Gulf in the News – November 14, 2013

Iran talks must broaden: UAE

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

The GCC stance has become more unified on Egypt, and the world community should come forward to helping the Arab republic emerge from the current situation, UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has said. “We denounce any act of terrorism against Egyptian police, army and people at large,” Shaikh Abdullah said on Wednesday at a joint Press conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, held here at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Egypt is very important to the region, Shaikh Abdullah said, citing its “political and religious weight” and noting that “all political forces in Egypt should join hands together for the stability of the country. He also urged the friends of Egypt all over the world to help speed up the negotiations between the IMF, World Bank with Egypt, and play their role in the development of Egypt.

Assembly forms panel to probe ‘illegal deposits’

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

The National Assembly yesterday overwhelmingly approved a decision to form a parliamentary committee to investigate “inflated bank accounts” of suspected MPs between 2006 and 2012. Thirty-nine MPs voted for the decision to form a seven-member panel, two voted against while eight lawmakers abstained. MPs Talal Al-Jallal, Saadoun Hammad, Ali Al-Omair, Mubarak Al-Harees, Riyadh Al-Adasani, Abdullah Al-Turaiji and Mansour Al-Shemmari were elected to the panel. According to a proposal submitted by 19 MPs, the committee will have one month to produce an old report over the issue that shocked Kuwait in Sept 2011 and led to the resignation of former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in Nov 2011.

Private consumption, infrastructure boom “to drive Qatar economy”

Source: Gulf Times (Read full story)

Qatar’s economy will continue to show “strong, although slowing momentum”, reflecting the country’s “robust private consumption and the significant infrastructure development programme”, S&P has said. Economic risks for the Qatari banking sector remain average in a global comparison. Qatar has made some progress toward diversifying its economy although it still depends heavily on oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production, the rating agency said in its Middle East outlook. S&P expects Qatar’s real estate market to recover from its sharp decline since 2009, although the commercial sector still remains more vulnerable than the housing segment.

Pact signed for Oman’s first solar energy plant

Source: Oman Daily Observer (Read full story)

Blessed with high solar radiation levels and well positioned at 23 degrees from the equator, the Sultanate is in a prime position to employ solar energy and for the first time in Oman, following on from the Authority for Electricity Regulation’s (AER) renewable energy recommendation issued in May 2008 and the signing of a power purchase agreement by RAECO, Astonfield and Multitech LLC, the Wilayat Al Mazyunah in the Dhofar Governorate will be home to the country’s pilot solar energy plant by June 2014. This was announced at a special signing ceremony-cum-press conference that saw Nabil bin Abdullah al Ghassani, Chairman of the Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAECO) SAOG; Ameet Shah, CEO of Astonfield Renewables; and Shaikh Omar bin Suhail Bahwan, Director, Multitech LLC ink in the agreement on behalf of their respective companies here at the Inter-Continental Muscat yesterday.

Landmark Plans Major GCC Expansion For Sports One

Source: Gulf Business (Read full story)

Retail conglomerate Landmark Group has announced major plans to expand Sports One, its sporting goods retail concept, across the GCC. The company aims to operate 40 new stores across the region by 2016, up from the six stores currently in operation. It plans to open in four new locations within the next couple of months, Landmark said in a statement. Vipen Sethi, CEO of Landmark Group said: “The Landmark Group’s foray into the sports retail sector was an important milestone that allowed us to expand and diversify our existing portfolio.” Sports One launched its first flagship store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December 2012, and opened its UAE store earlier this year.

Saudi Arabia, UAE MENA’s most attractive Cleantech markets: EY

Source: Saudi Gazette (Read full story)

Saudi Arabia and the UAE top the list of the most attractive markets in MENA for Cleantech, according to the respondents of EY’s MENA Cleantech Survey 2013. Markets like Qatar, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt also showed significant potential. Solar energy is seen as having the highest potential for growth across MENA compared to other types of renewable energy. The 2013 MENA Cleantech Survey 2013 was conducted in collaboration with the Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) and Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA). The survey respondents comprised of more than 150 executives from varied industries such as banking, utilities, manufacturing, project development, the public sector, academia and NGOs.