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Emirates NBD Highlights UAE Service Sector’s Progress Towards Disability Inclusion
(20 March 2019)
New white paper discusses efforts by UAE businesses to serve people of determination and gaps that remain

Emirates NBD, one of the leading banks in the region, has highlighted the efforts being made by UAE businesses to improve efforts to cater to people with disabilities (people of determination). A recent white paper launched by the bank highlights vanguards in the country's service sector that are innovating to facilitate the inclusion of people of determination as proactive and valued participants in the economy and society.

With 15% of the global population suffering from some form of disability according to the World Health Organisation, the business case for disability inclusion is strong. According to the white paper, companies have substantial scope to expand their bottom line and enhance profitability through the introduction of diversified services. As Dubai sets its sights on becoming a disability-friendly city by 2020, the increased focus on programmes, policies, and investments in people of determination is motivated by both national agendas and economic gains.

The UAE is already making notable progress in the inclusion of people of determination, Emirates NBD's white paper shows. Major public and private organisations including The Dubai Government Excellence Program, The Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), Careem, du, and Wild Wadi by Jumeirah Group have fostered the shift in attitude towards the inclusion of customers with disabilities. Under #TogetherLimitless, Emirates NBD's flagship advocacy platform for people with disabilities, the bank has converted 40% of its branch network in the country into disability-friendly branches so far. In addition to making the facilities physically accessible to people with different types of disabilities, the bank trains employees in each of these branches on disability etiquette and understanding sign language.

Husam Al Sayed, Group Chief Human Resource Officer, Emirates NBD commented, “Over the past few years, Emirates NBD has worked tirelessly to advance the rights of people of determination in the UAE, from transforming our branches to be disability-friendly, to offering specialised banking services and assistive solutions that support financial inclusion. We firmly believe that the integration of people with disabilities makes business sense in addition to positively impacting talent resourcing and social responsibility. We hope the release of this white paper enables the UAE’s service sector to better serve people of determination and provides further understanding of this untapped market.”

Emirates NBD’s whitepaper also outlines recommendations and available resources for UAE organisations looking to be more inclusive. While disclosure and available data remains fairly limited, a 2013 social survey by the Community Development Authority (CDA) classifies 3.5% of Dubai’s population as having disabilities, with visual impairment (32%), speech difficulties (21%) and hearing difficulties (14%) among the top three types of disabilities reported nationally.

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