AME Info

World Innovation Summit For Education highlights Qatar Foundation’s commitment to Innovation among Young People

The sixth World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), which recently concluded in Qatar’s capital city of Doha, tackled a number of education issues on a global level. In recent years, WISE has launched a series of on-going initiatives, including the Learners’ Voice Program. It is designed to equip young people aged 18 to 25 with the relevant soft skills, tools, and know-how to address global education issues. This year, 34 young men and women were chosen from hundreds of promising applicants to take part in the 2014-2015 Learners’ Voice Program , launched at WISE 2014 with a series of workshops.

Ibdar Bank’s landmark $100m lease agreement with Ethiopian Airlines pays first dividend

Bahrain-based Ibdar Bank successfully concludes the structuring of a 12-year agreement expiring in 2026 for acquiring four brand new Bombardier Q400 Next Gen aircrafts and leasing them to the Ethiopian Airlines. The agreement that was structured under a joint venture with Dubai-based operating lessor Palma Holding, includes options for an additional four Q400 NextGen aircraft, which Ibdar Bank intends to exercise in the near future. Valued at USD 100 million, Ibdar Bank contributed as investor with USD 22 million, while an amount of USD 78 million was secured through a funding agreement with Canada’s Export Credit Agency “EDC”.

ADIB arranges $420m financing for Zakher Marine International

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has signed an agreement with Zakher Marine International Inc. to arrange a US $420 million (AED 1.55 billion) financing for its new ship-building program, including 15 vessels and 3 self-elevating accommodation barges through one of its group companies (QMS Holding Ltd.). ADIB was the Sole Book-runner and initial Mandated lead Arranger. The deal was 2 times oversubscribed by banks including ADCB, Al-Hilal Bank, MashreqBank, Ajman Bank, Arab Bank, National Bank of Fujairah and Noor Bank. ADIB established a Specialized Financing Unit in 2013, through which it has structured and arranged various syndicated facilities for shipping / offshore clients.

NBAD Islamic MENA growth fund named Best Islamic Fund

The NBAD Islamic MENA Growth Fund has been named the Best Islamic Fund 2014 by Global Islamic Finance Awards. The Fund invests in a balanced portfolio of equities based on Islamic Shari’ah principles, with a view to achieve capital growth, primarily in the MENA. NBAD’s award-winning Asset Management Group, designed and manage NBAD Islamic MENA Growth Fund and various other products, which include conventional and Islamic offerings ranging from equity funds and fixed income funds to exchange-traded funds (ETF), structured products, and discretionary portfolios and advisory services. NBAD’s Asset Management Group manages assets in excess of AED 11.28 billion.

The Bahrain Businesswomen’s Society organizes “Women Entrepreneurship and Innovation” Conference

The Bahrain Businesswomen’s Society in collaboration with the UNIDO organized the “Women Entrepreneurship and Innovation” Conference which coincides with the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Muharraq. The forum aims to will inspire women entrepreneur’s participants to achieve their potential in business and train them to be innovative and take advantage of business networks and how to communicate with investors and sponsors, and how to discover new opportunities and possibilities. The Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr. Hassan Fakhro said that the number of individual institutions that belong to women in the Kingdom of Bahrain has increased by 10.3% in 2013 compared to 2012.

Dubai Islamic Bank signs US$230 million aircraft financing deal with Air Arabia

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) and Air Arabia announced today the signing of an aircraft financing deal to facilitate the delivery of six new Airbus A320 aircrafts in 2015. The US$230 million Ijara facility will finance the delivery of a new aircraft every two months starting January 2015, the program culminating with the final unit being handed over by the end of the year. Air Arabia, recently named amongst the Global Growth Companies (GGC) by the World Economic Forum, has seen its route network expand rapidly in 2014 with the addition on new routes such as Cairo in Egypt, Antalya in Turkey, Tbilisi in Georgia, and Samara in Russia. The low-cost airline pioneer now serves 100 destinations from its four hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt.

BBK contributes to Philanthropic and development societies in Bahrain

In line with BBK’s strategic initiatives for a brighter community, Dr. Jamal Hijris- General Manager- Support Group welcomed at the Bank’s Headquarters, representatives from various societies dedicated to the philanthropic and development work to receive BBK’s contributions for their requests. The entities that have benefited from the BBK support totaling BD12,500 are: Al Noor Charity Welfare, Drug recovery association and Bahrain Philanthropic and Social Work Society. Troughout the years, BBK has supported entities including major clubs, charity funds and social initiatives. These initiatives are aimed at achieving the sole goal and vision of a brighter future and community in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Drake & Scull International issues a $ 120 million private placement 5-year sukuk

Drake & Scull International PJSC (“DSI”) announced the issuance of a US$ 120 million unrated senior unsecured 5-year certificates by way of private placement. The Sukuk will be due on the 12th November 2019 and redeemed fully at maturity. DSI mandated Emirates NBD Capital Ltd. and Mashreqbank PJSC as Joint Coordinators on the deal while also acting as Joint Lead Managers with Al Hilal Bank PJSC and Noor Bank PJSC. The 5-year Sukuk structured under the Sharia principle of Murabaha, represents the first Sukuk based on Murabaha trades of Sharia-compliant certificates on the NASDAQ Dubai Murabaha Platform. The proceeds of the transaction will be mainly used to capitalize DSI's business.

Reach Out to Asia raises $21 million at bi-annual gala dinner to support education projects in Asia and Middle East

Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, held its fifth Gala Dinner and charity event on Sunday night in Doha. This year’s Gala Dinner theme was “Plant a Book, Harvest a Future.” The event aimed to raise funds for ROTA’s educational activities and projects in Asia and to support the educational needs of children who have been affected by wars and political conflicts in Asia. Collected funds are used for building and renovating schools, encouraging their reentry into education as well as providing employment opportunities for workers in the field of education. The charity auction was also held for the first time to support, through pledges, ROTA’s education projects in Syria, Palestine, Tunisia, Nepal and Pakistan.

Arabia CSR Network honors Huawei

The Arabia CSR Network has honored Huawei—a leading global ICT solutions provider—for its strong contribution and support of the organization’s annual Arabia CSR Forum & Awards Ceremony 2014 held in Dubai for the 7th consecutive year. During this year’s forum, Huawei connected with government and business leaders to discuss regional priorities such as stimulating public-private partnerships in the CSR field, embedding CSR into organizational practices, and creating regulatory frameworks that support sustainable growth of businesses in the Middle East. The company’s current Sustainability strategy focuses on pillars such as bridging the digital divide, ensuring stable & secure network operations, promoting environmental sustainability, and seeking win-win development with its industry partners.

Massive housing shortage expected in GCC

A rapid rise of young population in the GCC is causing a surge in demand for housing that could lead to a massive shortage. There could be a scarcity of more than one million units by 2018, reveals a study by management consultancy Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company), and governments need to pursue more holistic policies to better meet people’s housing needs. Governments should drive sustainable development, promote public-private partnerships, establish prudent real estate laws and facilitate greater access to housing finance to revitalise the sector, the study adds. GCC countries are currently experiencing a shortage of housing, particularly for their large and growing populations of low-income residents.

Qatar Charity to support Silatech’s ‘Narwi’ funding portal

Qatar Charity CEO Mr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Kuwari and Silatech CEO Dr. Tarik M. Yousef signed an agreement committing the two organizations to work jointly to support young Arab entrepreneurs through Silatech’s Narwi micro-giving portal. The agreement follows the 2013 signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in technology, fund-raising and technical assistance. “Narwi” ( will allow visitors to the site to directly contribute toward financing the young Arab entrepreneur of their choice in countries including Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. Funds on Narwi are given as revolving donations, so that when the entrepreneur repays the original loan, the donation moves on to support others as well.

Emirates Islamic organises school visits to teach children importance of savings

Emirates Islamic recently held interactive sessions at five schools in Dubai aimed at teaching children the importance of savings. The initiative, in partnership with Dubai Educational Zone (DEZ), is part of Emirates Islamic’s strategy to instil a savings culture in the community, and in particular create awareness amongst youth on the importance of savings. The bank plans to visit several other schools across the seven emirates to spread awareness in the coming months. Last year, Emirates Islamic created a special ‘Child Savings Account,’ to promote a savings habit for youngsters. The account is free for children and includes a hassala, the traditional Emirati savings pot, and a complimentary pre-paid card with Dhs100 credit.

DFSA releases findings of corporate governance review in DIFC

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) recently concluded a thematic review of the corporate governance of firms licensed to provide financial services in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The review focussed on twelve themes fundamental to good corporate governance including management structures and practices, systems and controls, internal audit and management information flows. This review is the first full scale corporate governance review and is the first occasion on which the DFSA has issued a Report on this subject. A significant finding of the review, documented in the Report, was that firms often did not carry out structured, periodic reviews of their Governing Bodies and their committees, or their effectiveness.

Hawkamah appoints Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din as New Chief Executive Officer

Hawkamah has announced the appointment of Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din, as the Chief Executive Officer, effective September 1, 2014. He will be based in Dubai with a mandate to cover the MENASA region. With 28 years’ experience, Dr. Ashraf has worked with several companies and educational institutions. Dr. Ashraf has extensive experience in corporate governance and in setting and implementing strategies to raise the level of awareness and application of corporate governance and responsible business behaviour among companies. Dr. Ashraf holds a PhD degree from the School of Economic, Social and Legal Studies, University of Manchester, England.

KFH offers Gold Account at 7 branches

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) announced that the debut Gold Account it had launched last year, has become available for clients at 7 branches as of today. The branches are; Al-Fiahaa, Al-Shaab, Al-Salmyia, Mubarak Al-Kabeer, Alfahaheel, Alqaser, and the headquarter branch. The expansion of the product aims at facilitating the efforts of clients and expanding the service. The gold biscuits each weigh 100 grams and has a purity value of 999.9, the purest form of gold. Each gold biscuit is issued and certified by KFH and the Ministry of Commerce.

Barclays acquisition fails to excite ADIB Investors

Having completed the acquisition of Barclays retail banking division in the UAE on September 1st, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank has seen little change in its market growth. The $177 million deal will give ADIB access to Barclays’ 110,000 customers in the Emirates, as well as 145 staff members that will continue to work from existing branches. Having been hit with a $453m fine for its involvement in the Libor interest-rigging scandal back in 2012, Barclays has been stripping assets and jobs in an effort to boost profits. As such, the ADIB deal is, in fact, overshadowed by a far larger sale, as Barclays announced the sale of its Spanish retail, wealth management and corporate banking business for $1.04 billion to CaixaBank.

Arabs turn investment eye to UK and Europe

Europe is the preferred target of Arab investors with 80% of the expected $180bn Arab investment flowing in to UK and Europe over the next 10 years. In the UK, London is the preferred destination. Arabs have invested heavily in European commercial real estate in recent years and have made huge profits from these investments. Some of the cash-rich Arab countries are unwilling to invest in the region because of the protracted social and political tensions in the region and see European market as safe havens to park their money. According to the latest report by global property advisor CBRE, Middle Eastern investors are expected to spend $180bn in commercial real estate markets outside of their own region over the next decade.

SEDCO Capital outsources external Shari’a Audit of its $160 million real estate funds to Shariyah Review Bureau

SEDCO Capital announced assigning the External Shari’a Audit of its $160 million real estate funds to Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB). The two funds which SRB will be periodically auditing the implementation of the Shari’a h guidelines are SEDCO Capital Partners Group Opportunities Fund and SEDCO Capital Real Estate Income Fund I. SRB will independently ensure that the investments, Zakah verification, implementation of the modalities and reporting functions are conducted in accordance with the Shari’a guidelines set out by SEDCO Capital Shari’a Supervisory Board.

Sohar Islamic introduce construction & housing finance

Bank Sohar’s Islamic banking Window – Sohar Islamic has now introduced dedicated Construction Financing in Oman. The Construction Finance product provides an Islamic finance solution for anyone looking to build a new residential property or purchase under construction property. This is a complement to its existing Islamic Home Finance Program which offers Shari’ah compliant financing for ready real estate property. The Construction Finance program comes within a flexible framework catering to the financing needs of customers with financing up to 80% of the price within a financing period reaching up to 25 years. In addition, preferential profit rates are provided to customers for the 1st and 2nd year along with the facility to takeover. If required, installment deferment options are also available.

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