The Euro-Gulf Monitor

29 April - 5 May 2022

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. The UAE will send the first Arab astronaut on a six-month space mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

  2. Kuwait eyes developing projects worth €700 million (EUR) in Pakistan.

  3. Pakistan’s Premier, Shehbaz Sharif, travelled to the UAE.

  4. China and Oman discussed defence and military cooperation.

  5. Saudi Arabia and Germany signed a €528 million (EUR) deal to jointly develop data centres in the Kingdom.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Sunday, 30 April–Bahrain’s Central Bank issued a new set of rules for crowdfunding activities and operators in the Kingdom in an effort to simplify the sector’s regulation and enhance the country’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startup sectors. The new system will regulate principles of conducting crowdfunding operations, conflicts of interests as well as product suitability aspects. 

State of Kuwait

Monday, 2 May–Kuwait’s state-owned shareholding company, Enertech Holding, announced it will develop several projects in Pakistan as part of a plan worth over €700 million (EUR). The firm, which is a part of Kuwait’s Investment Authority, jointly applied for a digital bank license with the Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company, while also proposing two smart cities projects and one hydrogen plant.

Sultanate of Oman

Wednesday, 4 May–The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) announced that it plans to develop new solar and wind projects in the Sultanate, aiming to increase the country’s renewable energy output by 2.6 Gigawatt (GW). The plan seeks to develop five solar and six wind plants, and is part of the company’s 7-Year Statement for 2021-2027, which aims to boost energy infrastructure and efficiency in Oman.

State of Qatar

Friday, 29 April–The state-owned energy giant, QatarEnergy, signed a production sharing contract for the Brazilian offshore oil and gas field Sepia with Brazil’s energy company, Petrobras. QatarEnergy will hold a 21% stake in the field along with its consortium partners Total Energies (28%) and Petronas (21%). The consortium acquired the stakes from Petrobras for €2.7 billion (EUR).

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 3 May–The German cybersecurity company, Legacy Technologies, and the Saudi Excellence Holding signed a €528 million (EUR) deal to establish the first technology manufacturing joint venture in Saudi Arabia. The firm will employ Saudi workforce and focus on the production of large data centres in the country to help enhance the Kingdom’s digital sector.

United Arab Emirates

Friday, 29 April–The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Mubadala Investment Company acquired a 25% stake in the Austrian petrochemical firm, Borealis, one of Europe’s major companies. The move is part of the UAE’s efforts to increase investments in the petrochemical sector. Three days earlier, the UAE also launched a €1.8 billion (EUR) petrochemical joint venture with India. 

 

Friday, 29 April–The UAE announced a new space mission which will send an Emirati astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) for six months. It will be the first Arab astronaut’s long-term mission to the ISS. The announcement was made during the signing of an agreement between the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and Axiom Space Inc, a spaceflight and infrastructure company, for strategic cooperation in human spaceflight.

The EU Corner

Friday, 29 April—The Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Kuwait, Cristian Tudor, met with the Foreign Minister of Kuwait, Ahmed Nasser Mohammed Al-Sabah, to discuss the implementation of the EU Commission’s proposal to lift visa requirements for Kuwaiti citizens. During the meeting, both officials welcomed the development as a way to improve socio-economic ties between Europe and the Arab Gulf and discussed the next steps.

Key Official Visits

Thursday, 28 April–China’s Defence Minister, Wei Fenghe, travelled to Muscat, where he was received by Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Hamad Al-Busaidi, and Deputy Prime Minister for Defence Affairs, Shihab bin Tarik Al-Said. They discussed Omani-Chinese strategic cooperation on defence, economy, and energy, as well as opportunities to increase collaboration in military technology, joint military drills, logistic support and personnel training. The talks also covered developments in Ukraine.

 

Thursday, 28 April–The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, arrived in Saudi Arabia for talks with King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud. The Turkish President defined the visit as the potential start of a new era in Saudi-Turkish diplomatic and economic relations. The leaders discussed bilateral relations and prospects for cooperation on energy, food, defence, finance and health.

 

Friday, 29 April–The Head of Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council, Rashad Al-Alimi, travelled to the UAE, where he met with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. They discussed Emirati-Yemeni cooperation in economy, security and defence, as well prospects for reconstruction in Yemen and a diplomatic settlement of the conflict.

 

Saturday, 29 April—Bahrain and Hungary discussed ways to boost cooperation in the field of youth during a virtual meeting between Bahrain’s Minister of Youth and Sport Affairs, Ayman bin Tawfiq Al-Moayed, and Deputy Minister of State for Youth Affairs in the Hungary’s Prime Minister’s Office, Sofia Ratz.

 

Friday, 29 April–Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister, Rashid Meredov, met with the Emirati Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi. They discussed Emirati-Turkmen cooperation in the fields of investments, politics, economy and trade, as well as ways to enhance bilateral ties. 

 

Saturday, 30 April–Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, and Acting Minister of Information and Culture, Khairullah Khairkhwa, were received by Qatar’s Minister of Social Development and Family, Maryam bint Ali bin Nasser Al-Misnad, in Doha. They discussed humanitarian support for Afghanistan and cooperation to develop welfare systems.

 

Saturday, 30 April–Pakistan’s Premier, Shehbaz Sharif, travelled to the UAE, meeting with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. The talks covered Pakistani-Emirati relations, the contribution of Pakistani nationals to the UAE’s economy, the global Islamic community and developments in the region.