Meshal Al-Harasani, Saudi inventor and adviser at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah

Meshal Al-Harasani
Updated 14 June 2019

Meshal Al-Harasani, Saudi inventor and adviser at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah

Meshal Al-Harasani is a Saudi inventor who is also an adviser at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU), Jeddah.

With an MBA from the University of Business and Technology, Al-Harasani did studied at Harvard University in 2013, and joined the International Visitor Leadership Program at the US Department of State a year later. He has also spent time studying at King’s College, London and the University of Middlesex.

He is a member of the American Society of Inventors, chairman of the Committee for International Cooperation and executive member at the Arab League’s Arab Youth Council.

Al-Harasani is currently working on creating a digital tool for the visually impaired to facilitate reading the Holy Qur’an.

For the 30-year-old inventor, it is the latest in a series of creations he has been making since he was 13. It is an electronic board with 28 characters, each character with six braille letters, and the board page contains 28 rows.

With this new creation, the visually impaired can read the Qur’an and navigate through the pages easily.

Al-Harasani, who is credited with more than 50 inventions in various humanitarian and social fields, is also member of a team of Saudi inventors who came up with an innovation that can generate electricity for NEOM City.

In January this year, he announced the completion of the first phase of the invention, designed to produce electricity from kinetic energy, or the energy from motion of vehicle tires passing on the road.

The design involves ramp-steps integrated in the pavement with turbines operating to harvest energy from car tires passing over them.

Energy generated from the pressure and speed of vehicles in traffic is then converted to electricity.


Gold a safe bet for Saudis despite VAT increase

Despite the hike in prices after the increase of the VAT to 15 percent, customers are still flocking to gold shops in the Kingdom. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 12 July 2020

Gold a safe bet for Saudis despite VAT increase

  • Gold surged to its highest price in nearly 8 years and is expected to reach new record highs

JEDDAH: Gold plays a dual role. It is an investment and luxury commodity in times of economic prosperity, but also a haven in times of crisis.
Gold may be able to play a role in restricting the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as precious metals are considered a tool for hedging against inflation and depreciation.
Unlike other commodities like oil, gold has been universally accepted as a form of payment and has a power surpassing that of any other commodity. It has the ability to control the expansion of credit and is a favorable hedge against inflation. It can also function as a safe bet against declining currencies.
Salah Salem Al-Amari, general manager of the Salem Hasan Al-Amari Sons Co., has more than 35 years experience in the world of gold and jewelry. He spoke to Arab News about the importance of gold and its significance in these turbulent times.
“The global gold market has been significantly affected this year due to the pandemic, especially since shops remained closed for a long period of time and salaries had to be paid. But in Saudi Arabia, our government stood beside its people and supported us through the SANED insurance program and helped mitigate the effects and restrict the losses caused by the virus,” said Al-Amari.
Despite the lockdown, sales have dropped since people have become more aware and careful while under lockdown. However, a scramble to spend has been observed since restrictions were eased and many people are buying ingots for investment as well as Saudi gold guinea coins.
“The coronavirus has hit our high season, including summer vacations, festivals, weddings, Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr,” Al-Amari said, adding: “However, thanks to the government’s decision to increase the VAT to 15 percent, which coincided with the decision to lift the curfew throughout the Kingdom, shoppers rushed to buy gold before the introduction of the VAT and we made great sales.”
Al-Amari said that those who wished to buy gold with minimum loss tended to opt for low-cost jewelry as gifts for others or for themselves and are more likely to buy the jewelry available in their stores.

In my experience, people should buy gold as a safe investment despite the increase in prices, especially since coronavirus is not going away anytime soon and trade disputes between China and the US will weaken the global economy, which would significantly affect the price of gold due to the currency depreciation and devaluation of international stocks.

Salah Salem Al-Amari, General manager of the Salem Hasan Al-Amari Sons Co.

“In my experience, people should buy gold as a safe investment despite the increase in prices, especially since coronavirus is not going away anytime soon and trade disputes between China and the US will weaken the global economy, which would significantly affect the price of gold due to the currency depreciation and devaluation of international stocks,” said Al-Amari.
He added that people are more likely to sell stocks and bonds and rush to buy gold in times of disaster, crisis and conflict. This is why gold is considered a safe investment.
Saudi shoppers and investors are not the only ones rushing to buy and invest in gold. This same scenario is replicated all around the world and experts, economists and analysts are encouraging people to invest in the precious metal during these difficult times.
Gold surged to its highest price in nearly 8 years and is expected to reach new record highs.
“Market prices for gold have reached $1,810 an ounce and I expect it to reach $2,000 before the end of 2020,” Al-Amari said.
While in lockdown and to ensure sales continue despite the situation, Al-Amari’s company utilized the power of social media, where it played a significant role in marketing their products and customers were able to buy their products online and receive them through home delivery.
“Gold is still people’s favorite metal to invest in or own as jewelry,” he said.
Despite the hike in prices, customers are still flocking to his shop.
Talas B., a Syrian resident in the Kingdom and a frequent customer of the shop told Arab News that he has been shopping there for 7 years. “I came today to buy jewelry for a special occasion despite the increase of prices,” he said.
Others are disappointed by the price increases in gold.
Um Abdullah, another customer at the shop, said the VAT increase and gold price hike has affected her shopping.
“The VAT has affected my purchases. I used to buy whatever I like before, but today I have be to very careful. Sadly, I cannot even buy a ring,” she said.