Algeria-EU program to support industrial diversification and the improvement of the business climate relaunched

Algeria-EU program to support industrial diversification and the improvement of the business climate relaunched
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Updated 18 November 2021

Algeria-EU program to support industrial diversification and the improvement of the business climate relaunched

Algeria-EU program to support industrial diversification and the improvement of the business climate relaunched
  • PADICA has a financing budget of over €18.7 million, supervised by Ministry of Industry
  • Algerian industry minister: Project introduced when economic, industrial policy of country was undergoing ‘significant changes’

PARIS: After a pause of nearly a year due to the pandemic, the Program to Support Industrial Diversification and the Improvement of the Business Climate, signed in 2016 between the EU and Algeria, was relaunched on Oct. 25.

Asked by Arab News en Francais on the objectives of this program, the EU delegation in Algeria explained that PADICA is one of the main priorities of the Algeria-EU partnership for 2016-2021. Its main objectives are to ensure inclusive socio-economic development, trade, access to the European market and sustainable development.

“This program aims to improve the overall business environment, to create the conditions for an increase in the non-hydrocarbon industrial sector in the economy,” added the EU delegation.

PADICA has a financing budget of more than €18.7 million ($21 million), under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, with €2 million dedicated to the implementation of the program. This program consists of the EU deploying technical assistance for improving the business climate in Algeria, under the guidance of the National Economic and Social Center, and industrial diversification.

“The PADICA program will strengthen the capacities of the Ministry of Industry’s structures and those of institutions involved in quality infrastructure, such as the Algerian Accreditation Organization, the Algerian Institute for Standardization, or even technical standardization committees,” explained the project managers within the EU delegation in Algeria.

“PADICA also supports industrial sectors, such as committees for statistical sectors or industrial land, or in the restructuring and integration of priority sectors: free zones, industrial centers and clusters.”

They noted that this technical assistance is complemented by the provision of computers to the Ministry of Industry for the modernization of information systems and of laboratory equipment for the Technical Center of Mechanical Industries.

PADICA, an additional support for EU regional programs

PADICA also aims to meet the expectations of economic operators by improving the business climate and stimulating the creation of new businesses. “The project provides complementary support to EU regional programs aimed at the development of the private sector and cooperation in the southern Mediterranean region, in particular in beneficiary and signatory countries of the EuroMed Charter, which includes Algeria, EuroMed Invest or New Society,” said the delegation.

For economic operators, stimulating investment, boosting entrepreneurship and diversifying economic activities require a more favorable business climate. They say these steps are essential and shape the transformation of the Algerian economy from one dependent on hydrocarbons into a diversified one.

Technical assistance to important industrial sectors

The mission of this program is to provide technical assistance to the nine priority industrial sectors: agri-food, mechanics and automotive, mining, phosphate and steel, electronics and home appliances, chemicals and derivatives, petrochemicals and plastics, pharmaceuticals, textiles and corks. These missions will be carried out by the GFA consortium, led by Germany with the international services of GIZ and France’s DMI for industrial diversification.

“PADICA’s main objective is to improve the competitiveness of companies in these prioritized sectors and their integration into value chains, especially in foreign markets,” the delegation told Arab News en Francais.

For his part, Algerian Minister of Industry Ahmed Zeghdar touched on the importance of this program during his speech, particularly in the context of the government’s vision of transforming the industrial sector to improve competitiveness and diversification.

“This project was introduced in a situation where the economic and industrial policy of our country was undergoing significant changes within the framework of…foreseen reforms,” he said. He added that Algeria must take advantage of the successful experiences to strengthen the foundations of its industries and meet the challenge of economic diversification.

National Director of PADICA Nabila Sahnoune underlined that the program aims to increase the share of the industrial sector in the national economy while supporting the overall business environment in order to stimulate the creation of new businesses and meet the expectations of economic operators.

This program, which will end in 2025, has enabled the acquisition of a data center, a mechanical testing laboratory and a dimensional metrology laboratory, among other things.

This story was originally published in French on Arab News en Français


Saudi stocks rise as oil prices drop: Opening bell

Saudi stocks rise as oil prices drop: Opening bell
Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi stocks rise as oil prices drop: Opening bell

Saudi stocks rise as oil prices drop: Opening bell

RIYADH: Saudi stocks saw a second day of gains early on Monday as oil prices eased in the first hour of trading.

Brent crude fell 1.08 percent to settle at $109.30 a barrel, and WTI crude fell 1.41 percent to settle at $109.98 a barrel, as of 10:09 a.m. Saudi time.

c, as of 10:08 a.m. Saudi time.

Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. led the fallers, down 3.23 percent; Wafrah for Industry and Development Co. climbed 3.58 percent to lead the gainers.

Shares of Saudi insurers declined following poor first-quarter earnings. 

AXA Cooperative Insurance Co. fell 2.77 percent, Al-Etihad shed 2.33 percent, and Tawuinya lost 1.19 percent.

Saudi Azm rose 2.37 percent, after it was approved to establish an office specialized in software development in Poland with SR500,000 capital. ($133,333)

Taiba Investments Co. edged up 1.28 percent, after reporting it turned into profit of SR20 million in the first quarter, supported by post-pandemic recovery.

The financial sector continued to rebound, with Al Rajhi Bank up 0.58 percent and Alinma Bank up 0.80 percent.

Shares of Saudi oil giant Aramco rose 0.12 percent, following its report yesterday that its first-quarter profit rose 82 percent.


Dollar perched at 2-decade high on weak China data

Dollar perched at 2-decade high on weak China data
Updated 4 min 2 sec ago

Dollar perched at 2-decade high on weak China data

Dollar perched at 2-decade high on weak China data
  • HSBC strategists expect the euro to fall to parity against the dollar in the coming year

The US dollar consolidated gains near a two-decade peak on Monday as poor Chinese economic data hurt cyclical currencies including the British pound and the Australian dollar lower.

While expectations of a hawkish Federal Reserve have been instrumental in fueling a dollar rally that has seen a broad index gain nearly 10 percent so far this year, the latest episode of dollar gains has been driven by extended lockdowns in China.

China’s retail and factory activity fell sharply in April as wide COVID-19 lockdowns confined workers and consumers to their homes.

The offshore Chinese yuan held near a September 2020 low of 6.8380 yuan hit last week.

“Increasingly, the risk is that zero-COVID (policy in China) may stay in place even past the party conference in the third quarter and into the winter season,” Barclays strategists said in a note downgrading its forecasts for the euro and the yuan for the rest of 2022.

“As such, it may lead to persistent mobility restrictions, as omicron is notoriously difficult to contain.”

The dollar index was at 104.57, having briefly crossed the 105 level on Friday, its highest since December 2002, after six successive weeks of gains.

The euro was at $1.0395 on Monday morning, slightly lower, and only just above the $1.0354 level it hit on Thursday, its lowest since early 2017. Analysts expect the $1.0340 level as a crucial level of support for the euro.

HSBC strategists expect the euro to fall to parity against the dollar in the coming year. “Much weaker growth and much higher inflation leave the ECB facing one of the toughest policy challenges in G10 (central banks),” they said.

Moves were sharper in the Australian dollar, which fell 0.68 percent, which is most exposed to the Chinese economy.

Crypto markets, which trade around the clock, had a quiet weekend after turmoil last week driven by TerraUSD, a so-called stablecoin, broke its dollar peg though it retraced its gains in early trading on Monday

Bitcoin was trading at around $29,500, down more than 5 percent, having dropped to $25,400 on Thursday, its lowest since December 2020.


India In-Focus — Indian shares rise; RBI to raise rates again in June; Adani to become second-biggest Indian cement maker with $10.5bn deal

India In-Focus — Indian shares rise; RBI to raise rates again in June; Adani to become second-biggest Indian cement maker with $10.5bn deal
Updated 27 min 14 sec ago

India In-Focus — Indian shares rise; RBI to raise rates again in June; Adani to become second-biggest Indian cement maker with $10.5bn deal

India In-Focus — Indian shares rise; RBI to raise rates again in June; Adani to become second-biggest Indian cement maker with $10.5bn deal

MUMBAI: Indian shares jumped on Monday after five consecutive weeks of losses, with Ambuja Cements and unit ACC up as conglomerate Adani Group said it would buy Holcim AG’s controlling stake in the companies.

The NSE Nifty 50 index gained 0.96 percent to 15,934.40 by 0510 GMT and the S&P BSE Sensex advanced 0.85 percent to 53,240.26, even as broader Asia struggled to sustain a minor rally after shockingly weak data from China. 

On Friday, both the Sensex and the Nifty marked their longest weekly losing streak since 2020.

RBI to raise rates again in June: Reuters poll

The Reserve Bank of India will follow its surprise May rate rise with another hike at its meeting next month, according to a majority of analysts polled by Reuters who were exceptionally split on the size of the move.

India’s retail inflation accelerated to an eight-year high in April, remaining above the central bank’s tolerance limit for the fourth month in a row, and is likely to stay elevated.

The sudden change in views on surging inflation and how to tame it means the RBI will likely take the repo rate, currently at 4.40 percent, back to at least its pre-pandemic level next quarter and not in 2023 as previously thought.

In the latest Reuters poll, over a quarter of economists, 14 of 53, expected the RBI to hike by 35 basis points to 4.75 percent next month, while 20 expected a larger move ranging from 40-75 basis points, including ten who forecast a 50 basis point hike.

Twelve respondents forecast a modest rate rise (10 to 25 basis points) while seven saw no move at the June 6-8 meeting.

Adani to become India's second-biggest cement maker

Asia’s richest person Gautam Adani’s conglomerate acquired 63.19 percent of Ambuja Cements Ltd. and its subsidiary ACC. (AFP)

India’s Adani Group acquired a controlling stake in Holcim AG’s cement businesses in India in a $10.5 billion deal to become the second-biggest cement producer in the country, Adani Group said in a statement on Sunday.

Asia’s richest person Gautam Adani’s conglomerate acquired 63.19 percent of Ambuja Cements Ltd. and its subsidiary ACC in fierce bidding with local companies.

Ambuja and ACC have a combined capacity to produce at least 70 million tons of cement annually, second to UltraTech Cement which has 120 million tons capacity.

The Adani family, through an offshore special purpose vehicle, had entered into definitive agreements for the acquisition of Holcim Ltd’s entire stake in Ambuja and ACC, the Adani Group said in a statement.

Holcim said in a statement it had signed a binding agreement for the Adani Group to acquire Holcim’s business in India, comprising its stake in Ambuja Cement, which owns a 50.05 percent interest in ACC, as well as its 4.48 percent direct stake in ACC. Holcim would receive nearly $6.4 billion for the stakes.

The Adani Group said it would acquire more shares through an open offer.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2022, Holcim said.

(With input from Reuters) 


Oman’s OQ invites banks to pitch for gas pipeline network IPO: sources

Oman’s OQ invites banks to pitch for gas pipeline network IPO: sources
Updated 29 min 18 sec ago

Oman’s OQ invites banks to pitch for gas pipeline network IPO: sources

Oman’s OQ invites banks to pitch for gas pipeline network IPO: sources
  • The reforms and a shake-up of state entities are being driven by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said, who took the throne in early 2020 after the death of Sultan Qaboos

DUBAI: Oman’s state energy company OQ is considering an initial public offering of its gas pipelines network, four sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The company has invited local and international banks to pitch for roles in a potential offering, according to the sources, who declined to be named as the matter is not public.

OQ did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Reuters on Monday.

The company is considering local listings for some of its downstream and upstream assets but has no plan to float the parent company at present, a senior executive told Reuters in November.

Oman follows Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia in looking at sales of stakes in energy assets, capitalizing on a rebound in crude prices to attract foreign investors.

Oman aims to list 35 state-owned enterprises in the next five years and plans to take one or two oil companies public this year, the CEO of the Muscat Stock Exchange told CNBC Arabia in March.

Oman, which according to S&P gets 75 percent of fiscal receipts from hydrocarbon products, has introduced some reforms to diversify revenues, including introducing a 5 percent value-added tax last year.

The reforms and a shake-up of state entities are being driven by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said, who took the throne in early 2020 after the death of Sultan Qaboos, who ruled the small oil producer for nearly five decades.


Adani in $10.5bn deal for Holcim India cement business

Adani in $10.5bn deal for Holcim India cement business
Updated 46 min 6 sec ago

Adani in $10.5bn deal for Holcim India cement business

Adani in $10.5bn deal for Holcim India cement business
  • The deal marks Holcim’s exit from the Indian market after 17 years and is a part of a global restructuring strategy

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani struck a $10.5 billion deal to buy Swiss cement giant Holcim’s local business, the companies said, betting on a construction boom predicted in coming decades.

In his biggest acquisition to date, the deal will give coal-to-ports magnate Adani — who vies with fellow Indian Mukesh Ambani for the title of Asia’s richest person — a controlling stake in India’s second-largest cement manufacturer.

“Our move into the cement business is yet another validation of our belief in our nation’s growth story,” Adani, 59, said in a statement late Sunday.

“Not only is India expected to remain one of the world’s largest demand-driven economies for several decades, India also continues to be the world’s second largest cement market,” he added.

The deal marks Holcim’s exit from the Indian market after 17 years and is a part of a global restructuring strategy after the Swiss cement giant’s 2015 merger with France’s Lafarge.

Once approved by regulators and shareholders, the firm will acquire Holcim’s stakes in local producers Ambuja Cements and ACC.

The acquisitions will make Adani the country’s second-biggest cement maker with a capacity of 70 million tons per year.

India, already home to 1.4 billion people, is projected by the United Nations to become the planet’s most populous nation by the middle of the decade.

The International Energy Agency said in a report last year that an estimated 270 million people will be added to India’s urban population by 2040 — the equivalent of adding a new city the size of Los Angeles each year.

This will also likely increase emissions in the world’s third-biggest polluter, since the manufacture of cement produces carbon dioxide.

Shares in Ambuja Cements were up 3.80 percent, while shares in ACC Ltd. rose six percent in Mumbai following the announcement.