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Megha Merani

Reporter

Megha Merani is a Dubai-based journalist covering the Middle East. Bylines include Reuters, Bloomberg Middle East and Arab News. Member of the Oxford Climate Journalism Network

Megha Merani
Nature, Undersea cables account for as much as 90 percent of Europe-Asia telecommunications, Water

Iraq and Kuwait team up for European telecom corridor

Iraq’s Informatics and Telecommunication Public Company, a division of the Ministry of Communications, has signed an agreement with Kuwait’s Zajil Telecom to create a telecommunications corridor from the Gulf region to Europe, transiting through Iraq and Turkey. The new route will pass through Iraqi sea and land ports. Iraq’s minister of communications Hayam Al-Yasiri said […]

Passengers at Beijing Capital International Airport. Air China will fly from the airport to Riyadh three times a week.

Third Chinese airline to launch flights to Saudi Arabia

Air China is set to begin flights to Riyadh in May, becoming the third Chinese airline to establish a route to Saudi Arabia. It joins China Southern and Eastern Airlines in connecting China with the kingdom.  Air China’s Airbus A330-300 will serve the Beijing-Riyadh route three times a week. The expansion in capacity between the […]

Dubai's property market 'will have a severe oversupply problem' if all projects are delivered without delay

Delays keep property oversupply at bay in Dubai

Dubai’s off-plan market is treading a delicate line between the risk of having too many properties and the threat of project delays, industry insiders have said. “There’s plenty of supply coming in,” Haider Tuaima, director of real estate research at consultancy Valustrat, told AGBI. “If everything is handed over on time, then we will have […]

Morocco gas

British companies strike deal on Moroccan offshore gas licences

Two British energy companies have completed a deal over stakes in two offshore Moroccan gas licences.  The transaction between Chariot Energy and Energean, announced Wednesday, involves the Lixus and Rissana offshore licences. The Lixus Offshore licence covers an area of sea north of Rabat of approximately 1,800 sq km, with water depths ranging from the […]

Lucid Group CEO Peter Rawlinson at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The company announced a 40% year-on-year sales increase

Lucid price cuts result in record EV sales

The Saudi-backed US electric vehicle (EV) maker Lucid set a new quarterly sales record for its luxury models in the first quarter of 2024.  Shares in Lucid, which has funding from the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), rose by 3 percent on Tuesday after it announced the delivery of almost 2,000 Lucid Air models. The […]

Construction workers in Dubai. The sector is suffering less from payment delays that affect other Gulf states

Prompt payments prop up Dubai’s construction sector

Dubai’s construction industry is at the healthiest it has been in almost 20 years, according to an executive from one of the city’s most established industrial groups.  This resurgence is notable for its relative lack of payment delays – a common issue in construction projects globally and in the Gulf region. “Delayed payments are not […]

Dubai has more than 13,000 restaurants and cafes, according to tourism officials

Dubai restaurant scene ‘at risk of hitting saturation point’

Food and beverage operators in Dubai have warned that the emirate’s restaurant market is increasingly saturated as one company calls time on a prominent location. Gates Hospitality, which operates venues across the Middle East, announced this week that two of its restaurants in Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Folly and Publique, would close at the end of […]

Box, Ball, Baseball 2RD2M3G Young arab man smiling confident unpacking cardboard box at new home globe off-plan developers payment plan Dubai

Dubai developers tempt off-plan buyers with 1% payment

Dubai developers are offering 1 percent payment plans in an attempt to maintain interest in an increasingly crowded off-plan sales market and to delay an anticipated slowdown after years of record growth. Yet experts warn that this tactic carries significant risks, drawing parallels to the precedents set before the 2008 housing crash. Ziad Hinnawi, sales […]

The free trade agreement was signed in May 2022 by the two countries' economy ministers: Orna Barbivai of Israel and the UAE's Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri

Israel’s trade with Arab countries up 16% in 2023

Trade between Israel and the seven Arab countries that have normalised relations with the Jewish state broke records in 2023, exceeding $4 billion, up 16 percent from 2022, according to a report. Bilateral trade among the nations decreased by only 4 percent following the outbreak of the war in Gaza in October, from $937 million […]

Dubai is considering golden licences to raise its game in the GCC economic competition

Dubai business licences to get the ‘golden’ touch

Dubai is exploring enhancements to its long-term business licensing scheme, offering “golden” licences to entice more investors and business owners to set up in the emirate, company formation experts have told AGBI. Long-term licences in the emirate, including decade-long options, have been primarily available in select free zones. But plans are in motion to extend […]

Plots of land on Dubia's coveted Palm Jumeirah are selling for as much as AED 1 billion

Dubai land shortages push property prices even higher

A shortage of undeveloped land in Dubai has caused an unprecedented rise in the cost of plots, setting the stage for further increases in the city’s already high property prices.  Experts note that in some areas land prices have nearly quadrupled over the past year, compelling developers to rethink their strategies to capitalise on this […]

Qatar hopes to lure skilled individuals and wealthy entrepreneurs

Qatar woos foreign talent with 5-year residency permit

Qatar has launched a residency permit aimed at attracting talented individuals and entrepreneurs.  The permit programme, which is expected to open in the next few months, offers five-year renewable residencies to people with expertise in specific fields including the arts and scientific research. Applicants must either have a job offer in Qatar or demonstrate financial […]

The DIFC's Gate building. The centre's law came into force on March 8

DIFC’s law tipped to help digital assets go mainstream

The Dubai International Financial Centre has introduced a law to define and regulate digital assets – a move that should herald their integration into more parts of the economy, lawyers have told AGBI.   The DIFC legislation came into effect on March 8 and classifies the assets as property. Digitally tracked items such as cryptocurrencies, non-fungible […]

Mortgage holders in Dubai are facing rates increasing by more than 4 percentage points, sending monthly payments soaring

Dubai mortgage holders squeezed by end of low fixed rates

Purchasing a home in Dubai for AED2 million ($544,600) in 2021 meant manageable monthly mortgage payments of about AED7,600, at a 2 percent interest rate secured for three years.  With these fixed-rate contracts now expiring, home owners have told AGBI that banks are rolling over to rates as high as 7 percent, resulting in monthly […]

People, Person, Adult

Saudi Arabia gives $800m in Ramadan social security aid

Saudi Arabia has disbursed SAR3 billion ($800 million) to around 500,000 Saudis as a one-off social security payment during the fasting month of Ramadan.  The amounts were deposited directly into bank accounts of beneficiaries of social security by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, on the basis of SAR1,000 ($270) per head of […]

Body Part, Finger, Hand Founder and CEO of Telegram Pavel Durov delivers a keynote speech during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Hong Kong most likely for IPO listing of Dubai’s Telegram

Telegram, the Dubai-based messaging app known for its encryption features and large group chats, is most likely to target Hong Kong for its potential listing, experts have said. This preference stems from the challenges its founder, Pavel Durov, might face in Western markets due to his Russian nationality. Durov said in a Financial Times interview […]

metabolic disease oura smart ring

‘Smart ring’ project aims to help fight chronic health problems

A wearable “health ring” is being used by a Dubai-based healthcare technology startup to help combat the Middle East region’s metabolic diseases crisis. The company, Metabolic – which brands itself as meta[bolic] – has signed a partnership with the Finnish maker of the Oura Ring, and aims to stem the billions lost in healthcare systems […]

A planned Dar Global development in Oman. The company aims to shake up real estate marketing with AI

Dar Global spin-off to use AI in real estate marketing

Dar Global, the London-listed arm of the Saudi Arabian real estate developer Dar Al Arkan, is establishing a venture dedicated to finding technological solutions to real estate companies’ biggest challenges. Ziad El Chaar, CEO of Dar Global, told AGBI that the company’s new Propgenuis spin-off would introduce tools aimed at automating social media management for […]

UAE business Ramadan

UAE businesses dispute predicted Ramadan downturn

UAE businesses are optimistic about Ramadan’s prospects in spite of a projected 10 percent decline in spending over the holy month. The anticipated dip is partly linked to considerable consumer expenditure after the pandemic and during recent festive sales, according to a study by Redseer Strategy Consultants. “The last two years were a period of […]

In Dubai, '80% of the wine lists are the same', but Abu Dhabi is opening to more alcohol brands

Alcohol brands blocked from Dubai target Abu Dhabi

Independent alcohol brands blocked from the Dubai market are entering the UAE by breaking into the more open Abu Dhabi market, industry insiders have said. The alcohol market in the UAE is regulated at the emirate level, and each has different levels of access and competition. Dubai’s market is a duopoly. Two distributors – Maritime […]

saudi space debris

Saudi Arabia warns of space debris threat

Saudi Arabia is targeting lucrative and environmentally critical opportunities in the rubbish removal sector – in outer space. More than 27,000 man-made objects larger than 10 centimetres, such as defunct satellites and spent rocket stages, orbit Earth, according to Nasa. This space debris puts at stake billions of dollars of assets such as spacecraft and […]

A worker on a construction site in Riyadh. Foreign companies with offices in Saudi Arabia have adapted to supply chain disruptions

Localisation shields Saudi builders from Red Sea crisis

Houthi attacks in the Red Sea may have been disrupting the construction supply chain into Saudi Arabia but companies, in particular larger ones, are adapting to the challenge.  Since November, the Yemeni militia has launched dozens of attacks on commercial vessels on their way to or from the Suez Canal, forcing many global shippers to […]