Nabil Khojah named new ECZA secretary-general

Nabil Khojah named new ECZA secretary-general
Nabil M. Khojah
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Updated 22 February 2021

Nabil Khojah named new ECZA secretary-general

Nabil Khojah named new ECZA secretary-general

King Salman has approved the appointment of Nabil M. Khojah as the secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority (ECZA). Khojah succeeds Mohanud A. Helal, in line with Royal Decree No. 35791 dated Feb. 11.

Khojah brings extensive experience in the field of logistics to the role, having served as the chief executive of Saudia Cargo between 2012 and 2018 and managing director of the supply chain division at DHL Saudi Arabia from 2008 to 2012. He has also held various leadership positions with Unilever KSA and the Royal Saudi Air Force, among others.

Khojah extended his sincere thanks and appreciation to King Salman for placing his trust in his capabilities, and called upon Allah to guide him in serving Islam, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the nation. He aims to lead ECZA’s journey to success by attaining its goals and strategic initiatives, advancing its role in enhancing the Kingdom’s global competitiveness, and achieving the aspirations and directions of its wise leadership. He further expressed his determination to contribute to the fulfillment of the goals of Vision 2030 and its relevant vision realization programs.

In addition to praising ECZA’s achievements to date, Khojah emphasized the importance of building on this momentum to achieve ECZA’s strategic goals and initiatives, as well as intensifying efforts to enable the economic cities and special zones to localize the national capital and attract high-quality foreign investments.

The ECZA was established by a royal decree in 2010 with the mandate to provide full administrative and financial supervision over the economic cities and special zones, including responsibility for regulating, supervising and providing various highly efficient, integrated single-window government services for investors and residents. 

ECZA’s vision is to make Saudi Arabia a globally attractive hub for high-value, long-term investments, based on the values of leadership, integrity, responsibility, partnership and customer-centricity. 

It is also committed to creating and nurturing attractive social environments that guarantee residents and workers in the economic cities and special zones a high standard of living.


Asharq Al-Awsat’s special coverage on Women’s Day

Asharq Al-Awsat’s special coverage on Women’s Day
Updated 08 March 2021

Asharq Al-Awsat’s special coverage on Women’s Day

Asharq Al-Awsat’s special coverage on Women’s Day

An all-women team of journalists and media practitioners is taking over Asharq Al-Awsat’s editorial content and press coverage, for a day, to mark this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8.

The global newspaper in Arabic language, a publication of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), will feature special interviews, editorials and dedicated articles on the occasion.

The move is part of an initiative titled “By women, for all” that has been launched by the media platforms under SRMG to celebrate the Women’s Day. In addition to Asharq Al-Awsat, other participating media platforms include: Arab News, the English-language daily of record; Sayidaty and Hia, the region’s leading women’s magazines in print and digital; and Asharq News, the multiplatform Arabic news service.

The timely initiative comes in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 and within the framework of the UN’s sustainable development goals, all of which aim at promoting the importance of women’s active participation in public life. The campaign also reflects SRMG’s long-established commitment toward women’s empowerment and inclusion in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

“The Arab world in general, and Saudi Arabia in particular, are rich in stories that demonstrate the pivotal role women play in our everyday lives, business, society, education, healthcare and beyond,” said Jomana Alrashid, CEO of SRMG. “This year, we celebrate International Women’s Day across our media platforms, with remarkable women, each in her respective area of expertise, as well as with our female colleagues who are qualified to assume executive roles, and take on managerial and career positions within the group.”

Alrashid added: “Simultaneously, we pay tribute to distinguished Arab women who play an important role in the public and private history of our countries and communities. We are thrilled and privileged to witness the unwavering commitment and steadfast support of Saudi Arabia’s youthful and visionary leadership to women’s causes. More than ever, Saudi women have now become an integral part of the growth, prosperity and advancement of our country. We at SRMG are fully prepared to play our part.”

SRMG — the Middle East’s premier media and publishing house — pays special attention to women’s empowerment. The group has reiterated its commitment to hiring more competent women in the future, entrusting them with media executive roles, as well as managerial and career positions across various departments and functions, with a primary emphasis on Saudi female competencies.

Women’s issues

Some of the women’s issues tackled by the various SRMG platforms on Women’s Day (and beyond) include: The role of government and private institutions in advancing women’s issues, exceptional female journalists and their journeys to success, women in public, women in business, female entrepreneurs, women-owned and women-run businesses, women in healthcare — especially those on the frontline fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases, in addition to women’s contribution to cultural and creative industries and in the areas of beauty, luxury, fashion and design, among many others.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Prominent female journalists and media practitioners take over Asharq Al-Awsat’s editorial content and press coverage on March 8. The international Arabic newspaper will feature special interviews, editorials, articles and press coverage revolving around remarkable Arab women, showcasing their compelling and inspiring stories.

Arab News

As it does every year, this year too Arab News is producing dedicated Women’s Day coverage, including but not limited to, interviews and stories around Saudi and Arab women’s issues and areas of interest. In addition, Assistant Editor-in-Chief of Arab News Noor Nugali will take the lead and manage the day’s operations.

Sayidaty and Hia

The two leading women’s titles in the region tackle women’s issues all year long. For Women’s Day, Sayidaty is publishing a wide range of interviews and stories featuring successful and inspiring women. These include: Women behind famous brands, international female creative directors in jewelry and fashion, young Arab and Saudi women in tech, culture, design, fitness, fashion, beauty and lifestyle, and mother and baby stories. There is also an article on cinema in the eyes of eight Arab female directors and filmmakers, in addition to a story on two Saudi couples creating a female soccer team with 120 participants.

Meanwhile, Hia magazine is celebrating Saudi women leaders and renowned female fashion icons and designers around the world. In addition, Hiamag.com will also feature a number of articles and stories related to Women’s Day, across all its sections, which include: Fashion, beauty, jewelry, health, food, décor, travel, bridal and miscellaneous.

Asharq News

Throughout the day, and in its various programs and daily segments, Asharq News will feature women journalists who go above and beyond in delivering impactful news to audiences across the MENA region. The multiplatform Arabic news service will also conduct interviews with iconic women, celebrating their accomplishments and tackling challenges ahead. A dedicated page for women has also been launched on the website.


BinDawood Holding marks 25% jump in female hires

BinDawood Holding marks 25% jump in female hires
Updated 08 March 2021

BinDawood Holding marks 25% jump in female hires

BinDawood Holding marks 25% jump in female hires

Marking International Women’s Day 2021, Saudi grocery retailer BinDawood Holding celebrated the achievements of its female workforce and released key data on its mission to hire more women across the organization.

In 2019, BinDawood Holding grew the percentage of its female employees by 28 percent and in 2020, that number increased by a further 25 percent. The figure applies across the BinDawood and Danube retail brands as well as BinDawood Holding’s headquarters.

Chief executive Ahmad A.R. BinDawood said: “BinDawood Holding has a long legacy of championing and supporting women. Women are fundamental to the success of any retail business, and as an organization we are proud that our business has a history of continuously striving to support women. One of our missions is to increase the percentage of women in our workforce and I am proud to share that in 2019 and 2020, that increased by over 25 percent year-on-year.”

Commenting on the visibility of women at managerial levels of the organization, he said: “This is an ongoing process across BinDawood Holding. We are working on promoting gender equality across the organization. Over 13 percent of duty managers across our stores are women; this is an important role in our organization, as the second-in-command at a branch. This number was reached as a result of a training program that advanced entry level employees through to duty manager level.”

BinDawood Holding employs more than 10,000 people across the Kingdom. The country is set to provide jobs for 1 million Saudi women by 2030 under the strategic framework of Vision 2030. The ambitious reform plan, presented by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to diversify the country’s economy and increase women’s participation in the workforce.

BinDawood Holding operates a total of 74 stores in the Kingdom — 51 hypermarkets and 23 supermarkets — under the brands BinDawood and Danube.


Häagen-Dazs renames flavors to celebrate iconic Arab women

Häagen-Dazs renames flavors to celebrate iconic Arab women
Updated 06 March 2021

Häagen-Dazs renames flavors to celebrate iconic Arab women

Häagen-Dazs renames flavors to celebrate iconic Arab women

One may be hard-pressed to play favorites with ice cream, but four popular flavors from Häagen-Dazs are being topped with a special meaning. The brand is commemorating International Women’s Day 2021 by renaming their vanilla, Belgian chocolate, salted caramel, and strawberries and cream flavors to reflect the achievements of four iconic women who have not held back.

The renamed flavors have been designed to ensure customers start their order with what they want and end each order with a self-affirming flavor of success — be it “Scale New Heights,” like Raha Moharrak (vanilla); “Beat the Odds,” like Yasmin Yousri (salted caramel); “Direct My Story,” like Nayla Al-Khaja (Belgian chocolate); or “Design My Destiny,” like Maz Hakim (strawberries and cream).

These signature ice creams with thematic names will only be available in the UAE at the brand’s Dubai Mall, Mall of Emirates and Kite Beach stores. Women across the city can scoop up, for free, their motivational flavor of choice exclusively on March 8 and at discounted rates until March 21.

In addition, Häagen-Dazs is asking residents across the region to nominate by March 14, the exemplary women who inspire them every day. To celebrate these heroines, Häagen-Dazs will then rename two of their bestselling ice creams — cookies and cream and vanilla caramel brownie — in their honor.

“We believe the world needs to hear about these remarkable women living in the Middle East, from all walks of life, who have shattered glass ceilings, looked beyond life-threatening illness, scaled even the world’s highest peak and taken a passion project to one of the world’s leading fashion houses,” said Michelle Odland, Häagen-Dazs global brand director.

“While these four brilliant icons are undeniable examples to thousands of women around the world, we’re asking women across the Middle East to join the celebration. We are excited to use our platform to share and then pay tribute to the fascinating stories of how mothers, painters, pilots, chefs, entrepreneurs and countless other women in the region have not ‘held back’ and have inspired others,” she added.


Mideast’s first adventure tourism platform launches

Mideast’s first adventure tourism platform launches
Updated 06 March 2021

Mideast’s first adventure tourism platform launches

Mideast’s first adventure tourism platform launches

The newly launched Sharjah-incubated Mughamer.com is making a splash in the adventure tourism space. This first of its kind website in the Middle East curates adventure activities for tourists and thrill seekers around the world.

Co-founded by Mohamed Al-Musharrkh, and Sarmad Al-Zadjaly, the project is supported by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) and the Sharjah Angel Investors Network — a Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) initiative.

The launch ceremony was held at SRTIP and was attended by Sheikh Fahim Al-Qasimi, executive chairman of the Department of Government Relations, Sharjah, and chairman, Higher Committee for Digital Transformation of Sharjah; Sheikha Hind bint Majed Al-Qasimi, chairperson of Sharjah Business Women’s Council; Hussain Al-Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTIP; Najla Al-Midfa; CEO of Sheraa; and a number of officials and media representatives.

In the first phase, the website offers visitors the opportunity to explore virtually and select activities of their choice across destinations in the UAE, Morocco, Brazil and Comoros Island. Gradually, more destinations will be included.

The website offers access to a range of adventures and experiences, including safaris, mountain climbing, trekking, cycling, desert driving and camping trips through participating agents and destinations. 

The next phase of the project will include unique activities such as exploring dormant volcanoes, deep sea diving, aerial adventures, and much more.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, SRTIP CEO Al-Mahmoudi said: “It is a part of SRTIP’s mission to collaborate and support innovative initiatives such as Mughamer.”

Sheraa CEO Al-Midfa said: “Today we celebrate the launch of ‘Mughamer,’ a Sharjah-born startup that is expected to revolutionize the travel and tourism industry. This venture will grow to be a role model for entrepreneurs in the UAE and the region on how to uniquely design and launch a successful tech-driven startup that responds to the rapid digital disruptions that have taken place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Co-founder Al-Zadjaly said: “Mughamer.com responds directly to the rapid growth of the adventure tourism industry as a result of the continued development of the global travel and tourism sector and the need to invest in new solutions that help connect tourists with the most unique adventure experiences all over the world.”

Mughamer.com offers its services in five languages, including Arabic, English, Hindi, French and Spanish. It features a navigation bar that ensures travelers can quickly find exactly what they are looking for, a search tool that allows for easy trip planning, and an online booking process that will have them ready for adventure in minutes.

It also allows the luxury of free cancelations of bookings at any point.

According to reports, adventure tourism contributes $1 trillion in earnings to the global tourism sector annually, and it is projected to increase even further year-on-year as the demand for new experiences and destinations continues to grow exponentially.


StarzPlay bundles now available on Huawei Video

StarzPlay bundles now available on Huawei Video
Updated 06 March 2021

StarzPlay bundles now available on Huawei Video

StarzPlay bundles now available on Huawei Video

Huawei Video, the region’s rapidly growing subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, has extended its partnership with StarzPlay, a regional SVOD provider, to offer up to 63 percent discount on StarzPlay packages on Huawei Video for consumers in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman.

Available to new and existing subscribers between March 1-31, the packages bring more than 100 live TV channels, Hollywood movies, popular Arabic and Turkish series, as well as StarzPlay originals and more. 

Building on the strong customer response to the Huawei Video and StarzPlay collaboration announced last year, the new offer brings tremendous value to users. Viewers will especially appreciate no longer needing to switch between streaming platforms, as they can instantly access the constantly growing library of premium StarzPlay content on their Huawei Video app.

Huawei Video delivers an optimum video and audio experience by leveraging the high-end technologies and capabilities of its devices.