21 nations take part in Riyadh International Book Fair

Updated 06 March 2014
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21 nations take part in Riyadh International Book Fair

The Riyadh International Book Fair 2014 was inaugurated by Culture and Information Minister Abdulaziz Khoja under the theme, “Books: An Arch-Bridge Connecting Civilizations,” at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center (RICEC) on Tuesday.
Khoja expressed gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and welcomed Spain as the guest of honor for 2014.
The book fair focused on Saudi-Spanish relations, Arabic manuscripts in Spain and Arabic literary works that were translated into Spanish.
“The book fair aims to facilitate and promote exchange between professionals whose jobs depend on books and reading in congregation,” said Khoja. “The exhibition accommodates more than 900 publishing houses from 21 countries, represented by 400 exhibitors from within the Kingdom and 1,300 foreign exhibitors.”
A large number of senior Saudi officials, intellectuals, publishers, scholars and writers were present to boost nationalization initiatives by the Saudi government. The 11-day book fair will open its doors for visitors on March 5 and for students between March 9 and 13.
The book fair aims to feature hundreds of national and international publishing houses, distributors and retail booksellers from Arab and non-Arab countries.
The book fair serves as a great networking platform for publishers, writers and scholars, as well as academic institutions.
A large number of books on Islam, Arab culture, medicine, law, science, technology and communication, in addition to biographical accounts, fiction and novels are available in the fair in Arabic, Persian, English, French, Turkish, Urdu and Spanish, among other languages.
Saleh Al-Ghamdi, director of the Riyadh International Book Fair, said: “There is a special pavilion for Saudis who wish to display and market their products.”
This event is being held for the second time as a form of encouragement from the Ministry of Culture and Information for young authors, he said.
The Riyadh International Book Fair is the most prominent book fair in the Middle East.


Website launched to support housing project in Saudi Arabia

The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Housing are working together to provide the necessary services for citizens from different social classes. (SPA)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Website launched to support housing project in Saudi Arabia

  • Real estate financing for January hit SR4.7 billion, and coming months were expected to see even bigger figures, Al-Hogail told Reuters news agency on the sidelines of a housing conference in Riyadh

RIYADH: A new website has been set up to support a housing project for 10,000 units in the Kingdom.
Housing Minister Majid Al-Hogail, and Commerce and Investment Minister Majid Al-Qassabi on Sunday launched Benaa Housing, which will help construction companies and contractors contribute to a development program in the Kingdom.
Benaa Housing aims to speed up the process of building 10,000 housing units in various parts of Saudi Arabia by enabling small and medium enterprises in the construction sector to access and contribute to projects and opportunities. The estimated cost of the project is SR3.5 billion ($910 million).
“The Ministry of Housing is always keen to provide adequate housing, solutions, and services suitable to all families, especially the beneficiaries of the Housing Development Program in all regions of the Kingdom,” Al-Hogail said.
Al-Qassabi said the new platform would generate more business opportunities for small and medium enterprises and provide suitable apartments for middle-class and lower-income families.
“The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Housing are working together to provide the necessary services for citizens from different social classes and groups, and the new platform is the fruit of these efforts,” he added.
Earlier this month, the housing minister said he expected investments in the real estate financing sector to reach between SR60 billion and SR80 billion this year.
Real estate financing for January hit SR4.7 billion, and coming months were expected to see even bigger figures, Al-Hogail told Reuters news agency on the sidelines of a housing conference in Riyadh.
Saudi home ownership was growing between 6 and 7 percent annually, he said, adding that he hoped to raise home ownership to 15,000 new households per month by 2020, from a little over 10,000 per month now.
The ministry aims to increase housing ownership through policy and stimulating the private sector, according to its website.
The challenges facing the ministry are the limited availability of suitable units for all parts of the population; difficulty in accessing adequate housing finance; the inefficiency of the real estate sector and heavy reliance on government funding.
“Even though 47 percent of Saudi families already own their homes, we aim to increase this rate by 5 percentage points by 2020,” the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan states. Vision 2030 also aims to speed up construction and provide Saudis with high-quality, competitively priced housing, and to stimulate localization of the country’s construction industry.