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6th Arab-Austrian Economic Forum / International Conference in Vienna:

Sudan & Europe: Prospects of Cooperation for Regional Peace

Round Table Discussion / B-2-B Meeting

10-11 October 2012

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REPORT:

Opening of the Conference  © AACC / philipphutter.com

On October 10th 2012 the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC) had its annual highlight with its “Event of the Year”, the 6th Arab-Austrian Economic Forum. This Forum was held in Vienna at the Hotel Hilton Vienna City and was visited by approximately over 500 people concerned with and interested in Arab-Austrian economic relations in general and in meeting leading personalities from both, the Republic of Austria and the Republic of the Sudan, in particular.

Press Conference (left-to-right): Minister Ali Ahmed KARTI - Vice-Chancellor Minister Dr. Michael SPINDELEGGER - Deputy Minister Hon. Prof. Elias Nyamlell WAKOSON - AACC President Dr. Richard SCHENZ – Ambassador Mahmoud ELAMIN
© AACC / philipphutter.com
 
This year's Forum was under the banner of “Sudan & Europe: Prospects of Cooperation for Regional Peace and Development”. The Forum’s speakers came from both, Austria and Sudan and included several top-level personalities, among many others H.E. Dr. Michael SPINDELEGGER, Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Republic of Austria, and H.E. Mr. Ali Ahmed KARTI, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Republic of the Sudan. Several Arab Ambassadors accredited to Austria, businesspeople from Sudan and Austria and numerous interested persons also participated in this event.

The 6th Arab-Austrian Economic Forum with its particular focus on Sudan and Europe was organized by the AACC in fruitful cooperation with other institutions and partners: first and foremost the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan in Austria, the Political Academy of Austrian People's Party (PolAk), the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES), the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), UNIDO, UNDP and the Austrian-South Sudan Society and the Austrian Sudan Society.
 
The Opening Session of the 6th Arab-Austrian Economic Forum was chaired by Dr. Werner FASSLABEND, President of the Political Academy of Austrian People's Party (PolAk), who also gave the opening remarks. After that H.E. Dr. Michael SPINDELEGGER, Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Republic of Austria, and H.E. Mr. Ali Ahmed KARTI, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Republic of the Sudan, gave their introductory notes and welcomed the interested audience. Other speakers during the opening session were: H.E. Hon. Prof. Elias Nyamlell WAKOSON, Deputy Minister for International Cooperation in South Sudan, H.E. Mr. Petar STOYANOV, Former President of the Republic of Bulgaria and President of the Centre of Global Dialogue, H.E. Mr. Jan FIGEL, Deputy Speaker of the National Council in the Republic of Slovakia and Former EU-Commissioner and Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Ambassador Tomas ULICNY, Head of European Union Mission to Sudan, and H.E. Ambassador Samir HOSNI, Representative of the Secretary General of the League of Arab States.
 

Opening speeches by Vice-Chancellor SPINDELEGGER (left above), Minister KARTI (right above), President of PolAk FASSLABEND (left below) and Deputy Minister WAKOSON (right below) © AACC / philipphutter.com

After the opening addresses of the esteemed speakers of the Opening Session, Dr. Richard SCHENZ, President of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and Vice President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), and Mr. Yousif Ahmed YOUSIF, Chairman of the Union Chambers of Commerce in Sudan, signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
 


Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding: AACC President Senator Dr. Richard SCHENZ (left) and Mr. Yousif Ahmed YOUSIF, Chairman of the Sudanese Businessmen & Employers Federation (right) (c) AACC / philipphutter.com

 
The First Session of the 6th Arab-Austrian Economic Forum was dedicated to issues of “Economy” and chaired by AACC President Dr. Richard SCHENZ, who also gave the opening notes. The introductory notes to this session were given by H.E. Dr. Mustafa Osman ISMAIL, Minister of the Supreme Council of Investment in the Sudan. Dr. Abdel-Rahim HAMDI, Former Minister of Finance in the Republic of the Sudan, followed him by presenting opportunities of investment in Sudan. Mr. Fahad Rashid AL IBRAHIM, Director General of the Arab Investment & Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (DHAMAN) also talked about the Arab investment in Sudan. Another high-level participant and speaker of this first session was H.E. Mr. Magdy Hassan YASSIN, State Minister of Finance in the Republic of the Sudan, who presented the Sudanese Economic Framework. Other important speakers to the economic session were: Mrs. Olga ALGARYEROVA, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Slovakia, and Dr. Kurt ALTMANN, Austrian Commercial Councillor for Egypt and Sudan, Ethiopia, South-Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia, who discussed the potential for economic cooperation with Sudan. Two other discussants were: Dr. Jan KAVAN, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and Mr. Mohamed BIN YOUSSEF, Director General of the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organisation (AIDMO).


First Session on “Economy” (c) AACC / philipphutter.com

After the delicious lunch buffet the Second Session of the 6th Arab-Austrian Economic Forum was held on the issue of “European and International Cooperation: Successful Foreign Investments in Sudan”. The introductory notes were given by Mr. Henry HAFEZ, Vice President of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce. After the introduction Mr. Sayed AGHA, Country Representative of the UNDP-Sudan gave some interesting insights on UNDP projects and future cooperation with Sudan. Mr. El Zubair Ahmed EL HASSAN, Chairman of the Kenana Sugar Company and Former Minister of Finance and Economy in the Republic of the Sudan, stressed in his speech on the potential of the agricultural sector in Sudan. He was followed by Dr. Abdulrahman AL-KHIDIR, Governor of the State of Khartoum, who talked about investments in the State of Khartoum. After him, Mr. Taizo NISHIKAWA, Deputy Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), discussed UNIDO projects and future cooperation with Sudan. The discussants in the second session were: Dr. Taj El-Sir MUSTAFA, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gum Arabic Board (GAB), Mr. Ahmad KHALIFA, Member of the Board of Al-Rajhi International for Investment in Saudi Arabia, Mrs. Eng. Widad YAGOUB from the Sudanese Businessmen & Employers Federation and Dr. Emmanuel CAULLIER, an international expert from France.


Second Session on “European and International Cooperation” (c) AACC / philipphutter.com

After a short coffee break it was time for the Third Session which dealt with “Banking & Financing” and was chaired by Dr. Stefan PISTAUER, Regional Manager for Africa and Middle East at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO). The introductory notes of the last session were given by Mr. Badr Eddin MAHMOUD, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Sudan. Then Mr. Kamal EL ZUBAIR from the Al Mal United (Kuwaiti Bank in Sudan) spoke about banking, financing and guarantees in Sudan in general terms. After him, Mr. Khaled HILAL, Representative of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) discussed Islamic Development Bank projects in Sudan. He was followed by Eng. Erwin MARCHHART, Deputy Head of Department of Export Guarantees of the Österreichische Kontrollbank (OeKB), who informed the audience about loans and guarantees. Another important speaker of the third session was Mr. Khalid AL-ZAYER, Senior Public Sector Operations Officer of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), who talked about OFID projects in Sudan. Likewise, H.E. Mr. Magdy Hassan YASSIN, State Minister of Finance in the Republic of the Sudan, gave some additional remarks on banking and financing issues in Sudan. Further discussants were: Mr. Fadi AL FAQIH, CEO of Bank of Khartoum, Mr. Musaddaq Taha AL-MALIK from the Qatar National Bank, Mr. Majid Shamas TOMA from the Czech Export Bank and Mr. Ahmed Amin ABDULLATIF from the Sudanese Youth Businessmen.


Third Session on “Banking & Financing” (c) AACC / philipphutter.com

The Forum was closed with final remarks by Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA, Secretary General of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC), the Chairman’s Summary by Dr. Werner FASSLABEND, President of the Political Academy of Austrian People's Party (PolAk) and the closing statements by Dr. Arnold KAMMEL, Secretary General of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES).

Parallel to the Forum an Exhibition comprised of approx. 20 Austrian and Sudanese exhibitors was convened throughout the day. Companies and institutions such as the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), Dr. Max Huber Realbüro, Emirates Airlines, Lights of Vienna and Austrian State Printing House (OeSD Group), Judith Hornok from Hornok & Partners, were among the Austrian exhibitors, together with a considerable display of Sudanese companies and institutions such as the Ministry of Petroleum, Kenana Sugar Co., GIAD Co, and many others.

Exhibitor’s Area (c) AACC / philipphutter.com

The Austro-Arab Chamber’s Executive Committee – represented by its President Dr. Richard SCHENZ, Vice-President Kommerzialrat Nabil R. KUZBARI, Vice-President Mr. Henry HAFEZ and Secretary General Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA – were present throughout the whole Forum and enjoyed the remarkable interest and positive feedback both to the Forum and the integrated Exhibition for Austrian and Sudanese exhibitors.


Left above: AACC Vice-President KUZBARI – AACC President SCHENZ – AACC Vice-President HAFEZ – AACC Secretary General KHOUJA /// Right above: Vice-Chancellor and Minister SPINDELEGGER greets AACC Vice-President KUZBARI at the Conference /// Below (left-to-right): KHOUJA – SCHENZ – KUZBARI – H.E. Mohammad AL-MALKI, Ambassador of Qatar – H.E. Dr. Zuheir ELWAZER, Ambassador of Palestine – H.E. Dr. Ali EL MHAMDI, Ambassador of Morocco – H.E. Dr. Abdulhakim AL-ERYANI, Ambassador of Yemen – Min.-Counsellor. Ali DROUICHE, Embassy of Algeria (c) AACC / philipphutter.com

The next day, Thursday the 11th October 2012 featured an exclusive Round Table Discussion on the challenges and opportunities of financing investments and business cooperation and trade in Sudan. The round table was held at the headquarters of the Raiffeisen Bank International, whose Director General is Dr. Herbert STEPIC, the AACC's Honorary President for Life. The welcoming address was given by Dr. Gerhard BERGER, Director for Institutional Clients and Financial Institutions & Sovereigns for Africa and the Middle East. Dr. Werner FASSLABEND was chairing the Round Table, which was opened by H.E. Mr. Ali Ahmed KARTI and H.E. Dr. Mustafa Osman ISMAIL with introductory notes. The discussion saw a participation of more than 85 experts from different Austrian and Sudanese institutions and companies, among others: State Minister of Finance in the Republic of the Sudan, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Sudan, Austrian Ministry of Finance, Österreichische Kontrollbank, Arab Investment & Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (DHAMAN), and many more.
 
Round Table Session at Raiffeisen Bank International (c) AACC / philipphutter.com

In the afternoon, more than 30 Austrian and Sudanese companies and businessmen seized the additional opportunity for personal meetings and specific inquiries and network exchange at the Business-to-Business Meeting convened at the Hilton Vienna City.

B-2-B Meeting in the afternoon (c) AACC / philipphutter.com

The 6th Arab-Austrian Economic Forum, the Round Table and the B2B Meeting were all featured and supported by the following media partners: MONITOR TV, Promoters Sudan, Bridges and Milestones in Communication.

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In Turkey Eng. KHOUJA presents advice and precautions for foreign investors in Arab countries

16 October 2012




The Secretary General of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC), Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA, received an invitation from the company Constantia Flexible specialized in packaging technology in the fields of medicine and nutrition, to visit Turkey on October 16, 2012, to participate in the company's annual meeting under the presence of 50 heads of the company's branches from all over world. Eng. KHOUJA gave a presentation on the opportunities and challenges of establishing new projects and investments in the Arab world, as well as on the relationships between the European and Arab countries and their bilateral commerce.

The AACC's Secretary General emphasised the long history of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce and its important role in maintaining the commercial and economic relations between the Arab countries and Austria. He also pointed to various activities organised periodically by the Chamber itself, among which was the 6th Arab-Austrian Economic Forum that took place this year and had its focus on “The Sudan and Europe: Prospects of Cooperation for Regional Peace and Development”. This event was organized in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan in Austria and other organising parties.

Eng. KHOUJA listed advices and precautions for foreign investors who should know who is willing to get involved in work relations and partnership with the Arab countries and pointed to the importance of the investor's full awareness about the country he is heading to invest in. He mentioned that it was also important to know the country's tradition, to learn some Arabic language and to know the possible partners from several parties not only through the electronic websites.

The Secretary General of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce stressed the importance of continuous communication between businessmen and investors with the common Arab chambers in the respective countries. He suggested to get to know the serious partners in the Arab countries in investment and to get closer to the offices of the decision makers through communication networks owned by these chambers, also to check on investment and work in the Arab countries.

Eng. KHOUJA advised the investors and foreign businessmen to get assistance from Arab nationalities for better cooperation in business and for rising their awareness of the language and Arabic tradition. Moreover he recommended not to initiate a dialogue about political or religious matters and also not to mix economic and commercial interests with other interests nothing to do with this field. The Secretary General of the AACC also explained that the Arab countries were considered an investment opportunity for foreigners especially in the sectors of health, transportation, education, tourism and industry, in addition to investments in the fields of oil and energy.

The Constantia Flexible in considered one of the biggest companies specialised in packaging technology in the medical and nutrition fields. The company is employing 5.000 workers distributed in 50 branches all over the world. It worked up a turnover of approximately 1.2 billion US-Dollars in 2011.

 

Sudani Interest in Austrian Technology

21 September 2012

H.E. Minister Dr. Issa BISHRI (middle), Ambassador of Sudan H.E. Mahmoud ELAMIN (left) and Secretary General Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA
His Excellency Dr. Issa BISHRI, the Sudani Minister of Communications and Sciences welcomed in his place of residence in the Austrian capital Vienna,the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce’s Secretary General Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA on September 21st, 2012, who presented a brief look about the Arab-Austrian Chamber activities and the special preparations for the annual conference about Sudan under the focus of "Sudan and Europe - Prospects of Cooperation for Regional Peace and Development"  to take place on October 10th, 2012.

The Minister of Communications and Sciences affirmed the interest of his country in new technologies, especially in the field of Biodiesel. He pointed out that there are strategic measures that the Sudan has taken in this vital field. KHOUJA pointed out that Austria is very interested in providing the Sudan with the latest technologies and to cooperate in this field and that Austria has several types of related technology.

It was agreed that a knowledge transfer from Austria to Sudan discussed during the upcoming conference which is held with the cooperation between the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce and the Embassy of Sudan in Austria, siding with other participating parties.

 

Future Cooperation Prospects between Austria and Sudan
15 September 2012

Minister Ali Ahmed KARTI (Middle), President of PolAk Dr. Werner FASSLABEND (left) and Secretary General Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA
The Secretary General of the Austro Arab Chamber of Commerce, Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA emphasized at there are many fields for cooperation between Austria and Sudan, especially in the fields of the technology of alternate energy, water treatment and the electronic government. Khouja pointed out that the Sudan is considered a promising investment market for Austria; especially since it is rich in natural resources that can be rarely found at one place all over the world.

An Austrian Delegation comprised of Dr. Werner FASSLABEND, the Former Minister of Defense and the Manager of the Austrian Political Academy and Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA, the Secretary General of the Chamber headed to Sudan on September 15, 2012 on a four-day visit. They met with Sudanese Officials from several fields in addition to the preparations for the international conference between Europe and Sudan: Cooperation prospects for peace and development in the area which is supposed to be held in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on October 10th, 2012 in cooperation with the Austro Arab Chamber of Commerce and the Embassy of the Sudan in Austria, as part of the activities of the 6th Arab-Austrian Economic Forum.

On the first day of the visit Khouja met with both, Dr. Taj Alsir MUSTAFA, the Chairman of the Gum Arabic Board, and Mr. Abdul Majid ABDUL QADIR, Secretary General of the Council. During the meeting Taj Alsir explained that Sudan is exporting around 85% of the world's need of glue. He also assured that Sudan has a big interest in cooperating and working on the development of the production of glue and to improve work inside the factory, as Arabic Gum is one of the most important natural resources used in supporting the economy of in Sudan. It is well known that many industries, such as beverages, drugs and sweets depend on Arabic Gum that is exported by Sudan.

Khouja also met Dr. Mohammed Khair ALZUBEIR, the Mayor of the Central Bank of Sudan, and they reviewed the economic situation in the country after the separation, and the ways of compensating the loss of the oil returns through investments. Also the financial situation and the currency in Sudan were discussed.

During a dinner invitation, the Mayor of Khartoum Dr. Abdulrahman ALKHIDIR received the Austrian delegation in the presence of the President of the investment establishment in Khartoum, Eng. Abdulla Ahmad HAMAD. During the meeting, the latest developments in Khartoum were discussed. Khouja also presented the mayor of Khartoum a suggestion from the government of Graz to present the Sudanese capital with tramways. It was coordinated that two of the specialized engineers should travel to Graz to see the trains and their technical features.

During the meeting, the international conference about Sudan in Austria was mentioned and ALKHIDIR suggested three major subjects that need to be discussed during the conference namely transportation, water treatment, irrigation and alternative energy.

On the second day of the visit, Khouja met Mr. Bakri Yousuf OMAR, the Secretary General of the Sudanese Businessmen Union. They discussed investment possibilities with Austria and cooperation aspects with Sudan.

The Secretary General of the Austro Arab Chamber of Commerce also met Mr. Mohammed Al-Murdhi ALTAJANI, the Member of the Kenana Sugar Company, and Mr. Hasan Hashim ORWA, the Manager of Sales and Marketing in the company. KHOUJA was introduced to the company's work and its future projects til the year 2020, also the expansion plans within the work as 800 million dollars were allocated to establish the Blue Nile Company with the cooperation of the Arab Gulf Bank as a financing partner beside other foreign parties.

In the Supreme Council for Investment, Khouja met H.E. Ambassador Ahmad Mahjoob SHAWER, president of the council, and an investment plan in Sudan was reviewed in addition to a film that was played showing the investment opportunities there. It was decided to play this film in the conference which will be held in Vienna.

On the third day of the visit, Eng. Mouddar KHOUJA attended an invitation to the DAL Group Company’s farms, Dairy factories and the poultry areas. Dal also offers as part of their services, free courses for housewives to teach them modern cooking. Khouja also met Tom STEVENS the General Manager of the company who talked about DAL Group's history.

The delegation met the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ali Ahmed KARTI where the issues concerning the conference were presented and the preparations going on in both, the private and public sectors. The delegation also welcomed Dr. Mustafa Othman ISMAIL the Investment Minister, who promised to submit a study at the conference including more resources for energy and an investment plans in the company.

KHOUJA also met the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Faisal Hammad ABDULLA who explained that more than 50 statements were issued to extract gold in several areas of Sudan. ABDULLA talked about the revenues of oil after the separation and how the country faced the loss of 75% from these revenues. He also counted the possibilities of future revenues through an agreement to charge 9 dollars for one oil barrel and 13 dollars for the services. He also met the Minister of Tourism Eng. Mohammed Abdel Kareem ALHUD, who talked about the three major aspects of tourism which are safaris, wild life in the south west of Sudan and the ruins of the pharaohs in the north along the Nile, and the third aspect being the beaches tourism on the red sea which is full of coral herbs.

A conclusion of the visit was meeting the Ambassador of the European Union to Sudan Mr. Tomas OLSHINI where they discussed the new situation in all its aspects. KHOUJA invited all the officials he met during this visit to Sudan to attend the conference and many responded positively. It was decided that the conference activities will take place on Wednesday, October 10th, 2012. 

Country News  
 
Following are recent articles about selected Arab countries:

ALGERIA

Algeria to invest $ 71 billion in energy sector over five years

(Global Arab Network) – Algeria is expected to invest $71 billion in the energy sector over the five coming years, becoming thus the third largest investor in the sector in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, Global Arab Network reports according to Saudi Gazette.

According to a report by the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp), with its $71 billion worth investments in the energy sector over the 2013-17 period, Algeria will hold the third rank after Saudi Arabia with investments totaling $165 billion and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with a $107 billion investment.
With the amounts it is expected to inject in the sector, Algeria will rank ahead of Iran, Iraq and Qatar, according to Apicorp forecasts.
As to the total energy capital investment by MENA oil producing countries, it is expected to amount to $740b for the five-year period 2013-17. Gas producing countries are expected to inject a total investment of $140 billion in the energy sector during the same period.
However, the report underlines, unlike oil investments, natural gas projects that are export-oriented face market uncertainty because international gas prices have significantly deviated from oil parity and are characterized by differences between regional markets.
Compared to past assessments, which have been consistently revised to fully reflect adjustments in the power sector, investment appears to be on the rise again, Apicorp said.

Source: Global Arab Network
 

BAHRAIN

Renewable energy in Bahrain - Major solar project in Awali Township of Manama

(Global Arab Network) – The Kingdom has edged one step closer to developing a viable alternative energy infrastructure with its implementation of a solar energy project in the Awali Township of Manama. The 5MW, utility-scale photovoltaic solar facility was arranged as a joint venture between the National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA), the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO), Caspian Energy Holdings and Petra Solar. The project marks one of the Gulf region’s first tendered utility-scale solar project.

The pilot venture is currently in the developmental phase, with the facility’s functionality and cost-effectiveness within the macro energy sector yet to be determined. Pending proper execution, however, the project may serve as a pioneer for the establishment of a local renewable energy market.
According to Abdul Hussain Ali Mirza, the minister of state for electricity and water affairs, “Following a successful implementation of this pilot project, we expect other projects to follow in the near future. Through strategic alliances with technologically advanced partners, NOGA aims to diversify the energy supply sources that will help achieve the goals of Bahrain Vision 2030.”
The Kingdom currently meets its domestic electricity demand exclusively with fossil fuels – 85% from natural gas and 15% from oil. Vision 2030, a comprehensive plan for economic development through 2030, includes a benchmark for 5-7% of installed capacity to stem from renewable sources.
Yet cost-effectiveness remains a crucial factor for fully integrating an alternative energy infrastructure. Bahrain currently enjoys an adequate supply of natural gas – 1.7bn standard cu feet per day – to meet its industrial, manufacturing and domestic electricity demands. Although the government has moderately raised the price of gas to $2.25 per million British thermal units, an energy subsidy continues to keep the price low, which inhibits the development of a sizable market for alternative energy, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.
In addition to the subsidy, the Kingdom is actively engaged in increasing its oil and gas supply through various enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques, undertaken by the government’s upstream exploratory company, Tatweer, as well as through the development of a large-scale liquefied natural gas import terminal.
Secondary obstacles to an alternative energy segment include high real estate prices and the lack of a legal framework. Land is limited on the 765-sq-km island, and renewable energy projects, particularly solar, require sizable areas for development.
Bahrain also lacks formal legislation that would better facilitate sector development, such as tax incentives or the re-selling of carbon dioxide no longer being used back to the state’s electric grid network. Similarly, there is an absence of legislation regarding a formalised process for integrating electricity output from renewable plants to the grid.
Although the obstacles to wide-scale renewable energy remain significant, the market conditions for renewable technology are continually improving. "In just the past two years, the cost of producing 1 MW of solar energy using American technology has dropped to $2m from $3m,” Rob Sobhani, the president of Caspian Energy Consulting, told CNN in mid-August.
Another policy trend linking to smart technology is Bahrain’s eGovernment initiatives, which aim to apply smart grid technology to several components of infrastructure, such as street lighting, parking meters, automated management systems, and perhaps electric vehicles. The increasingly more affordable technology used for the Petra Solar project may have an important ripple effect for public service systems across Bahrain.
“By conservative estimates from private and government experts, countries in the Middle East plan to invest around $500bn in solar energy over the next two decades,” said Sobhani. With high solar energy performance indicators, growing electricity consumption rates, a renewed debate on subsidy reduction, and uncertainty regarding future domestic energy production and foreign gas suppliers, Bahrain possesses strong potential to develop a viable renewable energy market, with solar energy in particular key to potential future success. (OBG)


                                                                                                                                                          
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JORDAN

Jordan remains confident of solid economic growth

(Global Arab Network) – Officials remain confident of solid economic growth this year, although there are concerns that domestic and regional unrest will leave Jordan falling short of its objectives for 2012, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

At a meeting on September 20 with Masood Ahmed, director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia department, Fayez Al Tarawneh, Jordan’s Prime Minister, said the Kingdom was on the road to recovery, despite the difficulties posed by regional unrest. “We now have a practical and binding economic reform programme that will place the national economy on the right track and bring back growth rates to their anticipated levels,” Tarawneh said.
The IMF has predicted the Jordanian economy will expand by 2.8% in 2012, up on the 2.5% posted in 2011. While below the levels needed to soak up unemployed nationals and create employment for the increasing number of young Jordanians entering the workforce, such a rate of expansion – if achieved – is better than some of Jordan’s neighbours, and indeed, than many developed countries.
However, the rising tide of unrest in the region is lapping at Jordan’s borders, with the largest single threat being from Syria. Current estimates are that some 200,000 Syrians have taken refuge in Jordan, and some estimates predict this number could reach 1m.
In an interview with Agence France-Presse on September 12, King Abdullah II put forward the case for additional economic aid for Jordan as it deals with the crisis. “With the approach of winter and cold desert temperatures, the humanitarian prospect is dire,” he said. “Jordan has a record budget deficit, due mainly to the disruptions in the Egyptian gas supply. The demands on our services infrastructure and limited resources are also high.”
The conflict in Syria has also disrupted Jordan’s main land trade routes to Europe, cutting direct access to Turkey and destinations beyond. However, it is the repeated disruption to the supply of gas from Egypt that is the most costly to the national economy. In the past 18 months, the pipeline has been out of commission 14 times. As a result, industry, transport and basic services have all been impacted.
Concerns over these issues are weighing on the Jordanian public. According to a recent survey conducted by the Centre for Strategic Studies, 70% of citizens consider the economy to be the country’s leading problem, with 40% of respondents believing the economic situation will worsen in the coming months. Such a level of pessimism does not bode well for the retail and services sectors, which are vital to the Jordanian economy, as the public may be reluctant to spend or make investments if they fear a further downturn.
The rising cost of living in Jordan is fuelling fears, with inflation coming in at 4.11% in August, up from the year-on-year figure of 4.02% in July. Meanwhile, the latest reports on the projected deficit have also given cause for concern. In mid-September, Finance Minister Suleiman Hafez said the deficit could reach $4bn this year, taking Jordan’s total debt to $24bn by the end of 2012, up from $20.25bn at the end of 2011, when the budget deficit rose to some 6% of GDP.
Inflation, which the IMF has projected will reach almost 5% this year, could increase further if the government follows through with plans to reduce subsidies on many key products, such as fuel and basic foodstuffs. Recent moves to increase fuel prices, which were quickly reversed, sparked protests in the streets, while other proposals to bridge the deficit by hiking taxes and lower other subsidies have also been met with a cool reception.
However, the government has said it will have to resort to a mix of higher levies and an easing of price support, which currently costs some $3.4bn annually. In mid-September, Shabib Ammari, minister of industry and trade, said if international food and fuel prices rose further, there would be no option for the government but to pass on the costs to the public.
While there may not be any alternative in the government’s efforts to balance the budget, any reduction of the subsidies regime will come at a cost, both political and economic, with a renewed bout of protests likely, along with higher inflation and a probable weakening of GDP growth. Though the government believes it has the policies to encourage growth and achieve a better fiscal position, it may struggle to accommodate the needs of its poorer citizens while also having to cope with tensions on its own borders. (OBG)

KUWAIT

Kuwait makes progress in Global Information and Communications Technology Competitiveness

(Global Arab Network) – Kuwait has moved up 13 positions to 62th place in World Economic Forum's Global Information and Communications Technology report 2012-2013, the Kuwaiti Central Statistical Office (CSO) announced.

CSO hailed the remarkable progress in Kuwait's rank in the report as a clear evidence of upgrade of Kuwait information and telecommunications technology sectors, Global Arab Network reports according to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).
It noted that the electronic and field census of the country's population, buildings and institutions for 2011 has played an important role in the change of Kuwait's rank.
In cooperation with Ministry of Telecommunications, the CSO has updated all data related to information and telecommunication sector in Kuwait and was sent to all relevant international organizations.
The World Economic Forum Index is a key measure for countries advancement in this sector, the statement said.
The Global Competitiveness Index for (2011-2012) has put Kuwait in 75th place on a list including 138 countries.
The statement thanked all CSO staff for their concerted efforts to take Kuwait's rank up in all fields through accurate registration of all sectors' achievements.
 

MAURITANIA

Creating milk industry in Mauritania - Foreign subsidies sour domestic dairy sector

(Global Arab Network) – Women are pioneering Mauritania’s fledgling dairy industry and trying to get Mauritanians to support local small producers, but they face steep competition from the heavily subsidized European milk sector, Global Arab Network reports according to IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks).

Ari Hara, a women's cooperative in Ari Hara Village, turns milk into sweetened yoghurt, which is supplied to shops in the nearest town, Boghé, 350km southeast of Nouakchott. Since the cooperative was established in 2009, it has helped its members - who practise farming and pastoralism - ensure their families have enough to eat in times of drought.
They could increase sales if they had the capacity to market their yoghurt in towns farther away, for which they would need better roads and a refrigerated van. The local NGO Association mauritanienne pour l’auto-développement (the Mauritanian Association for the Self Development, AMAD) raised about US$30,000 to help Ari Hara set up the business, but it does not have the funds to help them expand. But it is not only Ari Hara that should extend the reach of its dairy products - the entire country should, as well, experts say.
The Mauritanian market is flooded with cheap milk products imported from Europe. Sixty percent of the population depends on the livestock sector in some form for income, and the sector contributes almost eight percent to the country's GDP, yet the country imports 65 percent of its milk requirements, a joint report produced by the NGOs Intermon Oxfam , ACORD and AMAD noted.
Nancy Abeiderrahmane, a British engineer married to a Mauritanian, established Tiviski, Africa’s first camel-milk dairy, in Nouakchott in 1987. At the time, there was no fresh milk available in the markets in Nouakchott. Powdered or ultra-high temperature milk imported from Europe and elsewhere was the only product available.
"She had to struggle to find the funds, and finally La caisse centrale de coopération économique [Central Fund for Economic Cooperation] lent her about a million French francs [about US$195,000]."
But money was not the only problem. Perhaps the biggest was milk collection, as the pastoralists could not sustain a supply throughout the year, particularly during dry conditions. To address this, Abeiderrahmane created an NGO called the Association of Milk Producers of Tiviski (APLT), which offers animal feed on credit at low prices and recovers the loans in milk payments. APLT also provides veterinary care and medicine, as well as extension services related to animal hygiene and feeding.
She also had to address the stigma attached to selling milk. "Selling milk was [regarded as] something to be ashamed of, because it was seen as something only the poorest and most desperate people would do," said a UN Development Programme (UNDP) paper, which used Abeiderrahmane's efforts as a case study. "She had to convince the pastoralists to sell, to organize," said Maryam.
Today, Tiviski, which means ‘spring’ in Arabic, collects between 10,000 to 20,000 litres of milk a day from about 1,000 pastoralists. "The only condition is that the milk should not contain any water and the container it is brought in should be clean," said Maryam. Tiviski now also sells goat and cow's milk.
Unable to compete
But European milk products continue to stifle domestic dairies like Tiviski. Poor producers in Mauritania are unable to compete with the heavily subsidized milk sector in developed countries in Europe and elsewhere, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noted in its report. Why has Africa Become a Net Food Importer? Between 1986 and 2007, industrialized countries provided at least $20 billion worth of support to their milk sectors, the report noted.
Across West Africa, customs duties are low, and "local farmers are squeezed out of the dairy value chain by subsidized European milk powder," said Concord, the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development, in its 2011 report.
"Regional production is therefore unable to meet domestic market demands. In Burkina Faso, nearly one out of every two litres of milk consumed in the country was imported in 2006, and in urban areas the figure was as high as 9/10 litres. European subsidized milk powder accounted for half of the cheap imports. Today, unfair market conditions continue to undermine local milk production," the report noted.
The European Commission, in an effort to mitigate the impact of its subsidies, in 1984 introduced a quota on the amount of milk that it could produce, which would inhibit dumping surpluses in developing countries’ markets. The Commission also banned export subsidies for dairy farmers in 2008. However, in 2009, when production slumped and milk prices hit a record high, it reintroduced export subsidies for dairy farmers, and its quota arrangement is expected to be eliminated in 2015.
But the local milk sector also needs to get organized, and government support will be critical to their efforts. Between 30 and 40 percent of locally produced milk in West Africa is wasted or lost because pastoralists do not have the knowledge or the capacity to process their surplus, pointed out Anthony Bennett, a dairy expert at FAO.
Reversing this trend could very well save lives. Jean-Bosco Mofiling, from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Mauritania, noted that helping pastoralists realize the potential of marketing and selling their surplus milk could make them more resilient, better enabling them to withstand the region’s increasingly frequent droughts. (IRIN)
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MOROCCO

Foreign energy companies: Morocco investing in oil and gas

(Global Arab Network) – As Morocco remains heavily dependent on fossil fuel imports, which is then provided at below-market rates to local consumers, the state is working to minimise the energy sector’s impact on public finances by stimulating local production and reducing fuel subsidies. While Morocco has very little proven oil and gas reserves, it is also one of the most under-explored countries, and as deep water deposits become increasingly accessible thanks to improved drilling techniques, growing interest from foreign oil companies highlights the potential for the sector, Global Arab Network reports according to (OBG)
The state has moved to encourage exploration and amended the Hydrocarbons Law to offer more attractive terms for new market entrants, including an initial 10-year tax exemption and oil and gas royalty rates that do not exceed 10% or 5%, respectively. Around 30 foreign firms, including the US-based Anadarko Petroleum and Spain-based Repsol, began conducting surveys in on- and offshore blocks earlier this year. In addition, a handful of companies looking to expand their portfolios have bought into offshore licences in recent months.
In late August, British oil company Cairn Energy bought a second stake in offshore oil and gas exploration. Company officials indicated that Cairn would contribute $60m for a 50% stake in the Foum Draa block and farm-in as an operator.
Cairn will become the majority stakeholder, sharing the licence with the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM, 25%), and smaller explorers San Leon Energy (14.2%), Serica Energy (8.3%), and Longreach Oil and Gas (2.5%). Exploratory drilling on one or more deep water wells is slated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2013, pending regulatory approval.
London-listed company Genel Energy also assumed ownership of the offshore Sidi Moussa licence in August by purchasing a 60% stake at a maximum estimated cost of $50m. Until recently, Genel’s operations have been focused in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq; the Morocco purchase and a simultaneous purchase off the coast of Malta represent the company’s first foray into offshore exploration.
Morocco is also working to increase downstream operations, with the aim of becoming an exporter in refined products. Its sole oil refinery, operated by the Société Anonyme Marocaine de l’Industry de Raffinage (SAMIR), is located in the port city of Mohammedia and has a processing capacity of roughly 6.5m tonnes per year.
In August, SAMIR launched commercial use of a new crude distillation unit with the capacity to process 80,000 barrels per day, boosting total capacity to 200,000 barrels per day. Executives reported to Reuters that the new unit is expected to add an additional 4m tonnes of refined oil per year. SAMIR also announced the launch of a Jet A-1 fuel refinery unit with a capacity of 600,000 tonnes per year. The company issued a tender in early August for the sale of 60,000 tonnes of jet fuel, which is expected to be delivered in late September.
Public and private sector officials have expressed optimism that deep water exploratory drilling will yield results in the coming years, and an increased refinery capacity should help to bring in revenue. Nonetheless, Morocco remains heavily dependent on imports of fossil fuels; the country imported 93% of its energy needs in 2010, and fossil fuels represented 87% of total energy consumption. As local energy demand increases rapidly, the energy sector will continue to weigh heavily on public finances in the medium term.
In its effort to decrease the energy sector’s impact on the economy, renewables have been made an increasingly important component of the consumption mix but in June the state also introduced a reform package that will gradually dismantle fuel subsidies. Government spending on these subsidies skyrocketed from Dh7.07bn (€635.77m) in 2009 to Dh22bn (€1.98bn) in 2010, placing a major strain on public finances.
Subsidies on food staples such as flour and sugar will also be reduced under the reform package, and the state will provide direct assistance to poorer segments of the population to make up for higher food and fuel prices. The first change was implemented on June 2, which raised the price of fuel by up to 27%, the sharpest single increase in several years.
As a result, inflation nearly doubled in June to reach an annual rate of 1.9%. In monthly terms, inflation rose by 0.5% from May to June, driven largely by a 4% increase in transport costs. To combat this rapid increase, the government slowed the implementation of the reform package, which brought annual inflation forecasts down by one percentage point to 1.5%.
While rising energy demand and limited domestic resources mean that Morocco will remain an energy importer in the long term, fiscal reform should help to decrease public spending. New exploratory drilling projects may open the door for higher domestic production and processing, thus reducing lower import bills, though considerable investment will be needed to equip the sector with the adequate infrastructure to do so. (OBG)

Source: Global Arab Network
OMAN  

Oman spending multi-billion on new infrastructure

(Global Arab Network) - Activity in project spending in Oman continues to be strong with the Tender Board allotting more than $ 3.2 billion (RO 1.4 billion) till the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2012, Global Arab Network reports according to local media in Oman.

The country currently has road and bridge projects worth RO 3.08 billion under way, planned rail project of over RO 2 billion and several ports and airports, in line with the government’s efforts to improve its regional transportation infrastructure. As a result of the large-scale project spending, the infrastructure majors in Oman are expected to be the key beneficiaries.
“With the relative aggressiveness shown by the Tender Board to implement the projects, the coming quarters will see stronger flow of tenders for more projects coming up in Oman”, Kanaka Sundar, Head of Research, Gulf Baader Capital Markets says. To aid to the spending is the Sultanate’s rising revenues, which soared to RO 8.754 billion, an increase of 38.4 per cent at end of July this year compared to RO 6.326 billion during the same period last year.
With oil prices stabilising above $100 per barrel in the past months, oil and gas revenue rose by 34 per cent to reach RO 6.374 billion year-on-year after setting aside a portion of the revenues to the reserve funds. Revenues from gas sales recorded RO 985 million, up from the RO 597 million accrued in the same period a year earlier. Oman’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at market prices grew rapidly during the last two years to reach RO 27.95 billion in 2011 after a global cyclical downturn in 2009. As of the end of the first quarter of this year, GDP at market prices stood at RO 7.37 billion compared to that of RO 6.2 billion for the same quarter last year. According to a statement published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), that forecasted a real GDP growth of 5.5 per cent for 2011, economic activity is accelerating in Oman and the economy is set for continued expansion in 2012 driven by new oil extraction technologies and increasing government spending.
The IMF has projected a growth of 5 per cent for the current year and fiscal surplus is expected to stay high at around 8 per cent for the year. With the government entering into the penultimate plan of its Vision 2020 strategy, the overall allocation towards various development projects including roads, ports, housing, airports, health and service sectors has reached about RO 12 billion.
The government is expected to spend an average of RO 2 billion per year over the next five years on various infrastructure projects. The project investments during the Eighth Five-Year Plan stand at RO 30.487 billion, including an additional allocation of RO 1.6 billion towards infrastructure projects in the Budget 2012. Oman expects to boost spending in its 2011-2015 development plan by a whopping 113 per cent as it expects high oil prices and is pursuing plans to boost crude output.
Further, the government plans to enhance its budget spending by 10 per cent for the year 2013, generating additional demand for infrastructure related industries and services. Around 40 per cent of the revenues of the most industries in Oman come from exports to the UAE which is expected to improve further amid signs of recovery in Dubai’s property market.


Source: Global Arab Network
 

  PALESTINE 

Palestine: $ 254 million project - Qatar to rebuild Gaza


(Global Arab Network) – Qatar has launched a $254 million (157.6 million pounds) plan to rebuild and modernise Gaza, the biggest injection of reconstruction aid for the Palestinian enclave since it was devastated in an Israeli military offensive nearly four years ago, Global Arab Network reports according to Reuters.

Projects announced at a news conference by Qatari ambassador Mohammed Al-Amadi will require the cooperation of Israel and Egypt to admit building materials and heavy machinery to Gaza, which is under a partial blockade.
Amadi said this had been arranged. Work would begin on site within three months, starting with a highway that will run the length of the Mediterranean coastal strip. The projects are of sufficient scale to transform Gaza and the lives of its 1.6 million people, 28 percent of whom are unemployed.
Economists said thousands of jobs would be created by local contractors who have won tenders to do the work and smaller businesses that will supply and service them.
The Islamist Hamas movement which rules Gaza welcomed the announcement as proof that Gaza had emerged from isolation. An aide to Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh called it "the first drop of rain".
Hamas is shunned by the West as a terrorist organisation because it is pledged to destroy Israel. But its position is shifting: ties to Shi'ite Muslim Iran have loosened over the past year and it has grown closer to the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood which now governs Egypt and the conservative Arab Gulf state of Qatar.
Qatar's envoy said politics played no role in the emirate's aid decision, but acknowledged that the government of Gaza would ultimately benefit, in addition to the people.
"The policy of the state of Qatar is that we make the projects, we design them, we finance them, and once they are finished we hand them over to the relevant ministry," he said. This is the policy of Qatar everywhere we act and Gaza is no exception." (Reuters)

 

SAUDI ARABIA 

One of the largest markets - Saudi automotive market to hit $ 7 billion

(Global Arab Network) – Saudi Arabia has evolved into one of the largest automotive markets in the world with the estimated value of the sector poised to hit around SR26 billion ($ 7 billion) in the coming years, Global Arab Network reports according to a press release.

The value includes direct sales, spare parts and accessories, and after-sales services, said the experts.
With an estimated 75 per cent of all Saudi males of driving age owning at least one vehicle, the Kingdom’s high automobile penetration rate has been driving the rapid growth of the country’s auto parts and after-sales service market, while creating opportunities for leading international brands to sustain their expansion initiatives in the Kingdom and across the region.
Recent statistics from the Board of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce confirm that the Kingdom has become one of the largest automotive markets rolling out around 700,000 vehicles in 2011.
Saudi automotive companies typically augment their market share by driving up competitiveness in genuine spare parts, providing superb after-sales services and introducing new vehicles for different audiences whether individuals or companies.
With this in mind, Suzuki Saudia, the sole distributor of Suzuki vehicles in the Kingdom and part of the Bamarouf Group, has decided to introduce the new 2013 Suzuki Swift DZire sedan.
The move reflects the company’s strategic expansion within the Saudi automotive sector, especially as the Kingdom is enjoying steady economic and business growth and is witnessing heightened demand for vehicles.
The Swift DZire offers a perfect suspensions – the front integrating a MacPherson strut with coil spring and the rear featuring a torsion beam with coil spring – provide higher mounting rigidity and confident stability, said a senior official.
Maher Al Nabawi, the deputy GM of Suzuki Saudia, said, “The Swift DZire is perfect for small- and medium-sized families, young drivers, and sedan enthusiasts who want a small mid-sized vehicle that can deliver high standards of performance, safety, luxury, and durability."
"Drivers will definitely enjoy its workhorse capabilities and how it deftly handles on the roads," Al Nabawi added.
 

TUNISIA

New uprising - Access to information takes its next steps in Tunisia

(Global Arab Network) – One could easily think that in Tunisia the "International Right to Know" day would be a celebration. As a result of the January 2011 uprising, the country hosts one of the most progressive access to information laws in the region, its press is active, and civil society has flourished. But what I experienced last Friday was hardly a celebration – it was work.

Before the revolution, the Tunisian government and its ministries were a black box. Trying to get information from the government was challenging. A government that restricted not only criticism, but also YouTube, wasn’t keen on providing such basic information as ministry activities or development reports, let alone the kinds of things that would allow its citizens to hold it accountable – like its budget. Journalists or activists who dug too deeply faced harassment or arrest.
In fact, Tunisia’s 2011 uprising was caused, in part, by frustration over the state’s lack of transparency and accountability. Regulations were applied selectively, jobs were given out to cronies, and dissent could land you in jail. It was a government closed off and unresponsive to its citizens.
With a society starved for information, dissent, and debate, one of the first victories of the revolution was the un-censoring of the media and internet. Media outlets, citizen journalists, and civil society organizations (CSOs) grew like mushrooms – with a vow that never again would they be forced to shut up. In May 2011, just four months after the uprising, Tunisia’s interim government signed the country’s first access to information law. The new law obligated the government, for the first time, to respond to citizen demands for information and to proactively disclose information and data. With support from the World Bank, the law was based on the latest international standards for citizen access to information.
And yet, last Friday, as access to information activists gathered on Right to Know day, there was no self-congratulatory fanfare – there was work, questions, and more work. At a conference organized by Tunisian CSO "Touensa" and sponsored by the World Bank Institute and the Sustainable Development Department at the MENA Vice-presidency, the issue of the day was the nuts and bolts of implementing the new law. CSOs and media organisations dedicated to government accountability, transparency and openness were all present to push the agenda – and there were signs the government is listening. Last May, the government issued its first circular instructing ministries how to disseminate information to the public.
But the work is far from over. As the Tunisian government speaker wrapped up his presentation on what the government has done and what its next steps are, he was peppered with questions from the audience – they were urging the government to hurry – they needed information – and they were not going to take "no" for an answer. At issue is not just the legal framework, but the practical steps needed to get information from the ministry to its citizens. In ministries not accustomed to transparency, it is not just new rules that are needed, but a major cultural shift. Last Friday’s event was one opportunity for the Tunisian government to understand what information was needed and for activists to understand the constraints faced by the government.
The World Bank, for its part, is helping on both the supply and the demand side through its support for an ongoing dialogue between the Tunisian government and civil society to foster collaboration among them. On the supply side, the government needs new systems to classify, disseminate, and archive information. On the demand side, CSOs, the media, and citizens have discussed the importance of an online platform to request information – and the need to raise awareness among the citizens about their right to information. Tunisians are also learning through a MENA regional dialogue and knowledge sharing project, also sponsored by the World Bank.
Tunisia has come a long way since 2011 - but better laws only go so far. Tunisians are now embarking on their next phase – holding their government to account and taking the lead in the development of their country.
Global Arab Network by Erik Churchill.


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 

UAE: Tourism sector continues to exceed expectations in Ras Al Khaimah

(Global Arab Network) – Ras Al Khaimah’s (RAK’s) tourism sector continues to exceed expectations, with visitor arrivals well up on forecasts and overseas investment flowing in. However, the emirate faces stiff competition in a crowded market to develop brand recognition, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.

According to data issued by the RAK Tourism Development Authority (TDA), the emirate hosted 523,568 visitors in the first five months of the year, well over the forecast of 500,000 for the opening half of 2012. This increase in visitor numbers saw occupancy rates at beachside hotels and resorts rise to 82%, up by 6% over the same period in 2011, while those in city hotels climbed to 73%.
To help maintain that performance, the government has budgeted $500m in investments for tourism developments up to the end of 2013, mixing new hotel construction with other hospitality facilities and improved infrastructure. The emirate hopes to attract 1.2m visitors by 2013. In addition to state-backed investment, the government is working to attract further overseas capital. The Intercontinental Hotels Group is the latest to enter the RAK market, announcing it would open a 442-room Crowne Plaza RAK in 2015 with Kuwait-based Al Madina Real Estate Development.
While the sector is performing well and new developments are rolling off the drawing board, it can be difficult for a relatively small destination to make a major impact, particularly when local competition is fierce. According to Victor Louis, the COO of the RAK TDA, some of the smaller tourism destinations in the UAE, such as RAK, can at times be overshadowed by the profile of Dubai, an early entrant into the tourism sector and which has long focused on building up its brand in the market.
“There is a perception at the moment that you land in Dubai and you stay in Dubai,” Louis told a meeting of senior UAE tourism officials on September 24. “The problem is that Dubai started early and now the other emirates are following, each with their own branding exercises.” One option that Louis put forward was for the national government to do more to promote the UAE as a tourism destination as a whole, rather than each of the seven constituent emirates going their own way.
While a national approach to tourism promotion could see visitors spend time in each of the emirates, it may be difficult to sell the idea of a roaming holiday across the country, rather than one based around a single hotel or resort.
Though RAK has advocated a joint approach to tourism promotion, it is also determined to go its own way as well, turning to social media in an attempt to raise its profile. In early September, the RAK TDA unveiled a new iPhone and iPad application allowing subscribers to “try before you buy” through detailed information on the emirate’s hotels, resorts and restaurants, as well as other tourism information.
As well as looking to raise its profile through promotional activities, RAK is seeking to improve visitor access to the emirate by launching a domestic air service. The initial plan calls for four flights per week between RAK and Abu Dhabi, with the frequency shifting to daily flights by the end of this year and up to two per day by the end of the third quarter of 2013. With the flights taking just 45 minutes and costing $112 roundtrip, RAK Airways is targeting both business customers and holidaymakers.
Currently none of the other UAE-based airlines offer domestic services, meaning that the launch of RAK Airway’s new service in October will give it an edge over its rivals. The increase in tourism arrivals this year, along with the expected higher demand due to the new domestic flight schedule, has prompted the carrier to embark on a fleet expansion programme, with the airline looking to double its fleet by the end of 2012.
It will take some time to see if RAK Airways’ new domestic strategy takes off with travellers, though by offering a quick and easy link to and from the emirate, it could well take RAK to another level as a destination. (OBG)
Source: Global Arab Network

  YEMEN 

World Bank offers best efforts and expertise to support for transition process in Yemen

(Global Arab Network) – Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, committed his institution’s best efforts and expertise to Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Al-Hadi, Global Arab Network reports according to press release.

This follows the second successful round of pledging by the international community at the Friends of Yemen meeting in New York where an additional US$1.5 billion brought to nearly US$8 billion the amount committed to the country’s recovery.
The support pledged will go towards the implementation by President Al-Hadi’s government of its 18-month economic reconstruction and recovery plan, the Transitional Program for Stabilization and Development. The plan was supported by an extensive assessment of the social and economic effects of the recent political crisis in Yemen conducted by the World Bank, United Nations, European Union and Islamic Development Bank (http://bit.ly/PWgmml).
“President Al-Hadi has launched a vitally important project to give all Yemenis a say over the country’s future,” said Kim. “The World Bank Group will put its very best efforts and expertise behind this ambitious plan. The challenges Yemen faces today of poverty, extreme hunger and instability demand the ongoing and united support of the entire international community.”
In addition to the recently completed social and economic assessment, the World Bank is currently managing 19 projects in Yemen with a total commitment of US$700 million, and has pledged to add US$400 million in additional resources over the next two years. Consultations have been held with government officials and across a broad spectrum of Yemeni civil society to develop an Interim Strategy Note (ISN) to guide the Bank’s engagement in Yemen over the next eighteen months. The ISN will be based around four overarching goals: the promotion of economic stability; protection of the poor and vulnerable; revitalization of the private sector as the future source of growth; and making government more accountable to its citizens and better able to deliver vital services.
A year of political unrest in Yemen brought an end to the 33-year rule of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Following the signing of a Gulf Cooperation Council initiative in November, 2011 a Government of National Reconciliation was formed, and President Al-Hadi was confirmed as interim president.
A two-year transition process has been launched that will oversee the writing of a new constitution and culminate in new presidential elections. But as the government tackles these challenges, Yemen is also on the edge of a humanitarian crisis, with unstable security conditions due to ongoing hostility. One third of the population – 10 million Yemenis – are food insecure, and one million children under 5 are malnourished. Increased militancy in the south has displaced 150,000 people since May 2011.


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New Members  

The AACC is honoured to welcome its NEW MEMBERS from August-October 2012:

AUSTRIA TREND HOTEL EUROPA

Our new member is just a few steps away from the AACC headoffice: Austria Trend Hotel Europa Wien ****

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Please find your special conditions at the Hotel Europa Wien for AACC Member: Link with the PDF agreement.


For more details 
click here.

Austria Trend Hotel Europa / Hotel Astoria
Verkehrsbüro Hotellerie GmbH
A: Kärntner Straße 32-34, 1010 Wien
T: +43/1/51577-400
F: +43/1/51577-82
M: +43/664/62 58 647
E:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
W: www.austria-trend.at or http://www.austria-trend.at/Hotel-Europa-Wien/en/
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Contact: Ms. Liana Reichl, General Manager


DOROTHEUM


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Kathrein Privatbank
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LIGHTS OF VIENNA
 
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T: 02236 / 25722-33
F: +43 (0)50550-4150
E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
W: www.lightsofvienna.com

SINGER ANALYTICS
 
Die Analysen und Berichte von singeranalytics sind auf die Bedürfnisse von Entscheidungsträgern zugeschnitten. Die Fülle und Unterschiedlichkeit makroökonomischer Daten steht regelmäßig im Widerspruch zu dem Bedürfnis der Unternehmen nach klaren Aussagen. Gleichzeitig ist aber die Kenntnis über branchen- und länderspezifische Trends unverzichtbar. Erst sie erlaubt die Bestimmung der Position relativ zu den Mitbewerbern. bzw. stellt den Grundstein für taktische und strategische Unternehmensentscheidungen dar.

singeranalytics schließt diese Lücke und erstellt Analysen und Berichte aus dem Blickwinkel der Unternehmen.


Singeranalytics
A: Plenergasse 3/11, 1180 Wien
M: +43 699 1819 8242
E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
W: www.singeranalytics.com

Contact: Mr. Rainer Singer


 Announcements
 
The AACC is pleased to circulate the following announcements (English/German)
by its esteemed cooperation partners and members
(please be invited to contact us if you are interested to publish an announcement in this section):


 
► AUSTRIA TREND HOTEL EUROPA

Special Promotion: AACC Members & Partners have access to special conditiona at the Hotel Europa Vienna!

Please find your special conditions at the Hotel Europa Wien for AACC Member: Link with the PDF agreement.


For more details 
click here.

Contact: Mrs. Natalia MORVAY B.Sc., Director of Sales, Austria Trend Hotel Europa / Hotel Astoria
Tel:
+43/1/51577-400 M: +43/664/62 58 647 E:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
W: www.austria-trend.at or http://www.austria-trend.at/Hotel-Europa-Wien/en/
 
 

► EMIRATES AIRLINES


New accounts that register during the promotion period which runs from 01OCT12 until 30NOV12 with following parameter:

• 10000 BR Miles will be awarded
• The organisation must register between 1 October and 30 November 2012
• The Bonus Miles will awarded on the completion of the first flight activity
• First flight activity, travel must be completed by 31 March 2013
• Miles will be credited in the normal accrual process, on the 17th of month after travel is completed.
• One-time bonus only

More information on following link !

Contact:
Anton Bily, Sales Manager
Emiates Airlines
Mahlerstrasse 12/6
Vienna, Austria
T: +43 1 5326028 101 | M: +43 676 6909013 W: emirates.at


Gourmet Consult - consulting & trade GmbH


Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
dear connoisseurs,

Are you looking for the perfect gift for a special event or for a small gift for a dinner invitation?

Ask GourmetConsult! There you will find special gifts for each occasion.

Bringing flowers from the shop across the street or a good bottle of wine – that’s what most people bring as a gift, but to be honest, there has to be something more special and out of the ordinary.

We have spent hours of searching, tasting and finally enjoying in order to find the perfect gifts!

The results of our quest are presented in the attached gift brochure – it could be a source of inspiration for you.

However, if you prefer to stick to bringing champagne or wine as a gift, we can also assist you perfectly.
We also offer excellent champagne and wines that are really special, in taste as well as in price.

Enjoy browsing through the pages of our brochure.

Contact:
Ms. Doris Neubauer
GourmetConsult-consulting & trade GmbH
kantgasse 3/2, a-1010 vienna, austria
tel +43 1 523 07 87 - 27, fax +43 1 526 65 10, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , www.egourmetshop.eu

 
► OeKB Oesterreichische Kontrollbank Aktiengesellschaft

Änderung bei Soft Loan-Empfängerländern

Mit Wirkung ab 27. Juli 2012 ist gemäß Weltbankklassifizierung der Soft Loan-Status für die Länder China, Ecuador, Jordanien, Thailand und Tunesien weggefallen.
Aufgrund des Rahmenabkommens über die finanzielle Kooperation zwischen Österreich und Tunesien ist sichergestellt, dass über Antrag der österreichischen Exportwirtschaft entsprechende Einzelprojekte in dieses Land noch bis Juli 2013 notifiziert werden können. Bei Umsetzung dieser Projekte bis Juli 2015 ist somit eine Finanzierung zu Soft Loan-Konditionen möglich. Für Details kontaktieren Sie bitte das Team der Kreditabteilung.

Contact:
OeKB - Oesterreichische Kontrollbank Aktiengesellschaft
1010 Wien, Am Hof 4;
Strauchgasse 3

T: +43 1 53127-0 | F: +43 1 53127-5262 | W: www.oekb.at, www.exportservice.at


SITTE VIENNA


Wir haben Zuwachs bekommen!


Nicht nur in Form der neuen Kollektion, die mit kräftigen Farben aufwartet. Zu den Highlights zählen feminine Kleider, die auch am Weihnachtsabend oder in der Silvesternacht eine gute Figur machen dürften, sowie edel-weiche Mäntel aus 100% extrafeiner Merinowolle.
Entdecken Sie das neue Mode Trio Sitte Vienna, chice Kleider aus Paris und die Modemarke Mura. Ob Kostüm, Kleid, Hosenanzug oder Outdoor Mantel. Diese Mode zieht an und hat Raffinesse. Wir laden Sie ganz herzlich zu unserer Präsentation ein.

Wo: der Kunstraum in den Ringstrassen Galerien (neben Strassl Exklusiv Coiffeur)
Wann: 15.11.2012 von 16.00 bis 21.00 Uhr
Um Anmeldung wird gebeten unter:
0664- 91 81 356 und 0664- 82 08 442

PDF Flyer: see here

Kontakt für weiterführende Informationen und Rückfragen:

Mag. Marion Herz‐Degenkolb
T: 0664‐9181356


► X-PLUS MANAGEMENT GmbH

Nehmen Sie teil an einem der bekannten X-plus-(Herbst)-Symposien, z.B.  Dienstag, den 06.11. in Wien zum Thema

Effektive Umsatzoptimierung am POS (Online / Offline)- Wertvolle Ideen .. oder was Ihre Kunden wirklich wollen !

Lassen Sie sich vom Know How international erfahrener POS-Experten inspirieren und steigern Sie Ihren Umsatz regional wie inter/national ! Analysieren Sie Ihre POS-Aktivitäten mit neuesten Innovationen und erfahren Sie dabei die Trends für 2013 ! Ihre Investition beträgt bei einer Anmeldung bis zum 26.10. (für Wien) nur EUR 89,00 statt EUR 199,00 (jew. netto) ! Achtung, die Teilnehmerzahl ist für beide Male limitiert !

Bei Interesse senden Sie uns einfach eine Rückantwort mit Teilnahmebestätigung. Bei Rückfragen stehen Ihnen unter Tel.: +43-(0)662-881800 die Herren Ohms und Faulhaber gerne zur Verfügung !

P.S.
Nutzen Sie beim Symposium – kraft unserer Einladung – das anschliessende „GET TOGETHER“ bei Antipasti und Wein und tauschen Sie Ihre Erfahrungen mit allen Experten sowie den anderen Gästen aus !

PDF Infofolder: 
See Folder
  Arabic - بالعربية 
 
 
 
الخوجه يقدم نصائح ومحاذير للمستثمرين الأجانب في الدول العربية

بدعوة من شركة Constantia Flexible المتخصصة في تكنولوجيا التغليف في المجال الطبي والغذائي، توجه الأمين العام لغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية المهندس مضر الخوجه إلى تركيا يوم الثلاثاء 16 أكتوبر 2012؛ للمشاركة في الاجتماع السنوي للشركة بحضور 50 من رؤساء فروع الشركة في جميع أنحاء العالم؛ حيث قدم عرضا حول فرص وتحديات إقامة مشاريع والدخول في استثمارات في الوطن العربي. كما استعرض الخوجه العلاقات بين الدول الأوروبية والدول العربية وحجم التبادل التجاري بينهما.
وألقى الخوجه الضوء على تاريخ غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية والدور الذي تؤديه من أجل تعزيز العلاقات الاقتصادية والتجارية بين الدول العربية والنمسا. وأشار الخوجه إلى الفعاليات التي تنظمها الغرفة دوريا، ومن بينها المنتدى الاقتصادي العربي النمساوي السادس الذي أقامته الغرفة هذا العام تحت عنوان السودان وأوروبا: آفاق التعاون من أجل السلام والتنمية في المنطقة، وذلك بالتعاون مع سفارة دولة السودان لدى النمسا وعدد من الجهات التنظيمية الأخرى.
وعدد الخوجه النصائح والمحاذير التي يفضل أن يلجأ إليها المستثمر الأجنبي الذي يرغب بالدخول في علاقات عمل وشراكة مع الدول العربية، مشيرا إلى ضرورة أن يكون المستثمر على دراية بالدولة التي يتجه إلى الاستثمار فيها، والتعرف على العادات والتقاليد المألوفة، مع النصح بتعلم بعض من الكلمات العربية، والتعرف على الشركاء المحتملين من أطراف متعددة وليس فقط عن طريق المواقع الإلكترونية.
وبهذا الصدد أكد الخوجه على ضرورة تواصل رجال الأعمال والمستثمرين مع الغرف العربية المشتركة في دولهم للتعرف على الشركاء الجادين في الدول العربية في مجال الاستثمار والاقتراب من دوائر صنع القرار عبر شبكات الاتصالات التي تمتلكها هذه الغرف، وكذلك الوقوف على أجواء الاستثمار والعمل في الدول العربية.
كما نصح الأمين العام للغرفة المستثمرين ورجال الاعمال الأجانب بالاستعانة بمواطنين عرب لتسهيل التعامل في مجال الأعمال، لما لهم من دراية باللغة والعادات والتقاليد العربية.
وحذر الخوجه من المبادرة إلى الحديث عن أمور تتعلق بالسياسة والدين، إلى جانب عدم الخلط بين الاهتمامات الاقتصادية والتجارية واهتمامات أخرى بعيدة عن هذا المجال.
كما أكد أمين عام الغرفة على أن المنطقة العربية تعد منطقة فرص استثمارية للأجانب، وخاصة في مجالات الصحة والنقل والتعليم والسياحة والصناعة، بالإضافة إلى الاستثمار في قطاع النفط والطاقة.
وتعد شركة Constantia Flexible من أكبر الشركات في العالم المتخصصة في مجال تكنولوجيا التغليف في المجال الطبي والغذائي والمشروبات. ويعمل بالشركة 5000 عامل بـ50 فرع للشركة في العديد من دول العالم. وقد حققت الشركة عائدات في عام 2011 تقدر بنحو 1.2 مليار دولار.

 
          

             
 
اتفاق على تعزيز التعاون بين النمسا والسودان في المجال الاقتصادي

                                                      
                            

اختتم المؤتمر الدولي السودان وأوروبا: آفاق التعاون من أجل السلام والتنمية في المنطقة، والمنبثق عن المنتدى الاقتصادي العربي النمساوي السادس، أعماله مساء يوم الأربعاء 10 أكتوبر 2012 في العاصمة النمساوية فيينا، بإصدار بيان ختامي أكد على عدد من القضايا، شملت سبل التعاون والتنمية بين كل من السودان والنمسا، وكذا السودان والدول الأوروبية، والأوضاع السياسية في جمهورية السودان بعد انفصال دولة جنوب السودان، والإمكانيات الحاضرة والمستقبلية من أجل تحفيز الاستثمار في السودان، سواء من الدول العربية أو من النمسا وأوروبا، وتشكيل الهيئات الاقتصادية المشتركة بين كل من السودان والنمسا لفتح مزيد من آفاق التعاون وتبادل الخبرات والاستثمارات بين البلدين.
فتحت رعاية كريمة من معالي الدكتور ميشائيل شبيندليجر، نائب المستشار النمساوي وزير الشؤون الأوروبية والدولية، ومعالي الأستاذ علي أحمد كرتي، وزير خارجية السودان، انعقد يوم الأربعاء 10 أكتوبر/ تشرين الأول 2012 المنتدى الاقتصادي العربي النمساوي السادس، تحت عنوان: مؤتمر دولي في فيينا – السودان وأوروبا: آفاق التعاون من أجل السلام والتنمية في المنطقة. وقام بالإعداد للمؤتمر، الذي حضره وزراء ومسؤولون رفيعو المستوى من السودان والنمسا وأوروبا والدول العربية والمنظمات الدولية، سفارة السودان لدى النمسا، غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية، الأكاديمية السياسية النمساوية PolAK، المعهد النمساوي للسياسات الأمنية والأوروبية AIES، الغرفة الاقتصادية الاتحادية بالنمسا WKO، البرنامج الإنمائي التابع للأمم المتحدة UNDP، منظمة الأمم المتحدة للتنمية الصناعية UNIDO، منظمة جسور الدولية BRIDGES، بالإضافة إلى جهات تنظيمية أخرى.
وفي كلمته أمام المؤتمر، أكد وزير الخارجية النمساوي على أن الاتفاقات التي تم توقيعها بين الجانبين تعد علامة فارقة في العلاقات الثنائية، مشيرا إلى اتفاق أديس أبابا الذي تم توقيعه قبل نحو 3 أسابيع بين السودان وجنوب السودان معتبرا أن الاتفاقية تعد مؤشرا قويا على طريق تحقيق السلام والرخاء والتنمية في المنطقة. ولفت شبيندليجر إلى أن النمسا اهتمت بمساعدة الدولتين في التوصل إلى اتفاق منذ عضوية النمسا المؤقتة في مجلس الأمن عام 2010، معربا عن سعادته بمساهمة النمسا في التقريب بين وجهات النظر مشيدا بجهود وزير الخارجية السوداني علي كرتي ومعربا في نفس الوقت عن سعادته بتوصل البلدين إلى اتفاق.
وتطرق المشاركون في المؤتمر إلى الأوضاع الاقتصادية والسياسية في السودان بهدف إيجاد مقترحات خلاقة وتبادل الأفكار والخبرات من أجل دفع عجلة الاقتصاد في السودان قدما من خلال تنمية الاستثمار وفتح الباب أمام إبرام الاتفاقيات ذات الصلة، والتي من شأنها أن تضفي ثقة متبادلة بين الطرفين في المجالين التجاري والاقتصادي، بما يحقق المنفعة العامة والخاصة لكل من السودان والنمسا؛ بل والدول الأوروبية بصفة عامة، ويعزز من دور القطاع الخاص في تحقيق الازدهار والنمو.
وأكد السادة المشاركون في المؤتمر على الحاجة الملحة إلى تحقيق انطلاقة جديدة في العلاقات بين البلدين الصديقين، تكون جسرا لعلاقات أفضل بين السودان وأوروبا. وتم التأكيد على أن الحوار المباشر هو الوسيلة المثلى لتحقيق الأهداف المرجوة والآمال المنشودة لتعزيز وتوطيد العلاقات بين السودان والنمسا، والسودان وأوروبا. ومن ثمّ تقرر إقامة مؤتمر دولي تحت عنوان "السودان وأوروبا: آفاق التعاون من أجل السلام والتنمية في المنطقة"، ليكون العنوان معبرا عن الهدف والغاية، وتكون محاوره معبرة عن النقاط الرئيسية للنقاش؛ حيث جاءت على النحو التالي:
 التطورات السياسية في السودان بعد انفصال دولة جنوب السودان.
 سبل دعم السودان على طريق السلام والتنمية المستدامة.
 التطورات الاقتصادية وفرص الاستثمار الأجنبي في السودان.
 إمكانيات الاستثمار الأوروبي والعربي في السودان.
 إمكانيات تأمين وتمويل المشاريع الاستثمارية في السودان.
 إطلالة على المشاريع الإنمائية للمنظمات الدولية في السودان.
وقد أوضحت النقاشات رغبة المشاركين بالانطلاق إلى آفاق أرحب من التعاون في كافة المجالات بين السودان والنمسا، والسودان وأوروبا. كما أكدت العزم على الخروج من غرف المباحثات إلى ميادين التنفيذ، سيّما وأن الطريق ممهدة أمام إنجازات ملموسة على أرض الواقع؛ خاصة في المجالين الاقتصادي والتجاري.
وقد اتفق المشاركون على أن هذه الفعالية الدولية وما تضمنته من نقاش مثمر وحوار جاد، تسجَل كانطلاقة جديدة في العلاقات بين السودان والنمسا، وبين السودان وأوروبا. وقدم المشاركون عددا من التوصيات، التي من شأنها أن تسهم في دعم وتعزيز العلاقات السودانية النمساوية/ السودانية الأوروبية، وهي:
‌أ) تشكيل وفد تجاري من النمسا والدول المجاورة لها لزيارة السودان.
‌ب) تنظيم مؤتمر اقتصادي مشترك في السودان.
‌ج) العمل على استمرار المؤتمرات ذات الصلة في الدول الأوروبية.
‌د) تعزيز الدور الأوروبي في مجال دعم وتنمية العلاقات بين دولتي السودان وجنوب السودان.
‌ه) تكوين آلية بين الجهات المنظمة للمؤتمر لمتابعة تنفيذ ما خرج به من نتائج وتوصيات.
وقد انتهت أعمال المؤتمر في تمام الساعة السادسة من مساء يوم الأربعاء 10 أكتوبر 2012، بالتأكيد على ضرورة التواصل والتعاون المستمر بين السودان والدول الأوروبية، بما يخدم المصالح المشتركة بين الجانبين، لا سيّما المصالح التجارية والاقتصادية. وكذلك على ضرورة العمل على تنفيذ ما خرج به المؤتمر من نتائج وتوصيات.
                                                               

 
 
آفاق تعاون مستقبلي بين النمسا والسودان

أكد الأمين العام لغرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية، المهندس مضر الخوجه أن هناك مجالات عديدة للتعاون بين كل من النمسا والسودان، وخاصة في مجالات تقنية الطاقة البديلة ومعالجة المياه والحكومة الإلكترونية. وأشار الخوجه إلى أن السودان يُعد سوقا استثماريا واعدا للنمسا، خاصة لما يحتويه من ثروات طبيعية يندر أن تجتمع في مكان واحد بالعالم.
وكان وفد نمساوي يتألف من الدكتور فيرنر فاسل آبند، وزير الدفاع النمساوي الأسبق، مدير الأكاديمية السياسية النمساوية، والمهندس مضر الخوجه، أمين عام الغرفة، قد توجه إلى السودان يوم 15 سبتمبر 2012 في زيارة دامت أربعة أيام تم خلالها التقاء العديد من المسؤولين السودانيين في مجالات متعددة، وكذلك التحضير للمؤتمر الدولي السودان وأوروبا: آفاق التعاون من أجل السلام والتنمية في المنطقة، والمقرر انعقاده في العاصمة النمساوية فيينا يوم 10 أكتوبر 2012، بالتعاون بين غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية والسفارة السودانية لدى النمسا، وذلك ضمن فعاليات المنتدى الاقتصادي العربي النمساوي السادس.
وقد التقى الخوجه، في اليوم الأول من الزيارة كلا من الدكتور تاج السر مصطفى، رئيس مجلس الصمغ العربي، والسيد عبد الماجد عبد القادر، أمين عام المجلس. وأوضح تاج السر خلال اللقاء أن السودان تصدر نحو 85% من احتياج العالم من الصمغ. وأكد على أن السودان لديها اهتمام كبير بالتعاون والعمل على إحداث تطوير في إنتاج الصمغ وتحسين مستوى الأداء داخل المصانع، لكون الصمغ العربي أحد أهم المصادر الطبيعية لدعم الاقتصاد في السودان. ويشار إلى أن صناعات عديدة تعتمد على الصمغ العربي المصدر من السودان، مثل المشروبات الغازية والعقاقير الطبية والحلوى.
كما التقى الخوجه بالدكتور محمد خير الزبير محافظ البنك السودان المركزي؛ حيث تم استعراض الأوضاع الاقتصادية في البلاد بعد الانفصال، وسبل تعويض خسارة عوائد النفط باستثمارات. كما تمت مناقشة الأوضاع المالية والعملة في السودان.
وتلبية لدعوة على العشاء، استقبل حاكم ولاية الخرطوم، الدكتور عبد الرحمن الخضر، الوفد النمساوي بحضور رئيس هيئة الاستثمار في الخرطوم، مهندس عبد الله أحمد حمد. وخلال المقابلة تمت مناقشة التطورات الأخيرة في الخرطوم. وقدم الخوجه لحاكم الخرطوم مقترح من حكومة جراتس بإهداء العاصمة السودانية عربات ترام. وتم التنسيق لتوجه اثنين من المهندسين المتخصصين إلى جراتس لمعاينة القطارات وخصائصها الفنية.
كما تطرق اللقاء إلى المؤتمر الدولي عن السودان بالنمسا، واقترح الخضر ثلاثة موضوعات رئيسية للنقاش خلال المؤتمر وهي النقل والمياه ومعالجتها والري والطاقة البديلة.
في اليوم الثاني من الزيارة، التقى الخوجه السيد بكري يوسف عمر، أمين عام اتحاد أصحاب العمل السوداني؛ حيث دار الحديث حول إمكانيات الاستثمار مع النمسا ومجالات التعاون مع السودان.
والتقى أمين عام غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية أيضا السيد محمد المرضي التجاني، العضو المنتدب بشركة سكر كنانة، والسيد حسن هاشم عروة مدير التسويق والمبيعات بالشركة؛ حيث تعرف الخوجه على عمل الشركة ومشاريعها المستقبلية حتى عام 2020، وخطط التوسع في نطاق العمل؛ حيث تم تخصيص مبلغ 800 مليون دولار لإقامة شركة النيل الأزرق للسكر بالتعاون مع البنك العربي الخليجي كجهة تمويل إلى جانب جهات أجنبية أخرى.
وفي المجلس الأعلى للاستثمار التقى الخوجه بالسفير أحمد محجوب شاور، رئيس المجلس؛ حيث تم عرض خطة الاستثمار في السودان وتم عرض فيلم يتناول فرص الاستثمار هناك. ومن المقرر أن يتم عرض هذا الفيلم خلال المؤتمر المقام في فيينا.
وفي اليوم الثالث من الزيارة لبى المهندس مضر الخوجه دعوة لزيارة مزارع مجموعة شركات دال ومعامل إنتاج الألبان ومناطق رعي الأبقار فيها. وتقدم دال ضمن خدماتها، فرص تدريب مجاني لربات البيوت يتم خلاله تعليم الطهي الحديث. والتقى الخوجه السيد توم ستيفنسن، مدير عام الشركة الذي عرض تاريخ مجموعة شركات دال.
وشهدت الزيارة استقبال وزير الخارجية السيد علي كرتي للوفد النمساوي؛ حيث تم عرض ما تم إنجازه من أعمال خاصة بالمؤتمر، والاستعدادات له على مستوى القطاعين العام والخاص. كما استقبل الوفد أيضا الدكتور مصطفى عثمان إسماعيل وزير الاستثمار، الذي وعد بدراسة حضور المؤتمر، وطرح مصادر جديدة للطاقة وخطة الاستثمار في البلاد.
والتقى الخوجه السيد وزير الدولة لشؤون النفط المهندس فيصل حماد عبد الله، الذي أوضح أن تم إصدار أكثر من 50 تصريحا لاستخراج الذهب في العديد من المناطق بالسودان. وتحدث عبد الله عن عائدات البلاد من النفط بعد الانفصال وما تعرضت له البلاد من خسارة نحو 75% من تلك العائدات. وعدّد إمكانيات العائدات المستقبلية من خلال إتفاق على رسوم 9دولار لبرميل النفط ونحو 13 دولار مقابل الخدمات .
كما تم التقاء وزير السياحة، المهندس محمد عبد الكريم الهد، الذي تحدث عن المجالات الرئيسية الثلاثة للسياحة وهي السفاري والحياة البرية في جنوب غرب السودان وآثار الفراعنة في الشمال على طول النيل ، والمجال الثالث هو سياحة الشواطئ على البحر الأحمر الملئ بالأعشاب المرجانية.
واختتمت الزيارة بالتقاء سفير الاتحاد الأوروبي لدى السودان، السيد توماس أوليشني؛ حيث تم تبادل الحديث حول مستجدات الأوضاع على مختلف الأصعدة.
وكان الخوجه قد وجه الدعوة لحضور المؤتمر لجميع المسؤولين الذين التقاهم في السودان؛ حيث استجاب عدد كبير منهم. ومن المقرر أن يشاركوا في فعاليات المؤتمر يوم الأربعاء المقبل 10 أكتوبر 2012.



 اهتمام سوداني بأنماط التكنولوجيا النمساوية

 
استقبل وزير العلوم والاتصالات السوداني معالي الدكتور عيسى بشري، بمقر إقامته في العاصمة النمساوية فيينا يوم الجمعة 21 سبتمبر 2012، أمين عام الغرفة المهندس مضر الخوجه، الذي قد عرضا تعريفيا بعمل غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية ونشاطاتها، والإعدادات الخاصة بالمؤتمر الدولي حول السودان، والذي يحمل عنوان: السودان وأوروبا – آفاق التعاون من أجل السلام والتنمية في المنطقة، والمزمع انعقاده يوم الأربعاء 10 أكتوبر الجاري.
ومن جانبه أعرب وزير العلوم والاتصالات عن اهتمام بلاده بأنماط التقنية الجديدة وخاصة في مجال الديزل الحيوي (Biodiesel)، ولفت إلى أن هناك خطوات استراتيجية تتخذها السودان في هذا المجال الحيوي. كما أعرب الخوجه عن أن النمسا معنية للغاية بإمداد السودان بالتقنيات الحديثة والتعاون في هذا المجال، مشيرا إلى أن النمسا لديها أنواع متعددة من التكنولوجيا ذات الصلة.
وتم الاتفاق على أن تكون مسألة نقل التكنولوجيا من النمسا إلى السودان موضوعا للبحث والحوار خلال المؤتمر المرتقب والذي يقام بالتعاون بين غرفة التجارة العربية النمساوية وسفارة السودان لدى النمسا، إلى جانب جهات أخرى مشاركة.


 
 
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