UAE To Host Next Club World Cup In Early 2022

 

The United Arab Emirates will host the next Club World Cup early in 2022, FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced on Wednesday.

The latest edition of the tournament — which features the champions of the six continental confederations along with the top team in the host nation — was due to be played at the end of this year in Japan before it pulled out as host because of the pandemic.

The Club World Cup is usually played in December but this is the second successive year in which it has been delayed — the 2020 edition in Qatar was played in February this year.

“The Club World Cup will be played in early 2022. There are no precise dates yet, but the host will be the United Arab Emirates,” Infantino said at a press conference following a FIFA Council meeting.

A February start date seems most likely given the Africa Cup of Nations will be staged in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6.

Chelsea will be Europe’s representative after winning last season’s UEFA Champions League, while Al Ahly of Egypt are also confirmed participants.

South America will be represented by either Palmeiras or Flamengo, with the Brazilian duo meeting in next month’s Copa Libertadores final.

Bayern Munich won the most recent edition of the Club World Cup, which has been held in the UAE on four previous occasions, most recently in 2018 when Real Madrid were the winners.

A lucrative, revamped 24-team Club World Cup, including eight sides from Europe, was due to be played in China this year before the pandemic put that project on hold.

Despite Diplomatic Row With UAE, Nigeria Pavilion Open For Expo2020

 

Despite a diplomatic row with the United Arab Emirates (UAE)  –  the host country for Expo2020 –  over COVID-19 protocols, Nigeria’s pavilion which opened a few days back has started gaining traction.

The country’s pavilion is located in the Opportunity District for the six-month-long exhibition.

Nigeria joins a long list of participating countries that are seeking to make the most of the global event which kicked off on October 1st.

The Expo is expected to attract tourists to Nigeria.

 

At the Nigerian pavilion, music can be heard by passers-by, while images of different cultural attire are displayed on walls outside it. From Afrobeat star Fela Anikulapo Kuti to Grammy winner Burna Boy, the success stories of Nigeria’s music industry are also on display.

 

The roof is covered with art by Victor Ehikhamenor. Other arts are also on display; from the ancient to the contemporary, including a life size horse sculpture by Dotun Popo.

 

Dotun Popo’s work.

 

A peep into the pavilion reveals different sections promoting opportunities in the creative, agricultural,  culture and tourism, sports, and tech sectors.  Screens in the pavilion share information about states and sectors in need of investment.

While it is unclear how the country would fare in Expo2020, the exhibition is expected to further open up Nigeria to more investments and bring tourists to the nation.

READ ALSO:  UAE Relaxes Travel Restrictions For Nigerians

Nigerians Targeted?

 

Before the Expo, Nigeria had a fractured relationship with the UAE. This was after the Middle East nation imposed a ban on transit flights from Nigeria as it battled a rise in COVID-19 cases.

One of the art works on display at the Expo

 

Although the move was reversed in early August, the Federal Government faulted the COVID-19 protocols put in place by the UAE, claiming discriminatory treatment by the UAE.

“The story is they (UAE) have a protocol that discriminates against Nigeria and it was specifically targeted at Nigeria and we said no, and it’s on behalf of the people,” the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika said during a briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 in Abuja on September 14.

“We’ve gone through the ministry of foreign affairs, now we’re been mandated by the task force (PSC) jointly with the foreign affairs to resolve this impasse.

“Nigeria has no issue with the Emirates, but against the preferential treatment.”

Africa Is Crying For Investments, Says Obasanjo

Obasanjo Calls For Stronger Opposition In Nigeria
A file photo of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for more investments in Africa, stressing that the continent is in dire need of funding to develop critical sectors. 

He made the comment on Wednesday during the Africa-Dubai Business Investment Summit organised by the Africa World Business Centre (AWBC) and Leaders Without Borders. 

“I believe that Africa is crying for investments and there can be no better, auspicious period for investment in Africa,” the former Nigerian President added.

“Especially when you take all the things that have been happening in Africa and the world in general; the COVID-19 pandemic, the unpredictability of the situation, almost everywhere in the world and then of course, the uncertainty in the economic arena.”

A cross section of participants at the summit.

 

While noting that in the past, there was limited knowledge about Africa, Obasanjo explained that business interactions between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the continent, should be a two-way thing. 

“I would say that there has been substantial, tangible investment in the United Arab Emirates from Africa, particularly in the area of properties,” he said. 

According to him, the insufficient knowledge about Africa is impeding the flow of investments into the continent. 

Participants at the summit.

 

He said: “Not sufficient knowledge, not sufficient understanding, not sufficient confidence and that is the reason why I believe that nothing flows in both directions, as it should have been.

“I do believe that Africa has the greatest yield in terms of returns for investment in the world today; but then, how do you get there?”

Obasanjo, who also blamed limited investments on the continent from the UAE on some unscrupulous elements, said such development should not deter investors. 

A cross section of participants at the summit.

 

“I believe, in the past, probably some unscrupulous Africans have done what they should not have done or businessmen. Investors in Africa from the United Arab Emirates have met such unscrupulous people; but I do not say that that is limited to Africa. I believe, what I should say now is, what we should all bear in mind is buyer beware,” Obasanjo said. 

“There are crooks everywhere but we also have real men and women of integrity (honest and), people that you can do business with, either at individual, at corporate or even at government level. Let us make sure these are the sort of people that we look for, in terms of investment, in terms of doing business.”

He, however, said that with the Africa Continental Free Trade Zone Agreement and other efforts being made by leaders on the continent, investing in Africa will become easier. 

“You will not have to think of 55 different custom regulations, 55 different immigration systems and our leaders have moved fast in that direction,” the 84-year-old explained. 

“When the treaty was signed, it was this treaty that came into force within the shortest period of time and that is the interest that our leaders have shown. So, the problem of having to deal with 55 different immigration, 55 different custom rules and regulations will soon be a thing of the past.”

UAE Relaxes Residency Requirements, Launches ‘Green Visa’

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 14, 2021, a woman looks at a view of the Marina Beach in the Gulf emirate of Dubai. – In Dubai, known for its luxury haunts and parties, expatriate singles working in the city find the quest for a partner difficult. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)

 

The UAE announced a new visa Sunday allowing foreigners to work in the country without being sponsored by an employer, loosening residency requirements in an attempt to boost economic growth.

Foreigners in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates are generally only given limited visas tied to their employment, and long-term residency is difficult to obtain.

But those holding the new “green visa” will be able to work without company sponsorship, and can sponsor their parents and children up to 25 years old, officials said.

“It targets highly skilled individuals, investors, businesspeople, entrepreneurs, as well exceptional students and postgraduates,” said Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani al-Zeyoudi.

Resource-rich Gulf countries such as the UAE are increasingly seeking to diversify their economies and reduce reliance on oil.

The coronavirus pandemic has also impacted tourism and businesses in the UAE, whose economy was already slumping in recent years due to low oil prices.

In 2019, the UAE launched the 10-year “Golden visa” to attract wealthy individuals and highly skilled workers, the first such scheme in the Gulf.

Similar programmes have since been launched in other resource-rich Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Riyadh said in June 2019 that it will offer permanent residency for 800,000 riyals ($213,000) and a one-year renewable residency costing 100,000 riyals, allowing expats to do business and buy property without a Saudi sponsor.

Doha also flung open its property market to foreigners, with a scheme giving those buying homes or stores the right to longer-term or permanent residency permits.

Foreigners account for 90 percent of the 10 million population in the UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy after neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

AFP

Nigerian Security Guard Turns Music Sensation In Dubai

Possible wants to build a career in music.

 

Like many immigrants, Possible Ukaoma arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in search of better opportunities. 

After several failed attempts to get into his dream University of Port Harcourt, Possible travelled to the UAE in 2013 where he now works as a security officer.

Eight years after he moved to the UAE, Possible’s impressive display of skills on the piano is winning the hearts of many Dubai residents.

When a fitness expert, who gyms in the same building where Possible works, recorded and sent one of his videos to local media, a new chapter opened up for the husband and father of one.

“When I started going for rounds, to check the places in the building, some guys were going to the gym – they said, ‘Man I saw you. I saw your picture (video). You’re an incredible man’,” the Abia State indigene told Channels Television.

“I was like ‘Are you serious?’ Even that same day, some guys said – ‘Man, I want to take pictures with you’. I felt so special!”

One post on Instagram and Possible’s life story began to change.

“After 5 minutes,” he added, “different messages and calls were coming from different people that had never sent me a message.”


READ ALSO: Kuwait Follows UAE In Suspending India Flights Over COVID-19

READ ALSO: [Work Permit] Nigerians Frustrated By Negative Perception In UAE


‘Everything Stopped’

Possible is urging his compatriots to shun crime.

 

Many who regularly visited Possible’s workplace admitted to having no idea such “talent” existed in the area.

But once the Dubai residents discovered him, “everything stopped”.

“Yeah, I was honestly mesmerized. I’ve been here for two years in this same tower and never did I think that we have this talent here,” said Zaina Jaleel, who was beaming with a smile.

“Just walking past, getting coffee – just full on, everything stopped. You know, it’s breathtaking.”

Possible wishes to get certifications in health and safety, but this may soon change completely as new opportunities in Dubai’s music space open up for the Abia indigene who started playing musical instruments in his father’s church.

“For him, there are two things that he could look at. One is doing sessions for music composers…… that’s one aspect of it. The other aspect is for him to kind of decide about his own music and his voice musically,” the founder of Mango Jam Studio, Wilbur D’Costa said. “So, he could do his own music.”

While Nigerians in the UAE have been linked to several crimes like illegal stay, gang violence, robbery, and prostitution, raising concerns from citizens doing business and working in the Asian nation, Possible is advising his compatriots to shun crime and concentrate on working hard.

“Security is a professional job in Dubai, which everybody will want to pass through,” he said.

UAE Receives Ex-Afghan President Ghani ‘On Humanitarian Grounds’

 

 

The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that it is hosting former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani “on humanitarian grounds” after he fled his country amid a Taliban takeover.

Ghani’s whereabouts had been unknown after he fled Afghanistan at the weekend in the face of a sweeping advance by the Taliban.

“The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds,” the ministry said in a brief statement.

Ghani left Afghanistan on Sunday as the Taliban closed in on Kabul before the insurgents walked into the Afghan capital unopposed.

In a Facebook post, Ghani said the “Taliban have won” and that he fled to avoid a “flood of bloodshed”.

Until Wednesday, speculation had mounted that he had fled to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan or Oman.

The Taliban capped a staggeringly fast rout of Afghanistan’s major cities in just 10 days, achieved with relatively little bloodshed, following two decades of war that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

The collapse came as US President Joe Biden moved to complete the withdrawal of US troops. He admitted Monday the Taliban advance had unfolded more quickly than expected but defended his decision to leave, and criticised Ghani’s government.

US-led forces invaded the country following the September 11 attacks in 2001, in response to the Taliban giving sanctuary to Al-Qaeda, and toppled them.

 UAE refuge

This would not be the first time that the oil-rich Gulf country opens its arms to former leaders and their relatives, now persona non grata in their country.

In 2017, the emirate of Dubai hosted former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison.

Spain’s King Juan Carlos went into self-exile in the UAE in August last year as questions mounted over the origins of his fortune, and the UAE was Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto’s home during her eight years in exile before she was assassinated in her home country in 2007.

The UAE is one of three nations, including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which recognised the previous hardline Taliban regime, which ruled from 1996 to 2001.

This time around, the Taliban have sought to project an air of restraint and moderation.

Ghani was elected in 2014 on promises to remake Afghanistan.

But the 72-year-old may ultimately be remembered for making little headway against the deep-rooted government corruption that underwrote his demise.

In his last years in office, Ghani watched as he was first cut off from talks between Washington and the Taliban that paved the way for the US exit from Afghanistan, and then forced by his American allies to release 5,000 hardened insurgents to lock down a peace deal that never materialised.

Dismissed as a “puppet” by the Taliban, Ghani was left with little leverage during his final months in the presidential palace, and resorted to delivering televised diatribes that did little to improve his reputation with Afghans.

-AFP

UAE Relaxes Travel Restrictions For Nigerians

In this file photo taken on June 26, 2015 an Emirates Airbus A380 aircraft sits on the tarmac at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake. Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP
In this file photo taken on June 26, 2015 an Emirates Airbus A380 aircraft sits on the tarmac at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake. Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP

 

The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday announced that it was relaxing restrictions for inbound passengers from six countries, including Nigeria.

The country’s National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) said the lifting of the restrictions will take effect from August 5.

The country in January had announced a ban on transit flights from Nigeria as it battled a rise in COVID-19 cases.

However Tuesday’s announcement will allow passengers from the six countries – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Uganda, and Nigeria – to be able to transit through UAE airports, as they present negative PCR tests taken 72 hours before departure.

“Travel for transit passengers from all countries from which transit passengers have been suspended will be resumed in advance provided that the passenger’s last destination is accepted with a laboratory check-up within 72 hours of departure and state airports will allocate special lounges for transit passengers,” NCEMA said.

“Emergencies, crises and civil aviation announce the exclusion of new categories of passengers from some of the banned countries, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda, as of August 5.

“These categories include those with valid residency permits who have received full vaccination doses in the UAE and 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose and who have vaccination certificates approved by the official authorities in the country.”

UAE, Saudi Leaders Meet After Public Spat On Oil Policy

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) receiving Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Emirati Armed Forces Mohammed bin Zayed, at the King Khaled International airport in the capital Riyadh, on July 19, 2020. (Photo by BANDAR AL-JALOUD / Saudi Royal Palace / AFP)

 

The de facto leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates met in Riyadh on Monday, emphasising the ties between the neighbours after a public row over oil policy.

“My brother Mohammed bin Salman and I discussed ways to further deepen the fraternal bond and strategic cooperation between our nations,” Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed said after talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“The partnership between the UAE and Saudi Arabia continues to be strong and prosperous,” he tweeted.

The pair have long been seen as the region’s power couple, known by their initials MBZ and MBS. But a lack of joint appearances of late had triggered speculation that the relationship had cooled.

A dispute earlier this month over a proposed deal by the OPEC+ alliance of oil-producing countries burst into the open, exposing the steadily diverging paths of the allies.

READ ALSO: Germany Vows To Improve Flood Warning System As Death Toll Passes 165

Economic rivalry is at the heart of the feud, as the Gulf states try to cash in on their vast oil reserves as they face the beginning of the end of the oil era.

The UAE had criticised the proposal as “unjust” in a rare challenge to Saudi Arabia, the world’s number-one oil exporter.

However, the 23-member OPEC+ reached a compromise on Sunday, agreeing to continue to boost output modestly from August.

Saudi state media said that Prince Mohammed had received the Emirati leader at the airport on his arrival.

“During the meeting, they reviewed deep-rooted fraternal relations between the two countries and aspects of bilateral cooperation and ways to support and develop it in various fields,” the Saudi state news agency SPA said.

AFP

UAE Opens Israel Embassy After Normalisation Deal

Israeli President Isaac Herzog (3rd R) and Emirati Ambassador to Israel Mohamed al-Khaja (2nd R) pose at the new UAE embassy in Tel Aviv on July 14, 2021. – The United Arab Emirates opened its embassy in Israel, housed in Tel Aviv’s new stock exchange building, in the latest step solidifying ties after a US-brokered normalisation deal last year. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)

 

The United Arab Emirates opened an embassy in Israel Wednesday, housed in Tel Aviv’s new stock exchange building, in the latest normalisation move under a deal brokered by Washington last year.

The venue in the heart of Israel’s financial district highlighted the central role economic cooperation has played since the UAE became only the third majority-Arab country to recognise the Jewish state.

At the ceremony, attended by new Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Emirati ambassador Mohamed al-Khaja called the embassy opening “an important milestone in the growing relationship between our two countries”.

“The UAE and Israel are both innovative nations, we can harness this creativity to work towards a more prosperous and sustainable future for our countries and our region,” he said.

Herzog called for the “historic agreement” with the UAE to be “extended to other nations seeking peace with Israel.”

Israel and the UAE have signed a raft of deals — ranging from tourism to aviation to financial services — since normalising ties as part of the so-called Abraham Accords brokered by former US president Donald Trump’s administration.

Wednesday’s ceremony, held in the lobby of the stock exchange building two floors below the embassy, came after Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made a landmark visit to the UAE last month, opening an embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai.

The Palestinians were outraged by the UAE’s decision to establish ties with Israel, which broke with decades of Arab consensus that there should be no normalisation of ties without a comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Following the UAE deal, Israel normalised relations with Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, accords that also sparked Palestinian protests.

But Israel and UAE have sought to emphasise the economic dividend offered by normalisation.

Lapid told Emirati media last month that bilateral trade has reached over $675.22 million since the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020.

Israel’s spate of normalisation deals were agreed under former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Lapid was an architect of the coalition that ousted Netanyahu last month, but has, along with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, vowed to keep up Netanyahu’s policy of pursuing deeper ties in the Arab world.

AFP

Saudi Suspends UAE Flights Due To COVID-19 Variant

In this file photo taken on December 9, 2020, a Boeing 737 MAX of Brazilian airline Gol lands at Salgado Filho airport in Porto Alegre, Brazil. SILVIO AVILA / AFP
File Photo. SILVIO AVILA / AFP

 

Saudi Arabia has suspended flights to three countries, including the neighbouring United Arab Emirates, to protect against a coronavirus variant, the interior ministry said Saturday.

The move comes seven weeks after the oil-rich kingdom permitted fully immunised citizens to travel abroad, after a ban on foreign trips that lasted more than a year.

The UAE, and especially Dubai, is a key leisure destination for Saudis.

Flights to and from the UAE, alongside those to Ethiopia and Vietnam, will be suspended from Sunday, an interior ministry official said, quoted by the state news agency SPA.

Saudi citizens and residents returning from these countries will be required to quarantine for 14 days, it added.

Citizens would be banned “from travelling directly or indirectly, without obtaining prior permission from… authorities”.

The decision was taken due to “the spread of a new mutated strain of the (Covid-19) virus”, it added, without explicitly mentioning the increasingly globally emergent Delta variant.

The variant, first detected in India and now present in at least 85 countries, is the most contagious of any Covid-19 variant yet identified.

The UAE announced last week it had recorded cases of the Delta variant and it has suspended flights to and from India.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, has put major limits on the annual hajj pilgrimage. It has officially recorded more than 490,000 cases of coronavirus, including nearly 7,850 deaths.

The oil-rich Gulf state is home to a large expat workforce from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

AFP

Gift Solomon: Nigerian Fake Employment Victim Becomes Food Delivery Star In Dubai

 

Nigerian, Gift Solomon is the only female delivery rider in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The 27-year-old is being celebrated in the United Arab Emirates as the first female to take on the male-dominated food delivery rider job, an add-on to her role as an assistant manager at Freedom Pizza in Dubai.

Born and raised in Ologbo, Edo state, the native of Ondo state is the fourth of six children.

Her family’s financial constraints pushed her to abandon her pursuit of a Degree in Business Administration, at the National Open University (NOUN) in Nigeria in search for greener pastures.

“There are some certain things that that is tagged that ladies cannot do, but then that doesn’t mean the law doesn’t allow people to do it, it’s just because ladies are not coming out to do the stuff,” she said in an interview with Channels TV’s Dubai correspondent, Mayowa Adegoke

“My parents really struggled a lot. I and my siblings get the best (they could offer) which I as a person, I am really thankful for because, without my family (my parents), I won’t be here”, says Gift, who first arrived in Dubai in 2016.

Gift left Nigeria to work in Dubai after paying a Nigerian employment agent the sum of N450,000 to secure a job that never came.

After she eventually made it to Dubai, another agent, a Pakistani she met in the tourist city, collected 2,500 AED to get her employed. Six months later, Gift’s friend who works at Freedom Pizza encouraged her to attend a walk-in-interview.

“When I came, I was in Dubai for about six months, there was no job. Trust me, the six months were like the worst months of my life because I had to really had to struggle considering the cost of living; It’s on the high side.”

Going back home was not an option she was ready to take. I wasn’t ready to give up,” she said.

“I couldn’t ask my parents (for money) because I told them I already have a job”.

Her determination has now paid off. From working as a phone operator in 2016, Gift rose to the position of the assistant manager just last year, when her ambition took this latest turn. She now takes pride in contributing to a new narrative within the UAE’s food delivery industry.

“There are some people who think it’s not accurate for me to be a rider… being a rider is not something I was forced into (it’s what I want to do). I know I can do it and I’m doing it, to set an example for people”

Gift hopes her story can serve as an inspiration and encouragement to other Nigerian youth to always embrace hard work regardless of their circumstances.

Her greatest wish is to see more women taking on daring opportunities as she herself continues to effortlessly break gender stereotypes one delivery at a time.

UAE To Allow Full Foreign Ownership Of Firms

FILES: (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)

 

The United Arab Emirates announced Wednesday it will lift a cap on non-local ownership and allow full foreign control of business ventures from June 1,

The reform, originally flagged in 2019, will make it easier to do business in the Gulf state and encourage investment, the economy ministry said.

“The amended Commercial Companies Law aims at boosting the country’s competitive edge and is a part of UAE government efforts to facilitate doing business,” said Economy Minister Abdulla bin Touq al-Marri.

The decision abolishes a longstanding law that limits foreign ownership to just 49 percent.

To dodge the limit, some of the seven emirates that make up the UAE — including Dubai — have for years established free trade zones where foreigners can own up to 100 percent of their business.

The UAE’s economy is the second-largest in the Arab world, behind Saudi Arabia.

It counts as the most diversified, particularly thanks to Dubai which gains 95 percent of its income from outside the oil industry.

The capital Abu Dhabi sits on the majority of the UAE’s vast oil reserves.

The country ranks 16th in the World Bank’s index on the ease of doing business.

The decision opens up 13 major economic sectors to unrestricted foreign investment, including renewable energy, agriculture, transport and e-commerce.

In 2019, the UAE was the top destination for foreign direct investment in the Arab world, attracting nearly $13.8 billion, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

AFP