FII Institute announces agreement to combat counterfeit, illicit trade in Africa

Richard Attias, CEO of the Future Investment Initiative Institute, opened the second day of the fourth FII forum in Riyadh. (Twiiter/@FIIKSA)
1 / 2
Richard Attias, CEO of the Future Investment Initiative Institute, opened the second day of the fourth FII forum in Riyadh. (Twiiter/@FIIKSA)
Richard Attias, CEO of the Future Investment Initiative Institute, opened the second day of the fourth FII forum in Riyadh. (Supplied)
2 / 2
Richard Attias, CEO of the Future Investment Initiative Institute, opened the second day of the fourth FII forum in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 28 January 2021

FII Institute announces agreement to combat counterfeit, illicit trade in Africa

FII Institute announces agreement to combat counterfeit, illicit trade in Africa
  • The initiative will contribute to reducing production and trade in counterfeited products

RIYADH: The Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute, the organizer of the Kingdom’s flagship forum taking place in Riyadh this week, on Wednesday signed a number of major agreements, including a partnership aimed at protecting over 1.2 billion people from counterfeit and illicit trade in Africa.
Addressing a press conference on the second day of the fourth FII forum, Richard Attias, CEO of the institute, announced the three initiatives.
The first is a letter of intent between the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Swiss tech company OriginAll and the FII Institute, to develop technology aimed at protecting people from 54 African nations from counterfeit and illicitly traded products. The agreement was signed in the presence of Attias, Wamkele Mene, secretary-general of the AfCFTA and Hans Schwab, co-founder and CEO of OriginAll.
Mene told reporters that the cooperation will benefit over 1.2 billion people, stimulate innovation and investment, and safeguard wellbeing.
The initiative will contribute to the reduction of production and trade in counterfeited products, increasing government revenues and creating new investment opportunities.
“We have to be mindful of the unintended consequences of trade liberalization… there is a present and serious risk that trade liberalization in the context of free movement of goods may present an opportunity for counterfeit, sub-standard and illicitly traded goods to transit through borders,” Mene said.
“We have to be extremely vigilant against this. Counterfeiters and illicit traders have been taking advantage of our continent for centuries, depriving our nations from substantial revenues, encouraging a culture of corruption and, regrettably, costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of African citizens every year. 
“This can no longer be tolerated, it needs to stop, and it must stop now. We must prioritize our national interests, the public health and safety of African citizens.”
Attias added: “This initiative fully embraces our vision and mission, representing a concrete, unprecedented and decisive action to bring together experts, innovators and investors with the power to shape a more prosperous and safer future for the African continent. May this be a strong start of a global movement to eradicate the world from counterfeit and illicitly traded products and its deep-rooted consequences.”
OriginAll will provide the platform for business, government, and consumers to identify and verify the authenticity and conformity of any product traded under the AfCFTA rules.
Schwab said: “This initiative will channel critical resources back into the member states’ economies and contribute to investment growth and employment creation, improving the economic wellbeing, health, and safety of AfCFTA citizens. By next year, counterfeiting is projected to cost the global economy up to $4.2 trillion.”
He added: “These funds are primary sources of revenue that lead to economic disruption and corruption. We all share the blame for letting this problem get out of control and losing visibility over its complexity. We have a joint responsibility to address this global economic and social disease. We are immensely privileged to be part of this initiative.”
At the same FII event, two other agreements were also announced. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and the FII Institute signed an agreement to cooperate on research projects and create events aimed at facilitating access to scientific knowledge.
Tadawul CEO Khalid Abdullah also signed a memorandum of understanding with the FII Institute. The partnership will promote cooperation on environmental, social, and governance needs in the region.


Saudi tourism chief eyes Q4 turning point as international flights resume

Saudi tourism chief eyes Q4 turning point as international flights resume
Updated 17 May 2021

Saudi tourism chief eyes Q4 turning point as international flights resume

Saudi tourism chief eyes Q4 turning point as international flights resume
  • Saudi Arabia is targeting 100 million annual visits by 2030

DUBAI: The fourth quarter of this year could be a turning point for Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry as the countries that the Kingdom is targeting reach a 70 percent vaccination rate.
Saudi Tourism Authority CEO Fahd Hamidaddin made the prediction at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai as the Kingdom also reopened its borders on Monday.
Although foreign tourists are still not allowed to travel to the Kingdom, Hamidaddin said earlier on Monday that it was preparing to reopen its borders for inbound travel soon.
Saudi Arabia has opened international tourism offices in major countries including China and Russia and is targeting 28 markets in a global marketing push.
Hamidaddin said international tourism in the country could only boom when other countries also restarted their travel industries — and that this could only be fully considered after they had reached a vaccination rate of 70 percent.
He said that such a vaccination milestone may be reached in the last quarter of the year.
Saudi Arabia opened up the Kingdom to international tourism in September 2019, and has since announced a number of mega projects to attract visitors, including a $530 million fund to develop key destinations across the Kingdom.
Market research firm Euromonitor International estimated in March that inbound tourism spending in Saudi Arabia would reach $25.3 billion by 2025, recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saudi domestic tourism exceeded expectations during the pandemic, despite the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) describing 2020 as “the worst year on record” in the history of tourism.
Saudi Arabia is targeting 100 million annual visits by 2030, up from about 40 million a year before the pandemic.
It wants tourism to account for 10 percent of GDP, up from 3 percent, by 2030.

Related


Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC said to be in early talks with investors ahead of drilling unit IPO

Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC said to be in early talks with investors ahead of drilling unit IPO
Updated 17 May 2021

Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC said to be in early talks with investors ahead of drilling unit IPO

Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC said to be in early talks with investors ahead of drilling unit IPO
  • ADNOC Drilling owns and operates a large fleet of rigs
  • ADNOC is also planning to float Fertiglobe unit

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has started virtual meetings with potential investors ahead of the planned initial public offering of its drilling unit, two sources told Reuters.
Banks working on ADNOC Drilling are scheduling calls with local, regional and international institutional investors to sound out appetite for the potential sale, said the sources, declining to be named as the matter is not public.
The meetings are described as an early look engagement, one of the sources said, where the company that is set for a public share sale is introduced and feedback is sourced from investors.
ADNOC, which supplies nearly 3 percent of global oil demand, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Monday.
It is planning to take the unit public in the third quarter, one of the sources said previously. The company could raise at least $1 billion from the share sale, the source said.
ADNOC Drilling owns and operates a large fleet of rigs, including 75 onshore rigs, 20 offshore jackup rigs, and 11 well water rigs, according to its website.
The drilling business is critical for ADNOC’s upstream operations, helping the oil company reach its production targets.
ADNOC has invited a handful of international and local banks to take part in the process of the public share sale of ADNOC Drilling, which is due later this month.
ADNOC Chief Executive Sultan Al-Jaber has been the main architect of the transformation strategy the company embarked on more than four years ago, building an investment team to monetise assets and raise funds from international private equity groups.
The group is also planning to float Fertiglobe, a fertilizer joint venture with Dutch-listed chemical producer OCI later this year.


Dubai allows full hotel capacity and concerts, sports events

Dubai allows full hotel capacity and concerts, sports events
Updated 17 May 2021

Dubai allows full hotel capacity and concerts, sports events

Dubai allows full hotel capacity and concerts, sports events
  • The emirate will also allow live entertainment and activities

DUBAI: Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management on Monday has updated precautionary measures for events and activities.
The revised protocols allow entertainment facilities and venues to have an increased capacity of 70 percent, while hotels can raise their occupancy ceiling to 100 percent.
The emirate will also allow live entertainment and activities in restaurants, cafes and shopping malls for a trial period of one month.
It noted that the latest precautionary measures must be observed, and performers and entertainers should be vaccinated against COVID-19. These updates are effective immediately.
The committee stressed that it remains mandatory for people attending events and activities to put on their face masks and apply physical distancing of two meters.

Dubai has pushed to keep its economy, which relies on international trade and business, open through the pandemic after an initial lockdown.

The emirate is due to host the Expo 2020 world fair from October, hoping to attract millions of overseas visitors.

The UAE has in recent weeks banned entry from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka to guard against the spread of the highly contagious Indian variant.

– with Reuters


Seera and Klook sign deal to promote Saudi tourism

Seera and Klook sign deal to promote Saudi tourism
Updated 17 May 2021

Seera and Klook sign deal to promote Saudi tourism

Seera and Klook sign deal to promote Saudi tourism
  • The platform will feature tours and activities operated by Discover Saudi, Seera’s destination management company

DUBAI: Regional travel services company Seera Group has partnered with Klook to help international tour operators promote tourism in the Kingdom.
Under the deal, the pair will create a one-stop digital platform with relevant travel content and inventory management solutions for tourism providers in the Kingdom.
These providers will be able to connect with global marketplaces and international tour distributors to promote Saudi tourism.
The platform will feature tours and activities operated by Discover Saudi, Seera’s destination management company.
“For our partners across the Saudi tourism ecosystem, finding smart ways to connect with travelers enhances their ability to offer unique Arabian experiences to everyone eager to explore the destination,” Fahd Hamidaddin, chief executive of the Saudi Tourism Authority, said in a statement.
The deal, announced at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, combines Seera’s local knowledge of the tourism sector and Klook’s technological capacity.
It comes as the Kingdom plans to increase inbound tourism in line with its ambitious Vision 2030.


Honeywell deploys tech to combat use of fake COVID-19 respirators in UAE

Honeywell deploys tech to combat use of fake COVID-19 respirators in UAE
Updated 17 May 2021

Honeywell deploys tech to combat use of fake COVID-19 respirators in UAE

Honeywell deploys tech to combat use of fake COVID-19 respirators in UAE
  • Nearly 20 factories selling substandard face masks, disinfectants and hand sanitizers have been uncovered in the UAE

DUBAI: Honeywell said it using digital authentication technology in a bid to tackle the use of fake respirators and masks in the UAE and wider region.
It said that surging demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) has triggered an increase in counterfeiting across the region.
Nearly 20 factories selling substandard face masks, disinfectants and hand sanitizers have been uncovered in the UAE since the outbreak of the virus, it said.
“In response to the growing number of counterfeit PPE products in the Middle East and Africa, we’ve chosen the UAE to be the testing ground for digital authentication technology for our PPE distributed across the region,” said Greg Norton, general manager, fine chemicals and authentication technologies. “This software will not only confirm the authentication of our N95 respirators made in the UAE, it will also help detect counterfeit PPE products to help authorities reduce illicit trade during the pandemic.”
To authenticate the product, the end user scans a digital code embedded in the packaging with their smartphone camera after downloading the Honeywell application for iOS or Android. The software validates the product’s authenticity through a database, letting the end user know it is safe to use and gathers market intelligence data.
Honeywell-branded N95 respirators are produced in the UAE by Strata Manufacturing.