World Bank favorably revises 2022 Saudi growth forecast to 4.9% on oil rebound

World Bank favorably revises 2022 Saudi growth forecast to 4.9% on oil rebound
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Updated 17 January 2022

World Bank favorably revises 2022 Saudi growth forecast to 4.9% on oil rebound

World Bank favorably revises 2022 Saudi growth forecast to 4.9% on oil rebound

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s economy is set to grow by 4.9 percent this year due to a strong rebound in the oil sector which will induce stronger exports, the World Bank said in a report.

In its Global Economic Prospects report, the international organization upwardly revised the expansion rate by 1.6 percent compared to its June forecast.

In addition, non-oil activities are also expected to strengthen from higher vaccination rates and rising investments. However, the Bank trimmed its 2023 growth forecast by 0.9 percent to 2.3 percent.

With oil prices expected to average around $74 per barrel, coupled with a strengthening demand, the Gulf Cooperation Council economies are set to grow by 4.7 percent this year and by 3 percent in 2023.

Looking at the MENA region as a whole, the international lender favorably altered the region’s growth expectation by 0.8 percent to 4.4 percent in 2022, saying that both oil exporters and importers would benefit from a weakening pandemic and a fall in oil production cuts.

Yet, the World Bank said that uncertainties remain high, especially with a falling fiscal support. As for next year, MENA is set to grow by 3.4 percent.

Other risks that face the region include: resurgence in COVID-19 cases, climate disasters and changes to oil prices. 


Saudi TDF signs financing deal for $63m luxury hotel project in Eastern Province 

Saudi TDF signs financing deal for $63m luxury hotel project in Eastern Province 
Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi TDF signs financing deal for $63m luxury hotel project in Eastern Province 

Saudi TDF signs financing deal for $63m luxury hotel project in Eastern Province 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund has inked a financing deal with Rimal AlKhobar Real Estate Co. to develop a five-star hotel with a project cost of SR238 million ($63 million) in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom. 

Announced during the second edition of the Future of Hospitality Summit in Riyadh, the partnership aims to enhance tourism and entertainment services for the Eastern Region, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The new project will include over 100 hotel rooms and suites, 62 housing units and restaurants, Wahdan Al-Kadi, chief commercial officer at TDF, said. 

The property will have all the other amenities including swimming pools, a health center, a gym and spaces for meetings and events.

He stressed the TDF’s commitment to attract more investors and provide them with the necessary support to develop quality tourism projects that keep pace with Saudi Arabia’s tourism boom.

TDF was established in 2020 with $4 billion in capital to facilitate local and international investors’ access to high-potential tourism investments across key destinations in the Kingdom, its website stated.


Diriyah Gate Project has 36% Saudi female staff, says CEO

Diriyah Gate Project has 36% Saudi female staff, says CEO
Updated 4 min 41 sec ago

Diriyah Gate Project has 36% Saudi female staff, says CEO

Diriyah Gate Project has 36% Saudi female staff, says CEO

RIYADH: The majority of Diriyah Gate Project staff, 83 percent, are Saudi nationals, out of which 36 percent are women, said Jerry Inzerillo, group CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority.

Inzerillo, who was speaking at the Future Hospitality Summit, said that 16 percent of the project's women workforce are operating in the management sector.

“Just build a giga-project and leave your community behind it. It would be immoral,” said Inzerillo.

He added that 40 percent of the workforce in the Diriyah Gate Project are from the local community.

According to Inzerillo, the project will be an iconic initiative which will offer a future grounded in Saudi Arabia’s glorious past.

Inzerillo revealed that the project, upon completion, will have 20,000 residential units, and the contracts to build these settings are being awarded to Saudi builders.

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Hungary proposes removing Russian oil embargo from EU agenda

Hungary proposes removing Russian oil embargo from EU agenda
Updated 24 min 10 sec ago

Hungary proposes removing Russian oil embargo from EU agenda

Hungary proposes removing Russian oil embargo from EU agenda
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is considered Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest EU ally, has argued that an EU oil boycott would be an “atomic bomb” for Hungary’s economy

BUDAPEST: European Union efforts to impose an embargo on Russian oil faced more roadblocks Wednesday as Hungarian officials said they would not back the plan in its current form and recommended removing the topic from the agenda of an EU leaders’ summit next week.

The EU has worked to forge a consensus among its 27 member nations for cutting off Russian oil by the end of 2022 to block a key source of revenue financing Russia’s war in Ukraine.

While some countries in central and Eastern Europe initially expressed reservations over the embargo, Hungary remains the most vocal member nation blocking the measure, which is part of a sixth proposed round of EU sanctions against Russia.

During a news conference in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Wednesday that Hungary would not vote in favor of the oil embargo proposal “as long as it makes Hungary’s energy supply impossible.”

He blamed the EU’s executive branch for pushing the plan without ensuring the energy security of Hungary, which gets 85 percent of its natural gas and more than 60 percent of its oil from Russia.

“This problem was created by the European Commission, so the solution must be offered by the European Commission. The solution must come first, and only then can we talk about sanctions,” Szijjarto said.

While the EU earlier offered exceptions to landlocked countries like Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic that are particularly dependent on Russian oil, granting them extended timelines for the phase-out, the government in Budapest has remained steadfast in its opposition to sanctions on Russian energy.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is considered Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest EU ally, has argued that an EU oil boycott would be an “atomic bomb” for Hungary’s economy and destroy its “stable energy supply.”

Orban wrote a letter to the president of the European Council on Monday, asking that the proposed oil embargo be taken off the agenda of the summit set to begin May 30.

In the letter to Charles Michel, Orban said Hungary was “not in a position to agree to the 6th sanctions package until the negotiations succeed in resolving all outstanding issues,” and that a solution was “very unlikely” to be reached before next week’s summit.
“I am convinced that discussing the sanctions package at the level of leaders in the absence of a consensus would be counterproductive,” Orban wrote. “It must remain our priority to maintain the unity of the European Union.”


TRSDC to award 70% contracts to Saudi firms, says Pagano

TRSDC to award 70% contracts to Saudi firms, says Pagano
Updated 33 min 13 sec ago

TRSDC to award 70% contracts to Saudi firms, says Pagano

TRSDC to award 70% contracts to Saudi firms, says Pagano

RIYADH: Seventy percent of the contracts in The Red Sea Development Co. will be awarded to Saudi firms, as the company aims to embrace local communities and upscale them,  said John Pagano, group CEO of TRSDC and AMAALA. 

Speaking at the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh on Wednesday, he said TRSDC is conducting training programs in the hospitality sector. It is always trying to uplift members of the local community by providing them with more opportunities, Pagano added. 

“We are giving them the opportunity of a lifetime to join a project of a lifetime,” he said. 

Talking about sustainability in the Red Sea Project, Pagano said that the firm has cut 500,000 tons of carbon emissions. 


Egypt in-focus — Development cooperation portfolio with partners hits $26bn; wheat will last until 2022

Egypt in-focus — Development cooperation portfolio with partners hits $26bn; wheat will last until 2022
Updated 25 May 2022

Egypt in-focus — Development cooperation portfolio with partners hits $26bn; wheat will last until 2022

Egypt in-focus — Development cooperation portfolio with partners hits $26bn; wheat will last until 2022

RIYADH: Egypt’s development cooperation portfolio with partners has reached a significant figure, while wheat in the country is projected to last until the end of 2022.

Google products helped propel the Egyptian economy, according to a report, and the European Investment Bank has allocated a significant amount for the country’s third metro line.

In Focus

  • Egypt’s development cooperation portfolio with partners reached $26 billion, local newspaper Youm 7 reported, citing the Head of the cooperation institutions sector at the Ministry of International Cooperation, Mohamed Abdel Gawad. Stimulating the private sector will have a major role to play in attracting further investments, he said.
  • Egypt has enough wheat to last until the end of 2022, local newspaper Egypt Today reported, citing Finance Minister Mohamed Maait. This comes despite the global food crisis, which resulted due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, the minister highlighted.
  • Egypt’s installment centric fintech platform Valu has signed an agreement with Egypt-based military organization Arab Organization for Industrialization and its high-tech security systems specialized Zero Tech to implement Valu’s installment solutions to customers of the two entities, local newspaper Daily News Egypt reported. Under the terms of the agreement, customers will be able to purchase products such as home appliances, as well as electronics, among other products, through Valu’s affordable installment plans. This will enable the two domestic firms to gain a wider customer base in the process. 
  • American multinational technology firm Google has contributed to propelling the Egyptian economy by an estimated 11.2 billion Egyptian pounds ($604 million) in 2021, Youm 7 also reported, citing a study launched by British business management consultant Public First. This comes as Google products such as Google Search, Play, Google Maps, Youtube, and Google Ads had a major role in boosting local individuals, corporations, content creators, and software developers in the African country.
  • The European Investment Bank has dedicated as much as 900 million euros ($965 million) for the implementation of the third metro line in the country, Youm 7 reported, citing the assistant minister of international cooperation.