Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How do you grow a Green Economy?

The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai in collaboration with the Dubai Green Economy Partnership (Dubai GEP) and Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of DED, launched ‘Green Deal’, the region’s first crowd sourcing platform entirely focused on verifiable green initiatives.
The announcement was made by Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of DED; Ahmed Buti Al Muhairbi, Chairman of DGEP, and Secretary General of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy; Fahad Al Gergawi, Secretary General of Dubai GEP and CEO of Dubai FDI; and Jamal bin Ghalaita, Chief Executive Officer, Emirates Islamic in the context of the World Green Economy Summit 2015.
Green Deal is part of DED’s strategy for stronger participation in community initiatives through providing innovative services and products. Observing a green philosophy, the campaign carefully screens products in terms of its economic viability, its impact on the environment and its strategic fit to the Dubai Demand Side Management 2030 through a purposely convened high level committee of experts.
"The Green Deal initiative is aimed to support the community at large as well as business owners, academics, individuals and families through improved awareness on reducing energy costs and promoting sustainable services and smart applications in line with the directives of the leadership in Dubai. It is an innovative model that enables people in the UAE to have a smooth transition towards green products and allows end users to review eco-friendly products or services, and purchase them from a single source," said Al Qamzi.
Al Qamzi also linked DED’s participation in the initiative to its role consumer protection, whereby it can enhance the transition to green products and services.
The Dubai Green Economy Partnership is an initiative of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, bringing together top tier stakeholders to consolidate clean energy programmes and initiatives. Dubai FDI will be the leading facilitator responsible for designing and implementing the programme. The initiative is supported by Emirates Islamic.
"Green Deal is a collective platform which will allow users to view and buy pre-verified energy and water consumption products and services. Crowd-sourcing will allow for economies of scale to extend economic benefits to end users, while ensuring that proper due-diligence and a fast track approach facilitate early adopters of new initiatives within Dubai’ strategic vision," commented Ahmad Buti Al Muhairbi.
Fahad Al Gergawi said Green Deal will facilitate market adoption of green technologies and products amongst UAE residents by removing as much complexity as possible from the procurement exercise and by leveraging the collective bargaining power of larger communities. "As a one stop shop, Green Deal will result in a hassle free alternative that will encourage a faster adoption of green products in the region and invite numerous new providers to the marketplace. Crowd sourcing has been successful nationally and internationally, hence a green focused platform is expected to further enhance the success potential."
Jamal bin Ghalaita said, "Emirates Islamic is proud to be part of the Green Deal initiative, highlighting our commitment to support innovations that bring about improvements in the quality of life in the UAE. Building a platform for green sourcing will not only offer residents easy access to environmentally responsible products, but also help in boosting the UAE’s green economy. This partnership demonstrates how collective collaboration can bring about social and economic change in our communities." –End-

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Cowardice acts

The UAE Deputy Permanent Representative to the Arab League, Khalifa Al Tunaiji, has reiterated the country's condemnation of the terrorist attack in Cairo today that led to the killing of Egypt's State Prosecutor, Hisham Barakt. Al Tunaiji said such cowardly terrorist operations would not thwart Egypt's march to end terror and attain stability.
Addressing an emergency meeting of the Arab League's Council, which opened today and was chaired by Jordan, Al Tunaiji reaffirmed the UAE's full solidarity with Egypt, saying the recent terrorist crimes in several countries, which claimed innocent lives during the holy month of Ramadan, contravene all beliefs.
"The UAE vehemently condemns the abhorrent terrorist crime of targeting Al Imam Al Sadiq Mosque in Kuwait. The leadership and people of the UAE stand by the brotherly Kuwait in the fight against terrorism and extremism," he said.
"This crime which targeted a mosque and innocent worshippers is an act of grave escalation by an extremist group that exploits religion to justify its barbaric acts. It is designed to undermine the security and stability of Kuwait and its integrated social fabric."
Al Tunaiji went on to say that such crimes require the international community to rally efforts to confront the cowardly acts and twisted thoughts which pay no heed to human lives and sanctity of mosques. He offered condolences to the victims' families and wished the injured speedy recovery.
Al Tunaiji also expressed the UAE's condemnation of the terrorist attack which targeted two hotels in Sousse in Tunisia and renewed solidarity with the latter in its battle against terror. –End-

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Where else to get quality education?

Khalifa University has been listed among the top 25 universities in the Middle East/North Africa Region by QS, Quacquarelli Symonds, a British company specialising in higher education and student mobility, that releases annual rankings from around the world.
In addition to the top 25 mention, the university placed first in the UAE in three categories, including faculty/student ratio, publications per faculty researcher and percentage of faculty in possession of a PhD.
Currently, Khalifa University boasts a faculty to student ratio of 9 students per faculty member in the undergraduate programme, which allows for greater hands-on attention and guidance. All Khalifa University professors are required to possess a PhD and are actively engaged in both undergraduate and graduate education, as well as publication of their research and other scholarly activity.
The QS World University Rankings are an annual publication regarded as one of the three most influential and widely observed university measures. QS has been producing global rankings since 2004 and continues to expand its activities in the ranking and evaluation of higher education institutions worldwide. The ranking of Khalifa University within the top 25 Arab Region universities this spring follows upon its ranking amongst the top 500 universities worldwide in the 2014 QS World Rankings, released last autumn.
"We are very pleased with our university’s performance in the latest QS rankings," said Khalifa University President, Dr. Tod Laursen. "As a relatively new university, established in 2008, it is quite unusual to have this sort of impact so early and I am very proud of the work our faculty, staff and students have done to bring this to this point. As nice as this recognition is, however, it is important for us all to know that our work is far from done. Our students are now regularly competing and performing admirably in international competitions, and continually ranking in the top tiers in regional and local competitions."
He added, "We pride ourselves in accepting only the best students, and hiring only the best faculty, and we can see the results of those high standards in these rankings. I look forward to seeing the fruits of these efforts as we keep working toward enhanced recognition both nationally and internationally."

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UAE sends food parcels to underprivileged Lebanese orphans

A team of the humanitarian and development aid office at the UAE Embassy in Beirut has implemented Iftar project for more than 120 orphans in Tripoli, North of Lebanon, as part of the noble humanitarian gesture which emphasises the embassy's keenness to ensure delivery of aid to the largest number of underprivileged families in Lebanon.

The gesture was supervised by the UAE Ambassador to Lebanon, Hamad Saeed Al Shamsi, within the planned Ramadan projects for 2015.
Also, as part of the same humanitarian project, the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyna Foundation (KF) also provided food parcels for over 1,000 Lebanese and Syrian families in North of Lebanon. The assistance will continue and will cover all Lebanese areas.
The humanitarian and development aid office at the UAE Embassy in Lebanon oversees all the humanitarian aid programmes provided during the Holy Month of Ramadan in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the humanitarian organisations affiliated with the UN. –End-

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Look who helps needy Egyptians

The Al Maktoum Foundation, sponsored by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, has distributed 2000 food packages to Egyptians in Qina and Beheira governorates.
The foundation's latest batch of food aid for Egyptians is part of a gift of 10,000 packages from Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid to help the poor during the Holy Month of Ramdan.
Each package contains 20 kilogrammes of various food items procured from local markets. –End-

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Solar storage the new thing?

An energy storage pilot project run by a Norwegian company at Masdar City could drive costs down for the solar sector by 70 per cent over the next five years.
New Energy Storage Technology (Nest) is testing its 1-megawatt concentrated solar power (CSP) system at the Masdar Institute’s Beam Down facility, using a concrete mixture to store energy rather than the usual, much more expensive, molten salt method.
There is an international push to get the price of CSP down to 6 US cents per kilowatt hour by 2020 from its current average of about 20 cents. In the UAE, this would put the power generated from the technology at grid parity, or the same price as power from natural gas. Another type of solar energy in the country, solar photovoltaic (PV), has already reached grid parity at Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park project.
“We want to help make CSP a leader [in power generation technology],” said Nicolas Calvet, the chairman of the Masdar Institute Solar Platform. He pointed out that since CSP is a newer technology, the sector is still trying to increase its research and development efforts to drive down costs. The price of components is the main obstacle, and energy storage is the main piece of the category’s puzzle, making up about 20 per cent of the total costs of a CSP plant.
Nest said its technology could cut the cost of CSP energy storage systems by half.
The company developed the prototype and pays for the operation of the system, while Masdar Institute provides the infrastructure. Nest expects its technology to finish the testing phase in October.
“Nest’s is the first large-scale, pre-commercial-scale thermal energy storage system in the Middle East,” Mr Calvet said.
Christian Thiel, the Nest chief executive, said the storage system should reach commercial markets in the fourth quarter once the pilot was validated.
“We see our system as a revolutionising thermal battery with significant cost reduction,” he said.
The Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) has released a cost analysis of various renewable energy technologies. It says the price of CSP plants is dominated by the initial investment cost, or capital expenditure, which accounts for about four-fifths of the total cost.
Mr. Thiel said the Nest technology could cut capex requirements by 30 to 65 per cent.
Energy storage is one of the biggest obstacles facing renewables as sources of power generation. PV does not have energy storage capabilities, requiring the energy captured from the sun during the day to be immediately fed into the grid. This can curb the use of traditional forms of power generation such as natural gas, but only during daytime hours.
CSP has an advantage in that it is able to save the daytime solar energy to feed into the power grid at night. The current form of storage most widely used for CSP applications is molten salt.
Mr.Thiel explained that molten salt, which stores the energy for later use, must maintain a temperature above 275°C or it will crystallise. To do this requires using a constant source of electricity. Switching to a cement source of storage such as Nest’s frees that electricity to be sold instead, slashing operation costs by 50 to 75 per cent.
The molten salt costs US$500 to $1,000 per tonne, compared with the concrete mixture at $80 per tonne.
Nest expects to break even within two years of commercial operation. Its total investment so far has been $10 million. The technology could be applied to new CSP plants or those already built without storage units, such as Masdar’s 100MW CSP Shams 1 plant in Abu Dhabi.
Mr Thiel said Nest’s priority would be to build its storage units in the Middle East. “The technology has been developed with the [Masdar] Institute, and having a project [within Masdar] would be a nice development.”
“We have a good chance to get our first contract signed by the end of this year, since customer interest is already very high,” he said, adding that the company was in advanced discussions with four potential clients. –End-

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With the coordinated attacks in three continents, it's time to crack down on homegrown terrorists

People who love liberty and yearn for a peaceful life do not stand a chance when they stand in the way of killers who have lost their minds to violence which has drifted across continents, a United Arab Emirates newspaper has said.

In its today's editorial, the English language 'Khaleej Times' said Friday’s attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait show Daesh is fast capturing the imagination of homegrown terrorists. Sleeper terrorist cells or lone wolves now feel inspired, emboldened and motivated to rise for a religious or sectarian cause to butcher innocents in cold blood.

"People who love liberty and yearn for a peaceful life do not stand a chance when they stand in the way of killers who have lost their minds to violence which has drifted across continents. Liberal thought has been trampled upon and reasoning has been drowned for an insane cause that harks back to the dark ages of civilisation. What were the killers thinking when they sprayed 28 tourists with bullets in the Tunisian coastal town of Sousse; when they beheaded a French businessman, and when they set off a bomb in a mosque in Kuwait City which killed 25 people? Were the targets chosen because they belonged to a different race, religion or sect, or was it because of the role their countries played in the campaign against terrorists in Iraq and Syria? One thing is certain. These attacks have shown Daesh’s beastly ideology is gaining traction among people with radical leanings; with thugs, drug peddlers and those who have nothing better to do in life the so-called dregs of society. It is also believed that some rich individuals may be discreetly funding the activities of terror organisations and providing them with supplies and logistical support," the paper said.

The suspects in the French attack have links to extremist groups, according to police. Tunisia, whose democratic institutions have been strengthened by the Arab Spring, has been the victim of two such attacks since March.

No group has claimed responsibility for the Sousse shooting in which one terrorist was killed, but as we all know, Daesh is no flag-bearer of democracy. It will stop at nothing in its efforts to destabilise the region.

"Closer home, the Kuwait bombing should concern us more because it comes after a similar incident in Saudi Arabia mosque last month. A Daesh-linked group was quick to claim responsibility for the savage deed because it intends to stoke a wider sectarian conflict in the GCC," the paper added.

Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan called it an ‘‘escalation’’ by terror groups to sow sectarian disharmony in the region and across the world, echoing our views on the situation. Extremist groups are wearing the mantle of religion to justify their barbaric acts, Shaikh Abdullah said.

"The US and its Arab partners can win the battle on the ground in Iraq and Syria by sending in ground troops, special forces, tanks and artillery backed by air power. But they must expand and rope in new partners like China and Russia to gather intelligence on terror networks and their sources of funds, if they are to win the ideological battle against the extremists, which will prove a bigger challenge," it concluded. –End-

Image by: Khaleej Times

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Emirates condemns terrorist atrocities in Somalia, Kuwait, Tunisia and France

Abu Dhabi -- Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister State for Foreign Affairs, has condemned the dangerous, heinous terrorist crimes committed during the Holy Month of Ramadan in Somalia, Kuwait, France and Tunisia.

''These crimes, which bring in new widows and orphans, destabilise peace, security and safety, are being perpetrated in the name of our tolerant religion,which remains innocent since Islam is a religion of peace and affection which 
urges peoples and nations to promote interaction, cooperation and solidarity with each other. No extremist or deviant takfiri ideology can represent Islam,'' Dr. Gargash said in a statement today.

The Minister emphasised that the spate of recent terrorist crimes - which hit a number of countries and in which innocent lives were lost with utter savagery and the sanctity of the human soul was violated - reiterated once again the severity of the challenge ahead, which only requires a solid political will and close, strong international cooperation, coalition. This remains a policy the UAE is committed to and is seeking to adopt internationally in the aftermath of these bloody events, which the world experienced in the past few days.

''Confronting the appalling, murderous and evil terrorism rests with rallying the international community’s efforts to deter the extremist and takfiri ideology which lays the fertile ground for terrorism and justifies its crimes,'' he said, emphasising the UAE's absolute belief that fighting extremism and terrorism remains an international challenge that exempts no state or community. Combating it will only be possible through a holistic strategy, as the key to its success will be maintaining a clear-crystal vision and mobilization of concerted efforts and cooperation among civilised countries.

To defeat the scourge of extremism and terrorism, he stressed, the international community needs a long-term relentless and patient commitment to maintain close international cooperation to dry up sources of terrorism and to promote intellectual awareness to defeat the deviant thoughts in a way that protects our society, preserves innocent lives and stands up to the sedition and sectarianism which extremism and terrorism are seeking to stoke their fire.

Expressing sympathy with the families of the victims and their loved ones, Dr. Gargash offered condolences on the loss of innocent lives due to these brutal crimes. He also wished a speedy recovery to those who have been injured. -end-

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Want adventure? Be a seafarer

On the Day of the Seafarer, the United Nations is issuing a strong call to young people to consider seafaring as a career, including with the UN maritime agency, which could offer them a chance to experience "real 
adventure" in a workplace that might be a hundred thousand-ton oil tanker or a cargo ship navigating the world’s oceans with beautiful landscapes and also a stimulating job in a truly hi-tech environment.

The Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Koji Sekimizu, said, "Today, more than ever, seafaring 
is a job that demands highly trained and qualified personnel."

"Modern ships are designed and built to the highest technical standards and require crew members with a high level of professional competence," he said. "To operate them safely and efficiently is a stimulating job in a truly hi-tech workplace."

Seafaring can provide not only an opportunity to earn money to live and provide for your families, it also offers unique opportunities to navigate the seas of the globe and encounter the wonders of the ocean. "It offers young people the opportunity to experience a world of real adventure on the seas and oceans of our planet, to interact with people from all over the world, and to experience the huge variety of mankind’s culture and heritage," said Sekimizu. 

Image by: UN News Centre

Orphans are a Priority

The Higher Committee for "The UAE Initiative for Connection with Orphans and Minors" has set up a team from stakeholders to coordinate implementation of various activities of the initiative, launched by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to build the UAE global model in caring for orphans and minors.

The Committee, in its first meeting, reviewed details of the initiative and the implementing plan which comprises activities 
that support various options of the initiative. The Committee took stock of the current state of affair of orphans and minors 
in national institutions, challenges facing the sector and relevant proposed mechanisms to address them. Also discussed were participation and support of a group of government entities to the initiative.

The Higher Committee has facilitated procedures enabling individuals and families to volunteer to help this section of the populace.
Emirati individuals and families from across the country can log onto the website of the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation to register their details.

Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gargawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, and also Chairman of the initiative's Higher Committee, 
said that, '' We have sensed enthusiastic turn out from volunteers in the first days of the initiative. In the next phase, the first batch of volunteers will be selected based on their academic, professional and ethical merits so as to contribute towards enhancement of social and developmental progress of orphans and minors.'' 

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, launched the new initiative last Friday, with the aim to fulfil the needs of these segments at multiple levels through a various alternatives, involving individuals and families interested in taking part in the effort.

The initiative provides three options for young Emiratis willing to contribute towards caring for orphans and minors.

These include fraternal connections to provide guidance and good advice, taking care of orphaned and minor students for a certain number of class hours, and setting up common interest groups to engage orphans and minors in activities like swimming and biking.

Interested families wishing to take part in the initiative also have three options.
1. A family can either regularly host an orphan or a minor for half a day to provide them with a friendly family atmosphere.
2. A group of interested families can regularly meet with a group of orphans or minors at public places.
3. Fathers and mothers can volunteer to be guardians of orphans and minors whereby they can contact their schools to follow up on their performance.
Elderly people can also contribute to the initiative either through connecting with orphans and minors at senior care homes or acting as grandfathers.


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For Palestinians, water is a crying need

A $2 million grant to the Palestinian water sector will strengthen the capacity of the water authority and contribute to implement reform initiatives as outlined in the water law. The World Bank additional financing grant will supplement ongoing capacity building work in the water sector

"With the new water law the Palestinian authority has a good framework to deal with the severe challenges the sector faces such as limited resources, insufficient wastewater treatment and reuse, and an alarming situation in Gaza where 96% of water resources are unfit for human use," said Steen Lau Steen Lau Jorgensen, World Bank Country Director "We are proud to be supporting the continued strengthening of state institutions in this essential sector for the future of all Palestinians." 

The project will help establish streamlined water institutions with clear roles and responsibilities in line with the new water law that stipulates the establishment of the Water Sector Regulatory Council independent from the Palestinian Water Authority. The World Bank will provide capacity building support to both through the existing Water Sector Capacity Building Project and this additional grant, the World Bank said in a press release today. 

The World Bank supports building institutions at the national level and financing infrastructure and capacity building through projects like the Northern Gaza Emergency Sewage Treatment Project, the Gaza Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project, the Hebron Regional Wastewater Management Project, and the West Bethlehem Village Improvement Project. 

"The investment in the Palestinian water institutions is a strategic priority in the context of acute water problems and future needs as a result of a growing population. The improvement and expansion of infrastructure must be accompanied by the capacity-building required for Palestinians to run the water sector independently and efficiently," said Iyad Rammal, Senior World Bank Infrastructure Specialist. 

The additional financing comes from the Partnership for Water and Urban Development, Multi-donor Trust Fund that received contributions from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the governments of Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Croatia and Portugal and the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD). –End-

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

How to foil cybercrimes

Major-General Khalil Ibrahim Al-Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police for Criminal Investigation, has revealed that its anti-e-crime team had prevented 901 e-crimes, involving more than AED 9 million, between January and 23rd June, 2015.
Addressing a press conference today, he said last year the Dubai Police had reported 1,576 similar cases involving a sum to the tune of AED 28 million, compared to 1,513 cases involving AED 21 million in 2013.
He noted that the e-crimes foiled by the Dubai Police included those related to financial fraud, deception, theft, threat, blackmail, breach of privacy, slander, defamation and insult, theft of telephone services and impersonation.
Major-General Al-Mansouri emphasised that Dubai Police is fully ready to handle e-crimes and protect members of the public using advanced and smart technology and software.
Dubai Police, he stressed, was working diligently to develop the capacities of technicians working to stem e-crimes. The Dubai Police have a strong team of 58 e-crime experts while 45 others were sent abroad for studying modern e-crime technology and techniques. Of them 20 are specializing in e-evidence.
He added that Dubai Police was a leader in introducing the most sophisticated techniques to prevent crimes as part of its efforts to fulfil the aspirations of Dubai Smart Government and deliver Dubai Police strategy to maintain security and safeguard public and individual rights. –End-

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Here's where to go if you want to undergo facial reconstruction surgery

In what is believed to be a first in Abu Dhabi, Mafraq Hospital’s team of maxillofacial and head and neck cancer surgeons recently operated on a 16 year old Emirati boy, Mohammed Al Mazem, using 3D technology to remove a large destructive tumour and rebuild the young man’s jaw.
The technology allowed surgeons to use computer-modelling software to create a 3D virtual model of the patient’s facial skeleton in order to aid them in reconstruction and navigation during surgery. These 3D models are used as operative guides before, and during, surgery to help surgeons plan, design and place free tissue transplants and implants for reconstruction with a high degree of accuracy.
The skill of Mafraq Hospital’s team, combined with the technology available, ensured that the patient did not have to travel overseas for surgery and could be treated in Abu Dhabi.
"Previously it seems that the limiting factor for performing such cases in the UAE was reconstruction but now, with this cutting edge technology, we can recreate faces in Abu Dhabi allowing our patients to lead normal lives. Our most recent case was only in the hospital for 9 days and is now home enjoying life," said Dr. John Devine, who led the reconstructive Maxillofacial team.
The Maxillofacial team has performed ten major facial and head reconstructive reconstructive cases with micro-vascular free tissue transfer since January 2015, all of which have been successful. Most of the surgeries carried out relate to cancer of the mouth, face and throat, but the same techniques have been used to treat victims of bomb blasts who were brought to Abu Dhabi for specialist reconstructive facial surgery.
"These surgeries are extremely complex and, in order to ensure a high quality clinical practice, we have built a team from many departments including nursing, critical care and outpatient staff," Dr. Ali Al Suwaidi, Acting Chief Medical Officer, Mafraq Hospital, added. 

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Is economic growth where everyone benefits possible?

Dubai: The UAE has topped countries in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region for inclusive growth, with a score of 57.58, according to MasterCard’s 2015 Middle East and Africa Inclusive Growth report.
Factors including the UAE’s diversification of its economy away from oil and gas, encouragement of entrepreneurship and the development of its education, health care and tourism sectors, creating more jobs, have resulted in the county’s higher ranking for inclusive growth, or sustainable output growth that is broad-based across economic sectors, creating productive employment opportunities and reducing poverty, as defined in the report.
The report, which covers 34 countries, aims to benchmark developing nations in the MEA region against the developed countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The UAE’s score is 6.8 points behind the OECD average of 64.38, according to the report.
The UAE was followed by Qatar, with an index score of 55.2, Bahrain (54.56), Saudi Arabia (51.45) and Oman (50.9). Next came Tunisia, Lebanon, Bostwana, Jordan, Kuwait, South Africa, Egypt, Namibia, Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Rwanada, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and Senegal.
Present conditions that are driving the region’s inclusive growth include economic growth, expanding economic opportunity and equality of outcomes, while the enabling conditions are employment and productivity, access to economic opportunity, governance and youth.
In the Middle East, inclusive growth is critical for social equality and well-being, as well as basic social and political stability, according to the report. “Three core and interlinked areas have to be addressed in this context: managing the ‘youth bulge’, enabling the private sector, and improving governance and rule of law.”
Yasar Jarrar, co-author of the report and vice chair of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government, said that inclusive growth is arguably the solution for economic development concerns in the MEA region.
“When income distribution and opportunities are equalised, countries will be able to boost local consumption, power growth, and reduce poverty and unemployment, while also seeing a rise in social and economic mobility, leading to an expanding, dynamic and increasingly prosperous middle class,” he said in a statement.
While some countries in the region have taken steps to grow their economies, the current economic development models are “not fit for purpose anymore” amid challenges including political instability, growing economic divide, social unrest, and rising youth aspirations and demands, according to the report.
“These difficult conditions will continue to hamper the ambitions of regional governments and citizens until a more robust, and inclusive growth model is successfully developed and adopted. The sharp drop in oil prices recently has further highlighted these concerns and brought the region — again — into question in terms of future growth and sustainability,” MasterCard stated.

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UAE stands firm on supporting Somalia despite terrorist attack

Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, today condemned the heinous terrorist 
act in which the UAE aid convoy was targetted in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

Affirming that the UAE aid workers travelling as part of the aid convoy were not wounded, Minister Gargash expressed deep sorrow and grief at the loss of lives of innocent Somalis in the attack and offered his profound condolences to families of the victims. He also wished speedy recovery to those injured in the accident.

''We are monitoring the situation and investigations into the accident,'' he said, emphasising that this terrorist act will not undermine the UAE's principled commitment to support Somalia and its people in their fight against terrorism.

''We will pursue our work diligently to support security, stability and development in Somalia,'' he stressed.

This cowardly terrorist act, he maintained, underscores the urgency of confronting terrorism with full force and of rallying all international efforts in the war against extremism and terrorism.


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3 Somalians killed, scores injured in car bomb attack on UAE aid convoy

Three Somali citizens were killed and scores of people were injured when a group of terrorists detonated a car bomb, attacking a UAE relief convoy in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, UAE Ambassador to Somalia Mohammed Ahmed Al Hammadi announced.

He said the UAE aid workers travelling as part of the aid convoy were not wounded.

The UAE Ambassador said the UAE embassy is in contact with the health authorities in the UAE to airlift those wounded to the UAE for treatment. –End-

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

More to come: 3,000 tons of food aid dispatched to Yemen

A vessel carrying 3,000 tonnes of food stuff left Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi for the Republic of Yemen to ease the suffering of the brotherly people of Yemen.
The move follows the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to provide urgent food aid and medical assistance to the people of Yemen.
An official source at the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation said that the dispatch of the ship complements the air bridge operation through which 350 tonnes of food stuff has been shipped to Yemen in 11 air trips from Sharjah International Airport to Yemen. He added that the food items included rice, flour, sugar, dates, oil, tea, salt, tuna, chickpeas, beans and others.
The source said the foundation had also sent 100 tonnes of food stuff and medicines to Yemen. –End-

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'We can teach each other' is philosophy behind Empowerment through Education

Dubai: A lack of quality education is one of the greatest challenges facing the Arab world, Minister of State Reem Al Hashemi said on Monday night.
Her comments came during the official launch of a Ramadan campaign by Dubai Cares, ‘We can teach each other’, of which she is the chairperson.
The occasion was also dedicated to a talk on the subject of ‘Empowerment Through Education’.
In a moving speech, Reem, who is also the chairperson of Dubai Cares, said children in developing countries, including in the Arab World, need quality schooling to rise above poverty. “It is where the greatest challenge lies but also where the greatest opportunity lies,” she told the gathering at the Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre.
She added: “In the UAE, education has been made the number one priority. You all know how powerful our leadership is on education. We’re trying to do that in other parts of the world. The power of partnership is unbreakable,” she added.
Dubai Cares is a UAE-based philanthropic organisation working to improve children’s access to quality education in developing countries. It reaches 13 million beneficiaries in 39 countries around the world, which would “not have been possible without your support”, said Dubai Cares CEO Tareq Al Gurg. Dubai Cares was established in 2007 by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Al Gurg said Monday’s event and the Ramadan campaign would help put in perspective the “gravity of the education crisis … Indeed, nations change because of their education. If there’s no education, there’s no economy.”
Around the world, some 58 million children don’t go to school and a further 250 million primary school-age children globally are still not able to read, write or count adequately, according to Dubai Cares.
At the event, Chernor Bah, former chairperson of the Youth Advocacy Group for the UN Global Education First Initiative, said only schooling — and his mother’s emphasis on education — pulled him out of a life resigned to slums, conflicts and refugee camps.
His talk was followed by a presentation by Jim Ziolkowski, founder and CEO of Buildon, who narrated the partnerships forged with Dubai Cares that led to the building of dozens of schools.
“People think these children don’t matter — they are wrong. These children can change the world but not until they get a school … This is what you [Dubai Cares, its partners and supporters] have been doing and I’m so grateful for it,” Ziolkowski said. –End-

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How to modernize the media industry

Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Media Council (NMC), has said that the NMC will be building on previous achievements to continue the process of modernisation and development as the UAE already ranks high on global competitiveness indices.
During a meeting with the executive directors of the NMC, Al Jaber underscored the importance of enhancing the role of the NMC as a national authority for developing and enhancing the media sector in line with the directives of the wise leadership. Al Jaber said the leadership prioritises the media based on its belief in the responsibility and importance of this sector and the remarkable stature of the UAE in various spheres.
Mr. Al Jaber said, "Based on the Cabinet's decision about the organisational structure of the National Media Council, we will develop a comprehensive strategy and specific goals that contribute towards improving the mechanisms of work in this sector as well as enhance its stature and pivotal role in getting across the message of the UAE to peoples of the world."
The Cabinet approved a resolution appointing Mr. Ibrahim Abdul Rahman Al Abed as Advisor to the Board of Directors of the NMC. Based on this, the chairman of the board of directors has decided to assign him to oversee Emirates News Agency (WAM). The board also decided to appoint Mr. Mansour Ibrahim Ahmed Al Mansouri as Acting Director General of the National Media Council.
During the meeting, the participants discussed the demands and priorities of the coming stage and the set targets as well as a number of other matters relating to the work of the NMC.
Minister Al Jaber added, "The media sector is vulnerable to events and developments. In order to succeed and achieve excellence, we must double our efforts, embrace the approach of continuous coordination and development in order to enable the national media to keep pace with progress and development taking place in the UAE. All of us are proud of the UAE's successes and achievements in various spheres and sectors. Through the media, we also should continue to work on bolstering the UAE's outstanding regional and international stature."
He added, "In line with the directives of the leadership, the NMC will focus on supporting, motivating and developing national media capabilities and resources, and will continue to work towards promoting the reputation and positive image of the UAE in all spheres and projecting its civilisational, economic and humanitarian achievements."
Al Jaber praised the previous achievements of the NMC as a leading example of professionalism that promoted the national responsibility of the Emirati media. He said, "The NMC accomplished all its tasks in an efficient way, contributing to the qualitative leaps that the Emirati media has taken. We, in the new Board of Directors, will spare no effort to work and collaborate with all relevant media authorities to enhance the competitiveness of Emirati media amid the technological changes taking place in today's world."
The National Media Council is the regulatory body of the media in the UAE. It also plays a role in developing national media and coordinating media policies in the UAE based on a specified strategy.
The NMC will develop media regulations and legislation to ensure better performance and will take special interest in drawing up an effective strategy to keep pace with developments in the media industry, digital media and social networking platforms in particular. –End-

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