Saudi workers lead Central Jeddah project, says CEO

Saudi workers lead Central Jeddah project, says CEO
The Downtown Jeddah Project will be financed by the Public Investment Fund. (SPA)
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Updated 10 February 2022

Saudi workers lead Central Jeddah project, says CEO

Saudi workers lead Central Jeddah project, says CEO

JEDDAH: Work to regenerate central Jeddah is largely being carried out by Saudis, according to the head of the project.

CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Central Jeddah project Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al-Saleem oversees the SR75 billion ($20 billion) plan to develop 5.7 million square meters of the port city, which will include major international landmarks — such as an opera house, a museum, a sports stadium, and coral farms.

It will also feature a marina, restaurants, beach resorts, over 2700 hotel rooms and 17,000 homes in the Kingdom’s second-largest city, which has a population of around 4 million.

In an interview with Al-Ekhbariya, Al-Saleem said that the project is designed to turn the area into a cultural and sports tourist destination.

But he also pointed out that many of the workers across its sites are Saudi locals.

He said that the project has a mix of male and female engineers, with 85 percent of the company’s staff made up of Saudis, 30 percent of whom are women.

Al-Saleem went on to outline plans for the area’s existing desalination plant, hospital and sports stadium.

He said that the desalination plant will be developed into a museum showcasing the desalination sector, as well as other industries in the Kingdom.

Al-Saleem added: “As for the hospital, it will remain as it is, while the stadium will be demolished, and a new stadium, that has been designed to meet the highest FIFA requirements, will be constructed instead of the old one.

He said: “The project is bordered by the Al-Salam Palace from the south and extends to include the city’s desalination plant. It also lies between the sea and the King Abdul Aziz Road.”

The project head said that the state owns both locations on which the project will be built, according to the interview on the Saudi satellite TV channel.

This means that there will be no need for the expropriation of land, with legal property documents having already been transferred to the Saudi Public Investment Fund( PIF), which is behind the development. The sovereign wealth fund also plans to attract local and foreign investors.

In December 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the master development of the project, formerly known as New Jeddah Downtown.

The development company is currently working with the relevant authorities to carry out the regeneration according to an approved timescale.

The project, which aims to add SR47 billion to the Kingdom's economy by 2030, will be carried out in three phases, the first of which will be completed by the end of 2027, and will then begin to cater to residents and visitors.

The operational work of the project will pave the way for the local private sector to play a part in the project.


SABIC plans $1.3bn investments in second stage of energy transition 

SABIC plans $1.3bn investments in second stage of energy transition 
Updated 10 sec ago

SABIC plans $1.3bn investments in second stage of energy transition 

SABIC plans $1.3bn investments in second stage of energy transition 

RIYADH: Saudi Basic Industries Corp. is set to invest $1.3 billion in the second phase of its energy transition, said Fahad Al-Sherehy, vice president of Energy Efficiency and Carbon Management.

Speaking during a panel discussion at the 44th International Association of Energy Economics Conference, the SABIC official revealed that in the first phase of its transition worth $1 billion, the company recorded a 10 percent drop in carbon emissions.

Reflecting on the key aspects of energy efficiency, Al-Sherehy said it is a key enabler for decarbonization. The official said technological advancement will play a crucial role in energy transition and help in reducing costs as well.

Prince Sultan Al-Saud, CEO of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, also highlighted the importance of the latest technology in the ongoing energy transition and energy efficiency. He called for more investments in technology to achieve the energy targets.

“To achieve our energy efficiency target, we need a forward-looking view of the investments in technology. The ongoing dialogue is hindering these investments. As we look into the future, recognition in what gets us to our goal has to be consistent with research and development to ensure the availability of technology for future use,” the SIDF chief said. 

The panelists also discussed the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency measures. 

Tatsuya Terazawa, chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics in Japan, divided the process to achieve energy efficiency into three steps. 

Firstly, he gave the example of adjusting air conditioners or cooling temperatures in countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. By doing so, he added, immediate results can be achieved with absolutely no cost. 

“Secondly, speed. Most energy efficiency measures do not take time. They can be done right away, as opposed to developing windmills and solar panels which takes years in R&D,” the expert added. 

Terazawa also explained that by lowering energy consumption, energy-importing countries would buy less fuel while exporting nations would have more to sell. 

The 44th IAEE International Conference is being held in Riyadh from Feb. 4 to 9, in what is a first for the Middle East and North African Region. 

The event’s theme is “Pathways to a clean, stable, and sustainable energy future,” and is being hosted by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center and Saudi Association for Energy Economics. 


Saudi firms among global leaders in adopting cutting edge technology: KPMG report 

Saudi firms among global leaders in adopting cutting edge technology: KPMG report 
Updated 11 min 25 sec ago

Saudi firms among global leaders in adopting cutting edge technology: KPMG report 

Saudi firms among global leaders in adopting cutting edge technology: KPMG report 

RIYADH: Saudi organizations are demonstrating they are not risk averse in adopting tech at the cutting edge, and in some cases are moving farther and faster than their peers, according to a report by KPMG.

The findings – based on surveys of more than 2,200 executives around the world, including 51 in the Kingdom – show that almost 66 percent of Saudi-based respondents believe their organizations are either extremely or very effective at using tech to advance their business strategies.  

This marks the highest confidence level in this research series, supported by a high return on investment and indicating that effective digital transformation is less of a differentiator than in previous years. 

Titled “Tech Survey Saudi Arabia 2022,” the report was launched during LEAP 2023, the annual tech convention being held in Riyadh.

“Our latest global tech report finds a resilient, forward-looking attitude among technology professionals in the Kingdom and their peers globally,” commented Robert Ptaszynski, head of digital and innovation at KPMG in Saudi Arabia. 

Some 18 percent of the respondents have extremely effective transformation programs that have generated at least an 11 percent uplift in profit or company performance.  

The survey also showed that 80 percent of organizations in the Kingdom are at an advanced stage of their digital transformation strategies, with the leadership support and funding required to drive their program forward.  

Although 41 percent admit that progress is slower than expected, in general, digital transformation programs have put Saudi organizations in the Kingdom in an advantageous position to embrace new technologies.  

Moreover, the expected timeframe for most Saudi organizations to invest in quantum computing is two years, with 70 percent of businesses suggesting they have advanced in their adoption of data and analytics systems. 

Almost 53 percent of executives in Saudi Arabia find security and compliance requirements to be the top challenge their organization faces in their cloud journey. In comparison, 63 percent of organizations plan to increase investment in application security, which is 20 percent more than the global average.  

Cybersecurity teams are under pressure to keep up with evolving threats, with cultural obstacles and limited funding getting in the way of security efforts.

Nonetheless, most Saudi organizations are confident of their ability to prevent or mitigate security risks. 


Microsoft to invest in a new data center region in the Kingdom  

Microsoft to invest in a new data center region in the Kingdom  
Updated 29 min 15 sec ago

Microsoft to invest in a new data center region in the Kingdom  

Microsoft to invest in a new data center region in the Kingdom  

RIYADH: Global tech firm Microsoft announced its plans to invest in a new cloud data center region in Saudi Arabia in response to growing customer demand for cloud services and data residency in the Kingdom. 

A region is a set of collaborating zones or data centers grouped together based on their geographical proximity. 

Announced during the LEAP 2023 international technology conference, the company said the new cloud data center region will offer enterprise-grade reliability and performance combined with customer privacy, data residency, and high-speed latency standards in Saudi Arabia. 

“This new data center region will provide organizations, enterprises, and developers in the Kingdom and around the world with access to scalable, highly available, and resilient cloud services while addressing their data residency, security, privacy, and compliance needs,” said Samer Abu-Ltaif, corporate vice president and president, Microsoft Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. 

Microsoft said its cloud region in Saudi Arabia will play a significant role in driving economic growth. Citing an IDC study, the company added that its partners, and cloud-using customers will together generate around $24 billion in new revenues above the 2022 level over the next four years.  

“Today’s announcement reflects Microsoft’s longstanding commitment to Saudi Arabia and its ambitions for digital transformation,” said Thamer Alharbi, president, Microsoft Arabia.  

He added that their data center region will enable even more enterprises and industries in Saudi Arabia to benefit from a trusted cloud framework that protects the privacy of organizations’ data to the highest standard.” 

Saudi Vice Minister of Communications and Information Technology Haitham bin Abdul Rahman Al-Ohali said: “This important step is consistent with the steps taken by the Kingdom to accelerate its digital transformation and strengthen its position as an innovation hub.” 

He said the data center will also provide huge opportunities for startups and small and medium enterprises looking to enhance their competitiveness and leverage the advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to develop innovative solutions.   

“This supports the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal of strengthening the role of the communications and information technology sector in creating a digital society, digital government, a thriving digital economy, and an innovative future for the Kingdom,” added Al-Ohali.  


Saudi National Bank profits surge 46.7% in 2022 

Saudi National Bank profits surge 46.7% in 2022 
Updated 38 min 49 sec ago

Saudi National Bank profits surge 46.7% in 2022 

Saudi National Bank profits surge 46.7% in 2022 

RIYADH: The Saudi National Bank reported a 46.7 percent surge in annual profits in 2022 on the back of a rise in operating income.  

Annual net profits of SNB reached SR18.6 billion ($5 billion) at the end of last year compared to SR12.7 billion in 2021, according to a bourse statement.  

It indicated that the bank saw a 16.9 percent increase in operating profit in 2022 compared to the year before.  

Operating income yielded profit as a result of an 18.4 percent increase in net special commission income, and a 21.1 percent increase in money from banking service fees.  

Additionally, other operating expenses fell by 12.4 percent, and the total operating expenses – including credit losses – fell by 15.2 percent in 2022.  

This was driven by a 13.5 percent drop in other general and administrative expenses, as well as a 57.4 percent drop in the net provision for expected credit losses. 

In 2022, the SNB’s assets reached SR945 billion showing a 3.4 increase, revealed the bourse statement.  

The bank’s earnings per share amounted to SR4.06 last year compared to SR2.99 the year before.  

SNB’s net provision for expected credit losses plummeted by 57.45 percent – from SR3.96 billion in 2021 to SR1.69 billion in 2022.  


Factories in Saudi Arabia to increase by 50% in five years, says deputy minister at LEAP

Factories in Saudi Arabia to increase by 50% in five years, says deputy minister at LEAP
Updated 57 min 16 sec ago

Factories in Saudi Arabia to increase by 50% in five years, says deputy minister at LEAP

Factories in Saudi Arabia to increase by 50% in five years, says deputy minister at LEAP

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia plans to increase the number of factories by 50 percent in the next five years and pump SR1.4 trillion ($370 billion) into the industrial sector, said the deputy minister of industry and mineral resources.

Speaking at the launch of the Sanaei platform at the second edition of the LEAP technical conference in Riyadh, Osama Al-Zamil said the Kingdom ultimately wants to see the current number of such facilities rise from 10,500 at present to 36,000 by 2035. 

He also said the Sanaei platform aims to facilitate the adoption of best practices fomenting the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The level of reliance on skilled personnel will increase the competitiveness and operational efficiency of factories, present investment opportunities in the sector and provide incentives,” said the official added.

He stated that the “Future Factories Package” aims to transform 4,000 factories into operationally and technologically advanced facilities to raise digital maturity, operating efficiency and industrial capabilities, thereby promoting the development of exports, improving the work environment in factories, and providing attractive quality jobs by adopting the technologies of the 4IR.

The program focuses on two tracks. The first ensures new factories are designed and constructed according to high manufacturing and production efficiency standard, while the second transforms existing factories into facilities of operational excellence and advanced technologies.