Oman opens its market to Brazilian live cattle

Representatives of both countries’ agriculture ministries emphasized their interest in expanding governmental cooperation and commercial partnerships. (Brazil Ministry of Agriculture)
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Updated 23 February 2024
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Oman opens its market to Brazilian live cattle

  • Announcement made following meeting of officials from both countries in Muscat
  • Both sides emphasized interest in expanding governmental cooperation, commercial partnerships

SAO PAULO: The Brazilian livestock sector is now authorized to export live cattle for slaughter and fattening to Oman.

The announcement was made after a meeting between Roberto Perosa, Brazil’s secretary for trade and international relations, and Ahmed Nasir Al-Bakri, undersecretary at Oman’s Agriculture Ministry. There were other members of the Omani government at the meeting.

“This new market adds to the other 14 opened this year, totaling 93 since the beginning of last year, during President Lula’s third term,” Perosa said.

“At the request of (Agriculture) Minister Carlos Favaro, we continue our mission in the Middle East, visiting countries aiming to expand Brazilian agricultural trade, opening new markets, obtaining approvals for plants through the pre-listing system (eliminating the need for local audits), and negotiating the import of nitrogen fertilizers.”

The Brazilian delegation visiting Oman also includes Julio Ramos, deputy secretary for trade and international relations, and Marcel Moreira, director of trade promotion and investments.

These new markets are the result of joint work by Brazil’s ministries of agriculture and livestock, and foreign affairs.

Representatives of both countries’ agriculture ministries emphasized their interest in expanding governmental cooperation and commercial partnerships.

They identified synergies between Oman’s Vision 2040 plan, which includes food security, and the Brazilian program to convert degraded pastures into agricultural areas.

They also discussed the possibility of partnerships in areas such as fertilizers, sugar, grains for animal feed, live animals, chicken meat and fish.

The Brazilian delegation also met with Ibtisam Ahmed Said Al-Farooji, undersecretary for investment promotion at Oman’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment.

She presented an Omani program that aims to increase investments in her country and abroad, focusing on food security and Oman’s interest in becoming a hub for the Gulf region.

Al-Farooji also underlined Oman’s neutrality and stability, adding that Brazil could be a great partner.

During the meeting, Perosa emphasized the good relations and complementarity between the two countries, saying Brazil could contribute even more to Oman’s food security and encourage Brazilian companies to process their products in Oman, as is the case with chicken and beef.

He added that the program to convert degraded pastures into agricultural areas represents a great opportunity to strengthen this partnership, including the possibility of acquiring nitrogen fertilizers from Oman.

The Omani side welcomed the idea and said that along with the Oman Investment Authority and Nitaj, the government arm for promoting food security, it will help build the partnership strategy between the two countries.


STA launches summer program to boost tourism sector

Updated 19 sec ago
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STA launches summer program to boost tourism sector

RIYADH: The Saudi Tourism Authority has launched its summer program for 2024 with a lineup of events taking place across seven destinations in the Kingdom. 

According to a press statement, the program launched under the title “Saudi Summer is Next Door” will run for a duration of four months until the end of September. 

The seven destinations included in the summer campaign are Riyadh, Jeddah, AlUla, and the Red Sea, as well as Aseer, Al Baha, and Taif. 

Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s minister of tourism, said that the Kingdom is witnessing rapid growth in the hospitality sector, as it received record-breaking numbers of incoming visitors in 2023. 

“Saudi Arabia is witnessing a transformative period in tourism, driven by our vision to position the Kingdom as a premier global destination. The Saudi Summer Program 2024 is our commitment to showcasing the rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and unparalleled hospitality that Saudi Arabia offers,” said Al-Khateeb. 

According to the UN’s World Tourism Barometer, Saudi Arabia’s number of visitors arriving in 2023 reached 106 million, a 156 percent increase on 2019.

This year’s summer program will also see the return of the Jeddah Season and the launch of the Aseer Season, featuring numerous family activities and events.

“We invite local and international tourists to experience the diversity of our seven unique destinations and take advantage of the exceptional offers and packages designed to create unforgettable memories,” added Al-Khateeb. 

Developing the tourism sector is crucial for Saudi Arabia, as the Kingdom is steadily diversifying its economy by reducing its dependency on oil. 

Saudi Arabia’s National Tourism Strategy aims to attract 150 million visitors by 2030 and increase the sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product to 10 percent from the current 6 percent. 

Commenting on the summer program, Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general of the World Tourism Organization, said: “Saudi tourism is witnessing unparalleled development at all levels, achieving great leaps in recent years. Saudi Arabia has global indicators related to the number of tourists, which has qualified it to top the UN World Tourism list of significant tourist destinations.” 

For his part, Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and board member of STA, noted that this year’s summer program includes more than 550 tourism products and 150 special offers, including discounts on hotel bookings. 

Moreover, the launch of the summer program comes at a time when visiting Saudi Arabia has become more accessible. To accelerate the number of incoming tourists, Saudi Arabia launched the eVisa and made it available to citizens of 66 countries, which made the Kingdom’s visa 20 percent less expensive. 


Saudi Arabia and Australia sign deal to boost trade ties

Updated 46 min 51 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia and Australia sign deal to boost trade ties

RIYADH: Trade ties between Saudi Arabia and Australia are set to strengthen after the two countries signed an agreement to improve cooperation across multiple sectors. 

According to a press statement, the memorandum of understanding was inked between the Australia Saudi Business Council & Forum and the Export Council of Australia. 

The agreement will focus on cooperation in industry, mining and food as well as agriculture, technology, and artificial intelligence. 

The deal will increase the opportunities for Australian exporters to collaborate with Saudi entities, enhancing bilateral cooperation. 

The agreement was signed by the President of the Australia Saudi Business Council & Forum, Sam Jamsheedi, and Arnold Jorge, CEO of the Export Council of Australia, during the latter’s visit to the Kingdom with a delegation. 

“Under this strategic partnership, we will seek to work together closely in identifying initiatives that facilitate connections between Australia and Saudi Arabia,” said Jamsheedi. 

According to the UN Comtrade database, Australia’s exports to Saudi Arabia stood at $789.65 million in 2023. 

On the other hand, the Kingdom’s exports to Australia amounted to $702.75 million over the same 12-month period.  

“We will combine our resources and networks to boost the success of collaborations and partnerships between relevant organizations and individuals of our two countries,” said Jorge. 

The Australia Saudi Business Council was formed in 2013 to facilitate the promotion of ongoing and bilateral trade between the two nations.

In November, Saudi-based Abdel Hadi Al-Qahtani and Sons Co. and Australia’s SSS Group signed a $27 million deal to collaborate in the production of scaffolding systems in Saudi Arabia using local resources.

After the deal was signed, Australian Ambassador Mark Donovan told Arab News at the time that the cooperation agreement builds on the existing investment ties between both countries in various sectors, including education, health care, aviation, and services.

“A new and transformed Saudi Arabia is looking for business relationships around the world, and that’s what we’re very pleased to be a part of,” said Donovan at that time. 

In March, Australia’s University of Wollongong procured licenses to open its branches in the Kingdom. 


Top Saudi officials hold discussions with global aviation giants

Updated 52 min 55 sec ago
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Top Saudi officials hold discussions with global aviation giants

RIYADH: Supply chain challenges, investment attraction, and modern technology were all discussed by Saudi Arabia’s industry minister and the heads of global aviation companies at the Future Aviation Forum 2024.

Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef held discussions with the president of the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, the president and CEO of Embraer Commercial, and the president of Boeing, at the Riyadh event, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Alkhorayef focused on bolstering cooperation across various segments of the aviation industry in the talks and the discussions highlighted the Kingdom’s opportunities, addressed global supply chain challenges, and explored avenues for investment attraction, technological advancement, and knowledge exchange. 

Meanwhile, the minister toured the pavilions of several global aviation companies, including Airbus, Boeing, and Riyadh Air, participating in the event organized by the General Authority of Civil Aviation at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center. 

Furthermore, he received updates on the latest technologies and recent advancements in the aviation industry and its related sectors. 

On May 20, Saudia Group signed a $19 billion order deal for 105 planes, marking the largest aircraft deal with Airbus in the Kingdom’s history. 

The agreement was made public in the presence of Minister of Transport and Logistic Services Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser and Benoît de Saint-Exupery, executive vice president of sales at Airbus. Saint-Exupery stated that the new aircraft will play a “vital role” in contributing to Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 plan. 

The forum, held under the patronage of King Salman from May 20 to 22, showcases investment opportunities exceeding $100 billion. It aims to achieve the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, transforming the Kingdom into a leading logistics hub in the Middle East and meeting the objectives of the national aviation strategy. 

The event features participation from over 30 ministers, 77 leaders of civil aviation authorities, global airline executives, and 5,000 industry experts and leaders from more than 120 countries. 


Riyadh Air and Saudia agree new joint training programs

Updated 8 min 24 sec ago
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Riyadh Air and Saudia agree new joint training programs

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s two national airlines will work together to train pilots, aircraft crews and other aviation employees thanks to a new deal.   

Riyadh Air, the new company announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in March 2023, has reached an agreement with the Saudi Academy – affiliated with the Saudia group, the national carrier of the Kingdom.  

The memorandum of cooperation, signed at the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, represents a turning point in specialized education in the field of aviation for Saudi Arabia’s national carriers, paving the way towards improving the training standards of pilots, aircraft crews and air operations, according to the Saudi Press Agency.  

It aims to develop and adapt talent to enhance the Kingdom’s position as a leader in the global aviation sector. 

This move aligns well with the Kingdom’s firm commitment to enhancing its capabilities in the field of aviation and air transport while providing the necessary tools to develop the sector’s workforce. 

“This strategic partnership with Saudia Academy reflects our firm commitment to nurturing and developing talent and raising standards of excellence in the aviation sector, as we aim, by mobilizing our joint capabilities and specialized expertise in the field, to create a world-class training system that can enable, through it, aviation specialists acquire the knowledge and skills necessary,” Riyadh Air’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Bellew said. 

Moreover, the agreement is set to enable the two national carriers to integrate their expertise and resources to provide training programs covering a wide range of specializations, SPA’s report added.  

These programs will include technical training, aviation basics, and ground operations, as well as management principles, linguistic proficiency, and compliance with regulatory provisions and standards. 

Additionally, the cooperation will extend to specialized executive education and training, aligning with the professional development needs of leaders and decision-makers in the aviation and air transport sector. 

CEO of the Saudi Academy, Ismail Al-Kashi, emphasized the importance of investing in training and development to ensure the highest standards of quality, air safety, and service excellence.   

“The employees are qualified and provided with the necessary knowledge to ensure they provide outstanding performance in the aviation sector, which is witnessing rapid development,” Al-Kashi noted. 

More than 5,000 global aviation industry experts, international airline leaders, and airport executives are expected to convene at the Future Aviation Forum. 

Organized by the General Authority of Civil Aviation, the three-day event features discussions on issues related to the global flight sector, air transport, environmental sustainability in civil aviation, advanced air transport, and enhancing global connectivity. 

The event also aligns with the Kingdom’s ambition to become a leader in the aviation sector within a decade, including securing $100 billion in investments by 2030. 


Pakistan GDP grows 2.09% in Q3, supported by agriculture

Updated 21 May 2024
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Pakistan GDP grows 2.09% in Q3, supported by agriculture

  • Pakistan’s central bank in latest report projected real GDP growth of 2-3% for the fiscal year 2024 
  • Provisional 2024 financial year growth in agriculture estimated at 6.25%, 1.21% for industry and services

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s economy grew 2.09% in the third quarter of the financial year 2023-2024, supported by higher growth in agriculture, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said in a press release on Tuesday.

The estimated provisional growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the financial year ending June 2024 is 2.38%, the bureau said in a statement. That compares with a revised 0.21% economic contraction in the 2023 year when political unrest, a combination of tax and gas tariff hikes, controlled imports, and a steep fall in the rupee currency rapidly pushed up inflation.

Last week in its half yearly report, Pakistan’s central bank projected real GDP growth of 2-3% for the fiscal year 2024.

There was no comparable year-ago third quarter GDP data as Pakistan only began releasing quarterly growth numbers from November. That was done in compliance with the structural benchmarks of the current $3 billion bailout program agreed with the International Monetary Fund and completed last month.

The bureau revised the first and second quarter GDP estimates for financial year 2023-2024 to 2.71% and 1.79% respectively, compared to earlier estimates of 2.5% and 1%.

The provisional 2024 financial year growth in agriculture was estimated at 6.25%, and 1.21% for both industry as well as services, it added.

“The healthy growth of agriculture is mainly due to double-digit growth in important crops,” the bureau said, adding that bumper crop of wheat, cotton, and rice contributed to the positive result.