Saudi Arabia is
currently seeking foreign investment to carry out a large number of
projects worth SR2.34 trillion ($624 billion) in vital sectors, says
Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the Kingdom's ambassador to the United
Middle East Symposium 2005 titled "Commercial Diplomacy: A Force for
Regional Prosperity" in London, Prince Turki said the new projects,
which were approved by the government this year, would be implemented
in the next 15 years.
projects are open to local, regional and international investors," the
Saudi Press Agency quoted the prince as saying about the projects
offered in petrochemicals, natural gas, electricity generation, water
desalination, railway, telecommunications and other vital sectors.
It may be
mentioned that the foreign trade development committee at the Council
of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, infrastructure projects
offer the largest investment opportunity of $140 billion. The
petrochemicals sector comes second with $92 billion projects followed
by electricity and water $88.9 billion, telecommunications $60
billion, tourism $53.3 billion, natural gas $50 billion, agriculture
$28.3 billion and information technology $10.7 billion.
highlighted the significance of the land bridge project that aims at
linking the Arabian Gulf on the Kingdom's east with Red Sea on the
west, saying the multibillion dollar project would bring about a
revolution in the country's trade and transportation.
In his keynote
address to the symposium, which was attended by ministers, ambassadors
and economists from Britain, the United States, Europe and Arab
countries, Prince Turki emphasized the strength of Saudi economy,
saying it is the largest in the Middle East in terms of revenues,
banking, capital market and oil reserves and exports.
"Saudi Arabia is
one of the 25 major economies in the world and its gross national
product (GNP) accounts for one fifth of the total Middle East GNP,"
the ambassador said. The Saudi economy makes an annual growth rate of
more than seven percent, which is the largest in the region.
Referring to the
booming Saudi stock market, Prince Turki said about two million Saudis
invest in the bourse, which is the 11the largest in the world as
shares valued at about $1.7 billion are exchanged there daily.
The government has
introduced a series of reforms and legislations to encourage local and
foreign investment. "It has also taken a number of initiatives to
ensure transparency of the economy.
also referred to the Kingdom's efforts to promote its educational
progress. "Efforts are under way to establish six new universities in
addition to the existing eight universities. More than 100 technical
and vocational training colleges have been established for both boys
and girls," he explained.
New policies of
the government would encourage Saudi women to invest their wealth in
Saudi Arabia is
the largest trading partner of Britain in the Middle East, Prince
Turki said, adding that direct British investments in the Kingdom
reached $3.5 billion. There are more than 150 Saudi-British joint
Minister Abdul Mohsen Al-Akkas said Saudi Arabia had succeeded in
competing with other countries in four areas: petroleum industry,
petrochemicals, banking and health service. The Kingdom has fulfilled
all requirements to join the World Trade Organization, he insisted.
MUSHAIRA IN DOHA
Urdu Society held its 12th monthly Mushaira (poetry session) at the
residence of Ateeq Anzar, a literary figure and patron of Urdu poetry
The session was
followed by a dinner hosted by the founder president of the society,
Jaleel Nizami. A large gathering of Urdu lovers attended the dinner
and poetry session.
The program was
presided over by businessman Azeem Abbas.
The chief guest
was Undre Ahmed ba Aqeel who was on a visit to Qatar from Hyderabad,
India. Hamid Saqqaf was the guest of honour.
started with a recitation of the Holy Qur'an by Hafiz Shahabuddin.
Jaleel Nizami presented a Na'at before the commencement of the
session. Ateeq Anzar compered the program. In his address Azeem Abbas
congratulated the forum for organising the poetry session.
Ahmed ba Aqeel
said this was the first time he had participated in the society's
mushaira at Doha and was impressed by its high standards. Hamid Saqqaf
also lauded the services of the society.
Those who recited
poems and ghazals were Naseem Kazmi (President Bazme Urdu Qatar),
Jaleel Nizami, Ateeq Anzar, Abul Hasan Qabil, Aatir Siddiqi, Dr Shams
Madani, Maqsood Khan Maqsood and Shareef Perwaz.
The India Urdu
Society is affiliated with the Indian Culture Centre under the aegis
of Indian Embassy in Qatar.
firms operating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be converted to
tourism companies by the end of this year, according to Prince Sultan
ibn Salman, Secretary-General of the Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT).
"We have reached
an agreement with the Haj Ministry to change the license of Umrah
firms to become tourist companies by the end of this year. We don't
consider Haj and Umrah as tourism products. At the same time, we
believe pilgrims could make use of our huge tourism potential when
they come for Haj and Umrah," he said.
Prince Sultan said
his organization would launch a nationwide school tourism program this
month, targeting at least 1.45 million students and 6,000 teachers.
This is part of SCT's efforts to prepare the nation for tourism. The
process of building an industry from bottom to top, in terms of
setting out regulations, training a national cadre and preparing
citizens to welcome tourists.
Asked about media
campaigns being launched by neighboring Arab countries to attract
Saudi tourists, Prince Sultan acknowledged that Saudi Arabia's tourism
industry was not yet ready to compete with other countries.
emphasized that the Kingdom's tourism strategy, which was prepared
with the support of 7,000 public and private institutions and
consultancy offices proved Saudi Arabia could gradually become one of
the preferred tourist destinations in the world.
"We are presently
focusing on Saudi tourists, who go to foreign tourist centers like
other people. We are targeting to achieve a five percent growth rate
annually in order to realize our strategy," he pointed out.
He said the SCT
was thinking of promoting Umrah to encourage pilgrims coming for the
lesser pilgrimage to visit the country's tourist resorts. "We would
like to promote business, conference and medical tourism shortly in
connection with Umrah," he explained.
FISH PRICES STAY HIGH
FISH prices at the
Doha Central Market continued to stay high, belying expectations of
the market players. The wholesale traders attributed the high prices
to reasons ranging from a low catch to unfavorable weather conditions.
of the view that the resumption of fish exports by road to Saudi
Arabia and low availability of some varieties of fish were the main
factors for prices remaining considerably higher.
Most fishermen who
had ventured into the 'high catch' zones , returning the same evening
due to rough sea, said fishermen.
wholesalers had expected prices of Hamour and Safi popular varieties
of fish to come down considerably soon, yet there was virtually no
decline in prices. Chenat, another variety which was available in the
market after an eight-day gap, was traded in the QR20-25 range.
favourite Hamour too was costlier at prices ranging between QR20 and
QR22/kilo. Safi was being sold at QR25 and above per kilo.
quantity of Safi was avaialable in the market ," said a wholesaler .
varieties of fish like Kafour, Sardines and Rubian were also
available, prices were marginally higher compared with their usual
Only the smaller
type of shrimps (Iran) was being traded commonly in the market.
Retail price of
sardines was in the QR7-8/kilo range.
has joined hands with Qatar Nitrogen Company and Air Liquide Middle
East (AL) to form a joint venture - Qatar Industrial Gases Company -
that would set up oxygen and nitrogen production and distribution
facilities at Mesaieed and Ras Laffan.
QP and Qatar
Nitrogen Company will have a 60% stake in the new joint venture while
the remainder will be held by France's Air Liquide.
At the concluding
of the joint venture agreement at the Ritz Carlton, the Second Deputy
Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry, HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah
said the production facility would be ready by 2007.
This, he said,
would help Qatar save millions of riyals as industrial gases including
oxygen and nitrogen were being imported now.
and nitrogen are being used in large quantities by Qatar Steel
Company, Qatar Petrochemical Company, RasGas and Qatargas.
The proposed GTL
plants at Ras Laffan would also require huge quantities of oxygen and
nitrogen. Hence the local production was fully justified, the Second
Deputy Premier said.
Qatar Industrial Gases Company would set up the oxygen and nitrogen
production and distribution facilities at Mesaieed and Ras Laffan
simultaneously. The funds required for the project will be met by the
joint venture. Air Liquide had been drafted as the JV partner after a
Air Liquide is
world's leading producer of industrial gases. Its experience and
technical expertise will do the JV a world of good. Al-Attiyah said
the joint venture had been set up under instructions from HH the Emir
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani who wanted Qatar's rapid industrial
and economic development for the benefit of its citizens.
executive vice-president Pierre Dufour said the production of
industrial gases was a "clean business" as its feedstock was nothing
As in the case of
steel, air is used during combustion. Hence it is a clean and
require huge quantities of industrial gases, especially oxygen and
nitrogen, as several worldscale GTL projects were being developed at
Ras Laffan. GTL plants rely heavily on oxygen and nitrogen.
Company chairman Eid bin Mubarak al-Mohannadi, senior advisor to the
Second Deputy Premier, Abdulla Salatt and French Ambassador Alain
Azasou were also present.
A symphony of
sights and sounds representing cultures from across the world is in
store for the people of Qatar this summer with an International
Village opening in a few days at the Exhibition Centre.
'Around the World
in 30 Days' is the theme for this year's Qatar Summer Wonders, being
organized by Qatar Tourism Authority and formally opened on July 10.
"The QTA proudly
announced that this key venue for the festival will bring to audiences
some of the world's best shows from all corners of the globe". The
event is to be staged on 8,000 sqm of floor space at the Exhibition
Centre. Acts from Asia, North America, Europe and Africa will perform
under one roof at the Exhibition Centre, QTA acting director general
Gary Mason said .
"We are very proud
to bring together such an eclectic mix of performers from around the
world," he said. Some of the upcoming performances include a show for
children from Universal Studios which will present Pinocchio, The
Jungle Book, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, and Beauty and the Beast.
Other acts include
South African folk dances, a martial arts display by Shaolin monks, a
clown act, and a Wild West cowboy show.
South African folk
dance star Vusi Musi Matola heads the cast of the country's leading
dancers that will have audiences swaying to rhythms from the heart of
Africa, officials said.
The Shaolin Show
features some of the world's best martial arts experts. Their secrets,
handed down from generation to generation, enable these Wushu warriors
to move with lightning speed and perform incredible feats of strength,
The Crazy Clown
Show promises to be a crowd-pleaser with Join Alexi and his zany
friends engaged in hilarious antics.
The Double J
Medicine Man Western Show will bring alive the spirit of the Wild West
with Jeff Jay as a whip-cracking, knife-throwing, rope-spinning
Each of the
productions will be staged twice every evening, beginning at 5pm,
until August 10. Tickets cost QR20 for adults and QR10 for children.
QATAR ACQUIRES 34.9% OF NBO
In the first
cross-border alliance between two GCC banks, the Commercial Bank of
Qatar has bought a 34.9 per cent stake in the National Bank of Oman.
signed the agreement for the acquisition, as well as a deal on raising
shareholders' equity in NBO by 44.5 million Omani riyals (Dh422.75
million) from 105.5 million riyals (Dh1.02 billion).
NBO issued 10
million new shares to Commercial Bank, which will also purchase 17.92
million shares from existing NBO shareholders in the secondary market.
NBO has agreed to
a Management Services Agreement with Commercial Bank, which has been
approved by both boards and also by the Central Bank of Oman and Qatar
Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Attiyah, chairman of Commercial Bank, it is
necessary for regional banks to join forces to leverage local
knowledge and competencies in the current climate of globalization and
consolidation within the banking sector
Salim Bahwan, chairman of NBO, says that the alliance provides a means
for both banks to support the strengthening of economic development
and bilateral economic exchange, which symbolize the trust-based
relationship between the two countries.
NBO is the first
local bank in Oman which was set up in 1973. Today its paid up capital
of 70 million riyals (Dh669 million) Commercial Bank was established
in 1975 as the first private sector bank in Qatar. Its value of assets
is 14.07 billion Qatari riyals (Dh14.01 billion).