Sara Dube of Jumeirah English Speaking School hugs Ian Thurston, the deputy head of KS5 at JESS. Sara scored  a perfect 45 in her IB test results. Navin Khianey for The National
Sara Dube of Jumeirah English Speaking School hugs Ian Thurston, the deputy head of KS5 at JESS. Sara scored a perfect 45 in her IB test results. Navin Khianey for The National

UAE pupils exceed global average in International Baccalaureate

Pupils studying at International Baccalaureate schools in the UAE have exceeded the global average in their exams, with some scoring among the highest possible results .

At least one pupil, 18-year-old Sara Dube from Jumeirah English Speaking School - Dubai (JESS), earned a perfect score, a feat achieved by less than 1 per cent of all students in the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) curriculum worldwide.

The 1,865 pupils from 34 IB schools across the UAE who wrote the final exams in May earned an average of 31.59 points, which is higher than the global average of 29.95 achieved by 160,000 pupils around the world.

Sara is among only 218 pupils worldwide to achieve a perfect score of 45.

“I was really surprised when I opened the envelope and saw the results,” said Sara, a native of India who has most recently lived with her family in Dubai and Poland. “I’m really happy.”

Like all pupils enrolled in the two-year IB diploma programme, Sara was required to take courses within six subject groups: language and literature; foreign language acquisition; individuals and societies; sciences; mathematics and the arts. At least three of the subjects have to be “higher level” classes and three can be standard.

Additionally, all IBDP pupils must take a class called Theory of Knowledge – similar to a philosophy class – and complete self-directed study that will culminate in a 4,000-word essay as a prerequisite for earning the diploma. For her essay, Sara chose to write about how the protagonists of Albert Camus’ The Stranger and The Fall personified the evolution of his absurdist philosophy. And she wrote it in French.

“She is the kind of person who loves to learn,” said Sonia Singh, her mother.

Whenever people questioned her about choosing to study four higher level classes, as opposed to the minimum of three that is required, she would brush away their warnings that she would be running the risk of having her final scores go down with the tougher classes.

“But she said I don’t mind if I get a low score, I enjoy these four subjects so much that I want to study them in depth and learn more about these four subjects and that’s more important for me than the final number,’” said Mrs Singh.

Sara’s proven love of learning earned her entrance to the University of Oxford where she will study philosophy, politics and economics this autumn.

Only about 1 per cent of all IB diploma programme pupils earn 40 points or higher, but a number of UAE schools boasted pupils with scores higher than 40.

At Aldar Academies, Al Bateen Academy students achieved an average point score of 32.3, comfortably surpassing the world average of 30 and five pupils scores above 40.

Two pupils at the British International School Abu Dhabi earned points 40 or above.

Of the 387 pupils who wrote exams at GEMS Education’s six IB schools, at least 10 pupils earned near-perfect scores between 43 and 44, including Alexandra Haines from Dubai American Academy, Audrey Cordelle from GEMS World Academy, Dubai and Ivan Szergyuk from GEMS Wellington International School, who all scored 44.

Alexandra, who will be studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said there was no secret to her academic success.

“I worked throughout the two years, I worked hard,” the 18-year-old Swiss citizen said.

“You can’t let it overwhelm you. You do have to find a balance between work and life and it sounds weird, but you should enjoy it. There is so much that you get to learn about and go in-depth about that you wouldn’t otherwise. My advice is enjoy doing the IB and learning everything that you get to learn.”

Read more: Families prone to moving between countries choose international Baccalaureate

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

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Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through and

Email sent to Uber team from chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi

From: Dara

To: Team@

Date: March 25, 2019 at 11:45pm PT

Subj: Accelerating in the Middle East

Five years ago, Uber launched in the Middle East. It was the start of an incredible journey, with millions of riders and drivers finding new ways to move and work in a dynamic region that’s become so important to Uber. Now Pakistan is one of our fastest-growing markets in the world, women are driving with Uber across Saudi Arabia, and we chose Cairo to launch our first Uber Bus product late last year.

Today we are taking the next step in this journey—well, it’s more like a leap, and a big one: in a few minutes, we’ll announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Careem. Importantly, we intend to operate Careem independently, under the leadership of co-founder and current CEO Mudassir Sheikha. I’ve gotten to know both co-founders, Mudassir and Magnus Olsson, and what they have built is truly extraordinary. They are first-class entrepreneurs who share our platform vision and, like us, have launched a wide range of products—from digital payments to food delivery—to serve consumers.

I expect many of you will ask how we arrived at this structure, meaning allowing Careem to maintain an independent brand and operate separately. After careful consideration, we decided that this framework has the advantage of letting us build new products and try new ideas across not one, but two, strong brands, with strong operators within each. Over time, by integrating parts of our networks, we can operate more efficiently, achieve even lower wait times, expand new products like high-capacity vehicles and payments, and quicken the already remarkable pace of innovation in the region.

This acquisition is subject to regulatory approval in various countries, which we don’t expect before Q1 2020. Until then, nothing changes. And since both companies will continue to largely operate separately after the acquisition, very little will change in either teams’ day-to-day operations post-close. Today’s news is a testament to the incredible business our team has worked so hard to build.

It’s a great day for the Middle East, for the region’s thriving tech sector, for Careem, and for Uber.

Uber on,


Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government


Engine: 2-litre direct injection turbo
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Power: 261hp
Torque: 400Nm
Price: From Dh134,999


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

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.”


Name: Qureos
Based: UAE
Launch year: 2021
Number of employees: 33
Sector: Software and technology
Funding: $3 million

Intercontinental Cup

Namibia v UAE Saturday Sep 16-Tuesday Sep 19

Table 1 Ireland, 89 points; 2 Afghanistan, 81; 3 Netherlands, 52; 4 Papua New Guinea, 40; 5 Hong Kong, 39; 6 Scotland, 37; 7 UAE, 27; 8 Namibia, 27

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