Britain hoping for Brexit boost from Commonwealth summit

Britain hoping for Brexit boost from Commonwealth summit
The 53 member states are gathering for their biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, being hosted this year in London. (AFP)
Updated 16 April 2018

Britain hoping for Brexit boost from Commonwealth summit

Britain hoping for Brexit boost from Commonwealth summit

LONDON: Britain is hoping this week’s Commonwealth summit will open greater trade with its historic network as it prepares to quit the European single market under Brexit.
The UK is pouncing on the organization’s analysis showing the advantages of trade between Commonwealth countries due to its common language and legal systems.
But some quarters are warning that Britain’s trade with Commonwealth nations lags so far behind that with its European Union neighbors that a straight replacement is impossible.
The 53 member states are gathering for their biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), being hosted this year in London.
Born out of the former British empire, the voluntary organization focuses on development and democracy, but is turning its attention to boosting trade.
Intra-Commonwealth trade is expected to increase by at least 17 percent to around $700 billion by 2020, according to the 2018 Commonwealth Trade Review.
“Brexit will have wide-ranging economic implications for the UK, the EU and many Commonwealth members,” the report says.
“However, there may also be important opportunities for the UK in the post-Brexit period to... negotiate new bilateral trade agreements with interested Commonwealth members.”
Britain is going for the hard sell during CHOGM.
The summit proper is on Thursday and Friday but kicks off Monday with three days of forums and events that lay the groundwork.
Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox on Monday chairs a session on catalyzing growth and championing free and fairer trade.
Meanwhile Britain is hosting a reception aimed at showcasing British exports, from food and drink to the English Premier League football trophy.
“You’ve got some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. It will be a great opportunity for us to rebuild old friendships,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told BBC television.
“A lot of that is going to be on the table at the Commonwealth summit,” he said Sunday.
When Britain joined the European Economic Community in 1973, it sidelined historic trading links with its former empire, causing much hurt in some countries.
Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019. A transition period runs until the end of 2020 after which the UK will be out of the European single market and customs union.
Britain is gearing up to strike its own trade deals outside the single market and is looking to its former global network.
The Economist magazine said Saturday that the Commonwealth “won’t save Britain from Brexit,” calling the idea that Commonwealth trade could replace EU trade “an amiable delusion.”
In terms of goods and services trade in 2016, Britain does more business with 15 countries — nine of them in the EU — before its biggest Commonwealth trade partners Canada and India.
Overall, the EU accounts for nearly half of Britain’s trade; the Commonwealth accounts for a tenth.
Philip Murphy, director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, wrote in The Guardian newspaper: “Sorry, Brexiters. Banking on the Commonwealth is a joke.
“The notion that it can pick up the slack when the UK leaves the EU is nonsense.”
Given its highly diverse membership, if agreements can be struck within the Commonwealth, they can likely achieve wider support.
At the last Commonwealth summit in Malta in November 2015, leaders struck a deal on climate change that paved the way for the Paris agreement days afterwards.
The theme this time is “Towards a Common Future.” The group is hoping to agree an ocean governance charter, a connectivity agenda for trade and investment, and a declaration on tackling cybercrime.
“CHOGM 2018 promises to deliver transformational change for the people of the Commonwealth,” said the organization’s Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.
“Immediate impact combined with wider influence make the Commonwealth an unparalleled force for building understanding and cooperation toward realizing global goals for social and political progress, inclusive prosperity, and sustainable development.”
The summit comes immediately after the 2018 quadrennial Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Britain last hosted CHOGM in 1997 and is laying on the style.
Queen Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth, is hosting a dinner for the leaders at Buckingham Palace in London. On Friday they gather in private at Windsor Castle, west of the city.


Innovest Properties launches $200m Al-Ahssa Real Estate Investment Fund

Innovest Properties launches $200m Al-Ahssa Real Estate Investment Fund
Updated 12 min 31 sec ago

Innovest Properties launches $200m Al-Ahssa Real Estate Investment Fund

Innovest Properties launches $200m Al-Ahssa Real Estate Investment Fund
  • nnovest Properties has previously developed the residential communities in Al-Bayraq in the Eastern Province

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Innovest Properties, one of the Kingdom’s largest investment and property companies, has launched the SR755 million ($200 million) Al-Ahssa Real Estate Investment Fund with Lebanon’s Blominvest.

Innovest Properties has previously developed the residential communities in Al-Bayraq in the Eastern Province, which provided more than 1,100 housing units under the Sakani Program, it said in a statement.

Al-Ahssa Real Estate Investment Fund is a closed private investment fund licensed by the Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA) and compliant with the regulations of the Shariah Supervisory Board.

The fund aims to invest in the urban area west-south of Al-Ahsa city. The plan is to acquire a sector of raw land to be developed and marketed in the form of residential plots and commercial facilities.

“The launch of this fund is a major tributary that contributes to the development and consolidation of the real-estate sector in the region and crowns our investment successes in the residential real estate sector,” said Innovest Properties Chairman Mohammed Alkhars.


Buy-now-pay-later fintech leads 2021 Saudi venture capital financing

Buy-now-pay-later fintech leads 2021 Saudi venture capital financing
Updated 27 min 11 sec ago

Buy-now-pay-later fintech leads 2021 Saudi venture capital financing

Buy-now-pay-later fintech leads 2021 Saudi venture capital financing
  • Tamara is best-funded startup in Saudi Arabia this year
  • B2B marketplace Sary is second in list

RIYADH: Tamara, a financial technology company that allows consumers to spread out payments for their purchases, has received the most venture capital funding of any Saudi startup this year, according to a report by MAGNITT.

The buy now, pay later company raised $110 million in April via a Series A round led by global payment processor Checkout.com, adding to $6 million it raised earlier in the year.

In second place is Sary, a business-to-business e-commerce marketplace targeting grocery stores, which attracted $30.5 million in May. The Series B round was led by Silicon Valley’s Rocketship.vc, Saudi Arabia’s largest VC investor STV and returning investors Raed Ventures, MSA Capital and Derayah VC. Sary has now raised $37 million altogether.

The third best funded Saudi startup this year is Foodics, which specializes in restaurant management systems. The Riyadh-based business received $20 million in Series B funding in February in a round co-led by PIF subsidiary Sanabil Investments and STV.

Endeavor Catalyst, Elm and Derayah Ventures also joined the round, which and takes its total funding to date to $28 million.

Fourth of MAGNITT’s list is Azom, a developer of electronics and computer software, which raised $9.5 million in February. The Series A round from distribution company Assr AlJawal and an undisclosed individual investor brings total funding for the company to $10.7 million.

In fifth place was Lendo, which offers instant invoice financing to SMEs through its Shariah-complaint lending marketplace. It raised $7.2 million in March from investors led by Derayah Ventures and including Seedra Ventures, Shorooq Partners, 500 Startups, and Impact46.

 


Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading

Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading
Updated 35 min 45 sec ago

Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading

Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading
  • Aircraft to be removed “from service until such time as the root cause can be established"

DOHA: Qatar Airways says it has grounded 13 Airbus A350s over degradation of the plane’s fuselage.
Qatar Airways made the announcement on Thursday, further escalating a monthslong dispute with the European airplane maker.
It says the aircraft will be removed “from service until such time as the root cause can be established and a satisfactory solution made available to permanently correct the underlying condition.”
Airbus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Qatar Airways, based in the energy-rich Arabian Peninsula nation of the same name, is a major East-West long-haul carrier. It is one of the biggest buyers of the twin-aisle aircraft.


Saudi Arabia digital content market to hit $5.3bn by 2030

Saudi Arabia digital content market to hit $5.3bn by 2030
Updated 05 August 2021

Saudi Arabia digital content market to hit $5.3bn by 2030

Saudi Arabia digital content market to hit $5.3bn by 2030
  • Investment in digital video in KSA to read SR1.2 billion

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s digital content market is expected to grow to between SR16 and SR20 billion ($5.3 billion) by 2030, according to a report by the Trend Corporation in cooperation with the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

An initiative to invest in video content creation aims to attract major companies specialized in visual content, and the investment rate in video in Saudi Arabia is expected to reach SR1 billion to SR1.2 billion.

Video generated $175 million in revenue locally, with video streaming $127 million, and the expected market size is $262 million in 2025.

Videos make up 79 percent of global Internet traffic. In the Middle East and Africa, video traffic has grown eight-fold, and the region is estimated to have created 169 billion minutes of video content every month by the end of 2020.

The Digital Media Committee was created in Saudi Arabia, and it’s meant to activate the digital media to contribute to developing the business sector, create partnerships, and to benefit from the media experts.


PIF-backed developer Roshn launches 30,000 home Saudi community

PIF-backed developer Roshn launches 30,000 home Saudi community
Updated 05 August 2021

PIF-backed developer Roshn launches 30,000 home Saudi community

PIF-backed developer Roshn launches 30,000 home Saudi community
  • 30,000-home development spread across 20 million sq m north of Riyadh
  • 4,500 of the units will be built in phase one

RIYADH: Roshn, the community developer backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has launched its first project in the Kingdom.

Sedra will be a 30,000-home development spread across an area of 20 million square meters north of Riyadh, south of King Khalid Airport, Roshn said in a statement.

More than 4,500 of the units will be built in phase one of construction, providing homes of various sizes and facades. They will be delivered ready to live in and come with kitchens, split unit ACs, water heating systems, and LED light fixtures, among other amenities.

“Our communities will represent a global exemplar in residential living and will play a vital role in further advancing the nation’s flourishing infrastructure and real estate sectors, which are crucial to the Kingdom’s economic diversification and growth goals,” said Roshn Group CEO David Grover.