Saudi financial conference to attract hundreds of regional and international experts

A press conference at the Ministry of Finance in Riyadh gave details of the Financial Sector Conference to be held this month. (Supplied)
Updated 17 April 2019
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Saudi financial conference to attract hundreds of regional and international experts

JEDDAH: A major conference taking place in Saudi Arabia this month will attract 2,000 business and financial leaders from the Kingdom, the region and across the world.

The Financial Sector Conference (FSC) is to be held on 24 and 25 April at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center in Riyadh.

The event is being organized by the Ministry of Finance, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority  (SAMA) and the Capital Market Authority (CMA). It is the latest high-profile conference hosted in the Kingdom as part of an effort to attract investment, share expertise and develop Saudi Arabia’s financial sector.

Khalid Al-Homoud, member of the CMA Board of Directors and the FSC Supervision Committee, said the event was among the most prominent financial conferences in the world and will be attended by “international corporations, international rating agencies, experts and specialists in finance, investment, banking and insurance.”

“The FSC highlights the Kingdom’s position as the largest financial market in the Middle East, as it provides a single platform for all Saudi financial sector stakeholders to engage in fruitful dialogue,” Al-Homoud, said during a press conference at the Ministry of Finance Monday.

Fahad Al-Saif, Head of the Debt Management Office, Advisor to the Finance Minister and chairman of the FSC technical committee, said sessions at the conference will cover the Saudi financial sector, Islamic finance and FinTech.

“We envision the FSC being the largest platform for financial dialogue in the Middle East and among the top financial sector events in the world, serving as a key catalyst for innovation, forging partnerships and building relationships between financial institutions and investors,” Al-Saif said.

The conference will be held under the patronage of King Salman and attended by Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, SAMA governor, Ahmed Al-Kholifey, and Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih, among others.


Saudi-backed SoftBank invests $125 million in Alphabet venture to put cellphone antennas in the sky

Updated 13 min 28 sec ago
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Saudi-backed SoftBank invests $125 million in Alphabet venture to put cellphone antennas in the sky

  • SoftBank’s year-old HAPSMobile and Alphabet’s Loon separately have been trying to fly networking equipment at high altitudes
  • The goal is to provide high-speed Internet where ground-based towers are unreachable

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: A SoftBank Corp. business seeking to find a way to fly cellphone antennas high in the atmosphere to provide internet in underserved areas said on Wednesday it was investing $125 million in an Alphabet Inc spinoff working on the same problem.

SoftBank’s year-old HAPSMobile and Alphabet’s Loon, which spun out last July from the research incubator of the Google parent, separately have been trying to fly networking equipment at high altitudes to provide high-speed Internet where ground-based towers are unreachable.
Loon carries the gear with a large balloon, while HAPSMobile uses a large drone.
Despite Internet coverage gaps in rural areas or during natural disasters, mobile network operators, governments and other potential customers have yet to demonstrate much enthusiasm for buying skyborne technologies.
Also in the competition to fill the coverage gaps are several billionaire entrepreneurs, including Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos. Each is backing separate early-stage ventures that want to beam Internet from satellites in near-Earth orbit.
Loon and HAPSMobile said on Wednesday that collaboration could be the key to adoption. They are discussing the possibility of using each others’ technology, standardizing their airborne and ground networking gear and joining forces in regulatory discussions, they said in a statement.
The companies described their partnership as a “long-term” tie-up of one of Japan’s top three wireless carriers and one of the world’s biggest tech companies.
“I’m confident we can accelerate the path toward the realization of utilizing the stratosphere for global networks by pooling our technologies, insights and experience,” Junichi Miyakawa, SoftBank’s chief technology officer and HAPSMobile’s chief executive, said in the statement.
“Even in this current era of coming 5G services, we cannot ignore the reality that roughly half of the world’s population is without Internet access,” Miyakawa added.
Loon has tested balloons for nearly a decade and expects to hold its first commercial trial in Kenya this year.
HAPSMobile emerged from technology developed by dronemaker AeroVironment Inc, which owns 10 percent of the SoftBank subsidiary.
Loon said it has the option to later invest $125 million in HAPSMobile.