Saudi-owned Rasan participates in GITEX Fintech Surge 2021

Saudi-owned Rasan participates in GITEX Fintech Surge 2021
Moayad Alfallaj, CEO of Rasan
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Updated 20 October 2021

Saudi-owned Rasan participates in GITEX Fintech Surge 2021

Saudi-owned Rasan participates in GITEX Fintech Surge 2021

Rasan, a Saudi-owned fintech and insurtech company, is participating in the ongoing GITEX Global 2021 to help drive innovation and create value in the insurance and finance industry through its innovative solutions.

Under the theme, “Shining a light on the intersection between technology and finance,” GITEX Fintech Surge 2021 features innovations across banking, asset and wealth management, insurance, regulation and more. GITEX, which runs until Oct. 21 at Dubai World Trade Centre, comes at a time when the Middle East and North Africa fintech market is slated to reach $ 2.5 billion by 2022.

Rasan, a pioneer in regional insurtech through its Tameeni platform, is showcasing its various innovations in health and motor insurance as well as other solutions and multi-sided platforms. The company’s primary aim is to highlight three core points:

1. Simplicity — Share its success story on making its technology intuitive for its broad user base

2. Pioneering — Offering innovative and unprecedented solutions in the insurtech and broader fintech markets in Saudi Arabia and the MEA region

3. Sustainability — Awareness about its role in promoting sustainable economic growth and improving economic productivity

“We are excited and proud to be taking part in this year’s Fintech Surge, which is a powerful platform to showcase innovative products to an audience who are seeking new technology and innovative solutions and partnerships,” said Moayad Alfallaj, CEO of Rasan.

The company launched Tameeni Motor, through its brokerage partner IHC, the first authorized and licensed online insurance aggregator in Saudi Arabia by the Saudi Central Bank, bringing a digital disruption in the regional insurtech industry.

“Our platforms — Tameeni Motor, Tameeni Health and Treza — designed and developed in Saudi Arabia, are fully integrated with insurer systems, giving customers the ability to solicit insurance quotes, compare coverage and prices in just two-three minutes and then purchase their preferred insurance instantly,” Alfallaj added.

Rasan has helped more than 4 million users through Tameeni Motor and Tameeni Health and enabled clients to issue/renew policies during the pandemic. The platform has completely removed the need for printing, by offering an end-to-end digital experience, resulting in a saving of a whopping SR120 million ($31.9 million) worth of cost for printing and 30,000 to 60,000 trees.

Alfallaj explained that Rasan’s vision is to empower stakeholders to collaborate seamlessly and in real time across their insurance and financial interactions, while providing world-class human experience, extending the boundaries of digital innovation and closely aligning with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.


New indoor entertainment city ‘Sala Hub’ opens in Riyadh

New indoor entertainment city ‘Sala Hub’ opens in Riyadh
Updated 29 November 2021

New indoor entertainment city ‘Sala Hub’ opens in Riyadh

New indoor entertainment city ‘Sala Hub’ opens in Riyadh

Sala Entertainment, a Vida Holding company, has announced the opening of “Sala Hub,” the largest indoor entertainment city at Riyadh Boulevard, as part of Riyadh Season events. The opening ceremony was attended by Fahad Al-Hokair, Abdul Rahman Al-Hokair and Mohammed Attia, CEO of Sala Entertainment.

Entertainment constitutes a significant part of the services and tourism sectors, which are among the pillars of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The opening of Sala Hub comes as part of the great transformation witnessed by the entertainment sector in the Kingdom, which has provided unprecedented opportunities for businesses that are active in the entertainment industry, including both local and international companies.

“The opening of Sala Hub aligns itself with the motto of ‘Imagine More’ that has been coined for this year’s Riyadh Season, as Sala Hub provides an opportunity to soar high into the world of imagination and enjoy fun experiences in an unusual and unforgettable manner,” a statement said.

Visitors to Riyadh Season can enjoy many exciting games and activities that are available for the first time in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, such as Zero Gravity, Air Race, Nebulaz, Drift Race, VR Bumper Car, Sky Race, Wave Up, Double Deck Carousel, Sky Tower, Blenderz, Super Jumper, Skyline Coaster and Roller Glider.

Sala Hub’s indoor entertainment area occupies around 4,500 square meters divided into many sections covering the needs of all family members. There are sections designated for major rides, redemption games, video games, VR games, skills games, sports games, kiddie rides, a party room, as well as a food and beverage area, an Immersive Tunnel and the stage.

Sala CEO Attia said: “Today we are strengthening our presence here in this Riyadh Season, a presence of which we are very proud. Our vision is to raise Sala Hub to the level of a global leader in branding, while we aspire to provide unique and high-quality entertainment replete with diverse experiences in order to meet the needs of our guests in Saudi Arabia, the GCC and around the world in the future.”

“As part of our values, which we consider the principles that guide us in our endeavors to provide everything that enhances the experiences of all family members, we affirm our commitment to providing global standards in terms of health, safety and security, as well as unique experiences for every member of the family,” he added.

The new Sala Hub is part of the plans developed over the past years by the company to expand its business at the national level. The destination aspires to be part of the efforts aimed to improve the quality of life in the Kingdom, support employment, strengthen the economy and contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Bob’s Famous, KidZania Jeddah, Billy Bees, Sala City, Sala Laser Tag, Sala Karting, and eBlue are some of the brands operating under Sala Entertainment, through more than 26 branches across the Kingdom.


IHG partners with TRSDC to open InterContinental Resort Red Sea

IHG partners with TRSDC to open InterContinental Resort Red Sea
Updated 29 November 2021

IHG partners with TRSDC to open InterContinental Resort Red Sea

IHG partners with TRSDC to open InterContinental Resort Red Sea

Global hospitality company IHG Hotels and Resorts has announced the signing of a management agreement with The Red Sea Development Company, an affiliate of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, to open the InterContinental Resort Red Sea in the Kingdom. Situated within the premium Red Sea Development destination, the new InterContinental Resort is scheduled to open during Phase 1 of The Red Sea Project’s development. Activity for the first phase of development is well underway and is on track to be completed by the end of 2023.

Haitham Mattar, managing director, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG, said: “With a strong legacy in the country, we remain committed to leveraging the growth opportunities that are aligned with Saudi’s Vision 2030 and the priority destinations highlighted within the Saudi tourism strategy. We are excited to partner with The Red Sea Development Company, one of the world’s most ambitious regenerative projects, to strengthen our offering in Saudi Arabia and collaborate on sustainability related initiatives to protect the natural, historical and cultural environments that make this destination unique. These initiatives are in line with IHG’s Journey to Tomorrow, a 10-year action plan focused on commitments to drive change for people, communities and the planet.  We also look forward to building scale in the Kingdom to deliver a landmark development that will cater to the needs of diverse guest profiles expected to visit the country in the coming years.”

The announcement comes during InterContinental Hotels and Resorts’ diamond anniversary celebrations, marking 75 years of luxury travel with a celebration of rich heritage, iconic hotels and exclusive experiences.

Set within one of the world’s most ambitious luxury tourism developments amidst an archipelago of more than 90 pristine islands, InterContinental Resort Red Sea will offer guests sweeping views of the desert and dramatic mountain landscapes.

Each of the resort’s 210 sea-facing rooms will provide immediate beach access, allowing guests to step out onto the sands of the Red Sea from the terrace. Moreover, the resort will feature seven different gastronomic experiences, sprawling pools and recreational facilities, a spa, a health club, and meeting and events spaces for leisure and business travelers and groups.

John Pagano, CEO, TRSDC and Amaala, said: “Given IHG’s global expertise and strong legacy in the Kingdom, we are delighted to partner with them to bring world-class hospitality to our guests at The Red Sea Project. IHG is the ideal partner to build our hospitality offerings, shaping guest experience and taking it to the next level. With their understanding of the local landscape, high standards of quality, their impeccable service and clear focus on sustainability and responsible travel, we are confident that this partnership will see best-in-class results and we look forward to welcoming guests to this luxury leisure destination.”

In addition to The Red Sea Development, PIF is developing several gigaprojects across Saudi Arabia including Qiddiya, Amaala, Riyadh Central, Diriyah Gate, Jeddah Downtown, Rua Al-Haram, Rua Al-Madinah, AlUla, NEOM, and King Abdullah Financial District.

IHG currently operates 37 hotels in Saudi Arabia across five brands including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites and Voco. A further 23 hotels are in the development pipeline, due to open within the next three to five years.


SABB goes live with instant USD payments for corporates using Ripple technology

SABB goes live with instant USD payments for corporates using Ripple technology
Updated 29 November 2021

SABB goes live with instant USD payments for corporates using Ripple technology

SABB goes live with instant USD payments for corporates using Ripple technology

The Saudi British Bank has launched an instant cross-border transfer service for the US corridor through blockchain payment technology powered by Ripple. The launch of this service was announced during the fifth edition of the Future Investment Initiative, led by the Public Investment Fund, held on Oct. 26-28 in Riyadh. Ripple-powered solutions continue to be part of SABB’s strategic plan aimed toward digital transformation and enriching customer experience and aligned with Vision 2030 and the Financial Sector Development Program.

SABB is not only the first Saudi bank to join Ripple’s network for blockchain technology, but is also the first bank in the region to offer near real-time USD settlement for its corporate clients. This expansion of the solution to cover the US corridor is the third one through Ripple, post the successful activation of this technology for the Indian rupee and Lankan rupee in early 2019. With the Kingdom’s enhanced focus on digitally enabled solutions, SABB aims to continue to bring innovative solutions to its customers in the country.

Majed Najm, deputy managing director corporate and institutional banking at SABB, said: “SABB has always been at the forefront of adopting cutting-edge technology solutions, providing the best banking services and tailoring solutions that save time and effort for our customers. Such initiatives also help in maintaining our leading position in achieving the ambitions of the bank’s customers and in supporting SABB’s vision to be the leading global bank in the Kingdom.”

Brooks Entwistle, managing director of RippleNet in APAC and MENA, added: “Over the past few years, Ripple has built the first in-market solutions leveraging blockchain technology to revolutionize cross-border payments. We’re excited to bring this to market in partnership with SABB and to continue our longstanding partnership to the benefit of corporates and consumers alike in the region.”


Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla

Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla
Updated 28 November 2021

Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla

Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla

Acme restaurant, which specializes in international cuisine, has announced the opening of its third Saudi branch in AlUla, in line with its ambitious expansion plan for the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site was chosen as the restaurant location because of its growing importance on the regional tourism map as it continues to receive an increasing number of visitors every year.

The interiors at Acme’s latest outlet represent a mix between the past and the present, taking inspiration from its surrounding desert. The dining tables are designed in a unique shape and the outdoor seating is comfy and traditional.

Acme in AlUla will offer guests a unique gastronomic experience that blends international flavors with a touch of AlUla’s deeply rooted ancient history. Dishes can be made to order as well.

The restaurant can accommodate more than 100 persons at a time.

Abdulelah Al-Naddaf, CEO and owner of Food Concepts Company, said that the opening of the AlUla branch is an important step in the growth of the Acme restaurant chain. He said the region is attractive in all aspects and motivates to achieve success, especially in F and B projects.

“The city of AlUla has begun to strongly flex its muscles in the field of domestic tourism during the past few years, as we have noticed after studying the success that can be achieved in this region, especially in restaurant projects,” he added.

“We are ready to receive visitors and tourists on all upcoming occasions, as Acme is eagerly waiting for them in this charming and natural picturesque location.”


Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid

Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid
Updated 28 November 2021

Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid

Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid

Tolerance, constructive dialogue and peace will be the engines that drive economic and social growth, said Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al-Nahayan, minister of tolerance and coexistence, UAE, at the second hybrid edition of the ABLF Talks at the Dubai Cares Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai.

The monthly leadership series, held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahayan and in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy and Dubai Cares, a UAE-based global philanthropic organization, saw a lively discussion by world leaders on the virtues of tolerance and inclusivity, and their role in meeting the sustainable development goals.

In the keynote address, Sheikh Nahayan highlighted how the UAE was driven by its belief in constructive dialogues and concern for each other’s welfare. “Tolerant societies are more open, innovative and economically prosperous while tolerant businesses are more successful. We in the UAE, consider ourselves to be the example of the truth of these statements,” he added.

The role of the Expo 2020 Dubai was also spotlighted as an event that not just motivated people to redesign and reshape their future but also served as a platform to learn, discover and appreciate the relationship between individuals and the world around them. “Our country is a land of opportunities. We will continue to be a dynamic hub of a vast, vibrant and ever-accelerating global market that serves over 2 billion people in the Middle East, Africa and beyond,” Sheikh Nahayan said.

The panel discussion that followed focused on the impact of the pandemic on the UN SDGs, especially in the education sector. Featuring Dr. Tariq Al-Gurg, commissioner general for the Dubai Cares Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and chief executive of Dubai Cares; Dr. Dena Assaf, the UN resident coordinator, UAE, and the deputy commissioner-general, UN; and Majid Al-Usaimi, UNICEF national ambassador and president, Asian Paralympic Committee; the conversation veered on the need to democratize technology to bridge the huge gaps in society.

“COVID-19 has accelerated united efforts toward SDGs, but at the same time, it has also created a huge digital divide. If you have a shared vision and a global agenda but not enough technological connectivity or adequate force or funding, these goals cannot be achieved. Therefore, universal access to connectivity is critical,” said Dr. Al-Gurg. While listing out the various initiatives by Dubai Cares that aim to enhance children and youth’s access to education and creating opportunities for youth empowerment, he also announced the objectives of the upcoming RewirEd Summit, which is led by Dubai Cares in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai and in close coordination with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and a host of global stakeholders. Taking place at Dubai Exhibition Centre from Dec. 12-14, the largest education summit of its kind aims to rewire education for a prosperous and sustainable future.

Delving deep into the UN’s efforts to tide over the challenges posed by the pandemic, especially in poorer economies, Dr. Assaf spoke about the need to engage with communities in a multi-level, multi-cultural and holistic manner while ensuring that technology is not used in a one-size-fits-all approach. “From the UN’s perspective, we work on the principle of — ‘no one should be left behind,’” he added, outlining the huge difference in access among various groups in different countries.

Meanwhile, Al-Usaimi brought the issues faced by people of determination to the forefront and the role of sports in building opportunities and communities.

Stressing on the need to use technology and research to identify the needs and customize programs for their benefit, Al-Usaimi said: “Our aim should be to get everything — money, technology and expertise — toward the achievements of the same goal.”