Scopa signs deal with Airbus to produce helicopters in Saudi Arabia

Update Scopa signs deal with Airbus to produce helicopters in Saudi Arabia
The Scopa, Airbus deal will see the investment amount exceeding SR25 billion over the coming 20 years to produce the helicopters in the Kingdom. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 21 June 2023
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Scopa signs deal with Airbus to produce helicopters in Saudi Arabia

Scopa signs deal with Airbus to produce helicopters in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: In a further boost to Saudi efforts to localize its defense industry, the Kingdom’s Scopa Industries has signed a deal with Airbus to jointly produce civil and military helicopters.

The deal was announced on the sidelines of the Saudi-French Investment Forum being held in Paris on Monday.

An official statement quoted Scopa CEO Nawaz Al-Akeel as saying that the Saudi defense company expects investments to exceed SR25 billion ($6.67 billion) in the next 20 years.

Al-Akeel said the first helicopters produced at joint Scopa and Airbus factories in Saudi Arabia would be seen within 24 months of next February’s World Defense Show, where he said the “foundation stone” for the project would be laid.

The event is scheduled to be held in Riyadh amid the Kingdom’s push to localize 50 percent of its military spending by 2030.     

In an interview with Arab News last February, Andrew Pearcey said that the upcoming defense show will proclaim the growth of Saudi Arabia in the defense sector.

The Saudi-French forum, which began on Monday, seeks to address key issues across an array of sectors to create visibility for new investment opportunities for technology startups and entrepreneurship.

Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih is leading a senior delegation at the forum to highlight the Kingdom’s commitment to strengthening bilateral ties and exploring new opportunities.    

Both sides aim to unlock new avenues, drive economic growth, and strengthen mutually beneficial ties.    

The forum is the latest in a series of high-level Saudi-French engagements over the last year designed to enhance the partnership.


Madinah airport claims top spot in Middle East regional airport ranking 

Madinah airport claims top spot in Middle East regional airport ranking 
Updated 9 sec ago
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Madinah airport claims top spot in Middle East regional airport ranking 

Madinah airport claims top spot in Middle East regional airport ranking 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah has been awarded the title of the best regional airbase in the Middle East for 2024. 

The recognition was announced during the Skytrax World Airport Awards, held at the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Frankfurt. 

Meanwhile, Qatar’s Hamad International Airport claimed the title of the world’s best aviation hub for the year, while Singapore Changi Airport, previously named the airport of the year in 2023 and a winner on 12 occasions in the past, secured the second position in the global ranking. 

Changi Airport also earned recognition as the top airbase in Asia and for delivering the world’s best immigration services, as per Skytrax. 

Meanwhile, Seoul Incheon Airport, advancing to third place in the global survey rankings, was awarded the title of the world’s most family-friendly terminal for 2024. 


Egypt’s foreign debt increases by $3.5bn, official figures show 

Egypt’s foreign debt increases by $3.5bn, official figures show 
Updated 29 min 4 sec ago
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Egypt’s foreign debt increases by $3.5bn, official figures show 

Egypt’s foreign debt increases by $3.5bn, official figures show 

RIYADH: Egypt’s foreign debt increased by $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023, reaching a total of $168 billion, as reported by the nation’s planning ministry.  

This marks a climb from the $164.5 billion recorded at the end of September, representing 42.4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Notably, 81 percent of this debt is categorized as long-term. 

This uptick in foreign borrowing is part of a broader trend over the last decade, during which Egypt has significantly increased its external debt, investing heavily in state-driven projects.  

This financial strategy was underscored last month by an $8 billion economic support package secured from the International Monetary Fund. 

Amid these monetary maneuvers, Egypt’s Finance Minister Mohamed Maait recently projected that the country’s GDP would grow by 2.8 percent in the fiscal year ending in June 2024, with expectations of an acceleration to 4.2 percent in the following year.  

These figures are closely aligned with the IMF’s more conservative forecast of 3 percent GDP growth for the calendar year 2024, indicating optimism about Egypt’s economic trajectory despite its growing debt burden. 

Earlier in April, Maait highlighted that despite the harsh impacts of global and regional economic crises, Egypt has seen financial indicators surpass budget estimates and targets over the past nine months of the fiscal year 2023-2024.  

The minister noted that this success reflects the international recognition of the North African country’s economy for achieving better-than-expected performance metrics.   

Further emphasizing the economic strategies, Maait pointed out the significant improvements in non-tax revenues, which increased by 122.9 percent, and tax revenues, which surpassed 1 trillion Egyptian pounds ($20.6 billion), marking a growth of 41.2 percent annually.    

He noted these gains were achieved without imposing new burdens on citizens or investors, thanks to expanded mechanization intended to broaden the tax base and integrate the informal economy into the formal sector.    

Maait pointed out that the country’s ongoing effort to boost its economy is evident in the Ministry of Finance’s dialogues with over 2,000 investment institutions annually.    

The ministry’s Investor Relations Unit plays a crucial role in these engagements, maintaining open dialogue throughout the year and issuing monthly performance data.  

These documents provide foreign investors with precise, up-to-date economic data, including details about debt levels, deficits, and primary surpluses, the state-owned newspaper reported.   

They also offer a simplified guide on the various incentives, including tax advantages available to investors, aiming to alleviate any concerns and accurately address potential economic risks.   

Meanwhile, data released earlier this month by Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics showed a slowdown in the country’s urban consumer price inflation rate to 33.1 percent in March from 36 percent in February.   

Additionally, month-on-month prices rose by 10 percent in the third month of 2024, down from an 11.4 percent increase in the previous period.  

This development follows the central bank’s announcement in early March of a 600 basis points hike in interest rates at an unscheduled meeting, along with a shift to an inflation-targeting regime, allowing the exchange rate to be determined by market forces.  


NEOM subsidiary Topian boosts Saudi food security drive with new Tadco partnership 

NEOM subsidiary Topian boosts Saudi food security drive with new Tadco partnership 
Updated 49 min 47 sec ago
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NEOM subsidiary Topian boosts Saudi food security drive with new Tadco partnership 

NEOM subsidiary Topian boosts Saudi food security drive with new Tadco partnership 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s food security drive is set to receive a boost as NEOM subsidiary Topian has partnered with Tabuk Agricultural Development Co., also known as Tadco, to innovate fruit and vegetable production. 

A memorandum of understanding aimed at leveraging advanced agricultural technologies and practices to enhance domestic food production was signed. The agreement includes setting up a hydroponic greenhouse facility at the company’s site in Tabuk, located in northwestern Saudi Arabia. 

Hydroponics is the method of cultivating plants without soil and utilizing minimal water resources. 

Hydroponic gardens, designed for space efficiency, can grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers in half the time of traditional agriculture, while using 90 percent less water. This will support the Kingdom’s efforts toward sustainable food production practices. 

Under the terms of the MoU, Topian will bring its expertise to the table, handling key responsibilities including the design, installation, and operation of the hydroponic greenhouse facility.  

Additionally, the NEOM subsidiary will oversee all aspects of greenhouse management, from production planning to workforce training and customer relations, as stated in a release on the Saudi Stock Exchange. 


Saudi Arabia issues over 37k certificates of origin in March

Saudi Arabia issues over 37k certificates of origin in March
Updated 18 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia issues over 37k certificates of origin in March

Saudi Arabia issues over 37k certificates of origin in March

RIYADH: Saudi exporters were issued 37,188 certificates of origin in March by the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, marking an annual increase of 0.5 percent.

The document confirms that the products are of national origin or have acquired that status. It is part of the ministry’s effort to support and facilitate the service for exporters in various sectors.

This initiative is part of the Kingdom’s goal under the Vision 2030 economic transformation plan to increase the share of non-oil exports to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product from 16 percent to 50 percent by the decade’s end.

 

 


Spanish investments in Saudi Arabia exceed $3bn, boosting bilateral relations and vital sectors

Spanish investments in Saudi Arabia exceed $3bn, boosting bilateral relations and vital sectors
Updated 18 April 2024
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Spanish investments in Saudi Arabia exceed $3bn, boosting bilateral relations and vital sectors

Spanish investments in Saudi Arabia exceed $3bn, boosting bilateral relations and vital sectors

RIYADH: Spanish investments in Saudi Arabia have surpassed $3 billion in the last 10 years, with bilateral relations contributing to the development of vital sectors, according to a top official.

The Kingdom’s Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs, and Housing, Majed Al-Hogail, witnessed the start of the Saudi-Spanish Business Forum on April 17, which was organized by the Council of Saudi Chambers and the Saudi-Spanish Business Council.

Al-Hogail highlighted in his opening address that the bilateral relations between the Kingdom and the European country over the last 70 years have resulted in favorable outcomes, fostering development, investment, and advancements in various sectors such as construction, civil engineering, finance, energy, and water desalination, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency.

He explained that bilateral investments are booming, with Spanish finding into the Kingdom surpassing $3 billion in the last decade, 40 percent of which is in real estate.

The forum, held in Madrid, highlighted Saudi-Spanish financial opportunities and enhancing partnerships in areas of construction technologies, smart cities, and urban planning. 

The minister underscored the forum’s role in exploring investment prospects and enhancing cooperation and effective partnerships, particularly in municipal and housing sectors.

He emphasized that Saudi Arabia and Spain are experiencing rapid developmental advancements, making investment and trade exchanges increasingly attractive.

Al-Hogail stressed the importance of ongoing cooperation and expertise exchange in this crucial sector, stating that the Kingdom welcomes collaboration with successful international partners and leveraging their expertise.

He also announced the signing of a real estate development agreement with a Spanish development company to implement residential units within integrated communities and suburbs, aiming to raise the homeownership rate to 70 percent by 2030. 

He expressed the ministry’s eagerness to strengthen partnerships with developers and investors in the construction, roads, recycling, engineering, and consulting sectors.

Following the forum, attended by Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin, the ambassador to Spain, and Khalid Al-Hogail, president of the Saudi-Spanish Business Council, the minister convened with Teresa Ribera, Spain’s deputy prime minister and minister of ecological transition and demographic challenge.

They discussed cooperation in urban development, urbanization, and the utilization of artificial intelligence technology in sustainable  city building, as reported by SPA.

Al-Hogail highlighted Saudi Arabia’s efforts to improve standards in municipal and housing undertakings, including the “Bahja” project, which aims to enhance the quality of life in Saudi cities, and the “Green Suburbs” initiative, which strives to plant more than 1.3 million trees in 50 residential areas.

Al-Hogail also met with the President of the Spanish Association of Infrastructure Contractors and Concessionaires, Julian Nunez, to review prominent investment opportunities in the Saudi real estate sector.

During a three-day visit prior to the forum, minister Al-Hogail met with executives from leading Spanish companies to explore collaboration opportunities.   

The tour is part of the Kingdom’s broader initiative to foster international partnerships that enhance its urban and infrastructure capabilities, SPA reported.