Pakistan banks move to close gender gap

Pakistan banks move to close gender gap
It will aim at improving gender diversity in financial institutions and their access points. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 20 September 2021

Pakistan banks move to close gender gap

Pakistan banks move to close gender gap
  • The policy titled “Banking on Equality: Reducing the Gender Gap in Financial Inclusion” identified five key pillars

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) launched a gender mainstreaming policy, which aims to reduce the gender gap in the financial industry and improve women’s access to financial services, a statement said.

The policy titled “Banking on Equality: Reducing the Gender Gap in Financial Inclusion” identified five key pillars, according to the statement issued on Friday.

It will aim at improving gender diversity in financial institutions and their access points; developing and marketing women centric products and services; creating women desks at bank branches for improved facilitation for women customers; cgathering gender-disaggregated data and target setting; and institutionalizing a policy forum on Gender at SBP.

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Saudi startup joins in national efforts promote green building

Saudi startup joins in national efforts promote green building
Updated 17 sec ago

Saudi startup joins in national efforts promote green building

Saudi startup joins in national efforts promote green building
  • Large number of people in the Kingdom are moving toward sustainable solutions

LONDON: As global leaders converge at the Middle East Green Initiative Summit on Oct. 25, the focus will be on new ideas and proposals to replace the wasteful and polluting ways in favor of environmentally-friendly methods. 

Meanwhile, there are set to be profound changes at the grass-roots level, in terms of sustainable living environments. A number of “green” startups have emerged in the Kingdom in recent years, offering products and services that aim to reduce carbon emissions while improving the quality of life for ordinary citizens.

One such company is Riyadh-based EIA Energy. Founded in 2020 with support from Monsha’at, the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, EIA Energy is a 12-employee firm with a turnover of SR1.2 million and projected growth up to SR7.5 million by Q4 2022.

“EIA Energy was founded as an energy services company (ESCO) and has developed into a provider of end-to-end energy management services and solutions to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency in client facilities,” CEO Abdullah Al-Othman told Arab News. 

As a certified ESCO, EIA Energy provides three kinds of service: First, energy consulting and energy monitoring in order to reduce costs; second is the obtaining of “green certification” for facility owners and managers; and third is guidance regarding green building techniques in terms of architecture, efficient water use, landscaping and eco-friendly transport solutions. 

EIA Energy describes its energy efficiency strategy as the “SMARRT Approach” – an acronym for Surveying, Monitoring, Analyzing, Reducing, Reviewing and Targeting.  

There will be a growing demand for this kind of consultancy in Saudi Arabia as builders and developers conform to new green regulations while satisfying the demand of modern families for a healthier and better way of life. 

“This is a good time for ESCOs right now,” says Al-Othman, “because we’re catching the beginning of the whole transformation that’s taking place, the cultural shift. There are a lot of government initiatives – Vision 2030, SGI, Green Riyadh — which stimulate the entire market and create a lot of opportunities.”

In the 1960s and 70s Riyadh and other cities in the Kingdom became the so-called “supergrids” of intersecting highways, filled in with buildings and concrete surfacing with only a small allowance for green spaces. Concrete absorbs and radiates heat in the summer months, while preventing ground absorption of rainwater during the winter — causing severe and sometimes fatal flooding. 

“We say no to concrete,” says EIA Energy GM Hamza Khan. “We prefer gravel because there has to be porous ground that allows rainwater to go back into the earth and replenish the groundwater sources.”

Builders, developers and facility operators have no choice but to move from words to action. “We are getting a lot of inquiries from apartment and compound owners, supermarkets, retail outlets and restaurants,” says Khan. “They all want to reduce their costs and their emissions – to offer something more sustainable and to stand apart from the competition.” 

Much of EIA Energy’s efforts are dedicated to enabling LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification from the US Green Building Council. This certification promotes a higher quality of life for building occupants in terms of energy and water efficiency and improvement of the living environment. It follows the principle of the triple bottom line of the 3Ps: People, planet and profit. This certification can be applied to any built-up area: residential facilities, office buildings, educational institutions and hospitals.

EIA Energy relies on hardware and software supplied by its UK partner Best Energy. “But it is clear that the technologies we bring to Saudi Arabia should be manufactured or at least assembled here,” says Al-Othman. “And that would solve a major issue that we are facing now with the destruction of the global supply chain due to COVID-19 and other factors.” The company also has ambitions to develop its own proprietary solutions as it grows and expands. 

“Saudi Arabia is going green and is moving towards energy efficiency and reducing its carbon emissions,” says Al-Othman. “Green tech startups and ESCOs have a major part in this. We are benefiting from new government initiatives, and we just want to keep improving and introducing more services — in line with Vision 2030, which says that SMEs should play a key role in the future Saudi economy.”


MGI: Charting a regional road map for sustainable living

MGI: Charting a regional road map for sustainable living
Updated 25 October 2021

MGI: Charting a regional road map for sustainable living

MGI: Charting a regional road map for sustainable living
  • Saudi initiatives demonstrate Kingdom’s willingness to address environmental challenges

JEDDAH: The final event of the Saudi Green Initiative, the Middle East Green Initiative, is taking place today to create a sustainable road map for the region and highlight green transition, green policy solutions, the finance sector’s contribution to the goals of the SGI as well as insight from an international perspective.

It will be attended by several heads of state, with key speakers including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, UN Deputy Secretary Amina Mohammed,  BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, HSBC Group Chief Executive Noel Quinn, and André Esteves, senior partner, BTG Pactual, Brazil.

Earlier this year, the crown prince highlighted that the Saudi and the Middle East green initiatives are a continuation of the environmental efforts in the Kingdom over the past few years in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

The two initiatives demonstrate the Kingdom’s strong willingness to address the environmental challenges it has faced, from increase in temperatures and dust waves to low levels of rain and desertification.

The SGI and MGI are also aiming to collectively plant 50 billion trees as well as propel the Middle East region toward achieving more than 10 percent of global carbon emissions reduction targets.

The SGI aims to reach net zero emissions of greenhouse gases, mostly produced by burning fossil fuels, by 2060.

Saudi Arabia said the transition to net zero carbon emissions “will be delivered in a manner that preserves the Kingdom’s leading role in enhancing the security and stability of global energy markets.”

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Announcing a plan to reach “net zero” in carbon by 2060, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday said the move was in line with the Kingdom’s development plans, “while preserving and reinforcing its leading role in the security and stability of global energy markets.”

The Kingdom has pledged to double the amount of carbon it will cut in its domestic economy, removing 278 million tons of the pollutant per year by 2030.

“As a region, we have always had to live with harsh climate conditions and we will have to continue to innovate in both mitigation and adaptation,” said Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al-Jaber, at a forum on COP26 in Riyadh.

“The UAE highly commends the leadership and the people of Saudi Arabia, particularly the youth, for such a landmark, bold and long-term strategic initiative. It represents a paradigm shift in ambition for this region,” the minister said.

The SGI aims to raise vegetation cover, reduce carbon emissions, combat pollution and land degradation, and preserve marine ecosystems.


Lebanon’s negotiations with IMF likely to start in November: minister

Lebanon’s negotiations with IMF likely to start in November: minister
Updated 24 October 2021

Lebanon’s negotiations with IMF likely to start in November: minister

Lebanon’s negotiations with IMF likely to start in November: minister
  • Foreign Minister Bou Habib also spoke about the maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s foreign minister said on Sunday negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were likely to start in November, Lebanon’s Al Jadeed TV reported.
Economy Minister Amin Salam had said on Friday, in an interview with Reuters, that the new government aimed to make progress toward starting full negotiations for an IMF deal by the end of this year or early next, but was not expecting funds to be dispersed before elections in March.
Foreign Minister Bou Habib also spoke about the maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel, telling Al Jadeed that he was “optimistic about reaching an agreement.”
Lebanon and Israel are in dispute over the delineation of their territorial waters and negotiations between the old foes could lead to Lebanon being able to unlock valuable gas reserves amid its worst-ever financial crisis.
The two countries have been holding on-off US mediated talks since October to try to resolve the issue. 


Jubail Commercial Port handles more than 53,000 containers in September 


Jubail Commercial Port handles more than 53,000 containers in September 

Updated 24 October 2021

Jubail Commercial Port handles more than 53,000 containers in September 


Jubail Commercial Port handles more than 53,000 containers in September 


RIYADH: Jubail Commercial Port’s containers handling increased to 27 percent by more than 53,000 containers during September 2021 as compared to the same period in 2020.

The port also achieved a record in handling container ships by clearing procedures within five minutes.
The speedy and efficient handling is part of the Saudi Ports Authority strategy to attract international shipping lines and expand the Kingdom’s ports capacity and operations to transform the country into a logistics hub.


Saudi EXIM Bank signs MoU with Omani banks to boost cooperation

Saudi EXIM Bank signs MoU with Omani banks to boost cooperation
Updated 24 October 2021

Saudi EXIM Bank signs MoU with Omani banks to boost cooperation

Saudi EXIM Bank signs MoU with Omani banks to boost cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi EXIM Bank on Sunday signed memorandums of understanding with three major Omani banks to boost financing ties and exchange expertise.

The MoUs were signed with the National Bank of Oman, Muscat Bank and Sohar International Bank.The banks also discussed cooperation in extending credit financing and securing financing guarantees for Saudi exporters’ Omani clients.

The banks agreed to develop training programs in financial trade, risk analysis, loan management, Saad Al-Khallab, CEO of the Saudi bank said.