Daily Archives: March 28, 2020

Dubai Free Zones Council launches economic stimulus package

DUBAI, Under the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airport Free Zone, confirmed that the Dubai Free Zones Council is continuously working to support the economic system to enhance Dubai’s competitiveness by ensuring business continuity in all sectors, especially for small and medium enterprises.

In the current exceptional circumstances, Dubai Free Zones are working together to highlight their strategic role and social responsibility to support Dubai’s economy. Dubai Free Zones Council announced an economic stimulus package to complement the Dubai Government’s efforts to overcome the current situation. This initiative complements an earlier package announced recently to reduce business costs and enhance financial liquidity of companies operating in the free zones.

The Dubai Free Zones Council’s package contributes to strengthening and supporting Dubai’s businesses by reducing the impact of the current economic situation. It includes five key elements: postponement of rent payments by a period of 6 months; facilitating installments for payments; refunding security deposits and guarantees; cancellation of fines for both companies and individuals; and permitting temporary contracts that allow the free movement of labour between companies operating in the free zones for the rest of the year. These advantages also benefit workers seeking better job opportunities, and those who have been granted unpaid leave by facilitating their re-employment in jobs in Dubai.

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum stressed that ensuring the business continuity of companies and providing them the support they need are critical to the Dubai economy’s ability to successfully overcome the crisis. He added that the Dubai Free Zones’ stimulus measures complement national efforts to reduce the impact of recent global challenges. They provide companies with the liquidity necessary to tackle the current situation and maintain competitive advantage and sustainable growth. This initiative supports a wide range of SMEs in maintaining their competitiveness.

Dubai Free Zones play a prominent role in promoting sustainable economic growth, attracting investments and supporting Dubai’s vision to be the world’s preferred investment destination and the ideal place to live, work and visit. Their contributions to Dubai’s Gross Domestic Product reached 33%. They provide a base for 44,985 companies and provide a total of 389,336 jobs Entities that contributed to this economic stimulus package, in coordination with the Dubai Free Zones Council, include: Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Development Authority, Dubai South, Meydan City Corporation, and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and CEO/Chairman of Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation, said: “During these difficult times, the business sector is facing major challenges. We are keen to provide the necessary support for companies through a package of discounts and exemptions from fees in Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), National Industries Park (NIP) and Dubai Cars & Automotive Zone (DUCAMZ). This includes waiving fines on expired trade licenses for companies operating in these zones. In addition, new companies can start their businesses without paying license fees for the first year”.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, said: “Dubai’s economy has a great flexibility and the potential to adapt to unpredictable global fluctuations. This has been proven as the world faces a challenging reality that requires strong coordination and rapid collective action, in addition to strengthening collaboration efforts between public and private sectors and society. As an essential tourism pillar in Dubai, DWTC bears national responsibility to support its partners in dealing with the current risks of COVID-19. We can help maintain sustainable commercial operations through these measures and reduce burdens on the sectors most affected by this crisis, such as SMEs”, by providing the necessary support to all customers, partners and suppliers.

Dr. Mohammed Al Zarouni, Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, and Director General of the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) stressed that Dubai’s wise leadership took all the necessary measures to protect society in every way. This enhances confidence in the emirate and increases its competitive advantage globally. He added: “The world is facing difficult challenges given the current uncertain and unstable situation which threatens the economic climate. Through its initiatives, Dubai is proving its ability to mitigate the negative effects of the crisis and speed up the revival of its economy, with future positive returns for the Emirate and the region, in addition to the preventive measures it has taken to limit the spread of COVID-19”.

Essa Kazim, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), said: “As the leading financial centre of the region, and in line with Dubai government’s economic stimulus package, and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, we are committed to supporting our community during these unprecedented times. The new economic stimulus package presented by the Dubai International Financial Centre shows its continued dedication to implementing comprehensive measures to support businesses and enable companies to continue their operations easily and flexibly”.

DIFC proposes implementing five initiatives over the next three months, which centre on enhancing its efforts to support companies during these exceptional circumstances. Initiatives include waiving annual license fees for new companies during the next three months, and a 10% discount on renewal fees for existing licenses during the same period.

Furthermore, companies will enjoy additional facilities, such as the postponing of payment plans for all commercial properties owned by DIFC Investments for a period of 6 months. DIFC will reduce its ownership transfer fees from 5% to 4% for any property sale that occurs within the authorised three-month period, if ownership transfers are registered at DIFC within 30 days after the end of the three-month period.

Saeed Humaid Matar Al Tayer, Chairman and CEO of Meydan Group, said: “In line with our government’s directives to develop initiatives that support the business sector during these difficult times, and after consulting with business owners at the Meydan Free Zone, we are committed to collaborating with them on our collective economic recovery. A package of initiatives has been developed in coordination with the DFZ Council to reduce financial burdens on individuals and companies, including waiving fines on expired licenses, facilitating payments installments, and waiving licensing fees for the first year. We salute our leaders for their honourable efforts in providing all kinds of support for society”.

Malek Sultan Al Malek, Director General of the Dubai Development Authority (DDA) and Group CEO of TECOM Group said: “Launching this package is testimony to Dubai’s commitment to the wise leadership’s directives, which aim to tackle all challenges by reducing the economic impact on the Emirate and strengthen its position as a global and regional investment destination. Over the last 20 years, we have managed to build a sustainable economic sector, and we will continue to provide all the necessary support to our partners and investors to tackle the consequences of the current global crisis.”

The package presented by DDA and TECOM Group include a set of initiatives which provide the necessary resources and support to SMEs in order to ensure their continuity. Companies can postpone payments, and new firms can postpone their lease periods and cancel their registration fees for a period of 6 months. They can also cancel all fines on expired licenses and other financial and administrative fees. The package also offers flexible fee payments, including building licenses and services, in addition to refunding security deposits and guarantees to enhance their liquidity.

Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South said: “We launched a package of initiatives in line with the directives of the wise leadership and their vision to support partners and investors, in light of the global economic challenges resulting from the spread of the novel Coronavirus. The package offers four initiatives including waiving fees on residential land and expired licenses, facilitating payments through monthly checks and exempting licensing fees for the first year. The package aims at supporting our partners and investors during these exceptional circumstances and responds to the leadership vision and its initiatives to support the Emirate’s economy and resume its strong performance. Dubai South is fully prepared to launch any additional initiatives that contribute to supporting Dubai’s economy”.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, CEO and Executive Chairman of DMCC said: “Today, we are experiencing unprecedented conditions, and we at DMCC feel the suffering of all those affected by the spread of COVID-10. We stand in solidarity with all effected parties and support the UAE government’s proactive efforts and help. DMCC is committed to supporting the national economy during these difficult times by taking a set of effective measures to reduce the cost of doing business in Dubai”.

“We have also offered large exemptions on a wide range of fees for the 17,000 registered companies, by reducing registration fees by 50% for new companies joining the center, while current companies now have 30% discounts on renewal and amendment fees. In addition, we have launched many flexible payment options for various sectors. We will continue supporting their needs and announce additional details in due course”.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department implements remote access training sessions

DUBAI, As part of a raft of precautionary measures taken by the UAE to protect public health and safety, the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department has implemented remote access training sessions for its registered legal consultants, which are accessed through the Department’s electronic platform.

Remote access training sessions are currently scheduled to run until the beginning of April and will see more than 200 legal consultants participate (out of a total of 2415 legal consultants from 71 nationalities). Approximately 70 training courses will be conducted using the latest interactive learning systems which ensure positive outcomes for the participant without the need to attend the training centre. The sessions also allow a degree of interaction between participants and the lecturer through questions and open discussions. At the conclusion of each lecture, a link will be sent to participants for feedback.

Dr. Lowai Mohamed Belhoul, Director General of the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, stressed the importance of both the participants and the Department’s employees safety and noted that the remote access training sessions are part of the Department’s preventive and precautionary measures taken to ensure such safety at this time. The sessions has been implemented in line with efforts and measures taken at a national level to prevent the spread of the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 and provide alternative plans to ensure business continuity in emergencies.

Dr. Belhoul stressed that the satisfaction ratio of participants who have used the remote access training sessions so far, is 100%. The participants also requested the continuance of remote access training sessions beyond this unprecedented period of disruption.

It is worth noting that the training programme provided by the Department for registered legal consultants requires legal consultants to complete sixteen training hours annually to ensure the renewal of his/her registration with the Department. These hours are divided equally into eight mandatory training hours on subjects determined and supervised by the Department and, eight training hours on subjects selected by the legal consultant from external training providers approved by the Department.

Source: Emirates News Agency

ADNEC’s ExCeL London transforms into emergency field hospital

ABU DHABI, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), a subsidiary of ADQ (Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company) is co-operating with the public health authorities in the United Kingdom in turning ExCeL London, an exhibition venue within the ADNEC Group, into an emergency field hospital for the treatment of patients who have been infected with COVID-19.

In a statement Saturday, ADNEC has expressed its sympathies with all those around the world affected by the global pandemic. The company also highlighted the importance of everyone playing a role in national and international efforts across borders, by working with the government to combat the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives. It also confirmed is confidences in the ability of medical teams in the United Kingdom to surpass the challenges posed by this crisis.

ADNEC and ExCeL London are fully co-operating with the National Health Service of the UK and all relevant parties with the aim to provide all available necessary capabilities to facilitate medical teams. In addition, ADNEC and ExCeL London will provide all necessary technical and logistical support to sustain the functionality of the venue’s facilities in accordance with the highest global standards.

This co-operation is aligned with ADNEC’s strategy, which aims to support all national and international initiatives that will mitigate the impact of the COVID-19, by providing the capabilities, facilities and infrastructure to the concerned authorities on all local and international levels.

Since ADNEC acquired the centre in 2008, the Group has worked diligently to develop all Excel London infrastructure – a strategy that has resulted in its readiness, flexibility, and ability to employ these facilities for all requirements when needed at a time of crisis.

ADNEC appreciates the efforts made by medical and security work teams at the local and international level to overcome the current challenges experienced by countries all over the world.

NHS Nightingale Hospital will have a capacity of 4,000 beds and will be able to provide a comprehensive range of medical support facilities for those infected with COVID-19. The hospital shall contain two wards, each of which can hold 2,000 people.

ExCeL London is London’s largest international exhibition and convention centre and was acquired by ADNEC is 2008. The venue includes London’s only International Convention Centre, ICC London which was opened in 2010 with funding by ADNEC. With ADNEC’s support, ICC London was able to host more ICCA-rated events and large scale corporate conventions therefore bringing more events to London and boosting its economy and enhancing its infrastructure through several developmental phases and created an economic impact through the business tourism sector.

The NHS Nightingale Hospital is expected to open to patients next week, and will be immediately used to provide care to those suffering with severe symptoms of COVID-19. Both ADNEC Group and ExCeL London are co-ordinating closely with the British health authorities to ensure the smooth establishment of the medical facility, alongside ensuring that medical practitioners are provided with as much support as required to facilitate the provision of care to patients.

Based in the London Docklands of the capital city of the UK, ExCeL London holds capacity for 70,000 people. The exhibition centre is one of ADNEC’s portfolio of conference venues, alongside the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre in Abu Dhabi, and the Al Ain Convention Centre in Al Ain.

Source: Emirates News Agency

COVID-19 Likely to Exact a Heavy Toll Among the Malnourished, Sick, and Poor in Africa

The Continent’s Relatively Young Population Is Likely to Be a Mitigating Factor, but Constrained Health Systems and a High Incidence of Malnutrition and Such Conditions as HIV and Tuberculosis Will Magnify the Impact

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa will probably look different from what has been observed in other parts of the world, according to a new publication by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), titled Fighting COVID-19 in Africa Will Be Different.

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The young average age of the population in Africa is likely to be a positive factor, given that COVID-19 seems to be exacting a higher toll on older patients around the world. However, constrained health systems in most African countries, combined with the prevalence of chronic conditions such as HIV, tuberculosis, and—especially among children—malnutrition are likely to magnify the negative impact. In addition, measures such as social distancing may be challenging, particularly in areas that have high levels of poverty. As a result, deaths in Africa are likely to be concentrated among the malnourished, the sick, and the poor.

“COVID-19 poses a major threat to Africa,” says Patrick Dupoux, a BCG managing director and senior partner. “All stakeholders—governments in Africa, global players and community leaders—must coordinate their efforts to prevent a worst-case scenario.”

An Outbreak in Africa

Africa’s relatively young population could help buffer the continent against the rates of severe cases and fatality observed elsewhere in the world. For example, as of February 11, over 80% percent of the deaths in China due to COVID-19 were among people 60 years old or older. In China, people in that age group account for 16% of the population, whereas in Africa they make up just 5% of the population.

But other factors will create challenges. For one thing, health systems in Africa struggle to meet current needs—let alone manage the spike in demand that a pandemic brings. For example, the most recent data available indicates that Ethiopia and Niger each have just 0.3 hospital bed per 1,000 people, and Tunisia has 2.3, compared with an average of 5.6 beds per 1,000 people in Europe. In addition, significant numbers of adults in Africa have compromised immune systems, mostly owing to the high prevalence of HIV infection and HIV-tuberculosis co-infection, and many children suffer from malnutrition. Such factors could make those adults and children more susceptible to COVID-19.

“If the COVID-19 outbreak in Africa is not controlled, there will be far-reaching repercussions, including for the health of the people, the strength of the economy, and the cohesiveness of society,” says Shalini Unnikrishnan, a BCG managing director and partner and a co-author of the report.

Coordinating the Response

All groups aiming to mount a response to the pandemic in Africa must learn from previous crises and align their efforts up front. Coordination needs to happen at three levels:

  • Governments in Africa are already working together, but they should redouble their efforts to cooperate by sharing data and capabilities and coordinating strategies. Regional unions and the African Union can be powerful drivers of such cooperation.
  • Global groups working to support the pandemic response in Africa—including UN agencies, governments, donors, NGOs, and companies—need to coordinate a cohesive response.
  • All players must bring community leaders into the process from the start in order to build trust and to ensure that people and communities understand and accept potentially challenging constraints.

Lack of such coordination would lead to squandered resources and would reduce the strategies’ effectiveness.

A copy of the publication can be downloaded here.

To schedule an interview with one of the authors, please contact Miranda Stobbs on stobbs.miranda@bcg.com or contact +44 7886713027/ +254 719860320

About Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we help clients with total transformation—inspiring complex change, enabling organizations to grow, building competitive advantage, and driving bottom-line impact.

To succeed, organizations must blend digital and human capabilities. Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives to spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting along with technology and design, corporate and digital ventures—and business purpose. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, generating results that allow our clients to thrive.

About BCG in Africa

Our presence in Africa includes five permanent offices, in Casablanca, Lagos, Luanda, Johannesburg, and Nairobi, and 7 research centres. BCG projects on the continent cover a large spectrum of industry sectors including Financial Institutions, Energy, Industrial Goods, Consumer Products, Health Care, Technology, and the Public Sector. Our mission is clear: to create positive economic, social, and environmental impact on the continent.

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