Iraq is in talks with Saudi and UAE firms to deliver clean energy, minister says

Iraq is in talks with Saudi and UAE firms to deliver clean energy, minister says
An agreement was signed with Total to implement renewable energy projects in the southern and central regions. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 22 June 2021

Iraq is in talks with Saudi and UAE firms to deliver clean energy, minister says

Iraq is in talks with Saudi and UAE firms to deliver clean energy, minister says
  • There are also discussions with Saudi ACWA Power, to implement renewable energy projects

RIYADH: Iraq is in talks with Masdar to implement solar energy projects targeting an electricity capacity of up to 2 gigawatts, Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar told Asharq Business.
There are also discussions with Saudi ACWA Power, to implement renewable energy projects, he added.
"It is expected to sign contracts for renewable energy until 2025 targeting the production of between 10 and 12 gigawatts, representing about 25 percent of Iraq's electricity needs, which exceed 40 gigawatts," he said.
"We are working on a full entry into this production of energy gradually until 2030," he added.
An agreement was signed with Total to implement renewable energy projects in the southern and central regions aimed at generating electricity equivalent to 1 gigawatt, which has entered into force, the minister said.
Production is expected to start at about 500 megawatts by the end of 2022, with the stations implemented by Total reaching full production capacity during the year 2023.
Projects to generate electricity from solar energy in Karbala and Alexandria with a capacity of 525 megawatts were approved with a Norwegian company, according to Abdul Jabbar.
Other projects were awarded to small companies in Muthanna, Samawah and Al-Khidr, bringing the total energy generated from those projects to 750 megawatts, he said.


Fashion turns heads at FII

Fashion turns heads at FII
Updated 11 sec ago

Fashion turns heads at FII

Fashion turns heads at FII

RIYADH: The coronavirus pandemic forced most organizers around the world to hold several key summits and events online thus depriving participants of the chance to meet others in person. 

High-profile events such as the Future Investment Initiative not only offer a platform to discuss global and regional issues but also provide an opportunity for the attendees to try to look their best. 

The pre-event to-do list not only includes finalizing keynote speeches or presentations but also the most suitable attire to don at the event.

Despite all the seriousness of the issues being discussed at this year’s FII, one cannot ignore the style and fashion tastes of the participants. Colorful abayas, suits, dresses, and special accessories tell stories of their own.

Colin Rhys, chief executive officer of KARAVAN, a nomadic hospitality brand looking to expand into the Kingdom, turned heads with his unique fedora with a piece of Shemagh (Saudi headgear) tied to it. 

He told Arab News that he came up with the idea of the hat five years ago in AlUla when the original black band that went around it broke off. “I was with a Saudi friend who tied this (Shemagh material) to the hat,” Rhys said.

“I wore it to every FII, every single event, every year, everywhere,” he said. “It has become a part of me.”

He added: “We’re really excited to be here at the FII. I think we see the huge opportunity that the Crown Prince has laid out for us, and we’re excited to be part of the journey moving toward (Vision) 2030.”

Asma Arkubi, Saudi client adviser at the Red Sea Development Co. said she saw some of the most beautiful abayas at the FII.

“I really liked how these women walked in with something cultural and extremely fashionable at the same time, it was like a mini fashion show for me,” she told Arab News.

“Combining modern chic designs with culture is something I’ve always been a fan of,” she added.

John Pagano, CEO of the Red Sea Development Co. and Amaala, said it is his third time attending the FII, and highlighted that attendees are eager to come back to in-person events.

“I think this is almost probably the best FII for a whole variety of reasons, not least because it's the first one after the pandemic and it just shows how much people want to come and meet face to face something we had been missing for over the last two years,” Pagano told Arab News.

“But I also think, and I’m really pleased of the fact that it’s really cemented Saudi Arabia’s reputation for the Future Investment Initiative. It is now a global event, and it’s attended by the brightest people in the world, and I’m pleased to be part of that,” he added.

Mimoun Assraoui, CEO of RIF Trust and vice-chairman of Latitude, who was also present at the FII, said: “I’m very happy to be here because I missed it last year. We did it virtually last year and this year I’m amazed by the contents, the people, and the high-level of experience, and seeing people happy again to connect with each other.”


Newcastle deal a sign of UK-Saudi business partnership, says British envoy

Newcastle deal a sign of UK-Saudi business partnership, says British envoy
Updated 21 min 17 sec ago

Newcastle deal a sign of UK-Saudi business partnership, says British envoy

Newcastle deal a sign of UK-Saudi business partnership, says British envoy
  • Ken Costa says new Alvarium Tiedmann group is looking at Riyadh as a possible location for a regional headquarters

RIYADH: One of the leading advocates of stronger relations between Saudi Arabia and Britain believes the opposition expressed in some parts of the UK over the takeover of Newcastle United Football Club is just  “noise.”

Ken Costa, the former investment banker who has been Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s special envoy for the past three years, told Arab News: “It’s a competitive world. You see a strong player coming into your market, what do you want to do? You want to create noise. A lot of it is noise, a lot of it is trying to find reasons why it (the takeover) couldn’t happen, but it has happened.”

Costa was speaking on the sidelines of the FII forum in Riyadh, which he was attending as part of the British delegation. He said that the Newcastle deal — by a consortium 80 percent controlled by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, the PIF, was a good thing for the economy of the northeast of England.

“There is a very real possibility of welcoming Saudi investment into a part of the UK to create jobs to be able to be working in and around something where people can really identify with, which is football and the football club. It’s a positive thing for the fans and for football generally,” he added.

Costa was a high-profile investment banker in London for decades, but since leaving the chairmanship of Lazards he has been focusing on investment management for high net worth individuals, most recently as co-chairman of Alvarium Investments, which has just merged with the Tiedmann group to form a $1.4 billion investment management group.

In 2018, he was appointed as special envoy to Saudi Arabia when the current prime minister was foreign secretary,  and has been involved in some of the big recent transactions between the Kingdom and the UK.

“I have been the special representative of the prime minister for the last three years and, coming to the end of that, I have been able to see the extraordinary depth of the commitment between the two countries.

“With Invesment Minister Lord Grimstone leading the initiatives here we have got a real opportunity of being able to see capital flowing — intellectual capital but also real capital, coming from the Kingdom into the UK and vice versa,” he said.

Costa cited the £20 billion investment by PIF into Britain as an example of the kind of transaction that is likely to come from a new spirit of partnership between the two countries. 

“It’s very good at the moment and of course there is a long history of good personal relationships between the people of the Kingdom and Britain,” he added.

Costa was active in the campaign to get Saudi Aramco to list on the London Stock Exchange, which was eventually dropped when the Saudi oil company decided to go for a purely domestic listing. But, with suggestions that more shares might be sold, he still believes the UK capital is the natural place, despite concerns by some investors about backing hydrocarbon-based businesses.

“I think that there is an investment case and London is the obvious place. It is the deepest capital market and it is the global capital market. So let’s hope for that,”

The new Alvarium Tiedmann group will list on a public stock market some time soon, Costa said. He is considering whether to set up a permanent office in the Middle East, and is looking at Riyadh as a possible location for a regional headquarters.

Costa is looking to tap into the huge funds which will change hands between generations in the next few years, which some experts believe will amount to $100 trillion worth of wealth in the US alone over the next decade.

“That’s very exciting because this next generation has really got their values clearly focused on being environmentally friendly and in particular inclusive capitalism and that makes a difference.

“This is a generation that not only sees these values but has actually got the financial capital to be able to affect these changes.” 


Tourism ‘too big to fail’ warns Saudi assistant minister as she calls for governments to step up

Tourism ‘too big to fail’ warns Saudi assistant minister as she calls for governments to step up
Updated 59 sec ago

Tourism ‘too big to fail’ warns Saudi assistant minister as she calls for governments to step up

Tourism ‘too big to fail’ warns Saudi assistant minister as she calls for governments to step up

RIYADH: The tourism industry is “too big to fail”, according to a Saudi assistant minister as she invoked the 2008 banking collapse to describe the challenges facing the sector.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum, Princess Haifa Al Saud called for enhanced cooperation between the public and private sectors with a focus on “redesigning the future of tourism”.

The Covid-19 pandemic devastated the travel industry as countries around the world imposed lockdown measures.

The assistant minister for Executive Affairs & Strategy in Saudi's tourism department said some 60 million jobs have been lost in tourism as a result of the measures used to tackle Covid-19.

Addressing delegates in Riyadh, she said: “We need to work cross-sectoral with different industries in order to have a proper recovery, but also with the private sector. 

“We need to enhance this collaboration, to sit down on a table together, listen and understand what the issues are, agree on what the issues are and set a way forward.

“During the financial crisis back in 2008 we said banking is too big to fail. Today I'm telling the world tourism is way too big to fail.”

She went on to argue that governments must take responsibility for ensuring the sector gets back on its feet, saying they must “not just point the finger and say in ‘this is needed’ and watch them go and do, but to actually take that journey with them”.

Her concerns over the industry’s future were echoed by Spain’s tourism minister Reyes Maroto, who said that his country “will use health passports and other tools to facilitate continual movement to achieve sustainability”.

“We cannot work separately from the private sector, they will take the initiative to move forward in the future,” he added.


Germany trims 2021 growth forecast, lifts 2022 prediction

Germany trims 2021 growth forecast, lifts 2022 prediction
Updated 27 October 2021

Germany trims 2021 growth forecast, lifts 2022 prediction

Germany trims 2021 growth forecast, lifts 2022 prediction

BERLIN: The economic growth forecast for Germany was sharply cut to 2.6 percent for 2021 from April’s prediction of 3.5 percent, the German government said. 

This was mainly driven by distortions in the supply chain as well as hikes in energy prices.

On the other hand, the forecast for next year was favorably altered to 4.1 percent up from the former expectation of 3.6 percent, the Economy Ministry added.


Immersive video app 360VUZ scales operations in Saudi Arabia

Immersive video app 360VUZ scales operations in Saudi Arabia
Updated 27 October 2021

Immersive video app 360VUZ scales operations in Saudi Arabia

Immersive video app 360VUZ scales operations in Saudi Arabia
  • 360VUZ's Saudi office is part of the company’s growth plan, focusing on business development, building the latest immersive technologies, and initiating new partnerships. 

The immersive mobile video app, 360VUZ has scaled its operations further in Riyadh with a larger office.

360VUZ's Saudi office is part of the company’s growth plan, focusing on business development, building the latest immersive technologies, and initiating new partnerships. 

“360VUZ ranked as the number one mobile app on Apple Store in Saudi Arabia last week, proving that it is just the perfect location to maximize our business and continue on bringing new immersive social content to our users,” the company’s CEO, Khaled Zaatarah said. 

So far, the app has raised a total of $10 million from top international investors.