Saudi Arabia’s high-tech plan to guard food security

Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadhli speaks during a workshop in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 28 February 2019

Saudi Arabia’s high-tech plan to guard food security

  • Riyadh will host the G20's 15th meeting in 2020

RIYADH: Digital technologies and artificial intelligence will have an increasing role in Saudi Arabia’s efforts to maintain food security, according to the Kingdom’s agriculture minister. 

Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadhli, the environment, water and agriculture minister, told a preparatory workshop for next year’s G20 meeting that Arab and foreign institutions were turning to modern technologies with the aim of finding new food resources. 

The workshop was attended by Fahd Al-Mubarak, secretary-general of the G20 Saudi Secretariat, and heads of global organizations working in the environment, water and agriculture sectors.

Al-Fadhli said that Saudi Arabia was working closely with Arab regional organizations and international groups to guarantee food and water security, and promote sustainable agricultural development and environmental balance.

The agriculture sector faced mounting challenges from climate change and water scarcity, as well as the rising prices of agricultural products, he said.

“We hope this workshop will be fruitful and will lead to practical proposals and recommendations that to respond to these challenges,” he said.

Al-Mubarak highlighted the importance of the G20 in ensuring the health of member populations, addressing financial crises, preserving global food security, conserving natural resources and reducing waste.

Key topics to be discussed under Saudi Arabia’s presidency at the 2020 G20 include development of natural resources to reduce degradation, desertification and climate change, water scarcity, sustainable food security, agricultural systems, the use of technology in agriculture, reduction of food waste, investments in agriculture and low agricultural productivity.

International organizations represented at the workshop included the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development , the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Islamic Organization for Food Security, Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe, World Organization for Animal Health, and the International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas.


High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

Updated 18 June 2019

High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

  • Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners

TOKYO: More than 300 government, investment and industry leaders on Monday took part in a high-level gathering aimed at further boosting business opportunities between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) welcomed key figures from the public and private sectors to the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, held in Tokyo.

Hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the conference focused on the creation of investment opportunities in strategic sectors of the Kingdom. Delegates also discussed key reforms currently underway to enable easier market access for foreign companies.

Speaking at the event, Saudi Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, said: “Today’s forum is a testimony to the success of the strategic direction set by the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive private-sector involvement, both by partnering with public-sector entities.”

SAGIA Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar said: “At SAGIA, we have been working on creating a more attractive and favorable business environment in Saudi Arabia, which is making it easier for foreign companies to access opportunities in the Kingdom.”

Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners. It is the Kingdom’s second-largest source of foreign capital and third-biggest trading partner, with total trade exceeding $39 billion.

JETRO president, Yasushi Akahoshi, said: “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 has made great progress since it was first announced. Under this strategic initiative, the number of cooperative projects between our two countries has nearly doubled, from 31 to 61, and represents a diverse range of sectors and stakeholders.”

Since 2016, the Saudi government has delivered 45 percent of more than 500 planned reforms, including the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership rights, enhancing legal infrastructure and offering greater protection for shareholders.

As a result, the Kingdom has climbed international competitiveness and ease-of-doing-business rankings, with foreign direct investment inflows increasing by 127 percent in 2018 and the number of new companies entering Saudi Arabia rising by 70 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2019.