Global investors integral to Saudi Arabia’s industrialization: NIDLP’s Al-Mazroua

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Updated 06 September 2022

Global investors integral to Saudi Arabia’s industrialization: NIDLP’s Al-Mazroua

Global investors integral to Saudi Arabia’s industrialization: NIDLP’s Al-Mazroua

RIYADH: International investors should be encouraged to become part of industrialization in Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom focuses more on localization and elevating local content, according to Suliman Al-Mazroua, CEO of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Local Content Forum in Riyadh on Sept. 5, Al-Mazroua noted that Vision 2030 came with many tools to enhance the Saudi economy, and one of its verticals aims to elevate local content in the Kingdom.

He did however assure that localization and local content efforts will not hamper foreign investments in the Kingdom.

“Foreign Direct Investments are at the heart of local content. But instead of using this as a trade, we are asking them to be a part of industrialization in Saudi Arabia,” Al-Mazroua said.

He added: “We are open to more business. Having more FDI or more partners from the international community to participate, that is the aim.”

Al-Mazroua added that the small and medium enterprises sector is contributing a lot to the economic development of Saudi Arabia.

“More than 80 percent of industries in Saudi Arabia are built on SMEs, so we are currently relying on SMEs in many areas. During Covid-19, we have seen how resilient Saudi Arabia was when it comes to national resilience. We aim to develop and amplify that power,” he said.

Qatar’s trade balance surplus hits $6bn in April

Qatar’s trade balance surplus hits $6bn in April
Updated 15 sec ago

Qatar’s trade balance surplus hits $6bn in April

Qatar’s trade balance surplus hits $6bn in April

RIYADH: Qatar recorded a trade surplus of 22 billion Qatari riyals ($6 billion) in April 2023, according to a report released by the country’s Planning and Statistics Authority.  

The data reflects a 3.5 percent increase over March while a 35.6 percent decline on an annual basis.  

The value of merchandise imports during April 2023 also fell 6.3 percent from the previous year and 9.3 percent from the last month to reach an estimated 8.7 billion riyals.  

Meanwhile, the value of Qatar’s exports of oil, gas, and condensate tumbled in April to 18.6 billion riyals, reflecting a decrease of 33.2 percent on an annual basis.  

The report showed that China and South Korea accounted for over a third of Qatar’s exports in April.

China topped the exports with 5.6 billion riyals, accounting for 18.3 percent of the total value.  

South Korea, on the other hand, came second with 5.1 billion riyals, representing 16.6 percent of the whole pie.  

Real estate market

Meanwhile, the Gulf nation reported 343 million riyals worth of transactions in the residential real estate sector from May 14-18.

Sales operations were concentrated in Doha, Al-Rayyan, Al-Daayen, Al-Wakra, Umm Salal, Al-Khor, Al-Thakhira, and Al-Shamal.

Qatar and other Gulf countries are seeing significant growth in non-oil activities as the region diversifies its economy away from oil.  

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stated his country’s non-oil sector grew by 9.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022, and oil activities also saw a 4.8 percent rise.

Speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum, Al-Thani stated that the efforts of the gas-rich Gulf state have led to the development of robust financial institutions and the establishment of a work environment that stimulates business growth.  

These initiatives have resulted in a considerable increase in both domestic and foreign investments.  

Saudi HR development fund approves 18 professional certificates to boost labor market

Saudi HR development fund approves 18 professional certificates to boost labor market
Updated 28 May 2023

Saudi HR development fund approves 18 professional certificates to boost labor market

Saudi HR development fund approves 18 professional certificates to boost labor market

RIYADH: Aiming to create more job and career advancement opportunities for the national workforce, Saudi Arabia’s Human Resources Development Fund approved 18 professional certificates. 

With this move, the total number of approved professional certificates serving the labor market in the Kingdom has jumped to 146, according to a statement.

The fund disclosed that the newly approved certificates serve three professional fields: finance and banking, industrial engineering and information technology. 

It went on to state that the new accreditation will help boost the competitiveness of the Kingdom’s national workforce across public and private sectors while raising their productivity. 

The accreditation will also motivate the national workforce and further develop its skills and experience in various business sectors across the labor market. 

The fund is known to collaborate with other fund programs to empower national cadres and further develop their professional skills and capabilities.

It is seeking to build a productive and stable national workforce in line with the strategic objectives of the Kingdom’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and its institutional system. 

In March, the fund launched a new strategy and identity to support the development of a sustainable national workforce in the Kingdom through training, empowerment and counseling programs.    

The new strategy aims to help the development of human capabilities and allow them to enter and remain sustainable in the labor market. This is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 agenda and labor market plan that encourage localization.  

In January, the state-run corpus also signed a cooperation agreement with the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program to encourage the training and recruitment of Saudi trainees.    

Furthermore, it claimed that in 2022, it facilitated the employment of 400,000 persons in private-sector firms through its programs and initiatives.   

The development fund aims to fill 40 percent of current employment demands in Saudi Arabia by 2030, according to Ahmed Al-Rajhi, minister of human resources and social development, who also chairs its board.

Saudi bourses feel the heat as US debt ceiling clouds global markets

Saudi bourses feel the heat as US debt ceiling clouds global markets
Updated 28 May 2023

Saudi bourses feel the heat as US debt ceiling clouds global markets

Saudi bourses feel the heat as US debt ceiling clouds global markets

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index fell 46.52 points to close at 11,138.05 on Sunday, exercising caution ahead of the US debt ceiling decision that has gripped global markets. 

While the parallel market Nomu slipped slightly to 21,0553.54, the MSCI Tadawul Index closed flat at 1,483.75. 

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR4.66 billion ($1.24 billion) as 98 stocks of the listed 224 advanced and 113 retreated. 

East Pipes Integrated Co. for Industry and Alkhaleej Training and Education Co. were the worst-performing stocks of the day, as their share prices fell about 5 percent to SR63.40 and SR22.50, respectively. 

However, Al Alamiya for Cooperative Insurance Co. emerged as the No. 1 stock as its share price surged 9.79 percent to SR17.50. 

Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances Corp., Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Co., Saudi Industrial Services Co., and Saudi Fisheries Co. also had a field day as their share prices rose in the 5 percent range. 

On the announcements front, Bupa Arabia for Cooperative Insurance informed Tadawul that it registered a 212.9 percent increase in net income to SR188.6 million during the first quarter of 2023 compared to SR60.3 million in the year-ago period. 

The company said the strong performance was driven by a 27.2 percent annual increase in insurance revenue and a 77.7 percent decline in net expenses from reinsurance contracts held. Its share price jumped 1.58 percent to SR179.80. 

Abdulaziz and Mansour Ibrahim AlBabtain Co. told the Saudi Stock Exchange that its shareholders approved a 5 percent cash dividend or SR0.5 per share for the first half of 2022. The company will dole out SR1.7 million in dividends on May 25. Its share price progressed 2 percent to SR51. 

Last week, Al Moammar Information Systems Co. signed two contracts worth SR188.72 million. 

The first contract was concluded with Advanced Electronics Co. Ltd. to renew software licenses at SR47.04 million. The contract has a term of five years. 

The second 24-month agreement was signed with the National Center for Government Resources Systems for SR141.68 million. The deal entails establishing and building the infrastructure for a unified government resource system by supplying and installing hardware and software. MIS’s share price increased 0.9 percent to SR134. 

On Nomu, Aqaseem Factory for Chemicals and Plastics Co. announced its plans to issue Saudi riyal-denominated sukuk through an offering on the website of Sukuk Capital Co. 

The company said the issuance value will be determined later based on market conditions and will be employed to support the company’s operational activities. 

The stock exchange also witnessed the retail subscription of two initial public offerings: Morabaha Marina Financing Co. and Al Mawarid Manpower Co. 

MMFC has offered about 2.14 million shares, or 10 percent of the total shares, at SR14.60 each, while AMMC proposed 450,000 shares at SR64 each. 

These IPOs are the first on Tadawul this year. 

NEOM sets ambitious target to preserve natural environment

NEOM sets ambitious target to preserve natural environment
Updated 28 May 2023

NEOM sets ambitious target to preserve natural environment

NEOM sets ambitious target to preserve natural environment

RIYADH: As part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect the environment and promote sustainable living, NEOM has pledged to allocate 95 percent of its total area for preservation.

It will also develop a facility in Al-Asilah to preserve the Arabian oryx, the Arabian sand gazelle, the mountain gazelle, and the ibex.

The reserve will be home to one of the biggest wildlife restoration programs in the world and will allow visitors to learn about NEOM’s programs for the development and rehabilitation of vegetation and wildlife.

The announcement was made at the second Tabuk Forum, which was organized by NEOM.

During the forum, NEOM officials highlighted various programs it is currently undertaking in different areas such as social responsibility, sports, tourism, media, career guidance management, human resources, contracts and purchases, hospitality, education, and scholarships.

Saudi Arabia is expanding its ambitions through projects such as The Line in NEOM, a zero-car environment that is part of a 100 percent sustainable transport system.

The city will be 200 meters wide, 170 km long, and rise 500 meters above sea level and will contribute to conserving 95 percent of NEOM’s land and support environmental sustainability.

Its design is based on a new concept of zero-gravity urbanism, the idea of layering city functions vertically while enabling inhabitants to move seamlessly in the city in three directions — up, down, and across — offering quick access to offices, schools, parks, and residential facilities.

The Line’s unique modular design ensures that all facilities and amenities can be accessed within a five-minute walk.

Using an innovative design that requires minimal space and less water, hydroponics gardens will grow fruit, vegetables, and flowers in half the time of traditional agriculture methods.

NEOM has several ongoing megaprojects, one of them being Trojena, a year-round winter sports complex designed by Iraqi British architect Zaha Hadid. And what will be the first outdoor ski resort in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, is set to host the Asian Winter Games in 2029.

Another megaproject is Sindalah Island, a luxury tourist destination.

Global investment in clean energy to reach over $1.7tn in 2023: IEA

Global investment in clean energy to reach over $1.7tn in 2023: IEA
Updated 28 May 2023

Global investment in clean energy to reach over $1.7tn in 2023: IEA

Global investment in clean energy to reach over $1.7tn in 2023: IEA

RIYADH: As efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change gather pace around the world, investment in clean energy is also witnessing a surge and is expected to reach more than $1.7 trillion in 2023, according to the International Energy Agency.

In its latest report, the IEA said the global energy sector is likely to record investment worth around $2.8 trillion this year of which 60.7 percent will go toward clean technologies.

As security and affordability issues brought on by the global energy crisis gain strength, spending on clean energy technologies will outpace spending on fossil fuels, the report predicted.

Green energy includes renewables, electric vehicles, nuclear power, low-emissions fuels, efficiency improvements, and heat pumps.

According to the report, the leftover global energy investments — slightly over $1 trillion — will go toward coal, gas, and oil.

“Clean energy is moving fast — faster than many people realize. This is clear in the investment trends, where clean technologies are pulling away from fossil fuels,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

He added: “For every dollar invested in fossil fuels, about $1.7 are now going into clean energy. Five years ago, this ratio was one-to-one.”

The report also predicted that in 2023, spending on solar power is due to hit more than $1 billion a day or $382 billion for the year, while investment in oil production will stand at $371 billion.

From 2021 to 2023, annual investments in clean energy are projected to rise by 24 percent, driven by renewables and electric cars, compared to a 15 percent increase in investments in fossil fuels during the same time frame.

The report noted that over 90 percent of this increase emanates from developed nations and China. This poses a severe threat of creating new energy divides if renewable energy transitions do not accelerate elsewhere.

The IEA attributed the stimulated investments in clean energy in recent years to rapid economic expansion and erratic fossil fuel prices that fueled worries about energy security, particularly in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

Other factors impacting the jump in investments in clean energy include significant policy support through initiatives in Europe, Japan, China, and other regions as well as the US Inflation Reduction Act.