LuLu chairman receives Abu Dhabi’s highest civilian honor

LuLu chairman receives Abu Dhabi’s highest civilian honor
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, presents the award to Yusuff Ali M.A. in Abu Dhabi. (Supplied)
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Updated 11 April 2021

LuLu chairman receives Abu Dhabi’s highest civilian honor

LuLu chairman receives Abu Dhabi’s highest civilian honor

Yusuff Ali M.A., chairman of retail giant Lulu Group and prominent NRI (non-resident Indian) businessman, has been honored with Abu Dhabi’s top civilian award.

The prestigious Abu Dhabi Award was given to Ali for his outstanding contribution to the emirate’s business and industry, and support to various philanthropic initiatives.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, presented the award to Ali in Abu Dhabi.

“A very proud and emotional moment in my life. I am really overwhelmed and humbled to receive such a great honor from Abu Dhabi where I have been living for the past 47 years,” said the Kerala-born businessman after receiving the honor.

“It was on Dec. 31, 1973, I arrived in the UAE with new dreams and hopes. I have reached here after seeing many ups and downs and various challenges and I take this opportunity to extend my deepest gratitude to the visionary leadership of this great country, especially His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.”

Ali is the only Indian along with other 11 prominent personalities, which include nine UAE nationals, to receive the honor this year. The Abu Dhabi Awards is the Abu Dhabi government’s initiative that recognizes and honors individuals who have selflessly dedicated themselves to support and contribute to the development of the emirate.

Ali, who recently ranked as the richest Indian in the Middle East in the Forbes billionaire list 2021, is also billed as the most influential Indian in the region, thanks to his close relations with the Gulf rulers.

He has received numerous awards, including the Order of the King of Bahrain in 2014, and the British Queen’s Award in 2017. In addition, he is also the first expatriate to get a permanent residency visa in both Saudi Arabia and the UAE.


Global experts to convene for Middle East Energy event

Global experts to convene for Middle East Energy event
Updated 17 May 2021

Global experts to convene for Middle East Energy event

Global experts to convene for Middle East Energy event

Energy professionals from across the world will gather online on Monday for the first day of the inaugural Middle East Energy virtual event.

The online event, which is hosted on an award-winning virtual event platform, will begin with the renewable and clean energy sector week. The first week of the event will address the latest insights, trends and innovations within the industry with specific reference to green hydrogen, and solar and wind energy.

Between now and June 9, Middle East Energy will focus on a different energy industry sector each week. In addition to renewable and clean energy, they include transmission and distribution, critical and backup power, and energy consumption and management. 

Claudia Konieczna, exhibition director, Middle East Energy, said: “Our debut virtual event underscores our commitment to supporting the global energy industry. We have developed a platform conducive to cultivating positive business and networking opportunities during one of the most challenging periods the industry has faced.

“We have brought together energy industry experts from across the globe to deliver a range of high-level sessions throughout each week. Experts this week will address topics including clean energy targets, the adoption of clean hydrogen, solar energy, and the opportunities around wind power. At the same time, we will also host a series of tech talks and product demonstrations.”

Opening the virtual event is Suhail Al-Mazrouei, minister of energy and infrastructure for the UAE, who will deliver a welcome speech to energy professionals from more than 85 countries worldwide.

Sessions on Day 1 include: Energy diversification and the race to meet clean energy targets — strategies to reach net-zero; Realizing the potential of clean hydrogen — Will this be the game-changer for the energy transition?; The tech talk, increasing output of solar panels: and latest innovations in PV module design and installation.

Throughout the four-week online energy event, a series of tech talks, interactive roundtables, panel discussions, thought leadership sessions and remote interviews will occur. In addition, a range of networking opportunities, including hosted buyer meetings, fireside chats, breakout sessions, personalized meetings, and speed networking sessions, have been scheduled.

“The virtual event will focus on forging partnerships, providing insights, and creating the ability to source the latest solutions. The platform will connect users with thousands of potential clients, partners and contacts across the energy market,” said Konieczna.

Connecting businesses for more than 40 years, Middle East Energy, an Informa Markets event, has been an essential part of the economic expansion of the Middle East, introducing new energy solutions to the region to support the build of infrastructure, real estate and commerce. It is now helping governments, organizations and SMEs diversify the generation and supply of energy and build a sustainable future.


Herman Miller launches post-pandemic office collection

Herman Miller launches post-pandemic office collection
Updated 17 May 2021

Herman Miller launches post-pandemic office collection

Herman Miller launches post-pandemic office collection

COVID-19 may not have made any 2020 prediction lists, but it certainly is leaving an impression on how companies and individuals will work in the future. With vaccines rolling out globally, infection rates dropping, and local governments beginning to increase the occupancy of everything from local parks to restaurants, CEOs around the world are looking for new office solutions to fit the future of work.

Herman Miller, which has been at the forefront of major workplace advancements (yes, even the cubicle), has devoted thousands of hours working with companies of every size trying to help them navigate the pandemic and prepare for post-pandemic work environments. This research confirmed what Herman Miller workplace strategists predicted pre-pandemic — organizations were craving holistic solutions that took on all of the challenges that come with designing meaningful workspaces for the present, while simultaneously setting them up for success in an uncertain, fast-changing future.

Enter the OE1 Workspace Collection. OE1 is the latest in a line of office products that embraces the unpredictability of the future by landing squarely at the crossroads of agility, functionality, and modularity. OE1 offers a range of items that can be used to create highly varied work settings yet are flexible enough to adapt to growth, new needs or desires, or even the unexpected — like a global pandemic. 

“While this project was started prior to the pandemic, our research over the last year has only intensified our belief in the relevance of this line,” said Ryan Anderson, vice president of global research and insights at Herman Miller. “With people forced to work outside of offices, traditional means of workplace planning have been challenged by the unpredictability of how people will work now and in the future. These changes will continue, and workspaces need to constantly adapt. Workers are ready for a greater degree of variety, choice and control — people want their environments to work for them, and OE1 is designed to enable that.”

A collection of essential pieces that spans mobile tables, movable walls, height-adjustable workstations, storage trolleys, and more, OE1 directly responds to how and where people want to work, encouraging a reexamination of traditional workplace design while allowing employees to build, test and recreate their spaces. By enabling people to experiment with space, employees will gain confidence as they can not only discover solutions needed in the now, but also adjust rapidly if needed.


Arabian Travel Market 2021 opens in Dubai

Arabian Travel Market 2021 opens in Dubai
Updated 15 May 2021

Arabian Travel Market 2021 opens in Dubai

Arabian Travel Market 2021 opens in Dubai

Local, regional and international travel and tourism professionals will converge on the Dubai World Trade Centre today for the opening of the Arabian Travel Market 2021 (ATM), the first major in-person international travel event since the outbreak of the pandemic. 

One of the highlights of the first day will be the “Tourism for a Brighter Future” opening session taking place at 12 p.m. Moderated by Becky Anderson, managing editor, CNN Abu Dhabi, speakers include Helal Saeed Al-Marri, director general, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM); Dr. Taleb Rifai, chairman of ITIC and former secretary-general, United Nations World Tourism Organization; Scott Livermore, chief economist of Oxford Economics Middle East, Dubai; and Thoyyib Mohamed, managing director, Maldives Tourism Board.

Later in the afternoon, the “Tourism Beyond COVID Recovery” session will take place, at 2 p.m., and will include key speakers such as Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Belhoul Al-Falasi, minister of state for entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises for the UAE; Zayed R. Alzayani, minister of industry, commerce and tourism for Bahrain and chairman of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority; and Haitham Mattar, managing director of India, Middle East and Africa, IHG Hotels and Resorts.

Another key event taking place on the first day is the China Tourism Forum to be held at 4 p.m. It will highlight the latest trends of outbound travel from China as well as the best way of meeting such demand. It will feature respected panelists representing both DMOs and Chinese outbound travel trade.

“This year more than any other, we, along with our partners and sponsors, have worked together closely, to enable an inspirational in-person event, that will set the tone for the Middle East travel and tourism industry for the rest of this year,” said Danielle Curtis, exhibition director, ATM Middle East.

“We will be looking to capitalize on the latest trends and opportunities, as well as meeting challenges head-on with innovative solutions — with governments, trade associations, industry professionals and influencers, all working in unison,” she added. 

Under the theme of “A new dawn for travel and tourism,” the 28th edition of the four-day show, which concludes on May 19, has 62 countries being represented on the exhibition floor, such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany, Cyprus, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, the Maldives, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and the US, underscoring the strength of the ATM brand and its international reach.

Away from the exhibition floor, a total of 67 conference sessions will take place featuring 145 local, regional and international speakers.


Zahid Group integrates solar solution into new facility

Zahid Group integrates solar solution into new facility
Updated 15 May 2021

Zahid Group integrates solar solution into new facility

Zahid Group integrates solar solution into new facility

In line with its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, Zahid Group has signed an agreement with Safeer for the installation of a 1.5 MWp solar rooftop and carport hybrid system on the premises of its new headquarters, Zahid Business Park.

Zahid Business Park will be located on the northern outskirts of Jeddah and host the group’s new 11-floor head office, six large-scale facilities for independent Zahid Group companies, a community center and the Zahid Learning Institute. The renewable energy component was integrated in the initial design of Zahid Business Park. This innovative approach will help the group to significantly reduce its carbon footprint through clean power production.

The system will annually produce ~2.5 GWh of clean energy and will offset nearly 1,800 metric tons of CO2 emissions, corresponding to approximately 7,000,000 kilometers driven by an average passenger vehicle or equivalent to more than 30,000 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.

The planning and construction of the solar hybrid system combining photovoltaic and conventional energy generation will be completed by Safeer, a joint venture between Altaaqa Alternative Solutions (a Zahid Group company) and Total Solar Distributed Generation. 

Barig Siraj, vice president of group affairs at Zahid Group, said: “Supporting sustainable development is a priority at Zahid Group. Whether it is via significant investments in renewable energy or turning to renewable energy solutions for our own business needs, Zahid Group is an active participant in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 for the development and promotion of renewable energy generation.” 

Francois Ganneau, managing director of Safeer, said: “After the recent creation of the Safeer joint venture, it is our pleasure to implement this iconic project for one of our parent companies. This complex project introducing photovoltaic hybrid technology on rooftops and carports of the new Zahid Business Park will showcase Safeer’s capabilities and commitment to excellence and will act as a case study in highlighting the benefits of integrating renewable energy solutions in commercial and industrial settings.”


Healthcare groups emerge stronger than standalone clinics in pandemic

Healthcare groups emerge stronger than standalone clinics in pandemic
Updated 15 May 2021

Healthcare groups emerge stronger than standalone clinics in pandemic

Healthcare groups emerge stronger than standalone clinics in pandemic

The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique conflict to healthcare businesses across the region. While hospitals operated at the forefront at maximum capacity to manage COVID-19 and emergency cases in these unprecedented times, multiple “elective” departments such as plastic surgery, dentistry, aesthetic dermatology, and ophthalmology were given the short end of the stick during periods of intense lockdown, resulting in financial loss.

Karan Rekhi, CEO of Forte Healthcare, a consultancy firm, observed that healthcare chains were seen to be more resilient than their counterpart, the humble standalone clinic. These chains benefited and cut costs as they were able to shuffle their staff, rotations, and rapidly make adequate adjustments within their own facilities to accommodate the changing landscape. Standalone clinics, alternatively, were forced to shut down operations entirely and made to implement solutions upon reopening, functionally arresting their operations with alternative patient flow management as advised by regulatory authorities.

“Due to heavy financial investments made prior to lockdown, borrowing interests piled up on many healthcare clinics, leaving them with few options on recouping losses,” Rekhi added.

Experts warn that the upcoming 18 months will drastically shift dynamics in this sector, but with proper guidance moving forward, should not be an area of concern to investors of big chains.

Forte Healthcare provides advisory services to healthcare investors and institutions, and has successfully catered to more than 116 startups in the past two decades. They established last year in the UAE with a vision to endorse diversity and novelty in the field of healthcare. 

“Lockdown was painful for many sectors and healthcare was undoubtedly one that took a hit,” Rekhi said. “However, these businesses managed to rebound in some aspects.” 

Mainframe hospitals and healthcare chains saw a rise in hospital efficiency and financial improvement, as corporations realigned themselves to adapt to the changing climate. Telehealth and online consultations, additionally, came to the forefront at this time, benefiting both the patient and the institution. 

Rekhi remains optimistic that breakthrough plans to revive smaller clinic operations post-pandemic will transpire.

He said that small clinics and elective surgeries should be merged into larger hospitals, as this particular market calls for consolidation and integration. Big institutions would benefit with additional income, while the smaller clinics could use the provided facilities to carry out business as per normal. 

Healthcare across the region varies widely — while some countries relish in world-class centers and facilities, others lack basic long-term care. Utilizing their professional talent and expertise, Forte Healthcare aims to unify the global landscape of the healthcare industry as a whole, allowing for a more fruitful and robust approach to health management.