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JAFZA IS THE FIRST FREE ZONE TO BRING 5G TECHNOLOGY TO ITS CUSTOMERS

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  • The Leading Trade and Logistics Hub Joins Etisalat to Give Live 5G Experience to Its Customers

Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) and the UAE’s premier telecom provider Etisalat offered a glimpse of how 5G technology can revolutionise the way companies operating in Jafza will do business in the future.

The next-generation technology was demonstrated onboard through an Etisalat-Ericsson co-branded bus for DP World Officials, business leaders and employees. The guests experienced the Internet Speed Test Display, 5G Connected Display, 3D Hologram Communication, Remote Vehicle Control, in addition to industry-specific demonstrations.

Mohammed Al Muallem, CEO and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region and CEO of Jafza, said:

“The transition to 5G is the way forward for Jafza and all our business units. We pride ourselves in embracing frontier technologies to further enable smart-trade capabilities across our business portfolio. Disruptive technologies and changing behaviours are altering the way goods are manufactured, transported, bought and sold. Etisalat has demonstrated promising capabilities through this 5G bus tour and has showcased to the business community in Jafza which is home to over 7,500 companies from 140 countries, how 5G will revolutionise the way we do business.”

Salvador Anglada, Group Chief Business Officer, Etisalat, said: “5G is now a reality due to Etisalat’s continuous efforts in building and investing in future networks to enable innovation, and accelerating digital transformation. Building on our long-standing partnership with DP World, we are pleased to have provided a platform for Jafza officials, business leaders and employees to experience futuristic 5G use cases and digital transformation first-hand through the 5G experience bus. This is also in line with our overall strategy to ‘Drive the Digital Future to empower societies’.”

Jafza is the first in the UAE to bring 5G connectivity to its Free Zone customers and collaborate with Etisalat to showcase the innovative technology, demonstrate its capabilities and how it can support business digital transformation.

The bus tour is the beginning of a planned engagement between Jafza and Etisalat to explore, identify and develop bespoke applications to transform business activities in the Free Zone.

As the leading telecom group in emerging markets, Etisalat has set a new benchmark in the telecom industry. It became the first operator to launch the first commercial 5G wireless network in MENA in 2018.

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MI CAPITAL Group restructures business to become independent financial advisory

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  • UAE-based MI CAPITAL Group was previously affiliated with an Audit Firm Kreston Menon through some cross shareholdings in one of the Group Company
  • Mr Sheetal Soni resigns as partner from Kreston Menon to focus on growth and expansion of MI CAPITAL
  • The Group to focus on spectrum of Advisory Services including Investment Banking,Corporate Finance, Debt and Equity, Mergers and Acquisition, Alternative Finance, Tax Consultancy, IFRS Advisory, FO Outsourcing, and GRC

MI CAPITAL Group, a UAE-based financial advisory, has restructured its management to become an
independent business group that will allow it to focus on core businesses.

MI CAPITAL Group specialises in investment banking, corporate finance, debt and equity, mergers and
acquisition, alternative finance, tax consultancy and investment advisory services.

“The restructuring of the company will help us to now focus on our core business and expand our bouquet
of services as well as expand geographically into other territories,” Sheetal Soni, Chief Executive Officer of
MI CAPITAL, says. “We will now expand our business both horizontally and vertically and will also expand
our team to service new territories and new clients.”

“This now enabled us to chart our own growth strategy independently. As a result, we are now expanding
as per our vision and in line with the market conditions.

MI CAPITAL comprises of a team of experts who work together to serve clients on a broad range of
Investment Banking and Corporate Finance issues and structured solutions.

Through a team of experts, the company offers its clients access to financing in the public and alternative capital markets through the issuance of debt, equity, working capital or hybrid securities. Our team has decades of combined experience and a track record of successfully delivering solutions in diversified market conditions.

Its presence in the region and deep relationships with various capital providers allows it to provide its
clients with the flexibility and support to meet their capital needs.

MI CAPITAL, with its financial advisors have been working closely with a number of businesses and helping them expand their businesses.

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Carrefour Introduces “Green Home” Zero-Waste Detergent Refill Station

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  • Customers can reduce plastic waste by 70% in the long-term

Carrefour, which is operated in the UAE by Majid Al Futtaim, has recently launched a zero-waste “Green Home” detergent refilling station in collaboration with Planet Pure, at its hypermarket in Mall of the Emirates. This is part of the retailer’s ongoing efforts to reduce single-use plastic waste in line with Majid Al Futtaim’s overarching goal to become net positive in carbon and water by 2040.

At least 10% of the 100 million tons of plastic we use every year end up in the oceans, which is equivalent to the weight of 700 billion plastic bottles, urgent action is required to remedy this. For example, if over the course of one year, a customer was to purchase 10 1L bottles of disposable dish soap, each weighing 55 grams, they would be generating 550 grams of plastic waste. However, if the same customer were to opt for the refill station and purchase a single 1L reusable bottle weighing 154 grams, and refill it just 10 times, they’d be reducing their plastic waste by 70%. The same principle applies to the reusable laundry detergent bottles – the more customers choose to refill the bottles, the less waste they generate.

Customers will now have the option to buy reusable bottles and fill them with certified organic, cruelty free detergent instead of buying new bottles whenever they run out of washing liquid. An RFID chip embedded into the label of each reusable bottle helps the station ensure that the right product is always dispensed.

The refilling station caters to a range of preferences, and features pomegranate-scented or lime-scented dish soap gel, in addition to lavender-scented or rose-scented washing liquid. With pilot testing underway at Carrefour’s hypermarket in Mall of the Emirates, customers can expect to find the station in more stores in due course.

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Abu Dhabi Government bodies reveal readiness for GITEX 2019

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Preparatory meeting held and attended by 32 government entities to ensure effective participation at the weeklong event.

The Government of Abu Dhabi, represented by 32 key government and academic entities, has expressed readiness in preparing its participation at ‘GITEX Technology Week’, which will be held from October 6 to 10, 2019, at the Dubai World Trade Center.

Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA), the leading governmental entity in charge of coordinating the participation of Abu Dhabi governmental entities in the exhibition, has recently held a preparatory meeting attended by representatives of participating government bodies to ensure effective participation. These efforts are aimed at strengthening Abu Dhabi Government’s efforts in leading the digital transformation in the Abu Dhabi Emirate.

H.E. Dr. Rauda Saeed Al Saadi, Director General of ADDA, commented: “ADDA is sparing no efforts to ensure the delivery of a unique experience during the Abu Dhabi Government’s participation in GITEX 2019. We will present a unified platform that brings together a total of 32 government entities within the emirate, featuring their latest achievements and successful efforts to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s digital transformation. This will further boost Abu Dhabi’s leadership in advanced technologies and in tapping technological innovation to deliver the efficient services, leading to government excellence.

Dr. Rauda Saeed Al Saadi emphasized the importance of government coordination and joint efforts of various entities to ensure that the Abu Dhabi Emirate has the best representation in showcasing its advanced government services. She added that GITEX is an ideal platform to showcase Abu Dhabi Government’s achievements and current efforts in further enhancing the Emirate’s global competitiveness to become a preferred global destination for investment and business.

This year, the pavilion of Abu Dhabi Government will feature four main areas, promoting the four pillars of the emirate’s digital agenda which are; government services, government solutions, data & applied intelligence, and eco-system enablement. The Pavilion will provide an ideal platform to showcase Abu Dhabi Government’s achievements and current efforts in further enhancing the Emirate’s global competitiveness.

Committed to enhancing the efficiency of government performance and enrich customer experience, the Abu Dhabi Government has been relentlessly working to provide integrated and innovative digital solutions, securing digital infrastructure and lead digital future of the government.

Through advanced solutions and technologies, various initiatives have been developed to guarantee an inspiring and innovative business environment that accelerates the digital transformation of the government services while providing a safe and reliable digital environment, and thereby effectively support Abu Dhabi’s comprehensive and sustainable development.

During the weeklong exhibition, the 32 government and academic entities will showcase more than 70 innovative initiatives and projects. The participating government entities include: Department of Economic Development, General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police, Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, Department of Health, Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), Department of Transport, Abu Dhabi Housing Authority, Abu Dhabi Agriculture & Food Safety Authority,  Department of Culture and Tourism, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Abu Dhabi Ports, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Department of Finance, Family Development Foundation, Statistics Center, General Administration of Customs, Department of Energy, Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company (ADSSC), Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, Abu Dhabi Media Company, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority, Abu Dhabi School of Government (ADSG), Social Care and Minors Affairs Foundation, Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions a d Benefits Fund, Integrated Transport Center, Hub 71, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Abu Dhabi Quality & Conformity Council (QCC), Khalifa University of Science & Technology, and Abu Dhabi Digital Authority.

In addition, the private sector will be strongly represented by some of the best global companies who are specialized in technology, innovation, and digital transformation such as Microsoft, Sprinklr, Cisco, IBM, Etisalat, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Automation Anywhere.

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Monetary stance of US Fed FOMC members

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The US Federal Reserve (Fed) has decided to cut rates for the second time in eleven years at its latest monetary policy meeting in September 17-18th. The target range for the benchmark fed funds rate was adjusted down by another 25 basis points (bps) to 1.75-2%. Official reasons for the cut included the “implication of global developments for the economic outlook as well as muted inflation pressures.” This rate cut was widely anticipated.

Out of nine voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), there were three dissents, including two “hawkish” votes against the cut (Esther George and  Eric Rosengren) and one “dovish” vote for a deeper cut of 50bps (James Bullard). Dissent in opposite directions are relatively rare in the history of the Fed.

In addition to that, the forward guidance (communication about official expectations of future policy actions) is suggesting a continuation of the current divergence. This is manifested in the “dot plot” or year-end forecasts of interest rates from all FOMC members. Out of 17 FOMC members, including both voting and non-voting members, a significant minority of seven members has projected a third rate cut in 2019. Most importantly, however, five members have decided to effectively show dissent against the most recent rate cut by submitting end-2019 dots of 2-2.25%, 25 bps above the actual rates.

A closer look at recent comments from FOMC members helps us understand the underlying reasons behind the divisions. We have identified at least three main topics of disagreement between “hawks” (supporters of less monetary stimulus) and “doves” (supporters of more monetary stimulus).

 

First, hawks tend to play down global uncertainty and emphasize the need for the materialization of risks before more supportive monetary policy actions are taken. Doves, on the other hand, believe risks and uncertainty are already amplifying challenging global conditions, suggesting monetary policymakers should try and get “ahead of the curve” or act more preventively.

Second, hawks tend to be more skeptical about the argument that the relationship between unemployment and inflation (Philips curve) is broken, i.e., that low levels of unemployment do not necessarily translates into higher future inflation. Hawks have been often pointing to multi-decade low levels of unemployment and episodic upticks in inflation to defend less supportive monetary policy. Doves argue that secular or long-term structural reasons have weakened the Philips curve considerably and therefore low levels of unemployment are less likely to produce a “inflation scare” or sudden rise in inflation expectations. Moreover, as inflation has undershot the target for several years, doves are more worried about a potential anchoring of long-term inflation expectations significantly below the 2% target.

Third, hawks tend to be more concerned about the potential impacts of excessively accommodative monetary policy on financial stability. Hawks are particularly worried about the bad incentives that low rates for longer can create, including capital misallocation and high indebtedness.

At of the time of writing, we view the FOMC as equally split between hawks and doves, with a higher number of more neutral members who are neither hawks nor doves. Given the lack of consensus about the path of policy rates, we expect the Fed to remain “behind the curve,” i.e., acting reactively instead of pro-actively. However, as we view warning signs in leading economic indicators pointing to a more significant US slowdown, we expect neutral members to become doves. Hence, we expect one more 25bps rate cut in 2019 and further easing in 2020.

 

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QNB Group receives approval to open a branch in Hong Kong

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QNB Group, a leading financial institution in the Middle East, Africa, and South East Asia (MEASEA), announced that it has obtained the regulatory approvals from Hong Kong Monetary Authority to open a branch in Hong Kong, one of the world’s global financial hubs.

The branch will provide a full range of banking products and services. It will also offer its award-winning expertise in the areas of trading securities and wealth management, as well as other innovative banking solutions.

On this occasion, Mr. Abdulla Mubarak Al-Khalifa, QNB Group Acting CEO, said: “Receiving the approval to open a branch in such an important market is another vital step in QNB Group’s international expansion plans to support its growth strategy and market leadership in MEASEA, as well as establish a foothold in highly competitive markets.”

Al-Khalifa added: “Growth in both Hong Kong and China is expected to continue, driven by trade opportunities, direct investments, and large infrastructure spending opportunities, and the Hong Kong branch offers the opportunity to leverage QNB’s in-depth expertise to capture investment and trade flows in this promising market.”

A significant volume of Hong Kong’s trade flows through countries where QNB Group is present. Hong Kong is the gateway for QNB Group’s clients to Mainland China and wider Asia and is the first stop for globalizing Chinese corporates. Moreover, the branch can further assist Chinese investments in the Middle East and Africa.

QNB Group has maintained its position as one of the highest rated regional banks from leading credit rating agencies including Standard & Poor’s (A), Moody’s (Aa3), Fitch (A+), and Capital Intelligence (AA-).

Based on the Group’s consistent strong financial performance and its expanding international presence, QNB is currently ranked as the most valuable bank brand in the Middle East and Africa, according to Brand Finance Magazine.

QNB Group’s presence through its subsidiaries and associate companies extends to more than 31 countries across three continents providing a comprehensive range of advanced products and services. The total number of employees is more than 30,000 operating through 1,100 locations, with an ATM network of more than 4,400 machines.

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DLD’s stand at Cityscape Global hosts US real estate delegation

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  • The delegation included over 400 real estate brokers, investors, businessmen, and consultants from Florida

Dubai Land Department’s (DLD) stand at Cityscape Global 2019 recorded a high level of activity throughout the three-day period 25 – 27 September at the Dubai World Trade Centre. One of the highlights was the welcoming of a US real estate delegation representing different aspects of investing in Dubai’s real estate market.

DLD’s welcoming of international delegations comes as part of the Promotion and Real Estate Investment Management sector’s plan to promote Dubai’s real estate market around the world and reach effective partnerships with real estate brokerage and consultancy companies. The members of the current and previous delegations will be ambassadors qualified to highlight the unique investment characteristics in Dubai, one of the leading investment destinations around the world. Cityscape Global 2019 was the ideal opportunity for all members of the delegation to see the most important projects being developed in the Emirate, meet the developers, and familiarise themselves with their plans and future projects.

The US delegation from Florida included over 400 real estate brokers, investors, businessmen, and consultants as well as representatives from promotion trustee Century 21. Their visit was full of activities and events, where DLD organised a number of specialised workshops that allowed them to explore various aspects of Dubai’s real estate market.

The members of the delegation expressed their admiration of a number of high-quality projects that guarantee residents ideal lifestyles in addition to presenting distinctive specifications that reflect the sophistication of the architectural civilisation in the Emirate. The delegation’s schedule included a comprehensive tour to visit a number of developer sites and a special meeting with DLD’s top management, which was attended by HE Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director General of DLD, and Majida Ali Rashid, CEO of the Promotion and Real Estate Investment Management sector. During the meeting, several presentations were made, and the many suggestions made by the delegation were discussed.

On 26 September, the services of the Real Estate Investment Opportunities (REIOs) initiative were showcased, including crowdfunding and real estate investment trusts (REITs) as well as the support provided by DLD to these two initiatives. This visit is a continuation of DLD’s ongoing efforts to attracting brokers and investors from around the world and informing them of the exceptional investment opportunities in Dubai as well as the developers’ completed & in-progress projects.

This is the fourth time DLD welcomes a US delegation, with the first having been in January when DLD welcomed a delegation of over 150 agents and 11 investors. The second was in March and included 70 persons, and the third in May featured 70 persons. The current delegation previously took the Certified International Property Consultant (CIPC) online course by Dubai Real Estate Institute, where they received certificates during their current visit.

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30 ADNOC Future Leaders Receive Training at Emirates Diplomatic Academy

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The Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s leading international relations and diplomatic institution, concluded a five-day ‘General Diplomacy Programme’ for 30 members of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Future Leaders.

Now in its second consecutive year, the bespoke programme was developed to meet the objectives of the ‘ADNOC Leadership Program’. EDA’s curriculum included three skills courses and one workshop that created an active learning environment, involving intensive teamwork and class interaction. Each session aimed to foster innovation and collaboration among peers, resulting in a unique opportunity to refresh old skills and acquire new ones.

The first skill course on diplomacy provided an introduction into diplomacy and the difference between contemporary and classical diplomacy as well as how diplomacy links to security, media and public opinions. It also included an overview of economic, environmental, cultural and multilateral diplomacy, and highlights the changing role of embassies in promoting interstate relations.

The second course on ‘Diplomatic Protocol and Etiquette’ aimed to improve the communication skills of senior diplomats, with respect to different cultures, and to master international business etiquette.

The third course focused on effective negotiation skills and strategies in international organisations and companies. Participants examined the influence of cultural factors on international negotiations, studied the causes of deadlocks and how to best address them.

The programme will conclude with a workshop on energy and climate change in international affairs, in order to enhance participants’ understanding of the challenges as well as the industry’s latest updates. The workshop will shed light on the global climate change regime which evolves under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Participants will learn about the emergence and development of the global cooperative response to climate change and the interests of different countries in regards to this issue. The workshop will also allow participants to experience multilateral negotiations and decision-making first-hand through interactive simulation exercises.

The certificate award ceremony was attended by Ghannam Al Mazrouei, Director of Human Capital and Administration Directorate of ADNOC, alongside EDA management, staff and faculty.

Mariam Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Acting Deputy Director General and Director of Executive Training at EDA, said: “It is the responsibility of every citizen to be a good representative of their nation. This duty does not only rest with diplomats and foreign service officers. Today, diplomacy has other non-traditional players, including government officials, corporations, think tanks, NGOs, entertainers, athletes and even the media.”

She added: “EDA’s training for ADNOC Future Leaders represents yet another way for the Academy to fulfil its mandate of preparing individuals to represent the UAE on the global stage. We are confident it will help the participants become competent leaders of their company and our country during events and meetings at home and abroad, whether on business trips or those of a personal nature.”

Designed to optimise learning and knowledge transfer, EDA’s programmes and courses incorporate lectures, assessments, case studies, group activities, coaching and simulations. The Academy’s blended teaching methodology results in a highly-engaged classroom and deep long-lasting learning outcomes.

EDA offers a wide range of executive training programmes for established professionals that cover topics from economic diplomacy and political analysis to international law and consensus building. The programmes complement the Academy’s specialised areas of focus that include education of future diplomats, research and analysis.

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Minister of Climate Change and Environment: UAE to Pass Federal Law on Climate to Mainstream Adaptation, Resilience across Sectors

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On the sidelines of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, announced that the UAE will pass a federal law on climate that sets out an inclusive framework for climate action. The law will require authorities to assess and mitigate climate risks prior to proceeding with projects, thus effectively mainstreaming climate adaptation and resilience across sectors.

He made the announcement at a session of the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), hosted by His Excellency Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, together with the Commission’s co-chairs, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General, Her Excellency Kristalina Georgieva, and Bill Gates.

In his speech, His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi announced the UAE’s decision to join GCA that aspires to advance climate adaptation solutions.

He said: “We are delighted to join GCA and bring our perspective as a climate-vulnerable Middle Eastern country and a global donor. In this context, we have begun to mainstream resilience into UAE foreign aid. Our US$50 million UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund has seen power plants built to Category 5 hurricane standards and relocated out of vulnerable zones. The Fund also ‘builds back better’. A prime example is the newly announced green, resilient power system for Barbuda in the wake of Hurricane Irma that is planned under an innovative partnership between Antigua and Barbuda, the UAE, New Zealand, and the CARICOM Development Fund.”

He added: “We propose to partner with GCA during the world’s largest event championing sustainable development – Expo 2020 in Dubai. With 25 million expected visitors and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its heart, Expo 2020 will provide a powerful platform to promote GCA and its recommendations.”

Moreover, His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi participated in a World Economic Forum-led session on ‘Scaling Solutions for Circular Plastics’ that brought together key players across value chains to identify practical solutions to global plastic pollution as part of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 74).

The Minister noted that the UAE government is implementing integrated waste management projects and initiatives across the country. A prime example is the refuse-derived fuel (RDF) facility that is currently in the works and is projected to treat an average of 1,200 tons of municipal solid waste daily.

The UAE government was also the first signatory to the World Economic Forum’s SCALE 360 initiative that aims to drive the transition towards a more circular economy while using less natural resources and reducing pollution to tackle climate change. The initiative advocates the adoption of a circular economy model that leverages Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to keep resources in use for as long as possible.

His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi highlighted some of the most prominent plastic recyclers in the UAE. These included Industrium Group, a pioneer manufacturer of plastic packaging for food products, Tadweer Waste Treatment, the first environmental company in the Middle East that offers integrated waste management solutions, CONSENT Plastic, a premier manufacturer of polyester straps and PET flakes with the largest production capacity in the Middle East, and Emirates Environmental Technology, one of the leading providers of high-tech environmental services for the waste management industry.

He also shared plans for the first high-impact post-consumer recycling facility for PET plastics in the country, to be established by Alliances for Global Sustainability (AGS) in Abu Dhabi and set to become fully operational by 2021. In its first phase, the facility will have the capacity to recycle approximately 19,000 metric tons of post-consumer PET bottles and food containers into food-grade PET pellets.

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UAE Set To Become A World Leader In Future Learning Groundbreaking Virtual Reality Learning Lab To Open In September  

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The first Multiplayer Virtual Reality Leadership Lab built outside of China will be opening its doors to clients in the Middle East this September in Dubai Production City, the region’s leading community for storytelling, publishing, printing, and packaging industries. Brought to Dubai by the region’s leading training company, Biz Group, the Multiplayer Leadership Lab is backed by the latest technology from HTC VIVE™, leaders in room-scale Virtual Reality (VR), and developed by Jenson8, a global Virtual Reality learning content specialist.

Biz Group has created a fully-fledged Virtual Reality Centre at their headquarters in Dubai with numerous pods for multi-person use. The Biz Group Multiplayer Leadership Lab brings the pioneering application of immersive VR technology and unique gamification content, together with expert behavioural psychology. This revolutionises how business leaders and teams learn new skills and thrive in the workplace of the future.

The upcoming launch marks the beginning of a new era for leadership training in the region and supports the ambitious goals of the UAE to help foster future-ready leaders that are equipped to face the challenges that an ever-evolving global business landscape presents. Developing a ‘competitive knowledge economy’ is one of the key pillars of the UAE National Agenda in line with Vision 2021.

“Biz Group has been pioneering the learning space for the past 25 years and is proud to be bringing another global trend to Dubai with the launch of the region’s first Multiplayer VR Leadership Lab,’’ said Hazel Jackson, CEO of Biz Group. “In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, we believe that Virtual Reality accelerates the business impact of our LearningJourneysTM, bringing a disruptive and powerful learning methodology that is truly unique to achieving the leadership capabilities that modern leaders need.”

Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Production City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Studio City, said: “We are proud to host the region’s first Multiplayer Virtual Reality Leadership Lab in Dubai Production City. The Lab is a game changer that will strengthen Dubai’s track record in content creation and purposeful application of emerging technologies, contributing to the UAE vision of preparing future-focused leaders and further growing our innovation-led economy.”

He added: “Our media communities offer an ideal environment for innovation and business expansion. In the past few years, the VR segment has witnessed unprecedented growth due to the emergence of new talent, technologies and content. We are happy to see this technology being used effectively in the areas of corporate training, education, as well as entertainment, providing a wealth of opportunities for investment.”

Congratulating Biz Group for their role in enabling future business leaders in the UAE to foresee the road ahead, Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy mandated to develop the SME sector, said the VR Leadership Lab is a strategic addition to the comprehensive entrepreneurial and business ecosystem evolving in Dubai. “Digital innovations will determine the competitiveness and sustainability of the future business environment and leadership. As a Dubai SME company we are proud to see the Biz Group bringing in innovative experiences that encourage technology adoption and best practices in grooming future leaders.”

The launch follows a growing trend in the adoption of VR for training as leaders shift from the limits of today’s jobs to new, previously unimagined futures. Walmart, BMW, Verizon and many other Fortune 500 companies are already using VR to develop soft skills.

Based on statistics from the World Economic Forum, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling by 2022. The Future of Jobs Report 2018, states that “In order to harness the transformative potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, business leaders across all industries and regions will increasingly be called upon to formulate a comprehensive workforce strategy ready to meet the challenges of this new era of accelerating change and innovation.”

According to the WEF report, skills continuing to grow in prominence by 2022 include analytical thinking and innovation as well as active learning and learning strategies. ‘Human’ skills such as creativity, originality and initiative, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation will likewise retain or increase their value, as will attention to detail, resilience, flexibility and complex problem-solving. Emotional intelligence, leadership and social influence as well as service orientation also see an outsized increase in demand relative to their current prominence.

Jena Davidson, founder and CEO of Jenson8, explains: ‘’Disruptive technology, disruptive innovation, new competitors and new market dynamics are all challenges leaders have to face today. Our virtual worlds are powerful training environments where players are faced with stressful challenges within unfamiliar virtual surroundings, requiring them to be agile thinkers and adapt to a future-focused world. We believe this cutting-edge technology and truly immersive experience supports the development of evolving leadership capabilities at a much deeper level than traditional training environments can ever offer.‘’

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