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Andy Sambidge

International Editor

UK-based journalist covering all regions and sectors in the Gulf. Andy has worked for local, regional and international media for over 35 years, including more than a decade covering the Middle East. He won the 1991 Press Gazette Campaigning Journalist of the Year

Andy Sambidge
A worker at Shams Solar Power Station in Abu Dhabi. Solar's share of renewable energy in the Middle East has soared over the last decade

Middle East renewable capacity doubles but the region is lagging

Renewable energy capacity in the Middle East has more than doubled in the past decade, with Iran and the UAE leading the way – but the region remains a bit-part player globally. New figures released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) show that regional capacity rose from just under 16 gigawatts to more than […]

People, Person, Adult

China and US vie for FDI supremacy in Gulf’s biggest economies

China and the United States invested more than $23 billion in projects in the Gulf’s two biggest economies last year. The US more than doubled its “greenfield” foreign direct investment in the UAE to nearly $4 billion, while China’s commitment to Saudi Arabia rose 10-fold to almost $17 billion. Greenfield FDI involves a foreign entity […]

'We consider it a top priority to enable the growth of the UAE,' says EDB chief Ahmed Al Naqbi

Fitch affirms AA rating for Emirates Development Bank

Fitch has affirmed the credit rating of Emirates Development Bank after the lender’s contribution to the UAE’s economy rose by 80 percent to more than AED4 billion ($1.1 billion) last year. The agency’s AA rating came with a stable outlook, indicating confidence in the bank’s long-term ability to maintain its financial stability. In its report, […]

Cenomi will reduce its number of stores from 1,000 to 367 following last year's losses

Cenomi Retail to divest more brands in turnaround plan

Franchiser Cenomi Retail has announced another round of brand divestments as it seeks to tackle rising losses. The Saudi company closed more than 200 stores last year and sold 16 brands in the first quarter of 2024. On Wednesday Cenomi Retail said its board of directors had approved the third phase of the sell-off. The […]

UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Abu Dhabi's overall economy showed 3% growth last year compared with 2022

Abu Dhabi’s non-oil growth spurred by manufacturing

Abu Dhabi’s non-oil sector expanded by more than 9 percent last year with manufacturing and construction leading the way, according to new figures. The Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi issued preliminary GDP estimates for 2023, revealing non-oil growth of 9.1 percent – slightly down from 9.2 percent in 2022 – as the emirate’s overall economy improved […]

Passengers queue to check in at Antalya airport, Turkey's second busiest

Turkey secures more funds for Antalya airport expansion

An additional $463 million financing has been secured to help upgrade and expand Turkey’s second busiest airport, Antalya.  Antalya served more than 35 million passengers in 2023 which went some way towards Turkey recording record tourism receipts. The first phase of development will include the expansion of Terminal 2 and the construction of new general […]

Rumo predicts the port expansion with DP World will cost $500 million

DP World teams up with Rumo for new Brazilian port terminal

DP World and the Brazilian railway operator Rumo are to build a new terminal at the port of Santos in São Paulo, to handle 12.5 million tonnes of grain and fertiliser a year. The project is intended to make the port Brazil’s primary gateway, and central to trade for South America. Rumo estimates the total […]

The UAE and Saudi Arabia in particular are investing heavily in life sciences and longevity

Abu Dhabi puts together global life sciences contender

A new company to help establish Abu Dhabi as a major global player in life sciences has been announced by the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund ADQ. The new concern, called Arcera, will act as an umbrella entity for ADQ’s shareholdings in the Swiss pharmaceutical company Acino, Birgi Mefar Group of Turkey and Egypt’s Amoun. Arcera […]

Strong demand for Inditex brands such as Zara increased international earnings to SAR1.1 billion

Saudi retailer Cenomi reveals major brand sale

Saudi-based franchiser Cenomi Retail has announced the sale of 16 brands in the first quarter of 2024 as part of a turnaround strategy to stem mounting losses. Cenomi transferred 226 stores in Saudi Arabia to Abdullah Al Othaim Fashion Company. This follows the retailer’s exit from some international markets and the net closure of an […]

Saudi Arabia's Red Sea International Airport will be the gateway to an area with 50 resorts

Red Sea airport prepares for first international visitors

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Airport will record its first international visitors this month when a flight from Dubai arrives on April 18. Red Sea Global, the developer behind regenerative tourism destinations The Red Sea and Amaala, said the flight, operated by Flydubai, marks the start of a new twice-weekly route.  Regular domestic flights operated […]

Bahrain titanium

Bahrain enters $27bn titanium market

A $200 million manufacturing plant is planned in Bahrain to produce titanium products as part of the kingdom’s ambitions to expand its industrial sector. Edamah, the real estate arm of the sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, has signed a 25-year lease agreement with Bahrain Titanium, a subsidiary of the Swiss company Interlink Metals & Chemicals, for […]

Angola uae

Angola project demonstrates GCC’s growing Africa interest

Dubai Investments has appointed a Chinese construction company as the main contractor on its flagship project in Angola as GCC investments in Africa rise. China Harbour Engineering Company will undertake the first phase of Dubai Investments Park Angola, covering 2,000 hectares of residential, commercial and industrial property in the West African country. The award of […]

The $5bn Oman investment fund will largely focus on major projects but will also aid SMEs and startups

Oman launches $5bn fund for major projects

Oman Investment Authority plans to deploy about $1 billion per year over the next five years as part of a new fund launched on Wednesday that will primarily focus on large-scale projects in the sultanate. The OIA officially announced the launch of the Future Fund Oman with $5.2 billion of capital, 90 percent of which will […]

Saudi Arabia rose nine places in the Kearney Global Retail Development Index, putting it 'at the forefront of retail's next wave of growth'

Cenomi Centers’ growth reflects Saudi retail potential

Saudi Arabia’s largest operator of shopping malls has reported record footfall, which drove a 49 percent jump in net profit last year. The number of visitors to Cenomi Centers malls rose by 19 percent to 124 million in 2023, smashing the previous pre-Covid record of 114 million in 2019. The company delivered SAR2.3 billion ($613 […]

RAK properties Ras al Khaimah

RAK government to raise stake in property developer to 34%

The Ras Al Khaimah government is planning to raise its stake in the emirate’s flagship real estate developer to more than a third. Shareholders in RAK Properties have approved a capital increase with the issuance of 920 million new shares, each with a nominal value of one dirham, effectively increasing the company’s capital by AED920 […]

An Al Boraq high-speed train at Tangier-Ville station. The line opened in 2018 and runs to Casablanca

Morocco issues tender for high-speed rail to Marrakech

Morocco has issued a tender for a high-speed rail link as part of its $37 billion strategy to connect more of its cities, ports and airports by train. The national rail operator ONCF is seeking companies to build a 375km line, which will stretch from Kenitra on the northwest coast to Marrakech in the south.  […]

Abu Dhabi GeorgiaJemal Inaishvili, founder of Inveco, Neal de Roche, president of Wilhelmsen Port Services and Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi of AD Ports Group

Abu Dhabi buys majority of Georgia logistics centre

Abu Dhabi Ports Group is buying a 60 percent stake in the Tbilisi Dry Port, a new logistics centre in Georgia. The project, which is scheduled to be operational by the end of this year, will be developed in phases on two parcels of land, while an additional 88,000 sq m of land is available […]

Orascom is working on a number of transport projects in Egypt, including lines 3 and 4 of the Greater Cairo Metro

Egyptian builder blames currency turmoil for revenue slump

Egyptian construction giant Orascom has reported a 19 percent decline in revenue to about $3.4 billion last year, attributing most of the drop to the devaluation of the Egyptian pound. Orascom said that without the country’s foreign exchange issues, it would have reported a 5.5 percent increase in revenue compared to 2022, after completing a […]

Bank ABC Egypt's merger with Blom will double its number of branches and ATMs in the country

Egyptian banks complete merger but M&A activity falls

Bank ABC Egypt has announced the completion of its merger with Blom Bank Egypt, which aims to treble its market share in the North African country. The integration has doubled the size of the Egyptian network of branches and ATMs of Bahrain-based Bank ABC. It follows Bank ABC’s acquisition of a 99.5 percent stake in […]

A worker threshes harvested wheat at a farm in Tunisia. The government has supplied wheat seeds to more than 16,000 small-holder farmers.

Tunisia secures $520m in loans to attack food crisis

The World Bank has approved loans worth $520 million to address Tunisia’s food security challenge, but experts are calling for the government to devise a new long-term policy. A loan of $300 million will supplement the Emergency Food Security Response Project, which aims to minimise the impact of four consecutive years of drought in Tunisia, […]

The Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy was launched by Crown Prince Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in June 2022

Abu Dhabi industrial sector attracts foreign investors

The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce has said that the number of industrial licences issued by the emirate last year increased by 51 percent.  The total now stands at 363, excluding free zones. Statistics from Abu Dhabi Chamber also revealed that 46 foreign companies secured industrial licences in the emirate, with mining support services attracting […]

Adult, Male, Man Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE's minister of state, met Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, at the Joint Economic Committee earlier this month

Green finance focus of UAE-Rwanda trade ambitions

With trade between the UAE and Rwanda topping $1 billion last year, Kigali International Financial Centre and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) are to work together on developing green and Islamic finance options. The two markets have signed an agreement to establish a framework for collaboration, with sustainable finance highlighted as a “major focus” for […]