GCC tries to persuade UAE, Oman to join currency talks

Updated 29 June 2014
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GCC tries to persuade UAE, Oman to join currency talks

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has opened dialogue with the UAE and Oman on a monetary union project as part of a major move to ensure the launch of a common currency, said a senior GCC official on Saturday.
“The member states of the GCC monetary union are in talks with the two nations in a bid to persuade them to join the union,” said Anas Al-Saleh, Kuwait’s finance minister.
Al-Saleh said that the GCC monetary union project should be implemented without delay.
“The monetary union is a strategic long-term project for Gulf countries on both the economic and political scales,” Al-Saleh told Al-Eqtesadiah, a sister publication of Arab News .
Al-Saleh said that monetary union members, notably Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, have been involved in negotiations with the UAE and Oman to expand the union.
He said that the four members are pushing ahead with the monetary union but said some “technical points” need to be cleared. Arab News could not reach officials at the GCC General Secretariat for further comment because of the weekend, but a study conducted by Yousef K. Al-Ghufli for the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies & Research has advocated an early move for realizing the dream of monetary union and a single currency.
“The GCC monetary union would eliminate transaction costs that GCC citizens must endure due to having several national currencies in one regional bloc,” said the study.
A common market and common central bank would also position the GCC as one entity that would have great “influence on the international financial system,” added the study.
On the other hand, a GCC monetary union will undoubtedly cause each state to lose the flexibility that is associated with having a national currency, said the study.
Financial analysts are watching the latest developments in launching a common currency union. A common union and a common GCC currency will also help intra-GCC trade, which exceeds $92 billion annually, with projections to grow by five percent in 2014.
The UAE and Oman had, in fact, opted out of the proposed monetary union before it was launched in 2010. The GCC has been working to create a monetary union since the early 1980s. In its 29th session, the GCC Supreme Council approved the Monetary Union Agreement and the Statute of the Monetary Council, which developed the legal and institutional framework for the monetary union and identified the goals and tasks of the monetary council.
The member states of the Monetary Union Agreement (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait) ratified the agreement and as a result, the monetary agreement entered into force on Feb. 27, 2010. The board of directors of the Gulf Monetary Council (GMCO) held its first meeting on March 30, 2010. The board of directors recently appointed Khalid Al-Saad from Kuwait as chief executive of the council.


Saudi Arabia’s first atelier aims to be a hub for Eastern Province artists

Maysa Alrowaished, founder and art director of ‘Canvash,’ poses with a mural in Alkhobar. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 15 min 17 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s first atelier aims to be a hub for Eastern Province artists

  • Alrowaished added: “The mural embraces the history of Saudi Arabia’s kings before the Kingdom was unified”

DHAHRAN: The art scene in the Kingdom is growing fast. Artists are being adopted by organizations both private and public. One of the private organizations is Canvash, which aims to become a hub for the artists of the Eastern Region.
“Canvish is Dutch for canvas board,” Maysa Alrowaished, the company’s founder and art director, told Arab News. “I won the award for the best entrepreneurial project in the Eastern Province, sponsored by Princess Abeer Al-Saud, for Canvash, and I am thankful that we were given the first atelier license Kingdom-wide after a journey of some serious persuasion attempts.”
Canvash is different from other art businesses. Alrowaished explained: “We try to target the concept of part-time jobbing where the artist can do their nine-to-five daily jobs while at the same time practicing their passion with a paycheck at the end. Now we have around 17 employees between artists and technical supporters.”
Canvash began with their most prominent project; the mural of “Ahal Aloja,” thought to be the longest national mural in the Kingdom, on the Alkhobar Corniche. The mural was named “Ahal Aloja,” which is Arabic for “the people of Aloja,” after the old name of Ad Diriyah, the capital of the first Saudi state.
“The mural embraces the history of Saudi Arabia’s kings before the Kingdom was unified,” Alrowaished added. “It consists of a group of portraits and achievements of the kings, along with their lingering quotes; it then reaches our present time, including Vision 2030, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The ‘Ahal Aloja’ mural received so much hype that it even became a trend on social media with a number of regional media channels covering it.”
On Canvash’s future plans, Alrowaished said: “Along with other ongoing projects, we aim to participate in international and local contests and exhibitions.
“Success tastes sweeter with challenges,” she said when asked about the challenges she faced as the founder of Canvash. Her biggest challenge was convincing the Ministry of Commerce to issue her an atelier license. “There was no such category as atelier when I requested the license. Canvash went through a lot of discussions and a lot of inducements.
“My dream was to open up an actual atelier and so I went all the way to the office of the Ministry of Commerce in Riyadh to conduct a presentation to the head of the Kingdom’s records. Thankfully my case was convincing, so I received the first atelier license in the Kingdom.
“We encountered a problem with some members of society who cannot understand the importance of art,” she added. “However, we found out that the majority are actually thirsty for art and very excited for all creative projects. Whenever we are working on a project, we always get inquiries from people asking where to find our work.
“You also see people enjoy watching us while we work on individual projects as if these are entertainment events in themselves. This is what rewards us when work becomes hectic and tiring. Society is looking forward to such initiatives.”