Correspondent, Beirut
Sylvia's Feed
Mar 6, 2014

Analysis – Qatar rift is pivotal test for disunited Gulf families

RIYADH/KUWAIT (Reuters) – A breach between Qatar and some of its Gulf Arab neighbours is a pivotal test for a three-decade-old union of monarchies formed to stand united when threatened by common enemies.

The six neighbours have struggled for years to transform their alliance from a simple security pact into an integrated economy. But plans for a customs union, integrated power grids and a joint military command remain unfinished or unrealised.

Mar 6, 2014

Kuwait moves closer to creation of independent telecoms watchdog

KUWAIT/DUBAI, March 6 (Reuters) – Kuwait’s parliament has
approved the first reading of a bill to create the country’s
first independent telecoms watchdog, according to the assembly’s
website, a move that could lead to further liberalisation of the

The Ministry of Communications is the de facto regulator in
the absence of a separate watchdog and also ultimately owns and
operates the country’s fixed-line infrastructure.

Feb 18, 2014

New CEO of Kuwait’s top bank faces sluggish home market, Gulf rivals

KUWAIT/DUBAI, Feb 18 (Reuters) – The new chief executive of
National Bank of Kuwait, the country’s largest
commercial bank, will grapple with a sluggish home market as he
fends off competition from dynamic Gulf rivals.

NBK, the fifth-biggest bank in the Gulf, with $66 billion in
assets at the end of last year, said on Sunday that veteran
banker Isam al-Sager had been appointed its new group CEO, in an
internal transition that had been planned for years.

Feb 16, 2014

Kuwaiti oil refineries vulnerable to more power problems

KUWAIT/DUBAI, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Kuwaiti oil refineries are
at risk of more shutdowns because of an inadequate power supply
system, which has blighted the oil producer during years of
rapid demand growth and underinvestment.

The exact cause of the power failure that shut down all
three of the country’s oil refineries with a total capacity of
around 930,000 barrels per day late last month is unclear.

Feb 10, 2014

Kuwait faces hard sell as it eyes cut in lavish subsidies

KUWAIT, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Kuwait’s policymakers face the
uphill challenge of convincing citizens that despite hefty oil
revenues, one of the world’s richest countries per capita needs
to reduce spending to avoid a potential damaging budget deficit
later this decade.

Long a topic of debate, the task has now fallen to new
Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh, who said shortly after his
appointment in January that a plan to review the lavish subsidy
system should be ready later this year.

Jan 23, 2014

Kuwait expects budget spending growth to slow next fiscal year

KUWAIT, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Kuwait plans to raise its budget
spending by 3.2 percent next fiscal year compared to this year’s
plan, a cabinet statement said on Thursday, a much slower rise
than the past decade’s double-digit average.

The major oil producer expects to spend 21.86 billion dinars
($77.3 billion) in its draft budget for the fiscal year starting
in April, up by 681.9 million dinars from the 2013/14 plan,
according to projections discussed in a cabinet meeting.

Jan 19, 2014

Sager is frontrunner to succeed Dabdoub at Kuwait’s NBK -sources

DUBAI/KUWAIT, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Veteran banker Isam
al-Sager is the most likely candidate to become the new group
chief executive of National Bank of Kuwait, succeeding Ibrahim
Dabdoub who is retiring from the post after three decades,
sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Dabdoub, who has close ties with policy makers in Kuwait and
around the Gulf, transformed NBK from a local lender
into one of the Middle East’s biggest financial institutions, as
well as the largest bank in Kuwait.

Jan 15, 2014

Western, Arab states pledge $2.4 billion in Syria aid

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Western and Gulf Arab nations pledged more than $2.4 billion (1.4 billion pounds) on Wednesday for U.N. aid efforts in Syria, where a near three-year civil war has left millions of people hungry, ailing or displaced.

The pledge arose from a U.N. appeal for $6.5 billion in 2014, which was launched last month and is the largest in the organisation’s history.

Jan 15, 2014

Western, Arab states pledge $1.4 billion in fresh Syria aid

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Western and Gulf Arab nations pledged $1.4 billion (£852 million) on Wednesday for United Nations aid efforts in Syria, where an almost three-year-old civil war has left millions of people hungry, ailing or displaced.

The pledge arose from an appeal for $6.5 billion launched last month that is the largest in U.N. history. The world body estimates that the conflict has reversed development gains in Syria by 35 years, with half its people now living in poverty.

Jan 15, 2014

US, Gulf Arab states pledge $1 billion in fresh Syria aid

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Donors including the United States and wealthy Gulf Arab countries pledged $1 billion on Wednesday for U.N. humanitarian efforts in Syria, devastated by almost three years of civil war.

Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, promised $500 million in fresh assistance, while the United States announced a contribution of $380 million. Qatar and Saudi Arabia pledged $60 million each.

    • About Sylvia

      "Sylvia is based in Beirut, covering Lebanon and Syria. She joined Reuters as a graduate trainee in 2006 and has been based in London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna and Kuwait and has reported from South Korea, Tunisia, Egypt and Iraq. She moved to Beirut in 2014."
      Joined Reuters:
    • Follow Sylvia