Cheerful remote worker calling on mobile creating project

Most Employees in the UAE Have a Second Job or Business, Expert Says

Cheerful remote worker calling on mobile creating project

In the UAE private sector, it is not uncommon for employees to have a side hustle. Recruitment experts said that it is important for employees and job-seekers to discuss this with potential employers during the interview process.

Kameron Hutchinson, recruitment director at Allsopp & Allsopp, advised job seekers to be upfront during interviews.

“You should research the employer you’re considering; if they have a strict policy that requires 100% of your time, that’s not the right employer for you,” Hutchinson told Khaleej Times.

Hutchinson noted that the key is to ensure that the full-time job remains the main focus.

“You should not be misleading during an interview. If you can give 100 per cent of what the employer requires and you have some time and energy left over to do something on the side, follow your passion and go for it,” he said.

When asked about how common it is for employers to have a second source of income in the UAE, Hutchinson noted that it is very common. He also noted that private sector policies are changing.

“It’s already happening — many corporates and firms are changing their policies to allow people to have something on the side other than their full-time job,” he said. “That’s why we love Dubai – you can do many things at once, you don’t have to be confined to one job.”

Hutchinson, a British expatriate, noted the mental difference between the UAE and his home country. “In the UK, the mentality is to have a 9-5 job, 30 days of annual leave and that’s it,” he said.

Hutchinson said that side hustles could include running an active social media brand that generates income from views or collaborations, without a full-time commitment.

“Some people need a full-time job to afford their passion on the side,” he explained.

Hutchinson also recommended building an effective relationship with your employer.

“If you show up to an interview and say ‘Hello, I want this job but I have a side hustle,’ the chances are that the employer won’t favour you,” he said.

“But if you have been giving your full performance, impressing the employer, and showing your true value, then you can have a discussion with them about it.”

Nicki Wilson, owner and managing director of Genie Recruitment, has noticed that having part-time jobs in addition to a full-time job is becoming more common, especially among younger Generation Z employees.

Wilson explains: “Especially Gen Z, they’re very interested in this. Most of them are very entrepreneurial. They like to advance their skills in different areas, and not be limited to one role.”

Wilson also called on employers to be open-minded.

“Employers who are ‘closed off’ to the idea of employees having side businesses or part-time work actually might be missing out on really great people.”

She believes that having a second job takes a lot of balance and organisational skills.

From Wilson’s perspective as a recruitment professional, this trend can be beneficial, as it allows employees to develop skills and contacts that complement their primary job.

She describes one of her employees who has a brownie business on the side. “This helps her stay connected to clients in the food and beverage industry that Genie Recruitment also serves,” she added

Wilson believes that as long as the second job does not significantly distract from the employee’s primary job duties, it can be a positive thing. Forward-thinking employers should accommodate, she added.

“If it’s not affecting your work and is not reducing your hours at your main job, that’s not a big problem,” Wilson said.

Saudi Arabia, Modern, international, Urban skyline and modern architecture

How Saudi Infrastructure Development Can Match the Tourism Boom

Saudi Arabia, Modern, international, Urban skyline and modern architecture

Whilst the pace of transformation in Saudi is evident, the tourism boom has upped the ante on the need for speed in developing giga projects and tourism destinations in Saudi

With Saudi Arabia setting a new goal to attract 150 million visitors over the next six years, having achieved ahead of schedule the target of ‘100 million visitors by 2030’, there is a need to increase the pace of developing giga projects and tourism destinations in the kingdom, a top official of Serco Middle East, has said.

The kingdom’s tourism sector is accelerating, and the announcement of major events like the Riyadh Expo 2030 and the bid to host the FIFA 2034 World Cup are just some of the examples that underscore how seriously Saudi is taking its commitment to opening its doors to international visitors, said Daniel MacGregor, Chief Growth Officer, Serco Middle East.

Serco provides services in areas of asset management, facilities maintenance and operations as well as core operational services such as security, cleaning, pest control and waste management.

The crux of the work that needs to be done is being ready for international tourists coming from new markets, with varied backgrounds and en masse to such events, must be completed ahead of the events themselves, said MacGregor.

MacGregor says why there is an urgent need for Saudi to accelerate the pace of infrastructure development, and how to cater for the tourism boom that lies ahead.

Preparations will need to include, for example, transformations to the airport infrastructure, which will function as the ‘shop window’ as it were, working as the gateway and delivering a vital first impression to millions of people as they first enter the country.

Whilst the pace of transformation in Saudi is evident, the tourism boom has upped the ante on the need for speed in developing giga projects and tourism destinations in Saudi.

The good news is that these areas, while set to cater to a diverse set of tourists needs – be that sport, entertainment or cultural experiences, also have their own distinct contributions to make to the kingdom’s economy and society.

NEOM, promises to be a hub for innovation; the Red Sea Development project is expected to contribute significantly to the kingdom’s GDP, creating thousands of jobs, and positioning Saudi Arabia as a top-tier sustainable travel destination.

Whilst the creation of King Salman Park highlights the 360-view that Saudi is taking towards its Vision 2030 progress, there needs to be a focus on creating green liveable spaces that contribute to the overall happiness of those who both live in Saudi and of course those who pass through as visitors.

To accelerate progress, the collaboration between the public and private sectors is vital. The government’s commitment to forging these partnerships is evident enough through the substantial investments and regulatory reforms that are being implemented, which are designed to facilitate business operations.

These collaborations are essential for injecting innovation, efficiency, and both global and local expertise into the tourism sector, ensuring that the developments are not only world-class but also sustainable and economically viable.

By working hand in hand, business has a major role to play in supporting the government to not only achieve their already ambitious tourism targets, but they can help the government set up Saudi for long-term future success on the tourism stage.

These developments are backed by reports from the Ministry of Interior at the recent UK Saudi Sustainable Infrastructure Summit that the kingdom is ‘more than halfway through’ the delivery of Vision 2030, with statements indicating that it is ‘ahead of schedule in all aspects of implementation.’  

Woman, grocery shopping and fruits choice, discount and sale or wholesale promotion for healthy food and basket. African customer in convenience store or supermarket

How South African Retailers Can Capitalise on the Cold Season

Woman, grocery shopping and fruits choice, discount and sale or wholesale promotion for healthy food and basket. African customer in convenience store or supermarket

For many retailers, winter is one of the weakest periods for retail trading in South Africa, however, a big data analysis commission by Capital Connect shows that retail sales tend to pick up in winter after the quiet autumn months.

Research conducted by the Bureau of Market Research (BMR) finds that retailers can profit by stocking up on pharmaceutical goods, winter clothing and certain foods and beverages.

This analysis breaks down performance of retail subsectors for winter 2024 as follows:

General dealers historically see a rise in winter sales compared to earlier parts of the year. They benefit from customers buying hot beverages like coffee, tea and hot chocolate; vegetables and meats for soups, stews and other hearty meals; clothing items like sleepwear, winter wear and warm children’s clothes; blankets and fleeces; cold and flu medicines and over-the-counter treatments; vitamins and immune boosters; and certain small appliances like heaters and toasters.

Food, beverage and tobacco specialised stores also generally experience some growth in the winter months compared to the first quarter of the year. Like general dealers, they benefit from sales of ingredients for hot beverages and nutritious, affordable winter meals.

Pharmaceutical, medical goods, cosmetics and toiletries dealers profit from the cold and flu season. Products that sell well include prescription medicines, cold and flu medicines, throat lozenges, skin creams and lotions, moisturisers, cough syrup, pain relievers, nasal spray, immune system boosters, clinic services and hair dryers.

Textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods dealers tend to underperform in winter months compared to other times of the year. Sales tend to pick up for thick socks, winter boots, hoodies, jerseys, sweatshirts, tick cloth trousers, long sleeve shirts, slippers, warm sleepwear, as well as ladies and children’s winter clothing. However, local retailers are losing out on sales to international brands.

Household furniture, appliances and equipment dealers experience little growth in the winter months compared to the first quarter of the year. But there are opportunities to drive sales of heaters, carpets, cookers, ovens, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, small kitchen appliances, toasters, grills, roasters and coffee machines.

Hardware, paint and glass dealers generally experience low growth in the winter months. The only products that are standing out as strong winter sellers are firewood, heaters, grillers and some DIY products.

Steven Heilbron, CEO of Capital Connect, says that retailers that want to grow and thrive need to maximise their opportunities during every season, even those that are traditionally quieter trading periods.

But to win market share at a time of the year when there aren’t many big holidays and when people are staying indoors, they’ll need to be innovative to move the needle.

Creative promotions and strategic stock purchases can give retailers an edge during winter.

Some ideas they can consider include:

Host winter-themed events such as cooking classes for winter recipes or wine tastings featuring robust red wines to boost sales within the supermarket and liquor verticals.

Develop winter-themed promotions with attractive deals on seasonal essentials like winter woollies and soup mixes.

Create bundles such as soup ingredients or flu-fighting kits to increase basket sizes.

Offer a warm refuge and create an enticing space for customers to linger by offering soups, hot chocolate and a fire or heater in your coffee shop or bistro.

Hands of two african individuals doing financial transaction with a point of sales POS terminal as Cash, Naira, Money or currency is exchanging hands

Why the Promise of a Cashless Society is Key to Unlocking the Nigerian Commerce Growth Opportunity

Hands of two african individuals doing financial transaction with a point of sales POS terminal as Cash, Naira, Money or currency is exchanging hands

By Justin Floyd, CEO of Redcloud

Under the current Nigerian Government policy, weekly cash withdrawals are limited to ₦500,000 (approx. $1,100) for individuals and ₦5,000,000 (approx. $11,000) for corporations.

Cash is a uniquely expensive and inconvenient way to do business. However, shifting to a world of cashless payments is easier said than done, as many policymakers have discovered to their cost. The Nigerian Government is taking unprecedented steps to reduce the economic reliance on cash and promote digitally-driven commerce. Will its gamble pay off?

Along with Sweden and India, Nigeria has moved ahead of other countries in its efforts to reduce the reliance on cash to make commerce flow and drive economic growth. Most notably, in late 2022, the Government announced a cap on weekly cash withdrawals for both individuals and corporations, with punitive fees levied for those straying above the limits.

Since then, it has also announced a new domestic card scheme to rival foreign cards like Mastercard and Visa and further encourage digital payments. Of course, the perceived rush to change business and consumer behaviour has met with understandable resistance in some quarters. Cash reserves of the country’s newly redesigned paper currency have run low, while the traditional banking infrastructure has come under strain, resulting in markedly slower settlement times. Despite the growing domestic concerns, however, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has largely resisted efforts to slow down the pace of its economic transformation.

Why over-reliance on cash is a barrier to growth

Cash may have been around since the time of the Mesopotamian shekel over 5000 years ago, but its utility is dwindling for the modern economy. Compared to many digital payment solutions, cash is slow, cumbersome and unreliable. A reliance on cash remains a major barrier to growth in ambitious, high-potential markets like Nigeria: it makes volume business difficult, and cross-border, open commerce impossible. It prevents the accumulation of working capital to facilitate growth. It also comes with significant risks – everything from robbery to fire and flood.

Most pertinently, it is typically the smaller retailers and merchants who carry the steepest cost for being forced to trade in cash. Cash needs complex reconciliation by hand; transactions are slow and insecure, while capital is tied up rather than being used productively.

No wonder policymakers are pushing for digital payments – particularly given that microbusinesses and entrepreneurs present such a huge untapped growth opportunity for the domestic economy.

The latest in a series of cashless interventions

Under the current Nigerian Government policy, weekly cash withdrawals are limited to ₦500,000 (approx. $1,100) for individuals and ₦5,000,000 (approx. $11,000) for corporations. Individuals that breach these limits must pay a fee of 3%, with a 5% fee levied on corporations. The CBN has also limited daily withdrawals, part of a broader suite of measures dating back to 2012 designed to promote the domestic use of digital payments –in particular, the adoption of the country’s digital currency, the eNaira, but also internet banking, mobile banking apps and cards.

The Nigerian authorities have made their rationale clear – embracing digital payments boosts growth, reduces corruption, promotes financial inclusion and facilitates remittances. At the launch of the project, the CBN explained that, “An efficient and modern payment system is positively correlated with economic development, and is a key enabler for economic growth.”

The B2B distribution problem

However, despite undeniable progress, there continues to be an over-reliance of cash across the B2B retail distribution chain in Nigeria. There are a number of reasons: some large brands are reluctant to change a model that has worked well for them and kept out smaller challengers, while some of the bigger distributors have no incentive to change a system that allows them to control the relationship between brands and merchants – and charge fat margins to do so.

Unfortunately, this reliance on cash doesn’t work well for merchants, for consumers, or for all of the many brands and distributors who want to compete on a level playing field – an ‘open commerce’ system. Cash-based distribution invariably limits choice and pushes up prices. It makes accurate sales data and customer insights harder to come by, limiting the efficacy of local markets in matching supply with demand.

Even where brands have attempted to move away from using cash across their Nigerian distribution operations, they’ve done so by building proprietary, closed-garden digital ecosystems – creating a single online home for buying their products, but not for buying anyone else’s. This approach misunderstands how retailers and distributors want to operate. They’re already dealing with multiple brands every week and so if they’re going to be incentivised away from continuing to use cash, it has to be with the promise of a fundamentally better digital solution – for example, an open commerce marketplace where they can buy a wider range of products to suit their local customers’ needs.

Delivering value throughout the distribution chain

Digital payments present a clear pathway to growth for small Nigerian retailers and merchants. They provide far better visibility on all retail transactions, allowing for better stock management, they create verifiable trading data that can improve a merchant’s ability to access working capital via banks and financial services providers and, of course, they offer immediate reconciliation.

What’s more, allowing local retailers and merchants to go cashless has a significant positive effect throughout the distribution chain, allowing brands and their distributors far greater transparency into what is selling, where there may be untapped demand, how to price goods more effectively, and more besides. This is open commerce in action.

And with some open commerce platforms, it’s even possible to trade digitally without any reliance on the traditional banking establishment, with retailers uploading their existing cash at local collection points, giving them the digital currency they need to keep on purchasing without any delays in settlement time.

If the Nigerian Government gets its way, the distribution chain will be forced to digitise over the next few years. Alongside this, what’s needed now is greater market education, nudging progressive brands, distributors and retailers towards open commerce technologies rather than locking themselves into digital versions of their current, constraining relationships.

Hidden GEMs: Africa’s Frontier Markets Have Further to Run

African economies have rebounded in recent months. A combination of developments underpins this shift in fortunes. Key among these, ongoing fiscal and FX market reforms in the region’s economies – as policymakers have risen to the challenges posed by constrained debt market access.

Thys Louw, Emerging Market Fixed Income Portfolio Manager, Ninety One: “In the likes of Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, and Côte d’Ivoire, we’ve seen significant reforms. Although Africa is not out of the woods given the balance-sheet pain inflicted by several crises over the past few years, it’s firmly on the road to recovery, with debt balances currently seeing the most pronounced deleveraging since the early 2000’s.”

Economies across the African continent continue to attract bi-and multilateral support, and markets that had been most worrisome for investors – those seemingly stuck amid debt restructuring disagreements between creditors – have made significant progress in resolving these issues. Examples here include Ghana: authorities and official creditors have agreed a memorandum of understanding on the external debt restructuring, paving the way for the Eurobond restructuring to be finalised. Meanwhile in Zambia, bondholders accepted a proposed deal to swap three current bonds into two new longer-maturity bonds (issued on 11 June) – the country has exited default status and earned an upgrade to its outlook to stable (by Moody’s).

External fund flows have returned

Although the ‘higher-for-longer’ interest rates backdrop means external flows into the region’s debt markets are somewhat below what we anticipated at start of year, the picture remains encouraging. In January, Côte d’Ivoire issued US$2.6 billion of new debt in the primary market, with the issuance of two Eurobonds oversubscribed. In February, Benin issued US$750 million, which was closely followed by Kenya issuing US$3 billion of new debt – half in local currency and half in US dollars. Both country’s issuances were well received, with strong foreign participation in the Kenya local auction. More recently, Senegal issued a US$750 million US dollar bond by private placement, highlighting the confidence in its emerging oil and gas economy under new leadership. It is clear that global asset allocators are reembracing the opportunity set.

Hard currency markets have rebounded

The improved appetite for risk has provided a particularly strong boost to African high-yield hard currency debt markets, as reflected in double-digit returns from some previously distressed markets, such as Zambia and Ghana, returning 23% and 17% respectively year to date, as of end May 2024. Egypt has also been an outperformer in Africa hard currency, returning over 23% over the same period. Egypt has been a favoured name among investors in Africa; after the significant rally, returns on the country’s hard currency debt are likely to be driven more by (still high) carry than further spread compression. That said, Egypt should still benefit from tailwinds if it stays the course and sees through reforms. Similarly, in other African hard currency debt markets, the large risk premia that was apparent at the start of the year in the more idiosyncratic reform-driven stories has diminished somewhat. However, pockets of value and attractive carry can still be found in the likes of Kenya and Nigeria, as well as in Ghana where we expect returns to be boosted when restructuring is finalised. Additionally, values remains in euro-denominated debt issued by some West African countries; these include Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Benin, where in each case, we expect positive credit-rating dynamics.

Local market opportunities to watch

While frontier credit has rallied, frontier local currency debt is still compelling.

Louw continues: “Better external and domestic conditions, combined with very high nominal yields and cheap currency valuations, are likely to support larger pockets of African local debt.”

Furthermore, local currency frontier market exposure can provide useful portfolio benefits, including significant diversification from its relatively low correlation to the broader emerging market debt universe and to US rates. This is a particularly valuable in the context of heightened election-related uncertainty facing investors over the coming months.

Additionally, there is some interesting alpha capture potential in this highly diverse investment universe. For example, the Egyptian pound- where the recent devaluation has created attractive valuations, with the country’s improving external balances likely to provide further support. Elsewhere, the recent sell-off in the Nigerian naira seems too aggressive, and with the central bank moving in right direction implementing rate hikes to tackle inflation, the currency looks compelling. In the local rates market, it is worthwhile looking at Kenya, where real (inflation-adjusted) yields are attractive, and the Kenyan shilling also seems well placed due to the fiscal and monetary tightening seen by policymakers.

In contrast, we are increasingly cautious on Uganda’s debt, given a deteriorating fiscal and external outlook, combined with an overvalued exchange rate. We are also wary of hard currency issuers such as Cameroon and Ethiopia; despite “cheap valuations” we have concerns around authorities’ commitment to reform and lingering socio-political risks.

Louw concludes: “Impressive policymaking in the face of adversity is paying off in many African economies. That has fed through into a significant recovery in this important component of the frontier-market opportunity set. A selective approach to investing will always be key in this complex and diverse investment universe, but this is a story that has further to run, especially in the local currency segment.

Maritime Officer Piloting Vessel with Advanced Radar

Why Nigeria’s Maritime Surveillance Systems Need To Deepen Integration

Maritime Officer Piloting Vessel with Advanced Radar

Nigeria will benefit much more if all agencies of government can synergise seamlessly

The Nigerian maritime sector has different surveillance systems that monitor activities in order to checkmate illegal operations and enhance security. In this report, TOLA ADENUBI looks at why the two major platforms, C4i and Falcon Eye, need to deepen collaboration.

With the level of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) and the Nigerian waters in the recent past, the need to monitor activities within the maritime domain led to the launch of satellite surveillance systems by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy.

While the sector has benefitted immensely from the launch of the two satellite surveillance systems, the absence of collaboration between these two surveillance systems has led to gaps in the recent past and calls for deeper integration.

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NIMASA surveillance system

The surveillance system being operated by NIMASA is called the NIMASA Command Control Computer Communication Information System, otherwise referred to as C4i System.

The NIMASA C4i centre, with manpower composition from all security services in Nigeria, is the central nerve for the Deep Blue Project with the use of modern technology to achieve security information sharing real time amongst all the Deep Blue assets which include special mission vessels, helicopters, aircraft, fast intervention vessels and specially purpose-built armoured vehicles.

The C4i is the central nerve serving as the base for situational intelligence gathering, synchronising situational security reports on land, air and the maritime domain in Nigeria and analysing the same in real time for the Deep Blue Project.

Navy surveillance system

The Nigerian Navy surveillance system is called the Falcon Eye System. The Falcon Eye system is a state-of-the-art surveillance facility that incorporates various sensors located along the nation’s enormous coastline, such as radars, long range electro optic systems with thermal or night vision capability, automatic identification system receivers, weather stations and marine very high frequency (VHF) radios for communication.

The integration of these sensors into the Falcon Eye system generates a real-time situational awareness of the activities of vessels in Nigerian maritime domain and some selected parts in the Gulf of Guinea.

Call for collaboration

There have been calls in the recent past for the two surveillance system to collaborate and not work at cross-purposes, with the Minister of State for Defence, Honourable Bello Matawalle, highlighting this recently during his tour of the C4i System in Lagos.

During his visit, Matawalle stated that the Federal Government is committed to deepening the integration of the operations of the NIMASA C4i system and the Falcon Eye system for optimal security of the Nigerian maritime space.

Matawalle said Nigeria will benefit much more if all agencies of government can synergise seamlessly and improve information sharing among one another for the benefit of the country. He called for enhanced synergy between the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA, especially with the C4i system and the Falcon Eye, which are platforms that will massively complement each other.

He said, “I am delighted at what I have seen at NIMASA C4i centre and our goal is to see how it can be integrated with the Falcon Eye of the Nigeria Navy because all we need is to secure our maritime domain, therefore, the Navy and NIMASA must work together to create the desired maritime environment for a prosperous maritime economy.

“We want them to work together and to be integrated so that they will be communicating with each other. If the Falcon Eye and C4i are communicating effectively, our maritime space will be devoid of security challenges and this will boost the courage of both local and foreign investors in the sector.”

In his remarks, Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dayo Mobereola, expressed delight at the minister’s visit, stating that effective synchronisation of the NIMASA C4i and the Falcon Eye of the Nigerian Navy will add to the strides of the Federal Government in reaping the benefits of the blue economy.

The NIMASA DG, who was represented by the agency’s Executive Director, Operations, Engr. Fatai Adeyemi, said improved information sharing between NIMASA and Navy will enhance capability of the security agencies in curbing maritime crimes in Nigerian waters.

“We are glad to receive the Minister of State, Defence at NIMASA C4i today. This is simply a show of commitment of this administration to effective collaboration amongst all organs of government to achieve a common goal and in this instance, maritime security.

“You heard what the minister said about integrating the C4i with the Falcon Eye. I believe that is a step in the right direction. And I am sure by the time that this is done, it is going to give us a more secure marine environment,” he said.

‘Working in isolation creates security lapses, spurs rivalry’

The C4i and the Falcon Eye have mostly operated independent of each other since inception, with both systems sometimes not sharing information with each other, which often leads to security gaps within the nation’s maritime space.

“It is important that the Falcon Eye and the C4i talk to each other every minute. If this is happening, then Nigeria’s maritime space will be better secure. The era where both systems operate independently of each other is not good for the country because this often leads to hoarding of information from each other.

“When both systems are not in sync, they tend to want to start competing with each other and this is not good for our maritime space. We need both systems not to see each other as rivals but as one body working for the same purpose.

“Criminals are always out to exploit gaps in security operations to carry out their nefarious activities. When both systems hoard intelligence because they want to outwit each other, then it gives room for criminals to perpetrate their evil deeds.

“If both surveillance systems start communicating, the improvement in maritime security that Nigeria has recorded in recent past will further increase and the nation will be the beneficiary of such collaboration. It will even cost the nation less to monitor her maritime space when both systems are communicating,” a maritime security expert and former Senior Special Assistant on Maritime Affairs to the Presidency, Mr Gbenga Leke Oyewole, told the Nigerian Tribune.

Commercial jet plane flying above Dubai city

UAE Committed to Reducing Carbon Emissions in Aviation Sector

Commercial jet plane flying above Dubai city

In the path of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, sustainable aviation fuel and alternative fuels have risen to prominence as central topics in discussions, meetings, and international conferences concerning the future of the aviation industry.

Recognised as key solutions for reducing carbon emissions in the sector, it has garnered significant attention and debate.

The 80th Annual General Meeting (AGM) & World Air Transport Summit 2024, hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai last week, addressed ways to promote, accelerate, and incentivize the global increase in sustainable aviation fuel production.

Estimates by IATA suggest that the anticipated traffic of the industry in 2050 would likely generate 1.8 billion tonnes of carbon emissions if fueled by traditional jet kerosene. To achieve net-zero emissions, it is projected that 65 percent of the total emissions reductions will need to be accomplished using Sustainable Aviation Fuel, or SAF. This would equate to more than 360 million tonness (450 billion liters) of SAF annually by 2050, sourced from every available sustainable feedstock.

During its participation in the AGM, the General Civil Aviation Authority ((GCAA) affirmed the UAE’s commitment to supporting international cooperation efforts in this field to ensure tangible progress.

Maryam Ali AlBalooshi, Environment Manager at GCAA and Vice Chair of the ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), explained that alternative aviation fuel has become a key priority on the government agenda of the UAE. She noted that the country has taken several serious and deliberate steps to develop an enabling environment for the production of clean, sustainable, and low-carbon fuels for aviation.

The UAE is keen on adopting and supporting all initiatives that serve this direction internationally, believing that international cooperation is essential to achieve a real turning point in the production and operation curve of the civil aviation sector globally.

In this context, Al Balooshi elaborated on the UAE’s adoption of the Sustainable Aviation Market (SAM 2025) initiative, which the country plans to organise next year in conjunction with hosting the 4th ICAO Global Implementation Support Symposium in 2025. This market will function as a pivotal accelerator for increasing global production of sustainable aviation fuel and low-carbon fuels. Its primary objective is to provide an environmental platform facilitating communication among project developers, funders, banks, small and medium-sized enterprises, and other stakeholders.

According to figures published on the ICAO website, international efforts to enhance the production of SAF are making continuous progress, as shown in the data below:

  • 122 airports distributing SAF
  • 53 billion litres under offtake agreements
  • 313 Announced Facilities for SAF and LCAF
  • 42 feedstocks recognized under ICAO CORSIA
  • 23 Stakeholder Action Groups
Orange Engage for Change

Orange Middle East and Africa Strengthens its Social and Environmental Commitment by Involving its Employees Through the Engage for Change Program

Orange Engage for Change

For several years now, Orange Middle East and Africa (OMEA) ( has been taking concrete action to reduce its environmental impact. Today, it is employees who are taking over by getting directly involved in various ecological initiatives on International Environment Day, as part of the new Orange Engage for Change program.

OMEA and its employees are reaffirming their ongoing commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) by launching the Orange Engage for Change platform. This initiative aims to have a positive impact on society and the environment, while strengthening team cohesion.

A collective commitment for a lasting impact

Climatic events, societal upheavals and changing work patterns have created a pressing need for reference points and meaning among citizens, and our employees are no exception. We firmly believe that employee engagement is an essential key to meeting these challenges. The Orange Engage for Change program enables each employee to devote three working days a year to projects with a societal impact.

A platform to mobilize and inspire

Orange Engage for Change is a web platform that provides a space for discovering, sharing and getting involved in societal projects. It is accessible to all Orange Group employees to volunteer, and to the general public for a better understanding of our commitments. This multi-country initiative draws on the programs of the Orange Foundation and the Orange Digital Centers network, offering a structured framework, a solid infrastructure and varied opportunities to support and develop volunteer actions with our committed employees.

Concrete actions for real impact

The platform offers environmental and social initiatives, solidly backed by the active commitment of our employees. Throughout the day on June 5, a number of local initiatives are being organized across our region to demonstrate the concrete impact of this platform. In Mali, for example, a team of 200 Orange employee volunteers is taking part in the reforestation of an urban park dedicated to children by planting 1,000 trees, while in Côte d’Ivoire, 43 kilometers from Abidjan, 30 hectares in the Azaguié forest will be reforested thanks to 150 employees. These examples symbolize Orange’s commitment to supporting local projects that strengthen social ties and protect the environment.

Jérôme Hénique, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa: “The launch of Orange Engage for Change symbolizes our deep commitment to corporate social responsibility. By empowering our employees to get directly involved in positive impact projects, we are contributing to the sustainable development of communities in the countries where we operate.”

Asma Ennaifer, Executive Director of CSR and Communications at Orange Middle East and Africa and Secretary General of the Orange Digital Center Foundation adds: “This platform is a powerful tool for uniting our teams around shared values. Every initiative, every action taken by our employees demonstrates our collective ability to bring about significant change. We’re proud to see this commitment come to fruition and to witness the positive impact it generates.”

With Orange Engage for Change, Orange gets closer to people by investing in and actively supporting local initiatives in favor of inclusion and the environment.

To find out more about the Orange Engage for Change platform and the social projects deployed by the Orange Group, log on to Discover the testimonials of beneficiaries and employee volunteers, and join us in this social adventure.

Diverse startup people on meeting having fun during brainstorming new ideas for their new project.

FG, World Bank To Train 200,000 Nigerian Youths In Market-Relevant Skills

Diverse startup people on meeting having fun during brainstorming new ideas for their new project.

The workshop was held to identify priority trades that will enable youths to gain employment and become self-employed

In a bid to reduce unemployment in Nigeria, the Federal Government is set to train over 200,000 Nigerian youths in 15 market-relevant skills through the Nigerian Youth Employment Skills Acquisition funds over the next two years.

According to the organizers, the workshop was held to identify priority trades that will enable youths to gain employment and become self-employed.

Beneficiaries, who are expected to be trained for a period of six to seven months, will obtain certification and job placement, as well as receive starter packs.

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According to the stakeholders who participated in the workshop, about 5.5 million Nigerian youths reach working age every year, while about 60 million youths aged 15 to 29 in the country do not have relevant skills for the labor market.

The Director of the Technology and Science Education Department at the Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Adenike Olodo, disclosed this in Abuja during a one-day national workshop on promoting Nigerian youth employment through skills acquisition.

Mrs. Olodo, who was represented by Deputy Director of the Technical Education Department, Mrs. Stella Uhuegbu, explained that the initiative aims to eradicate unemployment and create job opportunities for Nigerian youth through a strategic training approach.

She stressed the need to identify the strengths and skill levels in the six geopolitical zones, focusing on skills needs and demand.

The Deputy Director charged all relevant stakeholders to help in identifying opportunities for growth, forging valuable partnerships, and charting a course toward a more inclusive and prosperous society.

Speaking during a media chat, National Project Coordinator for the Ideas Project, Mrs. Blessing Oguu, explained that the project started with Idea Projects for Technical Colleges and out-of-school youth.

According to her, “At a point, we discovered that the Technical Colleges are not functioning very well, so we felt in order to bring in more persons and achieve our Project Development Objectives (PDO), we needed a new method, which is the NYESA Nigerian Youth Employment Skill Acquisition. We intend to train for a period of six or seven months, certify them, and enable them to have something to do by themselves.”

Regarding overall expectations from the scheme, she said, “What we expect, if you look at the rate of unemployment in Nigeria, the essence of this is focusing on employment, reducing unemployment in Nigeria, and how do you expect them to key in? That’s why we are funding both public and private sectors. We go on air, we do a lot of sensitization so that the youths can apply. They’ll apply and be funded with a kind of scholarship, they’ll be given a little stipend for a period, and be certified.”

In her remarks, Education Specialist with the World Bank, Mistura Rufai, observed that the national project scheme seeks to have a broader reach, with partners chosen from all the states of the Federation.

According to her, the project not only includes training but also certification, ensuring that the youths get employment.

She explained that the trades get accreditation under the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) while beneficiaries receive certificates that are not just paper-based but based on accreditation, enabling them to work outside the country with those certificates.

On his part, NBTE’s Director of Vocational and Skill Development, Mr. Suleiman Yussuf, explained that NBTE focuses on ensuring this training is nationally recognized and certified through the Nigeria Skill Qualification Framework, which has been approved by the National Employment Council.

Other stakeholders in the education sector present at the workshop called for more training of youths and Nigerian graduates in various skills to help reduce unemployment across the country.

They also stressed the need to collaborate with the sector skills council for proper authentication of certificates after training.

Workplace colleagues

Workplaces That Adapt to An Evolving Workforce Are Key to Attracting Next-Generation Talent

Workplace colleagues

Gen Z is redefining the future of inclusive office design for multi-generational teams

Optimising office environments for multi-generational teams has been a part of workplace dynamics for decades. Yet the rise of Generation Z in the workplace has increased the importance of accommodating different values and work styles as this radically different generation becomes more active in the global economy. Getting this right will be the differentiator for companies looking to attract and retain top talent in future.

Tandi Jacobs, General Manager, Internal Developers (ID) powered by Cushman & Wakefield | BROLL, recently shared her insights as part of a panel discussion titled Multi-Generational Workplaces, the Rise of Gen Zs hosted by CoreNet Global Sub-Saharan Africa Networking Group.

Designing for a multi-generational workforce

There is a growing necessity for workplaces that embrace diversity in perspectives, preferences, and work styles.

As Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2009, becomes a significant portion of the workforce, with an expected 27% representation by 2025, businesses must adapt their office environments to meet the needs of various age groups.

Jacobs stresses the importance of flexible and inclusive design strategies to create productive and cohesive work environments. “We understand that designing workspaces to accommodate a multigenerational workforce is crucial for fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation,” says Jacobs.

“In today’s dynamic work landscape, the influx of Generation Z is reshaping traditional office design and functionality. Designing inclusive workspaces is essential for attracting top-tier candidates and fostering a vibrant and productive work culture that resonates with the next generation of talent.”

Flexible and agile workspaces

Flexible design options can help cater to individual needs and preferences. Gen Z employees thrive in adaptable environments that allow for personalisation and dynamic interactions. Cutting-edge design incorporates movable furniture, modular partitions, and versatile layouts that enable employees to customise their workspaces, facilitating seamless transitions between individual tasks and collaborative projects.

“Agile workspaces empower employees to express their individuality and creativity,” Jacobs notes. “Customisable workstations, personal storage solutions, and flexible décor options are essential for attracting and retaining top Gen Z talent.”

Sustainability and biophilic design

Sustainability is a non-negotiable in today’s buildings and extends from making responsible construction choices to enhancing employee productivity and well-being. Jacobs highlights the importance of incorporating biophilic design principles, which integrate elements of the natural world into the built environment. This approach goes beyond green construction methods by creating a connection between employees and nature, enhancing their overall work experience.

“Biophilic design is about more than just adding plants to an office,” Jacobs explains. “It’s about creating spaces that incorporate natural light, moving water, and organic shapes, which can significantly improve mental well-being, creativity, and productivity. It is effectively about finding ways to bring the outside in.”

Furthermore, sustainable practices need to be visibly integrated and supported into the workplaces of Gen Zs, who tend to be more ethically conscious and expect tangible demonstrations of this commitment from employers.

Success stories in multi-generational design

Jacobs provided examples of successful design implementations, including a project with a global organisation in the life sciences field. The company is relocating its offices in South Africa and is adopting a ‘New Normal Office Concept’ (NNOC), where workspaces are shared rather than owned. This approach offers a variety of environments to suit different work styles and preferences, promoting collaboration and innovation.

“Our client’s older employees tend to prefer traditional, designated spaces, while younger generations gravitate towards dynamic, shared spaces,” Jacobs observes. “By offering a mix of quiet areas, hot desking, and larger meeting spaces, we create an environment that caters to all age groups and enhances overall productivity.”

Promoting inclusivity and continuous learning

Inclusivity is a core value for Gen Z, making it imperative for companies to design workplaces that celebrate diversity and cultivate a sense of belonging. Successful approaches include incorporating diverse artwork, cultural references, flexible amenities, gender-neutral facilities, mothers’ rooms, prayer spaces and other accessible features to support a diverse workforce.

Additionally, designing dedicated learning hubs, training rooms, and innovation labs supports Gen Z’s desire for continuous learning and professional growth. “Creating inclusive spaces where everyone feels valued and respected is crucial for attracting top Gen Z talent,” Jacobs states.

Balancing work and life

Work-life balance is a crucial priority for Gen Z, who value flexibility, remote work options, and comfortable environments that prioritise well-being and mental health.

“Designing workplaces that offer flexible hours, remote work opportunities, and comfortable amenities promotes employee satisfaction and retention while supporting Gen Z’s holistic approach to life and work,” Jacobs concluded.

Participants at RAKEZs latest networking event for clients in the building and construction sector

RAKEZ Empowers Its Clients To Participate In Ras Al Khaimah’s Transformational Journey

Participants at RAKEZs latest networking event for clients in the building and construction sector

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ), in collaboration with Al Marjan and Alec, a leading contracting company, hosted a strategic supplier introduction and networking session as part of its monthly community event series. This event showcased RAKEZ’s ongoing commitment to nurturing and supporting the business environment within the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. It aimed to integrate the economic zone’s clients in the building and construction industry into the emirate’s infrastructural transformation, ensuring they benefit from ongoing development projects, including the landmark Wynn Resorts.

The latest gathering brought together over 30  companies from its industrial parks representing sectors such as MEP, Facades, Steel, Secondary Steel, Gypsums, Marble, Stone, Granite, Ceramics, Lighting and  Landscape. The event served as an excellent matchmaking platform for contractors and suppliers to explore collaborative opportunities for projects in Ras Al Khaimah and across the UAE.

RAKEZ Group CEO Ramy Jallad said, “Our commitment to our clients extends far beyond business set-up and after-service support. Each event in our monthly series exemplifies our mission to transform Ras Al Khaimah into a premier business hub, both regionally and internationally. We are dedicated to fostering a thriving community where businesses can connect, grow, and succeed.”

Jallad added, “With close to key 30 development projects by Marjan and RAK Properties underway and in the pipeline and the massive infrastructural boost planned for Al Hamra Sector 6, RAK Central and RAKEZ’s business and industrial parks, companies catering to the construction sector have limitless opportunities ahead of them.”

The positive response from attendees highlighted the event’s success, with many thrilled to be part of the networking opportunity. Bond Chem Managing Director Mohammad Kalim Golandaz said, “This exclusive networking event for suppliers truly reflects RAKEZ’s dedication to prioritising local manufacturers. By giving precedence to local businesses, RAKEZ is not only promoting economic growth but also empowering the community and contributing to its long-term prosperity. I thank the team for championing the interests of local businesses and look forward to continuing our collaboration and witnessing the positive impact of such initiatives on the economic landscape of Ras Al Khaimah.”

Similarly, H.B. Fuller Business Manager Yasir Aman said, “We appreciate and eagerly anticipate RAKEZ events, as they provide an excellent platform for us to showcase our skills and highlight our products’ strengths. These opportunities allow us to engage, connect, and grow.”

Earlier this year, RAKEZ successfully conducted similar networking gatherings for sectors such as packaging, trading, and logistics, drawing dozens of clients to exchange ideas and scout for potential business opportunities.

The inaugural session of RAKEZ Growth Series 2024 edition

RAKEZ Launches Growth Series 2024 Edition To Empower Startups And SMEs

The inaugural session of RAKEZ Growth Series 2024 edition

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) successfully launched the 2024 edition of its acclaimed Growth Series, aimed at fostering the development of startups and SMEs within its vibrant business community.

RAKEZ Group CEO Ramy Jallad said, “Our Growth Series is designed to enrich our growing community by offering access to some of the region’s leading business minds. The series encourages participants to come together, exchange knowledge, network, and leave with actionable insights that will assist in the thriving and expansion of their enterprises. RAKEZ is committed to fostering a dynamic environment where entrepreneurs and business leaders can find both inspiration and practical tools to drive their success.”

The series kicked off with an enlightening event titled, ‘How small incremental changes can have a big impact on your bottom line’. This inaugural session targeted new businesses grappling with stagnant growth and missed opportunities, offering them a platform to learn and implement proven strategies for unlocking their true potential and achieving sustainable success. Industry experts shared their insights on how companies could significantly increase their leads, double their sales, and boost annual revenue without additional spending on marketing or advertising.

Covering a broad range of essential topics including startup success, profit acceleration, AI optimisation, business funding, and scaling strategies, expert speakers at the event provided participants with practical insights that could dramatically transform the growth trajectory of their businesses. Here’s what the participants had to say:

Ahmed Ismail, Partner at Al Wali Trading said, “The session offered effective strategies to enhance customer relationships and outperform competitors despite our cash flow challenges. I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned to improve our operations. The welcoming atmosphere at RAKEZ Compass Coworking Centre and the practical lessons that its community events provide are invaluable for networking and business education.”

Atif Mukhtar, Projects Director at A M Project Development Consultants said, “This event successfully addressed the challenges of connecting with decision-makers in the corporate world. I gained insights into the importance of focusing on profitability through incremental improvements and will integrate these strategies into both my professional and personal life.”

Marwa Bouka, Deputy Managing Director at R.M Team said, “The session was perfectly balanced, providing crucial reminders about business management and marketing techniques. The profit acceleration simulator particularly highlighted the benefits of marginal improvements. It was a reflective and productive session, offering substantial food for thought as we continue to grow our business.”

RAKEZ Growth Series has more events in the pipeline, under the theme of business growth and sustainability.