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MENA's cumulative surplus to hit $870b

Spurred by increased economic diversification in the non-oil sector and record fiscal and current account surpluses being posted by oil producers, the cumulative surplus of MENA region will reach more than $870 billion over 2003-07, Dr. Nasser Al Saidi, Chief Economist of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), said.

Warning that the management and sound deployment of the region's new wealth would be a major challenge, he said structural and policy reforms are required to sustain growth. "In particular financial market development should be a main policy priority. The region needs to develop its bond and equity markets and integrate them."

Al Saidi said sukuk market can grow rapidly to help finance infrastructure projects and private sector investments. "The countries of the region also need to develop housing finance and mortgage markets. DIFC will aim to be at the centre of the efforts to develop sound and efficient financial markets to serve the economies of the region," he said at the second DIFC Forum where International Monetary Fund (IMF) and DIFC participants predicted a favourable outlook for the MENA region.

Goldman Sachs noted that with annual GDPs of $750 billion, the GCC states' economy alone is already comparable to Australia's. The IMF forecast that the Gulf oil-producing economies are expected to grow at a slightly slower pace with gross domestic product surging to $749.6 billion while recording a decline in surplus in 2007 as oil prices and output drop. With a new emphasis on diversifying economies, deregulation and skills and infrastructure development, the GCC states were among the best performers in its rankings for improving growth environments, Goldman Sachs said.

Goldman estimates that, on fairly conservative assumptions, the Gulf economy could be comparable in size and prosperity to that of present-day France by 2050 with huge demand for energy from China, India and other emerging markets countries potentially handing the Gulf a $5 trillion windfall over the next 25 years. On a "dream scenario" where the Middle East overcomes persistent obstacles to economic performance, Goldman argues that it is even possible for the region to eclipse the UK and Germany in economic weight during the first half of this century.

According to analysts, such rosy scenarios emphasise the great expectations that the Middle East could yet fulfil. Yet massive and daunting obstacles remain to be overcome. "There are two main, and closely-linked, sets of challenges and obstructions to progress. First, the Middle East remains blighted by political turmoil, regional conflicts both within and between countries and terrorism. Second, there are persistent doubts over the readiness and ability of the region's governments to pursue crucial economic reforms. Economies across the Middle East continue to be fettered by weak institutions, bloated public sectors that crowd out private sector dynamism and enterprise, corruption, and inflexible product, labour and capital markets that are hamstrung by self-serving official bureaucracies."

The World Economic Forum's recent report on the region's competitiveness has found that many key Arab states have begun to forge ahead with significant reforms to tackle these deep-rooted problems.

Yet the scale of the task facing the region is clear from the critical gauge of unemployment, which stood at 12.5 per cent in 2005. The World Bank estimates that 100 million new jobs are needed across the Middle East by 2020 to absorb its strong population growth and cut the jobless rate to sustainable levels. This is vital, not merely economically but for security: without such progress, a huge pool of young unemployed males will continue to provide a seedbed for instability and extremism.

The financial markets across the MENA region were also under scrutiny, with particular focus on money debt, equity and Sukuk markets and the recommendation that authorities should look at the development and integration of financial markets.

Analysts such as Edward Morse, of Lehman Brothers, argue that the Gulf states at least "could be on the verge of establishing a new economic order in the Middle East ? one that might withstand even an eventual, severe cyclical downturn in petroleum prices." That is a conclusion shared by the International Monetary Fund in its latest assessment of the region's fortunes, released this week.

Mohsin Kahn, the IMF's director for the Middle East and Central Asia, argues: "Even if the oil price falls, the private sector looks set to sustain some of the development."

"There is no question about the strength of the oil boom across the Middle East in the past five years. Last year the region enjoyed robust growth in GDP at a heady 6.5 per cent rate, far above the lacklustre 3.5 per cent average from 1990 to 2002, and the IMF forecasts a similar performance this year," adds one economist. (menafn.com)

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Japanese Government Backed Scholarships Registeration Opens

The Japanese embassy in the Abu Dhabi is taking applications for a Japanese government-backed scholarship scheme, Khaleej Times reports. Scholarships are open to UAE nationals and are for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Air fares are covered and there is a monthly grant of about $1400. (ameinfo.com)
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Middle East to Lure $4.1 Trillion in Investments

About $4.1 trillion is available in the Middle East economies for potential investment, says a report. This makes the Arab world one of the most valuable sources of investment capital in the world, the Gulf News report said quoting from the Hedge Fund Research.

Arab capital repatriated from the West following 9/11 has pushed up regional liquidity that, coupled with high oil prices, helped the region's economies to remain buoyant, it said.

The hedge fund industry saw record inflows of more than $60 billion during the first quarter of 2007, bringing total assets under management to $1.568 trillion, according to data released by the Hedge Fund Research (HFR), the leading source of hedge fund information and performance data.

Ken Heinz, president of HFR, said: "The Middle East is an interesting and fertile region for hedge fund investing, both as a source of potential capital and a focus of investment."


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Al Maktoum launches largest education foundation with $10b Endowment

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced during the World Economic Forum for the Middle East, the launching of 'Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation' with an endowment of $10 billion.

The Foundation, the largest initiative of its kind in the region, will be based in the United Arab Emirates and will implement its program later this year.

The announcement was delivered during a keynote speech by his highness at the forum which is being held at the Dead Sea in the Jordanian capital of Amman. It comes as a major initiative to build a knowledge society in the region by offering support to the youth segment, focusing on developing scientific research and education, investing in the infrastructure of knowledge and seeking to provide equal opportunities to the region's youth.

Sheikh Mohammad said that the foundation will design and manage programs for building a knowledge base with international standards. His highness added that the foundation's key priorities will be creating a fund to promote researches and establishing research centers in universities all across the region.

The foundation will also provide scholarships for higher studies in the most prestigious institutes and universities at the beginning of 2008. Moreover, the foundation will also provide leadership programs for youth in government, the private sector and in non-governmental organizations. Scholarships and research grants will also be given to authors and researchers in the region.

Sheikh Mohammad said that the challenge facing the region currently is not only restricted on lack of knowledge but goes beyond it as there is graver problems associated with providing the right atmosphere for building knowledge and equipping the right people with proper tools to embrace it. The Sheikh pointed out that the illiteracy rate in the region is still high with an alarming 18 percent for males' under-15 age group and 43 percent among females.

Human development reports show that literary and intellectual books published in the Arab world represent only 0.08 percent of the world's production, less than those published in Turkey alone. For every 100,000 books published in North America, there are 42,000 published in South America, and only 6,500 books published in the Arab world.

Sheikh Mohammad said that the Arab World spends only 0.02 percent of its Gross Domestic Product compared to the expenditure of developed countries which spend between 2.5 and 5 percent. In the Arab world, for every 10,000 people in the workforce there are 3.3 academic scholars, while the developed world has 110 for every 10,000.

His Highness stated that unemployment in the region is 14 percent and that 15 million jobs are needed right now in the Arab world, while 74 million to 85 million new jobs will be needed over the next 20 years. He said that the business environment in the Arab world would need to be improved if these jobs were to be created, but there are challenges that will need to be overcome.

Furthermore, His Highness called upon governments, businessmen, intellectuals, university teachers, religious scholars'...etc to assume their roles in building a knowledge society in the region so that the Arab World can rise up the different challenges it faces.

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Dubailand 16 New Projects Finalized

Dubai Municipality has approved 16 master plans for projects at Dubailand. This was announced by officials at Dubailand, a member of Tatweer.

Dubailand, the world’s most ambitious family entertainment destination, has consistently taken follow up measures to ensure projects are executed and delivered on time.

Dubailand CEO Mohammed Al Habbai said: “Projects of this magnitude add a new dimension to Dubailand and demonstrate the destination’s attractive elements." Although the projects are massive, investors are strictly adhering to international standards and guidelines, set by Dubailand.

“The approval of 16 master plans by Dubai Municipality has taken Dubailand forward and will critically help to bring additional investors to this key entertainment and leisure destination.”

Dubailand projects under development include Dubai Heritage Vision launched in 2006 and Dubai Outlet City- to be launched in Q2 of 2007.

Dubai Sport City, Motor City, Falcon City of Wonders and Al Barrari are other projects that are under construction or in the early stages development.

Polo, City of Arabia and Al Kaheel are other projects that are in the initial stages of execution and infrastructure works are set to commence.

These projects are coming up at the most opportune time in the region. A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Global Entertainment and Media Outlook report predicts attendance at parks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa will grow from 131 million visitors in 2004 to 147 million in 2009, a 12 per cent increase.

“Such industry estimates indicate promising potential for the leisure and entertainment sector in the region,” said Al Habbai

The pioneering projects planned at Dubailand will position the region, and especially Dubai as a leading entertainment destination,” said Al Habbai.

The three billion square feet Dubailand will be situated alongside the Emirates Road.

It will include the 'The Restless Planet’, a dinosaur theme park being developed in cooperation with the Natural History Museum in the UK; a Sports City, featuring large state-of-the-art stadiums; the Great Dubai Wheel; the Islamic Culture; The Global Village; Dubai Heritage Vision and Science World; the Mall of Arabia, set to become one of the largest shopping centres in the world, and several other attractions catering to the entire family.

Dubailand, a member of Tatweer, is the world’s most ambitious tourism, leisure and entertainment project, catering to the needs of the entire family.

The unique 3 billion sq ft development has been designed to catalyse the position of Dubai as an international hub of family tourism, appealing to tourist segments across genders, age group, world regions and activity preferences.

Dubailand is projected to attract millions of tourists annually from around the world.

The diverse projects under Dubailand include theme parks, eco-tourism projects, shopping malls, restaurants and residential units that are being developed by UAE, GCC and international investors.

A product of extraordinary vision, Dubailand will be an attractive place to ‘live, work and play’ for the emirate’s growing population, both as a leisure destination and an appropriate setting for business and entertainment development.

Launched in December 2005 Tatweer is one the region’s most promising enterprises and a Member of Dubai Holding. It owns nine market-leading companies and managing an ambitious business development plan.

Its current portfolio is divided into Energy & Healthcare, Tourism & Entertainment, Industry & Knowledge. Its entities are Dubai Healthcare City, the region's hub for world-class quality healthcare services; Mizin, one of the most advanced real estate companies in the region; “The Tiger Woods - Dubai” an exclusive golf community that will include a Tiger Woods designed Golf Course; Dubailand, one of the biggest leisure, entertainment and tourism destinations in the Middle East region; Dubai Industrial City, an industrial township to develop Dubai as a leading manufacturing hub; Bawadi, the world’s leading hospitality and entertainment project bringing 31 hotels and more than 29,000 hotel rooms; Dubai Energy, investing in regional and global energy opportunities and building a diversified investment portfolio; Dubai Mercantile Exchange, the first commodity futures exchange in the Middle East; Global Village, which brings together 160 different countries showcasing myriad cultures; and Moutamarat, the first Arab initiative organizing research-based conferences and exhibitions.

A Member of Dubai Holding, Tatweer and its entities will continue to consolidate a group of life-improving industries.

In addition, it has pioneered the market with joint venture initiatives with leading companies such as the New York Mercantile Exchange or the Saudi Research and Publishing Company.

Tatweer will continuously strive for world-class performance implementing leadership development to drive and sustain business excellence, quality and high performance. TradeArabia News Service

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Qatar Science and Technology Park - Proof of Concept Fund

The step from the laboratory to the marketplace can be the biggest one for potential entrepreneurs. History is littered with stories of great ideas that fail to become a commercial success because of a lack of money at this crucial stage. QSTP’s ‘Proof of Concept’ aims to close that gap, boosting technological innovation in Qatar and accelerating the creation of local start-up companies.

Grants provided by the programme enable the validation of promising technology from Qatar’s research labs. Qatar-based research institutes can use the funds to demonstrate the technical and market feasibility of their innovations.

Manning the controls of the fund is Paul Field, QSTP’s Technology Transfer Manager. “When you look at the major research programmes that are being planned by the universities at Education City, and the fact that QSTP is building a world-class business incubator across the road, they obviously fit very neatly together” explains Paul. “The Proof of Concept Fund will boost both university-based innovation and the rate at which start-up tech companies are created at QSTP.”

With grants from $100,000 to $500,000 recipients can develop and test prototypes, undertake market research and planning, protect and manage intellectual property and prepare a business plan. Grants are distributed over the six to 18 month lifetime of the projects as agreed milestones are achieved.

The Proof of Concept Fund is the latest QSTP initiative to create a knowledge economy in Qatar, and ensures that the fruits of the blossoming research community are translated into business success stories.

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Digital Nation - A Knowlegde Oasis Muscat Initiative

Knowledge Oasis Muscat's (KOM) Digital Nation series is a unique set of quarterly seminars that bring together creative professionals, business leaders, techies and students to discuss the emergence, challenges, opportunities and implications of the digital lifestyle. Indeed, Digital Nation is all about the convergence of people, ideas, disciplines, technologies and progress.

Digital Nation participants are exposed to new ideas and have the opportunity to connect with key thinkers in the Information Communication Technology industry. Driven by KOM's remit of innovation and creativity and its emergence as a centre of technology, the Digital Nation series combines creative, business and consumer viewpoints that spark ideas for new products, services and growth.

For more information on KOM's Digital Nation series, please contact Ibtisam Al Faruji or Mulkie Al Hashmi on: digitalnation@kom.om

10 June: Ramping Up Internet Usage: Get Online
Technology is transforming Omani society - we've satellite TV beaming in from around the world, people are e-banking and using e-government services online and companies recognize that to stay competitive at home and abroad they need to leverage ICT.

However, recent research reveals that the greatest barrier to Internet uptake in Oman is a lack of understanding of its benefits. Of the 43% of adults who have never accessed the Internet, nearly half of them (49%) cite a general lack of interest as their main or only reason for not having used the Internet. This Digital Nation seminar will look at ways of overcoming key barriers to Internet use and ask:

Communicate: How do we raise awareness of the Internet and online services and signpost people to sources of access and support?

Content: How do we stimulate the production of innovative and relevant local content to encourage non-users to get online and existing users to adopt more sophisticated patterns of use?

Motivate: How do we encourage people to want to use the Internet by increasing awareness about the benefits of online services, where they can be accessed and sources of support?

Access: How do we invest in a network of public Internet access points for those who can't afford or don't have home or work Internet connections and promote access via a variety of different channels?

Skills: How do we embed ICT skills in schools and colleges?

Trust: How do we advise citizens about safe Internet use and support a light-touch, flexible regulatory framework?

2 September: Digital Media: Sharing Content
What's digital media? Broadly speaking - anything from the traditional uses of the medium for creating and sharing rich content to the explosion of blogs for self expression and increasingly real time interpretation of news and breaking events. Digital media is also about shared content via websites like: Flicr, YouTube and blip.tv and social sites like FaceBook and MySpace. It's a concept that's booming. For example, the British army recently led an expedition up Mount Everest and during the climb recorded daily video podcasts onto their website. Sky TV liked the podcasts so much they posted them on their website too. This is a great example of PR and advertising working together through digital media.

Today, consumers are more than ever seeking out information rather than following blindly. We've moved away from an age of deference to an age of reference. The emergence of blogs and wikis ('what I know is?') clearly show the demands of an increasingly sophisticated and information-hungry public and are examples of how consumers are taking power into their own hands and creating their own new and trusted sources of information. How are business and the public sector reacting to this step change in media culture? Attend this Digital Nation seminar and find out.

9 December: iGeneration: Embracing the Digital World
By 2010, Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, will be a consumer sector of tremendous importance to business, media and entertainment communities. Not only will they be big, but they will be fragmented and difficult to reach. The increasing number of media channels - instant messaging, e-mail, chat rooms, iPods, mobile phones, Tivo, P2P networks, handhelds and video games - through which this generation communicates and consumes media and entertainment, makes them a highly elusive target for businesses hoping to market to them. This Digital Nation seminar will discuss the characteristics of this unique generation - one fully embracing a pervasively digital world - and its greater implications for media, entertainment and advertising. Find out how you can engage this new breed of Internet power users.

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Thomson $17bn Reuters Buyout

Reuters has agreed to a $17bn buyout by Canadian financial data provider Thomson, the BBC reported. The deal will result in the creation of the world's biggest financial news and data firm, called Thomson-Reuters. It will be listed on the stock exchanges in London and Toronto. Analysts cited by the BBC said that Thomson-Reuters would be in a stronger position to compete with Bloomberg.
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World's first Islamic banking research office launched - UAE

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) Group yesterday launched the world's first-ever Islamic banking research office Malaysia-based Islamic Banking Economics and Investment Research that has a team of experts tasked to generate and share knowledge on Islamic finance and capital markets in the Middle East and Asia.

K. Salman Younis, managing director of KFH, said the launch signified the expansion of Islamic finance as an important part of the global financial architecture. "We aim to provide cutting-edge research material which capitalises on economic and Islamic financial research and provides clients with an added value to their investment decisions," he said.

The new research arm of KFH whose total assets reached Dh80.2 billion ($21.84 billion) with a net profit of over Dh2 billion ($560 million) in 2006 is seen to further enhance the sharing of knowledge and resources between two dynamic regions by facilitating investment and information flows. "It has been KFH's declared position that we will continuously seek deal flows not only from the Middle East to Asia but also vice versa, in order to further strengthen the two-way deal flow and encourage stronger bilateral trade relations," Younis said.

Last month, KFH said its first-quarter profit for this year amounted to Dh1.5 billion ($396.4 million), a 42-per cent increase from the same period in 2006.

Baljeet Grewal, chief economist and head of research at KFH, said that accurate and concise market information is crucial at a time when global economics plays a vital role in markets performance. She added that KFH's new research arm is a manifestation of the strong relationship and economic integration between the Middle East and Malaysia.

KFH, which was incorporated in Kuwait in 1977 and is listed on Kuwait Stock Exchange, provides Islamic law-compliant banking services such as consumer banking, real estate and lease financing, trade finance, direct investments, and portfolio investing. (via tradearabia)

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Volatile Laws Cost Entrepreneur Millions - Saudi Arabia

A Saudi citizen who wanted to start a car hire business after taking advice from the Transport Department lost millions of riyals after he fell foul of "frequently changing" Saudi laws.

Naif Hamdan, wanting to start a new car rental business, visited the Transport Department to obtain a license and was told that he needed to have a minimum of 50 cars and that the cars could be purchased on lease with an option to buy.

Hamdan leased the cars and then returned to the Transport Department in Jeddah, which told him that the law had recently changed and that he needed to be the sole owner of the cars in order to be issued a license. "I consulted the Transport Department in Jeddah and Makkah and bought 50 cars in Jeddah and another 15 in Makkah on lease. After all that, they told me that I couldn't start the business with cars that were purchased on instalments," said Hamdan.

"They previously gave me an OK. However, they are now preventing me from starting the business because according to new bylaws I must be the sole owner of the cars," he added.

Hamdan is calling on the Transport Ministry to find a solution to his problem. He said it took him a lot of time and effort to get documents of approval from various government departments, including the Traffic Department and police.

He added that he has registered his car renting company in the Shomous Security Program that oversees the car rental business in the Kingdom, provided the Transport Ministry with his commercial register at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and managed to get a license from the municipality to start his business. However, all of these documents are useless since he does not own the cars.

"Many people started business according to the law before it was changed. A few are now prevented from getting a license although we have previously been given the go-ahead," said Hamdan.

He has spent over SR2.2 million to lease cars. "This is in addition to other expenses. I wonder why the ministry gave me permission to start the business in the first place. This has caused me a lot of problems," said via ARABNEWS

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'Leadership Excellence Applied Diploma’ Offered by ALDar Abu Dhabi

Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi’s leading and fully integrated property developer, has announced that it has established a new educational development programme to nurture the leaders and management expertise of tomorrow. The ‘Leadership Excellence Applied Diploma’ or ‘Lead’ programme has been designed to develop strategically sound leaders and world-class managers capable of achieving the vision of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi the capital of UAE is poised to grow very fast.

The Lead programme is a joint venture between Aldar, the prestigious University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and Knowledge Horizon. Aldar has developed the diploma in accordance with the institutions so as to meet strategic requirements of the UAE’s dynamic business and social environments.

“The focus will be on potential organizational leaders across all industries in Abu Dhabi and will not be exclusively for Aldar employees. This is because we want to ensure that the emirate is equipped with quality managerial candidates across the board. There is obviously a focus on UAE nationals and we want to ensure the future stability and cumulative growth of the country through this programme,” said Abdalla Zamzam, CCSO, Aldar at the launch press conference.

The programme will be launched with two initial start-up groups of 25 students. The courses will be conducted over a two-year period with the professional qualifications culminated from workshops, focus groups, guest speakers and world-class training. The flexible structure of the study programme will allow for a number of intake dates.

The course will be a combination of day and evening lectures thus allowing all students to remain in employment, gain comprehensive knowledge and progress their career.

“Knowledge Horizon is the international knowledge transfer organisation that promotes excellence in all aspects related to the acquisition of knowledge and skills. We are very proud to be involved in this venture as we are committed to the development of the UAE and this can be achieved through initiatives such as the LEAD programme,” said Dr Ma’en Al Qatamin, president, Knowledge Horizon.

“University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) has, through its development of world-class examinations like the Cambridge IGCSE, become recognized as a leading provider of international assessment. In transferring its professional skills to the quality assurance of programs like Aldar’s Lead, CIE can provide objective, third-party assurances that standards are maintained and that the qualification is fit for purpose. In practice, what that means is that we validate LEAD as a highly effective course for business leaders throughout the UAE, equipping them to succeed in a dynamic and complex commercial environment,” said Ben Gibbs – validation development manager, University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). -TradeArabia News Service

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E-Biz Challenge not around for 2006 - 2007

Details on the fifth e-biz challenge read as follows:

Zayed University ebiz challenge V Postponed
We are sorry to disappoint those enthusiastic students and advisers who have been so eagerly awaiting Zayed University ebiz challenge V but due to relocation issues and other commitments we are unable to conduct the ebiz challenge in the 2006 - 7 academic year. The ITI has recently relocated to temporary premises in Dubai Media City and will move again early in 2007 to a new Zayed University Outreach Center (currently under construction) in Knowledge Village.
More details on the challenge previously reported are here..
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UAE must produce a better arbitration law: Al Tamimi

A legal office yesterday urged the UAE to draw up what it described as a "world-class arbitration law" saying that the draft of an existing one does not provide the business operations security that foreign investors are looking for.

"There was a strong consensus to the effect that the UAE ought to consult widely in an effort to produce a world-class arbitration law surpassing all others in the region and beyond," said Al Tamimi & Company Advocates and Legal Consultants.

In a statement, Al Tamimi said a draft of the arbitration law was taken up in the recent Middle East New York Convention Roundtable, a discussion it hosted and brought together regional and international legal experts to assess how the arbitration awards, made possible by the 1958 New York Convention, are being implemented in the Middle East.

Under the Convention, which the UAE agreed to apply in November 2006, commercial arbitration awards ? decisions emanating from the amicable settlement of conflicts between two or more business firms in a member economy without the high cost of legal proceedings ? made in the UAE can now be directly enforced in 142 member-countries. In return, foreign awards can also be enforced through the UAE courts.

Earlier, the Dubai International Arbitration Centre said the UAE joined 137 other nations in June 2006 as member of the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards as it ratified the New York Convention. This means the enforcement of arbitral decisions in all member-states.

"This would mean a wider number of countries benefiting from reciprocity, as arbitration awards issued in the UAE would become directly enforceable in the territory of other member states and vice versa," DIAC said on its web site. via Khaleej Times

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"Challenges in Emerging Mid-East Economic Centres” analyse Dubai

A delegation of MBA students from the US reviewed the procedures and regulations necessary for setting up businesses in Dubai. Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) hosted a delegation of 20 MBA students of different specialities from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona, US.

The visit comes as part of a summer course entitled “Challenges in Emerging Mid-East Economic Centres” organised by the School to strengthen the understanding of the UAE business and cultural environment and to enable participants to network in this vibrant economic centre.

The DED presented a comprehensive review that focused on Dubai’s business opportunities and the operational challenges facing organisations doing business in Dubai and the UAE.

The student delegation reviewed the procedures and regulations necessary for setting up businesses and the DED’s role in enhancing the growth of Dubai’s business sector.

“Led by the vision of Dubai’s rulers, the emirate continues to position itself as a leading economic hub in the Middle East region,” said Khalid Al Kassim, deputy director-general for Planning and Development at DED, who received the delegation.

“We work to ensure that Dubai becomes the destination of choice for international investors,” said Khalid Al Kassim.

“Dubai places emphasis on the growth of the private sector, which in turn contributes to the growth of the national economy.”

This is Thunderbird’s first course offering in Dubai.

Similar programmes have been conducted in London, Shanghai, India, Jordan and South Africa and other cities.

Thunderbird has been ranked the No 1 business school globally for International Management and Global MBA by the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report.

The Department of Economic Development (DED) was established in March 1992, with the objective to organise, regulate and boost trade and industry within the Emirate of Dubai.

The DED has moulded its mission of building a futuristic establishment, in accordance with the vision of the Government of Dubai and in the light of globalisation and the requirements of a digital economy.

One of its key functions is to encourage local and foreign investments in commercial and industrial projects, and create the appropriate environment for investors.

The DED’s other functions comprise a wide range of regulatory activities including the preparation and maintenance of a commercial register and the supervision of all organisations.

The DED is responsible for regulating the affairs of commercial agents and brokers and commercial advertising offices, in addition to overseeing and controlling the insurance industry in Dubai.

Examining the participation of the government in the private sector and representing the government in companies where it has a stake, also comes under the purview of the DED. (TradeArabia News Service)

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Saudi's Insurance Firm Jabal Omar to Launch IPO

Saudi developer Jabal Omar plans a 2.01 billion riyal ($536 million) initial public offering next month. Also, seven insurance companies will offer a total 354.45 million riyals from May 19, the regulator said.

Jebel Omar, which is building hotels and shopping malls in the holy city of Makkah, will offer 30 percent of its 6.714 billion riyal capital in its June 9-18 IPO, the Capital Markets Authority said in a statement posted on the bourse Web site.

It is one of the largest listings planned for this year.

Sanad for Cooperative Insurance will offer 40 percent of its 200 million riyal capital, Gulf Union Cooperative Insurance Company will offer 40 percent of its 220 million capital, and Saudi Arabian Cooperative Insurance, Saudi Indian Insurance, Al-Ahlia Insurance and Allied Cooperative Insurance Group will each offer 40 percent of their 100 million riyal capital.

Al Ahli Takaful will offer 26.45 percent of its 100 million capital. The subscriptions will be open from May 19 to May 28. -Reuters

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Oman's MB Holding to sell $200m Islamic Bonds

Oman's MB Holding Company, whose interests include oil and mining, plans to sell Islamic bonds worth $200 million to refinance existing debt, the firm's head of corporate finance said

Pricing for the seven-year Islamic bond, or sukuk, will be determined after a roadshow due to begin in June, encompassing the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

"The sukuk will be used to repay existing loans," MB Holding's Sushil Srivastava.

Standard Chartered and ABN Amro are the issue's lead arrangers.Reuters
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UAE Corporatations lack the use of performance tools

Lack of proper application of performance management tools is hampering the growth of public and private corporations in the UAE, say experts.

Experts from leading government and private organisations who took part in a workshop organised by the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) recently, presented insights into performance management - a process which contributes to the effective management of individuals and teams in order to achieve high levels of organisational performance.

The experts were from Dubai eGovernment, Dubai Municipality, Booz Allen Hamilton and Australian Studies & Management Consultancy.

Dr Okan Geray, strategic planning consultant, Dubai eGovernment, stressed the need for a holistic approach to measuring the performance of employees.

Providing an overview of recent developments at Dubai eGovernment, Dr Geray said: "We have set a strong system for Performance Management that is comparable to global benchmarks. This approach had yielded remarkable results. Nearly 78 per cent of the public services are online today and the target is to reach 90 per cent by the end of 2007. The total number of online services stands at 2,240. Total savings to the Government of Dubai on account of the synergies in services such as common e-payment systems and shared contact centres were Dh79 million."

Maha Abdul Moneim, senior consultant, Australian Studies & Management Consultancy, lamented the lack of proper knowledge of Performance Management among managers in general, and remarked that the popular 'Balanced Scorecard' for evaluating performance was quite often used without proper understanding. She stressed that while many companies focus mainly of the financial side of the scorecard, other measures of performance are equally important. Maha gave interesting examples on how to link employees' personal development to better processes and service to customers.

Maryam Al Hammadi, assistant director of development and head of performance management section, Dubai Municipality, described how the highly effective computerised performance management system played an important role in successfully achieving the Municipality's targets for community projects. Maryam explained how the electronic system allows Dubai Municipality to identify low performing areas and departments early on to allow for timely remedial measures. "This will enable us to, for example, achieve an ambitious greenery target for Dubai of 8 per cent by 2011." In an another illustration, she outlined how customer feedback was used to reduce 'the new building-permit issue' turnaround times from 5 days to 2 days.

Rabih Abou Chakra, senior consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton, said performance management was a key driver in enhancing government efficiency and improving public service management, with a focus on targets, monitoring progress and evaluation.

"What is important is not just output but outcomes. Performance monitoring and performance evaluation are important from the point of view of federal policy making," he said. "Sustaining a performance management system is a long-term process, but there are challenges like transparency and accountability."

Earlier, Professor Nick van der Walt, chief executive officer of UOWD, welcomed the participants and said that in addition to encouraging networking amongst professionals. such workshops enabled to University to provide a platform for its students and graduates learn from industry leaders.-(Trade Arabia News Service)

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Dubai Islamic Bank to float Deyaar IPO

Dubai Islamic Bank will sell a stake in its property arm starting on Sunday in the UAE's largest initial public offering. Analysts said the issue should be oversusbcribed despite falls in Dubai's bourse this year.

Dubai Islamic Bank seeks to raise 3.18 billion dirhams ($866 million) selling shares in property unit Deyaar in what would be the Gulf's fourth-largest initial public offering.

Dubai Islamic, the third-biggest sharia-compliant lender in the Gulf by market value, plans to sell 3.178 billion shares at 1.02 dirhams each, equivalent to 55 percent of the company. Only nationals from the UAE and the other Gulf Arab countries - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain - can buy shares.

Deyaar's IPO is the first in the UAE since low-cost carrier Air Arabia raised only about 50 percent more than it hoped to in an offering in March. Analysts blamed that on weak market sentiment.

Dubai's index is the second-worst performer in the Gulf this year, down 7.16 percent, after falling more than 44 percent last year.

Gulf Arab investors routinely piled into IPOs during and after a 2005 stock market rally in the region, whith a public offering of Dubai-based mortgage financer Tamweel ending 500 times oversubscribed.

"Coverage should be good, maybe 5 to 10 times," said Hamood Abdulla al-Yasi, general manager at Emirates International Securities. "I anticipate demand to be better than for Arabia. This is a property company, sponsored by a big bank, and they have good existing business in Dubai."

Deyaar's net profit should be between 500 and 520 million dirhams in 2007, chief executive Zach Shahin told Reuters last week. The company made 412 million dirhams last year.

Shuaa Capital, the IPO's arranger, said it expected Deyaar's net profit at 522 million dirhams in 2007 and 899 million dirhams in 2008.

"Their profit announcements have been very encouraging," said Wadah al-Taha, head of strategy at Emaar Financial Services. "They are diversified within real estate, which adds value. They are not only involved in development, they are involved in management and leasing."

Demand could be dampened, however, if banks hold back on lending, Yasi said. If an IPO is heavily oversubscribed, more excess funds are returned to investors, making it easier to pay back loans. With oversubscription less certain after markets tumbled, banks may be more cautious to lend, Yasi said. "Banks will wait to see if there is big demand," he said. - Reuters

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Bahrains New Tenders Laws

Bahrain's His Majesty King Hamad has issued a law amending certain provisions regarding regulation of government tenders and purchases. Under the new law, a contract becomes effective on the date a bid winner is informed of the Tender Board's decision by registered mail. Whenever possible, the contract shall be drafted in accordance with models used by the council.

The contract must be signed by the purchaser and the bid winner within a 30-day limit from the tender's decision. The contract's implementation begins on the date decided by the tender decision message on the part of the purchaser, the contract's conclusion date or any other date defined by the contract.

This must not be in breach of measures and procedures undertaken by the council as per the new law. The new law entitles the tender council to issue decisions on immediate and temporary measures which remain valid until a demand to revoke or reconsider them is made.

These measures can include suspension of the tender decision issuance unless the contract's implementation had already gone into effect.-(Trade Arabia News Service)

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Bahrain Financial Harbour starts Operations

The first phase of the Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH) was inaugurated today (May 2) by Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa. Phase I of the $1.5 billion BFH project is the Financial Centre, the main business district.

The formal opening ceremony was attended by over 350 of the world’s leading banking industry professionals, regulators and senior government officials from Bahrain, in addition to other local, regional and international dignitaries.

The event titled ‘Enterprising Bahrain’ included a high profile conference titled ‘Middle East Financial Services Summit’, held in association with the Financial Times Group, and a specially themed evening event.

The opening was followed by an impressive high-voltage spectacularly choreographed multi-media laser and fireworks show which artistically lit up the entire harbour while bringing the iconic Harbour Towers into the spotlight.

Commenting on the occasion, Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, said: “The region is witnessing a significant change on all fronts be it political, social and even economic. The financial sector in the region, of which Bahrain is a key driver, has also been undergoing a dramatic transformation, successfully emerging into a global financial centre. However, with the rapid growth being witnessed in the region the time is now ripe for the next big growth thrust in the sector, which currently is to some extent being limited by certain aspects of infrastructure and regulation.

“While, as the Central Bank of Bahrain, we are actively working on the regulation side in the kingdom, it is developments such as the Bahrain Financial Harbour that we believe would play a large role in addressing the issue of meeting the complex and constantly evolving infrastructure needs of the sector,” he added.

Esam Janahi, chairman of BFH, said: “Over the last couple of decades, Bahrain has successfully gained the reputation of being the financial hub of the Middle East, driven by the forward looking and open market policies adopted by the kingdom’s dynamic leadership and government and backed by the world-class regulation through the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Bahrain Economic Development Board.

“Furthermore, where the first half of this decade saw record repatriation to the tune of $1.5 trillion back into the region, the last couple of years has seen the trend being reversed with the emergence of Middle East as one of the leading global exporters of investments and the emergence of Islamic Finance, pioneered by the region, as a significant alternate to conventional banking globally.

“This has laid the ideal platform for the region to emerge as a leading global financial centre and Bahrain with its leadership position in both conventional and Islamic Finance, along with its advanced regulatory framework, strategic position and robust multi-lateral trade agreements including WTO membership and a FTA agreement with the USA is well placed to take significant advantage of this. However, there are some limitations in terms of relatively less developed capital and bond markets and the lack of world-class technologically advanced infrastructure that is to some extent restricting this progress. BFH was conceived with the aim of addressing these concerns, in the process significantly contributing to enhancing Bahrain and the region’s position in the global financial markets.

“As promoters of this landmark development which is the region’s most technologically advanced and first fully-integrated master-planned waterfront financial district, the formal opening of this project by the Prime Minister of Bahrain is a matter of great pride for us. We are confident that this milestone project will not just significantly impact the position and economy of the kingdom but would also create large-scale employment opportunities for the highly educated and trained workforce of Bahrain,” Janahi added.

The $1.5 billion BFH was conceived as an integrated financial city, coming up on the Manama Corniche. Furthermore, spread over 380,000 sq m of prime seafront property, it aims at re-enforcing Bahrain’s position as the financial capital of the Middle East and further enhancing the attractiveness of GCC as a whole for global financial sector players.

Phase I of the project ‘The Financial Centre’, which is also the main business district, includes the Harbour Towers – Bahrain’s tallest towers - and the Harbour Mall. The Harbour Towers will provide prime office and commercial space for the financial services industry while the Harbour Mall will house high quality retail outlets and cafes, other leisure facilities as well as brokerage and trading firms. Additionally, development of Phase II of the project, the $450 million Villamar @ the Harbour, which is also a key residential component, is well underway.

Elaborating on ‘Enterprising Bahrain’, Stephen Rothel, chief executive officer, BFH, said: “I am delighted to say that every act in the official launch ceremony of the BFH has been sourced from within the kingdom. It is an incredible accolade for Bahrain’s performers to be able to put on a show of such quality and diversity – with the added passion in the performances that comes from knowing everyone involved in this historic occasion is representing their country.”

The full schedule of the event also involved a full spectrum of talent and abilities from traditional to contemporary being displayed. In addition to the light and fireworks display and the other acts, one of the most popular performances of the evening was by Bahrain’s Olympic gymnasts who are amongst the most accomplished sporting groups in the kingdom.

The opening address at the Middle East Financial Services Summit was delivered by Stephen Timewell, the editor-in-chief of The Banker. The welcome speech was delivered by Esam Janahi, while Brian Caplen, the editor of The Banker introduced the keynote speaker Niall Booker, the chief executive and deputy chairman of HSBC Middle East.- (TradeArabia News Service )


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Al Rajhi Investment Group eyes Pakistan

Abdullah Suleman Al Rajhi, the Chairman of the Al Rajhi Investment Group and the CEO of the Al Rajhi Bank has said he is keen on investing in Pakistan, reported Arab News. He said Pakistan had become an attractive destination for FDI due to low production costs, available manpower and favourable regulations. The group is particularly interested in the banking and real estate sectors. end post (ameinfo.com)


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Harvard University Women's Leadership Board - Jordanian Scholarships

The Women's Leadership Board (WLB) at Harvard University on Thursday announced two fellowships for Jordanian students in honour of Her Majesty Queen Rania's visit.

The fellowships are for undergraduate women to study at Harvard Summer School, which caters to students from over 50 countries. The programme will allow the selected students to expand their academic experience, benefit from exchange and exposure to different countries and cultures and enhance their leadership skills through special seminars in communication, strategic thinking and networking.
The deadline for applications is June 10, 2007.

"Thanks to these summer internships, which combine education with empowerment, bright young Jordanian women are set to gain valuable leadership skills? learning from women like you and perhaps sharing some of their stories," Queen Rania said.

"Last summer? I spoke of the 'reverse domino effect,' where every woman lifts another up and passes the gift of strength on. That's what you are doing, and for that I thank you," she added.

The WLB said an increased number of young Jordanian women amongst their student body would serve to increase awareness of contemporary Jordan and the role women play in the country today.

The Jordanian Harvard summer fellows will live in campus dormitories staffed with proctors and advisers. A minimum of two to a maximum of six students will be selected per year to participate and the scholarships which will be available for at least three years.

Also during her visit, Queen Rania met with faculty members of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, who briefed her on the WIDE World (Wide-Scale Interactive Development for Educators) initiative that may soon be exported to Jordan.

The interactive online courses were created to help a large number of educators understand how to apply proven research on effective teaching in their own workplace.

WIDE World, which includes programmes for teachers, coaches and school leaders, supports collaborative teamwork that engages students, dramatically enhances performance, and develops school systems as coherent learning organisations.

Queen Rania, who noted her interest in bringing the programme to Jordan, discussed some of the advancements taking place in the Kingdom's education sector.

Referring to Jordan as a regional success story, she said the Kingdom is working on creating the right environment and integrating technology in the classrooms, noting that "teachers are the ones that bring it all to life."

The programme will serve to integrate new educational technologies to improve teaching and learning, a mission that is in line with the Queen's mandate to improve the capacity of teachers in using technology.

The Jordanian education system boasts the lowest illiteracy rate for girls in the Arab world, and is continuously adapting innovative methods of teaching and technology to further advance the quality of education.

"There is no doubt in my mind, that Education is the 'E' in Empowerment and Equality ? which is why I am particularly proud of the strides we are making in Jordan in educating our women and girls? [and] that we have achieved gender equality in schools and have the lowest female illiteracy rate in the region," the Queen had said earlier. WIDE World has already started to go global and the faculty spoke of their experience in China where they are currently in stage three of implementing the programme.

"The Jordanian education framework is very impressive and thoughtfully conceived and we look forward to exploring ways of working together," one of the faculty members said, in regard to expanding it to Jordan.

About Harvard Summer School

The Summer School offers a full curriculum of arts and science courses taught by Harvard faculty.

Courses are provided for college credit and follow an intensive course schedule.

Students may enroll for four- or eight-week sessions and will undertake academic programmes customised for their career aspirations and interests.

Supplementing this core academic programme, the young women will be required to participate in a series of leadership skill-building classes and activities designed by the Women and Public Policy Programme with support from the Women's Leadership Board.

These sessions will focus on communications, critical thinking, decision-making, and negotiation skills.

The fellows must meet all requirements for admission to the programme.

Candidates will be selected with preference to women with high academic merit and demonstrated leadership capacity.

Students must be completely proficient in English and capable of participating in a highly interactive classroom.

All tuition, room and board, expenses for books, and a modest stipend will be covered by the Women's Leadership Board.

The deadline for applications is June 10, 2007. (JOrdan Times)

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Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority Issues New Rules

Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (Esca) has issued new rules related to appropriate corporate governance to be applied by the listed companies. Esca derived the rules for managing companies from the common international norms and practices, relying on the main criteria applied by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The framework provides for principles such as accountability, transparency, disclosure and protecting shareholders' rights.

'The authority published the framework for a substantial period of time on its website, and we were keen to get the feedback of all the concerned parties,' an Esca official was quoted to have said in a report in the Gulf News.

The authority's board approved the final draft on March 31 after reviewing the public feedback and concerns, and at the same time maintaining the prevailing international practices.

'Adopting these rules came to define the roles and responsibilities of chairmen and members of listed companies' boards, while we ensured the separation between the different authorities in running the companies,' said Abdullah Al Turaifi, Esca's chairman.

He said these rules will enhance the confidence in UAE equities, representing a new point of attraction for foreign investments.

'Corporate governance supports the rights of the minority shareholders, especially in events like general assemblies meetings, as they are among the owners of the company.'

The new framework is set in 19 articles and includes definitions for board members and their authorities, classifying them into independent members, executive members, and non-executive members.

The codes also stipulate the tasks and obligations of board members, and the formation of internal subcommittees.

Internal supervision, and drafting a corporate governance report, which should include detailed information related to transparency and disclosure, were also emphasised.-(Trade Arabia News Service)

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The Arab World Competitiveness Report claims Non-oil economies as 'more competitive'

Countries that do not possess large energy resources are often significantly more competitive than their oil-exporting neighbours in the Arab region, says a report. The Arab World Competitiveness Report 2007 benchmarks the performance of Arab countries in terms of national competitiveness.

Understanding competitiveness as the set factors, policies and institutions that enable growth, the report looks into how to put the region on track to sustain the current growth momentum by strengthening drivers of competitiveness while removing obstacles to faster growth.

The report is authored by senior economist at the World Economic Forum Margareta Drzeniek-Hanouz.

Among the findings that emerge from the report three are particularly worth highlighting. The first is that the Arab world is comprised highly diverse economies.

This difference is reflected most strikingly in the level of income per capita. GDP per capita of the wealthiest country in the Arab world, Qatar, is 73 times higher than that of the least developed, Mauritania.

Apart from the pure level of income, countries also have very diverse economic structures - while some have accumulated significant wealth by extracting energy resources, others follow a more traditional, export-led development path.

As a consequence, states face very different challenges in terms of their economic policy. While oil exporting countries seeking to diversify their economy will have to address what the index results highlight as one of their main weaknesses, namely putting conditions in place for a more innovative private sector, other countries will have to focus on more basic policy areas, such enhancing transport and telecommunications infrastructure and fostering the use of technology or, even more fundamental, stabilizing their macroeconomic environment.

The second key finding of the report is that on average, when benchmarked against economies with a comparable level of income, countries that do not dispose of energy resources are often significantly more competitive than their oil-exporting neighbours.

All four Gulf states that fall into the highest income group rank towards the bottom of this peer group, outperformed by a significant margin by some Asian economies that often serve as an example for the region, such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, for wealthier countries innovation and sophistication of business operations are relatively more important, as otherwise they would not be able to maintain the high wage level and the oil exporters' performance in these two areas looks back at a relatively weak track record.

Secondly, the availability of natural resources ensures sustained wealth for the foreseeable future and therefore weakens incentives to implement reforms.

And lastly, some countries started only recently to more actively pursue economic and political reforms with a new generation of leaders coming to power and the results become only slowly visible.

In these countries, a number of policy areas remain to be addressed. Over the past few years, many states have seen increased unemployment among nationals. Despite increasing wealth, efforts to diversify the economy and a focus on labour policies, many nationals newly entering the workforce have not been able to find jobs.

Skills shortages and the lack of an education that stresses skills necessary for the private sector are usually identified as reasons for this development.

Education at all levels needs to be enhanced and geared more strongly towards the needs of the private sector. At the same time, in a region with abundant liquidity, access to capital is still difficult for private business and new entrepreneurs, and the intensity of competition remains fairly low.

For many countries, competitiveness is on top of their agendas and they have geared public investment towards enhancing growth and diversification and established appropriate structures, such as economic development boards, competitiveness councils, or observatories.

Yet an even clearer focus on outputs and more a more supportive framework for the private sector could significantly improve the efficiency of government spending on growth enhancing measures.

In the two lower income groups, performance is more mixed. Countries that have focused policies on reform and economic growth for some time, such as Jordan or Tunisia compare relatively well to their peer income group, whereas for example Algeria and Libya, lag behind.

These examples further confirm that the availability of resources weakens incentives to reform, although Libya's low rank partly can be explained by the international isolation the country suffered from until recently.

Thirdly, and finally, the reports highlights the high importance of education in all countries of the region. Although the exact recommendations differ, the business sector has in virtually all countries of the region pointed out that graduates lack appropriate skills and that innovation is often hampered by the lack of qualified scientists and engineers.

More importantly, when asked to name the most serious obstacles to doing business, businesses in seven of the 13 countries assessed 'Inadequately educated workforce' as one of the three most important impediments they face.

Improving education programmes will require more focus on the quality of education, an overhaul of curricula, better training of teachers and more and qualitatively better vocational training programmes.

Using the current benign environment to set the foundation for self-sustained growth independent of energy prices, will require strong leadership and political will. Yet, if the current opportunity is well used, the region may emerge as one of the drivers of the global economy in foreseeable future.(TradeArabia News Service)

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Family-Owned Corporates in the GCC

While credit quality assessments of large family-owned corporates in the GCC can be very complex, such firms often display hidden credit strengths, says Moody's Investors Service.

In a new special comment examining the key characteristics and issues involved in assessing the credit strength of family-owned companies in the Middle East, it said: "The main analytical challenges in assessing the credit quality of family-owned companies in the GCC, where such groups are commonplace, are the ownership structure and the limited public financial disclosure."

Moody's new report, entitled "Family-Owned Corporates in the GCC", looks at four keys areas: (i) Typical Corporate Structures; (ii) Accounting & Transparency Issues; (iii) Capital Structure & Liquidity; and (iv) Analytical Considerations.

According to Dubai/DIFC-based Philipp Lotter, Moody's Senior Credit Officer and author of the report, many large family-owned or closely held companies in the GCC encompass diversified core operations, often comprising real estate, construction and energy activities complemented by large land banks and investment portfolios. The region is home to numerous classic conglomerates, where such structures can make solid business sense due to the lack of specialisation across primary industry sectors.

The report also notes that, in the absence of any obligation for closely held corporations to publicly report their results, the availability of public information can often be sketchy. When assessing a company's financial strength, Moody's has so far relied on private annual accounts, often prepared under International Financial Reporting Standards and audited by international audit firms. However, Moody's notes that the quality of information, and indeed companies' willingness to share such information on a confidential basis, is often high.

Moody's observes that many companies in the GCC -- be they closely held or publicly quoted -- rely heavily on short-term funding, which often depends on the strength of their banking relationships rather than any contractual commitment. This trend is further exacerbated amongst family-owned companies. The use of uncommitted lines to meet potential short-term liquidity needs remains a source of some uncertainty. However,
with the development of regional capital markets and Islamic financing gathering momentum, Moody's expects this tendency to gradually change.

Finally, Moody's explains why a traditional rating approach may not always capture the actual financial strength of such companies and how specific factors, such as asset coverage and shareholder support, can enhance credit ratings. - (TradeArabia News Service)

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Qatar to have new E-trading system

Two of Qatar's leading brokerage firms are preparing to launch a new state-of-art e-trading system. The e-trading system, by Dlala Brokerage and Dlala Islamic Brokerage will secure faster response time for a large number of buying and selling transactions simultaneously. Dlala will also launch its new and updated website.

In an attempt to keeping its clients updated, Dlala held an introductive presentation and workshop at the Four Seasons Hotel. Dlala management explained the new e-trading system's features, capabilities, security and workability..

Addressing the meeting, Abdulla Al Ansari, head of brokerage, Dlala Holding and the general manager of Dlala Brokerage said the new e-trading system will come as a good surprise to all investors in Qatar and abroad.

Al Ansari stated that this meeting is the first of a series of presentations and workshops the company is planning for the near future. "We are keen to raise awareness among investors, stock traders and educate them on how to achieve the right investment decision by using the most advanced e-trading system of Dlala".

Al Ansari also expressed his satisfaction at the positive feedbacks and constructive inputs Dlala received from clients on the new system.

"We shall officially announce the launch of Dlala's new e-trading system during the coming few days in a press conference. This system will raise the standards of trading in securities and will set a new concept in trading mechanism," he added.-(TradeArabia News Service)

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