Dubai proptech firm to ditch cheque, cash rental payments for tenants

Dubai proptech firm to ditch cheque, cash rental payments for tenants
The plan is to eventually do away with cheque or cash rental payments and the next phase of the platform’s development will allow tenants to digitally pay landlords who are not pre-registered with Ajar. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 09 June 2021

Dubai proptech firm to ditch cheque, cash rental payments for tenants

Dubai proptech firm to ditch cheque, cash rental payments for tenants
  • Ajar is a cloud-based property management and rent collection platform

A Dubai-headquartered property technology (proptech) platform offering a digital alternative to paying rents by cheque or cash has teamed up with Visa and is expanding into Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

Announcing its partnership with the global digital payment provider, Ajar, a cloud-based property management and rent collection platform, said it aimed to disrupt the rental market for tenants and landlords.

Mohammed Al-Munaikh, chief executive officer of Ajar, said: “We aim to revolutionize the region’s property market through digitalization, reducing losses by maximizing efficiency.”

The plan is to eventually do away with cheque or cash rental payments and the next phase of the platform’s development will allow tenants to digitally pay landlords who are not pre-registered with Ajar.


Egypt to launch Downtown Towers project

Egypt to launch Downtown Towers project
The project is being implemented by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (REUTERS)
Updated 10 min 54 sec ago

Egypt to launch Downtown Towers project

Egypt to launch Downtown Towers project
  • The minister explained that eight towers were being constructed in the second phase in the coastal area, and currently the construction of some towers had reached the seventh floor

CAIRO: Egyptian Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities Assem El-Gazzar has laid the foundation stone for the Downtown Towers project in New Alamein city in northwest Egypt.

The project is being implemented by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).

El-Gazzar said in a statement that the Downtown Towers were being constructed similarly to those of the Central Business District of the new administrative capital, and with self-financing from the New Urban Communities Authority.

El-Gazzar explained that the project included the construction of five residential towers with full services. The towers overlook an artificial lake and include the Iconic Tower with a height of 250 meters, 68 floors and a total area of ​​465,000 square meters, which is scheduled to be implemented within 45 months.

He outlined the construction of four towers with a height of 200 meters each, with a total area of ​​320,000 square meters, scheduled to be implemented within 39 months.

The minister explained that eight towers were being constructed in the second phase in the coastal area, and currently the construction of some towers had reached the seventh floor.

“Today we celebrate and document an important event in the history of the modern Egyptian urban renaissance, which is laying the foundation stone for the Downtown Towers project in the New Alamein city,” he said.

“On Thursday we celebrated and documented the completion of the concrete structure works for the tallest tower in Africa in the Central Business District of the New Administrative Capital.”

The minister said that ​​New Alamein was not a summer city but rather a city for housing, residence and work (in agriculture, industry, tourism, entertainment and services), and was primarily a regional center for the northern coast.

He said that the Downtown Towers project would create a development area in New Alamein comparable to the Central Business District of the New Administrative Capital.

“We will continue to work and build our country and provide Egyptians with the urban product, which is in line with the modern Egyptian urban renaissance in the era of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi,” he said.


Frankly Speaking: Saudi role in OPEC+ contributed to ‘strong global economy recovery,’ says Daniel Yergin

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the oil industry Daniel Yergin, who is also vice chairman of the IHS Markit consultancy, gave his views on Frankly Speaking. (Screenshot)
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the oil industry Daniel Yergin, who is also vice chairman of the IHS Markit consultancy, gave his views on Frankly Speaking. (Screenshot)
Updated 3 min 53 sec ago

Frankly Speaking: Saudi role in OPEC+ contributed to ‘strong global economy recovery,’ says Daniel Yergin

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the oil industry Daniel Yergin, who is also vice chairman of the IHS Markit consultancy, gave his views on Frankly Speaking. (Screenshot)
  • Energy historian made the remarks on the series of video conversations with leading decision-makers
  • Yergin sees alliance of oil producers as a stabilizing force aiding recovery from economic apocalypse

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s leading role within the OPEC+ alliance of oil producers has been instrumental in rebalancing global markets, according to one of the world’s leading energy experts.

Daniel Yergin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the oil industry, told Arab News: “OPEC+ brought a kind of predictability and stability and caution to the market, and obviously Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of that. It is a contribution to this incredible strong global economic recovery that we’re seeing right now.”

Yergin, who is also vice chairman of the IHS Markit consultancy, gave his views on Frankly Speaking, the series of video interviews with policy makers and business leaders.

He spoke of the prospects for a resurgence of the US shale industry, the challenge of climate change for the energy industry and the recent controversial “scenario” by the International Energy Agency (IEA) that suggested an end to all new investment in hydrocarbon fuels.

On the recovery in oil markets, which many experts put down to Saudi Arabia’s role as the biggest exporter in OPEC+, Yergin said: “Let’s not forget, it’s only a little over a year ago when the appalling collapse happened. Which was not only a shock for oil-producing and exporting countries, but you had countries like India and Japan, who were deeply concerned because they were fearful of the destruction, the undermining of the global oil industry and the gas industry on which their economies depend so heavily.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the oil industry Daniel Yergin, who is also vice chairman of the IHS Markit consultancy, gave his views on Frankly Speaking. (Screenshot/AN Photo)

The price of Brent crude has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, and many analysts are forecasting it might hit $100 by the end of this year as post-pandemic recovery accelerates demand for energy.

“OPEC+ has been a moderating force and a stabilizing force and really a mechanism for navigating a recovery from an appalling economic apocalypse,” Yergin said.

IHS Markit analysts see global economic growth at 6 percent in 2021, with the crucial US economy projected to grow by 7.4 percent, he added.

The relationship between the two biggest producers in OPEC+ — Saudi Arabia and Russia — has been crucial to the rebalancing and resumption of demand, Yergin said, adding that the US oil industry had become less significant for the dynamic of the global market.

“The US was part of the Big Three in April 2020. I think the US has stepped aside from that now as a governmental player, and so that means this relationship between Saudi Arabia and Russia is very significant and is the foundation for making OPEC+ work. I think it’s in the interest of both countries to continue,” he said.

A recent visit to the heartland of the US oil industry in Houston, Texas, has persuaded him that a revival of US shale could be under way. “Shale is facing a second revolution. It had to change its relationship with investors and return money to investors and that’s what it’s doing. There’s a mantra of capital discipline that wasn’t there before,” Yergin said.

“It’s stabilized and — as long as prices are in a reasonable range — we’ll see modest growth. What we won’t see is that explosive growth for which there was no precedent which contributed to a sudden oversupply in the oil market. So, you could say shale sort of settled down in a more mature state.”

“OPEC+ brought a kind of predictability and stability and caution to the market, and obviously Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of that. It is a contribution to this incredible strong global economic recovery that we’re seeing right now,” Yergin said of the Kingdom’s efforts. (Screenshot/AN Photo)

The US oil industry is also facing a new situation of regulatory oversight and investor activism that has cast doubt on long-term prospects. Yergin agreed that the attitude of the Biden administration — in contrast to the Trump presidency’s approach — amounted to a new hostility to the hydrocarbon industry, and that there could be more environmental restrictions imposed. “We’ll see an effort to use regulatory machinery to constrain the industry. I think the regulatory challenges are still ahead,” he said.

But the administration also had to weigh the fact of US energy independence that has come about as part of the shale revolution. “The US spent $400 billion importing oil in 2008. It doesn’t spend anything now and I think Biden and some of the people around him see that energy dependence is a place they don’t want to be,” Yergin said.

The new alliance of environmental and financial activism in the oil industry, which has brought a surge in challenges to oil companies, was recently highlighted when the IEA controversially outlined a scenario in which all new investment in fossil fuels was immediately halted.

“It was very puzzling because only a few months earlier the IEA had been warning that not enough investment was going into oil and gas and that was going to lead to a supply crunch, high prices and turbulence,” he said.

“I think the oil and gas industry would look to the IEA to be a kind of independent objective source. They look at the IEA differently now and say what happened? Why did this come about? So, there’s been a kind of a shift from one side to the other.”

Yergin’s most recent book, “The New Map”, published last year, is an analysis of the interrelation between, energy, climate and geopolitics. (Supplied)

But Yergin was adamant that so-called fossil fuels would continue to play a vital part in global energy for a long time. “The energy mix is going to change. Oil and natural gas are going to share more and more space with renewables and alternatives. So, I think we’re going to have a mixed system. But in 2050 I think the world is still going to be using oil and gas, along with a lot of other things,” he said.

Yergin’s most recent book, “The New Map”, published last year, is an analysis of the interrelation between, energy, climate and geopolitics. John Kerry, the special presidential envoy on climate change, recently praised Saudi Arabia for its contribution to the global campaign against the effects of climate change and efforts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The Kingdom has announced plans to phase out oil from the domestic energy mix altogether by 2030, along with a big program of tree-planting to mitigate CO2 emissions.

“What Saudi Arabia is doing is in line with what you see around the world — a much bigger role for renewables. Obviously solar has a big role in Saudi Arabia. The notion of using gas to free up liquids for export and plans to plant trees are steps which of course are really about removing carbon from the atmosphere,” Yergin said.

The relationship between the two biggest producers in OPEC+ — Saudi Arabia and Russia — has been crucial to the rebalancing and resumption of demand, Yergin said, adding that the US oil industry had become less significant for the dynamic of the global market. (Screenshot/AN Photo)

“So, I think the direction Saudi Arabia is moving in is in line with what other countries are doing, and particularly in electric power.”

While the Kingdom’s strategy of a circular carbon economy, in which greenhouse gases are reduced and ultimately eliminated from the atmosphere, was a viable approach to the problem of climate change, Yergin cautioned: “Some in Europe don’t like carbon capture because they don’t like the hydrocarbon industry.”

He said renewable energy sources such as wind and solar were coming down in price to become viable options along with hydrocarbons, and new energy sources like hydrogen could also become part of the energy mix in the next 15 years.

In “The New Map,” Yergin explained how energy and climate change challenges could become big factors in what he called the “clash of nations,” replacing the “WTO consensus” that helped harmonize relations between, principally, the US and China.

“You’re seeing rhetoric today that you wouldn’t have heard five years ago and it is concerning. With all that said, you know by nature I’m an optimistic person,” he said.

“At the end of the book, I was trying to be realistic, but I’m also optimistic, because I believe that there are solutions.”

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Twitter: @frankkanedubai


Dubai utility provider boosts production of desalinated water

Dubai utility provider boosts production of desalinated water
Updated 20 June 2021

Dubai utility provider boosts production of desalinated water

Dubai utility provider boosts production of desalinated water
  • The additional capacity comes from the new advanced units at DEWA’s Jebel Ali power plant and desalination complex

DUBAI: The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has added 490 million imperial gallons per day (MIGD) to its production capacity of desalinated water.
The additional capacity comes from the new advanced units at DEWA’s Jebel Ali power plant and desalination complex, the government-owned utility said.
“This is supported by assets worth more than 182 billion dirhams owned by DEWA and its subsidiaries as well as investments of up to 86 billion dirhams over five years in the energy and water sectors,” Saeed Mohammed Al-Tayer, its CEO said.
The rapid expansion of Dubai over recent decades has demanded constant investment in combined power and desalination plants to feed rising domestic consumption of water and electricity.
Al-Tayer said DEWA wants to increase the production capacity of its Sea Water Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) approach to 303 MIGD.
It currently has two SWRO plants with a capacity of 63 MIGD – only 13 percent of DEWA’s total water desalination production capacity.


Congo ends oil production-sharing agreements with Israeli investor Gertler

Congo ends oil production-sharing agreements with Israeli investor Gertler
Updated 20 June 2021

Congo ends oil production-sharing agreements with Israeli investor Gertler

Congo ends oil production-sharing agreements with Israeli investor Gertler
  • The blocks, which have not produced any oil, lie across Lake Albert from blocks in Uganda

KINSHASA: Democratic Republic of Congo has ended production-sharing agreements for two oil concessions with companies controlled by Israeli investor Dan Gertler, the hydrocarbons ministry said in a letter seen by Reuters on Sunday.

The ministry said in the letter dated June 16 and addressed to Gertler’s representatives in Congo that the permits granted to Gertler’s Foxwhelp and Caprikat in 2010 for Blocks 1 and 2 near the Ugandan border had expired.

The letter, which was signed by Christian Kanku, the ministry’s secretary general, asked the companies to transfer all technical data and pay charges due under the contract. It did not say how much was owed. A spokesperson for Gertler had no immediate comment regarding the oil blocks.

The blocks, which have not produced any oil, lie across Lake Albert from blocks in Uganda being developed by French major Total and its partner China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

The US Treasury sanctioned Gertler and more than 30 of his businesses in December 2017 and June 2018, accusing him of leveraging his friendship with former Congo President Joseph Kabila to secure lucrative mining deals.

Gertler denies any wrongdoing.


Dubai property deal values at four-year high

Dubai property deal values at four-year high
Updated 20 June 2021

Dubai property deal values at four-year high

Dubai property deal values at four-year high
  • According to the index, 77 percent of sales transactions were for apartments and 23 percent were for villa or townhouses

DUBAI: The value of Dubai property deals hit a four-year high in May, new data reveals.
Some 4,429 transactions worth 11.11 billion dirhams ($3 billion) were recorded in May, state news agency WAM reported, citing Dubai's official sales price index. That represented the highest deal value since March 2017.
A rapid vaccination program, eased residency rules and ongoing business reforms are helping the Dubai property market to rebound after years of stagnation.
However, a glut of new homes under construction continues to weigh on some sectors of the real estate market.
A total of 20,989 real estate sale transactions were recorded between January and May, worth 47.19 billion dirhams.
The jump in real estate transactions highlights “the emirate's attractiveness and flexibility in attracting real estate investments,” WAM said.
According to the index, 77 percent of sales transactions were for apartments and 23 percent were for villas or townhouses.
The hot spots for villas and townhouses in May were Dubai Hills Estate, Arabian Ranches, Palm Jumeirah, Damac Hills, and Mohamed bin Rashid City.
The top areas of interest for apartments, meanwhile, were Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, Business Bay, and Jumeirah Village Circle.