Digital Cooperation Organization adds Rwanda as eighth member 

Digital Cooperation Organization adds Rwanda as eighth member 
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According to the DCO, Rwanda has prioritized digital economy policies through Rwanda’s Smart Rwanda Master Plan and National Information and Communication Infrastructure strategies. (Supplied)
Digital Cooperation Organization adds Rwanda as eighth member 
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The DCO has expanded to include Rwanda as its eighth member state. (The Digital Cooperation Organization)
Deemah Al-Yahya DCO’s secretary-general. (Supplied)
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Deemah Al-Yahya DCO’s secretary-general. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 December 2021

Digital Cooperation Organization adds Rwanda as eighth member 

According to the DCO, Rwanda has prioritized digital economy policies through Rwanda’s Smart Rwanda Master Plan and National Information and Communication Infrastructure strategies. (Supplied)
  • Total population of DCO member states reaches over half a billion people following move

RIYADH: The Digital Cooperation Organization has expanded to include Rwanda as its eighth member state, with the DCO now representing around half a billion people.

Deemah Al-Yahya, the DCO’s secretary-general, told Arab News the organization, which also includes Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan and Nigeria, “came together with the intention to digitally transform and put hands in hands to prosper and harness the opportunity of (the) digital economy.”

Paula Ingabire, the Rwandan minister of information, communication technology and innovation, welcomed the announcement. 

“Joining the DCO is an opportunity to be part of (the) platform and broader network through which we will build global partnerships, in the public and private sector including startups, that will deliver an inclusive digital economy for Rwanda,” she said.

Remove these borders and create that borderless environment for our youth to find opportunities. Imagine digital innovation with one click of a button can expand and serve the people of Pakistan, or serve the people of Nigeria.

Deemah Al-Yahya, DCO’s secretary-general

The DCO is a multilateral organization that aims to promote growth in the digital economy through collaboration between its members, established in November 2020 by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Pakistan. Nigeria and Oman joined as additional founding members earlier this year.

Al-Yahya said digital advancement is crucial to the transformation of countries. “DCO is more economical, an organization that focuses on the productivity and on the lives of the people,” she said. “Therefore, Rwanda joining means that they are open to change. They are now with the advancement that they have from a digital perspective and their tech-savvy youth.”




The DCO’s secretary-general Deemah Al-Yahya. (AN photo by Lojien Ben Gassem)

She said this will not only benefit Rwanda internally but will benefit the other members as well. “They are now going through a huge transformation digitally. I think it’s a very useful opportunity for other countries to experience that.”

According to the DCO, Rwanda has prioritized digital economy policies through Rwanda’s Smart Rwanda Master Plan and National Information and Communication Infrastructure strategies.

Earlier this month, Rwanda’s government announced the Kigali Innovation City, planned to serve as a tech and innovation center for Africa. Rwanda also announced a $100 million project to increase access to broadband and selected digital public services, and to strengthen the digital innovation ecosystem. These projects will also support the development of Rwanda’s digital talent base, especially for young people, in line with the government’s national Digital Talent Policy.

FASTFACT

The DCO is a multilateral organization that aims to promote growth in the digital economy through collaboration between its members, established in November 2020 by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Pakistan. Nigeria and Oman joined as additional founding members earlier this year.

The announcement builds on the DCO’s significant progress, having thus far confirmed five global initiatives to support policymakers, young people, women and entrepreneurs.

Al-Yahya, known for her digital economy expertise, said people needed to think about the impact more than anything else. “Remove these borders and create that borderless environment for our youth to find opportunities. Imagine digital innovation with one click of a button can expand and serve the people of Pakistan, or serve the people of Nigeria. Now, these are technologies that our societies need.

“Let’s open up to more opportunities to make these technologies available for our countries. We aim, in DCO, to do that, and we hope that with our expansion plans, we get more countries and private sectors to join us,” she added.

According to Al-Yahya, the DCO is one of the outcomes of the G20 Saudi presidency. The organization aims to develop a world where every government, business, and individual has a fair opportunity to prosper in the digital age.

The DCO offers businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs access to new markets. Many of the organization’s initiatives are designed to raise digital literacy and inclusion among groups often affected by the digital divide.

“We are very proud to create a fair space for governments to work very closely with the ecosystem, which is the private sector, academia, financial institutions think tanks, to co-create and co-design with the intention of creating a borderless environment for prosperity,” Al-Yahya said.

One of the issues mentioned by the secretary-general faced by the DCO is the speed of technological advancement.

As for women’s participation, Al-Yahya confirmed that women are at the core of the organization, saying: “We aim to advance (the) digital economy for our member countries, and also to create the right opportunities for youth and women.”

She mentioned that one of the first initiatives launched for women was the Observatory for Digital Empowerment. “We make sure that it’s actually implemented on the ground. It alarms me when I read reports that by 2030, 350 million women will not have access to the internet. That is not only just a social loss, but also an economical loss as well.”

Al-Yahya explained that providing women with the opportunity to connect to the world will move women from job seekers to job creators. “In DCO, we see women and youth as the core. We represent a population of half a billion; 270 million are youth and under the age of 25. So, the opportunities are massive, and all of them are tech-savvy … Imagine that number of youths moving them from consumer to producers to technology.”

Sharing words of wisdom, Al-Yahya advised young people to seize the opportunity and focus on their current position.

“First, Seize the opportunity, look at the opportunities in every challenge. Second, you should give it all what you have … When you focus on where you are right now, it’ll lead you to what’s next, and then you can achieve.”


Where We Are Going Today: Plant Cafe in Saudi Arabia’s Abu Arish

Where We Are Going Today: Plant Cafe in Saudi Arabia’s Abu Arish
Updated 12 August 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Plant Cafe in Saudi Arabia’s Abu Arish

Where We Are Going Today: Plant Cafe in Saudi Arabia’s Abu Arish
  • Plant Cafe opened its doors to Jazan residents seven months ago

The sleepy southwestern city of Abu Arish in Jazan province is known for producing and exporting salt and, more recently, for a cafe that combines the perfect blend of salty and sweet.

Seven months ago, Plant Cafe opened its doors to residents of the area, and Jazan city should take notice.

One recent evening, Plant Cafe was full of coffee enthusiasts, sipping cold drinks on the velvety green chairs and scrolling their phones at the terrazzo-patterned tables.

With strategically-placed full-length mirrors spread along the pathway to the seating areas, the photogenic cafe offers a variety of spots for the perfect mirror selfie.

In the back, colorful portraits of famous figures are hung on a wall. The wooden spiral stairs— with green plants draped along them — lead to the second floor seating area.

Limited seating is also available outdoors for those who dare to sit and sip in the searing heat.

With the sound of the steaming espresso machine and soft music piped into the space, the cute coffee cups illustrated with farmers gathering flowers and plants are always being filled.

The must-try items include the cold lemon strawberry trifle in a jar. With bits of rich cheesecake, a drizzling of tart strawberry sauce, smooth cream and a bit of fresh lemon on top, it is layered decadence to be enjoyed with a spoon, and conveniently offered in a sealed portable jar — the perfect portion for a late-night sweet tooth craving or afternoon pick-me-up.

The cafe opens bright and early until late night six days of the week, from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. On Fridays, it is open from 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.


Expat arrested in Saudi Arabia for assaulting child with disabilities

Expat arrested in Saudi Arabia for assaulting child with disabilities
Updated 12 August 2022

Expat arrested in Saudi Arabia for assaulting child with disabilities

Expat arrested in Saudi Arabia for assaulting child with disabilities
  • An investigation into the assault has been launched and the Public Prosecution will be taking the necessary legal measures against him, an official source confirms

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested an expat for assaulting a child with disabilities after video footage of the incident was circulated online, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday. 

Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mujeb issued an arrest warrant for the Egyptian resident who was seen beating a child on CCTV footage in a neighborhood in the town Wadi ad-Dawasir in Najd. 

An investigation into the assault has been launched and the Public Prosecution will be taking the necessary legal measures against him, an official source confirmed to SPA. 

The Kingdom’s penal code protects children from abuse, the source said, adding that the victim would be receiving counseling in line with the child protection law.


Man arrested for carrying 54 kg of khat in Saudi Arabia

Man arrested for carrying 54 kg of khat in Saudi Arabia
Updated 12 August 2022

Man arrested for carrying 54 kg of khat in Saudi Arabia

Man arrested for carrying 54 kg of khat in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Security forces in Saudi Arabia have arrested a man carrying 54 kg of the stimulant khat, state news agency (SPA) reported.

The narcotics were found in the accused’s vehicle as he drove in Jazan region.

He has been referred to relevant authorities for further action, the SPA statement said.

The arrest comes as the country cracks down on the smuggling and use of illegal and controlled substances.

Earlier this week, Saudi authorities arrested 70 people for trying to smuggle about 70 tons of khat and 618 kg of hashish into the Kingdom.


Beit Hail in Saudi Arabia’s north showcases local heritage

Beit Hail in Saudi Arabia’s north showcases local heritage
Updated 12 August 2022

Beit Hail in Saudi Arabia’s north showcases local heritage

Beit Hail in Saudi Arabia’s north showcases local heritage
  • Ancient Thamudic and Sadu embroidery on display

HAIL: The Beit Hail 15-day festival was launched on Wednesday showcasing local heritage including incense burners, daggers, wicker baskets, and clothes with ancient Thamudic and Sadu embroidery.

Dep. Gov. of Hail Prince Faisal bin Fahd inaugurated the event at Aja Park with the undersecretary of the region, Adel bin Saleh Al-Sheikh, and other officials.

Prince Faisal toured the site and visited the exhibition of the late artist Youssef Al-Shagdali.

The festival also features classic cars and popular, colorful handicrafts created by the region’s artisans.

There were also stalls that showed how cloth is woven and transformed into clothing.

Visitors were entertained by a folklore troupe performing the Saudi Arda.

The event aims to support local talent and boost small businesses.

 

 


The Line city impresses Makkah governor, plans to book first 

The Line city impresses Makkah governor, plans to book first 
Updated 12 August 2022

The Line city impresses Makkah governor, plans to book first 

The Line city impresses Makkah governor, plans to book first 
  • Prince Khaled Al-Faisal visited the design expo at Jeddah Superdome
  • He was briefed on innovations to alleviate environmental challenges

JEDDAH: The architecture of the futuristic city, The Line, has impressed Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, who says he will be the first to book an accommodation once it is complete.

Prince Khalid made the remarks in a tweet following his visit to the NEOM exhibition to see the designs on Wednesday at the Jeddah Superdome.

The governor toured the exhibition that showcases the architectural innovations of the city.

He was also briefed on how the city would help alleviate the critical environmental challenges facing humanity.

Last month, The Line’s designs were revealed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

They showed the most important features of The Line, which is 200 meters wide, 170 kilometers long, and 500 meters high. It will eventually house 9 million people and have a 34 square kilometer footprint.

It will take up less land than other cities of comparable capacity and help to conserve 95 percent of NEOM’s land.

The Line imagines a future without streets, cars or emissions. It will be powered entirely by renewable energy and prioritize health and well-being over transportation and infrastructure.

The exhibition showcases all these aspects of the city. It opened on Aug. 1 and will be taken to other locations from Aug. 14, including Riyadh and the Eastern Province.

It offers 50 guided tours a day in Arabic and English.