The Briefing

Weekly business & investment updates curated for you.

Erbil Rotana

Africa — The value of private equity deals made in East Africa more than doubled in 2015 driven by activity in the financial services sector. Africa inked 40 deals worth $1.44 billion last year, up 112 percent from 35 deals in 2014 that were worth $678 million.

Chile — Chilean renewable energy association Acera estimates that the country has the capacity to meet its entire electricity demand with renewable energy sources by 2050, based on current market conditions and data.

Clean Energy — UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has told a meeting of investors representing $22 trillion in assets that they must double their investment in clean energy. Global investment in clean energy had seen a six-fold increase from 2004, totaling approximately $330 billion in 2015.

Djibouti — The East African country of Djibouti has announced plans for a new large-scale solar power project, to be developed by an international developer, as it aims to source 100% of its energy from renewable energy.

Dubai — Dubai strives to boost trade prospects with Russia, as non-oil two-way trade between Dubai and Russia experienced an impressive 131% growth rate between 2010 to 2014. In 2014, AED 9.62 billion worth of goods were traded bilaterally, against as much as AED 4.16 billion in 2010. Dubai-Russia trade scored AED 5.23 billion in the first nine months of 2015.

Egypt — The National Bank of Egypt and China Development Bank signed a loan agreement worth $700 million. The loan targets the implementation of infrastructure projects in Egypt, particularly electricity, energy, telecommunication, transportation, and agriculture projects.

Halal Food Industry — The global spending on halal food and lifestyle products could rise 10.8 per cent year until 2019, to create an international industry worth $3.7 trillion, according to the latest Global Islamic Economy report.

Iran — China and Iran signed 17 documents and letters of intent including treaties on judicial, commercial and civil matters. Iran is seeking to attract $50 billion annually in foreign investment for the country’s ailing $400 billion economy.

Iran — Iran plans to buy 114 aircraft from European plane maker Airbus as soon as March, and is looking for other deals, senior Iranian officials announced as their country emerges from sanctions and international isolation. The Republic could need as many as 500 new planes over the next three years.

Israel — 2015 was a record year for fund raising by Israel's high tech industry. Israeli tech companies raised $4.43 billion in 2015 in 708 deals, according to figures released by IVC Research Center and KPMG. The amount and the number of deals are both all-time highs. The amount raised is 30% above the previous high, recorded in 2014, when 690 deals totaled $3.42 billion.

Japan — The Bank of Japan will charge lenders that leave too much cash on idle deposit with it, introducing a negative interest rate policy for the first time as it seeks to shore up a stumbling economic recovery.

Kazakhstan — LG Chem, the country's biggest chemical firm, said Tuesday that it has decided to scrap a plan to jointly build a $4.2 billion petrochemical plant in Kazakhstan due to the continued slump in oil prices.

Kuwait — Kuwait plans a new state-owned fund to manage as much as $100 billion in local assets with the goal of selling them to private investors in five to seven years. The new sovereign wealth fund will include local assets managed by Kuwait Investment Authority, which has been burdened by its domestic mandate and will focus more on its international portfolio. Stakes in local companies, as well as power and water projects, will be included in the new fund.

Malaysia — Strong approved investments totalling $34.4 billion in the first nine months of 2015 showed investors’ confidence in Malaysia, given the stable political climate as well as continuity and certainty of policies, said the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

Morocco — Morocco relies mainly on services 52%, industrial sectors 33% and 15% tourism of total growth domestic product. By 2030, the country aims to generate 52% of its electricity from renewable energy mainly solar, wind and hydroelectric power. According to the World Bank, Morocco’s signature solar project Noor with a capacity of more than 500 megawatts is set to power 1.1 million homes by 2018 and might become the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant.

Nigeria — The federal government has reached advanced talks with Chinese investors to attract about $15 billion additional investments into the Nigerian information and communications technology which would create opportunities for further diversification of the industry as well as the creation of 40 million new jobs for the youth.

Oman — Mutual investment between India and Oman is estimated at over $7.5 billion and the first tranche of India-Oman Joint Investment Fund of $100 million has already been invested and discussions are under way to finalise the second tranche of $300 million.

Oman — New foreign investment law would provide a conducive environment for investment and make the Sultanate more attractive for local and foreign investments, said Sheikh Hamad bin Jabr Al Mahrouqi, Director General of Planning and Follow Up at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Expats will be able to own 100 percent of a company in Oman, under a new law to boost foreign investment in the sultanate.

Russia — Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and France’s CDC International Capital are considering over 10 investment projects totaling over $1.1 billion, according to the RDIF.

Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is maintaining investment in oil and natural gas projects and has formulated a new strategy in response to cheaper crude as it studies options to sell shares in its parent company and downstream refining and chemical operations, Chairman Khalid Al-Falih said.

Saudi Arabia — The Kingdom predominantly an oil-based country is making serious efforts to diversify by transforming itself into a knowledge-based economy. In this context, the adoption and usage of information and communication technology (ICT) Kingdom has continued to witness tremendous growth.

Thailand — Advanced Info Service Pcl, Thailand's largest mobile operator, announced it expected to invest a combined $1.11 billion in 2016 on expanding 3G and 4G LTE mobile networks to retain its market share.

Turkey — Islamic banks in Turkey are expected to maintain high growth rates in loan volume this year, the credit rating agency Fitch said in a statement, pointing to government support and anticipated new entrants being among the main drivers.

UAE — The IMF has cut the UAE’s growth forecast for 2016 collapsing oil prices, a worsening Chinese economy and looming regional public spending cuts. The UAE will grow at 2.6 per cent in 2016, a cut of 0.5 of a percentage point against the fund’s October projection of 3.1 per cent growth, and the slowest growth rate the country has experienced since 2010.

Zimbabwe — Foreign direct investment inflows to Zimbabwe will surpass $1 billion in 2016 on the back of deals signed with Chinese, Russian and Indian investors attributed to increased confidence, the ministry of Macro-economic Planning and Investment Promotion has projected.

The Briefing

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