QUOTED

Although the Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development, “has until now, stepped back from stating that mixed gender work environments are now permissible with integrated work spaces, we have seen over the past year an erosion within public spaces of gender segregation; notably in some government offices and in many public spaces including restaurants, airport lounges, train lounges, leisure activities, hotels, and accommodation centers.”

Sara Khoja and Sarit Thomas, lawyers for Clyde & Company, examining recent Saudi regulations regarding women in the workplace.

TOP STORY

SAUDI ECONOMY

World Bank Sees Saudi GDP Growth to Increase to 1.9% in 2020, with More Growth Onward

Saudi Kingdom Tower Top Economy Riyadh

The World Bank forecasted Saudi Arabia’s GDP growth will increase significantly in 2020, to 1.9%, compared with 0.4% in 2019, with further gains in subsequent years. [more]

 

MORE TOP STORYLINES

Saudis navigate tense U.S.-Iran confrontation

Writing in The Guardian, Patrick Wintour offers his perspective on Saudi efforts to manage current tensions in the U.S.-Iran relationship. “… there has been a year-long trend in Riyadh to try slowly to dial down some of the conflicts in which it has embroiled itself including Yemen, with its Gulf neighbour Qatar, and, more broadly, with Iran. In the context of the Saudis chairing the G20 this year, Riyadh wants a less confrontational image. Female drivers, concerts by Swedish House Mafia and the promise of mass tourism is not enough.”

Saudi Arabia Contracts Katerra to Build 8,000 homes

Via David Jeans and Kathryn Brenzel in therealdeal.com : The Saudi Arabia contract, signed in recent weeks, is part of a larger, $40 billion non-binding agreement Katerra signed with the government in October 2018 to deliver hundreds of thousands of housing units in the country. As part of that broader agreement, Katerra signed its first contract in May 2019 to build 4,101 units in five regions of Saudi Arabia.

Iran denies downing plane, says West should share evidence

Via Nasser Karimi and Joseph Krauss in apnews.com : U.S., Canadian and British officials said Thursday it is “highly likely” that Iran shot down the Boeing 737 that crashed near Tehran late Tuesday. U.S. officials said the jetliner might have been mistakenly identified as a threat.

 

MORE ON THE KINGDOM AND BEYOND

Saudi Aramco IPO

Interview at Davos: Aramco International Listing ‘Still on the Cards,’ Saudi Arabia Finance Minister Says

Saudi Arabian Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan discusses the recent $5 billion debt issuance, the state of the Saudi economy, and the prospect of an international...[via bloomberg.com]

 

T20

More efforts needed to bridge gender, generation gaps in labor market: Saudi conference

The two-day T20 Inception Conference brought together experts from all over the world to discuss a range of essential issues covering climate, energy, migration, youth,...[By Rashid Hassan via arabnews.com]

 

Saudi Bonds

Saudi Arabia Issues $5 Billion of Bonds as Gulf Tensions Ease

The kingdom issued $5 billion of debt, taking advantage of low borrowing costs globally. It’s seeking to plug part of its growing budget deficit by...[By Archana Narayanan and Matthew Martin via bloomberg.com]

 

Saudi Youth Development Survey of 2019

Youth make up over two-thirds of Saudi Arabia: Survey

Youth, categorized as individuals aged 0-34 years, make up 67.02 percent of the total population of Saudi Arabia, according to a report released by the...[By Matthew Amlôt via alarabiya.net]

 

Pensacola Shooting

At Florida base, a mix of relief, anxiety in Saudi shooting aftermath

With an FBI investigation underway, Navy security officer David Link still is not allowed to talk about what he saw when a Saudi gunman killed...[By Phil Stewart via reuters.com]

 

Security

Saudi Arabia to Screen Travelers From China After Virus Outbreak

Saudi Arabia will start screening passengers arriving from China and take other preventive measures following the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China, the kingdom's...[via nytimes.com]

 

Women in the Workforce

First military section for women introduced in Saudi Arabia

Under the initiative to incorporate more women into the field, previously announced in October 2019, women can now join the military as lance corporals, corporals,...[via thenews.com]

 

Study Abroad

From the field: The new student recruitment landscape in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi government began to wind down the KASP scholarship programme in 2016, and Saudi numbers in all major receiving countries began to drop off...[via icef.com]

 

Saudi Projects

Fifteen of the top projects currently shaping Saudi Arabia

The kingdom is pouring billions into a suite of gigaprojects, transport and mobility schemes, such as Riyadh Metro, designed to wean the country off its...[By Gavin Gibbon via arabianbusiness.com]

 

NEOM

Teneo Signs Up to Manage PR Unit of Saudi Mega-City

The New York-based firm’s duties include leading and staffing Neom’s PR unit to ensure that the development’s corporate messages and positioning are effectively communicated. It also...[By Kevin McCauley via odwyerpr.com]

 

Taxis

Saudi Arabia’s taxis go green

The green vehicles will be monitored and tracked to document quality of service and driver efficiency, equipped with screens that support both Arabic and English...[By Aseel Bashraheel via arabnews.com]

 

Earthquake

Small Earthquake hits Saudi Arabia, Iran

In Saudi Arabia, the earthquake was recorded at 10:27 pm local time. The magnitude of the quake was 3.9 on Richter scale....[via siasat.com]

 

War Powers Resolution

House approves measure limiting Trump’s authority to take further military action against Iran

But the critical forum is the Senate, where Democrats are in the minority and will need the help of at least four Republicans to pass...[By Karoun Demirjian via washingtonpost.com]

 

U.S.-Iraq

Perspective: The U.S. Security Dilemma in Iraq

Iraqi military officers and politicians who fear growing Iranian proxy integration into the government, security services, and economy see a continued U.S. presence as the...[By DB Des Roches via agsiw.org]

 

China in the Region

Perspective: Will China Benefit from the US’s Conflict With Iran?

China’s hope is that another strategic diversion or distraction, such as a conflict with Iran, will suck the U.S. back into a quagmire in the...[By Yun Sun via brinknews.com]

 

GCC

U.S.-Iran Crisis Promotes Sudden GCC Unanimity and Common Purpose

It’s not surprising that Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait were keen on avoiding the U.S.-Iranian escalation. But it is more noteworthy that Saudi Arabia, the UAE,...[By Hussein Ibish via agsiw.org]

 

U.S. Foreign Policy

Staying in the Gulf: The Changing Cost and Strategic Advantages

Despite growing geopolitical tension, the United States still has vital interests in the Gulf region. In this presentation, the CSIS Burke Chair outlines the benefits...[By Anthony H. Cordesman via csis.org]

 

India

India’s oil demand growth set to overtake China by mid-2020s: IEA

India’s oil demand growth is set to overtake China by mid-2020s, priming the country for more refinery investment but making it more vulnerable to supply...[By Nidhi Verma via reuters.com]

 

Cyber Signaling

Why US Officials Are Revealing More about Cyber Ops

To prove they are not bluffing, states sometimes send “costly signals” — ones that impose some cost on the sender. This is what the Trump...[By Mark Grzegorzewski via defenseone.com]

 

Morocco

Commentary: Morocco Looks Ahead to Confront Challenges

The king’s latest approach, since he seems to be exasperated with the government’s lack of vision and drive to implement reforms to enhance governance and...[By Jean R. AbiNader via moroccoonthemove.com]

 

Pakistan in the Region

Pakistan Renews Mediation Efforts Between Iran, US And Saudi Arabia

The Prime Minister of Pakistan has directed his Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to undertake visits to Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States as...[via radiofarda.com]

 

Syria

Syria cross-border aid to end Friday if U.N. Security Council fails to break deadlock

A six-year-long United Nations operation delivering aid across the Syrian border to millions of civilians will expire at midnight on Friday if a deadlocked U.N....[By Michelle Nichols via reuters.com]

 

Power

UAE’s Masdar and Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power sign renewables deals in Azerbaijan

Abu Dhabi's clean energy company, Masdar, and Acwa Power, based in Saudi Arabia, have both signed agreements with Azerbaijan's Ministry of Energy to develop renewables...[via thenational.ae]

 
 

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