Report calls for urgent action to tackle hunger crisis in E. Africa

Today, nearly half a million people across parts of Somalia and Ethiopia are facing famine-like conditions. In Kenya, 3.5 million people are suffering from extreme hunger. (Save the Children)
Today, nearly half a million people across parts of Somalia and Ethiopia are facing famine-like conditions. In Kenya, 3.5 million people are suffering from extreme hunger. (Save the Children)
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Updated 22 May 2022

Report calls for urgent action to tackle hunger crisis in E. Africa

Today, nearly half a million people across parts of Somalia and Ethiopia are facing famine-like conditions. (Save the Children)

One person is likely dying of hunger every 48 seconds in drought-ravaged Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, according to estimates by Oxfam and Save the Children in a report published on Wednesday in partnership with the Jameel Observatory, highlighting the world’s repeated failure to stave off preventable disasters.
More than a decade since the delayed response to the 2011 famine that killed more than 260,000 people in Somalia — half of them  children under five — the world is once again failing to avert catastrophic hunger in East Africa. Today, nearly half a million people across parts of Somalia and Ethiopia are facing famine-like conditions. In Kenya, 3.5 million people are suffering from extreme hunger. Urgent appeals are woefully funded, as other crises, including the war in Ukraine, are worsening the region’s escalating hunger crisis.

Donors, development agencies, governments and the private sector must work together with affected communities to prepare and respond to risks, rather than wait for crises to spiral out of control.

Dr. Guyo Roba, Head of the Jameel Observatory

The number of people experiencing extreme hunger in the three countries has more than doubled since last year — from over 10 million to more than 23 million today. This is against a backdrop of crippling debt that more than tripled in under a decade — from $20.7 billion in 2012 to $65.3 billion by 2020 — sucking these countries’ resources from public services and social protection.
The report, Dangerous Delay 2: The Cost of Inaction, examines the changes in the humanitarian aid system since 2011. It finds that despite an improved response to the 2017 East Africa drought when widespread famine was averted, the national and global responses have largely remained too slow and too limited to prevent a repeat today.
“Despite worsening warning signs over time, world leaders have responded woefully — too late and still too little — leaving millions of people facing catastrophic hunger. Starvation is a political failure,” said Gabriella Bucher, Oxfam International’s executive director.
Entrenched bureaucracies and self-serving political choices continue to curtail a unified global response, despite improved warning systems and efforts by local NGOs, the report finds.
The report sheds light on the continued failure of donors and aid agencies to prioritize local organizations at the forefront of the crisis response, which slowed down the response further, even when they were ready to act.
Save the Children’s regional spokesperson for East and Southern Africa Shako Kijala said: “We’re seeing horrific numbers of severe malnutrition with 5.7 million children currently acutely malnourished, including more than 1.7 million who are severely acutely malnourished. And with the UN warning that more than 350,000 could die in Somalia if we do not act, the clock is ticking and every minute that passes is a minute too close to starvation and possible death of a child. How can we live with that if we let it happen again?”
Dr. Guyo Roba, head of the Jameel Observatory, said: “Donors, development agencies, governments and the private sector must work together with affected communities to prepare and respond to risks, rather than wait for crises to spiral out of control.”
Oxfam, Save the Children and the Jameel Observatory are calling for urgent action to tackle the catastrophic hunger crisis in East Africa. To help save lives now, G7 and Western leaders must immediately inject money to meet the $4.4 billion UN appeal for Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, and ensure the funding is flexible enough to be used where it is most needed.
Donors must guarantee that at least 25 percent of funds go to local responders at the heart of response. Moreover, governments of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia must scale up social protection to help people cope with multiple shocks.
They should invest at least 10 percent of their budgets in agriculture, with a particular focus on smallholder and female farmers, as they had agreed in the African Union Malabo Declaration of 2014.

 


Aldar launches Grove District on UAE’s Saadiyat Island

Aldar launches Grove District on UAE’s Saadiyat Island
Updated 25 June 2022

Aldar launches Grove District on UAE’s Saadiyat Island

Aldar launches Grove District on UAE’s Saadiyat Island

Aldar Properties has announced the launch of apartments at Grove District, a new project that seeks to bring inspirational living to the heart of Abu Dhabi’s cultural epicenter on Saadiyat Island.

Grove District sits within Aldar’s flagship Saadiyat Grove development, and its apartments boast partial views of the sea, as well as the island’s three iconic landmarks: Zayed National Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The development, when completed, will comprise 612 units in five residential buildings across luxury, lifestyle, and urban themed districts.

Each building will be interconnected with a unique retail-focused experience associated with the district in which it is located, intertwining art, dining, and lifestyle to create a culture-focused retail oasis in the UAE like no other. In a first for Aldar, Grove District will also feature amenity-themed lobbies in each building, which will aim to inspire and facilitate creativity among residents in engaging and open spaces.

Available for buyers of all nationalities, Grove District will be launched in phases, with 102 studios, one- and two-bedroom units available in the first building (Grove Museum Views), which is located in the lifestyle-themed district. Sales will start on June 25, with units starting from 905,000 dirhams ($246,400) for a studio, 1,400,000 dirhams for a one-bedroom apartment, and 2,399,000 dirhams for a two-bedroom unit.

Saadiyat Grove, Aldar’s iconic 10-billion-dirham landmark destination, will feature 60,000 square meters of experiential retail, entertainment and leisure spaces designed to create a lively and inclusive community. Including Grove District, the mixed-use destination will feature approximately 3,000 residential units, two hotels and co-working spaces for new enterprises and startups.

Rashed Al-Omaira, chief commercial officer at Aldar Development, said: “Since its launch, Saadiyat Grove has become Abu Dhabi’s most anticipated lifestyle destination, due to the array of cultural, leisure, and entertainment experiences it will bring to residents and visitors of Abu Dhabi. Grove District is Aldar’s latest residential offering within Saadiyat Grove, closely following the successful launch of Louvre Residences Abu Dhabi, and is set to bring a new dimension of vibrancy and modern living to the Island. The new destination will attract residents seeking a lively community that celebrates art, culture, retail, and entertainment in all types and forms.”

Each of the three districts at the development have been carefully designed to create and deliver memorable experiences, in line with Aldar’s commitment to customer centricity. Residents will benefit from a wide range of high-quality amenities, including a residents’ lounge, art workshop spaces, swimming pools, gyms, luxury games room and more, as well as direct access to a jogging track and meditation lawns. The development will also offer access to a landscape deck with greenery to enhance physical and mental well-being within the community.

As with Saadiyat Grove, the entire Grove District development has been designed with sustainability at its heart. Units have been built to meet the highest sustainability standards, with residential buildings targeted to achieve an Estidama two-pearl rating and an international LEED silver certification. Construction of the development commenced earlier this year, with handovers expected to begin in Q2 2025.


MYNM offers 50/50 payment option for BMW X5 40i M

MYNM offers 50/50 payment option for BMW X5 40i M
Updated 25 June 2022

MYNM offers 50/50 payment option for BMW X5 40i M

MYNM offers 50/50 payment option for BMW X5 40i M

Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors, the official importer of BMW Group in Saudi Arabia, has announced an exclusive summer offer on the BMW X5 40i M Sport Package, in partnership with Al-Rajhi Bank. Customers can now avail the 50/50 payment option when buying the model, for a limited period of time.

Valid from June 30 until July 13, MYNM customers are eligible to receive the exclusive payment offer, where new buyers can pay 50 percent upon purchase and 50 percent after two years of purchase, to drive away with the innovative BMW X5 40i M in a Sport Package design, while stocks last.

Moreover, new owners will also receive a BMW warranty package valid up to three years or 200,000 km, and a BMW service inclusive package, also valid for up to three years or 60,000 km, with their purchase of the X5 40i M Sport Package.

“These benefits, in addition to a zero percent profit rate and no administrative fees, represent the ultimate deal to kickstart the early summer celebrations in style,” a statement said.

Mark Notkin, BMW group managing director at MYNM, said: “Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors is delighted to officially announce this unique 50/50 purchasing offer on the thrilling BMW X5 40i M Sport Package this month, as we welcome the summer season in style this year.

“The BMW X5 40i M in its illustrious Sport Package is a smooth drive with innovative engineering at its core, and we are pleased to present this offer to the Kingdom this month with a host of benefits to new owners while stocks last. We hope to see many happy new BMW drivers leaving our showrooms this month and urge potential buyers to kick-start their summer today.”


Sheraton Jeddah opens, unveiling brand’s new vision

Sheraton Jeddah opens, unveiling brand’s new vision
Updated 23 June 2022

Sheraton Jeddah opens, unveiling brand’s new vision

Sheraton Jeddah opens, unveiling brand’s new vision

Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 brands, has unveiled the Sheraton Jeddah Hotel. The newly renovated hotel exemplifies the brand’s worldwide elevation of the guest experience, showcasing signature key elements from the new concept that seek to create an environment where guests are truly at ease, whether working, meeting, or relaxing. Drawing on its roots as a community hub for locals and guests at flagship locations, the new approach for Sheraton creates an intuitive and holistic experience with places to connect and be productive.

“We are delighted to introduce Sheraton’s new design vision in Saudi Arabia and look forward to welcoming guests to discover the modernized look,” said Ahmed Hozaien, area vice president — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, Marriott International. “Sheraton Hotels and Resorts has a long-standing history in this market, and we are proud to build on this legacy showcasing the brand’s contemporary updates as part of its global transformation. The reimagining of Sheraton Jeddah Hotel reinforces our commitment to offering premium accommodation for leisure and business travelers who are seeking an elevated experience, while enjoying all the familiar comforts of the Sheraton brand.”

Following extensive renovations, Sheraton Jeddah offers 172 redesigned guestrooms and suites. Guests are welcomed into a natural light-filled space with warm, residential appeal, along with new tools for productivity including a height-adjustable work table with integrated power and charging stations, while still retaining some of the classic Sheraton signature amenities such as the iconic “Sheraton Sleep Experience” bed. Enhanced technology in the guestrooms include upgraded internet connectivity and 55-inch TVs with built-in Chromecast and live streaming. Flooded with natural light and featuring soft finishes and light wood tones, the guestrooms offer expansive views of the Red Sea.

HIGHLIGHT

Surrounded by local attractions, the hotel is located in a popular leisure destination for residents and travelers alike with direct access to explore the Red Sea’s coral reefs through either snorkeling or diving.

The new lobby serves as the heart of the guest experience featuring a refreshed and contemporary aesthetic. Reimagined as a holistic, open space, the elevated lobby features Sheraton’s signature design elements aimed to foster a sense of community and ignite productivity, including the brand’s signature “Community Tables,” tech-enabled Studios, and purpose-built workspaces. Thrive Café is the anchor of the public space, serving international and local flavors from morning to evening.

Ahmed Hozaien Area, Marriott International's vice president for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain  and Egypt. (Supplied)

The Sheraton Club offers breathtaking views across the Red Sea. The exclusive space available to Marriott Bonvoy Elite members and guests who upgrade their stay, is welcoming, stylish, and purposefully designed for an engaging experience. Here guests can enjoy complimentary breakfast, evening appetizers, and a selection of refreshments.

Three elevated dining venues offer international and local cuisine, all-day dining and outdoor BBQ grills overlooking the Red Sea. Surrounded by local attractions, the hotel is located in a popular leisure destination for residents and travelers alike with direct access to explore the Red Sea’s coral reefs through either snorkeling or diving. For guests seeking adventure, there is a vast range of entertainment facilities and cultural attractions nearby, including the Fakieh Aquarium, Red Sea Mall, the historic Al-Balad section of the city, and The Royal Greens Golf and Country Club — with an 18-hole championship golf course.

Additional facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, Sheraton Fitness Center for men and women, tennis and squash courts, five meeting rooms, and a ballroom with private access.


Middle East Paper Company taps SAP for digital transformation

Middle East Paper Company taps SAP for digital transformation
Updated 23 June 2022

Middle East Paper Company taps SAP for digital transformation

Middle East Paper Company taps SAP for digital transformation

The Middle East Paper Company, the largest paper manufacturer in the Middle East and Africa, is deploying solutions from global software company SAP SE in an effort to streamline its business processes and increase efficiencies as part of a regional and global expansion strategy.

MEPCO’s comprehensive digital transformation journey is aligned closely with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which has technology adoption and sustainability among its key pillars. In partnership with SAP, the paper production and waste management organization has automated, aligned and enhanced its most core internal business processes, and is now focusing on its B2B customer experience offering. In its next phase, MEPCO will deploy e-commerce solutions to deliver rich omnichannel experiences to its customers, from content management and customization to order processing, as it delivers more than 15 different products to the packaging, construction and furniture sectors across five continents.

On the sidelines of a signing event for the new deployment, Sami Alsafran, group president at MEPCO, said: “Manufacturing is a critical growth sector in Saudi Arabia and MEPCO is determined to institute global best practice to not only compete regionally and internationally, but to lead our industry in alignment with the country’s Vision 2030. Digital transformation with SAP has enhanced our business practices as well as our focus on health and safety, and now we are bringing that same focus and commitment to new channels in MEPCO’s customer experience offering.”

In the initial phase of its technology strategy, MEPCO deployed the SAP S/4HANA platform to deliver real-time data insights across its enterprise, as well as a single view of its entire operation for more informed decision-making. Given SAP’s expertise in the manufacturing sector, its solutions also enabled MEPCO to reduce manufacturing cycle time, enhancing the efficiency of the company’s manufacturing-related functions and ultimately streamlining processes and inventory levels.

Abdelmohsen Abo Hashem, group IT head at MEPCO, added: “The forthcoming digital transformation scope for MEPCO includes an elevated e-commerce customer ordering and engagement process through SAP’s CX commerce solution, with future stages incorporating greater automation and robotics in the manufacturing and waste management functions. MEPCO will rely on SAP solutions to support customer-facing functions including logistics, regional and international trade, and planning, as the company expands beyond its current footprint of more than 50 markets.”

Ahmed Alfaifi, senior vice president, Middle East North, SAP, added: “MEPCO’s commitment to increasing productivity and efficiencies both within its supply chain and in its overall enterprise underscores the organization’s leadership, not only in Saudi Arabia but regionally. With global expansion as a priority, the focus on elevating the customer experience through SAP’s solutions will continue to advance MEPCO’s business goals and set a dynamic example for other companies’ digital transformation aspirations.”


Bentley’s new Continental GT & GTC S have sharper edge

Bentley’s new Continental GT & GTC S have sharper edge
Updated 21 June 2022

Bentley’s new Continental GT & GTC S have sharper edge

Bentley’s new Continental GT & GTC S have sharper edge

Following the successful launch of Azure’s “well-being” range in Saudi Arabia, Bentley has now introduced the new Continental GT and GTC S range for drivers wanting to focus on pure driving pleasure. Adding an even sharper edge to the Grand Tourer family, the new S range boasts a multitude of enhancements to the exterior design and interior specifications.

“Effortlessly elegant, the sculpted bodywork and hand-finished paintwork of the Continental GT and GTC models combine to create one of the world’s most breathtaking luxury cars,” the carmaker said in a statement. “The muscular exterior design is a statement of intent, more sculpted and sharply defined than ever. With exceptional driving characteristics, the Grand Tourer experience allows drivers to explore the full breadth of performance and class-leading comfort, including the powerful performance of the 6-liter W12 Continental GT Speed to the dynamic 4-liter Continental GT V8.”

Peter Smith, general manager, Bentley Saudi Arabia, said: “Bentley created the modern, luxury Grand Tourer segment in 2003 with the launch of the original Continental GT. The latest, third-generation Bentley Continental GT remains the pinnacle luxury coupe in the world, blending spirited performance with the latest in cutting-edge technology. Now, with the arrival of the Continental GT and GTC S series, owners can choose to emphasize the sporting character of the 4-liter V8-powered Bentley Continental GT, thanks to a package of performance-focused design and engineering features.”

The new S range retains the 542 bhp and 770 Nm 4-liter V8 engine, which has already proved popular with drivers in the Kingdom, delivering a time of just 4 seconds for 0-100 km/h. For the GT and GTC S, the engine is enhanced by a Sports Exhaust to amplify the crossplane V8 beat, to further add to the thrill of the driving experience for the driver and passengers.

The eager, free-revving, and lighter 4-liter V8 engine gives the Continental GT S models a responsive and agile character, and this is amplified by Bentley Dynamic Ride — the advanced 48V electric active anti-roll control system first pioneered by Bentley to minimize body roll under hard cornering, while also improving ride comfort at cruising speeds by decoupling the left- and right-hand wheels.

From the black gloss radiator grille and black brightware to distinctive S badging on the front fenders, the new S models make an instant and dramatic impact. Headlamps and rear lights are dark tinted, while all exterior brightware is specified in gloss black — with only the winged Bentley badge and lettering being finished in bright chrome. Gloss black wings build on the darker exterior look.