The US-UAE Business Council hosted a luncheon and discussion featuring keynote remarks by Noura Al Kaabi, Member of the Federal National Council (FNC) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Chief Executive Officer of twofour54 Abu Dhabi, on Wednesday, June 20th at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C. The luncheon, held in honor of Al Kaabi, attracted numerous government representatives, business and corporate executives, and academics from the United States and UAE.
Danny Sebright, president of the US-UAE Business Council, provided opening remarks during the lunch and introduced Her Excellency Al Kaabi. In his comments, Sebright highlighted the dynamic growth potential of the UAE's burgeoning media and entertainment sector, and applauded Al Kaabi for her leadership role in realizing Abu Dhabi's mission to become an Arabic media content hub for the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.
"Noura Al Kaabi is a truly prolific and prominent Emirati woman who has taken a leading role in the rapid development of the country's media sector and as a chief architect in the construction of the UAE's reputation as a hub for Arabic content in the region and increasingly, the Arab world," said Sebright.
Following Sebright's introduction, Al Kaabi took the podium and provided the audience with an overview of the media and entertainment sector landscape in the MENA region and, more specifically, in the UAE. In her comments, Al Kaabi underscored the vast development potential and youthful appetite for Arabic content in the region and pointed out that a large portion of the MENA region's population is under 25 years old. According to Al Kaabi, this "youth bulge" will provide the talent and human development element of the region's media sector expansion.
"The MENA region is home to more than 340 million people spread over twenty-two countries with 60% of them under the age of twenty-five," said Al Kaabi.
"They share a common language and a growing appetite for entertainment, information, and educational content an incredible opportunity for the media and entertainment industry." After discussing the broader MENA region, Al Kaabi provided the audience with information about the UAE's media sector development and, more specifically, about her company twofour54 Abu Dhabi the emirate's media economic free zone. In her comments, Al Kaabi discussed twofour54's business units including its media training academy twoufour54 tadreeb, its entrepreneurial support arm twofour54 ibtikar, and its media production component twofour54 intaj.
In addition to providing the audience with information about the work of twofour54 Abu Dhabi, Al Kaabi outlined the mission and objectives of the Abu Dhabi government to develop a local talent pool of media and entertainment professionals. Twofour54's mission aims to ensure international best practices and training opportunities are available to Emiratis interested in pursuing media careers through partnerships with international media companies and to provide local production and distribution capabilities across multiple media platforms in order to distribute Arabic content around the region and the world.
"Since we launched, twofour54 has become the home of over 160 leading local, regional, and international media and entertainment companies'" said Al Kaabi. "Each of these partners has recognized the vast opportunity that the Arab world presents for growth, and has committed significant investment to business initiatives led by twofour54." After discussing the development of twofour54, Al Kaabi provided information about the future growth prospects of the UAE's media and entertainment sector. In her remarks and her capacity as a member of the UAE's consultative FNC, Al Kaabi spoke to the Abu Dhabi government's commitment to the development of the media sector and creation of an Arabic content hub for the region. In doing so, Al Kaabi highlighted the job creation potential and rapid growth schedule set forth by the emirate's leadership.
"The Abu Dhabi government has made a commitment to the establishment of a sustainable Arabic media and entertainment industry," said Al Kaabi. "By 2030, we expect to have created more than 15000 new jobs, with the industry making a significant contribution to the economic future of Abu Dhabi." Following Al Kaabi's keynote remarks, the floor was opened for a question and answer session. During the session, Al Kaabi answered questions about the UAE.'s media sector development and the country's media impact in the region, twofour54 Abu Dhabi's corporate partnership scheme, and the upcoming Abu Dhabi Media Summit taking place October 9-11, 2012 in Abu Dhabi.