Arab economies expected to grow at a rate of 5.4% in 2022: AMF report

The report titled “Arab Economic Outlook” noted that Arab countries could face relatively high inflation rates in 2022 due to local and global inflationary pressures.
The report titled “Arab Economic Outlook” noted that Arab countries could face relatively high inflation rates in 2022 due to local and global inflationary pressures.
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Updated 18 August 2022

Arab economies expected to grow at a rate of 5.4% in 2022: AMF report

Arab economies expected to grow at a rate of 5.4% in 2022: AMF report

RIYADH: Arab countries’ economies are likely to grow at an average annual rate of 5.4 percent in 2022 mainly driven by rising oil prices, a hike in crude production by oil exporters and the ongoing reforms to diversify economies, according to a report issued by the Arab Monetary Fund. 

The report titled “Arab Economic Outlook” noted that Arab countries could face relatively high inflation rates in 2022 due to local and global inflationary pressures. According to the report, Arab countries’ inflation rate is expected to reach 7.6 percent in 2022 and 7.1 percent in 2023.

It, however, predicted that the economic growth of Arab countries will slow to about 4 percent in 2023 due to a decline in the global economic growth, high commodity prices, and gradual exit from expansionary fiscal and monetary policies.

According to the report, Gulf Cooperation Council economies will grow 6.3 percent in 2022 compared to 3.1 percent in 2021, driven by recovery from pandemic, economic reforms and continued adoption of stimulus packages, while 2023 will see a decline to 3.7 percent in economic growth.

The economy of other oil-rich Arab countries will achieve 4.1 percent growth rate in 2022, compared to a 2.7 percent growth rate in 2021. The growth in these countries will slow down to 4.6 percent in 2023.


Saudi Arabia agrees to fund $63m Senegal road project

Saudi Arabia agrees to fund $63m Senegal road project
Updated 17 sec ago

Saudi Arabia agrees to fund $63m Senegal road project

Saudi Arabia agrees to fund $63m Senegal road project

RIYADH: The Saudi Fund for Development is pumping $63 million into a coastal road project in Senegal, it has been announced.

The agreement with the African country will see the construction of a 12 km, two-lane highway in Dakar.

The project will also contribute to raising the level of road safety, meeting the needs of residents of cities and villages, and reducing the rates of injuries and deaths resulting from traffic accidents.

The move is the latest cash injection the Saudi Fund for Development into Senegal, having previously financed 27 loans to contribute to 25 projects and programs, with a value of about $447 million.

It has also awarded grants worth $19 million in the sectors of transportation, transportation, infrastructure, health, housing, urban development, energy, education, water and sanitation.

In August, the Fund signed an agreement with the Cameroonian government to finance the construction of the Mbalmayo Regional Hospital Project, by providing a soft development loan of $12 million.

The agreement was signed by SFD CEO Sultan Al-Marshad, and the Cameroonian Minister of Economy, Planning, and Regional Development, Alamine Ousmane Mey.

The agreement will help to build and equip the hospital with 200 beds and develop specialized medical departments, centers, and buildings spanning a total area of 14,000 sq. meters. 

The development plan also comprises rehabilitating the roads that connect the hospital to the main roads to ensure easy access.


Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 

Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 
Updated 46 min 12 sec ago

Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 

Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 

RIYADH: The Central Bank of Kuwait has named Sahar Al-Rumaih as its deputy governor in a first-ever such appointment of a woman to this position in the Gulf state.

Al-Rumaih, who was the deputy CEO for corporate banking at Ahli Bank of Kuwait, replaced Yousef Al-Obaid as his term had expired, according to Bloomberg. 

With this new appointment, the central bank’s board now includes two women. 

This comes following a similar development in Saudi Arabia in June when the Kingdom’s Central Bank named Sheila Al-Rowaily, who worked as a financier with Saudi Aramco, as its first woman board of directors. 

In recent years, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has focused on women’s empowerment and workforce, with efforts directed towards increasing female employment in diplomatic and governmental services. 

Women joining the workforce in Saudi Arabia has been a key development of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 social and economic reforms, which has seen their participation jump from 19 percent in 2016 to 33 percent last year.


Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies

Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies
Updated 15 min 12 sec ago

Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies

Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies

RIYADH: The US Federal Reserve’s most aggressive interest hikes since the 1980s have pulled several currencies across the world to new lows.

On Sept. 21, the US Federal Reserve hiked the short-term interest rates by 75 basis points to 3 to 3.25 percent.

Since the announcement, several investors took their money out of other markets to invest in the US, thus pulling global financial markets to a state of volatility.

The Chinese onshore yuan is sliding toward 7.2 per dollar, down 10.9 percent from the same date last year, while the People’s Bank of China is setting up defenses to protect the currency, according to Reuters data.

On Sept. 26, the Indian rupee plunged 8.7 percent year-to-date to an all-time low of 81.67 against the US dollar.

Soon after the Fed hike, the British pound started falling, and it reached an all-time low on Sept. 26 before showing signs of recovery. The fall of the British pound is also due to the tax cuts announced by the new Liz Truss government.

At one point on Monday, the pound sank as low as $1.0327, surpassing the previous record low reached in 1985, before recovering some of its value. 

The Pakistan rupee also nosedived following the Fed hike, with one US dollar now equal to 233.79 Pakistani rupees.

Other major currencies like the Egyptian pound and the Australian dollar fell 19.5 percent and 11.1 percent year-to-date respectively.

Meanwhile, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Tuesday the Federal Reserve will need to raise interest rates to a range between 4.50 percent and 4.75 percent.

The Kingdom’s currency has dipped just 0.2 percent against the US dollar compared to the same date last year, in contrast to other markets.


Riyad REIT Fund invests $17m in private real estate fund

Riyad REIT Fund invests $17m in private real estate fund
Updated 27 September 2022

Riyad REIT Fund invests $17m in private real estate fund

Riyad REIT Fund invests $17m in private real estate fund

RIYADH: Riyad REIT Fund has invested SR62 million ($17 million) in a private closed-end real estate fund that is income-generating and Shariah-compliant, according to a bourse filing.

The private fund, which is managed by Riyad Capital, seeks to achieve stable current income and long-term capital growth by investing in top-tier institutional real estate assets located in prime Saudi Arabian locations.

The private real estate fund has a target size of SR3 billion, and the initial closing amount is SR315 million.

The fund has a term of 20 years that can be extended for an additional five years.

The investment will generate 8.5 percent per year in return over a five-year period if it is invested semi-annually, it added.


Zain KSA integrates latest Huawei 5G technology into its network 

Zain KSA integrates latest Huawei 5G technology into its network 
Updated 27 September 2022

Zain KSA integrates latest Huawei 5G technology into its network 

Zain KSA integrates latest Huawei 5G technology into its network 

RIYADH: Mobile telecom operator Zain KSA has collaborated with Chinese mobile technology firm Huawei to integrate the third generation of 5G solutions into its network across the Kingdom. 

This new RAN product MetaAAU technology integration will enable Zain KSA to offer a wide range of services to its customers through expanding coverage and capacity and increasing the network speed.

As MetaAAU uses extremely large antenna array architecture, multi-channel technology, and innovative algorithms, Huawei's most advanced products are able to offer double the scale of arrays compared with the previous-generation AAU.

This solution can improve network performance while slashing energy consumption, the company said in a press release. 

This comes as Zain KSA looks to support more 5G use cases, including cloud computing, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions while continuing to deliver better user experiences. 

“This new upgrade to our 5G network serves our strategic goal to deliver world-class 5G experiences that match up to Saudi Vision 2030’s goals of transforming the Kingdom into a digital economy hub powered by Industry 4.0 and supporting a high quality of life for its communities,” Chief Technology Officer at Zain KSA, Abdulrahman Al-Mufadda said. 

He added: “Building on our elaborate 5G infrastructure, we launched the 5G carrier aggregation feature in 2020, achieving ultra-fast Internet speeds of 2.4 Gbps.” 

Now with the accelerating industry ecosystem development, and as more and more 5G smartphones support this feature, Al-Mufadda said they are extending the population coverage of 5G dual carriers and bringing the ultra-fast user experience to more customers.

President of Huawei 5G Product Line, Ritchie Peng said, “We will continue to provide innovative solutions to help Zain KSA to build the leading performance network and provide a better user experience to end users.”