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IBQ bags Best Private Banking Service Award in Qatar

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IBQ bags Best Private Banking Service Award in Qatar

415International Bank of Qatar, (ibq), has been recognised by Banker Middle East with the prestigious ‘Best Private Banking Service’ accolade in its Banking Product Awards for 2014. This is in recognition of ibq’s unrivalled private banking services, as evidenced by ibq’s private clients’ loyalty to the brand across generations.

The Banker Middle East Awards are among the most important recognition for the financial services industry in the region. The Banker Middle East Qatar Product Awards 2014 are designed to identify and reward quality and excellence in financial products and services. With more than a decade of experience in running Awards programmes for the financial services industry, Banker Middle East understands the importance of best-in-class benchmarks that are growing a dynamic and successful regional finance industry.

Jabra Ghandour, Managing Director of ibq said: “We are very proud to have received this significant award. Being recognised by Banker Middle East serves to underline our private banking excellent offerings for private wealth management services. It also highlights how ibq is fully equipped and focused on providing the best banking customer service and financial expertise to HNWI and ultra HNWI in Qatar.”

With a tailor-made suite of banking and wealth management services, ibq’s Private Banking has maintained its position as a truly pioneering Qatari bank. Its long-standing legacy within the local high net worth and ultra-high net worth community dates back to the early beginnings of the Bank in 1956.

“Since inception, we, at ibq, have built a name for bringing to the market a unique combination of tradition, innovation and most importantly prudence in portfolio management. We have developed enduring and long lasting relationships with our clients for over 50 years. Offering them access to high-quality services from a trusted and reliable partner has meant we have been perfectly positioned to help them meet their financial and wealth management objectives. Last but not least, I would like to thank our team of experts for their valuable contribution to ibq winning such an important award.” added Ghandour.

Chaouki Daher, DGM and Head of Private Banking at ibq said: “This is a major milestone for ibq Private Banking. At ibq’s Private Banking division, we pride ourselves on our core values of privacy, confidentiality and integrity. Being one of the oldest banks in Qatar, we are able to offer unparalleled levels of know-how and experience to our valued clients whom we’ve been serving for generations.”

“ibq’s private banking experts are at the forefront of the industry providing some of the most in-depth knowledge of confidential and personalised banking services for high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals in Qatar”, added Daher.

ibq’s track record is borne out by the many recent awards it has received. For its exceptional Private Banking services and its focus on long-term client relationships ibq was earlier recognised as the “Private Bank of the Year 2014” in Qatar by the International Banker. For two years in a row, ibq also previously received the prestigious Euromoney’s award for the “Best Private Bank for Privacy and Security in Qatar 2013.” Then in 2012, ibq was also awarded by Euromoney for “Best Private Banking Services for HNWI and UHNWI” in Qatar.

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Ooredoo and Arab Mobile App Challenge (AMAC) Host Acceleration Events in Qatar

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Ooredoo and Arab Mobile App Challenge (AMAC) Host Acceleration Events in Qatar

467Ooredoo and the Applied Innovation Institute have hosted the first in a series of “Acceleration Events” in Qatar to support the second Arab Mobile App Challenge (AMAC), engaging talented young entrepreneurs and developers in the mobile space.

Launched in 2013, the Arab Mobile App Challenge enables teams of up to six members under the age of 35 to develop mobile apps designed to make an impact in the education, health, entertainment and employability/entrepreneurship sectors.

This year, the contest has been expanded so that young people from any country in the Arab world can form teams and take part. The Acceleration Events kicked off in Qatar, followed by sessions in Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon, with further events planned for Tunisia, Algeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Acceleration events are being organised across the region to introduce interested teams to the challenges and opportunities of mobile app development.

In Doha, the first event saw a presentation by Applied Innovation Institute Board Member Dr. Paris Del’Etraz, who took attendees through his career path and shared ideas on what success looks like in the new mobile ecosystem. The meeting also outlined key information about the mobile industry and advice on how to build an app, with mentors from the industry on-hand to talk about their own experiences.

For the next step, AMAC will match participating teams with the mentors who will spend time with them on a weekly basis to support their business and technical requirements, until a prototype and a presentation are completed and ready for submission for the December deadline.

Support from partners is an important factor in the success of the Challenge, which has so far enabled more than 15 percent of participants who reached the semi-final stages to launch their own start-up businesses exceeding normal success rates.

As a founder and a key partner in the programme, Ooredooplayed an instrumental role in the events in Qatar, Tunisia and Algeria. Ooredoo’s commitment to the programme is part of the company’s wider mission to use technology to enable people to fulfil their aspirations. Ooredoo has also launched its own mobile apps in areas ranging from maternal health to youth employability.

Dr. Nasser Marafih, Group CEO, Ooredoo said: “We’ve seen that a vibrant mobile app market can engage young people, generate employment opportunities and unleash creativity across our communities, especially where content is localised. More than that, mobile apps can have a direct impact on society, by increasing access to education, enabling entrepreneurialism and connecting under-served communities. This contest has the power to do enormous social good by acting as a flagship to highlight the young entrepreneurs who will drive our future economic success, and we’re pleased to support its expansion across the Arab world plus their amazing business ideas.”

Another key partner in Qatar is the region’s largest mixed business ‎incubator – Qatar Business Incubation Center, a joint initiative between Qatar Development Bank and the Social Development Centre. The institutionjoined forces with AMAC and Ooredoo as a Co-Country Host in Qatar for the first acceleration event. QBIC aims to build the next batch of QAR100m companies in Qatar and is aligned with the goals of AMAC in its support of entrepreneurial endeavours.

Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, chairman of Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC) and the CEO of Qatar Development Bank (QDB) said: “We are glad at QBIC to partner with Ooredoo in this highly competitive competition. Mobile applications are very competitive and could formulate a great platform for entrepreneurs in Qatar to benefit from this opportunity. I strongly believe in their capabilities and I truly wish them all the success and hope that they will qualify for the regional finals in Amman and the world finals during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in March 2015.”

Regional registration for AMACis still openat www.arabmobilechallenge.com and acceleration events are planned across the region in the coming months.

There will be rewards for winning teams as well as the chance to compete in the Global App Challenge in Barcelona, hosted by the Mobile World Congress.

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First GEMS-owned School in Qatar to open in September

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First GEMS-owned School in Qatar to open in September

4181GEMS Education, the region’s leading education provider, today announced that it will open its first owned and operated school in Qatar this September. On opening, GEMS American Academy-Qatar, an American Curriculum School, will welcome up to 1550 students from Kindergarten through to Grade 5 in the first year and in successive years will grow and expand the secondary years.

Located in Al Wakrah, Qatar, GEMS American Academy-Qatar (GAA) will be a high quality American Academy based on the United States Common Core State Standards. The school is the first owned and operated school for GEMS Education in Qatar and joins the GEMS’ American Curriculum school network which includes GEMS’ flagship American Curriculum school, Dubai American Academy (DAA). Founded in 1997, DAA was recently rated by Dubai Government’s School Inspection Bureau as ‘outstanding’ for the third consecutive academic year. In the last two years students from DAA have been accepted into over 160 universities in the US, including 37 of the top 50 Universities in the Country and six out of the eight Ivy League Colleges.

GEMS Education country head for Qatar, Kenneth Jones said: “At GEMS, we put values first and for students who will join us at GEMS American Academy-Qatar in September this means that we focus on their personal, academic and overall development. The school will empower our students to develop the necessary intellectual, emotional, social, creative and physical skills they will need to lead successful and fulfilling lives.”

Michael Wood, Principal of GEMS American Academy, explained what parents can look forward to at the new school. “It is my belief that an educator’s mission is to make school enjoyable and exciting – if students look forward to attending school, they will want to learn. This is what will be at the heart of GEMS American Academy-Qatar. The school will actively encourage all students to be a part of sporting and physical activity, as well as cultural and artistic activities, which will all be delivered in state- of-the-art facilities, by our internationally experienced teachers.

“Our students will learn to make decisions independently, solve problems effectively, and interact positively with tolerance, while pursuing academic excellence. This will create life-long learners who are developing the skills necessary to be successful in the 21st century.”

Mr Tom Farquhar, who led the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, USA for more than four years, has joined GEMS as the Dean of American Curriculum, and will work on further enhancing the GEMS American Curriculum Schools around the world, including GEMS American Academy-Qatar.

Noting his enthusiasm to join the GEMS team, Farquhar said, “My greatest excitement about coming to GEMS is in helping the organization develop the excellence in the American Curriculum, to focus on critical thinking, and the cultivation of human imagination and creativity, particularly in the realm of problem solving.”

Mr Farquhar added: “My speciality is in bringing the experience of the school into alignment with the skills students need in the future workforce. The American education system, at its best, is focused on critical thinking and the development of student voice, and I hope to help bring that to students in any GEMS American Curriculum school.”

Mr Farquhar has led some of the most prestigious K-12 schools in the United States and his appointment highlights GEMS’ commitment to offering a high quality American education to students. GEMS American Academy is committed to ensuring that the school community values the Islamic faith and celebrates the language, traditions, history and culture of Qatar by placing these elements at the heart of the curriculum framework and, where appropriate, within the experiences of its students.

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Ooredoo Signs Three Year Entertainment Contract with InterContinental Hotels Group Qatar

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Ooredoo Signs Three Year Entertainment Contract with InterContinental Hotels Group Qatar

w498Ooredoo hasannounced today a multi-year deal with InterContinental Hotels Group Qatar, which will see the company provide high speed FibreInternet throughout the group’sthree popular hotels in Doha, InterContinental Doha, InterContinental Doha The City and Crown Plaza Doha the Business Park.

The agreement also outlined Ooredoo’s role in distributing entertainment access to the hotels, with Mozaic TV to be installed in over 1,200 rooms throughout the three properties.

InterContinental Hotels Group and Ooredoo have planned separate packages for each hotel, based on the establishments target customers and style. Different hotel rooms will therefore carry different channels such as OSN, beIN SPORTS, MBC, Al Jazeera and more.

Fatima Sultan Al Kuwari, Director Community & Public Relations, Ooredoo, said: “As Qatar prepares to host an increasing number of visitors for major events, we are dedicated to providing the best user experience to our guests. Whether through internet, entertainment or mobile phones, via personal use or a third party such as the InterContinental Hotels Group, we want the world to be connected to Qatar and Qatar to the world.”

Mr. Hussein Yaghmour, Director of Technology at InterContinentalDoha and Crowne Plaza Doha the Business Park commented: “We have built our reputation on the market with consistency, trust and innovation, and this partnership with Ooredoo has allowed us to continue our promise to our customers and provideworld class entertainment and internet access across our hotels in Qatar.”

Benefits for the hotels and customers include a more reliable and strong WiFi signal throughout the hotel, the choice of over 100 channels with Mozaic TV both in-room and in the hotels communal rooms, and the replacement of the traditional satellite reception systems which will provide enhanced picture quality.

Highlights for hotel businesses include theability to pay monthly, with the option to add more channels and packages as they become available. Ooredoo Fibre and Mozaic TV services also don’t require capital investment or equipment to be purchased, reducing operational overheadsas connection is carried out via Ooredoo’s installation team.

This innovative all-IP and Fiber based mass service illustrates how Ooredoo is pushing forward to be at the front of Qatar’s entertainment sector, and helping businesses supply customers with up to date content.

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Madi brings Nashi Argan hair treatment products to Qatar

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Madi brings Nashi Argan hair treatment products to Qatar

430Madi International, one of the leading distributors of internationally-reputed professional beauty brands across the entire Middle East, has announced the launch of the Nashi Argan products, globally renowned for its cosmetic and nutritional properties in hair care, in Qatar.

The introduction of Nashi Argan Hair Products in Qatar follows the success of the product in other parts of the Gulf and across the globe. Madi International had launched the Nashi Argan hair care products in Kuwait in October 2012 and in the UAE in October last year, as part of its agreement with Landoll, which covers UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, KSA, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Syria and Iraq.

Nashi Argan brings forth the healthy nutritional benefits of Argan Oil for the Qatar clientele. Argan Oil, which is commonly referred as liquid gold, is produced from an Argan nut in the Argan tree, which only grows in Southwestern Morocco. Argan oil is full of vitamins & antioxidants and is commonly used as a moisturizer for the body and is a great hair treatment.

Nashi Argan is available in approximately 15000 salons across the globe. The company is on an aggressive growth journey, which will see it achieving over 40% growth in sales, thanks to the new markets it is targeting to enter during the year. The launch in Qatar is part of Madi International’s commitment to bring world-class brands to its clientele in Qatar.

Maher Makarem, General Manager of Madi International, Qatar, said: “We are happy to bring Nashi Argan - the organic 100% Argan oil option to Qatar. Nashi Argan provides the purest form of Argan Oil with its Argan Oil collection of products. Every single collection from Nashi Argan has been made to suit women’s needs through its simplicity, efficacy and smoothness to the hair. Madi International is renowned to bring world-class innovation to the region, and this introduction in Qatar is part of our efforts to cap its success with an amazing product.”

He added: “Apart from its medicinal and nutritional qualities, Nashi Argan is also a very eco-friendly product with its zero environmental impact packaging, thanks to the use of recycled and recyclable materials. The entire production process uses only energy from renewable sources and goes with our commitment to providing a healthy and sustainable option to our clients.”

The Nashi Argan range of products includes its famed Shampoo, Conditioner, Deep Infusion Mask, Argan Oil, Argan Spray, Instant Hydrating Styling Mask, Nashi Argan Dry Body Oil, and Hand Cream, among others. Among the salient advantages of the Nashi Argan range is the ease of use and the results are visible after the first application itself as it is enriched with precious, natural elements that provides long-lasting results.

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CGC announces the availability of Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 in Qatar

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CGC announces the availability of Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 in Qatar

4105Consolidated Gulf Co. (CGC), the distributor for Microsoft Mobile Devices in Qatar, has announced the local availability of the new Lumia 630 Dual SIM and the 4G/LTE enabled Lumia 635 in Qatar. The most affordable Lumia smartphones powered with the intuitive Windows Phone 8.1 operating system deliver an unrivalled affordable smartphone experience at only QAR 600 and QAR 699.


“With high-end technologies and apps, plus the same seamless Windows Phone 8.1 experience that people get with our flagship products, we think the Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 are undoubtedly the best smartphones in its affordable price range,” said Vithesh Reddy, General Manager Lower Gulf, Microsoft Mobile Devices.

Commenting on the local availability of the devices, Jehad Al Qudah, Head of Mobility BU, CGC, said, “The Lumia 630 provides the perfect value smartphone experience with Windows Phone 8.1. We feel the dual SIM capability and signature Lumia design and experiences make it unbeatable in its range. For consumers in Qatar who want a little extra performance, the Lumia 635 with 4G/LTE capability also offers a great user experience.”

The Lumia 630 adds award-winning design and experiences found on high end Lumia smartphones to the leading personalization brought by Windows Phone 8.1. Integrated features including one swipe notifications from Action Centre, the new Microsoft Enterprise feature pack, Microsoft Office, OneDrive, Camera, and HERE Maps and Drive+, which work seamlessly to make the Lumia 630 a great tool for work and play.

The new SensorCore also brings low power motion sensing to help people track their activity all day without using up the large 1830mAh battery – perfect for exercise and exploration using apps like Bing Health and Fitness. A wealth of storage is available, with memory expandable by up to 128GB using a MicroSD card, allowing people to save and switch locations of pictures, videos, music, maps and apps with ease.

The Lumia 635, the most affordable 4G Lumia smartphone also packs a wealth of innovation and super-fast connected experiences including the below features:

LTE connectivity and a quad-core Snapdragon processor deliver fast, uncompromised social experiences with Word Flow, Internet Explorer and social apps like WhatsApp, WeChat and Instagram.

The smartphone showcases a new dual-layered polycarbonate design that glows, with changeable shells.

The Lumia 630 Dual SIM and Lumia 635 are now available in Qatar in a range of colours including bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, white and black.

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Building safety standards in focus at Safety Design in Buildings Conference in Qatar

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Building safety standards in focus at Safety Design in Buildings Conference in Qatar

4182The importance of Safety in building design across is coming into sharp focus across the GCC, which is currently in the midst of a building boom. The upcoming Safety Design in Buildings Conference being held at the Renaissance Doha City Centre hotel in the Qatari capital on June 17th, will turn the focus on vital topics affecting the construction industry in the region including: building design, evacuation, fire safety, building codes and the current standards of safety in the regional built-up environment.

Organised by Sesam Business Consultants, the conference is sponsored by Intersec - the world’s leading trade fair for security, safety and fire protection. The conference forms part of a GCC-wide initiative to debate and highlight the current standards of safety and security in buildings in the region as well as to promote a dialogue between regional industry professionals and international experts.

“Safety in building design is a topic of vital importance in the GCC as the region forges ahead with new real estate and infrastructure development projects,” said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Epoc Messe Frankfurt, organiser of Intersec. “The Safety Design in Building Conference will bring together a large number of industry stakeholders in a useful and informative forum to discuss current needs and requirements and the latest building safety codes and government regulations.”

“As the leading regional trade gathering for security and safety, Intersec is proud to be an official sponsor of such an important platform that promotes the adoption of the latest building evacuation and safety measures across the GCC,” Pauwels added.

The Safety Design in Buildings Conference features a high-powered panel of international safety and design experts. Supported by the American Institute of Architects Middle East, the Chartered Institute of Buildings (CIOB), the Society of Facade Engineering (CIBSE) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM Internaitonal), the conference targets architects, engineers, regulators and related professionals of the construction and contracting industry.

On the conference programme are presentations and panel discussions on: Fire and Facades; Access Control and Egress Planning; Phased Evacuation for High Rises; Safety considerations for high rises and super talls; The next level of safety specification standards, as well as other vital fire safety and building design topics of interest to regional construction and safety professionals.

After Doha, the conference will also subsequently visit Manama, Kuwait, Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah and Muscat.

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4122Qatar 2015 will look at the new growth areas, including technology, tourism and manufacturing, which are emerging on the back of the country’s bid to diversify its economy. The publication will also shine the spotlight on Qatar’s oil and gas sector, analysing its efforts to expand domestic output and build the petrochemicals segment and downstream production.

OBG has signed a second Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with PwC Qatar for its forthcoming report. Under the MOU, OBG will have access to the professional services firm’s resources, which will be used to compile the Accountancy & Tax Chapter of The Report: Qatar 2015.

OBG’s Regional Director, Jana Treeck, said that she was delighted to have PwC on board for its 2015 report, which, she said, came against a backdrop of heightened economic activity in Qatar.

“Qatar has upped the tempo of many of its ambitious projects, particularly those earmarked for a key role in its FIFA 2022 World Cup preparations, while other sectors of the economy, such as research and development, are ripe for development,” she said. “I’m thrilled that PwC will once again play a part in helping us provide investors who are considering Qatar’s potential with the information they need on the country’s tax regime.”

Stephen Anderson, Country Senior Partner at PwC Qatar, agreed that the country’s huge infrastructure and construction drive, coupled with the government’s economic diversification efforts, were generating significant interest among investors.

“Qatar’s bid to enhance its business environment and hand the private sector a greater role in its projects, have caught the eye of international investors,” he said. “We look forward to working closely once again with Oxford Business Group’s team on their accountancy and tax research which, I’m sure, will help guide and inform interested parties looking to expand in the state.”

The Report: Qatar 2015 will be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. The publication will be available in print or online.

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Commercial Bank of Qatar Chooses Causeway’s FM Facts

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Commercial Bank of Qatar Chooses Causeway’s FM Facts

460The Commercial Bank of Qatar has begun the implementation of a range of Causeway FM Facts facilities management software tools. These include core CAFM modules such as Helpdesk, Asset Management and Property Manager, as well as the FM Locator space and move management package.

Established in 1975 as Qatar’s first private bank, Commercial Bank plays a key role in Qatar’s economic development through the support its services provide to individuals, businesses and public sector organisations. The previous CAFM system was not fully meeting the company’s range of FM needs so it initiated a competitive tender exercise to evaluate the available options before selecting Causeway.

Commercial Bank’s Mohammed Nour explained: “With 30 branches and over 1200 staff across Qatar, with many staff working across several branches, our space and move management requirements are quite complex. Having reviewed the market and our existing systems, the Causeway FM facts suite stood out for its ability to address these requirements as well as our everyday FM processes.”

Causeway EVP Paul Madeira added: “One of the great strengths of the FM Facts suite is its ability to meet all CAFM requirements, while also sharing information between modules for enhanced efficiency and visibility of key FM information. Another advantage for Commercial Bank is the ability to deploy FM Locator as a cloud based solution that is accessible from all of its branches.”

The FM Locator Corporate Real Estate Management solution is a fully web-deployed system that provides exceptional visibility of space usage as well as advanced move management tools. The Helpdesk at Commercial Bank is fully intranet-enabled, allowing staff to log and monitor help desk tasks online, thereby reducing the volume of calls to the FM department. Data from the Helpdesk module is also shared with the Asset Management and Property Manager modules.

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A good year for Qatar: Construction industry’s business optimism at a three-year high

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A good year for Qatar: Construction industry’s business optimism at a three-year high

423Qatar construction industry’s business optimism in the second quarter of 2014 is at its highest for three years, according to a survey by a private index.

The BOI score of 54 for Q2 2014 was three points up from Q1 2014 and 13 points up from Q2 2013. Higher scores for selling prices, net profits and hiring drove the overall result for Q2 2014.

Dun and Bradstreet’s Business Optimism Index (BOI) also reveals finance, real estate and business service sector has recorded their second highest optimism score since the first quarter of 2011.

Sponsored by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFC Authority) in partnership with the Qatar Businessmen Association (QBA), the survey also reveals the score for the finance, real estate and business services sector was 18 points higher in Q2 2014 than in Q2 2013.

The sector’s rise stems from the strong Qatari economy, higher demand for insurance for new construction and an increase in savings and investment by a growing population.

Within this sector, the outlook for finance and insurance firms was stronger than for real estate and business services firms on volumes, new orders and profits.

The index for the consolidated non-hydrocarbon sector was 47 points, which was up seven points year-on-year but showed a decline of two points from Q1 2014.

The decline was mainly due to seasonal factors, specifically the impact of the coming summer season on sectors such as Trade & Hospitality and related services, such as event management. (MORE)

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