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Nation Fund Board of Directors Commends UAE Leadership

At the Nation Fund’s board meeting held on May 31, 2016, the Board of Directors commended UAE leadership for their continued efforts to provide decent living conditions for UAE citizens, as well as their investment in human resources to enhance the UAE’s global status.

The Nation Fund thanked President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Members of Supreme Council, Their Highnesses Rules of Emirates.

The board specifically praised the UAE’s leadership for their dedication to advancing human and civilization development, laying the foundation for a strong national economy, and supporting national initiatives that support the Emirati community while bolstering the nation’s regional and international status.  The Nation Fund also applauded the leadership for encouraging state institutions to clear the way for establishing initiatives and unlocking the Emirati’s potential to contribute to developmental progress and prosperity in the UAE.

The board meeting was held in Abu Dubai at Emirates Palace under the chairmanship of Lt. General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chairman of the Nation Fund and Deputy Chairman of Police and Public Security in Dubai. Also present were board members Hussain Al Nowais, Mohammed Ali Al Abaar, Eisa Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Sultan bin Rashid Al Dhahiri, and Mohammed Juma Al Naboodah.

 

Senaat General Holding Corporation Profit up 20% for First Half of 2015

Senaat General Holding Corporation, an Abu Dhabi government-owned industrial group, recently announced that their net profit for the first half of 2015 is up 20%. Abu Dhabi industrial group’s revenues were up 2.5% from the same period last year, going from Dh6.6 billion to Dh6.8 billion. The net profit was Dh453 million for the first half of 2015. Earnings before interest, tax, and depreciation were past Dh1 billion – up 18% from the first half of 2014. calcu

“Senaat will continue to seed its own investments through using its own profits and through a prudent approach to debt which is supported by the confidence of financial institutions in the company’s ability to fulfil its future obligations,” said Senaat Chairman, Hussain Jasim Al Nowais. He also stated that Senaat is currently planning a variety of investment plans and strategic projects to further the diversification of Abu Dhabi’s industrial base. These projects will also increase the contribution of the non-oil industrial sector in the emirate’s gross domestic product.

“All success factors are available for Senaat to continue to grow and perform well,” he continued. “It has the financial strength, qualified and competent Emirati management team and a clear investment vision. I am confident that Senaat will continue to successfully deliver on the government’s vision and contribute to its diversification efforts.”

Senaat will continue to re-invest its profits and further develop its existing companies, as well as expand its portfolio of companies. Senaat’s current portfolio includes Emirates Steel (ES), National Petroleum Construction Company (Npcc), Arkan Building Materials Co, Agthia, Al Foah, and Ducab.

An Economic Beacon in the Middle East

Many countries in the Middle East have been struggling for years, if not decades, to achieve a greater level of economic prosperity.  Many have tied a majority of their economy to the fate of oil, which while always in demand, has seen many ups and downs.  It is currently facing another down due to the recent increase in drilling throughout the U.S. thanks to the new technology of fracking which has created a crude oil glut.

When the demand in oil greatly decreases this makes the economy far more volatile and if the government continues trying to sell more oil at the reduced price they then face the issue of generating less revenue per barrel.  Of course they could try to limit the amount of oil available and drive the price up, but this only works if other countries work with them.  If other countries refuse to cooperate in this scheme then the first country loses a percentage of its market share.

This is why countries such as the UAE, and more recently Saudi Arabia, have made efforts to increase the economy’s diversification.  In the UAE, Hussain al Nowais has helped create the Khalifa Fund which has been working for a long time now to help promote small & medium enterprises (SMEs) in Abu Dhabi.  Now, the UAE government decided on Sunday of this past week that they were ready to increase the support of SMEs throughout the country with the creation of the National Programme for Small and Medium Enterprises.  The cabinet endorsed it and the aim is to increase the success rate of SMEs to 50%.  The current rate is 25-30%.

Yasin says “There are a lot of UAE graduates and the public sector is not able to absorb them.  SMEs is an area where a lot of UAE nationals can do something useful to contribute to the economy than wait for public sector jobs.”  Current data says there are approximately 300,000 SMEs in the UAE which represent 92% of companies and this makes up 86% of jobs in the country.  Despite these very high statistics, SMEs non-oil economic output only accounts for 60% of the economy’s GDP.  The country’s goal is to increase that to 70% by 2021.

This expansion of non-oil GDP will protect the UAE in the future from unexpected drops in demand of oil or price decreases which could cause oil revenue for the country to decrease or become less profitable.  For countries such as Saudi Arabia they are finally realizing the value and importance of economic diversification and will hopefully have a smooth and effective transition.

The Value of Networking

Finding a job if you’re unemployed  or transitioning to a job which you actually enjoy and can see yourself doing for an extended period of time is difficult.  For anyone out there who has been in either position or currently is you know how much of a struggle it can be at times.  Each day that slips by without finding that job makes everything seem less likely and makes you more frustrated.  You are undoubtedly scouring job websites and applying to openings which appear to give you a likely shot.  Then you’re playing the waiting game and that is never fun or easy.

The most successful way to find a new job today appears to be networking.  Many people who are younger and employed will tell you that they found their job through networking.  The challenge for you is now, is to figure out who is in your network and how to expand it.  When you’re thinking about who is in your network, don’t just think of friends and coworkers.   Your network is everyone you interact with on a semi-regular basis, especially if you know each other by name.  This can mean people like your banker, mechanic and barber.  These are people who are regularly talking with others and who may be able to connect you with the right person for the job you’re seeking.

Depending on where someone lives and their background, it can be difficult to have a large network or to expand your network.  For example, in Saudi Arabia, women who are educated and career driven often struggle because of cultural bias against them in the workplace and a lack of networking available to them.  Due to these reasons, three women, Su-ad Yousif, Bodour Al Tamimi and Laila Al Hassan founded the group known as Qiyadiyat.  Qiyadiyat is Arabic for female leaders.

The group was created in February of 2014 and since then it has developed into a full-fledged platform with a wide reaching network that is constantly growing.  Qiyadiyat has regular sessions where women in high level careers come together to discuss challenges in the workplace and how to go about dealing with them.  They also have guest speakers such as Hussain al Nowais, Sheryl Sandberg and other high level business leaders who are able to speak with them about challenges they face and help expand their network.  Networks such as this are growing increasingly important for finding jobs and building relations, especially as companies look to spend less on the searching and hiring process.  A good recommendation can save a company a lot of time and money on searching for the right person.

Increasing Productivity in the Middle East

The Middle East has unfortunately been the epicenter of large scale conflict for decades now, and it appears as though it will continue into the near foreseeable future.  While some countries have fallen apart and are struggling with less than desirable conditions others have managed to hold things together.  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has done an exceptional job in maintaining a stable country that is productive and forward thinking.  Their economy has continued to grow and do well despite the turmoil happening in neighboring countries.  A major contributor to this success is their smart investment in public programs and overall financial plans.

This has kept the UAE as the second largest economy in the Middle East, second to Saudi Arabia.  A major reason behind its economic success is the diversification of its economy.  The UAE recognized early on the fragility and instability brought upon a country by relying solely on oil and natural gas exports.  The country currently has a rapidly expanding manufacturing and services sector and tourism is a growing boon for the country.  One of the major obstacles some still see in the economy is the lack of participation from women, especially in high level careers.

This led a group of three friends to create a group in Abu Dhabi called the Qiyadiyat which means “female leaders” in Arabic.  This group is the first leadership group for women in Abu Dhabi and the group’s aim is to help and inspire networking opportunities for Emirati working women.  The three women are Laila Al Hassan – director of communications and PR at Abu Dhabi’s Environment Agency, Bodour Al Tamimi – co-founder of Besashing Beauty Lounge and portfolio manager of an investment house and Su-ad Yousif – an economic analyst.  They met during their time in university and as their careers have developed their realization and understanding of the lack of women in high profile jobs has increased.

Now the three have held several conferences already discussing networking for women and how they can overcome the challenges they face in a male dominated workspace.  Hussain Al Nowais spoke at one event and encouraged them to continue their efforts of showing society what they are capable of.  He believes it is important for women to have a voice in the workplace and for their point of view to be introduced.  Qiyadiyat is looking to become the go-to platform for UAE companies who want to find skilled Emirati women leaders.

Sustainable Economic Power

Building a stable economy that is not over reliant on a single sector and can weather the ups and downs of the world economy has become an important focus for countries.  One country that has spearheaded this initiative is the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Their recent inaugural of the Pearl Initiative is seen as a major step and has received praise from the United Nations.  The Pearl Initiative is a not-for-profit organization created by business, for business which will work across the Middle East with businesses to improve corporate transparency and accountability.  Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashi Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, hopes this initiative will help the UAE economy strengthen as it continues to diversify away from an oil and natural gas dependent economy.

The belief expressed at the United Nations Global compact Regional Forum held on April 19th is the measures being implemented by the Pearl Initiative will help spur job growth creation and produce sustainable social development.  Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General gave high praise the UAE for taking such extraordinary efforts towards sustainable business practices.  Additionally, the announcement for the ‘Women’s Careers in the GCC: The CEO Agenda’ of the Pearl Initiative was given which discussed bringing more women into the workforce and the positive results of their involvement.  These changes have greatly improved the emirates holdings.

Many high level officials and business representatives attended the inauguration ceremony including Hussain Al Nowais, Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani and many more.  As the UAE continues to diversify the importance of having strong sustainable businesses in other sectors is paramount.  The consensus is sustainable and strong business sectors which will improve the emirates holdings can only be achieved through corporate accountability.

Badr Jafar, Founder of the Pearl Initiative, explained the aims very succinctly in his welcome remarks when he said, “Corporate accountability matters; it builds trust, which in turn helps companies generate value and resilience, enabling them to grow.  Growing companies create more jobs, stimulate economic activity, and provide new opportunities for entrepreneurs.   All of this stimulates the economy as an ethical, transparent place in which to do business, creating a nucleus for foreign investment”.

With these important factors identified, the key to success will be the carrying out and full implementation of the initiative.  The United Nations has given full support for the Pearl Initiative and many from around the world are providing support in whichever way possible.  Hussain Al Nowais and Al-Nowais Investments is one of the biggest backers of the initiative and Hussain Al Nowais believes that bringing more women into the economy will greatly improve the economy.

Business is Booming in Egypt

Due to the recent changes in government in Egypt, there have been improvements for local businesses. Since a $200 million loan has been allotted to small businesses from a UAE investment fund, things are looking good for local, hard-working individuals. “The loan will be directed towards microfinance development in remote and disadvantaged areas and pockets of poverty throughout Egypt,” Khalifa Fund’s chairman, Hussain al Nowais said. Hussain al Nowais is also the Co-Founder and Chairman of Alnowais Investments, a company at the forefront of global expansion and strategic project development in energy, industry, hospitality, infrastructure, and real estate.

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With the new and improved focus on local economies, here are some of the most lucrative small business ideas for locals, and the economic areas to focus on with this new loan in place.

  1. Taking advantage of expatriatesIt only seems logical to jump on the opportunity to make money off a large number of people, such as foreign aid employees, that are moving to these areas. These expatriates create a market for personal service providers that can focus on areas such as travel, visas, registration, legal issues, etc.
  2. Food delivery – Research has indicated that one of the fastest ways to become rich in places like Egypt is by designing a quick and simple (yet effective) food delivery service.
  3. Full-service job agencyA huge issue when starting a business in places like Egypt is how and where to even find good employees. Not only are businesses going to need good workers, but these employees must be competent, have strong work ethics and be in good health. Why not save businesses countless hours on their hiring process and avoid huge employee turnover?
  4. Physical securityA huge issue in many areas of Africa, including Egypt, is security. There are endless opportunities for small- or medium-sized businesses that provide bodyguards, doormen, and security guards for shops, bars, etc.

The loan agreement that was signed by the Egyptian government in Cairo is expected to support about 100,000 projects and also create at least 120,000 jobs by 2020. 70% of projects funded through the loan will be for rural areas and 25% of the loan will be allocated to enterprises led by women. Minister of State, Dr. Sultan Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, at the signing of the agreement, said that promoting development in Egypt is very important, as is the support of entrepreneurship, combating poverty in underdeveloped areas, and empowering women and young people in the country. “The microenterprise sector acquires great importance in the development efforts as it aids job creation and enhances the livelihood of low-income families,” he said.

The fund will be disbursed as a soft loan over a fifteen-year period with a six-year grace period, and lenient terms and conditions. This is exactly the kind of break many hardworking individuals need—this push for entrepreneurship will ignite incredible boosts in economic prosperity. Hussain al Nowais is a proud product of entrepreneurship. Raised by his self-made businessman father, Hussain began his career as an entrepreneur, establishing his first company in 1979. Hussain al Nowais has been instrumental in international investment and business opportunities for Abu Dhabi. Please check out more information on Hussain al Nowais, his personal and professional background, future goals and present day business involvements, along with the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development.