Saudi Public Investment Fund refutes WSJ report claiming $200bn solar project halted

KSA, SoftBank to establish the largest solar power plant in the world with enough capacity to power 140 million homes. (Shutterstock)
Updated 02 October 2018

Saudi Public Investment Fund refutes WSJ report claiming $200bn solar project halted

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has described as “inaccurate” a report claiming the Kingdom has stopped a plan to build the world’s biggest solar-power-generation project.
The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the $200 billion project with SoftBank was placed on hold by the Kingdom.
“The Public Investment Fund continues to work with the SoftBank Vision Fund, and other parties, on a number of large-scale, multi-billion dollar projects relating to the solar industry, which will be announced in due course,” a fund spokesperson was reported as saying in the Saudi Press Agency.
“The announcement in March 2018 clearly stated that this includes solar generation projects and joint plans to develop large-scale solar panels manufacturing facilities in Saudi Arabia for solar power generation. This will be complemented by R&D and training components. These plans to develop a leading champion for the industry remain on-track and in-line with the timeline that would be anticipated for projects of this scale and ambition” the spokesperson added.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is the PIF chairman, and Masayoshi Son, chairman of SoftBank, inked an agreement earlier this year to establish the largest solar power plant in the world with enough capacity to power 140 million homes.


Culture documentation by Saudi ministry to help dispel misconceptions

Updated 22 October 2020

Culture documentation by Saudi ministry to help dispel misconceptions

  • Dia hopes the documenting process will be done professionally and without bias

JEDDAH: Saudi artists welcomed the Ministry of Culture’s first-of-its-kind 16/13 initiative, documenting the diversity of Saudi culture and art through a visual library.
The library will display 16 aspects of culture and heritage through photography and videography that represent the 13 regions of the Kingdom.
Researchers will go around Saudi Arabia to meet creatives, and study their work, for inclusion in the initiative.
“This is an important step for the Kingdom, and it’s a global one to document visual art, whether works of art or cinema,” Dia Aziz Dia, Saudi artist and sculptor, told Arab News.
He added: “It’s important because this creates a database and can be used as a reference to study and compare paintings, photography, sculpting and various types of art, how they differ from one region to the next.”
It could also let government bodies discover art worthy of being put into museums for display, said Dia.
“It’s a good way to document history as well, and to study works of art and the standards of art here,” he said. “It’s on a global level and it’s done everywhere in the world, from England to the US.”
Dia hopes the documenting process will be done professionally and without bias.
He also said it was not easy to compile these works. “It’s an elaborate process to be able to get hold of all the works across the Kingdom. It’s an operation that requires organization, extensive studying and the cooperation of the Society of Culture and Arts and artists as well.”
Saad Tahaitah, documentary filmmaker and photographer, told Arab News that the initiative was promising. He was exposed to it through Saudi photographer Nawaf Al-Shehri, who has been traveling to help with the documentation process.
“The ministry’s been doing an incredible job; they’re (Nawaf and his team) going around the Kingdom and filming content for an actual library,” he said.
Tahaitah has worked on numerous short films on his own to depict the culture and heritage of Asir region, in the southwest of the country. He said he would not trade it for any other place and wished only to film in his hometown.
“I got into documentaries because I wanted honest storytelling. I didn’t want to write a script and hire actors, although that works for some,” he said. “The way I’ve been doing film is to let the person I’m filming go about their day and I let my camera roll.”
Tahaitah started documenting Asir because he wanted to dispel the misconceptions about it, and the stereotypes created through media like “Tash Ma Tash,” the famous Saudi comedy show.
“Asir is full of natural beauty and scenery to capture. It’s diverse in its sights and the people who live in it. Every once in a while, I realize there’s a thing I never noticed before and I film it, and I’ve lived here all my life. The way of life here, simply, can inspire you,” he said.
He added: “We don’t have one particular dance or only sit and dine in a huddle. In a way, I just wanted to showcase the reality of Asir because I love it.”
He said that this initiative could correct inaccuracies shared about certain areas in the Kingdom.