Investment ministry organizes Saudi-Thai Investment Forum in Riyadh on Monday

Investment ministry organizes Saudi-Thai Investment Forum in Riyadh on Monday
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Updated 15 May 2022

Investment ministry organizes Saudi-Thai Investment Forum in Riyadh on Monday

Investment ministry organizes Saudi-Thai Investment Forum in Riyadh on Monday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment announced on Saturday that it will organize the Saudi-Thai Investment Forum in the capital, Riyadh, on Monday.
The forum will be hosted by the Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih and Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, and will feature participation of a number of officials and CEOs of major Saudi and Thai companies, in addition to the Federation of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and representatives of the private sector from both countries.

 


The forum will include specialized sessions to discuss the most promising investment sectors between the two countries in the fields of industry, tourism and major projects related to Vision 2030, and to review developments in the investment environment in the Kingdom.
The forum will also include bilateral sessions between representatives of the private sector from the two countries to discuss opportunities for cooperation and partnership, and to discover promising opportunities for investors.

 


With 500,000 jobs and 50 new companies, PIF finds Saudi Arabia a place in the sun

With 500,000 jobs and 50 new companies, PIF finds Saudi Arabia a place in the sun
Updated 29 May 2022

With 500,000 jobs and 50 new companies, PIF finds Saudi Arabia a place in the sun

With 500,000 jobs and 50 new companies, PIF finds Saudi Arabia a place in the sun
  • The progress made by the Kingdom in non-oil sectors indicates that KSA is moving ahead in the right direction

RIYADH: When Saudi Arabia announced its Vision 2030 in 2016, aimed at accelerating the growth of the non-oil sector, skeptics doubted how a nation that has been relying heavily on oil-based revenue for so many decades would execute it with perfection.

Six years later, the progress made by the country in non-oil sectors indicates that Kingdom is moving ahead in the right direction, primarily driven by the efforts of its Public Investment Fund, which always maximizes its assets for the Saudi economy.

As a part of PIF’s 2021-2025 strategy, it is spearheading new economic and business opportunities in the Kingdom and is redesigning the face of Saudi Arabia globally.

Fueling employment

PIF is currently one of the world’s largest and most influential sovereign wealth funds, with total assets under management at around $620 billion.

Since 2016, the PIF has founded 50 companies, including the recently launched Saudi Coffee Co., and altogether these firms have generated over 500,000 direct and indirect jobs.

FASTFACT

From real estate and infrastructure to recycling and clean energy, PIF has marked its presence in 13 strategic sectors and aims to create more job opportunities in the coming years.

From real estate and infrastructure to recycling and clean energy, PIF has marked its presence in 13 strategic sectors and aims to create more job opportunities in the coming years.

PIF formed these companies to directly benefit the private sector and Saudi citizens as they generate wealth and new job opportunities. Some notable examples include the PIF-owned giga-projects, namely NEOM, The Red Sea Development Co., Qiddiya and ROSHN.

PIF has also created entities like the National Security Services Co., Saudi Arabian Military Industries and the Soudah Development Co.

Accelerating growth

Moreover, several companies owned by PIF have signed contracts with private sector businesses, helping accelerate growth in the broader economy.

Citing an example, the Red Sea Development Co. has signed over 800 local and international contracts worth more than $5.3 billion as of April 2022.

ROSHN, PIF’s real estate company, has signed a contract with Arabia-based Retal help develop its Sedra community project in Riyadh.

Qiddiya Investment Company, last December, had awarded a Saudi-French joint venture a $1 billion contract to build the Six Flags Qiddiya entertainment attraction.

“The fund invested in several sectors, more than any other regular investment fund, and we should see the fruits of these investments this year and in 2030,” Mohammed Al-Suwayed, CEO of Razeen Capital, a financial securities consultancy firm, told Arab News.

The fund invested in several sectors, more than any other regular investment fund, and we should see the fruits of these investments this year and in 2030

Mohammed Al-Suwayed, CEO of Razeen Capital

An oasis of opportunities

Meanwhile, PIF has also created a new department specifically tasked with ensuring national growth and maximizing investment returns. The Fund aims to expand opportunities for Saudi companies, improve the domestic supply chain and increase its local content contribution to 60 percent by 2025.

PIF is working together with Shareek Program, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to create private-public partnerships.

PIF also eyes to boost the private sector’s contribution to the national gross domestic product to 65 percent and unlock national invest- ments worth $1.33 trillion by the end of this decade.

PIF will develop 70 percent of the Kingdom’s renewable energy, in line with Vision 2030

PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan

Green-lighting sustainability

Understanding the necessity to protect the environment, PIF is investing in many green projects to meet the ESG targets in Vision 2030.

PIF is planning to plant 10 million trees and launch a national renewable energy program to increase the share of renewable energy in the Kingdom.

“PIF will develop 70 percent of the Kingdom’s renewable energy, in line with Vision 2030,” said PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan.

He added that PIF’s recent investments in sustainable companies like ACWA Power and Lucid Motors show how the fund is working toward a sustainable future.

Al-Rumayyan also stressed the importance of PIF’s regional Voluntary Carbon Market in helping the Kingdom achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2060.

The VCM is the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region and will help companies reduce their carbon footprint by offsetting their carbon emissions.

The VCM is expected to launch in 2023, and five leading Saudi companies have already signed on as founding partners — Aramco, SAUDIA, ACWA Power, Ma’aden and ENOWA, a subsidiary of NEOM.

The PIF has also launched Sudair Solar PV, the first project under the Fund’s renewable energy program. This solar project, upon comple- tion, is expected to fulfill the energy needs of 185,000 house- holds in the Kingdom.

A force to reckon with

Since 1971, PIF’s glorious journey bears testimony to how a country’s sovereign fund can be utilized wisely and effectively to improve its economy and the living conditions of the general public.

With its massive investments, PIF has emerged as a critical player in the international economic sector and is also facilitating diversity and knowledge transfer within the Kingdom.

As PIF advances in elevating Saudi Arabia to new heights, several monumental initiatives that could revolutionize people’s living quality in the nation can be witnessed in the future.


KAEC gears up to become the automotive capital of the region, CEO says

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, CEO says

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.