US, Saudi Arabia join forces on public procurement reform

Updated 30 October 2017

US, Saudi Arabia join forces on public procurement reform

RIYADH: The US Department of Commerce, in collaboration with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), discussed the Saudi government’s procurement system and the Kingdom’s ongoing efforts to align its procurement law with international standards.
The engagement is part of the Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) aimed at improving the business climate worldwide.
Over 130 legal professionals from the ministries of finance, energy, industry, and mineral resources, commerce and investment, the Board of Grievances, SAGIA, the Royal Commission for Yanbu and Jubail, as well as private sector attendees from various sectors of the economy participated in two-day event on Oct. 16.
During the event, US procurement law expert Charles McCarthy gave a presentation on the life cycle of a comprehensive procurement process. His presentation stressed the importance of implementing an effective bid process system, prompt payment upon completion of projects, and the submission of invoices.
Based on positive experiences in the US, McCarthy also emphasized developing and implementing a transparent, fair, and competitive bid process that meets international standards. He added that such a law is a crucial step in enabling economic growth and prosperity.
After the event, US Commercial Counselor Nasir Abbasi said: “The US Embassy extends its appreciation to all the Saudi participants in the program, and we reiterate our commitment to work with Saudi partners to continuously improve the business climate.”
The program is the latest CLDP event to occur under the overall US-Saudi partnership framework to improve the business climate in the Kingdom. In 2016, the CLDP assisted in the establishment of the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration (SCCA) to resolve commercial disputes in a fair, transparent and efficient manner.
In September 2017, the CLDP, in partnership with the SCCA, conducted a commercial arbitration workshop and trained over 50 public and private sector legal practitioners on commercial arbitration and alternative dispute resolution methods.


Startup of the Week: A Saudi Eco-friendly food waste startup brings value-added benefits

KAUST has been highly supportive of Carbon CPU, both technically and financially. (Supplied)
Updated 21 January 2020

Startup of the Week: A Saudi Eco-friendly food waste startup brings value-added benefits

  • Aldrees: “Over 90 percent of food waste in Saudi Arabia is dumped into landfills”
  • Carbon CPU’s technology uses a specially developed, eco-friendly reactor to help convert food waste into fatty acids

Carbon CPU is a biotechnology startup specializing in turning food waste into fatty acids for use as livestock nutrients.

Launched through the post-graduate startup accelerator program (TAQADAM) of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the venture was co-founded by Bin Bian, Jiajie Xu, Yara Aldrees, Sara Al-Eid and Prof. Pascal Saikaly.

The idea behind the enterprise began to take shape in 2018. Al-Eid said: “Our aim was to recycle food waste into value-added products in a manner that matched the Saudi Vision 2030 strategy.”

Similar to most countries, Saudi Arabia has a food waste problem, but Carbon CPU thought of utilizing it in a way that caused less harm to the environment and also benefitted the animal feed industry.

“Over 90 percent of food waste in Saudi Arabia is dumped into landfills,” said Aldrees. “This produces a lot of gas, including methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and cycloaromatics, and contributes to global warming and air pollution.”

Water and soil were also being contaminated through leachate production, she added. “We’re trying to solve those issues, too.”

 

The team found that animal farms often struggled to provide enough feed nutrients for livestock such as cows and sheep. Al-Eid said there was a huge shortage of fatty acids, which are used as livestock nutrients and were in high demand from farmers.

“We’re trying to help animals live longer and be more nutritious,” she added.

Carbon CPU’s technology uses a specially developed, eco-friendly reactor to help convert food waste into fatty acids.

“We produce fatty acids from the food waste, extracting them through a liquid-liquid extraction system. The fatty acid oils are then used to help animal feed, as well as the feed and chemical industries,” said Xu.

KAUST has been highly supportive of Carbon CPU, both technically and financially, added Bian. “KAUST, especially the Environmental Biotechnology Lab led by Prof Pascal Saikaly, provided us with the facilities to set up our reactors. The KAUST Innovation and Economic Development department and the Entrepreneurship Center also gave us a lot of guidance on how to push our technology into the market.”

The startup initially faced many challenges that KAUST helped to resolve. As individuals coming from backgrounds mainly in engineering and science, the team lacked the know-how in business that its project needed.

“KAUST made up for our lack of business thinking through training on how to solve business issues and create business modules and find the right customers for our product,” said Bian.