Arab-Chinese conference to explore business synergies, investment opportunities 

Arab-Chinese conference to explore business synergies, investment opportunities 
The conference will welcome more than 2,000 private sector leaders and government officials (Shutterstock)
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Updated 15 May 2023
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Arab-Chinese conference to explore business synergies, investment opportunities 

Arab-Chinese conference to explore business synergies, investment opportunities 

RIYADH: Investment opportunities, economic growth, and closer trade relations will be on the agenda at the 10th session of the Arab-Chinese Businessmen Conference scheduled to take place in Riyadh on June 11 and 12. 

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the event will also explore synergies in technology, artificial intelligence, renewable energy, agriculture, real estate and strategic minerals. 

Organized by the Saudi Ministry of Investment in partnership with the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade and a host of other regional associations, the conference will welcome more than 2,000 private sector leaders and government officials. 

The SPA report added that Chinese investors would also get to examine emerging markets in the Kingdom through the “Invest Saudi” platform. 

The conference comes hot on the heels of the economic potential of the Middle East-China trade corridor discussed at an exclusive International Connections briefing organized by HSBC and the UAE China Business Council last week in Dubai. 

The UAE stands as China’s second-largest trading partner in the Arab world and the largest investment destination, and there is significant potential for further cooperation between the two countries.  

Similarly, Saudi Arabia and China bolstered their strategic relations and expanded their commercial ties during President Xi Jinping’s three-day state visit to the Kingdom last year.   

Xi and his delegation held talks with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the heads of key ministries, resulting in 35 memorandums of understanding and deals worth $30 billion.   

The two sides signed a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement, committing to support each other’s core interests, sovereignty, and territorial integrity and to defend the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states. 

“There is no doubt that working together with the second largest economy in the world is vital to Saudi Arabia’s growth, but that does not mean that we cannot continue to work with the world’s largest economy,” Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Faisal bin Farhan said during the visit.


Egypt launches bid round for gas and oil exploration in 23 new areas — statement

Egypt launches bid round for gas and oil exploration in 23 new areas — statement
Updated 13 sec ago
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Egypt launches bid round for gas and oil exploration in 23 new areas — statement

Egypt launches bid round for gas and oil exploration in 23 new areas — statement

DUBAI: Egypt’s petroleum ministry launched on Monday an international bid round for gas and oil exploration in 23 new areas, it said in a statement.

The bid includes 10 areas in Egypt’s Western Desert, two in the Eastern Desert, seven in the Gulf of Suez, and four areas in the Red Sea, it added. 

 


Oil Updates – prices rise, tight supply back in focus

Oil Updates – prices rise, tight supply back in focus
Updated 25 September 2023
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Oil Updates – prices rise, tight supply back in focus

Oil Updates – prices rise, tight supply back in focus

LONDON: Oil prices rose on Monday as investors focused on a tighter supply outlook after Moscow issued a temporary ban on fuel exports while remaining wary of further rate hikes that could dampen demand, according to Reuters.

Brent crude futures climbed 69 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $93.96 a barrel by 9:46 a.m. Saudi time after settling 3 cents lower on Friday.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures extended gains for a second session, trading at $90.57 a barrel, up 54 cents, or 0.6 percent.

“Crude oil prices have started the week on the front foot, as the market continues to digest Russia’s temporary ban on diesel and gasoline exports, into an already tight market, offset with the Fed’s hawkish message that rates will stay higher for longer,” IG Markets analyst Tony Sycamore said.

Both contracts fell last week, snapping a three-week winning streak, after a hawkish Federal Reserve stance rattled global financial sectors and raised oil demand concerns.

Prices had rallied more than 10 percent in the previous three weeks on forecasts of a wide crude supply deficit in the fourth quarter after Saudi Arabia and Russia extended additional supply cuts to the end of the year.

Last week, Moscow temporarily banned gasoline and diesel exports to most countries in order to stabilize the domestic market, fanning concerns of low supply especially for heating oil as the Northern Hemisphere heads into winter.

“The Russian fuel export ban news appears to be priced in for the time being but the undercurrent of global oil supply tightness runs deep, with an intense focus on diesel shortages and fears over unanticipated LNG (liquefied natural gas) supply disruptions likely to persist, especially in the European markets,” said Vandana Hari, founder of oil market analysis provider Vanda Insights.

In the US the number of operating oil rigs fell by eight to 507 last week, their lowest since February 2022, despite higher prices, a weekly report from Baker Hughes showed on Friday.

Expectations of better economic data this week from China, the world’s largest crude importer, also lifted sentiment. However, analysts flagged that oil prices face technical resistance at the November 2022 highs that were hit last week.

The Asian country’s manufacturing sector is expected to return to expansion mode in September, with the purchasing manufacturing index forecast to rise above 50 for the first time since March, Goldman Sachs analysts said.

In a positive sign, China’s oil demand increased 0.3 million barrels per day to 16.3 million bpd last week, partly due to a gradual recovery in jet fuel demand for international flights, they added.


ADNOC, Abu Dhabi’s TAQA secure financing for $2.2bn water project 

ADNOC, Abu Dhabi’s TAQA secure financing for $2.2bn water project 
Updated 25 September 2023
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ADNOC, Abu Dhabi’s TAQA secure financing for $2.2bn water project 

ADNOC, Abu Dhabi’s TAQA secure financing for $2.2bn water project 

DUBAI: State oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. and Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., also known as TAQA, said on Monday they secured the financing for a $2.2 billion project to provide sustainable water supply to ADNOC’s onshore operations. 

The project, which was announced in May, will comprise a centralized seawater treatment facility for ADNOC’s operations at the Bab and Bu Hasa fields in Abu Dhabi, as part of the oil giant’s efforts to decarbonize its business. 

A group of nine local banks and international banks will finance the project, through a combination of commercial and Islamic finance facilities, ADNOC and TAQA said in a bourse statement. 

The banks to finance the project are First Abu Dhabi Bank, Gulf International Bank, Natixis, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Emirates NBD, Emirates Development Bank and Warba Bank. 

A consortium comprising Orascom Construction and Metito will construct a seawater treatment facility and transportation and distribution network. 

ADNOC and TAQA each own a 25.5 percent stake in the project, resulting in a combined 51 percent majority, while the consortium will own the remainder under a build, own, operate and transfer model. 

Alpha Dhabi to buy majority stake in Metito 

Alpha Dhabi said on Monday it plans to acquire a majority stake in the UAE-based water and wastewater project developer Metito Holdings. 

Pending regulatory approvals, Alpha Dhabi said it plans to acquire the stake from Metito’s selling shareholders Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Gulf Capital. 

Alpha Dhabi did not disclose the size of the stake it would take in Metito, which has around 20 offices and 4,500 employees across the world. Alpha Dhabi also did not disclose the value of the transaction or how the transaction would be funded. 

The Ghandour family, Metito’s founding shareholders, will retain their leadership roles, Alpha Dhabi said in the statement on Monday. 

Alpha Dhabi is linked to Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the UAE’s national security adviser and a brother of the country’s President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Sheikh Tahnoun owns the Royal Group, which has a 74 percent stake in the parent of Alpha Dhabi, the International Holding Co. 


EU says no intention of cutting ties with China, but urges Beijing to reduce risk perception

EU says no intention of cutting ties with China, but urges Beijing to reduce risk perception
Updated 25 September 2023
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EU says no intention of cutting ties with China, but urges Beijing to reduce risk perception

EU says no intention of cutting ties with China, but urges Beijing to reduce risk perception

BEIJING: The European Union has no intention of cutting ties with China even as the bloc takes steps to lower economic dependencies and de-risk, but China “could do a lot” to help reduce the perception of risk, the EU trade chief said on Monday.

The EU has long complained about a lack of level playing field in China and the politicization of the business environment. Concern turned to wariness after Beijing’s move to strengthen ties with Moscow despite the war in Ukraine.
Europe’s economic ties with China are deep, but China “could do a lot to help reduce our perception of risk,” Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in a speech delivered at the Tsinghua University in Beijing.


Industry heavyweights focus on talent acquisition, retention

Industry heavyweights focus on talent acquisition, retention
Updated 24 September 2023
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Industry heavyweights focus on talent acquisition, retention

Industry heavyweights focus on talent acquisition, retention

RIYADH: Talent acquisition, retention, and mentoring will be in the spotlight at the upcoming hospitality summit in the UAE as industry heavyweights gather to discuss the significance of investing in human resources and incorporate the concepts of environmental, social, and governance in the recruitment process.

The Future Hospitality Summit scheduled to be held on Sept. 25-27 at Hilton Yas Island in Abu Dhabi under the theme “Focus on Investment” will focus on the importance of prioritizing human capital investment, addressing talent shortage, recruiting, and retaining suitable workforce.

According to Mariam Al-Musharrekh, executive director of human resources at Miral — the summit’s host sponsor — recruitment retention, and development of talent are essential to meeting the increasing demand for sustainable, digitalized, and hyper-personalized guest experiences in the leisure, entertainment, and tourism industry.

“A heightened focus on attracting and retaining top talent, while cultivating and investing in their long-term growth and ensuring they have the best possible start to their careers will remain paramount for the growth of the industry,” Al-Musharrekh said.

“An organization’s workforce must be empowered to contribute meaningfully to sustainable practices by cultivating a culture of ethical governance, community engagement, and continuous learning,” she added.

Hospitality leaders will offer their perspectives on key aspects such as workforce skills, finding and keeping talent, and attracting Emirati and Saudi nationals in the hospitality sector.

As guest preferences continue to evolve and technology becomes more prominent in the hospitality industry, it’s essential to ensure that workforce skills stay current.

“The hospitality sector has gone through a revolution over the past few years through the integration of digital ecosystems within its operations. Following this revolution, recruitment, retention, and development remain a focal point for success within the industry, as hospitality professionals are key to driving hyper-personalized experiences,” Al-Musharrekh added.

“It requires passionate individuals who understand the delicate balance between technology and hospitality, and by dedicating more of our time and budgets toward mentorship programs, cross-training, and tailored development paths,” Dimitris Manikis, president of Wyndham Hotels and Resort in Europe and MEA, said in a statement.

Manikis said that increased investment is required in the recruitment and retention of individuals with the right qualifications and adaptability to meet the changing demands of the sector.

It involves supporting the upcoming generation and commencing from the foundational level. This entails collaborating with educational institutions such as schools and universities to establish internship initiatives that enable young talents to learn insights from industry experts and prepare for the future.

Paul Griep, director of Industry and Alumni Relations at Hotelschool The Hague, said: “I believe both education as well as the industry can make a true competitive difference by assessing which aspects of the hospitality journey can be resolved by technology and which aspects will need a more ‘human’ touch.” 

The Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, is making record-level investments in the tourism and hospitality sector. It is estimated that by 2026, there will be a demand for nearly 100,000 well-trained hospitality experts.

“Over the last few years, we have seen notable transformations in recruitment and retention practices, with the shift attributed to various factors including technological advancements and changing market dynamics,” Al-Musharrekh commented.

She also added that recruitment has become more focused and personalized as a result of the use of data-driven methodologies, assisting in the discovery of more suitable individuals

Sunil John, president of ASDA’A Burson Cohn & Wolfe in the Middle East and North Africa, said that the hospitality sector has emerged as one of the top areas for creating new jobs, especially for the youth but added: “To attract regional talent, the hospitality sector must underline the growth opportunities it provides.”

“Typically, in the region, the hospitality sector has been dominated by expatriate professionals — and there is an urgent need to nurture and build robust career choices for nationals,” John continued.

Griep added that the industry has a chance to do this “right” this time, viewing the demand for 100,000 skilled professionals as both the most significant challenge and the “greatest” opportunity.

However, he said that “this may not be the most sustainable and/or ethical which will be accepted at a lesser extent by newer generations.”

“Saudi Arabia can be the ‘lab’ where an array of new techniques, approaches to talent, and recruitment can be tested in action,” Manikis said.

Attracting and retaining talent in the hospitality industry requires a holistic approach that addresses compensation, work-life balance, career development, workplace culture, and societal responsibility.

Jeroen Greven, the managing director of the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, explained different approaches to attracting and retaining talents.

He said it is important to showcase “the unique opportunities and experiences” that the Middle East has to offer to attract potential candidates. Another approach, he added, is to increase collaboration with educational institutions to provide specialized hospitality programs.

Greven also added: “As the industry expands, a strategic mix of appealing incentives and employee-centric policies will remain central to securing and nurturing a skilled workforce.”

“Our approach to nurturing Arab youth talent involves forging partnerships with educational institutions, continuing to offer internships and mentorship programs, and remaining committed to creating an environment where young local talents can flourish and contribute meaningfully to the industry,” Manikis commented.

Moreover, ensuring the development of talent in a responsible ESG-driven environment is also important to ensure sustainable growth of the industry. Greven added: “Start by incorporating sustainability modules into training programs to raise awareness and foster a culture of responsible practices through continuous education on environmental and social issues.”

This can also be done by implementing mentorship programs where seasoned professionals guide talent in ESG considerations.

In May, the summit was held in Riyadh under the theme “Invest in Change,” as it emphasized the importance of the positive change that can be brought about by investing in time, intellect, and experience to keep up with the changing times and trends.

The summit focused on creating job opportunities for young Saudis by fostering the development of a skilled and talented workforce for the hospitality sector.