UAE to give Ethiopia $3 billion in aid and investments

UAE to give Ethiopia $3 billion in aid and investments
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrives in Khartoum for an official visit to Sudan on May 2, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 16 June 2018

UAE to give Ethiopia $3 billion in aid and investments

UAE to give Ethiopia $3 billion in aid and investments
  • UAE pledges a total of $3 billion in aid and investments to Ethiopia
  • The UAE will deposit $1 billion in Ethiopia’s central bank to ease a severe foreign currency shortage

ADDIS ABABA: The United Arab Emirates pledged a total of $3 billion in aid and investments to Ethiopia on Friday, an Ethiopian official said, a major show of support for the new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.
The UAE will deposit $1 billion in Ethiopia’s central bank to ease a severe foreign currency shortage, government spokesman Ahmed Shide told Reuters at a palace in Addis Ababa after Abiy met with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed.
No officials briefed journalists, but the UAE and its Gulf allies, in particular Saudi Arabia, regularly give large sums to cooperative governments in the broader region.
In 2013, the UAE was one of three Gulf monarchies that pledged a total $12 billion to the new government after the military ousted a president from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Abiy, a 41-year-old former intelligence officer, took up his position office in April after three years of unrest that had threatened the EPRDF coalition’s hold on power.
The coalition’s choice of Abiy, from an ethnic group that has long been marginalized, signalled its willingness to allow some political reforms, but he has already gone farther and faster than most had expected.
Two weeks ago the government said it would sell stakes in its lucrative telecoms monopoly and other assets including the national airline.
It also pledged to end a war with long-time enemy Eritrea, offering to implement a peace deal signed in 2000.
DAM DISPUTE
Last weekend Abiy visited the UAE’s ally, Egypt, and offered a newly conciliatory tone in a long and bitter row over a dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile, which Egypt fears threatens its water supplies.
Abiy had traveled to both Abu Dhabi and Riyadh shortly after taking office.
Shide said the UAE’s pledges would have a “significant impact” on Ethiopia’s foreign currency shortage.
Despite showing the fastest growth in Africa for the past decade, the landlocked country of 100 million people is heavily dependent on imports.
A hard currency crunch caused partly by spending on big infrastructure projects has reduced foreign currency reserves to less than one month’s worth of imports, according to analysts’ estimates. Foreign investors and local businesses say all sectors of the economy have been hit.
Abiy said in April that the government’s plans to continue expanding its infrastructure and the nascent manufacturing sector meant the currency crisis might last for 15 or 20 years.
A Ethiopian foreign ministry official said the other $2 billion from Abu Dhabi would be invested in tourism, renewable energy and agriculture.
On Friday afternoon, Abiy got behind the wheel of a white car and personally gave Sheikh Mohamed, the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates, sitting in the passenger seat, a tour of Addis Ababa.
Shide said the crown prince’s delegation included investors interested in real estate and hospitals.


Saudi Arabia to help Sudan cut IMF debt

Saudi Arabia to help Sudan cut IMF debt
Updated 18 May 2021

Saudi Arabia to help Sudan cut IMF debt

Saudi Arabia to help Sudan cut IMF debt
  • The Kingdom announced during the Paris Conference on Monday a $20 million grant to cover part of Sudan’s financing gap with the IMF

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia aims to support Sudan’s efforts to reduce its International Monetary Fund debts.
The Kingdom announced during the Paris Conference on Monday a $20 million grant to cover part of Sudan’s financing gap with the IMF, Al Arabiya reported.
Saudi Arabia also said it would also help the country deal with its arrears.
A Saudi official involved in debt restructuring talks for Sudan said that the Kingdom would encourage creditors to reach a broad agreement to reduce the African country’s $50 billion debt pile.
International Monetary Fund figures show that Saudi Arabia is the third largest creditor to Sudan, with about $4.6 billion outstanding.
Sudan is eligible for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.
The two-day Paris Conference to support Sudan comes as France writes off billions of dollars in Sudan debt.
“Reducing Sudan’s debt, which we are about to embark on, is a first result of reforms. This trend should be cemented, both economically and politically,” the French President said at the opening of the conference.
One of the goals of the Paris conference is to garner interest in investment in the country.
Billions of dollars in projects in energy, mining, infrastructure and agriculture will be proposed, said Sudan’s minister of cabinet affairs Khalid Omar Youssef.
“Sudan is a very rich country. We do not want charity, we want investments,” said Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok.


Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network

Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network
Updated 18 May 2021

Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network

Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network
  • Attorney General Ali bin Fadl Al-Buainain said the alleged offenses took place between 2008 and 2012

RIYADH: Bahrain’s attorney general said that public prosecutors had uncovered a $1.3 billion money laundering racket linked to officials at Future Bank and other Iranian institutions — including its central bank.
Attorney General Ali bin Fadl Al-Buainain said the alleged offenses took place between 2008 and 2012.
Al-Buainain said that Future Bank officials, together with other Iranian bank officials and the Central Bank of Iran, were involved in the transfer of money through an unauthorized remittance system, Al Arabiya reported.
Officials concealed the source of the funds to enable banks that included Iran’s Melli Bank and Bank Saderat Iran, to complete transfers which would have otherwise been blocked.
Al-Buainain alleged that Future Bank and its controlling shareholders were involved in systematic and widespread violations of banking laws in Bahrain.

 


Oil firm OQ to develop Oman green fuels project with consortium

Oil firm OQ to develop Oman green fuels project with consortium
Updated 18 May 2021

Oil firm OQ to develop Oman green fuels project with consortium

Oil firm OQ to develop Oman green fuels project with consortium
  • At full capacity the project will consist of 25 gigawatts of renewable solar and wind energy to produce the hydrogen

A consortium including Oman’s state-owned oil firm OQ will develop a renewable energy project in the Gulf state capable of producing millions of tonnes of zero-carbon green hydrogen per year, the developers said on Tuesday.

At full capacity the project will consist of 25 gigawatts of renewable solar and wind energy to produce the hydrogen.

So-called green hydrogen, created by splitting water into its two components using electricity from renewable energy sources, is increasingly viewed as a fuel of the future to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

Other members of the consortium are Hong Kong-headquartered InterContinental Energy, a renewable energy project developer, and EnerTech, a clean energy investor and developer which is owned by the Kuwait Investment Authority.

“The project will help transform Oman’s skills base and technical expertise in renewable energy, providing a significant number of high value jobs during site construction and operation,” the statement said.

Gulf oil-producing countries are trying to diversify their economies by creating new sectors and revenues, including through a big push in renewable energy.

Abu Dhabi plans to produce and export hydrogen as fuel and Saudi Arabia is working on a $5 billion hydrogen project in the NEOM high-tech business zone.


The electric Lamborghini is coming . . . but not just yet

The electric Lamborghini is coming . . . but not just yet
Updated 18 May 2021

The electric Lamborghini is coming . . . but not just yet

The electric Lamborghini is coming . . . but not just yet
  • First hybrid series production car to hit the market in 2023, with all its models “electrified” by the end of 2024

MILAN: Italian sports car maker Lamborghini on Tuesday unveiled Tuesday a €1.5-billion ($1.8 billion) electrification plan for its luxury vehicles, joining a global push away from fossil fuels at the risk of upsetting fans.
The company, which is owned by Volkswagen subsidiary Audi, said its first hybrid series production car would hit the market in 2023, with all its models “electrified” by the end of 2024.
But a battery-only model won’t be released until the second half of the decade, Lamborghini said.
The plan is “necessary in a context of a radically-changing world,” CEO Stephan Winkelmann said in a statement.
“We want to make our contribution by continuing to reduce environmental impact,” he added, saying the investment plowed into electrification is the company’s largest-ever.
By 2025, the company should reduce carbon emissions by half, it said.
The global trend toward electrification has been more challenging for the makers of the fastest sports cars than for mass-market producers.
Some have speculated that the brands’ fans may reject the different torque and driving experience of an electric vehicle compared to traditional combustion engines.
Following in Ferrari’s footsteps, Lamborghini in 2019 unveiled its first foray into electrification with the Sian supercar, capable of accelerating from 0 to 62mph (110 km/h) in less than 2.8 seconds.
The Sian, which means “lightning” in Bolognese dialect, cost over €3 million and only about 60 were built.
Lamborghini’s well-heeled customers helped it to record profit in 2020 despite the coronavirus-related challenges that hurt the automobile industry as a whole.
The company sold 7,430 cars last year, compared to its record of 8,205 vehicles in 2019.
Lamborghini shut down production for 70 days last year at the height of the coronavirus crisis in Italy.


Dubai desert tour outfit to expand in Saudi Arabia

Dubai desert tour outfit to expand in Saudi Arabia
Updated 18 May 2021

Dubai desert tour outfit to expand in Saudi Arabia

Dubai desert tour outfit to expand in Saudi Arabia
  • The joint venture, signed at the Arabian Travel Market, will establish a full-service destination management company in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Saudi family conglomerate Aljan and Brothers Holding Group is bringing Dubai’s Desert Adventures Tourism to the Kingdom, as international tourism is expected to boom.
The joint venture, signed at the Arabian Travel Market, will establish a full-service destination management company in Saudi Arabia, modeled on the Desert Adventures Tourism operation in the UAE.
“Despite the challenges of the past eighteen months we have seen considerable growth in visitation and spend across many regions of the country and we are optimistic about the future of tourism in Saudi,” Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority, said.
Aljan and Brothers is one of the largest private sector conglomerates in the Middle East, with businesses in textiles, real estate, logistics, and entertainment.
“Through this partnership, we will not only become a market leader in this sector but also create new jobs and support elevating the Kingdom as a prime tourism destination,” the group’s sponsor of tourism and hospitality Fahad bin saad Alajlan said.