Egyptian president calls for leaders to coordinate climate change policies with NGOs

Egyptian president calls for leaders to coordinate climate change policies with NGOs
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Screenshot)
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Updated 09 November 2022

Egyptian president calls for leaders to coordinate climate change policies with NGOs

Egyptian president calls for leaders to coordinate climate change policies with NGOs

JEDDAH: Policies to fight global warming must be coordinated with non-governmental organizations, Egypt’s president has insisted at the latest meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East Climate Change Initiative. 

Speaking at a gathering of the group on the sidelines of the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said the scientific community was playing a key role in the initiative — something that marked it out from other organizations. 

His words were echoed by other leaders from the region, who spoke of the impact climate change is already having on their countries. 

El-Sisi said: “Despite the primary responsibility of states and governments in this regard, other non-governmental parties must play complementary and supportive roles based on their responsibility and work towards the principles of cooperation and participation.” 

“What distinguishes the initiative in which we are meeting today from other initiatives and efforts is the scientific component that it encompasses, which is indispensable if we seek to align our climate change efforts with the best available science,” he added. 

The EMME-CCI was launched in 2019 after being instigated by Cyprus, and El-Sisi said the region has witnessed severe climatic events in recent years, from forest fires to floods and torrential rains, which resulted in many human and financial losses. 

“We have faith in the countries that can undertake this initiative within the framework of coordinating policies directed at climate change,” he said. 

“This is a region that, as you know, is one of the most affected regions of the world by the consequences of climate change and its devastating effects at all levels,” he added. 

During the meeting, Iraq President Abdul Latif Rashid said the time has come to take action and implement. 

“I think we have enough information, knowledge, technology, all aspects of climate change, climate on its own, to tackle these problems,” he said. 

He highlighted the huge need from all countries to support an execution plan to provide solutions. 

“It will take time to implement and secure the required finance - there are direct and indirect factors affecting climate, such as increase in population, it affects directly the climate changing,” said Rashid. 

He said that the main factors affecting climate changing are the industrial pollution, and that operational procedures are very important and must have agreed upon procedures to assure cooperation. 

“How we work on improving our systems, especially irrigation systems, we can't go to old times of wasting water,” he said. 

“We must get new systems with new technologies of new irrigation system to limit water waste in the future,” he added 

Cypriot Minister of Agriculture Costas Kadis said that the Middle East region has been classified by the scientific community as a global climate change hotspot, and coordinated action is necessary. 

“Action based on sound scientific knowledge is necessary to address climate change issues in the Middle East region,” he said. 

“I have no doubt that we will act with urgency, collaborate and coordinate, to ensure a better environment for the future,” added Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades. 

 Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he hopes to have sufficient energy transfer not only for the region, but for export into Europe. 

“One of the important issues that directly relates to us, and that we aspire to further cooperation in this regard as well — we spoke with Abdel Fattah El-Sisi about energy projects to ensure a more efficient energy transfer, not only for use in the region, but for export to the European market,” said Mitsotakis. 

Bisher Al-Khasawneh, Jordan’s prime minister, pointed to the repercussions on the environment, food and population due to climate change. 

“They are increasing daily and foretelling a catastrophe in the future. That is why we must start an initiative to confront these consequences of climate change - Jordan pledges to abide by and take all measures for comprehensive solutions and to ensure green growth while implementing our national ambitions,” he said. 


TASI closes on a positive note, gains 144 points

TASI closes on a positive note, gains 144 points
Updated 30 November 2022

TASI closes on a positive note, gains 144 points

TASI closes on a positive note, gains 144 points

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index gained ground on Wednesday, with 148 of the 219 listed companies closing higher as investors came in droves to kick-start a bull run.

The Tadawul All Share Index added 142 points to close at 10,896.91, while the parallel market Nomu soared 473 points to finish at 18,866.

The total trading turnover closed at SR8 billion ($2.13 billion), an encouraging figure from the SR2.58 billion clocked on Sunday.

Saudi utility major ACWA Power announced that it signed a power purchase agreement with the Water and Electricity Holding Co. to develop the largest solar photovoltaic plant in the Middle East.

Based in Makkah, the 2,060-megawatt project will be ready by the fourth quarter of 2025 and is expected to power 350,000 homes.

The news led to a flurry among investors to purchase the shares, leading to a 4.32 percent increase in share price while closing at SR140.20.

Saudi Arabian food delivery app Jahez announced a share purchase agreement to acquire 134,620 shares in The Chefz SPV Ltd., representing a 100 percent stake, for SR325 million. The share price closed 12 points higher to SR602.

Saudi Telecom Co. revealed the repurchase of 11.59 million shares for SR453 million at an average price of SR39.16 to facilitate its employee stock incentive plan. The stock opened at SR38.10 and closed at SR38.45, up 1.1 percent.

The stock exchange also witnessed a slew of dividends and bonus shares that steamed up the market.

Healthcare player Al Hammadi Holding on Tuesday recommended a 3.5 percent cash dividend of SR0.35 per share for the fourth quarter this year, amounting to a total of SR56 million. Its share barely inched up to close at SR42.

Nafiyat Finance Co. also recommended a 20 percent increase in capital through a bonus issue of one-for-five shares, leading to a marginal increase in its share price, which closed at SR20.70.

International Human Resources Co.’s shareholders approved a recommendation to distribute cash dividends at 7.5 percent of the company’s capital, or SR0.75 per share, for the first half of 2022. The share price gained 3 percent to close at SR64.

The topmost grosser of the day was Dallah Healthcare Co., with its share price increasing 9.8 percent to end at SR173.60.

Other companies reigning the market included the National Company for Learning and Education, Amlak International for Real Estate Finance Co., Arabian Internet and Communications Services Co. and Almasane Alkobra Mining Co, which clocked on average a 7.54 percent increase.

The top losers were Tourism Enterprise Co., Jadwa REIT Saudi Fund, Riyad REIT Fund, Yanbu Cement Co. and Ash-Sharqiyah Development Co.


Middle East carriers see 15% fall in air cargo volumes in October: IATA

Middle East carriers see 15% fall in air cargo volumes in October: IATA
Updated 30 November 2022

Middle East carriers see 15% fall in air cargo volumes in October: IATA

Middle East carriers see 15% fall in air cargo volumes in October: IATA

RIYADH: Economic headwinds across the globe continued to affect air cargo demand in October, as Middle Eastern carriers witnessed a 15 percent fall in air cargo volumes compared to the same period last year, according to the International Air Transport Association.

The October report from the organization, which represents some 290 airlines comprising 83 percent of global air traffic, revealed the impact of the economic headwinds on the aviation sector could even follow into 2023.

“Air cargo continues to demonstrate resilience as headwinds persist. Cargo demand in October — while tracking below the exceptional performance of October 2021 — saw a 3.5 percent increase in demand compared to September. This indicates that the year-end will still bring a traditional peak-season boost despite economic uncertainties,” said IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh. 

He added: “As 2022 closes out it appears that the current economic uncertainties will follow into the New Year and need continued close monitoring.” 

In October 2022, air cargo volumes in Asia-Pacific airlines decreased by 14.7 percent compared to the same month in 2021. 

The report noted that the fall of air cargo volumes in the Asia Pacific was impacted by conflict in Europe, and lower levels of trade and manufacturing activity due to omicron-related restrictions in China

North American carriers posted an 8.6 percent decrease in cargo volumes in October 2022, while European carriers saw an 18.8 percent decrease compared to the same month last year, primarily due to the war in Ukraine and high inflation levels. 

Latin American and African carriers also witnessed a fall in cargo volumes by 1.4 percent and 8.3 percent over the same period.

The report also suggested that the global demand for air cargo measured in cargo ton-kilometers fell 13.6 percent in October 2022 from the same month last year. 

“Capacity was 0.6 percent below October 2021. This was the first year-on-year contraction since April 2022, however, month-on-month capacity increased by 2.4 percent in preparation for the year-end peak season,” said IATA in the report. 

International cargo capacity grew 2.4 percent in October 2022, compared to the same month in the previous year. 


Saudi PIF secures record-breaking $17bn seven-year senior unsecured term loan

Saudi PIF secures record-breaking $17bn seven-year senior unsecured term loan
Updated 30 November 2022

Saudi PIF secures record-breaking $17bn seven-year senior unsecured term loan

Saudi PIF secures record-breaking $17bn seven-year senior unsecured term loan

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has announced that it has secured a new $17 billion seven-year senior unsecured term loan, according to a statement.

The loan is the largest-of-its-kind general corporate purpose loan worldwide and was twice oversubscribed.

The new loan falls in line with the sovereign wealth fund’s strategy of diversifying its funding sources in an attempt to prompt effective investment in the Kingdom and globally.

The new loan also aligns well with the PIF’s medium-term capital raising strategy as well as its 2022 Annual Capital Raising Plan.

“It is a significant achievement for PIF, raising a record-sized term facility in the longest tenor ever for a loan of its size that is subscribed to by an unprecedentedly diversified number of lenders. PIF will continue to explore a variety of debt funding sources as it delivers on its strategic objectives,” said Head of Global Capital Finance Division at PIF Fahad AlSaif in a statement.

The PIF’s $11 billion five-year loan which was arranged back in 2018 is set to be repaid early, the statement disclosed.

While the new transaction recorded the support of 25 financial institutions across Europe, America, the Middle East, and Asia, the $11 billion loan of 2018 was supported by just 15 financial institutions.

In February 2022, the PIF received strong international credit ratings from US credit firm Moody’s as well as US finance and insurance company Fitch, reflecting the creditworthiness and quality of the sovereign wealth fund’s investments.


Saudi airports focus on sustainability through infrastructure projects: Leading official

Saudi airports focus on sustainability through infrastructure projects: Leading official
Updated 30 November 2022

Saudi airports focus on sustainability through infrastructure projects: Leading official

Saudi airports focus on sustainability through infrastructure projects: Leading official

RIYADH: The aviation sector in Saudi Arabia is pushing toward a sustainable model by building infrastructure for the future to deliver a seamless passenger experience, according to Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, president of the Kingdom's General Authority of Civil Aviation.

Picking up the threads from the universal pandemic that marred the airline industry, the sector is bolstering the infrastructure by addressing core issues such as staff shortage, health mandates and climate change concerns. 

Fresh from the pandemic, the industry had to endure a hiring process that took almost 16 weeks from recruiting a skilled worker to finally deploying him or her to the job, leading to a clogged supply of staff members in the airports. The situation, however, is fast changing. 

“We tried to support the airports by accelerating the training, certification and security clearance of the ground handlers and other players of the ecosystem through digitization programs that have minimized the process,” said Al-Duailej, while speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Global Summit in Riyadh. 

The aviation authority last month also submitted the ‘Harmonizing Air Travel' policy guidelines to the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization Council for its approval, encouraging the use of a unified health document that could alleviate traveler concerns that global travelers encountered during the universal pandemic. 

There is also a concerted effort in the Saudi aviation sector to cut the dwell time or time passengers spend in the airport before boarding their flights. 

NEOM Airport, for instance, is working toward developing a high-speed “green” rail system that will transfer air travelers to the city without the need of even finding a parked vehicle, meaning there will be no parking at the NEOM airport. 

“Instead of focusing necessarily on the airport and being a destination, we want to facilitate getting you into the city as fast as we can,” said John Selden, CEO of NEOM Airport. 

The airport is also considering using electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, or EVTOL, to expedite the mobility of incoming passengers. 

“The last two years were incredibly tough for the industry. The check-in process, which usually takes five minutes, took 20 minutes per passenger. We need to find a way to put all the passenger touchpoints together to make travel seamless,” said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, director-general of the Airports Council International, while speaking at the event. 

Airports are also toying with the idea of running the infrastructure to support sustainability, which includes 100 percent green or battery-powered equipment throughout the airport expanse. 

“We need to have systems where passengers don’t leave gates, and we don’t burn fuel on taxiways until we are ready for take-off. We don’t need a queue at the end of the runway,” said Pagano while sharing his vision of a green hydrogen-fueled ecosystem that will power the airports of the future. 


Two new natural gas fields discovered in Saudi Arabia: Energy minister

Two new natural gas fields discovered in Saudi Arabia: Energy minister
Updated 30 November 2022

Two new natural gas fields discovered in Saudi Arabia: Energy minister

Two new natural gas fields discovered in Saudi Arabia: Energy minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has announced the discovery of two new natural gas fields in the Kingdom.

The “Awtad” unconventional natural gas field was discovered southwest of the Ghawar field, 142 kilometers southwest of the city of Hofuf, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The “Al-Dahna” unconventional natural gas field is located 230 kilometers southwest of the city of Dhahran.

Both fields were discovered by Saudi Aramco.

Prince Abdulaziz said that the importance of these discoveries lies in increasing Saudi Arabia’s natural gas reserves, which would in turn support the Kingdom’s strategies and help realize the objectives of the Liquid Fuel Displacement Program.

The Minister of Energy added that the discoveries underline the wealth of natural resources the Kingdom has at its disposal.