SABB & HSBC execute first blockchain trade transaction in KSA, Bahrain

Updated 23 November 2019

SABB & HSBC execute first blockchain trade transaction in KSA, Bahrain

The Saudi British Bank (SABB) and HSBC have for the first time used blockchain technology in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to finance international trade. The move is expected to put Saudi Arabia and Bahrain at the forefront of global trade, introducing new levels of efficiency, security and transparency for corporates looking to access new markets.

The transaction involved the shipment of homogenized aluminum billets from Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) to Saudi Arabia’s Altaiseer Aluminium Corporation (TALCO). A letter of credit was issued by TALCO on a blockchain-based platform using R3’s Corda system.

Majed Najm, deputy managing director, corporate and institutional banking, SABB, said: “There’s been a lot of excitement about the commercial benefits of blockchain, so I’m proud we’re first to use it to improve how Saudi corporates trade internationally. Blockchain can improve many aspects of international trade, so it’s great to be in a position to pioneer these changes for the good of our customers and the economy.”

Melika Betley, CEO, HSBC Bahrain, said: “As the world’s leading bank for trade finance, HSBC is actively supporting the adoption of technologies such as blockchain to make global trade faster, safer and simpler. With intraregional trade continuing to grow, we see tremendous potential for blockchain in the GCC.”

Suliman S. Al-Oufi, general manager, TALCO, said: “We’re delighted to be the first to trial the use of blockchain in this way. We’ve always been innovative in terms of technology related to our product so it is a natural progression to explore innovation that helps us to trade more efficiently with our key overseas partners.”

We’re delighted banks like SABB are exploring new ways to take the hassle out of international trade for Saudi companies.”

Ali Al-Baqali, acting CEO, Alba, said: “Bahrain is on the go to establish itself as a hub for digital solutions specifically in fintech arena within the region. At Alba, we don’t see ourselves just as an aluminum supplier but we want to be also recognized for our progression in selling and trading more efficiently through digital platforms with our key partners such as TALCO.”


KAEC to host this year’s MITEF startup contest

Updated 27 January 2020

KAEC to host this year’s MITEF startup contest

MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Saudi Arabia, part of the MIT Enterprise Forum global network and partner of Bab Rizq Jameel, one of Community Jameel’s initiatives, announced a new collaboration with King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), whereby KAEC will be the strategic partner for the fourth edition of the MITEF Saudi Startup Competition.

Compared to previous editions, this year’s competition has witnessed remarkable progress in terms of the quality of entries. The total number of applicants since the launch of the competition in 2015 reached more than 6,000 participants, and 24 winning teams. This year’s edition attracted more than 1,500 participants. More than 320 local and Arab business experts and academics have participated in the judging process and the StartSmart conference in which winners are announced.

Ahmed bin Ibrahim Linjawi, CEO of KAEC, said: “This partnership reflects KAEC’s continuing efforts to promote the road map aimed at creating an attractive and stimulating environment that enables small and medium enterprises to raise their contribution to local production from 20 to 35 percent by 2030. Within this strategic partnership, we will work with the MIT Forum to strengthen the role of this vital sector in achieving the development goals as envisaged by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which emphasized the great role of entrepreneurs as the future economic power.”

Hussein Mohammed Jameel, managing director, Abdul Latif Jameel, said: “MITEF Saudi Arabia is proud of this constructive strategic partnership with KAEC, as part of the two sides’ efforts to provide a stimulating environment for business by supporting innovative initiatives and encouraging entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia.”

He added: “In collaboration with Bab Rizq Jameel, the annual MITEF Saudi Startup Competition is the first-of-its-kind in Saudi Arabia. MITEF offers an invaluable opportunity to cultivate innovative projects into scalable initiatives, with teams comprising some of the most talented participants in the region. Supporting entrepreneurs is one of the tenets of Community Jameel’s vision and part of our country’s continuous efforts to motivate young entrepreneurs and their ideas to help build their career paths and achieve excellence. Youth is the key element in enhancing the Saudi startup environment and promoting the Kingdom’s economic standing worldwide.”

A judging panel of 46 business experts and academics from all over the world assessed more than 560 entries represented by 1,680 entrepreneurs in the light of the competition’s criteria, namely creativity, potential to expand beyond local markets, and making a positive impact on society.

The winners will be named at the StartSmart Conference on March 7 and will receive cash awards worth SR325,000 ($86,640).