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15th Asia-Africa Business and Social Forum concluded at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai

Joining Hands for Turning Adversity into Opportunity

Dubai (UAE), November 5: With the aim of recognizing the exemplary work of some of the top global business and social leaders during the pandemic through AsiaOne Super 50 Covid-19 Commitment Awards, and some of the top business achievers, diplomats, the UAE government officials, young entrepreneurs, women leaders and celebrities from the Indian and Emirati cinema and sports, on a global platform for mutual welfare and collaboration, AsiaOne Media Group organized the 15th Edition of Asia-Africa Business and Social Forum: Awards & Business Summit on 26th October’21 at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai. The one-day mega Summit was joined by esteemed dignitaries from India, Singapore, the UAE, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Moldova, Sri Lanka, China/Hong Kong, Myanmar, Cambodia, Oman, Malaysia, USA, UK, Peru, Philippines, Nigeria, and South Africa. The key leaders from business and government sectors congregated to facilitate fresher avenues of economic cooperation, networking and investment opportunities in the Asian, Middle Eastern and African regions. The Forum was collectively applauded as AsiaOne Media Group’s fruitful attempt to create a unique and unmatched platform where highly intellectual insights emanated on the significance of collaboration and cooperation, especially in the light of the pandemic.

The Summit was organized by AsiaOne magazine and URS Media, which is rapidly emerging as the Number 1 international media company towards the cause of business, political and social issues in the entire Asia & Middle East. It is, thus, supporting not only the Indian Government’s initiatives such as Skilling India, Digitizing India, and Incredible India but also supporting United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and World Health Organization’s targets. Darwin Platform Group of Companies (DPGC) was the Preferred Partner for the entire Summit and Awards.

Through the 15th Edition of Asia-Africa Business & Social Forum 2021, the envious social and economic progress of Asia, the Middle East and Africa was highlighted in general and of Dubai in particular, especially with regard to the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai. At the same time, the Forum emerged as a platform of excellence, showcasing some of the great leaders of our time –Ambassadors, Consul Generals, Business Owners, Investors, UAE Government officials & Royal Dignitaries and professionals like CEOs, COOs from the Indian Subcontinent, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Mr. Rajat Raj Shukal, Global Head & Principal Partner, AsiaOne magazine and URS Media Consulting PL, opened the Forum applauding the exemplary and inspirational growth of the UAE owing to the great vision of its able leaders, which enabled it to emerge as “one of the most modern countries of the world.” Mr. Shukal instantly connected with the audience as he talked about his journey of growing up in Dubai during the 80s when it was a desert. He appreciated the exemplary efforts of the UAE “as the first nation to overcome the obstacles posed by COVID-19 pandemic and is successfully hosting the World’s Biggest Expo that is Expo 2020 Dubai” and urged the gathering to visit the Expo.

With the vision of promoting Asian, Middle Eastern & African Brands and Leaders throughout the world, Mr. Shukal talked about how the Forum has been recognizing the greatest brands and leaders from Asia, the Middle East and Africa since 2014 through international summits at Dubai, Singapore, Thailand and Mumbai every year with subsequent features of winning brands and leaders in AsiaOne magazine, Coffee Table book, websites and apps and ‘Greatest Brands & Leaders – Asia, Middle East & Africa’ TV series which reaches 39 million viewers in 79 countries of the world.

He also shared with the Forum the significant role of world-renowned spiritual leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji, the Founder of the Art of Living Foundation, who is not only a recipient but has been a significant inspiration behind the AsiaOne Super 50 COVID-19 Commitment Awards. In his message, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji spoke about the significance of mental health, especially concerning the ongoing pandemic. He also appreciated how “AsiaOne Media Group has taken steps to ensure there is a positive atmosphere and there is positivity even in these testing times.” “Let me congratulate them (AsiaOne Media Group) for taking interest and initiatives at this hour on our planet. Beyond the boundaries of nation, religion, language, race, in some vague, humanity has come together to help each other. Let us continue to nurture the spirit of oneness among mankind and pray and share this one planet we have,” he said.

Thereafter, Mr. Shukal welcomed Excellencies at the Forum from various countries, namely Sierra Leone, Moldova, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Philippines, Peru and India, and some Emirati leaders like Dr. Bu Abdulla, Mr. Omar Al Humaidi from the Ministry of Economy. He thanked Mr. Avi Bhojani, Mr. Rizwan Sajan, and the famous ‘Bad Man’ of the Indian cinema Gulshan Grover, Sudesh Agarwal, Mr. Ryan Pinto, Dr. Nawab Shafi Ul Mulk and Mrs Mulk, Dr. Surender Kandhari, and Dr. Ram Buxani for gracing the Summit.

Mr. Omar Al Humaidi, Director, Ministry of Economy, the Government of UAE, was pleased “to be a part of this exciting platform, namely the 15th Edition of Asia Africa Business & Social Forum.” He felt that it was a refreshing change “to meet all of you in person after a challenging period full of virtual meetings.”

Talking about some of the economic measures undertaken by the UAE Government during the pandemic, he said, “While 2020 had been a difficult year for the UAE economy, like most economies around the world, this year has witnessed an important change supported by a successful vaccine roll out and agile government policies and economic reforms. Several initiatives that were launched to enhance the resilience of our economy and support its transition into a new economic model – one of the most important initiatives include amendments to the commercial companies’ law allowing for 100 percent foreign ownership and providing more freedom to business owners and foreign investors to establish their companies. Apart from these, measures were also introduced to enhance the ease of doing business, reduce the cost of doing business, open new markets and expand trade that supports SMEs and Foreign Direct Investment. Another initiative is the long-term residency visas for talented professionals, investors and outstanding students in order to enable these individuals to envision their long-term future in the UAE and make bigger contributions to its sustainable development.”

He added, “As the UAE moves from the first 50 years into the next 50, a package of developmental projects designed to transform the UAE into a leading trade and economic hub has been introduced, to establish its status as an ideal destination for investment and skilled professionals. Its various programs and initiatives focus on deepening trade ties with eight key markets in which Asian and African markets are the majority. Today, Asia and Africa hold a bright future with endless growth and opportunities. Being inspired by Expo 2020’s theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, – let’s make the most of this excellent platform to shape the future.”

The Forum also witnessed eloquent speeches by some of the great leaders, namely His Excellency Dr. Aman Puri, Consul General of the Republic of India in Dubai; Dr. Raja Rao Choudhary, CEO, Darwin Platform Group of Companies; Mr. Randeep Bhattacharya, Founder & CEO, StarManch; Mr. Mark Laitflang Stone, Founder & CEO, Avenues; and Mr. Keshav Maheshwari, Managing Director, ALLEN Career Institute Overseas.

His Excellency Dr. Aman Puri expressed great delight to be a part of “this august gathering.” He emphasized that “it is a privilege to serve the single largest group of Indian nationals living anywhere else in the world.” He further said, “From this office, we serve 2.7 million Indians in Dubai and 5 million in Emirates.” Talking about Expo 2020 Dubai, he said, “For India, Dubai is truly a gateway to the entire MENA region. It is a springboard for our businesses – for our bright minds to be able to connect to the world. We hope to have leaders from industries, eminent personalities from the world of art, culture, literature, and Bollywood coming to the pavilion to Dubai and engaging with the world during the next six months. We want to take this opportunity to showcase the best of Indian innovation, knowledge, creativity, and of course, we would be showcasing our art, culture and heritage and how India is driving towards becoming a 5 trillion dollar economy.”Talking about the significance of collaboration amidst the ongoing pandemic, he asserted, “We need to dwell on the ways and means to make sure how we can summon our collective strength and support economic recovery and revival. Going forward, how we can use this opportunity to convert this crisis into an opportunity for creating the pathways, to creating the links, institutional links, so that countries and communities can collaborate better so that we can address global challenges in a better way.”

Mr. Ajay Harinath Singh, CMD, DPGC, said, “I am proud of the fact that the rapidly expanding, one of the fastest-growing Indian global business conglomerates, DPGC gave 34,000 jobs to the youth of the nation at the time of COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, our target is to offer one lakh twenty-five thousand more jobs by December 31st, 2021.”

As a keynote speaker at the Forum, Dr. Raja Rao Choudhary, CEO, Darwin Platform Group of Companies, talked about the significance of consistent innovation and mutual collaboration to sail through the pandemic smoothly. The Forum also saw the gracious presence of his colleagues, namely Mr. Sandeep Singh, Group Vice Chairman and Dr. Balwant Singh, Vice Chairman, Darwin Pharmaceuticals & IT.

Some of the winning brands and leaders are as follows: 

Ajay Harinath Singh, Chairman, Darwin Platform Group of Companies, Dubai National Insurance & Reinsurance PSC, Mulk Healthcare Enterprise, Danube Group, Al Adil Trading, Al Dobowi Group, GRP Industries, BPG Group, Nikai Group, ITL Cosmos, Malla Reddy Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Renu Gupta, Red Velvet Rock Global Commercial Brokers LLC, Dr. Leila Soudah Clinic, Petrocontracts International Ltd., Shiva Group, Smita Banerjee Sasmal, Inovaantage, Nitya Capital, Avenues, StarManch, PMD Chemicals Pvt. Ltd., Dr. Bu Abdullah, Bu Abdullah Group, A S AGRI & Aqua LLP, JB Boda Group, The Nest Builders, Harmonizer, Tops, Raj Path Infracon Pvt Ltd, Murli Krishna Pharma Pvt. Ltd., Syenergy Environics Ltd., QCON General Trading LLC, FMC Dockyard, RRPS4E INNOVATION PVT LTD, Allen Career Institute Overseas AURION Business Consultants, LUXURY CONCIERGE REAL ESTATE – LCRE, The DataTech Labs, Khemani Group, Nandan Terry Limited, MASER, Christian Louboutin, Aracion Technology Pvt. Ltd, Cubes International Logistics LLP, The Great Indian Film Festival, Shathabdhi Townships Pvt. Ltd., Prakash Chemicals International, Greenfinch, etc.

The Summit also saw participation of many most incredible business & social leaders from varied spheres such as Government, Business, Philanthropy, Cinema and Sports namely Mr. Omar Al Humaidi (Director – Ministry of Economy), Ms. Amal Alblooshi (Director – Ministry of Community Development), HE Mr. Hasan Omar (Chairman, Dubai Quality Group), Mr. Abdulla Al Nuaimi (CEO,DNIRC), Emirati Actress Ms. Fatima Al Taei, Ms. Urvashi Rautela, Ms. Daisy Shah, Mr. Gulshan Grover, Mr. Vivek Oberoi, Mr. S. Sreesanth, Dr. Sara Al Madani, H.E. Ms. ArshiAyub Mohamed Zaveri, HE Mr. Rashid Sesay (Ambassador of Sierra Leone), HE Mr. Malraj de Silva (Ambassador of Sri Lanka), HE Mr. Victor Haruta (Ambassador of Moldova), HE Mr. Mohammed DansantaRimi, (Ambassador of Nigeria), HE Mr. NalindaWijerathna (Consul General of Sri Lanka in Dubai), HE Mr. Paul Raymund P. Cortes (Consul General of Philippines in Dubai), HE Mr. Marco Antonio Santivañez Pimentel, (Consul General of Peru in Dubai) and HE Dr. Aman Puri (Consul General of India in Dubai).

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