MiSK ‘Hackathon’ propels creativity

Updated 28 November 2016

MiSK ‘Hackathon’ propels creativity

RIYADH: A 48-hour MiSK “Hackathon” kicked off here Friday. The event aims to mine the talent of the youth of Saudi Arabia and Britain in developing new ways to improve medical services and enhancing the level of health care.
During the event, 200 young men and women from Saudi Arabia and an equal number from the United Kingdom are linked together via live satellite broadcast. The two groups from the two kingdoms are competing to develop technical innovations to improve medical services.
At the opening on Friday, the director of business development for the MiSK Foundation, Shaimaa Hamiddadin, said the foundation seeks through these bilateral international exchanges to achieve technical progress in the development of IT solutions in the health field and the tackle the challenges facing medical services, improving public health care, and also to contribute to the creation of a new a generation of innovative projects in the areas that will serve millions of people around the world.
She added that this initiative comes as part of the institution’s efforts in its various initiatives to nurture knowledge and create an appropriate atmosphere for the youth in the Arab world to contribute with their innovations in order to improve the development of services.
British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Simon Collis, who attended the launch of the challenge, said: “We are proud that our country’s relationship with Saudi Arabia began its second century, and today we are supporting young people, including our accumulated experiences.”
The British ambassador praised Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the role of the Saudi youth in realizing this vision. He stressed the importance of what is being done and the efforts to maintain and find initiatives toward the achieving this vision.
Ambassador Collis added that this challenge brings together the youth of the two kingdoms in an effort to find innovative contributions to improve the health service sector in particular and humanitarian efforts in general.
He said the hackathon provides an opportunity for 400 young men and women of the two kingdoms to find and develop great ideas working day and night in direct connectivity.
During the event all competing teams have access to experts in various fields. Three teams will be declared winners of the competition with each team awarded $35,000 to change their innovative ideas into marketable commodities.


Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India will boost robust interactions that New Delhi has established with Saudi Arabia over the last few years. (Supplied)
Updated 20 February 2019

Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

  • New Delhi’s participation in Kingdom’s mega projects a major aspect of renewed ties: Talmiz Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India is a landmark development in bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former ambassador to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, but since taking office in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use India’s growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia beyond energy, and foster cooperation on trade, infrastructure and defense.

Ahmad, author of several books on the Arab world and twice India’s Ambassador to Riyadh, said that while the backbone of New Delhi’s relationship with the Kingdom is energy, the two sides had been discussing “how to give greater substance and longevity to the relationship on the basis of concrete projects.”

Reuters reported this week that India is expecting Prince Salman to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways. Saudi Arabia has also suggested investing in India’s farming industry, with an eye on food imports to the Kingdom. 

Ahmad said Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a $500 billion smart city in Tabuk province on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, would also provide great opportunities for Indian companies. 

He added that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the crown prince’s blueprint to fundamentally transform Kingdom’s economy, presents another opportunity for Indian businesses to prosper from the relationship.

“India is extremely well placed,” said Ahmad. “We are world leaders in small and medium enterprises and in the services sector. Saudi Arabia also has proposals to develop its tourism and leisure sectors, and I believe India is also well placed in those areas too.”

He also discussed how the strategic partnership had been initiated by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Riyadh in 2010, but that Modi, who visited in 2016, had added “considerable substance” to the relationship.

He stressed, though, that Riyadh’s ties with India are independent of its relationship with Pakistan. He added India and Saudi Arabia were also working together to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, to resolve the 17-year conflict between government forces and the Afghan Taliban, as well as in the wider West Asia region. 

“India has excellent relations with all the countries in West Asia, and New Delhi is well placed to address some of the concerns that all the countries have with each other,” he said.