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New Job Opportunities Arise for Saudi Arabia and UAE in the New Year

Middle East : 19 December 2011

Emirates Airline Set to Create 8,500 Positions In a Two-Year Period

The Emirates Group executive VP Adel Al Redha stated that the firm requires over 8,500 new staff members, including pilots, flight attendants and technicians. Emirates will take delivery of fifty new aircraft in a two-year period, opening up many new jobs.

The airline’s website notes that the company has intentions to increase the number of nationals employed, following an internal plan of emiratisation that focuses on pilots and engineering jobs.

About 12 percent of the company’s workforce is made up of Emirati technicians, pilots and engineers. Emirates plans to double that figure to reach almost 25 percent.

Saudi Petrochemical Industry Set For $150 Billion in Investments

Ministry advisors state that by 2016 the petrochemical industry in Saudi Arabia will have recorded Dh 551 billion (or $150bn) in cumulative investments. A ‘golden era’ has dawned on the sector, according to Prince Faisal Bin Turki, although further development is required in the conversion sector to create local jobs. Prince Faisal spoke in Dubai at the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association forum.

Prince Faisal stated that the industry’s rate of growth is the largest in its history, surging by around 250 percent since 2006. By 2016 petrochemicals, polymer and chemicals production is expected to reach beyond 100 million tonnes.

Saudi Arabia has the largest economy in the Arab world, and will experience annual production increases in methylene (230 percent increase over the 2006 figures) and propylene (300 percent increase).

Petrochemicals are being established as a key sector in the Gulf region. Nations like Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia are pushing for economic diversification, moving away from oil and looking to create more jobs for a youthful, growing population.

Both local and global investors are entering the Gulf region’s petrochemicals sector, including Sabic (or Saudi Basic Industries Corp), Dow Chemical Co and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. Affordable natural gas is available in the Gulf and is commonly used for plastic production.

This availability has boosted the Gulf’s competitiveness against the U.S. and European petrochemicals sectors, which rely on naphtha, a crude oil derivative that has risen in cost along with oil prices.

The ministry is working hard to bolster product portfolio expansions in the Kingdom, incorporating 120 new chemical and petrochemical products in the value chain and enabling downstream conversion industries to be created in the future, according to Prince Faisal.

The prince also stated that unless the Kingdom creates additional conversion industries in Saudi Arabia, the nation will lose out on job creation opportunities.

Many petrochemicals based in Saudi Arabia are exported, only to be imported back into the Kingdom as finished goods manufactured elsewhere. In fact, 85 percent of the polymers in the Kingdom follow this path, creating numerous jobs outside of the Kingdom.

UAE to Strengthen its Position

The Minister of the Economy in the UAE, H.E. Sultan Al Mansoori, stated that his nation’s economic position will be enhanced next year due to dealings within both the U.S. and Europe.

Al Mansoori noted that the financial crisis in Europe presents multiple opportunities. Advantages enjoyed by the UAE include a strategic location, establishment as a major gateway to the Middle East, security and stability in the economic climate and open, diversified economic policies.

The Minister made these statements during a meeting in Abu Dhabi, where he spoke with the Danish Ambassador to the Emirates, Poul Hoiness, and the Norwegian Ambassador to the UAE, Elin Bjerke. The trio discussed strategies to fortify the structure of bilateral dealings and economic cooperation that exist between the nations. Special attention was given to research, pharmaceuticals and innovation.

The significance of newly established air travel routes to Copenhagen, opened by Emirates Airlines, was noted by the Minister. He noted that such routes enhanced the trade dealings, tourism and investments between the UAE and Denmark. The Minister also stated that these air travel routes promote bilateral dealings with other nations in Northern Europe, such as Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway. Denmark is a well established meeting point for several international airlines serving the entire Nordic region.

Al Mansoori focused on his nation’s commitment to expand technical cooperation and investments to the Northern European nations, with a particular emphasis on Norway and Denmark. The UAE is looking to take advantage of the Nordic nations’ expertise in clean energy generation, education and communications.

Trade dealings between the Nordic nations and the UAE are sophisticated, with 100 Danish firms operating in the UAE and around 80 distributors and agents representing Danish products within the Emirates. Over 4,000 Danish citizens are residing in the UAE.

Cooperative projects in alternative energy are a possibility, as the Masdar initiative has allowed the UAE to garner significant experience in that field.

Advanced tourism promotion and exchange was agreed upon at the meeting. The two parties also spoke about why cooperation within innovation and small to mid-sized businesses is required.

Discussions between Al Mansoori and the Norwegian ambassador centered on the need to promote commercial and industrial cooperation, boost joint investments in a variety of fields and activate the free trade agreement signed in late 2010 between the Association of Scandinavia and the GCC.

Minister Al Mansoori also noted that the UAE will continue strengthening trade dealings with Norway, in an effort to establish strategic partnerships, promote development and capture the economic benefits present in the UAE and Norway. The minister mentioned  how social and economic development in the UAE has stabilised social and economic spheres and created enhancements within the UAE’s investment climate, where several global firms have regional headquarters.

The investment climate and promising opportunities play an important role in strengthening the UAE’s position on the worldwide investment map, according to the minister. When speaking to the Norwegian ambassador, Al Mansoori noted that cooperation between the two nations is possible in many areas, such as industrial and non-oil sectors, as well as renewable technology and energy industries.

The minister extended an invitation to Norwegian firms, presenting the advantageous investment environment, business climate and open economic policies within the UAE and inviting businesses to exploit the opportunities available in a variety of economic sectors.

Elin Bjerke, Norway’s ambassador to the UAE, praised the Emirates’ economic development and appealing investment climate, noting that around 100 Norwegian firms are currently operating within the UAE market.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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