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SteelFab bringing 34 Nations and 280 Brands

Over 280 brands and companies from 34 countries will take part in the third edition of SteelFab at Expo Centre Sharjah from January 29-31, 2007.

Among the exhibitors at the show will be over 60 machinery brands for steel forming and fabrication work and more than 85 brands of welding and cutting systems.

The participating brands and companies are from Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, UAE, UK, and the USA.

SteelFab is considered to be the Middle East’s only trade platform for manufacturers and distributors of machine tools, welding machinery, consumables and other items related to the steel working business, and organisations and companies involved in the steel fabrication industry, said a statement.

The 2007 edition of the event will witness the largest display of steel, fasteners, accessories, surface preparation, machinery and tools, welding and cutting, finishing and testing equipment, and coatings and anti-corrosion material, in the region.

“The SteelFab exhibition, since its inception in 2004, has been rapidly growing in size with every edition, both in terms of exhibitors and occupied exhibition area,” said Saif Al Midfa, director general, Expo Centre Sharjah.

“SteelFab in 2007 will see an increase in the number of brands, direct participants as well as the national pavilions that will be featured. The rapid expansion of the SteelFab exhibition is a reflection of the unprecedented growth that the Middle East Steel Working industry is currently experiencing,” he added.

Saif Al Midfa further said that the demand for fabricated steel in the region was at an all time high due to massive industrial and infrastructure development that was taking place.

“SteelFab with its unique and composite exhibit profile is mainly aimed at providing the unbelievably fast growing regional steel working industry with a one-stop sourcing platform,” said Al Midfa.

SteelFab is being supported by UCIMU – the Italian Machine Tools, Robots, and Automation Manufacturer’s Association, and MIB – the Association of Turkish Machinery Manufacturers. A major attraction of the show will be the product presentations and technical seminars being held on the sidelines. -TradeArabia News Service

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GCC - Oil & Gas Investment to be $120 Billion by 2010

(MENAFN) According to officials, the GCC countries are investing $120 billion or 60 percent of the total $200 billion investment planned in oil and gas sector by the Middle Eastern countries between 2006 and 2010, Gulf News reported.

President of the Saudi Arbitration Group said at a conference on arbitration in oil and gas sector in Dubai that Saudi Arabia is investing $50 billion, Qatar investing $28 billion, the UAE's investment reaching $19 billion while Kuwait and Oman are investing $13 and $10 billion respectively.

He added that the Arab world holds 60 percent of world oil reserves and 35 percent of gas reserves while further discoveries are made continuously. International investment in oil and gas are also on the rise that will help us meet future demand.

UAE earned $42.3 billion in revenue from oil and gas in 2005 which is 15.48 percent of the $273.1 billion generated by the six GCC states, with Saudi Arabia representing more than a half to $161.2 billion and Kuwait getting $47 billion.

However, UAE minister of energy pointed out the need of formulating arbitration in the international oil and gas sector, and that the historical context of dispute resolution in the international oil and gas sector will allow us to review the current and emerging issues in international oil and gas arbitration.

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Abu Dhabi 2007 High GDP Growth Prediction

ABU DHABI — Abu Dhabi's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is set to post a growth of 8.2 per cent in 2007 and will maintain the uptrend to around 13 per cent in the few years to come until it reaches Dh584 billion by 2010, according to a forecast by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI).

"The GDP for 2006, which is projected to stand at Dh367 billion, is driven by high average price of oil at $64.5 a barrel.These level of prices are expected to continue in 2007, said Riyadh Khalil Mattar, Director of the ADCCI's Information Centre.

Forecast on oil output in the emirate, he said, shows allocation of huge investment for development of the oil sector, a move which will increase current production capacity to meet the growing global demand for crude oil and gas in the future.

"Abu Dhabi will pump about Dh80 billion into the energy sector as future price movements indicate that average prices for 2007-2010 will range between $ 65-75 a barrel," he added.

On non-oil sectors, he expected the sector to make a steady growth of not less than 18 per cent a year. "Share of non-oil sectors in the GDP is estimated to rise to Dh163 billion in 2007 from Dh138 billion in 2006, and will post a phenomenal jump to Dh263 billion in 2010," he said.

He attributed the projected growth in these sectors to the large flow of investments which will be ploughed back into various economic sectors in the years ahead. Contribution of non-oil sector to the emirate's GDP is projected to go up to 45 per cent in 2007 from 37 per cent in 2006.

He noted that introduction of policies and programmes for economic structural adjustment and reforms, enhancement of the private sector efficiency in achieving sustainable development had been instrumental in creating an attractive and competitive investment environmentat local and regional levels. "This will help establish Abu Dhabi's position on the world financial map and spur the emirate to maintain its policies on privatisation and economic openness and to revise its current legislations to fit the global economic progress," he remarked.

He indicated that a series of mega development projects were launched in Abu Dhabi covering all sectors with an outlay estimated at Dh923 billion. The years ahead are expected to see new projects with record investments of Dh500 billion in the construction and building sector, Dh200 billion in tourism, Dh35 billion in water and electricity, Dh80 billion in oil and gas and Dh120 billion in industry.

He added that the strong and firm performance of the emirate economy had contributed in attracting Dh7 billion in 2006 and the figure is set to rise to Dh35 billion in the coming years.

On private sector, he explained that its share in the GDP was estimated to reach 17 per cent in 2006 and would hit 20 per cent in the years to come. "Abu Dhabi took the first place in terms of average GDP per capita which stood at Dh193,000 in 2006. The figure is expected to jump to Dh200,000 next year," he said.

The emirate's foreign trade is projected to grow by 26 per cent this year with a total value of Dh305 billion. Exports and imports grew by 27 and 23 per cent respectively in 2005.

The foreign trade is projected to grow at higher rates driven by huge investment in different economic sectors.

The emirate economy will steam a head steadily in future guided by the sound policy of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

According to him, the economic policy adopted by Abu Dhabi is based on the public-private sector partnership, privatisation, development of new economic and industrial zones, building of new cities, development of tourism, revision of legislations, upgrading infrastructure, Emiratsiation and modernisation of health and educational sectors.

The focus is also on creating industries that will meet global demands.
(via MENAFN - Khaleej Times)

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MENA's First SME Fund by Venture Capital Bank Bahrain

(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) DUBAI — Bahrain-based Venture Capital Bank (VC Bank) has announced the first closing of its recently launched $250 million MENA Small & Medium Enterprises Fund, the first Shaiah-compliant fund dedicated to small and medium enterprises in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Co-managed by VC Bank and its technical partner, the US private equity firm Global Emerging Markets (GEM), the fund has raised more than the targeted amount for first closing of $75 million. Out of the total amount raised, almost 20 per cent has been committed by investors from USA.

Sharif Monfaradi, VC Bank's chief investment officer, Private Equity said: "As we have expected, the fund received sizeable demand from regional and international investors. The fund will provide the investors with an opportunity to be part of the region's economic growth while cultivating superior risk-adjusted returns by investing in the SMEs sector, which is despite their importance in driving regional economies, creating jobs and fostering technological innovation, have been neglected by institutional investors in the region". "In addition to Challenger Limited, the oil drilling company in North Africa that was recently acquired by VC Bank and GEM, we are already at an advanced stage on a number of other acquisitions." Monfaradi added.

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4 Gulf states to spend $150bn on Infrastructure

The UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, are expected to spend about $150 billion on infrastructure over the next three years, according to Merrill Lynch.

Merrill Lynch said in its In its recent Global Research Highlights that infrastructure spending in emerging markets could exceed $1 trillion in the next three years.

The key drivers of infrastructure are underinvestment in infrastructure projects in the past and the pressing need to improve quality; the need to ease bottlenecks that could retard or reverse the substantial progress towards lowering inflation that the emerging markets have made in recent years, sharp increases in the population of urban centres through the developing world, and improved sources of funding related substantial improvement in budget balances, current account surpluses, oil revenues, economic growth and foreign exchange reserves, it said.

China is forecast to become the biggest spender, making up just over a third of the total, followed by Russia, the Gulf states and India. (trade arabia)

A lot of opportunities still to come in construction and related industries.

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ADSM - Lahore Stock Exchange Collaborate

The Abu Dhabi Securities Market and the Lahore Stock Exchange have signed an agreement which will pave the way for Lahore listed companies to dual list on the ADSM. This agreement follows one signed by the ADSM and the Central Depository Company of Pakistan earlier this year. The ADSM currently has more than 2,226 Pakistani investors registered, with investments worth $12.3m.

A very commendable step that will not only lead to adding sustainability to economy and ensuring strong business growth. This pattern would soon be seen replicating to other stock exchanges in the region with lucrative cross listing offers to companies.

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N@STEC-2006: Second All Pakistan Software Exhibition and Competition

NUST Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) invites you to represent your university at N@STEC-2006, Second All Pakistan Software Exhibition and Competition, being organized by IEEE and ACM Student Chapters at NIIT. The two day event will be held on the 22nd and 23rd of December, 2006 at the National Library, Islamabad. Categories:
  • Quiz Competition
  • Software Competition
  • Multimedia and Graphics Competition
  • Dynamic Programming Competition
  • E-gaming

Facilities and Benefits for the participants:

  • Free lodging and boarding facility, at Sports Complex Islamabad.
  • Free transport service.
  • Executive lunch and dinner with leading people of the IT Industry
  • Free entrance to an exciting entertainment night followed by a live concert by Islamabad's leading underground bands.
  • The total prize money amounts to Rs. 200,000

For further information please contact:Mr. Sabih-ur-RehmanPresident, N@STEC 2006Department of Information TechnologyNational University of Science and TechnologyMobile: 0300-9499630/ 0321-9499630Email: https://webmail.niit.edu.pk/src/compose.php?send_to=nastec%40niit.edu.pkOr visit our website: http://nastec.niit.edu.pk/

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Al Tomooh helps 77 SMEs

The Al Tomooh scheme, which was set up to support fledgling small and medium sized national businesses in the UAE, has now provided finance totalling $8.2m to 77 separate projects. Meanwhile, 27 commercial projects have now repaid their financial obligations to Al Tomooh.
(ameinfo.com) end post

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Saudi supports GCC Economic Union

Saudi Arabia called on GCC leaders meeting in Riyadh to set aside their differences to make economic union a reality in the energy-rich region.
Addressing the opening session of a two-day GCC summit that will assess progress on a planned monetary union by 2010, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said GCC countries were hampered by reservations and obstacles.

'We still have much to do before we can say we have achieved complete economic union ... the obstacles are real but we should not lose sight of the dream,' he said.
'Every country has had its reservations but united we will be a power that cannot be ignored.' The GCC groups Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Before the start of the summit, a Gulf official said Oman has informed the states that it would not join the monetary union in 2010, but could enter at a later stage.
'They feel they are not going to be ready by 2010. Rather than delay the process, they want the other countries to move ahead, and they can join at a later date,' said the official.

Oman had recently cast doubt on the timetable for the single currency project, suggesting other nations shared its concern.

The six countries have agreed five criteria for European Union-style economic union, including capping budget deficits at 3 percent of gross domestic product, public debt at 60 percent of GDP and inflation at the GCC average plus 2 percent.
Interest rates are to be no higher than the average of the lowest three states plus 2 percent and countries must have foreign exchange reserves to cover 4-6 months of imports.

The summit is also expected to consider a proposal made last year to limit to six years the stay of expatriate workers -- a symbolic move that would pre-empt any international pressure to improve residents' rights by granting them nationality.
An estimated 12 million foreigners live in GCC countries and make up more than 80 percent of the population in some cases.

The summit will discuss sectarian violence in Iraq, Iran's nuclear programme and rising tension in Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter and home to Islam's holiest sites, wants to check what it views as the creeping influence of Shi'ite power Iran in the Arab region through support for Lebanese group Hezbollah, Shi'ite parties in Iraq and Tehran's alliance with Damascus.

'Our Arab region is surrounded by a number of dangers, like a powder keg ready to explode,' King Abdullah said, adding that 'dark clouds' were threatening civil strife in Lebanon where Shi'ite group Hezbollah is leading efforts to bring down the U.S. and Saudi-backed government.

The GCC countries are mainly Sunni, with Shi'ite minorities, though Shi'ites are a majority in the island state of Bahrain.
The UAE has a long-standing dispute with Iran over three Gulf islands which are held by Tehran but claimed by the UAE.

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Dubai Department of Economic Development's SME Workshop

Dubai's Department of Economic Development has launched a series of workshops for UAE national entrepreneurs that specifically address the prospects for small and medium enterprises in the UAE. Entitled the UAE Investor Project, the workshops will be held from December 10-14 at the City Season Hotel. Over 300 UAE nationals have already registered for the five day event. (ameinfo.com)

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QSTP's $130 Million Venture Fund

Qatar Science & Technology Park announced two venture-capital funds totaling $130 million today and the renowned international firms that will manage them. The funds take Qatar a large step closer to its goal of becoming one of the world’s most attractive locations for start-up technology companies.

The $30 million New Enterprise Fund and $100 million Technology Venture Fund will respectively invest in early-stage and mid-stage technology enterprises locating in Qatar. They will be managed by a consortium of Oxford Capital Partners, a UK based venture capital firm focused on emerging science and technology, Qatar National Bank and The Ansbacher Group, a subsidiary of QNB which provides tailored financial solutions to high net worth and institutional clients worldwide.

“The vision is for Qatar’s knowledge economy to operate on a global scale, so it was important for the fund managers we chose to have international reach as well as local knowledge” said Dr. Eulian Roberts, Chief Executive of Qatar Science & Technology Park. “Oxford Capital, QNB and Ansbacher each bring a unique and valuable contribution to the partnership. Their depth of experience provides the right ingredients for the funds’ success.” The funds announced this month provide capital to commercialise technologies developed in Qatar and overseas.

The New Enterprise Fund moves technology from the lab bench to the marketplace by supplying the founding capital for new businesses. The Technology Venture Fund invests in growth-stage technology companies, helping them to scale-up production and expand their technology pipeline. The funds dovetail with the Proof of Concept Fund launched by Qatar Science & Technology Park on 5 September 2006 which offers grants to Qatar-based researchers to evaluate and develop their innovations. Qatar Science & Technology Park is also building a business incubator to provide the physical location for the start-up companies, and training programs to bolster their management skills.

Edward Mott, Founder and Chairman of Oxford Capital Partners, added “Oxford Capital has been identifying and investing in new technology companies in Europe and the US for over twenty years now, but what we see in Qatar is different. This is long-sighted and involves a very significant investment in education, science and applied research, which gives us enormous confidence that the New Enterprise Fund and Technology Venture Fund will succeed in their aim of growing Qatar’s knowledge economy.”

Vince Cook, General Manager of Corporate Banking and Capital Markets at QNB, said “It is a great honour for QNB to share a privileged and successful partnership with Qatar Foundation. We understand that our future rests in the advancement of technology. With its vast gas reserves and prudent financial management Qatar has enjoyed rapid growth. From this strong footing it becomes possible to invest significantly in Qatar's future and QNB, together with Ansbacher, is pleased to be able to contribute our deep financial expertise to the success of Qatar Science & Technology Park's venture funds.”

The New Enterprise Fund and the first $20 million of the Technology Venture Fund will be provided by Qatar Foundation. Remaining subscriptions will be raised by the fund managers later this year. The two funds are expected to become operational in early 2007. They are expected to apply to establish in and operate from the Qatar Financial Centre and be regulated by the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority.

Qatar Science & Technology Park is designed to grow Qatar’s knowledge economy by promoting links between industry and academia. Part of Qatar Foundation in Doha, it is co-located with campuses of Carnegie Mellon, Texas A&M, Weill Cornell and other top-ranked universities, all of which are establishing macentersearch centres. The funds announced today will help commercialise this research and attract start-up technology companies from around the world to Qatar.

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Saudi Arabia steps up heat against tobacco frims

It is of no surprise that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia spends a large amount of it's budget on tobacco products. In fact, to be precise; they spend over $1.3 billion US Dollars of their expenditure on such a line of health hazards.

But it seems that now that it now wants to change it for some reason by demanding tobacco firms to pay up potential health insurance claims that a citizen might need when and if they become ill with the such diseases caused by their line of products.

The question I have here is wouldn't it be better that the Kingdom stopped buying the product once and for all. For as long as this is seen in the eyes of firms, as much as it is denounced to buy such products in the Kingdom, this could go as far as being called blackmail.

You judge. - Saudi warning over tobacco firms

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Saudi, India SMEs Come Together

The Vice Chairman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ziad Bassam Al Bassam, has said that joint ventures between small and medium sized enterprises in the kingdom and their Indian counterparts could boost the economies of both nations, reported Arab News. Al Bassam said he felt Indian SMEs could find potential opportunities in the pharmaceutical, IT and textile sectors.
(ameinfo.com) end post

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UAE credit bureau opens

The UAE’s first credit bureau was officially launched.

Emcredit - the first independent credit information company in the UAE, opened its doors to offer technology-driven, credit reporting solutions that provide accurate credit information to lenders about borrowers.

Emcredit, a project initiated by the Department of Economic Development, Government of Dubai (DED) in 2003, was incorporated earlier this year as an independent enterprise, under the direction of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Emcredit collates data on borrowers and provides it in real time to lenders thereby supporting their decision making processes.

Emcredit is located at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) where it operates under a data protection law, which facilitates effective data sharing and offers privacy protection to individuals.

Speaking at the launch press conference, Mohamed Ali Alabbar, director General of the DED and chairman of Emcredit, said: “Emcredit was established with the strategic objective of empowering the decision making process and driving the knowledge based economy.

“Its unique structure combines the best of public and private sector models and operates on a state-of-the-art technology platform to offer its stakeholders the highest levels of security and data protection, which is essential to its success.”

He explained how Emcredit will fuel economic growth, particularly in supporting the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment: “A significant part of Dubai's economic growth is driven by SMEs.

“With the support of Emcredit’s reliable credit information on SMEs, this can translate into better opportunities and better access to credit, which in turn enhances their performance and spurs further growth in the economy.”

Bashar Saleh Qallab, CEO of Emcredit, said: “By providing factual,
real time credit information and historical repayment records, Emcredit provides a clearer picture of the creditworthiness of borrowers.

“This helps lenders assess their credit risk more quickly, accurately and profitably.

“Our vision is to enable smarter decisions today for a more prosperous tomorrow and we are confident that efficient credit information provided by Emcredit will be beneficial to everyone – financial institutions assessing customers, corporates assessing corporates and consumers assessing their own credit position.”

Qallab underlined the role of technology as a significant factor in providing cutting-edge credit solutions: “Technology is the backbone of Emcredit’s operations. This is a fully online business which enables us to cater to the advanced technical needs of our clients.

“We provide information over our state-of-the-art technology platform that allows our clients to access a wealth of information almost instantly.

“Our turn-around time for performing a credit check is under three seconds.”

Emcredit’s technology platform has been set up by Dun & Bradstreet, which is globally renowned for its excellent track record in creating credit bureaus around the world.

Currently, Emcredit can provide credit information solutions to its members (Private Network Partners) and is set to introduce a range of commercial and consumer value added products in the near future.

Emcredit collects data from its Private Network Partners as well as from external sources, so as to provide a clear, objective picture.

Qallab added: “Emcredit’s independent business model emphasises its neutral position in the management and dissemination of credit information, we have no use for the data other than to provide it efficiently to our clients.”

Commenting on the relevance of Emcredit to the local market, Qallab added: “Clearly, the availability of accurate high quality credit information in real time is needed in an era of economic growth.

“As the market grows, opportunities will emerge, customer bases will grow, but so will the risks.

“With our solutions, our clients will be able to make the right choices for their respective businesses.

“We believe our entry into the market is timely, and promises to have a significantly positive impact on not only the SMEs segment but on the entire economy.”

A World Bank survey of more than 5,000 SMEs across 51 countries, found that in markets without credit reporting systems; 49 per cent of SMEs reported financial constraints whereas in markets with efficient credit information, that number fell to 27 per cent.

Emcredit LLC was incorporated in January 2006 under the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

It is a project initiated by the Department of Economic Development, Government of Dubai (DED). Emcredit is an independent enterprise located in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC.)

Emcredit was established with the objective of providing effective credit information solutions that allow lenders to monitor credit repayment capability and improve availability of information about borrowers.

TradeArabia News Service

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