The seven GCC cities listed on UNESCO Global Creative Network — WCID 2022

Special The seven GCC cities listed on UNESCO Global Creative Network — WCID 2022
Local musicians perform at an event in Al-Ahsa, a governorate in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province region. (SPA/File)
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Updated 21 April 2022

The seven GCC cities listed on UNESCO Global Creative Network — WCID 2022

The seven GCC cities listed on UNESCO Global Creative Network — WCID 2022
  • Gulf states keen to promote arts, culture and music

RIYADH: As the World Creativity & Innovation Day is marked on April 21, one can’t help but pay attention to the rich cultural heritage in some of the cities of the Arab Gulf states.

Some of these states boast a very rich tradition of refined arts, culture and music that wooed art lovers from many countries. 

Buraidah: City for gastronomy 

Take Buraidah in Saudi Arabia, for example.

This quiet city is listed as a creative city for gastronomy. Unlike other business cities in the Kingdom, Buraidah’s economy counts a lot on culinary activities that contributed to a great extent to the advancement of the creative and cultural sectors.

Buraidah’s agriculturalists achieved astounding success with cereals and managed to provide a wide range of components used in the development of inventive local recipes, despite their natural preference for oasis crops.

Thanks to these advantages, the city holds annual dates and traditional food festivals that draw tourists from different corners of the country.

Buraidah has close to 2,000 companies, most of whom are home-based. These firms generate close to $426 million in revenues each year from the traditional business they conduct. 

Al-Ahsa: Crafts and folk art




A heritage building in an old town in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia - Al Ahsa, Al Hofuf (Shutterstock)

Also in the Kingdom, Al-Ahsa city is renowned for being the world's largest palm tree oasis, covering 379 sq. kilometers and home to 1.3 million people.

Al-Ahsa is traditionally famous for its beautiful handicrafts that are very appealing to tourists who visit this city to examine and admire these pieces of traditional art.

This craftmanship has passed from one generation to another as the citizens of this city insisted on preserving this heritage despite the spread of advanced technology in the Kingdom.

Close to 50 crafts and folk art expressions managed to stay in business throughout the years.

When it comes to design, a place that comes to the minds of design lovers is the city of Muharraq in Bahrain.

This relatively small city with a population of less than 100,000, is rich in history, art and architectural buildings.

Muharraq: Traditional pear jewelry design

Muharraq is known for its traditional pearl jewelry design and calligraphy.

Among the aspects that draw visitors to this city are architectural design and urban layout that makes Muharraq very unique.

Muharraq holds public events and other cultural activities and festivals each year.

These events are an opportunity for merchants and designers to showcase some of their products to the public.

Doha: City of landmarks

Doha, the capital of Qatar, has also preserved some of its rich traditions and customs.

Among the main landmarks of Doha is the famous Museum of Islamic Art which displays 14 centuries of art from Qatar and other Islamic countries.

Doha also has the futuristic National Museum of Qatar that showcases modern art items that cater to many tastes.




Doha

Abu Dhabi: Emphasis on music

As for music lovers, one can’t forget Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.

This modern city with its skyscrapers and impressive infrastructure is strengthening its position as a rich cultural center, with an emphasis on music.

Abu Dhabi’s music industry has mushroomed over the past few years with over 600 businesses in this domain alone.

These firms now hire more than 4,000 employees who specialize in the music industry.

Some of these firms have preserved and even promoted traditional and folk music in a bid to stay connected with the country’s history.

One also should be reminded of the famous Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation which was established in 1971.

This foundation has seen numerous cultural events, exhibitions and musical concerts, drawing many famous Arab and international stars.

Bait Al Oud, a center for the study and teaching of classical Arabic music, is also a landmark in Abu Dhabi.

Dubai: Architecture

Furthermore, Dubai has consolidated its position as a center for design.

This cosmopolitan city with its impressive highrise buildings has invested heavily in modern and traditional designs and for this purpose, it created Downtown Design, one of the leading Expo in the Middle East and South Asia.

The Dubai government completed the Dubai Design District as part of an effort to put design and innovation at the center of its attention.

This effort by the Dubai government is part of an attempt to promote the Dubai Design & Innovation Blueprint concept.




Dubai

Sharjah: Crafts and folk art

Finally, the emirate of Sharjah has turned into a center for the UAE’s cultural and folk preservations.

Sharjah has been keen to promote various traditional crafts, such as 'Talli' weaving, in addition to its cultural heritage sites and museums.

Sharjah was determined to support its crafts and folk art sector through programs such as the Bidwa project.

Employing over 60 craftsmen, the Bidwa project has gained international recognition thanks to its program that provides vocational training and assistance to help merchants improve their abilities and break into new markets.




Sharjah

 


Riyadh tops global cities with fastest millionaire population growth

Riyadh tops global cities with fastest millionaire population growth
Updated 06 October 2022

Riyadh tops global cities with fastest millionaire population growth

Riyadh tops global cities with fastest millionaire population growth

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh has recorded the fastest millionaire population growth globally in the first half of 2022, as the Kingdom’s economic growth progresses in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030, according to London-based investment migration consultancy Henley & Partners. 

According to the report, the number of millionaires grew by 20 percent in Riyadh in the first half.

In the first half, Riyadh created 1,700 new high-net-worth individuals who have assets worth $1 million, while 850 people are multimillionaires with assets worth $10 million.

In the same period, 47 people became centi-millionaires with assets worth $100 million, while five people turned into billionaires.

According to the World Wealth Report 2022 issued by the Capgemini Research Institute for Financial Services in June, Saudi Arabia has the largest number of millionaires in the Middle East with more than 224,000 millionaires living in the Kingdom.

The report also suggested that Saudi Arabia is ranked 17th globally in the number of millionaires, with the number of high-net-worth individuals rising from 210,000 in 2020 to 224,000 in 2021. Sharjah also topped the list with a 20 percent growth, followed by Zambia's Lusaka and Dubai in the second spot, as both cities registered a growth of 18 percent.

Angola’s Luanda and Abu Dhabi secured the third spot, both cities reporting growth of 16 percent, followed by Nigeria’s Lagos at 15 percent and Austin at 14 percent in the fourth and fifth spots respectively.


Biden says he is surveying options after OPEC+ decision to cut output

Biden says he is surveying options after OPEC+ decision to cut output
Updated 06 October 2022

Biden says he is surveying options after OPEC+ decision to cut output

Biden says he is surveying options after OPEC+ decision to cut output

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK: US President Joe Biden expressed disappointment on Thursday over announced plans by OPEC+ nations to cut oil output and said the US was looking at its alternatives.

OPEC+ agreed to steep oil production cuts on Wednesday, curbing supply in an already tight market and raising the possibility of higher gasoline prices right before the US midterm elections in November, when Biden’s Democrats are defending their control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“We’re looking at what alternatives we may have,” Biden told reporters at the White House when asked about the OPEC decision. “There’s a lot of alternatives. We haven’t made up our minds yet,” he said.

“But it is a disappointment,” he added of the OPEC+ decision, and indicates problems.

Prices

Oil prices held at three-week highs on Thursday after OPEC+ decision. Brent crude futures gained 88 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $94.25 per barrel by 11:19 a.m. EDT (1519 GMT) after settling 1.7 percent up in the previous session. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 79 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $88.55 after closing 1.4 percent up on Wednesday.

Separately on Wednesday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Russia could cut oil output in an attempt to offset the effects of price caps imposed by the West over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. 

A draw in US oil stockpiles last week also supported prices. Crude inventories dropped by 1.4 million barrels to 429.2 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 30, the Energy Information Administration said.


Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale value rises to $3.4bn as food spending increases: SAMA

Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale value rises to $3.4bn as food spending increases: SAMA
Updated 06 October 2022

Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale value rises to $3.4bn as food spending increases: SAMA

Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale value rises to $3.4bn as food spending increases: SAMA

CAIRO: Food and drink sales helped drive a 23 percent rise in point-of-sale transactions in Saudi Arabia in the week ending Oct. 1, the latest weekly data from the Saudi Central Bank revealed.

Sales grew by SR2.4 billion ($640 billion) last week to reach SR12.8 billion in what was the highest percentage rise since the week ending July 30.

POS is an economic term used to describe what is spent by consumers using their ATMs and credit cards in retail stores, shopping malls, and pharmacies, among others. 

This five-week peak fell just below SR13.5 billion worth of POS transactions recorded in the week ending on Sept. 3, showed the SAMA data. 

This spike was mainly driven by increased spending on food and beverage services, with the sector’s total POS transaction rising by SR681.3 million to reach SR2.1 billion in the week ending on Oct. 1, recording 47.9 percent growth over the previous week.

Of the 17 sectors, 16 saw a rise in the value of POS transactions:

  • Other — Up SR382.3 million; up SR1.2 million previous week
  • Miscellaneous goods and services — Up SR342.9 million; down SR4.9 million last week
  • Health — Up SR219.6 million; down SR7.6 million previous week 
  • Transportation — Up SR164.3 million; down SR30.7 million previous week 
  • Gas stations — Up SR102.3 million; down SR26.1 million last week 

The education sector witnessed the biggest percentage change in the week ending on Oct. 1 in both transaction value and number of transactions. 

The sector’s POS transaction value went up by 115.6 percent to reach SR184 million, while the number of POS transactions went up by 51.9 percent to hit 170,000. 

The only sector that recorded less POS transactions – both in number and value – in that week was the hotels. 

This sector’s POS value dropped by SR23.2 million to reach SR215.9 million, while the number of transactions dropped by 42,000 to reach 562,000 transactions. 

With regards to the number of POS transactions, food and beverages also led the way with an increase of 4.4 million transactions in that week to reach 37.2 million transactions. 

  • Restaurants and cafes — Up 3.7 million; down 0.5 million previous week
  • Miscellaneous goods and services — Up 2.9 million; down 0.9 million previous week
  • Other— Up 2.6 million; down 0.4 million previous week
  • Health — Up 1.6 million; down 0.5 million previous week
  • Gas stations — Up 1 million; down 0.4 million previous week

The city of Riyadh, which records the largest share of POS transactions, saw a 11.4 percent increase in the number of transactions in the week ending Oct. 1, compared to a 3.1 percent fall the week prior. 

The city witnessed a 20.2 percent rise in POS transaction value in the week ending Oct. 1, compared to only 0.3 percent the previous week. 

The Kingdom’s capital recorded a total POS value of SR4 billion, up by SR1 billion from the week before. 

As for the number of POS transactions in Riyadh, it rose by 7.7 million from the previous week, reaching 57.6 million in the week ending on Oct. 1. 

Jeddah followed with SR1.9 billion worth of POS transitions which increased by SR253.8 million in the week ending on Oct. 1.

The number of transactions in the city reached 21.9 million, up 1 million from the week before. 


Saudi GAC approves Al Hilal’s acquisition of Etihadat Abyan assets 

Saudi GAC approves Al Hilal’s acquisition of Etihadat Abyan assets 
Updated 06 October 2022

Saudi GAC approves Al Hilal’s acquisition of Etihadat Abyan assets 

Saudi GAC approves Al Hilal’s acquisition of Etihadat Abyan assets 

RIYADH: Saudi pharmaceutical firm Al Hilal Trading Co. has received the General Authority for Competition’s approval to acquire the assets of Etihadat Abyan Co..

Under the formal approval by the regulator, the acquired assets by Al Hilal Trading Co. include S Team and Mawj Al Hilal brands and the related four stores.

The deal will not significantly affect the sportswear market in the Kingdom, GAC said in a statement according to Argaam on Oct. 6. 

The intended acquisition will be done by transferring the assets to Al Hilal Trading Co., a subsidiary of Al Hilal Club Investment Co.. 

Last August, the Tadawul-listed online food delivery platform Jahez International Co for Information Systems Technology, partnered with Al Hilal Investment to set up an online marketing and sales firm.


MENA total startup funding drops 54% month-on-month: Wamda 

MENA total startup funding drops 54% month-on-month: Wamda 
Updated 06 October 2022

MENA total startup funding drops 54% month-on-month: Wamda 

MENA total startup funding drops 54% month-on-month: Wamda 

RIYADH: Startups in the Middle East and North Africa region raised $173 million across 51 deals in September, marking a 54 percent decrease compared to the month before. 

Saudi Arabia’s logistics startup TruKKer was responsible for the bulk of that funding as it secured a $100 million pre-initial public offering round, according to Wamda.

The Kingdom raised a total of $114 million in startup funding in just six deals, while the UAE had 12 deals with a total of $27 million. 

Aside from Trukker’s fundraise, fintech companies managed to get the highest amount of funding with $28 million followed by food tech startups with $22 million. 

Foreign investment was high in September as US investors participated in 11 deals while UK investors were the second active with seven deals.