121st Canton Fair Kicks off in Guangzhou

Upgraded Exhibitions and Events to showcase 2017 market dynamics in international trade GUANGZHOU, China, April 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The 121st Canton Fair officially opens at April 15. From April 15 to May 5 at the China Import and Export Fair Complex in Guangzhou, Canton Fair launches new product areas while at the same time hosting […]

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Hamdan bin Mohammed announces 2021 as last date for paper transaction in Dubai- First Add

DUBAI, –The Dubai Government will issue its last paper transaction by 2021, said H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, while attending Smart Dubai’s ‘Future-Now’ event at the Dubai Design District.

He instructed the Smart Dubai Office to oversee the ambitious goal.

During the event � which celebrates three years of success for Smart Dubai and its affiliates �Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed launched the Smart Dubai 2021 initiative, which represents the next step in Dubai’s smart and sustainable development, as well as the ‘Dubai Pulse’ platform, which will host all of the emirate’s data and form the backbone of its shift towards smart development.

“When Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced the Dubai Smart City project three years ago, he wanted to change the meaning of the term ‘technological advancement’ by creating an unprecedented model that integrates technology with our goals of ensuring the best standards of living, wellbeing, and happiness for the people of Dubai,” Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said.

“Today, we mark the beginning of a new phase � ‘Smart Dubai 2021’ � that revolves around challenging ourselves and surpassing our own previous achievements. We are looking to build a truly smart city � one that will use technology as the key to a balanced and happy life.”

He added, “While we’ve already seen a great shift towards digital government transactions, I believe that the future of government will be entirely paper-free. The government of the future will set plans and strategies to ensure the best possible standard of living for people and to save them time and effort. In 2021, we will celebrate the very last paper transaction in Dubai, and Smart Dubai will see to it that we achieve this mission.”

The Crown Prince of Dubai launched the ‘Dubai Pulse’ platform, describing it as the “backbone of Dubai’s transformation and shift towards smart technologies”, and ordering all government departments to begin populating the platform with their data as of today.

“Throughout history, information has been key to our lives as human beings, allowing us to communicate with others � be they individuals or communities,” said Sheikh Hamdan. “Today, in the era of Big Data, it is essential to have a central platform to house all of the government’s data � a platform that taps into the potential of artificial intelligence to spread happiness among people. This is the only option for countries that want to remain relevant and build infrastructure that meets the needs of the future. This is why we launched ‘Dubai Pulse’.”

Meanwhile, Director-General of the Smart Dubai Office, Dr. Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr said, “Despite what Dubai achieved today in terms of smart city development � which is still a distant dream for most cities around the world, including in some of the most advanced countries � we are just getting started. We are still at the beginning of a new journey to a smart city worthy of the Government of the Future, the UAE Centennial 2071, and the Mars 2117 Project, among other national initiatives. We are proud of what we have achieved since our inception; we have succeeded because of our productive collaboration with strategic partners in the public and private sectors as we edge closer to achieving the Smart Dubai 2021 strategy.”

“We’ve set our priorities, guided by the words of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as he launched Smart Dubai back in 2013, when he said that there is no single model for progress, rather there is constant innovation and development,” Dr. Aisha continued. “We have lived by these words ever since, applying them as we push ahead with our constant pursuit of innovation in our strategies and operations, as well as in the quality of the solutions and technologies we have adopted and developed. ‘Smart Dubai 2021’ is our action plan for the near future, as we work to transform Dubai into a fully smart city with smart government services that make people’s lives � and business dealings � easier.”

Assistant Director-General of the Smart Dubai Office and CEO of Dubai Data Establishment Younis Al Nasser said, “The shift towards smart technologies in recording and processing data is the foundation for success in the era of Big Data. Following the launch of the Dubai Data Establishment, the natural progression was the launch of ‘Dubai Pulse’ to act as a digital safe for all of Dubai’s data so that leaders and stakeholders in all sectors across Dubai can find what they need to make informed decisions. The platform compiles all government data in one place, where the right information can be provided for the right people whenever they should need it.”

“‘Dubai Pulse’ will enhance operational efficiency by reducing data access costs,” Al Nasser added. “It will facilitate the exchange of open and common data between public and private institutions and individuals, which will eventually contribute to the complete digital transformation of the Emirate of Dubai. The platform will enhance our ability to innovate, in addition to ensuring the optimal use of data by aggregating it in a single platform, analysing it, using it to support and expedite decision-making.”

CEO of Smart Dubai Government Establishment Wesam Lootah said, “The rapid pace at which our world is evolving forces us to look past the innovations of today and to work towards solutions for the future. This is what we are striving for today as we launch ‘Smart Dubai 2021’. Over the past three years, we have established the strategic pillars of Smart Dubai, which fit with the vision of our leadership and improve the lives of the people of Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum once said that a smart government doesn’t wait for the people to come to it, instead, it goes to them. This is our motto today as we launched hundreds of initiatives and more than 1,000 services.”

Lootah added, “Smart devices have become indispensable to modern human life, and artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) will be shaping human life from now on. We’ve already begun to see this all around us. We are working to put all of Dubai’s potential at the disposal of the people � which they can access through their smart devices. This is not restricted to transactions or access to data, it goes beyond that to improve the quality of life, healthcare, and education.”

Smart Dubai 2021 is the next step in the process of transforming our city into one that invests in technology and implements it to improve people’s lives and make Dubai the happiest city on earth. The four-year plan covers infrastructure, legislation, and applications that the Dubai Smart Office and all of its affiliates have succeeded in achieving over the course of the past three years. This strategy is Dubai’s gateway to the next level of smart transformation, in line with the requirements of the Dubai 10X Initiative and the UAE Centennial 2071.

‘Dubai Pulse’ is another achievement for Dubai, placing the emirate ahead of other developed cities around the world. The platform compiles all data available to both the public and private sectors. The new platform provides access, for the first time, to live and up-to-date data about the city.

It includes three layers of data: the first will be free of charge and caters to the public, while the second offers a thorough analysis of the data (in exchange for a fee) to be used for academic, professional, commercial, and economic purposes. The third and final layer includes data accessible exclusively to Dubai Government entities.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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MENA needs to invest $302bn over next five years to meet rising electricity demand

RIYADH, — As governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are prioritising investments in the power sector, the region will need to invest $302 billion in the next five years to feed the rapidly rising demand for electricity, according to estimates by APICORP Energy Research for the period 2017-2021.

”Of this, $179 billion will be needed to add 138GW of generating capacity, while the rest should be invested in transmission and distribution (T&D). In the GCC, governments have coped well with the rising demand for electricity. Besides adding to the capacity, some countries have also recently increased electricity prices and introduced some limited power sector reforms,” said the April report, entitled ‘MENA Power Investment: Finance and Reform Challenges Persist’.

”In the Mashreq region, inadequate investments and instability have weighed on the power sector and persistent blackouts continue to put pressure on governments to act, while in the Maghreb region renewable-energy projects are at the forefront of long-term government plans to diversify power-generation capacity and reduce fuel import bills. But investment in the power sector will continue to be a challenge due to finance constraints and tight government budgets,” the report mentioned.

The monthly analysis stated that electricity demand in the MENA region has been growing rapidly, driven by population growth and urbanisation, rising income levels, industrialisation, and low electricity prices.

Looking ahead, it noted, these factors will continue to place greater demand on the electricity-generation capacities. MENA economic growth has slowed compared with the historical highs, but the International Monetary Fund still expects an increase of 3.2 percent in 2017, rising to 3.6 percent in 2021. The region’s population is also expected to grow at an average rate of 2 percent per year in that period.

To meet the rising demand, MENA power capacity will need to expand by an average of 7.4 percent each year between 2017 and 2021, which corresponds to an additional capacity of 138GW. This would require $179 billion of investment in the generation capacity and a further $123billion for T&D.

”Governments have been accelerating their investment plans and our estimates show that 97GW of capacity additions are already in the execution stage,” it added.

”The GCC represents 43 percent, or 157GW, of current MENA power generating capacity. Despite this large capacity, the GCC will require $81 billion for the addition of 62GW of generating capacity and another $50 billion for T&D over the next five years. However, declining oil revenues and large budget deficits mean that GCC governments can no longer continue to support the provision of cheap power. Subsidy reforms announced in late 2015 are part of a programme that aims to liberalise domestic energy prices over the medium term.

“The region is also placing greater emphasis on renewable energy. The UAE recently announced a nationwide power strategy which aims to have 50 percent clean energy by 2050. Solar power features heavily in its plans and is expected to account for 25 percent of the generation mix once a $13.7 billion (5GW) solar park is fully commissioned in 2030. Saudi Arabia also recently unveiled its latest renewable-energy initiatives. The programme will aim to develop 10GW of solar and wind energy by 2023,” the report stated.

According to the report, the UAE needs to invest at least $35 billion to meet the 17GW capacity addition needed over the medium term. ”The UAE is pushing strongly to diversify its energy sources in the power mix; we estimate that 10.4GW of capacity additions are already in execution. Much of the power is generated using natural gas, but Abu Dhabi’s Barakah nuclear-power plant will see four reactors come online between 2017 and 2020, contributing 5.6GW in total,” the report read.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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