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Country Risk Update
United Arab Emirates
Risk Indicator – DB3c
Risk Level – Slight
Ratings Trend – Improving

Dun & Bradstreet upgrades its rating outlook for the UAE due to the sustained strength of oil prices, which will boost growth, government spending and business performance. Access to global markets from Dubai will be among the best in the world.

Market Overview

DP World Planning Logistics Facility In Ethiopia To Serve Landlocked African Countries
Dubai-based ports operator DP World has revealed plans to set up a logistics facility in landlocked Ethiopia, a move that comes as the company is developing a port in neighboring Somaliland. The company didn’t reveal financial details, or provide a timeline for the project, but said it had signed a number of agreements in Ethiopia to pave way for the development. The new logistics facility would serve as a hub to transport goods to and from landlocked countries in Africa. DP World currently has a maritime terminal under development in Somaliland’s Berbera, which would presumably provide a link to the planned logistics facility in Ethiopia. The company won a 30-year concession in 2016 to manage and develop the multi-purpose port, committing a total investment of up to $442 million towards the project.

Expo 2020, reforms key to 1% GDP boost to UAE economy
Expo 2020, economic reforms, Abu Dhabi’s $13.6 billion stimulus, and ADNOC’s expansion could add about 1 percent to the UAE’s non-oil real GDP growth in 2019, according to new research.Bank of America Merrill Lynch said structural reforms support potential growth through higher human capital, population, real estate demand and competitiveness. Its MENA economist, Jean Michel Saliba, said that UAE non-hydrocarbon economic activity is likely to turn the corner in 2019. “We estimate Expo 2020 projects, the boost to corporate profits from the revised worker insurance scheme, the Abu Dhabi fiscal stimulus and ADNOC downstream expansion plans could add about 1 percent to UAE real non-hydrocarbon real GDP growth next year.Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s research note also forecast that the Dubai and Abu Dhabi sovereigns are unlikely to issue international debt this year.​

Majid Al Futtaim Inks Partnership With OMRAN To Invest $13 Billion In Oman
Majid Al Futtaim is all set to become the largest foreign non-oil investor in Oman after they announced a strategic partnership to develop the western area of Madinat Al Irfan in Oman along with the Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN).The joint venture will see the development of a vibrant mixed-use community that will serve as the new urban center for Muscat. The announcement was made at a signing ceremony and joint press conference at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre in Muscat, which was attended by members of the royal family, high-level government officials and senior leadership of OMRAN and Majid Al Futtaim.​Madinat Al Irfan is the Sultanate’s largest urban development project. The new mixed-use community is located at the western area of Madinat Al Irfan and spans over 4.5 million square meters. The joint venture project investment value is estimated at $13 billion over a period of 20 years and is anticipated to create more than 30,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country.

UAE Banks Federation launches financial literacy guide for SMEs
The UAE Banks Federation (UBF) has stepped up its efforts to increase the level of financial awareness in the country by launching a financial literacy handbook for SMEs. Representing over 60 percent of the country’s GDP and employing 42 percent of its workforce, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of the UAE’s economy. SMEs, which make up 94 percent of all companies operating in the country, also account for a significant share of the customer base of local banks, another cornerstone of the country’s economy. “In an increasingly complex financial environment, it is essential for entrepreneurs – particularly owners of SMEs – to have a strong grounding in the principles of business finance to keep their business afloat. SMEs play a critical role in an efficient and competitive economy, and a thriving SME ecosystem will positively contribute to a society’s economic stability and development” said Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of UAE Banks Federation.

Bahrain Development Bank’s $100 Million Venture Capital Fund To Solve MENA Startups’ Cash Crunch
Bahrain Development Bank (BHB) launched the country’s first venture capital fund, worth $100 million, to assist startups in the region and bolster entrepreneurship. Experts say that the move could help solve a funding crunch that entrepreneurs face and pave the way for more startups.The Al Waha Fund is set to help assist innovative and technology-driven start-ups not only in Bahrain but also across the Middle East. It is hoped that they would also attract funds to region to help in achieving more innovative and valuable start-ups that can add significant economic value to the Middle East region. 
According to a press release issued by BHB, The Limited Partners (LP) Advisory Committee closed the $100m fund, and approved the allocation of $35 million into a series of venture funds. Some of the limited partners to the fund included Mumtalakat, National Bank of Bahrain, Batelco Group, Tamkeen and Bahrain Development Bank. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chairman, Al Waha Fund of Funds Advisory Committee, said: “We are very pleased to announce the successful closure of the fund and we have already made encouraging progress in allocating the capital raised.

Commodity Tracker
Business Events this Week In UAE

HostApp Summit 2018
@ Sheikh Rashid Hall C&D,
Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre
06 August – 07 August 2018
Business Updates

Introducing D&B’s Express BIR
D&B Express Business Information Reports helps to take day-to-day credit decisions, analyse a company’s financial strength and discover commercial opportunities.

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