Saudi looks to greener pastures as it boosts recycling investment

Saudi looks to greener pastures as it boosts recycling investment
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Updated 07 April 2022

Saudi looks to greener pastures as it boosts recycling investment

Saudi looks to greener pastures as it boosts recycling investment
  • Saudi Arabia will look to invest almost SR24 billion ($6.4bn) in waste recycling by 2035
  • SIRC is keen to attract foreign direct investments worth SR6 billion, create 23,000 jobs, and contribute an amount of SR37 billion to the national GDP

Saudi Arabia will look to invest almost SR24 billion ($6.4bn) in waste recycling by 2035 as the country attempts to move to a more sustainable waste management system.

It will invest around SR1.3 billion ($346.6 million) in construction and demolition waste, and about SR900 million in industrial waste, while investments in municipal solid waste will exceed SR20 billion, and investments in other waste will exceed SR1.6 billion, Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC) CEO, Ziyad Al-Shiha said.

Saudi Arabia had 5 percent of its total waste recycled from the beginning of 2020 until the first half of this year 2021, including plastic, metal and paper, Al-Shiha said.

The PIF-owned company started investing in projects specifically designed to increase conversion rates and recycling operations by establishing alliances with private sector companies specialized in this field, he told Al Eqtisadiah.

He pointed out that there is cooperation with leading local companies such as SABIC and Aramco in the recycling of plastic waste, and Maaden in the recycling of mining waste, and several companies in the building materials sector in the field using waste to produce alternative fuels, as well as a group of companies in the field of metal recycling and electronics.

"The company is also working with legislators and regulators to separate waste from the source by placing dedicated containers, organizing transportation and waste collection operations, building sorting and treatment stations, as well as making use of non-recyclable waste to produce alternative fuels and energy, and converting organic waste into organic fertilizers for agriculture," Al-Shiha said.

"This enhances the added value and reduces the cost of environmental degradation, which is estimated at SR86 billion annually," he said.

He stated that the company is keen to attract foreign direct investments worth SR6 billion, create 23,000 jobs, and contribute an amount of SR37 billion to the national GDP.


He pointed out that the share of foreign investment in the field of recycling at the present time is relatively "low", compared to other sectors, especially that the recycling market in Saudi Arabia is still nascent, and the number of local specialized companies in this field is still limited.

SIRC seeks within its strategic objectives to divert 85 percent of hazardous industrial waste from landfills, and 100 percent of solid waste from landfills and 60 percent of construction and demolition waste from landfills by 2035, Al-Shiha said.

Accordingly, the company is working on several promising projects to invest in the circular economy, through global and local partnerships to improve value chains, he said.

Al-Shiha pointed out that SIRC is also working to promote the Green Saudi Initiative goals by shifting from landfills by 94 percent..


"More than 40 percent of the recyclable materials in the Kingdom, amounting to about 56 million tons annually, are concentrated in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, where 85 percent of them can be recycled and utilized for the purpose of obtaining a source of alternative energy and raw materials that enter into Manufacturing processes," Al-Shiha said.


The Kingdom recycles only about 10 percent of recyclable materials, while 90 percent of materials are disposed of by landfill, which causes harm to the environment and limits the use of recyclable materials, he explained.


He pointed out that one of the biggest challenges facing the sector at the present time is the lack of awareness of the importance of recycling, especially with the absence of a waste sorting system from the source. 

SIRC cooperates with the relevant government agencies to raise awareness, community participation, and disseminate awareness campaigns in the coming years, he said.

 


Macro Snapshot — US weekly jobless claims fall; Italy business and consumers morale rise

Macro Snapshot — US weekly jobless claims fall; Italy business and consumers morale rise
Updated 10 sec ago

Macro Snapshot — US weekly jobless claims fall; Italy business and consumers morale rise

Macro Snapshot — US weekly jobless claims fall; Italy business and consumers morale rise

RIYADH:  The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, consistent with a labor market that remains tight amid strong demand for workers despite rising interest rates and tightening financial conditions.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 210,000 for the week ended May 21, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The decline partially unwound some of the prior week’s surge, which had pushed claims to their highest level since January.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 215,000 applications for the latest week. Some blamed the recent increase in applications to less generous seasonal factors in May, the model that the government uses to strip out seasonal fluctuations from the data, relative to the prior two months.

Others, however, believed some retailers were laying off workers. Several retailers, including Walmart Inc., last week cut their full-year earnings forecasts, warning that inflation was squeezing profits.

In a separate report on Thursday, the Commerce Department confirmed the economy contracted in the first quarter under the weight of a record trade deficit and a slightly slower pace of inventory accumulation compared to the fourth quarter.

Gross domestic product fell at a 1.5 annualized rate last quarter, the government said in its second GDP estimate. That was revised down from the 1.4 percent pace of decline reported in April. The economy grew at a robust 6.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter.

Italy business morale rise 

Morale among Italian businesses and consumers rose in May, data showed on Thursday, with service industries regaining confidence despite the ongoing war in Ukraine while manufacturers remained downbeat.

National statistics institute ISTAT’s manufacturing confidence index fell to 109.3 in May from 109.9 in April, but still came in slightly above a median forecast of 109.0 in a Reuters survey of 10 analysts.

ISTAT’s composite business morale index, combining surveys of the manufacturing, retail, construction and services sectors, rose to 110.9, compared with April’s reading of 108.4.

More positive sentiment in the services and retail sectors outweighed a decline in manufacturing and construction.

ISTAT said it had revised it methodology for calculating overall business sentiment, leading to a marked revision of its previous readings for April and preceding months.

Consumer confidence rose in May to 102.7 from 100 in April, the first increase after four consecutive declines. The reading comfortably beat a median forecast of 100.5 in Reuters’ poll.

Australia business investment dips 

Australian business investment fell unexpectedly in the first quarter as floods and bottlenecks hit building work, though firms sharply lifted plans for spending in the year ahead in a boost to the economic outlook.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics out on Thursday showed private capital spending dipped a real 0.9 percent in the March quarter, from the previous quarter, missing forecasts of a 1.5 percent increase.

Spending on buildings fell 1.7 percent, offsetting a 1.2 percent rise in investment in plant and machinery which is important as this will directly contribute to economic growth in the quarter.

Promisingly, firms upgraded spending plans for the year to June 2023 to a strong A$130.5 billion ($92.49 billion), up almost 12 percent on the previous estimate and above the A$122 billion analysts had looked for.

The report echoes data showing construction work done fell 0.9 percent in the first quarter as bad weather and supply shortages dragged on activity, particularly in housing where building costs rose at the fastest pace in 21 years.

Bank of Canada to hike overnight rate 

The Bank of Canada will hike its overnight rate by 50 basis points on June 1, according to all 30 economists polled by Reuters, who see interest rates at least a half-point higher by year-end than predicted just one month ago.

The BoC seems set to follow an aggressive path similar to that taken by the Federal Reserve to tame soaring inflation, which hit over a three-decade high of 6.8 percent in April and has now been above the central bank’s 1-3 percent range for more than a year.

After a 50 basis-point hike in April, its biggest single increase in 22 years, BoC Gov. Tiff Macklem said interest rates may need to go above the neutral range — currently estimated to be between 2 percent and 3 percent — for a period of time to get inflation back to target. 

South Korea steps up inflation fight 

South Korea’s central bank on Thursday delivered back-to-back interest rate hikes and forecast further aggressive increases to wrestle consumer inflation down from 13-year highs.

The Bank of Korea raised its benchmark policy rate  by a quarter of a percentage point to 1.75 percent, the highest since mid-2019, joining a global wave of tightenings as central bankers grapple with price spikes not seen in decades.

Russian central bank slashes key rate

Russia’s central bank slashed its key interest rate to 11 percent on Thursday and said it saw room for more cuts this year, as inflation slows from more than 20-year highs and the economy heads toward a contraction.

It announced the move, which followed two previous 300 basis point cuts which took the rate to 14 percent, at an extraordinary meeting. The bank has been gradually reversing an emergency rate hike to 20 percent in late February that was triggered by Russia’s Feb. 24 move to send tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine and the imposition of Western sanctions in response.

 

(With input from Reuters) 


Saudi Arabia’s NDMC closes funding activities for 2022 debt repayments at $11bn

Saudi Arabia’s NDMC closes funding activities for 2022 debt repayments at $11bn
Updated 26 May 2022

Saudi Arabia’s NDMC closes funding activities for 2022 debt repayments at $11bn

Saudi Arabia’s NDMC closes funding activities for 2022 debt repayments at $11bn

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Debt Management Center has completed arranging local sukuk issuances for the debt principal repayments for 2022, with a funding amount of around SR43 billion ($11 billion). 

In accordance with its annual borrowing plan, the NDMC may consider additional funding activities subject to market conditions, it said in a statement.

The move is part of the Kingdom’s strategy to ensure its presence in debt markets and manage debt repayments for the coming years and to facilitate funding for capital expenditures and infrastructure projects.

The center is working on expanding the investors base and strengthening communication channels, CEO Hani Al-Medaini said, adding that it also seeks to attract new capital and international financial institutions to take part in the primary dealers program.


Aviv Clinics Dubai recommends hyperbaric oxygen therapy for C-suites

Aviv Clinics Dubai recommends hyperbaric oxygen therapy for C-suites
Updated 26 May 2022

Aviv Clinics Dubai recommends hyperbaric oxygen therapy for C-suites

Aviv Clinics Dubai recommends hyperbaric oxygen therapy for C-suites

RIYADH: After years of hard work, executives finally land a position in the C-suite, but that only calls for even more work, concentration, and energy.

With the average age for C-suite positions being above 40, these executives require rejuvenation, and that’s where Aviv Clinics Dubai comes in.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Top CEO event in Dubai, Aviv Clinics Dubai CEO Mike Frayne spoke about hyperbaric oxygen therapy for all ages, specifically CEOs.

Frayne explained that clients under hyperbaric oxygen therapy are asked to breathe 100 percent oxygen for a specific time in a repeated cycle which increases oxygen in the body by almost 20 times.

“That’s beneficial because it gets oxygen to tissue, which otherwise it’s difficult to reach. And as we grow older, the microvessels in our brain and our body become narrowed or occluded. So it becomes more difficult for oxygen to reach the brain and body tissues. So we get more oxygen to the tissue,” he explained.

“What that does is it triggers regenerative processes in your body. It triggers stem cells in your body to produce themselves. And we have those in our bone marrow, liver, hippocampus in the brain, and it also triggers blood vessels to grow,” he added.

Frayne said this kind of therapy is essential for CEOs or C-suite positions to keep their performance at a high by increasing stamina, cognitive ability, and physical and mental performance.

Another benefit highlighted by Frayne is the increase in telomere length in the human DNA, which is known as a biomarker for age longevity.

“It ensures that your cells replicate for longer. And we also reduce something called senescence cells. When cells stop replicating, they can become problematic. They can become cancer cells. And we stop that from happening,” he added.


‘The right vision lays the foundations of a terrific future’ in Saudi Arabia, says Investcorp co-CEO

‘The right vision lays the foundations of a terrific future’ in Saudi Arabia, says Investcorp co-CEO
Updated 26 May 2022

‘The right vision lays the foundations of a terrific future’ in Saudi Arabia, says Investcorp co-CEO

‘The right vision lays the foundations of a terrific future’ in Saudi Arabia, says Investcorp co-CEO
  • Investcorp co-CEO Hazem Ben-Gacem discusses Saudi and regional economy plus future plans

DAVOS: With Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify the Kingdom’s economy away from oil dependence, Investcorp co-CEO Hazem Ben-Gacem has only one way to look — up.

“Today when you have the right vision, you have the right local infrastructure and local people, as well as the capital to go with that, these are the foundations of hopefully a terrific future,” he told Arab News at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.

“Saudi specifically has a very terrific, audacious plan for growth in the economy, driven by the 2030 vision, and that requires the capital that requires the resources to diversify and grow the economy way beyond the fossil fuel economy.”

Investcorp is one of the biggest and oldest global asset management companies in the region, specializing in alternative investments across sectors including private equity, real estate, credit and infrastructure.

Investcorp is one of the biggest and oldest global asset management companies in the region. (Supplied)

Founded in Bahrain in 1982, the company has global investments in the US and Europe, as well as the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia and China.

Investcorp has more than $42 billion in assets under management and has been a major investor in the region, especially in Saudi Arabia where it has been heavily investing over the past 15 years, Ben-Gacem said.

The company, however, hopes to increase its assets to up to $200 billion and bring in investors from the Kingdom and other countries in the region.

Investcorp’s Saudi investments include Leejam, the biggest fitness group in the country; BinDawood Holding, the largest supermarket chain; Theeb, one of the largest car rental businesses; and Al Borg, the largest medical testing center.

Investcorp are currently raising two specific funds for Saudi Arabia.

Investcorp is one of the biggest and oldest global asset management companies in the region. (Supplied)

The first one is the Saudi Pre-IPO Fund, a private equity fund investing in Saudi domiciled businesses, which will be prepared for a listing on the Tadawul Stock Exchange, Ben-Gacem explained.

The second one is an infrastructure fund that will focus on the social infrastructure investments in the region.

Ben-Gacem said that he was “very proud” that no other private equity firm has had as many listings as Investcorp has had on the Tadawul.

“I like to think that’s the beginning and there’s even more to come in the near future,” he said.

On new investment developments in Saudi Arabia, Ben-Gacem said that the company was a big fan of technology and hopes to soon announce a substantial investment in one of the largest technology businesses in Saudi Arabia.

The company hopes to support that business to expand globally. “That’s what Investcorp is good at, taking businesses global,” he said. “I think it’s about time Saudi businesses started to think global and started to act and sell their products and their services in a global manner.”

He added: “They have the competence, they have the products, the services, the people, and we are happy and proud to be supporting those businesses to do that.”


Labor rights, awareness remain top priorities of Saudi Arabia’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking: Vice chair

Labor rights, awareness remain top priorities of Saudi Arabia’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking: Vice chair
Updated 26 May 2022

Labor rights, awareness remain top priorities of Saudi Arabia’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking: Vice chair

Labor rights, awareness remain top priorities of Saudi Arabia’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking: Vice chair

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking has launched an action plan and a referral mechanism to stop human trafficking and protect labor rights in the Kingdom, said the organization’s Vice Chair Sarah Al-Tamimi.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News at the Top CEO event, which took place in Dubai earlier this month, Al-Tamimi said the action plan was launched two years ago with targets including human trafficking prevention and prosecution measures. 

“Trafficking is like any other crime, it’s everywhere,” said Al-Tamimi. “Our goals are to put strong legislation and protection measures in place and raise awareness of the issues.”

When asked about achievements of the action plan, Al-Tamimi said they launched a national referral mechanism, which she described as a “coordination mechanism across government entities to refer potential victims of human trafficking.”

The committee is also working on a number of enhancements in terms of regulations as well as campaigns to spread awareness, Al-Tamimi said. “You need a workforce that’s aware of their rights because they do have immense rights,” she added.

It’s also important to bring labor rights awareness to the private sector, and the committee has facilitated awareness sessions with the Chambers of Commerce, besides training hundreds of recruitment companies, said

Al-Tamimi. “At the end of the day, sustainable practices lead to more profits, more competitiveness, and a more competitive economy as a whole,” she concluded.