As the year draws to a close, we take a look back on the top 10 most read stories from the MENA region. Over 2018, these were the procurement and supply chain stories that mattered most to our readers...
1. Microsoft to work with Saudi on cyber security
Saudi Arabia signed agreements with Microsoft and Cisco to help develop domestic cyber security capabilities. The agreement was the first official act of the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security and Programming (SFCSP), a new authority created in November 2017 to bolster the kingdom’s digital security.
2. Djibouti seizes DP World-run port in contract dispute
The Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority (DPFZ) forcibly took management of the Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) port from DP World. Dubai-based DP World said Djibouti had “illegally seized control” of the DCT. Dubai state media claimed the move was part of the Djibouti government’s plan to force DP World to renegotiate the terms of the concession.
3. World’s largest desalinated water reserve unveiled
Abu Dhabi unveiled the world’s largest reserve of desalinated water. The Liwa Strategic Water Reserve is a 27bn litre reservoir that sits under the Liwa desert. Created at an estimated cost of AED1.81bn ($493m), if needed it can pump 455m litres of potable water a day to Abu Dhabi and the Al Dhafra region.
4. DP World partners with Virgin on Hyperloop
DP World announced a partnership with Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One. The collaboration aims to develop the technology for low-cost, high-speed shipping for on-demand goods. It could reach speeds of 1,000 km per hour.
5. VAT introduced in UAE and Saudi
Saudi and the UAE introduced the 5% tax on goods and services as part of efforts to “wean” themselves off oil. The authorities reported issuing more than 120 business violations in the first day.
6. What's behind Tunisia's street protests?
Dissatisfied youth waged war against the government’s austerity measures. Our analysis explained Tunisia’s civil turbulence and political history.
7. Iran adds saffron to stock exchange
Iran introduced saffron to the country’s stock exchange for the first time. The country produces 85% of the world’s supply of this pricey spice, and wants to set the base global price.
8. Qatar merges two largest LNG producers
In January, Qatar Petroleum (QP) merged its two largest LNG producers in a move that aimed to save the state-owned oil company R2bn a year. The country is the world’s largest exporter of LNG.
9. Yemen has 'most solar energy potential'
The World Resources Institute identified Yemen as the most water-stressed country with the most potential to harness solar energy. Unlike traditional power generation, solar energy requires little or no water use.
10. Peugeot pulling out of Iran to avoid sanctions
In June, carmaker PSA Group began pulling out of its operations in Iran to avoid falling foul of US sanctions. The automotive company owns brands including Peugeot and Citroen. Later, an Iranian minister called for Peugeot to be fined for backing out of contracts it had signed in the country.