TRSDC — More than just a sustainable tourism site powered by green energy: Year in Review

TRSDC — More than just a sustainable tourism site powered by green energy: Year in Review
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Updated 24 April 2022

TRSDC — More than just a sustainable tourism site powered by green energy: Year in Review

TRSDC — More than just a sustainable tourism site powered by green energy: Year in Review
  • A growing public sector infrastructure also means new opportunities for local citizens

RIYADH: The Red Sea Development Co., known as TRSDC, made great strides in 2021 in its mission to build the world’s largest tourism spot powered by renewable energy on Saudi Arabia’s west coast.

The Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund-owned TRSDC was established in 2018 to drive the development of The Red Sea Project, known as TRSP. It is one of the key large-scale giga-projects announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the year before.

Last month, a Saudi ACWA Power-led consortium secured $1.33 billion of financing to operate the renewable power-based multi-utilities infrastructure that will serve the site.

The multibillion-dollar project, based between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh, covers 28,000 square kilometers — an area the size of Belgium — which includes over 90 untouched islands, miles of desert dunes and mountain landscapes. 

Alignment to Vision 2030

TRSP, as part of the Kingdom’s giga-projects, falls in line with its Vision 2030 roadmap that aims to diversify the economy and reduce reliance on oil. The plan seeks to boost tourism revenue from its current 3 percent to 10 percent of gross domestic product when it is completed in eight years. 

A growing public sector infrastructure also means new opportunities for local citizens. The company is set to create a significant number of jobs, aiming to employ around 60,000 people directly and a further 60,000 indirectly.

This will contribute toward the Kingdom’s plans to boost the Saudi job rate, and lift women’s participation in the workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2030. 

TRSDC also partnered with the government’s Human Resources Development Fund last August to deliver high-quality vocational local training programs.

The move follows a series of previous steps taken by the company to lift local opportunities, such as a program to prepare 500 young Saudis for careers to support the eco-tourism complex. 

Besides shaping diverse professional development opportunities, TRSDC also expands social and economic opportunities for local communities such as advancements in agriculture through a partnership with social investment company Ethmar and charitable foundation Ghoroos, the company told Arab News.




TRSDC has a huge program to protect the sea turtles in the area where it builds the project. This turtle is now becoming an iconic figure for TRSDC. 

Contribution to Saudi economy 

The Red Sea project is expected to contribute as much as SR22 billion ($5.9 billion) to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product once completed.

It also aims to attract 1 million tourists a year, without compromising the region’s natural resources.

Environmental, Social, and Governance achievements 

The Red Sea Development Co. has achieved an overall score of 91 out of 100 in this year’s environmental, social, and governance assessment by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, beating the score of 84 it accomplished in its first-ever assessment last year. 

This puts the company in the top 20 percent of organizations participating in this year’s assessment. 

In November 2021, the company was given the ESG Initiative of the Year award at The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland’s 2021 Awards.

This followed TRSDC’s launch of its Good Governance Toolkit a month earlier to guide other organizations in Saudi Arabia on best governance practices. 

The company plans to hit a net positive conservation benefit of 30 percent by 2040 "by enhancing key habitats of coral, mangroves and seagrasses to allow biodiversity to flourish and to provide safe havens for rare species such as green and hawksbill turtles, sooty falcons,” it said.

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TRSP timeline 

The final quarter of 2023 will see the completion of the project’s first phase, which includes the building of 16 hotels with 3,000 rooms across five islands and two inland sites. This milestone will also see the development of air, land, and sea transport hubs.

Recently, the company announced the signing of a deal to operate nine hotels that are set to open in the first phase, with five of them opening in 2022.

The plan will see the site host a luxury marina, an 18-hole golf course, leisure facilities, and an international airport that is expected to serve up to one million passengers by 2030. The hub was officially registered with the International Air Transport Association in December. 

Once complete, TRSP will feature as many as 50 hotels with 8,000 hotel rooms and 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. 

The developer of the project has so far handed out over 800 contracts worth over SR18 billion up to November. 

What’s ahead in 2022?

Apart from welcoming its first visitors in the last quarter of next year, the Red Sea Development Company aims to raise as much as SR10 billion in green financing for Amaala — another luxury tourism site being developed along the northwestern Red Sea coastline — which was recently merged with the company. 

Amid the uncertainty produced by the pandemic, TRSDC has performed strongly, marking significant milestones as it moves toward driving the Kingdom’s tourism sector to new heights.


Egypt unveils plan to expand private sector

Egypt unveils plan to expand private sector
Updated 18 May 2022

Egypt unveils plan to expand private sector

Egypt unveils plan to expand private sector

CAIRO: Egypt’s government has identified activities it will withdraw from or reduce its presence in over the next three years as part of a plan to expand the private sector, according to a draft document circulated in local media.

Egypt’s economy has been jolted by the impact of the war in Ukraine, and it is in talks over a new loan program with the IMF.

The government says it aims to offer assets to private investors to attract $40 billion over the next four years, and to boost private investment.

Previous privatization plans have been repeatedly postponed, partly due to market turbulence and legal and bureaucratic hurdles.

HIGHLIGHTS

The government planned to reduce its holdings in the textile industry by 90%, the mining industry by 40%, the chemical industry by 75%, and the food processing industry by 73%.

Areas the government intends to exit within three years include the grains sector with the exception of wheat, port construction, manufacture of fertilizers, and water desalination plants.

According to the document, areas the government intends to exit within three years include the grains sector with the exception of wheat, port construction, manufacture of fertilizers, and water desalination plants.

Areas where it may reduce its presence include power generation, pre-school education, textile manufacturing, the management, maintenance and operation of metro lines, and mining and quarrying.

Areas where the state may increase its presence include the construction of railways and metro lines, operation of the Suez Canal and financial brokerage and insurance activities. The government may enlist the private sector to participate.

Some economic sectors appear in more than one category.

The document said the government planned to reduce its holdings in the textile industry by 90 percent, the mining industry by 40 percent, the chemical industry by 75 percent, and the food processing industry by 73 percent.

Central Bank Gov. Tarek Amer said no agreement had been reached about the size of the IMF deal.

“It will not be a big amount as Egypt has so far taken a big allocation,” Amer told reporters on Wednesday. “We tap the IMF to benefit in terms of structural reforms.”


Macro Snapshot — UK inflation hits 40-year high of 9%; US housing starts fall in April

Macro Snapshot — UK inflation hits 40-year high of 9%; US housing starts fall in April
Updated 18 May 2022

Macro Snapshot — UK inflation hits 40-year high of 9%; US housing starts fall in April

Macro Snapshot — UK inflation hits 40-year high of 9%; US housing starts fall in April

RIYADH: Britain’s inflation hit a staggering 40-year high as the war in the east continues, while the US’ housing dropped slightly in April and was accompanied by a plunge in building permits which posed a challenge for  entry-level and first time buyers in terms of affordability.

UK inflation 

British inflation surged last month to its highest annual rate since 1982, pressuring Finance Minister Rishi Sunak to offer more help for households and the Bank of England to keep raising interest rates despite a risk of recession.

Consumer price inflation hit 9 percent in April, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday, surpassing the peaks of the early 1990s recession that many Britons remember for sky-high interest rates and widespread mortgage defaults.

Britain has the highest inflation of Europe’s big economies and almost certainly in the Group of Seven, with Canada and Japan yet to report April data. Neither are likely to match Britain’s price growth which also looks set to be longer-lasting.

Last month, the IMF forecast Britain in 2023 faced slower economic growth and more persistent inflation than any other major economy.

Soaring energy bills were the biggest inflation driver, reflecting April’s increase in regulated energy tariffs. Knock-on effects from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine mean those bills are likely to jump again in October.

“We cannot protect people completely from these global challenges but are providing significant support where we can, and stand ready to take further action,” Sunak said.

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of 9.1 percent, up from 7 percent in March, and sterling fell.

A survey on Tuesday showed two in three people had kept their heating off when they would normally have turned it on, almost half were driving less or changing supermarkets and just over a quarter say they have skipped meals. 

US housing starts fall in April

US homebuilding fell moderately in April, but a sharp decline in permits pointed to a slowdown in the housing market amid rising mortgage rates, which are contributing to reducing affordability for entry-level and first-time buyers.

Housing starts slipped 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.724 million units last month, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. Data for March was revised lower to a rate of 1.728 million units from the previously reported 1.793 million units. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast starts declining to a rate of 1.765 million units.

Permits for future homebuilding dropped 3.2 percent to a rate of 1.819 million units.

A survey on Tuesday showed the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market sentiment index dropped to the lowest level in nearly two years in May.

Builders blamed the fifth straight monthly decline in sentiment on soaring prices for building materials as well as rapidly rising mortgage rates, which were squeezing entry-level and first-time home buyers from the market.

Chile’s economy grows 

Chile’s economy expanded 7.2 percent in the first quarter of 2022 from a year earlier, central bank data showed on Wednesday, fueled by growth in the services and retail sectors.

That is below expectations for a 7.9 percent increase, according to a Reuters poll of analysts and economists.

Gross domestic product fell 0.8 percent from the previous three months in seasonally adjusted terms, versus a forecast 0.4 percent drop.

“A large part of the activities registered positive figures, with the biggest gains in service activities — in particular, personal, transport and business — and in retail,” the central bank said.

Mining, agriculture, forestry, and fishing activities all declined, the bank added.

Japan’s economy contracts 

Japan’s economy shrank an annualized 1 percent in January-March from the previous quarter, government data showed on Wednesday, falling slightly less than expected as private consumption showed resilience despite resurgent coronavirus cases.

The gross domestic product figure translated into a quarterly drop of 0.2 percent, compared with a median market forecast of a 0.4 percent contraction, the Cabinet office data showed.

Private consumption, which makes up more than half of the economy, came in nearly flat versus a 0.5 percent fall expected by economists, the data showed.

Spain’s economic outlook

The Spanish economy could grow around 4 percent in 2022, half a percentage point less than expected in April, as rising inflation hurts consumer confidence and international trade slows, the Bank of Spain said on Wednesday.

The lower envisaged growth rate would bring it in line with the downwards revision this week from the European Commission. It had previously forecast a 5.6 percent GDP rise for Spain.

In April, the Spanish central bank had already lowered its economic growth outlook for this year and next due to the impact of inflation stoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and forecast inflation would soar to 7.5 percent in 2022. 

China growth forecast

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said on Wednesday they were lowering their China 2022 GDP forecast to 4 percent from 4.5 percent as a result of pandemic-related damage to the economy in the second quarter of this year.

It was more likely China’s economy would undershoot than overshoot their target, they added.

“Even this lower growth projection embeds the assumption that COVID-19 is mostly under control going forward, the property market improves from here, and the government provides substantial policy offset through infrastructure spending in coming months,” they wrote.

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

(With input from Reuters) 

 

 


Oil falls 2% as US refiners ramp up output

Oil falls 2% as US refiners ramp up output
Updated 18 May 2022

Oil falls 2% as US refiners ramp up output

Oil falls 2% as US refiners ramp up output

HOUSTON: Oil prices reversed course and fell over 2 percent on Wednesday after government data showed US refiners ramped up output, easing worries of a supply crunch, and as traders took cues from a drop in equities market.

Brent crude was down $2.41 cents, or 2.4 percent, at $109.52 a barrel at 12:05 a.m. ET (1605 GMT), while US West Texas Intermediate  crude fell $2.5 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $1 09.85 a barrel.

Brent settled below WTI on Tuesday — the first time since May 2020 — and was still unusually trading at a discount due to strong export demand and tightening US crude stockpiles.

US crude inventories fell by 3.4 million barrels last week, government data said, an unexpected drawdown as refiners ramped up output in response to tight product inventories and near-record exports that have forced diesel and gasoline prices to record levels in the US.

Capacity use on both the East Coast and Gulf Coast was above 95 percent, putting those refineries close to their highest possible running rates.

“While on the face of it, the report was extraordinarily bullish, they (refiners) are racing to put more refined product on the market... there’s obviously a refiners response,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC.

Both benchmarks also gave up earlier gains of $2-$3 a barrel following a change in risk sentiment as equity markets fell, said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.


PIF-backed Lucid Motors to set up first overseas production factory in Saudi Arabia

PIF-backed Lucid Motors to set up first overseas production factory in Saudi Arabia
Updated 18 May 2022

PIF-backed Lucid Motors to set up first overseas production factory in Saudi Arabia

PIF-backed Lucid Motors to set up first overseas production factory in Saudi Arabia
  • The Saudi Industrial Development Fund financed the project with $1.3 billion

JEDDAH: US-based Lucid Motors signed agreements on Wednesday to build a production factory in Saudi Arabia with an annual capacity of 155,000 zero-emission electric vehicles.

The deals are estimated to provide financing and incentives to Lucid up to $3.4 billion in total over the next 15 years to build and operate the manufacturing facility in the Kingdom.

To be located in King Abdullah Economic City, AMP-2 is the Public Investment Fund-backed electric vehicle manufacturer’s first production facility outside the US, according to a statement. 

This project demonstrates the confidence investors have in Saudi Arabia’s competitiveness.

Khalid Al-Falih

The Saudi Industrial Development Fund financed the project with SR5 billion ($1.3 billion), said Bandar Alkhorayef, the minister of industry and mineral resources. 

The project is expected to create over 4,500 jobs in KAEC, said Cyril Piaia, CEO of Emaar The Economic City, master developer of KAEC. 

Saudi government and Lucid Motor’s officials at a ceremony to sign agreements for the development of a production facility in the Kingdom. AN photo

“We have a technology-based factory, we will bring thousands of high-tech jobs to the Kingdom,” Peter Rawlinson, CEO of Lucid Motors, said. 

“Attracting a global leader in electric vehicles such as Lucid to open its first international manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia reflects our commitment to creating long-term economic value in a sustainable, enduring, and globally integrated way,” Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih said. 

“This project demonstrates the confidence investors have in Saudi Arabia’s competitiveness, its ability to create opportunity, and serve global demand for a highly complex product such as electric vehicles,” Al-Falih added. 

About 85 percent of the factory’s production will be exported, reflecting Saudi Arabia’s competitive location and abilities, AlKhorayef said. 

The agreements were signed between the Saudi Investment Ministry, the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, Emaar, The Economic City, at King Abdullah Economic City and the Gulf International Bank.


Investing in Metaverse is a waste of time: Futurist-in-Chief at Dubai Future Foundation

Investing in Metaverse is a waste of time: Futurist-in-Chief at Dubai Future Foundation
Updated 18 May 2022

Investing in Metaverse is a waste of time: Futurist-in-Chief at Dubai Future Foundation

Investing in Metaverse is a waste of time: Futurist-in-Chief at Dubai Future Foundation

DUBAI: As the business world is increasingly fascinated by the Metaverse, Noah Raford, futurist-in-chief and chief of Global Affairs at Dubai Future Foundation, claimed that investing in this advanced technology is just a waste of time. 

While speaking at the Top CEO Forum, Raford argued that people should invest in video games, as it is the only successful digital economy so far. 

However, Fady Kassatly, partner of Enterprise Solutions and Cloud, KPMG, said the Metaverse is nothing but the next evolution, which will make people live differently. 

He also added the Metaverse is going to evolve quickly in different directions, and this is just the beginning of the journey. 

On his part, Philippe Blanchard, founder of Futurous, stated the Metaverse will change the relationship between humans and nature. 

Predicting an inevitable Metaverse future, Valerie Hawley, Director of Sorbonne Center for Artificial Intelligence, said every business will look at the Metaverse space and consider using it in the coming years. 

She also added the Metaverse is a projection of the world that humans would like to live in.