Middle East Business Review – 6 Mar

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UAE REGISTERS HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX IMPROVEMENT

The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Index has placed the UAE on the 30th position out of 187 countries, three positions up from 2010 UNDP Report. The Index is a comparative measure of factors such as education, health, life expectancy, literacy, standard of living etc. which are considered important towards judging a nation’s quality of life.

DUBAI FINANCIAL MARKETS GAIN FROM BETTER US, ASIAN ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE

The Dubai Financial Markets General Index went up by 2.61% to 1,745.62 in early trading while Abu Dhabi Securities General Index rose 0.45% to 2,635.67. Analysts say local markets are benefitting from the economic data coming from China and the US which shows signs of an improving economy. Reports coming from the US said economists reckon American employers added more than 200,000 workers for a third month in February.

IATA EXPRESSES CONCERN AT MENA REGION AIR SAFETY RECORD

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the Middle East and North Africa region registered one of the worst airplane accident rates in the world last year, only second to Africa. While the global accident rate for 2011 was the lowest in aviation history, MENA’s accident rate worsened to 2.02 (measured in hull losses per million flights of Western-built jets). “Safety is the air transport industry’s number one priority. It is also a team effort. The entire stakeholder community — airlines, airports, air navigation service providers and safety regulators – works together every day to make the skies safer based on global standards,” Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said.

CANADIAN FM SAYS TIES WITH UAE IMPROVING

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said relations with the United Arab Emirates are ‘going in the right direction’ after holding talks with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nayhan, his Emirati counterpart and securing a nuclear cooperation deal with the Gulf country. “Canada and the UAE have had some challenging times in the past, many people said the relationship was going in the wrong direction. Relations were now better than they’ve been and they’re going in the right direction,” Baird said in an interview with Toronto Sun. Relations between the UAE and Canada deteriorated rapidly after Canada’s transport agency refused to grant Emirati carriers, Etihad and Emirates, new landing rights.

KUWAITI AIRLINE POSTS PROFIT AFTER 3 YEARS OF LOSSES

Jazeera Airways recorded a profit of KD10.6m ($38.09m), after posting a loss of KD2.8m a year earlier, the Kuwait-based low-cost airline said in a statement. Revenues also increased from KD42.6m to KD57.8 during last year, the statement added. “The results reflect the success of the company’s turn-around plan implemented in second quarter 2010 and steered the company into continued profitability for the last six quarters,” the statement concluded.

ETIHAD AIRWAYS CLOSE TO AER LINGUS DEAL

A leading UAE newspaper has reported a compromise deal between Dublin and Aer Lingus over pensions is almost complete, paving the way for a possible takeover of the Irish flag carrier by Etihad. “All I’ve said is that if they were to open their books then we’d have a look at it,” Etihad CEO James Hogan said while adding that his airline is still interested in purchasing Dublin’s stake, currently worth approximately €130 million ($170.6m).

SYRIA, IRAQ INSTABILITY HALTS PROGRESS ON SAUDI-TURKEY ELECTRICITY PROJECT

Abdullah Al Shehri, governor of the Electricity and Co-Generation Regulatory Authority, said Saudi Arabia and Turkey have put on hold the project to link their electricity grids until stability returns to the region. “The situation in Syria and Iraq until now is not clear so the idea is on hold,” al-Shehri said on the sidelines of MEED’s Arabian Power and Water Summit in Abu Dhabi while adding that Iraq and Syria would have to be involved in any grid linking project which is currently not possible due to political turmoil.

(By Moign Khawaja – Editor: Arabian Gazette)

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