Guyana president vows to remove red tape to encourage Saudi investors

Guyana president vows to remove red tape to encourage Saudi investors
Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana, speaking during a plenary session of the 9th Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, June 10, 2022. (AFP)
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Updated 11 July 2022

Guyana president vows to remove red tape to encourage Saudi investors

Guyana president vows to remove red tape to encourage Saudi investors

RIYADH: Guyana President Mohamed Irfaan Ali has said his government will remove bureaucratic hurdles to smooth the journey for Saudis looking to invest in his country.

Irfaan Ali made this promise to a 65-member Saudi delegation from the private and public sectors, led by Deputy Minister for Investors Outreach Badr Al Badr, who attended the Saudi Arabia-Guyana Investment Engagement.

“We want to partner with you. We want to partner with the world, but you must understand that we also want to move quickly. We have an obligation to the people of this country to deliver to them as fast as we can,” said Irfaan Ali, according to local media reports

He added: “I can assure you that we can get our technical people in a room with you, and we will not leave until we finish the project.”

Al Badr said his government would set up a Saudi desk at the Ministry of Finance to help facilitate trade, but the Guyana president wanted to go further with establishing economic and diplomatic ties.

“We are prepared to make the land available for you to establish your embassy in this region in Guyana, and I expect in the next quarter that we must have positive movement on this. We are ready for you to have your permanent footprint here,” Irfaan Ali said.

 

 

 


Respite for oil market amid rate hike worries

Respite for oil market amid rate hike worries
Updated 01 June 2023

Respite for oil market amid rate hike worries

Respite for oil market amid rate hike worries
  • Oil markets may have been oversold in the last two trading days, says analyst

RIYADH: Oil steadied on Thursday as a potential pause in US interest rate hikes and the passing of a crucial vote on the US debt ceiling bill were offset by a report of rising inventories in the world’s biggest oil consumer.

US Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday suggested interest rates could be kept on hold this month and the US House of Representatives passed a bill suspending the government’s debt ceiling, improving the chance of averting a disastrous default.

Brent crude futures fell 10 cents, or 0.14 percent, to $72.50 a barrel by 1339 GMT while US West Texas Intermediate crude rose 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $68.16. Both benchmarks fell on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Oil markets may have been oversold in the last two trading days,” said CMC Markets analyst Tina Teng. “Sentiment rebounded amid the debt bill’s passage in the House and (the) Fed’s rate hike pause signal.”

HIGHLIGHTS

Market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Wednesday said that US crude inventories rose by about 5.2 million barrels last week.

• Brent crude futures fell 10 cents, or 0.14 percent, to $72.50 a barrel by 1339 GMT while US West Texas Intermediate crude rose 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $68.16.

Mixed demand indications from China, the world’s biggest oil importer, have nonetheless weighed on the market, as has industry data showing a rise in US crude inventories.

Market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Wednesday said that US crude inventories rose by about 5.2 million barrels last week.

“The current mood is one of pessimism,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM. “Investors have been pragmatic and risk averse of late.”

Also in focus is the June 4 meeting of the OPEC+ producer group, in which the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia will discuss whether or not to cut oil production further.

Barclays forecast

British multinational bank Barclays has slashed the average price of its Brent crude forecast for this year from $92 to $87 a barrel. The bank also slashed its price forecast of Brent for 2024 as it cut the average projected price to $87 a barrel from $97. 

Chinese company in Brazil 

China’s CNOOC Ltd. has begun production at the Buzios5 well off the coast of Brazil, the company said in a statement on Thursday. 

The well is the fifth phase of the Buzios oil field off Brazil’s southeast coast. At an average water depth of 1,900 meters to 2,200 meters, the field is the world’s largest deep-water pre-salt oil field, with daily production of 600,000 barrels, the company said. 

CNOOC’s Brazilian subsidiary owns 7.34 percent of the Buzios shared reservoir, which is 88.99 percent owned by Brazilian state-owned oil and gas company Petrobras.  CNOOC paid $1.9 billion to Petrobras last year to secure a 5 percent stake in a production sharing agreement at the field. 


Saudi fintech firm secures $3.2m in seed funding

Saudi fintech firm secures $3.2m in seed funding
Updated 01 June 2023

Saudi fintech firm secures $3.2m in seed funding

Saudi fintech firm secures $3.2m in seed funding

RIYADH: EdfaPay, a Saudi-based fintech startup that helps companies use their smartphones for payment, has raised $3.2 million in a seed funding round.

The funding round was led by Sanabil 500 MENA, Nufud Wealth International, Atmiid Investment, Basmah Commercial Investment, and a group of local and international angel investors.

EdfaPay aims to utilize the capital to strengthen its operations in the Kingdom and expand to Pakistan and South American countries.

Founded in 2022 by Ghormallah Alghamdi and Nedal Sabbah, it uses NFC technology to allow companies to collect payments through smartphones.

In February 2022, the firm secured $1.6 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Nuwa Capital, InspireUs VC, and Wallan Investment Group.

The fintech channeled its acquired funds into launching its financial services across the Kingdom and supported its market-entry efforts.

The Kingdom’s fintech investments reached $400 million in 2022, recording a 79 percent increase compared to 2021.

The Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, is one of the country’s key players in enabling fintech across all subsectors.

Earlier this week, SAMA granted licenses to Spotii and Madfu, two fintech companies that aim to offer consumer financing options.


Saudi Central Bank grants open banking certifications to 2 fintech firms 

Saudi Central Bank grants open banking certifications to 2 fintech firms 
Updated 01 June 2023

Saudi Central Bank grants open banking certifications to 2 fintech firms 

Saudi Central Bank grants open banking certifications to 2 fintech firms 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is fostering personalized financial products and services tailored to customer needs with the Kingdom’s monetary authority, granting open banking certifications to two fintech companies. 

The Saudi Central Bank, or SAMA, has permitted Umg Alholol Trading Co. and Drahim App to test their open banking solutions in its regulatory sandbox, reported the Saudi Press Agency. 

This brings the total number of innovators permitted to operate under the central bank’s regulatory sandbox to 45. 

Of the 45 firms, 18 have graduated effectively and become licensed by SAMA to provide their solutions to consumers. 

On Tuesday, SAMA granted open banking certification to Dubai-based Tarabut Gateway, which aims to intensify its operations in the Kingdom.   

Tarabut Gateway, the region’s leading regulated open banking platform, has become one of the early recipients of SAMA’s permit to operate in Saudi Arabia.   

Talking to Arab News, Abdullah Almoayed, CEO and founder of the fintech company, said that consumers in the Kingdom can now expect a wide range of innovative and personalized financial services.     

“We are aware of the unique challenges faced by small and medium enterprises in Saudi Arabia, particularly regarding cash-flow management and access to funding. We will address this issue head-on by assisting SMEs to access the funding they need via open banking-enabled financial services and products,” Almoayed said.     

He said: “The new era of financial services we stand for is user-centric and contributes to customers’ financial well-being.”     

Those moves and initiatives are projected to help the Kingdom come one step closer to achieving the objectives of the Financial Sector Development Program in making the Kingdom among the leading nations in financial technology.   

The central bank has been working toward increasing the adoption of the fintech sector to boost the effectiveness and flexibility of financial transactions.    

Moreover, it has also been promoting financial inclusion for the various segments of society. 

On Wednesday, SAMA permitted Spotii and Madfu to provide consumer finance through the buy now, pay later platform. 

That said, Saudi shoppers can soon find more flexible payment options as two more BNPL companies enter the consumer finance market.


PwC Middle East inaugurates its regional headquarters in Riyadh

PwC Middle East inaugurates its regional headquarters in Riyadh
Updated 01 June 2023

PwC Middle East inaugurates its regional headquarters in Riyadh

PwC Middle East inaugurates its regional headquarters in Riyadh

RIYADH: PwC Middle East, a leading professional services firm in the region, officially inaugurated its regional headquarters in Riyadh on Wednesday.

This move demonstrates the company’s commitment to the region, including creating 6,000 new jobs and continued investments in digital technology, environmental, social, and governance capabilities.

PwC Middle East obtained its regional headquarters license from Saudi Arabia's investment and commerce ministries.

The company established its headquarters before Jan. 1, 2024, a deadline set by the regional headquarters program commissioned by the Investment Ministry and the Royal Commission of Riyadh.

The inauguration ceremony, held at a local hotel in Riyadh, was attended by Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih, Hazim Zagzoog, a royal court adviser, and Kevin Ellis of PwC EMEA.

“I am delighted to join PwC Middle East as it inaugurates its new regional HQ in Riyadh, which will help to build the RHQ ecosystem in Saudi Arabia and set global standards for how a professional services sector RHQ should operate,” Al-Falih said.

“It is a natural continuation of a longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship. I also commend PwC on its strong record of employing more than 1,000 talented Saudis in its workforce,” he added.

Hani Ashkar, a senior partner at PwC Middle East, expressed enthusiasm about obtaining the license for their regional headquarters and the honor of supporting Saudi Arabia’s remarkable transformation as it progresses toward its Vision 2030 and beyond.

“At PwC Middle East, we are fully committed to supporting Saudi Arabia’s next phase of its transformational agenda as we digitize, decarbonize, localize, privatize and modernize,” Ashkar said.


EV maker Lucid Group plans to raise $3bn, mainly from Saudi PIF 

EV maker Lucid Group plans to raise $3bn, mainly from Saudi PIF 
Updated 01 June 2023

EV maker Lucid Group plans to raise $3bn, mainly from Saudi PIF 

EV maker Lucid Group plans to raise $3bn, mainly from Saudi PIF 

RIYADH: Lucid Group plans to raise $3 billion through a stock offering, 66 percent of which will come from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. 

The California-based EV maker said Ayar Third Investment Co., which is its majority stockholder and an affiliate of the PIF, has agreed to buy as much as 265.7 million shares in a private placement for an estimated $1.8 billion, 

It said the remainder will be raised from a public offering of 173.5 million shares of common stock.  

The private placement is expected to close on June 26 of this year. A private placement is a process whereby stocks are sold privately to investors selected beforehand.  

Following these purchases, Ayar Third Investment Co. anticipates maintaining its 60.5 percent ownership of Lucid’s outstanding common stock.  

From Lucid’s perspective, the proceeds will be utilized for general corporate purposes including capital expenditures and working capital, among others.  

Last year, Lucid signed a deal for the construction of a plant in the Kingdom that will produce 150,000 electric vehicles per year.   

The company signed agreements with the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, and the Economic City at King Abdullah Economic City.  

The American luxury vehicles company is expected to receive financing and incentives of up to $3.4 billion over the next 15 years to build and operate the manufacturing facility in the Kingdom.  

Located in King Abdullah Economic City, AMP-2 is the PIF-backed EV manufacturer’s first production facility outside the US.  

“We are keen to achieve high and sustainable human capital localization in line with Vision 2030,” Global Vice President and Managing Director at Lucid Faisal Sultan told Arab News in April.  

“With our recently launched Lucid Future Talent program — in collaboration with the Human Resources Development Fund — we plan to provide the right training to enrich and prepare local talent to fill future job opportunities in the Kingdom,” Sultan explained.