ArabBrains MENA Education Innovation Technology Investment Networking Events News Social Media Blogs Wed, 31 Aug 2016 06:50:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 strengthens its Leadership Bench team in the Areas of Technology and Service Wed, 31 Aug 2016 06:50:46 +0000 ., the Middle East’s largest online retail and marketplace platform is pleased to announce the appointment of Wisam Daoud as the new COO and Dinesh Ajmera, as the SVP of Technology to further expand’s technology and global operations. These appointments highlight’s ongoing commitment to foster a dynamic e-commerce ecosystem and is in line with the company’s vision of constantly innovating across its platform that includes adding new talent to the growing team.

Boasting an enriching 17 years e-commerce expertise from the United States and Middle East, Daoud will spearhead global operations for’s online marketplace, retail, and transport businesses. Earlier to this appointment, he served as the CTO of where he led product engineering, analytics and technology operations teams to build best of breed Marketplace and Retail platform to deliver phenomenal business over his 6 year tenure.

Ajmera brings an in-depth product insight and a comprehensive knowledge of product development and management with over 16 years of extensive experience in building consumer and enterprise web-scale products. He has built top-notch engineering teams responsible for architecture, development, quality and deployment of high-performance online platforms through innovative technology solutions. He has also led the building of analytics platforms and products powered by Big Data & Algorithms to deliver world-class customer experience – a key factor which, being the largest e-commerce platform in the region is committed to.

Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO & Co-Founder comments, “One of our key commitments post the funding round earlier in the year was to drive further growth in the e-commerce market by investing in technology and recruiting the best talent. With the e-commerce market in the region growing at a phenomenal rate, we are focused on the value we bring through technology and job creation. By on-boarding experienced veterans with commendable portfolios, we at are aiming to further empower SME’s with a more technologically robust platform and at the same time enable our consumers to make smarter choices. “

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Leading Arab banks to participate in SWIFT’s annual global financial services event Wed, 31 Aug 2016 06:20:16 +0000 Finance African Brains WikimediaMore than 200 delegates and exhibitors will represent the Arab community at Sibos 2016 to discuss the future of the financial services with industry peers from around the world.

SWIFT, a member-owned cooperative and global provider of secure financial messaging services, announces today that more than 200 delegates and exhibitors from the Arab region will take part in Sibos 2016, which will be held in Geneva from 26-29 September.

Over 8,000 banks, financial and securities institutions, regulators, corporate customers and service providers meet at Sibos, which is held at one of the global financial markets every year, to discuss the issues and trends that shape the financial industry. The Middle East market was first introduced to Sibos in 2013 when the event was held at the World Trade Centre, making it one of the largest events in Dubai in recent years.

This year’s theme is “Transforming the Landscape”. The conference will explore evolving payments and securities industry trends, the latest from the financial crime compliance world, innovation, opportunities and challenges in technology, disruptive competition and cultural shifts, as well as other hot topics impacting the financial landscape.

Sido Bestani, SWIFT’s Head of Middle East, Turkey and Africa, says: “Sibos remains at the forefront of global discussions about the future of the financial industry. SWIFT’s regional community, including banks, financial institutions, regulators and corporates, are keen to take part in the debates that will shape their future.”

Exhibitors from the region include the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar’s QNB Group.

Delegates and exhibitors from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon will have the opportunity to take part in discussions with regional and global industry experts. Over 200 delegates have already registered from the region. Sessions will debate how the shifting sanctions landscape will change compliance dynamics and cover topics on how to safely bank low-risk clients in high risk jurisdictions. In addition, they will have the opportunity to consider how some markets are responding to the real-time payments trend.

Discussions will also focus on the role of Financial Market Infrastructures, the European Commission and European Central Bank’s views on the single market and capital markets union. Additional sessions will look at distributed ledger technology (DLT, also known as blockchain) and the next steps in terms of adoption by the financial industry.

Khaled Moharem, Head of Middle East and North Africa at SWIFT, says: “SWIFT regularly engages with the financial community about issues of tactical and strategic importance to their businesses. Sibos provides the opportunity for the community to meet with like-minded institutions and experts from around the world to exchange ideas and work on common solutions to shared challenges from a global perspective. The Middle East financial industry’s growing support for Sibos is clearly illustrated by the number of participants from the region.”

SWIFT is also organising the Business Forum UAE on 25 October 2016 under the theme: “Building for the future: regulation, innovation and the transformation of banking”. The event is an opportunity for the SWIFT community to come together to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the UAE today. Keynote speeches and panel discussions will focus on recent developments in financial crime compliance, the impact of global regulations on the UAE, corporate banking and FinTech innovation.

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DED’s Compliance Day for businesses widely welcomed across UAE Tue, 30 Aug 2016 08:52:24 +0000 dedThe initiative launched by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai to enable businesses avoid violations or penalties through improved compliance with commercial regulations has been praised by the economic departments in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah. Representatives of the four economic departments from the sister emirates also welcomed DED’s proposal to observe a penalty-free ‘Compliance Day’ to raise awareness on commercial regulations and honour businesses for their continued commitment to complying with laws.

DED presented the proposal to its counterparts in other emirates as part of an effort to create nationwide awareness on the benefits of its initiative and help disseminate a culture of awareness and compliance among businesses across all the emirates. Directors in charge of commercial control in the respective economic departments attended the presentation, which was held at the DED offices in the Business Village.

Last year, DED announced that the 3rd of September every year will be observed as ‘Compliance Day’ to raise awareness among businesses on commercial regulations without issuing any penalties for violations spotted on that day. Officials from DED will visit business establishments and educate business owners on fully complying with commercial regulations, avoiding repeat offenses and pursuing excellence in service delivery.

Expressing his gratitude to the other economic departments for their keenness on joint initiatives, Mohammed Ali Rashed Lootah, CEO of the Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in DED, said such initiatives leave a positive imprint on the business community and governments as well as enhance UAE’s economic growth and competitiveness. He added that consumers also stand to benefit by way of better quality goods and services as well as a stronger rights protection environment.

“The focus of our inspectors on the ‘Compliance Day’ is on building adequate awareness among business owners on the right way to do business and the best practices in ensuring quality, as it is a pre-requisite to building complementary and sustainable relationships in the local market. It’s part of our strategic objective to enhance happiness among traders and consumers as well as confidence on Dubai and the UAE in general among businessmen and investors,” Lootah said.

Confirming his department’s participation in the ‘Compliance Day’ programme, Abu Dhabi DED representative said it will help spread a culture of awareness and transparency in retailing.

Sharjah DED representative also confirmed participation in the programme, adding that it will support ongoing efforts to improve retail sector performance and ease of doing business in Sharjah and the UAE in general.

Ajman DED official explained about the emirate’s continuing efforts towards eliminating barriers for businesses and added that initiatives like ‘Compliance Day’ will support such efforts. RAK DED also emphasised its co-operation with economic departments in the other emirates and eagerness on reciprocal visits to share knowledge and develop mutually beneficial solutions.

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GE 2016 Global Innovation Barometer findings reveal keen focus of Saudi businesses to strengthen digital innovation Tue, 30 Aug 2016 05:39:07 +0000
  • ge
  • Results underline the emergence of a new innovation ecosystem as defined by Saudi Vision 2030, supported by GE through various localized initiatives
  • 88% informed public say advanced manufacturing will transform industrial sector in the next decade
  • 61% say new innovation approaches in energy sector will reap huge benefits
  • GE’s study examining innovation landscape complements its leadership initiatives & partnerships to promote localized innovation
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – GE (NYSE: GE) today unveiled the results from Saudi Arabia of its 2016 Global Innovation Barometer, which explores how business leaders and members of the public perceive the opportunities for, and barriers to – innovation in a complex global environment.

    Now in its fifth year, the research surveyed 2,748 senior business executives and 1,346 informed publics across 23 countries. In Saudi Arabia, the survey covered about 200 C-level business executives and informed citizens, just as the Kingdom embarks on a new era of growth underlined by the Saudi Vision 2030.

    Hisham Al-Bahkali, GE’s President & CEO for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, said: “The GE Global Innovation Barometer findings from Saudi Arabia underline the deep interest among the Saudi business community to invest in talent and innovative technologies to drive a new era of growth. This reflects the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, which aim not only to diversify the economy, but also to drive progress and transformational growth. Innovation is at the heart of the new development narrative of the Kingdom, and we are committed to nurturing it through our people, strategic investments, partnerships and localization initiatives.”

    Nidal Ghizawi, Director of the Saudi GE Technology & Innovation Center, added: “Our investment in the Saudi GE Technology & Innovation Center in Dhahran Techno Valley is a compelling testament to our focus on promoting localized research & development. By working with the Saudi research community, our industry partners, and the GE Global Research Centers around the world, we are supporting the development of a new innovation ecosystem in the Kingdom that will help meet the requirements of our partners and the community, especially in Digital, Energy and Healthcare. With several patents to our credit already, the path-breaking research we undertake contributes to improved productivity levels in the Kingdom and has practical applications globally.”

    A Clear Innovation Strategy

    The GE Global Innovation Barometer 2016 shows that Saudi Arabia is ready to build a new innovation ecosystem, with 69% of Saudi executives stating their organizations have a clear innovation strategy. They show a preference for innovating incrementally and a larger proportion of businesses in the Kingdom favor external innovation than their peers globally.

    79% of Saudi executives agree that innovation has netted positive results, stating they have seen growth in revenue and profit generated by collaborative innovation activities. 67% are willing to share the revenue stream (or losses) that could be generated through collaborative innovation. Highlighting their openness to leveraging big data, 73% of Saudi executives report an expansion of the ability of their businesses to analyze large and complex amounts of data, compared to only 48% in the previous 2014 survey.

    Overcoming the Challenges

    Saudi executives see a reduction in the difficulty to come up with innovative ideas – 49% now, compared to 65% in 2014. 58% say they are most challenged by the lack of sufficient investment and financial support for innovation. Nearly half the respondents feel that rewarding those in the organizations who create innovation and encouraging innovative people are key best practices to foster radical innovation. 57% say talent challenge remains, with 52% of executives looking for candidates with strong problem-solving skills, and 48% with strong creativity.

    Positive Effect of the Digital Revolution

    An overwhelming 81% of the informed public surveyed said that in the next 10 years, technological developments such as robotics and automation will radically transform the job market and nature of work. 84% said the most innovative companies will not only launch new products and services but also create new markets that previously didn’t exist. Some 41% of the business executives and 49% of the informed public feel that the digital revolution will have a positive impact on employment. Over one-third also said that it will lead to the creation of new jobs.

    The Future Worker

    Across the globe, the survey finds that the future worker is changing with the rise of ‘nomad employees’ – people who favor freelancing and contracting modes. In the Kingdom, 68% of the business executives – compared to 81% globally – say a start-up ethos is increasingly becoming the norm for creating an innovation culture within companies of all sizes. More than the global average, 66% of the informed public and 62% of business executives said the current education system is adapted to fulfil the private sector’s demand for new talent and skills. Nearly two-thirds also said the current education system is preparing the next generation for the jobs of tomorrow.

    Advanced Manufacturing Ready

    Highlighting the role of digital industrial technologies in driving manufacturing sector efficiency and productivity, 78% of executives and 88% of informed citizens said that in the next 10 years, advanced manufacturing such as through 3D printing will radically transform the industrial sector.

    Driving Force

    Nearly 42% of business executives and 40% of informed publics say that the private sector is now in the driver’s seat of innovation. One-third of business executives consider government should be doing more to drive innovation, followed by multinationals (20%) and universities & research labs (14%). More than the global average, 59% of the informed public says that the government is making innovation a priority.

    A Digital Future

    Several questions in the latest survey discussed the importance of digital technologies. Nearly 70% of business executives and 80% of the informed public shared their concern about the impact of the fast-paced growth of digital technology on businesses, stating they are mindful that more and more businesses face the challenge of ‘Digital Darwinism’ – the risk of becoming obsolete if they fail to adapt to and embrace technological changes. Similar to the global average, 58% of the respondents said maximizing the performance of revenue streams and business models is important compared to opening up new business models.

    Energy Sector Ripe for Disruption

    Some 61% respondents said the energy industry would be the sector to benefit most from investment in innovation, with nearly half of them agreeing that innovation will most likely be felt in increasing energy efficiency, and helping consumers use and waste less energy. 43% of business executives and 48% of the informed public said innovation will lower the cost of energy.

    The findings of the GE Global Innovation Barometer highlight the clear focus of businesses on developing a culture of innovation in preparation for a digital industrial future. GE is supporting the country’s innovation landscape through its various investments including in the Saudi GE Innovation & Technology Center, which has already achieved breakthrough results with several patents for localized research.

    The GE Manufacturing Technology Center (GEMTEC) in Dammam will also serve as one of GE’s global centers of excellence in innovation, especially in Hot & Harsh research. In 2015, GE announced US$100 million in new programs to strengthen the Company’s localization efforts, build research and innovation capacity, and create jobs in advanced manufacturing and software analytics. This built on the US1 billion GE already invested since 2012 that focused on furthering the Kingdom’s efforts in localization and diversification in the three key areas of Innovation & Business Development, Healthcare and Energy.

    GE has over eight decades of partnership in the Kingdom. It has a 2,000 strong workforce in the Kingdom, with 50% of its talent in highly skilled engineering and technology roles, and a Saudization rate of 70%. Through its local investments, GE has built a supplier base of over 300 local organizations, of which 150 are Saudi SMEs. Today, the GE Manufacturing Technology Center exports parts and services to more than 70 customers in almost 40 countries across Middle East, Europe and Africa, as well as the US.

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    Zain Iraq and Ericsson extend managed services deal to optimize network and IT operations Tue, 30 Aug 2016 03:32:18 +0000 zain-logo

    • Zain Iraq customers will benefit through receiving superior quality of service
    • Three-year agreement covers Zain Iraq’s nationwide 3G mobile network of over 4,200 sites
    • Ericsson to optimize, transform and manage Network and IT operations for Zain Iraq

    Zain Iraq and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) have signed a three-year extension of their network and IT operation and optimization managed services agreement.

    Under the extended agreement, Ericsson will continue to optimize, transform and manage network and IT operations for Zain’s nationwide 3G mobile network in Iraq, which currently includes over 4,200 sites across the country. This agreement will allow Zain to focus on expanding its network and offering appealing voice and highly demanded data services to meet customer needs, especially in the corporate sector.

    The deal will result in Zain ramping up its offer to deliver best quality of service and experience to its 11.2 million customers using Ericsson’s managed services capabilities. The agreement also sees Zain benefit from a reduction in operating costs (OPEX) while offering customers improved data service quality and availability, given the pent-up demand for mobile broadband in the country.

    Furthermore, Zain will be able to increase its focus on its core customer-facing business activities such as managing customer relationships and offering a shorter time-to-market for the delivery of new services and technologies.


    Scott Gegenheimer, Zain Group Chief Executive Officer, says: “Through this agreement, Zain Iraq will be better positioned to support the evolution and growth of the telecommunication industry in the country and ensure that all Iraqis receive urgently-needed quality mobile telecommunication services. Social volatility has led to network instability in this huge and significant market for Zain, and as we strive to continue providing connectivity for our valued customers, our close relationship with Ericsson enables us to maintain vital mobile services and further contribute to the economic and social development of Iraq’s economy.”

    Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Middle East and East Africa at Ericsson, says: “Today’s announcement is another testimony of our long-term partnership with Zain in Iraq and across other markets. Throughout the years, we helped Zain in Iraq to provide a differentiated experience to its customers and we look forward to continuing our partnership and transform Zain’s network with our experience centric managed services offerings.”

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    Sabre appoints new country manager to lead its expansion strategy in Qatar Mon, 29 Aug 2016 08:03:15 +0000 Ghassan Abu KhalafSabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), the leading technology provider to the global travel industry, has appointed Ghassan Abu Khalaf as its new country manager for Qatar, to lead its operations and deploy Sabre’s expansion strategy across the country.

    With more than 20 years’ experience working for global technology companies in the Middle East, Ghassan’s primary role will be leading the Sabre Travel Network Middle East (STNME) team in Qatar to maintain and support the growth of its customers within an evolving and expanding market. He will play a key role in recruiting and building a highly innovative team, as well as establishing strategic partnerships and networks within the local and global travel and technology industries.

    “Ghassan’s wealth of technology, travel and e-commerce experience, as well as his deep knowledge of the Qatar market, will ensure that Sabre’s goals to help develop the country’s travel industry will be successfully met,” said Daniel Naoumovitch, CEO, STNME. “His appointment, in addition to our dedicated team on the ground and future investment plans, will help extend our services and technology as well as bring our global value and innovative solutions to local travel agents.”

    Prior to Sabre, Ghassan held various executive roles with leading technology companies such as Oracle, NCR, Lexmark and Xerox, across a variety of markets including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and USA.

    “I am very pleased to be joining Sabre at such an exciting time, when the level of innovation and diversification across the travel industry is at its peak,” said Ghassan. “Sabre’s adoption of the latest technologies and understanding of its customers’ needs, industry challenges and technology trends make it an effective partner for Qatar’s travel companies. I’m looking forward to playing a key role in helping Sabre’s customers – both present and future – to grow and evolve in this dynamic market.”

    Ghassan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the University of Jordan and an MBA from Montclair State University in New Jersey, USA.

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    Qatar Science & Technology Park appoints Dr Maher Hakim as new Managing Director Mon, 29 Aug 2016 06:40:07 +0000 Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D)
    Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP)

    Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), Qatar’s primary hub for technology-based innovation and entrepreneurship, has announced the appointment of Dr Maher Hakim to the position of Managing Director.

    Dr Hakim is a sought-after expert and educator in technology innovation and entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial financing, venture capital, and mergers and acquisitions in the technology industry. In his capacity as Managing Director, he will be responsible for overseeing all operations of QSTP, which is part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), while driving its further success.

    Commenting on his appointment, Dr Hakim said: “I am honoured to be appointed to the role of Managing Director of QSTP, and I am looking forward to joining QF R&D and QSTP’s fantastic team and helping to advance the local and regional technology landscape.”

    “It is an exciting time for the industry and for QSTP, as we are witnessing tremendous growth and advancements locally and regionally. I believe that through our refreshed vision of turning QSTP into a hi-tech business park, we will not only position ourselves to better support the cultivation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Qatar, but also enhance the potential for Qatar to make significant contributions to the regional and global technology industry through actively sponsoring the development of viable, home-grown tech products and services.”

    Welcoming his appointment, Dr Hamad Al Ibrahim, Executive Vice President, QF R&D, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of QSTP, said: “I am sure that Dr Hakim’s passion for entrepreneurship, wealth of experience, and knowledge of technology start-up companies – both as an entrepreneur and an investor – will serve him well in his new role and be of great benefit to QSTP.
    I would like to thank Mr Hamad Al Kuwari for his achievements in identifying synergies between resident companies, enhancing relationships with governmental agencies for Free Zone legislations, and successfully launching the Accelerator Program and technology-based incubation activities, among other significant contributions to our research community during his tenure at QSTP.”

    Prior to his new appointment, Dr Hakim was Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), a Qatar Foundation partner university, and head of the AlFaisal-Carnegie Mellon Innovation Entrepreneurship Center.

    As a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Dr Hakim has been the driving force behind five technology start-up companies. In addition to his extensive industry experience, his educational achievements include a Ph.D. in Computer-Aided Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University; an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Damascus University. He is also a prolific blog writer on the subjects of innovation and entrepreneurship.

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    Bahrain’s Diversification Away from a Hydrocarbon-dependent Economy Through Embracing Tech Mon, 29 Aug 2016 03:13:05 +0000 .

    Despite having weathered the 2008 global economic crisis comparatively well, GCC economies, still heavily hydrocarbon-dependent, have showed signs of strain in recent months, as oil prices have slumped. Bahrain is perhaps rather more sensitive to regional economic pressures than some of its more oil-rich neighbours, as highlighted by the recent downgrades by ratings agencies.

    Governments across the region are taking sensible steps to help address the challenges now faced. A two-pronged approach is observable in Bahrain and other GCC economies, as these states attempt to simultaneously increase government revenues (partly through reducing costs), as well as stimulate growth and accelerate economic diversification (thereby reducing dependency on hydrocarbon income).

    Bahrain is implementing a programme of structural economic and fiscal reforms designed to strengthen long-term development and (ambitiously) achieve a balanced budget within three budgetary cycles. On the revenue-boosting side, one ratings agency noted recently: “The government is making headway in its consolidation plan, introducing price increases on fuel, accelerating fee increases on tobacco and alcohol, and cost-cutting at the ministry level.” A VAT roll-out across the GCC in 2018 has been much talked about, and in Bahrain, further rises in electricity and water rates are widely anticipated.

    On the growth-stimulus and diversification side, H. E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Essa Al Khalifa, Political and Economic Affairs Advisor to H. R. H. Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, notes that Bahrain has “only 5% of the [oil & gas] resources on a per capita basis in comparison to the rest of the GCC,” and he says that in light of this, Bahrain has “achieved more with less.”

    Sheikh Mohammed occupies the roles of Chairman and Acting Chief Executive of Tamkeen, a government-sponsored programme tasked with developing Bahrain’s private sector and positioning it as the key driver of economic development, which has assisted more than 130,000 Bahraini small and medium enterprises, micro-businesses and individuals since its establishment in 2006.

    One of the aims of government-sponsored diversification is to position Bahrain as a regional tech hub, fostering private sector entrepreneurship in the technology sector.

    Tamkeen aims to promote entrepreneurial culture as a viable career option, especially amongst Bahraini youth. A recent Ernst & Young survey found that 70% of young Bahrainis were interested in the idea of starting their own business; twice as much as anywhere else in the Gulf.

    Through one Tamkeen initiative, in collaboration with the Bahrain Economic Development Board, C5 Accelerate (a London and Bahrain-based technology investment joint venture) and Amazon Web Services, Bahrain is now home to a US$100 million venture tech business “incubator” fund managed by C5. Although based in Bahrain, the fund is open to entrepreneurs from across the MENA region.

    The GCC has a young population with significant spending power and keen interest in technology, creating a strong platform for tech investment. Bahrain has advanced information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, a comparatively mature and liberal ICT regulatory framework and one of the highest mobile and broadband penetration rates in the world, offering an ideal testing ground for new technologies and ideas.

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    Furthering the Region’s Green Agenda Fri, 26 Aug 2016 08:01:49 +0000 HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWABy H.E. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, MD and CEO of Dubai Water and Electricity Authority and Chairman of World Green Economy Summit.

    Dubai, UAE – In April, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), a United Nations body, released its latest ‘Status of the Global Climate’ report, which detailed the string of climate and weather records that were broken in 2015 worldwide. Given the upward trend we’ve seen in recent years, it’s unsurprising that 2015 shattered all previous records, including global temperature records, with exceptional rainfall, devastating droughts, unusual cyclone activity and intense heatwaves around the world.

    “The year 2015 will stand out in the historical record of the global climate in many ways,” said WMO experts. These shocking statistics serve as a timely and critical reminder of the sheer scale of destruction climate change is having on our planet and the stark outlook for its future. It is imperative that action is taken now.

    Finding solutions to these problems is not always clear, particularly when improving energy security and addressing climate change may seem to be two conflicting goals. Countries are challenged with achieving reliable and affordable energy supplies, while at the same time reducing emissions into the atmosphere. In December 2015, a historic agreement to combat climate change was reached at COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. For the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, all 195 country members reached a universal agreement on climate change, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C. As a member of the UNFCCC, the GCC has pledged to implement a number of green initiatives to drive the global green agenda which include; renewable energy initiatives, R&D in technology, water conservation and energy efficiency improvements.

    More recently, in April this year, representatives of States from all around the world, visited New York to sign the original text of the Paris agreement on Climate Change which was first adopted at December’s Conference of the Parties (COP) 2015. Some 171 countries signed the landmark deal, which sets the ambitious goal of limiting warming to below 2 degrees Celsius; a record number for a new international treaty.

    The participation of states this time around was truly overwhelming and proved the willingness of parties to commit to common processes which will in turn lead to the agreement at an international level. However, for the agreement to come into force, 55 states need to accept the agreement and those 55 ratifications need to come from States that represent 55% of total greenhouse gas emissions. This is also against the World Bank’s estimate that over the next 15 years, the global economy will require $89 trillion in infrastructure investments and $4.1 trillion in incremental investment for the low-carbon transition to keep within the new international sub-2 degrees Celsius goal.

    Following the landmark Paris COP21 meetings, a further meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP22) with the UNFCCC will be held in Marrakech, Morocco, in November this year, at which many of the top decisions struck in the French capital will be fleshed out into action plans. This includes continued work on the determined commitments for reducing country carbon emissions and an even stronger emphasis on the action plans for regions, cities, businesses and the civil society, where the World Green Economy Summit 2016 will be a key contributing platform.

    For two years now, Dubai has hosted the World Green Economy Summit (WGES) to continue its steady and forward march aiming to achieve its ambition to become “The Global Capital of the Green Economy”, facilitate a platform for green leaders to come together to discuss partnerships and develop cleaner and green initiatives to create a sustainable future. This year WGES 2016, under the new theme of ‘Driving the Global Green Economy’, will help the region follow up on commitments made through the Dubai Declaration and create strong links to the UN Climate Agreement 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 following the directions set at COP22 in Marrakech.

    Dubai is taking major strides to drive the green economy, with a series of initiatives announced over the past 12 months. In November 2015, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, announced the launch of Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which sets a target for the provision of 7 per cent of Dubai’s energy from clean energy sources by 2020, increasing to 25 per cent by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2050. To further the region’s green economy, DEWA announced in January 2016 that it has opened consultancy tenders for a Dh100 billion green fund – the Dubai Green Fund. As part of the region’s wider green energy investment programme, the “Dubai Green Fund” will provide financing for investors in Dubai’s clean energy, and affirms the Emirate’s commitment towards pioneering green initiatives and sustainability.

    In addition to the Green Fund, Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy 2050 will also see the planned capacity of Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park upgraded to 5,000 megawatts from 3,000MW previously. The Solar Park, which is the largest single-site strategic renewable energy project of its kind in the world, is a testament to the region’s commitment to building and developing a greener economy, to achieve the UAE Vision 2021 of a truly sustainable environment with the lowest carbon footprint in the world.

    We are very proud of the UAE’s achievements. We have accomplished significant success in photovoltaic energy. Energy, sustainability and new sources of power are all themes that are on the global agenda, as the world faces growing challenges with fluctuating oil prices. We have identified sustainability as a key theme in our upcoming Dubai Expo 2020 in recognising the undisputable fact that all economies have to focus on green strategies.

    2016 is a pivotal year for Dubai and its continuation of green industry development. With the announcement of Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy 2050, the initiatives related to water and energy management programmes will get additional momentum and really showcase the regions ability to have a green voice on a global level. This year, Dubai’s World Green Economy Summit (WGES), will be the perfect platform for the region to showcase how far it’s come in just two years and shine a spotlight on exciting plans for the future.

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    KFH Wins STP Award 2016 from Citi Bank Fri, 26 Aug 2016 05:44:09 +0000 citibankAward Affirms KFH’s Excellence in Utilizing Technology.

    Kuwait Finance House (KFH) won STP award 2016 from Citi Bank, as the best financial institution in the Middle East to deal with Citi Bank, yet the bank that has achieved the highest rates in the award-winning criteria. STP is an award for “Straight Through Processing” without manual intervention for remittances to Citi.

    Present at KFH Headquarters to hand over the award to KFH were Mohamed A. Al Hammadi, Vice President Correspondent Banking Group, Mohannad Barakat, Vice President Treasury and Trade Solutions, and Raad Shukri, Wholesale Banking and Investment at Citi.

    Group Chief Strategy Officer, Fahad Khaled Al-Mukhaizeem, Group Chief Treasury Officer, AbdulWahab Al-Roshood and Group Chief Operations Officer, Abdullah Abu Alhous at KFH received Citi delegation.

    “We would like to congratulate KFH on the occasion of winning the STP award from Citi Bank for the year 2016. This award is yet another testimony of KFH’s robust and leading position in this field. KFH has deservedly won the award for it met the criteria of winning the award” said Al Hammadi.

    He added in a press statement that KFH is ranked among the best banks, and the STP award is a clear-cut evidence of its excellence as this award is only given to prestigious financial institutions that implement advanced and secure systems as per international standards.

    Meanwhile, Group Chief Operations Officer at KFH Abdullah Abu Alhous said that the award reassures the advanced systems at KFH, yet affirms the competencies and skills of KFH’s human resources. He added that Citi Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in the world. It has a network of relationships with financial institutions at the global level. Citi sets professional and accurate criteria to measure the competency of the remittances processing and the electronic payment of financial institutions. It awards the best institutions that comply with the award winning criteria.

    KFH achieved the highest rates of the set criteria, thus won the award. KFH takes pride in STP award as it comprises an impetus for further achievements in the field of human resources skills and technological advancement. He illustrated that the criteria is based on the accuracy and security in conducting transactions in line with the regulatory requirements, not to mention the competency and quality of data and information.

    Group Chief Treasury Officer, AbdulWahab Al-Roshood said that this award confirms KFH’s excellence in dealing with the global financial institutions, while reflects the confidence of those global financial institutions in KFH. Also, the award reflects the confidence in the Islamic banking transactions. He stressed the importance of optimally utilizing technology for the best interest of customers and human resources.

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