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PRO Partner Group Regional News and Updates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Wider UAE, Oman & Qatar

  • Pupils in private and government schools in Abu Dhabi to return to class in phases from next week -

    Pupils in government-run schools nationwide will return to in-person learning in phases from next week.

    Children will attend classrooms for the first time this term from Monday, January 24 and Monday, January 31, depending on their year group.

    All private schools in Abu Dhabi will also begin a return to in-person lessons from January 24.

    At a televised briefing on Wednesday evening, officials said all pupils would require a PCR test, taken in the past 96 hours, to enter school buildings. They will further require a test every two weeks.

    For the full article click here

  • Rolls-Royce brings mini nuclear power plant technology to UAE World Future Energy Summit -

    Small modular nuclear reactors, or SMRs as they are known, can support the clean energy ambitions of Middle East countries and help power-hungry industrial units to decarbonise production amid rising demand for cleaner metals and other products, the chief executive of Rolls-Royce SMR said.

    The British company is bringing its SMR technology to the World Future Energy Summit – the global conference showcasing green energy technology – and hopes to start talks with government representatives and large industrial companies to explore the potential of deals in the region, said CEO of Rolls-Royce Tom Samson.

    Nuclear energy has a major role to play in “addressing the clean energy needs of any country” and “we are looking to have those conversations when we come down to Abu Dhabi”, he said.

    “We are just beginning that journey and that is part of the reason to come to [WFES].”

    The company is already exploring opportunities to sell its technology to potential customers in the UK.

    However, the first SMR units are not expected to come online before the early part of the next decade as the company goes through the regulatory processes in the UK, builds factories, certifies its designs and moves on to the production process, said Mr Samson, who was previously chief operating officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation in the UAE.

    For the full article click here

  • What makes UAE the hottest FDI destination in GCC -

    As the UAE economy makes a consistent recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has emerged as an attractive destination for foreign capital inflows, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

    According to the latest estimates and forecasts from the IIF, the UAE attracted $46.4 billion in foreign capital inflows in 2021 with foreign direct investment (FDI) accounting for nearly half of that at $21.8 billion, ahead of Saudi Arabia's at $19.5 billion.

    While portfolio investment flows into the country is estimated at $19.3 billion, resident capital outflows in terms of foreign direct investments and other investments accounted for $64.2 billion, largely driven by investments and acquisitions by sovereign wealth funds, government related entities and large companies.

    In the GCC, Saudi Arabia and the UAE accounted for significantly larger share of foreign capital inflows with the UAE topping the region in FDI.

    FDI is expected to remain elevated in 2022 and 2023 in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

    “We expect higher FDI in the energy sector in the kingdom to raise crude oil and natural gas output capacity. In the UAE, elevated FDI is driven by the friendly business environment, excellent infrastructure, predictable policies, and political stability,” said Iradian.

    Strong demand for high-quality assets from the region will remain an important factor in attracting foreign capital to GCC asset classes. Large financial buffers in the form of official reserves and SWFs, solid returns, dollar-pegged currencies make GCC’s sovereign debt an attractive alternative to riskier securities in other emerging markets.

    For the full article click here

  • GCC banks will benefit from economic recovery in 2022, S&P says -

    Banks in the Gulf Co-operation Council area will benefit from a regional economic recovery this year, according to S&P Global Ratings.

    Higher oil prices, supportive government spending and normalising non-oil activity will boost regional banks’ growth, the ratings agency said in its latest report GCC Banking Sector Outlook: On the Recovery Path in 2022 released on Tuesday.

    Strong capitalisation and government support will continue to reinforce lenders’ creditworthiness, it said.

    The ratings agency, which expects Brent crude's price to average $65 a barrel this year, said improving economic sentiment and higher hydrocarbon production should lead to accelerated economic growth.

    “We expect banks’ asset quality indicators to deteriorate only slightly as regulatory forbearance measures have helped the corporate sector to deal with the negative effects of the pandemic," S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Mohamed Damak said.

    Like their global peers, GCC banks faced tougher operating conditions as the pandemic disrupted economic momentum. However, the regional economies, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economies, bounced back strongly on the back of mass inoculation programmes and fiscal measures.

    For the full article click here

  • Oman and Britain sign investment partnership as trade deal with GCC approaches -

    Oman and Britain signed a Sovereign Investment Partnership deal on Wednesday, agreeing to work more closely on increasing high-value investment into both countries as the UK draws nearer to a trade deal with the GCC.

    The new pact between the UK’s Office for Investment and the Oman Investment Authority was signed in London by the UK’s Minister for Investment, Lord Gerry Grimstone, and the President of the Oman Investment Authority, AbdulSalam Al Murshidi, with the aim of strengthening economic ties between the UK and Oman.

    The partnership also strives to identify and support commercial investments in areas such as clean energy and technology - a key part of the nations' £1 billion-a-year trading relationship.

    The signing follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s meeting with the Sultan Haitham of Oman at Downing Street in December, where he discussed efforts to boost Britain’s and Oman’s economic recovery from the pandemic, investment opportunities in green and renewable technology, and the new UK-GCC free trade agreement, which is under discussion this year.

    For the full article click here

  • Abu Dhabi stock market gets to have the 'FTSE' co-branding from today -

    From 10th January the Abu Dhabi stock market will have a FTSE touch.

    This means the ADX General Index, the main one for the Dh1.5 trillion market cap stock exchange, will be branded as ‘FTSE ADX General Index’. This follows an alliance between ADX and FTSE Russell to develop co-branded indices. FTSE Russell is owned by London Stock Exchange Group.

    Thus, the ‘FTSE ADX’ sector indices will take the place of the existing sector indices. ADX is the first exchange in the region to make FTSE Russell its index administrator. The FTSE Russell has nearly $16 trillion benchmarked to its various indexes.

    Further new indices will be co-developed under the partnership to support ADX’s “vision of introducing new tradable index products on its market”. The exchange launched single stock futures in the fourth quarter of last year following an agreement sealed in September with Nasdaq in September to deliver matching, real time clearing and settlement technology as ADX broadens its asset class offerings.

    “Our partnership with FTSE Russell is part of ADX’s wide-ranging strategy to develop a dynamic exchange, which includes investment in state-of-the art market technology and increasing the opportunity set for investors and issuers,” said Saeed Hamad Al Dhaheri, CEO and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. “The new range of FTSE-ADX indices will provide robust benchmarks and support the listing of index derivatives, ETFs other index-based products on the exchange.”

    For the full article click here

  • UK firms are increasingly seeking business growth in the Gulf -

    UK-based businesses have been expanding their operations across the Gulf as a result of Brexit-fuelled global geographic growth, according to new research.

    Lumina Capital Advisers noted the growth in UK to Middle East and North Africa (MENA) cross-border trade and deal activity between 2018-2020, fuelled by Brexit and revenue diversification opportunities. Its report predicted that 2022 is likely to be a record year for cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

    Lumina said that since 2018, the Middle East’s contribution to overall revenue for UK companies has increased by 1 percent year-on-year. It added that in 2020, the MENA region generated 14 percent of revenue for FTSE listed companies, compared to 13 percent in 2019 and 12 percent in 2018.

    Lumina Capital Advisors said it anticipates that this growth will continue in 2022, with the percentage of MENA revenues generated by FTSE listed companies exceeding 15 percent by year-end.

    Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala’s £10bn commitment into UK clean energy and tech sectors and SABIC’s Teeside investment provide recent examples of the GCC’s push into ESG. Saudi-based PIF’s investment in Newcastle Football Club is also seen as an opportunity to both raise the profile of the region and bring ties closer with the UK.

    George Traub, managing partner, Lumina Capital Advisers, said: “The recent free trade agreement negotiations between the GCC and the UK will have a significant impact on future M&A activity. The reduction in trade barriers and establishment of a more secure regulatory environment will encourage UK firms to the region as the GCC looks to imports skills not currently available to them.

    For the full article click here

  • Central bank projects 4.2% UAE GDP growth in 2022 -

    The UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow 4.2 per cent in 2022 and non-hydrocarbon real GDP to increase by 3.9 per cent, according to the Central Bank of UAE.

    The Quarterly Economic Review of the CBUAE for Q3, 2021 has forecast a 2.1 per cent GDP growth in 2021 with the real non-hydrocarbon GDP projected to increase by 3.8 per cent.

    According to central bank data, the UAE’s oil production increased by 9.3 per cent year on year and by 4.3 per cent quarter on at the close of the third quarter in line with the agreement by OPEC+.

    CBUAE expects continued increase in public spending, positive outlook for credit growth, higher employment and better business sentiment, as Dubai

    World EXPO continues to take place in Q1 2022. Furthermore, being a major tourism, transit and trade hub in the region, the UAE is expected to benefit from the removal of travel restrictions and events such the FIFA World Cup which is planned to take place in Qatar in Q4 2022.

    For the full article click here

  • Ras Al Khaimah allows businesses to operate from free zone and mainland with one office -

    Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) will now allow licensed businesses to operate out of one office from within the free zone as well as on the mainland. This comes after RAKEZ launched its dual license structure.

    License holders will be able to distribute their products and offer services in the free zone and mainland areas with a free zone license and a ‘Branch of a Free Zone Company’ license issued by the emirate’s Department of Economic Development. This will allow investors 100 per cent foreign ownership and the eligibility to bid for government contracts.

    “This package opens up a new market for their business, and substantially expands their accessibility and reach; all whilst reducing the red-tape requirements of the past,” said Ramy Jallad, RAKEZ Group CEO. “We are glad to have teamed up with RAK DED for another initiative that roots from our shared goal of further developing Ras Al Khaimah’s vibrant economy.”

    Commenting on the initiative, Abdulrahman Alnaqbi, Director-General of RAK DED, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with RAKEZ on yet another great initiative for the benefit of global investors who chose Ras Al Khaimah to base their operations.”

    For the full article click here


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