The Finance World Magazine| Edition: December 2023

As the UAE commemorates its National Day, this edition celebrates the journey that transcends the sands, embracing the skies of global influence. It honours the UAE's growth, resilience, and significant global contributions while eagerly anticipating the promising chapters yet to unfold. The cover story highlights the narratives of Indian business leaders whose contributions have significantly contributed to the UAE's journey on the global stage. Their entrepreneurial spirit and initiatives have played a role in shaping aspects of the nation's growth and international presence. Highlighting the UAE’s visionary initiatives and strategic planning, this edition explores several aspects of the country’s progress. From the transformative journey of its energy sector and pioneering advancements in healthcare to the expanding domains of crypto and the ever-evolving landscape of real estate, each narrative illuminates pivotal moments in the UAE's narrative of success. Keep yourself up to date with all financial sector news with our current news segments. Each person can find something unique from us. We believe our readers deserve real value from what we have to offer.

As the UAE commemorates its National Day, this edition celebrates the journey that transcends the sands, embracing the skies of global influence. It honours the UAE's growth, resilience, and significant global contributions while eagerly anticipating the promising chapters yet to unfold.

The cover story highlights the narratives of Indian business leaders whose contributions have significantly contributed to the UAE's journey on the global stage. Their entrepreneurial spirit and initiatives have played a role in shaping aspects of the nation's growth and international presence.

Highlighting the UAE’s visionary initiatives and strategic planning, this edition explores several aspects of the country’s progress. From the transformative journey of its energy sector and pioneering advancements in healthcare to the expanding domains of crypto and the ever-evolving landscape of real estate, each narrative illuminates pivotal moments in the UAE's narrative of success.

Keep yourself up to date with all financial sector news with our current news segments. Each person can find something unique from us. We believe our readers deserve real value from what we have to offer.


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Reaching a visionary goal requires<br />

one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.<br />

As the UAE commemorates its National Day, this edition celebrates<br />

the journey that transcends the sands, embracing the skies<br />

of global influence. It honours the UAE’s growth, Editor’s resilience, Note<br />

and significant global contributions while eagerly anticipating the<br />

promising chapters yet to unfold.<br />

<strong>The</strong> cover story highlights the narratives of Indian business leaders<br />

whose contributions have significantly contributed to the UAE’s<br />

journey on the global stage. <strong>The</strong>ir entrepreneurial spirit and initiatives<br />

have played a role in shaping aspects of the nation’s growth and<br />

international presence.<br />

Highlighting the UAE’s visionary initiatives and strategic planning,<br />

this edition explores several aspects of the country’s progress.<br />

From the transformative journey of its energy sector and pioneering<br />

advancements in healthcare to the expanding domains of crypto and<br />

the ever-evolving landscape of real estate, each narrative illuminates<br />

pivotal moments in the UAE’s narrative of success.<br />

Within the news segments, you will find a condensed compendium<br />

of the most notable advancements in the field of finance. We have<br />

meticulously sifted through the latest trends and updates, spanning<br />

an array of pertinent topics such as corporate results, corporate tax,<br />

startups, banking, funding, investment, fintech, digital assets, and<br />

beyond.<br />

We aim to espouse the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership on the<br />

nation’s development path, highlighting the social, economic, and<br />

developmental aspects shaping this dynamic nation. To that end, we<br />

tirelessly curate the latest and most credible finance news for our<br />

readers, aiming to advance financial literacy and contribute to Dubai’s<br />

journey to becoming one of the world’s most pioneering economies.<br />

- Ambrish Agarwal, Editor in Chief<br />

- Ambrish Agarwal, Editor in Chief<br />

Advertisers advertised in this guide are included on a sponsored basis.<br />

Details are correct at the time of going to press, but offers and prices<br />

may change.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 5<br />

September 2022 3

Contents <strong>December</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong><br />


P8 | Budgeting Strategies for<br />

Expatriates in the UAE<br />



P24 | Transformative Leadership<br />

Propelling Corporate Triumphs in<br />

UAE’s Business Landscape<br />

P26 | Business News<br />



P10 | From Cash to Contactless:<br />

Tracing the Progression of<br />

Payments in the UAE<br />

P12 | UAE Banking News<br />


P50 | Advancements,<br />

Achievements, and the Evolution<br />

of Healthcare in the UAE<br />



P16 | Adapting to Reform: 5<br />

Rules That Have Come into Effect<br />

in the UAE for <strong>2023</strong><br />


P18 | Fintech Innovators: Reshaping<br />

the Financial Landscape of the UAE<br />

P20 | Fintech News<br />

P22 | Fintech Application<br />

P30 | Business Leader Crafting the<br />

UAE’s Global Eminence<br />

START-UP<br />

P42 | <strong>The</strong> Meteoric Ascent of<br />

UAE-born Startup Pioneers<br />

ENERGY<br />

P52 | Strategic Business Unions:<br />

Understanding the M&A Process<br />

in the UAE<br />

P54 | Mergers & Acquisitions News<br />


6 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

P44 | UAE’s Transformative<br />

Journey: From Hydrocarbons to<br />

Renewable Solutions<br />

P46 | Energy News<br />

P56 | From Trends to Business:<br />

Probing Crypto and Blockchain in<br />

the UAE


P58 | Anticipating Change as<br />

Dubai’s 2040 Vision Reshapes<br />

the Economy and Real Estate<br />

P60 | Real Estate News<br />


P62 | Legislative Measures<br />

Shaping Venture Capital in the<br />

UAE’s Investment Realm<br />

P64 | Funding & Investment News<br />


P66 | From Oil to Web3: RAK DAO’s<br />

Revolutionary Impact on UAE’s<br />

Economy<br />


P68 | <strong>The</strong> Underpinnings of UAE<br />

Stock Market: Unravelling DFM<br />

and ADX<br />


P70 | A Comprehensive Guide<br />

to Corporate Tax Registration<br />

Timelines in the UAE<br />

P72 | Corporate Results<br />


P76 | Exploring the Allure of UAE’s<br />

Sports Empire, a Dynamic Player in<br />

the Global Business Landscape<br />

P78 | Sports News<br />


P80 | Beyond Borders: GCC Unified<br />

Visa and the Future of Gulf Tourism<br />

P82 | <strong>The</strong> rise of tourism in the UAE,<br />

exploring crucial assets for potential<br />

growth<br />

GLOBAL<br />

P84 | Global News<br />


P86 | Brushing Wealth: Companies<br />

Paving the Way for Art as Business<br />

in the UAE<br />

P96 | Local News<br />

TRAVEL<br />

P90 | T4 Visa-Free Destinations<br />

For UAE Citizens to Visit this<br />

<strong>December</strong><br />

P92 | Travel News<br />

P23 | P29 | Launch Express<br />

P40 | P48 | Wheels<br />

P28 | P95 | Tech My Money<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 7

Personal <strong>Finance</strong><br />

Budgeting Strategies for Expatriates in<br />

the UAE<br />

Living as an expatriate in the UAE offers a unique blend of cultural experiences<br />

and professional opportunities. However, navigating the financial landscape<br />

in a new country can be challenging. This article explores practical budgeting<br />

strategies tailored for expatriates in the UAE, drawing insights from various<br />

sources on effective financial planning.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has made substantial efforts<br />

in making life easier for citizens as<br />

well as expats. <strong>The</strong> country offers<br />

a wide variety of facilities that cater to<br />

expatriates’ budgets, including rental<br />

homes, transportation, education, and<br />

more. It provides world-class public<br />

transport easily accessible to low-income<br />

expatriates while also offering luxury<br />

car rentals for high-income expats.<br />

Similarly, housing options range from<br />

shared rooms for as little as AED 450<br />

to high-end accommodations priced at<br />

AED 45,000.<br />

Following are some of the factors that<br />

are essential for maintaining a financially<br />

friendly lifestyle in the region.<br />

Understand Cost of Living Differences:<br />

Before crafting a budget, it’s crucial to<br />

understand the cost of living in the UAE<br />

compared to your home country. Consider<br />

housing, transportation, education, and<br />

healthcare costs. Online resources and<br />

expat forums can provide valuable insights<br />

into the local price levels.<br />

Create a Detailed Budget:<br />

Begin by outlining your monthly income<br />

and fixed expenses. Allocate funds for<br />

essentials such as rent, utilities, and<br />

groceries. Factor in discretionary spending<br />

for leisure activities, dining out, and<br />

travel. Creating a detailed budget provides<br />

a clear overview of your financial commitments<br />

and helps identify potential<br />

8 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Establishing a budget as an expatriate in<br />

the UAE requires a thoughtful consideration<br />

of various factors to ensure a financially<br />

sustainable lifestyle.<br />

areas for savings.<br />

Account for Currency Exchange Rates:<br />

Expatriates often deal with currency<br />

fluctuations. Keep an eye on exchange<br />

rates and factor them into your budgeting.<br />

It’s essential to monitor the rates<br />

regularly to anticipate any impact on<br />

your purchasing power or savings.<br />

Emergency Fund:<br />

Establishing an emergency fund is a<br />

universal financial principle, and it holds<br />

particular importance for expatriates. Aim<br />

to set aside three to six months’ worth<br />

of living expenses in a readily accessible<br />

account. This safety net can provide peace<br />

of mind in case of unexpected events.<br />

Explore Tax Implications:<br />

Understand the tax regulations applicable<br />

to expatriates in the UAE. While<br />

the country is known for its tax-friendly<br />

environment, it’s essential to be aware<br />

of any obligations in your home country.<br />

Seek professional advice to optimise<br />

your tax position and ensure compliance.<br />

Utilise Technology for Tracking:<br />

Leverage budgeting apps and online<br />

tools to track your spending. <strong>The</strong>se tools<br />

categorise expenses, provide real-time<br />

updates, and offer insights into your<br />

financial habits. Regularly reviewing<br />

your spending patterns can help you stay<br />

within budget and identify areas where<br />

adjustments are needed.<br />

Negotiate Housing Costs:<br />

UAE is known for its luxe Housing style<br />

which is often a significant expense for<br />

expatriates. Negotiate your rental agreement,<br />

explore different neighbourhoods,<br />

and consider sharing accommodation to<br />

reduce costs. Dubai is the most expensive<br />

Emirate to live in as compared to all others<br />

while Ajman stands as the cheapest<br />

one for rental homes. Understanding the<br />

rental market dynamics can empower you<br />

to secure a suitable and cost-effective<br />

living arrangement.<br />

Benefit from Expat Packages:<br />

Many employers in the UAE offer expat<br />

packages that may include housing<br />

allowances, education subsidies, and<br />

healthcare coverage. Understand the<br />

terms of your expat package and make the<br />

most of the benefits provided. Negotiate<br />

with your employer if there’s room for<br />

adjustments or additional perks.<br />

Continuous Review and Adaptation:<br />

Regularly review and adapt your budget<br />

to accommodate changing circumstances.<br />

Life as an expatriate involves dynamic<br />

challenges, and being flexible with your<br />

financial plan allows you to navigate<br />

unexpected changes with greater ease.<br />

In the UAE, nearly half of the population<br />

considers retirement saving as an<br />

afterthought; 45 per cent of residents<br />

acknowledge that they haven’t initiated<br />

saving for retirement, and 40 per cent<br />

intend to commence saving only within<br />

the final decade leading up to their retirement.<br />

In comparison, around 75 per<br />

cent of adults in the United States have<br />

already commenced saving for their<br />

‘golden years’.<br />

Implement the 50/20/30 budgeting rule:<br />

An equally impactful strategy is the 50-<br />

20-30 budgeting rule, which proves to be<br />

among the most effective approaches for<br />

maintaining financial peace of mind once<br />

you’ve secured employment in the UAE.<br />

Allocate 50 per cent of your total<br />

income to cover essentials such as debt<br />

repayment, grocery expenses, healthcare,<br />

and so forth - these represent the buns<br />

that form the foundational structure of<br />

your financial well-being. If half of your<br />

income proves inadequate for these necessities,<br />

consider making adjustments,<br />

such as reducing reliance on taxis, opting<br />

for public transportation, or compromising<br />

on luxury aspects of your lifestyle.<br />

Balancing financial responsibility and<br />

enjoyment is key, following the 50/20/30<br />

rule. Allocate 20% for ‘luxuries’ like<br />

subscriptions, coffee treats, and social<br />

outings, and reserve 30% as the main<br />

component for long-term financial stability<br />

in this budgeting plan.<br />

By adhering to these principles, expatriates<br />

in the UAE can not only navigate<br />

their current financial landscape effectively<br />

but also build a secure foundation<br />

for their future.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 9

UAE Banking<br />

From Cash to Contactless: Tracing the<br />

Progression of Payments in the UAE<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates (UAE) is swiftly embracing a digital revolution in<br />

its payment landscape, witnessing a surge towards contactless and online<br />

transactions. <strong>The</strong> evolution from traditional cash transactions to the modern<br />

era of contactless payments has been remarkable, reshaping the landscape<br />

of financial transactions across the country.<br />

10 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> advent of contactless payments<br />

has redefined how individuals<br />

conduct transactions in the UAE.<br />

This transformation gained substantial<br />

momentum, propelled further by the<br />

onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With<br />

safety and convenience at the forefront,<br />

consumers began favouring contactless<br />

payment options, minimising physical<br />

touchpoints and embracing the speed<br />

and simplicity offered by tapping a card<br />

or mobile device to make payments.<br />

A recent report by Visa, a global<br />

leader in payments technology, unveils<br />

an astounding 87% adoption rate of<br />

digital payments among UAE consumers<br />

every week, signifying one of the<br />

highest rates globally.<br />

Notably, several banks in the UAE<br />

have played pivotal roles in this transformation,<br />

adapting their services to<br />

meet the evolving preferences of consumers.<br />

Emirates NBD led the charge<br />

in transforming contactless payments<br />

within the Central Europe, Middle East,<br />

and Africa region (CEMEA) with the<br />

launch of Emirates NBD Pay in 2016.<br />

Through the integration of Visa’s Token<br />

Service technology, the bank introduced<br />

a seamless NFC-based mobile<br />

contactless payment service.<br />

This advancement empowered Visa<br />

credit and debit cardholders to utilise<br />

NFC-enabled Android mobile devices<br />

for instantaneous in-store purchases<br />

via their upgraded mobile banking<br />

app. By incorporating NFC technology,<br />

Emirates NBD set a high standard in<br />

enhancing convenience for customers,<br />

capitalising on the swift global adoption<br />

of wireless communication protocols<br />

for contactless payments.<br />

Emirates NBD Pay, supported by Visa’s<br />

Token service technology, ensured secure<br />

transactions by replacing sensitive<br />

cardholder information with a unique<br />

digital identifier, safeguarding personal<br />

account details. This initiative not only<br />

represented a significant step towards<br />

digitising the banking experience but<br />

also signified the bank’s dedication<br />

to innovative mobile solutions for its<br />

customers, in line with evolving global<br />

trends in digital payments.<br />

Similarly, In 2020, Mashreq Bank<br />

took a pioneering stride in the Middle<br />

East & Africa region by collaborating<br />

with Mastercard to introduce a<br />

groundbreaking solution for Small and<br />

Medium Businesses (SMEs) named Tap<br />

On Phone. This innovation marked<br />

Mashreq Bank as the first in the MENA<br />

region to unveil such a service, part of<br />

their wider SME in a Box solution. This<br />

venture, supported by Mastercard’s<br />

Payment Gateway Technology, aimed<br />

to bridge the gap for local micro and<br />

small merchants, traditionally reluctant<br />

to accept digital payments due to the<br />

complexities and expenses associated<br />

with conventional point-of-sale systems.<br />

Tap On Phone emerged as a cost-effective,<br />

user-friendly digital payment<br />

technology tailored specifically for<br />

micro and small businesses, notably<br />

within the food and beverage industry<br />

and related services like food delivery<br />

and farmers markets. <strong>The</strong> solution ingeniously<br />

turned Android smartphones<br />

into secure payment acceptance devices<br />

for contactless cards, mobile wallets,<br />

and smartwatches, eliminating the<br />

need for additional hardware or setup<br />

costs. This move by Mashreq Bank,<br />

in collaboration with Mastercard,<br />

addressed the evolving needs of small<br />

businesses, emphasising the importance<br />

of adapting to new payment dynamics<br />

while offering a safer, more convenient<br />

payment avenue for customers.<br />

Another notable contributor to this<br />

shift is the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank<br />

which achieved a significant milestone<br />

by launching the region’s inaugural tokenised,<br />

contactless payment methods<br />

under ‘ADIB PAY’, in collaboration<br />

with Tappy Technologies and Visa, in<br />

<strong>December</strong> 2022. This pioneering initiative<br />

introduced an innovative avenue<br />

for ADIB Visa cardholders to conduct<br />

contactless payments using wearable<br />

accessories like rings, bracelets, and<br />

watches, eliminating the necessity of<br />

carrying physical cards.<br />

ADIB PAY’s novel feature includes a<br />

tokenised contactless payment clasp<br />

that seamlessly transforms various<br />

wearable items into smart payment<br />

devices, initially offered to select<br />

customers. <strong>The</strong> setup process for ADIB<br />

PAY is streamlined and swift, facilitated<br />

by Tappy’s Token Enablement Services<br />

(TES) solution and a companion Universal<br />

Passive Provisioning Unit (UPPU)<br />

that automatically provisions the digital<br />

card to the embedded chip within the<br />

payment clasp. This tokenisation ensures<br />

data security by replacing sensitive<br />

card information with non-exploitable<br />

data elements, aligning with ADIB’s<br />

commitment to providing secure and<br />

intelligent payment options.<br />

Moreover, In 2020, Abu Dhabi Commercial<br />

Bank (ADCB) introduced an<br />

innovative way for businesses to accept<br />

payments without physical terminals<br />

through ADCB PACE PAY, powered<br />

by Visa. This virtual payment system<br />

operates on smartphones and tablets,<br />

eliminating the need for additional<br />

hardware. It allows businesses to<br />

receive card payments in-store by<br />

scanning cards or generating payment<br />

links for remote transactions, perfect<br />

for home deliveries.<br />

<strong>The</strong> simplicity of this solution,<br />

pre-integrated into a payment gateway,<br />

facilitates smaller merchants’ shift to<br />

online sales without complex setups.<br />

ADCB, in collaboration with Visa, aimed<br />

to support small businesses in the<br />

UAE by offering this digital payment<br />

solution at no transaction cost. <strong>The</strong><br />

initiative acknowledges the growing<br />

importance of contactless payments<br />

and seeks to address the challenges<br />

faced by businesses reliant on cash<br />

transactions. ADCB’s effort with ADCB<br />

PACE PAY signifies its commitment<br />

to aiding businesses in adapting to<br />

evolving payment preferences while<br />

embracing the shift towards a cashless<br />

economy in the UAE.<br />

<strong>The</strong> evolution of payment methods<br />

in the UAE extends beyond individual<br />

banks. <strong>The</strong> government’s initiatives,<br />

such as the introduction of the Emirates<br />

Digital Wallet, have significantly<br />

contributed to the proliferation of contactless<br />

payments. This digital platform<br />

allows users to store multiple cards<br />

and make transactions conveniently<br />

through a single application.<br />

<strong>The</strong> success and widespread adoption<br />

of contactless payments by these<br />

banks illustrate a fundamental shift in<br />

consumer behaviour. <strong>The</strong> convenience,<br />

speed, and enhanced security features<br />

offered by contactless transactions have<br />

propelled their rapid acceptance among<br />

UAE residents. <strong>The</strong> UAE’s journey from<br />

cash-dominated transactions to the<br />

widespread acceptance of contactless<br />

payments signifies a paradigm shift in<br />

the country’s financial landscape. As<br />

technology continues to evolve, the<br />

progression towards more sophisticated<br />

and secure payment methods is<br />

poised to further revolutionise the way<br />

transactions are conducted in the UAE.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 11

UAE Banking News<br />

Abu Dhabi Chamber<br />

and FAB Enhance<br />

Investment Climate<br />

with MoU<br />

<strong>The</strong> Abu Dhabi Chamber of<br />

Commerce and Industry (AD-<br />

CCI) has inked a Memorandum<br />

of Understanding (MoU)<br />

with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) to<br />

enhance the investment climate and<br />

business environment in the Emirate<br />

of Abu Dhabi. This collaboration aligns<br />

with the ADCCI’s goal of supporting<br />

the private sector and bolstering its<br />

competitiveness. <strong>The</strong> agreement facilitates<br />

the sharing of information about<br />

FAB’s banking services and initiatives<br />

with the Chamber’s members and staff,<br />

streamlining the process of accessing<br />

these services. FAB will also have a<br />

more prominent presence at events<br />

organized by the Abu Dhabi Chamber,<br />

and both parties will work together<br />

to launch initiatives that promote<br />

entrepreneurship and improve the<br />

investment environment. <strong>The</strong> partnership<br />

also includes the exchange of<br />

knowledge, insights, and consultations<br />

to stimulate business and investment.<br />

Gulf Bank Initiates Capital Increase Subscription<br />

Process<br />

Gulf Bank has initiated the<br />

subscription process for its<br />

increased issued and paid-up<br />

capital of KD 26.1M, with a<br />

two-week subscription window. <strong>The</strong><br />

Central Bank of Kuwait and the Capital<br />

Markets Authority have approved the<br />

capital enhancement, which involves<br />

the issuance of 260,869,565 new ordinary<br />

shares at 230 fils per share.<br />

This includes a nominal value of 100<br />

fils per share and an issue premium<br />

of 130 fils per share, resulting in a<br />

KD 60M increase in the bank’s capital<br />

base. Shareholders listed in the<br />

bank’s Register of Shareholders as of<br />

October 26, <strong>2023</strong>, are eligible for subscription.<br />

Non-shareholders seeking<br />

to participate in the capital increase<br />

and existing shareholders looking to<br />

augment their allocated shares can do<br />

so by acquiring rights issues.<br />

UAE Central Bank mirrors the Fed, maintaining<br />

stability in interest rates<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE Central Bank has<br />

decided to maintain its benchmark<br />

interest rate, following<br />

the lead of the US Federal<br />

Reserve, which has kept its policy<br />

rate unchanged for the third time this<br />

year. This decision is in response to a<br />

gradual decline in core inflation. <strong>The</strong><br />

US central bank has maintained the<br />

federal funds rate at a range between<br />

5.25% and 5.5%, marking the highest<br />

level since 2001. While the Fed aims to<br />

bring inflation down to its target range<br />

of 2%, the annualised US inflation fell<br />

to 3.7% in September, down from a<br />

high of 9.1% in June 2022. Despite<br />

some signs of a robust US economy,<br />

the Fed is widely expected to increase<br />

the benchmark interest rate once more<br />

this year to manage economic growth<br />

and wage increases.<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank’s 9-month income surges 47% to $3.95B<br />

<strong>The</strong> strong performance of<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the<br />

largest Islamic lender in the<br />

UAE, was attributed to rising<br />

core revenues, non-funded income,<br />

and lower impairment charges, as indicated<br />

in the bank’s financial results<br />

for the third quarter of <strong>2023</strong> and the<br />

first nine months of the year. Total net<br />

income for the three months ending<br />

September 30 surged to AED 4.82B<br />

($1.3B), an increase from AED 4.1B in<br />

the previous year. Over the first nine<br />

months of the year, the total income<br />

reached AED 14.5B ($3.95B), marking<br />

a remarkable 47% growth compared<br />

to the same period last year. Dubai<br />

Islamic Bank (DIB) achieved a net<br />

operating profit of AED 6.2B, reflecting<br />

a 12 percent increase compared to<br />

AED 5.6B in the same period of 2022.<br />

Net operating revenues also showed<br />

strong growth, rising by 11.7 percent<br />

year-on-year to reach AED 8,547M.<br />

12 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Dubai and Hong Kong Partner for Economic Corridor Activation<br />

Dubai’s Department of<br />

Economy and Tourism<br />

(DET), the Financial Services<br />

and the Treasury Bureau<br />

of the Government of Hong Kong,<br />

China, have inked a Memorandum of<br />

Understanding (MoU) to nurture financial<br />

cooperation between these two economic<br />

powerhouses. <strong>The</strong> MoU was formalised<br />

during the Belt and Road Summit in Hong<br />

Kong, with Hadi Badri, CEO of the Dubai<br />

Economic Development Corporation,<br />

Dubai Department of Economy and<br />

Tourism, and Joseph Chan, Under<br />

Secretary for Financial Services and the<br />

Treasury of the Government of the Hong<br />

Kong Special Administrative Region,<br />

as signatories. This pact underscores<br />

the unwavering commitment of both<br />

governments to facilitate collaboration<br />

and knowledge sharing within their<br />

financial markets. Moreover, it serves as<br />

a testament to their shared determination<br />

to strengthen their bilateral ties, fostering<br />

mutual growth and development within<br />

their financial services sectors.<br />

Mashreq Bank Reports<br />

Remarkable 122% Jump<br />

in 9-Month <strong>2023</strong> Net<br />

Profit<br />

Mashreq, a prominent UAE<br />

banking powerhouse, has<br />

reported an astounding 122<br />

percent surge in net profit,<br />

soaring to AED 5.8B during the initial<br />

nine months of <strong>2023</strong>. Notably, the bank<br />

also disclosed a remarkable 73 percent<br />

increase in operating profit, reaching<br />

AED 5.6B, a substantial leap from the<br />

AED 3.2B recorded in the same period of<br />

2022. <strong>The</strong> bank’s return on equity (ROE)<br />

also reached a historic high, standing at<br />

32.1 percent for the January-September<br />

interval, which is double the figure from<br />

the corresponding period in 2022. This<br />

impressive growth owes much to an<br />

82 percent rise in net interest income<br />

and robust non-interest income, which<br />

reached AED 2.3B, marking an 8.1<br />

percent year-on-year growth. Mashreq<br />

attributes this success to factors such<br />

as balance sheet expansion, healthy<br />

client margins, and the prevailing highinterest<br />

rate environment.<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank profit surges 20% on<br />

increased revenue<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank, the UAE’s<br />

largest Sharia-compliant<br />

lender, reported a nearly<br />

20% increase in third-quarter<br />

net profit, reaching AED 1.64B<br />

($449M). <strong>The</strong> boost in revenue was<br />

attributed to the economic growth<br />

in the emirate. Income from Islamic<br />

financing and investment transactions<br />

for the quarter surged nearly 45% to<br />

Bank Alfalah, a prominent Pakistani<br />

commercial bank, has unveiled its<br />

international branch on Sheikh Zayed<br />

Road in Dubai, marking a strategic relocation<br />

from the Al-Khaleej Building<br />

on Zaabeel Street. This move is aimed<br />

at delivering tailor-made wholesale<br />

banking solutions to corporate clients<br />

within the vibrant city of Dubai. <strong>The</strong><br />

inauguration of this Dubai branch<br />

was a momentous occasion, with His<br />

Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak<br />

Al Nahayan, Chairman of Bank Alfalah,<br />

gracing the event. His presence<br />

underscores the bank’s commitment<br />

to expanding its services across international<br />

borders and embracing a<br />

new phase in its journey. <strong>The</strong> United<br />

Arab Emirates, known as a global<br />

financial hub, offers a promising<br />

platform for Bank Alfalah to provide<br />

AED 4.50B. <strong>The</strong> lender’s income from<br />

properties held for development and<br />

sales also saw substantial growth,<br />

reaching nearly AED 80M. Commissions,<br />

fees, and foreign exchange<br />

income jumped over 16% year-on-year<br />

to AED 385.45M. <strong>The</strong> UAE’s strong<br />

economic growth has been driven by<br />

a robust non-oil sector.<br />

Sheikh Nahayan Inaugurates Bank Alfalah<br />

Dubai Branch<br />

exemplary customer service and cement<br />

its position as a leading player<br />

in the Pakistani and international<br />

banking industry.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 13

Event<br />

CEO Clubs Network Launched Channel<br />

Partnership: Empowering Growth Together<br />

November 1, <strong>2023</strong>, Dubai – <strong>The</strong> CEO Clubs’ November Lunch Meeting, held under<br />

the theme “CEO Clubs Channel Partnership: Empowering Growth Together,”<br />

has been hailed as a resounding success, cementing the spirit of collaboration<br />

within the esteemed CEO Clubs Network.<br />

14 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> highlight of the event was<br />

the momentous signing of the<br />

CEO Clubs Channel Partnership<br />

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)<br />

between two distinguished organizations,<br />

Shurra Business Set-Up and<br />

Archgoke Interactive. This strategic<br />

alliance exemplifies a commitment to<br />

fostering growth through collective<br />

efforts within the dynamic business<br />

landscape.<br />

Ms. Sarah Dong, Managing Partner of<br />

CEO Clubs Network dived deep into the<br />

topic by quoting the channel partnership<br />

as “A new platform that is designed<br />

to facilitate powerful collaborations<br />

and mutual growth opportunities on a<br />

global scale”. She also explained the<br />

remarkable objectives of the channel<br />

partnership initiative such as boosted<br />

sales, expanded product/service portfolio,<br />

increased brand visibility, exclusive<br />

discount, competitive package, rewards,<br />

enhanced visibility, etc.<br />

Special recognition goes to their Exclusive<br />

Online Trading Partner, GTC-Global<br />

Trade Co. Limited, Annual Sponsors,<br />

Dubai Duty Free and Regionality Group<br />

of Companies. <strong>The</strong> Lunch Sponsor,<br />

Freehold Mediation and Information<br />

(FMI), also played a significant role in<br />

ensuring the success of the gathering<br />

<strong>The</strong> event featured insightful presentations<br />

from esteemed members of CEO<br />

Clubs Network, including Freehold<br />

Mediation and Information (FMI),<br />

GTC-Global Trade Capital Co. Limited,<br />

and the Immersion4. <strong>The</strong>ir contributions<br />

provided profound insights into their<br />

respective organizations, contributing<br />

to the wealth of knowledge shared<br />

during the occasion.<br />

CEO Clubs Network also welcomed<br />

new members, Vin Metal Synergies<br />

FZE and Ravian Shipping Line LLC,<br />

who introduced themselves and added<br />

to the vibrant and diverse community<br />

within the Network.<br />

<strong>The</strong> collaborative spirit exhibited at<br />

the CEO Clubs Channel Partnership<br />

event underscores the organization’s<br />

commitment to creating a platform<br />

where businesses can thrive through<br />

meaningful connections and shared<br />

expertise.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 15

UAE Reforms<br />

Adapting to Reform: 5 Rules That Have<br />

Come into Effect in the UAE for <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE continues to evolve as a global destination, constantly refining<br />

its policies to enhance convenience for residents and visitors alike. As<br />

the calendar turned to <strong>2023</strong>, several pivotal changes swept through the<br />

country, impacting tourism, residency procedures, employment rights,<br />

and visitor regulations. <strong>The</strong>se reforms, ushered in to modernise systems<br />

and improve accessibility, promising a more streamlined experience<br />

for all.<br />

16 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Involuntary Loss of Employment<br />

(ILOE) Scheme<br />

<strong>The</strong> Involuntary Loss of Employment<br />

(ILOE) Scheme, launched on January 1,<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, marks a significant stride in social<br />

security reforms within the UAE. This<br />

scheme is designed to offer support to<br />

workers across both public and private<br />

sectors in the event of job loss.<br />

Under this scheme, employees are<br />

entitled to receive compensation for<br />

up to three months if they face involuntary<br />

unemployment. Enrollment in this<br />

scheme is mandatory for all employees,<br />

with a deadline set for October 1, <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Non-compliance with enrollment carries<br />

penalties.<br />

<strong>The</strong> compensation provided through<br />

the ILOE Scheme amounts to as much as<br />

60 percent of the employee’s salary. This<br />

financial aid acts as a safety net during<br />

unexpected job losses, contributing to<br />

the financial stability of the workforce<br />

during transitional periods. Essentially,<br />

this initiative aims to safeguard employees’<br />

financial well-being and offer a measure<br />

of security during uncertain employment<br />

circumstances.<br />

Tourism Tax Reduction in Abu Dhabi<br />

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture<br />

and Tourism brought about a significant<br />

shift in government fees for the tourism<br />

sector. <strong>The</strong> adjustments made by the<br />

department involve changes in fees that<br />

visitors typically pay when they stay in<br />

hotels or explore tourism-related activities<br />

in Abu Dhabi.<br />

Before these changes, guests had to pay<br />

a six percent fee on their hotel bills as a<br />

tourism fee, along with an extra Dhs15<br />

per room per night for municipality fees.<br />

Additionally, there were charges on the<br />

hotel’s restaurants, totalling four percent.<br />

However, as of September 1, <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

there have been significant reductions.<br />

<strong>The</strong> tourism fee for guests has been decreased<br />

from six percent to four percent,<br />

providing some relief. Moreover, the<br />

extra Dhs15 per room per night for the<br />

municipality fee has been removed, as<br />

have the charges on the hotel’s restaurants.<br />

Despite these positive changes, there<br />

is still a four percent municipality fee<br />

added to the customer’s invoice value.<br />

This adjustment aims to make the overall<br />

experience more affordable and attractive<br />

for tourists visiting Abu Dhabi.<br />

<strong>The</strong> year<br />

<strong>2023</strong> marks a<br />

turning point<br />

in the UAE’s<br />

regulatory<br />

landscape,<br />

emphasising<br />

ease,<br />

accessibility,<br />

and security<br />

across various<br />

spheres.<br />

Emirates ID Update Procedures<br />

Simplified<br />

Residents in the UAE now experience<br />

enhanced convenience in updating their<br />

visa information reflected on their<br />

Emirates ID. <strong>The</strong> recent reforms have<br />

empowered individuals with the flexibility<br />

to modify personal details online. This<br />

includes alterations in name, occupation,<br />

employer, passport information, and<br />

even nationality. Notably, any changes<br />

made prompt an automatic request for a<br />

new Emirates ID card, streamlining the<br />

process significantly.<br />

This streamlined approach is facilitated<br />

through an online platform and a smart<br />

application. Additionally, designated<br />

customer centres and approved typing<br />

centres offer assistance, collectively<br />

minimising bureaucratic obstacles. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

measures aim to simplify and expedite the<br />

essential updates required for individuals,<br />

aligning with the government’s efforts to<br />

modernise and enhance accessibility to<br />

essential services.<br />

Streamlined Travel Ban Removal<br />

<strong>The</strong> recent initiative introduced by<br />

the Dubai Public Prosecution offers a<br />

digital solution for individuals encountering<br />

travel bans stemming from legal<br />

matters in Dubai. Through this newly<br />

launched digital service, individuals<br />

facing such bans can conveniently make<br />

online payments. Upon receiving court<br />

approval, the system automatically lifts<br />

the travel ban, creating a seamless and<br />

efficient process.<br />

Aligned with the government’s ‘Services<br />

360’ policy, this initiative harnesses digital<br />

technology to streamline procedures<br />

and alleviate the burden on traditional,<br />

physical service centres. By leveraging<br />

smart solutions, the aim is to expedite<br />

processes and provide individuals with<br />

a faster resolution to their travel restrictions.<br />

This approach not only simplifies<br />

the process but also demonstrates the<br />

government’s commitment to modernising<br />

services for its residents.<br />

Visa Grace Period Elimination and<br />

Extended Work Permits<br />

<strong>The</strong> recent adjustments in UAE’s visa<br />

regulations entail the elimination of the<br />

10-day grace period previously granted<br />

for Dubai visit visas after their expiration.<br />

This grace period extension, no longer<br />

available, has been replaced with fines of<br />

Dhs50 per day for individuals overstaying<br />

their visas.<br />

Additionally, a proposal by the Federal<br />

National Council (FNC) suggests extending<br />

work permits from the existing two-year<br />

duration to three years. This proposed<br />

extension aims to alleviate the financial<br />

burden associated with obtaining work<br />

permits. Though a specific timeline for<br />

the implementation of this change hasn’t<br />

been outlined, it holds the promise of<br />

offering increased stability for individuals<br />

employed in the UAE over longer periods.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se reforms signal the government’s<br />

commitment to adaptability, bringing<br />

greater efficiency and convenience for<br />

residents, workers, and visitors.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 17

Fintech<br />

Fintech Innovators: Reshaping the<br />

Financial Landscape of the UAE<br />

In recent years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a hub for<br />

technological innovation, particularly in the financial sector. Fintech companies<br />

have played a pivotal role in transforming the traditional landscape of finance,<br />

introducing innovative solutions, and democratising access to financial services.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has consistently embraced innovation, offering abundant opportunities<br />

for new talents to contribute and diversify the country’s financial landscape.<br />

Among the innovators in this arena, three companies stand out for their disruptive<br />

approaches and contributions, including Democrance, Brine.fi, and Zest Equity.<br />

Democrance<br />

Michele Grosso, the visionary<br />

founder and CEO of<br />

Democrance, embarked on<br />

a transformative journey in 2015.<br />

Recognising the immense potential<br />

of microinsurance in uplifting low-income<br />

communities, Grosso was astonished<br />

to find its absence in the UAE.<br />

Fueled by this realisation, he birthed<br />

Democrance, an insurtech startup<br />

dedicated to democratising insurance<br />

accessibility.<br />

Democrance operates as a Software<br />

as a Service (SaaS) insurance technology<br />

platform, facilitating insurers<br />

and insurance brokers in digitising<br />

the entire insurance value chain. Its<br />

inception in the UAE was driven by a<br />

mission to redefine insurance, making<br />

it not just accessible but also affordable.<br />

Over time, it evolved into a global<br />

force, servicing insurers and brokers<br />

in diverse insurance sectors, spanning<br />

from high-ticket to micro-insurance.<br />

From its headquarters in Dubai,<br />

Democrance has expanded its footprint,<br />

establishing offices in Saudi<br />

Arabia, Kenya, Ghana, the United<br />

Kingdom, Japan, and Pakistan. <strong>The</strong><br />

team, comprising over 30 professionals,<br />

operates seamlessly across time<br />

zones. <strong>The</strong>ir client roster includes<br />

industry giants like AIG, AXA, and<br />

MetLife, serving 16 emerging markets,<br />

from Mexico to the Philippines.<br />

Democrance’s global reach underscores<br />

its commitment to revolutionising<br />

insurance accessibility on a truly<br />

international scale.<br />

Democrance emerges as a<br />

game-changer in the insurance sphere,<br />

boasting a multifaceted suite of facilities<br />

that revolutionise how insurers,<br />

intermediaries, and customers interact<br />

within the realm of insurance. At its<br />

core, Democrance champions the integration<br />

of insurance products into<br />

diverse ecosystems through its robust<br />

APIs, enabling seamless interactions<br />

with customers via distribution partners<br />

such as Super Apps, Mobile Wallets,<br />

HR Platforms, and Governments.<br />

Moreover, Democrance’s D2C<br />

Sales Journey Builder enhances direct-to-customer<br />

sales by offering<br />

optimised, user-friendly journeys that<br />

seamlessly align with a company’s<br />

branding, transforming customer interactions<br />

into enticing and smooth<br />

“Buy Now” experiences.<br />

Additionally, the platform empowers<br />

agents, brokers, and Banca partners<br />

through a centralised Intermediaries<br />

Portal, streamlining quote management,<br />

referrals, rate adjustments,<br />

renewals, and other partner-related<br />

functionalities.<br />

Democrance’s adaptability shines<br />

through its ability to configure and<br />

distribute diverse insurance products<br />

Michele Grosso,<br />

CEO<br />

across various lines of business, covering<br />

life, health, property & casualty,<br />

personal, and commercial lines.<br />

Lastly, the platform serves as an<br />

integrated hub for leveraging external<br />

data sources, underwriting engines,<br />

and third-party services, allowing<br />

insurers to gain insights, enhance<br />

customer experiences, and boost sales<br />

by integrating payment gateways,<br />

eKYC, AI-driven analytics, and existing<br />

core systems for accounting and<br />

reinsurance.<br />

18 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Brine.Fi<br />

Founded in 2021 by university<br />

friends Shaaran Lakshminarayanan<br />

(CEO), Bhavesh Praveen (CTO),<br />

and Ritumbhara Bhatnagar (CDO), Brine<br />

Fi disrupts the crypto trading realm<br />

as a decentralised exchange (DEX)<br />

built atop Starkware’s Layer 2 scaling<br />

solution. Unlike existing automated<br />

market maker (AMM) models, Brine<br />

Fi operates as an order book spot<br />

DEX, aiming to rectify the challenges<br />

faced by crypto traders. This design<br />

eliminates gas fees, confirmation wait<br />

times, and counterparty risks, mimicking<br />

centralised exchanges’ efficiency<br />

while maintaining decentralisation.<br />

Brine Fi marks its Beta Mainnet<br />

Launch with engaging trading competitions,<br />

stimulating participation and<br />

competitiveness among early adopters.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se competitions, coupled with a<br />

visible leaderboard showcasing top<br />

traders, cultivate a dynamic and spirited<br />

community within the platform.<br />

In a bid to appreciate community<br />

involvement, Brine Fi extends exclusive<br />

merchandise to early supporters<br />

engaged in diverse platform-related<br />

activities, from referrals to social media<br />

sharing and user experience feedback,<br />

nurturing a dedicated user base.<br />

A novel initiative within Brine’s<br />

ecosystem, the Salt Score, quantifies<br />

user engagement, determining eligibility<br />

for exclusive events, promotions, and<br />

rewards, effectively motivating and<br />

acknowledging active participants.<br />

Utilising StarkWare’s zkP (Zero<br />

Knowledge Proofs) technology, Brine<br />

Fi ensures privacy in trading positions,<br />

facilitating the seamless execution of<br />

high-volume orders. Traders enjoy feeless<br />

trading, with costs as low as 0.05%.<br />

Additionally, users stand a chance to<br />

earn rebates of up to 50% on referral<br />

trading fees at Brine Fi and can actively<br />

participate in the monthly Trading<br />

Leaderboard competition, vying for<br />

USDC rewards.<br />

Brine Fi not only overcomes the<br />

Shaaran Lakshminarayanan,<br />

CEO<br />

limitations of traditional crypto trading<br />

but also builds a committed community,<br />

emerging as a trailblazer in decentralized<br />

exchanges.<br />

Zest Equity<br />

Zest Equity, established in 2021<br />

by Rawan Baddour and Zuhair<br />

Shamma, initially began as<br />

a secondary trading marketplace.<br />

However, its swift evolution<br />

transformed it into a dynamic platform<br />

empowering ecosystem players, such<br />

as founders and venture capitalists,<br />

to conduct efficient and transparent<br />

transactions online.<br />

Traditionally, these interactions<br />

occurred offline, entailing tedious,<br />

obscure, and costly processes.<br />

Zest’s core mission revolves around<br />

democratising access to private<br />

markets and empowering investors,<br />

founders, and their enterprises within<br />

a unified platform.<br />

Founders leverage Zest Equity’s<br />

suite of tools to invite investors to<br />

fundraising rounds, facilitating actions<br />

like sharing critical information such<br />

as pitch decks and cap tables while<br />

efficiently monitoring deal processes.<br />

On the other side, investors can<br />

express their interest, observe other<br />

participating VCs in the round, and<br />

digitally sign essential documents.<br />

Moreover, Zest offers a legal<br />

infrastructure that allows investors,<br />

including angels, to form investment<br />

syndicates or special purpose vehicles,<br />

simplifying shared venture interests.<br />

This streamlined approach saves<br />

time, and administrative costs,<br />

and significantly eases investment<br />

processes, especially for angel<br />

investors.<br />

Zest Equity’s groundbreaking tools<br />

are designed to revolutionise the way<br />

startups manage secondary share<br />

trades. <strong>The</strong>se innovative solutions<br />

empower startups by providing<br />

them with the capability to establish<br />

standardised protocols for these<br />

transactions. Through these tools,<br />

startups gain the ability to define<br />

parameters for liquidity windows,<br />

oversee the intricacies of the<br />

liquidation process, and control the<br />

dissemination of shared information.<br />

By allowing startups to set specific<br />

parameters for liquidity windows, they<br />

can determine when opportunities for<br />

liquidity are accessible to investors.<br />

Simultaneously, having oversight<br />

Rawan Baddour and Zuhair Shamma,<br />

Co-Founders<br />

over the liquidation process ensures<br />

that these transactions are executed<br />

smoothly and efficiently.<br />

Looking ahead, Zest Equity has its<br />

sights set on emerging markets such as<br />

North Africa, South Asia, and Turkey,<br />

recognising similar gaps and issues<br />

in these regions, thereby aiming to<br />

extend its transformative solutions<br />

beyond its initial scope.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 19

Fintech News<br />

Raiven Capital Unveils $125M Startup Fund in Dubai<br />

Raiven Capital has unveiled its<br />

latest venture, a $125M fund<br />

established within the Dubai<br />

International Financial Centre<br />

(DIFC). This fund is strategically<br />

directed towards backing founders<br />

pioneering technology in AI, the Internet<br />

of Things, and Distributed Ledger<br />

Tech, with a strong focus on digital<br />

platforms reshaping value chains across<br />

diverse sectors like finance, energy,<br />

health, environment, and food. It aims<br />

to foster innovation among early and<br />

growth-stage tech companies in the<br />

GCC, South Asia, and North/East Africa<br />

regions, empowering them to reach<br />

leadership status by connecting them to<br />

European and North American markets<br />

through Raiven’s new Dubai hub. This<br />

initiative plays a pivotal role in bridging<br />

the growing demand for venture capital<br />

in the tech industry, which has been<br />

witnessing rapid expansion in the UAE<br />

and the wider region. MENA venture<br />

capital funding for Q3 <strong>2023</strong> recorded<br />

significant growth, with $250M raised<br />

across 78 deals, a 32 percent increase<br />

compared to the preceding quarter.<br />

Climate Tech VC: MENA and Turkey Startups Attract<br />

$651M<br />

CE-Ventures, the corporate<br />

venture capital platform of<br />

Crescent Enterprises, has<br />

collaborated with MAGNiTT<br />

to introduce ‘<strong>The</strong> State of Climate<br />

Tech Venture Capital Report.’ This<br />

comprehensive report delves into the<br />

dynamic landscape of climate tech<br />

investments in the Middle East and<br />

North Africa (MENA) and Turkey,<br />

offering valuable insights into the sector’s<br />

evolving trends, challenges, and<br />

opportunities. <strong>The</strong> report emphasises<br />

the significance of harnessing innovative<br />

technologies to combat climate<br />

change. It underlines the potential of<br />

existing technologies to mitigate 65%<br />

of emissions and highlights the need<br />

for further advancements to bridge<br />

the remaining 35% emissions gap. This<br />

report acts as a valuable resource for<br />

understanding the climate tech investment<br />

landscape in the region.<br />

CQUR Bank Chooses Finastra for Online Banking<br />

Transformation<br />

Finastra has confirmed a strategic<br />

partnership with CQUR<br />

Bank, paving the way for the<br />

bank to enhance its technology<br />

offerings. By integrating Finastra’s<br />

Trade Innovation and Corporate<br />

Channels solutions, CQUR Bank is<br />

set to introduce a cutting-edge online<br />

banking portal, ensuring a seamless<br />

user experience for its corporate<br />

clients. This initiative will also usher<br />

in new digital workflows and hostto-host<br />

integration solutions, thereby<br />

modernising and optimising the bank’s<br />

corporate client services, aligning with<br />

its technology strategy and reinforcing<br />

its commitment to providing innovative<br />

and efficient banking solutions.<br />

UAE’s Thriving Proptech<br />

Scene: 6 Fast-Growing<br />

Startups<br />

<strong>The</strong> global surge of property technology,<br />

or prop-tech, is making<br />

waves in the Middle East, offering<br />

the potential to revolutionise the<br />

real estate industry, enhancing accessibility,<br />

efficiency, and sustainability. In the<br />

Middle East, this trend is gaining momentum<br />

as home seekers, landlords, and<br />

agents increasingly embrace cutting-edge<br />

digital platforms for advanced property<br />

management tools, exploring new real<br />

estate investment prospects, and benefiting<br />

from streamlined transactions. In this<br />

burgeoning prop-tech landscape, several<br />

startups are rapidly making a mark. Notable<br />

among them are Huspy, Property<br />

Finder, Nomad Homes, Keyper, Stake,<br />

and Silkhaus. <strong>The</strong>ir recent achievements<br />

and forthcoming endeavours promise to<br />

reshape the real estate landscape in the<br />

Middle East.<br />

20 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Saudi Arabia’s Tabby<br />

secures $200M; valued at<br />

$1.5B<br />

Tabby, the buy now, pay later<br />

start-up, has become the first<br />

fintech unicorn in the Gulf<br />

region following a successful<br />

Series D funding round that raised<br />

$200M, valuing the company at over<br />

$1.5B. Led by Wellington Management<br />

and featuring participation from growth<br />

equity investor Bluepool Capital, alongside<br />

existing investors STV, Mubadala<br />

Investment Capital, PayPal Ventures,<br />

and Arbor Ventures, this funding will<br />

further support Tabby’s mission of<br />

financing consumers and retailers.<br />

With an annualised transaction volume<br />

exceeding $6B and collaboration with<br />

over 30,000 brands, Tabby continues<br />

to expand, recently introducing Tabby<br />

Shop, a platform showcasing thousands<br />

of brands and over half a million products,<br />

offering shoppers a comprehensive<br />

and convenient shopping experience.<br />

Tabby has also achieved a user base<br />

of 10 million.<br />

UAE FinTech NOW Money Secures Funding for<br />

Remittance Revolution<br />

UAE-based FinTech NOW<br />

Money has secured substantial<br />

funding for its mission<br />

to revolutionise remittance<br />

and financial services. <strong>The</strong> investment<br />

drive, led by Dubai entrepreneurs<br />

Mark Nutter and Nicolas Andine,<br />

marks a significant milestone for the<br />

company. Nutter assumes the role of<br />

Chairman, while Andine takes the helm<br />

as the new CEO. NOW Money’s core<br />

focus is serving the underserved and<br />

underbanked immigrant population<br />

in the UAE by collaborating with employers<br />

to provide accessible payroll<br />

and banking services. <strong>The</strong>y also offer<br />

low-cost remittance and banking fees to<br />

various countries. <strong>The</strong> funding injection<br />

will propel NOW Money’s expansion,<br />

including the introduction of a unique<br />

banking subscription service tailored<br />

for the region’s migrant workers, enhancing<br />

their financial management<br />

capabilities and offering additional<br />

benefits.<br />

Qatar Islamic Bank Extends Direct Remit Service<br />

to the UK<br />

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) is<br />

expanding its Direct Remit<br />

service to the United Kingdom<br />

in partnership with<br />

Standard Chartered Bank. This expansion<br />

follows the successful launch<br />

of Direct Remit in several countries,<br />

including India, Pakistan, Jordan, the<br />

Philippines, and Egypt. Customers can<br />

now utilise the QIB mobile app for<br />

real-time money transfers to the UK.<br />

Users can enjoy instantaneous transactions<br />

with competitive exchange rates<br />

by logging in, selecting the destination,<br />

and providing recipient details. <strong>The</strong><br />

service also offers transaction tracking<br />

and instant SMS updates on transaction<br />

status. <strong>The</strong> addition of the UK<br />

to Direct Remit reaffirms QIB’s commitment<br />

to delivering a seamless and<br />

secure banking experience for its customers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> QIB mobile app is available<br />

for download on the App Store,<br />

Google Play, and Huawei AppGallery,<br />

enabling customers to manage their<br />

accounts, cards, and transactions remotely<br />

and even open new accounts,<br />

obtain personal financing, and apply<br />

for credit cards through the app.<br />

Dubai Chamber of Digital<br />

Economy Inks Four MoUs<br />

for Ecosystem Enhancement<br />

<strong>The</strong> Dubai Chamber of Digital<br />

Economy, operating within Dubai<br />

Chambers, has recently solidified<br />

its commitment to bolstering the<br />

emirate’s digital landscape. During the<br />

Dubai Business Forum, it signed four<br />

crucial Memorandums of Understanding<br />

(MoUs) with key players in the industry,<br />

including Mastercard, RemotePass, Tokio<br />

Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, and<br />

Silkhaus. <strong>The</strong>se agreements are pivotal<br />

in achieving the chamber’s strategic goals<br />

of attracting global digital companies to<br />

Dubai and fortifying the emirate’s advanced<br />

digital infrastructure. <strong>The</strong> partnership<br />

with Mastercard involves the establishment<br />

of a co-branded innovation hub in<br />

Dubai, leveraging Mastercard’s extensive<br />

expertise in payment processing. This<br />

hub, known as the Innovation Centre,<br />

will be a focal point for collaboration<br />

in digital innovation and artificial intelligence<br />

technologies, aiming to attract<br />

international tech firms, startups, and<br />

digital talent to Dubai.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 21

Fintech Application<br />


Established in 2011, ADS Securities<br />

(ADSS) has emerged as a significant<br />

player in the global trading<br />

landscape, with its headquarters based<br />

in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).<br />

<strong>The</strong> application stands out by providing<br />

a diverse range of trading options,<br />

including forex, indices, commodities,<br />

stocks, and cryptocurrencies, catering<br />

to a wide spectrum of investor preferences.<br />

Operating through two entities,<br />

ADS Securities LLC in the UAE and<br />

ADS Securities London Limited in the<br />

UK, ADSS offers traders access to the<br />

widely utilised MetaTrader 4 platform.<br />

To cater diverse needs of its clients<br />

ADSS offers customised account options.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Classic Account serves retail<br />

traders, providing a straightforward<br />

trading experience, while the Elite<br />

Account is designed for professionals<br />

seeking advanced features. Additionally,<br />

in line with its UAE base, ADSS<br />

accommodates Islamic principles with<br />

a Sharia-compliant Islamic Account.<br />

One notable feature of ADSS is its<br />

extensive offering of indices and stocks,<br />

providing traders with a comprehensive<br />

selection of assets to trade. <strong>The</strong><br />

platform also emphasises transparency,<br />

offering detailed legal and regulatory<br />

information on its website. Regulated<br />

by both Tier 1 and Tier 2 regulators,<br />

ADSS has earned a reputation for<br />

trustworthiness and stability during<br />

its more than 10 years in operation.<br />

Despite being a private company<br />

without public trading shares or a<br />

bank parent, ADSS boasts a substantial<br />

workforce of over 500 employees,<br />

underscoring its significant presence in<br />

the market. <strong>The</strong> absence of inactivity<br />

fees further enhances the platform’s<br />

appeal, ensuring that clients won’t<br />

incur charges for dormant accounts.<br />

ADSS also invests in the education<br />

and research support of its users.<br />

Traders can access valuable resources<br />

to enhance their understanding of<br />

the markets, contributing to a more<br />

informed and empowered trading<br />

community.<br />

In summary, ADS Securities (ADSS)<br />

stands as a reliable and transparent<br />

trading platform with a decade-long<br />

track record, offering diverse account<br />

options and educational resources.<br />

Regulated by prominent authorities and<br />

with a commitment to transparency,<br />

ADSS remains a notable choice for<br />

traders navigating the complexities of<br />

the online trading landscape.<br />

Availability: Google Play Store and<br />

Apple App Store<br />

Website: www.adss.com<br />

22 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

HUAWEI Eyewear 2<br />

Huawei’s Eyewear 2 smart glasses<br />

redefine the intersection of<br />

style and technology, bringing<br />

a cutting-edge audio experience to the<br />

UAE. Eyewear 2 delivers an exceptional<br />

wearable audio experience paired<br />

with an extended battery life. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

smart glasses boast an IP54 water and<br />

sweat-resistant rating, making them<br />

an ideal daily companion for diverse<br />

activities.<br />

Eyewear 2 comes in two distinctive<br />

styles: the Browline Eyewear frames<br />

and the Rectangle Half-Frame Eyewear<br />

frames. <strong>The</strong> Browline design, crafted<br />

from β titanium, showcases a sleek<br />

Titanium Silver hue and features an<br />

ultra-light 4.7g frame, providing a<br />

futuristic look with a levitating lens<br />

impression. <strong>The</strong> Rectangle Half-Frame<br />

Eyewear offers a vibrant and casual<br />

aesthetic, striking a perfect balance<br />

between style and utility.<br />

What sets Eyewear 2 apart is its<br />

battery life. With 11 hours of listening<br />

time, 9 hours of calling, and up to 4<br />

days of standby time on a full charge,<br />

it ensures a reliable performance<br />

throughout the day. Even when not<br />

actively in use, the glasses can last up<br />

to 4 days, and the included protective<br />

case extends the power maintenance<br />

to at least 1 month.<br />

Eyewear 2’s open acoustic design<br />

keeps users connected to their surroundings<br />

while enjoying audio, ensuring a<br />

premium experience with advanced<br />

sound systems and intelligent volume<br />

adjustment.<br />

Moreover, Eyewear 2 incorporates<br />

smart touch controls through multiple<br />

sensors on each side, facilitating seamless<br />

connectivity with smartphones<br />

and tablets. This feature is particularly<br />

convenient for users multitasking between<br />

devices at home or in the office.<br />

Priced at AED 899/-, Eyewear 2 is now<br />

available in the UAE through Huawei’s<br />

Experience Stores and e-shop, setting<br />

a new standard for wearable audio<br />

technology.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 23

Business<br />

Transformative Leadership Propelling Corporate<br />

Triumphs in UAE’s Business Landscape<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a global hub for<br />

innovation and economic growth. In this dynamic landscape, the role<br />

of transformative leadership stands paramount in steering corporate<br />

triumphs. Leaders who can envision change, inspire their teams, and<br />

adapt to evolving market demands have been instrumental in shaping<br />

the success stories of numerous enterprises in the region.<br />

Among various leadership styles,<br />

Transformative Leadership<br />

stands out for its emphasis on<br />

initiating significant changes within<br />

companies and in shaping business<br />

practices. <strong>The</strong> UAE’s leaders reflect<br />

this kind of leadership. It traces its<br />

roots back to the nation’s founding<br />

fathers whose visionary aspirations extended<br />

far beyond the immediate postoil<br />

era. <strong>The</strong>ir dreams encompassed a<br />

nation recognized for its innovation,<br />

harmony, and progress. This spirit has<br />

been seamlessly inherited by today’s<br />

leaders in UAE enterprises, steering<br />

them towards long-term visions over<br />

short-term gains.<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al<br />

Maktoum’s vision for Dubai transcends<br />

mere economic growth; it’s a<br />

comprehensive development strategy<br />

encompassing culture, knowledge, and<br />

human development. Similarly, Dr.<br />

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber’s leadership<br />

in ADNOC and various other sectors<br />

demonstrates a deep understanding<br />

not just of present energy needs but<br />

the future of energy, sustainability, and<br />

technological integration.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se leaders and others like them<br />

epitomize transformative leadership<br />

by seamlessly merging vision with<br />

action, principles with pragmatism,<br />

24 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Leaders who champion innovation, diversity,<br />

and adaptability set the stage for organisations<br />

to thrive in an ever-evolving market.<br />

and ambition with humility.<br />

In the landscape of global commerce,<br />

the UAE’s narrative of transformative<br />

leadership offers invaluable<br />

lessons for businesses and leaders<br />

worldwide, emphasizing the significance<br />

of forward-thinking, values-driven,<br />

and inclusive approaches<br />

to leadership.<br />

One striking example of transformative<br />

leadership is demonstrated<br />

by Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, an Emirati<br />

politician, chairman of Mashreq and<br />

a director of the Abdullah Al Ghurair<br />

Group. Al Ghurair’s strategic vision<br />

and commitment to innovation propelled<br />

Mashreq Bank into a digital<br />

transformation journey. Recognising<br />

the shifting preferences of consumers<br />

towards digital banking, Al Ghurair<br />

initiated a comprehensive overhaul<br />

of the bank’s services. This involved<br />

investing in cutting-edge technology,<br />

revamping digital platforms, and fostering<br />

a culture of continuous innovation<br />

within the organisation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> transformative leadership approach<br />

implemented by Al Ghurair not<br />

only revolutionised Mashreq Bank’s<br />

operations but also set a benchmark<br />

for the entire banking sector in the<br />

UAE. By embracing technological advancements<br />

and empowering his team<br />

to adapt to change, Al Ghurair steered<br />

Mashreq Bank to a position of strength<br />

in the competitive financial landscape.<br />

Another influential figure in the<br />

UAE’s business realm, Raja Easa Al<br />

Gurg, the Managing Director of the<br />

Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, exemplifies<br />

transformative leadership through her<br />

dedication to diversity and inclusion.<br />

Al Gurg’s leadership style emphasises<br />

the importance of empowering women<br />

in the workforce. Under her guidance,<br />

the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group has<br />

implemented progressive policies to<br />

support gender equality, providing<br />

equal opportunities for women to<br />

thrive and ascend to leadership roles<br />

within the organisation.<br />

Al Gurg’s commitment to fostering<br />

a diverse and inclusive workplace not<br />

only enhances the company’s reputation<br />

but also contributes to increased<br />

innovation and productivity. Her leadership<br />

has created an environment<br />

where employees feel valued, leading<br />

to a motivated workforce that drives<br />

the company’s success.<br />

Moreover, the success story of<br />

Emirates Airlines under the leadership<br />

of Sir Tim Clark is a testament to the<br />

transformative power of visionary<br />

leadership. Clark’s strategic initiatives<br />

transformed Emirates Airlines from a<br />

regional carrier into a global aviation<br />

giant. His foresight in expanding the<br />

airline’s fleet, investing in cutting-edge<br />

aircraft, and pioneering long-haul<br />

routes opened new horizons for the<br />

airline industry in the Middle East.<br />

Clark’s emphasis on customer experience<br />

and service excellence revolutionised<br />

the airline’s reputation,<br />

earning Emirates Airlines recognition<br />

as a leading player in the global aviation<br />

market. His ability to anticipate<br />

market trends and adapt the airline’s<br />

strategies accordingly has been pivotal<br />

in navigating challenges and ensuring<br />

sustained growth.<br />

Hussain Sajwani, the founder of DA-<br />

MAC Properties, is another standout<br />

UAE leader whose transformative journey<br />

in the real estate sector reflects<br />

visionary leadership. Recognizing<br />

Dubai’s real estate potential early on,<br />

Sajwani’s innovative strategies propelled<br />

DAMAC Properties to become a<br />

leading luxury property developer. His<br />

pioneering approach introduced opulent<br />

residential projects, collaborating<br />

with global luxury brands like Versace<br />

and Fendi, setting new standards in<br />

luxury living and reshaping Dubai’s<br />

skyline. Sajwani’s foresight, innovation,<br />

and commitment to excellence<br />

showcase transformative leadership,<br />

leaving a significant impact on the<br />

UAE’s real estate industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> impact of transformative leadership<br />

extends beyond individual success<br />

stories to influence the broader<br />

business landscape in the UAE. Leaders<br />

who embrace change, encourage<br />

innovation, and prioritise inclusivity<br />

create a ripple effect that fosters a<br />

culture of growth and resilience across<br />

industries.<br />

However, the journey towards transformative<br />

leadership is not without its<br />

challenges. Leaders often face resistance<br />

to change, entrenched traditional<br />

practices, and the need to balance<br />

innovation with risk management.<br />

Navigating these hurdles requires a<br />

blend of strategic foresight, effective<br />

communication, and a commitment to<br />

continuous learning.<br />

Transformative leadership stands<br />

as the cornerstone of corporate triumphs<br />

in the UAE’s dynamic business<br />

landscape. By drawing inspiration<br />

from the examples of visionaries<br />

businesses in the UAE can embrace<br />

transformative leadership to propel<br />

themselves towards sustained success<br />

and prominence on the global stage.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 25

Business News<br />

UAE’s First-Half <strong>2023</strong> GDP Grows by 3.7% Driven by Non-Oil Sector<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates reported<br />

a significant 3.7% increase<br />

in its gross domestic product<br />

(GDP) during the first half of the<br />

year, according to statements from the<br />

Economy Minister. Notably, the non-oil<br />

sector experienced remarkable growth,<br />

surging by 5.9% over the same period.<br />

This positive economic performance<br />

reflects the UAE’s resilience, diversification<br />

efforts, and its commitment to<br />

international cooperation. <strong>The</strong> country’s<br />

reduced reliance on oil revenue in<br />

favour of knowledge-based industries<br />

underscores its progress. <strong>The</strong> non-oil<br />

sector, which now contributes to over<br />

70% of the UAE’s GDP, continues to<br />

be a key driver of economic transformation,<br />

demonstrating its importance<br />

in the nation’s pursuit of economic<br />

diversification and attracting foreign<br />

investment.<br />

Digital DEWA Moro<br />

Hub and SAP to Host<br />

Public Cloud on Zero-<br />

Carbon Data Centre<br />

Moro Hub, a subsidiary of<br />

Digital DEWA, has announced<br />

a potential collaboration<br />

with SAP, a global leader<br />

in cloud computing. This partnership<br />

aims to bring SAP’s public cloud<br />

services to Moro, the world’s largest<br />

solar-powered Green Data Centre<br />

located at the Mohammed bin Rashid<br />

Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. This<br />

groundbreaking initiative opens doors<br />

for both public and private sector organisations<br />

in the UAE to reduce their<br />

environmental footprint by leveraging<br />

SAP’s cloud solutions hosted by Moro.<br />

<strong>The</strong> announcement was made at Dubai<br />

Business Forum <strong>2023</strong>, organised by<br />

Dubai Chambers. This collaboration<br />

aligns with the vision of His Highness<br />

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al<br />

Maktoum and the UAE’s commitment<br />

to sustainable computing technologies,<br />

making significant strides toward the<br />

UAE’s role as the host for COP28 and<br />

the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050.<br />

Sheikh Hamdan Initiates ‘Dubai Program for<br />

Gaming 2033’ to Fuel Digital Economy<br />

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed<br />

bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s<br />

Crown Prince, has granted his<br />

approval for the launch of the<br />

‘Dubai Program for Gaming 2033,’ an<br />

ambitious initiative to position Dubai<br />

as a significant player in the global<br />

gaming industry. This program aims<br />

to generate 30,000 new jobs within the<br />

gaming sector, propelling Dubai’s digital<br />

economy and potentially increasing its<br />

GDP by approximately $1B by 2033. <strong>The</strong><br />

‘Dubai Program for Gaming 2033’ will<br />

be administered by the Dubai Future<br />

Foundation and will primarily focus on<br />

three core areas: talent, content, and<br />

technology. It will establish a global<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ministries of Investment in<br />

the UAE and Jordan have solidified<br />

their collaboration with<br />

the signing of a Memorandum<br />

of Understanding (MoU). This MoU<br />

establishes a comprehensive framework<br />

for investment cooperation, with<br />

a particular focus on critical sectors<br />

such as infrastructure and development<br />

projects. <strong>The</strong> agreement underscores<br />

the deepening of the strategic partnership<br />

between the two nations. <strong>The</strong> UAE<br />

Ministry of Investment has identified<br />

potential investment opportunities<br />

exceeding $2B in Jordan. Furthermore,<br />

Abu Dhabi-based ADQ has revealed a<br />

platform in Dubai for digital content<br />

creators, offering training and job<br />

opportunities in collaboration with<br />

international companies, universities,<br />

and academic institutions. This initiative<br />

has the potential to make Dubai a<br />

thriving hub for the gaming industry.<br />

UAE and Jordan sign over $2B MoU to boost investment<br />

cooperation<br />

strategic partnership agreement with<br />

the Jordan Investment Fund to create<br />

a joint investment fund. Together, ADQ<br />

and the Jordan Investment Fund aspire<br />

to bolster infrastructure development,<br />

stimulate export industries, and promote<br />

innovation, thereby contributing<br />

to the sustainable growth of Jordan’s<br />

economy.<br />

26 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Waha Capital Posts AED 407M Net Profit in First Nine Months of <strong>2023</strong><br />

Waha Capital PJSC (Waha<br />

Capital), an investment<br />

management company<br />

listed on the Abu Dhabi<br />

Securities Exchange (ADX: WAHA), has<br />

reported a net profit of AED 407M for<br />

the first nine months of <strong>2023</strong>. This marks<br />

a notable 57% year-on-year increase,<br />

driven by the impressive performance<br />

of its public funds, which outperformed<br />

their benchmarks and attracted substantial<br />

investments. During these nine<br />

months, the company recorded a total<br />

operating income of AED 679M, showing<br />

a robust 54% increase from AED 441M<br />

in the previous year. <strong>The</strong> exceptional<br />

income growth is attributed to the<br />

strong performance of Waha Investment,<br />

a wholly-owned asset management<br />

subsidiary, with its emerging markets<br />

funds consistently delivering attractive<br />

returns and increasing fee income.<br />

Dubai Launches <strong>2023</strong>-<br />

2024 Cruise Season with<br />

Maiden Luxury Liner at<br />

Mina Rashid<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>2023</strong>-2024 cruise season in<br />

Dubai officially began with<br />

the grand arrival of the luxury<br />

liner Mein Schiff 2. Docked at<br />

the Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise<br />

Terminal in Mina Rashid, this marks<br />

the commencement of an exciting<br />

period for cruise enthusiasts. Dubai,<br />

renowned for its unparalleled hospitality<br />

and world-class attractions, is<br />

poised to welcome up to 150 cruise<br />

ships during the upcoming season,<br />

solidifying its position as a premier<br />

global cruise destination. Passengers<br />

arriving on cruise liners at Mina<br />

Rashid and Dubai Harbour can look<br />

forward to diverse experiences and<br />

top-notch services. Mein Schiff 2’s arrival<br />

on October 28, <strong>2023</strong>, is the first of<br />

many expected port calls in Dubai this<br />

cruise season. Additionally, Dubai will<br />

host the Resilient Lady Ship operated<br />

by Virgin Voyages for the first time,<br />

embarking on two routes from the city<br />

during this season. Dubai has played a<br />

vital role in the Cruise Arabia alliance,<br />

collaborating with key regional ports<br />

like Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, and Oman to<br />

promote the region as a global cruise<br />

ship destination. This partnership aims<br />

to enhance connectivity and integration<br />

of cruise services in the region.<br />

Dubai Business Forum Explores Tech in Business<br />

Transformation<br />

<strong>The</strong> Dubai Business Forum, a twoday<br />

event presented by Dubai<br />

Chambers, emphasised the influence<br />

of advanced technologies<br />

on businesses and how the workforce<br />

can prepare for a future shaped by digital<br />

transformation and Artificial Intelligence<br />

(AI). <strong>The</strong> second day’s morning sessions<br />

featured a talk by Ted Souder, a former<br />

Senior Executive at Google, who described<br />

Dubai as a hub where the future unfolds.<br />

He explored how businesses can leverage<br />

AI by maximising opportunities while<br />

minimising associated risks. Souder<br />

Dubai International Chamber,<br />

one of the key chambers operating<br />

under the Dubai Chambers<br />

umbrella, has achieved<br />

a significant milestone by successfully<br />

attracting six global companies to establish<br />

their businesses in Dubai. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

strategic partnerships were formalised<br />

through the signing of six Memoranda<br />

of Understanding (MoUs) during the<br />

Dubai Business Forum, highlighting the<br />

chamber’s unwavering commitment to<br />

its strategic priorities of drawing global<br />

companies and investments to the emirate.<br />

<strong>The</strong> signed agreements encompass five<br />

multinational companies from various<br />

parts of the world, including China’s<br />

Shenzhen Meiniao Technology, India’s<br />

Temla Consumer Products, Sensedynamic<br />

Fashion, and Metal Power, along with<br />

Indonesia’s House of Indonesia. Additionally,<br />

an MoU was established with<br />

stressed that AI, although not new, has<br />

been powering tools and platforms for<br />

decades, and he highlighted the potential<br />

of generative AI to foster a new generation<br />

of entrepreneurs, driving economic<br />

vitality and job creation. Following this,<br />

a panel discussion titled “Investing in the<br />

Future of Prosperity” featured Noor Sweid,<br />

Managing Partner at Global Ventures;<br />

Ronaldo Mouchawar, Vice President of<br />

Amazon Middle East and North Africa;<br />

and Kathy Xiaosi Gong, Co-Founder and<br />

CEO of Oneness Labs.<br />

Dubai International Chamber attracts six international<br />

companies<br />

Dynamox, an SME hailing from Brazil.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 27

Asus TUF Gaming Z790-Plus<br />

ASUS TUF Gaming Z790-PRO<br />

WIFI stands as a cost-effective<br />

Intel Z790 motherboard, strategically<br />

designed for gamers with a<br />

focus on durability and performance.<br />

Comprising military-grade components<br />

and an efficient cooling system, this<br />

motherboard ensures prolonged use.<br />

Noteworthy features include four M.2<br />

sockets, robust power delivery, premium<br />

audio, fast Wi-Fi 6E, and an array of<br />

USB ports, including a 20Gbps USB-C<br />

port on the rear I/O panel. It comes<br />

bundled with accessories such as a<br />

WIFI Q-Antenna, SATA III cables, M.2<br />

drive accessories, a quick start guide,<br />

and more.<br />

Design-wise, it introduces the unique<br />

“Q-Antenna” WiFi antenna with snap-on<br />

connectors, adhering to a black, grey,<br />

and silver colour scheme with hints of<br />

yellow, aligning with the TUF Gaming<br />

brand identity. <strong>The</strong> motherboard exhibits<br />

gaming-themed embellishments, an<br />

integrated I/O shield, and RGB headers<br />

for aesthetic customisation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> motherboard features 16+1+1<br />

power stages, four DDR5 slots supporting<br />

up to 192GB of RAM, and DDR5<br />

7800+ when overclocked. It simplifies<br />

memory module removal with its single-tabbed<br />

“Q-DIMM” design. Front<br />

panel connectivity includes USB 3.2<br />

Gen 2×2 Type-C header, USB 3.2 Gen<br />

1 Type-A header, and USB 2.0 headers.<br />

In terms of storage, it offers four<br />

SATA III ports and four PCIe 4.0 x4<br />

M.2 slots. Premium audio quality is<br />

delivered through Realtek’s S1220A<br />

audio codec, while internet connectivity<br />

is handled by Intel’s I226-V controller,<br />

supporting 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet. Additionally,<br />

WIFI 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 are<br />

enabled through Intel’s AX211 module.<br />

<strong>The</strong> rear I/O ports include DisplayPort,<br />

HDMI, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, USB 3.2<br />

Gen 2 Type-C, 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port,<br />

USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2<br />

Type-C, WIFI Q-Antenna connectors,<br />

and audio jacks.<br />

In conclusion, ASUS TUF Gaming<br />

Z790-PRO WIFI presents a strong midrange<br />

Intel Z790 Refresh motherboard,<br />

offering notable features for gamers<br />

and enthusiasts.<br />

28 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Jabra Elite 8 Active<br />

Jabra’s Elite 8 Active earbuds, an<br />

extension of their current earbud<br />

line, boast aesthetic similarities<br />

and a familiar lightweight design at 5g<br />

per earbud and 46g for the case. With<br />

an IP68 rating, they are both dust- and<br />

waterproof, making them resilient for<br />

various activities. <strong>The</strong> grippy ShakeGrip<br />

coating, available in three ear tip sizes,<br />

ensures a secure fit without picking<br />

up dust and is suitable for workouts<br />

or daily use.<br />

Despite lacking stabilisers or overear<br />

hooks, Elite 8 Active achieves a<br />

solid fitting shape, especially for those<br />

accustomed to Jabra’s earbuds. <strong>The</strong><br />

in-ear detection, thoughtful features<br />

like an auto sleep timer, and effective<br />

controls, including Spotify Tap and<br />

compatibility with Google Assistant<br />

or Siri, enhance their versatility for<br />

workouts and daily activities.<br />

Accessing updates through the Sound+<br />

app, users can enable Dolby Atmos<br />

for spatial audio, utilise an equaliser<br />

with presets and manage ANC and<br />

HearThrough settings. <strong>The</strong> Elite 8 Active<br />

employs Bluetooth 5.3 with multipoint<br />

and LE Audio compatibility, providing<br />

a stable connection without dropouts.<br />

<strong>The</strong> case charges conveniently through<br />

USB-A to USB-C or wirelessly with a Qi<br />

pad, incorporating LEDs that indicate<br />

the charging status. Jabra claims the<br />

Elite 8 Active’s third-highest tier Adaptive<br />

Hybrid ANC effectively reduces<br />

low-pitched noises by 36dB at 100Hz,<br />

though high-pitched incidental sounds<br />

may pose a challenge.<br />

Jabra’s Elite 8 Active earbuds offer<br />

good passive isolation and ANC coverage<br />

for middle frequencies, with<br />

Jabra’s signature sound exhibiting a<br />

mild bass bump and slight under-emphasis<br />

in the highest frequencies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> six-microphone system captures<br />

voices well, with acceptable clarity in<br />

varying environments, including windy<br />

conditions.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 29

Cover Story<br />

Business Leaders<br />

Crafting the UAE’s Global Eminence<br />

P.N.C Menon<br />

Founder and Chairman, Sobha Realty<br />

P.N.C Menon, a visionary founder of Sobha Group,<br />

stands distinguished among the esteemed recipients<br />

of the Divya Chakra award. His tale of success and<br />

accomplishment commenced with a humble beginning<br />

in Kerala, South India, leading him to Oman in 1976 to<br />

initiate an interior decorating venture, thus laying the<br />

cornerstone of his prosperous career.<br />

In 1995, recognising the immense potential in real estate,<br />

Menon established Sobha Developers in Bangalore, a<br />

name derived from his wife’s name, subsequently steering<br />

the company towards meteoric success. This visionary<br />

entrepreneur, alongside his son Ravi, orchestrates Sobha<br />

Developers, while Menon resides in Dubai, strategically<br />

guiding the group’s operations.<br />

Sobha Realty, under Menon’s astute leadership, has expanded<br />

across the Middle East, encompassing operations<br />

in the UAE, Qatar, Oman, and other Gulf countries. His<br />

ceaseless pursuit of quality and ethical business practices<br />

manifested in the creation of the prestigious Sultan Qaboos<br />

Grand Mosque and Al Bustan Palace in Muscat, Oman,<br />

which became an indelible part of his legacy.<br />

Beyond geographical boundaries, P.N.C Menon’s entrepreneurial<br />

journey spans international markets. In 2003,<br />

he ventured into the UAE with Sobha Realty, garnering<br />

global recognition and accolades. Notably, his accolades<br />

include the ‘Golden Peacock Lifetime Achievement Award<br />

for Business Leadership’ and ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’<br />

at the NDTV Property Awards, marking his profound<br />

impact on the industry.<br />

Driven by an addiction to success, Menon’s pursuits have<br />

diversified into hospitality, branded furniture and lighting,<br />

real estate consultancy services, and a multi-billion dollar<br />

real estate fund, Menon Capital. Leveraging his 47-year<br />

experience in the building industry, he aspires to channel<br />

investments into real estate ventures globally.<br />

Under the Sobha Group’s umbrella, Menon spearheaded<br />

numerous transformative real estate projects in the UAE<br />

and Saudi Arabia. Notable among these are the Mohammed<br />

bin Rashid Al Maktoum City-District One project in Dubai<br />

and the Firdous Sobha project in Umm Al Quwain, each<br />

demonstrating his commitment to visionary endeavours.<br />

Menon’s remarkable journey is a testament to his<br />

resilience, passion, and commitment to setting high<br />

standards in every endeavour. His relentless dedication<br />

to excellence and tireless pursuit of success exemplify<br />

a remarkable trajectory that transformed him from an<br />

ordinary individual in the Gulf to a distinguished and successful<br />

entrepreneur. His profound faith and commitment<br />

to work are paralleled by his diversified ventures, which<br />

echo his relentless pursuit of perfection and unwavering<br />

dedication to his craft.<br />

30 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Cover Story<br />

Business Leaders<br />

Crafting the UAE’s Global Eminence<br />

Dr. Zulekha Daud<br />

Founder, Zulekha Healthcare Group<br />

Dr. Zulekha Daud, affectionately known as ‘Mama<br />

Zulekha’ and the recipient of the eminent Divya<br />

Chakra Award, epitomises a pioneering spirit, compassion,<br />

and an unwavering commitment to healthcare. Her<br />

impact on healthcare in the Middle East is nothing short<br />

of revolutionary. Arriving in the UAE in the 1960s when<br />

healthcare access was limited, she became a pioneering<br />

Indian lady medical professional and entrepreneur. Her<br />

journey traces back to the Kuwaiti Mission Hospital in<br />

Sharjah, where she began her dedicated service, quickly<br />

earning the admiration of both UAE nationals and<br />

expatriates.<br />

Driven by a vision to establish world-class medical<br />

facilities at affordable costs, Dr. Zulekha founded the<br />

Zulekha Healthcare Group. Starting with a 30-bed facility<br />

in Sharjah in 1992, her enterprise has burgeoned into<br />

an expansive network, encompassing hospitals, medical<br />

centres, educational institutions, and pharmacies across<br />

the UAE and India. Under her guidance, the healthcare<br />

network forged collaborations with global medical experts,<br />

facilitating the introduction of advanced super-speciality<br />

clinical services. This commitment to excellence led to<br />

recognitions, including accreditation by the Joint Commission<br />

International, USA, validating the high standards<br />

maintained across the facilities.<br />

Her influence extended beyond healthcare. Recognising<br />

the shortage of female doctors in the region, she addressed<br />

this by her practice and inspired others to follow suit.<br />

Establishing the Alexis Multispeciality Hospital in Nagpur,<br />

India, and initiatives like Zed - a vocational training<br />

centre, charitable trusts, and efforts towards providing<br />

clean drinking water in India showcased her commitment<br />

to societal welfare.<br />

Dr. Zulekha’s impact reaches beyond medical infrastructure.<br />

She’s actively involved in community initiatives<br />

focusing on the early detection and prevention of<br />

life-threatening diseases, providing free health checks to<br />

thousands of individuals. Her commitment to Corporate<br />

Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives addressing diabetes,<br />

cancer, kidney diseases, and arthritis is commendable.<br />

Dr. Zulekha Daud’s outstanding contributions to healthcare<br />

have garnered significant recognition. Sheikh Abdullah<br />

bin Zayed Al Nahyan honoured her for five decades of<br />

service, acknowledging her efforts in boosting healthcare<br />

for UAE citizens. Forbes Middle East listed her among the<br />

top 100 Indian Leaders in the UAE for her impactful role<br />

in healthcare. Additionally, she received the prestigious<br />

Dubai Quality Award from Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid<br />

Al Maktoum, underlining her commitment to excellence in<br />

healthcare. Her enduring efforts in Nagpur, coupled with<br />

receiving the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, also reflect her<br />

unwavering dedication to her homeland.<br />

Dr. Zulekha Daud’s dedication exemplifies an unwavering<br />

commitment to healthcare and societal well-being.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 31

Cover Story<br />

Business Leaders<br />

Crafting the UAE’s Global Eminence<br />

Abdulla Ajmal<br />

CEO, Ajmal Group<br />

Abdulla Ajmal, CEO of Ajmal Group, epitomises<br />

entrepreneurial success in the perfumery domain<br />

acknowledged as a standout among Divya Chakra<br />

award recipients. His remarkable journey began with a<br />

pursuit of education, propelling him from the UAE to the<br />

UK, where he earned a Bachelor’s in Marketing and later<br />

pursued an MBA specialising in International Relations.<br />

Returning to Dubai armed with global insights, Abdulla<br />

brought a fresh perspective to Ajmal Perfumes. He strategically<br />

redefined the brand’s fragrance line, tapping into<br />

diverse consumer segments and positioning Ajmal as a<br />

distinguished player in the competitive market.<br />

Boasting an extensive 26-year tenure in the perfumery<br />

realm, Abdulla Ajmal envisions a global footprint for Ajmal<br />

Perfumes, aspiring to elevate it to a premium lifestyle<br />

brand. Guided by mentor Jacques Chabert, a revered independent<br />

perfumer, Abdulla seeks to infuse Ajmal with<br />

an international flair.<br />

Ajmal Perfumes, under Abdulla’s stewardship, proudly<br />

collaborates with globally acclaimed master perfumers<br />

like Dominique Ropion, Maurice Roucel, Arturetto Landi,<br />

and Alberto Morillas. <strong>The</strong>se collaborations have received<br />

widespread acclaim, contributing significantly to Ajmal’s<br />

growing international reputation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> brand has also taken proactive steps towards<br />

sustainable packaging, launching products with recycled<br />

plastic components and exploring recycled glass options.<br />

For Abdulla and Ajmal Perfumes, sustainability isn’t<br />

merely a trend—it’s a tradition, deeply ingrained in their<br />

ethos and operations, far preceding the current global<br />

sustainability wave.<br />

Abdulla’s ambition extends beyond boundaries. Ajmal<br />

Perfumes now extends its reach far beyond the GCC,<br />

penetrating markets in North America, Europe (including<br />

the UK and France), Africa, and the Asian Subcontinent.<br />

This expansion mirrors Abdulla’s aspiration to position<br />

Ajmal as a true global fragrance powerhouse.<br />

Recognised for his pioneering initiatives, Abdulla Ajmal’s<br />

achievements go beyond the acclaim of the Divya Chakra<br />

awards. His inclusion in the Arabian Business list of the<br />

“100 Most Powerful Indians in the Gulf” acknowledges<br />

his pivotal role in catapulting a family business into a<br />

multi-million-dollar corporate entity. He’s been nominated<br />

as the “Asian Rising Star of the Year” and featured<br />

in Forbes Middle East’s “Top 100 Indian Business” list,<br />

reflecting his influential presence in the business sphere.<br />

Abdulla Ajmal’s keen interest in global affairs underscores<br />

his leadership prowess. He continues to drive<br />

innovation and dedication, shaping Ajmal Perfumes into<br />

a globally recognised, premium fragrance brand. Abdulla’s<br />

unwavering commitment to excellence solidifies his<br />

standing as an economic icon, shaping the future of the<br />

perfumery industry.<br />

32 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Cover Story<br />

Business Leaders<br />

Crafting the UAE’s Global Eminence<br />

Ali Asghar Fakhruddin<br />

Chairman, Sterling Perfumes<br />

Ali Asghar Fakhruddin, Chairman of Sterling Perfumes<br />

Industries, stands as a prominent figure in the<br />

fragrance and beauty industry, recognised among<br />

the esteemed recipients of the Divya Chakra award. With<br />

a career spanning four decades, his visionary leadership<br />

has left a profound economic impact that resonates far<br />

beyond his remarkable journey.<br />

Having dedicated 27 years to the family business<br />

within Fakhruddin Holdings, Ali Asghar Fakhruddin has<br />

significantly contributed to its development and global<br />

success. His strategic prowess and hands-on approach<br />

have propelled the organisation to greater heights, particularly<br />

overseeing the operations of Sterling Parfums,<br />

Premier Cosmetics, and Premier Plastics.<br />

Under his leadership, Sterling Perfumes Industries has<br />

emerged as a notable player in the Middle East’s fragrance<br />

market, renowned for its extensive range of beauty products,<br />

including esteemed brands such as Cosmo, Cornell’s<br />

Wellness, Bioluxe, Estiara Passion, and non-alcoholic<br />

French Oriental fragrances.<br />

Ali Asghar Fakhruddin acknowledges the pivotal role of<br />

the UAE in fostering the business’ expertise and reach. He<br />

highlights the country’s strong economy, conducive business<br />

environment, liberal trade policies, friendly taxation, and<br />

robust infrastructure as catalysts for growth. <strong>The</strong> strategic<br />

geographical location facilitates the efficient import of<br />

raw materials and export of final products, enabling the<br />

company’s seamless global outreach.<br />

Sterling Perfumes Industries’ annual production capacity<br />

of 120 million pieces across beauty and personal<br />

care underscores its substantial economic contribution.<br />

Operating manufacturing facilities compliant with Halal,<br />

and FDA certifications reflects their commitment to rigorous<br />

quality standards, ensuring top-tier products for<br />

global consumers.<br />

Ali Asghar Fakhruddin’s industry recognition further<br />

amplifies the economic impact of Sterling Perfumes Industries.<br />

His accolades, including the ‘Lifetime Achievement<br />

Award’ and multiple wins in categories such as ‘Independent<br />

Retailer of the Year’ and ‘Luxury Packaging of the<br />

Year’ at prestigious ceremonies like the Beautyworld<br />

Middle East Awards, signify the brand’s excellence and<br />

market prominence.<br />

His emphasis on quality, innovation, and global perspective<br />

has fortified Sterling Perfumes Industries’ enduring<br />

relationships with suppliers and partners, fostering trust<br />

and longevity in business associations. Fakhruddin’s forward-thinking<br />

approach and commitment to transferring<br />

knowledge to future generations signify his vision for a<br />

lasting heritage of quality and value in the industry.<br />

Ali Asghar Fakhruddin’s legacy epitomises quality, luxury,<br />

and accessibility in the fragrance and beauty sector.<br />

His influence extends beyond achievements, marking an<br />

enduring legacy that inspires generations.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 33

Cover Story<br />

Business Leaders<br />

Crafting the UAE’s Global Eminence<br />

Ankur Aggarwal<br />

CEO, Bricks and Woods Real Estate<br />

Ankur Agarwal, a prominent figure in finance,<br />

business consultancy, and real estate, stands as<br />

a distinguished recipient of the prestigious Divya<br />

Chakra award, symbolising visionary leadership that<br />

transcends conventional boundaries. With a foundation<br />

in B.Com (Hons) from Delhi University, Ankur embarked<br />

on a journey that redefined excellence, setting a new<br />

standard in the UAE’s business landscape.<br />

As the CEO and Founder of Bricks n Woods (BnW),<br />

Ankur’s leadership stands as a beacon of innovation and<br />

visionary prowess in the real estate sector. Collaborating<br />

with renowned Bollywood celebrity and entrepreneur Vivek<br />

Oberoi, Ankur propelled BnW to manage an impressive<br />

AUM of 11.4 billion AED, showcasing over 16 years of<br />

economic mastery and entrepreneurial brilliance.<br />

Beyond real estate, Ankur’s role as Managing Partner at<br />

AKGVG Group highlights his strategic acumen, elevating<br />

the company’s financial advisory services and solidifying<br />

his reputation as a thought leader in the industry.<br />

His leadership skills are manifested in his ability to<br />

inspire and motivate teams to achieve outstanding results.<br />

His real estate and accounting expertise enables him to<br />

provide strategic guidance and make informed decisions<br />

that drive success.<br />

Ankur Agarwal’s career trajectory, steeped in over a<br />

decade of Chartered Accountancy expertise, has positioned<br />

Bricks n Woods as a premier real estate agency<br />

specialising in exclusive properties in the UAE. <strong>The</strong> agency’s<br />

commitment to offering personalised services fosters<br />

enduring relationships with international clients seeking<br />

residences, second homes, or investment opportunities.<br />

Moreover, Ankur’s expertise in Chartered Accountancy,<br />

taxation, audit, and financial services solidifies his reputation<br />

as a trusted advisor and consultant in the industry,<br />

garnering recognition as a visionary leader.<br />

Ankur’s passion for crafting specialised business models<br />

and innovative solutions at Bricks n Woods emphasises<br />

the convergence of strategic planning and creativity. His<br />

commitment to tailored approaches and unwavering excellence<br />

propels growth and success, reshaping the real<br />

estate industry and empowering clients.<br />

Spearheading the development of significant real estate<br />

projects in Ras Al Khaimah, Ankur’s entrepreneurial journey<br />

is enriched by his commitment to innovation and growth.<br />

His forthcoming projects focusing on sustainability in<br />

luxury residences, commercial spaces, and lavish hotel<br />

developments underscore his dedication to visionary<br />

thinking and customer-centricity.<br />

With an ambitious portfolio of 14 upcoming projects,<br />

Ankur Agarwal’s commitment to visionary thinking and<br />

excellence continues to shape the real estate industry in<br />

the UAE, impacting communities and fostering sustainable<br />

growth.<br />

34 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Cover Story<br />

Business Leaders<br />

Crafting the UAE’s Global Eminence<br />

Harsh Patel<br />

Founder, Water and Shark<br />

Harsh Patel, a distinguished figure in International<br />

Corporate and Business Laws, taxation, cross-border<br />

structuring, and strategic advisory, stands as<br />

a testament to visionary leadership, honoured with the<br />

Divya Chakra award for his transformative contributions.<br />

His journey as the Founding Member and Global CEO of<br />

Water and Shark reflects a commitment to excellence,<br />

spanning various countries, including India, the USA, the<br />

UK, Singapore, and the UAE.<br />

Harsh Patel’s recognition as the Icon of the UAE at a<br />

young age attests to his transformative impact on the<br />

industry. At 19, he embarked on an entrepreneurial journey,<br />

founding Water and Shark to address the need for<br />

comprehensive financial and legal solutions on a global<br />

scale. His innovative approach has earned accolades and<br />

acknowledgements, positioning him as an industry leader<br />

and an example of managerial excellence, as recognised<br />

by Forbes India.<br />

As a pioneer in creating a platform for professionals in<br />

finance and law, Harsh Patel fosters connections globally,<br />

showcasing a profound commitment to knowledge-sharing<br />

and professional advancement. Acknowledged with<br />

prestigious accolades like the Leaders of Change by <strong>The</strong><br />

Economic Times of India and India’s Top 100 Great People<br />

Manager by Forbes India, he remains an influential figure<br />

in the industry.<br />

Harsh Patel’s expertise transcends boundaries. As the<br />

visionary Founder and Global CEO of Water and Shark,<br />

his portfolio encompasses a vast spectrum of services,<br />

including cross-border transactions, mergers and acquisitions,<br />

family office structuring, and strategic advisory.<br />

His firm’s global presence and services in diverse countries<br />

exemplify a commitment to delivering effective and<br />

tailored solutions to clients worldwide.<br />

Water and Shark, under Harsh Patel’s guidance, offers<br />

comprehensive legal and financial advisory services,<br />

covering international law, business setup, cross-border<br />

transactions, family office structuring, tax compliance,<br />

and accounting. <strong>The</strong> firm’s expertise extends to digital<br />

assets and cryptocurrency advisory, providing clients with<br />

holistic solutions across multiple domains and countries.<br />

At various industry forums, Harsh Patel has shared<br />

insights on scaling law firms and expanding globally.<br />

He encourages a focused mindset and perseverance in<br />

acquiring international clients, providing a framework<br />

for novices to venture into global expansion confidently.<br />

Harsh Patel’s journey and achievements reflect a commitment<br />

to excellence, knowledge-sharing, and a visionary<br />

approach. His leadership and dedication continue to shape<br />

and inspire the global professional landscape, setting new<br />

standards for excellence and innovation.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 35

Cover Story<br />

Business Leaders<br />

Crafting the UAE’s Global Eminence<br />

Chef Ranveer Brar<br />

Celebrity Chef, Kashkan Restaurant<br />

Chef Ranveer Brar, a recipient of the prestigious<br />

Divya Chakra, stands as a revered figure in India’s<br />

culinary landscape. With a career spanning three<br />

decades, he has become a celebrated icon, leaving an<br />

indelible mark on the country’s gastronomic scene. A MasterChef<br />

India judge, accomplished author, and acclaimed<br />

television personality, his influence extends far and wide,<br />

significantly impacting Indian cuisine on a global scale.<br />

His journey began at the Taj Mahal Hotel after completing<br />

his education at IHM. An ambitious and driven culinary<br />

enthusiast, Brar quickly ascended to the position of the<br />

youngest Executive Chef in India at the remarkable age of<br />

25. This accomplishment heralded the commencement of<br />

an extraordinary career, marked by significant milestones<br />

such as launching “Morisco,” “il Camino,” and “Fishtail”<br />

at Fort Aguada Beach Resort in Goa. Later in his journey,<br />

he attained global recognition with the celebrated “Banq”<br />

in Boston, Massachusetts, acclaimed as the Best New<br />

Restaurant worldwide by “Wallpaper” magazine.<br />

Brar’s culinary voyage continued as Corporate Chef for<br />

the One <strong>World</strong> Hospitality Group in Boston and later as<br />

Senior Executive Chef at Novotel, Juhu Beach, Mumbai.<br />

His foray into restaurant consultancy and menu curation<br />

expanded, contributing to the launch of MTV India chain<br />

of restaurants and the creation of an ‘artisan’ line of meal<br />

kits and a premium patisserie, “English Vinglish.”<br />

His ventures spanned across continents, with the launch<br />

of restaurants like FLYP @ MTV in Delhi, Chandigarh,<br />

and Mumbai, the TAG Gourmart Kitchen in Mumbai, and<br />

Mayura in Canada. Brar’s association with Alila Hotels<br />

and Resorts for F&B conceptualization and collaboration<br />

with Royal Caribbean International for Indian gourmet<br />

food on cruise liners showcased his versatility and vision.<br />

In <strong>2023</strong>, Chef Brar unveiled Kashkan in Dubai Festival<br />

City Mall, his first venture in the Middle East. This pan-Indian<br />

restaurant aims to encapsulate the diverse flavours<br />

from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, symbolising the vastness<br />

of Indian cuisine. While acknowledging the impossibility<br />

of encapsulating the entirety of Indian culinary diversity<br />

in one restaurant, Brar intends to ignite meaningful conversations<br />

about the rich tapestry of Indian food.<br />

Chef Brar’s dedication to the culinary world extends<br />

beyond the kitchen, as he mentors universities, endorses<br />

food brands, and conducts culinary workshops across the<br />

globe. His continuous efforts to revive forgotten grains,<br />

dishes, and their stories reflect his passion for preserving<br />

culinary heritage.<br />

Chef Ranveer Brar’s journey has been an odyssey of flavours,<br />

experiences, and a relentless pursuit of showcasing<br />

the depth and richness of Indian cuisine to the world. His<br />

latest venture in Dubai marks yet another milestone in<br />

his mission to celebrate and share the diverse culinary<br />

traditions of India.<br />

36 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Cover Story<br />

Business Leaders<br />

Crafting the UAE’s Global Eminence<br />

Raveena Devnani<br />

Founder and CEO, Ravashing Events<br />

Raveena Devnani, the CEO and founder of Ravashing<br />

Exhibitions & Events, stands as an exceptional force<br />

within the Exhibitions & Events Industry with an<br />

extensive 25+ years of experience in both the UAE and<br />

global settings across diverse business sectors and markets.<br />

Renowned for her remarkable achievements, Raveena<br />

was honoured as the recipient of the Divya Chakra award<br />

for her outstanding contributions to the MICE industry.<br />

Her journey has been marked by groundbreaking<br />

achievements, having held positions in multinational<br />

corporations like MEED and Informa, key pioneers in the<br />

MICE industry. In 2013, Raveena established Ravashing<br />

Exhibitions & Events, headquartered in Dubai, a name<br />

that quickly rose to prominence in the exhibition stand<br />

contracting arena worldwide.<br />

Renowned for its client-centric approach, Ravashing<br />

persevered through the challenges posed by the pandemic,<br />

emerging as one of the fastest-growing companies<br />

post-crisis. <strong>The</strong>ir commitment to delivering superior<br />

craftsmanship, timely deliveries, competitive pricing, and<br />

unmatched customer service has garnered widespread<br />

acclaim globally.<br />

Operating as a Production House with comprehensive<br />

in-house facilities in Dubai, Ravashing Events caters to the<br />

thriving MICE industry on a global scale. With a dedicated<br />

team of over 100 professionals and a sprawling 75,000 sqft<br />

warehouse equipped with design and project execution<br />

capabilities, they collaborate with global brands to craft<br />

exquisite exhibition stands, retail kiosks, and merchandise,<br />

and orchestrate corporate events, conferences, and<br />

meetings.<br />

In addition to her entrepreneurial pursuits, Raveena<br />

actively participates in charitable initiatives, emphasising<br />

the importance of business retention and relationship<br />

management within the Ravashing family.<br />

Raveena Devnani, the CEO and Founder of Ravashing<br />

Exhibitions & Events stands adorned with numerous prestigious<br />

awards highlighting her remarkable achievements<br />

in the Exhibitions & Events Industry. Notable among<br />

these are the Vapouround Global Awards <strong>2023</strong> and the<br />

Best Production Company <strong>2023</strong> recognition, showcasing<br />

her adeptness as the Best Exhibition Stand Builder. Her<br />

excellence in event management was acknowledged at the<br />

Gulf Achievers Awards <strong>2023</strong> and the She Global Awards<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, where she was lauded for her remarkable contributions.<br />

Raveena’s entrepreneurial prowess shone brightly<br />

when she was honoured as the Best Young Entrepreneur<br />

in Dubai in 2019.<br />

Raveena’s dedication and passion for delivering unparalleled<br />

experiences have reshaped industry standards, setting<br />

new benchmarks in the Exhibitions & Events domain.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 37

Cover Story<br />

Business Leaders<br />

Crafting the UAE’s Global Eminence<br />

Vashu Shroff<br />

Chairman, Regal Group<br />

Vashu Shroff, the luminary behind the Regal Group<br />

of Companies and one of the prominent recipients<br />

of Divya Chakra awards, has created an indelible<br />

mark in Dubai’s textile market landscape since he arrived<br />

in 1952. Joining his family’s textile business at a tender<br />

age, Shroff’s trajectory from a humble salesman and Hindi<br />

teacher at the Indian High School Dubai to becoming the<br />

current chairman of the Regal Group signifies an inspirational<br />

journey.<br />

Shroff’s journey to prominence wasn’t merely about<br />

personal success but also about redefining the textile<br />

and retail industry in Dubai. His vision expanded the<br />

family’s textile trade to encompass diversified operations,<br />

including textiles, technology, sportswear, accessories,<br />

investments, and real estate.<br />

A trailblazer in fostering bilateral trade between the<br />

UAE and India, Shroff capitalised on opportunities that<br />

propelled his family’s cotton business into a thriving<br />

conglomerate. <strong>The</strong> strategic launch of Regal Traders in<br />

the 1960s marked the genesis of a retail empire that now<br />

spans across the GCC.<br />

Recognised as ‘Vasuji’ within the NRI community,<br />

Shroff’s legacy extends beyond business acumen. His<br />

philanthropic endeavours include instrumental roles in<br />

establishing key community pillars such as the Hindu<br />

Temple in Bur Dubai, the Indian Sports Club, and the<br />

Indian High School.<br />

Under Shroff’s astute leadership, Regal Fabrics emerged<br />

as one of Dubai’s premier fabric retailers. With over 13<br />

stores in Dubai and a robust presence in other Emirates,<br />

Regal Fabrics is renowned for its wholesale, retail, and<br />

tailoring services, offering an extensive range of high-quality<br />

fabrics sourced globally.<br />

Regal Group’s fabric empire stands as a cornerstone of<br />

the UAE’s textile industry, providing an extensive assortment<br />

of fashionable fabrics. <strong>The</strong> company’s ten outlets,<br />

strategically positioned across the Emirates, supply quality<br />

fabrics to the country’s leading couture houses.<br />

Beyond textiles, Shroff’s influence in technology and<br />

real estate further reinforces his stature as a visionary<br />

entrepreneur. His initiatives have set the stage for the<br />

Regal Group’s monumental success, epitomising innovation<br />

and foresight in diversifying the company’s portfolio.<br />

Vashu Shroff’s instrumental role in shaping Dubai’s<br />

textile landscape stands as a testament to his visionary<br />

leadership, strategic foresight, and unwavering dedication<br />

to business excellence and community development. His<br />

legacy continues to inspire generations, leaving an enduring<br />

imprint on Dubai’s vibrant textile industry.<br />

38 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Cover Story<br />

Business Leaders<br />

Crafting the UAE’s Global Eminence<br />

Vikas Panchal<br />

General Manager Middle East, Tally Solutions<br />

Tally Solutions stands as a global forerunner in business<br />

management software, catalysing a paradigm<br />

shift in the ERP solutions landscape worldwide. With<br />

a staggering reach of over 2.3 million licences spanning<br />

over 100 countries, Tally Solutions has redefined efficiency<br />

and empowerment for businesses globally. Recognised<br />

for its innovation and excellence, Tally Solutions has<br />

been honoured with the prestigious Divya Chakra award,<br />

further solidifying its commitment to revolutionising the<br />

industry and exemplifying its exceptional contributions<br />

to the business management software arena.<br />

At the heart of Tally’s philosophy lies the belief in<br />

technology’s potential to streamline operations, making<br />

business owners more efficient, empowered, and focused<br />

on strategic objectives. This ethos drives their product<br />

design - ensuring that their software works seamlessly<br />

for businesses, adapting to their needs and enhancing<br />

productivity.<br />

<strong>The</strong> launch of TallyPrime 3.0 stands as a testament to<br />

Tally Solutions’ commitment to simplifying compliance<br />

and operational efficiency for SMEs. This cutting-edge<br />

release boasts capabilities designed to empower small and<br />

medium-sized enterprises, providing scalability without<br />

software limitations. <strong>The</strong> adaptability of TallyPrime 3.0<br />

fosters improved compliance management, operational<br />

efficiency, financial control, and scalability which serve<br />

as pivotal components contributing to SMEs’ growth and<br />

success.<br />

Tally Prime, a comprehensive business management<br />

software, consolidates various business aspects, including<br />

accounting, inventory, taxation, and payroll. Its recent<br />

iteration, Tally Prime 3.0.1, introduced enhancements in<br />

e-invoicing and GST return filing, enhancing the overall<br />

user experience.<br />

A significant part of Tally’s innovation strategy revolves<br />

around integrating new technologies. <strong>The</strong> company’s focus<br />

on WhatsApp integration within its product for seamless<br />

communication between businesses and their customers<br />

and suppliers reflects its commitment to evolving with<br />

the latest trends.<br />

Tally Solutions’ participation in events like GITEX Global<br />

underscores its dedication to innovation and networking.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se platforms serve as catalysts for fostering partnerships,<br />

gaining insights, and expanding their customer base<br />

across the GCC, Africa, and Europe.<br />

Moreover, the MSME Honours Awards event hosted by<br />

Tally Solutions signifies the company’s commitment to<br />

recognising and celebrating the achievements of Micro,<br />

Small, and Medium Enterprises. Through such initiatives<br />

and innovations, Tally Solutions continues to pave the<br />

way for transformative advancements in ERP solutions,<br />

offering SMEs the tools and resources necessary to thrive<br />

and grow in today’s competitive landscape.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 39

Wheels<br />

Specifications<br />

Torque: 500 Nm<br />

Horsepower: 382 hp<br />

Acceleration: 60 in 4.4 seconds<br />

40 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

BMW M440i xDrive<br />

Convertible 2024<br />

BMW M440i xDrive Convertible<br />

2024 is an anticipated luxury<br />

sports car designed to offer<br />

an exhilarating driving experience.<br />

This convertible model combines<br />

a sleek, sporty design with highperformance<br />

capabilities and cuttingedge<br />

technology.<br />

BMW M440i xDrive Convertible 2024<br />

features a four-seat convertible body<br />

style with a retractable soft-top roof that<br />

can be easily operated. Its dimensions<br />

include a length of 188 inches, width of<br />

72.9 inches, and height of 54.6 inches.<br />

Moreover, it has a wheelbase of 112.2<br />

inches and a ground clearance of 8.4<br />

inches.<br />

This model is powered by a robust<br />

3.0-liter inline-six engine, producing<br />

482 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque.<br />

It utilizes an eight-speed automatic<br />

transmission and an all-wheel-drive<br />

system, ensuring swift acceleration<br />

and responsive handling. BMW M440i<br />

xDrive Convertible can accelerate from<br />

0 to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, with a<br />

top speed reaching 170 mph.<br />

<strong>The</strong> interior of the BMW M440i xDrive<br />

Convertible 2024 prioritises comfort and<br />

luxury. Premium materials, including<br />

leather upholstery and a heated steering<br />

wheel, adorn the cabin. <strong>The</strong> dashboard<br />

is equipped with a 14.9-inch touchscreen<br />

infotainment system, featuring Apple<br />

CarPlay and Android Auto integration,<br />

navigation, and a premium audio system.<br />

Designed to captivate, the exterior<br />

of the car showcases sleek and sporty<br />

lines. Notable features include an<br />

illuminated LED strip on the distinctive<br />

kidney grille, stylish LED headlights,<br />

and a sculpted rear end. <strong>The</strong> soft-top<br />

roof can be opened or closed in just<br />

18 seconds, even at speeds up to 31<br />

mph. <strong>The</strong> car rides on 18-inch alloy<br />

wheels, with the option for larger<br />

19-inch wheels.<br />

BMW M440i xDrive Convertible<br />

2024 prioritises safety with advanced<br />

features such as forward-collision<br />

warning, automatic emergency braking,<br />

lane-departure warning, and blind-spot<br />

monitoring.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 41

Start-up<br />

<strong>The</strong> Meteoric Ascent of UAE-born Startup<br />

Pioneers<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates has not only transformed major business sectors<br />

through its presence but has also emerged as a trailblazer for SMEs and<br />

startups. Reports indicate that the UAE is a hub for numerous startups, with<br />

more than 20 startups worth more than $1 billion each this number continues<br />

to grow. With the UAE’s startup industry expected to reach new heights, it is<br />

a great time to highlight some of the pioneering startups that have emerged<br />

from the UAE, showcasing their meteoric global success.<br />

Namshi<br />

Faraz Khalid,<br />

Co-Founder<br />

Namshi, a UAE-based startup<br />

founded in 2011 by Faraz Khalid,<br />

Hisham Zarka, Hosam Arab,<br />

Louis Lebbos, and Muhammed Mekki,<br />

has swiftly become a cornerstone in<br />

the Middle East’s fashion e-commerce<br />

landscape. With a primary focus on<br />

serving customers in the UAE, Saudi<br />

Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, and<br />

Qatar, Namshi offers a diverse array of<br />

footwear and apparel fashion brands,<br />

providing a shopping experience that<br />

seamlessly blends accessible fashion<br />

with digital innovation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> startup, headquartered in Dubai,<br />

U.A.E., stands out not just for<br />

its product offerings but also for its<br />

commitment to meeting the evolving<br />

demands of consumers. Namshi’s product<br />

range spans fashion, footwear,<br />

accessories, makeup, beauty products,<br />

and homeware. Additionally, it boasts<br />

worldwide shipping and contactless<br />

delivery, emphasising a customer-centric<br />

approach.<br />

In August 2022, Namshi underwent<br />

a notable development, being acquired<br />

by Noon.2M, a strategic move<br />

that could potentially influence the<br />

startup’s approach in the dynamic<br />

e-commerce sector.<br />

Namshi’s inception in 2011 was<br />

fueled by a vision to revolutionise<br />

the shopping experience in the UAE,<br />

particularly targeting style-centric<br />

individuals in their 20s. With a commitment<br />

to showcasing over 500 new<br />

products daily, Namshi established<br />

itself as a trendsetter in the fast-paced<br />

world of online fashion.<br />

Championing innovation, Namshi<br />

tackled a significant challenge inherent<br />

in the Middle East – the prevalent<br />

’mall’ culture. Overcoming consumer<br />

reluctance to buy online, trust product<br />

veracity, and enter credit card<br />

details, Namshi implemented practical<br />

solutions such as accepting cash on<br />

delivery. <strong>The</strong> startup also leveraged<br />

digital technology and social media<br />

to raise brand awareness.<br />

Namshi’s success is attributed to<br />

meticulous research, branding, promotion,<br />

and a robust marketing strategy.<br />

<strong>The</strong> startup strategically targeted a<br />

specific consumer base, particularly<br />

women for whom traditional mall<br />

shopping presented challenges. This<br />

targeted approach, starting small and<br />

building a loyal client base, has been<br />

integral to Namshi’s growth, underscoring<br />

the effectiveness of a focused<br />

strategy in the competitive realm of<br />

e-commerce startups. Namshi’s journey<br />

reflects not only its commitment<br />

to accessible fashion but also its resilience<br />

in navigating the complexities<br />

of the Middle East’s unique consumer<br />

landscape.<br />

42 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Careem<br />

Careem, a Dubai-based startup,<br />

has significantly impacted the<br />

business landscape across the<br />

Middle East, Africa, and South Asia,<br />

operating in over 100 cities across<br />

12 countries. Acquiring a valuation<br />

of over US$2 billion in 2018, Careem<br />

became a wholly-owned subsidiary of<br />

Uber in January 2020 through a notable<br />

$3.1 billion acquisition. Notably,<br />

it diversified its services, venturing<br />

into food delivery with Careem Now<br />

in November 2018 and launching a<br />

digital payment platform, Careem Pay,<br />

in April 2022.<br />

Founded in 2012 by Mudassir<br />

Sheikha and Magnus Olsson, Careem<br />

began as a website-based startup<br />

service for corporate car bookings,<br />

later evolving into a ridesharing company<br />

with everyday car hire services.<br />

Throughout its history, Careem has<br />

expanded its reach, entering new<br />

markets. In February 2018, Careem<br />

acquired RoundMenu, a restaurant<br />

listing and food ordering platform,<br />

and announced plans to introduce<br />

bus services in August 2018, initially<br />

in Egypt.<br />

In April <strong>2023</strong>, e&, a global technology<br />

and investment group, announced<br />

its agreement with Uber and Careem<br />

to acquire a majority stake in Careem’s<br />

Super App business. This strategic<br />

move positions Careem to accelerate<br />

its vision of creating an all-encompassing<br />

“everything app” serving customers<br />

across the Middle East, with e& taking<br />

a 50.03% stake.<br />

Despite its successes, Careem has<br />

faced challenges and criticism, including<br />

a data breach in January 2018,<br />

where information on over 14 million<br />

riders and 558,800 drivers was compromised.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company also encountered<br />

scrutiny regarding its work culture and<br />

hiring practices, with CEO Mudassir<br />

Sheikha’s LinkedIn post in June <strong>2023</strong><br />

attracting criticism for its tone and<br />

approach. Careem’s commitment to<br />

philanthropy is evident in its support<br />

for initiatives such as Cricket for a<br />

Mudassir Sheikha & Magnus Olsson,<br />

Founders<br />

Cause and collaboration with the<br />

Robin Hood Army to feed over 10,000<br />

people in Pakistan in 2018.<br />

Careem’s journey, from its inception<br />

as a regional ride-sharing startup to<br />

becoming a key player in the global<br />

super app landscape, underscores<br />

its resilience and adaptability in the<br />

ever-evolving tech industry.<br />

Bayzat<br />

Talal Bayaa,<br />

CEO and Co-Founder<br />

Established in 2012 by founders<br />

Talal Bayaa, Brian Habibi, and<br />

Tarek Bayaa, Bayzat emerged<br />

as a startup with a mission to revolutionise<br />

HR management for small and<br />

medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). <strong>The</strong><br />

Dubai-based startup, Bayzat’s focus extends<br />

beyond conventional HR payroll<br />

solutions; it incorporates a range of<br />

insurance options for businesses and<br />

families, automating processes that<br />

were traditionally manual.<br />

<strong>The</strong> journey commenced as Talal<br />

Bayaa, the CEO, recognised the prevalent<br />

use of manual HR processes within<br />

SMEs. In addressing this challenge,<br />

the company identified additional<br />

pain points that its solutions could<br />

efficiently resolve for its customers.<br />

Bayzat’s progress has not gone<br />

unnoticed in the startup ecosystem.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company, currently at the Series<br />

C stage, has successfully secured a<br />

total funding of $60 million through<br />

seven funding rounds. <strong>The</strong> latest Series<br />

C round, held on <strong>December</strong> 22, 2022,<br />

raised $25 million and was led by DisruptAD,<br />

showcasing the growing confidence<br />

and support from investors.<br />

Scaling a startup brings its own set<br />

of challenges, and for Talal Bayaa, the<br />

founder’s role is pivotal. Beyond the<br />

essential factors of capital and talent,<br />

Bayaa emphasises the continuous<br />

growth and evolution of the founder as<br />

a leader. Learning from mistakes and<br />

dedicating time to personal development<br />

are deemed crucial in navigating<br />

the dynamic landscape of a growing<br />

startup.<br />

<strong>The</strong> significance of talent acquisition<br />

is underscored in Bayzat’s success<br />

narrative. <strong>The</strong> startup attributes a<br />

substantial part of its achievements<br />

to having the right team in place.<br />

Moreover, Bayzat acknowledges the<br />

essential role of raising capital and<br />

encourages fellow entrepreneurs to<br />

explore opportunities provided by<br />

accelerators and incubation schemes<br />

like Hub71 and Dubai Fintech Hub.<br />

Bayzat’s trajectory, from identifying<br />

a common pain point to evolving into<br />

a Series C startup, not only highlights<br />

the startup’s commitment to innovation<br />

in HR solutions but also emphasises<br />

the indispensable role of strategic<br />

talent management and continuous<br />

learning in the startup ecosystem.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 43

Energy<br />

UAE’s Transformative Journey: From<br />

Hydrocarbons to Renewable Solutions<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates (UAE), renowned for its oil reserves and thriving hydrocarbon<br />

industry, is embarking on a monumental journey toward a more sustainable<br />

future. Long known for its oil wealth, the nation is strategically pivoting<br />

away from its traditional reliance on hydrocarbons towards embracing renewable<br />

energy solutions. This transition signifies a significant moment, influencing<br />

the UAE and the broader global energy scenario.<br />

44 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

For decades, the UAE’s economic<br />

prosperity has been intrinsically<br />

tied to its vast oil reserves, propelling<br />

it to the forefront of the global<br />

energy market. Despite possessing<br />

the world’s seventh-largest proven<br />

oil reserves and natural gas reserves,<br />

the UAE has actively pursued decisive<br />

measures to diversify its energy mix<br />

and economy. Recognising the evolving<br />

challenges posed by climate change,<br />

environmental degradation, and the<br />

finite nature of fossil fuels, the UAE<br />

is charting a new course.<br />

<strong>The</strong> visionary leadership in the<br />

UAE has set ambitious targets to<br />

diversify its energy mix, aiming to increase<br />

the contribution of renewable<br />

energy sources significantly. This<br />

forward-thinking approach aligns<br />

with global efforts to mitigate climate<br />

change and reduce carbon emissions<br />

while fostering sustainable economic<br />

growth.<br />

In 2022, a collaboration between the<br />

state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil<br />

Company, Taqa, and holding company<br />

Mubadala marked a significant step<br />

toward renewable energy pursuits.<br />

This partnership saw them becoming<br />

shareholders of Masdar, a renewable<br />

energy company, aiming to elevate<br />

their collective standing in the realm<br />

of clean energy. <strong>The</strong>ir initial joint<br />

efforts accounted for an impressive<br />

23GW of renewable energy capacity,<br />

instantly positioning Masdar as a<br />

global leader in clean energy. <strong>The</strong>ir<br />

ambitious target aims to surpass 50GW<br />

by 2030, signalling a commitment to<br />

expansive growth in this sector.<br />

Interestingly, while oil and gas<br />

exports historically drove around 30<br />

percent of the UAE’s economic activity,<br />

the nation is swiftly diversifying<br />

its energy landscape. Domestically, it<br />

operates three nuclear reactors that<br />

contribute power to the national grid<br />

and hosts three of the world’s largest<br />

and most cost-efficient solar facilities.<br />

Simultaneously, the UAE is actively<br />

mitigating the carbon footprint associated<br />

with hydrocarbon fuels. As an<br />

early adopter of industrial-scale carbon<br />

capture technology in the region,<br />

the country demonstrates a pragmatic<br />

approach. Leveraging geological advantages<br />

and innovative designs, the<br />

UAE’s hydrocarbon resources rank<br />

among the least carbon-intensive<br />

globally. This strategic approach aligns<br />

with a commitment to ensuring a<br />

more sustainable energy future while<br />

acknowledging the present reliance on<br />

traditional energy sources.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s Energy Strategy 2050<br />

maps out a transformative journey<br />

toward a diversified energy landscape.<br />

Envisioning a balanced mix, the strategy<br />

aims for 44% sourced from clean<br />

energy, 38% from gas, 12% from clean<br />

coal, and 6% from nuclear power by<br />

2050. Building upon this strategic<br />

foundation, recent updates in <strong>2023</strong> disclosed<br />

a series of bold targets. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

include the creation of 50,000 green<br />

jobs by 2030, a tripling of renewable<br />

energy capacity to 14 GW, a goal to<br />

achieve 30% clean energy integration<br />

into the energy mix by 2031, and a resolute<br />

commitment to attaining carbon<br />

neutrality by 2050.<br />

Some of the notable initiatives by<br />

the government include the development<br />

of <strong>The</strong> Noor Abu Dhabi solar<br />

park, anticipated to curtail the nation’s<br />

carbon footprint by 1 million metric<br />

tons annually.<br />

Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al<br />

Maktoum Solar Park sprawled across<br />

4,000 acres, aims to power 800,000<br />

homes solely through solar energy<br />

by 2030.<br />

Channelling over $20 billion into<br />

renewable energy initiatives through<br />

Masdar, Abu Dhabi has exponentially<br />

expanded its renewable energy portfolio<br />

by 400% in the last decade. Masdar’s<br />

focus spans the gamut of renewable<br />

energy technologies, energy efficiency,<br />

carbon management, water usage, and<br />

desalination.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s commitment to sustainability<br />

extends beyond energy initiatives.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Emirates Green Building<br />

Council established the Energy Efficiency<br />

Program, targeting the reduction<br />

of the country’s carbon footprint<br />

through retrofits in existing inefficient<br />

buildings. Dubai’s “Smart City” strategy<br />

encompasses 1,000 government<br />

services and emphasises advancements<br />

in transportation, infrastructure,<br />

communications, finance, urban<br />

planning, and electricity—striving to<br />

optimise energy use, transportation,<br />

and public spaces.<br />

Further reinforcing their commitment,<br />

Dubai has enforced “Green<br />

Building Regulations” since 2011, mandating<br />

these standards for all new private<br />

sector constructions. Meanwhile,<br />

the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council<br />

introduced Estidama, an initiative promoting<br />

sustainable building practices.<br />

One of its key components, the Pearl<br />

<strong>The</strong> transition<br />

from<br />

hydrocarbons<br />

to renewable<br />

solutions is<br />

not merely an<br />

environmental<br />

endeavour;<br />

it represents<br />

a strategic<br />

economic shift.<br />

Building Rating System, evaluates and<br />

incentivises sustainable development<br />

across Abu Dhabi.<br />

In a push toward sustainable waste<br />

management, Abu Dhabi is developing<br />

a waste-to-energy plant expected<br />

to power 20,000 households solely<br />

from organic waste, aligning with the<br />

nation’s unwavering commitment to a<br />

greener and more sustainable future.<br />

Furthermore, the UAE’s commitment<br />

extends beyond its borders.<br />

Through partnerships and collaborations,<br />

the country actively shares its<br />

expertise and resources, contributing<br />

to global initiatives aimed at advancing<br />

renewable energy adoption worldwide.<br />

Amidst the intricate hurdles posed<br />

by a shifting climate, the UAE shines<br />

as a guiding light, showcasing that the<br />

shift toward renewable energy isn’t<br />

merely an option but a necessity for<br />

a sustainable global future.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 45

Energy News<br />

Qatar and China sign 27-year liquified gas deal<br />

QatarEnergy has entered into<br />

a partnership agreement<br />

with China Petrochemical<br />

Corporation (Sinopec) for<br />

the North Field South (NFS) expansion<br />

project. As part of this partnership, a<br />

long-term sales and purchase agreement<br />

(SPA) was signed for the delivery of<br />

3 million tons per annum (MTPA) of<br />

LNG from the NFS project to Sinopec’s<br />

receiving terminals in China, spanning<br />

27 years. Under the partnership agreement,<br />

QatarEnergy will transfer a five<br />

EAD and TotalEnergies<br />

Partner for Solar<br />

Energy at Genetic<br />

Resource Centre<br />

<strong>The</strong> Environment Agency - Abu<br />

Dhabi (EAD) has joined forces<br />

with TotalEnergies Renewables<br />

Distributed Generation (DG)<br />

Middle East and Africa, an affiliate of<br />

TotalEnergies, to implement distributed<br />

solar energy solutions at EAD’s newly-constructed<br />

Plant Genetic Resource Centre<br />

in Al Ain. <strong>The</strong> collaboration involves a<br />

20-year solar power equipment lease<br />

agreement with TotalEnergies, encompassing<br />

solar installation, operations,<br />

maintenance, and solar energy production<br />

at EAD’s facility. <strong>The</strong> plant will feature<br />

680 photovoltaic panels, generating<br />

approximately 500 MWh of clean energy<br />

annually, covering a 1,360 square metre<br />

area of car park shades. This initiative<br />

will reduce EAD’s annual carbon footprint<br />

by 200 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to the<br />

energy use of approximately 25 homes<br />

in a year. Ahmed Al Hashmi, Executive<br />

Director of the Terrestrial and Marine<br />

Biodiversity Sector at EAD, noted that<br />

this lease agreement will significantly<br />

lower carbon emissions, aligning with<br />

the Abu Dhabi Climate Change Strategy.<br />

percent interest to Sinopec in a joint<br />

venture company with the equivalent<br />

of 6 million tons per annum (MTPA) of<br />

LNG production capacity in the NFS<br />

project. This collaboration builds on<br />

a previous agreement signed in Doha,<br />

marking Sinopec’s entry as a shareholder<br />

in one of the North Field East<br />

(NFE) joint venture companies. It’s<br />

important to note that this partnership<br />

will not impact the interests of other<br />

shareholders.<br />

EU, US, COP28 Hosts Push for Global Deal to<br />

Triple Renewable Energy<br />

<strong>The</strong> European Union, United<br />

States, and the United Arab<br />

Emirates’ COP28 climate summit<br />

hosts are actively seeking<br />

global support for a plan to triple renewable<br />

energy capacity this decade,<br />

as revealed in documents shared with<br />

Reuters. <strong>The</strong>y are engaged in recruiting<br />

other governments to sign this pledge<br />

ahead of the annual U.N. climate negotiations<br />

scheduled from November 30<br />

to <strong>December</strong> 12 in Dubai. Tripling the<br />

world’s renewable energy capacity to<br />

11,000 gigawatts by 2030 is seen as a<br />

crucial step in limiting global warming<br />

to 1.5 degrees Celsius and mitigating<br />

its catastrophic consequences. <strong>The</strong><br />

pledge also includes a commitment<br />

to doubling the world’s annual energy<br />

efficiency improvement rate to 4%<br />

by 2030. While the letter emphasises<br />

the need for a “global” effort, gaining<br />

unanimous approval from the nearly<br />

200 nations represented at the U.N.<br />

COP28 talks remains a significant<br />

political challenge.<br />

Adnoc: Engine of UAE’s Economic Growth and<br />

Diversification<br />

Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, the<br />

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi,<br />

has emphasised the critical role<br />

of Adnoc in driving economic<br />

growth and diversification within the<br />

UAE. Adnoc’s transformative journey<br />

as a responsible global energy pioneer<br />

is pivotal in enhancing the country’s<br />

leadership in the energy sector. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s contributions to advancing<br />

the energy transition through net-zero<br />

ambitions, technological investments,<br />

and strategic partnerships were highlighted.<br />

Sheikh Khaled also underscored<br />

Adnoc’s strategy to invest in clean energy,<br />

explore alternative energy sources,<br />

and support sustainable development<br />

while working towards the UAE’s Net<br />

Zero 2050 goals. This commitment positions<br />

Adnoc as a significant driver of<br />

progress in the region’s energy sector.<br />

46 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Ministry Briefed on Lootah Biofuels’ Sustainable Energy Development<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE Ministry of Energy<br />

and Infrastructure, led by H.E.<br />

Eng. Saif Ghobash, Assistant<br />

Undersecretary for the Oil,<br />

Gas and Mineral Resources Sector,<br />

received a briefing on the sustainable<br />

energy solutions provided by Lootah<br />

Biofuels, a company specialising in<br />

the circular economy that produces<br />

biofuels from used cooking oil (UCO).<br />

This presentation highlighted the<br />

alignment of Lootah Biofuels’ efforts<br />

in innovating clean energy solutions<br />

with the UAE’s transition to renewable<br />

energy and its strategic initiative to<br />

achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.<br />

<strong>The</strong> visit aimed to foster partnerships<br />

between the public and private sectors,<br />

support the UAE’s global economic hub<br />

position and work towards achieving<br />

the Sustainable Development Goals<br />

and Net-Zero 2050 targets.<br />

DMCC launches Future of Trade Report on Energy<br />

DMCC, the flagship free zone<br />

and Government of Dubai<br />

Authority for commodities<br />

trade and enterprise, has<br />

released a special edition of its Future<br />

of Trade thought leadership report series<br />

focusing on the energy sector and<br />

energy transition. Titled “<strong>The</strong> Future<br />

of Trade: Energy Markets, Trade, and<br />

Transition,” the report gathers insights<br />

and analysis from leading industry<br />

experts, examining the major factors<br />

influencing the global energy sector.<br />

It highlights the Middle East and the<br />

UAE’s growing role in the global energy<br />

market, underlining robust upstream<br />

capabilities, capacity expansions,<br />

increased investment in LNG, and a<br />

strong appeal to foreign investment.<br />

<strong>The</strong> report also emphasises the region’s<br />

investment in renewables and clean<br />

hydrogen production, with the UAE<br />

leading the way in installed capacity<br />

for renewable and low-carbon energy<br />

sources.<br />

ENOC Partners with Indonesia’s PT Pertamina<br />

Patra Niaga<br />

ENOC Group, a prominent<br />

integrated energy company<br />

in the UAE, has entered into<br />

a three-year technical service<br />

agreement with PT Pertamina Patra<br />

Niaga. As part of this partnership,<br />

ENOC will provide aviation technical<br />

services to PT Pertamina Patra Niaga.<br />

<strong>The</strong> services include the inspection<br />

of four Indonesian airport facilities,<br />

staff training, the provision of ENOC<br />

manuals for quality control and aviation<br />

operations, and technical guidance<br />

and recommendations for enhancing<br />

standards and best practices. Pertamina<br />

Patra Niaga operates in 70 airports<br />

across Indonesia, while ENOC Group<br />

has a strong global presence in over<br />

300 airports across 25 countries. This<br />

collaboration aims to ensure internationally<br />

benchmarked quality services<br />

and jet fuel for Pertamina Patra Niaga’s<br />

customers, reflecting a shared vision<br />

to advance the aviation industry in<br />

Indonesia and worldwide.<br />

Masdar Expands Caspian<br />

Renewable Deals with<br />

Azerbaijani Pact<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s leading clean-power<br />

producer, Masdar, is expanding<br />

its renewable energy efforts<br />

in the Caspian and Central<br />

Asian regions, with plans to generate<br />

up to 10 gigawatts of electricity from<br />

sources such as solar and wind plants<br />

in Azerbaijan. Masdar has signed agreements<br />

to construct 1 gigawatt of power<br />

capacity across two solar plants and<br />

one onshore wind project, marking the<br />

initial steps in implementing a broader<br />

plan outlined in June 2022 for green<br />

energy development in the country.<br />

Additionally, Masdar inaugurated the<br />

230-megawatt Garadagh Solar Park in<br />

Azerbaijan, set to generate over 500<br />

million kilowatt-hours of electricity<br />

annually, providing power for more<br />

than 110,000 homes.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 47

Wheels<br />

Exeed E03<br />

Exeed E03, the latest addition<br />

to the electric sedan market,<br />

seamlessly integrates into the<br />

user’s lifestyle, offering a blend of<br />

comfort, convenience, and style while<br />

fostering a connection with nature.<br />

Exeed E03 adopts advanced<br />

Electric Intelligent Connectivity (EIC)<br />

technology. This technology enables<br />

an impressive endurance mileage of<br />

over 700 km and supports 800V highvoltage<br />

fast charging, due to the E0X<br />

high-performance electric platform.<br />

Additionally, the E03 boasts a rapid<br />

acceleration from 0 to 100 km in under<br />

3 seconds, delivering an exhilarating<br />

driving experience.<br />

Exeed E03 signifies a notable shift<br />

for the brand, marking its first foray<br />

into the sedan category and its debut<br />

in the full-electric car market. While<br />

‘E03’ is a code name, the brand plans<br />

to unveil the official name later.<br />

Inspired by the power of nature,<br />

particularly the wind, the design<br />

concept of the E03 revolves around<br />

the theme “Designed by the Wind.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> aerodynamic sedan-coupe design<br />

with frameless doors and sizable<br />

20-inch wheels enhances its visual<br />

appeal. Its interior boasts modern<br />

features, including a Head-Up Display<br />

(HUD), a letterbox instrument panel,<br />

and a spacious central screen for<br />

infotainment. <strong>The</strong> lidar pod on the roof<br />

contributes to the vehicle’s advanced<br />

driving assistance systems, sourced<br />

from technology giant Huawei, ensuring<br />

Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities.<br />

E03 employs an 800V charging<br />

architecture, enabling a 10% to 80%<br />

charge in just 10 minutes. <strong>The</strong> battery<br />

pack, sourced from CATL, China’s<br />

largest battery maker, provides an<br />

impressive CLTC range of about 700<br />

kilometres. Exeed offers both singlemotor<br />

rear-wheel-drive and dual-motor<br />

four-wheel-drive versions, delivering<br />

a maximum power of approximately<br />

450 hp.<br />

<strong>The</strong> inclusion of Advanced Driver<br />

Assistance System (ADAS) sensors<br />

on the boot lid emphasises Exeed’s<br />

commitment to safety and innovation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> production version of Exeed E03<br />

electric sedan is set to be unveiled<br />

in Q3, with a market launch in China<br />

scheduled for Q4.<br />

48 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Specifications<br />

Torque: 400 Nm<br />

Horsepower: 450 hp<br />

Acceleration: 60 in 3.8 seconds<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 49

Healthcare<br />

Advancements, Achievements, and the<br />

Evolution of Healthcare in the UAE<br />

<strong>The</strong> healthcare landscape in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has undergone<br />

a remarkable evolution since the country’s independence in<br />

1971. <strong>The</strong> healthcare infrastructure has been meticulously developed,<br />

aligning with global standards and addressing health concerns akin to<br />

those prevalent in developed nations. <strong>The</strong> country’s commitment to<br />

providing top-notch medical services, coupled with substantial investments<br />

in cutting-edge technology and infrastructure, has propelled it<br />

to the forefront of the global healthcare industry.<br />

50 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> UAE has strategically invested<br />

in developing state-of-the-art<br />

healthcare infrastructure and<br />

establishing world-class hospitals, clinics,<br />

and research centres. <strong>The</strong> United<br />

Arab Emirates boasts a comprehensive<br />

healthcare system funded by the government,<br />

complemented by a rapidly<br />

advancing private health sector, ensuring<br />

high-quality healthcare for its residents.<br />

Public healthcare services are overseen<br />

by various federal and emirate-level<br />

regulatory bodies, including the Ministry<br />

of Health and Prevention, Health<br />

Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD), Dubai<br />

Health Authority (DHA), and Emirates<br />

Health Authority (EHA).<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s achievement in successfully<br />

eliminating previously widespread<br />

infectious diseases like malaria, measles,<br />

and poliomyelitis highlights the<br />

effectiveness of its healthcare strategies<br />

and interventions. Notably, the standards<br />

of prenatal and postnatal care<br />

mirror those of the most developed<br />

nations globally.<br />

<strong>The</strong> country has achieved impressive<br />

reductions in neonatal mortality rates<br />

to 5.54 per 1000 births and infant mortality<br />

to 6.4 per 1000 births. Maternal<br />

mortality rates have also significantly<br />

declined to 3 per 100,000 live births.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se statistics underscore the UAE’s<br />

commitment to ensuring the well-being<br />

of its population.<br />

UAE legislation mandates sponsors<br />

to provide health insurance for expatriate<br />

workers, ensuring access to<br />

essential healthcare services. Moreover,<br />

a charitable fund extends support to<br />

underinsured expatriates facing severe<br />

medical conditions like cancer,<br />

dialysis, polytrauma, and disability,<br />

offering financial assistance and ensuring<br />

access to critical treatments.<br />

This inclusive approach demonstrates<br />

the country’s dedication to providing<br />

comprehensive healthcare coverage<br />

for all residents, irrespective of their<br />

status or background.<br />

Institutions like the Cleveland Clinic<br />

Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa Medical<br />

City, and Dubai Healthcare City have<br />

set new standards for medical excellence,<br />

offering advanced treatments<br />

and attracting patients from around<br />

the world seeking specialised care.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE boasts one of the world’s<br />

highest healthcare expenditures, averaging<br />

around US$1,200 per person annually.<br />

<strong>The</strong> sector generates over US$4.63<br />

billion in yearly revenue, supported by<br />

75 insurance companies offering more<br />

than 12,000 policies. This substantial<br />

investment and wide insurance coverage<br />

reflect the nation’s dedication to<br />

providing comprehensive healthcare<br />

services to its residents and expatriates,<br />

emphasising the importance of health<br />

and well-being within the country.<br />

Technology has been at the core<br />

of healthcare transformation in the<br />

UAE. <strong>The</strong> country has embraced digital<br />

health solutions, leveraging artificial<br />

intelligence (AI), telemedicine, and big<br />

data analytics to enhance patient care,<br />

diagnosis, and treatment outcomes.<br />

AI-powered diagnostic tools aid in early<br />

disease detection, while telemedicine<br />

platforms enable remote consultations,<br />

ensuring accessibility to healthcare<br />

services, even in remote areas.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has rapidly emerged as a<br />

leading destination for medical tourism,<br />

attracting patients seeking high-quality<br />

medical treatments combined with<br />

world-class hospitality. <strong>The</strong> country’s<br />

seamless blend of luxurious amenities<br />

with advanced healthcare services has<br />

positioned it as a preferred choice for<br />

international patients seeking specialised<br />

treatments across various medical<br />

specialities. In 2020, the UAE reported a<br />

30% increase in medical tourists seeking<br />

cosmetic procedures, underscoring its<br />

allure for aesthetic treatments. Similarly,<br />

the country witnessed a 25% rise in<br />

patients seeking orthopaedic surgeries<br />

due to its world-class facilities and<br />

expertise in this area.<br />

<strong>The</strong> commitment to healthcare extends<br />

to robust investments in research and<br />

development (R&D) initiatives. <strong>The</strong> UAE<br />

encourages collaborations between<br />

academia, research institutions, and<br />

the private sector to drive medical<br />

breakthroughs. This emphasis on R&D<br />

has led to groundbreaking discoveries,<br />

clinical trials, and the development of<br />

innovative medical technologies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has demonstrated agility and<br />

resilience in responding to global health<br />

challenges. During the COVID-19 pandemic,<br />

the country swiftly implemented<br />

comprehensive measures to contain the<br />

spread of the virus, ramped up testing<br />

capabilities, and launched one of the<br />

world’s most extensive vaccination<br />

campaigns, ensuring the health and<br />

safety of its residents and visitors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s Emirate Health Services<br />

(EHS) has championed sustainability<br />

in healthcare innovation. <strong>The</strong>ir strategy<br />

focuses on fostering local skills,<br />

promoting innovative startups, and<br />

introducing groundbreaking projects<br />

like Care AI and Digital Twin initiatives.<br />

Care AI leverages AI for patient monitoring,<br />

safety protocol compliance, and<br />

improved care, while the Digital Twin<br />

project, in partnership with Schneider<br />

Electric and Microsoft, aims to slash<br />

energy consumption and carbon footprint<br />

by up to 30%, emphasising renewable<br />

energy optimization. Amidst COVID-19,<br />

tech applications were repurposed for<br />

ongoing care, reducing unnecessary<br />

travel and utilising AI for predictive<br />

analysis, optimising resource allocation.<br />

EHS’s forward-thinking approach exemplifies<br />

a commitment to sustainable<br />

healthcare practices, blending innovation<br />

with efficiency and environmental<br />

responsibility.<br />

Initiatives focusing on eco-friendly<br />

practices within medical facilities,<br />

energy-efficient infrastructure, and<br />

promoting healthier lifestyles among<br />

its population underscore the country’s<br />

commitment to holistic well-being and<br />

environmental stewardship.<br />

Looking ahead, the UAE’s healthcare<br />

sector shows no signs of slowing down<br />

its growth trajectory. With ambitious<br />

initiatives in genomics, personalised<br />

medicine, and continued investment in<br />

healthcare innovation, the country aims<br />

to solidify its position as a global leader<br />

in providing exceptional healthcare<br />

services. <strong>The</strong>se advancements position<br />

the UAE on a path to achieving its goal<br />

of becoming a leading force in global<br />

healthcare excellence and innovation,<br />

as envisioned in UAE Vision 2071.<br />

<strong>The</strong> evolution of healthcare in the<br />

UAE is a testament to the nation’s<br />

dedication to fostering a healthier<br />

society, embracing innovation, and<br />

continuously raising the bar for medical<br />

excellence. As the country navigates<br />

the ever-evolving landscape of<br />

healthcare, its achievements serve as<br />

an inspiration for nations worldwide,<br />

setting a benchmark for the future of<br />

healthcare delivery.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 51

Merger & Acquisitions<br />

Strategic Business Unions: Understanding<br />

the M&A Process in the UAE<br />

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are strategic business unions that have played<br />

a vital role in shaping the global commercial landscape for centuries. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

transactions, which join legally independent commercial organisations, are<br />

driven by the desire to generate synergy, expand market presence, and boost<br />

earnings. <strong>The</strong> M&A process has been a cornerstone of business growth since the<br />

early days of global commerce, offering economic and business benefits to all<br />

parties involved. In this article we will delve into the M&A process in the United<br />

Arab Emirates (UAE), focusing on the key factors, legal frameworks, and types<br />

of transactions that characterise this dynamic business environment.<br />

52 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

M&A activities are integral to<br />

the growth and development<br />

of companies, enabling them to<br />

Understanding the M&A Process:<br />

Consolidate resources, increase market<br />

share, and achieve economies of scale.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE, with its burgeoning business<br />

landscape, is a particularly attractive<br />

market for companies seeking strategic<br />

partnerships. M&A activities in Abu<br />

Dhabi, one of the key economic hubs<br />

in the UAE, have proven beneficial for<br />

domestic and international businesses.<br />

Crucial Points in the M&A Process:<br />

Currency and Division of Powers:<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s official currency is the<br />

dirham, pegged to the US dollar for stability.<br />

This pegging is a strategic move<br />

due to the country’s reliance on the oil<br />

industry. <strong>The</strong> division of powers in the<br />

UAE, as a federation of seven independent<br />

emirates, involves a gradual expansion<br />

of federal government powers. This includes<br />

distinct roles for the executive,<br />

legislative, and judicial branches at both<br />

federal and emirate levels.<br />

Licensing Requirements:<br />

Registering a company in Dubai involves<br />

navigating a myriad of licenses to<br />

ensure legitimacy and compliance with<br />

local laws. <strong>The</strong> Department of Economic<br />

Development (DED) issues licences,<br />

and the specific type of license required<br />

depends on the nature of the business,<br />

corporate structure, and jurisdiction.<br />

Doing Business in the UAE:<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE offers options for foreign<br />

investors to establish a presence either<br />

“onshore” or in numerous free zones across<br />

the country. Free zone regulations apply<br />

to businesses incorporated there, while<br />

companies with “strategic impact” set up<br />

outside free zones must have UAE or Gulf<br />

Cooperation Council (GCC) ownership.<br />

Foreign companies, however, can own<br />

businesses in free zones.<br />

Legal Framework Governing M&A:<br />

Understanding the legal landscape is<br />

paramount for successful M&A transactions<br />

in the UAE. Several key laws regulate<br />

these activities, ensuring transparency,<br />

fairness, and adherence to established<br />

norms. Some of the pivotal laws include:<br />

Federal Commercial Companies<br />

Law, 1984:<br />

This law, encompassing Article 276 to<br />

Article 280, deals with the “Amalgamation<br />

of companies” chapter. It outlines how<br />

companies can merge, either by putting<br />

an end to two or more businesses and<br />

transferring their debts to an existing<br />

business (merger) or by consolidating<br />

two or more concerns and incorporating<br />

a new concern to transfer liabilities of<br />

dissolved concerns (consolidation).<br />

Competition Law, 2012:<br />

Before the Competition Law of 2012,<br />

the Federal Commercial Company Act<br />

oversaw M&A activities. <strong>The</strong> Competition<br />

Law focuses on market behaviour, addressing<br />

abuse of dominance, controlling<br />

mergers, and regulating agreements. A<br />

critical aspect is the “Mandatory Merger<br />

Control Filing Requirement,” allowing<br />

authorities to scrutinise transactions,<br />

potentially causing delays.<br />

UAE Labour Law, 1980:<br />

Considering the impact of M&A on<br />

employees, the UAE Labour Law is instrumental<br />

in safeguarding their rights.<br />

It ensures that employees who have<br />

worked for a company for a year or more<br />

are entitled to an end-of-service gratuity,<br />

providing stability during transitions.<br />

Consumer Protection Law, 2006:<br />

<strong>The</strong> Consumer Protection Law addresses<br />

issues of price fluctuations and<br />

illegal monopolies. It provides clarity on<br />

permissible business actions and prevents<br />

businesses from causing unjustified<br />

increases in prices.<br />

Foreign Ownership Restrictions:<br />

Foreign ownership restrictions in the<br />

UAE underwent significant changes in<br />

2019. Before the foreign direct investment<br />

(FDI) reform, only UAE citizens<br />

and GCC nationals could own more than<br />

49% market share of onshore UAE companies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> FDI reform liberalised these<br />

restrictions, allowing increased foreign<br />

shareholding in various activities listed<br />

in the UAE Cabinet Resolution 16/2020<br />

“positive list.” However, certain sectors,<br />

including oil exploration, banking, insurance,<br />

and telecommunications, still<br />

impose limitations.<br />

Types of M&A Transactions in the UAE:<br />

Various types of M&A transactions<br />

take place in Dubai, catering to different<br />

strategic objectives:<br />

Vertical Merger:<br />

It occurs when two or more firms operating<br />

at varying levels in an industry’s<br />

supply chain merge to carry out business<br />

operations.<br />

Horizontal Merger:<br />

It involves competing firms within<br />

the same space merging to deliver the<br />

same product or services, resulting in<br />

increased market share.<br />

Conglomerate Merger:<br />

Different firms engaging in completely<br />

unrelated business activities merge, often<br />

to achieve market or product extensions<br />

for diversification.<br />

Product Extension Merger:<br />

It takes place when firms dealing with<br />

related products merge to access a broader<br />

customer base and increase profits.<br />

Market Extension Merger:<br />

It involves firms dealing in the same<br />

product(s) but in different markets,<br />

allowing access to larger markets.<br />

Benefits and Risks of M&A in the UAE:<br />

M&A transactions offer several benefits,<br />

including:<br />

Competitive Edge:<br />

Merged or acquired firms operate at<br />

an advantage, with greater economic<br />

power, leading to higher market share,<br />

more influence over customers, and<br />

reduced competitive threats.<br />

Access to Resources:<br />

Through M&A, firms can improve access<br />

to materials, suppliers, and resources.<br />

Acquiring or merging with suppliers can<br />

enhance production cycles and guarantee<br />

resource access.<br />

Risk Diversification:<br />

M&A allows firms to spread their<br />

risk across different revenue streams<br />

by diversifying the products or services<br />

offered. This ensures the firm’s long-term<br />

sustainability.<br />

However, M&A transactions also come<br />

with inherent risks, including cultural integration<br />

challenges, financial strain, and<br />

potential resistance from stakeholders.<br />

<strong>The</strong> M&A process in the UAE is a<br />

multi-faceted journey that requires a<br />

comprehensive understanding of legal<br />

frameworks, economic dynamics, and<br />

strategic considerations. As companies<br />

continue to seek growth and expansion<br />

in the dynamic business environment of<br />

the UAE, M&A will remain a strategic tool<br />

for achieving these objectives.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 53

Merger and Acquisition News<br />

EDGE Group Secures Control of ANAVIA, Leader in Autonomous Air Systems<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s EDGE Group, a<br />

prominent technology and<br />

defence entity, has acquired a<br />

52% majority stake in ANAVIA,<br />

a Swiss firm specialising in versatile<br />

vertical take-off and landing (VTOL)<br />

systems. With a payload capacity of up<br />

to 750 kilograms, these systems cover<br />

applications like surveillance, reconnaissance,<br />

inspection, mapping, and<br />

cargo transport. This strategic move<br />

positions EDGE as a market leader in<br />

the autonomous aerial vehicle domain.<br />

ANAVIA’s unmanned helicopters complement<br />

EDGE’s multi-domain capabilities,<br />

fostering innovation across the group.<br />

Mansour AlMulla, CEO of EDGE Group,<br />

emphasises the acquisition’s significance<br />

in advancing autonomous systems and<br />

expanding the global export footprint.<br />

GSM Acquires Crown<br />

Private School in<br />

Ajman<br />

Global School Management<br />

(GSM), which oversees 165<br />

schools globally with 45,000<br />

students, has acquired a<br />

majority stake in Crown Private School<br />

of Ajman. This marks GSM’s inaugural<br />

school acquisition in the UAE, aligning<br />

with its expansion strategy in the GCC<br />

region. Crown Private School, founded<br />

by Avalon Global Education, is a wellregarded<br />

institution in Ajman with over<br />

a thousand students aged 3 to 18. Known<br />

for its British-style education based on<br />

the National Curriculum for England, the<br />

school emphasises innovation, featuring<br />

facilities like robotics and an innovation<br />

laboratory. <strong>The</strong> founder, Vinod Sharma,<br />

and his team will continue managing and<br />

overseeing operations.<br />

SAMA Governor Praises Smooth Merger<br />

Execution by Insurance Companies<br />

Governor of the Saudi Central<br />

Bank (SAMA), Ayman Al-Sayari,<br />

bestowed recognition<br />

upon Prince Naif Al-Kabeer<br />

and Chairmen of the Boards of Arabian<br />

Shield Insurance and Alinman Abdulmohsen<br />

Al Fares, along with Tokio Marine<br />

and CEOs Bassel Al-Abdulkareem<br />

and Kentaro Kita, in acknowledgement<br />

of the successful merger between the<br />

two companies. This marks the sixth<br />

merger in the Saudi insurance sector.<br />

Abdullah Alhomaid, General Manager<br />

of Insurance Control Supervision, was<br />

also commended by the board chairmen<br />

for his outstanding contributions<br />

to ensuring a smooth merger process.<br />

Al-Sayari highlighted that such mergers<br />

result from SAMA’s effective regulation<br />

and supervision of the insurance sector,<br />

playing a crucial role in its development<br />

and bolstering financial solvency. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

mergers, aligned with Saudi Vision 2030<br />

and the Financial Sector Development<br />

Program (FSDP), are key in promoting<br />

financial sustainability and supporting<br />

private sector growth.<br />

Omorfia Group Acquires <strong>The</strong> Juice Spa and<br />

Salon<br />

In a strategic move to bolster its position<br />

in the beauty industry, Omorfia<br />

Group, the beauty anchor of Abu<br />

Dhabi-based investment holding<br />

company Multiply Group, has announced<br />

the acquisition of 100% of <strong>The</strong> Juice Spa<br />

and Salon. This acquisition is a testament<br />

to Omorfia Group’s strategic vision of<br />

growth through bolt-on investments,<br />

further solidifying its foothold in the<br />

UAE’s beauty sector.Founded in 2005,<br />

<strong>The</strong> Juice Spa and Salon have carved a<br />

niche for itself by offering luxury beauty<br />

experiences for the mid-market segment.<br />

With a presence of 10 locations across the<br />

UAE and a dedicated team of 172 employees,<br />

the brand is projected to generate a<br />

revenue of AED 29M post-acquisition.<strong>The</strong><br />

acquisition is a pivotal step for Omorfia<br />

Group in its mission to consolidate its<br />

local market share and broaden its geographical<br />

footprint.<br />

54 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

UAE’s EIGHTClouds PE Acquires Stitches, Legacy Uniform Manufacturer<br />

EIGHTClouds Private Equity,<br />

a prominent UAE firm, has<br />

acquired Stitches, a legacy<br />

uniform manufacturing<br />

company, in a deal exceeding AED 30M.<br />

Established in Dubai in 1995, Stitches<br />

has evolved into a leader in the uniform<br />

market, serving various sectors like<br />

education, corporate, hospitality, and<br />

healthcare. With facilities in Al Quoz<br />

and Sharjah, the acquisition aligns with<br />

EIGHTClouds’ strategy to diversify<br />

its regional brand portfolio. <strong>The</strong> firm<br />

aims to triple Stitches’ market share<br />

over the next five years, supporting its<br />

expansion across the UAE, GCC, and<br />

beyond. EIGHTClouds PE’s portfolio<br />

includes brands like Chaps & Co,<br />

MORE, and Eazio.<br />

GFH to Acquire Leading<br />

Food Services and Logistics<br />

Firm in Saudi Arabia<br />

GFH Financial Group has inked<br />

a deal to acquire a prominent<br />

food services and logistics<br />

business in Saudi Arabia,<br />

boasting an enterprise value of approximately<br />

SAR 500M. <strong>The</strong> announcement<br />

was made during the 7th edition of the<br />

Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.<br />

<strong>The</strong> targeted company exhibits robust<br />

financial performance across various<br />

business cycles, featuring cutting-edge<br />

integrated warehousing and supply<br />

chain operations, a diverse premium<br />

product portfolio, and a clientele of<br />

over 1000 blue-chip customers, including<br />

renowned HORECA players<br />

and retail brands in the Kingdom. With<br />

strong ties to around 200 international<br />

aggregators and producers, this acquisition<br />

aligns with GFH’s strategy of<br />

investing in sectors in harmony with<br />

Saudi Vision 2030.<br />

Alpha Dhabi Boosts Oil Services with NTS<br />

Amega Global Stake<br />

Alpha Dhabi Holding, one of<br />

the UAE’s rapidly growing<br />

investment holding firms, has<br />

officially acquired a majority<br />

stake of 51% in NTS Amega Global. This<br />

strategic move reinforces Alpha Dhabi’s<br />

commitment to expanding its energy<br />

portfolio, with a specific focus on the<br />

oil field services sector. Through this<br />

acquisition, NTS Group, known for its<br />

state-of-the-art manufacturing, repair,<br />

and rental solutions in the Oil and gas<br />

domain, solidifies its global leadership<br />

in producing drilling, subsea, top-side,<br />

and process components. This includes<br />

repairing Measuring and Logging While<br />

Drilling (MWD/LWD) tools and renting<br />

specialised Bottom Hole Assembly<br />

(BHA) drilling equipment. NTS Group’s<br />

operations now span nine crucial Oil<br />

and gas locations, including its UAE<br />

headquarters, Saudi Arabia, Houston-Texas,<br />

Canada, Guyana, Norway,<br />

Singapore, Midland, and Lafayette.<br />

Saudi Tamer Nears Acquisition of 30% Stake in<br />

Egypt’s UCP<br />

Saudi Tamer Healthcare is on the<br />

verge of acquiring a substantial<br />

30% stake in the United Company<br />

of Pharmacists (UCP) in<br />

Egypt, involving an investment of up<br />

to $35M. Sources reveal that AmerisourceBergen,<br />

the US-based entity<br />

holding a 50% stake in UCP, has agreed<br />

to sell the specified portion to Saudi<br />

Tamer. <strong>The</strong> deal, facilitated by J.P.<br />

Morgan as the financial advisor for<br />

AmerisourceBergen, is anticipated<br />

to be concluded before the year-end,<br />

marking a significant move in the<br />

healthcare sector and reflecting the<br />

growing investment dynamics in the<br />

pharmaceutical industry.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 55

Cryptocurrency<br />

From Trends to Business: Probing<br />

Crypto and Blockchain in the UAE<br />

Cryptocurrency stands as one of the most significant revolutions of the 21st<br />

century, reshaping financial landscapes globally. Just a few years ago, the<br />

concept of conducting cross-border transactions through a virtual currency<br />

online seemed almost inconceivable. However, the UAE has embraced this<br />

transformative trend like many other regions. This article delves into the<br />

intricacies of cryptocurrency in the UAE and its burgeoning expansion.<br />

It aims to shed light on key aspects, elucidating the UAE government’s<br />

approach to embracing crypto technology.<br />

56 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Cryptocurrency started globally<br />

in 2009 and found its way into<br />

the UAE market, changing how<br />

finances work there. <strong>The</strong> Emirates<br />

Blockchain Strategy 2021 marked the<br />

formal incorporation of blockchain into<br />

administrative affairs, while the concurrent<br />

Dubai Blockchain Strategy also<br />

reinforced the country’s commitment to<br />

embracing and expanding blockchain<br />

technology within its systems.<br />

This integration underscores the<br />

pervasive influence of digital assets,<br />

reflecting a broader trend of technological<br />

innovation and financial evolution<br />

in the contemporary world. Between<br />

July 2022 and June <strong>2023</strong>, the United<br />

Arab Emirates witnessed a substantial<br />

influx of cryptocurrency transactions,<br />

gathering an impressive total of over<br />

$34.8 billion. This remarkable figure<br />

underscores the interest and significant<br />

activity within the country’s crypto<br />

market.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s embrace of cryptocurrency<br />

parallels its global trajectory,<br />

elevating the nation to a significant<br />

role in the crypto market. Renowned<br />

for architectural marvels and bustling<br />

trade hubs, the country has become a<br />

prominent player. <strong>The</strong> launch of new<br />

coins and the formal acceptance of<br />

cryptocurrency as a payment mode<br />

highlight the escalating influence of<br />

digital assets in the region. As one of<br />

the largest markets globally and in<br />

the Gulf states, the UAE’s appeal has<br />

attracted crypto trading units keen on<br />

establishing a foothold in this vibrant<br />

and evolving landscape.<br />

Cryptocurrency in the UAE has<br />

evolved from a passing trend to a<br />

growing business sphere, notably due to<br />

the establishment of clear regulations.<br />

<strong>The</strong> country’s approach involves two<br />

main regulatory bodies: the Securities<br />

and Commodities Authority (SCA)<br />

which oversees the entire UAE crypto<br />

market and the Dubai Virtual Asset<br />

Regulatory Authority (VARA) which<br />

focuses on digital assets in Dubai’s<br />

financial free-zone area.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se regulations have reshaped the<br />

landscape, requiring crypto-related<br />

businesses like exchanges to obtain<br />

licences from either the SCA or Dubai<br />

VARA. This transition signifies a maturing<br />

industry, providing a regulated space<br />

that fosters investor trust and positions<br />

the UAE as an appealing destination for<br />

In embracing cryptocurrency<br />

and blockchain, the UAE edges<br />

closer to global leadership in<br />

adopting these transformative<br />

technologies.<br />

crypto businesses seeking a supportive<br />

environment.<br />

Moreover, <strong>The</strong> introduction of Emirates<br />

Blockchain Strategy 2021 marked<br />

a crucial milestone, officially adopting<br />

blockchain for administrative affairs<br />

within the country. <strong>The</strong> strategy, aimed<br />

at transforming governmental transactions,<br />

seeks to save billions annually<br />

on documents, printing, and labour<br />

hours through blockchain technology.<br />

This ambitious move positions the<br />

UAE as a global giant in blockchain<br />

usage, setting the stage for increased<br />

investor interest and adaptability to<br />

future technological changes.<br />

In the UAE, Bitcoin holds the spotlight<br />

as the leading cryptocurrency,<br />

accompanied by Ethereum, Ripple,<br />

and Litecoin gaining ground as popular<br />

alternative coins. <strong>The</strong> current trends<br />

in crypto trading encompass diverse<br />

methods, including day trading, involving<br />

same-day buying and selling, albeit<br />

carrying higher risks with the potential<br />

for substantial profits through careful<br />

manoeuvres amidst price fluctuations.<br />

Margin trading, where traders borrow<br />

capital from brokers, also prevails<br />

despite the associated risk of potential<br />

losses surpassing the initial investment.<br />

Additionally, traders capitalise on arbitrage<br />

opportunities, exploiting price<br />

variations between different exchanges<br />

to profit from disparities.<br />

Embracing cryptocurrency and<br />

blockchain technology comes with a<br />

set of advantages and challenges for<br />

the UAE. <strong>The</strong> decentralised nature of<br />

cryptocurrency allows for fast and<br />

unlimited transactions, fostering more<br />

opportunities for individual businesses.<br />

<strong>The</strong> low transaction fees and transparent<br />

nature of the system contribute to cost<br />

savings and ensure user anonymity.<br />

Furthermore, the traceability of each<br />

transaction enhances financial activity<br />

monitoring.<br />

However, challenges loom on the<br />

horizon. Users in the UAE engaging<br />

in global transactions with cryptocurrency<br />

may find themselves limited to<br />

nations currently accepting crypto. <strong>The</strong><br />

irreversible nature of transactions and<br />

the complexities of storing crypto pose<br />

potential headaches. <strong>The</strong> high volatility<br />

of the currency, a characteristic of<br />

cryptocurrencies, raises concerns for<br />

large-scale governmental transactions,<br />

as fluctuations in value could lead to<br />

economic troubles.<br />

Despite challenges, the UAE’s proactive<br />

stance positions it as a pioneer<br />

in the crypto and blockchain arena.<br />

Illustrated by the Emirates Blockchain<br />

Strategy, the country not only aligns<br />

with current needs but also readies<br />

itself for future advancements.<br />

This forward-thinking approach<br />

not only solidifies the UAE’s status<br />

as a tech-savvy nation but also underscores<br />

its strategic position as a hub<br />

for innovation, inviting global players<br />

to participate in the transformative<br />

journey of cryptocurrency adoption.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 57

Real Estate<br />

Anticipating Change as Dubai’s 2040 Vision<br />

Reshapes the Economy and Real Estate<br />

As the UAE continues to evolve with its regulatory insights,<br />

transformative initiatives, and strategic planning, Dubai has always<br />

shone as a hub of innovation and forward momentum. Now, as the<br />

city sets its sights on the horizon, the ambitious Dubai 2040 Urban<br />

Master Plan emerges as a testament to its firm dedication to progress.<br />

This visionary blueprint is anticipated to create an economic shift and<br />

herald a fundamental transformation in the city’s real estate landscape.<br />

58 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> city’s commitment to enhancing<br />

natural reserves, parks,<br />

and public transit networks is<br />

anticipated to uphold its standing as<br />

a premier destination for expatriates<br />

globally. This is projected to yield indirect<br />

economic benefits and contribute<br />

to the city’s population growth.<br />

Dubai’s 2040 Master Plan is anchored<br />

in enhancing public transportation,<br />

fostering natural havens, and<br />

creating recreational spaces. Beyond<br />

physical infrastructure, these initiatives<br />

aim to craft an environment that<br />

magnetises residents and businesses.<br />

This strategic focus not only reshapes<br />

Dubai’s trajectory but also positions<br />

it for a transformative journey<br />

in the evolving global landscape. <strong>The</strong><br />

commitment to holistic urban development<br />

underscores Dubai’s dedication<br />

to creating a vibrant, sustainable city<br />

that goes beyond mere structural<br />

changes, fostering a dynamic and<br />

attractive atmosphere for both its<br />

current inhabitants and those considering<br />

the emirate for future residence<br />

or business endeavours.<br />

Nick Maclean, Managing Director<br />

of CBRE MENAT, emphasises key<br />

elements that make this plan significant.<br />

Fostering population growth,<br />

integrated land use, recognizing future<br />

investments, and maintaining appeal<br />

for employers and employees are<br />

at the forefront of priorities. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

priorities extend beyond Dubai; they<br />

form the foundation for thriving real<br />

estate landscapes in national and city<br />

urban plans globally.<br />

Dubai’s government, known for its<br />

forward-thinking nature, has successfully<br />

stimulated real estate growth<br />

and enhanced the overall quality of<br />

life. Recent reforms, such as allowing<br />

100% foreign ownership and introducing<br />

retirement visas, underscore the<br />

commitment to sustained economic<br />

growth and real estate development.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se reforms signal to the world that<br />

Dubai is open for business and ready<br />

to embrace global talent.<br />

This forward-thinking approach<br />

continues to attract and impress the<br />

growing population, currently at 3.5<br />

million and expected to hit 5.8 million<br />

by 2040. This increase of 2.5 million<br />

people over time, around 120,000<br />

yearly, naturally means more demand<br />

for homes and offices, leading to more<br />

Dubai’s<br />

ambitious<br />

2040 master<br />

plan, centred<br />

on real estate,<br />

charts a<br />

visionary<br />

course for<br />

the emirate’s<br />

future.<br />

construction projects.<br />

<strong>The</strong> core of Dubai’s 2040 Master<br />

Plan lies in infrastructure development<br />

and cultivating a skilled workforce.<br />

Dubai’s proactive stance and incorporation<br />

of cutting-edge technologies<br />

establish it as a hub for real estate<br />

investment and business activities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> city’s track record of worldclass<br />

infrastructure forms a robust<br />

foundation, attracting global investors<br />

and businesses seeking a dynamic<br />

and dependable environment. This<br />

strategic emphasis on both physical<br />

and human capital underscores Dubai’s<br />

commitment to fostering a conducive<br />

atmosphere for sustained economic<br />

growth and innovation, further solidifying<br />

its standing as a global business<br />

and real estate destination.<br />

Improving the quality of life is a central<br />

focus of the plan, with enhancements<br />

in healthcare and educational<br />

facilities, and the creation of new<br />

tourist and leisure activities. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

elements are integral to real estate<br />

development, as they contribute to the<br />

attractiveness of the city. Sectors like<br />

tourism, leisure, technology, logistics,<br />

and knowledge-based industries take<br />

centre stage, encouraging growth and<br />

investment in the real estate market.<br />

Sustainability is a core element,<br />

fortifying Dubai’s standing as a regional<br />

financial, tourism, and real<br />

estate powerhouse. <strong>The</strong> designation<br />

of Downtown and Business Bay as<br />

the financial core reflects balanced,<br />

sustainable growth in the real estate<br />

sector, reinforcing Dubai’s role on the<br />

global stage.<br />

Tourism takes centre stage as a pivotal<br />

economic driver in Dubai, not only<br />

creating employment opportunities<br />

but also exerting a profound impact<br />

on the real estate industry. <strong>The</strong> influx<br />

of visitors contributes substantially to<br />

the emirate’s economic growth, with<br />

increased demand for accommodation,<br />

entertainment, and commercial spaces.<br />

Dubai’s allure as a global tourist destination<br />

enhances its real estate market,<br />

creating a ripple effect of development<br />

and investment. This symbiotic relationship<br />

between tourism and real<br />

estate underscores Dubai’s strategic<br />

positioning, leveraging its attractiveness<br />

to visitors as a catalyst for both<br />

economic prosperity and dynamic<br />

growth in the real estate sector.<br />

Dubai’s visionary evolution, dating<br />

back to the 1960 master plan, showcases<br />

remarkable adaptability to contemporary<br />

change. <strong>The</strong> integration of<br />

a “flexible urban planning law” stands<br />

as a testament to the city’s foresight,<br />

enabling rapid responses to evolving<br />

real estate demands. This flexibility<br />

is particularly crucial in the post-pandemic<br />

era, where resilience and adaptability<br />

are paramount. Dubai’s ability<br />

to embrace change in urban planning<br />

reflects a forward-thinking mindset,<br />

ensuring the city remains agile in<br />

navigating challenges, ultimately contributing<br />

to its sustained growth and<br />

prominence in the global real estate<br />

landscape.<br />

Prioritising urban development,<br />

sustainability, and economic diversification,<br />

Dubai aims to emerge as<br />

a global model for quality living,<br />

economic resilience, and real estate<br />

innovation. With confidence and foresight,<br />

the city navigates the changing<br />

global landscape.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 59

Real Estate News<br />

Saadiyat Island Tops Abu Dhabi Real Estate for<br />

Q3 <strong>2023</strong><br />

In the third quarter of <strong>2023</strong>, Saadiyat<br />

Island solidified its status as<br />

the prime destination for both<br />

buyers and tenants in Abu Dhabi,<br />

surpassing all other areas. A report by<br />

ValuStrat, an international consultancy,<br />

reveals that Saadiyat Island experienced<br />

the highest annual capital gains in the<br />

capital, with villa prices increasing by<br />

10.3 percent and apartments by 4.7<br />

percent. Meanwhile, other areas like<br />

Al Reem Island, Al Muneera Island, and<br />

Al Bandar saw annual capital increases<br />

ranging from 3.8 to 4.5 percent. Rental<br />

yields in Abu Dhabi remained robust,<br />

with annual rental values expanding<br />

by 7 percent, favouring villas, which<br />

witnessed a 9.6 percent annual increase.<br />

Apartment rentals, while up 4.7 percent<br />

year-on-year, decreased by 0.3 percent<br />

compared to the previous quarter.<br />

Karma Developers Unveils AED 300M Luxury Project<br />

in Dubai Investment Park<br />

Abu Dhabi Real Estate<br />

Centre Launched to<br />

Drive Property Sales<br />

<strong>The</strong> real estate sector in Abu<br />

Dhabi is set for a significant<br />

boost following the official<br />

launch of the Abu Dhabi<br />

Real Estate Centre (ADREC) by the<br />

Department of Municipalities and<br />

Transport (DMT). ADREC is poised<br />

to play a pivotal role in fostering<br />

growth within the emirate’s real estate<br />

ecosystem. With a strong focus on<br />

regulation, transparency, and support<br />

for residents, investors, real estate<br />

firms, and professionals, the centre will<br />

establish a comprehensive regulatory<br />

framework. It will leverage innovative<br />

tools and data to enhance operational<br />

efficiency across four key areas: strategic<br />

planning, promotion, regulation, and<br />

PE 00 transactionmanagement. This<br />

initiative promises to invigorate the<br />

real estate market in Abu Dhabi.<br />

Karma Developers is set to<br />

introduce its luxurious Olivia<br />

Residences in Dubai Investment<br />

Park (DIP) with prices<br />

starting at AED 680,000 for units. <strong>The</strong><br />

project stands out with an innovative<br />

10/90 payment plan, requiring a 10<br />

percent down payment and subsequent<br />

1 percent payments over 90 months.<br />

This residential community, adjacent to<br />

Green Community in DIP-1, will consist<br />

of 229 one-, two-, and three-bedroom<br />

60 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

apartments featuring premium finishes<br />

and breathtaking views. Completion<br />

is projected for Q2 2026, and Olivia<br />

Residences will offer a plethora of<br />

amenities, including an infinity pool,<br />

spa, yoga studio, Zen garden, and<br />

outdoor cinema. Karma Developers<br />

aims to enhance Dubai’s real estate<br />

landscape with customer-focused<br />

luxury residences through its collaboration<br />

with development management<br />

company Deca Properties.<br />

Aldar’s Abu Dhabi<br />

Profits Soar 48% with<br />

AED19B+ Sales Surge<br />

Aldar Properties, the Abu<br />

Dhabi-based developer, experienced<br />

substantial growth<br />

in sales and profits in the<br />

third quarter of <strong>2023</strong>, driven by a rising<br />

interest from overseas and expatriate<br />

investors in the UAE’s capital. During<br />

Q3, the company achieved sales of<br />

AED 7.8B, a remarkable 99 percent<br />

surge compared to the same period the<br />

previous year, marking the developer’s<br />

highest-ever quarterly sales. In the first<br />

nine months of <strong>2023</strong>, the group’s sales<br />

reached a record AED 19.4B, reflecting<br />

a 109 percent year-on-year increase.<br />

<strong>The</strong> growth is due to 11 major projects<br />

and a 160% year-on-year increase in<br />

sales to international buyers for Abu<br />

Dhabi properties.

Aldar’s $840M Dubai<br />

Offering Sells Out in<br />

Hours<br />

Aldar Properties made a remarkable<br />

entry into Dubai’s<br />

real estate market with the<br />

rapid sell-out of the first<br />

two phases of Haven by Aldar, their<br />

inaugural residential development.<br />

Originally, the company had planned<br />

to launch 468 units in the first phase,<br />

but due to the tremendous demand on<br />

the launch day, they released a second<br />

phase with an additional 318 units.<br />

In total, 786 villas and townhouses<br />

were sold, generating over AED 3.1B<br />

($840M) in sales. This success highlighted<br />

Dubai’s global appeal as a hub<br />

for property investment and long-term<br />

residency, with international buyers and<br />

expatriate residents accounting for 77<br />

percent of sales, while UAE nationals<br />

made up the remaining 23 percent.<br />

Notably, 24 percent of buyers were<br />

female, showcasing the diverse interest<br />

in this debut residential community.<br />

Danube Properties Commits $6.8M to etereSupport<br />

MBRGI’s Charitable Initiatives<br />

Danube Properties has demonstrated<br />

its commitment to<br />

humanitarian causes by<br />

pledging support to the Mohammed<br />

bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global<br />

Initiatives (MBRGI). Over the next five<br />

years, Danube Properties will allocate<br />

AED 25M worth of real estate units<br />

to support MBRGI’s charitable and<br />

humanitarian programs. MBRGI is a<br />

renowned foundation that focuses<br />

on strengthening vital sectors and<br />

addressing various challenges in the<br />

UAE and the broader region. Rizwan<br />

Sajan, Founder and Chairman of Danube<br />

Group, expressed the company’s<br />

honour in supporting MBRGI’s projects<br />

and programs, emphasising their<br />

dedication to social responsibility and<br />

philanthropic efforts in the UAE.<br />

60% of Dubai’s property buyers keen to own<br />

apartments<br />

Dubai’s real estate market experienced<br />

a significant surge<br />

in property transactions,<br />

reaching nearly AED 30B<br />

($8.16B) in just one month, driven by<br />

strong demand for residential units,<br />

particularly apartments. According to<br />

Property Finder, approximately 60% of<br />

property buyers in the last month were<br />

interested in owning apartments, while<br />

40% preferred villas or townhouses.<br />

In the rental market, 82% of tenants<br />

were searching for apartments, with<br />

67.5% of them favouring furnished<br />

properties. Dubai recorded 7,128 real<br />

estate transactions worth AED 29.7B<br />

in October, marking a 17.46% increase<br />

in value compared to the same month<br />

the previous year. <strong>The</strong> most preferred<br />

locations for apartment buyers included<br />

Dubai Marina, Downtown, Jumeirah<br />

Village Circle, Business Bay, and Palm<br />

Jumeirah, while those looking to own<br />

villas or townhouses favoured Dubai<br />

Hills Estate, Arabian Ranches, Palm<br />

Jumeirah, Al Furjan, and Mohammed<br />

Bin Rashid City.<br />

RAK Properties’ Profits More Than Double on New Launches and Record Sales<br />

Ras Al Khaimah’s leading publicly<br />

listed property developer,<br />

RAK Properties PJSC (ADX:<br />

RAKPROP), has reported<br />

impressive financial results for the<br />

third quarter of <strong>2023</strong> (Q3 ‘23). <strong>The</strong><br />

company exceeded its profit and revenue<br />

targets for the quarter, with net<br />

profits increasing by 282 percent and<br />

revenue by 137 percent, compared to<br />

the same period last year. This success<br />

can be attributed to the launch of new<br />

projects and strong demand for the<br />

company’s portfolio of newly released<br />

residential mixed-use projects. RAK<br />

Properties has also partnered with<br />

Nikki Beach Global to open its first<br />

exclusive branded hotel resort, the<br />

5-star Intercontinental Ras Al Khaimah<br />

Mina Al Arab Resort and Spa, which<br />

outperformed occupancy and financial<br />

projections in Q3.<br />

Additionally, the construction of their<br />

second 5-star luxury hotel, the Anantara<br />

Mina Al Arab Hotel and Resort, is on<br />

track for completion in November.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 61

Funding and Investment<br />

Legislative Measures Shaping Venture<br />

Capital in the UAE’s Investment Realm<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been strategically crafting a<br />

legislative framework to propel its position as a hub for innovation and<br />

venture capital (VC) investment. <strong>The</strong>se legislative measures, tailored<br />

to encourage entrepreneurial endeavours and attract global investors,<br />

have played a pivotal role in shaping the vibrant VC ecosystem in the<br />

region.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s venture capital market<br />

has witnessed an exponential<br />

surge, setting unprecedented<br />

records. With an astonishing AED 4.3<br />

billion worth of venture capital injected<br />

into startups, marking a remarkable<br />

93% growth from the previous year,<br />

the country has solidified its position<br />

as the region’s foremost destination<br />

for quality investments. This surge in<br />

investments, distributed among 155<br />

startups, reflects a thriving ecosystem,<br />

with the UAE securing a dominant 46%<br />

of the total venture capital received in<br />

the Middle East and Africa.<br />

Notably, the average size of a single<br />

financial deal reached AED 28 billion,<br />

demonstrating a 72% growth and affirming<br />

the country’s allure for pioneering<br />

projects and unicorn companies. Additionally,<br />

the top five sectors attracting<br />

capital—ranging from food and beverages<br />

to enterprise software—underscore<br />

the diverse and dynamic landscape<br />

fostering innovation and growth in the<br />

UAE’s entrepreneurial realm.<br />

One of the fundamental shifts in recent<br />

years has been the UAE’s reform of its<br />

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) laws in<br />

2018. It marked a significant shift in the<br />

UAE’s approach to foreign ownership<br />

restrictions, contributing to a notable<br />

uptick in foreign investments. This law<br />

62 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s progressive legislative measures<br />

have significantly transformed the investment<br />

landscape, positioning the country as a magnet<br />

for venture capital and innovation.<br />

grants the UAE Cabinet the authority to<br />

allow foreign shareholders to hold up<br />

to 100% ownership in specific sectors,<br />

a move that has attracted increased<br />

interest from international investors.<br />

Through the establishment of the<br />

Foreign Direct Investment Committee,<br />

responsible for outlining a “positive<br />

list” of sectors eligible for expanded<br />

foreign investment, the law prioritises<br />

alignment with the UAE’s strategic plans<br />

while emphasising economic growth,<br />

innovation, local job creation, and environmental<br />

considerations. Additionally,<br />

the FDI Law introduces criteria like<br />

minimum capital requirements and<br />

Emiratisation quotas, aiming to balance<br />

liberalisation with safeguarding<br />

national interests. By providing clearer<br />

guidelines and opportunities for higher<br />

foreign ownership, the FDI Law has<br />

fostered a more inviting environment<br />

for international investors, encouraging<br />

greater foreign investment inflows into<br />

the UAE’s economy.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se reforms, notably allowing<br />

increased foreign ownership in various<br />

sectors, have drawn a surge of interest<br />

from international investors seeking to<br />

capitalise on the country’s burgeoning<br />

opportunities. For instance, in 2020,<br />

the UAE amended its Commercial<br />

Companies Law to permit foreign<br />

investors to hold 100% ownership in<br />

specific sectors, previously restricted<br />

to Emirati nationals or local companies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> establishment of specialised<br />

zones like the Dubai International<br />

Financial Centre (DIFC) and Abu<br />

Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has<br />

played a pivotal role in fostering an<br />

environment conducive to startups and<br />

venture capital (VC) activities within<br />

the UAE. <strong>The</strong>se zones have introduced<br />

tailor-made regulatory frameworks<br />

that offer agility and favorability for<br />

investors. For instance, ADGM has implemented<br />

a strong regulatory regime<br />

specifically designed for VC managers.<br />

This framework ensures clarity and<br />

efficiency in fund registration and<br />

operations, streamlining processes<br />

and enhancing investor confidence.<br />

Such specialised zones serve as<br />

hubs of innovation, providing not only<br />

regulatory support but also fostering<br />

networks, mentorship, and infrastructure<br />

essential for the growth and success<br />

of startups and VC endeavours. <strong>The</strong>ir<br />

strategic positioning as international<br />

financial centres further amplifies<br />

their attractiveness, drawing in global<br />

investors seeking a well-defined and<br />

regulated environment for their investment<br />

ventures.<br />

In tandem with regulatory reforms,<br />

the UAE has introduced innovative<br />

investment structures, including Limited<br />

Liability Partnerships (LLPs) and<br />

Limited Partnerships (LPs). <strong>The</strong>se<br />

structures streamline the process<br />

for VC firms, offering flexibility and<br />

enhanced governance mechanisms.<br />

<strong>The</strong> launch of dedicated funds, such as<br />

the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation<br />

Fund and the Abu Dhabi Investment<br />

Office’s Ventures Fund, exemplifies<br />

the UAE government’s commitment<br />

to catalysing venture capital in key<br />

sectors like technology, healthcare,<br />

and renewable energy.<br />

Recognizing the significance of<br />

intellectual property (IP) protection<br />

in fostering innovation, the UAE has<br />

bolstered its IP laws. <strong>The</strong> introduction<br />

of specialised courts, like the Abu<br />

Dhabi Commercial Court and the DIFC<br />

Courts, equipped with expertise in<br />

handling IP disputes, underscores the<br />

country’s commitment to safeguarding<br />

innovations. Moreover, initiatives like<br />

the Dubai Future Foundation’s Intellectual<br />

Property Venture Fund have been<br />

instrumental in supporting startups by<br />

providing funding and legal assistance<br />

to protect their intellectual assets.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s proactive engagement with<br />

international bodies and commitment<br />

to aligning its regulations with global<br />

standards has bolstered its appeal to<br />

international investors and VC firms.<br />

Collaborations with entities like the<br />

International <strong>Finance</strong> Corporation (IFC)<br />

and the <strong>World</strong> Bank have facilitated<br />

knowledge exchange and further refinement<br />

of the regulatory framework.<br />

Beyond legislative changes, the<br />

UAE has nurtured a vibrant culture of<br />

innovation through initiatives like Area<br />

2071, Dubai Future Accelerators, and<br />

the Sharjah Research, Technology and<br />

Innovation Park. <strong>The</strong>se platforms provide<br />

startups with access to mentorship,<br />

funding, and networking opportunities,<br />

nurturing an ecosystem conducive to<br />

disruptive ideas.<br />

By continuously fine-tuning regulations,<br />

fostering a supportive environment,<br />

and promoting a culture of innovation,<br />

the UAE remains steadfast in its<br />

commitment to driving the growth of<br />

the global venture capital ecosystem.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 63

Funding and Investment News<br />

EU Pledges ‘Substantial’<br />

Funding for COP28<br />

Climate Damage Fund<br />

<strong>The</strong> European Union (EU) has<br />

committed to a “substantial”<br />

financial contribution to the<br />

world’s first climate “loss<br />

and damage” fund, addressing climate<br />

change impacts. <strong>The</strong> fund is set to be<br />

unveiled during the COP28 climate<br />

summit in Dubai. <strong>The</strong> EU’s pledge,<br />

not specifying the amount, was confirmed<br />

by the European Commission,<br />

expressing readiness for a significant<br />

contribution. Additionally, the EU plans<br />

to allocate funds at COP28 to support<br />

countries in tripling renewable energy<br />

capacity by 2030. This move aligns with<br />

global efforts to address climate-related<br />

challenges, as last year’s U.N. climate<br />

talks introduced the groundbreaking<br />

climate damage fund.<br />

Saudi Fund Signs<br />

MoUs for Caribbean<br />

Infrastructure and<br />

Energy Projects<br />

<strong>The</strong> Saudi Fund for Development<br />

(SFD) CEO, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad,<br />

signed two Framework<br />

MoUs with the governments<br />

of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,<br />

and Saint Kitts and Nevis, ahead of the<br />

Saudi – CARICOM Summit in Riyadh.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first MoU, with Saint Vincent and<br />

the Grenadines, involves a $50M funding<br />

for the rehabilitation of buildings and<br />

facilities affected by natural disasters.<br />

<strong>The</strong> second MoU, with Saint Kitts and<br />

Nevis, secures $40M for expanding the<br />

Needsmust Power Plant, contributing<br />

to the nation’s energy supply and<br />

socio-economic development. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

agreements underscore SFD’s commitment<br />

to sustainable development in<br />

the Caribbean, fostering international<br />

cooperation for economic growth.<br />

Qatar Plans $1.5B Investment in Egypt in 2024,<br />

Says Official<br />

Qatar is poised to inject $1.5B<br />

in fresh investments into<br />

Egypt’s industrial sector in<br />

2024, as revealed by Yahya<br />

Al Wathiq Billah, Head of the Egyptian<br />

Commercial Representation Service<br />

at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.<br />

While Qatar’s previous investments in<br />

Egypt spanned financial services, tourism,<br />

and real estate, the forthcoming<br />

focus will shift significantly towards<br />

the industrial sector. This strategic<br />

move aligns with a growing trend,<br />

and in 2022, trade exchange between<br />

Qatar and Egypt reached QAR 350M,<br />

marking a notable 46% increase from<br />

the previous year’s QAR 239M, showcasing<br />

the strengthening economic ties<br />

between the two nations.<br />

Oman Targets $20B Investment in Second Round<br />

of Green Hydrogen Auctions<br />

Following the success of the<br />

initial round, Hydrogen Oman<br />

(Hydrom) anticipates drawing<br />

$20B to $30B in investments<br />

through the second round of large-scale<br />

green hydrogen project auctions in<br />

Oman. <strong>The</strong> first round of auctions, initiated<br />

last year, resulted in agreements<br />

with major international consortia,<br />

securing over $30B for five projects. In<br />

the ongoing second round, Hydrom aims<br />

to award three land blocks in the Dhofar<br />

region by Q1 2024. Eng Abdulaziz al<br />

Shidhani, Hydrom’s managing director,<br />

emphasises the auctions’ transparency<br />

and their role in attracting financially<br />

capable investors to implement green<br />

hydrogen projects in Oman.<br />

Dubai’s Wize Secures $16M in Pre-Seed Funding<br />

for Greentech Innovation<br />

Dubai-based startup Wize has<br />

successfully secured $16M<br />

in a pre-seed funding round,<br />

co-led by MENA-focused<br />

angel investors. <strong>The</strong> newly acquired<br />

funds will bolster the company’s<br />

presence in the UAE market, facilitate<br />

further product development,<br />

and open doors to new partnerships in<br />

the MENA region. Wize specialises in<br />

sustainable solutions for last-mile delivery,<br />

aligning with the UAE’s net-zero<br />

requirements and Green Agenda. <strong>The</strong><br />

startup offers a comprehensive ecosystem,<br />

including electric motorcycles,<br />

a rental and subscription platform,<br />

battery-as-a-service, and innovative<br />

battery-swapping stations, collectively<br />

enhancing the sustainability of<br />

delivery operations and promoting<br />

environmental responsibility in the<br />

UAE. <strong>The</strong> company has already signed<br />

a long-term partnership with Motoboy,<br />

the UAE’s first sustainable logistics<br />

firm, with a long-term goal of achieving<br />

zero-carbon emissions through the<br />

exclusive use of electric bikes.<br />

64 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Saudi’s PIF Acquires 25% Stake in Alkhorayef Petroleum Through New Deal<br />

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment<br />

Fund (PIF) has inked a deal to<br />

invest in Alkhorayef Petroleum,<br />

a leading electric submersible<br />

pump manufacturer. <strong>The</strong> investment,<br />

executed through a capital increase<br />

and new share subscription, secures a<br />

25% stake in the sovereign wealth fund.<br />

Alkhorayef Group, the parent company,<br />

will retain a 75% stake post-transaction.<br />

PIF’s investment aligns with broader<br />

efforts to boost Saudi Arabia’s equipment<br />

and service landscape, fostering<br />

the growth of promising private sector<br />

firms and enhancing the industrial<br />

ecosystem. Alkhorayef Petroleum,<br />

specialising in oil and gas production<br />

optimization, anticipates leveraging the<br />

investment to expand its manufacturing<br />

output and focus on innovative R&D.<br />

Saudi Pet Products Trading Company Secures Growth<br />

Funding from Aliph Capital<br />

Pet Products Trading Company<br />

(PPTCO) has successfully<br />

secured growth capital from<br />

Aliph Capital, a private equity<br />

fund manager focusing on midmarket<br />

and emerging high-growth enterprises<br />

in the GCC. PPTCO, a prominent<br />

pet business in Saudi Arabia, leads<br />

the sector with an innovative and<br />

comprehensive range of integrated<br />

products and educational content<br />

aimed at enhancing animal welfare in<br />

the Kingdom. With a diverse customer<br />

base including retailers, e-commerce<br />

platforms, vets, hypermarkets, and<br />

government entities, PPTCO has seen<br />

remarkable growth since its inception<br />

in 2005. <strong>The</strong> investment of up to SAR 80<br />

million from Aliph Fund I will further<br />

expand PPTCO’s footprint, supporting<br />

international brands, showroom expansion,<br />

and enhancing digital capabilities.<br />

Saudi Fund for<br />

Development Inks<br />

$580M Deals for Africa<br />

Projects<br />

<strong>The</strong> Saudi Fund for Development<br />

(SFD) has signed approximately<br />

SAR 2.175B ($580M)<br />

worth of deals to fund various<br />

projects in Africa. <strong>The</strong> 14 development<br />

loan agreements, signed during the<br />

Saudi-Arab-African Economic Forum,<br />

span healthcare, water, education,<br />

and transportation sectors. Projects<br />

include hospitals, roads, schools,<br />

and water facilities in countries such<br />

as Mozambique, Niger, Burkina Faso,<br />

Benin, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Burundi,<br />

Malawi, Tanzania, Cabo Verde, Rwanda,<br />

and Angola. <strong>The</strong> agreements aim to<br />

contribute to the overall prosperity<br />

of the continent. Additionally, the SFD<br />

signed a memorandum of understanding<br />

with the Africa <strong>Finance</strong> Corporation<br />

to expand its $10.7B development<br />

support in Africa.<br />

ADNOC Drilling and Alpha Dhabi Forge Investment Partnership<br />

ADNOC Drilling and Alpha<br />

Dhabi Holding have joined<br />

forces to establish a strategic<br />

investment joint venture<br />

(JV) with a commitment of up to AED<br />

5.5B ($1.5B). ADNOC Drilling will<br />

hold a 51% stake, while Alpha Dhabi<br />

will have 49%. <strong>The</strong> JV aims to acquire<br />

technology-enabled companies in<br />

the oilfield services (OFS) and energy<br />

sectors. Lunate Capital Limited<br />

will offer asset management support.<br />

<strong>The</strong> collaboration leverages ADNOC<br />

Drilling’s scalable technology ecosystem,<br />

empowering the JV to invest<br />

globally in value-accretive businesses<br />

across the OFS and energy value chain,<br />

enhancing ADNOC Drilling’s integrated<br />

offering and operational efficiencies.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 65

Digital Assets<br />

From Oil to Web3: RAK DAO’s Revolutionary<br />

Impact on UAE’s Economy<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates (UAE) has always been known for its oil wealth<br />

and tourism allure, but recently it has embarked on a transformative journey<br />

to redefine its economic identity. In a strategic move away from traditional<br />

sectors, the UAE has launched the RAK Digital Assets Oasis (RAK DAO),<br />

a free zone dedicated to digital assets, Web3, and AI. This groundbreaking<br />

initiative marks a pivotal moment in the nation’s pursuit of becoming a<br />

global digital innovation and entrepreneurship hub.<br />

66 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s transition to a technology-driven<br />

economy is more than<br />

a trend; it’s a visionary response<br />

to the dynamic evolution of digital assets,<br />

blockchain, NFTs, decentralised<br />

applications, and Web3. At the vanguard<br />

of this transformation is the RAK DAO<br />

in Ras Al Khaimah, strategically poised<br />

to attract companies leading the way<br />

in digital technology.<br />

This bold initiative reflects the nation’s<br />

commitment to not only adapt<br />

to but also shape the future of the<br />

global digital landscape, solidifying its<br />

position as a trailblazer in the rapidly<br />

advancing realms of technology and<br />

innovation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> vision behind this initiative is<br />

bold and forward-thinking. Recognizing<br />

the limitations of an oil-dependent<br />

economy, the UAE has strategically<br />

invested in the digital technology sector.<br />

Currently ranking first in the Arab<br />

world for digital competitiveness, the<br />

nation has witnessed a surge in tech<br />

startups, with a government target of<br />

attracting $70 billion in foreign direct<br />

investment (FDI) into the digital sector<br />

by 2025. <strong>The</strong> digital technology sector is<br />

expected to contribute a substantial 25%<br />

to the country’s GDP by the same year.<br />

Debuting on October 19, <strong>2023</strong>, the<br />

RAK DAO transcends being a mere free<br />

zone; it’s an innovation catalyst and a<br />

launchpad for revolutionary ideas. A<br />

testament to a dedicated commitment<br />

to cultivating a dynamic realm for<br />

digital assets, including blockchain,<br />

Web3, and AI.<br />

Its objective is transparent: unearth<br />

the latent possibilities within the digital<br />

asset sector and propel the UAE to a<br />

leadership position in this transformative<br />

industry. This initiative signifies a<br />

bold stride towards not only embracing<br />

but spearheading the future of digital<br />

technologies, setting the stage for the<br />

UAE to assert itself as a global pioneer<br />

in the ever-evolving landscape of digital<br />

innovation.<br />

RAK DAO’s dedication extends beyond<br />

providing a conducive environment for<br />

digital assets. It embraces a diverse<br />

approach, supporting emerging tech<br />

spaces such as the metaverse, utility<br />

tokens, virtual asset wallets, decentralised<br />

autonomous organisations (DAOs),<br />

and other Web3-focused businesses.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s RAK<br />

Digital Assets<br />

Oasis heralds<br />

a pioneering<br />

shift,<br />

transforming<br />

an oil-rich<br />

nation into a<br />

global digital<br />

innovation<br />

powerhouse.<br />

<strong>The</strong> comprehensive support, including<br />

grant programs and assistance in<br />

technology, marketing, and business<br />

development, reflects the versatility<br />

and resilience of RAK DAO.<br />

Renowned for its cultural heritage<br />

and natural marvels, Ras Al Khaimah is<br />

strategically transforming its economic<br />

terrain by delving into the digital asset<br />

realm. <strong>The</strong> audacious move by RAK<br />

DAO marks a departure from conventional<br />

sectors like tourism, signalling<br />

the commencement of an era where<br />

historical traditions and cutting-edge<br />

innovations harmoniously coexist.<br />

This strategic pivot not only underscores<br />

the adaptability of Ras Al<br />

Khaimah but also positions it as a<br />

forward-thinking player in the global<br />

economic landscape, embracing the<br />

duality of preserving heritage while<br />

actively participating in the progressive<br />

and dynamic world of digital assets.<br />

Joining other Web3-friendly free<br />

zones in the UAE, RAK DAO offers<br />

entrepreneurs complete ownership<br />

of their businesses and regulatory<br />

autonomy, setting them apart from<br />

other tech hubs in the region. With<br />

the establishment formalised by Law<br />

No 2 of <strong>2023</strong>, RAK DAO operates with<br />

financial, administrative, and legislative<br />

autonomy, solidifying its status as an<br />

innovation-driven free zone for the<br />

virtual asset sector.<br />

Strategic alliances with the HBAR<br />

Foundation, Rakbank, and Humans.ai<br />

demonstrate RAK DAO’s commitment<br />

to building a versatile and dynamic<br />

community of disruptors and industry<br />

pioneers. As the digital asset landscape<br />

undergoes continuous transformation,<br />

RAK DAO stands poised to influence<br />

its course with a clear vision, holistic<br />

support, and strategic collaborations.<br />

<strong>The</strong> inception of RAK DAO inaugurates<br />

an exciting era for Ras Al Khaimah, the<br />

UAE, and the global digital asset market.<br />

With its forward-looking approach, this<br />

innovative enterprise is set to become<br />

the epicentre of digital transformation<br />

and progress. In embracing digital<br />

technology, the UAE is not just turning<br />

a page but opening an entire book<br />

of opportunities, setting a potential<br />

benchmark for other oil-rich nations.<br />

This is a compelling saga of change,<br />

where tradition meets progress, and a<br />

desert wonderland unfolds a wealth of<br />

digital adventures.<br />

In an increasingly digital world,<br />

the UAE’s decision to embrace digital<br />

technology could potentially set a<br />

benchmark for other oil-rich nations.<br />

Add a pinch of innovation, a dash of<br />

unwavering ambition, and a whole lot<br />

of indomitable spirit, we’re staring at<br />

not just a new chapter, but a whole<br />

new book of opportunities. This is not<br />

short of a compelling saga of change.<br />

A country steeped in tradition, is celebrating<br />

its progress, and is embracing<br />

the future. At the same time, a wealth<br />

of digital adventures are waiting to be<br />

discovered in the UAE.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 67

Stock Market<br />

<strong>The</strong> Underpinnings of UAE Stock<br />

Market: Unravelling DFM and ADX<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s financial landscape transformed significantly with the establishment<br />

of the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange<br />

(ADX) in the early 2000s. DFM quickly became a global financial hub,<br />

attracting investors through transparency and innovation. Meanwhile, ADX<br />

laid the foundation for a broader marketplace, focusing on sustainability<br />

and diversification. Over the last three years, both markets have grown<br />

remarkably, attracting global capital and fostering potential for more privatesector<br />

listings.<br />

68 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Established in the year 2000,<br />

the Dubai Financial Market<br />

emerged as a catalyst for economic<br />

diversification in the UAE. Its<br />

inception marked a significant stride<br />

in transforming Dubai into a global<br />

financial centre. Initially fostering<br />

a modest list of companies, DFM’s<br />

commitment to transparency and innovation<br />

quickly attracted both local<br />

and international investors.<br />

From the early 2000s to the global<br />

financial crisis in 2008, DFM adapted<br />

and expanded. <strong>The</strong> introduction of real<br />

estate investment trusts (REITs) and a<br />

diverse array of financial instruments<br />

contributed to its growth. DFM stands<br />

as a testament to Dubai’s commitment<br />

to financial excellence, with a robust<br />

ecosystem supporting various sectors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange,<br />

tracing its roots back to 2000, embarked<br />

on a parallel journey to fortify<br />

the UAE’s financial landscape. Born<br />

out of the strategic vision to elevate<br />

Abu Dhabi’s economic standing, ADX<br />

initially operated as a conventional<br />

stock exchange. <strong>The</strong> early years laid<br />

the groundwork for a bolder, more<br />

expansive marketplace.<br />

ADX’s commitment to sustainability<br />

and diversification fueled its ascent.<br />

<strong>The</strong> introduction of Sharia-compliant<br />

financial instruments and initiatives<br />

to attract foreign investment contributed<br />

to its burgeoning influence. <strong>The</strong><br />

market weathered challenges, utilising<br />

lessons from the 2008 financial crisis<br />

to bolster its regulatory framework.<br />

Over the last three years, the capital<br />

markets in the UAE have seen significant<br />

growth. Both the DFM and ADX<br />

have expanded their offerings, seen a<br />

surge in IPOs, and attracted substantial<br />

global capital. This growth has<br />

positioned them well among emerging<br />

markets and opens up the potential for<br />

further expansion by drawing in more<br />

private-sector listings.<br />

While the establishment of ADX<br />

and DFM in the early 2000s laid the<br />

groundwork for capital inflows in the<br />

UAE, the market has mainly revolved<br />

around banks and property firms in<br />

terms of scale. <strong>The</strong>se sectors have<br />

been crucial in channelling global<br />

capital, and supporting the national<br />

economy.<br />

Efforts are now being directed<br />

towards sustaining this positive<br />

DFM and ADX<br />

act as catalysts,<br />

fostering<br />

expanded<br />

private-sector<br />

listings and<br />

contributing<br />

to economic<br />

prosperity<br />

within the<br />

UAE’s dynamic<br />

financial<br />

landscape.<br />

momentum. In the past year, ADX<br />

and DFM have attracted IPOs from<br />

various sectors like healthcare, utilities,<br />

real estate, food and beverage,<br />

financial services, infrastructure, and<br />

petrochemicals.<br />

Additionally, there’s been an expansion<br />

in product offerings, such as<br />

ADX launching a derivatives market<br />

in 2021, establishing a framework<br />

for special purpose acquisition companies<br />

(SPACs), and listing more<br />

exchange-traded funds (ETFs). <strong>The</strong>se<br />

steps aim to diversify and deepen the<br />

market, creating opportunities for a<br />

wider range of investors and companies<br />

alike.<br />

Global investors have responded<br />

positively to the resilience and<br />

dynamism of the UAE economy,<br />

demonstrating confidence in the market’s<br />

development. Last year, foreign<br />

investment in ADX increased by 54<br />

per cent, reaching a record AED 24B.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se developments underscore the<br />

growing maturity and attractiveness<br />

of the UAE’s capital markets, setting<br />

the stage for continued prosperity and<br />

global recognition.<br />

Market liquidity has experienced a<br />

notable boost, thanks to a robust ecosystem<br />

of market makers and brokers,<br />

resulting in a 23% increase in traded<br />

values throughout 2022.<br />

As of April <strong>2023</strong>, the market capitalisation<br />

of ADX and DFM achieved unprecedented<br />

highs, surpassing $910B.<br />

This represents a substantial surge<br />

from $670B in May of the previous<br />

year. Expressed as a percentage of<br />

nominal gross domestic product, this<br />

figure exceeds 180%, surpassing other<br />

key economies in the MEASA (Middle<br />

East, Africa, and Southern Asia) region,<br />

including Turkey and Singapore.<br />

Government-led strategies and policies<br />

have been pivotal in enriching<br />

the landscape, notably in Abu Dhabi,<br />

where ADGM has rapidly flourished<br />

into a top-tier financial and business<br />

hub. <strong>The</strong> growth of incubators and<br />

the broader start-up ecosystem, like<br />

Hub 71, has effectively bridged gaps,<br />

bringing global players closer to the<br />

local investment narrative.<br />

<strong>The</strong> government’s efforts, including<br />

Abu Dhabi’s AED 5 billion IPO fund,<br />

actively support listings, while the<br />

revitalised ADX Growth Market specifically<br />

caters to fast-growing SMEs,<br />

enabling their successful debut as<br />

listed companies.<br />

In this optimistic scenario, the entry<br />

of late-stage capital providers into<br />

the market, aiding companies gearing<br />

up for their IPO process, signifies a<br />

positive shift. This anticipated move<br />

aligns with rising investor awareness<br />

and the establishment of more investment<br />

platforms, enticed by the strong<br />

financial incentives associated with<br />

successful IPO exits.<br />

Listing on the ADX and DFM not only<br />

facilitates debt and equity financing<br />

at a reduced cost of capital but also<br />

serves as a platform for companies to<br />

elevate their profile, bolster brand equity,<br />

and forge new business alliances.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 69

Corporate Tax<br />

A Comprehensive Guide to Corporate<br />

Tax Registration Timelines in the UAE<br />

<strong>The</strong> corporate landscape in the UAE experienced a transformative shift with the<br />

implementation of corporate taxes on June 1, <strong>2023</strong>. As <strong>December</strong> unfolds, corporations<br />

in the UAE are actively navigating the modulation of these new fiscal regulations.<br />

This comprehensive guide aims to provide businesses with a clear roadmap for<br />

comprehending the administrative requirements associated with corporate taxation. It<br />

encompasses critical elements such as tax registration, deregistration, filing corporate<br />

tax returns, and payment procedures.<br />

70 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

UAE Corporate Tax<br />

Registration:<br />

Corporations in the UAE must<br />

register with the FTA and obtain a<br />

unique Corporate Tax Registration ID or<br />

number. This registration applies to all<br />

businesses, regardless of whether they<br />

are subject to the 0% or 9% corporate<br />

tax rate. To facilitate this process,<br />

businesses can enlist the assistance<br />

of corporate tax advisors in the UAE<br />

who specialise in various types of tax<br />

registration.<br />

Registration Timelines:<br />

According to information on the<br />

FTA website, taxable persons must<br />

register until their first tax filing. <strong>The</strong><br />

registration period varies based on the<br />

financial year-end of the business. For<br />

instance, a business with a year ending<br />

on May 31st has a registration period<br />

of 26 months until February 28th,<br />

2025. Similarly, for businesses with a<br />

financial year ending on <strong>December</strong> 31st,<br />

a registration period of 33 months is<br />

available until September 30th, 2025.<br />

Corporate tax registration in the UAE<br />

through the EmaraTax portal involves<br />

a series of structured steps to ensure<br />

accuracy and completeness. To initiate<br />

the registration, users log in using their<br />

credentials or UAE PASS, directing<br />

them to the user dashboard where the<br />

Taxable Person list screen appears. If<br />

no entities are associated, users must<br />

add a new Taxable Person by clicking<br />

“create.” Within the dashboard, selecting<br />

‘Register’ under the Corporate Tax tile<br />

triggers the registration application.<br />

<strong>The</strong> process is divided into brief<br />

sections, each covering different<br />

components, with a progress bar<br />

indicating completion status. Users<br />

must fill out all required fields in<br />

each section and submit necessary<br />

documents to avoid rejection. Entity<br />

type selection, identification details,<br />

business activities, owner details (for<br />

ownership of 25% or more), branch<br />

information (if applicable), and contact<br />

details follow in sequential steps. <strong>The</strong><br />

Authorized Signatory section involves<br />

adding relevant details, including<br />

evidence of authorization for legal<br />

persons. After reviewing all details<br />

in the final section, users mark a<br />

checkbox to declare accuracy and<br />

submit the application. Upon successful<br />

submission, a Reference Number is<br />

generated for future correspondence<br />

with the FTA, emphasising the<br />

importance of retaining this identifier<br />

UAE’s corporate tax overhaul<br />

requires businesses to navigate<br />

registration intricacies and filing<br />

procedures with precision.<br />

for reference.<br />

Post Corporate Tax Registration<br />

Process:<br />

Upon submission of the corporate<br />

tax registration application through<br />

the EmaraTax portal, the Federal<br />

Tax Authority (FTA) undertakes a<br />

comprehensive review. <strong>The</strong> FTA may<br />

either approve, reject, or request<br />

additional details, notifying the<br />

applicant promptly. In case further<br />

information is necessary for verification,<br />

the applicant receives a notification via<br />

email specifying the required details.<br />

After the FTA’s approval, the applicant<br />

is informed of the decision through mail<br />

correspondence. To keep applicants<br />

informed, the dashboard is regularly<br />

updated with the current status of their<br />

application, allowing them to check<br />

the progress at any given time. This<br />

structured communication process<br />

ensures transparency and keeps<br />

applicants informed throughout the<br />

evaluation and decision-making stages.<br />

Corporate Tax Deregistration:<br />

If a registered corporation ceases<br />

to be subject to corporate tax, it must<br />

undergo deregistration. <strong>The</strong> FTA will<br />

deregister a business if it has filed<br />

corporate tax returns, settled all tax<br />

liabilities, and addressed any penalties<br />

due up to the cessation date.<br />

Corporate Tax Return Filing:<br />

UAE businesses must file a single<br />

consolidated tax return within nine<br />

months of the end of each relevant<br />

tax period. This streamlined process<br />

simplifies the filing procedure, ensuring<br />

efficiency and accuracy.<br />

Corporate Tax Deadlines:<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE corporate tax regime<br />

operates on a self-assessment principle,<br />

placing the responsibility on businesses<br />

to ensure the accuracy and compliance<br />

of submitted documents. Taxpayers<br />

are granted up to 21 months from the<br />

start of their financial year to prepare,<br />

file their corporate tax returns, and<br />

make payments.<br />

Exemptions from UAE Corporate<br />

Tax:<br />

Certain businesses in the UAE<br />

enjoy exemptions from corporate<br />

tax, including those engaged in the<br />

extraction of natural resources.<br />

Dividends and capital gains earned<br />

from qualifying shareholdings, as well<br />

as qualifying intra-group transactions<br />

and reorganisations, are also exempt<br />

from corporate tax.<br />

Corporate Tax Rates:<br />

<strong>The</strong> corporate tax rate in the UAE<br />

is 0% for taxable income up to AED<br />

375,000 and 9% for taxable income above<br />

AED 375,000. Free Zone businesses<br />

are subject to corporate tax, but the<br />

regime honours existing corporate tax<br />

incentives for businesses that comply<br />

with regulatory requirements and<br />

operate exclusively in the free zones.<br />

Navigating the corporate tax<br />

registration process in the UAE requires<br />

a thorough understanding of timelines,<br />

filing requirements, and applicable<br />

rates. Businesses are encouraged to<br />

engage with tax advisors and leverage<br />

the resources provided by the FTA to<br />

ensure compliance with the evolving<br />

corporate tax regulations in the country.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 71

Corporate Results<br />

e&<br />

Q3’23 Net Profit: 20%<br />

In their Q3 <strong>2023</strong> report, e& displayed<br />

strong growth with consolidated revenues<br />

at AED 13.4B, a 3.3 percent YoY<br />

increase. Consolidated net profit also<br />

surged to AED 3.0B, a notable 20 percent<br />

YoY growth. Under constant exchange<br />

rates, revenue saw an 8.0 percent rise,<br />

and consolidated EBITDA grew by 6.9<br />

percent, maintaining a resilient EBITDA<br />

margin of 51 percent. Significantly, the<br />

number of e& subscribers in the UAE<br />

reached 14.0 million, up 4.7 percent<br />

from the previous year, while the total<br />

group subscribers increased to 167 million,<br />

showing a 3.3 percent rise. Hatem<br />

Dowidar, e&’s Group CEO, reaffirmed<br />

the commitment to innovation, sustainability,<br />

and delivering value.<br />

Borouge<br />

Q3’23 Net Profit: 22%<br />

Borouge Plc has reported a strong net<br />

profit of $282M (AED 1.04B) for the<br />

quarter ending September 30, showing a<br />

22% increase compared to the previous<br />

quarter. This impressive performance<br />

was attributed to robust production,<br />

effective cost management, and revenue<br />

optimization through the Value<br />

Enhancement Programme. Notably,<br />

the program exceeded expectations,<br />

delivering a $420M positive impact in<br />

the first nine months of <strong>2023</strong>, surpassing<br />

its $400M target for the year. Hazeem<br />

Sultan Al Suwaidi, CEO of Borouge,<br />

highlighted the company’s commitment<br />

to innovation, expanding market share,<br />

and maintaining competitive pricing.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company also distributed an interim<br />

dividend of $650M in the third quarter<br />

and committed to a $1.3B dividend for<br />

the <strong>2023</strong> financial year, providing a<br />

6.3% current dividend yield.<br />

TECOM Group<br />

Q3’23 Net Profit: 34%<br />

TECOM Group has reported robust<br />

financial results for the third quarter<br />

and the nine months ending on<br />

September 30. Throughout <strong>2023</strong>, they<br />

achieved significant growth, with a 7%<br />

year-on-year increase in revenue to<br />

AED 1.6B and a substantial 20% YoY<br />

rise in net profit to AED 768M. In Q3,<br />

revenue increased by 10% YoY to AED<br />

541M, and EBITDA rose by 13% YoY<br />

to AED 410M, resulting in an EBITDA<br />

margin of 76% due to improved operational<br />

efficiencies. Furthermore, the<br />

group’s net profit for the three months<br />

saw an impressive 34% YoY increase to<br />

AED 283M, driven by revenue growth,<br />

reduced operational expenses, and<br />

favourable financing terms. Occupancy<br />

rates for commercial and industrial<br />

assets also improved, reaching 88.5%,<br />

primarily due to increased demand<br />

for quality office space and industrial<br />

storage and logistics facilities.<br />

Aldar<br />

Q3 ’23 Net Profit: 18%<br />

Aldar’s Q3 <strong>2023</strong> revenue showed impressive<br />

growth, with an 18 percent<br />

YoY increase to AED 1.9B, driven by<br />

accelerated construction progress,<br />

strong off-plan sales, and ongoing development<br />

backlog revenue recognition.<br />

Over the nine months, revenue also rose<br />

by 12 percent to AED 5.8B. Notably,<br />

the group’s sales in Q3 reached AED<br />

7.8B, a remarkable 99 percent increase<br />

from the same period in the previous<br />

year, marking Aldar’s highest-ever<br />

quarterly sales. <strong>The</strong> first nine months<br />

of <strong>2023</strong> saw record group sales of AED<br />

19.4B, boosted by 11 project launches<br />

and high demand for Abu Dhabi<br />

properties from international buyers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> group’s revenue backlog reached<br />

a record AED 29.1B at the end of Q3,<br />

providing strong revenue visibility for<br />

the UAE and Egypt operations in the<br />

coming years.<br />

Mashreq<br />

9M’23 Net Profit: 122%<br />

Mashreq has reported strong financial<br />

results for the first nine months of <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

with an Earnings per Share of AED 28.75,<br />

reflecting a commitment to sustainable<br />

growth and shareholder value. <strong>The</strong> net<br />

profit has notably increased by 122%<br />

year-on-year, reaching AED 5.8B, driven<br />

by strategic growth, customer focus,<br />

efficient cost management, and risk<br />

control. <strong>The</strong> Return on Equity (ROE)<br />

stands at a record-high of 32.1% for<br />

the same period, doubling from the<br />

previous year. <strong>The</strong> substantial growth<br />

in operating income and net profit is<br />

primarily attributed to an 82% rise in<br />

net interest income, alongside a notable<br />

8.1% increase in non-interest income.<br />

Emirates NBD<br />

Q1’23 Net Profit: $5.5B<br />

Emirates NBD has reported a strong<br />

third-quarter performance with a 38%<br />

year-on-year increase in net profit,<br />

reaching AED 5.2B ($1.42B). This<br />

growth is attributed to expanded loans<br />

and stable, low-cost funding, which<br />

allowed the bank to take advantage<br />

of higher interest rates. <strong>The</strong> bank,<br />

primarily government-owned, saw a<br />

29% rise in net interest income to AED<br />

7.8B and a 49% increase in non-funded<br />

income to AED 3.6B. Total assets<br />

increased by 16% year-on-year to AED<br />

836B, gross loans grew by 8% to AED<br />

494B, and deposits surged by 19% to<br />

AED 570B. Notably, the non-performing<br />

loans ratio improved to 5.5% from<br />

5.8% a year earlier, and impairment<br />

allowances decreased by 54%.<br />

72 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Commercial Bank<br />

International<br />

Q3’23 Net Profit: 38%<br />

Commercial Bank International (CBI)<br />

reported a significant 38% increase in<br />

net profits, reaching AED 62M in the<br />

third quarter of <strong>2023</strong> compared to AED<br />

45M in Q2-23. <strong>The</strong> UAE-based bank<br />

also recorded a remarkable 65% surge<br />

in operating profit, totalling AED 73M<br />

for July-September <strong>2023</strong>, compared<br />

to AED 44M in the previous quarter.<br />

Net operating income saw a 20% rise<br />

to AED 147 M in Q3-23 from AED 122<br />

M in April-June <strong>2023</strong>. CBI’s CEO, Ali<br />

Sultan Rakkad Al Amri, attributed their<br />

success to a commitment to enhancing<br />

customer solutions and fulfilling the<br />

growing needs of their customers while<br />

contributing to the UAE’s economic<br />

stability and growth. In the first half<br />

of <strong>2023</strong>, CBI achieved a net profit of<br />

AED 78.88M, marking a substantial<br />

44% annual increase from AED 55.04M.<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank<br />

Q3’23 Net Profit: 18%<br />

Dubai Islamic Bank reported an 18%<br />

year-on-year increase in net profit for<br />

the third quarter of <strong>2023</strong>, driven by<br />

growth in core revenues and a decrease<br />

in impairment charges. <strong>The</strong>ir total<br />

net income for the quarter ending on<br />

September 30, <strong>2023</strong>, reached AED 4.8B<br />

($1.3B), up from AED 4.1B in the previous<br />

year. <strong>The</strong> growth was attributed<br />

to rising core revenues, non-funded<br />

income, and reduced impairment<br />

charges. <strong>The</strong> bank also reported net<br />

financing and sukuk investments of<br />

AED 265B, marking an 11.3% increase<br />

year-to-date. <strong>The</strong> domestic banking<br />

sector showed strength, with expanding<br />

balance sheets, and improved asset<br />

quality, and profitability. Gross new<br />

underwriting and sukuk investments<br />

for the first nine months of the year<br />

rose to AED 72B from AED 43B in the<br />

same period last year.<br />

Riyadh Cables<br />

9M’23 Net Profit: $102.53M<br />

Riyadh Cables Group Company reported<br />

robust financial performance in the<br />

first nine months of <strong>2023</strong>, with net<br />

profits after Zakat and tax reaching<br />

SAR 384.53M, marking a substantial<br />

56.34% increase from SAR 245.96M in<br />

9M-22. Earnings per share (EPS) also<br />

improved, rising to SAR 15.16 in 9M-23<br />

from SAR 13.17 in the previous year.<br />

Revenues for the period totalled SAR<br />

5.93 billion, showing an 18.20% annual<br />

increase from SAR 5.02B. In Q3-23, the<br />

company achieved SAR 132.70M in net<br />

profit after Zakat and tax, a 43.28%<br />

increase from Q3-22, and revenues<br />

grew by 17.60% to SAR 2.08B during<br />

July-September <strong>2023</strong>, compared to<br />

SAR 1.76B in the previous year. Every<br />

quarter, Q3-23 net profits increased by<br />

4.54% from Q2-23, and revenues grew<br />

by 8.51% from SAR 1.91B.<br />

Amlak International<br />

Q3’23 Net Profit: $6.13M<br />

Amlak International for Real Estate<br />

<strong>Finance</strong> Company reported net profits<br />

of SAR 22.92M in the first nine months<br />

of <strong>2023</strong>, marking a significant 71.61%<br />

annual decline from SAR 80.73M. Earnings<br />

per share (EPS) reached SAR 0.25<br />

as of September 30, <strong>2023</strong>, down from<br />

SAR 0.89 YoY. <strong>The</strong> company’s assets increased<br />

by 5.62% to SAR 3.62B in 9M-23,<br />

while investments decreased by 10.52%<br />

to SAR 893M. However, the loans and<br />

advances portfolio grew to SAR 3.46B, a<br />

5.61% increase from the previous year. In<br />

Q3-23, Amlak International’s net profits<br />

were SAR 5.57M, down by 77.77% YoY,<br />

and quarterly profits declined by 11.77%<br />

from Q2-23.<br />

Tasnee<br />

9M’23 Results: 357%<br />

National Industrialization Company<br />

(Tasnee) experienced a significant shift<br />

in its financial performance in the first<br />

nine months of <strong>2023</strong>. Net profits after<br />

Zakat and tax dropped by 69.24% to SAR<br />

191.70M, down from SAR 623.20M in 9M-<br />

22. Revenues also contracted by 11.33%<br />

to SAR 2.60B in 9M-23 compared to SAR<br />

2.94B in the same period in 2022. Earnings<br />

per share (EPS) declined to SAR 0.29 as<br />

of September 30, <strong>2023</strong>, from SAR 0.93<br />

YoY. However, during Q3-23, Tasnee saw<br />

a substantial 357.31% surge in net profit<br />

after Zakat and tax, reaching SAR 78.20M,<br />

and generated revenues of SAR 831.90M,<br />

marking a 6.22% annual decrease from<br />

SAR 887.10M. Quarterly, Q3-23 net profits<br />

increased by 149.04% from Q2-23, while<br />

revenues declined by 6.44% from SAR<br />

889.20M.<br />

First Abu Dhabi Bank<br />

Q3’23 Net Profit: 46%<br />

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the largest<br />

lender in the UAE by assets, reported a<br />

substantial 46% increase in its net profit<br />

for the third quarter. This remarkable performance<br />

was driven by revenue growth,<br />

supported by the continued economic<br />

momentum in the UAE. FAB disclosed<br />

a net profit of AED 4.3B ($1.17B) for the<br />

period, marking its highest quarterly profit<br />

on an underlying basis. <strong>The</strong> operating<br />

income for the reporting period rose to<br />

AED 7B, representing a 27% year-on-year<br />

increase, primarily attributed to growth<br />

in the bank’s core business and significant<br />

growth in interest and non-interest<br />

income. <strong>The</strong> Federal Reserve has significantly<br />

raised its benchmark policy rates in<br />

recent quarters to combat high inflation,<br />

aiming to bring it within the 2 percent<br />

target range.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 73

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Sport as a Business<br />

Exploring the Allure of UAE’s Sports<br />

Empire, a Dynamic Player in the Global<br />

Business Landscape<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s political leadership, since the nation’s formation in 1971, has<br />

prioritised the growth and institutionalisation of the sports sector due<br />

to its crucial role in national development. This dedication extends to<br />

establishing and supporting sports clubs as part of social development<br />

services. <strong>The</strong>se efforts have positioned the UAE as a prominent<br />

global hub for sports events, investments, and business ventures.<br />

<strong>The</strong> nation’s strategic foresight, visionary leadership, and significant<br />

investments have leveraged sports as a catalyst for economic growth<br />

and international prominence.<br />

76 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

At the heart of this transformation<br />

lies a deliberate strategy by the<br />

UAE government to position<br />

sports as a catalyst for economic diversification.<br />

<strong>The</strong> country recognised<br />

the potential of sports not only as a<br />

means of entertainment and physical<br />

well-being but also as a lucrative sector<br />

with vast opportunities for revenue<br />

generation and global exposure.<br />

One of the pivotal moments in the<br />

UAE’s sports evolution was the establishment<br />

of Dubai Sports City, a sprawling<br />

multi-purpose complex designed<br />

to nurture various sports disciplines,<br />

including cricket, football, golf, and<br />

more. This ambitious project, initiated<br />

by the Dubai government, symbolised<br />

the nation’s commitment to fostering<br />

a sports-centric ecosystem. It not only<br />

provided state-of-the-art infrastructure<br />

but also catalysed attracting global<br />

sports events and investments.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s strategic location, coupled<br />

with its world-class infrastructure and<br />

state-of-the-art facilities, has drawn<br />

major international sporting events to<br />

its shores. From Formula 1 racing and<br />

golf championships to prestigious tennis<br />

tournaments and cricket leagues, the<br />

country has positioned itself as a coveted<br />

destination for hosting high-profile<br />

sports events. <strong>The</strong> Abu Dhabi Grand<br />

Prix, Dubai Tennis Championships,<br />

and the Dubai <strong>World</strong> Cup are among<br />

the marquee events that have solidified<br />

the UAE’s position on the global<br />

sports calendar.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE has also established free<br />

zone sports cities like Zayed Sports<br />

City in Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Sports<br />

Complex, Dubai Sports City, and Dubai<br />

Motor City. <strong>The</strong>se areas integrate<br />

sports facilities, residential spaces,<br />

and commercial areas. Zayed Sports<br />

City offers diverse practice facilities,<br />

while Hamdan Sports Complex features<br />

advanced swimming pools and a<br />

15,000-seat stadium with solar-powered<br />

outdoor lights. Dubai Sports City hosts<br />

the Dubai International Stadium, and<br />

Dubai Motor City caters to motorsports<br />

enthusiasts with the Dubai Autodrome<br />

and an F1 circuit. <strong>The</strong>se developments<br />

showcase the UAE’s commitment to<br />

creating comprehensive sports hubs.<br />

Moreover, visionary leaders and<br />

influential personalities in the UAE<br />

have played a pivotal role in shaping<br />

the sports landscape and attracting<br />

investments. Individuals like Sheikh<br />

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,<br />

the Vice President and Prime Minister<br />

of the UAE, and Sheikh Mansour bin<br />

Zayed Al Nahyan, owner of Manchester<br />

City Football Club, have been instrumental<br />

in not only promoting sports but<br />

also investing significantly in various<br />

sporting ventures. <strong>The</strong>ir vision and<br />

commitment to developing sports have<br />

contributed to the country’s ascent in<br />

the global sports business realm.<br />

Complementing these efforts in<br />

February <strong>2023</strong>, H.H. Sheikh Mansoor<br />

bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Chairman<br />

of the Dubai Sports Council, Directed<br />

an important meeting approving a<br />

transformative <strong>2023</strong>-2033 strategy for<br />

sports sector advancement. Stressing<br />

alignment with sustainability goals and<br />

echoing President Sheikh Mohamed<br />

bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s commitment to<br />

a sustainable future, Sheikh Mansoor<br />

indicated a vision aiming to double<br />

the sports sector’s GDP contribution,<br />

arrange 3,000 annual events, and attract<br />

1,000 international training camps.<br />

This strategic blueprint stands as a<br />

testament to the UAE’s dedication to<br />

sports sector growth while embracing<br />

sustainability and global excellence.<br />

Beyond hosting events, the UAE<br />

has strategically ventured into sports<br />

investments and acquisitions, marking<br />

its presence in the international sports<br />

market. Investments in football clubs<br />

across Europe, including Manchester<br />

City and Paris Saint-Germain, have not<br />

only elevated the country’s profile but<br />

have also opened doors for collaborations<br />

and business synergies in the<br />

sports industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE’s strategic vision to boost<br />

the sports industry also includes taxfree<br />

zones offering businesses 100%<br />

ownership, exemption from import/<br />

export duties, and no personal income<br />

tax. <strong>The</strong>se benefits significantly cut<br />

operational costs, making the UAE an<br />

appealing hub for sports businesses<br />

looking for financial advantages and<br />

operational flexibility.<br />

Furthermore, the UAE’s forward-thinking<br />

approach extends beyond traditional<br />

sports to embrace emerging trends,<br />

such as esports. Recognising the<br />

growing popularity and commercial<br />

potential of esports, the country has<br />

embraced this digital domain, hosting<br />

esports tournaments and establishing<br />

dedicated arenas, positioning itself as<br />

a hub for both traditional and digital<br />

sports.<br />

<strong>The</strong> success of the UAE’s sports<br />

empire can also be attributed to its<br />

commitment to grassroots development.<br />

Initiatives promoting youth sports participation,<br />

academies nurturing talent,<br />

and sports education programs have<br />

laid the foundation for a sustainable<br />

sports ecosystem. <strong>The</strong>se efforts not<br />

only foster local talent but also attract<br />

international partnerships and collaborations<br />

aimed at talent exchange and<br />

development.<br />

In addition to economic dividends,<br />

the UAE’s sports endeavours have<br />

contributed to its soft power and<br />

global image. By hosting international<br />

events and attracting sporting icons<br />

from around the world, the country<br />

has enhanced its brand visibility and<br />

positioned itself as a global player in<br />

the sports business landscape.<br />

However, this meteoric rise in the<br />

sports business realm hasn’t been<br />

without challenges. Competition from<br />

other global sports markets, evolving<br />

consumer preferences, and the need<br />

for continuous innovation pose ongoing<br />

hurdles. Yet, the UAE’s adaptability,<br />

resilience, and willingness to embrace<br />

change have positioned it as a dynamic<br />

player capable of navigating these<br />

challenges and sustaining its growth<br />

trajectory in the sports business domain.<br />

By leveraging sports as a vehicle for<br />

economic diversification, international<br />

visibility, and talent development, the<br />

UAE has crafted an enduring legacy as<br />

a dynamic player in the ever-evolving<br />

world of sports business. As the country<br />

continues to innovate and expand<br />

its sports empire, its influence on the<br />

global stage is set to endure, leaving<br />

an indelible mark on the business of<br />

sports.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 77

Sports News<br />

ILT20 Introduces School Cricket Initiative in UAE<br />

<strong>The</strong> International League T20<br />

(ILT20) has unveiled an exciting<br />

initiative to bolster the<br />

presence of cricket in UAE<br />

schools by introducing the ILT20 Schools<br />

Cup. This comprehensive program is<br />

strategically rolled out in Abu Dhabi,<br />

Al Ain, Dubai, and Sharjah, with the<br />

primary goal of nurturing cricketing<br />

talent from a young age while contributing<br />

to the future of UAE cricket. By<br />

establishing a direct link between the<br />

DP <strong>World</strong> ILT20 and the UAE’s budding<br />

cricketers, the ILT20 Schools Cup creates<br />

an invaluable platform for these<br />

talented youngsters to showcase their<br />

skills. <strong>The</strong> competition comprises six<br />

pools, each corresponding to one of the<br />

DP <strong>World</strong> ILT20 franchises, including<br />

the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, Desert<br />

Vipers, Dubai Capitals, Gulf Giants, MI<br />

Emirates, and Sharjah Warriors. This<br />

initiative focuses on players under the<br />

age of 18 and boasts the participation<br />

of 35 schools vying for the coveted<br />

title of ILT20 Schools Cup Champion.<br />

Moreover, this endeavour fosters a<br />

strong connection between the franchises<br />

and schoolchildren within their<br />

respective cities, further nurturing the<br />

future of UAE cricket.<br />

Surfing Legend Kelly Slater Takes on UAE<br />

Waves at Hudayriyat Island<br />

Surf Abu Dhabi rolled out the<br />

red carpet for the legendary<br />

Kelly Slater, the 11-time world<br />

champion and revered professional<br />

surfer. Slater, in partnership<br />

with Modon Properties, spearheaded<br />

the creation of the world’s most advanced<br />

wave facility at Hudayriyat<br />

Island, which has garnered acclaim for<br />

hosting the world’s lengthiest ride, the<br />

largest barrel, and the most extensive<br />

man-made wave setup globally. <strong>The</strong><br />

eagerly anticipated Surf Abu Dhabi is<br />

Saudi eyes $5B IPL Investment<br />

Saudi Arabia is reportedly exploring<br />

a significant investment in the<br />

Indian Premier League (IPL),<br />

the world’s wealthiest cricket<br />

league, as part of its broader strategy to<br />

slated to open its doors later this year,<br />

and it has already made a splash on<br />

social media with awe-inspiring videos<br />

of Kelly Slater and other surfing luminaries<br />

conquering the artificial waves.<br />

Positioned on Hudayriyat Island, a hub<br />

for sports, leisure, and recreation, this<br />

elite-level surfing haven is set to join<br />

a slew of prestigious additions to the<br />

city’s sports infrastructure, including a<br />

3,500-seat velodrome, perfectly equipped<br />

for staging international indoor cycling<br />

competitions.<br />

diversify its national economy through<br />

sports ventures, Saudi Crown Prince<br />

Mohammed bin Salman has engaged<br />

in discussions with Indian government<br />

officials regarding a potential $5B stake<br />

in the IPL. If realised, this investment<br />

could value the IPL at over $30B.<br />

Despite being just 16 years old, the<br />

IPL has achieved remarkable global<br />

popularity and holds substantial brand<br />

value, boasting sought-after media<br />

rights, with a recent broadcast deal<br />

fetching $6.2B, extending coverage<br />

until 2027. A possible investment from<br />

Saudi Arabia could see the IPL expand<br />

to other countries as the global interest<br />

in T20 cricket increases.<br />

Saudi Arabia Sole<br />

Bidder for 2034 <strong>World</strong><br />

Cup, FIFA Announces<br />

Saudi Arabia stands as the lone<br />

contender in the race to host<br />

the 2034 FIFA <strong>World</strong> Cup, according<br />

to FIFA, after the global<br />

football governing body revealed that<br />

no other football association submitted<br />

a bid before the October 31 deadline.<br />

Australia, initially seen as a potential<br />

host, withdrew its bid, with Football<br />

Australia (FA) stating that, after careful<br />

consideration, they decided not to<br />

pursue hosting the 2034 competition.<br />

While Saudi Arabia has taken the lead<br />

as the only bidder, FIFA’s official approval<br />

of the nation as the host for the<br />

2034 <strong>World</strong> Cup is anticipated to be<br />

confirmed in the coming year.<br />

78 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>World</strong> Tennis League season 2 to feature top tennis stars in Abu Dhabi<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>World</strong> Tennis League’s<br />

season two tournament at Yas<br />

Island’s Etihad Arena in Abu<br />

Dhabi, running from <strong>December</strong><br />

21 to 24, will showcase an array<br />

of top tennis talent. Women’s world<br />

No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka and men’s<br />

world No. 3 Daniil Medvedev are set to<br />

headline the event. <strong>The</strong>y will be joined<br />

by world No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas, the<br />

Australian Open finalist, and world<br />

No. 6 Andrey Rublev, a <strong>2023</strong> Grand<br />

Slam quarter-finalist, along with other<br />

elite tennis players. <strong>The</strong> tournament’s<br />

format features four teams competing<br />

in men’s and women’s singles and doubles,<br />

as well as mixed doubles, with<br />

the top two teams battling for the title<br />

on <strong>December</strong> 24, the concluding day<br />

of the event.<br />

Impressive Participation in the 5th Labour Sports<br />

Tournament Running Competition<br />

An astounding turnout of over<br />

3,500 dedicated labourers<br />

hailing from various companies<br />

and corporations marked<br />

the running competition within the 5th<br />

edition of the Labour Sports Tournament<br />

held in Dubai. <strong>The</strong> spirited event<br />

unfolded within the labourers’ residential<br />

enclave at Muhaisna 4, featuring two<br />

distinct race distances: 5km and 3km.<br />

In the fiercely contested 5km race, Sada<br />

Dafla, representing Enoc Petroleum<br />

Company, clinched the top position,<br />

closely followed by Atheophylode<br />

IPL 2024 auction to be held in Dubai<br />

<strong>The</strong> IPL is set to make history<br />

with its 2024 player auction,<br />

taking place in Dubai on<br />

<strong>December</strong> 19. It’s the first<br />

time the season opener has ventured<br />

overseas and provides teams<br />

the opportunity to recruit for the<br />

upcoming 2024 season. By November<br />

15, all 10 IPL teams must submit their<br />

lists of retained players, shaping the<br />

player pool for the auction. Each<br />

Abekha and Elias Milobath, both from<br />

Enoc, securing the second and third<br />

positions, respectively. Meanwhile, in<br />

the 3km race, Abdul Majid Othman of<br />

Enoc Co. triumphed, with Emmanuel<br />

Akwete Sikoko from Petronash seizing<br />

the second spot, and Swati Kumar Suru,<br />

another colleague from Petronash,<br />

securing the third. <strong>The</strong> medals and<br />

trophies were graciously distributed<br />

by Abdulla Shukri, Secretary General<br />

of the Permanent Committee of Labour<br />

Affairs in Dubai.<br />

team will have a budget of INR 100<br />

crore ($12M) to craft their new squad,<br />

an increase from the INR 95 crore<br />

($11.4M) allotted in the previous year.<br />

Team budgets will vary based on the<br />

value of released players and unspent<br />

funds from previous auctions. Players<br />

such as Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins,<br />

Chris Woakes, Travis Head, and Gerald<br />

Coetzee are rumoured to be available<br />

this year.<br />

Abu Dhabi Golf Club to<br />

host LIV Golf Promotions<br />

event<br />

<strong>The</strong> highly anticipated Promotions<br />

event, a significant<br />

development within the Public<br />

Investment Fund (PIF)-<br />

backed LIV Golf, has been officially<br />

scheduled for <strong>December</strong> 8-10 in the<br />

UAE. This unique tournament, taking<br />

place at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club,<br />

offers a distinct twist on Qualifying<br />

School events worldwide by featuring<br />

a substantial $1.5M prize pool.<br />

Competing over four rounds in three<br />

days, with the final day including 36<br />

holes, the top three finishers will earn<br />

coveted spots in one of the LIV Golf<br />

teams for the 2024 season. Greg Norman,<br />

LIV Golf Commissioner and CEO<br />

emphasised how LIV Golf Promotions<br />

creates a global pathway for top and<br />

emerging talents, offering opportunities<br />

that are transforming the sport<br />

on an international scale. <strong>The</strong> event<br />

follows the success of LIV Golf’s inaugural<br />

full season, which featured 14<br />

events, further solidifying the league’s<br />

commitment to open competition and<br />

meritocracy in the sport.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 79

Tourism<br />

Beyond Borders: GCC Unified Visa and<br />

the Future of Gulf Tourism<br />

<strong>The</strong> Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has long been recognized for<br />

its economic prowess and cultural richness. Comprising six member<br />

states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United<br />

Arab Emirates — the GCC region has become a global hub for business,<br />

trade, and tourism. In a groundbreaking move, the member states<br />

are now contemplating the implementation of a unified visa system<br />

that aims to simplify travel procedures, boost tourism, and enhance<br />

economic integration. This initiative, known as the GCC Unified Visa,<br />

holds the promise of transforming the Gulf’s tourism landscape and<br />

fostering closer collaboration among member states.<br />

80 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Supporting tourism in any GCC country is<br />

considered supporting tourism in all GCC countries.<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates has<br />

consistently positioned itself<br />

as a front-runner in economic<br />

growth, and one of its primary tools for<br />

building a strong non-oil economy has<br />

been tourism. With the UAE’s visionary<br />

efforts propelling the ongoing expansion<br />

of its tourism sector, the recent<br />

introduction of the GCC Unified Visa is<br />

anticipated to have a favourable impact<br />

on the country’s tourism landscape.<br />

<strong>The</strong> GCC Unified Visa seeks to<br />

streamline the often complex and<br />

time-consuming visa processes that<br />

tourists currently face when moving<br />

between member states. Once implemented,<br />

visitors will be able to obtain<br />

a single visa that grants them access to<br />

all six countries, eliminating the need<br />

for multiple applications and reducing<br />

bureaucratic hurdles. This move is expected<br />

to attract a more diverse range<br />

of tourists, from business travellers to<br />

leisure seekers, making the Gulf a more<br />

accessible and enticing destination.<br />

<strong>The</strong> introduction of the unified visa<br />

is anticipated to have a profound impact<br />

on the tourism sector across the<br />

GCC. By simplifying travel logistics,<br />

the region aims to increase the influx<br />

of tourists, leading to a boost in hospitality,<br />

entertainment, and other related<br />

industries. This, in turn, will contribute<br />

significantly to economic growth and<br />

job creation in the member states.<br />

Moreover, the GCC Unified Visa<br />

aligns with the broader goal of economic<br />

diversification, a priority for<br />

many Gulf countries looking to reduce<br />

their dependency on oil revenues.<br />

Tourism has emerged as a key sector<br />

for economic diversification, and a<br />

unified visa system is a strategic step<br />

toward achieving this objective. <strong>The</strong><br />

initiative is poised to enhance the attractiveness<br />

of the Gulf as a destination<br />

for both leisure and business travel,<br />

ultimately driving a more sustainable<br />

and resilient economy.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Statista report revealed that<br />

the hospitality industry in the GCC is<br />

expected to increase by 68% by 2026,<br />

and GCC countries are making significant<br />

efforts to boost their economies<br />

by investing in tourism. This includes<br />

the development of several luxury<br />

resorts, and tourist attractions, and<br />

the preservation of cultural heritage in<br />

all six countries. <strong>The</strong>se advancements<br />

define this as the right time for the<br />

introduction of the GCC Unified Visa.<br />

<strong>The</strong> GCC unified visa presents an<br />

additional advantage for the millions<br />

of Muslims embarking on journeys to<br />

Saudi Arabia for religious reasons. This<br />

unified visa streamlines the process,<br />

enabling them to explore the other six<br />

countries without the burden of acquiring<br />

individual visas. Furthermore, this<br />

development opens up the possibility<br />

for travellers to plan their Umrah pilgrimage<br />

while simultaneously visiting<br />

other Gulf countries, potentially giving<br />

a substantial boost to tourism across<br />

multiple nations.<br />

Beyond the economic benefits, the<br />

GCC Unified Visa holds the potential to<br />

facilitate greater cultural exchange and<br />

collaboration among member states. As<br />

tourists explore the diverse landscapes,<br />

historical sites, and vibrant cultures<br />

of the Gulf, they will contribute to a<br />

richer tapestry of shared experiences.<br />

This cross-cultural interaction has the<br />

power to strengthen the bonds between<br />

the member states, fostering a sense<br />

of unity and cooperation that extends<br />

beyond economic ties.<br />

While the vision of a GCC Unified<br />

Visa is promising, it is not without its<br />

challenges. Coordination among member<br />

states, alignment of immigration<br />

policies, and addressing security concerns<br />

are critical aspects that require<br />

careful attention. Furthermore, effective<br />

communication and public awareness<br />

campaigns will be essential to ensure<br />

that tourists are well-informed about<br />

the new visa system and its advantages.<br />

<strong>The</strong> GCC Unified Visa represents a<br />

significant step forward in the Gulf’s<br />

quest to position itself as a premier tourist<br />

destination and a hub for economic<br />

activity. By breaking down barriers<br />

to travel, member states are not only<br />

opening their doors to the world but<br />

also laying the foundation for a more<br />

integrated and interconnected Gulf<br />

region. As the initiative moves from<br />

concept to reality, its success will be<br />

measured not only by economic indicators<br />

but also by the strength of the<br />

cultural bridges it builds and the lasting<br />

impact on the collective identity of the<br />

Gulf Cooperation Council. <strong>The</strong> future<br />

of Gulf tourism looks promising, with<br />

the GCC Unified Visa paving the way<br />

for a new era of collaboration, growth,<br />

and shared prosperity.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 81

Investment in Tourism<br />

<strong>The</strong> rise of tourism in the UAE, exploring<br />

crucial assets for potential growth<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a global tourism<br />

hotspot, captivating travellers with its blend of modernity, luxury, and<br />

cultural richness. <strong>The</strong> country’s journey from a desert landscape to a<br />

thriving tourism hub is a testament to its strategic vision, investment<br />

in infrastructure, and commitment to offering diverse experiences to<br />

visitors from around the world.<br />

82 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Decades ago, the UAE was primarily<br />

known for its vast deserts<br />

and pearl diving. However,<br />

visionary leadership recognised the<br />

potential of tourism and began investing<br />

in transforming the country into a<br />

destination appealing to a wide range<br />

of travellers. Today, the UAE presents<br />

a mosaic of tourism offerings, encompassing<br />

a wide range of attractions and<br />

experiences tailored to suit diverse<br />

interests and preferences.<br />

This transformation has been mirrored<br />

in the impressive growth of the<br />

UAE’s travel and tourism sector from<br />

2016 to 2027. In 2016, it contributed<br />

AED 68.5 billion, equivalent to 5.2%<br />

of the GDP, projected to rise by 5.1%<br />

annually, reaching AED 116.1 billion by<br />

2027, making up 5.4% of the total GDP.<br />

Additionally, the sector’s total contribution<br />

to the GDP was AED 159.1<br />

billion in 2016, composing 12.1% of the<br />

GDP, expected to grow by 4.9% yearly,<br />

reaching AED 264.5 billion by 2027,<br />

constituting 12.4% of the GDP.<br />

Employment in the sector directly<br />

supported 317,500 jobs in 2016, estimated<br />

to reach 410,000 jobs by 2027,<br />

forming 5.9% of total employment.<br />

Indirectly, the sector contributed to<br />

10.4% of total employment, accounting<br />

for 617,500 jobs in 2016, projected<br />

to rise to 770,000 jobs by 2027, comprising<br />

11.1% of total employment.<br />

Remarkably, investments in the travel<br />

and tourism sector, amounting to<br />

AED 26.2 billion in 2016, are expected<br />

to surge by 11% annually over<br />

the next decade, reaching AED 74.5<br />

billion in 2027, forming 11.2% of total<br />

investments.<br />

<strong>The</strong> establishment of the Emirates<br />

Tourism Council in January 2021<br />

marks a pivotal step by the UAE Cabinet<br />

to fortify the nation’s tourism<br />

landscape. Designed to align with the<br />

UAE Centennial 2071 and the country’s<br />

overarching aspirations, the council’s<br />

primary objective is to craft a comprehensive<br />

tourism strategy. This strategy<br />

aims to integrate all pertinent local<br />

authorities and departments while<br />

actively suggesting and refining policies<br />

and legislations that bolster the<br />

tourism sector and align with national<br />

tourism development plans.<br />

<strong>The</strong> council’s multifaceted responsibilities<br />

include fostering the growth of<br />

tourism industries, attracting substantial<br />

investments into the sector, proposing<br />

economic incentives to stimulate<br />

its expansion, and establishing<br />

With its strategic<br />

investments,<br />

commitment to<br />

innovation, and<br />

diverse offerings,<br />

the UAE has<br />

positioned itself<br />

as a magnet<br />

for tourists<br />

worldwide.<br />

a comprehensive national tourism<br />

database. Additionally, a key focus lies<br />

in supporting small and medium-sized<br />

enterprises (SMEs) operating within<br />

the tourism sector, underlining the<br />

council’s commitment to fostering a<br />

thriving and inclusive tourism ecosystem<br />

in the UAE.1. Iconic Landmarks<br />

While the UAE is renowned for its<br />

modernity, it cherishes its rich cultural<br />

heritage. <strong>The</strong> country celebrates its<br />

traditions through events, museums,<br />

and heritage villages that offer visitors<br />

a glimpse into its history, art, and<br />

customs. Al Fahidi Historic District<br />

in Dubai and the Heritage Village in<br />

Abu Dhabi are prime examples of<br />

preserving Emirati culture.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ministry of Culture and Youth’s<br />

latest endeavour, the Modern Architectural<br />

Heritage of UAE initiative,<br />

seeks to honour and safeguard the<br />

nation’s architectural heritage developed<br />

post-1960. This initiative aims to<br />

raise awareness about the significance<br />

of these structures in shaping the<br />

country’s identity and history. By spotlighting<br />

buildings and structures from<br />

this era, the ministry strives to engage<br />

stakeholders and the community, fostering<br />

research, documentation, and<br />

conservation efforts. This long-term<br />

initiative not only aims at preserving<br />

history but also at enhancing the country’s<br />

global cultural and architectural<br />

standing, eventually enhancing cultural<br />

tourism in the country.<br />

Recognising the importance of sustainability,<br />

the UAE has embarked<br />

on various initiatives to promote<br />

eco-friendly tourism. Projects like<br />

<strong>The</strong> Green Planet, sustainable hotels,<br />

and efforts to protect its diverse<br />

ecosystems demonstrate a commitment<br />

to preserving the environment<br />

while catering to the growing tourism<br />

demands.<br />

In Abu Dhabi, the Department of<br />

Culture and Tourism spearheads a dedicated<br />

effort toward sustainable tourism<br />

development within the emirate.<br />

This comprehensive approach involves<br />

meticulous annual sustainability reporting,<br />

ensuring transparency and<br />

accountability in the region’s tourism<br />

practices. <strong>The</strong> department actively<br />

initiates and implements innovative<br />

‘green’ tourism and hotel programs,<br />

fostering environmentally conscious<br />

practices across the hospitality sector.<br />

Furthermore, the department<br />

organises impactful exhibitions and<br />

conferences focused on environmental<br />

issues, creating platforms that encourage<br />

dialogue, knowledge-sharing,<br />

and collaboration to further elevate<br />

sustainable tourism initiatives in Abu<br />

Dhabi. Through these concerted efforts,<br />

Abu Dhabi continues to position<br />

itself as a global leader in promoting<br />

sustainable practices within its vibrant<br />

tourism landscape.<br />

Moreover, emphasising the pivotal<br />

role of sustainable strategies, Abdullah<br />

bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of<br />

Economy and Head of the Emirates<br />

Tourism Council articulated the UAE’s<br />

commitment to the Tourism Strategy<br />

2031, aiming to position the country<br />

as a premier global tourist destination,<br />

welcoming 40 million guests and<br />

contributing AED 450 billion to the<br />

GDP by 2031. In collaboration with<br />

the Emirates Tourism Council and<br />

local authorities, this strategic vision<br />

underscores the country’s dedication<br />

to sustainable tourism growth.<br />

As the country navigates through<br />

new challenges and opportunities, its<br />

ability to evolve while staying true to<br />

its roots will undoubtedly shape the<br />

future of tourism in the region.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 83

Global News<br />

India’s Adani Green in talks to raise $1.8B loan<br />

Adani Green Energy, the renewable<br />

energy subsidiary<br />

of India’s Adani Group, is<br />

reportedly in discussions<br />

with foreign lenders to secure a loan<br />

of up to $1.8B for the expansion of its<br />

solar and wind projects. <strong>The</strong> potential<br />

lenders include Deutsche Bank, Standard<br />

Chartered Plc, Barclays Plc, BNP<br />

Paribas SA, First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC,<br />

and Rabobank, according to sources.<br />

If finalised before <strong>December</strong>, this<br />

loan could rank among the 20 largest<br />

major currency loans in Asia for the<br />

year. <strong>The</strong> funds are sought to support<br />

capacity building in renewable energy,<br />

and Adani Group has been exploring<br />

opportunities to raise up to $4B for its<br />

green hydrogen initiatives in a separate<br />

effort. French oil major TotalEnergies<br />

recently announced a $300M Investment<br />

in renewable capacity in India<br />

in collaboration with Adani Green.<br />

Hamburg skyscraper<br />

construction halted<br />

in a grim sign for the<br />

German property sector<br />

Construction of one of Germany’s<br />

tallest buildings, the<br />

64-story Elbtower skyscraper<br />

in Hamburg, has come to an<br />

abrupt halt as developer Signa, an<br />

Austrian property giant, failed to make<br />

payments to its builder, Lupp. <strong>The</strong> interruption,<br />

amid a troubled property sector<br />

in Germany, raises concerns about the<br />

tower’s future. With an estimated value<br />

of €1.3B ($1.38B) upon completion, the<br />

project’s halt is concerning for both<br />

the real estate market and the local<br />

economy. Germany’s property sector,<br />

previously a significant contributor<br />

to the country’s economy, has faced<br />

challenges due to changing market<br />

dynamics and economic uncertainties.<br />

Bank of England Maintains 15-Y High Rates, Excludes<br />

Swift Cuts for Economic Aid<br />

<strong>The</strong> Bank of England, in its<br />

latest decision, has opted to<br />

maintain interest rates at a<br />

15-year peak, demonstrating<br />

its commitment to addressing the highest<br />

inflation among major developed<br />

economies. Despite economic forecasts<br />

suggesting the UK is teetering on the<br />

edge of a recession and projecting<br />

stagnation in the coming years, the BoE<br />

has kept the Bank Rate at 5.25% for the<br />

second consecutive meeting, following<br />

14 consecutive rate hikes. <strong>The</strong> central<br />

bank emphasised that borrowing costs<br />

would remain elevated, even though<br />

only around half of the impact of the<br />

previous rate increases has been realised<br />

in the economy. <strong>The</strong> Monetary<br />

Policy Committee (MPC) voted 6-3 to<br />

maintain the benchmark rate, aligning<br />

with the expectations of economists.<br />

<strong>The</strong> BoE’s latest projections indicate<br />

that monetary policy will likely need<br />

to remain restrictive for an extended<br />

period, and further tightening may be<br />

required in the presence of persistent<br />

inflationary pressure.<br />

India’s Tata Motors posts fourth consecutive<br />

quarterly profit<br />

Tata Motors, the Indian automaker,<br />

reported its fourth<br />

consecutive quarterly profit,<br />

driven by increased sales of<br />

its luxury Jaguar Land Rover (JLR)<br />

vehicles, resulting in improved profit<br />

margins. For the July-September<br />

quarter, the company achieved a consolidated<br />

net profit of 37.64 billion<br />

rupees ($452M), marking a significant<br />

turnaround from a loss of 9.45 billion<br />

rupees in the same period a year earlier<br />

and a profit of 32.03 billion rupees in<br />

the preceding quarter. This positive<br />

financial performance underscores the<br />

resilience and recovery of Tata Motors,<br />

with JLR’s enhanced sales contributing<br />

to the company’s profitability.<br />

84 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

UK PM Sunak to lead AI summit talks before Musk meeting<br />

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak<br />

is convening meetings with<br />

representatives from the<br />

United States, the European<br />

Union, and the United Nations to<br />

discuss measures for ensuring the<br />

safe development of AI. This follows<br />

Sunak’s success in gaining China’s<br />

support for an international initiative<br />

aimed at addressing AI risks. <strong>The</strong><br />

discussions are taking place during<br />

the inaugural Artificial Intelligence<br />

Safety Summit at Bletchley Park,<br />

and the agenda includes sessions<br />

with “like-minded” countries and tech<br />

companies such as OpenAI, Anthropic,<br />

Google DeepMind, Microsoft, Meta,<br />

and xAI. Topics include state-backed<br />

testing and evaluation of AI models<br />

before their release. <strong>The</strong> goal is to<br />

establish safeguards and regulations to<br />

manage the rapid advancement of AI,<br />

which some believe poses existential<br />

threats if not controlled.<br />

Apple sees a lot of<br />

headroom for growth<br />

in India, CEO Tim Cook<br />

says<br />

India remains a central focus for<br />

Apple’s future growth, according<br />

to CEO Tim Cook. During the company’s<br />

recent earnings conference<br />

call, Cook emphasised the growing importance<br />

of India for the tech giant. He<br />

noted that there is significant room for<br />

expansion in the country due to Apple’s<br />

relatively low market share in the vast<br />

Indian market. Cook highlighted the<br />

increasing emergence of a middle class<br />

and improved distribution. India’s growth<br />

potential is exemplified by the success<br />

of Apple’s two retail stores in the region,<br />

exceeding expectations. However, Apple<br />

has faced controversy in India over recent<br />

threat alerts sent to certain iPhone users,<br />

including opposition MPs and journalists,<br />

prompting scrutiny from the Ministry of<br />

Electronics and Information Technology.<br />

Global $4T Investment Essential for Achieving Net<br />

Zero Emissions by 2050<br />

A<br />

profound and imperative shift<br />

is on the horizon, demanding<br />

an annual global investment<br />

of a staggering $4T to attain<br />

net-zero emissions by 2050 and avert<br />

catastrophic temperature increases<br />

beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius. Experts<br />

underscored this urgency at a management<br />

summit, highlighting the pivotal<br />

role that the MENA investor community<br />

can play in realising this ambitious target.<br />

During the Alternative Investment<br />

Management Summit (AIM), Badr Jafar,<br />

CEO of Crescent Enterprises and COP28<br />

Special Representative of Business &<br />

Philanthropy, urged attendees to seize<br />

platforms like AIM to raise their environmental<br />

ambitions. He stressed the<br />

importance of developing a sustainable<br />

green agenda that not only safeguards<br />

the environment but also fosters social<br />

and economic progress. AIM’s recent<br />

iteration served as a convergence point<br />

for investors and managers across a<br />

spectrum of alternative investment<br />

sectors, including hedge funds, private<br />

equity, venture capital, private<br />

debt, digital assets, and fintech. This<br />

gathering facilitated connections with<br />

global industry leaders, fostering collaborative<br />

endeavours.<br />

Americana Posts Strong <strong>2023</strong> Revenue Growth and Increased Profits<br />

Americana Restaurants has<br />

released its financial results<br />

for the first nine months of<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, showcasing impressive<br />

achievements. <strong>The</strong> company reported<br />

a total revenue of $1,897M, marking<br />

a substantial 7.1 percent growth<br />

compared to the same period in 2022.<br />

Moreover, the adjusted EBITDA saw<br />

a remarkable increase of 10.4 percent,<br />

reaching $446.5M. This revenue growth<br />

was attributed to a combination of<br />

like-for-like revenue expansion and the<br />

expansion of the restaurant portfolio<br />

across the company’s operating regions<br />

in the Middle East, North Africa, and<br />

Kazakhstan. Americana Restaurants<br />

recorded a 6.0 percent increase in likefor-like<br />

revenues during the nine months,<br />

driven by the strong performance of<br />

its key brands: KFC, Pizza Hut, and<br />

Hardee’s. For the third quarter of<br />

<strong>2023</strong>, Americana Restaurants reported<br />

revenues of $655.5M, reflecting a solid<br />

growth of 5.9 percent in comparison<br />

to the same period the previous year.<br />

Net profit for the quarter increased to<br />

$81.9M, a notable rise of 9.9 percent<br />

over the third quarter of 2022. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

results indicate a robust and promising<br />

financial outlook for the company in<br />

the year <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 85

Investment in Art<br />

Brushing Wealth: Companies Paving<br />

the Way for Art as Business in the UAE<br />

In recent times, the convergence of art and investment has become a compelling<br />

realm, capturing the interest of art enthusiasts and seasoned investors alike.<br />

This fusion of cultural appreciation with the potential for financial returns<br />

has given rise to an intriguing landscape where art transforms into not just<br />

a thing of beauty but a viable investment asset. Amidst this evolving space,<br />

three noteworthy companies have emerged in the UAE, providing platforms<br />

that bridge the gap between art appreciation and investment opportunities.<br />

While not pioneering in the traditional sense, these companies stand at the<br />

forefront, reshaping the conventional approach to investing by unlocking<br />

the value and potential of art.<br />

Fine Art Middle East (FAME)<br />

Salma Shaheem,<br />

Founder<br />

Fine Art Middle East Trading LLC<br />

(FAME), founded in 2012 by Salma<br />

Shaheem in partnership with<br />

<strong>The</strong> Fine Art Group, has emerged as a<br />

pioneering force in the vicinity of art<br />

investment and advisory businesses<br />

in Dubai. FAME is distinguished by<br />

its commitment to offering collectors<br />

in the Middle East comprehensive guidance<br />

within the global art market and<br />

alternative investment opportunities.<br />

At the heart of FAME’s mission is<br />

86 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

a dedication to collaborating closely<br />

with clients to curate financially sound<br />

art collections that align with their tastes<br />

and passions. <strong>The</strong> synergy between<br />

<strong>The</strong> Fine Art Group’s extensive art<br />

knowledge, financial expertise, and<br />

global networks, coupled with Salma<br />

Shaheem’s profound understanding<br />

of the Middle Eastern art market,<br />

positions FAME as a trusted partner<br />

for collectors and institutions alike.<br />

FAME’s team of in-house experts<br />

spans a spectrum of art genres, ranging<br />

from Old Masters to Post War<br />

and Contemporary art. In the UAE,<br />

the focus shifts to Middle Eastern art<br />

and emerging global art markets. <strong>The</strong><br />

company’s expertise covers various<br />

aspects of the art world, including<br />

advice on buying, selling, collection<br />

management, and managed portfolios.<br />

For those seeking advice on buying,<br />

FAME excels in creating diversified<br />

portfolios, sourcing artworks, facilitating<br />

private sales, and even commissioning<br />

bespoke art pieces. On the<br />

selling front, the company provides<br />

a thorough assessment of market<br />

conditions, formulates effective sales<br />

strategies, manages auction and private<br />

sale consignments, and oversees<br />

pre-sale and post-sale logistics.<br />

In the area of collection management,<br />

FAME offers meticulous cataloguing<br />

and database management,<br />

along with comprehensive logistics<br />

such as insurance and storage. <strong>The</strong><br />

company also specialises in managed<br />

portfolios, tailoring them to reflect the<br />

unique tastes and interests of clients<br />

while simultaneously maximising longterm<br />

capital gains and ensuring asset<br />

protection.<br />

Beyond these core services, FAME<br />

goes the extra mile by offering additional<br />

services, including third-party<br />

valuations, introductions to key service<br />

providers, art fair guidance, and<br />

assistance with auction previews and<br />

exhibitions. Through this comprehensive<br />

suite of services, FAME solidifies<br />

its status as a go-to resource for<br />

individuals seeking expertise in art<br />

investments, providing a seamless and<br />

strategic approach to navigating the<br />

dynamic world of art collecting and<br />


ARTUAE<br />

Founded in 2010 by Sathar Al<br />

Karan, ARTUAE stands as a<br />

prominent entity in the art investment<br />

consultancy landscape,<br />

offering a spectrum of services, including<br />

art consultancy, exhibitions, and<br />

art events for institutions and public<br />

buildings in the United Arab Emirates<br />

(UAE) and globally. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

specialises in curating a diverse range<br />

of art forms, including sculptural artwork,<br />

installations, new media, canvas,<br />

projections, video, light, and kinetic<br />

art pieces, meticulously developed<br />

and strategically placed to perfection.<br />

ART UAE operates as a professional<br />

partner for art-related services in key<br />

locations such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi,<br />

Italy, and Zurich, Switzerland. Sathar<br />

Al Karan, the founder, has demonstrated<br />

strategic prowess in navigating<br />

international markets, starting from<br />

the ground up and leveraging growth.<br />

His adept manoeuvring includes securing<br />

Royal sponsors, establishing<br />

active partnerships, collaborating<br />

with legal houses, and engaging with<br />

VIP professionals. Notably, Sathar has<br />

played a pivotal role in designing Royal<br />

offices, employing a comprehensive<br />

approach from concept to execution,<br />

and has seamlessly integrated direct<br />

marketing and advertising campaigns<br />

into the company’s portfolio.<br />

A cornerstone of ART UAE’s vision<br />

is to deliver top-of-the-line quality and<br />

competent business support services,<br />

facilitating full access and establishment<br />

for clients in the region. Sathar<br />

Al Karan and his team are recognised<br />

as gateways to the Middle East, offering<br />

a unique perspective and expertise<br />

in navigating the dynamic art<br />

landscape of the UAE. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

commitment to excellence is evident in<br />

its mission to go beyond expectations,<br />

exceed horizons, and set milestones in<br />

the realm of art consultancy.<br />

ART UAE’s professional service<br />

Sathar Al Karan,<br />

CEO and Founder<br />

organisation extends expert assistance<br />

to companies worldwide looking to establish<br />

a presence in the Middle East.<br />

<strong>The</strong> efforts of its management and<br />

team, combined with the collaboration<br />

of professional and skilled personnel,<br />

have positioned ART UAE as a reliable<br />

provider of business support setups.<br />

Vivium Holding<br />

Elie Khouri,<br />

CEO and Founder<br />

Vivium Holding, founded in 2017<br />

by Elie Khouri, stands out in<br />

the landscape of single-family<br />

offices as a dynamic entity with a distinctive<br />

focus on alternative investing<br />

and the cultivation of enduring businesses.<br />

At the core of Vivium Holding’s<br />

strategy is a global network and a<br />

diverse range of interests, allowing<br />

the company to explore opportunities<br />

across the spectrum of both traditional<br />

and alternative investments. Notably,<br />

Vivium Holding emphasises real estate,<br />

technology, and the captivating world<br />

of art and design.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s commitment to longevity<br />

and value creation is evident<br />

in its guiding philosophy, influenced<br />

by Elie Khouri’s passion and patronage<br />

of the arts. This extends beyond<br />

financial considerations, as Vivium<br />

Holding actively seeks opportunities<br />

that embody exceptional craftsmanship,<br />

differentiated experiences, and<br />

tailor-made ventures designed to stand<br />

the test of time.<br />

In the realm of art investments, Vivium<br />

Holding showcases a discerning<br />

eye for opportunities that go beyond<br />

mere financial gains. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

dedication to the arts is further emphasised<br />

by its diverse investment portfolio,<br />

which includes fine wines and<br />

luxury watches. <strong>The</strong>se assets not only<br />

appreciate value but also represent<br />

a commitment to craftsmanship and<br />

exclusivity, mirroring the founder’s<br />

passion for enduring quality.<br />

Moreover, Vivium Holding extends<br />

its influence into the design world<br />

through strategic partnerships with<br />

leading European design furniture<br />

brands. This comprehensive approach<br />

adds a layer of aesthetic appreciation<br />

and functionality to the company’s<br />

diverse investment strategy, creating<br />

a nuanced and well-rounded portfolio.<br />

In the broader context of art investments,<br />

Vivium Holding emerges as a<br />

forward-thinking player that weaves<br />

together financial security and cultural<br />

appreciation. <strong>The</strong> company’s unique<br />

blend of interests, spanning real estate,<br />

technology, fine arts, and design,<br />

positions it as a dynamic force in the<br />

realm of single-family offices. Vivium<br />

Holding’s story is one of commitment<br />

to excellence, longevity, and a deep<br />

appreciation for the finer things in<br />

life, making it a notable player in the<br />

evolving landscape of art investments.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 87

Local News<br />

Dubai developer Union Properties’ accumulated losses hit $779M<br />

Dubai-listed real estate developer<br />

Union Properties disclosed<br />

accumulated losses of AED<br />

2.863B ($779.4M) in the third<br />

quarter of <strong>2023</strong>, constituting 66.75% of its<br />

paid-up capital. <strong>The</strong>se losses stemmed<br />

from various factors, including fair value<br />

losses on investment properties in 2017<br />

and 2021, a loss on the disposal of an<br />

associate in 2020, losses and impairments<br />

from financial instruments, and asset<br />

disposals to related parties in 2020 and<br />

2021. Provisions against advances to<br />

contractors in 2021 also contributed.<br />

Union Properties had previously outlined<br />

a plan to address these accumulated<br />

losses. Notably, in <strong>2023</strong>, they reported an<br />

accumulated profit of AED 37.4M from<br />

January to September.<br />

UAE looks to invest<br />

close to $50B in India<br />

UAE is considering a potential<br />

investment of up to $50B<br />

in India, with preliminary<br />

commitments expected to be<br />

announced in the coming year. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

investments may involve stakes in<br />

critical Indian infrastructure projects<br />

and state-owned assets, and could<br />

potentially include contributions from<br />

UAE sovereign wealth funds like the Abu<br />

Dhabi Investment Authority, Mubadala<br />

Investment Co., and ADQ, as reported by<br />

unnamed sources. <strong>The</strong> announcements<br />

are anticipated before Indian Prime<br />

Minister Narendra Modi seeks a third<br />

term in upcoming federal elections.<br />

India is the UAE’s second-largest trade<br />

partner, with bilateral trade reaching<br />

$84.5B in the year from April 2022 to<br />

March <strong>2023</strong>, and the two countries have<br />

strengthened trade ties through the<br />

Comprehensive Economic Partnership<br />

Agreement (Cepa).<br />

New UAE construction sector enquiries hit 5-year<br />

high in Q3<br />

In Q3 <strong>2023</strong>, construction activity in<br />

the UAE reached a five-year high<br />

in terms of new business inquiries,<br />

as reported by the Royal Institution<br />

of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) global<br />

construction monitor. <strong>The</strong> headline<br />

construction activity index recorded<br />

a strong positive reading of 45%, with<br />

the private residential sector leading<br />

the way with a sentiment score of<br />

56%, while all other sectors remained<br />

well within positive territory. RICS<br />

PureHealth, the Middle East’s<br />

largest healthcare platform,<br />

recently celebrated the winners<br />

of the Trailblazers competition,<br />

the second edition themed “Trailblazers<br />

IMPACT,” at a grand finale hosted at the<br />

Louvre Abu Dhabi. Aligned with the<br />

UAE leadership’s vision for fostering<br />

innovation and talent, the Trailblazers<br />

initiative serves as a platform dedicated<br />

to nurturing ideas with a focus on<br />

humanitarianism, sustainability, and<br />

noted that construction activity in the<br />

country remains robust, and the future<br />

outlook appears positive. However,<br />

the UAE faces growth constraints due<br />

to shortages of skilled trades, labour,<br />

and rising material costs, influenced<br />

by competition from Saudi Arabia’s<br />

large projects in the region. Despite<br />

these challenges, the UAE is poised to<br />

maintain its status as a leading player<br />

in the global construction sector.<br />

PureHealth Group employees awarded for impact<br />

on social initiatives<br />

social impact. This edition emphasised<br />

concepts that drive positive change in<br />

health and safety solutions. <strong>The</strong> initiative<br />

signifies a significant stride toward a<br />

brighter future for the UAE, prioritising<br />

the welfare of its people, and offering a<br />

nurturing environment for innovative<br />

solutions that can contribute to a more<br />

sustainable and compassionate world,<br />

benefitting not just the UAE but all of<br />

humanity.<br />

88 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

UAE and India Ministries of Education Strengthen Collaboration<br />

<strong>The</strong> UAE Ministry of Education<br />

and its Indian counterpart<br />

have solidified their collaboration<br />

with a significant agreement<br />

aimed at enhancing cooperation<br />

and sharing educational expertise.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Memorandum of Understanding<br />

(MoU) was signed during the visit of<br />

Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s Minister<br />

for Education and Skill Development<br />

and Entrepreneurship, and his delegation<br />

to the UAE. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al<br />

Falasi, UAE Minister of Education, and<br />

Dharmendra Pradhan signed the MoU<br />

on behalf of their respective countries.<br />

Dr Al Falasi emphasised the historical<br />

and cultural ties between the UAE and<br />

India, highlighting the extensive collaboration<br />

in various sectors, particularly<br />

education. This collaboration fosters<br />

strong strategic relations, promising<br />

growth, progress, and prosperity in<br />

the future. Dr. Al Falasi emphasised<br />

the importance of this collaboration<br />

with India, which is expected to enhance<br />

the effectiveness, growth, and<br />

prosperity of the educational system<br />

in both countries.<br />

CBUAE encouraging<br />

banks to embrace<br />

digital transformation<br />

S&P’s report titled “Future of<br />

Banking” suggests that traditional<br />

and Neobanks can coexist<br />

in the UAE, each serving distinct<br />

customer segments with unique<br />

advantages. <strong>The</strong> study anticipates a<br />

growing reliance on Neobanks and<br />

digital services offered by traditional<br />

banks, supported by the UAE’s strong<br />

digital infrastructure and the population’s<br />

preference for digital banking.<br />

S&P believes that Neobanks won’t<br />

replace traditional banks but will add<br />

value for customers. <strong>The</strong> Central Bank<br />

of the UAE is expected to maintain<br />

the stability of the traditional banking<br />

system while encouraging digital<br />

transformation efforts. <strong>The</strong> high and<br />

increasing number of bank customers<br />

in the UAE, particularly those inclined<br />

towards digital banking services, is<br />

driven by the country’s robust digital<br />

infrastructure and high smartphone<br />

penetration, which reached 96.2 percent<br />

in 2022.<br />

EIU Forecasts 3% Economic Growth in the Middle<br />

East for Next Year<br />

<strong>The</strong> Economist Intelligence<br />

Unit’s (EIU) Middle East Outlook<br />

2024 predicts a robust<br />

economic growth of nearly<br />

three percent in the region next year.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Gulf Co‐operation Council (GCC)<br />

states are anticipated to overcome the<br />

global economic slowdown, driven by<br />

factors such as a relaxed OPEC+ oil<br />

production stance, strong growth in<br />

key Asian markets, and diversification<br />

strategies in trade and investment. <strong>The</strong><br />

Middle East remains pivotal for new<br />

Eurasian transport corridors, offering<br />

alternative trade routes. Saudi Arabia,<br />

the region’s largest economy, is set to<br />

phase out oil production cuts, with<br />

investments flowing into non-energy<br />

sectors as part of Vision 2030. Other<br />

GCC states like the UAE, Qatar, and<br />

Oman will also benefit from their diversification<br />

strategies.<br />

COP28 President Calls for Faster Climate<br />

<strong>Finance</strong> Action<br />

Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber,<br />

Minister of Industry and Advanced<br />

Technology and COP28<br />

President, emphasised the<br />

need for increased ambition in climate<br />

finance during a virtual meeting with<br />

the Presidents of nine major multilateral<br />

development banks (MDBs) and the<br />

Managing Director of the International<br />

Monetary Fund (IMF). Dr Al Jaber<br />

stressed the importance of addressing<br />

climate finance as a cornerstone of the<br />

COP28 Action Agenda and commended<br />

MDBs for their progress on reforms.<br />

He called for trillions, not billions, to<br />

address climate finance and outlined<br />

three key requests for MDBs: working<br />

through country platforms, revising<br />

climate finance targets for the coming<br />

years, and reducing private sector risks.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se actions are crucial in laying the<br />

foundations for a new climate finance<br />

framework. This meeting comes shortly<br />

after Pre-COP, which saw calls for reform<br />

and a Global Charter on Climate<br />

<strong>Finance</strong> by 2025.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 89

Travel<br />

4 Visa-Free Destinations For UAE<br />

Citizens to Visit this <strong>December</strong><br />

As the year comes to a close, UAE residents can find themselves with a delightful opportunity<br />

as four captivating visa-free destinations await exploration this <strong>December</strong>. Aligned with the<br />

UAE’s efforts as a visionary country, the benefits of residency extend beyond the luxurious<br />

confines of the nation, providing citizens with an array of international getaways that signify<br />

cultural richness, natural beauty, and vibrant experiences. From enchanting landscapes to<br />

historical treasures, these destinations offer an ideal escape for residents seeking to maximise<br />

their <strong>December</strong> holidays without the hassle of visa formalities.<br />

Belgrade, Serbia<br />

Belgrade, the capital of Serbia,<br />

sits at the meeting point of two<br />

rivers, the Sava and the Danube.<br />

It’s a city rich in history and alive with<br />

culture. UAE citizens can stay in Serbia<br />

for up to 90 days within 180 days from<br />

their first entry without requiring a<br />

visa. Travellers can explore its past by<br />

visiting landmarks like the Belgrade<br />

Fortress and the St. Sava Temple, which<br />

has unique stories. <strong>The</strong> city lights up<br />

at night with a vibrant nightlife scene,<br />

offering a range of places to enjoy music<br />

and entertainment. And when it comes<br />

to food, Belgrade doesn’t disappoint,<br />

with its delicious local cuisine waiting<br />

Dilijan, Armenia<br />

Dilijan, nestled in northern Armenia,<br />

is a peaceful escape surrounded by<br />

forests and stunning landscapes.<br />

Often called the “Little Switzerland<br />

of Armenia,” it’s perfect for nature<br />

lovers. Emirati nationals among UAE<br />

to be savoured.<br />

Serbia stands out as one of the most<br />

affordable European countries for travellers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> average flight from the UAE<br />

to Serbia typically amounts to around<br />

AED 800, and accommodations range<br />

from AED 100 to AED 600 per night at<br />

various hotels. While many attractions<br />

in Serbia are free to visit, some may<br />

have entry fees ranging from AED 20<br />

to 100. Moreover, enjoying a meal in<br />

the city averages around AED 34 per<br />

person, making it quite budget-friendly<br />

for travellers seeking affordable yet<br />

satisfying dining experiences.<br />

residents can explore Armenia without<br />

needing a visa; their visit comes at no<br />

cost. However, for foreign nationals<br />

residing in the UAE, an Armenian visa<br />

or e-visa is necessary before their trip<br />

to Armenia. You can explore beautiful<br />

hiking trails and find quiet spots like<br />

Lake Parz for relaxation. <strong>The</strong> town<br />

also boasts ancient monasteries like<br />

Haghartsin and Goshavank, showcasing<br />

Armenia’s religious and architectural<br />

history.<br />

Armenia is also among one of the<br />

most affordable European tourist destinations.<br />

<strong>The</strong> average flight from the<br />

UAE to Armenia typically amounts to<br />

around AED 500 from Abu Dhabi and<br />

AED 1,000 from Dubai, and accommodation<br />

typically starts from AED<br />

250 to AED 400 per night at various<br />

hotels. Additionally, enjoying a meal<br />

in the city comes to an average of<br />

AED 80 per person, offering travellers<br />

seeking affordable yet satisfying dining<br />

experiences a budget-friendly option.<br />

90 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Mahé, Seychelles<br />

Mahé, the largest island in Seychelles,<br />

is an idyllic paradise with stunning<br />

beaches and lush tropical landscapes.<br />

UAE residents are eligible to obtain<br />

an on-arrival visa upon their arrival<br />

in Seychelles.<br />

<strong>The</strong> island’s beaches, including the<br />

famous Beau Vallon, boast powdery<br />

sands and crystal-clear waters ideal for<br />

snorkelling and diving among vibrant<br />

coral reefs teeming with marine life.<br />

In contrast to its natural splendour,<br />

Mahé’s capital, Victoria, offers a vibrant<br />

glimpse into Seychellois culture. <strong>The</strong><br />

bustling Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market<br />

showcases an array of local spices,<br />

fruits, and crafts, while landmarks<br />

like the Clock Tower and the Victoria<br />

Botanical Gardens add historical and<br />

botanical intrigue to the island’s charm.<br />

Found in the eastern side of Africa,<br />

a flight from the UAE to Seychelles<br />

typically costs around AED 2,500,<br />

sometimes reaching up to AED 4,000.<br />

Accommodations on the island start<br />

from AED 1,000 to AED 1,500 per night,<br />

offering travellers various luxurious<br />

options for their stay. As for dining,<br />

an average meal comes in at around<br />

AED 80 per person.<br />

Kotor, Montenegro<br />

Situated within the stunning Bay of<br />

Kotor, recognised as a UNESCO<br />

<strong>World</strong> Heritage Site, this destination<br />

holds a mediaeval charm that<br />

captures the imagination of visitors.<br />

UAE nationals have visa-free access<br />

to Montenegro, while foreign passport<br />

holders with a UAE residence permit<br />

can obtain a visa upon arrival to enter<br />

Montenegro. Surrounded by sturdy<br />

city walls, Kotor’s old town is a maze<br />

of narrow streets, historical churches,<br />

and delightful squares. Kotor’s<br />

appeal extends beyond its historical<br />

significance, drawing visitors in with<br />

the breathtaking natural beauty that<br />

envelops this coastal gem.<br />

An average flight from the UAE<br />

to Kotor ranges from AED 650 to AED<br />

1,000. Accommodations typically cost<br />

around AED 250 per night, but savvy<br />

travellers can find rooms below this<br />

by doing a bit of research. <strong>The</strong> average<br />

cost of food is around AED 40 per<br />

person, making it an affordable trip<br />

to plan for the New Year.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 91

Travel News<br />

UAE announces visa-free travel to European country<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Arab Emirates (UAE)<br />

and Bosnia and Herzegovina<br />

have recently cemented their<br />

diplomatic relations by signing<br />

a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)<br />

that eliminates visa requirements for their<br />

citizens. This bilateral agreement, inked<br />

by Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, the<br />

UAE’s Minister of State for International<br />

Cooperation, and Elmedin Konakovic,<br />

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Minister of<br />

Foreign Affairs, is poised to bolster<br />

tourism, trade, and interpersonal connections<br />

between the two countries. Under<br />

this MoU, citizens of both the UAE and<br />

Bosnia and Herzegovina holding valid<br />

passports can now travel to each other’s<br />

nations without the need for a visa, be<br />

it for tourism, business activities, or<br />

short-term visits. This visa exemption<br />

is expected to foster cultural exchange,<br />

fuel economic growth, and invigorate<br />

tourism, ultimately strengthening the<br />

bond between these two nations.<br />

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea<br />

Global Unveils Luxurious<br />

Shebara Resort Brand<br />

Red Sea Global (RSG), the<br />

developer responsible for<br />

regenerative tourism destinations<br />

<strong>The</strong> Red Sea and<br />

Amaala, has introduced a new luxury<br />

resort brand called Shebara. This announcement<br />

was made at the <strong>World</strong><br />

Travel Market in London, with Shebara<br />

scheduled to open in the summer of<br />

2024. It will be the first resort owned<br />

and operated by RSG at <strong>The</strong> Red Sea<br />

destination. Situated on Sheybarah Island<br />

in Al Wajh Lagoon, Shebara boasts<br />

distinctive stainless steel orbs and is<br />

actively in the process of assembling<br />

an operational team in preparation for<br />

its opening. Shebara joins a roster of<br />

esteemed hospitality brands at <strong>The</strong> Red<br />

Sea destination, including St. Regis,<br />

Ritz Carlton Reserve, and Six Senses,<br />

which is already receiving guests.<br />

Sheybarah Island, home to Shebara,<br />

features a stunning 30 to 40-metre reef<br />

drop-off near the beach, providing an<br />

ideal location for exploring marine life.<br />

NEOM announces 3 new hotels in Leyja<br />

NEOM, in collaboration with<br />

the sustainable hospitality<br />

brand Our Habitas, is set<br />

to introduce three new hotels<br />

in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se hotels will be situated in Leyja,<br />

a sustainable tourism destination in<br />

northwest Saudi Arabia. <strong>The</strong> three Our<br />

Habitas properties will provide guests<br />

with adventure, nature, and wellness<br />

In Oman, hotel revenue has surged by<br />

more than 26 percent as the nation<br />

welcomes tourists from across the<br />

globe. According to data released<br />

by the National Centre for Statistics and<br />

Information (NCSI), the combined revenues<br />

of three, four, and five-star hotels in<br />

the sultanate surpassed OR 153 million<br />

(equivalent to $397.4M) by the end of<br />

September <strong>2023</strong>. This represents a remarkable<br />

26.4 percent increase compared<br />

to the same period in 2022. Additionally,<br />

the total number of hotel guests increased<br />

by 27.3 percent, reaching 1.43 million<br />

experiences in a luxury eco-tourism<br />

setting. Leyja is nestled within a natural<br />

wadi and surrounded by 400-metre-high<br />

mountains, offering a dramatic<br />

landscape for visitors. Designed by<br />

world-leading architects, the hotels will<br />

collectively offer 120 rooms and suites,<br />

each providing unique experiences. This<br />

initiative aligns with NEOM’s vision for<br />

sustainable and eco-friendly tourism.<br />

Oman hotel revenue up 26.4% to $397M<br />

by September <strong>2023</strong>, in contrast to 1.13<br />

million during the corresponding period<br />

in 2022. <strong>The</strong> hotel occupancy rate also<br />

saw a growth of 10.1 percent. According<br />

to the NCSI report, the breakdown of<br />

visitors by region of origin included<br />

567,447 Omanis, 295,155 Europeans (a<br />

43.4 percent increase), 213,980 Asians<br />

(a 43.6 percent increase), 156,703 GCC<br />

citizens (a 27.6 percent increase), 41,079<br />

Americans (a 1.8 percent increase), 8,361<br />

Africans (a 41.2 percent increase), and<br />

30,898 Oceania visitors (a remarkable<br />

204.5 percent increase).<br />

92 www.thefinanceworld.com <strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Saudi Arabia Extends E-Business Visit Visas <strong>World</strong>wide<br />

Saudi Arabia has initiated the<br />

second phase of its electronic<br />

“visiting investor” visas,<br />

demonstrating its commitment<br />

to attracting foreign investments. This<br />

new phase extends the coverage of<br />

electronic business visit visas to include<br />

all countries worldwide, expanding<br />

opportunities for foreign investors<br />

and employees of foreign companies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> application process takes place<br />

through the “Invest in Saudi Arabia”<br />

platform affiliated with the Ministry of<br />

Investment, and the visas are digitally<br />

issued through the unified national<br />

visa platform linked to the Ministry of<br />

Foreign Affairs. <strong>The</strong>se visas are valid<br />

for up to one year and offer multiple<br />

entry options, allowing beneficiaries<br />

to explore investment prospects in the<br />

kingdom. This expansion is a collaborative<br />

effort between the Ministry of<br />

Investment and the Ministry of Foreign<br />

Affairs, aiming to enhance services and<br />

support the goals of Saudi Arabia’s<br />

Vision 2030.<br />

Dubai, Abu Dhabi Hotels<br />

Fill Up for COP28 and F1<br />

Events<br />

UAE poised to welcome a significant<br />

influx of visitors for<br />

high-profile events such as<br />

the COP28 climate talks and<br />

the F1 Grand Prix, hotel occupancy in<br />

Abu Dhabi and Dubai is set to reach<br />

unprecedented levels, according to<br />

industry experts. <strong>The</strong> typical peak<br />

season for hospitality and tourism,<br />

usually between November and January,<br />

has begun earlier than usual due to the<br />

convergence of F1, COP28, and other<br />

major industry events taking place at<br />

the Dubai <strong>World</strong> Trade Centre. Thomas<br />

Kurain, Hotel Manager at Leva Hotels,<br />

noted a substantial surge in hotel occupancy<br />

during the F1/COP28 period,<br />

with advanced booking rates reaching<br />

a promising 60 percent for November-<strong>December</strong>.<br />

<strong>The</strong> combination of<br />

ongoing and upcoming events indicates<br />

a continued rise in occupancy rates,<br />

fostering optimism for a remarkable<br />

year-end performance for city hotels.<br />

Dubai Airshow <strong>2023</strong> to Offer Exclusive Passport<br />

Stamp at DXB Airport<br />

Dubai International (DXB)<br />

will receive a special passport<br />

stamp reading “Dubai<br />

Airshow–<strong>The</strong> Future of the<br />

Aerospace Industry.” This unique feature<br />

is the outcome of a collaborative<br />

initiative between the General Directorate<br />

of Residency and Foreigners Affairs<br />

(GDRFA) and Dubai Airports, aimed<br />

at underscoring the Dubai Airshow’s<br />

crucial role in advancing the aviation<br />

sector and promoting Dubai as a premier<br />

destination for tourism and air<br />

travel. <strong>The</strong> Dubai Airshow <strong>2023</strong>, set to<br />

occur at Dubai <strong>World</strong> Central (DWC)<br />

from November 13 to 17, is anticipated<br />

to attract local, regional, and global<br />

industry participants, featuring flying<br />

displays, the latest technological innovations,<br />

and a relentless commitment<br />

to innovation.<br />

Six Senses Southern Dunes, <strong>The</strong> Red Sea, Now<br />

Open in Saudi Arabia<br />

Six Senses has officially inaugurated<br />

its heritage resort, Six<br />

Senses Southern Dunes, <strong>The</strong> Red<br />

Sea, in Saudi Arabia, nestled<br />

in the stunning Arabian desert. This<br />

new project not only incorporates Six<br />

Senses’ renowned wellness philosophy<br />

but also harmonises visionary tourism<br />

with sustainability and heritage preservation.<br />

Fredrik Blomqvist, General<br />

Manager of Six Senses Southern Dunes,<br />

<strong>The</strong> Red Sea, emphasised their dedication<br />

to sustainability and cultural<br />

conservation while offering a unique<br />

blend of adventure and wellness in this<br />

captivating region. <strong>The</strong> project aims to<br />

showcase the distinctive beauty and<br />

cultural richness of the area while endorsing<br />

sustainable tourism practices<br />

to bolster the region’s economic growth<br />

and heritage conservation. <strong>The</strong> resort<br />

features 36 guest rooms and 40 pool<br />

villas strategically placed to provide<br />

breathtaking views of the dunes and wadi,<br />

and their eco-friendly design, created<br />

by the reputable British architectural<br />

firm Foster + Partners, emphasises<br />

the use of locally sourced materials.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 93

Lenovo Tab P12<br />

Lenovo Tab P12, an upgraded<br />

successor to the P11, is a budget-friendly<br />

tablet tailored to<br />

meet both entertainment and productivity<br />

demands. <strong>The</strong> device boasts a<br />

remarkable 12.7-inch 3K display with a<br />

resolution of 2944 x 1840, incorporating<br />

Dolby Vision for an exceptional visual<br />

experience. It runs on the MediaTek<br />

Dimensity 7050 Octa-core chipset,<br />

supported by a Mali-G68 MC4 GPU.<br />

Designed with a sleek aluminium<br />

unibody, Tab P12 features quad JBL<br />

speakers enhanced by Dolby ATMOS,<br />

ensuring a premium audio-visual<br />

encounter. Operating on Android 13,<br />

it remains up-to-date with the latest<br />

software trends, and for enhanced<br />

multitasking, optional keyboard and<br />

stylus pen accessories are available.<br />

Tab P12 offers optional accessories<br />

like a keyboard and Lenovo Precision<br />

Pen Plus to maximise productivity. <strong>The</strong><br />

tablet’s display is a standout feature,<br />

showcasing a 12.7-inch 2944 x 1840 LCD<br />

with a 60Hz refresh rate and 273 pixels<br />

per inch. With a 16:10 aspect ratio, it<br />

excels in both multimedia content and<br />

productivity tasks.<br />

It is powered by the Mediatek MT6877V<br />

Dimensity 7050 chipset, offering configurations<br />

with 4 or 6 GB of RAM and<br />

256 GB of internal storage, expandable<br />

up to 1TB via a microSD card.<br />

It features an 8-megapixel main<br />

camera with autofocus and an LED<br />

flash, alongside an 8MP front camera<br />

for selfies. Equipped with a 10,200 mAh<br />

battery, the Tab P12 delivers good battery<br />

life, lasting 10-12 hours in real-life<br />

usage scenarios. It also supports fast<br />

charging, taking approximately 2.5<br />

hours to recharge from 0% to 100%.<br />

Lenovo Tab P12 offers a compelling<br />

package for users seeking a budget-friendly<br />

tablet for diverse needs.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2023</strong> www.thefinanceworld.com 95

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