United Arab Emirates eases ban on shipping of goods between it and Qatar enforced under a June 2017 boycott of Doha.
The United Arab Emirates has eased a ban on the shipping of goods between it and Qatar, enforced under a political and economic boycott of Doha, according to port circulars and an industry source.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Qatar in June 2017 over allegations it supports terrorism, a charge Doha denies.
An Abu Dhabi Ports circular dated February 12 cancelled previous directives that banned cargoes of Qatar origin from UAE waters and ports, and those of UAE origin from Qatar.
It maintained a ban on vessels flying the Qatari flag or owned by Qatari shipping firms or nationals. UAE-flagged vessels still cannot call at Qatar ports.
An industry source told Reuters news agency that the circular applied to all ports in the UAE. Government authorities in both the Gulf states were not immediately available to comment.
Liberian flagged container ship MSC ELSA 3 arrived at Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port on February 20 from Qatar’s Umm Said, according to Refinitiv data.
It was not clear if the move was linked to complaints filed to the World Trade Organisation related to the Gulf dispute.
Qatar filed in July 2017 a wide-ranging legal complaint at the WTO to challenge the trade boycott.
Last month, the UAE filed a complaint against Qatar at the WTO, saying Doha had imposed a ban on Emirati products.
On the political front, there has been no indication of a thaw. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have said the dispute is not a priority and that Qatar must accept a list of conditions before ties are restored.
Qatar has said that although it would like the matter resolved, it is moving on. Last year, it quit oil producers’ group OPEC, of which Saudi Arabia is the de facto leader.
Diplomats in the Gulf say the boycott has raised costs for companies operating in the region, with vessels forced to call at ports in third countries when sailing between Qatar and the UAE.
Qatar’s economy has largely weathered the boycott, thanks to the tiny country’s vast wealth, which was swiftly deployed by the government to support the financial sector.
The world’s largest natural gas exporter also forged new trade links to meet domestic demand, including basic goods, such as food and construction material as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
Bahrain Airport Company reports profit of $51m, up 49 percent on previous year
Bahrain Airport Company reported a 49 percent increase in yearly profit thanks to an increase commercial and freight airlines using the region hub.
Eng. Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Bahrain’s Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications and chairman of Gulf Air Group Holding (GFG) said the airport reported a profit of $51 million (BD19.3) on last year, up 49 percent.
The airport increased its revenue by 21 percent, to $135m (BD51m) thanks to a surge in cargo traffic.
Bahrain also attracted a number of new airlines to operate out of Bahrain International, which saw greater revenue from landing fees, passenger service charges and heavier footfall through retail areas.
The airport’s non-aero revenues, increased by 28 percent, largely due to property and real estate income (33%) and retail concession income (31%).
“The launch of the new passenger terminal building later this year, which will increase BIA’s capacity to 14 million passengers a year, is expected to generate even further growth across both aero and non-aero revenue streams,: said Eng Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed.
Companies in the GCC’s construction sector are expecting to receive more orders in 2019, as compared to 2018, according to Pinsent Mason’s GCC Construction Survey GCC Construction – around 58 per cent of respondents have experienced an increase in their order books so far in 2019.
According to the annual survey, Saudi Arabia is the leading market to deliver growth in 2019, with 55 per cent of respondents expecting the country to provide the most opportunity over the next 12 months, compared to 29 per cent in 2018.
Presented to industry professionals at Pinsent Masons’ Annual Construction and Engineering Law Conference, the report provides a snapshot of opinion from the GCC construction sector, where the majority of the companies are involved in projects with a value between US$27.22mn US$136.12mn.
The sector continues to face major challenges around liquidity and payment issues, with the majority of respondents (81 per cent) highlighting this as a major short-term disruptor in the sector. More than 80 per cent of companies believe that there is not enough investment allocated to training and developing professionals in the GCC construction sector.
Mark Raymont, head of the Middle East construction disputes at Pinsent Masons, said, “The outlook of the GCC’s construction sector remains continuously optimistic, despite the hit taken by the three-year oil price slum.”
He continued, “Whilst challenges remain in this region we anticipate an increase in infrastructure projects, particularly in Saudi Arabia.”
Notwithstanding concerns regarding financing and market liquidity, the findings revealed that almost 40 per cent of those surveyed across the GCC do not anticipate being involved in public-private partnerships (PPPs) this year, despite the fact that these partnerships are a means of attracting more inward investment.
When asked if they intended to expand their reach and pursue operations in sub-Saharan Africa, more than 60 per cent of respondents said this was not a consideration. More than 65 per cent of respondents have not used and are not planning on using the new technology and construction court in DIFC Courts, even though almost 60 per cent of companies have been involved in mediation or other alternative forms of dispute resolution in the past 12 months.
Respondents felt positive in terms of the objectives of their company and the regional construction industry as a whole. More than 60 per cent acknowledged that the construction industry is doing enough to improve health and safety practices in the region.
The UAE continues to rank first when it comes to ease of doing business. A majority of 96 per cent of respondents said that the UAE is leading among the GCC countries in ease of doing business. Oman followed in second place at 47 per cent. Around 64 per cent see Dubai as the most appropriate venue for regional dispute resolution with Saudi Arabia coming in second at 43 per cent.
The deal, the latest in a long partnership between the companies. Ericsson’s high-speed and low-latency 5G technology will help Batelco meet growing data traffic demands and deliver high-quality enhanced mobile broadband and fixed wireless access experiences.
Batelco Bahrain CEO Mohamed Bubashait hailed the deal. So, too did Rafiah Ibrahim, head of market area Middle East and Africa at Ericsson. She said: “5G promises to accelerate the digitisation of industries, offering service providers with new opportunities and enabling them to launch the most advanced technologies while improving the end-user experience with higher data speeds and lower latency.”
Ericsson recently enhanced its 5G platform with portfolio additions across core, radio access and transport areas, as well as service orchestration. The add-ons make the platform more dynamic and flexible, enabling service providers to smoothly evolve their networks and deploy 5G at scale.
Earlier, plans were announced for Bahrain to have commercial 5G services available as soon as this June.
A new showcase of hand-picked brands from across the globe will answer the needs and wants of consumers with darker skin tones and curlier hair textures at this month’s Beautyworld Middle East exhibition in Dubai, as the spotlight gets set to shine on multicultural beauty.
Ready to Beauty is one of the several show highlights at the region’s largest international trade fair for beauty products and well-being, and promises to take thousands of Middle East and African trade visitors through a ‘journey to discover the next big thing in multicultural beauty.’
The dedicated feature is curated by US-based Dark Metier, and will present a wide range of products, from foundations and cosmetics with shades and formulas created specifically for high-melanin skin types, to hair systems that care for thicker, more textured curls.
Corey Huggins, founder and Global CEO of Dark Metier, said the retail style set-up will appeal to the vast and diverse population prevalent within the wider region. “Ready to Beauty addresses the unique concerns and evolving tastes of the darker beauty consumer, featuring both cult favourites alongside emerging and niche brands alike,” he said.
“Its popularity will be underlined when trade visitors recognise that this particular version of beauty is finally being revealed and respected. Literally, attendees will be on a discovery journey to find the next big thing in multicultural beauty.”
Ready to Beauty will be located within the USA pavilion at Beautyworld Middle East 2019, which takes place from April 15-17 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Huggins highlighted some of the key brands that will be on display, including Camille Rose, a hair and skin care wonder from the US, and Kenyan-owned Pauline Cosmetics, one of East Africa’s leading makeup brands developed to be inclusive for all shades of Black.
“Ready to Beauty will be a virtual tour of the hottest and newest in beauty and lifestyle; a one-stop-shop focused on the most appropriate products for African, Latin, Middle East and South East Asian beauty.”
Huggins added that mainstream beauty brands are now slowly recognising the power of the multicultural market: “Big brands are starting to launch products that target the darker consumer, particularly in haircare, but there’s a difference between multicultural-suited and multicultural-specific beauty,” he said. “One is gratuitous in nature and the other is authentic. Without question, Ready to Beauty is unapologetically the latter.”
Ready to Beauty arrives at Beautyworld Middle East 2019 amid a growing preference for cosmetics and hair care suited to warmer skin tones and colours. According to industry estimates, multicultural women are also said to spend 80 per cent more on cosmetics and nearly twice as much on skincare than other consumer bases.
Elaine O’Connell, Beautyworld Middle East’s show director, said: “In our view, beauty bridges all cultural gaps almost effortlessly, and in Ready to Beauty, we have a unique showcase that will appeal to the diverse cultures and varied skin tones so prevalent in the Middle East and African region.
“Trade visitors can expect to see a wide range of natural haircare products, skincare, personal care, and colour cosmetics varying from perfectly balanced to bold and warm. The special feature is yet another example of how Beautyworld Middle East continues to evolve and cater to the specific needs and requirements of its core market,” she added.
Other notables at Ready to Beauty include emerging Men’s personal care brand UnderGuard; and more Kenyan names such as BU.KE, an artisan brand that handcrafts luxurious skin and haircare, and Sheth Naturals, which makes creams catering to a broad spectrum of hair texture and curls.
Now in its 24th edition, Beautyworld Middle East 2019 will feature more than 1,750 exhibitors from 65 countries.
The annual three-day event is organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, covering the six product groups of Hair, Nails, and Salon Suppliers; Cosmetics and Skincare; Personal Care and Hygiene; Machinery, Packaging, Raw Materials, and Contract Manufacturing; Fragrance Compounds and Finished Fragrances; and Natural and Organic.
Ready to Beauty is just one of a number of value-added features that attract tens of thousands of trade buyers and beauty professionals every year. Front Row is the new big headline act for 2019, presenting a three-day programme of live makeup, hair, and nail demonstrations delivered by the region’s premier beauty artists, influencers, and creative talents.
Returning regular features include the ever-popular Quintessence, an exclusive showcase of niche fragrances, and Battle of the Barbers, a live three-day competition where the UAE’s finest male grooming technicians will battle it out for two coveted titles: the UAE’s Best Barber and UAE’s Best Shave.
The Fragrance Station and Nail It! By OPI and Artistic – a nail art competition – are other returning features, while the two-day Beauty Business Conference will cover pertinent topics such as women entrepreneurship in the beauty business and sustainable packaging of beauty products.
With 25 country pavilions, six product groups, and a packed programme of special features, the 24th edition of the annual showcase will again present an unrivalled platform of business networking and inspirational ideas for an expected audience of 35,000-plus trade buyers and beauty professionals. – TradeArabia News Service
UK-based The Light Cinemas has signed a deal to launch 15 locations in Saudi Arabia under the brand name of MUVI.
The independent UK operator is teaming with London-based consultancy firm The Big Picture to create the Saudi cinemas, making it the first UK firm to obtain a licence in the Gulf kingdom.
Saudi Arabia lifted a decades-old ban on cinemas in December 2017.
Other companies to have launched in the territory include AMC and VOX Cinemas.
Keith Pullinger, co-founder of both The Light and The Big Picture, said the company had no concerns about expanding into the territory.
“Saudi Arabia represents the biggest opportunity for box office growth in the world,” he said in comments published by Screen International.
The Light and The Big Picture will work with Saudi retail giant Fawaz Alkohair Group to integrate MUVI cinemas into the FAHG’s Arabian Centres Malls in locations across the region, including Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.
The proposed 15 sites are at a combination of design, planning and consultancy stages, Screen International said.
The company has 10 sites throughout the UK, with five more projected to open in the next three years.
RIYADH: As revealed on Wednesday by Arab News, ambitious plans have been unveiled in Riyadh for the largest city park in the world. King Salman Park is part of a $23 billion project to create vast open green spaces in the Saudi capital that will create sustainable communities and drive action against climate change.
At 13.4 square kilometers, King Salman Park will be five times larger than London’s Hyde Park and four times larger than Central Park in New York. It aims to become a one-of-a-kind destination, with more than 160 features and attractions covering art, culture, sport and entertainment. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of this year.
The architecturally beautiful yet practical and sustainable project is more like a mini city than a park. It will have open green spaces covering 9.3 million square meters in total, split into smaller areas of up to 400,000 square meters each, along with about 300,000 square meters of water features. Connecting it all will be a 7.2 km circular pathway.
World-class athletic and sports facilities are core elements of the park, including an international-standard 18-hole, 850,000 square meter golf course. It will also host the Kingdom’s first virtual-reality playground and its first first bungee jumping and parachuting center, along with facilities for a wide range of other sports and activities.
Art and culture will be served by the Royal Art Complex, which will include six museums, water parks, and other artistic attractions. There will also be an 80,000 square meter visitors’ center, including restaurants and cafes, 12,000 residential units, 16 hotels and an office complex.
“The park is a symbol of urban development that is designed in an environmentally correct way that will match current and future requirements by integrating the park with the urban network around it,” said Basem Alshihabi, the founder and managing partner of architecture and engineering design company Omrania, which won the contract to design the park. This integration will offer great investment opportunities, he added.
The project aims to create a “human space that will bring back the human life to Riyadh, rather than the current situation where cars are the main means of transportation and there is little consideration for the natural human need to walk, ride bicycles and go running.”
A key aspect of the park’s design is its location, which was carefully chosen to make it as accessible as possible to the entire population of the city. It is well served by public transport, including five metro stations.
“King Salman Park can be reached within 30 minutes from anywhere in Riyadh through public transport,” said Alshihabi. “In planning the mid area of the park we ensured two important features: The loop (the traffic-free path around the park) and a valley that is more than 30 meters deep and uses the micro climate in the area so that people will feel cooler while they are in it.”
King Salman Park also aims to break new ground in the use of technology, including the use of driverless cars.
“This is a pilot project in the Kingdom for self-driven cars,” said Alshihabi. “An application will enable users to request a vehicle that can pick them from the metro station, accepts electronic financial payment, and drops them off anywhere within the park, while driving safely due to its sensors.”
The 5 million square meter first phase of the park is due to be completed by the end of 2020, with the full project finished by 2024. About 400,000 visitors per day are expected, in addition to workers and residents.
“King Salman Park will change the very nature of Riyadh,” said Alshihabi. “It will actually fulfill the meaning of Al-Riyadh: The green land.”
King Salman Park is part of a massive environmentally friendly development plan for Riyadh that also includes Sports Boulevard, Green Riyadh and Riyadh Art.
The Light, Lights pavilion will be located in the area dedicated to mobility and will promote the French innovation model
France has unveiled the design for its Dubai Expo 2020 pavilion which aims to portray the country’s innovative vision in terms of ecological and inclusive transition.
Brune Poirson, Secretary of State to François de Rugy, Minister of State, Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, revealed the pavilion which is called Light, Lights.
“The Expo 2020 Dubai will be a major opportunity to demonstrate that our choices in favour of ecological and inclusive transition are conducive to solutions, meaning and growth. Solutions to make daily life respectful of the planet and citizens. Meaningful and growing also for our companies, both public and private, whose innovations will delight future visitors to our pavilion.” said Poirson.
The Light, Lights pavilion will be located in the area dedicated to mobility and will promote the French innovation model, which “makes it possible to conciliate sustainable development and international business competitiveness for connected and sustainable cities and territories, serving the citizen and the common good”.
Designed by the Atelier du Prado Architectes and Celnikier & Grabli, the pavilion will showcase the assets of the French-style city in an organic scenography that combines sound, light, perfume and materials.
The Light, Lights pavilion will be punctuated by a constantly changing program during the 24 weeks of the Expo 2020 Dubai and will be the most sustainable ever built because it can be dismantled and reused.
Through its participation in Expo 2020, France said it intends to make the mobility of people, goods, territories, ideas and information a fundamental issue in solving the challenges of transitions, whether technological, ecological or economic.
At Expo 2020 Dubai, the 190 participating countries and the 25 million visits expected will explore the issues related to connections around three key sub-themes – mobility, sustainability and opportunity.
With 1.59 billion euros of French exports, the UAE is France’s second largest partner in the Gulf.
The $6.4 trillion global Islamic economy grew 100 percent from $3.2trn in just six years, with around 1.8 billion Muslims buying halal certified products ranging from tech-smart sports hijabs to fine dining halal meal kits and even Muslim Barbie dolls, according to the latest State of the Global Islamic Economy report.
Everyone from Nike to Dolce Gabbana and Haribo are riding the lucrative halal wave with certified products including luxury abayas and gummy bears.
GCC countries import over $50bn worth of halal products, of which $20bn are imported by the UAE alone, making up 40 percent of the Gulf’s halal imports, according to F&B consultants Farrelly and Mitchell.
With the number of Muslims rising to 3 billion around the world by 2060, it can only get better.
Dubai’s move to become the global industry leader
It is no wonder that Dubai wants to become the capital of the global Islamic economy, going as far as to host its own annual Halal Expo. In December, the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) announced it would raise the Islamic economy’s contribution to the city’s gross domestic product to 10 percent by 2021 compared to 8.3 percent in 2018. The move is in line with a five-year strategy launched by DIEDC in 2017 in a bid to grow three key sectors of the Sharia-compliant economy.
But is the Islamic economy growing fast enough?
It’s ‘steady but not rapid’, Noman Khawaja, founder of Britain’s first premium halal convenience food brand, Haloodies says in our cover story [page 22].
Why? Because it’s no longer enough to attract a Muslim customer by a halal certified logo and lazy branding.
The bad news is the world is yet to give that to them. The good news is that Dubai can. Let us not make the same mistake with the halal sector as we did with the fashion sector, where we relied so heavily on imports instead of investing in our local talent and resources. Fashion may not have been Dubai’s specialty as it was Paris’ or New York’s, but halal fashion is. Dubai is, after all, a Muslim city with a population specialised in all things halal. More importantly, it is a modern and continuously developing Muslim city which is ranked among the world’s leading hubs for F&B, retail, cosmetics, entertainment and more – making it the perfect capital of the Islamic economy. Let’s take a quick look at the numbers: global Muslim spend on F&B is $1.3bn, clothing and apparel is $270bn, media and entertainment is $209bn, travel is $177bn, pharmaceuticals is $87bn and cosmetics is $61bn.
With Expo2020 just around the corner, it has the chance to give Muslims what non-Muslims have, particularly as its population consists of over 200 nationalities with various ethnicities and background. How is that related? There is non-Muslim opportunity in the Muslim economy too, according to Professor Jonathan J A Wilson, branding expert and author of Halal Branding.
The pharmaceutical sector in the Mena region has witnessed tremendous growth over the last few years and is set to reach around $60 billion by 2025, said the organisers of the upcoming Middle East Pharma Cold Chain Congress in Dubai, UAE.
The event taking place from March 19-21 at Millennium Airport Hotel is an important platform for the pharmaceutical industry in Mena discussing ongoing and future challenges and solutions in the industry.
With governments in the region focusing more and more on the wellbeing of a growing population and enhancing healthcare services, timely and safe delivery of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, especially temperature controlled products has become a vital for the sector.
According to studies, the pharma sector growth is largely fuelled by high population growth, increased life expectancy coupled with the prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, and aspiration for excellent healthcare services among countries in the region.
The UAE is leading the growth with over $1.2 billion funnelled into the healthcare system in the 2019 budget, and topped up with more support with substantial funds allotted in the $540 million innovation fund by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund.
With the recent approval of Dubai Silk Road Strategy and existing outstanding logistics infrastructure, the UAE is fast turning into a source market, which is manufacturing and exporting pharmaceuticals to high-demand markets such as Africa and Asia.
Accelerated drug-registration system, investments in R&D, innovation, and technological advancement, has led to a rise in the number of international pharmaceutical companies from 30 in 2013 to 47 in 2016, and is expected to reach 75 in 2020. Moreover, around 95% of the global pharmaceutical companies have a base in the UAE, which gives them logistics access to 43 countries worldwide.
The Congress will focus on challenges faced by pharmaceutical companies in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) with the globalisation of the pharmaceutical supply chain requiring them to maintain ever-changing regulations and compliance for temperature-sensitive products. It will also discuss Good Distribution Practices and varying regulations across different countries.
It will delve into strategies including regulatory compliance, integrating cold chain management, selecting the appropriate partners, maintaining supply chain integrity, achieving real-time traceability and more. – TradeArabia News Service