Saudi Arabia’s Qassim to host Mideast’s biggest hackathon for agricultural technology

The hackathon will be organized by KACST, represented by the Badir Program for Technology Incubators and Accelerators.
Updated 02 September 2019

Saudi Arabia’s Qassim to host Mideast’s biggest hackathon for agricultural technology

RIYADH: King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) will launch the Qassim International Hackathon for Agricultural Technology, the largest of its kind in the Middle East in the agricultural sector, on Sept. 26. 

The event is being supported by Prince Faisal bin Mishaal, governor of Qassim region.

The hackathon will be organized by KACST, represented by the Badir Program for Technology Incubators and Accelerators and in collaboration with the Faisal bin Mishaal bin Saud bin Abdul Aziz Community Foundation “Mojtamae.”

The event will consist of three tracks: Marketing and growth, management and follow-up of agricultural projects and the use of artificial intelligence and data in agricultural control.

FAST FACTS

  • The Badir program was established in 2007 to improve technical entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia by guiding policy in collaboration with the private sector and universities.
  • The program plans to support the establishment of 600 new companies that will contribute to the provision of 3,600 jobs for Saudis, as part of the National Transformation Program 2020.

Nawaf Al-Sahaf, CEO of the Badir program, said that the agricultural sector is one of the main pillars for supporting the Vision 2030 reform plans as the sector provides 25 percent of the country’s food. 

The sector also delivers SR53 billion ($14 billion) to the GDP and employs 450,000 people throughout the Kingdom, he said.

The hackathon is open to programmers, designers, entrepreneurs, web developers and those interested in the agricultural sector.

The Badir program was established in 2007 to improve technical entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia by guiding policy in collaboration with the private sector and universities.

Al-Sahaf said that the program plans to support the establishment of 600 new companies that will contribute to the provision of 3,600 jobs for Saudis, as part of the National Transformation Program 2020.


Saudi Arabia stops issuing visas to tourists from countries worst hit by coronavirus

Updated 14 min 51 sec ago

Saudi Arabia stops issuing visas to tourists from countries worst hit by coronavirus

  • Tourist visas will still be available electronically or upon arrival to citizens of other qualifying countries

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism announced on Friday that it has temporarily stopped issuing tourist visas to people in certain countries particularly badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The affected nations are China, Italy, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Kazakhstan. The decision applies both to electronic visas obtained online and traditional visas issued upon arrival. In addition, tourist visas previously issued to residents of the listed countries will be temporarily suspended.

Tourist visas will still be available electronically or upon arrival to citizens of other qualifying countries, but as a precaution they will not be allowed to visit Makkah or Madinah.

People in countries that are not eligible for electronic visas can check whether they can travel to the Kingdom by calling a helpline on 0096 692 000 0890. Residents of the US, the UK and Schengen nations can call the same number to check whether they can obtain a tourist visa.

The Ministry of Tourism said that the restrictions were designed to protect citizens, residents and tourists, in line with recommendations from health authorities.

“These procedures are temporary and are subject to continuous evaluation by the competent authorities,” a spokesman for the ministry said.

The latest restrictions come a day after Saudi authorities announced temporary bans on Umrah pilgrims and visits to the Prophet’s Mosque. They also said that holders of tourist visas from the countries worst affected by the virus would be refused entry to the country.

Also on Thursday, the Saudi health ministry said there are still “no known cases” of the coronavirus in the Kingdom.