AME Info

SEDCO Holding Group and AlShiaka seal strategic partnership

SEDCO Holding Group, a Shariah-compliant private wealth management organization, acquired 40% in AlShiaka, the Saudi men’s outfitters specialized in designing and making men’s thobes. Anees Moumina, CEO of SEDCO Holding Group, and Walid Al Andijani, AlShiaka’s CEO, sealed the deal in Jeddah at one of AlShiaka’s outlets on June 1st 2015. The partnership will utilize SEDCO Holding’s capital and expertise in corporate governance to drive the strategic growth of the company. This investment is in line with SEDCO Holding’s strategic approach to invest in viable new ventures in growth sectors in the region. AlShiaka now has 32 showrooms for retail purchasing and this has positioned the company’s market share within the top three among its competitors.

Thomson Reuters releases Global Islamic Asset Management Outlook Report

Thomson Reuters published the findings of its Global Islamic Asset Management Outlook at the World Islamic Funds Conference in Bahrain. According to the study, Islamic funds are a US$60 billion industry forecasted to grow to at least US$77 billion by 2019, while the latent demand for Islamic funds is projected to grow to US$185 billion. There are substantial growth opportunities but the industry will struggle to reach its potential in the near- to mid-term to bridge the US$108 billion demand-supply gap. Outside of core markets Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, there are other growth pockets on the horizon for Islamic funds. Pakistan and Indonesia currently enjoy stable political climates; China is also opening up to Shariah-compliant funds.

UAE’s Masdar Institute to celebrate 5th Commencement Ceremony on 26 May

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Masdar Institute will be organizing the fifth commencement ceremony for the Class of 2015. His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, will give the keynote address at the ceremony that will be held on 26 May at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. More than 100 students from 36 countries including the UAE, are expected to receive their Master’s degrees across nine academic programs. Masdar Institute will also be celebrating the commencement of its first PhD graduates in Interdisciplinary Engineering at the ceremony. As of September 2014, the total number of enrolled students was 491, including 148 PhD students.

UAE’s BLME Holdings appoint new Chief Executive Officer

BLME Holdings plc has announced the appointment of Michael Williams as interim CEO of BLME Holdings plc and of its main operating company, Bank of London and The Middle East plc (“BLME”) with effect from Wednesday 13th May. Michael will report directly to Adel Abdul Wahab Al-Majed, Non-executive Chairman of the Board of BLME Holdings plc. Michael is a qualified banker, previously Chief Executive Officer of the International Bank of Qatar in Doha and before this Chief Executive Officer of the National Bank of Fujairah, based in Dubai. His former roles include Managing Director of Nomura Bank International Plc, London and Managing Director of Barclays Global Services. Michael will stand down as Senior Independent Director to be replaced by Neil Holden.

Sajaya Young Ladies participates in GCC Girls Cultural and Social Forum in Bahrain

An elite group of Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah is participating in the GCC Girls Cultural and Social Forum, taking place in Manama, Bahrain, from May 5th to 11th, to discuss topics and issues that concern GCC girls. Four girls from Sajaya are participating in the one-week forum as part of a UAE delegation under the umbrella of the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare, where Sajaya girls will present paperwork on Sajaya organisation and entrepreneurship. Organised by Bahrain’s General Organisation for Youth and Sports, the forum brings together a range of girls and young women from the six GCC nations to share opinions and expertise and speak about women entrepreneurship in the GCC countries.

UAE Islamic insurers consider mergers as tighter rules bite

Several Islamic insurers in the United Arab Emirates are seeking guidance from the UAE Insurance Authority on the possibility of mergers and acquisitions in the sector, Ibrahim Al Zaabi, director-general of the authority, has said. Talks are at an early stage, he said on the sidelines of an Islamic insurance event, without naming any of the companies. The comments signal that tough new regulations, combined with financial losses and stiff competition are pushing some of the providers in one of the Gulf’s largest takaful markets to consider consolidation. Zaabi also said a committee to oversee Islamic insurance would be established in the UAE by the end of this year to help standardise the sector.

Emirates Islamic celebrates International Women’s Day

Emirates Islamic marked International Women’s Day by celebrating female achievement across the organisation. Jamal Bin Ghalaita, Chief Executive Officer, Emirates Islamic and other senior management of the bank honoured 32 women employees at Emirates Islamic, who are seen as an inspiration to the rest of the organization. The women were presented a trophy and certificate of recognition at a special ceremony held at Emirates Islamic’s Healthcare City headquarters. The ceremony was part of Emirates Islamic’s initiative to commemorate International Women’s Day.

Dr. Kaldari Surgi-Art Centre partners with Tajmeel

Dr. Kaldari Surgi-Art Centre, a cosmetic surgical facility in Qatar, has tied up with Tajmeel, the Qatar International Beauty Academy, for the sharing of expertise to both the Centre’s staff and Tajmeel’s students. As part of their collaborative effort, Tajmeel will be hosting staff members of Dr. Kaldari Surgi-Art Centre in attending some of its sessions, while the Centre will be providing students of Tajmeel with an Observer Program that will enable them to observe, witness and attend procedures and treatments at the facility.

Bank Albilad signs agreement with Waad Holding Co.

Bank Albilad has entered into agreement with Waad Holding Company to finance the construction of the company’s academy schools project in Jeddah city. Amounting to SR 150 million, the project represents one of largest deals in the sector. The agreement has been signed by Mr. Saleh bin Suleiman Alhabeeb, the bank’s Director General of Banking for Corporate Sector and Dr. Ahmed bin Hassan Aljazaeiri, the CEO of Waad Holding Company, owner of Waad Academy Schools. Waad Academy Schools are one of Waad Holding Company branches. They offer specialized educational programs for students (boys and girls) ranging from grade 1 primary up to grade 3 secondary. The opening of the academy is scheduled to take place in the middle of the current 2015 year.

GCC family businesses to increase women’s role

Family businesses in the GCC are looking to increase the number of women in senior management positions over the next decade to emulate the success of their global counterparts, says a new study. The joint study undertaken by Alsayedah Khadijah Bint Khawilid Center and Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) investigates the role of women in family businesses across the region. However, the study reveals there are still major obstacles for women hoping to participate in family businesses, particularly cultural perceptions of a patriarchal society and fierce competition from family members.

Divergent forecasts for 2015 Sukuk issuances

Emerging headwinds could slow progress in the global Sukuk markets compared to 2014, even though 2015 is likely to be a solid year overall. Supporting Sukuk issuance is the still-positive economic performance of core markets such as the GCC and Malaysia, the implementation of new regulatory requirements, and increasing interest in Sukuk from countries that have not yet tapped the Sukuk market looking to diversify their investor base. However overall issuance volumes could be lower in 2015 as a result of reduced global liquidity should the US Federal Reserve begin increasing interest rates in the 2nd half of 2015. Lower oil prices also pose a threat to issuances.

Tamkeen and Family Bank increase microfinance programme portfolio to BD 5 million

Tamkeen and Family Bank signed an agreement to add BD2 million to the microfinance support scheme, bringing the programme’s total portfolio value to BD 5 Million. The agreement is part of Tamkeen’s and the Family Bank’s efforts to provide customised Sharia-compliant financing solutions to help micro enterprises, including productive families, to grow, in addition to enabling low-income Bahrainis to establish small businesses. Under the programme, Tamkeen supports 50% of the loan profit. Finance amounts range between BD500 and BD5,000. Tamkeen also provides advisory services to customers.

Dubai Chamber CSR Label recognises sustainability efforts of 18 companies

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry honoured 18 companies for their corporate social responsibility and sustainability efforts during a recognition ceremony held at its premises on Tuesday. The CSR Label is open to all organisations, private or public, regardless of their size, sector or operations and can make a major difference to a company’s reputation, efficiency and productivity and its success depends on how the CSR objectives are set and communicated to all of their stakeholders. Some of the honourees inlcuded BETA Information Technology, Zulekha Hospital and Qurum Business Group.

SEDCO Holding Group showcases its CSR visionary roadmap ‘Towards Sustainability’ at Dar Al-Hekma University

SEDCO Holding Group presented its ‘Towards Sustainability’ CSR umbrella during the annual business and law faculty week held at Dar Al-Hekma University. The presentation underlined the Group’s major achievements since its launch in 1976 in the fields of commerce and investment, and focused on its sustainability and CSR platform. SEDCO Holding Group CSR platform stands on 3 main pillars – “Our Environment, Our People, Our Community”. The presentation demonstrated a set of initiatives under each pillar, developed by SEDCO Holding Group.

Western Union launches financial literacy programme for UAE migrant workers with support from UAE Labour Ministry

The Western Union Company has launched “Apna Sapna”, a Financial Literacy Programme for migrant workers in the UAE to help them develop the awareness and skills to manage their finances and plan for the future. “Apna Sapna”, which in Hindi means “Our Dream”, is endorsed by the UAE Labour Ministry and aims to address the challenges of migrant workers who are often unsure about how to achieve their long-term financial goals. With the “Apna Sapna” programme, Western Union intends to train 3,000 people over two months through face-to-face training sessions which will take place across a number of labour camps in the UAE.

Bank Nizwa’s sharia supervisory board assesses opportunities to extend Islamic financing products

Oman's Bank Nizwa recently held its 11th Sharia Supervisory Board meeting to discuss proposals for additional Sharia compliant financing solutions to meet the growing needs of the Bank’s individual and corporate customers. Dr. Jamil El Jaroudi, CEO of Bank Nizwa said the regular meetings allow the Bank to assess the performance of current products and services while also identifying the best approach for launching new propositions. The Board’s decisions are guided by the Islamic Banking Regulatory framework issued by the Central Bank of Oman, as well as the Sharia standards issued by the Auditing and Accounting Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions in Oman.

New KPMG Tax Guide to offer confidence to companies wary of investing in MENA and South Asian countries

Despite the rapid economic and social development in countries across North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, many companies may be wary of exploring new business opportunities in these jurisdictions due to the complexities with local laws governing foreign businesses and taxation. To respond to this, KPMG has launched a new guide – the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) Tax Guide 2014-15. The guide is available online, free of cost and provides a quick and easy summary of the main regulations affecting foreign companies in 19 countries across the region.

The Emergence of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Arab World

At a time of great reshaping, optimism and hope in the Arab world, entrepreneurs, especially the youth, have found new avenues in leading innovation. Large-scale transformations in some countries, combined with social dynamism particularly among the youth, have clearly put the employment challenge on the top of the regional agenda, with entrepreneurship being a key imperative. The UAE and other countries in the region are at the forefront of the global entrepreneurship movement. Hundreds of initiatives are being launched in the Arab World to drive and encourage innovation and the spirit of enterprise amongst Arab Youth.

MBRF and UNDP’s joint Arab Knowledge Report 2014:Investing in youth key to meet today’s knowledge challenge in the Arab region

The ‘Arab Knowledge Report 2014: Youth and Localization of Knowledge’ was launched in Dubai on Wednesday, the second day of the First Knowledge Conference. To meet increasing social and economic development challenges, Arab countries must integrate better in today’s global knowledge economy. Their most effective route toward that end is investment in empowering the full and active engagement of their youth in processes of knowledge generation, transfer and localization, the report says. The report applauded the UAE’s efforts to build the capacities of its human capital, particularly its youth.

Shape MENA Conference addresses job creation, economic growth

Over 150 young leaders, innovators, thought leaders and decision makers representing over 30 countries participated in the annual two-day Shape MENA conference which was held December 3-4 at the Qatar National Convention Centre. This year’s Shape MENA event addressed the theme of “Economic Growth and Job Creation in the MENA Region,” and over the course of two days participants examined such issues as the changing nature of work, current and future workplace skills gaps, technology and philanthropy, Islamic finance, and social entrepreneurship. Shape MENA 2014 was supported by a number of local organizations.

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