World Bank, IMF to consider climate change in debt reduction talks

World Bank, IMF to consider climate change in debt reduction talks
\World Bank President David Malpass. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 20 February 2021

World Bank, IMF to consider climate change in debt reduction talks

World Bank, IMF to consider climate change in debt reduction talks
  • The coronavirus pandemic has worsened the outlook for many countries that were already heavily indebted before the outbreak

WASHINGTON: The World Bank is working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on ways to factor climate change into the negotiations about reducing the debt burdens of some poor countries, World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters in a Friday interview.
Three countries — Ethiopia, Chad and Zambia — have already initiated negotiations with creditors under a new Common Framework supported by the Group of 20 major economies, a process that may lead to debt reductions in some cases.
Malpass said he expected additional countries to request restructuring of their debts, but declined to give any details.
The coronavirus pandemic has worsened the outlook for many countries that were already heavily indebted before the outbreak, with revenues down, spending up and vaccination rates lagging far behind advanced economies.
China, the United States and other G20 countries initially offered the world’s poorest countries temporary payment relief on debt owed to official creditors under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). In November, the G20 also launched a new framework designed to tackle unsustainable debt stocks.
Malpass said the Bank and the IMF were studying how to twin two global problems — the need to reduce or restructure the heavy debt burden of many poorer countries, and the need to reduce fossil fuel emissions that contribute to climate change.
“There’s a way to put together ... the need for debt reduction with the need for climate action by countries around the world, including the poorer countries,” he said, adding that initial efforts could happen under the G20 common framework.
Factoring climate change into the debt restructuring process could help motivate sovereign lenders and even private creditors to write off a certain percentage of the debt of heavily-indebted poorer countries, in exchange for progress toward their sustainable development and climate goals, experts say.
The World Bank and the IMF play an important advisory and consultative role in debt restructuring negotiations since they assess the sustainability of each country’s debt burden.
Many developing countries require huge outlays to shore up their food supplies and infrastructure as a result of climate change. Governments must also spend a large amount on alternative energy projects, but lack the resources to pay for those needed investments.
“There needs to be a moral recognition by the world that the activities in the advanced economies have an impact on the people in the poorer economies,” Malpass said.
“The poorer countries are not really emitting very much in terms of greenhouse gases, but they’re bearing the brunt of the impact from the rest of the world,” he added.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva earlier this month told reporters about early-stage discussions underway about linking debt relief to climate resilience and investment in low-carbon energy sources.
Doing so, she said, could help private sector creditors achieve their sustainable development targets, she said.
“You give the country breathing space, and in exchange, you as the creditor can demonstrate that it translates into a commitment in the country that leads to a global public good,” she said.


Dubai completes first phase of e-commerce free zone

Dubai completes first phase of e-commerce free zone
Updated 18 April 2021

Dubai completes first phase of e-commerce free zone

Dubai completes first phase of e-commerce free zone
  • It includes 470,000 square feet of real estate
  • The e-commerce sector in the Gulf is booming with the forced closure of bricks and mortar shops during the pandemic giving the industry a further boost

DUBAI: The first phase of a new Dubai fee zone dedicated to e-commerce has been completed.
It includes 470,000 square feet of real estate.
The 3.2 billion dirhams ($871 million) Dubai CommerCity project also includes 145,000 square feet of e-commerce logistics units and warehouses in a cluster managed and operated by Hellmann Worldwide Logistics and DHL.
It has leased 51 percent of the logistics warehouses to companies operating across IT, fashion, jewelry and electronics.
“The launch of Dubai CommerCity aims to lead the future of e-commerce business in the region,” said Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman of the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority. “The project has been thoroughly studied not only to provide foundational solutions, but also to stimulate and support business and prosperity at a time when the sector is going through peak growth.”
The e-commerce sector in the Gulf is booming with the forced closure of bricks and mortar shops during the pandemic giving the industry a further boost.
The free zone provides opportunities for manufacturers, distributors and global e-retailers while offering tax and investment incentives, it said.
It is divided into three main clusters — Business, Logistics and Social.


Emirates NBD, Etihad Credit Insurance ink deal to ease trade finance access for UAE businesses

Emirates NBD, Etihad Credit Insurance ink deal to ease trade finance access for UAE businesses
Updated 18 April 2021

Emirates NBD, Etihad Credit Insurance ink deal to ease trade finance access for UAE businesses

Emirates NBD, Etihad Credit Insurance ink deal to ease trade finance access for UAE businesses
  • The deal will help the UAE lender to reduce any risks that may be associated with credit facilities

DUBAI: UAE export credit company, Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), has signed an agreement with Emirates NBD to improve liquidity of UAE exporters by easing their access to credit facilities.
The deal will help the UAE lender to reduce any risks that may be associated with credit facilities, so businesses can pursue export and expansion opportunities, according to a joint statement.
More than 80 per cent of world trade relies on trade finance, ECI’s chief Massimo Falcioni said, and the agreement will allow Emirates NBD to offer innovative financial solutions to their clients.
Governments in the Gulf have been investing in strengthening local businesses as a strategy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to gradually veer away from oil-dependence.

 

 


Italian fashion brand Diesel launches online shopping platform in KSA, UAE

Italian fashion brand Diesel launches online shopping platform in KSA, UAE
Updated 18 April 2021

Italian fashion brand Diesel launches online shopping platform in KSA, UAE

Italian fashion brand Diesel launches online shopping platform in KSA, UAE
  • The website will feature new collections of the fashion line, as well as exclusive deals for online shoppers

DUBAI: Italian fashion retailer Diesel has launched its own e-commerce platform for customers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the company said on Sunday.
The website will feature new collections of the fashion line, as well as exclusive deals for online shoppers. It will also offer free shipping for customers in both countries.
Diesel has been in the market for four decades and is known for its denim and casual fashion offerings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created huge demand for online shopping in the Gulf, with many retailers accelerating their digital efforts to take advantage of it


Kuwaiti coffee delivery app raises $10m in new funding

Kuwaiti coffee delivery app raises $10m in new funding
Updated 18 April 2021

Kuwaiti coffee delivery app raises $10m in new funding

Kuwaiti coffee delivery app raises $10m in new funding
  • The funding was provided by Kuwaiti listed investment house Al Imtiaz Investment Group
  • COFE was conceived in 2017 by Kuwait-based founder Ali Al-Ebrahim, developed in Silicon Valley and launched in 2018

DUBAI: Kuwaiti coffee delivery app COFE has raised $10 million in new funding, which it aims to use to scale up its operations in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK and to expand into Egypt and Turkey.
The funding was provided by Kuwaiti listed investment house Al Imtiaz Investment Group. COFE was conceived in 2017 by Kuwait-based founder Ali Al-Ebrahim, developed in Silicon Valley and launched in 2018.
“From its early days, COFE has shown tremendous potential as a unique offering that caters to discerning coffee connoisseurs and their consumption habits, while helping to grow and transform revenue streams for vendors. Our partners have recognized this and are confident in our ability to serve existing customers and vendors, while expanding into new markets,” Al-Ebrahim said in a press statement.
Zev Siegl, a co-founder of international coffee chain Starbucks, is also an adviser to COFE. “I am happy to collaborate with the COFE App team and proud of the success and development they’ve achieved,” Siegl told the Mubasher website in April 2019. “During my stay in Kuwait, I visited more than 20 coffee shops and I was impressed by the high level of service, innovation and the high demand on coffee shops which ensure that the COFE app market will keep on growing and will reach the international market very soon.”


Israel and Greece sign record defense deal

Israel and Greece sign record defense deal
Updated 18 April 2021

Israel and Greece sign record defense deal

Israel and Greece sign record defense deal
  • The agreement includes a $1.65 billion contract for the establishment and operation of a training center for the Hellenic Air Force

JERUSALEM: Israel and Greece have signed their biggest ever defense procurement deal, which Israel said on Sunday would strengthen political and economic ties between the countries.
The agreement includes a $1.65 billion contract for the establishment and operation of a training center for the Hellenic Air Force by Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems over a 22-year period, Israel’s defense ministry said.
The training center will be modeled on Israel’s own flight academy and will be equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by Italian company Leonardo, the ministry said.
Elbit will supply kits to upgrade and operate Greece’s T-6 aircraft and also provide training, simulators and logistical support.
“I am certain that (this program) will upgrade the capabilities and strengthen the economies of Israel and Greece and thus the partnership between our two countries will deepen on the defense, economic and political levels,” said Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz.
The announcement follows a meeting in Cyprus on Friday between the UAE, Greek, Cypriot and Israeli foreign ministers, who agreed to deepen cooperation between their countries.