e& life joins Dubai Fintech Summit as sponsor

As a ‘Powered By’ sponsor, e& life is dedicated to supporting innovative and future-thinking businesses on a global scale.
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Updated 16 April 2024

e& life joins Dubai Fintech Summit as sponsor

e& life, the business pillar of e& that brings the next-generation digital world to the consumer’s fingertips, has joined the Dubai Fintech Summit, organized by Dubai International Financial Centre, the leading global financial center in the MEASA region.

The summit, scheduled for May 6-7, at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, will see an unprecedented gathering of more than 8,000 decision-makers, over 300 thought leaders and 200 exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge technologies.

As a “Powered By” sponsor, e& life is dedicated to supporting innovative and future-thinking businesses on a global scale.

e& life leverages cutting-edge technologies to offer fintech, entertainment, retail, and mobility services through its smart platforms and apps. Their fintech arm, e& money, has become a regional powerhouse, known for its user-friendly mobile financial services and its position as the UAE’s fastest-growing issuer of Mastercard debit cards.

Mohammad Alblooshi, chief executive at DIFC Innovation Hub, said: “The path to true innovation lies in collaboration and the Dubai Fintech Summit strives to bring together global leaders, innovators and disruptive startups to shape the future of finance. The alliance between the summit and e& life demonstrates our mutual commitment to fostering a dynamic fintech ecosystem to strengthen Dubai’s existing reputation as a leading business destination. Transforming challenges into opportunities, our goal is to create the most advanced, inclusive and technologically empowered financial community.”

Khalifa Al-Shamsi, chief executive at e& life, said: “The Middle East is at the forefront of a major transformation in financial services delivery, driven by technology shifting from traditional to innovative solutions. As a pioneer in the region’s flourishing fintech sector, e& is driven by a bold vision to lead this change.

“Through strategic partnerships, we aim to fast-track progress and take the region’s fintech potential to new heights. This partnership represents a valuable opportunity for both e& and its fintech portfolio under the business pillar e& life to collectively imagine new possibilities, inspire breakthrough ideas, and catalyze impactful innovations. By bringing together the talent and resources within our ecosystems, we can accelerate the journey toward a future where financial services truly empower people across societies. We look forward to contributing our expertise to shaping discussions that will steer the direction of the industry and play a role in realizing the UAE’s aspiration to become a global hub for financial innovation.”

In line with the Dubai Economic Agenda to position Dubai as the top four global financial hub by 2033, the second edition of the Dubai Fintech Summit is designed to encourage cross-border collaboration and innovation, pivotal to transforming the global fintech sector. It presents a unique opportunity to explore emerging fintech trends and their potential to drive financial progress in the MEASA region.

Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Cultural District: A transformative, global, and diverse destination

SCD 3D render (©Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi)
Updated 22 May 2024

Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Cultural District: A transformative, global, and diverse destination

When it comes to how we see the world and our place within it, our outlook is defined by a whole host of factors: geography and history are fundamental, as is our economic situation, not least because they impact our sense of self, purpose and ambition. 

In a column for the Financial Times, journalist Janan Ganesh reflected on how different the world looks from the UAE and Europe, especially when it comes to the trends that define 21st century globalization. It is no longer tenable, Ganesh argued, to think of a globalist “as someone who knows London and Paris.”

Consider then, just how different the view is from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, where cross-cultural exchange and dialogue have been woven into the emirate’s history and heritage for millennia. Culture remains an integral and organic part of the community in Abu Dhabi, a legacy from the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, who set the cultural agenda in the 1950s through archaeological excavations near the ancient city of Al-Ain, where he also inaugurated the UAE’s first museum in 1971. That visionary legacy has positioned Abu Dhabi as a global center for cultural excellence and dialogue and led to the creation of the Saadiyat Cultural District Abu Dhabi.

Once completed, the diversity of Saadiyat Cultural District’s institutions will make the district one of the world’s most unique cultural platforms dedicated to intellectual exchange and transformative creativity. Home to museums, narratives, collections, and inspirational public programming, Saadiyat Cultural District has been created as a center where visitors can experience a journey of the world’s history and collective culture, seen from the perspective of the global south.

The district is already home to Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first universal museum in the Arab world showcasing artworks from different cultures side by side and telling a story of human connections. Nearby, Berklee Abu Dhabi offers music, and performing arts educational programs for talents throughout the wider region.

Manarat Al-Saadiyat serves as a center for creative artistic expression and is home to two significant initiatives in Abu Dhabi’s cultural calendar: Abu Dhabi Art and Culture Summit Abu Dhabi, both of which harness Abu Dhabi’s role as a global cultural hub, showcasing the city to the world and bringing international perspectives to the capital. The Abrahamic Family House welcomes people to connect, explore, and reflect, while deepening their understanding of our common humanity through mutual dialogue and knowledge exchange.

With construction at 76 percent, Saadiyat Cultural District will soon be home to the Zayed National Museum, the national museum of the UAE that celebrates the nation’s rich history and culture and honors Sheikh Zayed’s legacy. It will also host the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, which will take visitors on a 13.8-billion-year journey through the story of our universe and planet. Additionally, teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi will offer visitors an experiential journey into the future, transcending the limits of their imagination, and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will establish itself as the region’s pre-eminent museum for contemporary art and culture.

More than a cultural destination, Saadiyat Cultural District is a global platform, emanating from a rich cultural heritage, celebrating traditions, and advancing equitable culture. It is a place of opportunity, exchange and innovation coupled with an impact-focused mission to champion creativity and promote a diverse global cultural landscape.

With over 200 nationalities and known trading links stretching back for millennia, Saadiyat Cultural District embodies a vision of the future informed by a profound sense of commitment and responsibility. It is reaffirming Abu Dhabi’s position as a beacon of cultural innovation and intellectual exchange, connecting the UAE’s rich heritage with the world’s diverse cultures, to enhance mutual understanding and position Abu Dhabi as a vital player on the global cultural stage.

For more information, visit:

Disclaimer: The [buildings] depicted in these images are conceptual illustrations. Actual buildings and layouts may differ from the representations shown here by the time of completion. All rights to the images and their contents are reserved. Unauthorised use, reproduction, or distribution of these images is strictly prohibited.


‘Party with Pepsi’: Pepsi unveils closing show for ROSHN Saudi League

Updated 21 May 2024

‘Party with Pepsi’: Pepsi unveils closing show for ROSHN Saudi League

  • Pepsi Becomes First Ever Brand to Take Center Stage at a Major Football Event in Saudi Arabia
  • Mystery DJs from MDLBEAST and superstar Fouad Abdulwahed to perform at the closing ceremony.

Pepsi will host the “Party With Pepsi” show, featuring the sensational singer Fouad Abdulwahed and a lineup of DJs, on May 23 at a major football closing ceremony in Saudi Arabia. This groundbreaking event marks the first time a brand will take center stage at a football event in the Kingdom. The unprecedented spectacle of light, sound, and celebration, in partnership with the ROSHN Saudi League, will not only showcase Pepsi’s bold new identity but also cement its position as a cultural vanguard, resonating with multiple generations through an electrifying musical journey from past to present.

The event will take place at the heart of Saudi cultural life, intertwining the excitement of football with the universal language of music, creating a platform where athletic passions and musical creativity collide. Through this event, Pepsi embodies a relentless quest for innovation and engagement, offering audiences not just a show but an experience that leaves them craving more. The motto “Thirsty for More” drives the event’s narrative, from the suspenseful reveal of mystery DJs blending iconic musical eras to a special performance by the superstar Fouad Abdulwahed, the finale promises continued innovation and excitement.

Pepsi has long stood as the sound of every generation, and “Thirsty for More” is more than just a brand slogan; it is a declaration of Pepsi’s commitment to pushing boundaries and pursuing excellence. By featuring a diverse lineup of artists who bridge the gap between generations, Pepsi demonstrates its unique ability to resonate with audiences both old and new. The show’s musical journey, meticulously curated by MDLBEAST, will transition from classic hits to contemporary anthems, illustrating Pepsi’s evolution while staying true to its roots.

Speaking about the campaign, Karim El-Fiqi, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at PepsiCo AMESA, said: “Recently, we launched our new identity and promised to keep delivering immersive and engaging experiences for our consumers. As part of the same, Pepsi will be the first brand to partner to create a never seen like before show at Roshn Saudi League. This event is a strategic move to solidify Pepsi’s standing as the premier brand that evolves with and supports the dynamic culture in Saudi Arabia. By aligning with the country’s burgeoning entertainment industry and rapidly expanding sports sector, Pepsi not only taps into the national zeitgeist but also sets the stage for future cultural engagements. This event is part of a broader strategy to embed the brand deeply into the cultural fabric of the markets it serves, making Pepsi synonymous with youthful energy and innovative experiences.”

Speaking about the collaboration, Ramadan Alharatani, chief executive of MDLBEAST, said: “This collaboration represents a powerful fusion of sports and music, igniting the passion of football enthusiasts through the universal language of music. With our meticulous curation of the musical journey, we aim to create an electrifying experience that resonates with multiple generations. Together with Pepsi, we are pushing boundaries, delivering innovation, and offering audiences an unforgettable experience that leaves them thirsty for more.”

Pepsi remains dedicated to supporting the growth and popularity of football in Saudi Arabia. Pepsi will not only deliver a spectacular finale but will also set a new standard for brand involvement in cultural events. This show will be a testament to Pepsi’s vision of staying at the forefront of cultural trends, delivering unmatched experiences that resonate across generations, and continuously inspiring audiences to remain “thirsty for more.”

Stay tuned as Pepsi continues to innovate and inspire. Follow @pepsi_Saudi for exclusive behind-the-scenes content and upcoming surprises. Join the conversation using #ThirstyForMore and share how Pepsi inspires you.

Two Saudi startups join climate action accelerator

Updated 19 May 2024

Two Saudi startups join climate action accelerator

Two Saudi startups are among the eight companies from the Middle East and North Africa region selected by PepsiCo, SABIC, AstroLabs and partners for their Mega Green Accelerator. The selected participants have all submitted an innovative solution focused on either advancing the circular economy, transitioning to clean energy, or mitigating climate change through technologies to improve water use and agricultural processes. Timed to coincide with this year’s GPCA Plastics Conference, themed “Innovating for Sustainable Growth,” the selected startups also presented to industry leaders who are accelerating the development of a circular economy in the region.

Eugene Willemsen, CEO, Africa, Middle East, and South Asia, PepsiCo and International Beverages

The Mega Green Accelerator will nurture the next generation of innovators as they develop solutions to address both regional and global sustainability challenges. For the next six months, the eight promising change-makers will receive funding, mentorship with industry experts, and market access to scale their innovative solutions. At the end of the program later this year, one winning company will be awarded $30,000 in funding to continue its expansion.


For the next six months, the eight promising change-makers will receive funding, mentorship with industry experts, and market access to scale their innovative solutions.

A total of 363 submissions were received from sustainable startups in the region during the applications phase. The eight shortlisted companies that will proceed in the program are:

•Mrüna, UAE: A consulting and distribution company dedicated to developing innovative urban solutions.
•The Surpluss, UAE: A climate technology startup that helps SMEs reduce their greenhouse gas emissions profitably through resource sharing via a digital sustainability exchange.

Startups can act as epicenters of innovation, and reshape, disrupt, and define our future.

Eugene Willemsen, CEO, Africa, Middle East, and South Asia, PepsiCo and International Beverages

•Mirai Solar, Saudi Arabia: A solar technology startup that specializes in expanding solar energy use beyond conventional applications, improving the energy use efficiency of food production and smart buildings for a sustainable future.
•Ahya Technologies, Saudi Arabia: A climate software and AI startup building a unified platform for scaling climate action across the Middle East North Africa and Pakistan.
•YY ReGen, Lebanon: The startup provides innovative solutions through the promotion of renewable energy, sustainable water management, and regenerative farming.
•Viridia Tech, Egypt: The startup offers a platform for crop analytics at scale for industrial agricultural companies, leading to significant improvements in yield, unit economics and sustainability metrics.
•P-VITA, Egypt: A biotechnology hub that specializes in producing natural raw materials for cosmetics, and food and beverage industries using AI and IoT technologies to reduce carbon footprint through automated processes.
•Kumulus, Tunisia: A water tech startup that turns air into fresh drinking water through innovative AWG machines — aiming to make drinking water more accessible, sustainable, and economical for hotels and businesses across MENA and Southern European regions.
“With solutions spanning agriculture, water, and the energy sectors, this is an opportunity for us to accelerate the development of practical climate technologies crucial to address the MENA region’s challenges and strengthen our position as a testbed for climate innovation globally. Startups can act as epicenters of innovation, and reshape, disrupt, and define our future. The Mega Green Accelerator provides the incentive to bolster this through cross-sector collaboration and nurture the region’s next generation of entrepreneurs by providing the needed mentorship, funding, and market access,” said Eugene Willemsen, CEO, Africa, Middle East, and South Asia, PepsiCo and CEO of International Beverages.
“Over 300 fast-growing sustainability companies from all over the MENA region have applied to the program, showcasing a healthy influx of sustainable solutions and rapid growth in the sector. The selection of these eight companies underscores their readiness for scale, marking a pivotal time in the sector’s development. The Mega Green Accelerator is setting the stage for a robust sustainability infrastructure, bridging the gap between these companies, and the resources necessary for them to thrive, scale, and translate their innovative solutions into regional impact,” said Roland Daher, CEO of AstroLabs.
Strategic investment partners like Dubai Future District Fund, Venture Souq and Shurooq Partners will provide platforms for investment opportunities, mentorship in raising capital, and networking opportunities throughout the term of the Mega Green Accelerator. Schneider Electric will support the Mega Green Accelerator as a prize partner alongside participating in the final selection of the winner.


SEREDO 2024 showcases housing projects

Deputy Minister of Municipal Rural Affairs and Housing Talal bin Mohammed Al-Khunain inaugurated the exhibition in Jeddah.
Updated 19 May 2024

SEREDO 2024 showcases housing projects

Deputy Minister of Municipal Rural Affairs and Housing Talal bin Mohammed Al-Khunaini on May 14 inaugurated the second edition of the Saudi Real Estate Development and Ownership exhibition in Jeddah.
Held at the Jeddah International Exhibition and Convention Center, the four-day event explored promising opportunities in the real estate development sector, while offering a platform for exchanging expertise, transferring best practices and experiences among professionals in the field, and strengthening local and international partnerships. The exhibition brought together leading real estate developers, providing an opportunity for companies to showcase their real estate products to specialists and interested individuals in the sector, and to foster new partnerships.
The exhibition covered a variety of topics related to the sector through its diverse sessions, notably including discussions on real estate sector developments and analysis of modern market trends, the utilization of geospatial data and its impact on shaping new horizons in real estate, methods and strategies to professionalize real estate auctions, entrepreneurship and innovation in the real estate market, real estate funds, and negotiation techniques for real estate brokers.

 These sessions featured the participation of officials, speakers, and specialists in the sector.
SEREDO 2024 witnessed the participation of several major real estate development companies, banks, and financial institutions. The event showcased the latest housing projects and financing offers for citizens, contributing to the development and sustainability of the real estate sector and enhancing housing diversity and financing solutions to support the goals of the housing program — one of the key initiatives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, aiming to achieve a 70 percent homeownership target.


DCAA spotlights air transport enablement at Airport Show 2024

Photo (@DcaaDubai)
Updated 19 May 2024

DCAA spotlights air transport enablement at Airport Show 2024

The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority highlighted its pivotal role in advancing the aviation industry in the emirate during the 23rd Airport Show. Under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman of DCAA, chairman of Dubai Airports, and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, the event saw participation from over 150 exhibitors from more than 20 countries worldwide.
One of the key achievements showcased was the significant growth in commercial activities in the aviation sector during the first quarter of 2024, totaling 11,990 activities, a 21 percent increase compared to the same period in 2023. This growth has led to a surge in permit requests by 72 percent and permit renewals have grown by more than threefold.
Meanwhile, requests for landing permits for aircraft (private, passenger, and cargo) at Dubai International Airport and Al-Maktoum International Airport to operate all types of non-scheduled and designated flights (commercial and non-commercial) have also increased, reaching more than 4,000 permits in the first quarter of 2024. Building and elevation permits in air easement zones have increased significantly as the emirate’s construction industry has grown, reaching two and a half times the previous level.
Mohammed Abdulla Lengawi, director general of DCAA, said: “The aviation industry of Dubai continues its sustainable growth thanks to the directives of our wise leadership represented by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, ruler of Dubai.”
He added: “Our participation in the Airport Show underscores our significant achievements in industry development, illustrating our mission and role within this framework.”
The authority’s pavilion at the Airport Show attracted considerable attention from visitors and partners keen to understand its role in advancing Dubai’s aviation industry and its shift to fully digital, paperless services. This digital transformation simplifies customer access, enabling them to complete transactions anytime and anywhere via the authority’s website.
DCAA is dedicated to close collaboration with federal authorities, international, and regional bodies to enhance air transport relations and attract investment in Dubai’s aviation industry. It aims to maintain security and safety, and enhance infrastructure to solidify Dubai’s position as a global aviation hub.