MGI: Charting a regional road map for sustainable living

MGI: Charting a regional road map for sustainable living
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Saudi Arabia's Prince Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman bin Abdulaziz, acting governor of Riyadh Region, receives Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Boden during the Summit of the Green Middle East Initiative in Riyadh on Oct. 24, 2021. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia's Prince Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman bin Abdulaziz, acting governor of Riyadh Region, receives Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Boden during the Summit of the Green Middle East Initiative in Riyadh on Oct. 24, 2021. (SPA)
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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.


New Riyadh ‘innovation lab’ to focus on developing Saudi women’s ICT skills 

New Riyadh ‘innovation lab’ to focus on developing Saudi women’s ICT skills 
Updated 12 sec ago

New Riyadh ‘innovation lab’ to focus on developing Saudi women’s ICT skills 

New Riyadh ‘innovation lab’ to focus on developing Saudi women’s ICT skills 

DUBAI: As more women join Saudi Arabia’s workforce, a multinational company is setting up an “innovation lab” to support digital skills development. 

The new platform, created by India’s Tata Consultancy Services, will work with startups and universities to provide participants, particularly women, a chance to “explore and innovate with new technologies.”

Women’s participation in the Kingdom’s workforce has increased from 20 percent in 2018 to 33 percent in 2020 — a 64 percent rise in just two years. 

Although the all-women center will focus on developing IT and digital-related skills, Tata said it will also support participants to pursue long-term careers in finance, accounting, human resource operations, and supply chain management. 

Several representatives from different Saudi bodies were present at the inauguration, including Ahmed Altheneyan, the deputy minister for future jobs and digital entrepreneurship.


Retail offering of 10m shares in stc begins

Retail offering of 10m shares in stc begins
Updated 17 min 16 sec ago

Retail offering of 10m shares in stc begins

Retail offering of 10m shares in stc begins

RIYADH: Retail investors can subscribe to buy some of the 10.02 million shares being offered in the Saudi Telecom Company on Tuesday Dec. 7 and will end on Dec. 8.

The company will allocate 10 percent of the offering to retail investors while the remaining 90 percent, representing 90.18 million shares, will be allocated to institutional investors.

The number of retail investors’ shares and the share ratio will be announced after completing the book-building process and announcing the final offering price.

The offering comprises a fully marketed secondary public offering of 100.2 million shares in stc, representing 5.01 percent of its share capital owned by the Public Investment Fund.

The price range has been set between SR100 ($26.66) and SR116 per share.

The PIF and stc announced the launch of a secondary public offering of stc’s ordinary shares on Dec. 5.

Institutional investors’ subscription began on Dec. 5, and will continue until Dec. 9.


Lawsuit loss forces Uber UK business model reform 

Lawsuit loss forces Uber UK business model reform 
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 28 min 42 sec ago

Lawsuit loss forces Uber UK business model reform 

Lawsuit loss forces Uber UK business model reform 

JEDDAH: Uber and some of its rivals will have to change their business models in the UK after losing a court battle, re-classifying its drivers as workers.

The company is also required to give its drivers access to vacation pay, rest breaks and minimum wage while they’re using the app.

The partly PIF-owned firm is also now required to sign a direct contract with passengers when providing car journeys, according to Bloomberg.

The European Union is following the UK to push for app drivers to be considered as employees rather than self-employed.

This could cost the sector a 4.5 billion euros ($5.1 billion)  a year, Bloomberg reported.


Abu Dhabi chemical company, India’s Reliance form $2bn production JV

Abu Dhabi chemical company, India’s Reliance form $2bn production JV
Updated 33 min 16 sec ago

Abu Dhabi chemical company, India’s Reliance form $2bn production JV

Abu Dhabi chemical company, India’s Reliance form $2bn production JV

Abu Dhabi state-owned Chemicals Derivatives Co., TA’ZIZ, and Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries have agreed to start a more than $2 billion chemical production partnership in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi, the chemicals company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The joint venture, called TA’ZIZ EDC & PVC, will construct and operate a chlor-alkali, ethylene dichloride and polyvinyl chloride production facility, it said.

The JV aims to export the materials to target markets in Southeast Asia and Africa as well as selling them domestically.

“Representing the first production of these chemicals in the UAE, the project will enable the substitution of imports and the creation of new local value chains, while also meeting growing demand for these chemicals globally,” TA’ZIZ said.

TA’ZIZ was formed last year, also as a joint venture, by Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. and Abu Dhabi state-owned holding company ADQ, which own 60 percent and 40 percent respectively.

“India’s need for PVC to propel its growth, and the value from the abundantly available feedstock in UAE, provides a win-win partnership for both companies,” TA’ZIZ quoted Reliance’s billionaire chairman Mukesh Ambani as saying.

TA’ZIZ said in November last year it had chosen potential investment projects worth over $5 billion in the planned Ruwais Derivatives Park, for the development of which the JV is meant to act as a catalyst.

The project is Reliance’s first investment in the Middle East and North Africa region, TA’ZIZ said.


Zimbabwe's Central Bank studies digital currency, rejects cryptocurrency

Zimbabwe's Central Bank studies digital currency, rejects cryptocurrency
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 43 min 27 sec ago

Zimbabwe's Central Bank studies digital currency, rejects cryptocurrency

Zimbabwe's Central Bank studies digital currency, rejects cryptocurrency
  • The country plans to send a team to Nigeria to learn from their experiences

RIYADH: Zimbabwe's Central Bank is exploring using its own digital currency instead of allowing cryptocurrency as legal tender, its Governor John Mangudya told Bloomberg.

“As a central bank we don’t believe in cryptocurrencies,” Mangudya said in an interview on Monday.

“We believe in central bank digital currency which is basically trying to say how do we have an e-Zimbabwe dollar as opposed to cryptocurrency,” he said.

The country plans to send a team to Nigeria to learn from their experiences in launching the first digital currency in Africa in October.

“We have got our fintech group and they are working very hard, most central banks in the world are working on this CBDC and we are definitely almost there," he said.

The government decided to pay annual bonuses to civil servants in US dollars rather than the local currency. Use of the Zimbabwean dollar would have increased its recent decline. 

The government paid annual bonuses to civil servants in US dollars instead of the Zimbabwean dollar. Using the latter could have added to its recent depreciation, according to Mangudya.