Emirates NBD to invest in Digital Transformation Plan

In Dubai’s biggest bank – Emirates NBD has announced to invest AED500 million ($136 million) for the digital innovation and multi-channel transformation of its processes, products and services. The investment will take place over a span of next three years to support UAE’s ‘Smart City’ vision. This step is a benchmark in the Dubai’s digital transformation and shows that in the coming years, Emirates NBD will rise as a prominent leader in global digital banking industry.

The bank also plans to launch the UAE’s first digital bank targeted at millennials to offer customers the next generation of self-service money management.

Talking about their vision, Shayne Nelson, Group CEO of Emirates NBD said “We are making a commitment to the future with our digital transformation plan. This significant investment will drive further innovation and solidify Emirates NBD’s reputation as an innovation-led, customer-focused bank that is indisputably a market leader in the region.”

Earlier, the bank also introduced several digital banking services enabling a costumer to perform over 100 transactions. In addition, Emirates NBD is also the only bank in the UAE to offer e-payment capabilities through all bank channels for over 25 major service providers.

Focusing on the five important areas such as end to end process transformation; smoother, faster and more responsive customer interface; omnichannel experience, fortification of cyber security and anti-fraud capabilities; and enhancement data management and analytics, the bank is moving forward to offer better customer experience and next-generation banking options.

Presently, Emirates NBD is the only bank in the country that offers e-payment capabilities through all bank channels for over 25 major service providers, varying from card schemes, education sectors, telecom, transportation, utilities, among others.

It seems certain that Emirates NBD’s initiatives will follow the strong vision that will transform the bank industry of the UAE and will make it more digitized and effective. Further, these steps will also strengthen the Emirates NBD’s position in the GCC region.

Gate Launches “Chicken Plan” for Africa

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates launched a new initiative under which he will donate 100,000 chickens to the extremely poor living in the Sub-Saharan African region. The program which is christened Coop Dreams will help to improve the financial and health conditions of the impoverished families living in the area. The birds will be vaccinated against common diseases before donation.

Announcing the Coop Dreams initiative on social media, Gates stated, “When I was growing up, chickens weren’t something you studied, they were something you made silly jokes about,” he further added, “It has been eye-opening for me to learn what a difference they can make in the fight against poverty. It sounds funny, but I mean it when I say that I am excited about chickens.”

According to the United Nations reports about 41 percent of sub-Saharan Africans live in extreme poverty. Bill Gates believes that chickens are a good investment as they are easy and inexpensive to take care of. Thus, they will prove to be an effective way to tackle poverty. Therefore, in association with the charity organization Heifer International Gates will be donating flocks of chickens to families in need. The initiative aims to make improvised breeds of chickens available to 30% of the rural families rising from the current 5%.

It’s a determined plan that can considerably increase nutrition and income levels in one of the most impoverished regions of the world. Gate believes in the Math behind this initiative; a farmer with three hens and one rooster can breed them to produce 12 chickens in a time span of three months. And with the selling price of $5 per chicken, a farmer with a small starting kit of four birds can earn up to $1,250 per year.

Genetics also play an important variable in this equation as African hens are generally less productive than the American ones. But, African chickens have the advantage of having better resistance to heat and diseases. Thus the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is interbreeding these two types of livestock to create a progeny of super birds which will be extremely productive and also have better resistance to ailments.

Gates’ wife Melinda, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said breeding chickens can also empower women by giving them a source of income, which they are more likely than men to spend on education and healthcare.

Nigerian Wins Special Award in Innovation Prize for Africa 2016

In 2011, African Innovation Foundation (AIF) started an initiative known as Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) to honor and encourage people who work towards the development of new and innovative products that will become a breakthrough in various fields such as manufacturing & service industry, health & well-being, agriculture & agribusiness, environment, energy & water and ICTs.IPA awards an amount of USD 150,000 to the winners and helps them in getting a global platform to share their innovative ideas.

This year, the Innovation Prize for Africa marked its fifth anniversary at Gaborone, Botswana. It received a whooping number of entries out of which they selected only 10 nominees. However, only three were announced as the winners. The first position was attained by Dr. Valentin Agon who was awarded $100,000. Imogen Wright and Dr. Eddy Agbo achieved second and third position respectively.

Among the winners, Nigeria’s Dr. Eddy Agbo received special award for Social Impact for his innovative healthcare solution to address Africa’s prevailing malaria burden. He invented a rapid non-blood diagnostic medical device known as Urine Test for Malaria (UMT) that can diagnose malaria in less than 25 minutes.

This breakthrough will be quite affective in healthcare sector for there is a lack of quick diagnosis in the case of Malaria. In most of the cases, the doctors prescribe anti-malaria medication whenever they detect a fever although it is known that not all fevers are due to malaria. If the patient does not get a quick diagnosis and treatment, he may face various complications such as kidney failure, build-up of lung fluid, aplastic anaemia and even death. At this stage, Agbo’s device will come into play. His UMT device is designed to detect malaria parasite proteins in the patient’s urine in a short span of time.

According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 660, 000 people die due to Malaria in Africa which has drastic effects on the economy and households. Keeping these reports in mind, Agbo’s innovative device proves to be a major revolution for the healthcare solutions in Africa.

Chamber of commerce launched by India and Morocco

In a successful attempt to establish peaceful and improve trade relations between India and Morocco, a chamber of commerce was launched in Rabat, capital of Morocco on 31st May 2016. The India–Morocco Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IMCCI) was introduced by Vice President of India Hamid Ansari and Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane. Esteemed members and officials from both the countries were present at the event. The motto of this launch was ““Shake hands, strengthen ties, go with IMCCI” which clearly reflected the need of a mutually beneficial commercial relationship between the two countries. IMCCI is supposed to work as a facilitator and active promoter of investments in, and trade ties between India and Morocco.

Both Ansari and Benkirane admitted that due to globalization it is important to create joint ventures for better trade and peaceful relations between the countries. Hamid Ansari remarked in this light that, “It is a testament to the growing importance of commercial engagement between our two countries”.

An official spokesperson also informed that Indian companies have cumulatively invested more than $320 million in Morocco, including in the flagship project, the Indo-Maroc Phosphore SA joint venture. These large investments show that Morocco is a favorable destination among Indian investors. Hence, this launch will result in flourishing business and will also deepen the bilateral relations.

Apart from trade, India and Morocco also signed five Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) covering various issues related to culture, media and education such as television broadcasting, water resources, institutional cooperation and educational and cultural exchanges.

Mr. Ansari, who became the first Indian Vice President to visit Morocco in the last fifty years, was on a three-day visit. He also visited the Mohammed VI Imam Training Centre and interacted with Imams and intellectuals. This centre is known to propagate the beliefs of moderate Islam and works on its ideologies and values.

With these steps, India and Morocco are certainly forging ahead to strengthen their international ties for improving the economic as well as political position on a global level.

Chad President Idriss Deby Visits the UAE

The President of Chad, Idriss Deby paid a working visit to the UAE. He was officialy received at the Presidential Airport by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Lt. General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

During his visit, Chadian President met the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.The two leaders discussed to boost bilateral relations, particularly in the fields of economy, trade, investments, development, and energy. They also scrutinized the aspects and opportunities which could potentially forge economic partnerships, joint development programs and vital projects between both the countries. A discussion on regional and international developments and issues of shared interests of Chad and the UAE also took place.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan underlined that the UAE under the guidance of its President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is keenly interested in bolstering stronger relations with Chad and is eager to intensify dialogue to advance their ties. He wished the Chadian President further success, progress, development and stability for Chad. Mr. Idriss Deby also expressed his delight at visiting the UAE and showed his interest towards the expansion and advancement of successful bilateral ties between Chad and the UAE.

Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser; Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; Ali bin Hammad Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for National Security; Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Undersecretary at the Court of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince; Lt. General Lt. General Juma Ahmed Al Bowardi Al Falasi, Adviser to Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Force, and members of the delegation accompanying the Chadian president were also present during the meeting.

Mr. Idriss Deby also went to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. He keenly heard about the mosque’s history and distinct architecture and also praised its library. Yousef Al Obaidli, director general of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre presented him with copies of two of the centre’s publications. The Chadian President later visited the tomb of the late Founding Father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed and paid homage to him.

A Tale of 7 Emirates

UNCOVER ENDLESS INSPIRATION

High up in the glistening perpendicular disc that houses Aldar properties’ headquarters on one edge of Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island resides harmony. UAE is a place so serene that it compels people from all across the world to witness equanimity in both business and recreation.

Dating back in the year of 1968 when British announced their intention to withdraw from the Arabian Gulf, H. H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the then Ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi promptly acted to form strong bond with the emirates. With H. H. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the then Ruler of the emirate of Dubai, Sheikh Zayed called for a federation that would include not only the seven emirates that made up the Trucial States, but also Qatar and Bahrain. The UAE was formally established on 2 December 1971. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah became the seven emirates to be a part of UAE.

A PLACE BEYOND EXPECTATIONS

Nothing worthwhile comes easy, UAE has also experienced its share of adversities to become one of the most sought after cultural destination of today’s’ time. It is rightly said to be home to a rich cultural heritage that has been strongly influenced by its unique environment.

UAE has a varied terrain; desert, oasis, mountains and coast, dictated the traditional lifestyles that evolved over the centuries. A resilience and resourcefulness necessary to survive in these harsh conditions was fostered by society’s age-old tribal structure: each family was traditionally bound by obligations of mutual assistance to its immediate relatives and to the tribe as a whole. Among the tribe an individual’s selfless hospitality was the source of his honor and pride.

People looking out for cultural expedition can delve into the country’s Bedouin past on starry desert nights before exploring the many forts that guarded the coastline long before the domination of the glitzy high rises. A handful of them are listed below:

BURJ KHALIFA

The Burj Khalifa is one of the United Arab Emirates most famous buildings and the soaring sky-high landmark of Dubai. Not only it is the world’s tallest building, but it also lays claim to the titles of tallest freestanding structure in the world, highest observation deck in the world and elevator with the longest travel distance in the world. A trip up to the observation deck with its panoramic views across Dubai is a sightseeing highlight for most tourists who visit Dubai.

SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a mammoth modern mosque of incredible beauty. Harnessing contemporary design and ancient craftsmanship skills, the mosque is a harmonious blend of modern and old. It doesn’t fail to dazzle all who enter with its lavish use of gold, mosaic work and glass work, marble in gigantic proportions and blindingly white stone contrasting dramatically under the Emirati blue sky.

IN ORDER TO BUILD UP

There are many structural changes taking place in the UAE. Several federal ministries, authorities and institutions are being ceased or merged.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced these changes on 8 February 2016 through his official Twitter account as part of the three-day World Government Summit.

“We can’t lead the future with tools from the past, and we can’t accomplish quantum leaps in growth without conceptualizing a new way of governance. Change creates great opportunities and renews ideas and forces everyone to think in a different way. And we will implement all that is good for our people,” he tweeted.

Radiating The Prince Effect

To walk around the streets of Abu Dhabi or travel to witness its historical heritage is to meet the whole world compressed into one gloriously diverse and colorful city.

There is nowhere on earth quite like Abu Dhabi and no country on earth that hasn’t contributed to its multi-ethnic, multi-cultural kaleidoscope of humanity. The impeccable growth shown by the UAE region in recent times is an outcome of sheer hard work and articulate leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He has not only contributed in promoting and developing the country through immeasurable knowledge and innovation, but also comforting his countrymen to bestow their trust in him as a patron at difficult times.

From the glistening city of Dubai to the polished governance of Abu Dhabi, Nahyan has given an alluring skyline to the Middle East. The aroma of the place excites any investor to forget the region’s troubles and make money.

KEEPING CRISIS AT BAY

With the UAE leading the world ranking of being the chief nations across several key indicators, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi and the de-facto national leader disciplines 6 per cent of the world’s oil and its second-richest wealth fund.

With decorum and tranquility as the trademarks of the Nahyan governance, there are no qualms within the citizens about the ruler working in the favor of the countrymen.
As the country savors a famed position in the Arab world, one is likely to hear any one of several hundred languages and dialects as one is to hear Arabic. The UAE region has always been dynamic and proactive in communicating with other countries and building bridges of close cooperation and strategic partnerships to lead the way in political, economic, commercial, industrial, technological, scientific, educational, health and other sectors.

In the past couple of years Nahyan has not only worked for the development of the region, but has also enhanced protection of small investors by preventing any subsidiary from obtaining shares in the parent company. A prevailing rule states that in the case of acquisition of 50% or more of the company, the acquired party should receive approval from shareholders, a step considered by the report to be an enabling one that safeguards the interests of investors.

According to the Legatum Prosperity Index, 2014, UAE was ranked as the top Arab country for well-being and life satisfaction and fifth globally. The report further states that they feel absolutely safe in the country. Additionally, the UAE has maintained its presence on the ‘green list’, a classification of some 30 of the prosperous countries across the world. Notably, the UAE has been included on the list since the creation of the report.

BRIDGING BORDERS

Back in 1990, when the US troops were massing in the Arabian Gulf to fight Saddam Hussein, as a young prince serving the Air Force, he started strengthening the nation’s military to be one of the most impressive ones in the world.

Today, he has created a world-class country where people from different parts of the world visit for both business and leisure. The people one passes on the street reflect such a wide range of races that depict a perfect amalgamation of class and culture.

The prince has bequeathed the trust of his people in the rich cultural diversity that the liberals see women in the niqab and acknowledge that none of us can or should impose our societal norms on anybody else. Nahyan has successfully established a high and dignified position for the position of his women in the society.
With the self-proclaimed Islamic State taking root and Iran rising, Prince is funding his country to have more weapons and be prepared for unforeseen adversities. Nahyan has shown himself to be far more adept at reaching out to the UAE’s many faith communities than a mere ruler.

The efforts of the crown prince can be deeply understood by the fact that UAE is being ranked high on many global competitiveness indicators. According to a 2015 report by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, the country was ranked first among Arab countries in 10 out of a total of 15 global competitiveness reports, as well as first globally in the confidence indicator.

Third year in a row, the UAE was ranked first regionally in global competitiveness and 12th globally according to the 2015 annual World Competitiveness Yearbook. It was also ranked first regionally among the countries of the Mena region and 12th globally in World Economic Forum’s Global Enabling Trade Report 2014. In addition, the country was ranked first globally in three global competitiveness indicators in the tourism sector alone.

STRUCTURING THE SAND

As he raises his country’s standing, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan launched projects in the UAE stems from the belief that the key driver for shaping a strong and well-developed economy lies in the establishment of a modern infrastructure.

It is considered to be a primary role due to the pivotal role that infrastructure plays in the progress and growth of countries, and in stimulating economic activity.
Following are some of the key projects commenced by the prince:

EXPANSION PROJECT OF SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD:

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai will begin the double-decking of Sheikh Zayed Road, building a 35-kilometre elevated section of highway running from Dubai Creek to Jebel Ali Port. This ambitious project, with an estimated cost of Dh10 billion, will facilitate increased traffic on Dubai’s main arterial road. The RTA has already received bids and implementation offers towards the execution of this project.

THE EXPANSION OF M-STATION:

With a total capacity of 2,060 MW of electricity and 140 million imperial gallons of water per day, the M-Station adopts the highest levels of availability, reliability, and efficiency, using the most advanced technologies in the world.

THE NEW 62-KILOMETRE ABU DHABI- DUBAI HIGHWAY:

Launched in 2013, the Abu Dhabi- Dubai Highway project was awarded to three companies. The project aims to alleviate traffic congestion on the current main road connecting Abu Dhabi to Dubai, and is expected to be completed by 2017.

EXPANSION OF DUBAI METRO:

The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) launched plans to develop and design the expansion of the Dubai Metro to include 70 stations by 2020, at a total cost of Dh5 billion. The expansion of the Green Line will include 11 new stations stretching over 20 kilometres across Dubai. The Red Line expansion plans include the addition of 3.5 kilometers between the Rashidiya Station to Mirdif City Centre Station as well as an 8 – 10 kilometre expansion from the Jebel Ali Station to the Dubai Expo 2020 venue.

HISYAN DUBAI PROJECT:

The Hisyan Dubai power plant project using coal technologies is the first of its kind in the region. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority awarded the contract for the first phase of the project to a global consulting firm in February 2015. The first phase of the project will have a production capacity of 1,200 MW and is expected to be operational by 2020

DUBAI CANAL PROJECT:

The Emirate of Dubai launched the third phase of the Dubai Canal project, which was started in 2013, and has been adopted by the RTA. A contract worth AED802 million for the third phase of the project was awarded to Belhasa Six Construct Co. The project comprises the construction of a water canal linking Dubai Creek with the Arabian Gulf.

VITAL STEPS IN SPACE PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS:

There is no doubt that investment in space programmes and projects will enhance the status of the UAE and increase the nation’s stature in the regional and international landscape. It represents a fundamental shift in the process of scientific research in the UAE. The projects implemented by the country in this vital area will significantly contribute to the economy, creating new jobs for nationals of high potential.

KHALIFASAT:

Khalifasat, the third advanced satellite launched by the UAE into space, will provide high quality images that fulfill the needs of government organisations and private enterprises. While the initial manufacturing process began in South Korea, the satellite will be completely developed by Emirati workforce.

BUILDING A COUNTRY FULL OF LIFE

In an attempt to make UAE a more vivacious place to be, the command has prioritized its youth from the early days of the Federation and spares no effort in empowering them with access to scientific knowledge and advanced facilities.

Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the UAE government work strategically to provide best-in-class education to Emirati youth qualifying them for the job market. The government also encourages employment of Emiratis in the private sector due to its importance in social and economic development.

Emirati women have received unequivocal support and encouragement from His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, who in one of his interviews stated, “Nothing pleases me more than seeing Emirati women assuming their role in society and achieving their rightful position. Nothing should hinder the march of women’s progress. Like men, women have the right to assume the highest positions according to their abilities and qualifications.”