Gulf and Red Sea Regions

Stories under this heading cover the Gulf and the Red Sea regions, including the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and the countries bordering the Red Sea.

Dubai scraps 30% alcohol tax and fees for personal alcohol licences

The UAE emirate of Dubai has announced that it has scrapped the 30% tax on alcohol, and will no longer charge for personal alcohol licences.

Known as the Gulf's "party capital", where expatriates outnumber nationals by nine to one, Dubai has historically been more attractive to tourists and wealthy foreign workers than its neighbours, partially because of its tolerance of a more liberal lifestyle.

Despite this, the high alcohol tax had led to residents often driving to Umm al-Quwain and other emirates to buy alcohol in bulk.

patrickn97 Mon, 01/02/2023 - 10:33 The free market in foreign policy on display as Xi meets the Arabs
It appears that the principles of the free market now dominate the international system, not only in areas of trade, but also in defence, security and foreign policy, writes Dennis Sammut in today's Monday Commentary on Bigger countries are wooing smaller countries, unashamedly displaying their goods, and dismissing those of others. China’s president Xi was in Saudi Arabia last week, to seal China’s new partnership with the Arabs. This week, it will Joe Biden’s turn to host African leaders at the White House. "For the moment small countries are making the most out of this new free market atmosphere in the international system. But they must also keep in mind that, as in the market, demand sometimes slumps abruptly. It is at this point countries will not need just customers, but also friends."
dennis2020 Mon, 12/12/2022 - 05:29

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Ethiopia launches energy production through controversial Nile dam

Ethiopia has started energy production on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the largest hydroelectric dam on the continent, on Sunday (20 February), following years of delays and international pushback.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed travelled to the western town of Guba to inaugurate the GERD,  hailing the project as the “birth of a new era” in the East-African country's history.  

dennis2020 Sun, 02/20/2022 - 15:34
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Saudi Arabia transfers 4% of Aramco shares to sovereign wealth fund

Saudi Arabia transfers 4% of Aramco shares to sovereign wealth fund

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the transfer of 4 percent of the Saudi oil giant Aramco’s, shares to the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. The transferred share are valued up to $80 billion. The move is another step by the Kingdom to diversify the economy and move it away from dependency on oil.