Iran welcomes renewable energy investments from ‘all countries’, minister says

Country is open to joint ventures with GCC and Mena neighbours in sectors including water resource management

Residential apartment blocks in Tehran. Iran's economy is expected to grow 3 per cent this year but inflation is set to remain elevated at 47 per cent. Bloomberg
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Iran is keen to receive foreign investment from “all countries”, with companies in the country ready for joint ventures, particularly in sustainable development and renewable energy, its Finance Minister Ehsan Khandouzi has said.

“Numerous” Iranian companies have expressed their readiness to co-operate with foreign investors and international development organisations to form joint ventures, Mr Khandouzi, who also holds the economic affairs portfolio, told a ministerial round table at the World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

“Foreign investment in the two years of the new Iranian administration has doubled compared to the previous years, despite tough sanctions,” Mr Khandouzi said, without revealing the value of foreign direct investment his country has received.

Tehran's developmental priority is joint investments with regional neighbours in fields such as fine dust control, water resource management, renewable energy and the further exploitation of hydrocarbon resources, he said.

Iran's oil production has recovered to a five-year high of 3.1 million barrels per day in recent months, despite current sanctions.

Tehran’s oil exports have faced restrictions since 2018 after the US withdrew from nuclear agreement reached in the 2015. The subsequent reinstatement of sanctions on the country has rattled its economy and gave rise to social unrest.

Iran's currency has remained under pressure in recent quarters. The country's economy is expected to grow 3 per cent this year but inflation is set to remain at 47 per cent, according to an International Monetary Fund estimate.

Aggregate economic growth in Mena is expected to drop to 1.9 per cent in 2023, sharply down from the 6 per cent gross domestic product expansion recorded last year, the World Bank said in its Mena Economic Update this month.

Growth in developing oil-exporting countries – Iraq, Iran and Algeria – is forecast to decline to 2.4 per cent this year, from 4.3 in 2022, the World Bank said.

Bahrain, the smallest economy in the six-member GCC economic bloc, will work with its partners to boost research and development efforts in crucial sectors, its Minister of Industry and Commerce told delegates.

“We look at value chains of food, pharma, semiconductors and renewables, which are all our target sectors in industry, and we have realised that … we have a gap in R&D,” Abdulla Fakhro said.

“We have successfully implemented strategies which focus on completing rather than competing … through integration we are stronger and have economic weight to drive growth and prosperity.”

Bahrain’s renewable energy programme aims to increase the share of clean energy in the country’s electricity mix to 5 per cent by 2025 and 20 per cent by 2035.

In August, the country signed agreements to set up a solar park project with a capacity of 72 megawatts amid efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060.

“Our biggest asset … is our human capital, which brings a lot to the table when it comes to service industries such as tourism [and] technology,” Mr Fakhro said.

Dr Riyatno, Deputy Minister for Investment Co-operation of Indonesia's Ministry of Investment said that some investors were reluctant to fund sustainable development projects in the country due to “perceived risks and uncertainties”.

Indonesia, South-East Asia’s largest economy, recently began trading carbon dioxide emission credits and plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

Transitioning away from coal, which in some provinces employs more than 10 per cent of the population, is expected to have deep social consequences for Indonesia.

“One of the challenges is the need to focus on economic growth, while also paying attention to environmental protection, which is actually in line with the sustainable economic development model the government trying to implement,” the Indonesian official said.

Updated: October 18, 2023, 12:10 PM