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e& vodafone

e& raises stake in Vodafone to 3.2 billion shares

Emirates Telecommunications Group (e&) announced on Friday that it has increased its stake in Vodafone Group from 11 percent to 12 percent, representing 3.2 billion shares in the company.

The group stated in a regulatory filing to the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange (ADX) that the investment in Vodafone has been increased based on what it believes to be a good evaluation.

The goal of the investment, according to the company, is to benefit from Vodafone’s expertise in the field of communications and digital services, as well as the possibility of leveraging potential business opportunities and achieving a future return on investment.

Read more: Nokia, Etisalat by e& reach 100 Gbps fiber broadband

Last May, e& became Vodafone’s biggest shareholder after acquiring a 9.8 percent stake in the company for $4.4 billion. The state-backed firm e& further increased its stake to 11 percent in December 2022 and January this year.

Click here for more telecom news

ECB BoE

50 basis points increase approved by ECB, BoE

Following the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates by 25 basis points, the European and British Central Banks raised rates by 50 basis points.

The European Central Bank (ECB) pledged in a statement to “continue the path of raising interest rates significantly and at a steady pace.”

In unusually firm language, it said he planned to raise interest rates by another 50 basis points in March.

Interest rates at the ECB are now between 2.5 percent and 3.25 percent, their highest levels since November 2008.

Keeping interest rates at restrictive levels would control rising prices by curbing demand, it said, adding that decisions at future meetings would be based on data.

The ECB’s move follows four hikes in 2022 that pushed eurozone interest rates out of negative territory for the first time since 2014.

Figures released on Wednesday showed inflation in the eurozone fell for a third straight month in January. But headline inflation remained high at 8.5 percent. Core inflation, which excludes energy and food, held steady at 5.2 percent.

Read: ECB raises interest rates, expects large future increases

Lagarde

 

ECB President Christine Lagarde told a press conference following the announcement: “Price pressures remain strong, partly due to the spread of high energy costs across the economy.”

Discussing the economic picture of the euro area, she noted that growth slowed to 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter and is expected to remain subdued in the near term, as geopolitical uncertainty and tightening financing conditions weigh on growth.

However, “risks to the outlook for economic growth are becoming more balanced,” she said, noting that gas supplies are safer, supply pressures are receding, consumer confidence is improving, and rising wages and lower energy prices will boost consumption.

“Overall, the economy has proven to be more resilient than expected and should improve over the coming quarters,” she said.

Lagarde also said governments should pull back energy price subsidies to avoid increasing inflationary pressures over the medium term.

Quantitative tightening

 

In December, the ECB announced that from March it would begin reducing its balance sheet of €5 trillion ($5.49 trillion) by €15 billion per month on average until the end of June 2023.

Reducing the balance sheet and selling the central bank’s portfolio of bonds are seen as additional ways to tighten policy apart from raising interest rates.

The bank said on Thursday it would continue to partially reinvest its outstanding debt.

Bank of England

 

The Bank of England (BoE) raised interest rates for the tenth time in a row and expected a bigger recession than expected in Britain this year.

At a regular meeting, the Bank of England voted in favor of a 50-basis point rate hike to 4 percent, the highest since late 2008.

The Monetary Policy Board voted seven to two against, while a minority called for interest rates to remain at their levels, according to the minutes of the meeting.

The BoE predicted that the British economy’s decline would be lighter than its previous forecast, noting that inflation “may be” peaking in many developed economies.

Inflation in the UK, now close to a 40-year high, is expected to continue to decline “gradually” in the first half of 2023, as energy prices fall, according to the minutes.

Thursday’s announcement could deepen Britain’s cost-of-living crisis as commercial lenders raise interest rates linked to credit cards, mortgages, and other loans. That will put further pressure on the pockets of Britons, who are careful about spending given rising consumer prices, household bills, and transport costs.

Strikes have paralyzed Britain this week with demonstrations by public and private sector workers against wages that have failed to keep pace with inflation.

Inflation in Britain slowed to 10.5 percent in December.

For more on the economy, click here.

Saudi Central Bank

Ayman bin Mohammed Alsayari appointed Saudi Central Bank governor

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman replaced Fahad Al-Mubarak with Ayman bin Mohammed Alsayari as Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) governor, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said Thursday. This happened less than 24 hours after the central bank announced a raise in key interest rates.

Alsayari serves on the board of directors of the National Debt Management Center of Saudi Arabia and was formerly the deputy governor for investment and research at SAMA from 2013 to 2019.

The new central bank governor holds a master’s in finance from George Washington University in the US, and a bachelor’s in accounting from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran.

He formerly governed SAMA from 2011 to 2016, served as chairman of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), and headed Morgan Stanley’s Saudi Arabian unit.

UAE metaverse

UAE launches 3D digital metaverse health assessment service

During a press conference held at Arab Health 2023 in Dubai, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) launched an innovative service to evaluate healthcare professionals, including doctors and allied practitioners, using cutting-edge “Metaverse” technology.

The 3D Digital Metaverse Assessment Service seamlessly integrates the real, virtual, and digital worlds, enhancing the delivery of both government and private healthcare services.

MoHAP has also unveiled a new medical thermal imaging technology, further enabling healthcare providers to utilize cutting-edge innovations.

Read more: Healthcare metaverse market to top $5.37 bn by 2030

Evaluation of health practitioners

 

The 3D Digital Metaverse Assessment Service will enable the ministry to remotely evaluate health practitioners, including doctors and allied health professionals. This service will also streamline procedures while maintaining data security through AI. It will be unique for its several key features, including transparency and secure remote assessment where AI will be used to ensure that personal data and medical certificates match during the assessment process.

Interactive digital sensory experience

 

This technology also monitors eye movements and analyzes facial expressions for the safety of the evaluation process. The 3D platform, which simulates a realistic assessment hall, provides clear roles and platforms for the judging committee, invigilators, and examinees. Users can display any necessary documents during the assessment while ensuring the confidentiality and security of all related data and records.

The innovative service will offer a 3D virtual world experience and digital sensory interaction testing, eliminating the need for physical distance. The new technology provides a practical solution for those with disabilities, unable to visit a ministry building, and for individuals outside the country to efficiently complete their transactions.

Thermal imaging technology

 

The new thermal imaging technology will be effectively used in detecting diabetic foot inflammation for early diagnosis and monitoring surgical sites for infection risk. It will also be used in determining psychological state through facial temperature analysis and tracking blood vessels associated with heat-producing tumors in thermal oncology, which streamlines the process of diagnosing and monitoring patients’ conditions.

Moreover, the new tech features a small camera linked to mobile phones, which is set to bring about a paradigm shift in thermal imaging services as it can be utilized in conjunction with well-established imaging techniques like X-rays, ultrasound, MRI, nuclear medicine, and CT scans.

For more on health topics, click here

Dubai residential mortgage

Dubai posts record 16,700 residential mortgage transactions in 2022

The overall market continued on the successes of 2021, reaching 16,700 residential mortgage transactions in 2022 and reporting a record high volume for Dubai. New property handovers in 2022 reached 35,560 properties, growing by nearly 16% YoY, according to a recent report from Mortgage Finder, a UAE mortgage provider.

The new study revealed that despite a challenging global environment and rising interest rates, a stable momentum was maintained across transactions, scaling new heights for the real estate sector’s evolution in 2023 and beyond.

Read more: Dubai real estate poised to grow in 2023 amid luxury demand

Mortgage Finder also observed that amid a fast-evolving housing market in the UAE, Dubai in particular continues to grow exponentially and appeal to new residents. This is due to its unparalleled lifestyle, business-friendly environment, global connectivity, and most recently, Golden Visa and residency laws.

Additionally, the demand for properties far exceeded supply, with the number of apartment and villa purchase transactions also reaching an all-time high of 84,731 units representing more than a 63% growth YoY.

Commenting on the findings, Mohamad Kaswani, Managing Director of Mortgage Finder said, “We continue to see growth in the number of mortgage inquiries which is a clear indicator that the market momentum remains strong. Thanks to its continued transformation, the nation continues to attract people from all over the world to relocate while also maintaining a strong appeal for ex-pats living in the UAE to consider home ownership.”

For more on real estate topics, click here

South Korea

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid meets the President of South Korea

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, today met with His Excellency Yoon Suk Yeol, President of South Korea, who is on his first state visit since assuming office as President.

The meeting, held at the Za’abeel Palace, discussed the strong strategic partnership between the two countries and explored new opportunities to expand ties in various spheres.

Read: UAE decides to invest USD30 bn in South Korea

The meeting also discussed regional and global issues and ways to expand cooperation to support the development goals of both nations, especially in the fields of investment, economy, science, culture, advanced technology, space exploration, and renewable energy.

Sheikh Mohammed expressed the hope that the South Korean President’s visit to the UAE would further deepen the scope of strategic cooperation between the two countries across various areas of common interest.

Expressing his happiness at visiting the UAE, the South Korean President highlighted the growing ties between the two countries based on mutual understanding and respect and shared values.

The President of South Korea expressed the hope that relations between the UAE and his country would continue to grow in ways that serve the interests of the people of the two nations.

The meeting was attended by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group; Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council; Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council; Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation; Mohamed Al Shaibani, Director General of The Ruler’s Court of Dubai; Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Chairman of Protocols for the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE; and Abdullah Saif Ali Al Nuaimi, UAE Ambassador to South Korea.

To read more economic news, click here.

infinity EV

INFINITI: Mobility experts of the human experience

With a distinguished history of over 30 years, INFINITI Motor Company remains a brand to be reckoned with in the GCC. Today INFINITI produces some of the most sought-after crossovers, saloons, and SUVs, and continues to command a loyal customer base within the premium segment.

Economy Middle East spoke with Andrew McLaughlan, who, earlier in 2022, took over the role of Managing Director at INFINITI Middle East, and discussed the Japanese car maker and what plans the brand has in the future.

You have an extensive automotive background. Could you tell us more about yourself?

 

The automotive industry has always been a passion and fascination of mine. I have been fortunate to work in the industry for over 25 years, on both the dealer and manufacturer sides of the business, starting out as a sales executive in Scotland. Sixteen years ago I was given an opportunity in the Middle East and gradually advanced from national and regional management roles up to director-level positions in the areas of sales, dealer network development, customer quality, and aftersales. Leading INFINITI Middle East has long been a career goal, and I’m elated to have joined during such an exciting time for the brand.

Outside of that, I am a husband, a proud father of three children, and a fitness enthusiast.

How do the GCC markets differ from one another?

 

INFINITI’s strong dealership presence in the GCC extends across all six markets, with many of our dealer partnerships initiated nearly two decades earlier, alongside INFINITI’s introduction to the region. Speaking from the brand’s perspective, which was founded on the basis of being customer-centric, we establish an understanding of each market in accordance with the needs of its customers in the premium segment. In general, GCC markets have significant similarities in comparison with other regions where INFINITI is sold. The GCC customer is younger and has a greater inclination towards top trims and grades – they’re trendsetters and early adopters. The differences are more nuanced and fortunately, INFINITI’s service and product offerings cater to the unique requirements of the customer in each market – whether it be a proclivity towards performance, heritage, technology, or design – all bases are covered.

There is a visible shift into a more lifestyle brand identity at INFINITI. What is the idea behind that? 

 

That is quite an observation, and I’m pleased that the brand identity is being seen as incorporating a different approach. I wouldn’t however call it a shift. It’s simply an expansion of our identity to ensure that we are reaching and representing INFINITI customers. From its origins, INFINITI has focused on the human experience, and on facilitating that within our vehicles. Aren’t cars part of a lifestyle? We spend so much time commuting, we drive our cars on adventures where we create memories with friends and family, and we sometimes escape to our car from a difficult day to decompress, listen to music or a podcast, and even to self-reflect. As a brand, we like to embrace these realities and represent that idea of luxury that can be lived in. We all tend to lead quite busy lives in the modern world, and for me personally, the best part of my day is driving my kids to school in the mornings, listening to their stories, and just relishing that daily moment to bond within this private space. Ultimately, the idea is to embrace the role our vehicles play beyond the transaction or simply driving from A to B.

INFINITI EV
2023 INFINITI QX60

What is currently the most exciting new offering from INFINITI and can you name some key new features?

 

That would have to be our newest launch, the next-generation INFINITI QX60. A long-standing cornerstone model for the brand, which has been reimagined from the ground up, signals a new era of design and ingenuity for INFINITI. The QX60 is a three-row premium SUV, harnessing aesthetic excellence while delivering confidence-inspiring technology. This model is an expression of modern luxury, thanks to its powerful proportions,

It enjoys Japanese tailoring and curated design features. It also introduces several firsts for the brand, among them our V6 engine mated to an all-new 9-speed automatic transmission, advanced intelligent all-wheel drive featuring direct coupling, and the debut of the innovative ProPilot Assist for INFINITI, designed to reduce the stress of stop-and-go driving by helping control acceleration, braking, and steering – the first phase of autonomous driving.

What can we look forward to from INFINITI in the next 5 years?

 

There is oh so much to look forward to from INFINITI in the next five years, but I won’t get into specifics, because there are some key announcements in the pipeline starting early 2023. I will say however that we are staying committed to our values of being HUMAN, DARING, and FORWARD and the upcoming lineup will intensify our approach to customer-focused seamless technology, confident performance, and exquisite Japanese craftsmanship.

With almost all brands moving to EV offerings, what are INFINITI’s electrification plans?

 

As part of our Ambition 2030, INFINITI has committed to ensuring that the majority of its vehicles sold globally will be electrified.  In February 2022, we announced the first step in that journey by confirming that the Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant in Mississippi has been selected as one of the first global locations to produce the next generation of INFINITI EV products. Further announcements on this journey will be made in due course, however, our design and engineering teams are working on future models that deliver technology through a human-first lens, which includes offering a variety of powertrain options, from the traditional internal-combustion engines to full EVs. We believe choice for customers will be the key to our lineup going forward.

INFINITI EV
2023 INFINITI QX80
Arif Amiri

DIFC: Innovation, Fintech, driving MEASA growth and investment landscape

From the outset, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has been a significant contributor to the sustainable economic growth of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. Today, DIFC stands out as one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, as well as the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, an area which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and an estimated GDP of $8 trillion.

In an interview with Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, we take an exclusive look into the strategies and inner workings of the authority as well as its crucial role as a growth driver of and gateway to MEASA.

Read more: DIFC reveals unicorn and scale-up venture studios as innovation launchpad

What global status does the UAE enjoy today, both economically and financially? Where do you stand it in the medium to long term on these two fronts?

 

Last year, DIFC and its clients created approximately 5 percent of Dubai’s GDP. Overall, the UAE Financial Services sector contributed 13 percent. DIFC and the industry is a key economic growth driver for Dubai and the UAE. Our contribution continues to increase.

Dubai is consistently the highest-ranked financial centre within the MEASA region in the Global Financial Centre Index rankings, featuring alongside other key financial hubs such as London, New York and Hong Kong, and our trajectory continues to elevate us from a regional hub towards a global hub. Our efforts on climate issues and ESGs are also recognised by our leading status in the Green Financial Centre Index.

The opportunities for businesses to use DIFC as a gateway to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia remain tremendous and backed by our world-class infrastructure, regulatory frameworks and innovation initiatives. DIFC is also home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common law framework.  Since our inception, they have provided confidence for finance-related firms to choose DIFC as their headquarters for the region.

As our client ecosystem has grown, so has its contribution to helping us drive the future of finance in the region. DIFC is home to more than 4,000 active registered companies and nearly 30,000 professionals – the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in MEASA.

Since 2017, we have been evolving our proposition to stimulate financial innovation. We are home to the region’s first and largest Fintech Accelerator. Since then, DIFC has attracted 600 Fintech and innovation businesses, accounting for more than 60 percent of all those in the GCC. The DIFC Innovation Hub provides access to education, accelerator and innovator programmes, mentorship from established financial firms, cost-effective regulatory and operating licenses, and access to funding sources and expertise.

Lifestyle is also a key driver and influencing factor for companies to set up in our Centre. DIFC is more than a place to work. We are one of Dubai’s most sought-after 24-hour, seven-days-a-week lifestyle destinations comprising a variety of world-renowned retail and dining venues, a dynamic art and culture scene, residential apartments, hotels and public spaces.

Looking ahead, the opportunity for growth is immense and we continue to attract both large financial institutions and start-ups as we provide certainty, a track record of stability, access to regional markets, and one of the most progressive, tested regimes within the region.

DIFC

You announced the best annual performance in the history of the DIFC, with unprecedented results in 2021 as part of “Strategy 2024.” What are the most prominent features/highlights of what was achieved? What are your expectations for 2022 by year’s end? What about 2030 Strategy? What work has gone into achieving its goals?

 

At DIFC, we constantly strive to build and maintain our reputation as the leading global financial centre in the MEASA region, and our success is a reflection of all our stakeholders’ hard work, dedication and perseverance. Ultimately, DIFC’s success can be traced back to the strategies and initiatives undertaken by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Deputy Governor of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Chairman of Dubai International Financial Centre.

DIFC now comprises 17 of the world’s top 20 banks, 25 of the world’s top 30 global systemic banks, five of the top 10 insurance companies, five of the top 10 asset managers and several of the world’s leading law and consulting firms.

During the first half of 2022, we continued to shape the industry by introducing initiatives aligned with our Strategy 2030 which led to attracting new businesses and talent to our ecosystem at an unprecedented pace.

Last year, we achieved the growth targets set in Strategy 2024 three years ahead of schedule, further strengthening our global economic profile in a year marred by the global pandemic.

Strategy 2030 will see DIFC move beyond its achieved ambition of becoming the region’s leading financial centre, to becoming a global centre for business and innovation. The coming years will see DIFC doubling in size and doubling its economic contribution to Dubai’s GDP. It will also continue to strengthen the UAE’s competitiveness by working closely with the UAE Central Bank to drive digitalisation of UAE’s financial sector.

There are several highlights in our performance, but it’s worth mentioning that our strong performance reaffirms Dubai’s position as a leading global hub for financial institutions, Fintechs and innovation firms, in line with DIFC’s Strategy 2030.

In fact, the total number of registered companies grew from 3,297 to 4,031, a 22 percent year-on-year growth, fuelling unprecedented levels of workforce growth – the fastest job creation growth rate since inception, further expanding the region’s largest and most diverse pool of industry talent. And this phenomenal growth came against the backdrop of global economic uncertainty.

We welcomed some 537 new companies in H1 2022, an 11 percent year-to-date increase, and the Centre is now home to 1,252 financial and innovation-related companies – up by 22 percent from the first half of 2021.

Fintech and innovation companies continue to be key growth drivers at DIFC, increasing from 406 to 599, up 23 percent year-on-year.

By year-end, we firmly believe the ambitious steps taken by Dubai and DIFC to drive the future of finance will generate significant new opportunities for businesses. Our strong business growth will continue to pave the way for continued economic growth in our region and across the globe, enabling us to further raise our competitiveness and differentiate the emirate as a top global centre for finance, Fintech and innovation.

We will continue to deliver exceptional opportunities for expansion and business enterprise and to build productive and long-lasting partnerships with financial companies worldwide. Simply put, DIFC delivers the robust, state-of-the-art infrastructure and support needed to enhance the stability, competitiveness and growth potential of significant global enterprises.

DIFC’s central role: Can you describe the role DIFC played in supporting the country’s economy and growth?

 

Dubai has one of the most diversified economies in the region. A deliberate strategy that spans a range of industries.

DIFC, Dubai’s economy and the UAE economy are closely intertwined. This has been the case since DIFC was established in 2004.

Our success is reflected in national economic growth. Our new strategy to double in size is as bold, ambitious and well-considered as the federal government’s own national growth plans.

The Centre’s commitment to differentiating itself as the region’s leading global financial hub reflects our commitment to continuously evolve our ecosystem, our legal and regulatory framework and our innovation proposition to attract global companies.

It is also worth noting that DIFC ranked first among global free zones in attracting FDI to the financial services sector in 2021. During the period of 2017-2021, the Centre supported Dubai to attract 58 FDI projects in the sector, totalling AED926.2 million and generating more than 1,432 jobs.

DIFC

DIFC has provided new opportunities to enhance cooperation in the Fintech sector. What is the importance of Fintech today? How does it contribute to developing the economy? Do you expect Dubai to become a springboard for global Fintech entrepreneurs to build and expand across the region?

 

DIFC has built the most comprehensive Fintech and innovation proposition in MEASA region. This has helped us become one of the world’s leading hubs for the sector, and is attracting high levels of interest from Fintechs in Asia and other parts of the world. DIFC will continue to develop initiatives to further differentiate our strong reputation for Fintech.

DIFC helps start-ups, global players and unicorns expand their global reach and capture opportunities in fast-growing MEASA markets. As an example, between January and September 2022, DIFC-based Fintech firms secured more than AED2 billion ($559 million) of funding.

Our proposition also helps cement Dubai’s reputation as a global hub for technology and innovation.

We have already identified that Fintech is the fastest growing sector in DIFC, and so we are ensuring Fintech companies enjoy the support, the infrastructure and the ease of doing business they not only expect but deserve.

Dubai is already a regional – if not global – springboard for innovative Fintech companies. Given our growing cohort of world-class Fintech players, we are in an ideal position to drive the sector, both regionally and globally. Financial technology companies are rapidly positioning themselves as the sector which enables global flows of capital, drives innovation and enables us all to do more than we ever thought possible just a few short years ago.

We see Fintech as an enormous area of growth, and an enormous opportunity. This was confirmed with our DIFC Fintech Week held earlier this year at the Ritz Carlton. Around 1,000 attendees heard 40 world-leading speakers talk about the key themes shaping the next phase of Fintech including Web 3.0, the metaverse, NFTs, crypto, blockchain, payments, embedded finance, open banking, RegTech and ESG.

In May 2023, we are excited to be hosting the first Dubai Fintech Summit in May 2023, a global event that will bring together more than 5,000 experts, thought leaders, policymakers and decision-makers together to discuss how they can shape a new wave of innovation, enterprise and growth for the international financial industry.

DEWA

DEWA: Partnerships core to green and lucrative future

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is exceptionally active in new technology usage and highly attractive to investments. It is adopting innovation and the latest disruptive technologies of the 4IR, reshaping the traditional concepts of work mechanisms to enhance Dubai’s position as an incubator for creativity and cementing its reputation as a beacon of innovation.

Economy Middle East addressed a number of DEWA’s latest initiatives with HE Saeed Al Tayer, MD&CEO of DEWA, where we asked:

1- What role is the innovation center and the Partnership Lab for the UAE playing in light of global emphasis on renewable energy transition?

 

Thanks to the forward-looking vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai is on the right track to becoming the smartest and happiest city in the world.

DEWA’s Innovation Centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is a pioneering global hub for renewable and clean energy innovations, and an educational platform that hosts events, conferences, seminars, and workshops in collaboration with local and global universities, organizations, and start-ups.

We are keen to build strategic partnerships with local, regional, and global organizations to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world, as well as achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050.

DEWA
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park

2- Can you update us on the tender for the 900 MW renewable energy project at the solar park?

 

There has been a great response from international developers for the 900MW 6th phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. DEWA has appointed a consortium of advisors to provide consultancy services for implementing the 6th phase. The project is based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model and will become operational in stages between 2025 and 2027.

Read more: Dubai’s DEWA Q3 net profit up 10% to $863 mn

3- DEWA is the organizer of WETEX. How do these types of exhibitions contribute to enhancing and improving the services DEWA provides?

 

DEWA is the organizer of the Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) and Dubai Solar Show. This is the largest exhibition of its kind in the region bringing together prominent global organizations specialized in water, clean and renewable energy, the environment, gas, green development, sustainability, and related industries. The show widens DEWA’s partners’ network and promotes adoption of innovative ideas and solutions.

4- DEWA is the first utility in the region to adopt Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) strategy. What does that mean in terms of maintenance, efficiency, and cost savings for the UAE?

 

We work continuously to enhance the reliability and efficiency of our transmission and distribution networks. The use of Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) & Artificial Intelligence has helped us to predict and address potential faults in a timely and efficient manner, reduce our maintenance costs, and ensure continuity of supply, thereby enhancing the happiness of our customers.

DEWA
DEWA HQ

5- Does DEWA believe that green hydrogen will be an active element in the diversification of energy sources in the future? What are your outlooks in this regard?

 

The use of green hydrogen for power generation and fighting global warming is rising. Studies show that green hydrogen production will increase by 57% annually to reach 5.7 million tons by 2030.

The Green Hydrogen pilot plant that DEWA built in collaboration with Expo 2020 and Siemens Energy, is aligned with Dubai’s and UAE’s commitment to sustainability, supports Dubai turning into a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 as well as DEWA’s strategy to diversify energy sources.

DEWA, in partnership with Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), is studying a proposal for building a hydrogen fueling station in Dubai, which will encourage the use of sustainable transportation, as well as the UAE’s Hydrogen Vehicles System that aims to develop the hydrogen economy in the UAE and open up local markets to hydrogen vehicles.

6- What can you tell us about the largest IPO in the EMEA region since 2019, where DEWA raised AED 22.3 billion ($6.1 billion)?

 

As part of the IPO, the Government of Dubai sold 18% of its shares. The proceeds from the sale of DEWA’s shares were remitted to the Government of Dubai.

For the first 9 months of 2022, DEWA’s revenue increased by 15% to AED 20.63 bn. Energy demand in Dubai during the first 9 months of 2022 increased by 5% compared to the same period in 2021. Similarly, water demand in the same period grew by 6.4%. In the first 9 months of 2022, our net profit is nearly at par with the full-year net profit of 2021. We are well-positioned to deliver the best full-year financial performance in our operating history and are optimistic about our green growth prospects.

Moreover, we have made sustained progress towards unlocking shareholder value by paying our first dividend of AED 3.1bn in October 2022, by listing our majority-owned district cooling subsidiary, EMPOWER, on the DFM, and by recommending the payment of a one-time special dividend of AED 2.03bn to our shareholders in December 2022. The next dividend of AED 3.1bn is intended to be paid in April 2023. For the financial year 2022, we expect to return AED 8.23bn in dividends to our shareholders. Assuming an IPO share price of AED 2.48 per share, this amounts to a 2022 dividend yield of 6.6%.

7- How does DEWA stand in the eyes of energy investors coming to Dubai?

 

Investors appreciate Dubai’s business-friendly environment which is supported by a transparent legal and regulatory framework. In recent years 5 IPP and IWPP projects have been already implemented and currently, 2 projects are in the pipeline. Energy investors have so far brought in over $10 Billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) into Dubai and more investments are expected as DEWA has announced that all new capacity additions will be implemented through the IPP/IWPP model.

We’re sending a strong message to local and international investors that Dubai offers the best choice to become their preferred investment destination.

8- How will DEWA increase its contribution to the UAE’s GDP in the next five years?

 

The adoption of the IPP model has created significant economic value for DEWA since we are able to procure electricity at the lowest Levelized cost. This has increased profitability and reduced our dependency on costly/uncertain fuel imports. IPP projects are usually accompanied by the import of new technology and know-how, an increase in skilled workforce, etc., all of which add to jobs and growth opportunities in the economy with a positive impact on GDP.

DEWA has also established several diversified activities related to its core businesses, which are operating profitably, and contributing to GDP, including Bottled drinking water, Energy efficiency business, data solutions, digital opportunities, district cooling service, etc.

Sharjah

Sharjah evokes the meaning of the Union on UAE National Day

UAE National Day is a special annual occasion that brings pride and joy to citizens, residents, and visitors alike. Sharjah is no stranger to the festivities that the UAE as a country engages in, and has arranged for venues and activities that are sure to entertain and please the crowds, particularly for people of determination and families with little kids, all of whose needs are tended to and cared for down to the smallest detail.     

HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Sharjah’s National Day Celebrations, discusses with Economy Middle East the preparations for the UAE’s National Day and its crucial importance. 

What lasting memories will people in attendance take home with them from the activities planned for Sharjah in celebration of the UAE National Day?

 

We were keen to provide a rich program while moving to different places throughout Sharjah and its municipalities at different times. We coordinated with the municipal councils in the cities of the Emirate of Sharjah with the aim of distributing the festive program’s activities such that they cover all parts of the emirate throughout the celebration period. The program is designed to ensure the largest possible participation in the celebrations so that this national occasion remains a beautiful memory for every citizen, resident, and visitor. Those wishing to enjoy the events can follow and participate in Flag Island, Al Majaz Amphitheater, Sharjah National Park, Maleha Public Park in Maleha, Al Hosn Island in Dibba Al Hisn, and Khorfakkan Amphitheatre, Wadi Al Hilu. Other areas include Kalba, the parks and neighborhoods in Al Bataeh, different areas of Madam, in Al Dhaid Fort, and the Heritage Village in Al Hamriya.

We hope that through our efforts our activities are enhanced to the level of this national event, which evokes in us the meanings of the Union and draws the shape of the future for our children. Therefore, we promise the attendees a rich and varied program suitable for all ages, where celebrations will be an occasion for joy, spending beautiful time with family and friends, and creating unforgettable memories, in addition to being a national occasion that is dear to our hearts.

Sharjah

What significant figures will be in attendance, and what topics will they be addressing during the activities of the National Day?

 

Like every year, on this occasion, we must extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to the Executive Council of the Emirate of Sharjah, headed by His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, for its sponsorship and support for the celebrations of the 51st National Day.

Senior officials of Sharjah and its government entities, representatives of major private sector companies as well as cultural, media, literary and artistic personalities, in addition to the general audience will enjoy attending the most prominent events. These include the “Sultan of Giving” show, which talks about the generosity of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, since assuming the reins of power in the Emirate of Sharjah, the extent of development taking place at the urban, cultural and environmental levels, as well as interest in education and human building over the past 51 years. We will also have the “The New Era” show, which includes four theatrical performances that address the coming years in the life of the Union, efforts to prepare for them, the aspirations of the UAE, and what has been achieved. 

Every year, the public eagerly awaits the Khorfakkan celebrations, especially the concerts hosted by the Khorfakkan Amphitheater on December 3, with a musical evening featuring performances by Aida Al Menhali and Diana Haddad. Al Majaz Amphitheatre will host a musical evening on November 26 by Balqis and Latifa.

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What logistical and security measures will be taken to ensure a safe and exciting event for the huge number of citizens and residents joining the festivities?

 

Large and important events undoubtedly always adhere to certain protocols in order to ensure the security and safety of visitors. We aim beyond that by ensuring engineering requirements for public facilities used by people of determination such as ramps for wheelchairs. We are also keen to have changing and nursing rooms for mothers who bring their young children and, as usual, the UAE is always exceptional in managing and organizing events at all levels. All committees are ready and putting the finishing touches, whether in terms of preparing the venues or the necessary equipment and supplies. We hope that this year’s celebrations will be extraordinary and up to the level of this great national event. The audience is our partner in the success of this national celebration and in ensuring that things run smoothly and to the highest standards possible.

What key strengths went into successfully organizing this joyful event and what message does it aim to send?

 

Rich with the most beautiful places for tourism, entertainment, cultural and family options, the Emirate of Sharjah celebrates the 51st National Day of the UAE.

With a program that lasts for 10 days from November 24 to December 3, 2022, visitors to the festivities will be able to be acquainted with Sharjah’s various landmarks throughout this period. It is an occasion to introduce its status as a friendly city for children and people of determination.

Holding these celebrations in the most important areas and cities of Sharjah at different times helps everyone from all parts of the country attend and enjoy the performances that reflect the richness of the local culture, its national, human, and religious values, as well as its openness to the world, thus strengthening it as a destination for life and work.