American AI company lands in Dubai

Updated 11 April 2018
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American AI company lands in Dubai

SparkCognition, a US-based supplier of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, has opened an office in Dubai as part of a global expansion program that is targeting the Middle East.
Omar bin Sultan Al-Olama, UAE minister of state for AI, said the move cemented Dubai’s vision in becoming a leading hub for cutting-edge technology in AI, part of a strategy that was about building global relationships, he said.
Amir Husain, CEO of SparkCognition, said the opening of a regional hub in UAE showed “we share their vision of rapid and exponential technological advancement”.
Husain added that a relationship with SparkCognition would bring the firm’s industrial Internet of things AI platform “to our clients and partners in the region.”
SparkCognition has recently forged a high-tech alliance with Boeing — a bonus as Boeing had a “strong, established presence in the Middle East and Africa,” said the Texas-based company.
Bernard Dunn, president of Boeing Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, said: “SparkCognition is deploying leading AI technology solutions that are critical to many industries on a global scale. Boeing is excited to see them quickly expand into the Middle East.”
Dunn said the UAE had clear goals to be an innovation and technology leader, investing in AI, 3D printing, robotics, and autonomous systems.
“SparkCognition’s cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology and business-critical solutions will prove invaluable to the forward- looking leaders of the UAE, and many others in the region,” said Dunn.


French state-owned bank drops plan to aid trade with Iran

Updated 24 September 2018
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French state-owned bank drops plan to aid trade with Iran

  • US-imposed sanctions sanctions iare making trade with Iran increasingly difficult for European companies - such as Volvo
  • US is renewing sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from a nuclear deal forged in 2015 between Tehran and world powers

PARIS: French state-owned bank Bpifrance has abandoned its plan to set up a mechanism to aid French companies trading with Iran, in the face of US sanctions against Tehran.
Earlier this year, the bank had said it was working on a project to finance French companies that wished to export goods to Iran despite US sanctions.
“It’s put on hold,” said Nicolas Dufourcq, Bpifrance’s chief executive. “Conditions are not met (...) Sanctions are punitive for companies.”
Bpifrance was working on establishing euro-denominated export guarantees to Iranian buyers of French goods and services. By structuring the financing through vehicles without any US link, Bpifrance thought it was possible to avoid the extraterritorial reach of US legislation.
Dufourcq’s latest comments show how the scope of the sanctions is making trade with Iran increasingly difficult for European companies.

Swedish truckmaker Volvo has been forced to stop assembling trucks in Iran as it can no longer get paid with US sanctions taking bite.
Volvo spokesman Fredrik Ivarsson said due to the sanctions Volvo could no longer get paid for any parts it shipped and therefore had taken the decision to not operate in Iran.
"With all these sanctions and everything that the United States put.. the bank system doesn't work in Iran. We can't get paid... So for now we don't have any business (in Iran)," he said.
The US is renewing sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from a nuclear deal forged in 2015 between Tehran and world powers. Washington reimposed some of the financial sanctions from Aug. 6, while those affecting Iran’s petroleum sector will come into force from Nov. 4.
Even though several European countries have said they are seeking to protect their companies from the sanctions, several major companies including oil company Total, Air France-KLM and British Airways have announced they would suspend activities in Iran.
German officials have in recent weeks advocated for the creation of an independent system for cross-border payments to make trade with Iran possible even with the US sanctions.
European Union diplomats have said US President Donald Trump’s positions on trade and on Iran were fueling a rethink about the EU’s dependency on the US financial system.
However, European countries appear to be struggling to find or agree on effective options to tackle the issue.