WAM: 256 buses are sterilised daily: SRTA

SHARJAH, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — Some 256 buses are sterilised on a daily basis to ensure the protection of the people using public transport, according to the Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority, SRTA.

The emirate’s public transport regulator launched an additional programme for the cleanliness and sterilisation of public transport, as a preventive measure to ensure the safety and health of members of the society, in light of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in a number of countries across the world.

In an exclusive statement to “Sharjah 24”, Youssef Suleiman Al Hammadi, Director of Procurement Department at SRTA, stated that the authority is continuing to sterilise and clean all means of transportation, and has intensified sterilisation procedures as a precautionary manner.

He added that there are 116 buses between cities that are sterilised daily before and after trips by specialised companies.

Al Hammadi confirmed that 140 public transport buses are also sterilised in the same manner daily to ensure the safety and health of passengers, in coordination and cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Prevention. The SRTA has directed the franchise companies to sterilise the taxis continuously, in order to preserve the safety of employees and passengers, he added.

WAM/Tariq alfaham

WAM: Emirates Group partners with Airbus to provide leadership programmes for UAE

DUBAI, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — The Emirates Group and AirBusiness Academy, a subsidiary of Airbus and learning centre for the aviation and aerospace eco-system, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to extend Airbus’s leadership programme to UAE National employees at the Emirates Group.

The MoU was signed by Amira Al Falasi, Emirates’ Vice President, HR Talent Acquisition and National Talent Development and Serge Golofier, Head of Sales & Marketing at AirBusiness Academy.

The new agreement will enable the Emirates Group’s cadre of high-potential UAE Nationals to tap into the Airbus Leadership Programme tailor-made modular learning framework, which aims to equip current and future UAE National leaders with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for their personal and professional development in an ever-changing business environment.

Topics will be centered on soft skills like self-awareness and emotional intelligence, as well as practical, interactive learning through commercial aviation business simulations. The programme will last 10 days and will take place at the AirBusiness Academy within the Airbus Leadership University in Toulouse.

Amira Al Falasi, Emirates’ Vice President, HR Talent Acquisition and National Talent Development said: “Developing our UAE National workforce is an investment for both our employees and the future of the Emirates Group, and we look forward to working with our long-standing partner Airbus to tailor a programme that empowers the future leaders of our organisation. Ultimately, our goal is to support our UAE National workforce and equip them with the skills they need to manage their own development, learn and work collaboratively, and boost their professional growth and career mobility within the organisation.”

Serge Golofier, Head of Sales & Marketing at AirBusiness Academy: “We look forward to delivering the very best of industry knowledge, resources and expertise in order to offer the highest of educational standards and interactive learning experiences for the Emirates Group. This agreement also highlights Airbus’s commitment to collaborating with industry partners and developing local talent to stimulate sustainable economic development in the communities we operate”.

With the addition of the Airbus Leadership Programme, the Emirates Group now offers 12 different best-in-class UAE National training and development programmes for its UAE National workforce. The programmes on offer provide employees opportunities for well-rounded, professional training across different areas of the business.

AirBusiness Academy designs and delivers learning solutions to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours of professionals within and beyond the aerospace industry, worldwide.

WAM/Tariq alfaham/Hassan Bashir

WAM: DP World announces 2019 full-year results

DUBAI, 11th March 2020 (WAM) — DP World announced its robust financial results for the year ended 31st December, 2019, stating that its revenue grew 36.1 percent and adjusted EBITDA increased 17.7 percent, with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 43 percent.

The delivered profit attributable to the owners of the company, before separately disclosed items, was US$1,328 million, up 4.6 percent and EPS of 160.0 US cents.

DP World Group Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, said, “DP World is pleased to report a like-for-like earnings growth of 5.4 percent in 2019 and attributable earnings of $1,328 million. The adjusted EBITDA grew 17.7 percent to $3,306 million, with margins at 43.0 percent on a reported basis and 49.6 percent on a like-for-like basis. This performance has been delivered in an uncertain trade environment, once again highlighting the resilience of our portfolio.”

He added, “We have continued to make progress on our strategy to deliver integrated supply chain solutions to cargo owners and have focused our efforts on building end-to-end capabilities for several verticals, including the automotive, oil and gas and FMCG industries.”

He further added, “More recently, after much deliberation, DP World has taken the decision to announce its plans to de-list its equity from the stock exchange and return to private ownership. Following the planned delisting, the leverage on the balance sheet will rise temporarily but we are confident of de-leveraging as we remain committed to a strong investment-grade rating in the medium term. Our immediate focus is to integrate our acquisitions and explore synergies with the objective of providing a range of smart end-to-end solutions which will improve the quality of our earnings and drive returns.”

Speaking about the near-term outlook remaining a cause for concern with global trade disputes, the Covid-19 outbreak and regional geopolitics disrupting trade, Bin Sulayem said, “DP World is well-positioned to respond in the short term by focusing on disciplined investment and managing the cost base to protect profitability. Overall, we remain positive on the medium to long-term outlook of the industry.”

“Finally, the Board of DP World recommended a dividend of $332.0 million at 40 US cents per share, which is in line with the past policy of maintaining a payout ratio of at least 20 percent,” he said in conclusion.

WAM/Hassan Bashir/MOHD AAMIR

WAM: Al Falah Nursery to produce two million trees annually

Al Falah Nursery to produce two million trees annually

SHARJAH, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — The Sharjah Municipality announced that the renovated Al Falah Nursery would produce two million trees annually, in line with the vision and directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to take care of agriculture and increase the green cover.

In keeping with this vision, the Sharjah Municipality re-opened the Al Falah Nursery after completing development work, as part of its efforts to increase the green areas, decorate streets and squares, and increase the number of palm trees.

Thabet Salem Al Tarifi, Director-General of Sharjah Municipality, confirmed that the municipality attaches great importance to agriculture in line with the vision of the Ruler of Sharjah, as it works continuously on increasing the green cover by 15 percent annually. He added that the nursery, which sits on 44,000 square metres, is the oldest nursery in the emirate, as it was opened in 1978 and during this year, it was further developed to raise productivity to two million trees to support various development projects in the emirate.

Al Tarifi explained that the municipality is keen on upgrading its nurseries and developing its agricultural system by introducing new types of plants, multiplying them continuously and following modern irrigation methods. He added that the Al Falah Nursery is currently producing various ornamental plants such as trees, shrubs, and other seasonal flowers.

Engineer Hassan Al Tafaq, Assistant Director of Agriculture and Environment Sector at Sharjah Municipality, stated that the municipality has put in place the necessary plans for the development of all the nursery’s facilities, as well as the propagation of different types of plants and trees such as Ghaf, Sidr and palm trees.

WAM/Tariq alfaham/Hassan Bashir



WAM: Mansour bin Zayed attends final meeting of camel race festival at Al Wathba

Mansour bin Zayed attends final meeting of camel race festival at Al Wathba

ABU DHABI, 11th March 2020 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, attended today the final race meeting of the Annual Camel Racing Festival 2020 at Al Wathba racetrack.

Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, Adviser to the UAE President and Chairman of the Emirates Camel Racing Federation and a crowd of fans attended the race meeting.

WAM/Hassan Bashir/MOHD AAMIR

WAM: Etihad Airways announces move to Beijing’s Daxing International Airport

ABU DHABI, 11th March 2020 (WAM) — Effective 1st June 2020, Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will transfer all its flights to and from Abu Dhabi and Beijing, and its flights to and from Beijing to Nagoya, Japan, to the new state-of-the-art Beijing Daxing International Airport, PKX.

Robin Kamark, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Commercial Officer, said, “In October last year, Abu Dhabi Airports inked a sister-airport partnership with Beijing Daxing International Airport, which will strengthen the capital-to-capital link. Today, we are proud to announce that Etihad Airways will be one of the first airlines in the region to move to Beijing’s iconic Daxing International Airport.

“Since launching flights between Beijing and Abu Dhabi 12 years ago, we have experienced huge growth in China’s tourism and aviation markets, and enjoyed strong demand from business and leisure travellers, and cargo, assisted by direct services, codeshare partners, the mutual visa-exemption policy between the two nations implemented in January 2018, and the great joint efforts put into promoting bi-directional routes. The move also further reinforces our commitment to the China market and our Chinese guests, and contributes to the promising bilateral relationship.

“Whilst the spread of COVID-19 has posed a major challenge for all airlines serving China, with a massive drop in demand on key routes, we remain optimistic that the situation will improve by the summer and we continue serving Beijing from Abu Dhabi presently, demonstrating our unwavering support and commitment to our Chinese partners and the China market as a whole,” Mr. Kamark added.

Maarten de Groof, Chief Commercial Officer, Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “We are proud that Etihad Airways is among the first airlines in the region to serve Beijing Daxing International Airport. Our sister-airport partnership with Beijing’s brand new airport reflects the importance of our long-standing relationship with the Chinese airport sector. Such cooperation and the ever-growing popularity of Abu Dhabi as a destination has enabled this transfer of flights to Beijing’s new airport and we look forward to continue working with Etihad and our Chinese colleagues to enhance our partnership at all levels in the years ahead.”

The daily flights will continue to be operated by the technologically advanced Boeing 787 Dreamliner, featuring the airline’s innovative, award-winning cabin designs and products, complemented by its acclaimed service and hospitality.

WAM/Hassan Bashir/MOHD AAMIR



WAM: Ohoud Al Roumi chairs first meeting of National Council for Quality of Life

DUBAI, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — Ohoud bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office and President of the National Council for Quality of Life, stated that the UAE’s leadership has prioritised the quality of life of the Emirati people in their directives and initiatives, to achieve development.

The Council is a platform for promoting government coordination in implementing the leadership’s objectives in this area, he also noted.

The Council, comprising over 20 federal and local authorities aim to reinforce the joint coordination between local and federal government bodies and harmonise policies and programmes that will help improve quality of life.

During the Council’s first meeting, which she chaired, Al Roumi said that maintaining the quality of life is a key part of the government’s work and requires joint coordination between local and federal authorities, adding that the council is an important government platform for promoting the efforts to achieve the National Quality of Life Strategy 2031.

The Council also presented its key missions and discussed ways of reinforcing government coordination in implementing the pillars of the strategy. Its members were then briefed about related national quality of life indexes and the UAE’s leading positions in equivalent global indexes.

Aziz Al Ameri, Executive Director of the National Happiness and Quality of Life Programme, highlighted the Council’s duties, which include supervising, coordinating and empowering relevant authorities in adopting proposed programmes and policies.

He also added that the Council’s work includes encouraging the exchange of successful practices that improve the quality of life between federal and local authorities, as well as considering proposals for future policies and programmes, giving consultations to member authorities, and coordinating with relevant bodies to perform studies and surveys.

During the meeting, the council’s members stressed that improving quality of life is a national priority for all government authorities, affirming that the council will intensify its efforts to implement the strategy, through facilitating the coordination between participating authorities and harmonising programmes, policies and initiatives to improve the community’s quality of life.

In February, the UAE Cabinet approved the formation of the council, in implementation of the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to prioritise the quality of life in the daily work of the government, as well as the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to serve people and improve their quality of life, which should be top of the government’s priorities.


WAM/Nour Salman/Hassan Bashir

WAM: UAE Environment Minister named on Young Global Leaders 2020 list

DAVOS, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — The World Economic Forum, WEF, has selected Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, for membership of the forum of Young Global Leaders 2020, due to his key role, as a young government official, in the local and international efforts in the areas of climate and the environment.

Young Global Leaders was founded in 2004 by Klaus Schwab, the founder and chairman of WEF, with a mission to create a world where leaders take action for a sustainable future. At present, there are 1,300 members and alumni representing 52 countries.

Dr. Al Zeyoudi will join 114 leading change-makers under the age of 40 chosen this year to work on projects that have a significant impact on the global community.

The UAE Minister is among seven individuals representing young global leaders in the Middle East and North Africa region.

This year’s class includes a decorated Olympian and World Cup winner, the youngest Prime Minister of Finland, an accomplished and pioneering digital journalist in Africa, an advocate of social justice and reform in Nepal and a human rights lawyer fighting for an inclusive society in Ethiopia and beyond.


WAM/Esraa Ismail/Nour Salman

WAM: Abu Dhabi Government launches ‘Digital Month’ initiative

Abu Dhabi Government

ABU DHABI, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — The Abu Dhabi Government launched on Wednesday the ‘Digital Month’ initiative in a bid to further drive the UAE leadership’s vision to utilise information technology to better serve the community and advance government services.

The newly launched initiative comes within the efforts exerted by various government entities in Abu Dhabi to enhance customer experience through innovative digital services and solutions.

Government entities today provide more than 1,000 government services across various digital channels, which amounts to more than eight million transactions that were digitally completed during the past year. Digital transformation provides added value at different levels, as it saves more than 300,000 days of work and 16 million customer visits for government employees.

As part of this month, the Abu Dhabi Government invites the public to make the most of digital services and contribute to the continuous development of these platforms. Using these services and sharing feedback through digital channels serves to enrich customer experience.

Commenting on the initiative launch, Ali Al Ketbi, Chairman of the Department of Government Support – Abu Dhabi, said, “The Digital Month initiative is a continuation of the efforts made by Abu Dhabi’s government entities throughout the years to enhance the digital future in the emirate.”

He explained that Digital Month provides an ideal opportunity to highlight the level government entities in Abu Dhabi have reached in digital transformation while keeping pace with future requirements.

“In 2020, many digital initiatives will be completed, which will be launched and implemented under the umbrella of the Digital Month initiative, through which a new concept will be explored to provide government services to enhance customer experience, by employing modern and connected technologies such as, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology,” Al Ketbi added.

The official stressed that all government entities in Abu Dhabi have been working together for months to place the latest and greatest digital customer experiences in the hands of customers, effortlessly. He also pointed out that the Digital Month initiative calls upon everyone to work together to make Abu Dhabi a better place to live and invest in.

Al Ketbi explained that the main goal of Abu Dhabi Government’s creation of advanced digital for its residents, is to promote economic and social development and raise the level of efficiency of government services provided to all citizens and residents in Abu Dhabi.

The Digital Month initiative is a unique undertaking to highlight the benefits of online services as compared to traditional visits to government offices.

The initiative, under the slogan ‘#TimeForYou’, aims to emphasise the role that digital solutions and services play in providing more time for members of society, allowing them to focus more on positive aspects in their everyday lives.

The objectives of the initiative revolve around informing the public of the multiple benefits that each member of society will gain through digital services. Instead of spending time visiting government entities, everyone in Abu Dhabi has a highly viable and convenient alternative already in place in the palm of their hands or on the desk in their study. In the form of mobile apps and secure websites offered by a multitude of government departments, the average Abu Dhabi resident can already take advantage of such convenient time-saving options.

This new initiative emphasises the role that an inclusive and accessible government can play in boosting convenience, allowing consumers to save time and focus on things that matter most to them. It also reviews the proactive steps taken by the Abu Dhabi Government to enhance the digital services system aimed at enhancing the quality of life for all members of society in the emirate.

The Abu Dhabi Government Services ecosystem ‘Tamm’ is an example of the efforts made by the Abu Dhabi Government to advance the digital transformation in Abu Dhabi. Tamm, through cooperation with all government entities in Abu Dhabi, harnesses the latest technologies and digital solutions to provide a smooth service experience for customers. It provides all Abu Dhabi residents with high quality and efficient government services through an integrated and safe digital platform.

This initiative reflects the government entities’ commitment and support to amplify the core convenience message of leveraging digital inclusivity to support Abu Dhabi Plan and Vision 2030.




WAM: Emirates Islamic net profit reaches AED1.061 billion in 2019

DUBAI, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — Emirates Islamic has announced that its net profit increased by 15 percent, reaching AED1.061 billion in 2019, the highest ever in the bank’s history.

A review of the year ended 31st December 2019 was presented at the General Assembly Meeting of the bank, where it was announced that total income increased by eight percent to AED2.7 billion, and financing and investing receivables were at AED37.5 billion, increased by four percent from end 2018.

Emirates Islamic reported that customer deposits stood at AED45.3 billion, showing an increase by nine percent from end of 2018. Current and saving accounts balances represent 63 percent of total customer deposits.

Headline financing to deposits ratio was at 83 percent, which demonstrated a healthy liquidity position. Tier 1 capital ratio was at 19.5 percent and capital adequacy ratio was at 20.7 percent. Impaired financing ratio was at 7.6 percent with a strong coverage ratio of 120 percent.

Commenting on the bank’s performance, Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, Chairman of Emirates Islamic, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Emirates NBD, said, “As the Islamic banking partner of choice for UAE nationals and residents, Emirates Islamic continued to play an instrumental role in driving growth in the Islamic finance sector. We delivered strong results for the year, with net profit of AED1.061 billion, the highest ever in the bank’s history.”

Al Qassim added, “Looking ahead to 2020, Emirates Islamic maintains a positive outlook, with Expo 2020 Dubai set to deliver a significant boost to the economy as millions of visitors are expected to join the mega-event. Emirates Islamic will continue to play an instrumental role in contributing to growth and innovation in the Islamic banking sector, working to educate more individuals and institutions in the UAE about the benefits of Islamic banking solutions.”

The AGM reviewed and approved the Directors’ Report, the Auditors’ Report, the Internal Shari’ah Control Committee, and consolidated financial statements of the bank for the year ending 31st December 2019.

The meeting also approved the appointment of Internal Shari’ah Control Committee members, subject to UAE Central Bank approval. They also reviewed and approve the Board of Directors’ remuneration and the bank’s staff bonus. The AGM absolved the Board of Directors from responsibility for the year ending 31 December 2019.

The meeting also absolved the auditors from responsibility and appointed Deloitte & Touche (M.E.) as auditors of the bank for the year 2020 and determining their remuneration.


WAM: Free round-the-clock COVID-19 consultations via video, voice calls: DHA

DUBAI, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — All Dubai residents can now contact Dubai Health Authority, DHA, doctors via video and voice calls, for free 24/7 consultation and queries regarding COVID-19.

The health authority announced in a statement that it is providing this service through its ‘Doctor for Every Citizen’ initiative, which was launched by the authority last December to fulfil the goals of Article 5 of the Fifty-Year Charter.

The initiative, which initially provided family medicine consultations for Emiratis, will now provide free consultation to all Dubai Residents for coronavirus concerns.

Dr. Manal Taryam, CEO of the Primary Healthcare Sector at the DHA said that the authority will utilise telemedicine – which refers to remote clinical healthcare facilitated through apps, calls, and video calls – to provide the public with consultation from certified DHA physicians.

Residents who want answers to their health queries from official sources or are concerned about any symptoms they have can also contact the ‘Doctor for Every Citizen’ service.

“This will especially benefit residents on self-quarantine at home as they will be able to get any health-related queries they may have, answered without leaving the comfort of their homes,” said Dr Taryam.

The DHA advised that individuals should monitor their symptoms whilst at home, and urged individuals to utilise the ‘Doctor for Every Citizen’ initiative should they develop a fever or any flu-like symptoms.

Dr Taryam explained that the Doctor for Every Citizen initiative will cover initial consultation and follow-ups were the physician uses a telehealth platform to communicate with the person while viewing his medical record. The physician will also be able to request lab and radiology tests as well as issue electronic prescriptions.

Under the new service, the public will have round-the-clock access to doctors, specialists and consultants who are DHA certified and trained on using telehealth.

“To access this service all they have to do is download the DHA mobile app and sign up. They then have to book an appointment for the ‘Doctor for every citizen’ service by calling the DHA toll-free number 800 342. Doctors and patients can opt for check-ups via video-call or voice-call,” the DHA official noted.


WAM/Nour Salman

WAM: Abu Dhabi Chamber discusses investment cooperation with India

ABU DHABI, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry discussed ways of reinforcing its commercial and investment ties with India.

The discussion took place during a meeting at the chamber’s headquarters between Mohammed Hilal Al Muhairi, Director-General of the Chamber, and Pavan Kapoor, Ambassador of India to the UAE, and his delegation.

During the meeting, Al Muhairi highlighted the chamber’s keenness to reinforce its overall economic and investment cooperation with India, noting the developing bilateral ties between the two countries supported by their leaderships.

He also pointed out key opportunities for advancing the joint commercial and investment ties between their business communities, noting the key initiatives adopted by the chamber and its readiness to promote economic and investment cooperation between companies and institutions from both countries.

Kapoor expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome he received during his visit to the chamber, affirming that the UAE and India have strong relations in a variety of areas, including in the economy, commerce and investment.

He added that his visit aims to enhance the relations between Indian and Emirati companies, in light of available investment opportunities in the UAE, especially in Abu Dhabi, noting that India has many investment opportunities that Emirati companies can benefit from, and the trade exchange between the two countries is witnessing constant growth.

Kapoor invited the chamber and Emirati investors to visit India to explore key opportunities.

WAM/Nour Salman

WAM: UAE Embassy to facilitate return of Emirati citizens from Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — The UAE Embassy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that it is coordinating with the Kingdom to arrange for the return of Emirati citizens.

The Embassy noted that it coordinated with UAE national carriers Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways and Saudi national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines to operate flights for the next 72 hours according to the announced schedule. It commended in this regard the notable cooperation shown by officials of the national carriers in question.

The UAE Embassy also expressed its appreciation to Saudi authorities for their support in facilitating these measures in light of precautions undertaken by the Kingdom to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

WAM/Esraa Ismail/Nour Salman

WAM: Agreement between OPEC+ essential for balanced market, says UAE Energy Ministe

ABU DHABI, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — The UAE Minister of Energy and Industry Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei has said that a new agreement between OPEC+ country members is essential to support a balanced and less volatile market.

Al Mazrouei said, via a series of tweets, “OPEC and OPEC+ played an important role in delivering market stability. The UAE Ministry of Energy and Industry firmly believes that a new agreement is essential to support a balanced and less volatile market.”

The UAE Minister’s remarks follow recent developments between OPEC and non-OPEC allies failing to agree on how much oil production to cut amid the coronavirus outbreak.

He went on to note that operators in the country have “ample production capacity that will be quickly brought online given the current circumstances.”

According to the Al Mazrouei’s official twitter account, the minister expressed his disappointment in the lack of agreement between OPEC+. “We are disappointed that no agreement was reached by OPEC + and the current declaration of cooperation will therefore expire at the end of March 2020,” the tweet read.


WAM/Nour Salman

WAM: Arab Trade Financing Programme approves US$210 million in funding request

ABU DHABI, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — The Board of the Arab Trade Financing Programme approved 81 funding requests for trade projects worth US$210 million, during its 121st meeting held today at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

The meeting was chaired by Dr. Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Al Humaidi, Chairman and CEO of the Programme.

During the meeting, the board reviewed a comprehensive report on the programme’s financing activity in the last quarter of 2019, which noted that total funding provided by the programme to its member national agencies in all Arab countries since the start of 2019 was some $1.086 million, which directly and indirectly benefitted 16 member countries. It also provided $20 million through a trading agreement with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, ITFC.

The board was then briefed about developments during the related period, in coordination and cooperation with regional and international financial organisations, to expand and reinforce financing tools that promote Arab trade.

The board also reviewed the performance of the investment portfolios of the programme’s funds for the last quarter of 2019 and approved audited financial information and its annual report for the year ending 31st December 2019.

The board presented other trade services provided by the programme to exporters and importers in Arab countries, and reviewed the progress of the Inter-Arab Trade Information Network and the efforts to update the information database on its website.


WAM/Nour Salman



WAM: US$50 million funding for Maldives development projects

ABU DHABI, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, the leading national entity for economic development aid, today signed an agreement with the government of Maldives to provide funding support to the tune of US$50 million (AED184 million) for infrastructure development projects in the Maldives.

The agreement was signed by Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, ADFD Director-General, and Abdulla Shahid, Maldives’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, in the presence of several senior officials from both sides.

Aimed at strengthening the efforts of the Maldivian government to promote the socio-economic development of the island nation, the funding will support the implementation of several development projects across vital economic sectors to deliver a significant positive impact on the country’s economy.

Commenting on the announcement, Mohammed Al Suwaidi said, “This agreement articulates ADFD’s commitment to supporting the development programs of the Maldivian government to drive economic growth and achieve sustainable development in the country.”

“At ADFD, we take a keen interest in supporting infrastructure projects given its importance and far-reaching developmental impact on various sectors,” he added.

Al Suwaidi went on to explained that in addition to catalysing economic growth and boosting sustainable development, such projects help create an enabling environment for foreign investments, and stimulate growth in trade, transport and tourism. “Furthermore, they create thousands of job opportunities for local communities and provide them with improved livelihoods.”

For his part, Abdulla Shahid, lauded the UAE’s continued support for the Maldives through ADFD’s active involvement in funding several development projects in the country. He noted that such projects help the Maldivian government to pursue its development agenda and fulfil its vision to ensure economic and social prosperity for the people of the Maldives.

The Maldivian minister also reiterated his government’s desire to enhance collaboration with ADFD to increase economic support and investment in sectors key to sustainable development and inclusive growth.

Since 1976, ADFD has been actively involved in the development of the Maldives through supporting government efforts to promote sustainable development. To this end, ADFD has allocated AED748 million towards the development of several projects serving vital economic sectors including transport, housing and renewable energy.


WAM/Nour Salman

WAM: 4,000-year-old human bones found in Ras Al Khaimah

RAS AL KHAIMAH, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — An unprecedented joint project has seen Ras Al Khaimah’s Department of Antiquities and Museums collaborate with two prominent US universities to study 4,000-year-old human bones unearthed at two ancient tombs in the emirate.

The bones were found in Shimal – a prominent archaeological site dating back to the Umm Al Nar culture (2,600 to 2,000BC) – where archaeologists previously discovered evidence for prehistoric tombs, settlements and a medieval fortress.

The research project aims to compile a more complete picture of the people who lived in the region during the Bronze Age.

Christian Velde and Imke Moellering, Senior Researchers and Archaeologists at the Department of Antiquities and Museums, oversaw the project with Lesley Gregoricka from the University of South Alabama and Prof. Jaime Ullinger from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

An all-female team of scientists – comprising Professors Gregoricka and Ullinger, along with students from their respective universities – examined more than 1,000 kilograms of bones excavated two decades ago using advanced techniques, such as isotope analysis of teeth.

In agreement with H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, 400kg of bones will undergo further scientific study in the US. They will be returned to the Emirate once the research is concluded.

The National Science Foundation – a US government agency – offered financial assistance to help fund the analysis until 2021.

Ahmed Obeid Al Teneiji, Director-General of the RAK Department of Antiquities and Museums, said the project shows the rich history of the Emirate. “This fascinating project to analyse 4,000-year-old human remains highlights the depth of history Ras Al Khaimah possesses and the unprecedented collaboration with two prominent US universities will be hugely beneficial for all concerned,” he said.

“We hope that the expert analysis sheds further light on the early civilisations of Ras Al Khaimah and that this project can be the basis for more collaborations in the future.”

The bones unearthed are mostly fragments, although some intact craniums have survived. Work began in 2019 and is scheduled to continue until 2021 under the title, ‘The Bioarcheology of Bronze Age Social Systems’. The project has gained publicity on social media and its initial results were also promoted in short films. Translated into Arabic, the video clips are set to be shown in educational institutions in Ras Al Khaimah in collaboration the Department of Antiquities and Museums.

Settled for at least 4,500 years, Shimal is the largest pre-Islamic site in Ras Al Khaimah and situated approximately eight kilometres northeast of RAK City, near the modern-day village of Shimal. The settlement is associated with the Shihuh tribe of the Northern UAE and Oman.

The site comprises a number of settlements, an extensive cemetery and a medieval fortress. Previous excavations have unearthed remains of pottery, soft-stone vessels, beads and weapons made out of bronze and copper, with the tombs revealed to be impressive structures that were clearly built by skilled people with immense effort. The settlers buried their dead in multiple chambers, eventually cremating and reburying them, meaning that the tombs could be used for many years.

This culture has been named ‘Umm An Nar’ after an Abu Dhabi island where the first tombs of this type were excavated in the 1950s. It is hoped the project will shed fresh light on the people’s health, food and life expectancy.

More broadly, the joint RAK-US project is just one of several initiatives shedding light on the emirate’s rich archaeological history. Another from the Department of Antiquities and Museums and Palace Museum in Beijing that began in 2017 resulted in the discovery of thousands of pottery fragments in the emirate.

Some pieces date from the Chinese Yuan Dynasty of 1271 to 1368 and revealed how trade flourished between Julfar and China. Julfar was the predecessor of modern-day Ras Al Khaimah and a major trade hub in the region.

In addition, restoration work is continuing at the Al Jazirah Al Hamra pearling village. More broadly, the department is working to electronically archive the more than 2,000 archaeological sites in Ras Al Khaimah and is also planning public events this year to raise awareness about the Emirate’s archaeological riches and ensure they are preserved for future generations.


WAM/Nour Salman

WAM: Umm Al Emarat Park marks five-year milestone since reopening

ABU DHABI, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — This month marks Umm Al Emarat Park’s five-year anniversary since reopening in 2015, after undergoing a two-year redevelopment.

Since then, the Park has established itself as a top green destination, attracting more than 3.5 million guests and visitors from around the world and hosting more than 250 local, regional and international events.

In the past five years, the Park hosted three Guinness World Records, including the world’s longest handshake, the largest variety of desserts served, and the signing of the tolerance plaque.

In 2016 and 2017, Umm Al Emarat Park won the prestigious Green Flag Award, joining the ranks of 1,600 green spaces across the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Green Flag Award sets the benchmark international standards for public parks and green spaces according to stringent criteria, such as conservation and heritage, environmental sustainability, health, safety, and security, and community involvement.

By partnering with around 400 schools, more than 80,000 students have been given the opportunity to explore the animals, plants and rich ecosystem of the Park and learn about Bedouin history and culture.

Rasha Kablawi, Head of Umm Al Emarat Park’s Corporate Affairs and Communication Department, said, “Our success is due to the rich and sustainable ecosystem available at the park, state-of-the-art facilities and year-round programming and events for all ages and backgrounds.”

Kablawi added, “Umm Al Emarat Park is an outdoor classroom, a place to rediscover leisure and wellness, a calming space to unplug from the city and reconnect with nature, and above all, a meeting place for family and friends. Looking forward to the next five years and beyond, we are excited to continue to enrich the lives of residents and visitors who choose the park as their destination.”

Established in 1982 and formerly known as Mushrif Central Park, Umm Al Emarat Park is considered one of the oldest and largest urban parks in Abu Dhabi. In 2016, the Park was renamed Umm Al Emarat Park in honour of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.

The Park includes many attractions and recreational facilities such as the animal barn, botanic garden, children’s garden, amphitheatre and more.


WAM/Esraa Ismail/Nour Salman

WAM: ADNOC positioned to increase supply to over 4 mmbpd this April: Sultan Al Jaber

ABU DHABI, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber has commented on recent market developments, noting that the UAE oil company is set to supply the market with over four million barrels of oil per day in April 2020.

In a statement, Dr. Al Jaber said, “Today, as a result of the steps we’ve taken over the last four years, ADNOC is far stronger and better positioned to respond to current market conditions. Our focus on driving performance, profitability and efficiency has made us more resilient, agile and responsive to market dynamics. These guiding principles remain unchanged as we move forward with projects across our value chain.”

“In line with our production capacity growth strategy announced by the Supreme Petroleum Council, we are in a position to supply the market with over four million barrels of oil per day (mmbpd) in April. In addition, we will accelerate our planned five mmbpd capacity target,” he affirmed.

“In response to market conditions,” Dr. Al Jaber continued, “and to provide better forward visibility to our customers, ADNOC will shortly announce forward prices for the months of March and April 2020. This decision has been made to ensure that our customers have visibility of the price so they can plan accordingly.”

“As announced in November 2019, ADNOC remains firmly committed to moving from its current retroactive pricing mechanism to a new forward pricing mechanism for its flagship Murban crude oil. This will be traded on a new independent exchange, ICE Futures Abu Dhabi, which is expected to launch after the necessary regulatory approvals are obtained,” he added.

Dr. Al Jaber concluded, “As planned, we remain committed to creating and maximising value from across our portfolio, while we advance our smart growth strategy.”


WAM/Nour Salman

WAM: Fujairah Ruler offers condolences on death of Saudi prince

FUJAIRAH, 11th March, 2020 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, has sent a message of condolences to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, expressing his sincere condolences and sympathy over the death of Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, also sent similar message expressing his condolences to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.


WAM/Esraa Ismail