LONDON, November 16, 2019 –--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The prestigious World Branding Awards, the ultimate global brand recognition accolade – now in its 10th edition, saw 318 brands from 41 countries named “Brand of the Year” in a dazzling ceremony held at the State Apartments of Kensington Palace today. The brands were nominated by over 230,000 consumers across the globe.
Beijing Tong Ren Tang, CHAI LI WON, CoCo, Heinz, IKEA, LEGO®, Netflix, Neutrogena®, Spotify, and Yakult were celebrated as Global Tier award winners.
Regional Tier winners included Aramex (United Arab Emirates); Elkjøp (Norway); H&M (Sweden); Lancôme (France); Naturgy (Spain); Optical 88 (Hong Kong); LuLu (United Arab Emirates); Isetan (Japan); and ZALORA (Singapore).
Kuwaiti brands honoured as National Tier winners included Al Salam International Hospital (Healthcare – Hospitals), Aqua Gulf (Water), GIG (Insurance), Mabanee (Property Developer), Riva (Fashion Brand), and The Avenues (Shopping Centre/ Mall).
Winners are uniquely judged through three streams: brand valuation, consumer market research, and public online voting. Seventy percent of the scoring process comes from consumer votes. There can only be one winner in each category per country.
“The Awards are an acknowledgement to the tireless effort of the teams that build and maintain their brand presence in an ever-changing market,” said Richard Rowles, Chairman of the World Branding Forum.
“A good brand needs to offer a meaningful experience to their customers, while remaining relevant and distinctive,” said Julian Andersen, Managing Director, World Branding Forum. “The world is full of brands, but a truly exceptional brand has to ensure that people know what they stand for. Brands that win show that they have set the standard for what is expected of other brands to be at the top of their game.”
Now in its sixth year, the awards are organised by the World Branding Forum, a global non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing branding standards. It organises and sponsors a range of educational programmes. The Forum also publishes branding news on its website that reaches a global audience of over 34.4 million.
The event was hosted by Jemma Forte, presenter for ITV, BBC1, BB2 and Channel 4. For more information and the full list of winners, visit awards.brandingforum.org.
About the World Branding Forum
The World Branding Forum (WBF) is a registered global non-profit organisation. Its aims and activities are to raise the standards in branding for the good of the industry as well as consumers. The WBF produces, manages and supports a wide range of programmes covering research, development, education, recognition, networking and outreach. For more information, visit brandingforum.org.
November 16: International Day for Tolerance 2019
Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, November 18, 2019, (AETOSWire): Ryan International School, Masdar City held the Ryan UAE Minithon ‘Run for Tolerance’ on Saturday, November 16: International Day for Tolerance.
More than 1000 participants in different categories joined the run beginning from Ryan International School in Masdar City extending within the city of Masdar and ending at My City Centre in Masdar. Coinciding with the International Day of Tolerance, the event supported the National agenda of the Year – Year of Tolerance in association with Masdar City and My City Centre. Runners included a contingent of over 30 schools and over 700 children from across Abu Dhabi. Over 300 people from different corporate firms around Abu Dhabi also took part in the event.
Guests of Honour at the event included representatives of government bodies - Mr. Abdelillah Oudadas, Minister, Plenipotentiary, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of The Kingdom of Morocco, Mr. Sandeep Kaushik, Second Secretary, Press, Information and Culture, Indian Embassy and Mr. Geordeon Rendle, National Director for Youth Unlimited in the UAE at the Ministry of Tolerance. Mr. Rendle and Mr. Kaushik also took part in the race. They were joined by Ms. Aliette Esther, Tourism Attache, Seychelles Tourism Board, Embassy of the Republic of Seychelles, Captain Saeed Qasim Al Rashidi from Bani Yas Police Representative and Captain Omar Al Jabri, Lieutenant Mohamed Najem Al Hosani, Captain Hamad Ali and Captain Mohammad Al Buraiki from Khalifa City Police Representative. Mr. Kamaruddhin, President & Founder, Al Etihad Sports Academy also participated in the event along with hundreds of parents and spectators.
Winners in various categories and from different schools were awarded with Championship Trophies, Medals, Certificates, Gifts and Gift vouchers.
CEO, Ryan Group of Schools, Ryan Pinto said,” We support the vision of the Founding Father of the Nation, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to promote the values of respect and tolerance and to cherish the experience of living in a multicultural society. Ryan Group of Schools has been hosting Ryan Minithon events in India for over 19 years. We organize many of the events through October to commemorate Gandhiji’s birth anniversary as the Father of the Indian nation who is also as a symbol of tolerance. We will host another event in Sharjah on November 23 and look forward to organizing this program on a regular basis in the UAE.”
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 18 November 2019, (AETOSWire): In today’s generation, smartphones are more than a necessity and can do just about anything. Smartphones are more than just tech equipment; they have evolved to becoming something of a lifestyle accessory. This is why smartphone consumers are constantly looking to be proud owners of that special device with tremendous features as well as a radiant physical appeal that they can show off.
Gladly, when it comes to the newly launched TECNO SPARK 4, – the device promises to be everything and more!
Although unveiled recently, the TECNO SPARK 4 instantly became a darling to the masses and is already a tremendous hit. It is equipped with the bigger than ever 6.52" Dot Notch Screen. With this unprecedented step, it is goodbye to 6.0-inch screen and Hello to a “BBC” --Bigger, Better and Clearer -- screen. The beauty of a smartphone definitely lies in the extent of clarity the screen is capable of showing. With 90% perfect screen ratio and high resolution, the world the user explores through TECNO SPARK 4 would be much broader and more wonderful, and bringing the user the true super full view experience.
The bigger screen is not the all. The other hot feature of TECNO SPARK 4 is its AI Bright Camera, which enables the user to take brighter and clearer photos even in back light scenarios, avoiding overexposure of the light parts and clearly showcasing dark details. Equipped with 13MP Triple Rear Camera with Aperture F/1.8 and 8MP Front Camera, TECNO SPARK 4 does well in clear photography, bokeh effect and AI portrait mode. Photos and selfies taken by TECNO SPARK 4 would be much more impressive and attractive under any scenarios. Newly upgraded algorithm "AI Camera 2.0" brings AI HDR, AI Scene Detection and more amazing photography functions. Sticking with the essence of AI Bright Camera, TECNO SPARK 4 breaks through the limitation and hides its flashlights in the dot notch screen.
The 4G network enables TECNO SPARK 4 users to be the first ones to know the latest news and trends in this speedy developing era. Using 4G network on TECNO SPARK 4, effectively reduces wait time when surfing social media or watching videos.
TECNO SPARK 4 also supports AI video chat beauty mode-this simply means that users can skip the makeup routine, that is - even when you are not camera ready and you need to appear in a video call, all you need to do is activate the video chat beauty mode on your TECNO SPARK 4 device and you are good to go.
TECNO SPARK 4 will be released 2 colors in UAE, which are Royal Purple/Vacation Blue. The eye-catching color choices would make you easily stand out from the crowds. Priced at AED 459 with 32GB ROM+ 3GB RAM, and AED 529 with 64GB ROM + 4GB RAM for more choices which offers users more space for photos, music, videos and files storage and a faster and more fluent user experience with the system. 2.0GHz Quad-Core processor presents lower power consumption and faster running speed making multitasking easier and smoother. The 4000mAh big battery allows user more time connecting with the world.
About TECNO Mobile
TECNO Mobile is a premium smartphone brand from TRANSSION Holdings. Upholding the brand essence of “Expect More”, TECNO is committed to giving the masses access to latest technology at accessible prices, allowing the consumers to reach beyond their current limitations and uncover a world of possibilities. TECNO understands the needs of consumers from different markets and provides them with localized innovations across a product portfolio featuring smartphones, tablets, and feature phones. TECNO is a major global player with presence in around 60 emerging markets across the world. It is also the global Official Tablet and Handset Partner of Manchester City Football Club. For more information, please visit: www.tecno-mobile.com
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 17 November 2019, (AETOSWire): Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA), an initiative of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) and the Government of Dubai, is once again scouting new talent from among the world’s most innovative start-ups and scale-ups to join its flagship program.
DFA is set up as a business development and market-entry accelerator based on specific demands identified by its partners. Start-ups and scale-ups offering software or product-solutions that meet partners’ requirements are invited to submit their applications until November 30, 2019.
Cohort 7 will invite startups to experiment with emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) to brainstorm innovative solutions to the likely challenges facing cities of the future in key industries, such as healthcare, transportation, and safety and security.
With DFA facilitating collaborations, the companies will work hand in hand with government entities to address their industry-specific issues. Participating government partners will include Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Dubai Police and Etisalat Digital.
The launch of this year’s edition follows the success of six earlier cohorts that synergized 13 government entities and 219 startups on 97 challenges. Furthermore, 71 percent of these startups have signed agreements with their partner entities to test their solutions through pilot projects or implement them within their organizations.
Dubai Future Accelerators is an intensive nine-week program that forges partnerships government entities and private sector organizations from Dubai and with start-ups, scale-ups and innovative SMEs from around the world to co-create transformational solutions. It offers a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to use the city as a test bed for their avant-garde prototypes.
Companies selected to join our 7th cohort get invited to an in-residence program where participants will benefit from direct access to senior decision makers, access to a coworking space, paid roundtrip airfare to Dubai and paid accommodation for the duration of their participation in the mentorship program. Furthermore, DFA does not take any equity in the participating start-ups.
Interested startups that are keen to participate in the global challenge and shape solutions for the future can register now at https://dubaifutureaccelerators.com/en/
Remittances to Pakistan have been growing steadily since 2005 and whereas regimes with varying outlooks and strategies have been in power in the country, their distinct political and economic outlooks do not appear to have any noticeable impact on this reality.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) routinely highlights its better-than-the-rest rapport with the expatriate community and an unprecedentedly large rally in suburban Washington, DC, earlier this year that attracted thousands, offers proof for such claims.
However, what does that ultimately mean? And one question to ponder is whether there exist tangible benefits to Pakistan of the party's popularity with overseas Pakistanis.
A proxy measure of PTI’s better brand awareness abroad could be the scale of remittances. The underlying hypothesis being that the party's greater popularity and brand recognition among expatriates should result in a higher increase in the growth rate of remittances. This is also a hypothesis that the party itself has promoted time and again.
Recent data does not offer robust evidence for a noticeable uptake in remittance volumes now that the party has completed a year in power. The volume of remittances has increased under PTI's rule but that increase follows the growth trajectories observed earlier under the 2008-2013 and the 2013-2018 tenures of the respective PPP and PML-N governments. Therefore, the data-driven conclusion, although preliminary because PTI has been in power for only a year, does not support a noticeable increase in remittances.
As a matter of fact, remittances in the third quarter of 2019 declined to US$5.478 billion from US$5.747 billion in the preceding quarter. And a comparison of the third quarter remittances in 2019 with the third quarter remittances in 2018 also shows a decline in 2019. What could be the reason(s)?
The fact is the flow of remittances depends on the economic conditions at both ends of the transaction. Factors at the origin, where the expatriate workers earn a living, experience wage increases, job losses, as well as other factors and life events that influence their savings, a part of which is ultimately remitted to Pakistan.
The Gulf region is the primary contributor for Pakistan's remittances, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the largest sources. Given the overwhelming reliance of Gulf economies on oil exports, a decline in oil prices can lead to job losses and lower incomes for the labour force. Furthermore, declines in oil prices and exports may also result in impacting the conditions of foreign workers.
Though the preceding argument suggests a direct link between oil prices and remittances, the empirical evidence is rather nuanced. For instance, a review article published in the Economic Notes earlier this year contends that “remittance flows to major remittance recipients in Mashreq, Pakistan, and Yemen fell only modestly following large declines in oil prices and recovered quickly in line with oil prices”. Hence poor economic outcomes in the source countries impact remittance flows negatively, but that impact has been limited.
At the destination end of the transaction, the flow of remittances is largely influenced by the intensity of the kin’s need. Births, deaths, tragedies, celebrations, and other life events may influence the temporal intensity of remittances. One can extend the idea to argue that financial hardships resulting from economic or other stimuli are likely to increase the flow of remittances. Economists Giulia Bettin and Alberto Zazzaro have reached similar conclusions in the Journal of Development Studies.
Moreover, marginalised communities in Pakistan often bear the brunt of a multitude of economic, environmental, and other geopolitical risks. Research by economists Mazhar Yasin Mughal and Amar Iqbal Anwar, published in the journal Defence and Peace Economics, reveals that an increase in terrorist violence in Pakistan, which contributed to destabilisation in economic and consumer activity, correlated with an increase in the financial hardship of low income households in Pakistan. The authors also found a strong correlation between the increase in violence and an increase in remittances to Pakistan.
The aforementioned, albeit non-exhaustive, list of the determinants of remittances does not suggest any role for the charisma of a leader or the popularity of a political outfit. To conclude as such would be a mistake.
When faced with macroeconomic challenges, such as trade deficits and balance of payment crises, struggling economies are often desperate for foreign exchange. In such situations, remittances, when processed through formal channels, can be a reliable source of foreign exchange that could provide some degree of macroeconomic stability.
Former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Tariq Bajwa was acutely aware of the macroeconomic role of the millions of transactions conducted by expatriates bringing small funds to family and friends back home. Earlier this year, he had warned that “it would be hard to manage the country's economy if foreign remittances were to fall below the $20 billion mark” per fiscal year.
In Pakistan’s case, remittances account for six per cent of the GDP. Exports, in comparison, accounted for 8.5 per cent in 2018.
Ten years ago, the government had launched the Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) to encourage the flow of remittances through official channels. Discouraging sending money through unofficial means in its campaigns and messaging, the government has been trying to get more and more expatriate workers on board so they use state-sanctioned avenues to process remittances. Now, the PRI offers several incentives to users, including a Mobile Wallet that promises fast transactions and a 2-minute mobile balance for every US dollar remitted.
However, the idea that a novelty factor or 'charm' is at play when it comes to remittances does not seem very valid and merits an evaluation in the light of data that suggests otherwise. Finding ways to improve the speed and flexibility of direct transactions at lower rates may attract more traceable remittances. Whereas, the government’s drive to increase tax revenue by tracking financial transactions may counteract its efforts to increase remittances through formal means.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to relax conditionalities under the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) relating to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and issuance of sovereign guarantees to help raise over $4bn from domestic and international markets.
Pakistan has budgeted about $3bn bonds (about Rs450bn) — Islamic Sukuk and Eurobond — to be launched in the international capital markets during the current fiscal year to meet targets under the EFF for foreign inflows. Separately, the government has planned to raise about Rs200bn from domestic Islamic banks for the power sector to scale down circular debt.
“We are dying to complete these transactions at the earliest,” a senior official told Dawn, adding that the capital market conditions were never as conducive as at present. He said the return on bonds had plummeted to almost zero in the international capital markets and investors were finding it hard to secure profits on secured papers. “This provides an ideal opportunity for Pakistan to tap international capital markets to secure sovereign bonds at a minimal interest rate,” the official said.
Pakistan had last tapped the international capital markets in 2016 at about 8.25 per cent mark-up when average yield hovered between 3pc and 5pc for other countries.
Likewise, the government had negotiated Islamic financing worth around Rs200bn for the power sector from domestic banks in recent months on top of another Rs200bn secured earlier this year.
Asks Fund to allow issuance of sovereign guarantees to raise over $4bn through bonds
But all these transactions are handicapped by the IMF conditionalities as part of the 39-month EFF. One of the structural benchmarks under the IMF programme is for Pakistan to “adopt measures to strengthen the effectiveness of AML/CFT (anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism) framework to support the country’s efforts to exit the FATF list of jurisdictions with serious deficiencies” by the end of October 2019.
Likewise, one of the six performance criteria under the IMF programme for Pakistan is to have a “ceiling on the amount of government guarantees” to the extent of Rs1.6 trillion throughout the current year i.e. until end-June 2020.
The official said the finance ministry had already taken up the matter of separating the FATF from the IMF-supported economic programme on the sidelines of recent IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington. The Pakistani delegation, led by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Hafeez Shaikh and comprising State Bank Governor Dr Reza Baqir and Finance Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch, had also met the management and governors of the IMF.
Officials said the authorities had argued that the FATF had a very wide scope, at times of geo-political nature, having no direct link to the economic support package which should be dealt purely on the basis of financial and monetary policies.
Another official said Pakistan was considering launching at least one of the two bonds — Islamic Sukuk or Eurobond — before the end of December this year and complete the budgeted $3bn target before June next year.
A senior official said Pakistan had achieved almost all the targets for the first quarterly review and achieved about Rs9bn saving in current expenditures of the government. The size of sovereign guarantees stood at Rs1.6tr as of end-June 2019 against Rs1.3tr at the end of December 2018.
Under the IMF programme, the guarantees should remain frozen at Rs1.6tr as performance criteria until December and remain so as indicative target until end-June 2020.
Pakistan now wants this limit to be removed so as to go for the launch of domestic and international bonds which are not possible without sovereign guarantees.
Sources said the IMF was also insisting on further electricity tariff adjustments to the extent of 10pc in two phases — in January and March next year — and the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority was being asked to do the needful at the earliest.
An IMF team led by Mission Chief to Pakistan Ernesto Ramirez-Rigo is currently in Pakistan for first review under the $6bn bailout package and will wind up the visit by Nov 7. The successful completion of the review would enable Pakistan to draw another $453 million from the Fund in the first part of December this year, taking the total amount to almost $1.44bn.
The IMF had in July this year made an upfront disbursement of $991m on completion of all prior-actions committed by Pakistan before signing the Fund programme.
Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2019