Saudi Arabia Nominated for ICAO Membership

Arab Civil Aviation Organization extraordinary general assembly in Rabat. Asharq Al-Awsat
Arab Civil Aviation Organization extraordinary general assembly in Rabat. Asharq Al-Awsat
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Saudi Arabia Nominated for ICAO Membership

Arab Civil Aviation Organization extraordinary general assembly in Rabat. Asharq Al-Awsat
Arab Civil Aviation Organization extraordinary general assembly in Rabat. Asharq Al-Awsat

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia said on Thursday that the Kingdom is among Arab states nominated for membership of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The voting results of the extraordinary general assembly of the Arab Civil Aviation Organization in Rabat showed that Saudi Arabia remained on the list of states seeking ICAO’s membership, GACA said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

The Kingdom’s delegation in Rabat was chaired by Transport Minister Assistant Abdulhadi bin Ahmed al-Mansouri who delivered a speech expressing Saudi Arabia’s pride in its vital role in the air transport industry.

Mansouri noted that the voting results assert the Kingdom’s remarkable and influential position in the region and the world, saying the Saudi political and economic role has made it among the top 20 influential countries in the global economy.

The statement said that during the Rabat meeting, it was agreed that the Kingdom would be among the nominees for ICAO’s membership given its huge contribution to international civil aviation, and technical and financial support to ICAO in order to achieve the organization's strategic goals.

The importance of Arab cooperation in air transport lies in joint action to unify procedures and keep ongoing communication to meet the highest safety standards for this vital sector that is a key driver for the economy in the region, read the statement.

Further, this sector plays a significant role in the economies of states and has a direct impact on progress that governments seek to achieve.



OECD Expects Economic Growth in Saudi Arabia to Reach 3.1% in 2024

 The OECD expected Saudi economic growth to accelerate to 3.1% next year. (Photo: Reuters)
The OECD expected Saudi economic growth to accelerate to 3.1% next year. (Photo: Reuters)
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OECD Expects Economic Growth in Saudi Arabia to Reach 3.1% in 2024

 The OECD expected Saudi economic growth to accelerate to 3.1% next year. (Photo: Reuters)
The OECD expected Saudi economic growth to accelerate to 3.1% next year. (Photo: Reuters)

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) expected the global economy to slow next year, affected by interest rate increases and the disappointing outlook for the Chinese recovery.

On the other hand, the OECD said Saudi economic growth was likely to accelerate to 3.1 percent next year, with the real gross domestic product achieving a growth of 1.9 percent in 2023.

According to its latest forecasts issued on Tuesday, the organization said that the annual inflation rate in the Kingdom was expected to remain stable at 2.5 percent this year, and to decline to 2.1 percent in 2024.

Based on the latest data issued by the Saudi General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT), the Kingdom’s economy grew 1.2 percent in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year. The annual inflation rate fell to 2 percent last August, compared to 2.3 percent in July.

Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that the prospects for the Saudi economy were positive, in light of expectations that the Kingdom’s non-oil GDP growth momentum will remain strong.

In contrast to the promising expectations for the Saudi economy, the OECD said that the growth of the US economy would help curb the global slowdown this year, but added that the weakness of the Chinese economy would constitute a greater obstacle in 2024.

The Paris-based organization said: “Global GDP is anticipated to decline after a stronger-than-expected start to 2023, aided by reduced energy prices and China’s reopening.”

It added: “The effects of tighter monetary policy are becoming more apparent, consumer and corporate confidence are declining, and China's recovery is losing steam.”

The organization expected Chinese economic growth to slow from 5.1 percent this year to 4.6 percent in 2024, as momentum from the end of Covid-19 restrictions is fading and the real estate market suffering.

In June, the OECD forecast growth of 5.4 and 5.1 percent in 2023 and 2024, respectively.

The organization lowered growth expectations in the euro zone this year from 0.9 to 0.6 percent, but expected that next year - with Germany's return to growth - it would rise to 1.1 percent, down from a forecast of 1.5 percent in June.

The OECD advised against easing monetary policy prematurely, emphasizing the need for restrictive measures until there are clear signs that underlying inflation pressures have substantially diminished.


Saudi Arabia to Host World Petroleum Council

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman with the President of the World Petroleum Council, Pedro Miras (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman with the President of the World Petroleum Council, Pedro Miras (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Arabia to Host World Petroleum Council

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman with the President of the World Petroleum Council, Pedro Miras (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman with the President of the World Petroleum Council, Pedro Miras (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the President of the World Petroleum Council, Pedro Miras, outlining plans for Saudi Arabia to host the 25th edition of the Conference in 2026.

The World Petroleum Conference accepted Saudi Arabia's bid to host and organize the 25th edition of the Conference and its accompanying exhibition in Riyadh in 2026.

The decision was made during the Youth Conference organized by the World Petroleum Council in Almaty, Kazakhstan, last October.

Saudi Arabia's bid to host the Conference received substantial international support, with the Ministry of Energy playing a pivotal role in the nomination process.

The World Petroleum Conference is held once every three years. It is a prominent global event that brings together countries and international organizations to foster cooperation across various energy sectors and address key challenges facing this critical industry.

The Conference draws considerable attention from experts, journalists, and the general public.

Established in 1933, the World Petroleum Council serves as the organizing body of the Conference, providing a balanced platform for stakeholders worldwide to engage in discussions concerning the oil and gas sector.

The Council's core focus is on harnessing scientific advancements within the oil and gas industries, facilitating technology transfer, and promoting the sustainable utilization of petroleum resources worldwide for the collective benefit.

Saudi Arabia, represented by the Ministry of Energy, is actively participating in the 24th edition of the World Petroleum Conference in Calgary, Canada, from Sep. 17 to 21, 2023.


Kenya Extends Oil Supply Agreement with Aramco, ADNOC, ENOC

A worker at an oilfield in Africa. (Getty)
A worker at an oilfield in Africa. (Getty)
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Kenya Extends Oil Supply Agreement with Aramco, ADNOC, ENOC

A worker at an oilfield in Africa. (Getty)
A worker at an oilfield in Africa. (Getty)

The head of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said Tuesday that Kenya extended to December 2024 an oil supply deal with three Gulf-based companies.

"There was an extension up to December 2024, so this is basically arising out of negotiations that have been happening to drive down the freight and the premium (costs)," said Daniel Kiptoo, the head of EPRA.

The deal had helped lower the cost of transporting oil to Kenya and the premium it pays to suppliers, he added.

In mid-March, Saudi Aramco, Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) won bids to supply petroleum products to Kenya, a move designed to curb demand for dollars and secure oil imports.

Bloomberg cited Kenya Energy Minster Davis Chirchir as saying that Aramco will supply the African country with diesel for six months, ADNOC will supply Kenya with diesel and jet fuel, and ENOC will supply it with gasoline.

The Trade Development Bank (TDB) provides consultation to Kenya regarding acquiring a credit facility to pay for the fuels.


US National Debt Hits $33 Trillion for First Time

The debate over the debt has grown louder this year (Reuters)
The debate over the debt has grown louder this year (Reuters)
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US National Debt Hits $33 Trillion for First Time

The debate over the debt has grown louder this year (Reuters)
The debate over the debt has grown louder this year (Reuters)

The US national debt exceeded $33 trillion for the first time on Monday, providing a stark reminder of the country’s shaky fiscal trajectory at a moment when Washington faces the prospect of a government shutdown this month amid another fight over federal spending.

The Treasury Department noted the milestone in its daily report detailing the nation’s balance sheet.

It came as Congress appeared to be faltering in its efforts to fund the government ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline. Unless Congress can pass a dozen appropriations bills or agree to a short-term extension of federal funding at existing levels, the United States will face its first government shutdown since 2019.

Over the weekend, House Republicans considered a short-term proposal that would slash spending for most federal agencies and resurrect tough Trump-era border initiatives to extend funding through the end of October.

But the plan had little hope of breaking the impasse on Capitol Hill, with Republicans still divided on their demands and Democrats unlikely to support whatever compromise they reach among themselves, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

It said the debate over the debt has grown louder this year, punctuated by an extended standoff over raising the nation’s borrowing cap.

“That fight ended with a bipartisan agreement to suspend the debt limit for two years and cut federal spending by $1.5 trillion over a decade by essentially freezing some funding that had been projected to increase next year and then limiting spending to 1 percent growth in 2025,” it said.

But the debt is on track to top $50 trillion by the end of the decade, even after newly passed spending cuts are taken into account, as interest on the debt mounts and the cost of the nation’s social safety net programs keeps growing.

Slowing the growth of the national debt continues to be daunting.

Some federal spending programs that passed during the Biden administration are expected to be more costly than previously projected.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was previously estimated to cost about $400 billion over a decade, but according to estimates by the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Wharton Budget Model it could cost more than $1 trillion thanks to strong demand for the law’s generous clean energy tax credits, the newspaper said.

Pandemic-era relief programs are still costing the federal government money. The Internal Revenue Service said last week that claims for the Employee Retention Credit, a tax benefit that was originally projected to cost about $55 billion, have so far cost the federal government $230 billion.

At the same time, several of President Joe Biden’s attempts to raise more revenue through tax changes have been met with resistance.

In late 2022, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) delayed by one year a new tax policy that would require users of digital wallets and e-commerce platforms to start reporting small transactions to the agency. The policy was projected to raise about $8 billion in additional tax revenue over a decade.


SAMA Launches First Edition of Cyber Anti-Fraud Program

Logo of the Saudi Central Bank
Logo of the Saudi Central Bank
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SAMA Launches First Edition of Cyber Anti-Fraud Program

Logo of the Saudi Central Bank
Logo of the Saudi Central Bank

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has launched the first edition of the Cyber Anti-Fraud Program (CAFP).

The program spans for a period of three-months and aims to train and develop a cohort of trainees, drawn from SAMA and local banks, through intensive cyber fraud education and on-the-field training.

The CAFP, one of the most significant initiatives, adopts best international standards and practices in the field of cyber fraud training.

This program is designed to support the national talent within the financial sector in collaboration with a leading British university and renowned global entities specializing in cyber fraud prevention and detection.


Saudi Arabia Participates in Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Australia

SPA
SPA
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Saudi Arabia Participates in Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Australia

SPA
SPA

Saudi Arabia is taking part in the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), held in Melbourne, Australia, between September 19 and 22, under the umbrella of the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GGC).

The Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monshaat) Vice Governor for Entrepreneurship Saud Al-Sabhan heads the Kingdom’s delegation that is made up of representatives of several public institutions and Saudi entrepreneurs.

Participating in the congress is bound to boost Saudi Arabia’s status as an important supporter of SMEs, as well as highlight efforts that the authority exerts in support of entrepreneurs and SMEs. It will also give an opportunity to entrepreneurs to network with global experts and specialists, and benefit from their expertise, through various programs and initiatives that Monshaat organizes.
The delegation, which includes several government institutions, including the ministries of investment, communications and information technology, environment, water and agriculture, and industry and mineral resources, is slated to discuss with representatives of international institutions important opportunities for SMEs and means to boost cooperation to develop entrepreneurship in the Kingdom.
The delegation is expected to visit Melbourne Entrepreneurial Center and the Hatch Quarter incubator and accelerator, which provide support and consultations to SMEs to help them expand and participate in global markets to attract investments.


Saudi Arabia Launches 'The Garage'... Middle East's Largest Business Accelerator

Saudi officials during the inauguration of The Garage in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi officials during the inauguration of The Garage in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Arabia Launches 'The Garage'... Middle East's Largest Business Accelerator

Saudi officials during the inauguration of The Garage in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi officials during the inauguration of The Garage in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Arabia launched The Garage, the region's largest business accelerator, in an event at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh.

The Garage's new headquarters opened on an area of 28,000 square meters on the main campus of King Abdulaziz University for Sciences and Technology (KAUST) in the presence of Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah al-Swaha, Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing Majed al-Hogail, and Minister of Media Salman al-Dossary.

The Garage is a startup district focusing on local and international startups, scouting and inviting them to join its programs and events. It encompasses over 300 startups, features 24 meeting rooms, an event space accommodating over 1,000 attendees, and dedicated training workshop areas.

The Garage began fostering startups since its inception in April 2022 in collaboration with various partners, including Google for Startups and the National Technology Development Program, KAUST Destination Deep Tech, and the Ministry of Investment.

The accelerator offers six distinct programs: Garage Plus, ACCESS Disability Technologies Accelerator, Garage Incubator, MVP Lab, GAIA Business Accelerator, and the Middle East's first iteration of the Antler program.

Garage has supported ten batches throughout these programs, encompassing over 230 startups and 450 founders from more than 50 countries.

The startups have achieved significant milestones, earning combined revenues of $6.5 million, securing investments exceeding $57.3 million, and engaging in extensive training programs.

Moreover, The Garage hosted over 40 events, with the participation of 150 local and international startups and attendance surpassing 3,500 guests, including partners, investors, entrepreneurs, and industry experts.

The inauguration of Garage marks a significant step in the startup ecosystem, locally and globally, as it allows entrepreneurs to join a comprehensive community of partners and founders.

Garage was first introduced at the inaugural Leap Conference in 2022, positioning itself as a primary hub for Saudi and global promising ventures from the heart of Riyadh.


Egypt to Enhance Production at Zohr Gas Field with New Wells

Zohr's offshore petroleum and natural gas production (Egyptian Presidency)
Zohr's offshore petroleum and natural gas production (Egyptian Presidency)
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Egypt to Enhance Production at Zohr Gas Field with New Wells

Zohr's offshore petroleum and natural gas production (Egyptian Presidency)
Zohr's offshore petroleum and natural gas production (Egyptian Presidency)

Egypt's Petroleum Company (PETROBEL) announced that in the fiscal year 2022/2023, the Zohr field produced an annual amount of 2.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas, accompanied by about 3,700 barrels per day of condensates.

During the company's general assembly to discuss the annual operational results, which was attended by Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla, Chairman Khaled Mowafy announced that plans are underway to put well number 20 into production by the end of October 2023, in line with the increasing gas production from the Zohr field in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Zohr field, the largest gas field in the Mediterranean, represents about 38 percent of Egypt's gas production. Its discovery in 2018 enabled Egypt to cease gas imports and become a net natural gas exporter.

Mowafy further added that the project connecting the Zohr field's processing station with the compressors of the Jamil station has been completed, which will significantly enhance the field's recovery rate.

He noted that preparations are also underway to drill several new wells during 2024-2025, continuously studying ways to maximize production rates and increase the recovery factor.

Molla stressed that the partnership between Petrobel, a subsidiary of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp., and the Italian energy company Eni represents a successful model of cooperation and integration within Egypt's petroleum industry.

Meanwhile, Eni's Natural Resources Chief Operating Officer Guido Brusco announced that Algeria, Egypt, and Libya will be Italy's leading gas suppliers for the next few years.

Brusco told Reuters that Eni Energy group would invest heavily in Africa in exploration and new low-carbon projects.

Regarding the Zohr field, Brusco said its performance aligns with the company's plans and is better than bigger fields in Russia.

He added that Eni plans to invest around $3.5 billion over four years in activities including exploring and managing existing fields in Egypt.

Egypt's Petroleum Minister stressed the need to intensify drilling activities, implement feasible engineering and technical solutions, and employ the latest technologies to boost production rates.

He further highlighted the state's readiness to support this project entirely, one of Egypt's largest and most significant gas production projects.

Molla reaffirmed a promising opportunity to increase oil and gas production rates through enhancing operational efficiency and intensifying research and exploration efforts.

Tel:


Saudi Arabia Hosts Official Celebration of World Tourism Day

The global impact of tourism is growing in bridging cultures and providing business and employment opportunities. (SPA)
The global impact of tourism is growing in bridging cultures and providing business and employment opportunities. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia Hosts Official Celebration of World Tourism Day

The global impact of tourism is growing in bridging cultures and providing business and employment opportunities. (SPA)
The global impact of tourism is growing in bridging cultures and providing business and employment opportunities. (SPA)

Leaders from across the global tourism sector are set to unite in Riyadh for this year's UNWTO World Tourism Day (WTD), which will be celebrated on 27-28 September, under the theme of "Tourism and Green Investments".

Riyadh hosted the event for the first time in 2019.

Marking the most significant assembly of global tourism leaders in the 43-year history of World Tourism Day, gauged by global ministers, industry leaders, and experts in attendance, WTD 2023 will examine the role of investment in people and the planet to secure livelihoods and foster mutual understanding, while exploring opportunities to extend the reach of the industry's economic and social impact to more people around the world, safeguarding prosperity for all.

Hosting this gathering aims to boost Saudi Arabia's position on the map of international events in general, and tourism in particular, as one of the fastest-growing destinations among the G20 countries, and the second fastest-growing country worldwide. The Kingdom is also the chair of the World Tourism Organization for 2023, and the host of its headquarters in the Middle East.

Event participants will also attend a gala dinner in Riyadh's UNESCO Heritage site, Diriyah, to celebrate World Tourism Day.

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb said hosting this significant global gathering reinforces the status of Saudi Arabia and its pioneering role in restructuring the future of global tourism.

He added that it also confirms the success of Riyadh in becoming a regional hub for the organization, as well as the Kingdom’s initiatives and achievements during the past four years.

“This World Tourism Day, we focus on the vital need to invest in building a more sustainable sector for people, planet, and prosperity,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO.

“The day also makes clear why UNWTO underscores the need for investment in education and for greater innovation as the foundations for long-term growth and transformation. This year's official celebration in Saudi Arabia reflects how tourism is being embraced to diversify economies and generate opportunities for all,” Pololikashvili added.

The global tourism sector is forecast to reach $9.5 trillion in GDP contribution in 2023, according to the WTTC. This is in line with UNWTO's forecast that tourism remains well on track to reach 80% to 90% of pre-pandemic levels this year and is widely expected to exceed 2019 levels in 2024.

The global impact of tourism is growing in bridging cultures and providing business and employment opportunities.


Aramco CEO Calls for Proactive Measures to Avert Severe Energy Crisis  

Aramco CEO and President Amin Nasser. (Aramco)
Aramco CEO and President Amin Nasser. (Aramco)
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Aramco CEO Calls for Proactive Measures to Avert Severe Energy Crisis  

Aramco CEO and President Amin Nasser. (Aramco)
Aramco CEO and President Amin Nasser. (Aramco)

CEO and President of Saudi Aramco Amin Nasser urged proactive measures to avoid an escalating energy crisis and prevent a growing divide in energy transitions between the developed North and the developing South.

Speaking at the 24th World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in Calgary, Canada, Nasser emphasized the world deserves a more realistic, more robust energy transition plan, which should reasonably incorporate the continued deployment of new energy while recognizing the continued need for conventional power.

Nasser stressed that energy transition strategies should consider potential consequences if energy security and affordability are overlooked. He welcomed global leaders' acknowledgment that realistic solutions are necessary for the transition phase.

He warned that phasing out conventional energy prematurely could put energy security and affordability priorities at risk.

Addressing the risk of a global energy gap, Nasser noted, "While much of the Global North is focusing on environmental sustainability, the priority for many in the Global South is economic survival."

"Transition planning has not sufficiently recognized this clear need for distinctive solutions, and a widening divide is inevitable."

The official discussed the risks of prematurely phasing out traditional energy.

"The current transition shortcomings are already causing mass confusion across industries that produce and/or rely on energy. Long-term planners and investors do not know which way to turn," he said.

Nasser warned that it increased the risk of acute supply-demand imbalances in conventional energy and, therefore, an even more severe energy crisis where countries and people, not just assets, are stranded.

He announced: "We are talking about the complete transformation of a $100 trillion global economy. One that is likely to roughly double in size by 2050, with nearly an additional two billion energy consumers. In short, the re-invention of our energy-based way of life in less than 30 years."

Nasser received the World Petroleum Congress Dewhurst Award, given to the most influential global oil, gas, and energy leaders. Nasser is the twelfth award recipient in the Council's 90-year history.