Saudi Arabia, GEMS launch $800m schools drive

Saudi Arabia and GEMS have announced an $800 million schools initiative across the Kingdom. (Supplied)
Updated 24 October 2018
0

Saudi Arabia, GEMS launch $800m schools drive

  • 10-year initiative could educate 130,000 students
  • Plan envisages jobs for 16,000 people in Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has launched an $800 million, 10-year initiative for a network of modern schools across the country in partnership with GEMS Education, the Dubai-based schools group.
The ambitious plan could eventually provide education for up to 130,000 students across the Kingdom and create jobs for 16,000 people, around 40 percent of them for Saudi citizens.
The partnership was formalized at a signing ceremony on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh, involving executives from GEMS, and from the investment arm of the Saudi General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI).
An official statement said: “The partners intend to develop the network by acquiring and upgrading existing schools, alongside implementing a sizable construction program of new schools.”
GEMS chief executive Majed Al-Mutairi said: “GEMS Education, which is among the world’s oldest and largest private education providers, is a strong supporter of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. The Vision’s focus on opening up public service sectors such as education highlights a commitment to developing human capital and allowing the private sector to enable long-term positive change for Saudi citizens.”
Saad Al-Fadhli, chief executive of Hassana, GOSI’s asset-management arm, set out the rationale for the program: “This partnership is driven by our view that the education market in Saudi Arabia is one of the most attractive growth markets over the long-term.
“Benefiting from Hassana’s role as a long-term, financial and strategic institutional investor and GEMS’ international expertise, both partners expect to create a strong, innovative and successful education platform in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
The GEMS Hassana education program will play a key role in delivering the goals of the Saudi National Character Enrichment Program, with a strong emphasis on national identity, global citizenship, individual development and personal enrichment, the statement added.
The partnership is backed by the new initiative Invest Saudi, launched as part of the National Transformation Plan, to identify, develop and market the significant opportunities that Saudi Arabia has to offer for international, regional and local investors, across all sectors.
This announcement comes against the backdrop of advancing economic reforms in the Kingdom. This year Saudi Arabia achieved its best progress in the WEF Global Competitiveness index since 2012, moving to 39 of 140 economies. In addition, the World Bank ranked Saudi Arabia second amongst the G-20 countries in implementing economic reform.
“Opening the education sector for this scale of investment will ensure this progress continues at pace,” the statement added.


Crude futures steady after fall on US oil products stocks gain

Updated 8 min 31 sec ago
0

Crude futures steady after fall on US oil products stocks gain

  • Oil prices have fallen this week as worries over a Middle East conflict have eased
  • US crude inventories fell 3.1 million barrels, the US Energy Information Administration said

TOKYO: Oil prices steadied on Thursday after falling in the previous session when official data showed US stockpiles of products like gasoline rose sharply last week, suggesting weak demand during the peak driving season.
Brent crude futures were up 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $63.80 a barrel by 0237 GMT. They fell 1.1 percent on Wednesday.
US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 1 cent at $56.77. The US benchmark dropped 1.5 percent in the previous session.
Oil prices have fallen this week as worries over a Middle East conflict have eased, oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has resumed after a storm and worries have emerged over Chinese economic growth. The “easing of tensions between the US and Iran, mixed Chinese growth data and storm-hit operations getting back online are all pressuring oil prices downward,” said Alfonso Esparza senior market analyst at OANDA.
Japan’s exports fell for a seventh straight month in June, with shipments to China falling more than 10 percent, while Japanese manufacturers’ business confidence fell to a three-year low.
On the oil supply front, data on Wednesday from the US Energy Information Administration showed a larger-than-expected drawdown in crude stockpiles last week, but traders focused on large builds in refined product inventories dragging prices down.
US crude inventories fell 3.1 million barrels, the EIA said, more than analysts’ forecasts for a decrease of 2.7 million barrels.
However, gasoline stocks rose 3.6 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 925,000-barrel drop. Distillate stockpiles grew by 5.7 million barrels, much more than expectations for a 613,000-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.
“Gasoline consumption is painfully weak given US consumers are in peak driving season,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets.
Crude production was disrupted last week by Storm Barry, which came ashore on Saturday in central Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane, the first major storm to hit the US Gulf of Mexico this season.
More than half of daily crude production in the Gulf of Mexico remained offline by Tuesday, as most oil companies were re-staffing facilities to resume production.
The market shrugged of another incident involving a tanker in the Middle East amid tensions between the United States and Iran.
US officials say they are unsure whether an oil tanker towed into Iranian waters was seized by Iran or rescued after facing mechanical faults as Tehran asserts, creating a mystery at a time of high tension in the Middle East.