Dubai Issues 31,000 Business Licenses, Reports 77% Growth in H1

A general view of Dubai. (WAM)
A general view of Dubai. (WAM)
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Dubai Issues 31,000 Business Licenses, Reports 77% Growth in H1

A general view of Dubai. (WAM)
A general view of Dubai. (WAM)

A total of 31,000 commercial licenses were issued in Dubai during the first six months of 2021, a growth of 77 percent compared to 17,478 licenses issued in the same period in 2020.

The record growth can be attributed largely to measures taken to ensure business continuity and further simplify government procedures for businesses.

Rapid response measures from the government and decisive adaptive changes to confront the COVID-19 pandemic have enabled Dubai to successfully contain the outbreak and maintain its robust economic growth, stated Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai.

Sheikh Hamdan said the government adopted a set of new strategic approaches and amended policies to accelerate economic growth and reduce the cost of doing business, apart from offering stimulus packages to enhance business and investor confidence.

The strong growth of the business sector reflects Dubai’s ability to transform challenges into achievements, in line with the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and his conviction that successful crisis management creates opportunities, said the Crown Prince.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s vision has allowed Dubai to successfully overcome the repercussions of COVID-19, accelerate its recovery and reinforce its status as a global hub and the world’s best place to live and work.

He added: “The records we have achieved inspire us to continue working as one team to further enhance Dubai’s position as an incubator for entrepreneurs and a hub for global companies by identifying new opportunities for investors to accomplish their ambitions and building innovative development pathways to reinforce Dubai’s global leadership in all fields.”

Sami Al Qamzi, Director-General of Dubai Economy, said the exceptional business licensing activity witnessed by Dubai during the first half of 2021 is a testament to the resilience and sustainability of the emirate’s economy.

According to Dubai Economy, “Invest in Dubai,” the integrated digital platform for establishing a business in Dubai contributed to 25 percent of new licenses issued during the last five months.

Together, the 25 percent of licenses account for 10,591 investors from 117 different nationalities.

A total of 37 percent of the new investors that came through the platform belonged to the 26-35 age group, while another 35 percent were aged 36-45.

The half-yearly report of Dubai Economy showed a remarkable recovery in many vital activities and sectors during the first half of 2021.

The Restaurants and Cafes category saw 1,153 new licenses, a growth of 92 percent compared to the same period last year.

The Tourism sector welcomed 342 licenses that included 20 new hotels (a growth of 147 percent), in addition to various other activities, such as inbound and outbound trips.

The sector is expected to see increased activity, especially with the rise in tourist numbers expected due to Dubai’s continued popularity as a major global destination and its profile as the venue for Expo this year.

The Gold sector also witnessed a remarkable growth of 102 percent compared to the first half of 2020.

The real estate sector witnessed the highest growth of 186 percent with 487 licenses being issued, compared to 170 licenses for the same period last year. Activities in this sector included brokerage of sale and purchase and real estate rentals.

Transport, Shipping and Warehousing, a prominent sector linked to internal and external trade, saw 872 new licenses in H1 2021, a 105 percent growth from the corresponding period in 2020.

The medical and pharmaceutical sector also witnessed a steep rise in the number of licenses issued (196), growing 120 percent, compared to the first half of 2020.



UAE Says It Concludes Free Trade Agreement with Colombia

 The United Arab Emirates flag flies in front of the Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai. (Reuters file photo)
The United Arab Emirates flag flies in front of the Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai. (Reuters file photo)
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UAE Says It Concludes Free Trade Agreement with Colombia

 The United Arab Emirates flag flies in front of the Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai. (Reuters file photo)
The United Arab Emirates flag flies in front of the Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai. (Reuters file photo)

The UAE said on Saturday it had concluded the terms of a trade deal with Colombia, which it called the first such bilateral agreement between the Gulf and South America.

"The UAE and Colombia have concluded the terms of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement – the first bilateral trade deal between the Gulf and South America," Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE minister of State for Foreign Trade, wrote on X.

"We can look ahead to a new era of cooperation that will deliver growth for both nations."

UAE state news agency WAM said the deal, once implemented, will "remove or reduce tariffs on the majority of product lines, eliminate unnecessary barriers to trade, improve market access and deepen collaboration" across a variety of sectors, including energy, telecommunications, tourism and food production.


US Lays Out Plan at COP28 to Slash Climate ‘Super Pollutant’ from Oil and Gas

 Michael Regan, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at the US Center at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
Michael Regan, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at the US Center at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
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US Lays Out Plan at COP28 to Slash Climate ‘Super Pollutant’ from Oil and Gas

 Michael Regan, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at the US Center at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
Michael Regan, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at the US Center at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)

The Biden administration on Saturday unveiled final rules aimed at cracking down on US oil and gas industry releases of methane, part of a global plan to rein in emissions that contribute to climate change.

The rules, two years in the making, were announced by US officials at the United Nations COP28 climate change conference in Dubai. The United States and other nations attending the summit were expected to detail how they will achieve a 150-country pledge made two years ago to slash methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.

Methane tends to leak into the atmosphere undetected from drill sites, gas pipelines and other oil and gas equipment. It has more warming potential than carbon dioxide and breaks down in the atmosphere faster, so reining in methane emissions can have a more immediate impact on limiting climate change.

"On day one, President Biden restored America's critical role as the global leader in confronting climate change, and today we've backed up that commitment with strong action," US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.

EPA's new policies would ban routine flaring of natural gas produced by newly drilled oil wells, require oil companies to monitor for leaks from well sites and compressor stations and establishes a program to use third party remote sensing to detect large methane releases from so-called "super emitters," the agency said in a statement.

The rules would prevent an estimated 58 million tons of methane from reaching the atmosphere between 2024 and 2038 -- nearly the equivalent of all the carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector in the year 2021, EPA added.

Environmental groups praised the rules.

"Strong methane standards are essential to curb climate pollution and better protect the health and safety of workers and communities living near fossil fuel extraction," Earthjustice's vice president of litigation for climate and energy, Jill Tauber, said in a statement.

The rule will produce climate and health benefits of up to $7.6 billion a year through 2038, EPA said. It will also increase recovery of up to $13 billion of natural gas over the time period.

The rule differs somewhat from draft proposals EPA released in 2021 and 2022, in part by giving the industry more time to comply.

The agency also tweaked the Super Emitter Program so that third parties send information on methane leaks to EPA directly for verification. Previously they would have been able to send the information directly to companies, a provision the oil and gas industry said would put too much power in the hands of environmental groups that search for methane leaks.

The American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas industry trade group, said it was reviewing the rule.

"To be truly effective, this rule must balance emissions reductions with the need to continue meeting rising energy demand," Dustin Meyer, API senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs, said in a statement.


Saudi Arabia to Host UNIDO 21st General Conference in 2025

UNIDO 20th General Conference
UNIDO 20th General Conference
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Saudi Arabia to Host UNIDO 21st General Conference in 2025

UNIDO 20th General Conference
UNIDO 20th General Conference

Saudi Arabia has been selected to host the 21st session of the General Conference of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Riyadh in November 2025 following a resolution adopted by acclamation by the 172 members of the Vienna-based organization, SPA said on Saturday.
The Kingdom’s selection came during the 20th session of the UNIDO General Conference held in the Austrian capital, Vienna, with the participation of an official Saudi delegation, headed by Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Ibrahim Alkhorayef.
On the occasion, Alkhorayef extended his thanks and gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, for their support to the ministry and the industrial sector.


Developing Nations Press Rich World to Better Fight Climate Change at UN Climate Summit

 Bolivia Vice President David Choquehuanca speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
Bolivia Vice President David Choquehuanca speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
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Developing Nations Press Rich World to Better Fight Climate Change at UN Climate Summit

 Bolivia Vice President David Choquehuanca speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
Bolivia Vice President David Choquehuanca speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)

Leaders of developing nations jumped into Saturday's second-day of a UN climate summit to press rich industrial countries to share their knowhow to fight global warming and ease the financial burdens they face — while trumpeting their own natural resources that swallow heat-trapping carbon in the air.

The annual United Nations Conference of the Parties, known as COP28, in the United Arab Emirates featured about 150 presidents, prime ministers, royals and other leaders who are presenting their plans to cut heat-trapping emissions and mostly seek unity with other nations to avert climate catastrophe that seemed to draw closer than ever in 2023.

The developing world took center stage early Saturday, with Vice President Kamala Harris of the United States set to speak later.

African leaders noted their continent's rainforests help gobble up excess carbon dioxide in the air and their countries have belched out a tiny fraction of heat-trapping emissions compared to richer countries.

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea — one of sub-Saharan Africa's biggest oil producers — faulted developed nations for failing to deliver on their pledges to meet their commitments on financing for climate action and meet their own targets to curb their industries' emissions.

"Africa is one of the regions in the world that sequesters the most carbon and emits oxygen," he said.

President Jose Ramos Horta of Timor-Leste, next to Indonesia and north of Australia, blasted "shark loans" from multilateral lending institutions, saying developing nations cannot recover from heavy debt burdens that squelch their ability to put money into fighting climate change and grow economically.

Harris’ appearance at COP28 in Dubai marks the first time since COP3 in Kyoto, Japan, that a vice president has led America’s delegation. COP3 in 1997 saw then-Vice President Al Gore speak. Intervening COP summits through President George W. Bush’s tenure saw lower-level representatives.

As Harris made her way toward the Dubai venue, US climate envoy John Kerry and French President Emmanuel Macron pushed for development of nuclear energy — which does not produce greenhouse gas emissions, even if it also presents security and waste challenges.

Overall, a group of more than 20 nations called for a tripling of nuclear energy generated in the world by 2050.

"I want here to reiterate the fact that nuclear energy is a clean energy and it should be repeated," said Macron, which gets around two-thirds of its electricity from nuclear power, the most of any industrialized country, and even exports some of it to its neighbors. "Nuclear energy is back."

A declaration issued at the event did not specify how much money should be set aside, but urged the World Bank and others to "encourage" expanding lending for nuclear projects.

"We have to invest — I’m not saying give away," Kerry said. "I’m saying invest the trillions of dollars that are sitting on the sidelines looking for bankable deals but not willing to move as fast as we need to move."

Whatever their perspective or national interest, leaders almost universally voiced their shared views that Earth is in crisis — with the United Nations and other environmental groups warning that the planet has recorded the nine hottest years on record over the last decade.

Bolivian Vice President David Choquehuanca called for "saving Mother Earth and staving off the multiple crises which have been caused by neocolonial, capitalist, imperialist, patriarchal, Western culture."

"The climate crisis is but the latest chapter in a long history of hypocrisy and lies: The ‘Global North’ is responsible for the global imbalance that we’re seeing," he said, using a catchall term for industrialized countries. "They seek permanent growth to the detriment of the global South."

Worries are rising that the world is set to blow past — even obliterate — targets in the Paris climate accord of 2015 to cap the increase in global temperatures by the end of the century by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) since the start of the industrial era.

In a fire-and-brimstone kickoff Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, fresh from viewing melting glaciers in Antarctica and Nepal, said "Earth's vital signs are failing" and told leaders, "You can prevent planetary crash and burn."

In a direct challenge to fossil fuel-aligned nations, the UN chief said the only way to limit warming to the goal set in 2015 is by eliminating oil, coal and gas use. "Not reduce, not abate. Phase out," he said.


Over 110 Countries Set to Join COP28 Deal to Triple Renewable Energy

 Delegates walk past flag posts at the Dubai's Expo City after attending the World Climate Action Summit, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 1, 2023. (Reuters)
Delegates walk past flag posts at the Dubai's Expo City after attending the World Climate Action Summit, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 1, 2023. (Reuters)
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Over 110 Countries Set to Join COP28 Deal to Triple Renewable Energy

 Delegates walk past flag posts at the Dubai's Expo City after attending the World Climate Action Summit, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 1, 2023. (Reuters)
Delegates walk past flag posts at the Dubai's Expo City after attending the World Climate Action Summit, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 1, 2023. (Reuters)

A pledge to triple the world's installed renewable energy by 2030 is poised to win support from more than 110 countries at the COP28 climate summit on Saturday, with some pushing to make the deal global by the end of the UN conference.

The European Union, United States and COP28 host the United Arab Emirates have been rallying support for the pledge as a means to the sharp drop in planet-warming emissions needed this decade to avoid unleashing more severe climate change.

"More than 110 countries have joined already," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the COP28 summit on Thursday of the renewables pledge. "I call now on all of us to include these targets in the final COP decision."

Whether governments and companies will rally the huge investments needed to hit the goal is an open question. While deployment of renewables like solar and wind has been surging globally for years, rising costs, labor constraints and supply chain issues have forced project delays and cancellations in recent months, costing developers like Orsted and BP billions of dollars in writedowns.

Getting the deal into the final UN climate summit decision would also require consensus among the nearly 200 countries present. While China and India have signaled support for tripling global renewable energy by 2030, neither has confirmed it will back the overall pledge - which pairs the ramp-up in clean power with a reduction in fossil fuel use.

South Africa, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Canada, Chile and Barbados are among the countries already on board, officials told Reuters.

The renewables pledge will be among several other energy-related announcements at COP28 on Saturday, including new measures and funding to combat methane emissions, agreements to cut coal use and the promotion of nuclear energy.

Phase out?

A central decision facing nations at COP28 is whether to agree, for the first time, to gradually "phase out" global consumption of fossil fuels. Burning coal, oil and gas to produce energy is the main cause of climate change.

A draft of the renewable energy pledge, seen by Reuters, called for "the phase down of unabated coal power" and ending the financing of new coal-fired power plants.

Tripling clean sources like wind and solar and doubling energy savings would deliver 85% of the cuts in fossil fuel use needed this decade to meet global climate goals, according to an analysis by think-tank Ember.

The goals will add to pressure on wealthy nations and international financial institutions to unleash the massive investments needed to hit 11,000 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030 - in particular, by reducing the high cost of capital that has stymied renewable energy projects in Africa and other developing nations.

"The mismatch still exists between our potentiality and our limitations to attract investment," said Najib Ahmed, a consultant at Somalia's climate ministry.

Africa receives just 2% of global investments in renewable energy. Somalia has the highest onshore wind power potential of any African country, yet one of the lowest electrification rates in the continent, according to the International Energy Agency.


World Bank Increases Climate Spending to 45%

An atrium is seen at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, US, October 14, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
An atrium is seen at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, US, October 14, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
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World Bank Increases Climate Spending to 45%

An atrium is seen at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, US, October 14, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
An atrium is seen at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, US, October 14, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The World Bank on Friday said it will increase the amount it spends annually on climate-related projects to 45% of its financing over 2024 to 2025, up from 35% now, as part of a policy overhaul to better respond to climate change.

The Washington-based development bank, whose new president Ajay Banga is leading reforms, said it will spend $40 billion, $9 billion more than was previously programmed.

Founded as World War Two drew to a close to alleviate poverty, under Banga, the bank is seeking to expand programs to respond to climate change and hunger, while boosting the bank's lending power with new funding and balance sheet rules.


Business, Philanthropy Sectors Activate Contributions at COP 28 for Climate Solutions

 The COP 28 conference has kicked off in Dubai, with discussions scheduled to take place over the course of two weeks (AFP)
The COP 28 conference has kicked off in Dubai, with discussions scheduled to take place over the course of two weeks (AFP)
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Business, Philanthropy Sectors Activate Contributions at COP 28 for Climate Solutions

 The COP 28 conference has kicked off in Dubai, with discussions scheduled to take place over the course of two weeks (AFP)
The COP 28 conference has kicked off in Dubai, with discussions scheduled to take place over the course of two weeks (AFP)

The Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum at COP28, focuses on implementing tangible solutions to global climate and nature challenges.

This year’s COP 28 conference will see more than 1300 CEOs of organizations and leaders from charitable enterprises representing over 100 countries.

The Forum seeks to address key priorities outlined in the COP 28 agenda, such as energy transition, climate finance, nature conservation, and inclusivity.

Its objectives encompass safeguarding Earth’s natural heritage and biodiversity, funding adaptation plans, and fostering more sustainable agricultural systems and practices.

The Forum serves as a platform for practical and actionable solutions, bringing together diverse stakeholders to tackle pressing issues on a global scale.

COP28 Special Representative for Business and Philanthropy and Chair of the Forum Badr Jafar stated that the gathering marks a pivotal breakthrough in global climate discourse.

According to Jafar, the Forum will bring together a significant number of business leaders and philanthropic innovators to convey a powerful message about the importance of collaboration and comprehensive action for all.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of COP 28, Jafar said: “Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber, the President of COP 28, calls for what he terms effective change in the working approach that energizes the private sector and its resources with a passion for climate issues.”

“This Forum provides vital sectors with a platform to contribute effectively to shaping global climate policies,” added Jafar.

“The vision of the COP 28 President is committed to adopting a working methodology that supports energy transition, improves climate finance, and focuses on solutions mindful of human and environmental needs, ensuring that all initiatives are inclusive,” he explained.

Emphasizing that the Forum will be a dynamic interactive platform, Jafar highlighted that it will provide participating delegations with an unprecedented opportunity to pledge new responsibilities and goals, outlining a clear path for the next steps and required actions.

“The primary objective of the Forum is to enable the private sector to take practical steps that move them from the realm of theoretical agreements and commitments to the practical world of implementation and tangible results,” said Jafar.

Jafar explained that $3 trillion is the total global investment required annually to achieve the net-zero emissions goal by 2050.

Developing countries need investments totaling $2.4 trillion each year until 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement targets and address issues like biodiversity loss, land degradation, and soil deterioration.

“We will need radical natural solutions costing $8 trillion from now until 2050,” Jafar told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“These amounts are undoubtedly enormous, reflecting the magnitude of the risks at stake. The stark reality increasingly evident to us is the impossibility of mobilizing these trillions, or even coming close to doing so, without the ingenious involvement of the private sector with its innovative capabilities, resources, and expertise,” he explained.

As per Jafar, the challenge lies in the absence of a global framework that organizes collaboration among all capital sources swiftly and on an extremely broad scale.


COP28 Agrees to Operationalize ‘Loss And Damage Fund’

People arrive at the venue of the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on November 30, 2023. The UN climate conference opens in Dubai on November 30 with nations under pressure to increase the urgency of action on global warming. (Photo by KARIM SAHIB / AFP)
People arrive at the venue of the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on November 30, 2023. The UN climate conference opens in Dubai on November 30 with nations under pressure to increase the urgency of action on global warming. (Photo by KARIM SAHIB / AFP)
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COP28 Agrees to Operationalize ‘Loss And Damage Fund’

People arrive at the venue of the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on November 30, 2023. The UN climate conference opens in Dubai on November 30 with nations under pressure to increase the urgency of action on global warming. (Photo by KARIM SAHIB / AFP)
People arrive at the venue of the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on November 30, 2023. The UN climate conference opens in Dubai on November 30 with nations under pressure to increase the urgency of action on global warming. (Photo by KARIM SAHIB / AFP)

Officially launched in the vibrant city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP28, is now underway.

The conference aims to address the challenges of climate change, marking a pivotal moment since the Paris Agreement.

Invitations have been extended to explore diverse strategies to confront the impacts of climate change and navigate the complex path laid out by the international community.

This event represents a significant milestone in the ongoing global efforts to combat climate change since the Paris Agreement, and expectations are high for substantial outcomes.

On the inaugural day of the week-long conference, a significant milestone was achieved with the adoption of the first foundational resolution.

Delegates at the COP28 climate talks in Dubai formally adopted a loss and damage fund Thursday to transfer finances to countries hit hardest by the climate crisis.

The details had already been agreed earlier this month at a pre-COP session, when it was decided that the World Bank would host the fund.

Participants emphasized the conference’s role in fostering global collaboration for effective and swift action.

The newly established fund garnered contributions exceeding $300 million in its initial round of pledges.

In a groundbreaking move, the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed announced the country’s commitment of $100 million to the new fund dedicated to addressing climate-related disasters.

“We congratulate all parties on the historic adoption of this fund for climate impact response and announce the UAE’s commitment of $100 million as our contribution. We call on all countries in a position to do so to contribute generously, as an important symbol of solidarity,” Sheikh Abdullah posted on X.

Among other nations that pledged contributions to the fund during the previous conference held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, were India with $100 million, the United Kingdom with up to £60 million ($75.89 million), the United States with $17.5 million, and Japan with $10 million.

In a remarkable early win for the Cop28 presidency, a loss and damage fund became official on day one.

“We’ve delivered history today. The first time a decision has been adopted on day 1 of any COP. And the speed at which we have done so is also historic. Getting this done demonstrates the hard work of so many, particularly members of the transitional committee who worked tirelessly to get us to this point. This is evidence that we can deliver. COP28 can deliver,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, president, COP28.

In a statement, Al Jaber said the fund will support billions of people, lives and livelihoods that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change.


Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties Buys London Square for $291 Mln

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian carrying an umbrella walks along the River Thames in view of City of London skyline in London, Britain, July 31, 2023. REUTERS/Hollie Adams/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian carrying an umbrella walks along the River Thames in view of City of London skyline in London, Britain, July 31, 2023. REUTERS/Hollie Adams/File Photo
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Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties Buys London Square for $291 Mln

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian carrying an umbrella walks along the River Thames in view of City of London skyline in London, Britain, July 31, 2023. REUTERS/Hollie Adams/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian carrying an umbrella walks along the River Thames in view of City of London skyline in London, Britain, July 31, 2023. REUTERS/Hollie Adams/File Photo

Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties has bought London-based developer London Square for an enterprise value of 1.07 billion dirhams ($291 million) in its first acquisition outside the Middle East.
"Aldar intends to leverage its expertise and balance sheet to support London Square's land acquisition strategy to enable it to develop larger and prime central London sites," the two companies said in a joint statement on Friday.
The companies said the transaction should also have a positive impact on sales, given the opportunities to cross-sell across their respective customer base.
Aldar is 25%-owned by Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company and 26%-owned by International Holding Company.

Established in 2010, London Square is widely known for its Nine Elms development, located in proximity to the Battersea Power Station.
The development features over 750 luxury homes, affordable housing and 21,500 square feet of commercial and retail space.


Saudi Arabia Railways Signs Deal to Transport Thousands of Vehicles Annually by Trains

This agreement represents a turning point in the transportation and logistics services sector. (SPA)
This agreement represents a turning point in the transportation and logistics services sector. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia Railways Signs Deal to Transport Thousands of Vehicles Annually by Trains

This agreement represents a turning point in the transportation and logistics services sector. (SPA)
This agreement represents a turning point in the transportation and logistics services sector. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) and Al-Jabr Automotive have collaborated to transport thousands of vehicles annually by train from King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam, aiming to boost operational efficiency, reduce costs, and minimize damage and carbon emissions.

The four-year contract plays a significant role in enhancing the efficiency of operational processes, cutting expenses, and minimizing the incidence of damage related to the transportation and handling of new cars.

Furthermore, it serves to alleviate pressure on the port.

CEO of SAR Dr. Bashar Al-Malik told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saudi Arabia Railways aims this year to finalize the removal of more than one million truck trips.

In 2022, trains contributed to keeping 1.8 million trucks off the Kingdom's roads.

Al-Malik noted that each truck that is kept off the roads has a positive impact on the environment by reducing carbon emissions, saying transporting goods through trains enhances the efficiency of operational processes and reduces traffic.

Looking forward to outreaching new customers to achieve a tangible impact on the environment and society, the CEO of SAR pointed out that the agreement represents a milestone towards achieving the strategic vision of a comprehensive transformation in the transport and logistics sector.

“We are taking a significant step through this agreement. Not only we are expanding and diversifying the services provided to our customers but also offering logistical transport solutions that contribute to reducing carbon emissions and enhancing traffic safety levels,” he said.

He further emphasized that the recent collaboration underscores full dedication to achieving sustainability goals and offering transportation solutions that prioritize the future of the nation and succeeding generations.

Bandar Al-Jabri, former president of the national committee of transport in the Council of Saudi Chambers, told Asharq Al-Awsat that this step backs economic, trade, and logistical movements among the cities of the Kingdom for the aim of achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

He noted that trains complement the maritime, land, and air sectors, expressing belief that the cost of transporting goods by trains and trucks is approximately the same.

The deal also underscores SAR’s steadfast commitment to providing sustainable solutions in the transport and logistics sector.

Aligned with the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics, SAR aims to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2030, in line with the Kingdom’s environmental initiatives.

Established in 2006, SAR is the owner and operator of the North Train Railway Network and carries on the vision to build sustainable passenger and cargo transport. SAR was assigned to take over the operations and management of the network from the Saudi Railway Organization in 2021.

Al-Jabr Automotive opened its first automotive showroom in 1959 in AlKhobar. The company occupies a leading position in the Saudi automobile market, having 28 showrooms and 38 fully-fledged service centers across the Kingdom.