Saudi healthcare to advance with major digital tech partnership

This partnership demonstrates SAMI-AEC’s unremitting efforts to build a harmonious and applicable healthcare system in Saudi Arabia based on digital technologies.
This partnership demonstrates SAMI-AEC’s unremitting efforts to build a harmonious and applicable healthcare system in Saudi Arabia based on digital technologies.
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Updated 28 May 2024
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Saudi healthcare to advance with major digital tech partnership

Saudi healthcare to advance with major digital tech partnership

RIYADH: The Saudi healthcare system is set to advance as two of the country’s major companies partner to leverage digital technologies to enhance the Kingdom’s capabilities.

SAMI Advanced Electronics Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of SAMI, the nation’s defense and digital solutions provider, has signed a cooperation agreement with the National Unified Procurement Co., a Public Investment Fund company.

The agreement, signed on May 27, will provide solutions for medication tracking and IT infrastructure and increase local content through medical devices manufacturing and maintenance.

This partnership demonstrates SAMI-AEC’s unremitting efforts to build a harmonious and applicable healthcare system in Saudi Arabia based on digital technologies.

Ziad Al-Musallam, CEO of SAMI-AEC, commented on the agreement, saying that they are honored to collaborate with NUPCO, as this deal underscores the unwavering commitment of both entities to bolstering efforts aimed at enhancing the healthcare ecosystem in Saudi Arabia.

“At SAMI-AEC, we firmly believe in the significance of augmenting public health services through digital solutions and delivering e-health services. This involves integrating effective, fast technologies to empower the healthcare sector, aligning with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030,” he said.

Fahad Al-Shebel, CEO of NUPCO, highlighted the agreement’s importance and its role in fortifying the healthcare infrastructure and facilitating access to the integrated technology offered by SAMI-Advanced Electronics Co.

Aiming to upgrade the healthcare sector by improving its facilities in all public hospitals and medical centers in the Kingdom, NUPCO is the country’s largest central company providing medical purchasing, storage, and distribution services for medicines, devices, and supplies.

With a workforce of over 3,320 individuals, 85 percent of whom are Saudi nationals, SAMI-AEC has positioned itself as a leader in electronics, technology, engineering, and manufacturing. Its services span sectors such as defense and aerospace, digital, energy, and security.

Over 800 of the company’s employees are engineers and certified experts, reaffirming the dedication of SAMI-AEC, which was established in 1988, to excellence and innovation.

On the other hand, NUPCO was established in 2009 with SR1.5 billion in capital. It is the leading company in Saudi Arabia in procurement, logistics, and supply chain management for pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and supplies for governmental hospitals.


Saudi economic growth to outstrip global average in 2025: IMF

Saudi economic growth to outstrip global average in 2025: IMF
Updated 9 sec ago
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Saudi economic growth to outstrip global average in 2025: IMF

Saudi economic growth to outstrip global average in 2025: IMF
  • Global economy is in a “sticky spot,” according to the IMF

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s economic growth is expected to outpace the global average in 2025 according to the latest International Monetary Fund study.

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook update puts the Kingdom’s output increase at 4.7 percent next year – above the 3.3 percent forecast for the planet as a whole.

The figure for Saudi Arabia is down from an estimate released in April which anticipated a 6 percent growth rate for 2025.

The IMF also scaled back its 2024 projection for the Kingdom, shifting from 2.6 percent in its earlier forecast to 1.7 percent in its most recent report.

The Washington-based institution described the global economy as being in a “sticky spot,” although it maintained its earlier calculation that worldwide output would increase at a rate of 3.2 percent in 2024 and 3.3 percent in 2025.

“The growth forecast for 2024 in Saudi Arabia has been revised downward by 0.9 percentage point; the adjustment reflects mainly the extension of oil production cuts,” the IMF said. 

“Varied momentum in activity at the turn of the year has somewhat narrowed the output divergence across economies as cyclical factors wane and activity becomes better aligned with its potential. Services price inflation is holding up progress on disinflation, which is complicating monetary policy normalization,” the July update stated.

The IMF added: “Upside risks to inflation have thus increased, raising the prospect of higher-for-even-longer interest rates, in the context of escalating trade tensions and increased policy uncertainty. To manage these risks and preserve growth, the policy mix should be sequenced carefully to achieve price stability and replenish diminished buffers.”

Global economic snapshot: divergent paths ahead

Across major economies, contrasting trends defined economic forecasts heading into 2024 and beyond.

Earlier in the year, the US confronted a sharper-than-anticipated slowdown, driven by easing consumer spending and adverse net trade dynamics. 

Growth projections for 2024 have been revised to 2.6 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than projected in April, with expectations for 2025 further declining to 1.9 percent.

Tightening fiscal policies and cooling labor markets are poised to exert further pressure. Inflation remains stubborn, particularly in services, delaying potential monetary policy adjustments. Therefore, it is lagging behind other advanced economies in easing measures.

Europe’s recovery hinges on robust performances in the services sector, with growth expected to reach 0.9 percent in 2024, rising to 1.5 percent in 2025. 

Strengthened consumer demand, bolstered by higher real wages and improved financing conditions, supports this optimistic outlook. However, persistent weaknesses in manufacturing, notably in Germany, suggest a nuanced recovery across sectors.

China’s economy continues to exhibit resilience, with a revised growth forecast of 5 percent for 2024, driven by a resurgence in domestic consumption and robust export performance. 

Yet expansion is anticipated to moderate to 4.5 percent in 2025 and beyond as the country grapples with demographic shifts and slowing productivity gains.

Emerging markets and developing economies are projected to grow by 4.3 percent in 2024, driven by a strong performance in Asia, particularly China and India. 

India’s growth forecast has been revised upward to 7 percent for 2024, higher than April’s projection of 6.8 percent reflecting improved private consumption and positive carryover effects from 2023.  

The UK anticipates modest growth of 0.7 percent in 2024, expanding to 1.5 percent in 2025. Economic prospects are shaped by ongoing fiscal restraint and residual impacts of earlier inflationary pressures on consumer and investment activities.

Japan’s revised growth forecast for 2024 is 0.7 percent from 0.9 percent in April, influenced by transient supply disruptions and subdued private investment.

Nevertheless, robust wage settlements are anticipated to fuel a resurgence in private consumption by the latter half of the year.

Regional impact and global trade

The IMF report noted that oil production and regional conflicts continue to weigh heavily on economic prospects in the Middle East and Central Asia. 

Alongside Saudi Arabia, Sudan’s economic outlook has been markedly revised downward due to persistent conflict. 

Conversely, there have been upward revisions in other regions, such as Brazil, where reconstruction efforts buoy growth prospects following recent flooding and structural factors like increased hydrocarbon production.

“World trade growth is expected to recover to about 3.25 percent annually in 2024–25 and align with global GDP growth again,” the IMF added. 

The initial increase seen in the first quarter of this year is likely to slow down due to ongoing subdued manufacturing activity. 

Despite a notable rise in cross-border trade restrictions affecting it between distant geopolitical blocs, projections suggest that the global trade-to-GDP ratio will remain stable.

Inflation and monetary policy

Global disinflation efforts are facing headwinds, with services price inflation complicating monetary policy normalization. 

The report highlighted the persistence of higher-than-average inflation in services costs, which has tempered the disinflation in goods prices.

“The revised forecast for advanced economies is for the pace of disinflation to slow in 2024 and 2025. That is because inflation in prices for services is now expected to be more persistent and commodity prices higher,” the international organization said.

It added that the gradual cooling of labor markets and an expected decline in energy costs should bring headline inflation back to target by the end of 2025. 

Price increases are anticipated to persist at elevated levels in emerging markets and developing economies, falling more gradually compared to advanced countries.

Due in part to declining energy costs, inflation has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels for the typical emerging market and developing economy.


Egypt’s exports rise 0.8% in April, reaching $3.3bn 

Egypt’s exports rise 0.8% in April, reaching $3.3bn 
Updated 15 min 26 sec ago
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Egypt’s exports rise 0.8% in April, reaching $3.3bn 

Egypt’s exports rise 0.8% in April, reaching $3.3bn 

RIYADH: Egypt’s petroleum, clothing, pastes, and food preparation exports led the country to a 0.8 percent year-on-year increase in foreign trade for April, reaching approximately $3.3 billion, according to official data. 

The rise contributed to a 2.5 percent narrowing of the nation’s trade deficit, which stood at around $2.7 billion for the same period, as reported by Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. 

The sectors showing significant growth included petroleum products, which saw a 16.3 percent increase, ready-made garments, which rose 31.4 percent, and pastes and food preparations, which surged by 45 percent. 

Additionally, pharmaceuticals and pharmacy products experienced an increase of 64 percent. 

The rise in exports in April came after Egypt saw its current account deficit widen significantly in the first nine months of the fiscal year 2023-2024, which ended on June 30. 

The deficit reached $17.1 billion, compared to $5.3 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year, according to the latest figures from the Central Bank of Egypt.

This performance was driven by the shift of the oil-trade balance into a deficit of $5.1 billion from a surplus of $1.7 billion. The CBE attributed this change to the decline in the value of oil exports, outpacing the decrease in oil imports. 

The nation aims to turn its economy around by bolstering exports across all sectors to diverse global markets.

This effort emphasizes collaboration between government entities, business communities, and Egyptian exporters to enhance product quality and competitiveness. 

This also supports Egypt’s target of achieving $100 billion in annual merchandise exports in the next three years to defuse its trade deficit. 

The value of exports for some commodities decreased in April, including fresh fruits by 6 percent, fertilizers by 35.6 percent, primary forms of plastics by 4 percent, and crude oil by a substantial 67.6 percent. 

On the import side, the overall value saw a slight decline of 0.7 percent, amounting to $5.97 billion. Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics attributed this decrease to a reduction in the value of imports for several key goods. 

Primary forms of plastics saw an 11.4 percent price reduction, while organic and inorganic chemicals dropped 17.4 percent, pharmaceuticals and pharmacy preparations fell 9.4 percent, and corn imports plummeted 33.1 percent. 

Imports of other commodities experienced significant increases, including imports of petroleum products, which surged by 32.5 percent, wheat by 45.2 percent, primary iron or steel materials by 28.6 percent, and natural gas by 30.7 percent. 


ACWA Power sells 35% stake in subsidiaries to China Southern Power Grid 

ACWA Power sells 35% stake in subsidiaries to China Southern Power Grid 
Updated 7 min 52 sec ago
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ACWA Power sells 35% stake in subsidiaries to China Southern Power Grid 

ACWA Power sells 35% stake in subsidiaries to China Southern Power Grid 

RIYADH: Saudi utility firm ACWA Power has finalized deals to sell 35 percent of its stake in two subsidiaries to China Southern Power Grid International for SR595.9 million ($158.87 million). 

In a statement to Tadawul, the Public Investment Fund-backed company announced the closing of the sale and purchase agreement for its shareholding in ACWA Power Bash Wind Project Holding Co. and ACWA Power Uzbekistan Wind Project Holding Co.  

The SPAs were signed between ACWA Power Green Energy Holding and China Southern Power Grid International, with the Saudi firm now holding a 65 percent stake in these two projects following the successful completion of the conditions precedent. 

ACWA Power has been actively pursuing renewable energy development goals in various countries, aiming to expand its footprint and contribute to sustainable energy solutions globally. 

The sale is part of the company’s capital recycling strategy, complementing its business model focused on partnering with robust and reputable equity partners. 

ACWA Power is developing the Bash 500 megawatts and Dzhankeldy 500 MW wind farms in Uzbekistan under a 25-year power purchase agreement with JSC National Electrical Grid of Uzbekistan.  

Located in the Bukhara region, these projects aim to collectively generate 1 gigawatts of renewable energy under a Build, Own, Operate, Transfer model, with an estimated total investment cost of SR5.1 billion during construction. 

The SPA signing ceremony to complete the deal was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and marks the first significant collaboration between ACWA Power and China Southern Power Grid in Central Asia, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

This deal follows ACWA Power’s memorandums of understanding with nine Chinese entities at the December 2022 Riyadh Arab-China Summit, focusing on developing global clean energy projects in Saudi Arabia and Belt and Road countries. 


UAE considers building second nuclear power plant

UAE considers building second nuclear power plant
Updated 38 min 34 sec ago
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UAE considers building second nuclear power plant

UAE considers building second nuclear power plant
  • New plant would cost billions of dollars, tender could be issued this year
  • Sole nuclear plant started commercial operations in 2019

ABU DHABI: The UAE is considering building a second nuclear power plant to meet the growing demand for electricity in the Gulf state, a government official told Reuters.
The country of some 10 million people has become a proponent of nuclear power, a low-carbon energy source, as it seeks to diversify its economy and attract foreign investment. Its first plant started commercial operations in 2021.
Any contract for a new nuclear power plant would be worth tens of billions of dollars and could attract tender bids from China, Russia and the US, among others.
As the final reactor of the UAE’s only nuclear plant is set to start commercial operations this year, Hamad Al-Kaabi said the government was evaluating whether to build a second plant.
“The government is looking at this option. No final decision has been made in terms of the tender process but I can tell you that the government is actively exploring this option,” he said.
The government is projecting there will be a substantial increase in electricity use over the next decade that will be driven by population growth and an expanding industrial sector.
The government has yet to budget for a second power plant or decide on the size or the location, but Al-Kaabi said it was possible a tender could be issued this year.
Sources told Reuters in April the UAE planned a second nuclear power plant and that it could seek bids to build a four-reactor facility within a few months.
Any new power plant would likely consist of two or four reactors, said Al-Kaabi, who is the UAE’s ambassador to Austria and the permanent representative to the UN’s nuclear agency.
The size of a new power plant would depend on the build and technology, he said, adding that South Korea, which built the existing plant, would not be treated as a favored bidder for any tender.
“It’s a policy decision to give opportunity for all potential bidders,” he said in an interview in Abu Dhabi.
Al-Kaabi also serves as the deputy chairman of the board of management of the UAE nuclear regulator known as FANR.
The UAE awarded Korea Electric Power Corporation a $20 billion contract in 2009 to design, build and operate four reactors in Abu Dhabi toward the border with Saudi Arabia.
KEPCO operates the plant in a joint venture with the power plant’s state owner, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.
Each of the Barakah power plant’s reactors has a capacity of 1400 megawatts and a total combined capacity of 5600 megawatts.
Al-Kaabi said the UAE has had discussions with major developers of nuclear energy technology but did not name them.
The UAE is a close security partner of the US and in 2009 signed nuclear energy cooperation agreement with Washington.
It says its nuclear program is peaceful and solely for energy purposes to decrease its reliance on oil, and buys the fuel it needs for its reactors from the international market to avoid enriching uranium. Enriched uranium, the fuel for nuclear power plants, can be used to make nuclear bombs.
Removing enrichment from nuclear programs decreases the potential for weapons development.
The UAE sits across the Gulf from Iran, which the US accuses of trying to develop weapons with its nuclear program, while Tehran says it needs atomic power. The UAE also neighbors Saudi Arabia, which is in talks with the US over ambitions to develop its own civil nuclear power industry. 


Flynas takes delivery of 53rd A320neo from Airbus

Flynas takes delivery of 53rd A320neo from Airbus
Updated 17 July 2024
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Flynas takes delivery of 53rd A320neo from Airbus

Flynas takes delivery of 53rd A320neo from Airbus

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s budget airline flynas has received its 53rd A320neo aircraft out of an order of 120 from Airbus as part of its strategic expansion plan.

The next-generation model airplane touched down at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, further consolidating the company’s position as the leading low-cost airline in the Middle East and one of the top four low-cost airlines globally, according to Skytrax.

The delivery is part of flynas’ “We connect the world to the Kingdom” mantra, which complies with the objectives of the Kingdom’s national aviation strategy to join Saudi Arabia with 250 international destinations, accommodate 330 million passengers, and host 150 million tourists yearly by 2030.