The Briefing

Weekly business & investment updates curated for you.

Erbil Rotana

Richest countries in Middle East revealed — The Mena region is home to 330,000 millionaires, up by more than 240 per cent since 2000. By 2020, the millionaire population in the region is forecast to reach 500,000, up by another 52 per cent. In terms of how much fortunes Mena residents have acquired, Qatar ranks first, with the average wealth per adult pegged at $157,000 in mid 2015, rising by 0.8 per cent from the same period last year. The second-richest country in the region is the UAE, where the average wealth per adult is pegged at $144,400.

Saudi Arabia Seen Raising $32 Billion in 2016 — Saudi Arabia will probably sell about $32 billion of debt in 2016as the country seeks to prop up its finances after oil’s slump, according to Saudi Fransi Capital. Next year’s expected 10 billion riyals a month of sales will add to an estimated 135 billion riyals of debt issuance this year, analyst Aqib Mehboob wrote in a note to investors on the country’s banking industry.


China eyes $31 billion of investments in Laos — China is eyeing total investment of more than $31.45 billion in 240 projects in a pilot economic zone on the border with Laos, the government of the southwestern province of Yunnan announced. Laos has traditionally been firmly in the orbit of its larger neighbour to the east, Vietnam. But China has been aggressively courting Laos as it sees the country as an important route into Southeast Asia and its ports for landlocked parts of southwestern China such as Yunnan.

Iran to up oil production one week after sanctions — Iran will raise production by 500,000 barrels per day in the first week after sanctions are lifted, Rokneddin Javadi, general manager of the National Iranian Oil Company said. In November, Iran plans to announce a new form of oil contract which Javadi said will help Iran increase its crude oil production to 5 million bpd of crude oil and 1.4 billion cubic metres of natural gas.

Egypt Railways investments worth $11bn — Egyptian National Railways Authority's long-term investment scheme for fiscal year 2015-16 until 2029-30 is estimated at $11.3 billion. The country will also need $45.4 billion in private sector investments in infrastructure projects in the 2015/2016 fiscal year.

Tanzania starts work on $10 billion port project — Tanzania started construction work on a $10 billion port and special economic zone, a project backed by China and Oman that aims to transform the East African country into a regional trade and transport hub. Tanzania is East Africa's second-biggest economy after Kenya, and cargo volumes at the existing Dar es Salaam port are expected to rise as much as 25 percent this year to 18 million tonnes. The World Bank said last year that inefficiencies at Dar es Salaam cost Tanzania and its neighbours up to $2.6 billion a year.

Middle East digital economy set to double by 2018 — With the growth in digital Islamic services, such as mobile apps, websites, and e-commerce platforms for Islamic finance and fashion, and halal food and travel, the Middle East's Digital Economy is set double from $15 billion in 2015 to $30 billion in 2018, according to a report by Deloitte.

Oman’s economy declines in the first half of this year — Oman’s gross domestic product or the overall economic activity in the first half of 2015 fell by 14.2 per cent to OMR13.552 billion from OMR15.791 billion for the same period last year, mainly hit by a plunge in oil prices in the international market.

The Briefing

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