US should participate in carbon pricing rather than oppose it: IMF director

US should participate in carbon pricing rather than oppose it: IMF director
According to IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva revenues generated from carbon pricing can be strategically directed to compensate the most vulnerable parts of the global population. AN Photo
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Updated 02 December 2023
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US should participate in carbon pricing rather than oppose it: IMF director

US should participate in carbon pricing rather than oppose it: IMF director

DUBAI: The US should participate, rather than being a “loud opponent,” in carbon pricing, urged the director of the International Monetary Fund.
Addressing the Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum alongside the UN Climate Conference, Kristalina Georgieva affirmed that the US must not hinder the world from “moving in the right direction.” Instead, the country should explore the standards and regulatory fees it needs to implement carbon pricing into its economic model. 

The director deemed carbon pricing a “wonderful instrument” due to its dual role in revenue generation and addressing inequality. The principle is straightforward: the more emissions one creates, the more one consumes, resulting in a proportional payment.
According to Georgieva, revenues generated from carbon pricing can be strategically directed to compensate the most vulnerable parts of the global population. Assessments by the IMF indicate that allocating 20 percent of these revenues significantly support the 30 percent most vulnerable areas, providing them with the “much-needed” backing. 

The IMF chief emphasized that “carbon price is a very strong incentive, much stronger than anything else we can invent.”  

Addressing concerns about the political feasibility of carbon prices in various places, she expressed disagreement, asserting that carbon pricing can be implemented in diverse ways.
She added: “It can be a tax, and when it is a tax, it is the most efficient and impactful way.”  

Georgieva pointed out that in countries where carbon tax was gradually introduced, emissions saw a significant reduction of 30 to 40 percent. Furthermore, she highlighted European trading mechanisms that have successfully generated $190 billion in revenue.
Despite the current average carbon price standing at $20 per ton in areas covered by carbon pricing, when amalgamating this figure with 75 percent of the world without carbon pricing, the average carbon price would fall to $5, she noted. 
According to the IMF, a package of measures, including carbon pricing, the elimination of harmful subsidies, and policy support, would significantly accelerate decarbonization. The director instilled the idea that adopting such measures could empower the global population to “make this decade one that we take pride in.” 

Fossil fuel direct subsidies soared to a record $1.3 trillion in the last year, driven by support measures in response to the cost-of-living crisis, as stated by Georgieva. When factoring in indirect subsidies, such as those arising from the absence of carbon pricing addressing environmental and health damage, the total surges to $7.1 trillion. 

“We need to go from $900 million where we are now to $5 trillion to make decarbonization a reality. The question is, is $5 trillion, a lot of money? Well, it’s obviously not a little but put $5 trillion next to $7.1 trillion in direct and indirect subsidies, or next to the size of the world economy, which is over $100 trillion,” the director outlined. 

She added: “I think we should be brave and say yes, it can be done, except it will be only done if we get the private sector to move faster and especially move faster in the developing world where emissions are growing. I’m an optimist; I have seen gradually moving on blended finance in a meaningful way.”

Emphasizing the significance of climate finance, the IMF chief affirmed that when considering all nationally determined contributions for this decade, they would result in only an 11 percent reduction in emissions. 

To uphold the commitment to limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, it would instead require contributions ranging between 25 and 50 percent, as highlighted by Georgieva.
Meanwhile, private funds currently contribute 40 percent to climate finance. To meet emission targets, this figure must escalate to 80 or 90 percent.
Despite climate risks being “macro-critical” and impacting economies, communities, and households, ultimately leading to financial instability, the director highlighted that transitioning to the new climate economy presents  “unique opportunities” for green growth and job creation. 

While the world economy has demonstrated resilience during challenges such as the pandemic and global conflicts, Georgieva, however, acknowledged that the IMF recognizes the current growth rate as “slow.” 

The organization is forecasting a modest 3 percent year-on-year growth rate for the next five years, nearly a full percentage point below the average of 3.8 percent observed in the preceding decade. 

The director expressed concerns that geopolitical tensions might exacerbate economic fragmentation amid a global climate crisis. This situation has left the entity “very concerned” about the growing inequality both within and across countries.

There exists a striking contrast between economies with a robust capacity to cope and low-income countries, where many have become “way more vulnerable” to climate devastation while grappling with adaptation challenges.  

In response to this disparity, the director emphasized the urgent need for cooperation. She called on companies and global bodies to emulate the proactive approach of the IMF, recognizing the importance of collective efforts in addressing the vulnerabilities and challenges posed by climate change. 

The director said, “There is nothing we can do each one of us alone, but we can make a difference working together.”  

She highlighted the IMF’s transformative shift in its approach over the last few years, integrating climate considerations into policy engagement. The focus involves mitigation strategies for countries facing high water levels, adaptation support for vulnerable nations, and transition plans for those heavily reliant on hydrocarbon sectors. 

“As a financial institution, the IMF has to put our money where our mouth is,” asserted Georgieva. This commitment materialized in the establishment of the $40 billion Resilience and Sustainability Trust.

Concluding her statement, the director expressed gratitude to the UAE for its recent contribution, with 11 countries having already accessed the fund. The UAE, as the newest contributor, provided 200 million dirhams ($54.46 million) as of Dec. 1.


ACWA Power, IRENA join hands to accelerate global renewable energy transition

ACWA Power, IRENA join hands to accelerate global renewable energy transition
Updated 18 April 2024
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ACWA Power, IRENA join hands to accelerate global renewable energy transition

ACWA Power, IRENA join hands to accelerate global renewable energy transition

RIYADH: In a bid to add impetus to the adoption of clean energy sources worldwide, Saudi utility firm ACWA Power has signed a deal with the International Renewable Energy Agency, said a press release issued on Thursday.

The Saudi-listed firm said that the partnership aligns with its mission to provide sustainable energy solutions and seeks to accelerate the adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy across the globe. 

ACWA Power will work closely with IRENA to share crucial insights on infrastructure investment in renewable energy, green hydrogen advancement, solar energy, smart grids, and the intersection of energy and water, the press release said. 

The Saudi-listed company also announced its participation in various IRENA initiatives, such as Green Hydrogen, Collaborative Frameworks, Project Facilitation, the Alliance for Industry Decarbonization, the Utilities for Net-Zero Alliance, and the Coalition for Action.

As per the deal, ACWA Power and IRENA will investigate avenues to mobilize finance and investment for renewable energy projects, while also supporting infrastructure for the development, storage, distribution, transmission, and consumption of renewables. 

Moreover, collaborative workshops and seminars will be arranged to exchange best practices, enhance skills, and promote awareness of the energy transition among youth, professionals, and the public using IRENA’s platforms and programs. 

ACWA Power CEO Marco Arcelli said the partnership with IRENA marks a significant milestone in his company’s journey toward a sustainable energy future.

“By combining our strengths and resources, we are prepared to drive meaningful change and accelerate the transition to renewable energy on a global scale,” he said.

The CEO added that through collaborative partnerships and innovative solutions, ACWA Power remains committed to advancing the widespread adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy, shaping a brighter and more sustainable future for generations to come.

IRENA Director General Francesco La Camera commented: “We have less than a decade left to secure a fighting chance for a 1.5°C world. Accelerating the renewable-based energy transition needs industry leaders and this deal between IRENA and ACWA Power stands for the growing commitment of global industry to act on decarbonization.”

He added: “We need to act together to accelerate the sustainable use of renewables and green hydrogen across the globe.”


Closing Bell: TASI ends the week in green with trading turnover at $2.18bn

Closing Bell: TASI ends the week in green with trading turnover at $2.18bn
Updated 18 April 2024
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Closing Bell: TASI ends the week in green with trading turnover at $2.18bn

Closing Bell: TASI ends the week in green with trading turnover at $2.18bn

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose on Thursday, gaining 36.37 points, or 0.29 percent, to close at 12,502.35.

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR8.19 billion ($2.18 billion) as 130 stocks advanced, while 90 retreated. 

The MSCI Tadawul Index also increased by 5.98 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 1,575.11.

The Kingdom’s parallel market, Nomu, followed suit and gained 305.77 points, or 1.16 percent, to close at 26,418.75. This comes as 33 stocks advanced, while as many as 27 retreated.

The best-performing stock on the main index was Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co., as its share price rose by 7.69 percent to SR30.80.

Allianz Saudi Fransi Cooperative Insurance Co. also performed well as its share price saw a 6.79 percent increase to close at SR20.16.

This comes as Abu Dhabi National Insurance Co. completed a strategic acquisition of a 51 percent stake in Allianz, according to the Emirates News Agency, WAM.

ADNIC Chairman Mohamed Al- Nahyan told WAM: “The connection between the UAE and Saudi Arabia is deep, mutually beneficial and ever-growing. At ADNIC, we see Saudi Arabia as a high-potential market which perfectly aligns with our overall growth strategy, and we are looking forward to unlocking new possibilities for growth and success.”

Other top performers include United Cooperative Assurance Co. and Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances Corp. whose share prices soared by 5.68 percent and 5.51 percent, to stand at SR11.16 and SR14.16 respectively.

The worst performer was Alkhaleej Training and Education Co., whose share price dropped by 5.27 percent to SR33.25.

On the announcements front, Saudi mining giant and Public Investment Fund subsidiary, Saudi Arabian Mining Co., known as Ma’aden, announced the launch of single stock options in a statement on Tadawul. 

SSOs will enable local and international investors to effectively hedge and manage portfolio risks as well as diversify products available for trading in the market. 


Saudi minister calls for ‘decisive financial policies’ to counter global economic uncertainties

Saudi minister calls for ‘decisive financial policies’ to counter global economic uncertainties
Updated 18 April 2024
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Saudi minister calls for ‘decisive financial policies’ to counter global economic uncertainties

Saudi minister calls for ‘decisive financial policies’ to counter global economic uncertainties

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s finance minister on Thursday stressed the need for “decisive financial policies” across the world to navigate through uncertain economic conditions.

Speaking during the Spring Meetings 2024 of the IMF held in Washington, D.C, Mohammed Al-Jadaan noted that such a decisive approach would bolster resilience and sustainability amid the ongoing uncertainties.

He was attending a meeting of finance ministers and governors of the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan region with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

“I also participated in the Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable, where I highlighted the importance of enhancing Comparability of Treatment by establishing a clear and fair framework that ensures equitable treatment among all creditors,” Al-Jadaan said in a post on X.

Additionally, the minister participated in the second G20 finance ministers and central bank governors’ meeting held under the Brazilian presidency in Sao Paulo. He emphasized that effective climate action required a holistic approach.

He said that can be achieved “by integrating diverse sectors acknowledging the diversity of solutions to address climate challenges, including using innovative technologies to manage emissions.”

Al-Jadaan also met with Jose Vinals, chairman of Standard Chartered Bank, to discuss the regional and global economic outlook.

He also met with Spanish Minister of Economy, Trade, and Business, Carlos Cuerpo to discuss ways to enhance relations between the two countries.

Moreover, Al-Jadaan held talks with Jean Lemierre, chairman of Bank BNP Paribas, the global head of Official Institutions Coverage, Laurent Leveque, and the head of Debt Capital Markets, Alexis Taffin.

They discussed progress made in Saudi Arabia, as well as issues related to attracting investment and alternative financing.


Magrabi opens new complex in Makkah

Magrabi opens new complex in Makkah
Updated 18 April 2024
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Magrabi opens new complex in Makkah

Magrabi opens new complex in Makkah

RIYADH: With a new branch in Makkah, Magrabi Hospitals and Centers are expanding to more Saudi cities to meet the growing demand for specialized ophthalmological and dentistry care.

Minister of Health Fahad Al-Jalajel inaugurated the medical complex and one-day surgery center in the holy city, accompanied by Magrabi Hospitals and Centers CEO Mutasim Alireza, the Group’s Deputy CEO and Cheif Operating Officer Abdulrahman Barzangi, and several officials and dignitaries.

Al-Jalajel underscored that the opening reflects the Kingdom’s commitment to enhancing the quality of its healthcare services and transitioning toward a more comprehensive and integrated medical system.

He further stated that this initiative is a vital component of the Health Transformation Program, a foundational aspect of Saudi Vision 2030, which has achieved significant milestones and advancements in the medical sector under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Following the official inauguration, the minister toured the complex’s facilities, noting its significance as a notable project and a valuable contribution to the Kingdom.

Alireza said: “This specialized medical complex underscores our commitment to being at the forefront of healthcare for ophthalmology and dental services and continuing our mission to offer specialized medical services that meet community needs with the utmost quality and safety.” 

In March, Magrabi Ophthalmology and Dentistry Hospital Dammam officially opened its doors in Al-Shaala, marking an achievement for medical care in Saudi Arabia.

The Magrabi Dammam health facility is the largest specialized center in the region and provides sub-specialized services, meeting the highest quality standards and leveraging the latest global technologies.


UAE records 64% surge in trademark registrations

UAE records 64% surge in trademark registrations
Updated 18 April 2024
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UAE records 64% surge in trademark registrations

UAE records 64% surge in trademark registrations

RIYADH: The UAE recorded an annual 64 percent surge in trademark registrations, amounting to 4,610 in the first quarter of 2024, official data showed.

The figures, released by the nation’s Ministry of Economy, reveal the notable increase from 2,813 signups in the same period of 2023. 

March emerged as a particularly prolific period, with 2,018 new brands reported.

The trademarks registered during this time span a wide range of key sectors, including smart technology, transportation, food and beverage and pharmaceuticals as well as medical devices, finance, real estate, and more. 

The preceding months of January and February collectively accounted for 2,592 trademarks, further highlighting sustained growth and momentum in registrations.

As the country continues to position itself as a global business hub, trademark registrations serve as a crucial indicator of economic vitality and innovation-driven growth.

In a release on X, the ministry noted on April 17 that it has: “Worked on developing the trademark registration service, using the latest technologies and innovative solutions to achieve higher efficiency and better interaction with clients.”

The UAE’s adherence to international treaties and agreements further strengthens its trademark registration regime. 

By adhering to agreements like the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS, the UAE facilitates international trademark registration and enforcement, empowering businesses to broaden their operations across borders.

The nation has further established mechanisms for enforcing trademark rights and combating infringement. 

These include civil remedies, such as damages, injunctions, and seizure of infringing goods, as well as criminal penalties for trademark counterfeiting and piracy.