Al-Jouf Oasis expects $53.3m investments in 2022, says MODON chief

Al-Jouf Oasis expects $53.3m investments in 2022, says MODON chief
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Updated 24 November 2021

Al-Jouf Oasis expects $53.3m investments in 2022, says MODON chief

Al-Jouf Oasis expects $53.3m investments in 2022, says MODON chief

RIYADH: Al-Jouf Oasis will see investments exceeding SR200 million ($53.3 million) in 2022, Khalid M. Al-Salem, CEO of the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones or MODON told Asharq TV.

Four investment contracts worth over SR15 million to localize industries in Al-Jouf were signed on Wednesday during the Investment Opportunities Forum in Al-Jouf Oasis, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The forum was held in coordination between Al-Jouf municipality and MODON.

The oasis, which is spread across 3 million square meters, will be home to a number of manufacturing companies across several industrial sectors.

The Kingdom is establishing such industrial clusters to help spur manufacturing production, replace imports and create jobs for Saudis as it reduces economic reliance on the oil industry.

Hotel inuaguration

Al-Jouf Gov. Prince Faisal N. Abdulaziz on Wednesday inaugurated Hotel Tulip Plaza  in Sakaka. 

He said it is important to promote an environment conducive to business to create more job opportunities for the Saudi youth, the SPA reported


KAEC gears up to become the automotive capital of the region

The megacity has been finalizing deals with car manufacturers after Lucid Motors signed an agreement. (Supplied)
The megacity has been finalizing deals with car manufacturers after Lucid Motors signed an agreement. (Supplied)
Updated 29 May 2022

KAEC gears up to become the automotive capital of the region

The megacity has been finalizing deals with car manufacturers after Lucid Motors signed an agreement. (Supplied)
  • Car companies are evincing interest in setting manufacturing facilities in the city, says CEO Cyril Piaia

JEDDAH: The King Abdullah Economic City is all poised to become the automotive capital of the region, with car companies evincing interest in setting manufacturing facilities in the city, said its CEO Cyril Piaia.

The megacity has been finalizing deals with car manufacturers after the US-based electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid Motors signed an agreement to build a production factory with an annual capacity of 150,000 zero-emission EVs.

Early this year, we signed a deal with Juffali Automotive Co. to move its facility from Jeddah to here. The company assembles Mercedes trucks.

Majid Matbouly, Head of the industrial valley at KAEC

“Those deals are very active; they might be announced very soon,” Piaia told Arab News in an exclusive interview.

An industry in making
Lucid Motors, backed by the Public Investment Fund, is delivering its first factory outside the US, which will make up half of the Kingdom’s plan to produce 300,000 vehicles annually by 2030.
“All focus today is to position the industrial valley as the automotive capital of the region,” Majid Matbouly, head of the industrial valley at KAEC, told Arab news.
The EV manufacturer aims to export 85 percent of its production outside the Kingdom, benefiting from the city’s port located on the Red Sea.
The megacity has a ready-built residential infrastructure for the future employees of Lucid Motors, which includes schools and recreational and entertainment avenues.

HIGHLIGHT

KAEC has a ready-built residential infrastructure for the future employees of Lucid Motors, which includes schools and recreational and entertainment avenues.

“We actually have people from Lucid who already started building their homes here,” Matbouly added.
KAEC is also strategically placed for auto companies, given its full-service commercial port and growing connectivity with other parts of the world.
“We believe that we are very well positioned. We have the King Abdullah port that can facilitate export and import. We are also connected to the rail that will link KAEC to Riyadh and Dammam,” said Piaia on the sidelines of Lucid Motor’s signing ceremony.
The soon-to-be megapolis is already home to a host of big names in the truck assembly sector, including Renault, Volvo and Rosenbauer.
“Early this year, we signed a deal with Juffali Automotive Co. to move its facility from Jeddah to here. The company assembles Mercedes trucks,” pointed out Matbouly.

Sustainable economic zones
Last year, Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih announced the Kingdom’s plan to launch special economic zones, including many logistics plants, one of them is in KAEC.
The city has also heavily invested in sustainability which could be a destination of choice for companies conscious of their environmental commitments.
“We welcome high-tech companies looking into sustainability; we are working toward providing green energy for their factories,” Piaia said.
KAEC is working with several partners to develop renewable energy sources, including solar and wind farms.
“We believe in environmental, social and governance and are applying to become a member of the United Nations Global Compact for sustainability as part of the Saudi Green initiative,” added Piaia.


Green startup to raise funds via NFT to clear plastics off the oceans

‘Oceans and Us’ aims is to raise awareness and funds to build a boat that cleans the oceans. (AFP)
‘Oceans and Us’ aims is to raise awareness and funds to build a boat that cleans the oceans. (AFP)
Updated 29 May 2022

Green startup to raise funds via NFT to clear plastics off the oceans

‘Oceans and Us’ aims is to raise awareness and funds to build a boat that cleans the oceans. (AFP)
  • Sustainability is an ecosystem, and NFTs work as a gateway, says founder of Oceans and Us

DUBAI: For many companies, sustainability is a corporate social responsibility initiative on the fringes; for Oceans and Us, a Dubai-based startup initiated by serial entrepreneur Joel Michael, it is the core area of focus.

But the future health of our planet is not the only forward-thinking aspect of this green startup. Oceans and Us is planning to raise funds by selling 10,000 generative non-fungible tokens and launching a new cryptocurrency.
NFT is a digital asset representing internet collectibles like art, music and games and has an authentic certificate created by blockchain technology that underlies cryptocurrency.
Partnering with NFT artist Vesa Kivinen, also popularly known as VESA in crypto art circles, Oceans and Us plans to raise $1.2 million in funding to clean up oceans worldwide.

FASTFACT

Partnering with NFT artist Vesa Kivinen, also popularly known as VESA in crypto art circles, Oceans and Us plans to raise $1.2 million in funding to clean up oceans worldwide.

VESA is an established digital artist who has built up a track record and a following over the last decade.
“He is a very passionate artist in the climate change space and does a lot of work with marine corals, and the idea for this (partnership) is to essentially bring together the community and bring art as a means of communication,” explained Joel Michael, the founder of Oceans and Us, in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

Joel Michael, founder of Oceans and Us

“Buying an NFT enables people to invest and participate in a hands-on way.”

Sustainability
The idea is to allow those who purchase an NFT to enjoy the added benefits. Oceans and Us plans to partner with 100 brands across the UAE and the Middle East with a sustainable product or solution. Whoever buys or owns an NFT would have discounts or benefits with these companies.
“Sustainability is an ecosystem, and NFTs work as a gateway,” said Michael. “The idea is for all of this to sit on the blockchain that is transparent so every single dollar invested can be seen clearly where it goes.”
Oceans and Us has progressed in talks with the team behind the Qatar World Cup. It is also in advanced talks on a partnership with top UAE-based retailer Landmark Group, particularly by aligning with a sustainable clothing effort on behalf of its leading fashion brand, Splash.
The startup is also associating with coffee brands that already have an eye toward green practices, from coffee cups to procurement of beans to offer NFT owners discounts. He is also speaking to solar home solutions companies and sustainable fashion brands.
In addition, the green startup plans to launch its token as a way to raise funds by crowdsourcing. The aim is to raise awareness and funds to build a boat that cleans the oceans.
The startup is working closely with Marakeb Technologies to design an autonomous, self-driven boat powered by AI that will clear plastic from rivers and oceans.
Marakeb Technologies is incorporated in Sharjah and is 30 percent owned by the Abu Dhabi government. The boat’s inaugural journey is scheduled in July 2022.
“Marakeb has a skillset to produce boats for the government that can put out fires in UAE waters if that happens. We are working with them to design a fully autonomous boat that can do what it needs with no human on it, so no lives are risked on a boat,” said Michael.
“We want to encourage people to help us come up with different solutions including a way we can run the entire operation using wind, solar or kinetic energy. The biggest thing we want to solve is transporting plastic we collect back to land so it can be repurposed.”

Fresh off the boat
The next goal of this initiative is to raise funds for a cash prize as part of the Global Innovation Challenge, an eight-month program that includes events, workshops, and collaborations with incubators and universities to submit designs for a boat.
The competition begins in August 2022, and winners will be announced after 60 days. The aim is to officially launch the boat in time for COP 28 in 2023 in Dubai.
“The Middle East is driving so much in the climate change space, and we are seeing a positive impact in the strongest ways,” said Michael, who has worked in the sustainability space for over a decade. “In the past decade, Europe was the leader, but now everything is aligned with the Middle East.”
Sustainability is high on the agenda across the Gulf region. Late last year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the Middle East Green Initiative to raise $10.4 billion for an investment fund and clean energy projects to reduce carbon emissions.
Michael added the positive impact of COP 27 hosted in Egypt, followed by COP 28 planned soon in Dubai.
“Because the government supports these initiatives, we are seeing things come together in private markets,” he said. “We have seen tremendous support from the UAE and think it’s the epicenter of sustainability in the region.”
Michael is the regional head of The Green Tech Alliance, a group of 350 CEOs committed to greener practices. The entrepreneur has spent the last 10 years working in the startup and venture capital space, focusing on sustainability.
“No one company can make a change. We are not looking to compete with ocean cleanup companies or be a market leader. Our messaging from innovation challenge to the token is to help organize investments and donations into the right places. We look at ourselves as nothing more than a network orchestrator,” he said.
With a team of 10 working remotely worldwide, Oceans and Us is hard at work to design the autonomous boat in time for its maiden voyage this summer.


Saudi investment minister heads Greece delegation to bolster strategic, trade relations

Saudi investment minister heads Greece delegation to bolster strategic, trade relations
Updated 29 May 2022

Saudi investment minister heads Greece delegation to bolster strategic, trade relations

Saudi investment minister heads Greece delegation to bolster strategic, trade relations
  • Khalid Al-Falih will meet with a number of Greek government officials and top CEOs during the three-day visit
  • He will also attend the Saudi-Greek Ministerial Committee, Saudi-Greek Investment Forum, and Saudi-Greek Business Council

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih will start an official visit to Greece on Sunday to head of a delegation of government officials, representatives of the private sector and businessmen.
The three-day visit aims to expand the strategic partnership and enhance investment and trade relations between the two countries, the ministry announced.

 


During the visit, Al-Falih will meet with a number of government officials and executives of major Greek companies, and will participate in the fifth meeting of the Saudi-Greek Ministerial Committee and the Saudi-Greek Investment Forum.
He will also conclude the work and activities of the Saudi-Greek Business Council, with the participation of the Federation of Saudi Chambers and the Federation of Greek Companies, which aims to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries, address the challenges facing investors and exchange information on available investment opportunities.

 


Saudi Arabia signs cooperation deal with WEF’s UpLink platform

The agreement was signed by Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim and President of the World Economic Forum Borge B
The agreement was signed by Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim and President of the World Economic Forum Borge B
Updated 28 May 2022

Saudi Arabia signs cooperation deal with WEF’s UpLink platform

The agreement was signed by Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim and President of the World Economic Forum Borge B
  • Ministry of Economy and Planning seeks to discuss and study common topics in the field of food security and food waste management

DAVOS: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning on Saturday signed a cooperation agreement with UpLink, the open innovation platform of the World Economic Forum.
The deal aims to “expand the scope of the most innovative solutions which address sustainable development challenges,” the ministry said.
The memorandum was signed by the Minister of Economy and Planning, Faisal Al-Ibrahim, and the President of the World Economic Forum, Borge Brende, in the presence of a number of officials from both sides, on the sidelines of the forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“Through this agreement, the ministry seeks to discuss and study common topics in the field of food security, food waste management, food stability, and climate-smart agriculture, considering the challenges the Kingdom faces in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in both local and global contexts,” the statement added.


Egyptian business leader brands UK-Egypt relations ‘best they’ve ever been’

Egyptian business leader brands UK-Egypt relations ‘best they’ve ever been’
Updated 28 May 2022

Egyptian business leader brands UK-Egypt relations ‘best they’ve ever been’

Egyptian business leader brands UK-Egypt relations ‘best they’ve ever been’
  • A high-level Egyptian government and business delegation visited Britain to attract foreign investment
  • Acting Minister of Health and Population Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said ‘Egypt is now well prepared for foreign investment’

LONDON: Relations between Britain and Egypt are the best they have ever been, with the UK keen to further increase cooperation, Egyptian officials have revealed.

The comments came during a visit to Britain by a high-level Egyptian government and business delegation.

Egyptian Acting Minister of Health and Population Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, said: “We see that Egypt is now well prepared for foreign investment, and well organized when it comes to legislation and opportunities.

“At the same time, we have been ranked through different financial institutions as a place where the future of investment and the future of economy is coming in front of us.”

Abdel Ghaffar, who is also the minister of higher education and scientific research, was on a one-day visit to the UK to highlight some of the opportunities to attract investors from different sectors in health care.

Egyptian Acting Minister of Health and Population Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar was visiting as part of a four-day mission organized by the Cairo-based British Egyptian Business Association. (AN Photo/Hasenin Fadhel)

Speaking on the sidelines of an event organized by the London-based Arab British Chamber of Commerce where he briefed senior executives from the UK health and pharmaceuticals sectors, the minister told Arab News he aimed to spotlight the resilience and capacity of the Egyptian health care system, as well as the gaps needed to be filled by foreign investment.

“We are here to show our commitment as a government, and as a will for opening our hands for investments in different sectors in Egypt,” he added.

With economic activity in Egypt continuing to surge, its government is working to implement legislation for universal health care coverage by 2030, and UK investors could play a crucial role in providing health services and facilities in both urban and rural settings.

Wearing both ministerial hats, Abdel Ghaffar said many lines of communication had been opened in the health and higher education sectors between Egypt and the UK.

He pointed out that the two countries were holding “serious talks” on investing in hospitals, training nurses and physicians, and preparing ophthalmology and dentistry students to take their exams in Egypt. On the education front, he noted that several partnerships had already been established with a number of British universities and more were in the pipeline.

“We are planning to have around 15 new universities ready to operate by September and October this year. For that reason, we need to discuss more with our partners from the UK to encourage in that area,” Abdel Ghaffar added.

The minister was visiting as part of a four-day mission organized by the Cairo-based British Egyptian Business Association and the commercial attache of the Egyptian embassy in London, to promote other opportunities in Egypt too, with several events running in parallel targeting finance and green finance, infrastructure, renewable energy and green hydrogen, and opportunities in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

It was the BEBA’s seventh annual business mission and its biggest by far, its chairman, Khaled Nosseir, said, adding that the delegation included four cabinet ministers — international cooperation, finance, electricity, and energy, and health and higher education — along with vice ministers, heads of authorities, and around 74 business leaders who came from Cairo.

The visit was organized by the British Egyptian Business Association’s and it was its seventh annual business mission and its biggest by far. (AN Photo/Hasenin Fadhel)

Nosseir said they had held meetings, seminars, and events with counterparts, investors, and those interested in dealing with the north African country to address opportunities not only in the Egyptian market, but also other markets in Africa.

Another main highlight of the visit was Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the much-anticipated UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) which will be held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh in November, as the UK hands over the presidency from the previous year.

“Relations between Egypt and the UK, this is the best they have ever been, at least, that I’ve experienced. So, we’re trying to bank on that and really build on that to foster economic relations, trade, and investment,” Nosseir added, describing the response throughout the visit as “very positive” from all sides.

“There’s been a seismic transformation in Egypt over the last six years, and Egypt is not the same as what it used to be, and whatever we try to explain to anybody outside of Egypt what’s happening and the new Egypt, no one can really grasp it, because even for us in Egypt, it’s mind boggling,” he said.