Arab region’s role rapidly increasing in a changing world: IMF chief 

Arab region’s role rapidly increasing in a changing world: IMF chief 
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Updated 11 February 2024
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Arab region’s role rapidly increasing in a changing world: IMF chief 

Arab region’s role rapidly increasing in a changing world: IMF chief 

RIYADH: The Arab region’s role in developing the global economy is rapidly increasing as the world witnesses significant changes, said the head of the International Monetary Fund. 

Speaking at the 8th annual Arab Fiscal Forum in Dubai, Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the fund, highlighted that leaders from the region, including Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, will play a crucial role in steering the direction of the World Bank and IMF. 

Georgieva said: “For the observable future, ministers from the region will steer the direction of the World Bank and IMF — with Minister Al-Hussaini as the chair of the Development Committee and Minister Al-Jadaan as the Chair of the IMFC (International Monetary and Financial Committee).”  

She highlighted that the gross domestic product in the Middle East and North Africa region is expected to reach 2.9 percent this year.  

The IMF chief expressed confidence in the global economic outlook, despite uncertainties arising from wars and geopolitical headwinds. 

“While uncertainties are still high, we can be a bit more confident about the economic outlook because the global economy has been surprisingly resilient. Growth exceeded expectations in 2023, and global headline inflation is expected to fall in 2024. But we cannot declare victory prematurely,” she said. 

“Medium-term growth prospects remain anemic at around 3 percent, compared to the historical average of about 3.8 percent,” added Georgieva.  

She also warned that the widening of the conflict in Gaza could harm the global economy in the coming months.  

“Across the region and beyond, the impact is felt through rising freight costs and reduced Red Sea transit volumes — down by nearly 50 percent this year in our PortWatch data. This exceptionally uncertain moment compounds the challenges of economies that are still recovering from previous shocks. And further widening of the conflict would aggravate the economic harm,” she noted.  

According to Georgieva, the Arab world has a crucial role to play in these challenging times.  

She added that the Arab region can “plant the seed of a better and more stable future in these challenging conditions.”  

Georgieva revealed that the IMF has provided $64 billion in liquidity and reserves to the MENA region since the pandemic began, including $8 billion in 2023.  

She added that the fund will publish a paper on Feb. 12 showing that phasing out explicit energy subsidies could save $336 billion in the Middle East, equivalent to the combined economies of Iraq and Libya. 

The IMF head further pointed out that eliminating regressive energy subsidies will discourage pollution and help improve social spending. 


Saudi Arabia and Spain strengthen collaboration in urban infrastructure and renewable energy sector

Saudi Arabia and Spain strengthen collaboration in urban infrastructure and renewable energy sector
Updated 8 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia and Spain strengthen collaboration in urban infrastructure and renewable energy sector

Saudi Arabia and Spain strengthen collaboration in urban infrastructure and renewable energy sector

RIYADH: Saudi-Spanish collaboration is set to flourish in the fields of urban infrastructure development, renewable energy, and engineering technology after a high-level meeting in Madrid. 

During a three-day visit from April 15-17, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs, and Housing, Majed 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, the Saudi Press Agency reported.   

Al-Hogail’s engagements included a discussion with Pablo Bueno, CEO of TYPSA, focusing on potential collaboration in the fields of infrastructure solutions, energy efficiency, and sustainable urban development.   

They discussed activating a circular economy in buildings and infrastructure and creating new asset management platforms and engineering value solutions.  

Additionally, the minister met with José Vicente, CEO of Indra, one of the leading engineering technology and consulting firms, to discuss digital transformation in municipal services.   

This collaboration aims to enhance the quality of services provided to Saudi citizens and residents and foster innovation.  


New air route strengthening Saudi-China connectivity has inaugural flight

New air route strengthening Saudi-China connectivity has inaugural flight
Updated 45 min 53 sec ago
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New air route strengthening Saudi-China connectivity has inaugural flight

New air route strengthening Saudi-China connectivity has inaugural flight

RIYADH: With the inaugural flight of China Southern Airlines landing in Riyadh on April 16, Saudi Arabia and Beijing are further enhancing air connectivity.

The Chinese airplane arrived at the King Khalid International Airport at night, carrying approximately 247 passengers, achieving a load factor of 86 percent, according to Al-Ekhbariya Channel.

The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation previously announced the licensing of China Southern Airlines to conduct regular weekly passenger and freight flights from Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen to Riyadh during the summer season of 2024. 

This includes four passenger and commercial flights and three cargo flights commencing on April 16.


Turkiye will take steps to strengthen economic program, Erdogan says 

Turkiye will take steps to strengthen economic program, Erdogan says 
Updated 48 min 29 sec ago
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Turkiye will take steps to strengthen economic program, Erdogan says 

Turkiye will take steps to strengthen economic program, Erdogan says 

ANKARA: Turkiye will take steps to strengthen its medium-term economic program and the three main priorities are to increase public savings, prioritize investments and accelerate structural reforms, President Tayyip Erdogan said. 

Speaking on Tuesday evening after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan said his economic team had made preparations for such steps to strengthen the program, MTP, and, “hopefully we will share them with the public very soon.” 

“We have three main priorities in strengthening the MTP. These are to increase public sector savings, prioritize investments, and accelerate structural reforms.” 

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz said both the finance ministry and the budget authority were carrying out studies on public sector savings, with more than 15 articles being worked upon. 

“We mean not only reducing expenditures, but making existing expenditures more efficient, prioritizing them, and making them contribute more to the economy’s competitiveness, efficiency and social welfare,” state broadcaster TRT reported him as saying. 

Erdogan also said on Tuesday evening that economic growth will approach 4 percent this year with a positive impact from exports, and forecast that the current account deficit will be 2.5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the year. 

Official data on Wednesday showed that Turkiye’s current account deficit stood at $3.265 billion in February, less than a Reuters forecast for a deficit of $3.7 billion. 

Central Bank Governor Fatih Karahan told a panel in Washington on Tuesday that Turkiye is on track to reach its 36 percent inflation target by the end of the year after peaking at around 75 percent in the coming months. 


Saudi Arabia launches new program to boost wheat, barley productivity 

Saudi Arabia launches new program to boost wheat, barley productivity 
Updated 17 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia launches new program to boost wheat, barley productivity 

Saudi Arabia launches new program to boost wheat, barley productivity 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s wheat and barley production is set to strengthen, thanks to a new program aimed at inventorying 903 plant genetic resources from fruit trees.

The process of PGR entails collecting and documenting the genetic material of plants valuable for both present and future generations. 

It is integral to agro-biodiversity, covering crops, livestock, and related species, and serves as the cornerstone of food, agriculture, and nutritional security.

Launched by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the implementation of the new program is based on three axes, according to a statement.

The first includes inventory, purification, and evaluation of local varieties, while the second entails cooperation with international bodies. Meanwhile, the third axis includes implementing a regional breeding program.

This move falls in line with the ministry’s vision to achieve sustainability of the environment and natural resources, ensuring water security, contributing to food protection, and improving the quality of life in the Kingdom.


Renewable energy continues to gain momentum in Saudi Arabia, says report

Renewable energy continues to gain momentum in Saudi Arabia, says report
Updated 17 April 2024
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Renewable energy continues to gain momentum in Saudi Arabia, says report

Renewable energy continues to gain momentum in Saudi Arabia, says report
  • Kingdom makes significant strides in sustainability journey with effective green policies: report

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia could achieve its 2030 renewable target of 130 gigawatts by strengthening existing green policies and ensuring their effective implementation, a new study showed.  

According to a report by the data consulting company GlobalData, the growth of renewable energy sources in Saudi Arabia has gained pace recently as the Kingdom eyes ensuring a secure power supply for the future. 

The London-based firm highlighted that the country has made significant strides in its sustainability journey, with the Kingdom adding 2.1 GW of renewable power capacity since 2022. 

“Introduced in 2016, the Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 had an initial target of deploying 9.5 GW of green energy by 2030. Since inception, it has undergone many revisions, with the latest being made in 2023, revising the target to 130 GW of renewable power capacity by 2030,” said GlobalData.  

It added: “With the strengthening of policies, a consistent call for competitive auctions, and other financial measures, the Kingdom can meet its 2030 renewable energy target.”  

The report added that the abundance of sunlight and wind resources makes solar and wind power the key renewable technologies for the Kingdom in the future.  

According to GlobalData, Saudi Arabia’s renewable power capacity has increased at a compound annual growth rate of 82.4 percent from 0.02 GW to 3 GW from 2015 to 2023.  

In 2023, solar energy constituted 82.6 percent of the total green power capacity of Saudi Arabia, followed by onshore wind accounting for nearly 14.1 percent and thermal accounting for 3.1 percent share.  

The report also revealed that the share of renewable power capacity in Saudi Arabia’s total energy mix is estimated to reach 35.4 percent in 2035 from 3.2 percent in 2023.  

“With persistent efforts by the policymakers and strict policy implementation, the Kingdom has a good chance of reaching close to its set target. As per the expected trend, the country would add over 20 GW every year making its target plausible,” added the report.  

Speaking at the Future Minerals Forum in January, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim had expressed his confidence that the Kingdom would derive 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030.  

“This is the time to try to think sustainably and environmentally without affecting certain local communities,” said the minister at the time.  

In March, a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency said that renewable energy capacity in the Middle East reached 35.54 GW by the end of 2023, with Saudi Arabia accounting for 2.68 GW. 

In the same month, Saudi Arabia launched the Green Finance Framework aimed at enhancing public and private participation in climate financing.  

The initiative launched by the Ministry of Finance is expected to help the Kingdom achieve its net-zero targets by 2060, along with reducing emissions through a circular carbon economy, the Saudi Press Agency reported.