Saudi-Greek Investment Forum sees $3.7bn deals on energy, economy and technology

Saudi-Greek Investment Forum sees $3.7bn deals on energy, economy and technology
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih at the forum (Supplied)
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Updated 27 July 2022

Saudi-Greek Investment Forum sees $3.7bn deals on energy, economy and technology

Saudi-Greek Investment Forum sees $3.7bn deals on energy, economy and technology
  • The meeting included discussions on communications, transport, logistics and energy
  • Saudi minister of investment: Saudi-Greek Investment Forum will strengthen bilateral economic relationship

RIYADH: Ministers from Saudi Arabia and Greece came together with leading private sector officials to discuss ways to enhance economic and investment cooperation between the two countries at a special Forum on Wednesday.

The meeting included discussions on communications, transport, logistics and energy, in addition to a signing ceremony for a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding, amounting to around SR14 billion ($3.7 billion).

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih said that the Saudi-Greek Investment Forum will strengthen bilateral economic relationship between the two countries.

“For everything that we do to advance our relations are about this — whether in the form of a fiber optic data cable, electricity, culture, shipping or people to people contacts. We are truly at a historical inflection point in our bilateral economic relations,” said Al-Falih in a tweet.

During the investment forum, Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with Greece to extend a submarine cable to help the Kingdom become a “major player” in the digital economy, Saudi Minister of Communications Abdullah Al-Sawaha told Al-Sharq.

“We seek for Saudi Arabia to be a magnet for cloud computing and building a new economy based on artificial intelligence,” Al-Sawaha said.

He added: “Today, we started from the stage of building the local leadership, then the digital regional leadership, and we will be the global leadership in 2030.”

During the forum, Bahri, the national shipping carrier of Saudi Arabia signed two memorandum of understanding to strengthen the maritime sector.

A strategic partnership was announced between the Saudi and Greek private sectors on the sidelines of the Crown Prince's visit to build a data cable project linking the East to the West.

This cable will ensure the smooth digital supply of data worldwide at a time when the data traffic is growing by more than 30 percent, SPA said.

This comes through the leadership of the Saudi Telecom Co. on the submarine cable project in partnership with the Greek Telecom Co., the General Energy Co. of Greece and the Cyprus Telecom Co.

STC Group announced that its subsidiary Middle East and North Africa Hub will cooperate with the Greek telecom firm TSSA to build a data corridor that extends from the Kingdom to Europe through a modern, high-capacity network of terrestrial optical fibers under the sea and will connect Europe with Asia.

The project aims to position the two countries as an eastern digital station for Europe to reach the Middle East, the continents of Africa and Asia. 

Along with 21 investment agreements, Saudi Arabia and Greece also signed a deal to promote digital transformation and innovation in the fields of energy, including cybersecurity, while working to develop qualitative partnerships to localize materials, products and services related to all energy sectors and their associated supply chains and technologies.


Yousef Al-Benyan resigns as CEO of SABIC to serve as Education Minister

Yousef Al-Benyan resigns as CEO of SABIC to serve as Education Minister
Updated 25 sec ago

Yousef Al-Benyan resigns as CEO of SABIC to serve as Education Minister

Yousef Al-Benyan resigns as CEO of SABIC to serve as Education Minister

RIYADH: Chemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp. has announced the resignation of its CEO Yousef Al-Benyan, after being appointed Minister of Education by Royal Decree.

Accordingly, SABIC’s Board appointed Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh as acting CEO for six months effective Sep. 28, 2022, according to a bourse filing.

The Riyadh-based company reported a 33 percent surge in first-quarter profits to SR6.47 billion, driven by a 40 percent rise in sales.


Business leaders bracing themselves for more ‘disruptive forces’ in wake of COVID-19

Business leaders bracing themselves for more ‘disruptive forces’ in wake of COVID-19
Updated 29 min 31 sec ago

Business leaders bracing themselves for more ‘disruptive forces’ in wake of COVID-19

Business leaders bracing themselves for more ‘disruptive forces’ in wake of COVID-19

RIYADH: Business executives in Saudi Arabia are preparing for an increasing number of “disruptive forces” hitting their firms in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study.

The 2022 Middle East Disruption Index, produced by financial advisory and global consulting firm  AlixPartners, surveyed CEOs and executive leaders in the Kingdom, as well as the UAE, to gauge their top concerns and the impact of disruption on their organizations. 

Although over 70 percent of executives stated their company was effective in responding to disruptive forces, the same percentage believe the frequency of disruptive forces will continue at the same pace or even increase over the next two to three years.

The areas of greatest concern include supply chain management, workforce and digital.

“It is no longer traditional economic forces at work that are reshaping the economy, but rather the ever-accelerating pace of change and disruption,” said Karl Nader, managing director at AlixPartners. 

“This means leaders can no longer ‘wait and see’ but must respond by being agile, envisioning the future and investing in the next,” he added.


Saudi Arabia-Jordan electricity interconnection project set to go live by 2025

Saudi Arabia-Jordan electricity interconnection project set to go live by 2025
Updated 32 min 2 sec ago

Saudi Arabia-Jordan electricity interconnection project set to go live by 2025

Saudi Arabia-Jordan electricity interconnection project set to go live by 2025

RIYADH: The electricity interconnection project between Saudi Arabia and Jordan is expected to become commercially operational in the second half of 2025 as both countries look to officially sign related agreements later this year. 

Both nations had entered into a memorandum of understanding in 2020 to develop the 164-km electricity interconnection between Qurrayat in Saudi Arabia and the eastern part of Jordan's capital city Amman.

In a meeting held on Sept. 27 in Amman, delegates from Jordan’s National Electric Power Co. and the Saudi Power Procurement Co. discussed various modalities of the project, according to Jordan News Agency. 

This is part of the move to finalize and officially sign three agreements — executive, operational and commercial — by end of this year.  

NEPCO’s Director Amjad Rawashdeh in a press statement said that the two sides agreed that the project would be commercially operated in the second half of 2025.

He added that the project is expected to increase the operational efficiency and reliability of the two countries’ power systems. The project will provide necessary support and reserves while allowing both countries to exchange electricity at times of peak demand. 

Rawashdeh explained the importance of electric connection systems in reducing costs and increasing grid stability.

He said this is because the transition to flexible networks and electric connection systems have become a necessity in modern electric power and the main pillar of sustainable, green electric systems that depend on renewable energy.


TASI gains momentum as economic fears subside: Closing bell

TASI gains momentum as economic fears subside: Closing bell
Updated 38 min 51 sec ago

TASI gains momentum as economic fears subside: Closing bell

TASI gains momentum as economic fears subside: Closing bell

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s main index ended higher for a second session following a sharp drop earlier in the week sparked by economic concerns.

The Tadawul All-Share Index rose 1.39 percent to reach 11,120 at the end of Wednesday, while the parallel market Nomu rose 1 percent to 19,916.

Saudi oil giant Aramco ended with a 1.31 percent gain, while Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. climbed 3.27 percent.

The Saudi National Bank, the Kingdom’s largest lender, increased by 0.65 percent, while Saudi British Bank increased by 0.95 percent.

The Kingdom’s highest valued bank, Al Rajhi, rose 0.25 percent, while Alinma Bank gained 0.29 percent.

The Saudi Public Transport Co. jumped 4.22 percent, after winning an SR88 million public bus transport project with Taif Municipality.

Maharah Human Resources Co. added 1 percent, after securing a long-term Murabaha loan worth SR200 million from Al Rajhi Bank.

National Gas and Industrialization Co. topped the gainers with a 9.94 percent gain, followed by Al Hassan Ghazi Ibrahim Shaker Co. with a 9.24 percent gain.

The fallers list was topped by Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. with a 3.06 percent decline, followed by Naqi Water Co. with a 2.64 percent decline.

 


Saudi Social Development Bank allocates $3.5bn to freelancers and 'productive' families

Saudi Social Development Bank allocates $3.5bn to freelancers and 'productive' families
Updated 44 min 8 sec ago

Saudi Social Development Bank allocates $3.5bn to freelancers and 'productive' families

Saudi Social Development Bank allocates $3.5bn to freelancers and 'productive' families

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Social Development Bank has disbursed around SR13.2 billion ($3.5 billion) loans to freelancers and productive families, supporting 342,000 beneficiaries, as the lender looks to increase their contribution to the national economy. 

This takes the bank’s total financing since it started providing loans to SR138 billion while benefiting over 3 million citizens, Aleqtisadiah reported. 

SDB CEO Ibrahim Al-Rashid said that the bank continues to support the role of productive families and freelance work as it is important to promote local products and improve citizens’ quality of life.

The Saudi lender is conducting its Souq Addar exhibition to promote “microenterprises” in 36 cities. The exhibition provides entrepreneurs a platform to display their handmade and unique goods until Oct. 7, while helping the bank promote its products locally and internationally.

Al-Rashid, who inaugurated the event, confirmed that there is an expansion in support for freelancers and micro-enterprises.

SBD’s products and program development manager, Shereen Al-Abdulrahman, told Arab News that the bank hopes to enable businesses to grow big enough to participate in regional and international exhibitions.

The Souq Addar exhibition aims to explore other paths to enable families to benefit from development opportunities and resources through the non-profit sector.

Saeed Al-Zahrani, the CEO’s advisor, added that organizing such events enhances the bank’s great efforts to promote family products locally and internationally, as well as financing and supporting productive families in various fields.

In March, the SDB announced at the Gulf Entrepreneurship Congress in Riyadh that it will allocate more than SR11 billion ($2.9 billion) to support over 680,000 entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia.

The bank supports many financing, training and sponsorship programs for entrepreneurs to help them develop their projects, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

SDB also signed several agreements with strategic partners to provide training to Saudi entrepreneurs. 

Also, in March, it signed a SR1.1 billion financing agreement with the ride-hailing firm Careem to provide 7,500 job opportunities to Saudi drivers. 

As per the agreement, SR150,000 in financing will be offered for each driver’s vehicle, in low installments for a period of three years, Alarabiya reported.