Qalaa Holdings Chairman and Founder Ahmed Heikal Discusses the Future of Global Energy at “Future Investment Initiative 2019” in the Presence of International Energy Leaders

Qalaa’s Chairman and Founder Ahmed Heikal participated in the third annual Future Investment Initiative “Davos in the Desert” in Al-Riyadh to discuss fundamental changes and innovative solutions in energy and what’s next for the energy sector in light of new challenges and opportunities as the world transitions to renewable, clean sources of energy

Qalaa Holdings Chairman and Founder Ahmed Heikal partook in the Future Investment Initiative summit held in the Saudi capital of Al-Riyadh to discuss innovation and challenges in energy and climate change, joined by an illustrious group of energy sector experts and cabinet ministers including Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State UAE and Group CEO Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC Group) and Rick Perry, US Secretary of Energy.

Heikal participated in a panel on energy access and the development of a sustainable and integrative clean energy system with Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Executive Chairman, Global Thermostat, Akimasa Muyama, CTO, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Japan, Jeffrey Rosen, Deputy Chairman & Managing Director, Lazard Ltd., and Charif Souki, Co-founder & Chairman, Tellurian. The discussion delved into global challenges facing energy and climate change and looked at sustainable solutions and ways in which leading energy players along with technology startups can lead the transition into a circular carbon economy and achieve global development and climate goals.

“The market is highly liquid at the moment, whichis making a lot of new models, particularly solar energy, extremely affordable and viable,” said Heikal. “The combination of technological advancement and cheap debt is making solar pricing extremely attractive for the forseeable future and we can expect to see more and more investments in this space.”

“Policymakers around the world, and in our region particularly, realize that we can no longer afford the energy subsidies that we had in place. I’m going to give you a very startling statistic, in Egypt the economy has been growing at 5.5% per annum for the past 3 years. During that period of time diesel consumpution declined by 6%. Energy efficiency and increased investment flow to countries are achievable when governments prioritize the deregulation of energy prices and determine prices through market supply and demand,” said Heikal.

“Three or four years ago we were talking about a million dollar per megawatt for solar, today we're talking about US$ 500 per megawatt. All of this is having ripple effect, but the combination of fiscal at the local level and cheap debt globally is having also ripple effects,” added Heikal. “The pricing of energy needs to be correct. if you distort pricing of energy, at the end of the day, you'll get suboptimal inefficient structures that will cause on a national level and on a global level, wrong decisions to be made. The low prices of energy that are prevalent today are also going to make a revolution when it comes to water and new pricing of water will emerge as a result of lower electricity prices.”

Qalaa subsidiary TAQA Arabia, Egypt’s largest private sector energy distribution company, recently launched its 50 MW solar plant, expected to generate 154 million KWh of energy per year and reduce carbon emissions by 65,371 tonnes per annum. The project, backed by a EGP 1.35 million grant from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is one of 29 plants at the USD 4 billion Benban Solar Park in Aswan, Africa’s largest solar park, that are currently linked to Egypt’s national grid and have started commercial operations.

In addition to TAQA Arabia, Qalaa began operations at the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC), Africa’s largest public private infrastructure megaproject, in the third quarter of 2019. ERC is a US$ 4.4 billion refinery that brought together the Egyptian government with private investors, development finance institutions and export credit agencies. It will nearly halve Egypt’s present-day diesel imports and reduce the country’s current sulfur emissions by almost one-third by supplying the local market with the cleaner burning Euro V diesel.

Joining Heikal at the Future Investment Initiative 2019 summit was Qalaa’s Chief Sustainability and Marketing Officer, Ghada Hammouda, who highlighted the accomplishments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia in supporting and integrating women.

“Research indicates that the participation of women in the workforce drives innovation and productivity, and improves the GDP of countries, which is needed now in a time overtaken with concern over the global economy and current weak global growth indicators. It is important that we maintain these efforts, cooperations and partnerships to create a more inclusive labor market, provide equal opportunities and ensure the equivalent participation of women in the workforce,” said Hammouda. “Technological innovation should be used to create better environments, frameworks and methodologies that enable women to perform efficiently and reach financial inclusion in the workforce throughout every career stage. We must also reiterate the importance of breaking cultural barriers and bringing female role models to the forefront, while focusing on providing potential female leaders and professionals with education and suitable human development programs, like Qalaa’s education and economic initiatives for women. It is also crucial to begin enforcing policies that enable women to compete for and reach influential leadership positions so they can contribute to future successes and the creation of sustainable, inclusive economies in Egypt and the region,” said Hammouda.


Qalaa Holdings is an African leader in energy and infrastructure. Formerly known as Citadel Capital, Qalaa Holdings controls subsidiaries in industries including Energy, Cement, Agrifoods, Transportation & Logistics, Mining and Printing & Packaging. To learn more, please visit

For more information, please contact:

For more information, please contact:
Ms. Ghada Hammouda
Chief Sustainability & Marketing Officer
Qalaa Holdings (S.A.E.)

Tel: +20 2 2791-4439 

Fax: +20 22 791-4448
Mobile: +20 106 662-0002