SABB’s international remittances grow by over 50%

SABB’s international remittances grow by over 50%
Bashar Al-Qunaibit, Deputy Managing Director of Retail Banking and Wealth Management at SABB.
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Updated 16 October 2021

SABB’s international remittances grow by over 50%

SABB’s international remittances grow by over 50%

The value of international remittances executed through SABB’s digital channels up to August 2021 grew by more than 50 percent, and the market share of SABB in the retail international remittance market for individuals increased to 11.85 percent.

This is a result of the bank’s consistent efforts to provide the best digital services to customers and take advantage of the state-of-the-art technologies. SABB has developed international transfer services through its digital channels, in partnership with the financial technology companies MasterCard Send and Ripple. Thus, the bank allows its customers to transfer funds instantly and securely to international beneficiaries, whether to bank accounts, electronic wallets, or via cash delivery to more than 30 international destinations. Now, SABB customers can transfer to more than 170 countries and use 38 different currencies.

The improvements also included development of relations with correspondent banks to cover delivery of remittances on the same day for the selected currencies and providing a full remittance deposit service for beneficiaries for the US dollars corridor.

Bashar Al-Qunaibit, deputy managing director of retail banking and wealth management at SABB, said: “In light of the Kingdom’s rapid technological development in response to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and in implementation of the bank’s strategy aimed at digital transformation, SABB is focusing on accelerating transformation steps at all levels, including international remittances, which constitute an important pillar to provide a leading banking experience. On this basis, we have intensified efforts to enable customers to transfer international funds instantly and securely, according to the best technologies provided. We will continue to strive for ongoing development of all our products and services in a manner that ensures our leading position in the market and effectively supports our competitive strength.”

SABB has recently been named the “Best Digital Bank for Customers in Saudi Arabia in 2021” by Global Finance. This recognition is in appreciation of the bank’s efforts in developing innovative digital solutions that provide customers with an advanced digital banking experience. Notably, 86 percent of the total number of new current accounts in SABB were opened through digital channels. The number of new accounts opened digitally exceeded 100,000.

Recently, a significant increase in the number of users of SABB’s digital channels has been noticed. The bank has successfully managed to transform a wide range of its services and manual operations to its digital platforms. More than 130 banking services are currently provided to retail customers through the SABBMobile application. SABB is one of the first banks to obtain approval of the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia — within the framework of the experimental environment SandBox — to provide the service of updating customer data electronically (Know Your Customer) through digital channels without the need to visit the branch. This service has contributed positively to enhancing customer experience and currently represents 60 percent of the total customer updates.


W7Worldwide Saudi Arabia’s leading communication agency

W7Worldwide Saudi Arabia’s leading communication agency
Updated 08 December 2021

W7Worldwide Saudi Arabia’s leading communication agency

W7Worldwide Saudi Arabia’s leading communication agency

Leading independent communications agency W7Worldwide is the only homegrown Saudi agency to enter and win 3 Middle East Public Relations Association Awards, after competing with the region’s other leading agencies.

W7Worldwide succeeded in being shortlisted in 13 of the 56 categories, with more than 88 agencies and in-house communications teams participating in the prestigious awards. W7Worldwide swept up the Best Crisis Communications & Issues Management Campaign, Best Professional Services Campaign, and Best Energy & Natural Resources Campaign Awards.

This triple award win proves W7Worldwide’s leading position in Saudi Arabia and the GCC region with its business model of a truly homegrown communications agency that operates to the highest international standards and creates the communication leaders of tomorrow. Founded in 2001, Middle East Public Relations Association Awards is a self-governing nonprofit member association, established to set world class standards for public relations and communication industry in the Middle East.

“This year saw the largest ever awards with the caliber of entries higher than ever, demonstrating the brilliant and diverse communications campaigns undertaken in the region,” said Taryam Alsubaihi, chairman of Middle East Public Relations Association Awards.

He added: “We are pleased to see the strong participation from a homegrown Saudi based agency with winning entries, reflecting the high level of skills, creativity and leadership in the PR and communications profession in the Kingdom.”

“We are immensely proud to have excelled again this year with three Middle East Public Relations Association Awards wins, which must be credited to our incredible team’s hard work, dedication, innovation and outstanding abilities,” said Abdulrahman Inayat, co-founder and director of W7Worldwide. “These award wins make us the only independent Saudi agency to have successfully entered and are testament to the achievement of our goal to create the best homegrown agency with exceptional talent that elevates and positively contributes to the growth of the profession in the region.”

With over 300 in-house, agency and individual members, the Middle East Public Relations Association Awards is the voice of the public relations industry committed to setting standards of excellence. Now in its 20th year, the awards are regarded as one of the most important PR and communications awards in the Middle East, driving professional development and promoting the industry.

W7Worldwide participated in the awards to gain industry recognition of its work and commitment to elevate the PR and communications profession in the region and to reinforce its position as Saudi Arabia’s leading independent agency.


stc, Thales sign MoU to develop digital solutions for businesses

stc, Thales sign MoU to develop digital solutions for businesses
Updated 08 December 2021

stc, Thales sign MoU to develop digital solutions for businesses

stc, Thales sign MoU to develop digital solutions for businesses

stc and Thales have signed a memorandum of understanding for collaboration in various areas, such as ICT, AI, cybersecurity, smart cities, IoT, machine connectivity, identity solutions, payment solutions, and 5G satellite solutions. Through this partnership, stc aims to develop and enhance digital solutions in order to provide its customers with cybersecurity solutions, as well as provide training to enhance digital skills in these technologies through the stc academy.

The memorandum of understanding signed by the two companies includes investing in digital capabilities in the Kingdom through research, development and innovation. Among the areas of cooperation covered by the memorandum of understanding  are eSIM technologies and national security technologies, especially smart new cities and digital identity and payment solutions. The partnership will involve close collaboration between the two companies in relation to ICT training provided by stc academy.

stc chief business officer Riyadh Muawad expressed his delight at the signing of the MoU. He said: “As the digital enabler in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we are interested in building strategic relationships with strategic partners like Thales and are working together to further our digital transformation leadership goals. Through this partnership, we aspire to leverage Thales Group solutions in the areas of cybersecurity, AI, and other digital innovations.”

Pascal Lesaulnier, chairman and CEO of Thales Saudi Arabia, said: “Thales is a leading global company in the field of advanced technologies and invests in digital innovations and ‘deep technologies’ such as connectivity, big data, AI, cyber security and quantum computing. Over the past 50 years, the Group has had an active presence in the Kingdom in all our areas of expertise. We are very proud of the partnership we have developed with stc over the years. eSim, stcPay and other solutions are a testament to this vital collaboration. This MoU confirms Thales’ commitment to keep integrating and working alongside stc as part of this exciting journey towards digital transformation in Saudi Arabia, in which stc is a key player.”


NAMA promotes gender responsive budgeting for equality equality

NAMA promotes gender responsive budgeting for equality equality
Updated 08 December 2021

NAMA promotes gender responsive budgeting for equality equality

NAMA promotes gender responsive budgeting for equality equality

Under its recently launched Irtiqa initiative, NAMA Women Advancement organized a high-profile panel at Women’s Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai recently addressing the important question of why gender responsive budgeting  is crucial to ensure women’s equal access to economic and financial resources.

Titled “Is Gender Budgeting the Solution to Inclusion,” the discussion aimed to introduce leaders and decision-makers in both public and private sectors in the UAE and the wider region to gender responsive budgeting, focusing on the importance of viewing organizational budgets through a gender lens in order to achieve the collective objectives of growth, employment and social cohesion. The discussion also spotlighted the experiences of nations which have been successfully implementing gender responsive budgeting over the years.

Eminent members on the panel included Carolina Renteria Rodrigez, International Monetary Fund, division chief, PFM Europe; Maja Bosnic, international gender responsive budgeting expert, NIRAS International Consulting; Hajar Ben Ameur, head of budget performance and  gender responsive budgeting, Morocco Ministry of Economy and Finance; Romawaty Sinaga, public sector specialist, World Bank Indonesia; and Dr. Rosanna Duncan, chief diversity officer, Palladium. The discussion’s moderator was Ermira Lubani, gender responsive budgeting’s program specialist, UN Women Europe Central Asia.

In her welcome address, Reem bin Karam, director of NAMA, said that the UAE had institutionalized gender budgeting in 2015 by establishing the Gender Balance Council. “The council’s objectives to reduce the gender gap across all government sectors has led to the UAE becoming the benchmark for gender balance legislation in the region. The nation’s experience in gender-informed resource allocation has demonstrated that with this powerful tool the benefits of development can reach women equally as their male counterparts.

“Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al-Qasimi, chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, and wife of the ruler of Sharjah, believes that inclusive and equitable economic growth can only be possible with women’s full economic empowerment.”

“Today there are more than 100 countries worldwide which are implementing different  gender responsive budgeting  initiatives. This implies proper legal and policy framework in both gender equality and in budgetary processes. Gender responsive budgeting serves to connect the dots by linking government policy and budget together, which are often considered to be two separate islands. It therefore increases social accountability and transparency, and ensures that no one is left behind,” said Lubani.

Outlining the importance of gender responsive budgeting in times of crisis, Rodrigez, said: “The IMF sees women’s empowerment as critical to economic progress. With the right policies to ensure women’s participation in the economy, a country’s GDP would increase substantially. It is of utmost importance that government policies for economic recovery pay greater attention to women in order to ensure sustainable results. Recent IMF studies show that in countries with low female labor market participation, closing the gender gap could raise the GDP by an average of 35 percent.”

Bosnic said: “We have for long been hearing that gender responsive budgeting  is good budgeting. However, I would say it is better budgeting. It should be the only way to budget. I will share an experience from Ukraine as an example. I was leading the  gender responsive budgeting project launched in 2013 in collaboration with the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance and supported by the Swedish government for seven years.”

The question was where the funds are being deployed and who is really benefitting to close the gender and social gaps. Ukraine took it further to analyze the impact of budget allocations on women and men in different socio-economic groups. To date, Ukraine has analyzed over 300 budget programs in all the sectors. We discovered gender gaps in all of them. This was because gender equality had not been considered while designing those programs. We analyzed the cause and consequences of this. I am happy to say, that most of the programs have been improved though there is still a lot left to be done. However, the program has resulted to increased women participation in the economy and other spheres in Ukraine.”

Ben Ameur outlined the long history of  gender responsive budgeting  in Morocco beginning from the early 2000s when the country began to consider the reforms needed to promote women’s empowerment. Around the same period, Morocco introduced a project to modernize its budgetary systems to improve the performance of public service. The two came together to create a successful  gender responsive budgeting model for Morocco. She said: “Over the years we have learnt how to obtain better results on the ground. When it comes to national education, a large percentage of girls drop out of school when they reach primary level, especially in rural areas, due to financial constraints. We created social support networks and mechanisms, including the provision of direct financial aid to families, to make it possible for girls to complete their education.

Speaking about Indonesia’s experience, Sinaga, said: “Indonesia has been mainstreaming gender in its national budget processes using several public financial management tools to understand the impact of budget policies on different groups of beneficiaries. In 2019, Indonesia undertook a gender responsive budgeting assessment in cooperation with the World Bank to track progress and further strengthen gender mainstreaming in budgetary processes.”

Duncan noted that the equity, diversity and inclusion functions are usually compartmentalized into a HR activity, when in fact, they should be championed and pursued as part of broader organizational goals. Leaders should be held to account and create a culture where embedding equity, diversity and inclusion is ‘everybody’s responsibility, she said.


Hyundai’s Tucson named best car at PR Auto Awards 2021

Hyundai’s Tucson named best car at PR Auto Awards 2021
Updated 08 December 2021

Hyundai’s Tucson named best car at PR Auto Awards 2021

Hyundai’s Tucson named best car at PR Auto Awards 2021

Hyundai Motor Company has bolstered its standing in Saudi Arabia with a win at the PR Arabia National Auto Awards 2021 held recently in Jeddah.

The Tucson impressed the voters with its design, interior, powertrains, driving experience and technology. The SUV secured high marks for driving comfort, fuel economy and luggage space thanks to the company’s innovative approach in leveraging advanced technologies to boost comfort, convenience and safety for all passengers.

Chosen by 49 percent of the voters, the Tucson was named the “Best Small SUV” category in the ninth edition of the awards.

Launched in 2012, The PR National Auto Awards recognizes those working in the automotive industry and encourages companies to offer the best services to help improve overall customer satisfaction.

The fourth generation of the compact SUV, which is bigger and wider than its predecessors, was recently launched in the region and is the most competitive in its class and represents another step forward for one of Hyundai’s most popular vehicles.

Bang Sun Jeong, head of Hyundai Motor Company Middle East and Africa headquarters, said: “It’s always encouraging to see our cars being recognized by our customers and even more pleased when they show passion towards the brand by taking the time and effort to vote for us.

“The Tucson has established itself as one of our bestselling models in the region and across the globe. The fourth-generation model continues to build on this, taking the iconic model to another level in cutting-edge design, safety, and performance. Its interior is a big step up, with great materials, a strong design and an excellent infotainment system with an appealing instrument display.”

The award is a testament to Hyundai’s commitment to build high-quality automobiles that deliver superior driving experiences, strengthening its position as one of the leading car manufacturers in the Kingdom.

Jeong added: “We are very happy about the award from PR Arabia as it reinforces our strong brand loyalty in the Kingdom. Thanks to the unwavering support from our customers, we have further cemented our position in the Saudi market.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to PR Arabia for hosting this awards event. We would also like to thank the people who voted for us, our partners and our team that have played a part in achieving this success.”


Evernex aims to help companies reduce carbon footprint 

Evernex aims to help companies reduce carbon footprint 
Updated 06 December 2021

Evernex aims to help companies reduce carbon footprint 

Evernex aims to help companies reduce carbon footprint 

In 2018, four percent of worldwide carbon emissions came from digital activities. At our current rate of expansion, this will grow to eight percent by 2025. Manufacturing of IT hardware such as cell phones, laptops, servers are major contributors of increasing carbon footprint.   

Life cycle analysis shows that raw material extraction and manufacturing represents 40 to 80 percent of the total CO2 emissions for a piece of equipment.  

As businesses refine their processes to reduce their total carbon footprint, sustainable IT practices will form a key part of every company’s Corporate Social Responsibility and overall drive to carbon-zero.

In addition to reducing their consumption, companies need to find ways to extend the life of their equipment and help reduce the demand for new assets. One way institutions and companies are already moving to a more sustainable IT strategy is by extending their IT equipment lifespan through maintenance rather than hardware refreshment.

Evernex Saudi Arabia, a subsidiary of the global independent IT Life Services company Evernex, is one company helping others reduce their impact by extending the life of IT equipment through maintenance, preventing the need for the manufacture of new assets. 

Repairing helps slow the cycle of production within the IT industry. It reduces the demand for new raw materials and prevents carbon emissions that come from equipment production. 

Evernex currently maintains over 360,000 IT systems in more than 165 countries and has a global network of 45 offices. With over 2,000 clients in the Kingdom, it is a major contributor to bringing sustainable solutions to IT and the preferred maintenance partner for multinational companies looking for both engagement and expertise.