The Euro-Gulf Monitor

5 - 18 August 2022

by Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. US President, Joe Biden, concluded his first tour of the Middle East.

  2. Kuwait appointed its fourth Prime Minister since 2020.

  3. The Presidents of the UAE and France met in Paris to discuss expanding energy cooperation.

  4. Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding Co invested €229 million in a major European fund manager.

  5. The EU called on the warring parties in Yemen to agree on a truce extension.

  1. The European Space Agency (ESA) and Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency (NSSA) discussed joint cooperation.

  2. Qatar mediated the Chad’s peace accord, signed in Doha.

  3. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain discussed cooperation in the field of job localization.

  4. The UAE signed an agreement to establish the country’s first Industry 4.0 Enablement Centre.

  5. The Saudi and the US marine corps undertook the Native Fury 22 drill manoeuvres in Saudi Arabia.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Sunday, 7 August‒The Chief of Human Rights Affairs, Arwa Hasan Al-Sayed, chaired a series of meetings with various civil society institutions in preparation for the Human Rights Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report. The meetings aimed to discuss the national human rights plan and projects related to improve the work of civil society institutions and their contributions to strengthening human rights in the country.

 

Wednesday, 10 August‒Bahrain’s Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Fawzia bint Abdulla Zainal, received the Minister for Social Development, Osama bin Ahmed Al-Asfoor, to review national programmes aimed at enhancing social protection. In particular, they discussed ways to boost economic empowerment for individuals and families with limited income and to implement professional integration services for people with disabilities.

 

Monday, 15 August‒Bahrain’s Minister of Labor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), Jameel bin Mohammad Ali Humaidan, and Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi, discussed ways to enhance technical cooperation in the areas of job localization programmes[1]  and labor market regulation. The meeting also aimed to explore plans to integrate job seekers and develop human resources.

 

Wednesday, 17 August‒Bahrain’s Oil and Environment Minister and Special Envoy for Climate Affairs, Mohammed bin Mubarak bin Daina, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the CEO of Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba), the world's largest aluminium smelter, on cooperation in the conservation of mangroves. The MoU is in line with Bahrain’s National Climate Action Plan to increase green areas, as well as with the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Roadmap launched by Alba in April.

 

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 10 August‒Kuwait allowed expats with student or dependency visas to stay abroad for more than six months to help expats deal with the obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Expatriates will be allowed to renew their residency permits while outside Kuwait.

Sunday, 14 August‒Kuwait appointed Bader Abdullah Al-Munaikh as ambassador to Iran more than six years since recalling its top envoy in solidarity with Saudi Arabia after the later severed ties with the Iran in 2016.

Wednesday, 17 August‒Kuwait’s Cabinet announced two law-decrees of necessity concerning the parliamentary elections. The meeting approved an amendment to law 35/1962, enabling voters to use their ID cards to cast their ballots, and an amendment to law 42/2006, adding new areas to the first, fourth and fifth constituencies. Moreover, the Cabinet expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia in its efforts to maintain security and peace in the region.

Sultanate of Oman

Tuesday, 9 August‒The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for Administrative, Financial and Planning Affairs, Fatma Mohammed Al-Ajmi, and the Director General of Corporate Development Affairs at Oman Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) company’s Development Foundation, Al-Ahnaf Ahmed Al-Zubaidi, signed two agreements. The first agrees on the financing of the purchase of an ultrasound system for the X-ray Department of Sinaw Hospital; the second concerns the funding of a training programme to the hospital staff on infection control and sterilization.

Wednesday, 10 August‒Oman’s integrated logistics Group Asyad inked a Decarbonisation Strategic Partnership with a local environmental start-up, named 44.01, in an effort to reduce emissions by 7% by 2030 under the terms of the Paris Agreement. The two parties will cooperate to promote clean energy while monitoring all greenhouse gas emissions and reducing waste and pollution through environmental management systems.

 

Wednesday, 17 August‒The Omani Ministry of Economy, in cooperation with the Oman Vision 2040 Follow-up Unit, launched the national programme "Tanwea'a" for economic diversification. The programme includes a number of proposed policies and procedures to strengthen the front and back links between economic sectors with the aim of expanding the production and export base and enabling economic sectors to contribute to non-oil revenues.

State of Qatar

Monday, 8 August‒The Doha Peace Agreement between Chad’s military government and more than 40 opposition groups was signed in Qatar’s capital, where the parties agreed to launch national peace talks later this month. The signing was chaired by Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and came after five months of Qatar’s mediation.

 

Tuesday, 9 August‒Qatar and Saudi Arabia expanded border crossing to increase passenger traffic and trade exchange in view of Fifa World Cup in Qatar due to kick off in November.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Friday, 5 August‒The Saudi Ministry of Investment and the French rail company Alstom signed a preliminary agreement to explore investment opportunities that will support the sustainable transport sector. The deal is in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic programme, and includes the establishment of Alstom's regional headquarters in the country.

 

Tuesday, 9 August‒Saudi marines took part in the Native Fury 22 drill manoeuvres with the US marine corps, in the Yanbu and Al-Kharj governorates. The exercises aim to strengthen the Saudi-US military partnership and improve their capability to conduct joint operations.   

United Arab Emirates

Friday, 5 August‒The Director of Technology Development and Adoption at the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, Mohammed Al-Qassim, and the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Portfolio Management of the defence technology company Edge Group, Reda Nidhakou, signed an agreement to establish the Emirates' first Industry 4.0 Enablement Centre. The deal, which is part of the UAE’s economic diversification strategy, aims to facilitate the adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution technology in the manufacturing sector, implementing the use of automation and data-driven business expansion.

Monday, 8 August‒The Dubai Chamber of Commerce established the Dubai Digital Assets Business Group (D2A2) to boost the UAE’s digital economy. The new body aims to improve the role of the digital asset industry in the national economic development, and strengthen digital business infrastructure.

Tuesday, 9 August‒The Foreign Ministry and its federal export agency, Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), signed an agreement to boost international trade and investment. The Ministry will offer office space in various diplomatic missions for the ECI's seconded employees, while the ECI will provide trade financing to businesses, delivering expert advice on economic and political risks and facilitating training on investment.

Wednesday, 10 August‒The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) signed an agreement to develop the circular economy and promote the adoption of clean energy certificates across the industrial sector to strengthen the country’s competitiveness in the energy sector.

 

Tuesday, 16 August‒The Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office and member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, and the Chairman of the Department of Economic Development, Ali Al-Hammadi, reviewed the UAE’s drive to deliver all of its government services online. They toured the Tamm factory, which acts as an online portal in which all the capital's services can be accessed, including paying utilities, applying for driving licences, and receive assistance starting a business.
 

The EU Corner 

 

Tuesday, 9 August‒The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency (NSSA) discussed joint cooperation in a meeting chaired by NSSA Chief Executive Officer, Mohammed Al-Aseeri. The discussion focused on the “Galileo” navigation system project, the “Copernicus” project for Earth observation, and the “Ignos” data correction system project, with the two sides expressing willingness to exchange expertise and knowledge in the space sector.