UAE, IRENA launch $1bn to push transition to renewable energy 

UAE, IRENA launch $1bn to push transition to renewable energy 
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Updated 04 November 2021

UAE, IRENA launch $1bn to push transition to renewable energy 

UAE, IRENA launch $1bn to push transition to renewable energy 

GLASGOW: The UAE and the International Renewable Energy Agency on Wednesday announced the launch of a new global climate finance facility to accelerate the transition to renewable energy in developing countries. 

The UAE committed $400 million in funding provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development toward the platform’s goal of securing a minimum of $1 billion in total funding.

The formal launch of the Energy Transition Accelerator Financing Platform took place on the sidelines of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow.

UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said: “The new ETAF platform reinforces our long-standing commitment to support positive climate action for economic growth in developing and vulnerable countries.”

Sultan Al-Jaber, UAE special envoy for climate and minister of industry and advanced technology, said: “This is the kind of initiative that combines partnership, policy and finance to create tangible progress, and it is this focus on practical results that has motivated the UAE to offer to host COP28 in 2023.”

Through co-financing, ETAF will aim to mobilize an additional $2 billion in energy transition investments, targeting a total deployment of 1.5 GW of clean renewable energy generation and storage by 2030. ETAF will be managed by IRENA from its Abu Dhabi headquarters, capitalizing on the UAE’s climate finance market and renewable energy innovation infrastructure. The new accelerator platform will help mitigate investment risks and finance renewable energy projects in developing countries that may otherwise struggle to secure sufficient capital.

Francesco La Camera, the director-general of IRENA, said: “We encourage multilateral development banks, international financial institutions, governments, and private sector actors to join us in bolstering sustainable development efforts.”

The ETAF platform will source projects on an ongoing basis, supplemented by calls for proposals aligned with Paris Agreement and SDG milestones. 


UAE In Focus — Damac Properties targets $150m in monthly online sales by 2023

UAE In Focus — Damac Properties targets $150m in monthly online sales by 2023
Updated 29 September 2022

UAE In Focus — Damac Properties targets $150m in monthly online sales by 2023

UAE In Focus — Damac Properties targets $150m in monthly online sales by 2023

DUBAI: Damac Properties has seen significant growth in pure online sales as a result of its fully interactive virtual real estate and communities designed in the metaverse, according to a senior official.

On the sidelines of the Metaverse Assembly in Dubai, Ali Sajwani, general manager of operations at Damac Properties and CEO of D-Labs, said that online-only transactions are accounting for an increasing portion of the company’s real estate activity, approximately 367 million dirhams ($100 million) a quarter.

By mid-2023, the UAE-based developer aims to grow this figure to $150 million per month, according to a statement.

The realty major has invested up to $100 million to develop and monetize a metaverse that could allow potential customers to check into their luxury properties virtually, choose an apartment, explore furniture options and toy with the paraphernalia on offer.

The company's metaverse platform D-Labs will create digital replicas of its top projects, including Damac Hills, Damac Lagoons, Safa by De Grisogono, and Cavalli Tower in Dubai. It will also host other notable projects such as Damac Tower Nine Elms in London and the upcoming Cavalli Residences in Miami.

AD Ports Group welcomes its first international shipment 

AD Ports Group, one of the leading providers of international trade and logistics, announced Thursday the arrival of its first international shipment at Mugharraq Port, according to a statement.

The UAE’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure has recognized Mugharraq Port as an international port facility under the provisions of the International Code for the Security of Ships and of Port Facilities.

The port gained international recognition after a series of major upgrades including extending the quay wall and adding additional berths, deepening the facility’s depth to eight meters, and constructing additional Ro-Ro ramps.

Combined with its strategic proximity to Ruwais, Hail, Ghasha, and other key upstream oil and gas projects in the region, Mugharraq Port is well-equipped to meet the demands of international operations and will further solidify its position as an ISPS port in the region, the statement said.

As a premier maritime facility, the port offers a wide range of offshore, oil and gas, general cargo, logistic support, bulk, and break-bulk handling services.

Al Dhafra’s long-term development plan will be supported by the ongoing port extensions and the new international certification.


Goods exports fuel 18% rise in Saudi Arabia’s current account balance: SAMA 

Goods exports fuel 18% rise in Saudi Arabia’s current account balance: SAMA 
Updated 29 September 2022

Goods exports fuel 18% rise in Saudi Arabia’s current account balance: SAMA 

Goods exports fuel 18% rise in Saudi Arabia’s current account balance: SAMA 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s current account balance has witnessed a 17.6 percent increase in the second quarter of 2022 to SR170.1 billion ($45.26 billion) , fueled by a rise in oil and non-oil exports, according to the Saudi Central Bank’s monthly bulletin.

The Kingdom’s exports of goods increased to SR272. 2 billion, showing a 23.1 percent surge from SR221.1 billion over the same period.  

Services such as transport and construction all witnessed declines over the second quarter of 2022, resulting in a 53.9 percent reduction in the sector.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign assets increased 2.4 percent from the first quarter of 2022, hitting SR4.9 trillion in the second quarter of 2022.

Portfolio investments — which include equity and investment fund shares and debt securities — slightly declined by 1.1 percent for the second month in a row, equating to 1.4 trillion by the end of June.

Trade credit, loans, and currency and deposits — which fall under the category of ‘other investments’ grew 2.9 percent to 1.1 trillion in this quarter, slowing down from a 9.6 percent growth in the previous quarter.

Inside the Kingdom, residential new mortgage loans to individuals soared 76.6 percent month-to-month, from SR7.2 billion in July to SR12.7 billion in August.

Moreover, consumer loans and credit card loans both increased 2.1 percent and 4.8 percent respectively from last month.

Consumer loans grew from SR436.5 billion in July to SR445.8 billion in August, and credit card loans increased from SR19.6 billion to SR20.5 billion over the same period.

As for Saudi Arabia’s total bank credit, it rose 1.6 percent — recording SR2.3 trillion worth of brank credit in the transition between July and August. 


TASI dives in September as recession fears mount: Monthly Recap

TASI dives in September as recession fears mount: Monthly Recap
Updated 29 September 2022

TASI dives in September as recession fears mount: Monthly Recap

TASI dives in September as recession fears mount: Monthly Recap

RIYADH: The Saudi main index ticked up on Thursday, but September still marked a dismal month for the stock exchange, marked by persistent inflation, unstable gas prices, and aggressive Fed hikes.

The Tadawul All Share Index ended September dropping 7 percent over the course of the month to reach 12,283 at the closing bell of Thursday’s session.  

This is despite closing the last session of September in green, with a 2.11 percent gain.

The monthly decline was led by a 9.23 percent drop in oil giant Saudi Aramco, and a 23.23 percent decline in Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co.

Also during the month, Saudi Arabia’s utility developer ACWA Power dropped 5.84 percent, while Saudi Electricity Co. declined 7.15 percent.

In the financial sector, the Kingdom’s highest valued bank, Al Rajhi, shed 12.29 percent, while Alinma Bank fell 9.09 percent.

The Saudi National Bank, the Kingdom’s largest lender and a major market player, dropped by 12.48 percent, while Saudi British Bank fell 9.52 percent,

Among the Kingdom’s information technology firms, Elm Co. decreased 5.16 percent, while Al Moammar Information Systems Co. declined 9.79 percent.

Saudi pharma operator Nahdi lost 3.83 percent for the month, while its rival Aldawaa Medical Services Co. gained 3.9 percent.

Dallah Healthcare Co. topped the month gainers with a 26.91 percent gain, while Mouwasat Medical Services Co. led the fallers with a 16.92 percent decline.

At the end of September, the main index dropped below 11000 for the first time in over 9 months in response to the Saudi Central Bank raising interest rates in line with the Fed's steep rate hike.

Speaking to Arab News, Saudi economist Ali Alhazmi said that the rate hike is not the only factor for this decline.

“The decline is also from the uncertainty about the global economics, or also the decline of growth and the existence of recession in major economies, especially the US and the EU,” he said, adding: “We cannot avoid the continued closure in China, which affects supply chains. We also have the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.”

Ultimately, he concluded that the market direction is unpredictable, but he anticipated the decline to continue this week.

Fawaz Al-Fawaz, a Saudi-based independent economist and columnist, believes that the market will continue to shift.

“The markets are likely to continue to be volatile and in jittery mode until inflation is under control.”


flynas launches direct flights to Mumbai from Riyadh and Dammam

flynas launches direct flights to Mumbai from Riyadh and Dammam
Updated 29 September 2022

flynas launches direct flights to Mumbai from Riyadh and Dammam

flynas launches direct flights to Mumbai from Riyadh and Dammam

RIYADH: Low-cost Saudi airline flynas has announced the launch of new direct flights from Riyadh and Dammam to Mumbai as the Kingdom’s aviation sector continues to expand.

flynas will operate flights from Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport to Mumbai beginning Oct. 20, and flights from Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport will start from Oct. 31, according to a press release. 

The flights will be available on Saturdays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Earlier this year, during an exclusive interview with Arab News, CEO of flynas Bander Al-Mohanna said the strategic goal of the airline is to connect the world to the Kingdom to contribute to realizing the civil aviation strategic plan and achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

According to the civil aviation strategic plan, the Kingdom is aiming for 330 million passengers annually and 250 destinations around the world by 2030.

flynas recently announced the resumption of its direct flights between Jeddah and Karachi, starting from Oct. 30, with three weekly flights, on Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays.

The press release noted that flynas has succeeded in increasing the number of aircraft to 38 in June 2022 compared to 25 in January 2021.

The low-cost airline also witnessed a surge in passenger traffic, as it carried about 4 million passengers during the first half of 2022 up from about 1.8 million in the same period last year.

Currently, flynas has more than 70 domestic and international destinations, and since its establishment in 2007, the airline has transported more than 60 million passengers.


Saudi Arabia scores record leap in UN’s E-Government Development Index ranking

Saudi Arabia scores record leap in UN’s E-Government Development Index ranking
Updated 29 September 2022

Saudi Arabia scores record leap in UN’s E-Government Development Index ranking

Saudi Arabia scores record leap in UN’s E-Government Development Index ranking

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has achieved the highest leap in the UN’s E-Government Development Index since its inception more than 20 years ago. 

The Kingdom has advanced 12 places, to be ranked 31st this year, compared to 43rd in 2020, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The index is considered to be an important international indicator that measures the extent of the development of digital governments in the areas of electronic services, communications, infrastructure and human capital worldwide.

The results of the EGDI were announced on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN’s General Assembly in New York.

The Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology attributed the leaps to the efforts of the government agencies, and the adoption of modern digital solutions by launching many initiatives and products to serve the beneficiaries.

The Kingdom came among the best countries in the world in terms of providing government services information and sharing open government data to citizens and business sectors by 100 percent.

The report also praised the maturity of government digital organizations, reaching 96 percent, and the quality of digital specifications for government services, which scored  94 percent.

The availability and spread of digital government services reached 81 percent.

Saudi Arabia advanced 23 places globally in participation and electronic consultations directed to individuals and business sectors to explore their views on legislation and regulations with economic and social impact.

In February, digital transformation spending by Saudi Arabia reached SR12 billion ($3.19 billion) a year, according to Turki Al-Manea, executive director of investment at the Kingdom’s Digital Government Authority.

The money is being invested in cloud computing, new emerging technologies, and open source government software, Alarabiya reported.