Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 

Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Saudi Arabia is expected to outpace India with 7.6 percent gross domestic product growth. (File)
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Updated 08 January 2023

Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 

Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to overtake India as the fastest-growing major economy in 2023, driven by gains from energy prices. 

According to official data released by India’s Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, Saudi Arabia is expected to outpace India with 7.6 percent gross domestic product growth as the rising revenues from higher energy prices continue to bolster the Kingdom’s economy.  

This puts India in the second position with an expected GDP growth rate of 7 percent in the fiscal year ending March, as weakening demand has hampered the growth prospects of Asia’s third-largest economy. 

“The growth in real GDP during 2022-23 is estimated at 7 percent, compared to 8.7 percent in 2021-22,” said the Indian ministry in a statement. 

The Indian government is using this estimate to decide its spending priorities in the upcoming union budget that will be presented on Feb.1, 2023, which will also be the last full-year expenditure plan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government before elections in 2024.  

Even though India started the ongoing fiscal year on a good note, monetary policies adopted by the Reserve Bank of India to combat inflation have apparently tampered with the growth curve of the nation.  

India's central bank, which has raised its benchmark rate by 225 basis points so far this fiscal year, is expected to announce further hike after its policy review meeting scheduled between Feb. 6 to 8.  

In December last year, Saudi Arabia reported a larger-than-expected budget surplus for 2022 of SR102 billion ($27.13 billion) — SR12 billion higher than the previous estimate. 

After the approval of the 2023 budget, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that the success of the Kingdom’s reforms in the operating model of the public sector and the economy contributed to the achievement of a budget surplus. 

He further noted that the budget surplus will be used to boost government reserves, support national funds, and strengthen the Kingdom’s financial position amid global economic headwinds. 

He also added that the government intends to prioritize capital spending in the 2023 budget based on regional and sectoral strategies in line with the goals outlined in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

In October, the International Monetary Fund, in its World Economic Outlook Report, noted that Saudi Arabia is expected to grow by 7.6 percent in 2022 and 3.7 percent in 2023. 

The World Bank projection was slightly higher than the IMF estimates, as the international financial institution predicted 8.3 percent growth in 2022, before moderating to 3.7 percent and 2.3 percent in 2023 and 2024 respectively. 

In November, the World Bank also revealed that Saudi Arabia is the fastest-growing economy among the Group of 20 nations, adding that the Kingdom has a moderate inflation rate at 2.9 percent, the lowest among G20 countries. 


Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world

Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world
Updated 07 February 2023

Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world

Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world

RIYADH: Being a cost-effective and low-carbon solution, nuclear energy “offers a golden opportunity” to help build a clean world, according to the director general of the World Nuclear Association.

Sama Bilbao y Leon was speaking as a keynote speaker at the 44th IAEE International Conference in Riyadh on Tuesday. The top official said nuclear energy offers an opportunity to build a cleaner and more equitable world in which everyone has access to “clean, abundant and affordable round-the-clock energy and high quality of life.”

“As a low-carbon energy source, nuclear power can play a very important role, decarbonizing other difficult-to-able sectors,” she said.

The official said nuclear energy is certainly a cost-effective, low-carbon solution and a catalyst for economic development. It is more efficient than other sources when we think of energy transition, she added.

She, however, cautioned saying that much work is needed to deploy nuclear power with determination and speed.

Leon also pointed out that the current energy market is unstable, and there is a need to take a step back and adopt scientific approaches to make the sustainable energy transition a success.

Yousef Al-Ghamdi, executive director of strategic planning at the Saudi Electricity Co. noted that renewable energy will play an important role in energy transition, especially hydrogen energy.

Shihab Elborai, a partner at Strategy& Middle East, underscored the importance of technological advances to meet the challenges of climate change. He said recycling can help mitigate the climate effect and reduce carbon in the environment, therefore countries should invest in efficient technologies to improve the energy sector.

Peter Hartley, the George A. Peterkin Professor of Economics at Rice University, said natural gas is cheaper and a better option and as an energy source is going to stay. He added that nuclear energy is a costly affair.

Ayad Alamri, executive director for business development, at ACWA Power, said that PVC has a key role in clean energy management and distribution as we are aiming at a net-zero future.


Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities

Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities
Updated 07 February 2023

Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities

Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities

RIYADH: Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Co. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing to work together to explore listing opportunities and collaborate in sectors such as fintech and environmental, social and governance, according to a tweet by the parent company of the Saudi Exchange.

The MoU reflected the HKEX’s “ongoing commitment to driving global connectivity and shaping a successful shared sustainable future,” said Nicolas Aguzin, CEO of the Hong Kong bourse operator.

“This MoU brings us one step closer toward enabling cross listings and other areas of collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong,” Tadawul CEO Khalid Al-Hussan was quoted as saying by the Chinese media.

“As we seek to position the Saudi capital market as an investment hub between East and West, we are seeing increased interest from issuers and investors in Asia.”

 

 


Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP
Updated 07 February 2023

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association was launched at the LEAP 2023 conference in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The association — comprising over 100 Saudi and Chinese businesses, government entities, nongovernmental organizations, and academic institutions — seeks to boost cooperation between the private sectors on both sides along with bilateral ties at the government level. 

The nonprofit organization is supported by the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones. It will be operated by eWTP Arabia Capital.

“In line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, SCEA will enable cross-border investments and valuable collaborations,” said Jerry Li, founder and managing partner of eWTPA. 

The organization also plans to promote investment, encourage innovation, and develop social responsibility and public welfare.  

“China is a strategic partner for Saudi Arabia in terms of technology and innovation. Having worked closely with Alibaba and eWTPA for the last three years, I highly appreciate their efforts in contributing to the development of our local digital ecosystem,” said Faisal Al-Khamisi, chairman of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones. 

Al-Khamisi added: “This association will take our collaboration to the next level and provide the broader Saudi-China business community with a forum to share valuable experiences.”   


Jordanian-Iraqi business forum to start Wednesday in Baghdad

Jordanian-Iraqi business forum to start Wednesday in Baghdad
Updated 07 February 2023

Jordanian-Iraqi business forum to start Wednesday in Baghdad

Jordanian-Iraqi business forum to start Wednesday in Baghdad
  • 3-day conference being held under title ‘Partnership for the Future’
  • Jordanian delegation to include company representatives from range of sectors

AMMAN: A Jordanian-Iraqi business forum will on Wednesday get underway in Baghdad with company representatives and investors from both countries taking part.
The Jordan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Jordanian Businessmen Association are co-organizing the three-day event, which is being held under the title “Partnership for the Future,” the Jordan News Agency reported on Tuesday.
The participating Jordanian delegation will include representatives of firms operating in various economic sectors including foodstuffs, communications, information technology, medicines, clothing, financial and banking services, insurance, construction, contracting, real estate development, tourism, agriculture, mining, and plastics industries.
In regard to the current global economic situation, the forum will provide a chance for the private sectors of Jordan and Iraq to work together and make the most of the opportunities available, advancing the strategic goals and common interests of the two countries.
The forum will be held concurrently with the joint Jordanian-Iraqi committee meetings and will feature bilateral talks between Jordanian and Iraqi business leaders as well as an overview of investment opportunities in Jordan.
The Jordanian party will be one of the biggest economic delegations to visit Baghdad, reflecting Amman’s desire to forge close economic ties with Iraq and support initiatives launched by King Abdullah II and the Iraqi leadership.


Tonomus teams with Oracle, Nvidia to boost AI capabilities across NEOM, Saudi Arabia

Tonomus teams with Oracle, Nvidia to boost AI capabilities across NEOM, Saudi Arabia
Updated 07 February 2023

Tonomus teams with Oracle, Nvidia to boost AI capabilities across NEOM, Saudi Arabia

Tonomus teams with Oracle, Nvidia to boost AI capabilities across NEOM, Saudi Arabia

 

RIYADH: With the aim of boosting artificial intelligence capabilities across NEOM and Saudi Arabia, Tonomus announced it had teamed up with Oracle and Nvidia at LEAP 23 on Tuesday.
The collaboration by Tonomus, a cognitive multinational conglomerate and the first company to be established as a full-fledged subsidiary of NEOM, is designed to accelerate AI-powered innovation for a broad range of use by enterprises and government organizations.
Tonomus will provide customers with direct access to Nvidia’s advanced AI, digital twin solutions that take advantage of the planned Oracle cloud region to be located at NEOM.
“The longstanding alliance between Oracle and Nvidia complements Tonomus’ ongoing mission to build the infrastructure and ubiquitous connectivity required to enable the world’s first ecosystem of cognitive technologies,” Joseph Bradley, CEO of Tonomus, said.
“This monumental collaboration will empower NEOM with geographical advantage and place Saudi Arabia firmly on the map as a regional hub for the provision of AI capabilities.”
“Tonomus will benefit from Oracle cloud infrastructure’s unmatched capability of supporting modern cloud native applications in a secure environment. This, coupled with our existing partnership with Nvidia, will speed AI adoption for enterprises,” added Richard Smith, executive vice president, cloud and technology, Europe, Middle East, and Africa of Oracle.
“Nvidia software and systems on OCI provide an ideal platform for developers like Tonomus to build AI-forward, modern cities,” Jaap Zuiderveld, vice president of EMEA at Nvidia, commented.