How to reduce costs in the Gulf countries: Oman

How the Gulf economies will get their economies back on track as COVID-19 numbers reduces is a dilemma I have been mulling over for some time. In the past, most of the countries have relied on oil to keep their budgets in order. Dubai, of course, is dependent on logistics, and on oil from Abu Dhabi. Qatar is reliant on natural gas of which it is th...
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Will sterilising coins and notes in Saudi Arabia work in its fight against COVID-19?

Saudi Arabia will be sterilising all its coins and notes in circulation as a way of stemming the growth of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be put the money in sealed envelopes, which will be out of circulation for 20 days. I'm unconvinced that such a measure works, although South Korea and China have done this. However, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Au...
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Problems between Arabs and Italians in Turkey

I was interested to read that all conflicts are not always  between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. Sometimes they are between Arabs and Italians. This article explains the problem that erupted in Turkey. May 22, 2020 in Al Monitor IZMIR, Turkey — Residents in several districts in the Turkish city of Izmir could hardly believe their ea...
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A robot helps the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan to fight COVID-19

I am interested to know how robots can help fight coronavirus, and other diseases. This article discusses how the building of a robot and its use has stopped the spread of coronavirus in Jordan's largest refugee camp, the Zaatari camp. Syrian refugees in Jordan build robot to fight coronavirus by Mohammed Ersan for Al Monitor In Jordan's Zaatari re...
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How Arabs in Israel are dealing with the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the Middle East hard, in the same way that the rest of the world has been hit hard. The economic implications of lockdown are severe. The resumption of economic activity across economies is not easy. Most governments are cautious about the relaxing of economies. It is happening slowly. Could governments have done anyth...
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What is the relevance of the GCC?

What is the relevance of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC)? Does it affect intra-regional trade? With only 10% of intra-regional trade being between the GCC countries, is the GCC past its sell-by date? Saudi Arabia has also raised VAT by 300% to 15%, somewhat higher than the 5% in the UAE and the still-zero-rating in Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. With ...
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The impact of COVID-19 on people-powered protests in the Middle East

What will be the impact of COVID-19 on people-powered protests in the Middle East? That was the topic of the discussion of the latest installment of Foreign Policy (FP) Virtual Dialogues, in partnership with the International Republican Institute. This session examined the impact of COVID-19 on protest movements in the Middle East. The panel discus...
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Expatriate workers struggle in the Gulf

One of the repercussions of COVID-19 in the Arabian Gulf countries is the impact that it's having on migrant workers. They do most of the work in these countries- especially in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar, (the latter two countries are heavily reliant on migrant labour, particularly for Expo 2020 and Qatar 2022 respectively...
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How financial institutions outside the banking sector can help with the recovery post Covid-19

Supporting SMEs which contribute around 60 per cent of non-oil economic output and employ around 90 per cent of the private workforce is critical. This article was published in the Abu Dhabi- headquartered The National newspaper. Zak Hydari May 5, 2020 Covid-19 is the most serious public health and economic emergency the world has faced in modern t...
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Beachlands South takes possession of East Auckland site

This article from New Zealand's Super Fund crossed my desk yesterday and I wanted to share it with you. - Formosa Golf Course reopens under Level 3 restrictions The new owner of a large block of land at Beachlands says it looks forward to engaging with the local community on the area's future. A partnership comprising the NZ Super Fund and parties ...
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Yemen and a devastated healthcare system

Yemen is suffering from the world's worst humanitarian disaster mainly because of an ongoing war between the Houthi rebels and its interim government and the coalition of Gulf powers comprising Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The war has gone on for five years and has made it increasingly difficult to get food. It has also destroyed the ...
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Re-opening Saudi Arabia

Countries across the Middle East have hunkered down and closed shop during the coronavirus pandemic. Other countries around the world have done the same. Although the severity of lockdowns has differed everyone has suffered, especially small businesses, and those in the tourism, aviation and the hospitality sectors. Some of the strict restrictions ...
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Yemen and the shattered healthcare system

I was shocked to read this article about the World Health Organization (WHO) and what it intends to do in Yemen. WHO is likely to suspend 80% of the health care services in the country by the end of this week. That is happening as a consequence of President Trump's decision to withdraw its funding from WHO. It's a perfect storm. With an on-going wa...
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UAE plans to test all citizens, residents for coronavirus

Following on from yesterday's article where I talked about the United Arab Emirates and its response to COVID-19 I'm posting this article from today's Arabian Business on the fact that the UAE is now undertaking mandatory testing for all citizens and residents. Tue 21 Apr 2020 07:49 AM UAE performed 25,795 tests and confirmed 484 new infections in ...
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How Dubai is handling coronavirus

I've been curious to know how the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Dubai, in particular is handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the countries in the Gulf Co-operation Council, the UAE has the second highest number of deaths and cases, next to Saudi Arabia. My friend, and former colleague, tells me that the schools are closed until September- home s...
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Will the GCC banks help the UAE economy?

The economy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been hard hit by COVID-19- as have most economies in the world. The difference is, is that money in the UAE is one of the few things that the emirate has going for it. Most people are there to make tax-free money (well, they were until VAT at 5% was imposed at the beginning of 2018). During the fina...
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Is Israel's Gantz crafting his political demise or a new beginning?

There is so much going on in the Middle East at the moment- the scourge of COVID-19 across the region; the war in Yemen; tensions between Iran and the US; the war in Syria; the troubled politics in Turkey, the oil-price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and the inability of the political parties in Israel to form a government -even after a third ...
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The great leap forward

The COVID-19 crisis presents an opportunity for society and "older people" in particular to use technology to engage with others, in all societies. This issue is discussed by Robynne Allison Fletcher in her regular column on technology. It's difficult to understand why coronavirus has got everyone in such as stew. It's not necessary to go back as f...
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COVID-19 bursting Likud's alliance with the ultra-orthodox Jews

Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is struggling with meeting the demands of keeping COVID-19 under control. 9,755 Israelis have so far tested positive for Covid-19; 79 people have died. The Ultra-Orthodox Jews believe they are a scapegoat for his failings. It is testing the alliance with Likud (however informal) on which Netanyahu so depends for ...
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Abu Dhabi enhances its reputation for medical innovation during the Covid-19 pandemic

The UAE aims to be at the forefront of medical science. That has the main reason why the free zones were formed, and in the case of medicine, Dubai Healthcare City- about 1 hour and 30 minutes from Abu Dhabi, the capital. This article by the Oxford Business Group gives one opinion of how COVID-19 is impacting the United Arab Emirates. It also inclu...
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