Saudi non-profit sector registers 1.4% rise in boost to Vision 2030 goals

March saw the creation of 57 civil associations, seven civil society organizations, and eight family funds. Shutterstock
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Updated 05 April 2024

Saudi non-profit sector registers 1.4% rise in boost to Vision 2030 goals

RIYADH: Non-profit organizations in Saudi Arabia grew by 72 in March, as the sector recorded a 1.4 percent rise over the month.

Official figures released by the National Center for Non-Profit Sector Development showed the number of bodies registered in this sphere now stands at 4,721 – a 182 percent rise from 2018.

March saw the creation of 57 civil associations, seven civil society organizations, and eight family funds across the Kingdom, according to a report by the Saudi Press Agency.

The non-profit sector is a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic diversification initiative, and in June Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Ahmed Al-Rajhi lauded the organizations for creating “sustainable impacts” and implementing “many outstanding projects.”

The SPA report highlighting the latest increase said the National Center “noted the continuous growth witnessed by the non-profit sector, at the level of non-profit organizations, the number of volunteers, and the increase witnessed in the number of technically supervised units in government agencies.”

The release added; “The Center points to the progress achieved through the cooperation of all parties of the non-profit sector system, and the observed development in the governance of non-profit organizations. 

“In 2023, it achieved advanced levels of governance, which confirms the sector organizations’ commitment to compliance according to the targeted development roles.”

According to SPA, the Center also announced the issuance of decisions against a number of non-profit organizations and individuals, including four warnings against civil society organizations, four dismissal decisions for the boards of directors of civil society organizations, and a decision to exclude an employee of a civil society organization from working in the sector for a temporary period.

In February, the minister of human resources and social development used a speech at the Second Annual Forum for Non-Governmental Organizations in Riyadh to highlight how well bodies in the sector are run.

“There has been an increase in the satisfaction rate of beneficiaries of services of non-profit organizations reaching 86 percent, exceeding the target for the year 2025,” said Al-Rajhi at the time, adding that there are more than 800,000 volunteers in the sector, with government contracts awarded to non-profit sector organizations valued at SR6 billion ($1.6 billion) since 2018.

Top Saudi officials hold discussions with global aviation giants

Updated 7 sec ago

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 50 min 55 sec ago

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 airline 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.

The agreement will 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.

Pakistan GDP grows 2.09% in Q3, supported by agriculture

Updated 21 May 2024

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.

IMF expects UAE’s economy to grow by 4% in 2024

Updated 21 May 2024

IMF expects UAE’s economy to grow by 4% in 2024

RIYADH: The UAE’s gross domestic product is set to expand by 4 percent this year, driven by robust domestic activities and relatively high oil prices, an International Monetary Fund has forecast.

In its latest Article IV end of mission statement, the IMF noted that the Emirates is experiencing strong growth in domestic sectors, including tourism, construction, and financial services. 

The report further noted that UAE’s oil GDP will also expand this year if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, decide to ease the previously proposed output cuts. 

“Economic growth in the UAE is broad-based, led by robust activity in the tourism, construction, manufacturing, and financial services sectors. Foreign demand for real estate, increased bilateral and multilateral ties, and the UAE’s safe haven status continue to drive rapid growth in housing prices and an increase in rents while adding to ample domestic liquidity,” said the IMF in the statement. 

In its previous projection in April, the organization predicted that the UAE’s economy would grow by 3.5 percent in 2024. 

The UN financial agency added that the impact of geopolitical tensions in the Emirates so far is still minimal, and the country’s response to the recent flooding was rapid and effective. 

IMF further pointed out that the inflation rate in the UAE is expected to be contained at 2 percent in 2024. 

According to the study, the UAE’s fiscal and external surpluses are expected to remain high this year due to relatively surging oil prices. 

“The general government surplus is projected to be around 5 percent of GDP in 2024 and public debt is on track to decline further toward 30 percent of GDP, benefitting from active debt management strategies,” said IMF. 

It added: “Capital spending is expected to meet ongoing infrastructure needs, and the introduction of the corporate income tax will support non-hydrocarbon revenue with its full implementation in the coming years. The current account surplus is projected at around 9 percent of GDP in 2024.” 

The international financial institution also noted that accelerated public and private investment and structural reforms in areas like renewable energy and technology could further accelerate economic growth in the Emirates. 

However, the IMF noted that the UAE’s economic outlook is subject to uncertainty and external risks, including those related to geopolitical tensions, global growth, and commodity price volatility. 

The study highlighted that banks in the Emirates have considerable capital and liquidity buffers, while credit growth is resilient despite higher domestic interest rates. 

“The efforts to digitalize the financial system and payment landscape are welcome and should continue to follow a risk-conscious approach. Initiatives to develop and regulate the virtual asset industry should be informed by a careful assessment of macroeconomic and financial stability risks,” said the IMF. 

The report concluded by saying that gradual fiscal consolidation and further structural reforms will ensure the UAE’s economic prudence and medium-term sustainability. 

Saudi Power Procurement Co. signs two power purchase agreements with Japan’s Marubeni

Updated 21 May 2024

Saudi Power Procurement Co. signs two power purchase agreements with Japan’s Marubeni

TOKYO: The Saudi Power Procurement Co. signed two power purchase agreements with a consortium led by Japan’s Marubeni Corporation on Tuesday in Tokyo. 

The deals are part of the fourth phase of Saudi Arabia’s National Renewable Energy Program, supervised by the Ministry of Energy. 

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, Saudi Minister of Energy and Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry SAITO Ken were present at the signing. 

The agreements pertain to the Al-Ghat wind power project, with a capacity of 600 MW, and the Waad Al-Shamal wind power project, with a capacity of 500 MW. These agreements were signed during the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, held in Japan on Tuesday. 

On this occasion, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, Saudi Minister of Energy, expressed his gratitude to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Energy, for the support, assistance and follow-up provided by the leadership, which aids the Ministry of Energy and its system in achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 in the energy sector. 

Prince Abdulaziz stated: “I am pleased to announce that the Al-Ghat project has set a new world record for the lowest cost of electricity production from wind energy, with a cost of 1.56558 US cents per kilowatt-hour, equivalent to 5.87094 halalas per kilowatt-hour. The Waad Al-Shamal project achieved the second-best global record in this field, with a cost of 1.70187 US cents per kilowatt-hour, equivalent to 6.38201 halalas per kilowatt-hour.” 

The minister added: “The annual energy produced by both projects will be sufficient for the consumption of 257,000 residential units, demonstrating the significant success of these projects in enhancing energy efficiency in the Kingdom.” 

He noted that these projects are part of the objectives of the National Renewable Energy Program, which aims to utilize renewable energy sources available throughout the Kingdom to contribute to displacing liquid fuels used in the electricity production sector and achieving the optimal energy mix for electricity generation, with renewable energy sources expected to account for about 50% of the mix by 2030.