Dubai-owned licensing firm accepts cryptocurrencies as payment

Dubai-owned licensing firm accepts cryptocurrencies as payment
The move comes as a response to a “growing interest in cryptocurrency with several customers in blockchain and fintech (financial technology) sectors.” (File/AFP)
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Updated 16 February 2021

Dubai-owned licensing firm accepts cryptocurrencies as payment

Dubai-owned licensing firm accepts cryptocurrencies as payment
  • The global blockchain market size was estimated to rise from $3 billion in 2020 to $39.7 billion by 2025
  • The UAE aims to use blockchain technology for 50 percent of government transactions this year

DUBAI: A Dubai government-owned licensing company has recently allowed virtual currency as a payment option for its services.

KIKLABB, which assists companies to set up in Dubai, said customers could now pay for trade licenses and visa fees by Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Tether.

The move comes as a response to a “growing interest in cryptocurrency with several customers in blockchain and fintech (financial technology) sectors,” said KIKLABB chief executive officer, Tasawar Ulhaq.

He pointed out that the method of payment allowed more accessibility for entrepreneurs around the world to set up in the UAE.

“It really was just a matter of time before we recognized Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tether. Cryptocurrencies are the payment method of the future,” Ulhaq added.

He said KIKLABB could lead the way for other businesses in the UAE to adopt modern systems of payment.

“We’re the first government-owned licensing entity in the UAE to accept cryptocurrency payments, and certainly not the last. With the technology rapidly gaining traction across the Middle East, I’m eager to see how it changes the way we do business in the near future,” he added.

The rise of cryptocurrencies has led to growing interest in blockchain technology.

According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global blockchain market size was estimated to rise from $3 billion in 2020 to $39.7 billion by 2025.

The UAE aims to use blockchain technology for 50 percent of government transactions this year.


Chalhoub Group organizes Ramadan initiatives

Chalhoub Group organizes Ramadan initiatives
Updated 3 min 3 sec ago

Chalhoub Group organizes Ramadan initiatives

Chalhoub Group organizes Ramadan initiatives
  • Employees from the group will also be able to participate in the “mychalhoub” Eid initiative for orphans

JEDDAH: Luxury retailer the Chalhoub Group has launched a number of initiatives for Ramadan.

The company launched the Chalhoub Impact program before Ramadan, in which about 200 food packages were distributed to the poor through the office of the mayor in Old Jeddah District.

Employees from the group will also be able to participate in the “mychalhoub” Eid initiative for orphans. 

Level Shoes, the group’s designer footwear and accessories operation, will run a social media campaign to donate Ramadan meals. MUSE, the group’s loyalty program, in collaboration with the Al-Ahyaa Centers Association, will donate 1,000 iftar meals to those in need.

“The holy month of Ramadan is the season for giving and an important opportunity to make a difference to the community,” Bachar Sabbagh, managing director, KSA, at Chalhoub Group, said in a press statement.


Egypt’s non-oil exports rise to $7.4bn in Q1 2021

Egypt’s non-oil exports rise to $7.4bn in Q1 2021
Updated 10 min 7 sec ago

Egypt’s non-oil exports rise to $7.4bn in Q1 2021

Egypt’s non-oil exports rise to $7.4bn in Q1 2021
  • Trade deficit also decreased by 1 percent to $9.5 billion in the same period

CAIRO: Egypt’s non-oil exports rose 7.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year, reaching $7.4 billion, said Trade and Industry Minister Nevin Jameh.

“This tangible increase came despite the current circumstances related to the coronavirus crisis that the whole world is suffering from, thanks to the efforts made by the government to support the production and export sectors during the crisis,” she added.

Egyptian imports saw a slight increase in the first quarter of 2021 to $16.9 billion, compared to $16.67 billion in the same period last year.

Jameh said these positive indicators contributed to achieving a 1 percent decrease in the trade balance deficit to $9.5 billion, compared to $9.6 billion in the same period last year.

Ismail Jaber, head of the General Organization for Export and Import Control, said the chemical products and fertilizer sectors dominated Egypt’s export list in the first quarter of 2021.

Exports of chemical products and fertilizers amounted to $1.5 billion, building materials $1.3 billion, food industries $965 million, and engineering and electronic goods $739 million.

FASTFACTS

• Chemical products and fertilizer sectors dominated Egypt’s export list in the first quarter of 2021.

• Egypt’s top export destinations were China ($3.1 billion), the US ($1.49 billion), Germany ($970 million), Russia ($855 million) and Italy ($689 million).

• These five countries accounted for 42.1 percent of Egyptian imports.

Jaber said Egypt’s top export destinations were China ($3.1 billion), the US ($1.49 billion), Germany ($970 million), Russia ($855 million) and Italy ($689 million). These five countries, he added, accounted for 42.1 percent of Egyptian imports.

Egypt is expecting economic growth of 5.4 percent in the next fiscal year 2021/2022, up from 3.3 percent expected in 2020/2021.

The country recently approved its budget, which aims to reduce the country’s deficit and focuses on pushing social protection efforts, improving citizens’ standard of living, increasing wage allocations and rewards for workers, and financing grant incentives and transportation allowances for workers transferred to the New Administrative Capital.

The proceeds of budget revenues are likely to reach about EGP1.3 trillion  ($80 billion), according to estimates for the next fiscal year 2020/2021, compared to expected revenues of EGP1.117 trillion during the current fiscal year.

The estimates reflect an annual growth in revenues of 16.4 percent, achieved by expanding the tax base, activating electronic payments, expanding the use of modern methods of risk management, collecting government revenues and working to increase linking the proceeds to economic activity.


From lizards to water, eco-bumps snag Tesla Berlin plant

From lizards to water, eco-bumps snag Tesla Berlin plant
Updated 18 min 18 sec ago

From lizards to water, eco-bumps snag Tesla Berlin plant

From lizards to water, eco-bumps snag Tesla Berlin plant
  • The extra demand could place a huge burden on a region already affected by water shortages

BERLIN: In the green forest outside Berlin, a battle is playing out between electric carmaker Tesla and environmental campaigners who want to stop its planned “gigafactory.”

“When I saw on TV that the Tesla factory was going to be built here, I could not believe it,” said Steffen Schorch.

The 60-year-old from Erkner village in the Berlin commuter belt has become one of the faces of the fight against the US auto giant’s first European factory, due to open in the Brandenburg region near Berlin in July. “Tesla needs far too much water, and the region does not have this water,” said the environmental activist, a local representative of the Nabu ecologist campaign group.

Announced in November 2019, Tesla’s gigafactory project was warmly welcomed as an endorsement of the “Made in Germany” quality mark — but was immediately met with opposition from local residents.

Demonstrations, legal action, open letters — residents have done everything in their power to delay the project, supported by powerful environmental campaign groups Nabu and Gruene Liga.

Tesla was forced to temporarily suspend forest clearing last year after campaigners won an injunction over threats to the habitats of resident lizards and snakes during their winter slumber.

And now they have focused their attention on water consumption — which could reach up to 3.6 million cubic meters a year, or around 30 percent of the region’s available supply, according to the ZDF public broadcaster.

The extra demand could place a huge burden on a region already affected by water shortages and hit by summer droughts for the past three years.

Local residents and environmentalists are also concerned about the impact on the wetlands, an important source of biodiversity in the region. “The water situation is bad, and will get worse,” Heiko Baschin, a spokesman for the neighborhood association IG Freienbrink, told AFP.

Brandenburg’s Environment Minister Axel Vogel sought to play down the issue, saying in March that “capacity has not been exceeded for now.”

But the authorities admit that “the impact of droughts is significant” and have set up a working group to examine the issue in the long term.

The gigafactory is set to sprawl over 300 hectares — equivalent to approximately 560 football fields — southwest of the German capital.

Tesla is aiming to produce 500,000 electric vehicles a year at the plant, which will also be home to “the largest battery factory in the world,” according to group boss Elon Musk.


British Muslim billionaire brothers buy healthy fast food chain

British Muslim billionaire brothers buy healthy fast food chain
Updated 18 April 2021

British Muslim billionaire brothers buy healthy fast food chain

British Muslim billionaire brothers buy healthy fast food chain
  • The deal includes 42 company-owned restaurants, as well as 29 franchise sites
  • The brothers said the firm was a “fantastic brand we have long admired”

LONDON: Britain’s billionaire Issa brothers have bought healthy fast food chain Leon.
More than 70 Leon restaurants across the UK and Europe have been sold for £100 million ($138 million) to EG Group, the petrol station business founded by Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the Financial Times reported.
The deal includes 42 company-owned restaurants, as well as 29 franchise sites, which are mainly found in airports and train stations across the UK and some European countries.
The brothers said the firm, which has been hit badly by the coronavirus pandemic, was a “fantastic brand we have long admired.”
Reports said the group has committed to keeping Leon’s management team and staff the same.
“We have tried hard, done some good things, made a healthy amount of mistakes, and built a business that quite a few people are kind enough to say that they love,” John Vincent, who co-founded Leon in 2004, said.
Speaking about the brothers, he said: “They have been enthusiastic customers of Leon, going out of their way to eat here whenever they visit London.”
“They are decent, hard-working business people who are committed to sustaining and further strengthening the values and culture that we have built.”
In October 2020, the Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital, agreed to buy a majority stake in Asda from Walmart.
The brothers and TDR own EG Group, a global convenience and petrol station retailer, which trades from more than 6,000 sites across 10 countries.


Dubai completes first phase of e-commerce free zone

Dubai completes first phase of e-commerce free zone
Updated 18 April 2021

Dubai completes first phase of e-commerce free zone

Dubai completes first phase of e-commerce free zone
  • It includes 470,000 square feet of real estate
  • The e-commerce sector in the Gulf is booming with the forced closure of bricks and mortar shops during the pandemic giving the industry a further boost

DUBAI: The first phase of a new Dubai fee zone dedicated to e-commerce has been completed.
It includes 470,000 square feet of real estate.
The 3.2 billion dirhams ($871 million) Dubai CommerCity project also includes 145,000 square feet of e-commerce logistics units and warehouses in a cluster managed and operated by Hellmann Worldwide Logistics and DHL.
It has leased 51 percent of the logistics warehouses to companies operating across IT, fashion, jewelry and electronics.
“The launch of Dubai CommerCity aims to lead the future of e-commerce business in the region,” said Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman of the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority. “The project has been thoroughly studied not only to provide foundational solutions, but also to stimulate and support business and prosperity at a time when the sector is going through peak growth.”
The e-commerce sector in the Gulf is booming with the forced closure of bricks and mortar shops during the pandemic giving the industry a further boost.
The free zone provides opportunities for manufacturers, distributors and global e-retailers while offering tax and investment incentives, it said.
It is divided into three main clusters — Business, Logistics and Social.