The Euro-Gulf Monitor

15 - 21 April 2022

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Saudi Arabia launched a national plan to reduce over €9.7 billion (EUR) worth of food waste.

  2. The UAE approved a major reform of its visa system.

  3. The EU and Kuwait discussed cooperation in energy and environment.

  4. Qatar and Saudi Arabia established the Joint Business Council to boost trade ties.

  5. Bahrain resumed payments to its Future Generations Reserve Fund.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Friday, 15 April–The Bahrain-based international investment manager, Investcorp, announced it is holding talks with the US investment management firm, Elliott Management, to acquire Italy’s football club, AC Milan, for €1 billion (EUR). The bid is part of Investcorp’s aim to increase its managed assets from its current €37 billion (EUR) up to €90 billion (EUR).

 

Wednesday, 20 April–Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa ratified a new law on the Future Generations Reserve Fund (FGF), provisioning the resumption of payments into the fund through the Kingdom’s oil revenues. Manama will contribute to the FGF with €1.8 (EUR) for each crude oil barrel sold at over €73 (EUR). The fund was established in 2006 to enhance the Kingdom’s hydrocarbon wealth but payments were halted in 2020 due to the pandemic’s global economic impact.

State of Kuwait

Monday, 18 April–Kuwait’s major engineering, procurement and construction company, Heavy Engineering Industries & Shipbuilding Co (HEISCO), was granted a €23 million (EUR) contract for marine constructions work by the US Army. HEISCO also announced that its consortium with Japanese energy firm, Mitsubishi Power, will work on modernisation of the 2.4 Gigawatt Sabiya power plant, Kuwait’s biggest power station.

Sultanate of Oman

Wednesday, 20 April–The US clean energy company, H2-Industries, was granted a €1.2 billion (EUR) worth contract for the construction of a waste-to-hydrogen facility in the Sultanate by Oman’s Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (Madayn). The plant will convert up to one million tonnes of solid waste per year and its construction is part of Muscat’s aim to enhance its renewable energy sector.

State of Qatar

Tuesday, 19 April–Qatar and Saudi Arabia formed the Joint Business Council for the 2022-2026 period. The new Council will promote investment and trade, offer incentives and tackle challenges for developing Saudi-Qatari business ties. The establishment of the Council comes as part of the two countries’ rapprochement following the intra-GCC crisis (2017-2021).

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Sunday, 17 April–Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture launched a national plan aimed at reducing over €9.7 billion (EUR) worth of food waste in the Kingdom. The programme will offer financial and logistical support to communities to reduce food waste and contribute to enhancing food security and sustainability in line with its Vision 2030 strategy. 

United Arab Emirates

Monday, 18 April–The UAE’s Cabinet approved a major overhaul of its visa system. The reform expanded categories included in the Golden Visa system, the country’ special permanent residence permit for selected professionals, while also extending the permanency time for visitors from thirty to sixty days. The new system also provides ten types of entry visas, including permits for job exploration without sponsorship and green visas for foreign investors.

 

Monday, 18 April–The UAE launched a new methodology for government action, aimed at enhancing the country’s economic and bureaucratic efficiency. The new approach will focus on short-term projects and expand the power of federal ministries in line with the objectives set by the ‘Principles of the 50’ programme, a national roadmap for the country’s future economy and society. 

The EU Corner

Tuesday, 19 April‒The Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, held two separate meetings with the Saudi Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Waleed Abdulkarim El Khereiji, and with the Assistant Minister of State for African Countries Affairs, Ambassador Sami bin Abdullah Al-Saleh. The meetings aimed to discuss EU-Saudi Arabia relations and explore ways to address common challenges within the regional and international context.

 

Wednesday, 20 April‒The Head of the EU Delegation to Kuwait, Cristian Tudor, and the Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil, Muhammad Al-Faris, discussed EU-Kuwait cooperation in the field of energy, reviewing common sustainable development goals and ways to enhance environmental protection.

Key Official Visits

Friday, 15 April–Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, visited Manama, meeting with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa. The two leaders reviewed Emirati-Bahraini relations and cooperation in energy, technology, science, environment and education. They also discussed regional security and Gulf unity.

 

Saturday, 16 April–Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, held a phone call with Russian President, Vladimir Putin. They discussed energy cooperation within the OPEC+ framework as well as developments in Ukraine. The Saudi Crown Prince highlighted the Kingdom’s support for a political solution to the conflict and achieving regional and global stability.

 

Saturday, 16 April–Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, toured Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In Riyadh, the Bahraini Minister met with his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, and in Kuwait he met with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister, Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah. The talks focused on Gulf unity and opportunities for further integration, as well as ways to expand bilateral cooperation with Manama.

 

Monday, 18 April–The Emirati Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shakhbout bin Nahyan Al-Nahyan, travelled to Jeddah, meeting with Saudi Minister of State, Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd Al-Saud. The talks covered Saudi-Emirati cooperation in infrastructure, transports, logistics and tourism.

 

Monday, 18 April–During the Moroccan-Saudi Business Forum hosted in Jeddah, Morocco and Saudi Arabia agreed to establish a direct maritime line between the two countries in a bid to boost bilateral commercial ties. The Forum was co-chaired by Saudi Arabia’s Trade Minister, Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, and his Moroccan counterpart, Ryad Mezzour.