Egypt’s parliament approves 2022/23 budget with expenditures rising 15%


The budget for the new fiscal year 2022-2023 reflects the government’s desire to improve citizens’ lives amid global economic shocks, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said. 
The budget for the new fiscal year 2022-2023 reflects the government’s desire to improve citizens’ lives amid global economic shocks, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said. 
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Updated 22 June 2022

Egypt’s parliament approves 2022/23 budget with expenditures rising 15%


Egypt’s parliament approves 2022/23 budget with expenditures rising 15%


CAIRO: The Egyptian parliament has approved the budget for the fiscal year 2022-2023, expecting a 15 percent increase in spending and a 14.5 percent rise in deficit. 

According to estimates, total expenditures will amount to 2.07 trillion Egyptian pounds ($106 billion) and 1.5 trillion Egyptian pounds are expected in revenues. 

The upcoming fiscal year will start in July. 

The budget for the new fiscal year 2022-2023 reflects the government’s desire to improve citizens’ lives amid global economic shocks, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said. 


OPEC+ sticks to oil output policy

OPEC+ sticks to oil output policy
Updated 9 sec ago

OPEC+ sticks to oil output policy

OPEC+ sticks to oil output policy

LONDON/DUBAI: An OPEC+ panel endorsed the oil producer group’s current output policy at a meeting on Wednesday, leaving production cuts agreed last year in place amid hopes of higher Chinese demand and uncertain prospects for Russian supply.

Ministers from OPEC+ countries — members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and others including Russia — met in a virtual gathering that OPEC+ sources said lasted less than 30 minutes.

The ministers on the panel, called the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, reviewed production figures and “reaffirmed their commitment” to the OPEC+ accord that runs to the end of 2023, OPEC said in a statement after the meeting.

The message was OPEC+ is staying the course until the end of the agreement and the group was on “mute mode,” a source said.

The ministers did not discuss the prospects for Chinese demand and supply from Russia, other OPEC+ sources said. Oil product exports from Russia will as of Feb. 5 be subject to a EU ban and G7 price cap.

OPEC+ agreed to cut its production target by 2 million barrels per day, about 2 percent of world demand, from November last year until the end of 2023 to support the market.

Oil fell at the start of the year but has rallied, supported by hopes that Chinese demand will rebound, although fears of global recession remain a drag on prices.

Brent crude was little changed around $85 a barrel after the JMMC meeting.


Magrabi announces new leadership structure, unveils latest mission statement

Magrabi announces new leadership structure, unveils latest mission statement
Updated 23 min 5 sec ago

Magrabi announces new leadership structure, unveils latest mission statement

Magrabi announces new leadership structure, unveils latest mission statement
  • Business group eyes international expansion and listing

RIYADH: Marking the beginning of a new chapter in its growth story, Magrabi Retail Group, the Middle East’s leading eyewear retailer, announced its newly formed leadership structure and unveiled its latest mission statement in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

While Amin Magrabi, formerly CEO, is stepping up as the chairman to lead the business forward and oversee strategic expansion goals in the region and beyond, Yasser Taher, formerly COO, is moving up to become the CEO as part of a gender-balanced C-suite.

“I am very excited by what the future holds as we see us expanding internationally and also listing the organization in the public markets,” Amin Magrabi told Arab News. 

He added: “We will also announce a new progressive board of directors in a couple of months.”

As the newly appointed CEO, Taher told Arab News that he is proud to become the first non-family member to hold this position in the history of the group. 

“We are transforming this family business to become a world-class business group. And I’m very excited about this transformation mission,” he said.

Last year, Magrabi achieved several milestones including the founding of the Lens Innovation Center based in Dubai, the first fully automated production installation in the region which aims to produce 2 million lenses a year by 2025.

Amin Magrabi, formerly CEO, is stepping up as the chairman to lead the business forward.

The company’s growing portfolio includes Magrabi, the biggest luxury eyewear chain in the region, as well as the lifestyle chain Doctor M, multiple owned brands, and a robust wholesale and distribution arm. Its retail network consists of 142-plus outlets and a growing omnichannel presence.

Magrabi seems all set to move forward now, with a strategic shift that is aligned with the group’s accelerated gender equity commitments.

With the new leadership structure firmly in place, Magrabi went on to unveil its new mission exclusively to Arab News. “We are delighted to announce the latest update, our new mission: Re-envisioning the world of eyewear to empower the lifestyles of millions.” 

“Re-envisioning entails transformation,” he explained. “It means going beyond the traditional approach, trying to unleash this industry from a very traditional setup to the way we think about it. It entails a new vision of how we look into this. This is the ‘how’ in the mission statement, the ‘what’ is the world of eyewear.” 

Magrabi added: “We look at how we can introduce new brands, new banners, new products, and services and create differentiated store concepts, online and offline proposition. This is how we look at the world of eyewear.”

Yasser Taher, formerly COO, is moving up to become the CEO. He is the first non-family member to hold this position in the history of the group. 

“The ‘why’ is to empower lifestyles,” Taher explained. “So what does this mean? We don’t want to only sell products. In reality, we want to empower our customers. We look at customer engagement with a very different approach.”

 This is an industry where consumers are not very well informed about their options and how to make the right selection, he said. 

“Hence, we wanted to empower consumers; we want to educate them. We want to simplify this industry for them to make sure that they are capable to make their own decisions and understand their options,” Taher went on to say.

The last piece of the mission, according to him, is the millions. “The millions is the ‘who,’” Taher said. “It not only implies the international expansion across different markets in different segments but it also implies corporate social responsibility and social impact programs.”

Summing it up Magrabi said that the company would like to drive home the message that Magrabi Retail Group is not a typical regional Middle Eastern company nor is it a typical family business. 

“It’s a very progressive business that wants a place for itself on a global platform and is not just about finances and numbers,” he concluded. 

“It’s about creating something truly differentiated; that is there to change an industry. And this executive transition is just part of this progressiveness as this company matures and moves from family hands to professional leadership hands.”

 


Ma’aden awards Phase 1 Phosphate 3 project contract to Worley and JESA International 

Ma’aden awards Phase 1 Phosphate 3 project contract to Worley and JESA International 
Updated 31 min 39 sec ago

Ma’aden awards Phase 1 Phosphate 3 project contract to Worley and JESA International 

Ma’aden awards Phase 1 Phosphate 3 project contract to Worley and JESA International 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian Mining Co., also known as Ma’aden, awarded an engineering, procurement and construction management contract to Australian consultant Worley and Morocco’s JESA International for the first phase of its Phosphate 3 project. 

All sides plan on reaching a conclusive agreement regarding the EPCM contracts in the coming months, Worley noted in a statement.  

“We are pleased that Worley has been selected for providing services to Ma’aden’s Phosphate 3 development program that is expected to make Saudi Arabia one of the leading phosphate fertilizer exporters worldwide,” said Chris Ashton, CEO of Worley in the statement.  

As per the agreement, in-Kingdom services will be provided by Worley, while out-of-Kingdom services will be provided by JESA International.   

The project consists of the design and construction of new process plants in the Saudi industrial cities of Wa’ad Al Shamal and Ras Al-Khair.   

The statement also noted that the plants are part of an integrated greenfield complex that aims to generate 1.5 million metric tons of phosphate fertilizers a year.  

Implementation will take place through Worley’s offices in Saudi Arabia and India and JESA’s facility in Morocco, according to the statement.   

Ma'aden aims to complete the first phase of its Phosphate 3 complex in 2025 and the second phase in 2027, it said in its second-quarter 2022 investor presentation.  


Experts to discuss pathways for a clean, sustainable future

Experts to discuss pathways for a clean, sustainable future
Updated 45 min 26 sec ago

Experts to discuss pathways for a clean, sustainable future

Experts to discuss pathways for a clean, sustainable future
  • The IAEE conference in Riyadh to serve as a platform to deliberate on pressing challenges, strategies

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia will host the 44th International Association for Energy Economics International Conference from Feb. 4-9 to discuss the path for a sustainable future. 

To be held for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa region, the event is set to take place at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Riyadh in cooperation with the Saudi Association for Energy Economics. 

“It will be the first time the IAEE is organizing its annual conference in the MENA region, a region that has produced more than 40 percent of the world’s oil and gas over the past two decades,” Fahad Alajlan, KAPSARC president, said in a statement. 

The event will be addressing critical topics under the theme “Pathways to a clean, stable and sustainable energy future” by facilitating academic evidence-based solutions and providing a platform for productive dialogue and problem-solving capacities 

The conference is set to host over 500 delegates from over 40 nationalities to participate in 10 plenary sessions. 

In-depth topics include carbon capture, circular carbon economy, the role of hydrogen in energy transition, the impact of oil price volatility on supply and investment, and the challenges facing the power sector in the MENA region. 

The conference provides the opportunity for academia, industry, government and scientific experts to assess the evolving energy landscape to explore ideas and strategies to ensure the future of a low-carbon future. 

“Since its inception, KAPSARC has been very active in conducting critical research on energy economics and climate sustainability. The upcoming IAEE conference, hosted for the first time in the Middle East, is a wonderful opportunity to visit KAPSARC and Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh,” Yukari Yamashita, IAEE’s managing director, said in a statement. 

The event will host high-level attendees featuring keynotes sessions, workshops and plenary discussions to shape policies around the climate agenda. 

On Feb. 4, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman will inaugurate the event with a keynote speech followed by a conversation with Daniel Yergin, vice chairman at S&P Global. 

Before the energy minister’s key note address, the event will host an invitation-only IAEE Council meeting followed by a Young Professionals and Scholars Day in Hilton Riyadh. 

On the second day of the event, Alajlan will give his opening remarks accompanied with Majid Al-Moneef, chairman of the board at SAEE and Jean-Michel Glachant, IAEE president. 

The first plenary session will be themed “Energy Volatility, Security, and Access.” It will outline modern energy access in rural and developing regions in line with solving the world’s problems in economic growth and prosperity. 

The second day will feature dual-track sessions titled “Energy Investments and Financing’ and ‘Energy and Trade.” 

Day three will include a plenary session titled “Pathways to Energy Transitions” to explore whether climate ambitions and energy security can be harmonized by raising the question: What realistic pathways could best meet global and regional goals and the aspirations of a just energy transition? 

It will be followed by dual sessions as track one will hold the session “Energy, Development, and Climate Change” to explore the link between economic development and environmental conservation by highlighting factors that can simultaneously ensure the pursuit of both. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman will inaugurate the event with a keynote speech followed by a conversation with Daniel Yergin, vice chairman at S&P Global. 

The event will host an invitation-only IAEE Council meeting followed by a Young Professionals and Scholars Day in Hilton Riyadh. 

Day six will be a technical tour of the Shaybah Oil Production Facility in Rub Al-Khali, the largest extended desert in the world. 

The tour will include visits to Saudi Aramco’s Shaybah facility as well as the 637 sq. km Shaybah Wildlife Sanctuary, an Aramco-sponsored biodiversity protection area that is home to native plant and animal species. 

Track two will lead the examination of problems from technology to geopolitics to gain a more descriptive insight into the underappreciated aspect of the energy transition in a session themed “Energy, Water, Food, and Minerals Interconnections.” 

On Feb. 7, the session “Energy, Mobility, and Technology” will kick off the day to shed light on the technology and regulatory options needed to deliver these services while meeting the multi-dimensional challenges of resource use, emissions, cost and impact on the urban environment. 

The sessions will move on to explore the opportunities and challenges arising in the industry with two sessions “Energy Efficiency and Industrial Competitiveness” and “Challenges and Opportunities for the Power Sector.” 

Day five will begin with renowned economists in the panel titled “Economy and Energy Diversification in MENA.” 

The closing session will be hosted by Al-Moneef, Glachant, Fahad Al-Turki, VP of knowledge and analysis at KAPSARC, Gurkan Kumbaroglu, professor of industrial engineering at Bogazici University, Christophe Bonnery, president at the French Association for Energy Economics, followed by closing remarks from Alajlan. 

Day six will be a technical tour of the Shaybah Oil Production Facility in Rub Al-Khali, the largest extended desert in the world. 

The tour will include visits to Saudi Aramco’s Shaybah facility as well as the 637 sq. km Shaybah Wildlife Sanctuary, an Aramco-sponsored biodiversity protection area that is home to native plant and animal species. 

The event will also discuss COVID-19’s impact on energy and energy poverty and sustainable development goals in addition to shedding light on academic research and case studies. 

The 43rd IAEE Conference was held in mid-2022 in Tokyo, Japan, titled “Mapping the Energy Future — Voyage in Uncharted Territory” which discussed the impact of new geopolitical conditions and technological progress in energy markets. 

Key takeaways from last year’s event were the increase in investments in innovative solutions which was estimated to reach $209 billion by 2030, according to Fumihiko Ito, chief sustainability officer at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., and the role of global collaboration to ensure a smoother energy transition. 

Other important discussions were around the technologies that tackle carbon emissions as well as risk assessment and intervention planning.


Saudi Arabia spearheading the energy transition in Middle East

Saudi Arabia spearheading the energy transition in Middle East
Updated 44 min 33 sec ago

Saudi Arabia spearheading the energy transition in Middle East

Saudi Arabia spearheading the energy transition in Middle East
  • Kingdom’s initiatives are revolutionizing the entire region’s green journey

RIYADH: The need for energy security has never been more critical in the history of mankind. Amid heightened political tensions, energy diversification programs and sustainability initiatives are a key part of the global agenda today, and countries are working hard to achieve their net-zero targets within the stipulated deadline.

As the world continues its journey to achieve zero emission targets, Saudi Arabia, a country that has been dependent on oil for several decades, is spearheading the energy transition mission in the Middle East region.

Saudi Green Initiative and the wider Middle East Green Initiative are revolutionizing the entire green journey in the region, and they are adequately supported by the Public Investment Fund’s Regional Voluntary Carbon Market Co. which auctioned off 1.4 million tons of carbon credits during the 6th edition of the Future Investment Initiative conference held in Riyadh in October last year.

And now, Riyadh is all set to host the 44th International Association for Energy Economics International Conference on Feb. 4-9 as the entire world is looking forward to the developments the region will witness during the event.

FASTFACTS

Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and its partners are working steadily in NEOM to complete the construction of the world’s largest green hydrogen project.

The first phase of its green hydrogen facilities is expected to come online in 2025.

The $500-billion megacity will be powered entirely by clean energy and will cover 10,000 sq. miles, an area 33 times the size of New York.

Paul Sullivan, lecturer at Johns Hopkins University and a senior associate fellow at King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies Energy and Environmental Security, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is steadily progressing with greater energy efficiency and resilience, in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.

“Saudi Arabia is progressing via Vision 2030, the Saudi Green Initiative, leading the Middle East Green Initiative, inter alia. It is making progress with solar energy. It will do a lot more on the many colors of hydrogen. It will likely start to develop a nuclear energy program further,” said Sullivan.

Joe Rahi, partner, McKinsey & Co., told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is playing a key role in ensuring an orderly energy transition.

“Saudi Arabia accounts today for the largest share of global oil exports — and it has the potential to become a significant exporter of clean, reliable and affordable energy in the future,” said Rahi.

He further pointed out that the Kingdom has unique access to competitive natural resources both in the form of natural gas to produce blue hydrogen, as well as solar resources and land to develop green hydrogen.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and its partners are working steadily in NEOM to complete the construction of the world’s largest green hydrogen project.

In 2022, NEOM’s CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr had noted that the first phase of its green hydrogen facilities is expected to come online in 2025. The $500-billion megacity will be powered entirely by clean energy and will cover 10,000 sq. miles, an area 33 times the size of New York.

Sullivan further noted that Saudi Arabia could be the leader of energy transition in the region by developing joint investments, research programs, training and education throughout the Middle East and North Africa region.

“The region and the world really are small. Much more can be learned by working together and not against each other. Just giving money is not enough. The whole region needs to move forward in all aspects of the transition and how the transition affects the energy-water-food-security-economy nexus,” said Sullivan.

Rahi pointed out that Saudi Arabia should create national champions who can develop, produce and scale low-carbon energy to achieve energy transition goals.

According to Rahi, countries in the Middle East could promote investments to scale the supply of carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies along with low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia.

“The region has significant untapped potential here since the geological characteristics of its sedimentary basin could make it a global hub for carbon storage,” he said.

Rahi added: “Stakeholders could boost the development of renewables, including upgrading the supporting infrastructure. Incentives could help accelerate the move to electrification and energy efficiency in buildings, industry and the transportation sector.”

He further noted that the energy transition in the region is creating an opportunity to innovate, which includes creating a startup ecosystem for clean technologies.

Reiterating the views of top industry experts, Sullivan noted that energy transition in a sustainable manner will not happen quickly, and it demands time to materialize the green goals.

“All major transitions take time. The energy transition is no different. It has to be timed and developed for every place in a way that allows peace, prosperity, energy security and climate security,” said Sullivan.

He added: “If it is pressed on too quickly, severe energy, economic insecurity and instability could result. If it is allowed to be delayed too long, then the world and regional climates and environments could be significantly damaged. Extremism is the enemy of energy transitions, much like it is the enemy of society in general.”

Rahi opined that affordable conventional energy is still required to ensure socioeconomic growth, especially for developing countries, and added that low carbon and renewable energy such as hydrogen and solar will continue to play an increasingly important role in the growing energy system.

“To move to large-scale deployment of renewables, countries would also need to invest in grid stabilization and storage to ensure the reliability of supply and integrate renewables into existing systems,” he added.

As Saudi Arabia continues its sustainability journey, events like IAEE International Conference could catalyze the speed of the energy transition, which will ultimately make the world green and beautiful for humankind.