EconSource: Foreign Investment in Arab States Dropped 8 Percent in 2014

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Arab states dropped 8 percent in 2014 with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia attracting close to half the total funds, a report by the Kuwait-based Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation says. Arab states attracted FDI worth $43.9 billion in 2014 compared with $47.5 billion the previous year, according to the report. The figure remains far below the $66.2 billion attracted in 2010. UAE topped the list of countries receiving FDI with $10.1 billion – 23 percent of the total – followed by Saudi Arabia with $8 billion. Egypt came third with $4.8 billion. FDI dropped in fifteen out of the twenty Arab League states the report covered. [AFP, 7/26/2015]

Saudi Arabia’s SABIC considering shale gas investments in US
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), the world’s second biggest chemicals manufacturer, plans to expand investment in US shale gas projects through joint ventures, according to acting Chief Executive Officer Yousef al-Benyan. “The main areas in the US we are looking to invest in are the northeast and the south as they fit our overall expectations including government support, labor laws and unions,” al-Benyan said. “At this point we are not looking to acquire any US companies.” SABIC said in April it plans to expand in China and the US because it is difficult for the company to grow in Saudi Arabia due to a shortage of gas. [Bloomberg, 7/26/2015]

Egypt allocates EGP 1 billion in state funds to develop slums
Egypt will allocate EGP 1 billion of its 2015/2016 budget to developing a number of urban slum areas, the planning ministry said in a statement on Saturday. The amount is part of EGP 6.85 billion in targeted investments for local development programs. Another EGP 650 million of the state’s budget for the fiscal year will be allocated to develop a number of the country’s most impoverished villages, which make up 9.5 percent of impoverished rural areas nationwide. In January, the Ministry of Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements launched a three year plan aimed at eradicating 258 urban slum areas. [Ahram Online, 7/25/2015]

IMF names eastern central bank governor as Libya contact
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday said it has recognized the central bank governor named by Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tobruk, Ali Salim al-Hibr, as its sole contact and ended ties with a rival bank chief in Tripoli. The move risks making it even harder for foreign states to foster cooperation between the warring administrations because the central bank in Tripoli controls the country’s vital oil revenues. An IMF spokeswoman who confirmed the decision to recognize al-Hibr said the move followed a request by the Tobruk House of Representatives to accept him as Libya’s sole delegate to the Fund. “In line with established Fund procedures, Mr. al-Hibri was recognized as Libya’s governor for the Fund,” she said. [Reuters, 7/24/2015]

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