Egypt plans car manufacturing factory in collaboration with Indian company

Egypt plans car manufacturing factory in collaboration with Indian company
Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said held talks with Hinduja Group chairperson Prakash Hinduja
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Updated 14 February 2024
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Egypt plans car manufacturing factory in collaboration with Indian company

Egypt plans car manufacturing factory in collaboration with Indian company

RIYADH: Egypt plans to build an electric and diesel car manufacturing factory with a production capacity of up to 6,000 vehicles in collaboration with Hinduja Group, one of India’s largest companies.

The move will help bolster the North African country’s economy and create job opportunities for Egyptians.

Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said, who is also chairperson of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, held talks with Hinduja Group chairperson Prakash Hinduja on the sidelines of the World Governments Summit in Dubai.

The facility will be established in collaboration with Egypt’s state-owned El-Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Co..

During the meeting, El-Said highlighted the role of the country’s sovereign fund in bolstering partnerships with the local and foreign private sector.

She said: “The fund is an ideal partner for the private sector as it has a special law that gives it flexibility in investing without being bound by government rules and regulations as well as it has the freedom and structural flexibility to implement various investments.”

She also emphasized the state’s efforts and the huge investments it has pumped into preparing the infrastructure to attract local and foreign investors.

The talks also looked at exploring Egypt’s comparative advantages, energies and capabilities for manufacturing buses and trucks that are eventually exported to the Gulf markets and other countries in the region.

The transnational business conglomerate, Hinduja Group, has presence in 100 countries with total assets of $100 billion employing nearly 150,000 people. It has been at the forefront of the business sector due to massive investments in a wide range of businesses ranging from trucks and lubricants to banking and cable television.

In January 2023, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi agreed on measures to to increase the two-way trade between their countries to $12 billion over the next five years.

India is one of the top five importers of Egyptian products, including crude oil and liquefied natural gas, salt, cotton, inorganic chemicals and oilseeds. Major Indian exports to Egypt include cotton yarn, coffee, herbs, tobacco, lentils, vehicle parts, ships, boats and electrical machinery.

More than 50 Indian companies have invested around $3.15 billion in various parts of the Egyptian economy, including chemicals, energy, and textiles, as well as agri-business and retailing, according to India’s External Affairs Ministry.


Aramco sets butane, propane prices for June

Aramco sets butane, propane prices for June
Updated 4 sec ago
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Aramco sets butane, propane prices for June

Aramco sets butane, propane prices for June

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco maintained propane contract prices for June month on month at $580 per tonne while price for butane was set at $565 a tonne.

Propane and butane are types of liquefied petroleum gas with different boiling points.

LPG is mainly used as a fuel for cars, heating and as a feedstock for other petrochemicals.

Aramco’s OSPs for LPG are used as a reference for contracts to supply the product from the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific region.

China is the world's largest consumer and importer of LPG, or combination of propane and butane.

China’s imports of LPG jumped about 46 percent to 3.08 million metric tons in March from February.


Saudi Shoura Council calls on GACA to establish low-cost airports around Riyadh

Saudi Shoura Council calls on GACA to establish low-cost airports around Riyadh
Updated 3 min 27 sec ago
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Saudi Shoura Council calls on GACA to establish low-cost airports around Riyadh

Saudi Shoura Council calls on GACA to establish low-cost airports around Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will soon assess the feasibility of establishing low-cost airports around Riyadh following a call from the Kingdom’s Shoura Council. 

The country’s Consultative Assembly urged the General Authority of Civil Aviation to build and operate the planned airports or offer them to the private sector in a build-operate-transfer manner, according to a post on X. 

Additionally, the council recommended that GACA collaborate with national carriers to increase domestic flights and diversify their destinations to enhance transportation and tourism services. 

These initiatives align with the Kingdom’s aviation sector goals, such as increasing passenger numbers and expanding flight routes. They also support GACA’s vision of enabling Saudi leadership in aviation through customer-centric and digitally-enabled regulatory services. 

The council also emphasized the need for GACA to activate the annual target for air freight in accordance with the National Transport and Logistics Strategy. 

Earlier this week, Riyadh-based King Khalid International Airport was recognized as one of the top three performing terminals in the Kingdom, according to official data.  

In its monthly report for April, GACA indicated that the airport led the category for international terminals with over 15 million passengers annually, achieving an 82 percent compliance rate with the authority’s standards. 

The evaluation, based on 11 key criteria, aims to improve service quality and enhance the passenger experience.  

Earlier in May, in an interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Aviation Forum held in Riyadh, Vice President of GACA for Quality and Traveler Experience, Abdulaziz Al-Dahmash, said the Kingdom has set “very ambitious targets” in this sector.   

He noted that these targets include tripling the number of passengers compared to 2019, handling 4.5 million tonnes of cargo, and establishing more than 250 direct destinations from the Kingdom’s airports to global locations. 

“Those key targets need enablers, and one of the key pillars is our passenger experience, and we always say that the passenger comes first, so from that perspective, we started different programs from a regulator perspective,” Al-Dahmash told Arab News at the time.


Saudi Arabia issues new sukuk worth $17.09 billion

Saudi Arabia issues new sukuk worth $17.09 billion
Updated 32 min 14 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia issues new sukuk worth $17.09 billion

Saudi Arabia issues new sukuk worth $17.09 billion

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has issued new sukuk worth SR64.1 billion ($17.09 billion) after it completed an early purchase of more than SR63.1 billion of outstanding debt. 

In a statement, Saudi Arabia’s National Debt Management Center said that the new Shariah-compliant debt product has been divided into three tranches. 

The first tranche valued at SR16 billion is set to mature in 2031, while the second one amounting to SR29.3 billion will be due in 2034. 

The third tranche is worth SR18.8 billion and is set to mature in 2039.

“This initiative is a continuation of NDMC’s efforts to strengthen the domestic market,” said NDMC in the statement. 

It added: “Further, this initiative enables NDMC to exercise its role in managing the government debt obligations and future maturities. This will also align NDMC’s effort with other initiatives to enhance the public fiscal in the medium & long term.” 

On May. 29, NDMC announced the completion of a $5 billion international trust certificate issuance, under the Kingdom’s Global Trust Certificate Issuance Program. 

In a statement, the official body said that the total order book of applications reached around $20 billion, which equals an oversubscription of four times. 

Earlier this month, NDMC revealed that the Kingdom completed its riyal-denominated sukuk issuance for May at SR3.23 billion. 

The Shariah-compliant debt product for May was divided into two tranches. 

The first tranche valued at SR71 million is set to mature in 2029, while the second one amounting to SR3.16 billion is due in 2036. 

In April, an analysis released by S&P Global projected that sukuk issuance globally is expected to hover between $160 billion and $170 billion in 2024. 

In the same month, another report by Fitch Ratings also echoed similar views and said that global sukuk issuance is expected to continue growing in the coming months of this year. 

Fitch noted that economic diversification efforts and the rapid development of the debt capital market in the Gulf Cooperation Council region would propel the growth of the sukuk market in the coming months. 


Saudi Arabia continues to attract global investors as 64 deals signed in Q1

Saudi Arabia continues to attract global investors as 64 deals signed in Q1
Updated 24 min 19 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia continues to attract global investors as 64 deals signed in Q1

Saudi Arabia continues to attract global investors as 64 deals signed in Q1

RIYADH: Innovation and entrepreneurship attracted diverse funding partners to Saudi Arabia resulting in the finalization of over 53 percent of investment deals in the first quarter of 2024, official data showed.

The latest report issued by the Ministry of Investment showed that sports deals accounted for 19 percent of the 64 total deals during this period. Investors from the US and the UK topped the list with 11 and five deals respectively.

The Kingdom’s strategic location and robust economy continue to attract foreign investors keen on supporting startups. In an interview with Arab News in April, Houssem Jemili of Bain and Co., said that the Kingdom leads in technology spending in the Middle East and North Africa, with approximately 2.5 times more spending and this expenditure is growing annually.

Saudi Arabia boasts a mature and diverse set of funding partners, including government entities like the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority, known as Monsha’at, large investment funds, and venture capitalists, providing direct and indirect funding to startups and entrepreneurs.

Additionally, the Kingdom’s significant investments in the sports industry align with its comprehensive Vision 2030 strategy, aiming to diversify the economy, foster private sector employment opportunities for citizens, and ensure a sustainable future. 

These initiatives collectively enhance the appeal of the Saudi market for sports investments.

The Investment Ministry, working alongside other government bodies, also plays a vital role in fostering the investment climate through numerous initiatives.

These include organizing 13 local and international events in various sectors, such as sports, technology, and mining as well as real estate, and manufacturing, during this quarter.

Additionally, the ministry participated in investment forums between Saudi Arabia and several countries, as well as hosted specialized global events with international participation.

These efforts aim to attract foreign direct investment, enhance bilateral relations with major trading partners, and bolster long-term resources for dynamic sectors in a rapidly evolving global economy, according to the ministry.

During the first quarter, the number of investment licenses reached 3,157, a 93 percent rise from the same quarter last year, excluding licenses issued as part of the anti-concealment law enforcement.

The ministry issued the highest number of investment licenses to Egypt, totaling 950, followed by Yemen at 346, India obtained 321, Syria was awarded with 180 permits, and Pakistan received 159.

According to the ministry’s report, the construction and manufacturing sector took the lead with 47 percent of total permits. 

Closely following are licenses for vocational and educational activities, information and communication technology and accommodation and food services as well as wholesale and retail trade and automobile repairs.

These sectors accounted for 81.8 percent of the total investment permits issued during this period.

On the other hand, real estate activity experienced the most significant year-on-year growth in investment licenses, surging by 253.3 percent.

The Real Estate Future Forum, held in Riyadh earlier this year, witnessed the signing of agreements and memorandums of understanding valued at over SR100 billion ($26.6 billion). 

This underscored the confidence of investors participating in the event, which attracted 300 speakers from 85 countries.

Among the attendees were government officials, representatives from the private sector, and economists as well as local and global investors, decision-makers, and real estate experts.

In 2023, foreign direct investment inflows into the Kingdom reached SR72 billion, marking a growth of 12.1 percent compared to 2022. This excludes the SR58.1 billion Aramco deal with the consortium led by BlackRock Real Assets and Hassana Investment Co., announced in February 2022.

The FDI stock, representing the cumulative capital invested by foreign investors in the Kingdom, totaled SR808 billion in 2023, reflecting a growth of 6.1 percent compared to 2022. This growth underscores the positive impact of recent reforms aimed at strengthening the investment ecosystem, according to the ministry.

Saudi Arabia has demonstrated remarkable progress across several global indicators, securing the top position in the Total Value of Venture Investment and Trust in Government Index and the second spot in the PCSI Consumer Sentiment Index and World Competitiveness Ranking for Cyber Security.

These achievements highlight the Kingdom’s strong economic and investment environment.

Notable initiatives in Saudi Arabia aimed at bolstering the investment environment include the launch of the Tourism Investment Enablers Program, which focuses on enhancing tourism and hospitality facilities in targeted destinations across the country.

This program aims to attract investments totaling SR42 billion and generate up to 120,000 job opportunities by 2030. Additionally, the Kingdom has introduced a new incentive package to support mineral exploration, in line with the objectives outlined in Saudi Vision 2030.

Furthermore, the Kingdom has allocated a substantial investment portfolio worth SR6.3 billion to finance environmental projects and initiatives. These projects have demonstrated promising returns, recording SR295 million, or 6.6 percent, in the previous year.

These efforts reflect Saudi Arabia’s commitment to fostering a conducive environment for investment and sustainable development, according to the ministry’s report.

Looking ahead, the Kingdom aims to achieve an FDI inflow target of SR388 billion by 2030, equivalent to 5.7 percent of gross domestic product, while positioning itself among the 15 largest economies in the world.


Global unemployment expected to dip in 2024, but challenges remain: ILO reports

Global unemployment expected to dip in 2024, but challenges remain: ILO reports
Updated 51 min 49 sec ago
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Global unemployment expected to dip in 2024, but challenges remain: ILO reports

Global unemployment expected to dip in 2024, but challenges remain: ILO reports

RIYADH: Global unemployment is expected to decrease slightly in 2024, with new predictions indicating a rate of 4.9 percent, down from 5.0 percent in 2023. 

These figures, revealed in a recent report by the International Labour Organization, have been revised downward from the body’s previous projection of 5.2 percent for this year. 

The analysis anticipates that the declining trend in joblessness will flatten in 2025, with unemployment remaining steady at 4.9 percent. 

Despite this projection, the study highlights an ongoing shortage of employment opportunities. 

ILO Director-General Gilbert Houngbo said: “Today’s report reveals critical employment challenges that we must still address. Despite our efforts to reduce global inequalities, the labor market remains an uneven playing field, especially for women.”  

He added: “To achieve a sustainable recovery whose benefits are shared by all, we must work toward inclusive policies that take into consideration the needs of all workers.”