Abu Dhabi forum to focus on global agriculture innovations

Updated 21 July 2013

Abu Dhabi forum to focus on global agriculture innovations

Abu Dhabi will host the inaugural Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from Feb. 3-5, 2014.
Held with the support of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister of the UAE and minister of presidential affairs, and in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), the forum will be the world’s first gathering of innovators, investors and companies dedicated to showcasing new ideas and solutions for feeding the world.
Mohamed Jalal Al-Rayssi, director of communications and community service at ADFCA, said: "The forum will spotlight how scientists and innovators around the world are using the latest technology to develop game-changing innovations to overcome water shortages, pollution and climate change."
A meeting of members of the GFIA steering committee, comprising sustainable agriculture industry experts from across the globe, this week in the UAE capital provided a platform for delegates to contribute their recommendations and ideas relating to the drivers, challenges and opportunities in their relevant fields.
Attendees included Michael H. Shwartz, president of World Aquaculture Society, Joel Cuello, professor at the University of Arizona, Faisal Awawdeh, regional coordinator, ICARDA and Ahmed Al-Sharif, deputy director general, International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture, among others.
Mark Beaumont, MD, Oriel Events, a co-organizer of the event, discussed the progress of GFIA to date and led discussions on the structure and goals the forum is aiming for. Beaumont said: "If the world is to feed nine billion people by 2050, it must embrace innovations for sustainable agriculture solutions. There is currently no event in the world which brings together such a specialised group of people behind the ideas and investment in this revolutionary field."
With the support of the University of Arizona, the forum will feature a first-of-its kind live demonstration arena, where delegates can see and experience new innovations and technological advancements first hand, alongside hundreds of solutions-based presentations of new technologies and how they are being employed.
Some of the most inventive sustainable agricultural projects are already signed up to participate in the forum, such as the National Taiwan University, whose experts will be presenting their new system, which automatically counts fruit flies using infrared beam technology. An innovation that could save farmers millions of dollars as it notifies them when to take action and eradicate an infestation on their crops.
Particularly relevant for farmers in the Middle East, will be the presentation by the Sahara Forest Project, which is successfully reversing desertification by establishing vegetation in arid areas by using deserts, saltwater and CO2 to produce food, freshwater and energy.
Guests will have the opportunity to hear from some of the world’s leading thinkers about the new projects employing pioneering research in the field of sustainable agriculture.
"The GFIA conference will offer visitors exciting solutions to change the way they think about food production and food security. We want to spark a movement that will transform the world’s perspective on sustainable agriculture. If you are working on a solution which can help solve one of the world’s biggest problems, we want to hear from you," added Beaumont.

Financial crime leads to billions of lost business in Middle East, survey finds

Updated 24 May 2018

Financial crime leads to billions of lost business in Middle East, survey finds

  • Some 45 percent of MENA respondents in Thomson Reuters victims of fraud, corruption and bribery
  • 77 percent of MENA respondents deliberately avoided customers, suppliers, countries or industries viewed as most exposed to financial crime.

LONDON: Middle Eastern companies are losing billions of dollars in business opportunities because of fears about financial crime, according to a Thomson Reuters survey published on Thursday.

Concern about the possibility of severe financial and reputational damage due to regulatory breaches leads foreign investors and firms to shun companies and entire regions where they see “heightened risk.”

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), 77 percent of survey respondents said that they deliberately avoided customers, suppliers, countries or industries which they viewed as most exposed to financial crime.

“The impact in terms of lost opportunities at both organizational and national level is difficult to quantify, but likely to impact productivity and economic development,” Thomson Reuters said.

The report was conducted online by an independent third party in March 2018. More than 2,000 senior managers at large global organizations completed the survey, from 19 countries.

In a hard-hitting conclusion, the report said: “For the first time our research has put a price on financial crime: three and a half percent of corporate turnover for the 2,373 large companies in our survey alone. That adds up to a staggering $1.45 trillion.”

Financial crime was said to blight individual lives and undermine the ability of governments to provide key services such as education and health. The IMF has shown that it reduces economic growth and social cohesion.

Che Sidanius, global head of financial crime regulation at Thomson Reuters, said that financial crime caused “incalculable” harm around the world. The proceeds of activities spanning bribery, corruption, fraud, and narcotics trafficking have been implicated in the financing of terrorism, human rights abuses such as slavery and child labor, and environmental crime.

“This has serious economic and social costs in terms of the lost revenues to national exchequers that could be invested in social development, and in terms of the impact on individual lives,” Sidanius said.

Other key findings were that 45 percent of MENA respondents had been a victim of financial crime as opposed to 47 percent globally; 96 percent believed that bribery and corruption was an important issue to tackle; 57 percent indicated that the consequences of bribery and corruption meant less government revenue; only 59 percent said that they fully conducted due diligence; and only 60 percent fully conducted due diligence, the report said.