Etisalat’s Help AG to treble KSA workforce

Etisalat’s Help AG to treble KSA workforce
Fahad Al-Suhaimi this month was appointed Help AG’s country director for Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
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Updated 28 January 2021

Etisalat’s Help AG to treble KSA workforce

Etisalat’s Help AG to treble KSA workforce
  • Cybersecurity firm’s Riyadh operations center ‘going live’ this quarter

DUBAI: Help AG, the cybersecurity arm of UAE telecommunications operator Etisalat, is planning to treble its workforce in Saudi Arabia as part of a wider goal to double its business in the Kingdom by the end of the year, the company’s new Saudi head told Arab News.

“Help AG has had a growing business in KSA for the past two years. My appointment is a testament to the company’s clear direction of rapidly expanding in the Kingdom. We are making significant investments into hiring the right talents, and plan to treble the existing workforce over the coming few months,” Fahad Al-Suhaimi, who this month was appointed Help AG’s country director for Saudi Arabia, said in an interview.

“Our new Cyber Security Operations Center in Riyadh is going to be live by the end of this quarter, making us ready to be a market front-runner when it comes to securing digital transformation for enterprise and government organizations,” he said.

Founded in Germany in 1995, Help AG has operated in the Middle East since 2004. Abu Dhabi-headquartered Etisalat bought its regional business in 2019.

Al-Suhaimi has more than 15 years’ experience in driving business expansion in the technology industry, with roles in project management, business development, sales and marketing strategy. He joins Help AG from Innovative Solutions SA, where he was vice president of sales and marketing. Before that, he served in management positions at Mobily, SAS, HP, Saudi Telecom Company and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Based in Riyadh, Al-Suhaimi will be responsible for leading business growth and expansion across the Kingdom at a time when organizations are looking to accelerate their digital transformations.

“We plan to double the business in 2021 and are looking forward to positioning ourselves as the trusted cybersecurity adviser and partner to organizations in the Kingdom,” he said, adding that the Saudi market has a lot of potential.

“The digital threat landscape is increasing in the region as a whole, and Saudi Arabia is a prime target as it has a large population where most are connected to the web. Saudi companies have to navigate this digital transformation quickly and efficiently as delays can be costly,” he said.

Al-Suhaimi said that a 2020 study by the Ponemon Institute found that the cost of a data breach in the UAE and Saudi Arabia has risen by 9.4 percent over the past year, costing companies in the region $6.53 million per breach on average, markedly higher than the global average of $3.86 million per breach.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the surge in e-commerce and digital payments “has shined a big spotlight on our industry,” he said.

“The overnight shift of millions of workers from on-site to remote work in response to the outbreak has drastically expanded the attack surface, luring cybercriminals and hackers to capitalize on the work-from-home disruption and confusion, and sheer volume of new target opportunities online.”

The cybersecurity sector has certainly seen advances in recent months. The Public Investment Fund (PIF) last month announced the launch of the National Security Services Company (SAFE) to improve and develop the private security sector in the Kingdom.

The new security services company will focus on four main areas: Security consulting services, integrated security solutions, training and development programs, and command and control centers.

US multinational IBM Security last month announced the official opening of its first security operations center in Saudi Arabia. The Riyadh center will offer IBM’s private and government sector clients in the Kingdom the option of managing their security operations around the clock via the company’s staff and local infrastructure.

The opening of the new facility comes after a survey commissioned last year by cybersecurity firm Tenable found that 95 percent of businesses in the Kingdom experienced a cyberattack in 2019.

In addition, 85 percent of Saudi respondents to the study said that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of attacks in the past two years.

Companies suffered loss of customer or employee data, ransomware payment demands and financial loss or theft, the study found.


Saudi Arabia to help Sudan cut IMF debt

Saudi Arabia to help Sudan cut IMF debt
Updated 18 May 2021

Saudi Arabia to help Sudan cut IMF debt

Saudi Arabia to help Sudan cut IMF debt
  • The Kingdom announced during the Paris Conference on Monday a $20 million grant to cover part of Sudan’s financing gap with the IMF

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia aims to support Sudan’s efforts to reduce its International Monetary Fund debts.
The Kingdom announced during the Paris Conference on Monday a $20 million grant to cover part of Sudan’s financing gap with the IMF, Al Arabiya reported.
Saudi Arabia also said it would also help the country deal with its arrears.
A Saudi official involved in debt restructuring talks for Sudan said that the Kingdom would encourage creditors to reach a broad agreement to reduce the African country’s $50 billion debt pile.
International Monetary Fund figures show that Saudi Arabia is the third largest creditor to Sudan, with about $4.6 billion outstanding.
Sudan is eligible for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.
The two-day Paris Conference to support Sudan comes as France writes off billions of dollars in Sudan debt.
“Reducing Sudan’s debt, which we are about to embark on, is a first result of reforms. This trend should be cemented, both economically and politically,” the French President said at the opening of the conference.
One of the goals of the Paris conference is to garner interest in investment in the country.
Billions of dollars in projects in energy, mining, infrastructure and agriculture will be proposed, said Sudan’s minister of cabinet affairs Khalid Omar Youssef.
“Sudan is a very rich country. We do not want charity, we want investments,” said Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok.


Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network

Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network
Updated 18 May 2021

Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network

Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network
  • Attorney General Ali bin Fadl Al-Buainain said the alleged offenses took place between 2008 and 2012

RIYADH: Bahrain’s attorney general said that public prosecutors had uncovered a $1.3 billion money laundering racket linked to officials at Future Bank and other Iranian institutions — including its central bank.
Attorney General Ali bin Fadl Al-Buainain said the alleged offenses took place between 2008 and 2012.
Al-Buainain said that Future Bank officials, together with other Iranian bank officials and the Central Bank of Iran, were involved in the transfer of money through an unauthorized remittance system, Al Arabiya reported.
Officials concealed the source of the funds to enable banks that included Iran’s Melli Bank and Bank Saderat Iran, to complete transfers which would have otherwise been blocked.
Al-Buainain alleged that Future Bank and its controlling shareholders were involved in systematic and widespread violations of banking laws in Bahrain.

 


Oil firm OQ to develop Oman green fuels project with consortium

Oil firm OQ to develop Oman green fuels project with consortium
Updated 18 May 2021

Oil firm OQ to develop Oman green fuels project with consortium

Oil firm OQ to develop Oman green fuels project with consortium
  • At full capacity the project will consist of 25 gigawatts of renewable solar and wind energy to produce the hydrogen

A consortium including Oman’s state-owned oil firm OQ will develop a renewable energy project in the Gulf state capable of producing millions of tonnes of zero-carbon green hydrogen per year, the developers said on Tuesday.

At full capacity the project will consist of 25 gigawatts of renewable solar and wind energy to produce the hydrogen.

So-called green hydrogen, created by splitting water into its two components using electricity from renewable energy sources, is increasingly viewed as a fuel of the future to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

Other members of the consortium are Hong Kong-headquartered InterContinental Energy, a renewable energy project developer, and EnerTech, a clean energy investor and developer which is owned by the Kuwait Investment Authority.

“The project will help transform Oman’s skills base and technical expertise in renewable energy, providing a significant number of high value jobs during site construction and operation,” the statement said.

Gulf oil-producing countries are trying to diversify their economies by creating new sectors and revenues, including through a big push in renewable energy.

Abu Dhabi plans to produce and export hydrogen as fuel and Saudi Arabia is working on a $5 billion hydrogen project in the NEOM high-tech business zone.


The electric Lamborghini is coming . . . but not just yet

The electric Lamborghini is coming . . . but not just yet
Updated 18 May 2021

The electric Lamborghini is coming . . . but not just yet

The electric Lamborghini is coming . . . but not just yet
  • First hybrid series production car to hit the market in 2023, with all its models “electrified” by the end of 2024

MILAN: Italian sports car maker Lamborghini on Tuesday unveiled Tuesday a €1.5-billion ($1.8 billion) electrification plan for its luxury vehicles, joining a global push away from fossil fuels at the risk of upsetting fans.
The company, which is owned by Volkswagen subsidiary Audi, said its first hybrid series production car would hit the market in 2023, with all its models “electrified” by the end of 2024.
But a battery-only model won’t be released until the second half of the decade, Lamborghini said.
The plan is “necessary in a context of a radically-changing world,” CEO Stephan Winkelmann said in a statement.
“We want to make our contribution by continuing to reduce environmental impact,” he added, saying the investment plowed into electrification is the company’s largest-ever.
By 2025, the company should reduce carbon emissions by half, it said.
The global trend toward electrification has been more challenging for the makers of the fastest sports cars than for mass-market producers.
Some have speculated that the brands’ fans may reject the different torque and driving experience of an electric vehicle compared to traditional combustion engines.
Following in Ferrari’s footsteps, Lamborghini in 2019 unveiled its first foray into electrification with the Sian supercar, capable of accelerating from 0 to 62mph (110 km/h) in less than 2.8 seconds.
The Sian, which means “lightning” in Bolognese dialect, cost over €3 million and only about 60 were built.
Lamborghini’s well-heeled customers helped it to record profit in 2020 despite the coronavirus-related challenges that hurt the automobile industry as a whole.
The company sold 7,430 cars last year, compared to its record of 8,205 vehicles in 2019.
Lamborghini shut down production for 70 days last year at the height of the coronavirus crisis in Italy.


Dubai desert tour outfit to expand in Saudi Arabia

Dubai desert tour outfit to expand in Saudi Arabia
Updated 18 May 2021

Dubai desert tour outfit to expand in Saudi Arabia

Dubai desert tour outfit to expand in Saudi Arabia
  • The joint venture, signed at the Arabian Travel Market, will establish a full-service destination management company in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Saudi family conglomerate Aljan and Brothers Holding Group is bringing Dubai’s Desert Adventures Tourism to the Kingdom, as international tourism is expected to boom.
The joint venture, signed at the Arabian Travel Market, will establish a full-service destination management company in Saudi Arabia, modeled on the Desert Adventures Tourism operation in the UAE.
“Despite the challenges of the past eighteen months we have seen considerable growth in visitation and spend across many regions of the country and we are optimistic about the future of tourism in Saudi,” Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority, said.
Aljan and Brothers is one of the largest private sector conglomerates in the Middle East, with businesses in textiles, real estate, logistics, and entertainment.
“Through this partnership, we will not only become a market leader in this sector but also create new jobs and support elevating the Kingdom as a prime tourism destination,” the group’s sponsor of tourism and hospitality Fahad bin saad Alajlan said.