Business conference to forge closer UK-MidEast tech bonds

Tech in healthcare is one of the topics that will be explored. (Shutterstock)
Updated 27 November 2019

Business conference to forge closer UK-MidEast tech bonds

  • The conference will examine different sectors from health care to education

LONDON: Arab and British business leaders will meet this week to discuss how technology in industry can help forge closer UK-Middle East ties.

A conference hosted by the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce in London on Thursday will examine how different sectors — from health care to education — are being transformed and explore the importance of workforce training along with ways to give youth the essential skills to succeed.

The high-profile event will be held under the title “4th Industrial Revolution: Charting New Systems for Arab-British Cooperation.” The fourth industrial revolution phrase was coined for the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2016 and is often used to describe the fundamental shift in the business and social landscape happening in the 21st century, with technology at its core.

The gathering will be made up of four panels with a focus on technology and its role in the industrial, healthcare, financial and agricultural sectors, each chaired by speakers from companies based across the Arab world and in the UK, including Prof. Ibrahim Eldukheri, director general of the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development.

Topics for discussion will include how technology can improve the delivery of healthcare services and the use of automation in agriculture to limit the impact of climate change and usher in a “green revolution” in farming.

The Arab-British Chamber of Commerce was set up in 1975 to promote trade and investment between the UK and Arab countries through its work with government ministries, trade and investment bodies and diplomatic missions in London.

Group membership is open to all with an interest in Arab-British commercial relations.


SoftBank to invest $40bn for new Indonesia capital

The new capital is to be built on the island of Borneo, where the Kutai National Park is known for its rainforests and its population of orangutans and other primates. (Shutterstock)
Updated 18 January 2020

SoftBank to invest $40bn for new Indonesia capital

  • Son joins Abu Dhabi crown prince and former British PM in steering committee for city

JAKARTA: Japan’s SoftBank is offering to invest $30 billion to $40 billion in the development of a new Indonesian capital, an official said Friday.

The billionaire founder and chief executive of SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, hinted at partnering with the Indonesian government to fund the project when he met President Joko Widodo last week in the capital, Jakarta.
Son and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair have been included in the steering committee to be led by Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to oversee the construction of the new capital city on the island of Borneo.
Indonesian Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan told a news briefing that SoftBank was offering $30 billion to $40 billion, though it was not immediately clear what project the Japanese conglomerate would invest in specifically.
“We have not yet decided how they would invest, it could be for education, a research center or hospital development,” Pandjaitan said. He said he will meet Son in Davos and Tokyo later this month to finalize the plan.
After meeting Widodo last week, Son told reporters that he was interested in supporting “a new smart city, the newest technology, a clean city and a lot of artificial intelligence.”
Widodo announced last August that Indonesia’s capital will move from overcrowded, sinking and polluted Jakarta to a site in the sparsely populated East Kalimantan province on Borneo, known for rainforests and orangutans.

BACKGROUND

The capital’s relocation to a 256,000-hectare (632,580-acre) site almost four times the size of Jakarta will cost an estimated 466 trillion rupiah ($34 billion). The government is set to begin the construction later this year.

The capital’s relocation to a 256,000-hectare (632,580-acre) site almost four times the size of Jakarta will cost an estimated 466 trillion rupiah ($34 billion). The government is set to begin the construction later this year.
Investors from Asia, the Middle East, the US and China have shown interest in developing the city, Pandjaitan said.
Jakarta, with 30 million people including those in the greater metropolitan area, is prone to earthquakes and flooding, and is rapidly sinking due to the uncontrolled extraction of ground water.
Monsoon rains and rising rivers early this month left more than 60 people dead and 500,000 displaced.
Mineral-rich East Kalimantan was once almost completely covered by rainforests before illegal logging removed much of its original growth. It is home to only 3.5 million people and is surrounded by Kutai National Park, known for orangutans and other primates and mammals.
Indonesia is an archipelago nation of more than 17,000 islands, but currently 54 percent of the country’s nearly 270 million people live on Java, the country’s most densely populated island where Jakarta is located.