Dubai’s ruler launches national program to empower coders and support UAE talent

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid launched a national program for coders to contribute to the UAE’s successful digital and technological transformation. (WAM)
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Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid launched a national program for coders to contribute to the UAE’s successful digital and technological transformation. (WAM)
Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid launched a national program for coders to contribute to the UAE’s successful digital and technological transformation. (WAM)
2 / 2
Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid launched a national program for coders to contribute to the UAE’s successful digital and technological transformation. (WAM)
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Updated 11 July 2021

Dubai’s ruler launches national program to empower coders and support UAE talent

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid launched a national program for coders to contribute to the UAE’s successful digital and technological transformation. (WAM)
  • The program is in cooperation with Google, Microsoft, Amazon AWS, Cisco, IBM, HPE, LinkedIn, Nvidia, and Facebook
  • It is aimed at training 100,000 coders and establishing tech companies that will go global

LONDON: Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, launched a national program for coders on Saturday that aims to establish 1,000 tech companies and increase start-up investments from 1.5 billion dirhams ($408 million) to 4 billion dirhams ($1 billion).
Sheikh Mohammed said that developing the digital economy is a major priority for the UAE government, which believes that young minds are the basis for creating a prosperous digital future based on science, knowledge, innovation and technology.
He said that the UAE’s successful digital and technological transformation will be the main pillar of its strategic plans and developmental path during the coming decades, state news agency WAM reported.
The program, which is in cooperation with Google, Microsoft, Amazon AWS, Cisco, IBM, HPE, LinkedIn, Nvidia, and Facebook, is aimed at training 100,000 coders and establishing tech companies that will go global within five years.
It will provide a comprehensive program for a package of national initiatives aimed at developing talent, expertise and innovative projects specialized in coding, and accelerate adopting its applications and tools in various economic and future sectors, in addition to creating a close link among the coding community, government, private sector and academic entities.

“The new program represents a new step toward establishing our digital economy. The world is rapidly changing and the fast-growing digital economy will create new types of jobs. To thrive in the ever-evolving world, we must be ready to quickly cope with the emerging trends,” Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter.
He added: “I say to our youth that the future has new tools ... it speaks a different language ... and it will work in a virtual environment ... and we want them to be at the heart of this future.”
Sheikh Mohammed said he wants the national program for coders to engage digital communities at the local level in the UAE’s digital transformation process, to advance its global role in designing the future, and to embrace talent, entrepreneurs, academics and emerging and global companies.
“We want to attract the best international programmers to the UAE, and we will provide them with the necessary infrastructure to develop innovative ideas that serve the world,” he said, adding that the program will support Emirati programmers to be among the global elite in their field, and develop 10 platforms for community and humanitarian projects in the UAE.
Sheikh Mohammed directed all government agencies in the UAE to support national and international talent in the field of coding, and to work with legislative bodies, business incubators, investment companies, universities and research centers to support coding-based initiatives and projects.

The program will be supervised by the UAE’s Artificial Intelligence Office, and several initiatives will be launched to implement the strategy’s output. The program will also support various government agencies to find innovative solutions in the software development sector.
Omar Sultan Al-Olama, the UAE’s minister of state for artificial intelligence, digital economy and remote work applications, said the program is an important step for the UAE’s, as it will consolidate the country’s leading position in many digital fields.
“The UAE has always been a center of intellectual, cultural and developmental radiation,” he said, adding that the launch of the program will “pave the way for the UAE to enter a new level of excellence based on knowledge with the vision of our leadership, which has always believed, from early on, in the importance of technology — and spared no effort in harnessing all the necessary ingredients in the best possible way to serve our development goals.”
He added: “The UAE will always remain a center for launching creative ideas that will help the world combat all the challenges it faces.
“We will work closely with all our partners to achieve the ambitious goals that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has set, and we will double the work in order to create the best, attractive conditions for coders from all over the world, and support them to launch their creative ideas.”
The national program for coders aims to grant “golden residency” to the best 100,000 coders from around the world, provide a range of facilities and financing options for entrepreneurs and coders, support the implementation of their innovative projects and ideas, and establish digital companies that support the competitiveness of the national economy globally.
During its next phase, the program will invite coders from around the world to find innovative solutions to 100 challenges in various governmental, economic, technological, health and service sectors. It will also organize 10 “hackathon” competitions for elite coders.
A comprehensive global campaign will also be launched to highlight the country’s leadership in coding, alongside a series of experiments that encourage people to come and work in the UAE and launch start-up companies.


Saudi group wins Subway master franchise deal in UAE

Saudi group wins Subway master franchise deal in UAE
Updated 30 sec ago

Saudi group wins Subway master franchise deal in UAE

Saudi group wins Subway master franchise deal in UAE
  • In Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Subway plans to double its number of restaurants across the region in the coming years

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group on Tuesday signed a master franchise agreement with Subway in the UAE as the restaurant brand seeks to expand its footprint in the region.

The deal marked the start of a new chapter for Subway in the UAE as it seeks to expand its footprint and remain competitive in the market.

“Subway is making bold and impressive changes to continue to grow its presence in markets around the world,” said Hisham Al-Amoudi, Group CEO of Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group.

“As Subway continues to expand internationally, we are focused on attracting well-established, large-scale operators in regions where they can leverage market expertise to help our brand thrive,” said CEO John Chidsey.

Established in 1987, Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group is a major franchise industry player in the Middle East with 675 stores across seven countries, making it one of the largest franchise networks in the region. They are a valued partner to some of the world’s most iconic brands, such as The Body Shop, LEGO, and Early Learning Center.

The group’s “deep knowledge of the Middle East and experience strengthening and expanding other global franchisee brands makes them the ideal partner in the UAE,” Mike Kehoe, EMEA president at Subway.

In Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Subway plans to double its number of restaurants across the region in the coming years and will continue to seek strong partners to support the brand on its journey.

The agreement will enable significant growth in the UAE in the coming years  including accelerated deployment of restaurant remodels — featuring a new, modern “Fresh Forward” design — as well as improved, consistent guest experiences, both on- and off-premise.


Saudi team’s performance at robotics summit to pave way for more progress

Saudi team’s performance at robotics summit to pave way for more progress
Updated 16 min 9 sec ago

Saudi team’s performance at robotics summit to pave way for more progress

Saudi team’s performance at robotics summit to pave way for more progress

RIYADH/JEDDAH: As the Saudi team secured sixth place in a contest at the World Robot Summit held in Japan, the chief of the Research Products Development Co. (RPDC) expressed optimism over Kingdom’s plan to promote artificial intelligence and build a strong robotics base in the Kingdom.

Abdulmohsen Al-Majnouni told Arab News that it was a major accomplishment as the Kingdom “is building its capabilities” to bring about the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The company is owned by Taqnia, a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund. Officials of the Research Products Development Co. led the Saudi robotics team, which competed with 16 other countries at the summit and qualified for the final contest.

“Inspired by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, our national robotics team of young men and women, under the leadership of Dr. Nahid Sidki, the chief technology officer of RPDC, reached the final competition. The journey to the summit included qualification round of 119 international teams where 16 teams managed to reach the finals in the industrial challenge,” he said.

According to Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alsawaha, advanced technology from the Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to generate around SR1 trillion for the Saudi economy in new revenue streams.

The Kingdom will enjoy economic boosts from robotics, artificial intelligence, and wireless production models as it pushes for smarter cities and infrastructure.

“This accomplishment is inspiring to both our young men and women and to our leadership. We do not need to wait until 2030 to start achieving our targets. They are closer than many (people) think. With the government's support, we can start building amazing capabilities in robotics and AI and transform the Kingdom into a highly competitive economy,” said RPDC COO Dr. Mashal Al-Harbi. 

The secret to achieving the target, he said, is to find “passionate, dedicated and smart talent, engaging them in challenging projects for hands-on experience and supporting them with the needed resources and guidance to unlock their full potential.”

The World Robot Summit is supported by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; and the Energy Industrial Technology Development Organization. It aims to expedite the development of robotics and AI technologies to support the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

“They open it up to the world to inspire young men and women to solve a very challenging problem. We managed to develop an innovative architecture to address the challenge and our talented team worked hard for almost two years despite the COVID-19 lockdown and the many challenges we faced,” said Sidki.

“The accomplishment is a reminder to our young talent that only through the dedication and hard work we can accomplish what others consider impossible,” he said.

“My message to Saudi young men and women is to follow your dreams and unlock your full potential and don’t let fear drive your ambition. Moving forward, we expect Saudi Arabia’s young talent to be major competitors in international AI and Robotics competitions,” the company’s chief technology officer said.


Egypt’s sovereign fund eyes investment in fintech sector

Egypt’s sovereign fund eyes investment in fintech sector
Updated 21 September 2021

Egypt’s sovereign fund eyes investment in fintech sector

Egypt’s sovereign fund eyes investment in fintech sector

RIYADH: The Sovereign Fund of Egypt is exploring investment opportunities in the fintech sector with a focus on small and medium projects, Ayman Suliman said in a CNBC Arabiya interview.

Talking about investments in other sectors, the chief executive officer of the fund said the tourism sector represents 20-20 percent of the fund's total investments.

Suliman also mentioned the fund’s plans to transform the historic Bab Al-Azab area in Cairo’s Salah Al-Din Al-Ayoubi Citadel into the first integrated innovation zone in the Middle East and North Africa.  

He said several projects in the health sector are also being studied such as the expansion of pharmaceutical exports.

“The health sector is a mainstay in the fund’s investment portfolio,” the CEO added.

The fund aims to attract private investments in Egypt’s underutilized assets and create wealth for future generations and boost the country’s economic growth.


Abu Dhabi to use drones to deliver medical supplies

Abu Dhabi to use drones to deliver medical supplies
Updated 21 September 2021

Abu Dhabi to use drones to deliver medical supplies

Abu Dhabi to use drones to deliver medical supplies

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi is working on plans to add advances drones to its health sector’s supply chain, said an official statement.

Drones will be used to deliver medical supplies, medicine and blood units, vaccines and samples between laboratories, pharmacies, blood banks across healthcare facilities around the city in a safe manner.

The project will create a state-of-the-art delivery system and network using drones at 40 stations throughout the year 2022, the statement said. 

The project is a collaboration between Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health, the General Civil Aviation Authority, SkyGo and Matternet. It will leverage existing advanced infrastructure to transform healthcare logistics.

It aligns with the year of preparation for the “UAE Projects of the 50,” the UAE's Fourth Industrial Revolution Strategy, and broader strategies to position Abu Dhabi as a global hub for innovation. 

The statement issued by the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office said: The use of drones will yield environmental benefits with a reduction in CO2 emissions and reduced road traffic congestion.” 

SkyGo and Matternet have completed phase one of testing and are now working on phase two, which will be finalized by the end of this year and will address all aviation safety requirement and risk assessments.


Oil, equities appear to shake off Evergrande worries

Oil, equities appear to shake off Evergrande worries
Updated 21 September 2021

Oil, equities appear to shake off Evergrande worries

Oil, equities appear to shake off Evergrande worries
  • Evergrande, founded in 1996, is one of China’s biggest builders of apartments, office towers and shopping malls

LONDON: Oil and equities finally appeared to shake off concerns that have plagued financial markets in recent days following the crisis at China’s largest property group Evergrande.

Most economists now believe there is little risk of wider global financial market contagion from the problems at Evergrande which is on the verge of defaulting on its massive $300 billion debt pile.

Indeed, it emerged that funds run by US asset management giant BlackRock and global bank HSBC appeared to have embarked on a “buying the dip” strategy and increased their holdings of Evergrande bonds as the developer’s liquidity crisis was intensifying.

Data by Morningstar reveals BlackRock bought up five different Evergrande dollar bonds through one of its high-yield funds, which had holdings in the developer then worth $18 million, in August.

An HSBC-run high yield fund also purchased Evergrande’s debt over the summer. The Morningstar data revealed the fund increased bond holdings by 38 percent since February, but the value of the fund’s total exposure at $31m declined over the same period due to falling prices.
Ashmore, the emerging market investment specialist, is understood to have the highest exposure with more than $400 million of its bonds. UBS had close to $300 million of exposure to Evergrande bonds.

Patrick Ge, manager research analyst at Morningstar, said: “We’ve seen a few funds adding to China Evergrande between July and August 2021, given widening spreads and attractive valuations. This is in line with what we have heard from some managers where they said that at its current levels, they believe Evergrande is a buy.”

Evergrande’s Hong Kong-traded shares have fallen 85 percent this year and its bonds have also been downgraded by global credit ratings agencies.

Simon MacAdam from Capital Economics said: “A managed default or even messy collapse of Evergrande would have little global impact beyond some market turbulence.”

However, Chinese regulators, who are understood to be looking at breaking the company up, have so far failed to provide any details about how they will resolve Evergrande’s $300 billion debt pile.

China watchers only expect the government to intervene if the company and its lenders fail to agree on how to handle its debts.

JP Morgan analyst, Frank Pan, said Evergrande was likely to go through the same process as developer China Fortune Land, which defaulted on $530m of dollar-denominated debt earlier this year.

Pan said: “That means a standstill for all creditors while allowing operations to continue.”

After a decade of warnings from economist on the threat posed by China’s rising debt levels, Beijing’s financial regulator last year imposed much tighter limits on real estate-related borrowing.

Evergrande has $18 billion of outstanding foreign-currency bonds, mostly held by Chinese banks and other institutions. 

Fears persist that China’s property sector, which has been a central engine of the country’s economic expansion, is facing an unprecedented slowdown because of the current tightened credit conditions.

If property companies default on their debts, investors who hold their bonds could find their finances under pressure, forcing them to sell other investments to raise cash, which could in turn impact on other markets beyond property and beyond China.

Evergrande, founded in 1996, is one of China’s biggest builders of apartments, office towers and shopping malls.

It is estimated to have more than 200,000 employees and supports almost 4 million jobs in construction and other industries through 1,300 projects in 280 cities across China.

Evergrande’s founder, Xu Jiayin, was China’s richest entrepreneur in 2017 with a net worth of $43 billion and remains the country’s richest real estate developer.