GULF IN REVIEW

05 - 10 May 2019

by

Nikola Zukalová

Kingdom of Bahrain
 

Thursday, 9 May—Bahrain’s Ministry of Finance and National Economy announced it received the first instalments of the $10 billion financial aid package from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Kingdom received $2.3 billion in 2018 and is expecting another $2.28 billion in 2019. The announcement came as the Kingdom prepares for a potential international bond sale later this year.

Friday, 10 May—Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa arrived in the United Kingdom at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II. The two monarchs met at the Royal Windsor Horse Show and hailed their historic relations and the growing cooperation between the two countries.

Wednesday, 8 May—Bahrain’s Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, met with the Ambassador of the United States to the Kingdom, Justin Siberell, and the US Naval Forces Central Command/US Fifth Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral James Malloy. Crown Prince Salman reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to cooperate with its allies in maintaining regional security and combatting terrorism and extremism.

 

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 8 May—Kuwait’s Finance Minister, Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf, attended the Paris Forum, organised by the Paris Club, which brought together over 30 Finance Ministers and Governors of Central banks to discuss sustainable development. On the side lines, Dr Al-Hajraf met with Christine Lagarde, Director General of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and David Malpass, President of the World Bank, to discuss a number of issues of mutual concern, including the IMF’s activities addressing the economic conditions worldwide and how to develop Kuwait’s programme at the Bank.

Friday, 10 May—Kuwait’s Emir, Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, received Bahrain’s Prime Minister, Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa. During the talks, Prince Khalifa hailed Kuwait’s support for development efforts in Bahrain.

Sultanate of Oman
 

Thursday, 9 May—The Oman National Investments Development Company (Tanmia) will acquire 30% share in the Al-Rimal Mining LLC, the Oman-based limestone mining company, from the Tata Steel and other shareholders.

Thursday, 9 May—Japanese refiners secured alternative crude oil supplies from the Gulf countries amid the end of the United States’ waivers on Iranian oil. Notably the Osaka-based Fuji Oil Co Ltd bought 1.5 million barrels of crude oil from Oman.

State of Qatar

Monday, 6 May—Qatar’s Foreign Ministry pledged $480 million to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, of which $300 million are supposed to be allocated to health and education sectors in the West Bank and the rest to the urgent rescue and humanitarian support and supporting the UN programmes in Palestine.

Wednesday, 8 May—Qatar opened the first metro line in Doha in a bid to reinforce the infrastructure ahead of the 2022 FIFA football World Cup. The Red Line currently operates 13 of planned 18 stations, linking Al-Wakra to Al-Qassar. The metro network will consist of three lines, covering over 70 km, and should be finished by 2020.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

 

Wednesday, 8 May—Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council approved the Privileged Iqama (Residency) system for investors and skilful expatriates, under which they will no longer require a Saudi sponsor or employer, in a bid to attract overseas entrepreneurs. The new residency system will offer a number of benefits, notably the ability to recruit workers, employment in the private, commerce and industry sectors, freedom of movement, exit from and return back to Saudi Arabia, as well as ownership of property and transport. There are two types of iqama under the new scheme—an extended and temporary. Eligible expats must prove themselves with a valid passport, a credit record, a health report and evidence of no criminal record.

Wednesday, 8 May—The Head of the European Union’s Mission to Saudi Arabia, Michele Cervone D’Urso, met with the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Space Commission, Prince Sultan bin Salman. During the meeting they discussed cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the EU, with a focus on space science, communications and space programmes.

Thursday, 9 May—The Saudi-British Business Council announced that it will launch joint ventures in various sectors, notably renewable energy and entertainment, later in 2019.

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, 8 May—During a meeting with Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Matteo Salvini, in Rome, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, delivered him a message from Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on consolidating bilateral relations. During the meeting they focused on advancing bilateral relations and recent regional developments. Both sides highlighted their privileged relations that have been growing in wide range of fields.

Wednesday, 8 May—The UAE and Portugal held the 3rd Joint Committee Meeting in Abu Dhabi, co-chaired by Fernanda Ferreira Dias, Director General at Directorate General for Economic Activities at Portugal’s Ministry of the Economy, and Mousa Abdul Wahid Al-Khaja, the UAE Ambassador to Portugal. As a result, they signed two Memoranda of Understanding: on food security; and quality assurance. Given the Portuguese low share of trade with Arab countries, the UAE might act as an entry point for Portugal to the regional markets. There are opportunities for boosting bilateral cooperation particularly in food security, agriculture, renewable energy, tourism, and industry, among others, and increasing investments.

Tuesday, 7 May—Dr Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al-Jaber, the UAE Minister of State and CEO of the state-owned oil major, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and Darren W. Wood, Chairman and CEO of the United States’ multinational oil and gas company, Exxon Mobil Corporation, discussed possible opportunities for cooperation in upstream and downstream sectors as well as regional and business-tied developments during the joint inspection of the progress at the $30 billion expansion in Upper Zakum.

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