UAE announces $4.5bn finance initiative for African clean energy 

Update UAE announces $4.5bn finance initiative for African clean energy 
COP28 President-Designate Sultan Al Jaber. File/AFP
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Updated 05 September 2023

UAE announces $4.5bn finance initiative for African clean energy 

UAE announces $4.5bn finance initiative for African clean energy 


RIYADH: The UAE will give $4.5 billion to Africa’s clean energy initiatives, COP28 President-designate Sultan Al-Jaber said on Tuesday as he urged the continent to set out long-term transition plans. 

Speaking at the African Climate Summit in Nairobi, the high-ranking UAE politician revealed the money would come from the country’s public and private sector, with Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Etihad Credit Insurance, Masdar, and AMEA Power notable contributors. 

The funds will be distributed in collaboration with Africa50, an investment platform established by African governments and the Africa Development Bank. 

In his keynote address announcing the money, Al-Jaber called on the continent’s leaders to set out clear transition and investment plans, along with policy and regulatory frameworks to unlock commercial finance for clean energy projects. 

He said: “The initiative will prioritize investments in countries across Africa with clear transition strategies, enhanced regulatory frameworks and a master plan for developing grid infrastructure that integrates supply and demand.  

“In short, this initiative is designed to work with Africa, for Africa.  

“It aims to clearly demonstrate the commercial case for clean investment across this continent and it will act as a scalable model that can be replicated to help put Africa on a superhighway to low carbon growth.” 

He acknowledged that “Africa contributes just 3 percent of global emissions, yet suffers some of the worst consequences. Droughts, floods and failed harvests have exposed one fifth of Africa’s people to hunger, tripled the number of people displaced in the last three years, and is dragging down Africa’s GDP growth by at least 5 percent every year.

The UAE official also recognized the scale of energy poverty within Africa, acknowledging that “almost half of Africa’s population still have no access to electricity, almost 1 billion people lack clean cooking fuels, and this energy gap will only increase as Africa’s population grows.”

Al-Jaber used his speech to flag up areas of governance that need improving in Africa in order for the money to make a real difference to the creation of clean energy sources.  

These include restoring the financial sustainability of local utilities, modernizing basic energy infrastructures,  and clarifying development processes and eliminating the red-tape delaying market lead-time. 

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development is contributing $1 billion, while Etihad Credit Insurance is providing $500 million of credit insurance to de-risk and unlock private capital. 

Energy firm Masdar, which is active in 22 countries in Africa, is committing an additional $2 billion of equity as part of the new initiative. It will also mobilize an additional $8 billion in project finance and through its Infinity Power platform and will target the delivery of 10 gigawatts of clean energy capacity in Africa by 2030. 

AMEA Power is targeting 5 GW of renewable energy capacity in the continent by 2030, mobilizing $5 billion, of which $1 billion will come from equity commitment, and $4 billion from project finance. 

The initiative will sit under the umbrella of Etihad 7, a development platform championed by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs that aims to provide 100 million people across the African continent with clean electricity by 2035. 

 Al-Jaber emphasized his plan to fix climate finance. He urged donors to “close out the $100 billion pledge they made over a decade ago and to replenish the green climate fund. In parallel, we need a complete upgrade of the global financial architecture that was built for a different era.”

Addressing the imbalance between financing for mitigation and adaptation, he called on donors to “double adaptation finance by 2025,” and to “transform the Global Goal on Adaptation from theory and text into tangible action and real results.”

COP28 UAE will take place at Expo City Dubai from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12 and is expected to convene over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, and international industry leaders.

The COP28 President-designate stated: “What was promised in Sharm El Sheikh, must be fully operational in Dubai.”

Al-Jaber concluded his remarks at the summit by saying that climate change is a "global fight and demands a global solution.” “If Africa loses, we all lose, If Africa succeeds, we all succeed. Progress for one is progress for all,” he said.

Japan, Saudi agree on investment cooperation

Japan, Saudi agree on investment cooperation
Updated 29 November 2023

Japan, Saudi agree on investment cooperation

Japan, Saudi agree on investment cooperation
  • Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 consists of projects that involve both the public and private sectors
  • Iwata exchanged views with Mubarak on further expanding and deepening the cooperative relationship

TOKYO: State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Iwata Kazuchika has held a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Assistant Minister of Investment Ibrahim Al Mubarak in Tokyo that covered future cooperation and Saudi-Japan Vision 2030.
The two ministers agreed on deepening the economic relationship between Japan and Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reported.
Saudi-Japan Vision 2030, established in 2017, provided the two countries with a strong direction for their strategic partnership, and in the ensuing years many cooperative projects have been undertaken in a range of fields, such as business and culture, the ministry said.
Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 consists of projects that involve both the public and private sectors and contribute to the growth strategies of both countries.
Iwata exchanged views with Mubarak on further expanding and deepening the cooperative relationship based on this vision in fields such as startups and health care.
The talks followed visits to Saudi Arabia by Prime Minister Kishida Fumio in July of this year and Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Nishimura Yasutoshi at the end of last year.

Saudi Arabia reaffirms commitment to support UNIDO

Saudi Arabia reaffirms commitment to support UNIDO
Updated 29 November 2023

Saudi Arabia reaffirms commitment to support UNIDO

Saudi Arabia reaffirms commitment to support UNIDO

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is committed to supporting the UN Industrial Development Organization in achieving its goals, according to the minister of industry and mineral resources.

During his engagement at the General Conference of UNIDO held in Vienna, Austria, Bandar Alkhorayef affirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to supporting UNIDO, as reported by El-Ekhbariya.

This assurance reflects the Kingdom’s belief in UNIDO’s importance and global standing, acknowledging its pivotal role in supporting industrial development plans. 

This aligns with the region’s aspirations in the field of industrial development, securing global supply chains, and becoming a partner for various countries in manufacturing, exporting, transportation, and logistical services.

Alkhorayef highlighted the Kingdom’s recent successes in the mining sector, starting with the discovery of vast natural resources estimated at around SR5 trillion ($1.35 trillion), including gold, silver, copper, zinc, phosphate, bauxite, and other industrial minerals.

These successes also involve strategic plans for exploiting these resources, issuing a mining investment system to provide a suitable environment for mining companies, and encouraging investment in this sector. 

The minister explained that Saudi Arabia, through its membership in UNIDO, has worked to enhance collaborative efforts and increase cooperation on issues of global concern, such as sustainable energy, carbon removal in industry, and circular economy. 

Saudi Arabia is determined to develop this collaboration in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030 and related strategies.

In alignment with the region’s recognition of the wealth inherent in the capabilities of its citizens, efforts have been made to develop and nurture talents and human resources. 

This includes the launch of the Crown Prince’s Human Capability Development Program, a key initiative under Vision 2030 aimed at enhancing the national and global competitiveness of human capabilities, enabling citizens to learn and continuously develop. 

Furthermore, the establishment of the Research and Development and Innovation Authority aims to position the Kingdom as a global leader in innovation, fostering a progressive culture and developing highly skilled researchers to transform testing results into economically valuable industrial products for society.

Alkhorayef added that reforms empowering women have contributed to qualitative leaps reflected in several local and global indicators. 

Women now constitute 34 percent of the workforce in the Kingdom, and the industrial sector has witnessed a 93 percent increase in women’s participation over the past three years. 

Saudi Arabia aims for 525 active fintech entities by 2030

Saudi Arabia aims for 525 active fintech entities by 2030
Updated 29 November 2023

Saudi Arabia aims for 525 active fintech entities by 2030

Saudi Arabia aims for 525 active fintech entities by 2030

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has set a target to achieve 525 active financial technology entities by 2030, marking a significant milestone in the strategic development plan for the financial sector, according to a top official. 

Speaking at the Jazan Investment Forum, Faisal Al-Khathlan, the director general of project management for the Financial Sector Development Program, emphasized the pivotal role of fintech in the broader vision for the sector. 

In a panel discussion on enhancing the investment and development environment in the Jazan region, he highlighted that “Financial technology is one of the pillars of the strategic plan for the development of the financial sector.” 

Al-Khathlan outlined various services and programs offered by Saudi fintech, encompassing consulting services, workshops, and initiatives aimed at accelerating growth in the sector.  

The target of 525 active fintech entities reflects Saudi Arabia’s commitment to driving innovation and technological advancement in the financial landscape.  

“Perhaps one of the current strategic objectives in the financial sector development program is to empower financial institutions to support the private sector and expand potential supply channels, especially in the field of financial technology,” he added.  

Discussing the role of Small and Medium Enterprises, Al-Khathlan emphasized the significance of the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises and the SME Bank.  

“The percentage of SMEs from the total loans granted is now 8.5 percent, and we aspire to reach 11 percent by the year 2025,” he added.  

Khalid Al-Dhaher, deputy governor of the Saudi Central Bank for supervision and technology, emphasized significant investments in building the infrastructure for financial transactions.  

Saad Al-Shahrani, deputy minister for economic affairs and investment studies, underscored the Kingdom’s attractiveness to investors, with diverse wealth in oil and non-oil resources.  

Highlighting the potential, he said: “The Jazan region has promising sectors that should operate effectively. It is ready, but it requires the necessary resources.”
Ali Arishi, professor of regional planning at Jazan University, emphasized the need for a comprehensive strategy with administrative capabilities, financial resources, and technical competence to unleash the full potential of the Jazan region.  

In a nod to global collaboration in the field of financial technology, Al-Khathlan revealed: “In terms of capacity building in the field of financial technology, one of the initiatives resulting from the financial technology strategy is the development of Arabic-language content in this field.”  

This initiative, developed in collaboration with Hong Kong University, marks the first Arabic-language content in financial technology, according to Al-Khathlan.  

The Jazan Investment Forum aims to showcase the investment climate in the region, promote investment opportunities, and facilitate discussions on strengths and challenges in the business environment.  

The initiative also seeks to generate implementable recommendations for overcoming obstacles and fostering economic growth in Jazan. 

Jazan poised to become a regional center for African trade

Jazan poised to become a regional center for African trade
Updated 29 November 2023

Jazan poised to become a regional center for African trade

Jazan poised to become a regional center for African trade

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Jazan region is set to become a center for African trade, according to an adviser to the minister of industry and mineral resources.

Speaking at a panel titled during the Jazan Investment Forum 2023, Saleh Al-Solami explained that the Kingdom’s industries have the capacity to hold a larger share in African markets.

This falls in line with the Kingdom’s strategic decision to develop the region as a special economic zone catering to the logistics industry.

“The size of the economy in Africa — the volume of demand and imports — exceeds $400 billion, so there is great scope for Saudi industries to hold a larger share in African markets,” Al-Solami said.

 “The Jazan region will be a major regional center and an outlet for neighboring demand markets,” he added.

 Al-Solami also explained how the Jazan region will have a major role due to its ability to link areas that provide raw materials to Africa and benefit from the manufacturing capabilities in the Kingdom, add value to the value chain, and re-export to the targeted markets, in addition to the local market.

 Also speaking during the same session, Majed Al-Shathry, vice president, acting industrial cities operation at MODON,  shed light on the infrastructure in the Jazan Industrial City

 “The Jazan Industrial City has an area of 39 million sq. meters, of which 3 million sq. meters are already developed,” Al-Shathry noted.

 “It includes 62 industrial contracts, of which 24 are productive industrial facilities and the rest are under construction and in the preparation stages to start production. It also includes eight existing ready-made factories, and 10 factories currently in construction is in progress, and we expect it to be ready within 2 to 3 months,” he emphasized.

Taking place on Wednesday, the Jazan Investment Forum 2023, held under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to introduce economic advantages in the logistics and agriculture sectors.   

In addition, the event will shed light on the environmental and climatic diversity of the region, particularly Farasan Island, according to the Saudi Press Agency.  

Saudi airline flynas and Brazil’s Eve Air partner for electric helicopters in Riyadh and Jeddah 

Saudi airline flynas and Brazil’s Eve Air partner for electric helicopters in Riyadh and Jeddah 
Updated 29 November 2023

Saudi airline flynas and Brazil’s Eve Air partner for electric helicopters in Riyadh and Jeddah 

Saudi airline flynas and Brazil’s Eve Air partner for electric helicopters in Riyadh and Jeddah 

RIYADH: Saudi budget airline flynas has signed a memorandum of understanding with Brazil-based Eve Air Mobility to explore the possibility of starting electric helicopter operations in the Kingdom.  

Under the deal, both parties will examine the potential of the future of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft operations in the Kingdom in a sustainable manner.  

The statement further noted that the possible launch of electric helicopters in Riyadh and Jeddah will happen by 2026.  

Bander Al-Mohanna, CEO of flynas, said that the deal is part of the air carrier’s ongoing efforts to advance technology in the field of aviation to ensure a sustainable future, aligned with the net-zero goals outlined by the Kingdom.  

He said: “We are pleased to explore the sustainable solutions with Eve Air Mobility as a pioneering company in this field, in line with flynas’ strategy to adopt initiatives with sustainable impact on the environment, society, and economy in parallel with the national goals to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions by 2060.”  

The statement added that this deal will contribute to Saudi Arabia’s aviation industry by building and supporting the future local ecosystem for electric flights, while also contributing to Vision 2030 sustainability goals and the ambitious targets in the sector. 

“This partnership represents not only a milestone in our shared vision for sustainable air travel but also a commitment to shaping a more efficient, eco-friendly and accessible transportation landscape,” said Johann Bordais, CEO of Eve Air.  

He added: “We look forward to embarking on this groundbreaking journey with flynas as we join forces to advance the future of air mobility in Saudi Arabia.”  

Earlier this month, flynas became an affiliate member of the UN World Tourism Organization. With this achievement, the air carrier became the first Saudi airline and the first low-cost airline in the Middle East to join the organization.

It also tied up with the UN Global Compact initiative in August, becoming the first low-cost airline in the Middle East to join the largest corporate sustainability project in the world.