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Samsung and Apple make merry in Middle East smartphone Q2 sales in 2022



Samsung and Apple have consolidated market share in sales for the second quarter of the year in the Middle East and Africa region even as smartphone shipments dipped 10 percent for the same Q2 period overall.

Macro headwinds have turned the tide with a 7.8% dip year on year and reflecting brands’ enthusiasm, according to a latest research report from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor Service.

The research report by Yang Wang says: “The biggest drag on the market was, unsurprisingly, macro issues. Inflation induced by food and fuel shortages dampened consumer demand while declining domestic currencies against the US dollar reduced the purchasing power of consumers.”

There were also secondary macro factors that impacted the market. For example, some governments imposed food export bans or “non-essential” goods import bans to stem the outflow of foreign currency reserves. Taxes on electronics products were also increased, adding more hurdles to the market’s smooth operation.

The market leader, Samsung, grew YoY from a relatively low base in Q2 2021 when it faced COVID-19 disruptions at its Vietnam production facilities.

The new and revamped Galaxy A-series devices have performed well and were among the best-selling devices during Q2. Samsung’s shipments are expected to grow in H2 with the upcoming launch of its new generation of foldables and as end-of-year sales approach.

Apple’s shipments also grew 2% YoY, largely due to better distribution and product availability in GCC countries. The iPhone 13 series has the best-selling premium devices in the region since its launch.

However, other brands apart from these two took a hit in the numbers. Given the pessimistic global macro sentiment, some brands have restrained activities in the region, according to the report. Brands were under pressure to streamline budgets and activities, which were redirected to more strategic markets and regions.


This meant that incentives to push brand penetration in MEA were scaled back, which in turn forced distributors and resellers to raise prices to defend their margins. These headwinds led to declining shipments for many OEMs.
OPPO, Realme, Vivo and Xiaomi saw steep YoY declines in their Q2 shipments. The OEMs continue to struggle in establishing a foothold in the region, as weak distributor incentives and supply issues have plagued the brands throughout H1 2022.

Furthermore, stiff competition from regional stalwarts Samsung and Transsion Group’s TECNO and Infinix has curtailed market share for the challenger brands. However, the ramping up of local production in Pakistan, specifically for OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi, could help ease supply issues in the region. But it is unlikely to have any substantial effect in 2022.

Despite the underwhelming market performance in the first half of the year, there are some reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the rest of the year.

Though inflation has reached double digits in many countries across MEA, it is not a new phenomenon and most customers have experienced these episodes in the recent past. This has brought them the ability to adapt quickly to the new economic realities. Also, the average selling prices of smartphones are continuing to trend up in the region, suggesting increasing digitization and customers’ need for more sophisticated handsets.

The easing of the global semiconductor shortage, which led to severe product availability issues for MEA in 2021, is also expected to help the market find a stronger footing once the economic issues subside.

Journalist for 25 years with leading publications in India and UAE such as The National, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express and former Sports Editor of Now managing editor of, part of MEMc (


Dubai’s Economy Surges: GDP Hits Dh115 Billion in Q1 2024 with 3.2% Growth



Dubai’s economy has grown 3.2 per cent in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year — with the emirate’s gross domestic product (GDP) reaching Dh115 billion.

“Dubai’s ambition is limitless, and its success story will remain a role model for cities wishing to create a promising future for their coming generations,” said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the UAE, and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.

The goal, he said, is to “sustain success and establish a culture of excellence and leadership” across all sectors in the emirate. The economic growth in the first quarter of the year mirrors the success story of 2023, when the GDP reached approximately Dh429 billion, marking an increase of 3.3 per cent compared to the 2022 figure of approximately Dh415 billion.

Numbers show that Dubai is booming across sectors — from transportation and storage to food services and real estate.

Here’s how each sector has grown in the first quarter of the year:

  • -Transportation and storage sector: 5.6%, amounting to Dh15.4 billion
  • -Financial and insurance activities sector: 5.6%, amounting to Dh15.1 billion
  • -Wholesale and retail trade sector: 3%, amounting to Dh26.3 billion (the top GDP contributor at 22.9%)
  • -Information and communications sector: 3.9%, amounting to Dh5.1 billion
  • -Accommodation and food services activities sector: 3.8%, amounting to Dh4.7 billion
  • -Real estate sector: 3.7%, amounting to Dh8.4 billion
  • -Utilities and waste management: 7.5%. amounting to Dh3.2 billion
  • -Manufacturing sector: 1.6%, Dh8.4 billion
  • -Other activities: 0.46% (These include agriculture, mining, construction, professional services and administrative services, among others.)

Sheikh Hamdan said the emirate’s successes highlight the combined efforts and teamwork of various stakeholders to realise the objectives of the emirate’s comprehensive development plans for 2033, especially the Dubai economic Agenda (D33) and Dubai Social Agenda 2033.

“Dubai is progressing in accordance with a clear vision whose foundations were laid down and whose goals were defined by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,” the Crown Prince said.

“What we witness today is a practical reflection of this vision, which has placed Dubai among the leading economic and commercial centres of the world.”

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Price Drop: Fuel in UAE to cost lower in July



Petrol prices have reduced for the second time in July after dropping in June. The UAE fuel price committee announced the petrol and diesel prices for the month of July 2024 on Sunday. The rates will be applicable from July 1 onwards.

Super 98 petrol will cost AED2.99 a litre, down from AED 3.14 a litre in June, while Special 95 petrol will cost AED2.88 a litre, down from AED3.02 per litre the previous month.E-Plus 91 petrol will cost AED2.80 a litre, down from AED2.95 a litre, while diesel will cost AED2.89 a litre, up from AED2.88 a litre.

Since 2015, fuel prices in the UAE have been moving in line with the international markets.

Prices are determined by the fuel price committee, chaired by the undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy.

The committee includes members of the energy and finance ministries, as well as CEOs of Adnoc Distribution and Emirates National Oil Company.

The committee, when deciding the fuel pieces, does not rely on just one global market. It considers an average of global prices as well as operating costs of distribution companies.

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No KHDA inspection for Dubai school next year: Would it impact rating and fees?



Private schools in Dubai will not be subject to comprehensive inspections throughout the 2024-25 academic year, as per a new directive from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). The only exception to this policy applies to newly established schools that are entering their third year of operations during the upcoming academic year. This recent decision was communicated to all Dubai schools via a circular issued by the KHDA. The authority aims to streamline the inspection process, focusing on institutions at a critical stage of their development while temporarily relieving more established schools from the full inspection regimen.

The KHDA circular reads, “We would also like to inform you of an important update to school inspections during the 2024-25 academic year. Full school inspections will not be conducted across all private schools in Dubai, except for new private schools that will be in their third year of operation during the academic year.”

However, schools may request a comprehensive inspection from the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB). Such requests will be reviewed and approved at the discretion of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Schools are required to submit their requests by July 5, 2024. The KHDA issued, “Schools with approved requests will be notified during Term 2 of the 2024-25 academic year.”

Dubai schools traditionally undergo annual inspections, during which they are evaluated and assigned ratings. However, these inspections were suspended during the pandemic. The ratings, which span from ‘Outstanding’ to ‘Weak’, are determined based on a defined set of criteria.

What is the current status of the ongoing inspection of schools under the KHDA?

The latest circular also mentions, “DSIB will conduct other visits that target specific focus areas and include ongoing monitoring activities. Schools will be notified ahead of time on the areas of focus and priorities for the next academic year.”

All schools are required to regularly update their ‘Self-Evaluation Form’ and online school profile over the course of the next academic year. It is imperative for schools to ensure that all necessary information is readily available for review by DSIB. Additionally, schools must consistently administer all critical external benchmark assessments.

Belrehif stated, “The School Self-Evaluation Form is an essential part of schools’ ongoing cycle of review and improvement planning and helps them measure how well they are doing in different performance indicators outlined in the UAE School Inspection Framework.”

Impact on School Rankings and Fees

The ability of schools to increase their fees is contingent upon their most recent evaluation by the DSIB. Schools that receive higher ratings are typically allowed to impose more substantial fee hikes. In April 2024, the KHDA introduced an Education Cost Index (ECI) set at 2.6 percent which would enable schools to modify their tuition fees for the 2024-25 academic year accordingly. The private schools in Dubai had been granted permission to raise tuition fees by up to 5.2 percent, as determined by their latest KHDA inspection outcomes.

In a recent interview, Fatma Belrehif,  DSIB CEO, announced, “The School Fees Framework is the mechanism by which schools can adjust their fees annually. The rate by which schools can adjust their fees is tied to each school’s most recent inspection rating. Any fee adjustment by schools must be approved by the KHDA. Schools will be notified in case of any changes or updates to the fee framework.”

How does this circular affect schools and parents?

Schools: Schools may need to adapt their internal quality assurance processes, relying more on self-evaluation and external feedback to maintain and improve standards.

  • Strategic Planning: With the absence of formal inspections, schools might focus on alternative ways to attract and retain students, such as enhancing their curriculum, extracurricular offerings, or investing in teacher development.
  • Performance Monitoring: Schools will need to find new methods to monitor and report their performance, potentially increasing collaboration with parent-teacher associations and using third-party evaluators.

Parents: Guardians and Parents may find it more challenging to assess the quality and performance of schools without the KHDA’s annual inspection reports. They might need to rely on word-of-mouth, online reviews, and direct engagement with schools to make informed decisions.

  • Engagement and Feedback: The halt in inspections could encourage more proactive engagement between parents and schools. Parents may need to take a more active role in communicating their expectations and concerns to ensure their child’s educational needs are met.
  • Financial Considerations: With the potential stability in school fees, parents might experience a degree of financial predictability. However, they should stay informed about any changes schools might implement to maintain quality in the absence of inspections.

As the educational community awaits further details and guidance from the KHDA, stakeholders are keenly observing how this decision will shape educational practices and policies in Dubai for the upcoming academic year.

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