Egypt signs 7 green hydrogen deals worth a potential $40bn 

Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly witnessed the signing of the deals. Presidency of the Egyptian Council of Ministers/Facebook
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Updated 29 February 2024

Egypt signs 7 green hydrogen deals worth a potential $40bn 

RIYADH: Over $40 billion of green hydrogen and renewable energy investments could be on the way to Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone after a host of new agreements. 

The North African country’s government signed seven memorandums of understanding with international developers which could see the money arrive over a 10-year period. 

Investment of about $12 billion is expected for a pilot program, followed by a further $29 billion for the first phase. 

Ayman Suleiman, CEO of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, was one of those present for the signing of the agreements.  

He said: “The Fund receives constant and increasing interest from investors in green hydrogen projects, and today’s signature reflects the increasing interest of companies to join the Egyptian Green Hydrogen Program, which reflects the state’s going in the right direction by creating a landmark, fully funded program.” 

Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly also witnessed the signing of the deals, which included agreements with the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, and the New and Renewable Energy Authority. 

Representatives from the private sector included Kofi Osu Bembah, CEO of Bash Global; Jawo Kunha, CEO of operations at Smart Energy; and Ihab Damian, from Gamma Construction & Meridiam.

Other businesspeople present were Mohammed Tawakkul, board member of Al-Tawakkul Gila; Yahya Abu Al-Hassan, business development manager of IMM Power, and Kamel Abdulhamid Al-Sawi, president of Egypt branch of United Energy Group.

Planning Minister Hala El-Said added that Egypt’s sovereign fund is seeking to promote the country as a regional hub for green energy. 

The minister also set out how the fund has already succeeded in launching Africa’s first integrated green ammonia production plant, and the latest deals mark the beginning of new investment partnerships and projects that all contribute to achieving the goals of the National Green Hydrogen Strategy. 

That plan, agreed in November, is part of a drive to see Egypt contribute 5-8 percent to the global hydrogen market. 

The strategy also targets reducing carbon emissions by 40 million tonnes per year by 2040. 

Also in November, the first shipment of renewable ammonia was sent from Fertiglobe’s factory in Egypt, in what was described as a “breakthrough in producing and supplying renewable ammonia to the world” by the company’s CEO Ahmed El-Hoshy.  

In what was a landmark month for Egypt’s green energy plans, November 2023 also saw the Suez Canal Economic Zone sign a $15.6 billion agreement with prominent Chinese companies to boost renewable fuel manufacturing initiatives.   

The agreements are set to produce around 9,000 job opportunities and encompass the establishment of 11 projects. 

Zain KSA introduces first 100% Saudi-made fleet tracking solution for businesses 

Updated 17 April 2024

Zain KSA introduces first 100% Saudi-made fleet tracking solution for businesses 

RIYADH: Saudi telecom provider Zain KSA has become the first operator in the Kingdom to offer a 100 percent domestically-made fleet tracking system for businesses.   

The new system is expected to empower businesses in Saudi Arabia to make informed decisions through comprehensive reports generated from precise data collection. 

The launch of the system, entirely made in the Kingdom for the business sector, integrates cutting-edge tracking devices that are locally designed, manufactured, and assembled under the country’s “Saudi Made” program, the company said in a statement. 

The telecom company further explained that the monitoring solution is a comprehensive cloud-based platform, providing businesses of all sizes with tools to optimize logistics operations, enhance travel routes, and minimize fuel consumption. This, in turn, reduces carbon emissions, preserves the environment, and fosters sustainability. 

Saudi Arabia and Spain strengthen collaboration in urban infrastructure and renewable energy sector

Updated 17 April 2024

Saudi Arabia and Spain strengthen collaboration in urban infrastructure and renewable energy sector

RIYADH: Saudi-Spanish collaboration is set to flourish in the fields of urban infrastructure development, renewable energy, and engineering technology after a high-level meeting in Madrid. 

During a three-day visit from April 15-17, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs, and Housing, Majed Al-Hogail, met with executives from leading Spanish companies to explore collaboration opportunities. 

The tour is part of the Kingdom’s broader initiative to foster international partnerships that enhance its urban and infrastructure capabilities, the Saudi Press Agency reported.   

Al-Hogail’s engagements included a discussion with Pablo Bueno, CEO of TYPSA, focusing on potential collaboration in the fields of infrastructure solutions, energy efficiency, and sustainable urban development.   

They discussed activating a circular economy in buildings and infrastructure and creating new asset management platforms and engineering value solutions.  

Additionally, the minister met with José Vicente, CEO of Indra, one of the leading engineering technology and consulting firms, to discuss digital transformation in municipal services.   

This collaboration aims to enhance the quality of services provided to Saudi citizens and residents and foster innovation.  

New air route strengthening Saudi-China connectivity has inaugural flight

Updated 23 min 35 sec ago

New air route strengthening Saudi-China connectivity has inaugural flight

RIYADH: With the inaugural flight of China Southern Airlines landing in Riyadh on April 16, Saudi Arabia and Beijing are further enhancing air connectivity.

The Chinese airplane arrived at the King Khalid International Airport at night, carrying approximately 247 passengers, achieving a load factor of 86 percent, according to Al-Ekhbariya Channel.

The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation previously announced the licensing of China Southern Airlines to conduct regular weekly passenger and freight flights from Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen to Riyadh during the summer season of 2024.

This includes four passenger and commercial flights and three cargo flights commencing on April 16.

Ayman Aboabah, CEO of Riyadh Airport Co., informed the media channel that depending on peak seasons, the new route could achieve a utilization rate of up to 90 percent. He emphasized that this reflects substantial demand for the updated passage.

Aboabah also said that another station is scheduled to be operational by June and that plans are in place to attract three to four additional carriers in the coming year.

The CEO added: “We are truly very proud to inaugurate the return of the first Chinese carrier to the Kingdom, operating two weekly flights, transporting 1,140 passengers between Saudi Arabia and China. In fact, this marks the beginning of a series of carriers we are collaborating with under the Air Connectivity Program and with Chinese carriers.” 

In February, top officials from both countries convened for a high-level meeting in Beijing, focusing on investment opportunities, technology transfer, and enhancing economic cooperation. 

The Saudi delegation, led by Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, president of GACA, visited the Asian country to convene a joint round table meeting, exploring cooperation in connectivity and discussing partnership aspects across various areas. 

During the visit, the Kingdom’s representatives emphasized the substantial investments in the sector and reiterated Saudi Arabia’s openness to further opportunities.  

This aligns with GACA’s goal of modernizing the airport system and supports the Kingdom’s tourism sector target of attracting 150 million visitors by 2030. 

In August 2023, the Kingdom’s flag carrier, Saudia, launched its first direct flight between Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport.

That move was in line with the Saudi Aviation Strategy, which recognizes the need to increase air connectivity with key markets such as China while accommodating increasing demand from international tourists seeking to discover the Kingdom. 

Before the Jeddah—Beijing route was launched, passengers visiting China from Saudi Arabia could only visit the southern city of Guangzhou.  

Saudia announced at that time that it would operate two flights from Jeddah to the Chinese capital every Monday and Friday, adding that passengers from Riyadh could also travel directly to Beijing every Sunday and Wednesday. 

Turkiye will take steps to strengthen economic program, Erdogan says 

Updated 17 April 2024

Turkiye will take steps to strengthen economic program, Erdogan says 

ANKARA: Turkiye will take steps to strengthen its medium-term economic program and the three main priorities are to increase public savings, prioritize investments and accelerate structural reforms, President Tayyip Erdogan said. 

Speaking on Tuesday evening after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan said his economic team had made preparations for such steps to strengthen the program, MTP, and, “hopefully we will share them with the public very soon.” 

“We have three main priorities in strengthening the MTP. These are to increase public sector savings, prioritize investments, and accelerate structural reforms.” 

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz said both the finance ministry and the budget authority were carrying out studies on public sector savings, with more than 15 articles being worked upon. 

“We mean not only reducing expenditures, but making existing expenditures more efficient, prioritizing them, and making them contribute more to the economy’s competitiveness, efficiency and social welfare,” state broadcaster TRT reported him as saying. 

Erdogan also said on Tuesday evening that economic growth will approach 4 percent this year with a positive impact from exports, and forecast that the current account deficit will be 2.5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the year. 

Official data on Wednesday showed that Turkiye’s current account deficit stood at $3.265 billion in February, less than a Reuters forecast for a deficit of $3.7 billion. 

Central Bank Governor Fatih Karahan told a panel in Washington on Tuesday that Turkiye is on track to reach its 36 percent inflation target by the end of the year after peaking at around 75 percent in the coming months. 

Saudi Arabia launches new program to boost wheat, barley productivity 

Updated 14 min 3 sec ago

Saudi Arabia launches new program to boost wheat, barley productivity 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s wheat and barley production is set to strengthen, thanks to a new program aimed at inventorying 903 plant genetic resources from fruit trees.    

The process of PGR entails collecting and documenting the genetic material of plants valuable for both present and future generations.   

It is integral to agro-biodiversity, covering crops, livestock, and related species, and serves as the cornerstone of food, agriculture, and nutritional security.    

Launched by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the implementation of the new program is based on three axes, according to a statement.  

The first includes inventory, purification, and evaluation of local varieties, while the second entails cooperation with international bodies. Meanwhile, the third axis includes implementing a regional breeding program.  

This move falls in line with the ministry’s vision to achieve sustainability of the environment and natural resources, ensuring water security, contributing to food protection, and improving the quality of life in the Kingdom. 

Moreover, the commencement of the program involved the application to register five varieties of soft bread wheat and durum pasta wheat, including three local varieties and two new ones to the Kingdom. 

Additionally, the program encompassed the identification of 52 promising strains of soft wheat and 45 promising strains of durum wheat, which are currently in the final evaluation stages for this season. The ministry anticipates that a significant number of these strains will be selected and registered next year. 

Furthermore, a total of 215 genetic resources of field crops and 17 genetic resources of vegetable crops were also identified. 

In addition, the Seed and Seedling Center disclosed that out of the 903 plant genetic resources, 159 are located in Jazan, 252 in Al-Baha, and 130 in Asir. Moreover, 247 resources are found in Eastern Province, 50 in Riyadh, and 65 in Medinah. 

This underscores the comprehensive genetic fingerprinting being conducted for all genetic resources in the Kingdom, including wheat, barley, coffee, sesame, and others.  

This will help to identify similarities and differences between samples of a single variety at the molecular level, document genetically distinct samples, standardize the name of the local variety, and publish the outputs in international offices. 

The ministry also disclosed the establishment of a database of genetic resources from field and horticultural crops, which includes all associated data and characteristics.