Saudi Tourism Ministry leads digitization wave, offers NFTs to UNWTO delegates

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Updated 09 June 2022

Saudi Tourism Ministry leads digitization wave, offers NFTs to UNWTO delegates

Saudi Tourism Ministry leads digitization wave, offers NFTs to UNWTO delegates

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Tourism in Saudi Arabia will give each delegate at the 116th Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization in Jeddah personalized non-fungible tokens.

Digital Transformation General Manager at the Ministry of Tourism Aljoharah Al-Mogbel told Arab News that inside the giveaways, each delegate would receive a gift box containing a physical ledger that they can use as a wallet and a key to access their NFTs.

“Each one is personalized. There is a hidden gem of the regions, and the cities of the Kingdom placed in each of these NFTs,” she said.

She told Arab News that the purpose of the gift was to give the delegates an idea of how the Kingdom is advancing in digital tourism.

Al-Mogbel said that the Tourism Ministry is interested in integrating the physical world with the metaverse world and connecting them to showcase how tourism has advanced and how it will look in the future.

She added that the tourism infrastructure in the country is ready to incorporate digital advancements, transformation, and innovation into its development.

“The tourism sector in the Kingdom is designed for this future,” she said.

Al-Mogbel said the ministry is tech-savvy, and it has leadership that supports innovation and digital transformation. “So why not do this?” she added.

According to Al-Mogbel, the Kingdom is investing in smart cities and digital transformation.

She said that the ministry also receives support and leadership from Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb and King Salman.

“So today, we have everything to create this innovation in the tourism sector,” she added.

She noted that the ministry’s digital tourism strategy is aligned with the Vision 2030 goals and aspirations and the national tourism strategy.

By introducing new business models and supporting entrepreneurs, the ministry’s programs were designed to support and empower the workforce and promote a culture of innovation that would contribute to the digital economy, she added.

“So, everything was designed with an aspiration to achieve the goals of Vision 2030 in the tourism sector and to put the Kingdom on the global map for the tourism sector,” she concluded.


South Korean group join hands with Aramco for Mideast expansion

South Korean group join hands with Aramco for Mideast expansion
Updated 17 sec ago

South Korean group join hands with Aramco for Mideast expansion

South Korean group join hands with Aramco for Mideast expansion

RIYADH: South Korea’s steel firm SeAH Group has partnered with Saudi Aramco to boost its expansion plans in the Middle East, according to the Korea Economic Daily. 

The group’s special steel maker, SeAH Besteel Corp. has established the joint venture SeAH Gulf Special Steel Industries with the Saudi oil giant.

The JV is set to start building the factory, with an annual capacity of 17,000 tons, in the fourth quarter of 2022. Commercial operations are likely to begin in the first half of 2025.

“We will actively explore the Middle East market with various products such as stainless steel precision tubes and seamless stainless steel pipes,” said a SeAH Changwon official.


Biden signs bill to boost US chips, compete with China

Biden signs bill to boost US chips, compete with China
Updated 09 August 2022

Biden signs bill to boost US chips, compete with China

Biden signs bill to boost US chips, compete with China

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a landmark bill to provide $52.7 billion in subsidies for US semiconductor production and research and to boost efforts to make the US more competitive with China’s science and technology efforts.

“The future is going to be made in America,” Biden said, calling the measure “a once-in-a-generation investment in America itself.”

Biden touted investments that chip companies are making even though it remains unclear when the US Commerce Department will write rules for reviewing grant awards and how long it will take to underwrite projects.

Some Republicans joined Biden on the White House lawn to attend the signing of the chips bill that was years in the making in Congress.

The chief executives of Micron, Intel, Lockheed Martin, HP and Advanced Micro Devices attended the signing as did governors of Pennsylvania and Illinois, the mayors of Detroit, Cleveland and Salt Lake City, and lawmakers.

The White House said the bill’s passage was spurring new chip investments. It noted that Qualcomm on Monday agreed to buy an additional $4.2 billion in semiconductor chips from GlobalFoundries’ New York factory, bringing its total commitment to $7.4 billion in purchases through 2028.

The White House also touted Micron announcing a $40 billion investment in memory chip manufacturing, which would boost US market share from 2 percent to 10 percent, an investment it said was planned with “anticipated grants” from the chips bill.

Progressives argued the bill is a giveaway to profitable chips companies that previously closed US plants, but Biden argued on Tuesday “this law is not handing out blank checks to companies.”

HIGHLIGHTS

The White House noted that Qualcomm on Monday agreed to buy an additional $4.2 billion in semiconductor chips from GlobalFoundries’ New York factory, bringing its total commitment to $7.4 billion in purchases through 2028.

The White House also touted Micron announcing a $40 billion investment in memory chip manufacturing.

The legislation aims to alleviate a persistent shortage that has affected everything from cars, weapons, washing machines and video games. Thousands of cars and trucks remain parked in southeast Michigan awaiting chips as the shortage continues to impact automakers.

A rare major foray into US industrial policy, the bill also includes a 25 percent investment tax credit for chip plants, estimated to be worth $24 billion.

The legislation authorizes $200 billion over 10 years to boost US scientific research to better compete with China. Congress would still need to pass separate appropriations legislation to fund those investments.

China had lobbied against the semiconductor bill. The Chinese Embassy in Washington said China “firmly opposed” it, calling it reminiscent of a “Cold War mentality.”

Many US lawmakers had said they normally would not support hefty subsidies for private businesses but noted that China and the EU had been awarding billions in incentives to their chip companies. They also cited national security risks and huge global supply chain problems that have hampered global manufacturing.


NRG Matters - Egypt adopts green energy strategy; DEWA adopts AI to improve services

NRG Matters - Egypt adopts green energy strategy; DEWA adopts AI to improve services
Updated 09 August 2022

NRG Matters - Egypt adopts green energy strategy; DEWA adopts AI to improve services

NRG Matters - Egypt adopts green energy strategy; DEWA adopts AI to improve services

RIYADH: On a macro level, the Egyptian government has devised a strategy to boost green energy production. Zooming in, UK’s Centrica signed a $8.4 billion agreement with Delfin Midstream to purchase liquefied natural gas. 

Looking at the bigger picture

• The Egyptian government is implementing a clear strategy for turning the country into a regional hub for green energy production and export, according to the State Information Service.

It noted that Egypt has signed several deals with global companies for green hydrogen production in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. 

Through a micro lens:

• The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s Research and Development Center has employed artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning to improve services, Emirates News Agency reported. 

The move aims to  reduce costs and carbon emissions and promote energy efficiency, smart grid integration and improve the performance of photovoltaic solar panels.

• British energy supplier Centrica has signed a £7 billion ($8.47 billion) agreement with US-based Delfin Midstream to buy liquefied natural gas from 2026, Reuters reported citing the firm.

This happens as countries across Europe seek to diversify their energy supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a drop in gas flows from Moscow to the bloc.


Egypt In-Focus: Oil expansion project; Renewable energy; Stock market down

Egypt In-Focus: Oil expansion project; Renewable energy; Stock market down
Updated 09 August 2022

Egypt In-Focus: Oil expansion project; Renewable energy; Stock market down

Egypt In-Focus: Oil expansion project; Renewable energy; Stock market down

CAIRO: Egypt will expand its oil storage capacity by 2.52 million barrels at the El-Hamra Terminal — which is managed by Western Desert Operating Petroleum Co..

Located 120 kilometers west of Alexandria, the expansion will comprise four new facilities stretching along 504,000 square meters, each expected to hold a capacity of 630,000 barrels of crude, reported MEED

“The port’s expansion plan aims to turn it into a strategic center on the Mediterranean coast for the circulation of crude and petroleum products,” said Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla in a statement.

Renewable energy

Egypt is determined to become the region’s main exporter and producer of green energy.

Through $40 billion-worth of deals with international companies, projects in the Suez Canal economic zone are expected to flourish in the production of green hydrogen by 2030, reported Egypt today.

Moreover, the Benban Solar Park in Aswan is expected to produce more than 10,000 megawatts by 2023 , disclosed Ayman Hamza, Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy’s spokesman.

Stock market

While the Egyptian exchange index 30 was down by 0.75 percent, EGX 70 and EGX 100 were up by 1.08 and 0.49 percent respectively, reported Egypt today.

This came following sales from Arab and foreign institutions and investment funds, while local companies were purchasing stocks.


Macro snapshot — Lending in China likely to slow down; German economy to lose $265bn

Macro snapshot — Lending in China likely to slow down; German economy to lose $265bn
Updated 09 August 2022

Macro snapshot — Lending in China likely to slow down; German economy to lose $265bn

Macro snapshot — Lending in China likely to slow down; German economy to lose $265bn

CAIRO: China’s new yuan loans are expected to fall back in July after record lending in the first half, a Reuters poll showed, but they are still likely to exceed the year earlier amount as the central bank seeks to underpin the economic recovery.

Chinese banks are estimated to have issued 1.10 trillion yuan ($162.81 billion) in net new yuan loans last month, less than half the 2.81 trillion yuan in June, according to the median estimate in the survey of 23 economists.

It would still be higher than the 1.08 trillion yuan issued in the same month a year earlier.

German economy to lose $265bn

Germany’s economy will lose more than €260 billion ($265 billion) in added value by 2030 due to the Ukraine war and high energy prices, spelling negative effects for the labor market, according to a study by the Institute for Employment Research.

In comparison with expectations for a peaceful Europe, Germany’s price-adjusted gross domestic product will be 1.7 percent lower next year and there will be about 240,000 fewer people in employment, said the study published on Tuesday.

Romania inflation forecasts

Romania’s central bank has raised its annual inflation forecast for this year and next, but it should still be on a downward trend from the fourth quarter of 2022, Gov. Mugur Isarescu said on Tuesday.

Inflation is being driven primarily by supply-side shocks amplified by the war in Ukraine, he said.

The bank expects inflation to be at 13.9 percent in December, compared with a previous forecast of 12.5 percent.

Inflation hit 15.05 percent in June, a near 19-year high. Isarescu said inflation will start falling from the fourth quarter of this year and return to the bank’s 1.5 percent-3.5 percent target range in the second quarter of 2024.

 

(With input from Reuters)