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UAE-Pakistani Friendship Road opens

posted on 26/06/2016

The UAE- Pakistani Friendship Road, funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development at cost of US$60.6 million, has been inaugurated in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan.

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, and follow up by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, to provide the humanitarian and development aid to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The UAE- Pakistani Friendship Road, with length of 72 km and width of 9 metres, is one of the biggest development projects in the tribal region, and links south and north of Waziristan regions. The project opened by General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Army, in the presence of, Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, Director of the UAE Project to Assist Pakistan (PAP), members of the project, senior Pakistani army officers, senior local government officials of the tribal areas, and tribal dignitaries.

During the inauguration ceremony, the audience thanked the UAE President for his kind gesture. General Sharif extended his thanks to Sheikh Khalifa for continuous support, citing the UAE- Pakistani Friendship Road, deemed one of the development projects in Pakistan. He delivered the message of gratitude on the behalf of inhabitants of the tribal areas to the UAE leadership.

For his part, Al Ghafli stressed that the bilateral relations between the UAE and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have a unique and special character demonstrated through the fraternal spirit, appreciation, mutual respect and shared vision between the leaders and peoples of the two countries.

He pointed out that the opening of "this vital road is nothing but the product of a long history of love, togetherness and cohesion between the leaders and peoples of the two friendly countries."

Al Ghafli said that the directives of the political leadership of the UAE have leveraged the success of the project and translated it into a reality. He appreciated the kind gestures of the UAE President and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, which focussed on helping the poor and needy in Pakistan.

He also praised the support and continuous follow-up enjoyed by the PAP by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. He stressed that the support and follow-up by Sheikh Mansour was a catalyst for the successful implementation of 164 development projects in Pakistan.

Al Ghafli referred to the success of partnership, cooperation and coordination with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, which has been keen to contribute to several development projects in the areas of roads, bridges, health, education being implemented by the UAE Project to Assist Pakistan.

A number of beneficiaries told Emirates News Agency (WAM) that they were appreciative about the UAE leadership's stance to offer all forms of assistance in time of their need. While welcoming the opening of the road which would facilitate transport in the tribal region, the beneficiaries noted that the naming of the project, the UAE- Pakistani Friendship Road, "reflects intimacy in the relationship between the peoples of the UAE and Pakistan." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Mohammed bin Rashid launches 2030 Dubai Industrial Strategy

posted on 26/06/2016

Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has launched the 2030 Dubai Industrial Strategy, elevate Dubai into a global platform for knowledge-based, sustainable and innovation-focused businesses.

His Highness reiterated that the UAE is on track to achieving its objectives with regard to integrating and complementing its economic sectors and optimising industrial capacity to supplement the GDP and other revenue streams to the national economy in the coming years.

He said: "The Dubai Industrial Strategy aims to leverage our advanced infrastructure and enabling environment to transform UAE into a global platform for innovative industries and a destination of choice for international companies seeking an integrated and favourable environment for growth and sustainability."

He added: "With the launch of the Dubai Industrial Strategy, we are taking one more step towards the future. We have laid down a strong foundation that blends our strategic location and infrastructure with our ambition, confidence and experience. Today we have put in place the basic framework needed to compete globally in the industrial sector and develop national talents. We are one step closer to achieving the goal of making Dubai a homeland for innovators, a favourite place to live and work in, a global economic hub, and a preferred destination for visitors."

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum further pointed out: "Sustainable development involves activating all pillars of the economy. A conducive environment is required to achieve our targets that focus on knowledge, science, and research, which form the foundation for the development of industries."

He added that a sound economy today means a diverse and integrated economy led by the industry and manufacturing sectors and built on pillars of innovation and creativity. The Vice President said: "Nations are recognised for what they produce and offer in products and services and the value they add to the global economy."

The strategy was launched in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance; H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai; H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group; Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future; Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy; Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Director-General of His Highness the Ruler's Court of Dubai; Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, and a number of business leaders in Dubai.

The development of the Dubai Industrial Strategy was led by Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza) and Dubai Industrial Park in Dubai Wholesale City with support from the Executive Council of Dubai. Numerous industry experts from more than 25 government entities and the private sector were also involved during the development phase.

The strategy aims to develop and implement long-term industrial policies to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the industrial sector in Dubai and across its free zones. It identifies target industrial sectors and focuses on strengthening industrial integration - connecting the target sector with educational and research institutions to stimulate innovation and creativity with a view to developing strategic industries. In addition, the Dubai Industrial Strategy aims to create an attractive environment for these strategic industries.

The Dubai Industrial Strategy is based on five key objectives that will serve as the foundation for Dubai's industrial future. The Strategy aims to increase the total output and value-addition of the manufacturing sector, enhance the depth of knowledge and innovation, make Dubai a preferred manufacturing platform for global businesses, promote environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient manufacturing and make Dubai a centre for the global Islamic products market.

The Dubai Industrial Strategy has further identified six priority sub-sectors: Aerospace, Maritime, Aluminium and Fabricated Metals, Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment, Food and Beverages and Machinery and Equipment. These sub-sectors were chosen based on their importance to the Dubai Industrial Strategy and Dubai Plan 2021, as well as their future growth prospects, export potential and mid-term to long-term economic impact.

Aerospace: In the aerospace sector, Dubai can play a pivotal role through manufacturing spare parts for aircraft and providing maintenance and repair services. As per the strategy, Dubai will leverage its position as a global hub for aviation to increase the market added value (MVA), increase job creation and step-up the levels of research and development in this sector.

The crucially important aviation sector that supports the movement of passengers through Dubai has grown substantially over the years to reach 70 million in 2014. The Dubai-based Emirates Airlines alone currently owns a fleet of 239 aircraft in service and a further 269 that have been ordered.

Maritime Industry: Dubai is considered a front-runner in the field of maritime maintenance and repair through its Dry Docks World and Dubai Maritime City. The emirate also has a unique global location as a centre of trade and maritime services - comprising Jebel Ali Port, the largest seaport in the Middle East with a capacity of 21 million containers. Dubai is in prime position to expand its activities to attract more traffic to its facilities, especially larger ships and offshore structures. Dubai can also foray into manufacturing yachts and boats to meet the domestic demand.

Aluminium and Fabricated Metals: Dubai is home to one of the largest aluminium smelters worldwide. The UAE is among the top global exporters of aluminium - it exports 88% of the 2.4 million tons it produces annually. According to the Dubai Industrial Strategy, the emirate has the opportunity to raise its production capacity in metal fabrication through the development of its current base in aluminium production. This will be achieved by enhancing the capabilities of the downstream and finished goods manufacturing domains to increase the overall added value and maximise benefits from the existing smelters. The downstream activities i.e. the final aluminium products industry will further enhance the global reach of domestic producers and attract players from the international auto and aerospace industry.

Pharmaceuticals: The Dubai Industrial Strategy has chosen the pharmaceutical sub-sector for its vital importance and added value. With low local and regional production capacities, the countries in the GCC region currently import 80% of their pharmaceutical requirements. Lucrative opportunities exist to develop this strategic sector. The first phase of the strategy will focus on manufacturing cosmeceuticals (cosmetics that are claimed to have medicinal properties) to benefit from the growth of this niche market – particularly given the increasing demand for halal cosmeceuticals. The initial focus on this sector will help increase investments in R&D, infrastructure and building capacity and help step-up to the next phase of manufacturing pharmaceuticals that requires advanced technology, skilled human capital and strong R&D capabilities.

:: Food and Beverages The global F&B market was valued at approximately US$4 trillion in 2014. Dubai's exports in the same year were worth AED47.7 billion (US$13 billion). With countries in the GCC region importing 70% of their food needs and registering an annual growth of more than 3%, Dubai can play a significant role in becoming a major hub for food products in the region. Dubai's infrastructure, airports and ports, and logistical capabilities serve as drivers for the success of the F&B sector as it relies heavily on ease of access and speed of delivering raw materials and products.

The Dubai Industrial Strategy also aims to leverage the growing demand for halal products to enhance Dubai's position as the Capital of the Islamic Economy and expand local manufacturing capabilities for producing high quality halal products.

:: Machinery and Equipment The Machinery and Equipment sector is one of the largest industrial sub-sectors in Dubai and accounts for about 25% of the industrial GDP due to the high domestic and regional demand for construction machinery and equipment. The global market for Machinery and Equipment is estimated at US$3.5 trillion. Developing this sector will add significant value to the GDP - especially given Dubai's location and reputation as a hub for machinery and equipment in the region and beyond.

:: Strategic Initiatives The Dubai Industrial Strategy has identified 75 initiatives to transform Dubai into a global platform for industries based on knowledge, innovation and sustainability. The strategy is projected to help generate an additional AED160 billion by 2030.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation asserted that the launch of Dubai Industrial Strategy in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is aligned with the UAE's roadmap for sustainable progress in the post-oil era and reinforce nation's efforts to diversify the national economic structure.

He said: "The launch of Dubai Wholesale City, the world's largest city for wholesale trade extending over 550 million square feet at a cost of AED30 billion, reinforces Dubai's clear economic vision for the future through the creation of dynamic new sectors and the reformatting of existing sectors on a global scale."

He mentioned that the UAE's industrial landscape has developed significantly over the years owing to the conscious effort towards increasing the sector's growth. This growth has been achieved through putting in place a strategic plan to expand and attract foreign and domestic investments by setting up industrial zones across the UAE that provide world-class infrastructure and operational facilities.

Sultan bin Sulayem pointed out that Dubai is already regarded as a major trading centre on the international map and under the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the emirate is poised to emerge as a global industrial centre and city of integrated logistics. Dubai will offer all the services that investors seek to push into new and emerging markets of the world.

He stressed that the Dubai Industrial Strategy includes a range of investment incentives to attract more industrial investments to the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza). These incentives will encourage investors to create production lines locally and use Jafza as a springboard for conveying their products to diverse countries around the world.

Sultan bin Sulayem highlighted that the strategy also comprised a core developmental aspect - including Emiratis in the nation's development process and empowering them with knowledge and skills through engaging them in various industrial projects.

Dr Amina Al Rustamani, Group CEO, Tecom Group, developer of specialised parks including Dubai Industrial Park in Dubai Wholesale City, said: "His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has launched the Dubai Industrial Strategy in line with the economic vision of Dubai. This strategy forms a cornerstone for the development of an industry sector based on innovation, knowledge and creativity."

She added: "We are keen on increasing the value added of the industrial sector to the Dubai's GDP as well as that of the UAE. The development of this sector is a main driver for the economy with its high potential and capability. We are committed to implementing this strategy on the ground and benefiting from its potential to significantly build capacities and provide jobs to our national workforce."

Abdullah Belhoul, CEO, Dubai Wholesale City, which includes the Dubai Industrial Park, said: "The launch of the Dubai Industrial Strategy articulates the vision of our leadership to prepare for a post-oil future and establish a diversified knowledge-based economy. Dubai Industrial Park will play a pivotal role in this transition as a leading destination for industry and logistics - boasting more than 700 local, regional and global companies. The industrial park also features a halal manufacturing zone that will help fulfil the objectives of this strategy. In the next phase of implementation of the strategy, Dubai Industrial Park will collaborate with all the partners on realising initiatives and action plans to accomplish these strategic goals. We will work to translate the leadership vision into reality and support Dubai's transition into a global platform for industries based on knowledge and innovation."

Ibrahim Mohammed Al Janahi, Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial Officer of Jafza, said: "The Dubai Industrial Strategy has outlined policies to ensure a steady pace of growth in all sectors and has assigned specific tasks to every economic institution - whether free zones or industrial zones. These promising policies will stimulate the industrial sector and attract more foreign investment to the country."

Al Janahi pointed out that the strategy helped to foster innovation and provided customised solutions in addition to creating a common language for the stakeholders. Its implementation will further drive the growth of the industrial sector and open new horizons to introduce and consolidate the ‘Made in Dubai' brand initiative. This branding would build the credibility of the emirate for manufacturing products to highest international standards.

He stressed that Jafza is developing a marketing plan tailored to the Dubai Industrial Strategy to attract more global industrial companies to the free zone and provide incentives to successful businesses based within the zone.

Al Janahi said: "Jebel Ali Free Zone has more than 765 industrial companies from 73 countries. These companies employ nearly 73,000 employees and operate over an area of 14 million square meters. We intend to increase these numbers in the coming years and contribute to the quantum leap that the national economy will achieve through implementing this strategy."

According to the Dubai Industrial Strategy, the industrial sector is expected to grow by an additional AED18 billion by 2030 creating 27,000 jobs with exports forecast to increase by AED16 billion. Meanwhile, investment in research and development will increase by an additional AED700 million by 2030.

The contribution of the industrial sector to the GDP was around 14% in 2014. The sector's resilience and competency led to its continued growth over the past years - even during the global financial crisis. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Sultan Al Jaber hails Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank

posted on 26/06/2016

The following op-ed by Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State, appeared June 25th in China Daily on the occasion of the first annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the newly formed infrastructure development body.

The Beijing meeting, attended by representatives of 57 member states, looked at measures to accelerate infrastructure development across Asia – through the funding of major projects, access to finance, expertise and new partnerships. This will act as the catalyst for economic growth across the entire Asian economic region.

The UAE joined AIIB as a permanent founding member in April 2015. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development was chosen to represent the UAE in the AIIB, as well as coordinate and manage projects implemented through this partnership.

The UAE delegation was headed by Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and AIIB representative. The delegation also included Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and the AIIB deputy representative.

The full text of the op-ed: The AIIB has been designed to benefit all By Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State As the founding members of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank gather for their first annual meeting of the Board of Governors, the United Arab Emirates is proud to count itself among them, because we believe in the bank's core mission to develop Asia's economy and enhance the trade connectivity between Asia and the rest of the world.

The AIIB was established in 2015 with the primary aim of channelling strategic investments into Asia's energy, transportation and logistical infrastructure to strengthen their economies and enhance their capacity to trade with one another. The bank will also focus on improving basic services, including water and sanitation, with the aim of advancing economic progress, particularly in rural areas, for the greatest number of people in the shortest possible time.

The UAE is one of 57 initial members that applaud China's foresight in establishing this important addition to the multilateral community the first such lending institution in which developing nations will have majority voting rights, so that they can directly influence its policies, culture and objectives. The AIIB will work alongside other multilateral banks to achieve key development goals. Despite significant progress in recent years, nearly 1.5 billion people in Asia still lack adequate sanitation, some 260 million have no access to clean water and half a billion lack electricity.

With initial capital of US$100 billion, the bank is about to deploy its first major round of funding amounting to US$1.2 billion that will be co-invested with the World Bank in energy, transportation and water projects. The AIIB has already launched projects to improve sanitation in Indonesia, upgrade Bangladesh's electricity grid, and build highways in Pakistan and Tajikistan.

Projects such as these will bring President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative for Asia to life by building the enabling infrastructure along the ancient Silk Road.

By pooling resources and strategically targeting investment to achieve practical outcomes, the bank will make a great contribution to the development of Asian economies over time. The UAE is committed to playing its part in this effort. Our support of the AIIB is a critical component of our constructive relations with China, whose origins predate the birth of our nation.

Recorded links between our two peoples go back to the 2nd century BC and today a vibrant Chinese community numbering some 200,000 has established roots and flourishing businesses in the UAE, representing our country's second-largest minority.

The UAE-China relationship marked a high point last December when UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Beijing to sign a US$10-billion UAE-China Joint Investment Fund. This too is aimed at improving the enabling infrastructure that connect our nations through direct equity investments, promoting the prosperity of both our peoples and spreading that prosperity to the countries that lie between us.

The steep climb in trade between China and the UAE, which has grown from US$64 million in 1984 to nearly US$60 billion today, illustrates the rise of economies in the Global South. The creation of the AIIB marks an important milestone in the growth of Asia's emerging markets, whereby the countries of this region are directing their own future development.

The UAE has always believed that building the capacity of nations and building bridges between them is the best way to establish peace and prosperity globally. This was a guiding principal of our founder Sheikh Zayed, and it is illustrated today in the fact that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development ranks the UAE as the world's second-largest donor of overseas development aid relative to its national income.

With the establishment of the AIIB, the world now has a powerful additional tool to advance this agenda for the common good. The UAE looks forward to making progress together with the founding members in line with our national principles of promoting peace, stability, prosperity, tolerance and unity throughout the region and the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Why British sterling's fall won't pound UAE

posted on 26/06/2016

The pound sterling crashed to a more-than-30-year low on Friday following the news of Brexit, but it will benefit UAE importers and investors, industry analysts told Khaleej Times.

The pound sterling sank as low as US$1.35, a near 10 per cent drop in value and its lowest rate against the dollar since September 1985, before recovering to US$1.37. This fall was reportedly even larger than the drop during the 2008 global financial crisis.

"With the UK exiting the EU, most major currencies, in particular the pound sterling plummeted, as was evident from it being at its lowest in 30 years. We feel that the major damage has already been done and the slide would be limited for the next few days," Adeeb Ahamed, chief executive officer of Lulu International Exchange, told Khaleej Times.

"The movement in the Indian stock market was also quite volatile, at one point being down by more than 1,000 points. But, compared to other currencies, the Indian rupee had moved in a more narrower range," Ahamed added.

Sudhir Kumar Shetty, president of UAE Exchange, believes that the pound sterling as well as the euro will feel the pressure in coming days. Shetty said: "Sterling, which is trading around 1.32, might touch 1.25 by the close."

He mentioned that imports from the UK and Europe to the UAE and other parts of the Gulf region would be cheaper in the wake of a weaker pound sterling.

"A weaker pound sterling will also trigger inflation as cost of living will go up."

But he warned that a high inflation rate in the UK and Europe will result in less import and exporting countries will be affected."

British banks took a US$130 billion hit on Friday, with financial giants such as Barclays and Lloyds down 30 per cent. Last year, UAE-UK bilateral trade reached ?12 billion. The bilateral trade is expected to touch ?25 billion by 2020.

Danube Group chairman Rizwan Sajan said: "I believe imports from Europe and the UK will be a bit cheaper because of the currency depreciation but that will be a short-term and I feel this will stabilise soon."

India, China and US are the top three trading partners of the UAE. There is no significant trade with the UK.

Shan Saeed, chief economist at Malaysia-based IQI Holdings, said: The pound sterling could hit parity with US dollar by September to November 2016. Overall, this could lead to the UK going into a recession." – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


UAE financial institutions unaffected by uncertainty about UK, EU relations

posted on 26/06/2016

The Central Bank of the UAE stated that due to limited interconnectedness between the UAE and the UK financial systems, there are only few channels through which uncertainty about future UK and EU relations could affect the UAE financial institutions.

Banks based in the UAE do not depend on foreign interbank markets to fund their balance sheets, with their consolidated net foreign interbank position being positive.

In line with all major central banks, the Central Bank of the UAE will continue to monitor developments due to the unfolding economic implications of the vote and in particular developments that could impact the UAE economy. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange lists ADNIC's AED309m mandatory convertible bonds into shares

posted on 26/06/2016

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) on Saturday said it had listed mandatory convertible bonds worth AED390 million, that were issued by Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC), as shares of the company.

ADNIC had issued the bonds at a fixed interest rate of 7.5 percent per annum.

ADX said the issuance of the dirham-denominated convertible bonds was part of its commitment to Abu Dhabi's plan's for a financial system that supports development in the emirate.

The listing was carried out on Thursday in the presence of CEO of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Rashid Al Baloushi, and CEO of ADNIC, Ahmad Edris, experts, officials as well as representatives of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, arranger of the issue.

Al Baloushi said the step would reinforce financial and investment tools in capital markets and widen investment options for investors in local financial markets. "We are certain that fixed-income local bonds issuance and Islamic instruments will help in providing more finance channels for infrastructure projects, as well as play a role in increasing capital flows and providing a local yield curve for the bonds."

Edris said "the call for subscription was confined to the company's shareholders."

He said the importance of ADNIC's cooperation with ADX in this step stems from the fact that it will help provide investment alternatives at the Exchange and reinforce the attractiveness of its investment environment. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


WAM, Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organisation mull stronger cooperation

posted on 26/06/2016

Executive Director of Emirates News Agency (WAM), Jamal Nasser Al Suwaider, and Secretary-General of the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organisation (ARCO), Dr Saleh bin Hamad Al Suhaibani, have discussed ways of enhancing cooperation and coordination between the two entities in various areas.

During the talks which took place at the UAE's National Media Council, the head of the pan-Arab body praised WAM for playing a leading role in shining the light on relief and humanitarian activities at national and international levels. He also praised the agency for having a strong Emirati presence in covering disasters and humanitarian crises.

For his part, Mr Al Suwaider praised the Arab organisation for encouraging cooperation and coordination between members to enhance relief operations and humanitarian response to help victims of disasters.

The secretary-general of the ARCO noted that the UAE's humanitarian approach was established by the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and that his son, namely President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, continues to uphold the humanitarian legacy he left behind.

Mr Al Suhaibani further noted that the number of Syrians who live in the UAE stands at a quarter of a million. He said the UAE is one of the largest donors of humanitarian and development aid for Syrian refugees.

Additionally, he praised the Reading Nation campaign, launched earlier this month by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to distribute five million books to children in refugee camps and schools around the world.

He described the initiative as timely, adding that the ARCO counts on the campaign to support its educational programmes. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


When in Dubai, charity begins in… shopping mall

posted on 26/06/2016

Various shopping malls and outlets in Dubai are running special Ramadan charity drives. Starting with charity coupon sales in various Enoc/Eppco stations to special Iftars and charity boxes in several shopping malls, the city is fully in the spirit of Ramadan – the spirit of giving.

Below is a compilation to some of the charity counters in town.

Arabian Center is celebrating Ramadan by helping children in destitute homes through its Tree of Life, a charity drive that received positive momentum in the past few years.

The Tree of Life is a symbolic representation of change that is bought about in the lives of the underprivileged. To commemorate the spirit of giving and sharing in Ramadan, the Tree of Life concept this year aims to support the social welfare of the children at foster homes, Arabian Center officials said.

Deeply rooted in the Night Court of Arabian Center, the Tree of Life aims to be a pillar of support and help to the poor and needy.

"Tree of Life has received excellent response over the past few seasons. This year Tree of Life aims to add value to the lives of the underprivileged children. Without the protection of family, these children have limited access to good education, food and clothing. Tree of Life is an effort to provide steady support to these kids and our own way to alleviate suffering for them,” said Tim Jones, COO, Arabian Center and Lamcy Plaza.

To extend support to the noble cause, Arabian Center is welcoming all residents and visitors of the UAE to donate and light a lamp of hope for the impoverished children. For every donation made in cash or kind, the tree will be illuminated with a lamp signifying the passion for goodness in life.

"The Tree of Life is an ideal concept for us to spread our values in dealing with social and environmental concerns, as well as in carrying out our responsibility as a corporate citizen that cares. It not only reflects our goodwill, but also states our earnest efforts to build an all-caring community. Since Ramadan is considered as a month of giving, we request people to light up lamps on the Tree of Life and support us in our endeavour for improving the lives of underprivileged children. We are hoping to receive an extra-ordinary response from the residents of Dubai towards our contribution to the less fortunate ones,” said Jones.

Mubarak & Brothers Investments (MBI) are supporting the building and completion of Special Care Centre's (SCC) new campus in Al Bahia this Ramadan and beyond. Deerfields Mall & Retailistic stores (subsidiaries of MBI) are inviting shoppers to donate any denomination, even as little as Dh5 to support this noble initiative in the Holy Month.

Launched in 2008, the ‘Donate a Brick' campaign has called upon for the first school to be built by the community for the community, to provide specialised education for students with special educational needs and disabilities aged 4 to 24.

During Ramadan, Majid Al Futtaim has placed special donation boxes in convenient locations in all of its destinations across Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Oman, and the UAE, encouraging visitors to donate everyday essentials including books, clothes, and toys.

Alain Bejjani, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim – Holding said: "In line with our vision to ‘Create Great Moments for Everyone, Everyday,' ‘Make a Difference' Ramadan Campaign brings us together with local communities to support those in need during the holy month. For ten years, we have seen the campaign help capture the true spirit of Ramadan amongst communities, and motivate individuals and families to make a difference by helping those less fortunate. The campaign continues to be one of our most successful annual charity activations and we hope to increase donations once again this year

Last year, the company collected more than 36 tonnes of donated items, which were distributed to families in need across the region through its humanitarian aid partners.

"We are very happy to collaborate with City Center Muscat and City Center Al Qurum in our yearly Ramadan collaborations and this year specifically in "Make a Difference” initiative. This will only help us draw many smiles on the faces of underprivileged people. We hope this campaign breaks the yearly results to reach the maximum number of benefiters. And thank you to all the donors in advance and Ramadan Mubarak to all,” says May Al Bayat, Head of Marketing Department, Dar Al Atta'a.

Donation points have been set up at Majid Al Futtaim assets across the region, including Mall of the Emirates and City Centre malls. Customers can also make donations through Najm, Majid Al Futtaim's Visa credit card. – Emirates 24/7 -


400 volunteers pack 80,000 books in 600 boxes

posted on 26/06/2016

Al Boom Tourist Village near Dubai Creek was a scene of celebration on Saturday.

The joy of giving and making a meaningful difference to someone's life was on the face of nearly 400 volunteers who had come together to collect, sort through and pack books that will be dispatched around the world to those who can't afford it.

The event was part of the Reading Nation Campaign, led by Dubai Cares, and was held on Zayed Humanitarian Day.

Collected from around 500 schools, more than 80,000 books were sorted and packed in more than 600 boxes for distribution to the campaign's beneficiaries.

"[The] joy of reading can only be understood by avid book lovers and if you combine with that the joy of giving, it becomes more meaningful and valuable. I [am] proud to be associated with the campaign and be part of this noble drive,” said Alia, a volunteer.

Jamila Bint Salem Al Muhairi, UAE Minister of State for Public Education, and officials from the Ministry of Education joined the volunteers of different nationalities from across the UAE at the event.

Working in morning and afternoon shifts, the volunteers sorted the books according to language, content, and target age groups.

Before this process, Dubai Cares had distributed special boxes to more than 500 schools in the UAE.

The boxes were used to collect the books donated by students and place the tags in which students had written personalised messages to the beneficiaries.

Amna Al Najjar, who graduated university recently, volunteered for the programme to share the gift of education with the less fortunate.

"I realise how fortunate we are in the UAE to have everything, including quality education. I am thankful of our leaders for having such facilities for us. I think it is important to have gratitude for what you have, and one of the ways to express this gratitude is to give back to the community and to the less fortunate. Taking part in events like this is my way of saying thank you,” said Al Najjar, who is an Emirati.

Eleven-year-old Venkatesan Sunder is a regular volunteer with Dubai Cares. He said: "It is fun to be here and know that my efforts will help others to read.”

The Reading Nation campaign is one of the UAE's humanitarian initiatives that was launched during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

With the completion of the sorting and packing process, Dubai Cares has announced that the shipping and distribution of books will be conducted in cooperation with various government entities that are responsible for implementing the Reading Nation campaign, as directed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. – Gulf News -