E-Newsletter 4/2012, 04 July 2012
 

  

 
AACC News & Reports


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 Press release of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce:

Elections of the General Assembly on 11 June 2012

25 June 2012

 
Within the scope of the 21st General Assembly of the Austro-Arab Chaber of Commerce on the 11th June 2012 elections were held concerning the members of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors at the premises of the Austrian Society of Engineers and Architects. The current President of the AACC Senator Dr. Richard SCHENZ (who has been in office since 2010), the current Vice Presidents KommR. Nabil R. KUZBARI and Mr. Henry HAFEZ and the AACC’s Secretary General Dipl.-Ing. Mouddar KHOUJA all were unanimously re-elected for another four-year term.
Also in consensus were the elections for Prof. Reinhart GAUSTERER (OeSD Group) as new Vice President and Mr. Wolfgang KABUREK (auditor; Grant Thornton) as Treasurer of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce , both new members of the Executive Committee.

Within the Board of Directors of the AACC new mandates also have been given unanimously to: new members are Dipl.-Ing. Omar AL-RAWI (Strabag AG), Dr. Eveline STEINBERGER-KERN (Siemens AG Austria), Ing. Thomas HINTERLEITNER (Vamed Engineering), Wolfgang HIRZI (Porr Construction Holding), Prof. Paul AIGINGER (Rudolfinerhaus Privatklinik) on the Austrian Board of Directors, as well as H.E. Jaafar Rasoul AL-HAMADANI (Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce), Mr. Abdulsalam AL-MORSHIDI (Oman Chamber of Commerce), H.E. Abdullah Sultan AL OWAIS (Sharjah Chamber of Commerce), H.E. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Jassem AL THANI (Qatar Chamber of Commerce & Industry), H.E. Mr. Driss HOUAT (Federation of Moroccan Chambers of Commerce, Industry & Services) and Mr. Ahmad AL-CHIHABI (Aleppo Pharmaceuticals) on the Arab Board of Directors.

The General Assembly took place in the presence of Their Excellencies the Ambassadors respectively representatives of the Arab embassies in Austria and numerous members of the AACC. The unanimity during the elections has impressively acknowledged the AACC’s management and its performance in recent years. 

 
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Vice-President KommR. KUZBARI meets the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in Austria, H.E. Dr. Surood NAJIB
 

Vienna, 25 May 2012



On 25 May 2012, KommR. Nabil KUZBARI, the Vice President of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce had the great honour and pleasure to welcome H.E. Dr. Surood R. NAJIB, the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in Austria, at the premises of his company VIMPEX. Dipl. Ing. Mouddar KHOUJA, the AACC’s Secretary General was also present.

In the course of this meeting they talked about the good feedback concerning the high-ranking visits of H.E. Dr. Abdulkerim Yaseen AL-SAMMERAI, Minister of Science and Technology of the Republic of Iraq (in May), and H.E. Dr. Salah Abdul RAZAQ, the Governor of Baghdad (in February). The AACC’s Vice President and the Iraqi Ambassador emphasised the importance and significance of further cooperation between Austria and Iraq in order to strengthen the economic and trade relations between the two countries.
 
 Visit of H.E. Dr. Gerhard WEINBERGER , designated Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to the Republic of Tunisia, to AACC

22 May 2012




On 22 May 2012, the designated Ambassador of the Republic of Austria in the Republic of Tunisia, H.E. Dr. Gerhard WEINBERGER, paid a visit to the Secretary General of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce Dipl. Ing. Mouddar KHOUJA at the AACC headquarters.

On his own initiative, H.E. Dr. WEINBERGER asked for the meeting to exchange information about the possibilities for cooperation between Austria and Tunisia, above all in the fields of renewable energy as for example waste-to-energy, wind and solar power. They agreed on a close cooperation between the AACC and the new Austrian Ambassador in Tunisia in order to be able to jointly support and promote the projects between the two countries. 
 

 Cooperation between Saudi E-Government Programme “Yesser” and AACC:
Visit of Mr. Ali AL SOMA, Advisor to the Saudi Minister of Communications and IT in Vienna

9-11 May 2012


At the Austrian Federal Chancellery

From the 9th to the 11th May 2012, Mr. Ali AL SOMA, Advisor to the Minister of Communications and IT in Saudi Arabia and Director General of the Saudi E-Government Programme “YESSER”, and his esteemed delegation came to Vienna, Austria. The delegation consisted of Mr. Mustafa KHAN, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Research & Development, and Mr. Abdulkareem AL ZUMAI, Director of Media, PR & Awareness. The Saudi Arabian delegation came to Vienna primarily in order to talk about the Austrian technology in the field of e-government, which ranks among the best practices in the whole Europe.

On Thursday, the 10th May 2012, the Saudi Arabian delegation visited the Austrian Federal Chancellery where they were welcomed by Dr. Manfred MATZKA, Director General of Division I (Protocol) at the Federal Chancellery. Mr. Christian RUPP, the spokesperson of the Federal Platform “Digital Austria”, gave a fascinating presentation about Digital Austria and pointed out to the fact that it ranks among the best practices in Europe. In his presentation he informed the delegation members about the organisation, implementation, cooperation and coordination within the scope of Austria’s e-government. Moreover he explained the e-government’s structure and its cooperation with the Austrian Federal Chancellery, other Ministries, the Provinces, Municipalities and Regions and also with the Chambers of Austria. Mr. RUPP also illustrated the reference model of the unified access for administration and multiple e-ID-citizen-cards as one of the most advanced systems in the whole world. One of the model’s overall goals is creating “one-stop-shop” portals.

Another one is the creation of the ELAK-back office in order to archive records digitally. The third important goal is to enable electronically delivered services concerning official documents. For this reason Digital Austria created an application store in order to go along with new social media as for example Facebook, Twitter & co.

In the evening the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce had the great honour to invite the Saudi Arabian delegation to a dinner in the Hotel Imperial where Dipl. Ing. Peter REICHSTÄDTER, Employee of Division I/11 at the Federal Chancellery, and Mr. Albert KRONBERGER, Managing Director of the Austrian company a-consult GmbH and member of the AACC, were present.


Dinner at Hotel Imperial Vienna

On Friday, the 11th May 2012 the delegation went to the opening of the event “IKT Konvent Österreich” where H.E. Mr. Werner FAYMANN, Austria’s Federal Chancellor, and H.E. Dr. Michael SPINDELEGGER, Austria’s Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister, were amongst the high-ranking guests.

At the same day, the Saudi Arabian guests visited the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce at its headquarters. In the course of this meeting the AACC suggested a cooperation with the Saudi e-government Programme “YESSER”. This cooperation was aimed at being supported by the Saudi Arabian government in developing the e-government programme. 
 
Meeting at the AACC

Official visit of H.E. Dr. Abdulkerim Yaseen AL-SAMMERAI,
Minister of Science and Technology of the Republic of Iraq, in Vienna

30 April – 4 May 2012



Meeting at the Austrian Federal Chancellery


From the 30th April to the 4th May 2012, H.E. Dr. Abdulkerim Yaseen AL-SAMMERAI, the Minister of Science and Technology in the Republic of Iraq, and his esteemed delegation came to Vienna, Austria, on an official visit. The delegation consisted of Mr. Emad R. FAHMY, Director General of the Department for Research and Technical Development, Mr. Ali HASAN TARESH, Director General and Member of the National Council for Public Governance Government and Representative of the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Majeed Sadoon JASIM, Director General and Member of the National Council for Public Governance, Mr. Hasan Abdulkareem SHAKIR, Director of the Data Processing Centre, Mr. Yahya Ghazi ABED, Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Science and Technology, and further members.

H.E. AL-SAMMERAI and his delegation arrived at the airport Vienna-Schwechat on Monday, the 30th April 2012 at 13:40, where they were warmly welcomed by Dipl. Ing. Mouddar KHOUJA, the Secretary General of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC). In the very same afternoon the Minister of Science and Technology and his team met with the AACC at its headquarters where they received a presentation of the planned programme.

 

Briefing at the AACC Headquarters

On Wednesday, the 2nd May 2012, H.E. AL-SAMMERAI and the Iraqi delegation first had a meeting at the Austrian Parliament, where they were welcomed by Mr. Herbert SCHEIBNER, Former Minister of Defence and Member of the Austrian Parliament, who mentioned the historical cooperation between the Republic of Austria and the Republic of Iraq in different fields on parliamentary level. 

 

Meeting at the Austrian Parliament

Afterwards the AACC led the delegation to the Austrian Federal Chancellery where they were welcomed by Dr. Manfred MATZKA, Director General of Division I (Protocol) at the Federal Chancellery, and Mr. Christian RUPP, the spokesperson of the Federal Platform Digital Austria. Mr. RUPP gave a fascinating presentation about the Digital Austria Platform and pointed out to the fact that it ranks among the best practices in Europe. In his presentation he told the present guests about the organisation, implementation, cooperation and coordination within the scope of Austria’s e-government. Moreover he explained the e-government’s structure and its cooperation with the Austrian Federal Chancellery, other Ministries, the Provinces, Municipalities and Regions and also with the Chambers of Austria. Mr. RUPP also illustrated the reference model of the unified access for administration and multiple e-ID-citizen-cards as one of the most advanced systems in the whole world. One of the model’s overall goals is creating “one-stop-shop” portals; another one is the creation of the ELAK-back office in order to archive records digitally. The third important goal is to enable electronically delivered services concerning official documents. For this reason Digital Austria has created an application store in order to go along with new social media as for example Facebook, Twitter & others.
 
 
After Mr. RUPP’s presentation, Mag. Günther SIMONITSCH, Deputy Director General for Information and Communications Technology at the Ministry of the Interior, and Mag. Mike FANDLER, Head of the IT department at the Ministry of the Interior, gave an interesting and comprehensive presentation about central registers and their solutions. They mentioned the central register of residence which is also available as an application of the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior and the population census by means of e-register. Their main goal is to create one concept of signature for authorities & economy (e-government, e-banking, etc.) and thereby guarantee high warranties of security.
 
After a lunch invitation by the Federal Chancellery, H.E. AL-SAMMERAI and his team set out for a meeting at the Federation of Austrian Industries where they were welcomed by Dr. Veit SORGER, President of the Federation. On this occasion the Iraqi Minister of Science and Technology presented facts about the natural resources and economic development of the Iraq. H.E. AL-SAMMERAI, quote, explained that currently the oil production amounted to 2.6 million barrels oil per day (500.000 barrels oil for the country’s own needs and the rest for export). However it is planned to increase this rate to six million barrels oil per day in 2016 which will contribute to the country’s wealth and prosperity thus making Iraq to the country with the greatest oil reserves in the world. These oil reserves will provide the Iraq with a stable basis for a booming economy and investment possibilities in different fields for the next 30 years. And the Iraq needs investors or technical partnership programmes, above all in the field of the industrialisation process. The President of the Federation, Dr. SORGER, quote, recalled the cooperation between Austria and the Iraq and noted that the trade volume of the two countries seemed worth to be increased. He explained that the Federation of Austrian Industries was interested in cooperation with the Iraq and ready to support the process of industrialisation in a partnership. Senator Dr. Richard SCHENZ, President of the AACC and Member of Board of the Federation of Austrian Industries, mentioned in this context the visit of H.E. Dr. Michael SPINDELEGGER, the Austrian Federal Foreign Minister, to Iraq in November of the previous year, where he was present too. He spoke of the very good cooperation atmosphere in the field of economy, but pointed out to some risks, especially in the field of security, hindering further international cooperation. 
 
Meeting at the Federation of Austrian Industries (from right): President Dr. Veit SORGER (sixth from right) meets with H.E. Minister Abdulkerim SAMMERAI, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Surood NAJIB, AACC President Dr. Richard SCHENZ & delegation


In the afternoon the Iraqi delegation met with Dr. Gerald MURAUER, Managing Director of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria at the AACC’s headquarters. Dr. MURAUER gave an appealing introduction about his Institute with the possibility for the Heads of the different departments of the Ministry of Science and Technology in Iraq of getting more information about foundation, structure and possible cooperation in the field of science with the Iraq. The delegation members carefully listened to his presentation and explained that there was a possibility of cooperation after checking the relevant documents.

In the evening a Panel Meeting with H.E. Dr. Abdulkerim Yaseen AL-SAMMERAI took place at the ceremonial hall of the Austrian Association of Engineers and Architects (ÖIAV) at the Palais Eschenbach, which was intended primarily for interested members and partners of the AACC, as well as of the Austrian Association of Engineers and Architects and the Austrian Electrotechnical Association (OVE). Dr. Heinz BRANDL, President of the Austrian Association of Engineers and Architects and AACC President Dr. Richard SCHENZ welcomed the esteemed guests and opened the Meeting with introductory words. H.E. Dr. Surood R. NAJIB, the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in Vienna, quote, explained the great cooperation between Austria and the Iraq in the field of technology. When the Iraq decided to create a Ministry of Science and Technology, the country tried to attract all know-how experts to work for the Ministry. These scientists, engineers and further experts all received a fantastic education and now try to contribute as much as possible to promote research. The Iraq needs support in the field of structuring research works. As an example he mentions the Mosul dam located on top of gypsum, a soft mineral which dissolves in contact with water, which is why the Mosul dam is unstable and in danger of breaking down. Dr. BRANDL acknowledged the existing problem and offered to make suggestions for the solution of this problem. H.E. AL-SAMMERAI promised to stay in contact in order to enable an Austrian commitment in solving the Mosul dam problem.

Following the Panel Meeting, H.E. Dr. Surood R. NAJIB, the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in Vienna, had the honour and pleasure to invite the Iraqi delegation and representatives of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce and the Austrian Association of Engineers and Architects to a dinner.

On Thursday the 3rd May 2012, H.E. AL-SAMMERAI and his team went to a meeting to the headquarters of the OeSD Group (Austrian State Printing House) where they were welcomed by Prof. Reinhart GAUSTERER, Director General of the OeSD, and received a tour through the Printing House. In the course of this visit the OeSD Group presented its institution and its new innovations in the field of security, above all security documents as for example passports, ID cards, RFID applications etc. The Austrian State Printing House ranks among the five best printing houses in the world and offered its support for the ID-card-project in Iraq. The delegation members got an exclusive insight into the different process steps when creating security documents and also visited the laboratory of the OeSD Group. 
 
Meeting at the Austrian State Printing House (OeSD): Welcome by Prof. Reinhart GAUSTERER (left photo / left)
 
In the late afternoon the AACC organised a meeting at Siemens AG Austria where the Iraqi delegation was welcomed by Dkfm. Reinhard PINZER, Chief Financial Officer of Siemens CEE and Member of Board of Siemens Austria AG. The Iraqi delegation had the chance to talk about possible cooperation between Siemens and Iraq in the fields of energy and engineering solutions (3D GIS systems, video wall control, RFID systems) and in the laboratory sector.
 
In the evening the AACC invited to a festive dinner in honour of H.E. Dr. Abdulkerim Yaseen AL-SAMMERAI, the Minister of Science and Technology in the Republic of Iraq, and his delegation to Vienna’s most prestigious Hotel Imperial. Dipl. Ing. KHOUJA, the Secretary General of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce, representing the President and Vice-President of the AACC at this dinner, thanked in his dinner speech H.E. Dr. Surood R. NAJIB, the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in Vienna, for his great support in the course of preparing this delegation. The Secretary General said that, quote, the AACC had received guests from the Iraq three days ago and would see off friends and partners the following day. He talked about Iraq’s history which was characterised by its important role as the centre of science and technology for more than 400 years during the reign of the Abbasids, while the Umayyads transferred much of the technology from Andalusia to Europe. These scientists founded the basis of the European Renaissance Period.

H.E. AL-SAMMERAI thanked Dipl. Ing. KHOUJA and the AACC, quote, for the organisation of the very comprehensive, but good visit programme. He also gave thanks to all the other participants including the Iraqi Embassy, the Austrian Federal Chancellery, OeSD Group, Siemens Austria AG etc and to Mrs. Dr. Maha Sami JASSIM for coordinating this visit.

 
AACC Dinner invitation at Hotel Imperial Vienna: Dinner speech by the H.E. the Minister / Group photo

  
Country News  
 
Following are recent articles about selected Arab countries:

 ALGERIA

Algerian National Oil Company Plans 68.2 Billion Investments

(Global Arab Network) - Algerian national oil company Sonatrach plans to invest 68.2 billion in the development of the country's energy reserves over the 2012-2016 period, says group chief executive officer Abdelhamid Zerguine.

Algeria has proven oil and gas reserves of some four billion tons of oil equivalent (TOE) and Sonatrach's main mission is the renewal of the country's oil and gas reserves by 2016, Zerguine said.

"The budget for extension of exploitation activities rose from 30 search perimeters in 2011 to 57 search perimeters and 15 drilling perimeters in 2012," he said in an interview with the El Moudjahid newspaper on Monday.

"By 2014, 79 perimeters are planned, and the provisional programme of exploration for the period 2012-2016 includes an average of 10,000 sq km per year for 2-D seismic surveys and 18,000 sq km per year for 3-D surveys," he said, adding that most of the estimated amount, about 86 per cent, would be financed by Sonatrach.

According to Zerguine, this programme should see the primary production of oil reaching 234 million TOE in 2016, up 11 per cent from the current level.

In the downstream sector, more than 27.5 million cubic metres of liquefied natural gas (LNG) would be produced when 7.2 million tons of LPG were separated in the North.

The Sonatrach Group exported oil and gas valued at nearly 72 billion USD in 2011, against 57 billion USD in 2010 and an increase of 26 per cent. It paid about 3,697 billion dinars (about 48.57 billion USD) to the Treasury in oil tax, up 27 per cent from 2010.
 
Source: Global Arab Network
 

 BAHRAIN

Bahrain, India sign agreement to boost economic ties

Global Arab Network) - Bahrain and India signed a tax information exchange agreement to promote economic and joint investment between the two countries.

The agreement was one of a number of deals signed during the two-day state visit by a senior Bahrain delegation led by His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain and chairman of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB). The team included representatives from the EDB, Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) and members of the private sector.

The delegation visited Mumbai and Delhi to strengthen bilateral relationships between the business communities and to highlight investment opportunities in the Kingdom.

Other commercial and economic cooperation agreements signed included:
• A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the BCCI and the Confederation of Indian Industry to promote mutually advantageous commercial and industrial interests, including regular exchange of market information, business opportunities and economic delegations for promoting trade, investment and commercial exchange
• The formation of the India-Bahrain Business Council with the objective of developing economic, trade and technical relations between India and Bahrain
• A MoU between the Governments of Bahrain and India to “undertake a sustained effort” to boost joint ventures and initiatives in ICT including measures on e-commerce, e-government and information security

Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister for Transportation and acting chief executive of Bahrain EDB, said: “India is renowned worldwide for its expertise in ICT, so we are delighted to be gaining the expertise of one of the world’s best as we look to build on our own ICT sector in Bahrain. High-value industries like ICT or financial services, which require a skilled workforce in order to thrive, are an important part of our economic strategy to create sustainable economic growth and employment. We hope that Indian businesses looking to access the Gulf market will benefit from this partnership as much as we benefit from their expertise.”

Dr Esam Abdullah Fakhro, chairman of the BCCI, said: “We see a great opportunity for us to be strengthening our economic and trade ties with India, and businesses in Bahrain have a lot to offer to India in exchange. The economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are continuing to diversify, with Bahrain at the forefront, offering exciting new opportunities for foreign investors and new products for export to foreign markets.

“Indian nationals and Indian businesses already play an important and profitable role in Bahrain’s economy and have done so for many years. Today’s agreements will help to boost this cooperation and lay the foundations for successful collaborations across a number of sectors in the years to come.”

Khaled Ali Alamin, chairman of the Bahrain India Business Council, said: “The countries of the GCC alone represent a market of well over one trillion US dollars, a market which is set to reach two trillion dollars by 2020. Bahrain’s position as a gateway to the region and its strong historic ties with India mean that it is an ideal strategic partner from which Indian businesses can access this market and its opportunities.”

Source: Global Arab Network
 

 EGYPT

Egypt: Foreign remittance totalling $ 14.3 billion

(Global Arab Network) - Although a number of Egypt’s other major revenue earners may have suffered following the ouster of former President Mubarak, foreign remittance inflows have weathered the instability fairly well, totalling roughly $14.3bn in 2011, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

Foreign remittances have long been one of the country’s chief foreign currency earners and one of its largest revenue sources, along with taxes and receipts from both foreign tourists and the Suez Canal. According to the World Bank, in spite of the slowdown in developed economies and the political unrest in North Africa, remittance flows to developing countries worldwide reached $351bn in 2011, up 8% from the year prior.

Egyptian remittances were not unaffected by the global economic slowdown and the strife in neighbouring Arab states, dropping by 5.2% in fiscal year 2010/11 compared to the previous fiscal year, but the relatively limited nature of the drop in volume is impressive given the broader political turmoil.

Remittances from neighbouring countries – such as Libya, from which Egyptian workers sent home an average of $33m annually – dropped as workers fled the violence, while flows from the US and Europe, which account for roughly 40% of the total volume of inbound remittance cash, decreased as economies there slowed.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), some 200,000 Egyptians have returned to the country from their employment abroad, a figure that – while not enormous itself – may be an early sign of a larger movement with the potential to slow the steady flow of remittances into the country.

However, this risk is less substantial for Egyptian remittances coming from the Gulf, which have been stable throughout the global economic crisis.

Curiously, in spite of the physical proximity between workplace and home country, the weighted average cost of sending remittances back to the Middle East and North Africa region is currently amongst the highest in the world, with transaction costs of $19 for every $200 remitted from Europe, according to the World Bank. By comparison, the weighted average cost for the South Asia remittance corridor (such as flows between the UK and India), which benefits from a greater volume and a larger number of intermediaries, is around $9.6 for every $200.

This cost-differential represents a still largely-untapped boon to the regional financial and telecoms industry, with a need for services ranging from mobile phone banking to wire transfer.

Therefore, initiatives such as one recently mooted by UAE-based telecoms provider Etisalat to provide Egyptians based in the GCC with easier access to remittance payments are welcome news.

Etisalat is seeking regulatory approval to expand its financial services in the Gulf, hoping to put new focus on expatriate workers in its home country and also in Saudi Arabia. The two countries, plus the other GCC states, are home to more than half of Egyptian remittances from the country's expatriates working abroad there.

The company – which saw more than $1.8bn move through its networks in 2011 via money transfers – is looking to offer mobile money services that allow customers to pay bills or deposit funds in foreign accounts through SMS messages. This idea is not new, of course, as other telecoms players, including local operators, offer the same services.

These transactions often end up costing less than bank wire transfers, particularly for foreign workers, who are typically unable to take advantage of more traditional systems offered by banks.

Indeed, the prospect of Egyptian workers remaining in the GCC is so strong that some groups are looking to profit off the prospect of increased demand between the Gulf and Egypt. Ras Al Kahmiah (RAK) Airways, the flag carrier of the UAE state of the same name, recently announced it was partnering with a general sales agent in Egypt, Excel Travel, to expand its offerings from Cairo's international airport. In announcing the new partnership, the company’s CEO specifically mentioned Egyptians’ growing remittances from the UAE.

While the prospect of increasing remittance flows for an emerging market such as Egypt are encouraging, it would be preferable to have all workers able to find employment locally instead of having to go abroad. Until that time, however, efforts to maintain and even grow Egypt’s remittance inflows should have a positive effect on the overall economy. (OBG)

Source: Global Arab Network
 

 IRAQ

Iraq energy auction ends with little foreign interest

(Global Arab Network) - Iraq closed a landmark auction of energy exploration blocks with just three contracts awarded out of a potential 12, dampening hopes the sale would cement its role as a key global supplier.

The two-day sale, the first to invite international oil companies to explore Iraqi territory for energy deposits since the 2003 US-led invasion, concluded with eight blocks receiving no bids whatsoever, including two that were offered to foreign firms twice.

The bid round, the fourth public auction of Iraqi energy contracts since mid-2009, came amid progress in ramping up oil exports, which account for the vast majority of government income, and as Baghdad eyes higher gas production to increase woefully inadequate power supplies.

But whereas previous auctions offered contracts to foreign energy firms to raise output at existing oil and gas fields, Iraq this time showcased areas earmarked for exploration.

Iraqi officials insisted after the auction that it had met expectations. Analysts, however, disagreed with his analysis.

Thursday opened with a winning bid from Pakistan Petroleum for a 6,000 square kilometre (2,316 square mile) exploration block which is thought to contain gas covering Diyala and Wasit provinces in central Iraq, with the company agreeing to $5.38 per barrel of oil-equivalent eventually extracted.

And shortly afterwards, a partnership between Russian energy giant Lukoil and Japan's Inpex won a contract for a plot covering Muthanna and Dhi Qar provinces in the south, believed to hold oil, with an offer of $5.99 per barrel of oil.

But six other blocks -- including two that were initially offered a day earlier but received no bids -- garnered no interest from foreign energy firms.

Of the three oil and three gas blocks offered on Wednesday, meanwhile, just two received bids, and only one -- Block 9, an area near Iraq's border with Iran that is thought to contain oil -- was accepted by Baghdad.

A consortium led by Kuwait Energy that also includes Turkey's TPAO and Dubai-based Dragon Oil won the 900 square kilometre (347 square mile) block in the southern province of Basra, for a service fee of $6.24 per barrel of oil.

Source: Global Arab Network

 
 

 JORDAN

Five-year strategy to boost ICT in Jordan

(Global Arab Network) - A regional cable network (RCN) earmarked for completion later this year, together with a new, national five-year strategy for the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, will act as the key drivers in Jordan’s efforts to reinvigorate growth levels in the industry, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

Jordan’s ICT sector has grown around 25% per year over the past decade, and its contribution to the economy has increased from around 2% of GDP in 2000 to 14% at the end of 2011.

But with growth slowing somewhat in the past couple of years, the government hopes that high-speed links to the international grid will shore up its plans to boost investment in the industry and help the kingdom reassert its position as a major regional ICT hub.

Jordan has faced a number of challenges in driving ICT growth, including the challenge of keeping the country’s communications and technology infrastructure on par with international industry developments.

The latest annual Global Information Technology Report, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), gave the Kingdom an impressive ninth-place ranking out of 142 countries for ICT affordability, but highlighted measures that could be undertaken to further strengthen infrastructure for the industry, including accessing a wider international internet bandwidth.

Bolstered by accelerated penetration of internet usage and the progress made in its e-government projects, Jordan ranked 47th on the WEF’s Networked Readiness Index, which grades economies on their ICT usage, acceptance and efficiency.

Abed Shamlawi, the CEO of Int@j, the ICT Association of Jordan, which represents some 450 firms operating in the sector, agreed that improvements could be made to the Kingdom’s ICT industry, especially in expanding its reach across the economy, but said there were many positives to be taken from the report.

“If policymakers and local ICT companies can work together to encourage technological adoption in the business community, the country would not only see more ICT sector revenue, but also an increase in national competitiveness and productivity,” Shamlawi told OBG.

The RCN, which is due to be completed in the third quarter of this year, should boost Jordan’s connectivity to the rest of the region and address some of the issues raised in the WEF’s report by reinforcing its links to Syria, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and, through Turkey, Europe.
Access to the 7750-km round-trip route is expected to be a key component in Jordan’s efforts to attract investment by helping it to overcome hurdles such as domestic disruptions to internet services, although there are concerns that the problems in neighbouring Syria could affect the Kingdom’s access to external high-speed links. Should the crisis across the border lead to any significant break in the line, patching into grids circumventing Syria is an option for Jordan, although this would inevitably reduce the efficiencies the RCN is designed to offer.

At home, the government’s new strategy for ICT, which was announced in early April, will focus on boosting employment and attracting investment, according to the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT). Haitham Qaisi, a spokesman for the MICT, said the ministry would be holding a series of consultations with private sector representatives as it looks to define the strategy more sharply and boost the number of Jordanians employed in ICT-related activities, which currently stands at 80,000.

While external factors could have an impact on the rate of expansion of Jordan’s ICT industry, the government’s plans to work closely with businesses operating in the field should help lay the foundations for boosting growth. A drive to improve infrastructure and increase the integration of ICT throughout the economy are expected to strengthen the sector and pave the way for the Kingdom to reap the benefits of a faster, stronger and more productive flow of information.

Source: Global Arab Network


 KUWAIT

Kuwait plans for a major new oil refinery

(Global Arab Network) - Plans for a major new refinery and record exports to Asia have led to heady estimates of Kuwait’s oil revenues for 2012 and the sector is looking to innovative techniques to extract huge reserves of heavy oil, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

On May 8, the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) announced it was launching tenders in the coming weeks for a new $14.5bn refinery at Al Zour. The new plant, which will have a capacity of 615,000 barrels per day (bpd), is expected to be complete by 2017 and is part of plans to increase national production to 4m bpd by 2020.

In the coming weeks the KNPC will also choose consultants for the Clean Fuel project, an $18bn upgrade of two existing refineries that will increase their capacity and enable them to produce lighter grade fuel.

While discussing the tender plans, Hani Hussein, the minister of oil, told local media in May that Kuwait is currently producing around 3.1m barrels of crude per day and that it believes a price of $100 per barrel is “fair”, given the fundamentals of supply and demand. The country is the fifth-biggest oil producer in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Noting that he expects between seven and nine companies to make tender offers for Kuwait’s refinery projects by the end of May, Hussein also said it was important that the country should avoid becoming reliant on a high oil price.
With prices hitting $126 per barrel in April, the country is estimated to have earned around KD2.5bn ($8.97bn) in monthly oil revenues. That figure, reported by Al Shall Economic Consultants, would see yearly profits hit KD30bn ($107.66bn), some KD17.2bn ($61.72bn) higher than originally estimated in the budget.

Crude oil exports to China rose 79% year-on–year (y-o-y) to 1.3 tonnes in April, equivalent to 308,000 bpd, while in March, exports to Japan rose to their highest level in three years – 1.67m barrels – as the country bought more fossil fuels to meet electricity demand after the closure of its nuclear reactors following the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Exports to South Korea also increased by 41% in March.

While speaking with local media on May 7, Ahmad Al Arbeed, a former oil executive, said the surge in exports and high prices has boosted domestic confidence in the future of oil. Launching an initiative that aims to see Kuwait become the world’s “capital of oil” by 2022, Al Arbeed said the country’s private sector “needs a way to be paved [for it] by the oil sector, coupled with legislation that protects and helps local and foreign investors”.

While critics say progress in the oil industry had been hampered in recent years due to domestic political wrangling, progress is seen as accelerating in a number of important projects, including the Al Zour refinery and the Clean Fuel initiative, following Hussein’s appointment as minister of oil.

A key challenge for Hussein will be forwarding plans for “steam-flooding” huge reserves of heavy oil that exist in the Wafra oilfield between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The process involves steam being injected into reservoirs to heat the crude and make it less viscous, allowing it to flow into the well.

A lack of progress at the field has been blamed on a paucity of water, which are needed to supply the necessary water for the project, with some officials stating that more help is needed from international oil firms to extract an estimated 25bn barrels at Wafra. KNPC’s exploration and production arm is reportedly in talks with ExxonMobil and Total on a partnership to develop the fields, the Financial Times wrote in April.

Hamid Majid, the special advisor to the president of Canada Natural Resources, said at the Gulf Petroleum Conference 2012 in March that if Kuwait could harness enhanced oil recovery methods and techniques, it will be able to extract an estimated 1trn barrels, equivalent to 30% of the world’s reserves. (OBG)

Source: Global Arab Network
 

 Lebanon

Lebanon: Weak infrastructure, low investment constraining industrial growth

(Global Arab Network) - The industrial sector is labouring to overcome a series of hurdles that are limiting its ability to expand domestically and develop an export capability, with weak infrastructure and low levels of investment constraining growth, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

Currently, industry accounts for around 16% of Lebanon’s GDP, an input level dwarfed by the services sector, which represents almost 80% of the national economy.
In late April, Vreij Sabounjian, the minister of industry, acknowledged that the sector was struggling to gain investment and support, having suffered from the neglect of successive governments. Vowing to rectify past failings, the minister said the government would take measures to facilitate investments in the sector and cut red tape to the development of more dedicated industrial zones.

Ensuring these zones have access to electricity will be crucial. According to Ministry of Industry estimates, energy costs account for at least 20% of the manufacturing sector’s production expenses, far higher than in many countries.

Lebanon’s fuel import bill currently runs well over $6bn annually, representing some 15% of GDP. The majority of this is spent on firing the turbines of the state’s electricity monopoly, Electricité du Liban, or privately owned and operated generators. This option is favoured by many industrial concerns, which seek to bridge the gap between demand and electricity supply.

However, the cost of electricity is by no means the greatest challenge facing many companies when it comes to the issue of power. Extensive interruptions to supply is a major issue in most regions across the country. Daily production, meanwhile, is running at only around 1500 MW yet demand on the grid is growing, rising to more than 2400 MW a day.

While power cuts and high costs are a part of daily life for Lebanon’s industrial sector (and every other area of economic life), there will come a time when this is not the case, particularly if the most-conservative estimates of natural gas deposits off the country’s coast are proved accurate. Some projections put Lebanon’s untapped reserves at around 1.9bn barrels of oil and 3.45bn cu metres of natural gas, enough to fire the country’s power stations and fuel industrial production for many years.

However, it will be years before the reserves can be brought on-line, meaning Lebanon’s manufacturers are looking to shorter-term solutions. One such solution is the government’s plan to offer interest-free loans for investments in renewable energy. The proposal, announced in March, would allow companies to take out loans for terms of up to 14 years. These loans will help reduce reliance on the national grid through alternative energy production, such as solar or wind turbines.

While the industrial sector can look forward to a more powerful future, it still has many other obstacles to overcome. One of the hurdles identified in a recent World Bank report is that little of the capital inflows had gone towards productive sectors, instead mainly being channelled into banking and real estate.

According to Hedi Larbi, the country director for the Middle East and North Africa region, highly productive industries and innovative activities were receiving small benefit from financial inflows, which total between $7bn and $8bn per year.

The World Bank also stressed that the lack of reliability in Lebanon’s infrastructure services was reducing the competitiveness of the country’s industrial base. Citing a 2010 study on the business climate in Lebanon, the World Bank’s report said 76% of firms surveyed identified issues with electricity supply as a constraint to activity, with 42% saying transport bottlenecks were hindering production. (OBG)

Source: Global Arab Network



 MOROCCO

Ease Of Doing Business Index: Morocco climbing 21 places to 94 position

(Global Arab Network) - Morocco improved its business regulation the most compared to other global economies, climbing 21 places to 94, by simplifying the construction permitting process, easing the administrative burden of tax compliance, and providing greater protections to minority shareholders. Since 2005, Morocco has implemented 15 business regulatory reforms.

This year’s Doing Business report data cover regulations from June 2010 through May 2011. The report rankings on ease of doing business have expanded to include indicators on getting electricity.

Besides Morocco, 11 other economies are recognized as having the most improved ease of doing business across several areas of regulation as measured by the report: Moldova, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Latvia, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Burundi, the Solomon Islands, the Republic of Korea, Armenia, and Colombia.
Governments in 125 economies out of 183 measured implemented a total of 245 business regulatory reforms—13 percent more reforms than in the previous year. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a record 36 out of 46 economies improved business regulations this year. Over the past six years, 163 economies have made their regulatory environment more business-friendly. China, India, and the Russian Federation are among the 30 economies that improved the most over time.

Bellow are key business reforms undertaken by morocco that allowed to jump in the Global Ease of doing business rankings:

DB2012:
Morocco made dealing with construction permits easier by opening a one-stop shop.

Morocco strengthened investor protections by allowing minority shareholders to obtain any nonconfidential corporate document during trial.

Morocco eased the administrative burden of paying taxes for firms by enhancing electronic filing and payment of the corporate income tax and value added tax.

DB2011:
Morocco strengthened investor protections by requiring greater disclosure in companies’ annual reports.

DB2010:
Access to credit was strengthened with a new private credit bureau that began operating in March 2009.

DB2009:
The right of borrowers to inspect data on their creditworthiness was guaranteed, increasing their ability to control the accuracy of the information used by financial institutions in assessing their risk profiles.
The corporate income tax rate was reduced from 35% to 30%, effective 2008.

Document requirements for importing and exporting were simplified, reducing the time to import.

DB2008:
The time needed to obtain new licenses for construction firms was reduced, by establishing a one-stop shop in Casablanca to provide better communication between the relevant agencies.

The property registration process was complicated by adding the requirement to check several tax agencies, rather than just one, in order to obtain a tax clearance certificate. The reform is being implemented nationwide, and adds three procedures to the process of transfer.

A new risk-based inspections system was introduced, causing the time to import and export to decrease.

Source: Global Arab Network
  OMAN

World-class ship repair in Oman - New floating dry dock plan

(Global Arab Network) - The state-owned Oman Dry Dock Company (ODC) is firming up plans for the addition of a floating dry dock to its world-class ship repair and maintenance yard within the Port of Duqm. The proposed facility will enable ODC to dry dock small and medium-sized vessels and thereby free up the yard’s two giant graving docks for larger ships, according to Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Transport and Communications Minister.

His Highness Sayyid Hamad bin Thuwaini al Said led a distinguished gathering of ministers, under-secretaries, representatives of the Majlis Ash’shura and Majlis Addawla, diplomats, walis and local dignitaries at the ceremony. It was held in the shadow of the imposing dry dock with local folk troupes delighting the audience with a wide repertory of traditional dances.

According to M J Park, CEO of Oman Dry Dock Company (ODC), plans for the floating dry dock project are currently under finalisation. A team of experts from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), which is partnering ODC in the operation and management of the yard, had visited the Sultanate last week to review all of the major milestones with regard to the floating dry dock initiative.

Earlier, the CEO expressed his pride and delight at the formal inauguration of the yard. “We are happy with the progress we have made so far. Since we started experimental operations in April last year, we succeeded in delivering 85 vessels on time. Of this number, we delivered 47 vessels last year. By end-May this year, we delivered 40 ships. But, while we were focused on small and mid-sized ships last year, this year our focus has shifted to Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), LNG tankers, large product tankers, and so on. We will be continuously improving our maintenance and repair capacity,” he said.

The facility has also secured a number of certifications that attest to its all-round capability, said Park. “We achieved the one-million LTI milestone last month. We are also proud to have won ABS’s ISO 9001 and 18001 certifications for quality and Health & Safety. We are also expecting the environment certification by October this year. All of this means we are ready to take the next big leap.”

In addition to its core business of maintaining and repairing ships, ODC is also gearing up to offer a range of industrial services, pertaining primarily to the construction and fabrication of modular offshore structures, repair of jack-up rigs, and so on. This component of ODC’s business will be pursued in collaboration with world-class specialists DSME, he said.

Park also saw opportunity to co-operate with L&T Modular Yard in the joint implementation of major offshore projects. Representatives from L&T’s Sohar Port facility had visited Duqm last week to explore options for co-operation in the implementation of a major project for Indian hydrocarbon giant ONGC.
 
 

  QATAR

Qatar plans to boost spending by 27 percent

(Global Arab Network) - Qatar plans to boost government spending by 27 percent in the fiscal year that began in April, including wages, social services and infrastructure, but it expects to see a comfortable surplus, state news agency QNA reported.

The report comes amid concerns over safety standards in the Gulf Arab state after fires broke out at an aviation college and a girls' school following the deaths of at least 19 foreign nationals in a blaze at an upscale shopping mall.

Qatar, the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, projects record high expenditures of 178 billion riyals ($49 billion) for the fiscal year, above the 140 billion planned for 2011/12.

The country, which is due to host the soccer World Cup in 2022, has pencilled in revenue of 206 billion riyals, a 26 percent rise from the previous year's budget plan and a surplus of 28 billion riyals, or 4.4 percent of 2011 gross domestic product, according to Reuters calculations.

The government expects to see a fiscal surplus of 8 percent of GDP in the current fiscal year, up from 6.7 percent in 2011/12, QNA said.

Qatar is less conservative in its oil price assumption this fiscal year as the budget is based on an average crude price of $65 per barrel, above $55 in previous two years. Brent crude is now around $107 per barrel, near five-month lows.

The Gulf Arab country, a major global investor through its sovereign wealth fund, has yet to release budget data for 2011/12.

Funds allocated for public sector salaries soared 48 percent to 37 billion riyals in the 2012/13 budget, accounting for about a fifth of the overall plan, QNA said.

In September, Qatar, which has avoided the social unrest that rocked the Arab world last year, raised basic salaries and social benefits for state civilian employees by 60 percent, while military staff received 50-120 percent increases.

The International Monetary Fund has said salary and pension hikes would add an estimated $1.6 billion to government expenditure in 2011/12, but the actual fiscal balance was still projected to book a surplus of over 7 percent of GDP in 2011/12.

The authorities do not expect any further one-off rises in current expenditure, and aim to allocate 40 percent of the total spending toward capital expenditure over the medium term, the Fund said after concluding consultations with Qatar in January.

The country of 1.7 million people, which pegs its riyal to the U.S. dollar, has outlined public investment plans worth $95 billion over five years to 2016, ahead of the World Cup.

That includes $11 billion on a new international airport, $5.5 billion on a deep-water seaport and $1 billion for a transport corridor in Doha, as well as $20 billion on roads.

It plans to spend 62 billion riyals ($17 billion) on public projects in 2012/13, up 7 percent from the previous plan, QNA said.

Source: Global Arab Network
 

 Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia setting a minimum wage for private sector workers within 4 months

(Global Arab Network) - Saudi Arabia aims to complete a study on setting a minimum wage for private sector workers within four months, local media quoted the labour minister as saying, part of a government drive to make jobs more appealing to nationals and cut unemployment.

The jobless rate in the world’s top oil exporter is now running at 10 percent and is a potential source of discontent as private companies prefer to hire foreigners, mainly from Asian countries such as Pakistan, who agree to work for wages as low as 1,800 riyals ($480) a month. That is less than the monthly unemployment benefit of 2,000 riyals.

Saudis have favoured government jobs, which offer security and higher salaries.

Media reports have suggested the government could set a minimum wage of 2,000-3,000 riyals.

Last year the government tightened rules introduced in the mid-1990s to try to increase the employment of locals through a “Saudization” scheme that set quotas for the number of Saudis each company must hire.

Foreign workers, including labourers and expatriate professionals, account for a third of the desert kingdom's population of 27 million and Saudi nationals account for only 10 percent of the private sector workforce.

Saudi Arabia has not seen the mass uprisings that rocked other parts of the Arab world last year, facing only small protests by a Shi'ite minority in its oil-producing Eastern Province.

Still, last year hundreds of university graduates and teachers staged rare protests in Jeddah and Riyadh to demand jobs and better wages and vowed to continue demonstrating until the government produces jobs.

The groups later dispersed after government officials pledged to deal with the complaints.

King Abdullah promised last year to spend about 400 billion riyals ($110 billion), or more than 18 percent of gross domestic product, on housing, new jobs, health care, salary bonuses and other benefits.

The kingdom’s deputy labour minister said the largest Arab economy would start licensing expatriate labour companies within a month in a first move away from a sponsorship system, whereby employers bring in foreigners on a work visa for a certain job only.

Authorities hope that shifting from the sponsorship system will help more Saudi citizens fill jobs previously filled by foreigners.

Thanks to a decades-long population boom, the Saudi government can no longer afford to reduce unemployment by creating public sector jobs. Last year’s revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Syria were blamed by some on high youth unemployment.

Source: Global Arab Network


 Sudan

IMF urges emergency steps to stabilize Sudan economy

(Global Arab Network) - Sudan’s economy faces “daunting” challenges after the secession of oil-producing South Sudan and emergency measures are needed to stabilize it, the International Monetary Fund said.

The IMF said initial findings from a recent mission to Sudan found the economic situation in 2012 had not improved from 2011, when growth slowed to 2.7 percent, year-end inflation reached 19 percent and the fiscal deficit was about 4 percent of gross domestic product.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission visited Sudan during May 13–25, 2012, to conduct the 2012 Article IV Consultation. At the conclusion of the visit, the mission chief Mr. Edward Gemayel issued the following statement:

“The IMF team met with Minister of Finance Ali Mahmood Abdulrasool, Minister of Oil Awad AlJaaz, Minister of Mining Kamal Abdelateef, State Minister of Finance Megdi Yasin, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Badreddin Mahmood Abbas, Under Secretary of Ministry of Finance Yousif AlHussein, members of parliament, representatives of the private sector, civil society organizations, the diplomatic community, and development partners.

“The mission discussed the appropriate policies to address the economic challenges faced by Sudan as a result of South Sudan’s secession. The mission’s preliminary assessment is that economic conditions in Sudan deteriorated in 2011. Economic growth is estimated to have slowed down to 2.7 percent, end-year inflation reached 19 percent, the overall fiscal deficit was about 4 percent of GDP, and the current account registered a surplus of 2 percent of GDP. Preliminary information for 2012 indicates that economic conditions have not improved.

“The mission and the authorities agree that the challenges confronting Sudan are daunting and require appropriate reforms to stabilize the economy. More work is needed to improve prospects for inclusive growth and job creation.

“To address these challenges, the mission recommends a two-pronged reform strategy: short-term emergency measures to regain control of, and stabilize, the economy, including fiscal consolidation, and in the medium-term, a comprehensive structural reform program to recalibrate the economy in line with the country’s economic and financial potential.

“The mission welcomes the government’s reform efforts. It encourages the authorities to expeditiously implement the appropriate policies to address the challenges ahead.

Source: Global Arab Network


  UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

UAE: Emirates airline undecided on $ 550 million June bond

(Global Arab Network) - Emirates, the fast expanding Gulf airline, may seek to refinance a $550 million Islamic bond maturing in June but has not ruled out repayment in cash, a senior executive said.

“We are currently considering whether to refinance, and by what product. Cash flow is good and we have the ability to repay if we decide,” Brian Jeffery, senior vice president, corporate treasury told reporters in Dubai.

Emirates’ cash balance stood at 15.6 billion dirhams ($4.25 billion) as of March 31, 2012.

The $550 million sukuk maturing on June 16, was trading at 98 levels on Tuesday.

When asked if the airline would refinance the bond with another sukuk issue, Jeffrey said, “The price differential would need to be significant, given our financing programme and other priorities.”

Earlier this month Emirates, which is among the 10 biggest airlines in the world by passenger numbers, reported a 72 per cent drop in net profits last year following a steep rise in fuel costs.

The ability of regional borrowers to refinance upcoming debt has been in focus as European banks, behind much of the loan activity in the Gulf in recent years, pull back as a result of funding pressures created by the Euro zone crisis.

But while Western banks have stepped back from lending into the region local banks are playing a bigger role in addressing the Gulf’s refinancing needs.

Source: Global Arab Network
 
New Members  

The AACC is honoured to welcome its NEW MEMBERS from Mai/Juni 2012:

ATC TIMBER COMMERCE GmbH

ATC TIMBER COMMERCE GmbH
A: Hilmteichstrasse 134, 8043 Graz
T: +43 664 88 73 59 04
E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
W: www.atc-timber.com (under construction)
 
[top]  

Basim Hadi & Partners

Basim Hadi & Partners
A: Feldgasse 13/9, 1080 Vienna
T: + 43 699 184 15 393
E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
W: www.ph-p-eu (under construction)

 
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Qatar Bin Ladin Group

Bin Ladin Group has been born from the necessity of supplying professional solutions to a high demand market like Qatar. Railway, towers, infrastructures, special demands…all covered by our strong firm which counts with powerful agreements with companies in all construction fields.

A: P.O. Box 16304 (Doha, Qatar)
T: + 974 4418 4150
F: + 974 4418 4151
E:
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
W:
www.qbg-oob.com
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Dipl. Ing. Herbert Seper

The company focuses on timber construction for low-energy building concepts and cultural property protection. It also provides: facility management and project management, planning and general planning, on-site building supervision, engineering, coordination and expert studies.

Dipl. Ing. Herbert Seper
A: Stachegasse 19/106, 1120 Vienna
T: + 43 660 55 90 929
E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
W: www.arch-seper.at
 [top] 
 
 Announcements
 
The AACC is pleased to circulate the following announcement
by its esteemed cooperation partners and members


 DIRECTORY OF EXPORTS AND INDUSTRIAL FIRMS IN LEBANON (2011-2012)


The Directory of Exports and industrial Firms in Lebanon (2011-2012) was released lately and available in English on the following electronic link:

www.lebanon-industry.com

The directory provides Investors who sseks for business opprotunities in Lebanon an easy and convenient access to accurate information about the Lebanese industrial production by:
- Sectors according to the international Standards Classification of Tariffs.
- Geographic locations and addresses of the lebanese industrial enterprises.
- Industrial goods and products.

 
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►ISWA STUDY TOUR WASTE -TO- ENERGY  


Seminar and Technical Tour to 10 Plants in Operation

Practice Seminar on Sustainable Waste Management in Austria based on Prevention, Recycling, Recovery, Treatment, and Intermediate Storage without any disposal of organic wastes exceeding 5% TCO in landfill.

Led by:

Franz Neubacher
UV&P Enviromental Management and Engineering

For more details and registration kindly see following PDF-File
 
 
 
  Arabic - بالعربية

تجديد تكليف مجلس إدارة الغرفة


 
أقيمت الجمعية العمومية الـ21 لغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية يوم الاثنين 11 يونيو 2012 بمقر رابطة المهندسين والمعماريين النمساويين بالعاصمة فيينا؛ حيث شهد الاجتماع إجراء الانتخابات على المناصب في رئاسة الغرفة ومجلس الرقابة.
وقد أسفرت الانتخابات عن إعادة تكليف كل من السيناتور دكتور ريتشارد شينتس، والذي يشغل منصب رئيس الغرفة منذ عام 2010، والرئيس العربي للغرفة المستشار نبيل الكزبري ونائب الرئيس السيد هنري حافظ، وكذلك الأمين العام للغرفة المهندس مضر الخوجه، لمدة ولاية جديدة تبلغ أربع سنوات.

كما تم بالإجماع انتخاب أعضاء جدد في مجلس الإدارة وهم البروفيسور راينهارت جاوسترر مدير المطبعة الوطنية النمساوية كنائب لرئيس الغرفة، والمدقق الاقتصادي السيد فولفجانج كابوريك (جرانت تورنتون) كمدقق مالي للغرفة.

وتم أيضا انتخاب بالإجماع لأعضاء جدد في مجلس الرقابة من الجانب النمساوي ، وهم المهندس عمر الراوي (شركة شتراباج) والدكتورة إيفيلين شتاينبرجر كيرن (شركة سيمنز النمسا)، والمهندس توماس هينترلايتنر (شركة فاميد للهندسة)، والسيد فولفجانج هيرتسي (شركة بور القابضة للإنشاءات)، والبروفيسور باول أيجينجر (مستشفى رودلفينر هاوس الخاصة). ومن الجانب العربي تم انتخاب السيد جعفر رسول الحمداني (اتحاد الغرف التجارية العراقية) والسيد عبد السلام المرشدي (غرفة تجارة عمان) والأستاذ عبد الله سلطان العويس (غرفة تجارة الشارقة)، والشيخ خليفة بن جاسم آل ثاني (غرفة تجارة وصناعة قطر)، والسيد إدريس حوات (جامعة الغرف المغربية للتجارة والصناعة والخدمات)، والسيد أحمد الشهابي (شركة حلب للصناعات الدوائية).

وقد انعقدت الجمعية العمومية للغرفة بحضور ومشاركة كريمين من سعادة السفراء العرب وممثلي السفارات العربية العاملة في النمسا، وعدد كبير من السادة أعضاء الغرفة. وقد أكد الجميع على الثقة في قيادة الغرفة والخدمات التي تقوم بها.

 
الكزبري يستقبل سفير العراق لدى النمسا


استقبل الرئيس العربي لغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية، المستشار نبيل الكزبري ورئيس مجلس إدارة شركة فيمبكس للصناعات الورقية، سعادة الدكتور سرود نجيب سفير دول العراق لدى النمسا، وذلك بمقر شركة فيمبكس بالعاصمة النمساوية فيينا يوم الجمعة 25 مايو 2012.

وتم خلال اللقاء، الذي شارك فيه الأمين العام للغرفة، المهندس مضر الخوجه، عرض تقييم للزيارات التي قامت بها وفود عراقية رفيعة المستوى إلى النمسا في الآونة الأخيرة، والمتمثلة في زيارة معالي الدكتور صلاح عبد الرزاق محافظ بغداد والوفد المرافق له في شهر فبراير الماضي، وكذلك زيارة معالي الدكتور عبد الكريم السامرائي وزير العلوم والتكنولوجيا والوفد المرافق له في شهر مايو الجاري، وهي الزيارات التي تمت بالتنسيق بين غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية والسفارة العراقية لدى النمسا.
وفي هذا الإطار أكد كل من الكزبري ونجيب على أهمية مواصلة التعاون في مجال تعزيز العلاقات الاقتصادية والتجارية بين كل من النمسا والعراق.

كما أبدى الدكتور سرود نجيب استعدادا ورغبة لدعم الشركات النمساوية في الدخول في شراكات اقتصادية مع الجانب العراقي، بما يسهم في دفع عجلة الاستثمار في العراق، وكذلك تعزيز سبل التعاون في المجالين العلمي والتكنولوجي بين البلدين الصديقين.

الخوجه يلتقي سفير النمسا الجديد لدى تونس

 

 

استقبل الأمين العام لغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية، سعادة الدكتور جيرهارد فاينبرجر، سفير النمسا الجديد لدى تونس؛ حيث استعرض الجانبان إمكانيات التعاون بين النمسا وتونس؛ خاصة في مجال مشاريع الطاقة المتجددة واستخراج الطاقة من النفايات، واستخدامات الطاقة الشمسية وطاقة الرياح. واتفق الجانبان على ضرورة توطيد علاقات التعاون، وأهمية دعم النمسا في مجال إقامة مشاريع مشتركة مع تونس.
كما قدم الخوجه التهنئة للدكتور فاينبرجر على منصبة الجديد، والذي يبدأ تقلد مهامه يوم 28 أغسطس 2012. وأكد الخوجه على الأهمية التي تحظى بها تونس، لما لها من ثقل في محيطها العربي والعالمي، وكذلك لكونها الدولة صاحبة الشرارة الأولى في الربيع العربي، وهي الحقيقة التي سيسجلها التاريخ على مر العصور.
واطلع فاينبرجر من الخوجه على معلومات حول العلاقات النمساوية التونسية، وبخاصة في مجال التبادل التجاري والعلاقات الاقتصادية. كما وعد الخوجه بالعمل على تحديد موعد للسفير النمساوي الجديد مع السيدة وداد بوشماوي، رئيسة الاتحاد التونسي للصناعة والتجارة والصناعات التقليدية.

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تعاون مشترك بين الغرفة وبرنامج "يسّر" السعودي


عرضت الأمانة العامة لغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية على القائمين على برنامج "يسّر" للتعاملات الحكومية الإلكترونية في المملكة العربية السعودية على التعاون المشترك فيما بينهما، بما يسهم في دعم توجهات المملكة نحو الارتقاء ببرنامج الحكومة الإلكترونية، وذلك من خلال الشبكة الواسعة التي تتمتع بها الغرفة على المستويين الرسمي والقطاع الخاص داخل النمسا، وهو ما يمكنها من تقديم أكبر قدر ممكن من المشورة والخدمات لأعضائها، وخاصة في مجال نقل التكنولوجيا النمساوية إلى الوطن العربي.
وكان وفدا من برنامج الحكومة الإلكترونية السعودي، يضم كلا من المهندس علي آل صمع، مدير عام البرنامج، والسيد مصطفى خان مدير مركز التميز للأبحاث والتطوير، والسيد عبد الكريم علي الزميع مدير إدارة الشؤون الإعلامية والتوعية، قد قام بزيارة للعاصمة النمساوية فيينا في الفترة بين يومي 9 و11 مايو 2012، للتعرف على تقنيات الحكومة الإلكترونية النمساوية والتي تعد الأولى على المستوى الأوروبي.
وقام الوفد بزيارة لمقر المستشارية النمساوية؛ حيث كان في استقبالهم الدكتور مانفريد ماتسكا، مدير القسم الرئاسي برئاسة الوزراء. وقدم السيد كريستيان روب، المتحدث باسم منصة النمسا الرقمية عرضا عن المنصة، لافتا إلى التفوق النمساوي على المستوى الأوروبي في هذا المجال التقني الرائد. كما بين روب نمط العمل داخل شبكة الحكومة الإلكترونية، وذلك خطوات التنظيم والتنسيق داخل هذه المنظومة الإلكترونية. وشارك في اللقاء أمين عام غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية، المهندس مضر الخوجه
وكانت الغرفة قد أقامت حفل عشاء تكريما للوفد السعودي، في فندق إمبريال بالعاصمة فيينا، حضره كل من المهندس بيتر رايششتيدر من الحكومة النمساوية والسيد ألبرت كرونبرجر العضو في غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية.
كما حضر الوفد السعودي اللقاء الدوري للحكومة الإلكترونية، والذي ترأسه المستشار النمساوي فيرنر فايمان، ونائب المستشار ميشائيل شبيندليجر؛ حيث اطلع الوفد على التقرير الدوري لمجلس الحكومة الإلكترونية النمساوي.
وقد قام الوفد السعودي برئاسة المهندس علي آل صمع، بزيارة لمقر الغرفة؛ حيث تم التباحث بشأن سبل التعاون بين الطرفين. وعرض أمين عام الغرفة المهندس مضر الخوجه، مبادرة لدعم التوجهات السعودية نحو الارتقاء ببرنامج الحكومة الإلكترونية، وتحقيق الاستفادة من التقنية النمساوية في هذا المجال الحيوي، وذلك من خلال الشبكة الواسعة من العلاقات التي تتمتع بها الغرفة على المستويين الرسمي والقطاع الخاص داخل النمسا، وهو ما يمكنها من تقديم الخدمات والمشورة للدول العربية، ولأعضاء الغرفة. 

 

السامرائي: العراق ينتج 6 مليون برميل نفط يوميا بحلول 2016

أعرب وزير العلوم والتكنولوجيا العراقي، الدكتور عبد الكريم السامرائي عن تفاؤله إزاء مستقبل العراق اقتصاديا، في ظل الخطط الرامية إلى مضاعفة إنتاج البلاد من النفط ليصل إلى 6 مليون برميل يوميا مع مطلع عام 2016. وأشاد السامرائي بمساعي النمسا إلى تفعيل استثماراتها في العراق، مشيرا إلى أهمية الخبرة النمساوية في دعم مشروعات البنية التحتية. ولفت الوزير العراقي إلى الدور البارز الذي تؤديه غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية في تعزيز العلاقات النمساوية العراقية في كافة المجالات.


وقد حل وزير العلوم والتكنولوجيا العراقي، الدكتور عبد الكريم السامرائي، والوفد المرافق له ضيفا على النمسا بدعوة من غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية، في زيارة امتدت من 30 أبريل وحتى 4 مايو 2012. وتكون الوفد العراقي من السادة عماد فهمي، مدير عام وزارة التنمية للبحوث والتقنية، وعلي حسن طارش، المدير العام وعضو المجلس الوطني للحكومة وممثل من وزارة الدفاع، ومجيد سعدون جاسم، المدير العام وعضو المجلس الوطني للإدارة العامة، وحسن عبد الكريم شاكر، مدير مركز معالجة البيانات، ويحيى غازي عبد، رئيس ديوان وزير العلوم والتكنولوجيا، وآخرون.
واستهل السامرائي زيارته الرسمية للنمسا بزيارة الغرفة؛ حيث استقبله الأمين العام المهندس مضر الخوجه وقدم تعريفا بنشاطات الغرفة ورسالتها، كما طرح برنامج زيارة الوفد العراقي.
وفي يوم الأربعاء 2 مايو 2012؛ توجه وزير العلوم العراقي والوفد المرافق له إلى مبنى البرلمان النمساوي؛ حيث استقبلهم السيد هربرت شايبنر عضو البرلمان وزير الدفاع الأسبق. وأجرى الجانبان جلسة مباحثات، أكد شايبنر خلالها على عمق العلاقات النمساوية العراقية، وذكّر بالتعاون التاريخي بين البلدين في مختلف المجالات، وخاصة على المستوى البرلماني.
وعقب اللقاء توجه الوفد العراقي إلى مقر المستشارية الاتحادية النمساوية؛ حيث كان في استقباله كل من الدكتور مانفريد ماتسكا، مدير القسم الرئاسي برئاسة الوزراء، والسيد كريستيان روب، المتحدث باسم منصة النمسا الرقمية. وقدم روب عرضا عن منصة النمسا الرقمية، مشيرا إلى أنها تعد من بين أفضل المنصات أوروبيا. وأوضح روب خطوات التنظيم والتعاون والتنفيذ والتنسيق داخل منظومة الحكومة الإلكترونية النمساوية، كما عرّف ببنية الحكومة الإلكترونية، وتعاونها مع الجهات النمساوية المختلفة.


وأعقب ذلك أن قدم كل من السيد جونتر سيمونيتش نائب المدير العام للاتصالات وتكنولوجيا المعلومات في وزارة الداخلية، والسيد مايك فاندلر، رئيس قسم تكنولوجيا المعلومات في وزارة الداخلية، عرضا شاملا حول منظومة السجلات المركزية، وأشارا إلى التعداد السكاني عن طريق السجل الإلكتروني، مؤكدين على أن الهدف هو ضمان أعلى قدر من الأمان والحماية للبيانات.
وكان اتحاد الصناعات النمساوية المحطة التالية في زيارة وزير العلوم والتكنولوجيا والوفد المرافق له؛ حيث كان في استقبالهم رئيس الاتحاد الدكتور فيت زورجر. وخلال اللقاء عرض الوزير عبد الكريم السامرائي حقائق عن الموارد الطبيعية والتنمية الاقتصادية في العراق، موضحا أن إنتاج النفط في الوقت الراهن يبلغ 2.6 مليون برميل يوميا ( منها 500 ألف للاستهلاك المحلي، والبقية للتصدير)، وأنه من المخطط زيادة هذه النسبة لتصل إلى إنتاج 6 مليون برميل نفط يوميا بحلول عام 2016، وهو ما يساهم في زيادة ثروات البلاد وتحقيق الازدهار مما يجعل العراق الدولة ذات الاحتياطي النفطي الأكبر في العالم. وأكد السامرائي على أن هذه الاحتياطيات النفطية ستوفر للعراق أساسا مستقرا لاقتصاد مزدهر وتفتح إمكانيات الاستثمار في مختلف المجالات على مدى العقود الثلاث المقبلة.
ومن جانبه نوّه الدكتور زورجر بالتعاون القائم بين النمسا والعراق، وأشار إلى أن حجم التبادل التجاري بين البلدين يستحق أن يكون أكثر مما هو عليه الآن. وأوضح زورجر أن اتحاد الصناعات النمساوية يرغب بالتعاون مع العراق وأنه على استعداد لتقديم الدعم في إطار من الشراكة في مجال عملية التصنيع.
وفي كلمته خلال اللقاء أشار الدكتور ريتشارد شينتس، رئيس غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية وعضو مجلس إدارة اتحاد الصناعات النمساوية، إلى الزيارة التي قام بها وفد سياسي واقتصادي نمساوي إلى العراق برئاسة نائب المستشار وزير الخارجية الدكتور ميشائيل شبيندليجر في شهر نوفمبر من العام الماضي. وتحدث شينتس عن مناخ التعاون الجيد للغاية بين البلدين في المجال الاقتصادي، مشيرا في الوقت ذاته إلى بعض المخاطر، لا سيما في مجال الأمن، التي تعوق تحقيق المزيد من التعاون الدولي.


وفي لقاء مصغر بمقر غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية قدم الدكتور جيرالد موراور مدير عام معهد العلوم والتكنولوجيا النمساوي للوفد العراقي تعريفا بالمعهد وكذلك عرض إمكانية حصول رؤساء مختلف الإدارات التابعة لوزارة العلوم والتكنولوجيا في العراق على مزيد من المعلومات حول المؤسسة وهيكلها التنظيمي وإمكانية التعاون في مجال العلوم مع العراق.
كما حضر الوزير السامرائي والوفد المرافق له جلسة نقاشية بمقر رابطة المهندسين والمعماريين النمساويين؛ حيث رحب رئيسها الدكتور هاينز براندل، ورئيس الغرفة الدكتور ريتشارد شينتس بالضيوف. وفي مداخلته نوه الدكتور سرود نجيب سفير دولة العراق لدى النمسا، بالتعاون الكبير بين النمسا والعراق في مجال التكنولوجيا. ومن جانبه قال الدكتور عبد الكريم السامرائي إن العراق يحتاج إلى الدعم في مجال تنظيم أعمال البحوث، ومثالا على ذلك ذكر أن سد الموصل واقع على تربة ناعمة تذوب عن اتصالها بالماء، وهذا هو السبب في أن سد الموصل غير مستقر وعرضة لخطر الانهيار. وبادر الدكتور براندل بعرض تقديم اقتراحات من أجل حل هذه المشكلة.
وفي يوم الخميس 3 مايو 2012، قام الوزير السامرائي والوفد المرافق بزيارة للمطبعة الوطنية النمساوية؛ حيث اصطحبهم الدكتور راينهارت جاوسترر مدير المطبعة في جولة تفقدية استعرض خلالها الابتكارات الجديدة في مجال الطباعة الآمنة، وخاصة الوثائق الآمنة مثل جوازات السفر، وبطاقات الهوية، وتطبيقات اللواصق الراديوية RFiD. كما تعرف أعضاء الوفد على خطوات الإنتاج المختلفة لإنتاج الوثائق الآمنة.
ثم توجه الوفد الى مقر الغرفة للمشاركة لحضور منتدى مصغر بحضور هربرت شايبنر وزير الدفاع الأسبق وعضو البرلمان النمساوي، تم خلاله تباحث العديد من القضايا ومن بينها المجال الأمني والمواضيع ذات الصلة.
كما قام الوفد بزيارة لشركة سيمنز النمسا، وكان في استقبالهم راينهارد بينتسر المدير المالي لشركة سيمنز العالمية، وعضو مجلس إدارة شركة سيمنز النمسا. وتحدث الوفد العراقي عن إمكانيات التعاون بين شركتي سيمنز والعراق في مجالات الطاقة والحلول الهندسية وكذلك في قطاع المختبرات.

وفي ختام الزيارة دعت الغرفة إلى مأدبة عشاء تكريما لمعالي الدكتور عبد الكريم ياسين والوفد المرافق له. وتحدث الخوجه خلالها عن تاريخ العراق، التي تميزت بدورها الهام كمركز للعلم والتكنولوجيا لأكثر من 400 سنة في عهد العباسيين، في حين أن العصر الأموي شهد نقل الكثير من العلوم العربية إلى أوروبا، وهو ما أسس لعصر النهضة الأوروبية.
وبدوره وجه الدكتور السامرائي الشكر لإدارة الغرفة على تنظيم برنامج شامل للزيارة، كما قدم الشكر للسفارة العراقية، والمستشارية الاتحادية النمساوية، والمطبعة النمساوية وشركة سيمنز. وأثنى على الدور الذي قامت به السيدة مهى جاسم لتنسيق هذه الزيارة.

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