Falah Free Zone”, which it will develop as a prime location for e-commerce fulfilment and logistics warehousing.



Source: https://www.arabianbusiness.com/transport/434379-revealed-abu-dhabis-plan-to-become-global-air-cargo-hub

Is a resolution of the GCC crisis imminent?

Signs of de-escalation have recently started to appear in the Gulf, suggesting that after more than two and a half years, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could finally be moving towards a resolution.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, which have imposed a blockade on Qatar since June 2017, officially announced they will participate in the Arabian Gulf Cup football tournament to take place in Doha later this month.

“This football decision is a very political decision,” commented Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a political science professor known to be close to decision-making circles in Abu Dhabi. “It is preparation for bigger things,” he added.


Furthermore, a senior Saudi official told reporters that Qatar is taking “encouraging positive steps” to mend relations with its neighbours.

In recent weeks, confrontational social media campaigns on both sides have also been toned down as a confidence-building measure to create a more favourable environment for talks between the parties.

All of this came on the back of Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani’s visit to Saudi Arabia to attend the emergency GCC summit in Mecca in the aftermath of the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. It was the highest-level visit by a Qatari official to the kingdom since the siege began.

These de-escalatory steps are not happening in a vacuum and are related to regional factors, including the war in Yemen, tension with Iran and the Trump administration’s policies towards the Middle East.

While there have been several developments that have affected the situation in the region and made it more conducive to renewed dialogue, it seems the September 14 drone attacks on the Saudi Aramco oil processing facilities have had a significant effect on Riyadh. They mark a turning point in Saudi foreign policy on many levels, including the GCC crisis.


The impact of the attack on Aramco was much bigger than the financial losses the company incurred as a result of the damage to its facilities and the temporary reduction of daily oil output.

Regardless of where the drones came from – Yemen, Iraq or Iran – the fact that they were able to reach Aramco’s facilities represents the biggest American failure in the Gulf since  Donald Trump came to power. As a result, it has upset what many assumed to be strong relations between Riyadh and the Trump administration on at least two levels.


In this context, the overtures of blockading countries to Qatar should not be surprising. A breakthrough in the frozen regional dispute is quite possible. After all, since Trump has failed to deliver on regional security, Saudi Arabia definitely needs a strong and united GCC to deal with the enormous regional challenges. Kuwait’s persistent mediation efforts over the past two and a half years have ensured that the door for direct negotiations has remained wide open.

It is unclear yet whether these early signs of re-engagement are going to lead to a full restart in relations between Qatar and its blockading neighbours. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that the upcoming GCC summit, to be held in mid-December in the UAE, is already set to be substantially different from the 2017 one which lasted only two hours instead of two days and further deepened the rift.


Source: Al Jazeera

Union Coop posts 16pc rise in 9-month net profit

Dubai-based Union Coop, a leading retail company, has posted net profit of Dh386.6 million ($105.2 million) for the first nine months (9m) of the year as against a net profit of Dh332.3 million in 9m 2018, marking an increase of 16 per cent.

Khalid Humaid Bin Diban Al Falasi, CEO of Union Coop said: “Union Coop plays a key role in supporting the nation’s economic growth and development as evident from the financial performance of 2019 until end of third quarter, which shows record growth in profit.”

“Union Coop’s total revenue reported a growth of 2 per cent i.e. from Dh2.073 billion until the end of third quarter of 2018 to Dh2.112 billion in 2019, signifying an improvement of Dh39 million.

“The total cost and expenses showed a decrease of 1 per cent equals toDh15 Million, from Dh1.740 billion in 2018 to Dh1.725 billion in 2019,” he added.

Al Falasi credited this improvement was a result of creative ideas which reduced costs while maintaining the efficiency of performance.

The CEO also pointed out that the number of Union Coop projects for the next four years is 18 projects, which will account to an investment of more than Dh2.13 billion according to the estimated budget, which will amplify Union Coop’s presence and competitiveness in the UAE markets. – TradeArabia News Service


Source: Trade Arabia

UAE Spends $334 Billion on Sustainable Development Within 2 Years

The UAE spent approximately Dh1.227 trillion ($334 billion) was spent on comprehensive sustainable development from 2016 through 2018 as part of the UAE Vision 2021, figures by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) have showed.


The expenditure covered multiple sectors, including, inter alia, social development, infrastructure, economic resources, governmental affairs, financial assets, and scientific research, reported state news agency Wam.

According to MoF’s statistics, government expenditure grew from Dh398.232 billion in 2016 to Dh404.066 billion in 2017, equivalent to a 2.5 percent growth, before spiralling 3.1 percent to Dh421 billion in 2018, with the indicators for 2019 showing expenditures once again on upward trajectory, given the government’s growing focus on ensuring all-embracing development across various sectors to build up a knowledge-based economy driven by increased productivity, innovation, and R&D.

Source: Albawaba

Successful Belgian-French company in the Gulf!

Today, we are coming to you in order to present a great success of one Belgian-French company: The Magical Fountains.


Established in 1995 to carry out engineering projects for Multimedia Shows with the design, manufacturing, turn-key installation and product service of diverse kinds of ornamental and musical fountains, as well as other related products such as interactive entertainment fountains for theme parks and multimedia spectacular shows. For more than 15 years, the Belgian-French company has designed, engineered, innovated and installed amazing permanent water shows for entertainment all over the world.

The MAGICAL WATER FOUNTAINS https://www.magicalwater.com/ patented specialty fountains are used for decoration, entertainment and promotional purposes.

The primary product, the Musical Fountain, produces an array of water displays, which when combined with music, lighting, laser imagery and even fireworks, creates a large scale multimedia choreographed spectacle.

The company has already realized Water Show & Multimedia daily performances in countries such as: United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Turkey, Pakistan, China, Japan and others. 


Having experience in the Gulf countries, the Magical Water Fountains is already well known for their high-quality realizations of multimedia water shows.


Source: https://www.magicalwater.com/

UAE Tour hopes to overtake Tour de France in cycling world

The second edition of the event is scheduled to take place between February 23 and 27, 2020

UAE Tour hopes to overtake Tour de France in cycling world

The event will mark the second edition of the UAE Tour, which was born of a merger between the Abu Dhabi Tour and Dubai Tour events.

Next year’s UAE Tour cycling event hopes to surpass the more famous Tour De France and Giro d’Italia events, according to Aref Al Awani, the general secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

The seven-stage event, which will run across every emirate of the UAE, is scheduled to take place between February 23 and 27 next year, organisers announced at a press conference in Dubai on Monday.

The event will mark the second edition of the UAE Tour, which was born of a merger between the Abu Dhabi Tour and Dubai Tour events. It will also be the third event in the UCI WorldTour calendar, and is one of only two slated to be held in Asia alongside one in Guangxi, China.

The UCI WorldTour’s two most prominent events – the Tour de France and the Giro D’Italia – take place on June 27 to July 19 and May 9 to 31, respectively.

“We hope to excel those tours,” Al Awadi said on Monday. “We want to be parallel to their success.”

Al Awadi added that he believes that the UAE has “earned” its spot on the global cycling map after uniting the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Tours.

“The same [international] riders are participating in the UAE tour,” he said. “We’re in an outstanding position globally.”

Economic impact

Although officials did not give figures on the potential economic impact the UAE Tour is expected to have, Fabrizio D’Amico, the UAE branch manager of RCS Sports and Events – which is partnering with the sports councils to organise the event – said that the benefits would be “significant”.

“The [economic impact] of the UAE Tour actually started back in 2014 when we started the first edition of Dubai Tour, and then in the following years with Abu Dhabi Tour,” he told Arabian Business. “We have seen many benefits behind that, especially in terms of investments from the government side to increase the number of cycle tracks all over the UAE.”

D’Amico revealed the previous UAE Tour also “brought the development of retail shops and facilities that people and amateurs are using every day.”

“We’ve seen that showcasing the UAE Tour brings in interest for tourism,” he said. “It also drove people to the UAE.”

While the full route details of the upcoming UAE Tour are yet to be revealed, the course is expected to cover over 1,000 km across all seven emirates, with an elevation gain of over 4,500 m.

Source: Arabian Business

Next healthcare investments in the GCC!

Two new healthcare projects coming up in Bahrain

Two new health projects, the first of their kind in Bahrain, will be announced at the opening of the upcoming Business Development and Investment Forum in Health and Medical Industries (BDFEX) 2019.
The first is a complex of private and integrated medical clinics, and the second is an industrial zone for health and medical industries, revealed the organising committee of the event.
The model of these two projects will be presented to investors from Bahrain and other Gulf countries during the events of the forum, which will be held under the patronage of Dr Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, president of the Supreme Council of Health, in a strategic partnership with the Labour Fund Tamkeen on October 23 and 24.
This forum will be organised by Proact International Consulting Company from Bahrain, and the United Gulf Investment management and Industrial Consulting Group in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, in cooperation with SIR Consultants Company for Engineering Consultancy in Bahrain.
The two projects are to be launched at a time when investment in health sector facilities is witnessing a great interest in the region and the world. The attraction of the two investment projects is based on their qualitative design.
The medical clinic complex covers an area of 8,000 to 10,000 sq m and consists of six floors, in addition to two underground service floors, an emergency entrance and a heliport.
The complex will also include clinics in various specialisation open for freehold ownership or renting, equipped with all the necessary facilities from operation rooms, emergency department, medical and radiology laboratories, as well as admission rooms and suites under 24-hour control, and in liaison with the doctor concerned with the patient.
There are also reception halls, meeting rooms, a conference room equipped with the latest technology, a research center, library, pharmacy, and parking for doctors and clients.
This complex provides the privacy for each doctor in his clinic, on the one hand, and all the services that the doctor requires are shared with other doctors, on the other.
The management of the complex will also be carried out by experienced administrative doctors.
The second project a complex for light and medium medical industries such as injections, sterilizers, medical solutions and other medical supplies. – TradeArabia News Service
Source: Trade Arabia

Saudi Arabia imposes 100% tax on shisha

Riyadh: A decision to impose a 100 percent tax on bills at restaurants that serve shisha has ignited criticism on social media in Saudi Arabia, where the water pipes are a popular pastime.

The furore has also been fuelled by confusion over how the tax is applied.

In the meantime, some restaurants have stopped offering shisha, while others have lowered their prices to appease customers.

The government’s official gazette said earlier this month that the tax will apply to all tobacco products.

However the ruling from the ministry of rural and municipal affairs said it will apply “to the total invoice of the business serving tobacco products”.

A number of restaurants and cafes contacted by AFP said they believed that the tax applies to all table orders in any establishment that serves tobacco products, whether or not the order included shisha.

The decision sparked an avalanche of criticism on social media networks where the Arabic hashtag “tax on hookah restaurants” is trending in the kingdom.

Many people posted photos of their restaurant bills, with totals of more than double the initial amount when taking into account the new 100 percent tax and a still-unpopular five percent value added tax which went into effect last year.

“Tobacco tax – controversy and confusion,” read a headline in the Al-Madina newspaper on Monday.

There were also suggestions that the new shisha tax could be a measure to protect public health.

“This is an indirect way to prohibit shisha without actually prohibiting it,” tweeted Electronic Lawyer, a popular commentator who has more than 80,000 followers.

Other Twitter users said the new decision goes against the country’s Vision 2030 ambitions to evamp the economy.

Encouraging investment and kickstarting tourism are part of a reform programme envisaged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to wean the kingdom off its reliance on oil.

Source: https://www.france24.com , Gulf News