A pirate keeps vigil in north-eastern Somalia. A campaigner says youths need an alternative. Mohamed Dahir / AFP
A pirate keeps vigil in north-eastern Somalia. A campaigner says youths need an alternative. Mohamed Dahir / AFP

Create jobs to eradicate piracy, UAE hears



DUBAI // Creating jobs and caring for orphans are areas where the UAE could help prevent another generation of young men in Somalia from taking up arms as pirates.

That is the view of Omer Jama Farah, the director and founder of the Taakulo Somali Community, who was in the UAE to attend a public-private partnership panel organised by terminal operator DP World.

Mr Farah, who met social welfare organisations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to outline proposals for cooperation, said: “The risk of piracy continues and if we create new opportunities for youth and awareness spreads among them, then they will not engage with illegal groups to make ends meet and will not join pirates.”

The non-government organisation provides relief in drought prone areas and works on education and health programmes in remote regions of Somalia.

“The level of piracy may have reduced but groups are still training, collecting and recruiting young people so we have to take precautions and save these youths.

“It is very crucial to work with organisations in the UAE to fight piracy with job creation for women and the youth. It is now also vital to reach inaccessible regions to tackle basic issues of severe water shortages.”

The meeting drew 54 government, non-government and industry figures from Somalia, Somaliland, Puntland and the Emirates. A sponsorship programme to pay for the education and living expenses of 5,000 orphans was among plans put forward by the Taakulo Community. Training for young people is also planned in a number of trades.

“We must try to bring them away from illegal groups or they will also turn to piracy,” said Mr Farah. “We must try to make them a part of the community by showing them a better way of life.

“Job creation for women will also help them generate income and send their children to school. The UAE is already helping with development and emergency aid and we are hoping for more cooperation.”

The UAE provides support to Somalia in the form of food aid and drinking water projects. The Emirates pledged Dh183 million in May last year to enhance Somalia’s security capabilities, strengthen political cooperation and deliver humanitarian assistance.

Enabling Somalis to become self-reliant was the key suggestion that emerged from last week’s discussions. “We are particularly focused on hearing from young Somalis and encouraging them to become involved in the development of their country in a very practical way through the establishment of local businesses,” said Mohammed Sharaf, the chief executive of DP World.

The focus now is on how Somalis can help themselves, said Theodore Karasik, director of research at Inegma security consultancy. “The UAE and GCC states are contributing to developing infrastructure, humanitarian aid and education.”

Piracy became lucrative in Somalia in the 1990s. The formation of a government after the 2012 elections came with the promise of an end to civil war, insurgencies and inter-clan conflict more than 20 years after the dictator Siad Barre was removed in 1991.

Somali pirates have not successful seized a vessel for the past two years, but maritime authorities recently called for vigilance due to recurring skirmishes at sea.

In the most recent incident last month, two skiffs approached a tanker headed to Fujairah with the ship’s armed guards able to foil a likely attack.

Mohammed Osman Ahmed, the executive director of the Somaliland Counter Piracy Coordination Office, warned that “piracy is a threat and will remain a threat as long as young Somalis have access to arms on the Horn of Africa and have no means to earn their living legally either on sea or land”.

He added: “Regional stakeholders have to remain vigilant. The piracy business framework in south central Somalia is believed to be intact, according to our intelligence. Piracy motivated by revenge of arrested piracy chiefs may be in the pipeline.”

Somaliland has arrested 89 suspected pirates since 2008, said Mr Ahmed. “We need UAE assistance to deter piracy in the Gulf of Aden. Somaliland has established a coastguard and we hope the UAE will support our counter piracy efforts.

“Attempts of piracy are still there, but successful highjacking has not happened for two years because of private armed security guards on ships and naval presence.”

The next counter piracy conference, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in partnership with DP World, will be held in Dubai in October.

rtalwar@thenational.ae

Dhadak

Director: Shashank Khaitan

Starring: Janhvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khattar, Ashutosh Rana

Stars: 3

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Ads on social media can 'normalise' drugs

A UK report on youth social media habits commissioned by advocacy group Volteface found a quarter of young people were exposed to illegal drug dealers on social media.

The poll of 2,006 people aged 16-24 assessed their exposure to drug dealers online in a nationally representative survey.

Of those admitting to seeing drugs for sale online, 56 per cent saw them advertised on Snapchat, 55 per cent on Instagram and 47 per cent on Facebook.

Cannabis was the drug most pushed by online dealers, with 63 per cent of survey respondents claiming to have seen adverts on social media for the drug, followed by cocaine (26 per cent) and MDMA/ecstasy, with 24 per cent of people.

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

How to join and use Abu Dhabi’s public libraries

• There are six libraries in Abu Dhabi emirate run by the Department of Culture and Tourism, including one in Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

• Libraries are free to visit and visitors can consult books, use online resources and study there. Most are open from 8am to 8pm on weekdays, closed on Fridays and have variable hours on Saturdays, except for Qasr Al Watan which is open from 10am to 8pm every day.

• In order to borrow books, visitors must join the service by providing a passport photograph, Emirates ID and a refundable deposit of Dh400. Members can borrow five books for three weeks, all of which are renewable up to two times online.

• If users do not wish to pay the fee, they can still use the library’s electronic resources for free by simply registering on the website. Once registered, a username and password is provided, allowing remote access.

• For more information visit the library network's website.

The 10 Questions
  • Is there a God?
  • How did it all begin?
  • What is inside a black hole?
  • Can we predict the future?
  • Is time travel possible?
  • Will we survive on Earth?
  • Is there other intelligent life in the universe?
  • Should we colonise space?
  • Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?
  • How do we shape the future?

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

ARABIAN GULF LEAGUE FIXTURES

Thursday, September 21
Al Dahfra v Sharjah (kick-off 5.35pm)
Al Wasl v Emirates (8.30pm)

Friday, September 22
Dibba v Al Jazira (5.25pm)
Al Nasr v Al Wahda (8.30pm)

Saturday, September 23
Hatta v Al Ain (5.25pm)
Ajman v Shabab Al Ahli (8.30pm)

Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022

First match: November 20
Final 16 round: December 3 to 6
Quarter-finals: December 9 and 10
Semi-finals: December 13 and 14
Final: December 18

Company profile

Company name: Hakbah
Started: 2018
Founder: Naif AbuSaida
Based: Saudi Arabia
Sector: FinTech
Current number of staff: 22
Initial investment: $200,000
Investment stage: pre-Series A
Investors: Global Ventures and Aditum Investment Management

Company profile


Name: Khodar
Based: Cairo and Alexandria, in Egypt
Founders: Ayman Hamza, Yasser Eidrous and Amr El Sheikh
Sector: agriculture technology
Funding: $500,000
Investors: Saudi Arabia’s Revival Lab and others
Employees: 35


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