Goldman Sachs gets nod to trade equities in Saudi Arabia

Goldman, which has been operating in the kingdom since 2009 as an agent and underwriter, applied to the Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA) for a license to trade equities. (AP)
Updated 20 August 2017
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Goldman Sachs gets nod to trade equities in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Goldman Sachs received approval on Sunday to trade equities in Saudi Arabia, joining the growing band of western investment banks and fund managers expanding in the kingdom.
Western financial institutions have been looking to tap new opportunities in Saudi Arabia since the government unveiled plans for oil giant Saudi Aramco’s $100 billion initial public offering and introduced reforms to attract foreign capital as part of moves to reduce the economy’s dependence on oil.
Goldman, which has been operating in the kingdom since 2009 as an agent and underwriter, applied to the Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA) for a license to trade equities, sources told Reuters in June.
In a statement on Sunday, the regulator said it had approved a request by Goldman to amend its business in the kingdom and that the bank was now authorized for principal dealing, fund and portfolio management and advisory and custody activities.
A source familiar with the matter confirmed that the license was for the approval of equities trading.
Citigroup obtained a Saudi investment banking license in April, which will allow it to return to the kingdom after more than 13 years, while Credit Suisse is seeking a Saudi license to build a fully-fledged onshore private banking business.
It is the second time in three years Goldman has changed its services in Saudi Arabia. In 2014 the CMA authorized it to arrange, advise and manage investment funds and portfolios, according to its website.
The Saudi stock exchange opened itself to direct investment by foreign institutions in mid-2015 and last year eased restrictions on foreign ownership in its stock market to improve the investment environment.
International firms such as BlackRock, Citigroup, HSBC and Ashmore Group have since been among those to join the list of institutional investors that can directly trade the market.
In an attempt to secure a role on Aramco’s IPO, Goldman bought a portion of the oil company’s $10 billion credit facility, Reuters reported this month, citing sources.


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.