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Emirates: Abu Dhabi - NEWS BRIEFINGS
Emirates: Abu Dhabi | 25.05.2007
Though one of the world's most popular sports, cricket is not a game normally associated with the Middle East.

Emirates: Abu Dhabi

Emerging Abu Dhabi 2006 book cover With oil prosperity continuing to stimulate positive growth in other sectors, Abu Dhabi provides a consistently strong climate for foreign investment. Emerging Abu Dhabi 2006, the first volume of OBG’s UAE series, offers discerning analysis of current political and economic trends in the emirate and the players behind them. The book includes exclusive interviews and viewpoint articles from Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Al Nahyan, Mohammed al-Bowardi, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Economy and Planning, Yousef Omair bin Yousef, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Christopher Sims, CEO of Aldar Properties, and Sultan bin Nasser al-Suwaidi, Governor of the UAE Central Bank.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PROFILE

POLITICS

This incisive analysis begins with an overview of the changing face of Abu Dhabi’s politics particularly in light of the passing of the Emirate’s ruler Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Five more articles follow, delving further into the legacy of Sheikh Zayed, as well as examining Abu Dhabi’s ties with the West, media freedom, relations with neighbouring countries, and ties to her sibling emirate, Dubai. Two viewpoint articles from Judith Kipper, director of the Middle East Forum at the Council on Foreign Relations and Ebtisam al-Kitbi, assistant professor of political science at UAE University follow. There are also interviews with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and with Mohammed al-Bowardi, Secretary-General of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

ECONOMY

This broad survey starts with an overview examining how oil revenues may fuel aspirations of growth in other sectors. Articles about the shifting role of foreign direct investment, hiring expatriates, Emiratisation employment quotas and the likely free trade agreement with the US are included, as well as analysis on how to improve statistics reporting, a comparative study with the other emirates and the downside to the oil windfall. Exclusive interviews from Sheikha Lubna al-Qasimi, UAE Minister of Economy and Planning, Khaldoon Khalifa al-Mubarak, CEO of Mubadala Development, and Saeed al-Hajeri, Executive Director of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) are included. Viewpoints from the Duke of York and Shaun Donnelly, assistant US Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East, round out the section.

BANKING

An overview of the new banking wave in Abu Dhabi opens up the chapter, followed by analyses of the burgeoning Islamic banking sector, updates in banking regulations, and a review of the emirate’s top 10 banks. An interview with UAE Central Bank Governor Sultan bin Nasser al-Suwaidi and a viewpoint article from Karti Inamdar, Senior Bank Analyst at Capital Intelligence are also included.

CAPITAL MARKETS

The hysteria surrounding the Abu Dhabi Securities Market is the focus of the chapter’s overview article, further supplemented by deeper analyses of the ADSM and the heavily oversubscribed float of Aldar Properties. Comprehensive share data on six key UAE companies – Abu Dhabi National Hotels, Abu Dhabi Aviation Company, Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company, Etisalat, National Marine Dredging Company and National Bank of Abu Dhabi – is provided by NBAD. Stock information and analyses are supplemented by an interview from Hamad al-Shamsi, Director of the Abu Dhabi Securities Market, and by viewpoint articles from Richard Amos, General Manager of the Investment Banking Division at NBAD, and Orhan Osmansoy, CEO of The National Investor.

INSURANCE

An overview article details the flush of oil funds on the insurance market, followed by an analysis of the growing role of foreign insurers.

ENERGY

This definitive examination of the UAE’s chief sector begins with an all-encompassing overview detailing key statistics, innovations in technology and management, and future development plans. Analyses of the private sector’s expanding role, the commitment to Sheikh Zayed’s vision for the environment and the cross-border Dolphin Project, as well as the heavy cost of government subsidies for utilities, China’s interests in the region, the shock of unexpected demand, and the rising costs of oil extraction expand on the points outlined in the overview. An interview from Yousef Omair bin Yousef, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and viewpoint articles from Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA), and Robert Mabro, former Director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, complete the chapter.

DEFENCE

An overview of the UAE’s most recent defence system acquisitions and deals, analysed in light of diplomatic moves and regional geo-politics, illustrates how the UAE has arguably the best-equipped force structure in the region. An analysis of the UOG – the UAE’s defence offset programme – and how it has wielded foreign expertise with its unique output-oriented credit system is also included.

TRANSPORT

An overview of opportunities for infrastructural investment opens the chapter, focusing on the emirate’s new transportation and tourism icon, Etihad Airways. This is followed by an article on the lingering need for refurbishment at the Mina Zayed port. An analysis of the response to and role of Etihad Airways follows, as well as an interview with the Chairman of Etihad and the Abu Dhabi Civil Aviation Department, Sheikh Ahmad bin Saif Al Nahyan.

TOURISM

An overview of Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector examines the plans of the newly established Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and its ambitions to establish Abu Dhabi as a luxury beach resort while retaining its rank as a business destination. The chapter also examines the role that Etihad Airways will play in bringing visitors to the emirate. Articles on Abu Dhabi’s hotel star-ranking system and the Emirates Palace – the world’s most expensive hotel to date – expand on the overview, followed by an interview with ADTA Chairman Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan.

REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION

The real estate overview covers the sector’s boom fuelled by recent changes in property ownership laws and the incredible amounts of liquidity floating around the emirate post-September 11. A further examination of the change in real estate ownership laws for expatriates and an interview with Aldar Properties Chairman Ahmed Ali al-Sayegh further explore Abu Dhabi’s current real estate sector. The recent spike in demand for airports, hotels, and housing developments is examined in the construction overview, along with an article outlining the new projects on the emirate’s nearby islands.

TELECOMS & IT

Etisalat, the UAE’s national telecommunications provider, and the competition it faces from foreign players pending national liberalisation measures, are the cornerstones of the telecoms overview. Articles covering Etisalat’s own forays abroad and the growing success of Thuraya Satellite Communications complete the telecoms section, while the roles of e-government and technology density are the focus of the IT overview. An article on Injazat, the 60:40 venture between UAE-owned Mubadala and US-outsourcing firm Electronic Data Systems, finishes off the chapter.

INDUSTRY & RETAIL

The industry overview focuses on the lingering question of whether or not it is the right time to bring in foreign investors, examining non-oil industrial leaders such as Emirates Iron and Steel Factory, Abu Dhabi Ship Building, and Neopharma. Another article further investigates offsets projects in the emirate, including Tabreed and UTS-Burnstop, followed by an interview with Sheikh Hamad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economy. Diversification options are explored in the petrochemicals analysis, looking at sector leaders Ruwais Fertilizer Industries (FERTIL) and Borouge – the latter the first advanced petrochemical project in the emirate, a 60:40 joint venture between ADNOC and Borealis. The retail overview checks out consumer trends in the grocery and clothing markets, as well as the rise of local mega-malls. OBG also takes a look at the local traditional carpet market.

EDUCATION

Preparing UAE nationals for careers in the private sector, especially with regard to the controversial Emiratisation programme, is the focus of the education overview. Another article examines the oil industry’s contributions to the cause. An interview with UAE Minister of Education Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and a viewpoint from Abu Dhabi-based researcher Sara Macedo provide insider perspectives.

HISTORY

In this chapter, special contributor Frauke Heard-Bey examines the life of Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifah, the man behind the modern UAE.

THE BUSINESS GUIDE, ACCOUNTANCY

PricewaterhouseCoopers provides an extensive accountancy review, outlining tax codes and explaining changes in GCC import restrictions. Jacques Fakhoury, Managing Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers-Abu Dhabi, also offers his viewpoint on changing tax regulations.

THE BUSINESS GUIDE, LEGAL

Simmons & Simmons gives the foreign investor a clear outline of changes in laws that affect expatriates – from taxation to vehicle registration. George Booth, partner at Simmons & Simmons’ Abu Dhabi branch, offers his own take on liberalisation and privatisation measures in the emirate in the chapter’s viewpoint article.

THE GUIDE

The chapter opens with the country editor’s reflections on the resource in the emirate even more boundless and famed than oil – the desert. Next comes a fresh holiday suggestion, refreshing after the daily bustle of Abu Dhabi – the oases of al-Khutwa, near the Hajar Mountains along the border with Oman. A guide to the emirate’s finest hotels, restaurants and nightclubs follows. The section wraps up with a chat with bon vivant Zaki Nusseibeh, formerly the personal interpreter for the late Sheikh Zayed and a long-time patron of the arts.

LISTINGS

OBG offers a comprehensive directory of government offices, trade associations, foreign missions, banks, credit cards and travellers’ cheques, consultancy and accountancy firms, media outlets, hospitals and pharmacies, emergency numbers, travel services, couriers, cinemas, and useful web links.

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