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Major projects in Dubai’s real estate market will boost jobs market in the country, a leading property expert said in his research. “Creating more jobs is the key to the recovery of the real estate markets in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai,” Craig Plumb, Head of Research Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) MENA region, told Emirates 24/7 in an interview. According to JLL’s 2011 third quarter report, Dubai is set to get 25,000 new units this year, while 20,000 new units will be completed in Abu Dhabi. “While rents and prices are stable for the best buildings, tenants have an increased choice of projects and this will mean that prices and rents are likely to decline in all but the best buildings in 2012,” Plumb added.

According to a report jointly compiled by Abu Dhabi Investment Bank (ADIB) and Oxford Business Group, Islamic financial services sector of the UAE represents around 30% of the global Islamic banking industry in 2011, thanks to a surge in demand for Islamic financial services by the country’s different customer segments. “UAE Islamic banks play an important role in the development of the global Islamic banking industry which is now valued at more than US$1 trillion. This growth in the Islamic banking industry is driven by the increased demand for Islamic services and products by a growing number of customers. Demand is growing due the industry?s emphasis on ethical principles, its commitment to the principles of transparency and the application of the principle of mutual benefit in its operations and transactions,” Tirad Mahmoud, CEO ADIB, said in a statement.

The UAE’s federal cabinet has given green light to Etihad Rail to work on developing railway network in the country. “We also approved during the meeting for Etihad Rail to borrow AED4.7bn to finance their new line to Al Ruwais,” Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE vice-president, said on his official Twitter feed. The 1,200 kilometres long project, expected to cost AED40.40 billion ($11 billion) in total, will partly be financed by borrowing AED4.7 billion ($1.28 billion). The first stage of the rail network will link UAE’s western region whereas the second phase will connect Abu Dhabi with Jebel Ali. The third and final phase will connect northern emirates to the national network.

Meanwhile, Iraq has invited bids from foreign companies for a $450 million monorail project that will connect Karbala’s different areas to holy Shia shrines in city centre. “The project has an economic advantage and will solve the (problem of moving) throngs of people during religious events,” Taif Abdul-Hussein, head of Karbala Investment Commission, told Reuters. He added that the train would be capable of speeds up to 100 km per hour and the line would have a station after every kilometre.

Saudi Minister of Housing, Dr. Shuwaish bin Saud Al Dhuwaihi, said his ministry plans to build homes in 118 cities across the Kingdom that will cater to the needs of all income groups. The minister said housing projects near the airport and downtown Jeddah are being planned and designed while land has been set aside in Makkah for a housing project.

Oman has announced plans to work in collaboration with Terra Nex, a Switzerland-based global wealth management company, to develop solar energy in the sultanate. The plans include construction factories that will manufacture solar panels, aluminium frames for panels, and other parts for solar panels, apart from an educational institution that will research different aspects of renewable energy and help facilitate the 400MW solar energy generation project.

On the other hand, Jordan got a new claim to fame after Amman Offices, the World Health Organisation (WHO) building in the capital was awarded the first Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED Certification v2.2 for Green buildings. The four-storey office building, located in the business zone along a major road in Amman and spread across an area of about 4,000 square meters, won the coveted prize for utilising the existing infrastructure of close access to private and public transportation.

(By Moign Khawaja -?Editor: Arabian Gazette)

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