UAE Launches Digital Dirham Strategy to Enhance Payment Systems | Kanebridge News
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UAE Launches Digital Dirham Strategy to Enhance Payment Systems

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has initiated a strategy to implement a central bank digital currency (CBDC) aimed at both retail and wholesale applications, as revealed in a recent announcement by the UAE’s Central Bank (CBUAE).

Tue, Mar 26, 2024 4:28pmGrey Clock 2 min

An official signing event marked the commencement of the digital dirham’s implementation plan, with partnerships formed with R3 and G42 Cloud. These entities will provide the necessary infrastructure and technological support for the digital currency.

R3, recognized for its extensive involvement in central bank digital currency technology development, including projects with the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), along with G42 Cloud, a subsidiary of the AI conglomerate G42, have been chosen to spearhead this initiative. Notably, G42 has previously collaborated with OpenAI to enhance financial services technology in October.

The CBUAE emphasized that the introduction of the CBDC is a key component of the nation’s digital renovate efforts. It aims to improve the efficiency of both domestic and international payments, promote financial inclusivity, and facilitate the transition towards a less cash-reliant society.

Initial Phases and Collaborations

This initiative is part of the first stage in the CBUAE’s Financial Infrastructure Transformation (FIT) Programme, which includes nine key projects. Over the next 12 to 15 months, it will focus on three main areas.

The initial phase involves the introduction of mBridge, a platform designed to enable instant cross-border payments for settling international commerce. Recently, the central bank successfully executed its inaugural international transaction combining the digital dirham and the Chinese digital yuan, amounting to $13.6 million, via mBridge.

Subsequent phases will explore the feasibility of CBDC bridges with India, in light of the Reserve Bank of India‘s advancements in CBDC privacy technology, followed by trials for domestic applications of the CBDC, encompassing both retail and wholesale transactions.

CBUAE Governor H.E. Khaled Mohamed Balama

The Vision Behind the Digital Dirham

The CBUAE’s pursuit of a digital dirham stems from its goal to bolster the country’s payment systems and prepare for a future dominated by “tokenized” transactions, where everyday activities involve interactions with blockchain-based tokens for a variety of purposes.

CBUAE Governor H.E. Khaled Mohamed Balama stated that the CBDC would significantly propel the nation’s digital transformation and enhance financial accessibility. He expressed eagerness to discover the broader economic and societal benefits that the CBDC could offer.

Furthermore, last month saw the launch of a $250 million venture by Bridge Tower Capital and Deus X, named BridgeTower Middle East. This initiative is set to develop digital asset infrastructure in the UAE, fostering the adoption of institutional-level cryptocurrency throughout the region.


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Saudi Arabia’s 2024 Summer TOURISM Plans Unveils New Incentives and Global Attractions

“Saudi Summer is Next Door” plans to boost tourism in the Kingdom over four months across seven destinations.

Wed, May 22, 2024 4 min

Saudi Arabia has unveiled its plan to attract international tourists this summer. The strategy includes appealing visa options, complimentary airline tickets for families, a lineup of major events, and opportunities for tax-free shopping.

The initiative, organized under the guidance of Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), is named “Saudi Summer is Next Door.”


Extensive Summer 2024 Tourism Activities

The initiative will span four months, ending in September, and will be hosted across seven key destinations: Aseer, Al Baha, Taif, the Red Sea, Jeddah, Riyadh, and AlUla.

It features over 550 tourism products and more than 150 specially tailored offers and packages for families and various interest groups including adventure enthusiasts, luxury seekers, and cultural and heritage buffs.

The launch event of the Saudi Summer Program 2024 was attended by notable figures such as Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, in addition to more than 250 key partners from both public and private sectors, prominent media personalities, and influential opinion leaders.

Showcasing Global Events and Cultural Richness

This year’s program will also welcome back the Jeddah Season and introduce the Aseer Season, each filled with various activities and events for families. The Kingdom will host several significant events as part of the summer program, including the first Esports World Cup in Riyadh, an eight-week competition featuring top esports athletes, and various boxing tournaments in Riyadh and Jeddah.

During the event, Al Khateeb highlighted the latest global tourism trends, the Kingdom’s growth in the tourism sector, and the record-high tourist numbers that have propelled Saudi Arabia to the top of the UN World Tourism list and the G20 nations list.

Al Baha

Al Khateeb emphasized, “Saudi Arabia is witnessing a transformative period in tourism, driven by our vision to position the Kingdom as a premier global destination. The Saudi Summer Program 2024 is our commitment to showcasing the rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and unparalleled hospitality that Saudi Arabia offers. “We invite local and international tourists to experience the diversity of our seven unique destinations and take advantage of the exceptional offers and packages designed to create unforgettable memories. “This initiative, supported by our strategic partnerships and groundbreaking efforts like the eVisa and increased flight connectivity, demonstrates our dedication to making Saudi Arabia more accessible and appealing to tourists worldwide. “We look forward to welcoming visitors from all corners of the globe to explore and enjoy the vibrant experiences that await them this summer.”

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, also remarked, “Saudi tourism is witnessing unparalleled development at all levels, achieving great leaps in recent years, which I witnessed during my multiple visits to this hospitable country.”


“Saudi Arabia has global indicators related to the number of tourists, which has qualified it to top the UN World Tourism list of significant tourist destinations.”

“All of these great achievements for Saudi tourism would not have been possible without proper planning by those in charge of the sector in the Kingdom and the great potential it possesses in terms of diverse climates, stunning natural landmarks, and the generosity of Saudi people who are distinguished by their hospitality, raising the ceiling of ambitions for new achievements.”

STA CEO Fahd Hamidaddin said: “While temperatures in the region rise to high levels during summer, temperatures in the highlands of Saudi Arabia in the southern region decrease to the extent that we even witnessed snowfall in Al Soudah yesterday.” “Through the promotional campaign for the Saudi Summer Program 2024, we seek to highlight the uniqueness of our destinations and their climatic, natural, and cultural diversity, along with the exceptional events and activities happening during summer. “This year’s summer program includes more than 550 tourism products and 150 special offers designed in collaboration with STA’s partners, which include attractive offers from hotels, airlines offering free tickets for children in partnership with major travel, tourism, and aviation companies, and exceptional products in the Aseer Season and Jeddah Season like tax-free shopping offers and many new and exciting experiences such as private beaches for tourists and ladies’ beaches.”

“The campaign slogan “Saudi Summer is Next Door” embodies an open invitation to explore the magic of Saudi destinations and their diversity. This diversity is expressed with simple words that reflect the uniqueness of each destination, such as “Closer,” “Cooler,” “More Beautiful,” and “More Affordable.”

The private sector is a very important component of the success of tourism programs and initiatives, and the Saudi Tourism Authority is committed to empowering it by fostering demand for products and offers that align with the aspirations of tourists globally.

The launch of the Saudi Summer Program 2024 marks a period when visiting the Kingdom has become easier, smoother, and safer through measures such as the availability of the eVisa to citizens of 66 countries, a 20 percent reduction in eVisa prices, and a significant increase in the number of weekly flights from

Gulf cities to Saudi summer destinations, now totaling 1,100.

Residents of the GCC can also benefit from the GCC residents visa, which allows them multiple entries and a stay of up to 90 days in the Kingdom over a year. Moreover, the number of hotel rooms available to travelers is set to increase, with an additional 25,000 rooms expected to be added this year.


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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