As the financial resources of most regional states
are limited and oil revenues in the Gulf are expected to remain modest
in the near future, Arab governments must push ahead with plans to
privatise infrastructure facilities to ensure sufficient financing.
Around $100 billion in capital expenditure is needed
in the electricity sector alone as regional power needs are projected to
peak at 100,000 MW at a growth of nearly 10 per cent, the Abu
Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) said in a study.
The rest will be pumped into transport and
communications, water projects, roads, construction, and other
"According to World Bank estimates, Arab
countries need to invest more than $370 billion in infrastructure
projects by 2006," the study said.
"Taking into consideration the recent economic
developments in the region, efforts to rationalise expenditure in member
states and plans to expand the private sector's role in the domestic
economy, governments are expected to finance a maximum 85 per cent of
those projects while nearly 15 per cent, or $60 billion, will come from
the private sector.
"For this purpose, Arab states need to step up
efforts to attract foreign capital and hasten plans to privatise their
infrastructure facilities to ensure sufficient funds for new projects
and for operation and maintenance of such facilities in the
It said lack of funds in most Arab states had allied
with flawed management to adversely affect their infrastructure and hit
performance and efficiency of some projects.
MIDEAST-U.S. TRADE PLUMMETS 20-26PC
Middle East trade with the U.S. has fallen by some
20-26 per cent since the events of September 11, a senior U.S. trade
official told a Washington conference on U.S.-Arab relations.
Molly Williamson, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of
commerce, said total U.S. trade for the first six months of 2002 is down
by 20-26 per cent in comparison to the corresponding period last year.
This should lead to a fall in the overall annual
trade between the U.S. and the Middle East, which stood at $65 billion
in 2001, Williamson said.
"The events of 9/11 have had a profound impact
on U.S.-Arab trade relations. To pretend otherwise would be
irresponsible," she told a gathering of American business
executives, Arab and U.S. officials, and Arab affairs analysts at the
U.S.-Middle East Policy-makers conference in Washington.
Williamson noted, however, that the fall in trade
cannot be solely blamed on the mutual uncertainty in the business
communities of both sides created by the 9/11 tragedy.
She said the economic slowdown in the U.S. — partly
exacerbated by 9/11 — was another key factor leading to the slowdown
in trade. Despite the slowdown, Williamson pointed to two key exceptions
— Jordan and Morocco.
U.S. trade with Jordan has grown by 26 per cent in
the first six months of 2002, mostly due to the U.S.-Jordan free trade
agreement — only one of four such agreements that the U.S. has
U.S. trade with Morocco has also grown more than 50
per cent in the first six months of 2002 compared to the corresponding
OIL PRICES LIFTED BY IRAQ FEARS
The threat of a war with Iraq has continued to push
up oil prices, with analysts warning that further price rises are
The price of US light crude oil has risen 8.7% in the
last four days alone, and on Monday stood at $30.20 per barrel.
The $30 per barrel mark is considered crucial
benchmark in oil prices — a breach of that level usually indicates a
potentially serious threat to supply.
Ministers from the Organisation of Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC) are due to meet later this month to discuss
market conditions and production levels.
ISRAEL DESTROYS EIGHT PALESTINIAN HOMES
Israeli forces destroyed eight Palestinian houses in
pre-dawn raids in the Gaza Strip yesterday, including the home of a dead
militant's family, witnesses said.
Shooting erupted between the Israeli troops and
Palestinians as tanks and armoured bulldozers moved into the Shijaia
neighbourhood east of Gaza City. One Palestinian was seriously hurt,
Palestinian officials said.
Israel has added house demolitions to its measures to
combat the almost two-year-old Palestinian uprising for independence in
the West Bank and Gaza Strip, hoping this will deter militants behind
suicide bombings and other attacks.
Three houses were destroyed in Shijaia, two in
Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza and three in the Rafah refugee camp
in southern Gaza which is near the border with Egypt, witnesses and
Palestinian security officials said.
LUXURY AUTO SEGMENT TO GROW 3-3.5PC
While the market could still be in for a flat year of
sales, the luxury end of the automobile sector could tweak out a 3 to
3.5 per cent growth, according to a senior industry source.
According to estimates, the luxury end could account
for about 35,000 units annually in the Gulf and the Levant.
"The top end is still growing and is an
attractive market. Growth has been helped by players such as Jaguar,
Audi and Volvo aggressively targeting it," said Robert Bailey-McEwan,
regional managing director of BMW Group M.E.
"Despite the competition, we have been able to
increase our market share significantly."
On its part, BMW is readying for the handover of the
Rolls Royce marquee to its ownership from January 1.
UAE MANUFACTURING HOLDS 15.1PC OF GDP
Buoyed by growing industrial investment, the
manufacturing sector accounts for 15.1 per cent of the UAE's GDP, the
second largest contributor after the mining (crude oil and natural gas)
Excluding the mining sector, the manufacturing
sector's share of the GDP is 19.6 per cent. The manufacturing sector's
output to the country's GDP (at base price) of Dh217.0 billion stood at
Dh32.7 billion in 2001, the latest Central Bank figures showed.
This, however, is slightly lower than the previous
year when the manufacturing sector's output stood at Dh33.1 billion. The
UAE's GDP at current prices and by major expenditure categories reached
TRADERS COMPLAIN OF ILLTREATMENT
Fruit and vegetable vendors at Al Hamriya market have
complained of "harsh treatment" by Dubai Municipality
Stall tenants say that the inspectors have recently
imposed harsh penalties on those who violate their verbal instructions
and treated them "inhumanly".
They said inspectors are seizing their goods without
warning or justifiable reason, and mistreating their workers.
MINISTRY KEEN TO SUPPORT DATE FARMERS
Al Ouha's Date Marketing Centre of Al Ain has
received 7,598 tonnes of dates from the farmers of northern emirates,
valued at Dh812, 328 million.
Ahmed Sultan Al Halami, Undersecretary of the
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries stressed the ministry's keenness
to support farmers in the UAE by providing them with the best palm
seedlings to improve the quality of their product, as well as offer
PRIVATISATION DRIVE MOVING GRADUALLY
The Qatari Government desires to implement an
ambitious privatisation programme, but only if market conditions permit.
Reducing budget burden is the primary goal of the programme, reflecting
the state's worrying financial position.
For one, the 2002-2003 budget forecasts a deficit of
1.8 billion Qatari riyals. For another, Qatar's external debt was
estimated to amount to $13 billion at the end of 2001, representing more
than 80 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.
UAE GIVES MOROCCO $300M GRANT
The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has granted
Morocco $300 million for the funding of Al Funaideq Free Port in the
northern part of the country. The project on completion will provide job
opportunities for more than 200,000 Moroccans.
Agreement on the granting of the amount, granted in
line with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin
Sultan Al Nahyan, was signed in the presence of King Mohammed VI of
Morocco, with Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
IRAQ FACES WEAPONS DEADLINE
America is pressing the UN to issue Iraq with a
deadline for the return of weapons inspectors within weeks.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell is starting an
urgent round of talks with key UN members after President George Bush,
in a speech to the UN, warned of military action.
Iraqi officials dismissed Mr Bush's speech, in which
he accused Iraq of stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, as
ARAFAT TRIES TO FORM NEW CABINET
A "landmark" decision Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat is looking to build a new administration following the
resignation of the entire cabinet.
The team of ministers quit en masse on Wednesday
after Palestinian deputies threatened to reject the line-up in the first
such challenge to Mr Arafat.
PALESTINE'S ECONOMY 'IMPOSSIBLE TO FIX'
The renewed fighting between Israelis and
Palestinians over the past two years has pushed the Palestinian economy
into "de-development", a United Nations report has warned.
According to the UN Conference on Trade and
Development (Unctad), as much as $2.4bn (£1.5bn) has drained out of the
economy of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip thanks to closures, mass
unemployment, and the flattening of most infrastructure by Israeli tanks
$40,000 RCA AID
The UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) has offered
$40,000 in support of humanitarian programmes of the Sudanese Al Zubair
The money will be used to drill 10 wells for drinking
water in different parts of Sudan. A cheque for the amount was handed by
UAE Ambassador in Khartoum Isa Al Nuaimi to the organisation's Director
FEWA OPENS BIDS
The Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA)
has opened bids to implement three drinking water projects in the
Mohammed Khaleel Al Shamsi, Director of FEWA Public
Relations, said the cost of the three projects is Dh 5 million.
Implementation will start in October.
Six new artificial lakes are being constructed at a
cost of Dh44 million to collect rain water, as part of a project by
Dubai Municipality's Waste Water Department.
EMIRATES, FRENCH RAIL SIGN DEAL
Emirates and SNCF French Railways have signed a deal
under which travellers will have rapid air/rail links between Dubai and
six major French cities via Emirates' daily flights to Charles de Gaulle
Airport in Paris.
Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Rennes, Bordeaux and Avignon are
already on the plane-to-train map, with three more cities joining soon
— Marseilles, Montpelier and Nimes.
The International Monetary Fund said that Qatar's
economy was healthy and strong, but urged the country's government to
make it stronger and more resilient.
The IMF said that Qatar's economy grew 7.2 per cent
last year in spite of the global economic slowdown, after a stronger
11.6 per cent in 2000. Prices last year dropped 0.7 per cent, after
growing by 1.7 per cent the in 2000.
IRAN TO GET WORLD BANK MONEY
The private-sector financing arm of the World Bank is
to make its first investment in Iran since 1974.
The International Finance Corporation [IRC] plans to
take a 20% share — valued at $2m (£1.3m) — in an Iranian
leasing company. It will also lend the company a further $3m.
But the World Bank's biggest shareholder, the United
States, is expected to oppose a deal.
SAUDIS CONFIRM BAGHDAD TRADE FAIR
Saudi Arabia has confirmed that it has given the
go-ahead for a trade fair in Baghdad.
The fair, leading Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat
said, is scheduled for 1-11 November.
It will be the first time Saudi businesses have had
official sanction to set up shop in the Iraqi capital since the two
nations broke ranks ahead of the 1991 Gulf War.
SAUDI TELECOM TO BE PRIVATISED
Saudi Arabia will complete its biggest privatisation
in two decades, with the hoped-for sale of a 30% stake in Saudi Telecom
by the end of the year.