Iraq signs 1.5 GW solar deals with UAE's Masdar, Norway-led consortium

Iraq signs 1.5 GW solar deals with UAE's Masdar, Norway-led consortium
Iraq has grown dependent on gas and electricity imports from neighboring Iran, under exemptions to US sanctions on Tehran. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 08 October 2021

Iraq signs 1.5 GW solar deals with UAE's Masdar, Norway-led consortium

Iraq signs 1.5 GW solar deals with UAE's Masdar, Norway-led consortium
  • Iraq signs deals for five solar parks with Masdar and two with Scatec consortium

BAGHDAD: Power-starved Iraq on Thursday signed a deal with a Norwegian-led consortium to build two solar power plants, officials said, a day after inking a similar agreement with the UAE.
War-scarred Iraq is the second-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), but the country faces a severe energy crisis and chronic power cuts that feed social discontent.
Thursday’s agreement with the consortium led by Scatec is for the construction of two solar plants south of Baghdad with a total capacity of 525 megawatts (MW), the oil ministry said.
The project will cost around $500 million, with one plant to be built in Karbala and the other in Babel, it said.
“It is a step toward the development of durable energy,” Oil Minister Ihssan Ismail told a news conference.
Abdelaziz Atribi, Scatec’s vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, told AFP construction should begin “as quickly as possible” and take about a year.
The consortium also includes Egypt’s Orascom Construction and Iraq’s private Albilal Group.
Iraq on Wednesday inked an agreement with UAE-based renewable energy company Masdar to build five solar power plants with a total capacity of 1,000 MW.
They are part of deals with which Iraq aims to add 7,500 MW to its grid by 2023, Suha Daoud Najjar who heads the state’s investment authority, told AFP.
Iraq’s crude accounts for more than 90 percent of Baghdad’s revenues, but decades of conflict, poor maintenance and rampant corruption have battered its energy sector.
Iraq currently produces 16,000 MW of electricity, far short of the estimated 24,000-MW needs of its fast-growing population which the UN says is expected to double by 2050.
Iraq has grown dependent on gas and electricity imports from neighboring Iran, under exemptions to US sanctions on Tehran.
In September, Iraq signed a multi-billion-dollar contract with France’s TotalEnergies on projects including the construction of a 1,000-MW solar plant to supply the southern region of Basra.


Techies in Dubai boast top-dollar salaries 

Techies in Dubai boast top-dollar salaries 
Updated 06 July 2022

Techies in Dubai boast top-dollar salaries 

Techies in Dubai boast top-dollar salaries 
  • Software engineers in Dubai earn nearly 30% more than workers in London, Amsterdam and Berlin

LONDON: Software engineers in Dubai with at least three years of experience earn the third highest salaries in the world compared to other global technology hubs, according to global consulting firm Mercer.

When compared to other global tech hubs such as London, Amsterdam, and Berlin, software engineers in Dubai earn nearly 30 percent more.

This reaffirms the UAE’s ambition to attract top digital talent and become a global tech talent magnet that fuels the digital economy’s growth.

Mercer’s Cost of Living 2022 survey also revealed that while Dubai ranked as the 31st most expensive city to live and work in for expatriates this year, its cost of living remains significantly lower than most tech hubs, including London (seventh), Singapore (eighth), New York (11th), San Francisco (19th), and Amsterdam (25th).

Almost 60 percent of UAE employers provide flexible working, reducing employees’ transportation costs. Dubai is also less expensive in terms of housing and rental costs, which accounts for a significant portion of the cost of living in a city.

“Dubai’s status as a global business hub, coupled with its income tax-free environment, world-class infrastructure, safety, and high quality of life make the emirate a very attractive market for talent,” said Vladimir Vrzhovski, workforce mobility leader at Mercer Middle East.

He added: “The demand for tech talent, in particular, will continue to grow in the UAE given the nation’s drive to be a global capital of the digital economy. Above all, a key incentive for tech talent is the opportunity for a significant uplift in salary when compared to other tech hubs, where the cost of living is higher in terms of transportation and housing.

“While inflation and rising fuel costs are a pressure on the cost of living around the globe, Dubai is building a nurturing and highly competitive tech ecosystem that pays highly competitive salaries — creating an environment that promises to attract and retain the best talent globally.

“Over the years, the UAE has also implemented several initiatives that make it easier for talent to live, work and stay in the country. The launch of the Golden Visa program in addition to Dubai’s recently announced Talent Pass aims to attract global professionals in the fields of technology amongst other key areas.

“National initiatives, such as the National Program for Coders launched last year, is designed to attract 100,000 coders from around the globe and set up 1,000 digital companies by 2026.”


Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business

Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business
Updated 06 July 2022

Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business

Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business

NEW YORK: Ben & Jerry’s on Tuesday sued its parent Unilever Plc to block the sale of its Israeli business to a local licensee, saying it was inconsistent with its values to sell its ice cream in the occupied West Bank, according to Reuters.

The complaint filed in the US District Court in Manhattan said the sale announced on June 29 threatened to undermine the integrity of the Ben & Jerry’s brand, which Ben & Jerry’s board retained independence to protect when Unilever acquired the company in 2000.

An injunction against transferring the business and related trademarks to Avi Zinger, who runs American Quality Products Ltd, was essential to “protect the brand and social integrity Ben & Jerry’s has spent decades building,” the complaint said.

Ben & Jerry’s said its board voted 5-2 to sue, with the two Unilever appointees dissenting.

Unilever, in a statement, said it does not discuss pending litigation, but that it had the right to sell the disputed business and the transaction had already closed.

“It’s a done deal,” Zinger’s lawyer Alyza Lewin said in a separate statement. The sale resolved Zinger’s own lawsuit in March against Ben & Jerry’s for refusing to renew his license.

The dispute highlights challenges facing consumer brands taking a stand on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Most countries consider the settlements illegal. In April 2019, Airbnb Inc. reversed a five-month-old decision to stop listing properties in the settlements.

Last July, Ben & Jerry’s said it would end sales in the occupied West Bank and parts of East Jerusalem, and sever its three-decade relationship with Zinger.

Israel condemned the move, and some Jewish groups accused Ben & Jerry’s of anti-Semitism. Some investors, including at least seven US states, divested their Unilever holdings.

Unilever has more than 400 brands including Dove soap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Knorr soup and Vaseline skin lotion.

Ben & Jerry’s was founded in a renovated gas station in 1978 by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

No longer involved in Ben & Jerry’s operations, they wrote in the New York Times last July that they supported Israel but opposed its “illegal occupation” of the West Bank. 

Related


Kuwait Lender KFH to acquire Bahrain's Ahli United for $12bn

Kuwait Lender KFH to acquire Bahrain's Ahli United for $12bn
Updated 06 July 2022

Kuwait Lender KFH to acquire Bahrain's Ahli United for $12bn

Kuwait Lender KFH to acquire Bahrain's Ahli United for $12bn

RIYADH: Kuwait Finance House has agreed to fully acquire Ahli United Bank for $11.6 billion.

KFH plans to offer one share per 2.695 shares of Ahli United, implying a $1.04 offer price, according to Bloomberg.

Through the merger, the Gulf will have its seventh-largest lender worth $115 billion, a rare cross-border acquisition.


Saudi developer Jabal Omar plans $1.4bn capital hike through debt conversion

Saudi developer Jabal Omar plans $1.4bn capital hike through debt conversion
Updated 06 July 2022

Saudi developer Jabal Omar plans $1.4bn capital hike through debt conversion

Saudi developer Jabal Omar plans $1.4bn capital hike through debt conversion

RIYADH: Saudi developer Jabal Omar Development Co. has received approval from the Capital Market Authority to increase its capital by SR5.3 billion ($1.4 billion).

The listed company will finance the capital plan by converting debt, according to a statement by CMA.

The move is subject to approval from the company’s shareholders as well as completing the required regulatory procedures.

The Makkah-based developer’s losses narrowed by 47 percent and revenues surged 408 percent in the first quarter of 2022, due to improved post-pandemic business operations.


Microsoft's $69bn Activision deal under investigation by UK regulator

Microsoft's $69bn Activision deal under investigation by UK regulator
Updated 06 July 2022

Microsoft's $69bn Activision deal under investigation by UK regulator

Microsoft's $69bn Activision deal under investigation by UK regulator

RIYADH: Microsoft Corp.’s $68.7-billion planned purchase of American video game company Activision Blizzard Inc is under investigation by the UK's antitrust watchdog, Bloomberg reported.

The Competition and Markets Authority will decide by Sept. 1 whether the agreement between the US tech giant and the maker of the Call of Duty game series limits competition and increases prices.

The regulators will take notice of Microsoft's ownership of Activision to understand if the deal could limit rivals' access to the company's biggest games.

The US Federal Trade Commission is also reviewing the deal, chair Lina Khan told lawmakers in June.