Saudi energy delegation to participate in WFES

Updated 06 December 2014

Saudi energy delegation to participate in WFES

Organizers of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) announced Saturday that Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al-Hussein, minister of water and electricity, will lead a Saudi delegation of senior energy ministers and officials from national energy companies, including Saudi Aramco and the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), at WFES in Abu Dhabi from Jan. 19-22.
Saudi Arabia’s participation in the region’s largest sustainable energy event comes as the country is accelerating the implementation of domestic renewable energy projects.
Earlier this year, KACARE announced its plans to build solar power plants in five regions across the country by the end of 2015 as it works to diversify its domestic energy supplies.
According to Saudi Arabia’s renewable energy roadmap, more than 17 gigawatts of operational solar power and six gigawatts of clean energy from wind, geothermal and waste-to-energy, will be fully operational by 2020.
Saudi Arabia has announced $109 billion for the development of 41 gigawatts of solar power, as part of a wider plan to install 54 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2032.
WFES takes place during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), January 17-24, a global platform attracting more than 32,000 delegates to address the interconnected challenges of economic development, water scarcity, poverty, energy and climate change that affect the widespread acceleration and adoption of sustainable development and clean energy.
As part of the WFES conference agenda, the Kingdom will be central to a discussion of how to connect industry and technology with opportunities in growth markets across the Middle East and Africa. At WFES, the country will offer insights into how it is working to transform its domestic energy supply to become one of the world’s largest producers of renewable energies.
"We are very interested to learn more about Saudi Arabia's long-term strategy to build upon its position as the world’s largest oil exporter to become a competitive clean energy producer," said Tareq Emtairah, executive director of the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE).
"The country's renewable energy development strategy for 2032 can inspire new insights into implementation opportunities for the integration of sustainable energy across the Arab region. The Kingdom’s energy efficiency potential is among the highest in the MENA region, with real results attainable in meeting energy efficiency targets for transport, industrial and residential energy use,” he said.
“Saudi Arabia’s diversification plans are bold, and we are beginning to see an upturn in investment and deployment activity from the country,” Emtairah added.
“Becoming a domestic clean energy power house will require a robust, sustained roll-out plan and smart investments into latest-generation clean technology. Saudi Arabia’s participation at the World Future Energy Summit underscores the country’s commitment to advancing the development of clean energy across the region. The next few years will be critical to the success of that goal,” he said.
WFES anchors ADSW, which includes the International Water Summit (IWS), supported by Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), and EcoWaste, in association with Tadweer, Abu Dhabi’s Centre of Waste Management. The fifth assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency and the seventh Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards ceremony will also take place during ADSW.


Easy credit poses tough challenge for Russian economy minister

Updated 18 August 2019

Easy credit poses tough challenge for Russian economy minister

  • Measures being prepared to help indebted citizens; situation might blow up in 2021

MOSCOW: New machines popping up in Russian shopping centers seem innocuous enough — users insert their passport and receive a small loan in a matter of minutes.

But the devices, which dispense credit in Saint Petersburg malls at a sky-high annual rate of 365 percent, are another sign of a credit boom that has authorities worried.

Russians, who have seen their purchasing power decline in recent years, are borrowing more and more to buy goods or simply to make ends meet.

The level of loans has grown so much in the last 18 months that the economy minister warned it could contribute to another recession.

But it’s a sensitive topic. Limiting credit would deprive households of financing that is sometimes vital, and could hobble already stagnant growth.

The Russian economy was badly hit in 2014 by falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in Ukraine, and it has yet to fully recover.

“Tightening lending conditions could immediately damage growth,” Natalia Orlova, chief economist at Alfa Bank, told AFP.

“Continuing retail loan growth is currently the main supporting factor,” she noted.

But “the situation could blow up in 2021,” Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin warned in a recent interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

He said measures were being prepared to help indebted Russians.

According to Oreshkin, consumer credit’s share of household debt increased by 25 percent last year and now represents 1.8 trillion rubles, around $27.5 billion.

For a third of indebted households, he said, credit reimbursement eats up 60 percent of their monthly income, pushing many to take out new loans to repay old ones.

Orlova said other countries in the region, for example in Eastern Europe, had even higher levels of overall consumer debt as a percentage of national output or GDP.

But Russian debt is “not spread equally, it is mainly held by lower income classes,” which are less likely to repay, she said.

The situation has led to friction between the government and the central bank, with ministers like Oreshkin criticizing it for not doing enough to restrict loans.

Meanwhile, economic growth slowed sharply early this year following recoveries in 2017 and 2018, with an increase of just 0.7 percent in the first half of 2019 from the same period a year earlier.

That was far from the 4.0 percent annual target set by President Vladimir Putin — a difficult objective while the country is subject to Western sanctions.

With 19 million people living below the poverty line, Russia is in dire need of development.

“The problem is that people don’t have money,” Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Center in Moscow wrote recently.

“This is why we can physically feel the trepidation of the financial and economic authorities,” he added. Kolesnikov described the government’s economic policy as something that “essentially boils down to collecting additional cash from the population and spending it on goals indicated by the state.”

At the beginning of his fourth presidential term in 2018, Putin unveiled ambitious “national projects.”

The cost of those projects — which fall into 12 categories that range from health to infrastructure — is estimated at $400 billion by 2024, of which $115 billion is to come from private investment.