Stage set for Global Entrepreneurship Forum

Updated 03 November 2015
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Stage set for Global Entrepreneurship Forum

RIYADH: A 21-member Asian Entrepreneurship Alliance was formed at the Second Global Entrepreneurship Forum 2015, which was flagged off at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh on Tuesday.
Representatives from the Kingdom, South Korea, Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Japan, Jordan, Indonesia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Lebanon, the UAE and Vietnam inked the agreements during the forum sessions.
The new alliance is expected to bring the signatories to the agreements to a common platform to boost the entrepreneurship among the youths of the respective countries.
Michael Lee from South Korea told Arab News that the new alliance will open up new areas for cooperation among the member countries in the area of entrepreneurship. “We have been toying with the idea of organizing a special program for young entrepreneurs, and finally achieved forming a new alliance for the Asian countries,” Lee said.
He added that the structure, functions and the location of the headquarters are yet to be decided at subsequent meetings.
Abdulaziz Almutairi, secretary general and director general of the Centennial Fund, signed on behalf of the Kingdom.
Almutairi said the Global Entrepreneurship Forum (GEF) is an annual event that gathers international leaders in business and entrepreneurship in one location for the purpose of sharing insights, exchanging best practices, and generating exposure for the latest trends and innovations in the global community of entrepreneurs.
The Centennial Fund (TCF) launched this initiative in 2011 as an extension of the annual Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah International Award for Entrepreneurship.
Innovation in social enterprise is the theme of this year’s forum as the GEF explores the viability of solving a variety of social issues, both locally and globally, through the vehicle of entrepreneurship.
The future of entrepreneurship in the Kingdom looks bright and prosperous, as indicated by the presence of several factors required for successful business industry leadership, including viable human capital in the Kingdom's youth, the availability of funds for capital investment in new ventures and the King’s vision of Riyadh as the world’s capital of entrepreneurship in the next decade.”
The Centennial Fund has launched more than 20 initiatives and strategic partnerships, including Youth Business International, the G20, the Global Entrepreneurship Forum — held annually in Riyadh. It also launched G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance, the Gulf Cooperative Council Union of Entrepreneurs, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah International Award for Entrepreneurship, and the Clinton Global Initiative under the auspices of former US President Bill Clinton.
TCF has established Centennial Valley in conjunction with local universities to serve as an incubator for entrepreneurs. TCF has also announced the launch of the International Academy of Entrepreneurs.
Amer Bukuvit from Bosnia and Heerzegovina, who was the moderator at the first session of the forum, told Arab News: “It’s time for the nations to groom the young entrepreneurs and train them according to the needs of the country. It has to be win-win situation.”
Former Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zlatko Lagumdzua said education and economy of a country should go together for the prosperity of a nation. Every nation has a social responsibility to provide adequate security for businesses, which will eventually promote its economy.
Samantha Caccoma, founder and CEO of Swiss-based Social Business Earth (SBE), described the forum as a fantastic concept to bring young entrepreneurs to get new ideas through exchange of experiences.
SBE is an international consulting and advisory service firm based in Lugano, Switzerland, that utilizes the model of social business, a concept developed by Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus, to maximize the social impact of businesses, charities, philanthropists and government entities.
In addition, SBE offers social business incubation services to entrepreneurs who are launching their own social business startups and assisting them with their business plan and strategy.
Feasible social business ideas alone are considered.
SBE is officially recognized by the government of Canton Ticino, Switzerland as an organization of social utility that does not distribute dividends.
Fernando H.F. Botelho from F123 said his company has low-cost software, which will help the visually impaired to do their studies and office work. He said he is looking for business partners in the Gulf region.


Undersea gas fires Egypt’s regional energy dreams

Updated 48 min 34 sec ago
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Undersea gas fires Egypt’s regional energy dreams

CAIRO: Egypt is looking to use its vast, newly tapped undersea gas reserves to establish itself as a key energy exporter and revive its flagging economy.
Encouraged by the discovery of huge natural gas fields in the Mediterranean, Cairo has in recent months signed gas deals with neighboring Israel as well as Cyprus and Greece.
Former oil minister Osama Kamal said Egypt has a “plan to become a regional energy hub.”
In the past year, gas has started flowing from four major fields off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, including the vast Zohr field, inaugurated with great ceremony by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Discovered in 2015 by Italian energy giant Eni, Zohr is the biggest gas field so far found in Egyptian waters.
The immediate upshot has been that since September, the Arab world’s most populous country has been able to halt imports of liquified natural gas, which last year cost it some $220 million (190 million euros) per month.
Coming after a financial crisis that pushed Cairo in 2016 to take a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, the gas has been a lifeline.
Egypt’s budget deficit, which hit 10.9 percent of GDP in the financial year 2016-17, has since fallen to 9.8 percent.
Gas production has now hit 184 million cubic meters a day.
Having met its own needs, Cairo is looking to kickstart exports and extend its regional influence.
It has signed deals to import gas from neighboring countries for liquefaction at installations on its Mediterranean coast, ready for re-export to Europe.
In September, Egypt signed a deal with Cyprus to build a pipeline to pump Cypriot gas hundreds of kilometers to Egypt for processing before being exported to Europe.
That came amid tensions between Egypt and Turkey — which has supported the Muslim Brotherhood, seen by Cairo as a terrorist organization, and has troops in breakaway northern Cyprus.
In February, Egypt, the only Arab state apart from Jordan to have a peace deal with Israel, inked an agreement to import gas from the Jewish state’s Tamar and Leviathan reservoirs.
A US-Israeli consortium leading the development of Israel’s offshore gas reserves in September announced it would buy part of a disused pipeline connecting the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon with the northern Sinai peninsula.
That would bypass a land pipeline across the Sinai that was repeatedly targeted by jihadists in 2011 and 2012.
The $15-billion deal will see some 64 billion cubic meters of gas pumped in from the Israeli fields over 10 years.
Independent news website Mada Masr reported that Egypt’s General Intelligence Service is the majority shareholder in East Gas, which will earn the largest part of the profits from the import of Israeli gas and its resale to the Egyptian state.
Kamal said he sees “no problem” in that, adding that the agency has held a majority stake in the firm since 2003.
“That guarantees the protection of Egyptian interests,” he said.
Ezzat Abdel Aziz, former president of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Agency, said the projects were “of vital importance for Egypt” and would have direct returns for the Egyptian economy.
They “confirm the strategic importance of Egypt and allow it to take advantage of its location between producing countries in the east and consuming countries of the West,” he said.
The Egyptian state is also hoping to rake in billions of dollars in revenues from petro-chemicals.
Its regional energy ambitions are “not limited to the natural gas sector, but also involve major projects in the petroleum and petrochemical sectors,” said former oil minister Kamal.
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla recently announced a deal to expand the Midor refinery in the Egyptian capital to boost its output by some 60 percent.
On top of that, the new Mostorod refinery in northern Cairo is set to produce 4.4 million tons of petroleum products a year after it comes online by next May, according to Ahmed Heikal, president of Egyptian investment firm Citadel Capital.
That alone will save the state $2 billion a year on petrochemical imports, which last year cost it some $5.2 billion.
Egypt is also investing in a processing plant on the Red Sea that could produce some four million tons of petro-products a year — as well as creating 3,000 jobs in a country where unemployment is rife.