SAMA to launch virtual riyal for banks

Updated 06 October 2017

SAMA to launch virtual riyal for banks

JEDDAH: The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) will implement a pilot project to issue a virtual/digital currency that will be traded exclusively among banks to avoid any economic impact, SAMA Governor Ahmed Al-Khulaifi has revealed.
SAMA will also study the positive aspects of the practice and consider whether or not it will continue.
Al-Khulaifi ruled out any plan to issue a digital currency for trading between individuals and companies, adding that the Saudi banknotes currency will be dispensed with the coins.
Quoted by Al-Hayat daily, Al-Khulaifi said in a press conference at SAMA headquarters in Riyadh on Wednesday that "The Saudi Riyals banknotes currency will be dispensed and one Riyal category will be issued into coins instead in the next stage."
He also confirmed that SAMA "provided all equipment needed for the issuance and circulation of the Riyal coins as it will be available at the headquarters of the agency, its branches and the entire banking sector."
Al-Khulaifi was surprised by the decline experienced by the Saudi riyals in futures exchange. He said he sees no reason for that as he described liquidity in the banking system as good.
He pointed out that "private consumption expenditure exceeded trillion riyals last year, an increase of 5 percent compared to 2015, while government consumption expenditure amounted to SAR16 billion."
He also disclosed that the average per capita private consumption amounted to SAR33,000 last year.
He described SAMA's reserve assets as "still good, it amounted to SAR1.8 trillion in August. They cover more than 30 months of Saudi imports of goods and services and account for more than 70 percent of GDP."

A Jordan startup delivers eco-friendly alternative to dry cleaning

Updated 05 December 2019

A Jordan startup delivers eco-friendly alternative to dry cleaning

  • Products used by WashyWash are non-carcinogenic and environmentally neutral
  • Amman-based laundry service aims to relocate to a larger facility in mid-2020

AMMAN: A persistent sinus problem prompted a Jordanian entrepreneur to launch an eco-friendly dry-cleaning service that could help end the widespread use of a dangerous chemical.

“Dry cleaning” is somewhat of a misnomer because it is not really dry. It is true that no water is involved in the process, but the main cleaning agent is perchloroethylene (PERC), a chemical that experts consider likely to cause cancer, as well as brain and nervous system damage.

Kamel Almani, 33, knew little of these dangers when he began suffering from sinus irritation while working as regional sales director at Eon Aligner, a medical equipment startup he co-founded.

The problem would disappear when he went on vacation, so he assumed it was stress related.

However, when Mazen Darwish, a chemical engineer, revealed he wanted to start an eco-laundry and warned about toxic chemicals used in conventional dry cleaning, Almani had an epiphany.

“He began to tell me how PERC affects the respiratory system, and I suddenly realized that it was the suits I wore for work — and which I would get dry cleaned — that were the cause of my sinus problems,” said Almani, co-founder of Amman-based WashyWash.

“That was the eureka moment. We immediately wanted to launch the business.”

WashyWash began operations in early 2018 with five staff, including the three co-founders: Almani, Darwish and Kayed Qunibi. The business now has 19 employees and became cash flow-positive in July this year.

“We’re very happy to achieve that in under two years,” Almani said.

The service uses EcoClean products that are certified as toxin-free, are biodegradable and cause no air, water or soil pollution.

Customers place orders through an app built in-house by the company’s technology team.

WashyWash collects customers’ dirty clothes, and cleans, irons and returns them. Services range from the standard wash-and-fold to specialized dry cleaning for garments and cleaning of carpets, curtains, duvets and leather goods.

“For wet cleaning, we use environmentally friendly detergents that are biodegradable, so the wastewater doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals,” Almani said.

For dry cleaning, WashyWash uses a modified hydrocarbon manufactured by Germany’s Seitz, whose product is non-carcinogenic and environmentally neutral.

A specialized company collects the waste and disposes of it safely.

The company has big ambitions, planning to expand its domestic operations and go international. Its Amman site can process about 1,000 items daily, but WashyWash will relocate to larger premises in mid-2020, which should treble its capacity.

“We’ve built a front-end app, a back-end system and a driver app along with a full facility management system. We plan to franchise that and have received interest from many countries,” Almani said.

“People visiting Amman used our service, loved it, and wanted an opportunity to launch in their countries.”

WashyWash has received financial backing from angel investors and is targeting major European cities initially.

“An eco-friendly, on-demand dry-cleaning app isn’t available worldwide, so good markets might be London, Paris or Frankfurt,” Almani said.


• The Middle East Exchange is one of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Global Initiatives that was launched to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai in the field of humanitarian
and global development, to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region. The initiative offers the press a series of articles on issues affecting Arab societies.