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Kuwait: gas half full

Late in January, Jasem Albudaiwi was appointed secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). A former ambassador to the US, Albudaiwi is the second Kuwaiti in a row to assume leadership of this regional organization. He promises to shake it up, boosting, for example, AFAQ, the GCC’s new cross-border payments system, which Kuwait joined in 2022. Last year the Gulf monarchies were among the world’s fastest-growing economies. High energy prices in 2022 pushed Kuwait’s oil revenue up 85 percent, translating into 8.5 percent GDP growth and a 70 percent decrease in the fiscal deficit—the first drop in three years. “While the world was faced with tensions due to the war in Ukraine and its impact on the global economic scene … the operational backdrop in Kuwait was mainly positive, owing to the rising oil prices and to post-pandemic pent-up demand encouraging consumer spending,” says Salah al-Fulaij, CEO of NBK-Kuwait, the country’s largest bank, which saw its net profits increase 40.5 percent in 2022 from the prior year, to reach $1.7 billion.

UAE taps into 10pc of global economy with latest CEPA

Signing its fourth CEPA with Turkey, besides those signed with India, Indonesia, and Israel, will give UAE access to enter new markets that reach more than 2.2 billion people, including the Greater Arab Free Trade Area Agreement that was signed more than 15 years ago, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade said on Friday. Four bilateral agreements will contribute to an over 2.4 percent increase in the country’s GDP by 2031, further driving the growth of UAE exports by adding $120 billion over the next 10 years. This will create more economic and trade opportunities, Dr Al Zeyoudi explained, noting that, after signing the agreement with Turkey, the UAE’s economy will be linked to more than 10 percent of the global economy.

Oman’s banking sector vital in supporting country’s growth

Oman’s banking system has weathered recent shocks relatively well and its financial indicators appear healthy, benefiting from prudent oversight by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO), according to an industry expert. “The country is going in the right direction and the banking sector is key to supporting the country’s growth,” said Hussain Al Yafai, CEO of Standard Chartered Oman, in an exclusive interview with the Times of Oman. “Banks have the potential to harness digitalisation to upgrade customer experience and improve cost efficiencies and digitalisation in Oman’s banking sector is moving forward carefully. The CBO continues to develop the Fintech ecosystem by launching the Fintech Regulatory Sandbox Framework and testing the use of blockchain technology for trade finance,” he further added.

UAE’s GDP grew 7.6pc in 2022, official says

The United Arab Emirates’ economy expanded 7.6 percent last year, a senior official said on Thursday, about double the rise in gross domestic product (GDP) recorded in 2021 as the Gulf state rebounded sharply from the Covid-19 pandemic. While higher energy prices supported economic growth across the Gulf region’s oil exporters last year, a slowdown is forecast this year with a more uncertain oil price outlook and a challenging global macroeconomic environment.

Saudi Arabia q4 gdp up 5.5pc

The Saudi economy grew 5.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the prior-year period, estimates from the General Authority for Statistics showed on Thursday, as non-oil activities boosted overall growth. Non-oil activities grew 6.2 percent in the quarter year-on-year, outperforming the increase in oil activities which grew 6.1 percent, according to the agency. Oil and gas activities accounted for just under 30 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter as the contribution of non-hydrocarbon sectors continued to gather momentum. Government services activites contributed 15.2 percent to overall GDP in Q4, the second biggest contributor after oil and gas.

UAE approves developing the circular economy policy 2031

The Emirati Cabinet approved developing the UAE Circular Economy Policy 2031, as an updated framework to achieve the objectives of the UAE in the circular economy, the UAE’s Green Agenda 2030, and the UAE Centennial 2071. The Agenda includes developing 22 policies in various fields, including sustainable transport, sustainable food production and consumption, sustainable manufacturing, and green infrastructure. The UAE Governments Net Zero 2050 Charter was approved by the Cabinet, reported the state news agency WAM. The charter aims to create a unified framework between the Federal government and the local governments of the Emirates, ensuring cooperation in adopting policies and procedures to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Qatar to help Pakistan tackle economic challenges

Qatar will help Pakistan during the current economic crisis and contribute to the country’s progress and development, its emir said on Sunday. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on the sidelines of the 5th UN Least Developed Countries (LDC) Conference. The premier is on a two-day official visit to Qatar to attend the conference. According to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the emir reiterated his resolve to continue Qatar’s complete cooperation and support in the “development and progress agenda of Pakistan”. He welcomed the prime minister and reiterated his keen interest in strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries. During the meeting, the two leaders discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation, investment, trade and employment opportunities for skilled manpower.

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