Weekly Business Roundup: Kuwait Deports 2,000 Expats, How to Survive Ramadan at Work and 6 Stories You Probably Missed

Published May 12th, 2017 - 07:00 GMT
Ramadan is just around the corner and foreigners visiting the Middle East region need to be respectful to the religious month and aware of customary etiquette. (Shutterstock)
Ramadan is just around the corner and foreigners visiting the Middle East region need to be respectful to the religious month and aware of customary etiquette. (Shutterstock)

It’s that time of the week again for your dose of the top business news of the past seven days on Al Bawaba. 

Here are the top 8 business stories of last week:

1. Tunisia Wins Award for Best Olive Oil in the World and Tunisians Couldn't Be Happier

Tunisian olive oil Olivko won the top award at the world's largest olive oil competition, recently held in New York. Their extra virgin olive oil, extracted from the Tunisian olive variety Chetoui, comes from Dougga valley, an archaeological site declared a UNESCO heritage site.

Tunisia took the leading position in the competition which evaluated 910 olive oils from 27 countries including Italy, Spain, the US and Greece. What do we say? Mabrouk, Tunisia!

2. Kuwait Deports At Least 21,000 Expat Workers In 2016-2017

If you follow the news in Kuwait then you'll know that there have been pressures on the Kuwaiti government to rebalance the “demographic imbalance”, in which expats make up an estimated 70 percent of its 4.3 million population. The crackdown on foreign labor has just started as 2,000 expats were deported from Kuwait in the first quarter of 2017. It has also been reported that a further 19,000 to 29,000 expats have been deported last year by Kuwaiti authorities. 

Safa Al Hashem, Kuwait’s only female MP, is notorious for her harsh comments against expats. She called for a road tax on foreigners as a way to manage traffic in Kuwait. I kid you not. 

3. US Pushes for Multibillion-Dollar Arms Deal With Saudi Arabia

The US has recently been trying to rush military contracts, some new, others already in the works, worth tens of billions of dollars with Saudi Arabia, ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh this month. Trump said he was keen to repair the relationship with Saudi Arabia following tensions caused by the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. 
The contracts are likely to include a missile defence system worth $1 billion, a C2BMC software system, and a package with satellite capabilities. 
4. Qatar Airways Bags FIFA Deal for Official Partner and Airline Until 2022
Qatar Airways said it has signed a major deal with FIFA to be the official partner and airline for all FIFA events until 2022. Think FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the FIFA Club World Cup, the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. 
5. Saudi Arabia's Founding Father Foresaw Aramco’s Value 100 Years Ago in Letter to His Cousin 
In a letter to Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Musa’ed, his cousin and then emir of Buraidah, Saudi Arabia’s founder King Abdul Aziz predicted the worth of Aramco and urged citizens to start investing in the oil-giant company.
Through Al Arabiya, Al Bawaba obtained a copy of the late founding King’s speech in which he called Saudis to start thinking of investing in Aramco after international petroleum companies began exploring for oil on Saudi lands. A wise and visionary man, to say the least.  
6. Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding Net Profit Up 13 Percent in Q1 2017
While every company in the Middle East is reporting losses for the fiscal year 2016-2017, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal's Kingdom Holding Company posted a net profit of SR129 million ($34.3 million) for the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 13 percent year-on-year. Lucky or smart, this man knows how to manage his money. 
7. Do’s and Don’ts of Working in Saudi Arabia During Ramadan
Although Saudi Arabia is an attractive market for doing business, it can be a difficult one to navigate. As Ramadan approaches, professionals who are working in Saudi Arabia are advised to prepare for a slight shift in business practices and a potential slowdown in some processes. This article provides a list of do's and don'ts for anyone working in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan.
8. Etihad Appoints New CFO, Interim CEO as Powerful Chief Steps Down
After the infamous Alitalia fiasco, Etihad's chief and 10-year veteran James Hogan announced he was definitely stepping down on July 1 this year. His successor, Ray Gammell, Etihad’s chief people and performance officer, will assume his full responsibilities as interim CEO immediately. The company has also appointed a new CFO, Ricky Thirion, senior VP and group treasurer who joined Etihad Airways in 2007. Goodbye, Hogan! 
Want more? Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest – and juiciest – business news in the Middle East.
Reem Boudraa

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