NIC honors ‘Shift’ program graduates as part of its strategic partnership with ‘Creative Confidence’

The National Investment Company (NIC), in partnership with ‘Creative Confidence,’ has honored the first batch of ‘Shift’ program graduates, exclusively tailored to qualify freshly graduated Kuwaiti females to develop their investment skills, expand their capabilities, and grow their knowledge in a way that will make them compelling candidates to embark into the investment world.

The program’s closing ceremony was held on Sunday, 10/12/2023, at Boursa Kuwait’s premises. The program, which was held over four weeks, included several different courses for the trainees, which helped to develop them and achieve the goal of the program, thus adding its intrinsic value, as it provides an efficient and experienced workforce ready to enter the business in the field of investment, as the program focused on developing trainees in the field of innovation and creativity and contributing to integration in the field of investment work.

The ceremony was attended by Mr. Khaled Waleed Al Falah, Vice Chairman of National Investments Company, who praised ‘Creative Confidence’s’ contribution to the overall positive outcome of the program. He also applauded the graduates of the Shift program for their enthusiasm and excitement on their commitment and development. He mentioned the importance of such a program in shaping the pivotal role of Kuwaiti women in society and their ability to bring about positive changes to the market, as well as their remarkable presence in various fields such as social, political, intellectual and cultural aspects of society.

Furthermore, Mr. Al Falah expressed how boosting women’s participation in the evolution of the economic foundation aims to develop the productive capacity of the market. Therefore, it is imperative for women to embark on this field and to pursue their career ambitions

Mr. Al Falah continued to emphasize how Kuwaiti society depends largely on the participation of Kuwaiti women, which is primarily what the Shift program aspired to achieve.

Ms. Taibah Mohammad Al Qatami, a Board Member at NIC, said: ‘Proud to participate in the investment part through training in collaboration with the ‘Creative Confidence’ team and the National Investments team, in refining the skills of the trainees and providing them with the necessary experience in training and practice to enable them to improve their skills, which will be a powerful and active tool to benefit their careers constructively.”

During the ceremony, the graduates participated in a detailed presentation about their wonderful training program experience. They presented the enthusiastic and motivating ideas they reached during this unique experience.

Mr. Fahad Al Mukhaizim, Board Member and Chief Executive Officer at NIC, also attended and expressed how the company supports the growth and development of the national economy by strengthening the position of the private sector as a major driver of economic development.

Mr. Fahad Al Mukhaizim, Board Member and Chief Executive Officer at NIC, affirmed NIC’s support for the growth and development of the national economy by strengthening the position of the private sector as a significant engine for economic development and qualifying national cadres with the necessary and required skills to be the best choice for employment in the labor market, as the company confirms its commitment and comprehensive participation in this positive program aimed at developing and refining the skills and capabilities of Kuwaiti women and enabling them to enter the requirements of the investment labor market in the local markets and the region in general. He also highlighted the significant role of Kuwaiti women in contributing to national development, their constant support for the renaissance of Kuwaiti society, and their provision of many influential contributions and sacrifices.

Mr. Abdulmohsen AlKhatrash, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Administration Affairs at NIC, also said that the success of the program has exceeded our expectations, which represents a starting point to encourage more Kuwaiti women to mix in the field of investment by creating a gradual shift towards greater diversity in their work, adding that this program is designed to accommodate 22 trainees to prepare them to start an influential career in a successful and sophisticated manner.

On the other hand, Mrs. Sumaya Mohammed Al Jassim, Founder of Creative Confidence, praised the support provided by the National Investments Company for the “Shift” program and said that this program takes Kuwaiti women into a vibrant educational experience, exploring innovation and investing in their future careers. Al Jassim added that ‘Shift’ was a program that raised awareness of the vital impact of commitment, learning, and creativity. I am delighted with this program’s positive and effective influence on the trainees and can proudly say that ‘Shift’ makes real change.


Total Energies to restart its delayed Mozambique LNG project in early 2024

French energy firm TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA) plans to restart its long-delayed $20 billion Mozambique liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the first quarter of next year, two sources told Reuters late on Friday.

Work on the project has been halted since 2021 when a violent insurgency led by Islamic State-linked militants threatened the Cabo Delgado site, leading to TotalEnergies declaring force majeure and halting construction.

In September, chief executive officer at TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanne, said the company planned to restart before the end of this year, as the security situation improved with the support a regional military force including Rwanda.

“TotalEnergies have indicated that they want to restart their Mozambique LNG project in January 2024,” a government source close to the process said, asking to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The ongoing violence in the northern Mozambican province has claimed thousands of lives since it broke out in 2017, disrupting multibillion-dollar investments including the $20 billion LNG project in which TotalEnergies has a 26.5% stake.

“TotalEnergies has asked funders to get approval for the restart of the Mozambique LNG project in the first quarter of 2024,” said a second funding source with direct knowledge of the project.

The project, which will help transform the economic fortunes of the impoverished southern African country, has faced criticism from environmental activists who last month urged funders to withdraw their financial support.

TotalEnergies did not immediately respond to an out-of-office request for comment.


Lack of Arctic tankers puts Russia’s LNG development dreams on ice

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Russia is hoping its shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will offset a sharp fall in pipeline gas exports to Europe, but a shortage of gas tankers and sanctions hold back its plans, analysts and industry sources said.

Russia wants to boost its share of the LNG market to 20% by 2030 from 8% now, but a force majeure declaration by top producer Novatek (NVTK.MM) over LNG supplies from its future Arctic LNG 2 project due to sanctions shows the hurdles it faces.

Novatek’s announcement comes after the United States last month imposed sanctions on Arctic LNG 2, which is due to start production before the end of this year or in early 2024.

The European Union may also impose restrictions on Russia’s LNG exports.

With three trains, Arctic LNG 2’s capacity is meant to be 19.8 million metric tons per year and 1.6 million tons per year of stable gas condensate. Its first LNG tankers were expected to set sail in the first quarter of next year, according to Novatek.

But industry sources say that commercial LNG supplies from the project are now expected no earlier than the second quarter of 2024.

Russia is eyeing the Northern Sea Route across the Arctic Ocean to supply the cargoes to the east, to cut the time and cost of bringing its fuel to market.

The route may cut the delivery time to Asia from Europe by as much as 40% compared to the Suez Canal, according to Russian government officials.

But deliveries through thick ice and freezing conditions pose major challenges.

According to Novatek, 15 Arc7 ice-class tankers, able to cut through 2-metre thick ice, will be built at Russia’s Zvezda shipyard for Arctic LNG 2.

Six more Arc7 tankers were due to be built by Hanwha Ocean, formerly Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, including three ordered by Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and three by Russia’s leading tanker group Sovcomflot (FLOT.MM).

But three tankers ordered by Sovcomflot were cancelled due to sanctions against Russia, Hanwha has said in regulatory filings.

Sovcomflot did not reply to requests for comment. Hanwha Ocean could not be immediately reached.

Ice-class tankers usually have double hulls – strengthened structures to withstand the pressure of ice – and reinforced propellers.

So far only three suitable gas tankers have been built for Arctic LNG 2, according to public information: the Alexei Kosygin, Pyotr Stolypin and Sergei Witte vessels.

Andrei Klepach, chief economist at state lender VEB, told a gas forum last week that Russia is only likely to have the suitable infrastructure ready after 2030.

“I think it’s not only about icebreakers, but the ice-class gas carriers – there are no such vessels yet,” he said.

Sovcomflot has said that the timing for construction of the gas carriers for Arctic LNG 2 was delayed by a year and that vessels will only be available in 2024.

Arctic LNG 2 is led by Novatek, which holds a 60% stake. Other shareholders include French energy major TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA), China’s CNPC and Japan Arctic LNG – a consortium of Mitsui & Co, Ltd. (8031.T) and JOGMEC – each holding a 10% stake.

The Russian ministry of transport, Novatek and the Zvezda shipyard did not reply to requests for comment.


Kuwait Introduces Measures To Boost Pharmaceutical Industry, Yet Remains Behind Regional Peers

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Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company (KIPIC) has sufficient stocks of diesel, naphtha, kerosene and fuel oil to meet obligations to local and foreign customers despite an almost complete shutdown of the al-Zour refinery last week, CEO Walid al-Badr told Reuters on Thursday.

Gas supplies to the refinery were halted in a “force majeure situation” owing to a malfunctioning gas valve and the operations team was working to resume operations gradually, Badr said, adding that “these issues happen in this industry”.

The company is working to restore operations within 10 days, he said.

KIPIC had announced earlier on Thursday that a “limited fire” in a sulphur unit at the refinery had been brought under control without affecting operations.

Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing, a source close to the matter told Reuters, adding that initial indications are that the refinery shutdown and fire are unrelated.


Oman announces 3-day mourning period for public and private sector following death of Kuwaiti Emir

Oman has announced a three-day period of mourning following the death of Kuwait’s Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah.

Work was halted on Saturday, December 16 and will be stopped in public and private sectors on Sunday, December 17 and Monday, December 18 before resuming on Tuesday, December

The Diwan of Royal Court issued a statement saying: “With full faith in the Almighty Allah’s divine destining and judgment and, with profound sorrow and grief, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik has received the news of death of his brother, the forgiven, by the will of Allah, Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, the late Emir of the State of Kuwait.

Oman declares mourning period
“The deceased was one of the Arab leaders who served the Arab and Islamic nations. He also contributed to the prosperity and development of the State of Kuwait.

“His Majesty the Sultan has issued his Royal orders to announce the State of Mourning and fly flags at half-mast in the Sultanate of Oman as work shall be halted at the public and private sectors for three days from today, Saturday, 16 December 2023, so that official duty will resume on Tuesday, 19 December2023.

“While sharing the Kuwaiti leadership, government and people their sorrows and grief over this immense loss, the Sultanate of Oman prays to the Almighty Allah to rest the deceased in peace in Paradise in Heavens, along with the devout and the faithful, and to grant his family and the brotherly people of Kuwait fortitude to bear the loss”.


Majid Al-Futtaim urges public-private sector collaboration to unlock sustainable finance in region

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Majid Al-Futtaim, a shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has published a sustainable finance paper, which examines the significant increase in sustainable finance in the MENA region and the ways it can act as a catalyst for positive change.
Titled “Aligning Growth with Purpose,” the paper looks at the global and regional sustainable finance landscape and calls on a collaboration between the private and public sector to unlock the $30 trillion of new investment needed to achieve the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Majid Al-Futtaim is recognized as a pioneer in sustainable financing for the region. The group is the first privately owned Dubai corporation to incorporate green Islamic financing into its funding structure, most recently raising $500 million through its fourth green capital markets issuance. Majid Al-Futtaim also introduced innovative sustainability-linked loan financing with a “penalty-only” loan structure.

Ahmed Galal Ismail, chief executive at Majid Al-Futtaim — Holding, said: “The Middle East and North Africa region is currently witnessing a surge in interest from investors actively seeking opportunities to allocate capital to projects with a strong environmental, social and governance focus. Finance is a critical enabler of climate action, and by doubling down on developing the right structure and mechanisms, the MENA region is positioned to become a thriving hub for sustainable finance, leading the way toward a low-carbon and resilient future.
“Sustainable finance will play a fundamental role as we transition to a net-zero carbon economy and collectively strive to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. This progress, however, is only achievable if we work collectively to take action. We are advocating for collaboration between both the public and private sectors, with governments taking responsibility for enabling favorable conditions and incentives for investment, and private sector leadership and finance to drive transformation. This coordinated and determined commitment will build more resilient, equitable, and sustainable organizations, and has the capacity to future-proof the global economy.”
The whitepaper also highlights the crucial role of bodies such as the World Economic Forum, which is working to support this collaborative action by bringing together public and private actors to catalyze sustainable infrastructure investment.


GFH Joins World Economic Forum as associate partner

GFH Financial Group has joined the World Economic Forum as an associate partner, in line with the group’s expanding global presence and commitment to fostering meaningful collaborations.
Through the partnership, senior leaders from the group will actively participate in and contribute to WEF’s annual meeting in Davos, a gathering that convenes more than 200 influential leaders shaping the global agenda. Additionally, GFH is eagerly anticipating its involvement in WEF’s “Shaping the Future of Financial and Monetary Systems” initiative, which brings together representatives from leading global companies and subject matter experts.

Salah Sharif, chief operating officer of GFH, said: “We are delighted to join WEF as an associate partner alongside other leading global companies that are dedicated to developing solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. The partnership reflects the group’s commitment to further expanding our business, global presence and networks, and provides us with the opportunity to do so by leveraging the unique access provided by WEF at the highest levels. We are excited to contribute to essential global economic conversations by sharing our expertise and insights relating to our core investment sectors and the multiple geographies in which we are active. By actively engaging with WEF’s platforms, we look forward to collaborating with other industry leaders to identify and create new opportunities for growth and development, and to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues.”
Joanna Lahham, regional manager — business engagement, Middle East and Africa at WEF, said: “The World Economic Forum is thrilled to broaden its presence in Bahrain, aiming to amplify its representation in shaping global agendas. The forum anticipates that a partnership with GFH, a key player in Bahrain’s financial landscape, will further deepen engagement and impact within the wider GCC region.”
GFH is a financial group with a growing global business. It has assets and funds under management exceeding $19 billion, and maintains a strong international footprint with offices and affiliates across the GCC, US, UK and Europe. The group’s investment strategy focuses on high-impact priority sectors. It has an expansive portfolio of assets across the education, healthcare, logistics, living, sustainable infrastructure and technology sectors that align with its commitment to sustainable development and innovation. The group is listed on four GCC stock exchanges.


Bab Rizq Jameel celebrates 20 years of positive impact

Bab Rizq Jameel, a company that is part of Community Jameel Saudi, celebrated its 20th anniversary, and the profound impact it has achieved by providing income opportunities. A ceremony was held on Dec. 3 at Hussein Jameel Hall in Jeddah, celebrating major milestones and achievements, in addition to launching the new corporate identity.
For more than two decades, Bab Rizq Jameel has played a significant role in supporting and empowering the community and creating a positive impact in the Kingdom. Through a series of initiatives, Bab Rizq Jameel has helped in providing youths with income opportunities, reducing unemployment rates in line with the goals of Vision 2030. In addition, it has enabled job seekers to improve their professional skills to meet market requirements and delivered effective employment solutions for enterprises to enhance their growth and contribution to the national economy.

Over the span of 20 years, the company has succeeded in providing more than a million job opportunities, offering microfinance of more than SR2.9 billion ($773 million), and supporting over 150 companies through a comprehensive range of cloud solutions.

Hassan Jameel, deputy chairman of Community Jameel, said: “At the core of Bab Rizq Jameel, our vision is focused on supporting the development of the Saudi economy by providing employment and competencies development opportunities, and organizing innovative programs and initiatives for members of the community. This is a special occasion for all of Bab Rizq Jameel’s team as we are celebrating the progress and successes we have achieved. Notably, this milestone would not have been possible without the unlimited support received from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince, and all supporting government organizations.”

Dr. May Taibah, member of the board of trustees at Community Jameel Saudi, said: “As we celebrate our achievements of the past 20 years, we must also look forward to the future to shape our plans and implement them with determination. Bab Rizq Jameel has been at the forefront of providing innovative employment solutions to enterprises in various sectors over the past two decades. We will continue delivering impact, activating our new strategy that ensures both quantitative and qualitative development of our services, keeping abreast of the landscape and changes in labor markets.”
During the celebration, Bab Rizq Jameel’s new strategy was announced. The newly announced services can be divided into two main categories: competency development, which includes training ending with employment, cooperative training, and a skills kit for fresh graduates; and the income opportunities services that allow job seekers to find opportunities ranging from full- to part-time and freelance work, through a dedicated platform connecting them with suitable organizations.
Bab Rizq Jameel also announced its updated corporate identity and several new initiatives that will be launched in the coming weeks and months, such as a virtual job fair, a freelance platform, a skills kit, and the Employment Superhub. The company also reaffirmed its commitment to continue working to develop the capabilities and skills of Saudi youth by providing innovative solutions to enhance the Saudi human capital and shape a better future for society in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.


Global central banks maintain gold buying momentum in October: World Gold Council

Central banks worldwide amassed 42 tons of gold into their official reserves in October, continuing their acquisition of the precious metal, the latest data showed.

According to the World Gold Council, central banks witnessed a 41 percent slowdown in gold buying in October compared to September. However, it still maintained a 23 percent increase above the January-September monthly average of 24 tons.

In September, central banks added 72 tons of gold to their reserves.

The People’s Bank of China continued its trend as the largest purchaser of gold in October, adding 23 tons to its reserves.

This marked the twelfth consecutive monthly addition, bringing the year-to-date purchase of gold by PBoC to 204 tons, with its overall reserves reaching 2,215 tons.

However, this reported increase still constitutes just 4 percent of PBoC’s total international reserves.

The Central Bank of Turkey significantly boosted its official gold reserves in October by purchasing 19 tons, bringing the total to 498 tons.

Similarly, the National Bank of Poland continued its buying spree, adding 6 more tons to its reserves, totaling an increase of over 100 tons for the year, reaching 340 tons.

In October, the Reserve Bank of India acquired 3 tons of gold, and the Czech National Bank purchased 2 tons.

Additionally, the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Qatar Central Bank each bought 1 ton of gold during the month, as per the WGC.

Meanwhile, gold prices saw a slight increase, with spot gold rising 0.2 percent to $2,023.62 per ounce, and US gold futures gaining 0.3 percent to $2,041.60 by 03:47 p.m. Saudi time on Wednesday.

“While gold may draw support from speculation around the Fed cutting rates, it may take a fresh fundamental spark to re-ignite the bullish rally. This could come in the form of the highly anticipated US jobs report on Friday,” said FXTM Senior Research Analyst Lukman Otunuga, Reuters reported.