Saudi Arabia to tap private sector, NGOs for Saudi Green Initiative

Saudi Arabia to tap private sector, NGOs for Saudi Green Initiative
Short Url
Updated 24 October 2021

Saudi Arabia to tap private sector, NGOs for Saudi Green Initiative

Saudi Arabia to tap private sector, NGOs for Saudi Green Initiative

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will seek involvement from the private sector and other organizations in the Kingdom to help plant 10 billion trees under the Saudi Green Initiative.

The Minister of Water, Environment, and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadly told Arab News that the government cannot do it all alone, adding that the final budget and amount of funding available for the entire project is currently under review.

“All the private sector, non-governmental organizations, citizens, agricultural associations, environmental associations, companies, government companies, and the government as well, will participate in planting the trees” he told Arab News on the sideline of Saudi Green Initiative Forum in Riyadh.

“Planting 10 billion trees is one of the milestone initiatives here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he said. 

Degradation is one of the major issues under focus in the Kingdom. By achieving the goal of planting 10 billion trees under the Saudi Green Initiative, 50 million hectares of Saudi Arabia will be rehabilitated and redeveloped. 

The minister highlighted that 50 percent of the degraded land in the Kingdom will be rehabilitated to reduce the negative impacts of climate change and new land will be designated solely for the protection of wildlife. 

“The Kingdom will plant 1 percent of the global tree plantation target,” he said. 

As announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the private sector will have numerous investment opportunities and contributions along the way.     

“Naturally speaking when it comes to planting 10 billion trees in the Kingdom with this kind of climate it is a great challenge, but I do believe we will be able to put this initiative into action through the use of renewable water, desalinated water, or treated water,” the minister emphasized. 

The initiative will mainly focus on local and native plants that can endure the climate change or the drought along with the implementation of new technology that can research and limit the usage of water. 

Speaking earlier in the day, the minister told the forum the government is planning to use 50 million hectares of land to plant the trees, as it aims to “provide a green cover to reduce the negative impact of climate change."

The minister also reiterated the Saudi crown prince’s commitment to the Kingdom’s environmental objectives. 

He said the crown prince has increased the percentage of the Kingdom’s protected land from 16 percent to 20 percent. 

 


India's CashFree invests $15m in UAE payment platform Teller

India's CashFree invests $15m in UAE payment platform Teller
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 15 sec ago

India's CashFree invests $15m in UAE payment platform Teller

India's CashFree invests $15m in UAE payment platform Teller
  • They also aim to develop a unified payments platform to help merchants in India

RIYADH: Indian payments and banking solutions company CashFree has invested $15 million in Dubai-based Teller, which provides electronic payment services in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

With this investment CashFree's market share has exceeded 50 percent.

The two companies intend to launch joint services in the MENA region, building on Teller's knowledge of the region's markets and payments infrastructure, Asharq reported.

They also aim to develop a unified payments platform to help merchants in India accept payments from customers in the region.

The electronic payments market in India exceeds $20 billion annually.


Saudi National Water Company unifies water distribution sector 

Saudi National Water Company unifies water distribution sector 
Updated 1 min 1 sec ago

Saudi National Water Company unifies water distribution sector 

Saudi National Water Company unifies water distribution sector 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Water Company has completed merging 13 public water distribution firms to increase efficiency of operations and fix technical gaps.

The move will also localize expertise in the sector, NWC’s chief Mohammed Al-Mowkley said on Monday. 

The announcement was attended by the Kingdom’s Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadley, who said investments in the water sector stood at $21.3 billion. 

The move is part of Saudi Arabia's National Water Strategy that aims to restructure the sector to serve its residents better. 

Under the integration, Tabuk and Al-Madinah will be the “northwestern sector,” while governorates in Riyadh will be under the “middle sector.”

NWC had previously launched a unified digital structure to improve its services across the Kingdom.


Saudi Arabia to discuss energy deal with France

Saudi Arabia to discuss energy deal with France
Updated 3 min 37 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to discuss energy deal with France

Saudi Arabia to discuss energy deal with France

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's cabinet has delegated the Kingdom’s energy minister to discuss an agreement with France, according to the cabinet's weekly statement carried by Saudi Press Agency.

MORE TO FOLLOW


Saudi Aramco, Reliance deal delayed not canceled, CEO says

Saudi Aramco, Reliance deal delayed not canceled, CEO says
Updated 28 min 4 sec ago

Saudi Aramco, Reliance deal delayed not canceled, CEO says

Saudi Aramco, Reliance deal delayed not canceled, CEO says

DHAHRAN: Rejecting claims about the cancellation of a deal between Saudi Aramco and India’s Reliance, the chief of the oil company told Arab News it would push ahead with the plan following the restructuring of the Indian firm.

Amin Nasser said Reliance is “restructuring their facilities,” and they will “continue to discuss further with them in the future after they finish the restructuring.”

The two companies had signed a non-binding agreement in 2019 for Aramco to acquire a 20 percent stake in Reliance’s oil-to-chemicals unit.

But the deal, valued at roughly $15 billion, has faced some delays because of the pandemic and its impact on fuel demand. 

Meanwhile, the Saudi oil giant is working to expedite operations at its joint venture with Malaysia’s Petronas, according to CNBC Arabia.

Aramco plans to resume work on the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex before the end of the year, in which the Saudi firm invested about $7 billion three years ago.  

The project was disrupted in 2019 due to a fire in a desulfurization unit during the trial operation of the refinery, and the operations were postponed more than once ever since.

The Saudi company owns a 50 percent stake in the project and will supply half of the required crude oil, with the option to increase that percentage to 70 percent once the refinery is completed. 

The refinery has a capacity of about 300,000 tons per day, CNBC reported.


UK competition regulator tells Facebook owner Meta to sell GIF maker Giphy

UK competition regulator tells Facebook owner Meta to sell GIF maker Giphy
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 51 min 36 sec ago

UK competition regulator tells Facebook owner Meta to sell GIF maker Giphy

UK competition regulator tells Facebook owner Meta to sell GIF maker Giphy

Britain’s competition regulator has told Facebook owner Meta Platforms to sell animated images platform Giphy after finding that the acquisition could harm social media users and UK advertisers, dealing a blow to the US-based tech giant.


The Competition and Markers Authority (CMA) said on Tuesday the decision was in line with provisional findings that Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy in May last year would reduce competition between social media platforms and in the display advertising market.


Facebook, recently rebranded as Meta Platforms, said it could appeal the CMA’s decision.


It is not the first time the CMA has intervened in a major merger. In February it said that Viagogo must sell part of Stubhub’s international business as their merger would reduce competition in the UK.


“The tie-up between Facebook and Giphy has already removed a potential challenger in the display advertising market,” said Stuart McIntosh, chair of the independent investigation on Facebook-Giphy for the CMA.


“By requiring Facebook to sell Giphy, we are protecting millions of social media users and promoting competition and innovation in digital advertising,” he added.


Facebook said it disagreed with the decision.


“We are reviewing the decision and considering all options, including appeal,” a spokesperson for Meta said in a statement.


The CMA in October fined the company about $70 million for breaching an order that was imposed during its investigation into the deal, having hinted in August that it may need Facebook to sell Giphy.


The CMA began a probe into the deal in January this year, and in April referred it to an in-depth investigation.


Facebook bought Giphy, a website for making and sharing animated images, or GIFs, reportedly for $400 million in May 2020 to integrate it with its photo-sharing app, Instagram. It has defended the deal and its proposals to the CMA over Giphy.


Another major provider of GIFs is Google’s Tenor.


The CMA has been actively looking into big tech’s monopoly.

Last week, Alphabet Inc’s Google pledged more restrictions on its use of data from its Chrome browser to address CMA’s concerns about plans to ban third-party cookies that advertisers use to track consumers.


The Financial Times first reported the CMA’s plans to block the Facebook-Giphy deal.