Palestinian businessman allowed to export products to West Bank

Palestinian businessman allowed to export products to West Bank
Palestinians at a market in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Israel allowed a Gaza-based company to market its products in West Bank markets, for the first time in 14 years. (AFP)
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Updated 13 December 2020

Palestinian businessman allowed to export products to West Bank

Palestinian businessman allowed to export products to West Bank
  • Gaza-based company allowed to market its products in West Bank markets for the first time in 14 years

GAZA CITY: Palestinian businessman Wael Al-Wadyya has much hope for an economic breakthrough, after Israel allowed his Gaza-based company to market its products in West Bank markets, for the first time in 14 years.

Al-Wadyya, who is the general manager of the Saray Al-Wadyya company, which his family owns in Gaza, is looking forward to restoring the production capacity that the company had before Israel tightened the siege on the Gaza Strip, after Hamas took control of it by armed force in 2007.

Sarayo Al-Wadyya is the first company in Gaza that was allowed to export some of its food products to reach the West Bank cities.

Since Nov. 22, Israel has allowed four shipments, containing only two types of sweets and snacks, out of 50 items produced by the company, to reach West Bank markets through the Kerem Shalom crossing, the only commercial crossing designated for the passage of goods and goods to and from Gaza.

“This permission does not mean that the Israeli restrictions on the movement of marketing in the West Bank and exports abroad have disappeared, but it is an important step, and we are looking for more facilities,” Al-Wadyya said to Arab News

The company used to distribute 60-70 percent of its total food products in the West Bank before the imposition of the blockade, which caused the production capacity of the company’s factory to be reduced by less than half, due to Israeli restrictions on marketing in the West Bank, as well as exporting abroad.

He hopes that the production capacity of the factory, which was established in 1985 and obtained a few months ago the international certificate (ISO 22000) for the quality of food standards, will rise to 90 percent in the event that all items are allowed to be marketed in the West Bank, whose markets are many times greater than their counterparts in Gaza.

Al-Wadyya said: “Our products reached Europe and Gulf countries before the West Bank, which is a few kilometers away from us, and had it not been for the standard specifications of quality, Israel would not have responded to European pressures that it was subjected to, and which led it to allow marketing in the West Bank.”

The company currently employs 150 people. The general manager of the company expects that the number will more than double if all the factory products are allowed to be marketed outside Gaza.

About 2 million people in the enclave are suffering from several crises, which have caused unemployment rates to rise to 46 percent, and the poverty rate to reach 53 percent.

Economists expect that allowing Gaza’s factories to export abroad and market in the West Bank — if it continues — may contribute to saving the “almost collapsed” industrial and commercial sector in Gaza.

The executive director of the General Federation of Palestinian Industries, Khader Shaniora, confirmed that industries in Gaza in all its sectors face great challenges due to Israeli restrictions, which have incurred heavy financial losses over the past years, and caused the collapse of many companies and factories.

“Gaza products are able to compete not only in the West Bank market, but also in international markets. Five factories have successfully proven this, one of which is Sarayo Al-Wadyya, by obtaining the highest international quality certificate, and soon five other factories will obtain the same certificate,” Shaniora told Arab News

The editor-in-chief of the Gaza-based Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper, Muhammad Abu Jayab, said that allowing Gaza’s products to reach the West Bank would “create thousands of job opportunities in light of a crisis of poverty and stifling unemployment, in addition to its contribution to pushing economic indicators towards growth.”

According to the monitoring and documentation of Palestinian NGOs, only 800 industrial establishments in various sectors continued to operate at low capacity and resisted collapse, out of the 2,000 establishments that were operating in Gaza before the imposition of the blockade and the division in 2007.


Emirates NBD profits rise as it expands Saudi branch network

Emirates NBD profits rise as it expands Saudi branch network
Updated 5 min 25 sec ago

Emirates NBD profits rise as it expands Saudi branch network

Emirates NBD profits rise as it expands Saudi branch network
  • The bank reported a net profit of 2.32 billion dirhams ($599 million) in the first quarter of 2021

DUBAI: Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest lender, reported a 12 percent increase in first-quarter net profit amid an improving economic outlook.

The bank reported a net profit of 2.32 billion dirhams ($599 million) in the first quarter of 2021, it said in a statement on Tuesday.
Patrick Sullivan, group chief financial officer said the bank was able to deliver a 12 percent rise in profit, "with the significant impact of lower interest rates being more than offset by significantly lower credit impairment, and good cost discipline."
The bank said it increased its branch network in Saudi Arabia to six and became the first foreign bank to be granted permission to open branches in Madinah and Makkah.
The bank highlighted the improving economic outlook in Saudi Arabia with the Kingdom's economy expected to grow by 0.7 percent this year after contracting 4.1 percent in 2020.  
"Higher oil prices will help to reduce the budget deficit to just 1.4% of GDP this year, and a number of initiatives have been announced to boost domestic investment," it said.

 


Saudi Arabia is biggest 5G adopter in the Gulf, report shows

Saudi Arabia is biggest 5G adopter in the Gulf, report shows
Updated 13 min 54 sec ago

Saudi Arabia is biggest 5G adopter in the Gulf, report shows

Saudi Arabia is biggest 5G adopter in the Gulf, report shows
  • Saudi Arabia’s 5G speed was “much faster than the global average”

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has recorded the highest adoption of 5G technology compared to its Gulf neighbors, a new report showed.
Ookla, an Internet intelligence firm, revealed that the Kingdom had the most number of devices connected to 5G since its commercial release in 2019.
It was measured by looking at the ratio of samples from devices connected to 5G to the number of samples from all 5G-capable devices, which the firm said is an indicator of the maturity of a country’s 5G market.
Qatar came second, followed by the UAE. Oman, which only launched 5G early this year, was at the bottom of the list.
The report also noted Saudi Arabia’s 5G speed was “much faster than the global average.”
Its median download speed was 127 percent faster at 322.42 Mbps.
The Saudi Telecom Company emerged as the fastest operator in the Kingdom, but Mobily recorded the highest rating from customers.


NADEC consortium submits bid for privatized Saudi flour mill

NADEC consortium submits bid for privatized Saudi flour mill
Updated 20 April 2021

NADEC consortium submits bid for privatized Saudi flour mill

NADEC consortium submits bid for privatized Saudi flour mill
  • Saudi Arabia is accelerating plans to privatize key infrastructure in an effort to modernize the economy

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia's National Agricultural Development Company (NADEC) is part of a consortium that has bid for a privatized flour mill in the Kingdom.
It has teamed up with OLAM International Limited, Al Rajhi International for Investment and Abdulaziz Alajlan & Sons Company for Commercial and Real Estate Investment, to bid for one of two mills being privatized, the company said in a stock exchange filing.
The two mills are being offered for privatization by the Saudi Grains Organization.
NADEC said  it has agreed a "term sheet" relating to the creation of a limited liability company to acquire the mill should its bid be successful.
The potential acquisition would be financed through a combination of self-financing by the consortium members and borrowing from local banks, it said.
Saudi Arabia is accelerating plans to privatize key infrastructure in an effort to modernize the economy, speed major infrastructure works and develop its financial services sector.


Dubai’s external food trade hit $14.2bn in 2020

Dubai’s external food trade hit $14.2bn in 2020
Updated 20 April 2021

Dubai’s external food trade hit $14.2bn in 2020

Dubai’s external food trade hit $14.2bn in 2020
  • The emirate imported foodstuff worth 34.7 billion dirhams

DUBAI: Dubai’s external food trade reached 52 billion dirhams ($14.2 billion) in 2020, according to government data.
The emirate imported foodstuff worth 34.7 billion dirhams, Dubai Customs manager Nassim Al-Mehairi said, while exports and re-exports were valued at 10 billion dirhams and 7.3 billion dirhams respectively.
Food security is a major issue in the UAE, which has been investing in technology that will reduce its reliance on importing key staples.
Dubai Customs has streamlined its processes to accelerate the clearance of foodstuff shipments to ensure they are delivered to markets on time, especially during Ramadan when consumption is high, Al-Mehairi said.


Saudi Red Sea tourism plan to clinch a $3.7bn green loan

Saudi Red Sea tourism plan to clinch a $3.7bn green loan
Updated 20 April 2021

Saudi Red Sea tourism plan to clinch a $3.7bn green loan

Saudi Red Sea tourism plan to clinch a $3.7bn green loan
  • The Red Sea Development Co.’s SR14 billion ($3.7 billion) loan is set to close with a small group of local banks
  • The proceeds will be used to finance environmentally sustainable investment

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is weeks away from clinching the first significant funding package for a key part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s program to diversify the Kingdom’s economy, Bloomberg reported.
The Red Sea Development Co.’s SR14 billion ($3.7 billion) loan is set to close with a small group of local banks including Saudi National Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, Riyad Bank and Saudi British Bank, the newswire reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The deal to help fund the first phase of the development will be a so-called green loan. The proceeds will be used to finance environmentally sustainable investment, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. It will have a tenor of 15 years and an interest rate of about 1 percent above the Saudi interbank offered rate, they said.
The company first started approaching banks for the loan in mid-2019, Bloomberg said.
Opening to tourism is one of the ways Saudi Arabia intends to diversify the economy away from oil. Its other ambitious projects include an entertainment hub near the capital Riyadh, and the new NEOM city in the north-west, which is expected to cost $500 billion to build.
The Red Sea Development, owned by the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, will oversee a luxury tourism zone equivalent in size to Belgium. When the entire project is completed in 2030, it will target 1 million visitors a year, split evenly between domestic and international tourists.
Construction of a new international airport for the area has begun, and the first phase of the project is due to be completed with the opening of four hotels at the end of 2022.
12 more hotels will be open the following year, Chief Executive Officer John Pagano said in an interview in November.