An employee inspects machines for the production of bitcoins at a mining centre in Kirishi, Russia. AFP
With rules for initial coin offerings to be finalised by mid-2019, the UAE is all set to join the ranks of top global financial markets regulating crypto-assets and will be among the leading regional destinations for blockchain related businesses and investments, say experts.
This initiative will add the UAE, the second-biggest Arab economy, to the expanding list of global regulators that have decided to standardise ICOs. Japan’s Financial Services Agency is screening cryptocurrency exchanges before registration, while New York State Department of Financial Services is issuing BitLicence to companies who want to operate in virtual currencies.
“The UAE is perfectly positioned to be a global leader in the ICO space,” said Hans Fraikin, chief executive of Libra Project in Abu Dhabi, which is issuing equity tokens in green utility infrastructure. (Mr Fraikin is also a board member on the Canadian Business Council (CBC) Abu Dhabi).
For Tokenised start-ups using encrypted blockchain technology, the UAE is the most progressive and promising jurisdiction in the world to be based out of right now, Mr Fraikin said.
Abu Dhabi Global Market, one of the fastest growing financial hub in the region, and Dubai International Financial Centre are both keen to implement crypto-exchange legislation in 2019.
"If they succeed as planned, they will be at the forefront of this new burgeoning global securities sector,” Mr Fraikin added.
Except for a couple of smaller jurisdictions such as Malta and Gibraltar, other national regulators and larger jurisdictions are still trying to figure out how to regulate the new crypto-asset industry.
The UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), which supervises and monitors the markets, has approved ICOs as securities and will work with the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Dubai Financial Market to develop trading platforms for ICOs next year.
“Being one of the first jurisdictions looking to regulate ICOs… the UAE is at the forefront of the industry,” said Andrea Bonaceto, chief executive of Eterna Capital – a fund management firm in London.
“Owing to the government’s efforts to keep actively modernising its financial infrastructure, the UAE will become a competitive location to attract ICOs and blockchain related investments in 2019.”
However, industry experts said it is very important for the UAE to focus on developing its own community of developers and users to ensure a sustainable future of the sector in the country. Off late, there have been some efforts on that front with development of programmes such as the ConsenSys Academy, whose first class of blockchain developers graduated in Dubai in October last year.
Recent bad run of ICOs is also a reason to worry for the crypto industry.
Significant number of ICOs launched in 2017 and early 2018 are going through a difficult time, said Mr Bonaceto. “While this could be explained by a dramatic downward price correction experienced in 2018, in most circumstances it could have been prevented [to some extent] with a better treasury management.”
ICOs offer a way of crowdfunding to smaller enterprises, other than internet-based platforms. They raised $3.3 billion (Dh12bn) through 412 projects in the first quarter of 2018, according to ICO Rating, a global ratings agency for the cryptocurrency market.
ICOs are an opportunity to finance the small- and medium-sized enterprises and a novel way of crowdfunding that is away from traditional tools, Obaid Al Zaabi, the chief executive of Emirates Securities and Commodities told The National last week.
“ICOs are a global phenomenon… while looking at rapid developments in other domains like artificial intelligence, robotics and transportation - many global players will prefer UAE if there are clear regulations governing ICOs,” said Raghu Yadav, vice president of cryptocurrency start-up MetaBit in Beijing.
Besides fuelling global industry, having more players in this domain will also add value to Abu Dhabi's own blockchain ambitions, Mr Yadav said.
UAE unveiled the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 in April this year, which aims to switch almost 50 per cent of government transactions to blockchain platforms in three years. Dubai Government has its own strategy that aims to help the emirate become the first city in the world to be fully powered by blockchain by 2020.
TORONTO, 20th December, 2018 (WAM) -- Fahad Saeed Mohammed Al Raqbani, UAE Ambassador to Canada, underlined the advanced technological readiness boasted by the UAE and its ability to attract and host international companies from key sectors.
Al Raqbani made the statements during a session organised by the UAE Embassy and Consulate in Canada, to promote the activities of the UAE-Canada Business Council, on the first day of the Toronto Global Forum, which is part of the International Economic Forum of the Americas, IEFA.
Al Raqbani noted that the trade exchange between the UAE and Canada exceeded US$1.6 billion in 2017, and shed light on the business opportunities provided by the UAE to Canadian companies.
He highlighted the country’s investment-conducive environment and underlined the UAE’s ability to keep pace with global developments.
During the forum, a short CNN documentary was shown on the world-class initiatives and strategies adopted by various Emirati institutions to facilitate business activities and create a sustainable economic future.
On the sidelines of the forum, Al Raqbani met with Navdeep Bains, Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, to discuss ways of accelerating bilateral relations, across various domains, primarily innovation and space, in line with the Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by the two sides, with the Canadian minister commending the UAE’s overall development drive.
The event was attended by Sultan Ali Al Harbi, UAE Consul-General in Toronto, and several senior officials, businessmen and representatives of business councils.
WAM/Rola Alghoul/Hatem Mohamed
Alberta will have a permanent presence in the United Arab Emirates starting early next year in an effort to ramp up trade.
The province signed a three-year contract with the Canada-United Arab Emirates Business Council (CUBC), which will be responsible for trade promotion, organizing trade missions and helping Canadian investors navigate opportunities in places including Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
It’s a similar model used for establishing the San Francisco trade office, and will cost about $200,000 per year, said Trade Minister Deron Bilous.
He added it will make Alberta the second province after Ontario to have boots on the ground in UAE to build trade partnerships.
Alberta has established relationships with UAE companies already — in 2017, the province exported $257.3 million worth of goods there, making the UAE the sixth-ranked country to receive provincial exports. Canola and wheat accounted for the bulk of that trade.
“Fifty per cent of the UAE investments in Canada are in Alberta,” Bilous said in an interview Monday. “They’re looking at increasing their investments in our province.”
CUBC president and executive director Mustafa Sahin touted Calgary-based companies Taqa North Ltd. and Nova Chemicals Ltd. as examples of how UAE investment has flourished in Alberta.
He said the Alberta office will be up and running in time for the Gulfood Expo in February. The event in Dubai is the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade exhibition.
“My mandate broadly is to help Canada and the UAE grow their relationship,” Sahin said in a Sunday interview.
Bilous visited the UAE in 2017 on a trade mission. Earlier this year, a delegation of senior UAE officials including president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) were in Calgary for the Stampede Investment Forum.
Similarly to Alberta, the UAE has been trying to move away from a solely energy-based economy, Sahin said.
“They’ve gotten to the point where less than 30 per cent of their GDP is industry,” he said, adding tourism, logistics and services have helped to diversify the economy.
Sahin said part of the CUBC mandate will to be ensure a certain number of trade missions every year. “So there will be a persistent Alberta face on the ground there.”
Dubai is a strategic hub, Sahin said.
“From Dubai you can get to Shanghai, London and Johannesburg,” he said. “This also provides another access, indirectly, into some of these markets Canada wants to get into.”
Bilous echoed that benefit — “Dubai is a four-hour flight from one-third of the world’s population. That is significant.”
From March 8 to 22, 2019, Abu Dhabi and Dubai (for select sporting events) will welcome more than 7,000 athletes to compete in 24 sports at the Special Olympics World Games 2019. Special Olympics is a sporting event for people with intellectual disabilities.
Team Canada will be there in full force, with more than 150 athletes, coaches, and staff.
The Special Olympics Local Organizing Committee is recruiting volunteers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for a variety of roles, including communications, operations, guest services, medical, and language services. Most volunteering hours will be between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., and volunteers have to commit to at least four shifts.
For more information and to apply, please visit: https://www.abudhabi2019.org/get-involved/volunteer
To volunteer specifically with Team Canada, consider applying to be one of six Delegation Assistant Liaison (DAL) for the Canadian delegation.
DALs will accompany Team Canada from breakfast to dinner; however, they need to be available at any time during the operation period in case of emergencies.
To apply and for more questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
ABU DHABI, 18th November, 2018 (WAM) -- Prospects of accelerating cooperation in areas of energy and food security were the main topic of discussions between Saif Mohammed Al Hajeri, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development – Abu Dhabi, and Jason Krips, Deputy Minister of Alberta Economic Development and Trade, in Canada.
The two sides agreed to promote investment cooperation between Alberta and Abu Dhabi, with emphasis on petrochemicals and renewable energy projects, with Al Hajeri doubling on the government of Abu Dhabi's keenness to benefit from the Canadian expertise in areas of sustainable development.
He pointed out the developmental projects being carried out by the government of Abu Dhabi in a number of strategic sectors, primarily aviation, education, energy and petrochemicals, with the Canadian official underlining the importance of accelerating the exchange of bilateral visits to seize the economic opportunities up for grabs in various domains.
The non-oil trade between Abu Dhabi and Canada hit around AED842.8 million from January through September 2018, a growth of 32.7 on year, with Abu Dhabi's imports from Canada during the same period amounting to AED655.6 million and the UAE capital's exports to Canada standing at AED155.4million and its re-exports at AED31.7 million.
The committee was chaired by Badr Al Awadhi, Director of Consular Services at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Masud Hussain, Canadian Ambassador to the UAE.
Al Awadhi started the meeting with a speech that conveyed the greetings of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, as well as their regard for the strong consular ties between the two countries, which led to a mutual exemption of entry visa requirements.
Hussain praised the welcome, facilitation and services provided to Canadians in the UAE, which is their main reason for choosing the UAE as an annual tourism destination while expressing his desire to reinforce the consular cooperation between the two countries.
During the meeting, both sides discussed several topics related to the affairs of their citizens and the challenges facing them when providing consular services, as well as the exchange of expertise, to serve the aspirations of their people.
This expert piece was written by Fraser Matthews, TribalScale’s Regional Director for the MENA region.
Despite cursory differences, both Canada and UAE are working towards a better and brighter future. In both countries, there is immense public and private support for the tech and innovation sectors. They’re putting themselves on the world’s stage as the leaders defining what it means to be an urban, digitally-connected community, all while attracting global talent to build their future. The UAE and Canada are fostering cultures that breed empowerment and progress, which allow for success and change; change for a new future.
In 2010, the Emirati government launched the UAE Vision 2021 which "aims to make the UAE among the best countries in the world" through focused development in key areas. With Vision 2021, the Emirati government is striving to develop a competitive knowledge economy, a first-rate education system, a world-class healthcare system with a sustainable environment and infrastructure. The clearly articulated and codified vision for the future reinforces their commitment to growth and success, puts the UAE on the world’s stage, and drives the country forward.
Beyond the UAE Vision 2021, there are countless initiatives and programs that further the UAE’s international recognition and presence. For example, the 2020 World Expo will be hosted in Dubai, the National Innovation Strategy (launched in 2014) intends to make the UAE one of the most innovative countries in the world, and the Dubai Tourism Strategy 2020 (launched in 2013) lays out a clear plan to attract 20 million visitors per year and is focused on making Dubai the “‘first choice’ for the international leisure and business traveler.”
Each of the named undertakings is immense, and yet this is simply a cursory glance at the programs geared toward strategic development and growth. It is clear that the Emirati government is wholly committed to increasing the UAE’s presence on the world stage.
For over 50 years, Canada has had an international reputation for its humanitarianism. Canada has also been a leader in the telecommunications sector: Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, the batteryless radio came from Canada’s Ted Rogers, fast forward and Research In Motion (RIM) introduced the world to the BlackBerry.
However, the Canadian government has more recently taken its commitment to innovation and growth to the next level. An Inclusive Innovation Agenda: The State of Play was introduced in 2016 in support of Canadian entrepreneurs, innovation, and technological progress, and on a global scale.
There are 6 areas of action: entrepreneurship and creativity, scientific excellence, clusters and partnerships, sustainable company growth and acceleration, competitiveness on a global scale, and ease of doing business.
Further, the Canadian government expressly supports innovation, research and development, and entrepreneurs, evidenced by the MaRS Discovery District — one of the world’s largest innovation hubs, which generated over $3.1B in revenue from 2008-2017, and receives nearly half its funding from the Ontario provincial government.
There are also federal, regional, and industry-based tax credits, financing programs, support services, and advisory tools for entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout Canada, all of which aim to increase national prosperity and economic growth.
Most recently, the 2018 Budget Plan and the Innovation and Skills Plan invests in Canadian researchers and research, and specifically focuses on female entrepreneurs to ensure a globally competitive and inclusive economy.
As part of the UAE’s efforts, they are defining what it means to be an urban, digitally-connected community. Take the Smart UAE initiative, a program with 7 distinct components that each leverage digital technologies (such as blockchain, data processing, and mobile).
More concretely, they are introducing the UAE Pass app, which is a national digital identity and signature solution that allows a user to identify themselves to any public service throughout the Emirates with their smartphone. The UAE Pass falls within the country's broader aim of transforming into a mobile-connected country, where all federal entities of the UAE will be linked to facilitate 24/7 public access to government services. This mandate is made possible with the cloud-based Federal Electronic Network (FedNet) implemented by the Emirati government.
Meanwhile, in Canada, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) announced a partnership with the Canadian government to develop Quayside, a waterfront community in Toronto that leverages technology and reimagines “cities from the Internet up.”
The vision is to combine technology and urban design to resolve some of the most pressing issues faced by cities — housing, energy, transportation — and to “build smarter, greener, more inclusive cities, which we hope to see scaled across Toronto’s eastern waterfront, and eventually in other parts of Canada and around the world,” said Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs plans to make use of Toronto’s already bustling tech sector and related initiatives. Outside of Toronto, the Smart Cities Challenge has taken hold of many communities eager to improve themselves through innovation and technology, redefining the ‘city.’
The UAE is home to more expatriates than nationals and has attracted millions of foreign workers, coinciding with the growth of the Emirati economy. The UAE is estimated to be home to 40,000 Canadians, and earlier this year, the UAE made changes to its visa system and announced changes to its residency policies with the aim of ensuring that the UAE “remains a global incubator for exceptional talents and a permanent destination for international investors,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
Similarly, Canada has ramped up its efforts in attracting global talent, specifically for Canadian technology companies as the Toronto tech sector is estimated to have created nearly 30,000 jobs in 2017. For example, The Global Skills Strategy, implemented in 2017, is a federal initiative that provides businesses with the support needed to attract STEM talent to help them grow and scale. And with some of the world’s top universities, it’s no wonder many of the tech giants — Pinterest, Uber, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft — are flocking to Canada.
The Canadian and Emirati governments are working hard to build a successful and strong innovation ecosystem. They are both actively fostering a culture of growth, supporting their citizens, and attracting international talent and business. The Emirati and Canadian efforts have come to fruition and both countries are recognized as global leaders in the digital space.
P.S: TribalScale will also be making its way to Dubai for its TakeOver Innovation Conferences on the 14th of November. TakeOver is Toronto's largest 1-day innovation and technology conference that brings together more than 1200 thought leaders and industry experts. TakeOver Dubai is attracting global business executives and area experts. The conference is set to be the leading enterprise strategy event in the Middle East. Submit your application for a chance to be part of it.
Consulate General of #UAE planted “Zayed Al-Kheir” tree in #Toronto Island as part of Year of Zayed initiative. Sultan Al Harbi Consul General of UAE confirmed the initiative aims at reinforcing sustainability in line with the vision established by the late Sheikh Zayed@MOFAUAE pic.twitter.com/UHwMsaA8TC— UAEConsulateToronto (@UAEConsulateTO) October 30, 2018
Consulate General of #UAE planted “Zayed Al-Kheir” tree in #Toronto Island as part of Year of Zayed initiative. Sultan Al Harbi Consul General of UAE confirmed the initiative aims at reinforcing sustainability in line with the vision established by the late Sheikh Zayed@MOFAUAE pic.twitter.com/UHwMsaA8TC
EDCC member companies operate in various fields including aviation, cyber security, military vehicles and naval vessels
Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Defence Companies Council (EDCC) is preparing to launch a new strategy that aims to bolster its role in enabling the UAE’s defence and security industries sector, said Mohammad Helal Al Muhairi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and member of the Council’s Board of Directors.
Al Muhairi made the remarks while addressing a session that took place in Abu Dhabi on Monday to elect new members to the Council’s Board of Directors.
“The board elections day is a testimony to the amount of progress we have made in achieving our vision for a UAE defence industry that is transparent, communicative, and mutually supportive. It is also a reflection of the keenness shown by our key government stakeholders to provide a conducive environment for long-standing and mutually beneficial partnerships, particularly in the areas of knowledge, technology and expertise transfer,” he said.
Al Muhairi congratulated the elected members of the board and described the elections as another step in the EDCC’s journey to success and a powerful tool for achieving its goals. He urged them to continue strengthening the council’s role as a primary communication platform between industry players as well as strategic government stakeholders.
He said: “We have come a long way in growing the EDCC membership, which stand now at 63 companies, from just 24 in 2014.”
He also commended the continuous support provided to the council by the UAE leadership and key strategic partners.
“I am confident that under the guidance of our visionary leadership and the unwavering support of our key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Defence, the GHQ of the UAE Armed Forces, and Tawazun Economic Council, we will grow further in both numbers and influence as we strive to explore potentials and to tap into opportunities that present themselves.”
The new elected members of the Council’s Board of Directors were announced. They are: Major General (Rtd.) Al Syed Abdullah Al Syed Al Hashemi, representing Calidus, Mohammad Seddiqi Al Mutawa, representing Atlas Dynamics, Saeed Ganem, representing MGI and Rashid Al Mutawa, representing Atlas Group.
The elected board members will be joined by others members, appointed through a resolution issued by Tarek Abdul Raheem Al Hosani, chief executive officer of Tawazun Economic Council and board chairman of the EDCC. They are: Matar Ali Al Romaithi, chief economic development officer of Tawazun Economic Council; Mohammad Helal Al Muhairi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Khalid Abdullah Al Qubaisi is the chief executive officer of Aerospace, Renewables & Information Communications Technology (AR & I) for Mubadala; and Major General Staff Pilot Ishaq Saleh Al Beloushi, ead of the Executive Directorate of Industries and Development of Defence Capabilities at the Ministry of Defence.
The most sophisticated satellite built by the UAE was successfully launched from an island off the southern tip of Japan this morning, in a new landmark for the country’s space programme.
KhalifaSat, the first satellite designed, tested and manufactured entirely by Emirati engineers, took off shortly after 8am UAE time.
The launch was hailed by the UAE's leaders as an "unprecedented Emirati achievement".
A team of engineers from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre travelled to Tanegashima island, some 40km south of the Japanese mainland, to monitor the launch.
There was relief all round at the Tanegashima Space Centre 10 minutes after blast off, as the satellite soared out of view, when it was announced that the flight path was “proceeding as expected”. Almost two hours later, KhalifaSat successfully jettisoned from the launch rocket, beginning its orbit around the Earth.
The announcement was made to cheers from the Japanese engineers at the space station.
KhalifaSat was designed and built at the Space Technology Laboratories, at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai.
Its role will be to beam high-quality images to the ground station in the emirate. The pictures will help governments and private companies across the globe with climate changes, disaster relief, urban planning, and more.
On Sunday night, a spectacular moving image was projected onto the Burj Khalifa to celebrate the launch. It displayed the message: “100% Emirati-developed satellite, from space to serve Earth.”
Ahead of the launch, Amer Al Sayegh, the KhalifaSat project manager, said the project had helped the UAE create partnerships across the globe.
“It’s not only the technical work that we are doing with our Japanese colleagues, it’s the bonding of two teams and two cultures working together for the same vision," he said.
"The UAE now has a highly qualified team equipped with knowledge, expertise and strong teamwork for the new missions for the UAE.”
The launch, which was streamed live on the internet, saw the satellite loaded on to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-2A rocket.
Attention will now turn to an even more ambitious project — to send a probe to Mars by 2021 to coincide with the UAE's 50th year. As part of a 100-year plan, it is hoped that a city will be established on the Red Planet by the year 2117.
The UAE plans to send its first two astronauts to the International Space Station next year.
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