Private funds to expand Saudi water plant investments

Environment, Water and Agriculture Minister Abdul Rahman Al-Fadli visits the exhibition stand after the inauguration of the Water Investment Forum in Riyadh.
Updated 28 November 2016

Private funds to expand Saudi water plant investments

RIYADH: Environment, Water and Agriculture Minister Abdul Rahman Al-Fadli says that the volume of desalinated water produced in the Kingdom will be doubled during the next 15 years to cater to the growing demand. 
At present, the Kingdom is producing 4.6 million of cubic meters of desalinated water daily from its 29 desalination plants spread throughout the Kingdom.
The minister was delivering the keynote address at the inauguration of the two-day Water Investment Forum 2016 in Riyadh on Saturday.
A top official said Saudi Arabia could need more than $53 billion in water sector investment supported by private funds as demand grows.
“Future plants will be tendered to the private sector,” Ali Al-Hazmi, Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) governor, told the Water Investment Forum.
“We have everything ready for privatization,” AFP quoted him as saying.
Saudi water demand is increasing by more than five percent annually, Al-Hazmi said.
By 2020 Saudi Arabia is targeting 52 percent of desalinated water production through “strategic partners.”
Saudi Arabia obtains most of its water from desalination and the rest from ground sources.
“This requires a lot of money and a lot of capital investment,” Mansour Al-Mushaiti, a deputy minister with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, told the forum. “We are envisaging that the capital requirements in the next five years will reach up to SR200 billion ($53.3 billion),” AFP quoted him as saying.
Five agreements on water related projects between private enterprises were signed at the event under the supervision of the minister. 
Following the inauguration of the forum, the minister also opened an exhibition that highlighted the investment opportunities in the Kingdom.
More than 350 experts, international specialists, local and foreign investors were present at the forum.
The forum is being held under the slogan, “Building a strategic partnership for promising opportunities,” aimed to promote investment and partnership with the private sector in the field of water in various competencies (production, processing, transportation and distribution) and presenting investment opportunities in the water sector in the Kingdom and the exchange of ideas with government agencies and private organizations at the regional and global level.
The minister said that the meeting is organized to achieve the goals of Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program (NTP 2020).
The Water Investment Forum 2016 acts as a platform that brings together investors and key national and global water players to promote investment opportunities in the Kingdom, he said.
Some of the many venture prospects include new IWPPs (Independent Water & Power Producers), renewable technologies in desalination, O&M contract for water production and transmission, externalization of shared services, localization of manufacturing, and research partnerships.
In addition, the forum will also announce facilities offered to investors, and highlight the substantial advantages of investing in the Kingdom.
It will emphasize public-private-partnerships (PPP), sharing many successful PPP stories in the Saudi water sector.
SWCC, created in 1974, is the world’s largest producer of desalinated water. It operates 28 plants and as part of the process is able to generate electricity for the national power grid.


Economists fear a US recession in 2021

Updated 19 August 2019

Economists fear a US recession in 2021

  • Trump’s higher budget deficits ‘might dampen the economy’

WASHINGTON: A number of US business economists appear sufficiently concerned about the risks of some of President Donald Trump’s economic policies that they expect a recession in the US by the end of 2021.

Thirty-four percent of economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics, in a report being released Monday, said they believe a slowing economy will tip into recession in 2021. 

That’s up from 25 percent in a survey taken in February. Only 2 percent of those polled expect a recession to begin this year, while 38 percent predict that it will occur in 2020.

Trump, however, has dismissed concerns about a recession, offering an optimistic outlook for the economy after last week’s steep drop in the financial markets and saying on Sunday, “I don’t think we’re having a recession.” A strong economy is key to the Republican president’s 2020 reelection prospects.

The economists have previously expressed concern that Trump’s tariffs and higher budget deficits could eventually dampen the economy.

The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on goods from many key US trading partners, from China and Europe to Mexico and Canada. 

Officials maintain that the tariffs, which are taxes on imports, will help the administration gain more favorable terms of trade. But US trading partners have simply retaliated with tariffs of their own.

Trade between the US and China, the two biggest global economies, has plunged. Trump decided last Wednesday to postpone until Dec. 15 tariffs on about 60 percent of an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports, granting a reprieve from a planned move that would have extended duties to nearly everything the US buys from China.

The financial markets last week signaled the possibility of a US recession, adding to concerns over the ongoing trade tensions and word from Britain and Germany that their economies are shrinking.

The economists surveyed by the NABE were skeptical about prospects for success of the latest round of US-China trade negotiations. Only 5 percent predicted that a comprehensive trade deal would result, 64 percent suggested a superficial agreement was possible and nearly 25 percent expected nothing to be agreed upon by the two countries.

The 226 respondents, who work mainly for corporations and trade associations, were surveyed between July 14 and Aug. 1. That was before the White House announced 10 percent tariffs on the additional $300 billion of Chinese imports, the Chinese currency dipped below the seven-yuan-to-$1 level for the first time in 11 years and the Trump administration formally labeled China a currency manipulator.

As a whole, the business economists’ recent responses have represented a rebuke of the Trump administration’s overall approach to the economy.

Still, for now, most economic signs appear solid. Employers are adding jobs at a steady pace, the unemployment rate remains near a 50-year low and consumers are optimistic. US retail sales figures out last Thursday showed that they jumped in July by the most in four months.