Digital news you may have missed this week!

A lot is going on in the Middle East in terms of digital transformation and innovation. Every week we’re listing the most important bits and bites you shouldn’t have missed.

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Alabbar calls for 51% local ownership of UAE e-commerce-related businesses

Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Properties and founder of e-retailer Noon.com, has called for new legislation that imposes 51% local ownership of e-commerce related businesses ranging from payment service firms to logistics companies, in order to protect the national economy from global giants such as Amazon.

The Emirati billionaire told Al Khaleej Arabic newspaper that the UAE should follow in China’s footsteps in protecting its national economy by retaining ownership.

“China, for example, has taken many measures to ensure that its economy is protected from foreign interference, such as enforcing regulations that ensure that Chinese companies or individuals have at least 51% ownership of e-commerce websites’ payment systems,” he said.

Read more about Mohamed Alabbar’s call for ownership of UAE e-commerce businesses


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How AI will create the digital oilfields of the future in the GCC

The oil industry will require to invest about $11 trillion over the next 20 years to meet the demand for crude worldwide, according to the latest annual outlook issued by the OPEC [Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries] this week.

“While investments picked up slightly in 2017 compared to the previous two years, and the expectations are for higher levels again in 2018, it is vital that as an industry we ensure there is timely and adequate investment so as not to lead to a supply shortage in the future,” OPEC secretary general Mohammad Barkindo said in OPEC’s World Oil Outlook 2018.

For the GCC economies, which have traditionally been reliant on the oil and gas sector, low oil prices in the last few years have spurred ambitious diversification agendas, with massive investment allocated to numerous sectors focussing on technology and innovation.

Read more about how AI is transforming the digital oilfields


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How will the mobilisation of AI impact jobs in the GCC?

Economies across the Middle East are bracing for the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their economies.

PwC said in a report released earlier this year that the technology could add $320bn on the regional economy, with the Gulf countries taking the lion’s share.

The UAE is expected to see AI contribute 13.6 per cent of GDP or $96bn by 2030, Saudi Arabia 12.4 per cent or $135.2bn and Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar 8.2 per cent or a combined $45.9bn.

The message is simple, by embracing AI regional countries have a lot to gain in terms of productivity, consumption and product enhancements.

But in other areas there is some to lose.

Read more about how AI will impact jobs in the GCC


RTA doubles its smart car rental fleet

Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has added 200 vehicles to its smart car rental fleet, bringing the total number to 400 vehicles.

The move follows the success of the initial stage and the increasing demand generated by the service, which has saw high rates of journeys and rental hours.

“The launch of this service is part of our response to the Smart City initiative of the Dubai Government,” said Adel Shakeri, director of RTA’s Transportation Systems.


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