Mauritius invites Saudis to invest in new projects

Mauritius invites Saudis to invest in new projects
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Mauritius invites Saudis to invest in new projects
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Mauritius invites Saudis to invest in new projects
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Updated 10 October 2015

Mauritius invites Saudis to invest in new projects

Mauritius invites Saudis to invest in new projects

JEDDAH: Mauritius Vice Prime Minister Showkutally Soodhun has called on potential Saudi businessmen to invest in the island state.
“The world is evolving a globalized environment and the Mauritian economy has also been shaped to become more diversified and more resilient,” Soodhun said during his visit to the Kingdom.
“New sectors are emerging such as financial services, ICT (information and communications technology)/BPO (business process outsourcing), and there is a renewed focus on the Blue Economy, where we do admit that we rely on the international expertise. Mauritius’ strategic position facilitates a gateway for investors setting up businesses in Africa,” he said.
Mauritius wishes to further consolidate relationships with major Gulf countries, especially with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a view to giving a boost to bilateral, Islamic and commercial partnership.
Soodhun was received personally by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, second deputy premier and defense minister, and conveyed his heartfelt congratulations for the successful organization of this year’s Haj and discussing bilateral ties.
Giving an overview of the potential areas for Saudi investors, he said Mauritius is planning to build five smart cities. Saudi Arabia can participate in this investment, he said, adding that prime land is being given for 99-year lease to build smart cities, which will have universities, hospitals, entertainment areas and malls.
The island’s new airport can handle up to four million passengers annually. Over one million tourists visited this year and their numbers are expected to double by 2016.
Mauritius is also building a modern port, making huge investments in infrastructure, and especially developing solar energy, in which Saudis can invest.
Soodhun said: “We were all deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of lives and injury to pilgrims in Mina. On behalf of the people of the Republic of Mauritius, I extend our heartfelt condolences to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and to the people of Saudi Arabia. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims. We hope that those who are injured will have speedy and full recovery.”
He added: "We fully recognize that it’s extremely challenging to organize Haj, however, trust me, no one can do it better than Saudi Arabia. Like always, the Kingdom leaves no stone unturned so that pilgrims from all over the world can have a successful and rewarding Haj. The Saudi authorities’ efforts to look after the guests of Allah are indeed commendable. Nobody can predict the will of Allah. The tragedy in Mina was beyond the control of Saudi authorities."
He said: “Various reports suggest that there has been a lack of discipline on behalf of various groups of pilgrims who did not follow the instructions. We also lost few Mauritians in the tragic incident. which took place in Mina. Once again, we fully support the noble action, which is undertaken by the Saudi authorities. I have personally witnessed the works carried out in Makkah and the facilities extended to the pilgrims. It is simply tremendous.”
Inayatoollah Ramjean, a prominent Mauritian with 25 years of experience in Saudi Arabia, who was with the vice prime minister, was quite vocal in his support to the Kingdom.
“We have clearly witnessed the extent of the full preparations and efforts exerted by the competent Saudi authorities, under the leadership of King Salman, for serving Hajis who all completed their tasks with great success," Inayatoollah added.
He lauded the great services and facilities extended to the pilgrims by King Salman. “Not every person is able to realize and understand the magnitude of efforts and resources required to host the 2 to 3 million pilgrims, from over 185 countries, who have to perform the various Haj rituals at different locations.”
Inayatoollah said: “Saudi Arabia is pouring billions of riyals into infrastructure here at the holy sites. Most of these gigantic projects have been carried out in the last five years. The Saudi authorities have helped ease the pilgrimage for the millions who come from all over the world every year to perform the annual pilgrimage. Only Saudi Arabia can do this.”
“After the meeting with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and the other Saudi ministers, I fully support the noble initiatives taken by Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is playing a vital and constructive role to bring peace and harmony in the region, across the Arab and the other Muslim countries,” Soodhun added.
During his meeting with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Soodhun expressed his great satisfaction with the fraternal ties and mutual esteem characterizing the relations between Mauritius and the Kingdom. They reviewed and discussed the future relations of solidarity and cooperation between the two countries, on how to further consolidate them at all levels to the best interests of the two peace-loving nations.
The Mauritius also had an extensive and positive discussion with Minister of Health Khalid Al-Falih and Minister of Haj Bandar Al-Hajjar. The Mauritian vice prime minister also visited Saudi hospitals where the Haj pilgrims were being treated and he was full of praise for the excellent treatment and care extended to all the pilgrim patients.
Mauritius recently signed a general agreement with Saudi Arabia, in New York, to open a full-fledged embassy in Riyadh. Soodhun also had a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir, and they discussed and reviewed future bilateral ties between the two countries.
Inayatoollah, who is also an expert in hospitality, confirms that there are many investment opportunities in the hospitality industry, in Mauritius.
“Mauritius is arguably the wealthiest destinations, with the best beaches and it has resorts, which are among the best in the world,” he added.


Kuwait plans region’s first city for electric carmakers

Kuwait plans region’s first city for electric carmakers
Updated 01 August 2021

Kuwait plans region’s first city for electric carmakers

Kuwait plans region’s first city for electric carmakers
  • Kuwait Ports Authority noted that electric carmakers do not use local distributors or dealers

DUBAI: Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA) has approved a proposal to build the Middle East’s first city to serve electric vehicle manufacturers, the authority said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement does not make clear where the project, called EV City, will be located.

The design and construction tendering process will be during the 2011/22 fiscal year, said KPA General Manager Yousef Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah.

KPA noted that electric carmakers do not use local distributors or dealers and sell their vehicles directly to consumers, adding that it was common for ports to provide certain infrastructure to manufacturers.

“KPA is able to provide all port and logistics services to the biggest global companies manufacturing electric cars,” Sabah said, adding that the project was in line with Kuwait’s Vision 2035 economic diversification plan.

The Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, has made huge gains after it invested more than $1 billion in electric carmaker Lucid in 2018.

Lucid Group listed last month after a merger with a blank check company, Churchill Capital Corp IV, in February in a deal that gave the combined company a pro-forma equity value of $24 billion. PIF owns 62.7 percent
of Lucid.


Saudi budget airline expands flights to Bisha

Saudi budget airline expands flights to Bisha
Updated 01 August 2021

Saudi budget airline expands flights to Bisha

Saudi budget airline expands flights to Bisha

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s budget airline flyadeal on Sunday launched operations from Dammam to Bisha.

The addition of the new destination to the company’s flight network is part of its expansion plans.

It is a pure low-cost airline, with passengers charged for meals and checked luggage, a model that has so far not had major success in the Middle East beyond UAE-headquartered Air Arabia. The Saudi government owns the airline through state carrier Saudia.

Ahmed Al-Barahim, executive vice president for commercial and customer affairs, vowed to ensure good service for passengers.

He said the airline will continue to expand its fleet and flight network.

Fahd Al-Harbi, CEO of Dammam Airports Co., said healthy competition between airlines will support the Kingdom’s drive to boost domestic tourism.


Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets rebound from 10-year low on higher oil sales

Saudi Arabia’s proceeds from sales of crude oil increased with the global oil industry gradually recovering from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). (Reuters/File Photo)
Saudi Arabia’s proceeds from sales of crude oil increased with the global oil industry gradually recovering from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 01 August 2021

Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets rebound from 10-year low on higher oil sales

Saudi Arabia’s proceeds from sales of crude oil increased with the global oil industry gradually recovering from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). (Reuters/File Photo)
  • The value of Saudi Arabia’s oil exports in May increased by 147 percent to just over SR60 billion from a year earlier

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets rose 2 percent in June, recovering slightly from their lowest level in more than a decade as the Kingdom’s proceeds from sales of crude oil increased with the global oil industry gradually recovering from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Data from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) showed the foreign assets — a measure of its ability to support its dollar-pegged currency — rose by SR34 billion ($9.1 billion) to SR1.65 trillion from May to June. Total assets increased by SR16.18 billion to SR1.842 trillion, the central bank said on Saturday.

The value of Saudi Arabia’s oil exports in May increased by 147 percent to just over SR60 billion from a year earlier, while non-oil exports rose by 70 percent, the General Authority for Statistics showed last month.

The recent decline in Saudi Arabia’s foreign reserves to the lowest level in a decade was partly due to a lag between import payments and export receipts, the SAMA’s governor told Reuters last month.

The ratio of SAMA’s total assets at the end of July increased by 0.8 percent over the previous month and amounted to SR1.842 trillion. The rise in total assets is due to the rise in investments in securities abroad, which amounted to SR1.13 trillion, an increase of 0.5 percent over the previous month. The value of foreign exchange amounted to SR271 billion, an increase of 0.2 percent.

Net foreign assets declined significantly in 2020 as lower oil income strained finances and officials transferred $40 billion to the Kingdom’s sovereign fund to fuel an investment spree. The indicator — which topped $700 billion in 2014 after an oil boom increased savings — now stands at SR1.66 trillion.

The state’s general reserve declined during the period 2016 to 2020 from SR640 billion to SR358 billion, due to the increase in projects as a part of the Vision 2030 reform plans. The state is pouring significant funds on projects which will be compensated by future income, Zaed Alfaded, a financial analyst, told Arab News. These income streams are expected to increase with the country diversifying its economy away from oil and its price fluctuations, he added.

The government’s current account dipped from SR89 billion to SR52 billion, and then rose again to SR70 billion, as the government spent on its urgent requirements, Alfaded said.

Central bank data showed on Saturday that the issuance of SAMA bills, an indicator of increased lending to local banks, also declined, which Alfaded attributed to the bank’s plans to contain inflation and direct customers to save and invest. 

This strategy, he said, will reflect positively on the markets for trading in financial assets and other investment assets in the Saudi economy.


Saudi Arabia eyes global tie-ups to tap $20bn in cultural opportunities

In the wake of the G20 meeting last year, Saudi Arabia added culture to the forefront of its investment agenda. (Social media)
In the wake of the G20 meeting last year, Saudi Arabia added culture to the forefront of its investment agenda. (Social media)
Updated 01 August 2021

Saudi Arabia eyes global tie-ups to tap $20bn in cultural opportunities

In the wake of the G20 meeting last year, Saudi Arabia added culture to the forefront of its investment agenda. (Social media)
  • Public-private partnership seen as a means to increase sector’s contribution to GDP

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is seeking partnership with global partners including leading international museums as it sees its culture sector generating $20 billion in revenues and creating 100,000 jobs, while contributing 3 percent to its gross domestic product (GDP), a senior official said.

In the wake of the G20 meeting last year, Saudi Arabia added culture to the forefront of its investment agenda. The Ministry of Culture, which was established three years ago in the hopes of promoting cultural growth and supporting Vision 2030, sees that the sector has already attracted the interest and engagement of private companies both locally and abroad, Rakan Altouq, head of strategy and policy at the Saudi Ministry of Culture, said in an interview on Sunday.

In addition to the public sector, the private sector is a vital contributor to cultural development and Saudi Arabia will benefit from this new strategy, as it will lead to an increase in its economy. As part of the Ministry of Culture, all 16 sectors with 11 dedicated commissions are engaged now to prepare the groundwork for economic activity. 

The Cultural Development Fund, created by the Ministry of Culture last year, is also a vital tool for bridging the financial gap that exists between public and private sector funding for cultural programs. By using the Cultural Development Fund, a bridge of capital will be provided, he said. Through Invest Saudi and the Shareek program that has been announced across the private sector engagement in Saudi Arabia, all of the targets they have developed cannot be achieved without private capital, and they are contributing to creating the right conditions for capital to invest in the culture sector.

Altouq said that the culture sector should not be evaluated in the same way as other more publicly owned sectors. Nonprofit organizations conduct many private activities, such as the visual arts sector, in the country. Further opportunities exist for establishing infrastructure in digital platforms; such investments have already been initiated by media and other regional companies. 

In the museum sector, the ministry has held numerous discussions with its partners around the world. Soon, the dedicated museum of Saudi Arabia will launch its strategy and seek partnerships with other museums around the world. The Museum Commission will launch its own communication strategy in the coming months to further develop that.

In the national cultural strategy, three main aspirations are outlined: Culture as a way of life, culture as an economic growth tool, and culture as an exchange mechanism among cultures.

As a first step, culture has been developed as a lifestyle in Saudi Arabia through connecting local communities to ensure that all citizens and residents have access to an extraordinary range of diverse cultural offerings in the region while preserving the rich cultural heritage. As for the culture for economic growth, culture will be seen in creative industries, which will allow Saudi Arabia to witness an increase in its GDP by 3 percent by 2030. Lastly, culture for global exchange is engaging the Kingdom and participating in international platforms such as the G20 and UNESCO.     


Saudi Arabia’s Digital Government Authority approves first regulatory framework

It will work on developing the digital capabilities and talents of public sector employees. (Supplied)
It will work on developing the digital capabilities and talents of public sector employees. (Supplied)
Updated 01 August 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Digital Government Authority approves first regulatory framework

It will work on developing the digital capabilities and talents of public sector employees. (Supplied)
  • The framework is the first milestone after the approval of the Saudi Cabinet in March to launch the authority

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Digital Government Authority (DGA) on Sunday said its board of directors approved the first regulatory framework of the digital government.

“The regulatory framework developed by DGA for the digital government will be the basis on which the authority will develop future regulations for the digital government,” DGA Gov. Ahmed Mohammed Al-Soyyan said in a statement. “The framework includes a set of principles, policies, standards, and user guides.”

He added that the DGA is seeking to issue regulations, policies, and standards that contribute to creating a regulatory environment, which enables reaching advanced levels of maturity in the government digital transformation, unify and institutionalize the concept of government policies and standards, provide recommendations to government agencies during implementation, and ensure the adoption of unified tracks for the development of government digital services.

The framework is the first milestone after the approval of the Saudi Cabinet in March to launch the authority. Abdullah Al-Swaha, the Saudi minister of communications and information technology and chairman of the National Digital Transformation Unit, told Arab News’ sister publication Asharq Al-Awsat in an earlier interview that the DGA will help in achieving key objectives, most important of which is augmenting returns on government digital assets and investments. It will also work on developing the digital capabilities and talents of public sector employees.

The framework is based on eight essential principles, including the “Once-Only Principle,” “Digital by Design,” and the “Mobile First.” In addition, it encompasses the Digital Government Policy, which enables and accelerates the sustainable digital transformation of the government sector and enables the successful implementation of the strategic directions of the digital government, DGA said in the statement.

The Digital Government Policy is supported by five sub-policies, including digital governance, it added.

DGA said in the statement that it aims to support the efforts of the government agencies through developing plans, programs, indexes, and measurements related to the works of digital government and integrated digital government services, as well as the government digital market platform. DGA is also responsible for regulating operational, administrational processes, related projects and monitor compliance, it said.