Ministry of Culture plans to export architectural ideas designed in Saudi, says commission CEO

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Updated 13 September 2022

Ministry of Culture plans to export architectural ideas designed in Saudi, says commission CEO

Ministry of Culture plans to export architectural ideas designed in Saudi, says commission CEO

RIYADH: The Ministry of Culture is taking the lead in making Saudi Arabia an exporter of architectural and design services as part of the Kingdom’s diversification strategy to grow creative industries, said a senior ministry official.

According to Sumayah Al-Solaiman, CEO of the Architecture and Design Commission at the Ministry of Culture, the commission is working toward uplifting the architectural and design services sector across the entire value chain.

“Rather than importing architecture and design services, we can actually get to a point where we export some of the services based on our strong record,” Al-Solaiman told Arab News in an exclusive interview.

As part of its national strategy to preserve and maintain rich Saudi architectural heritage, the commission is empowering new and acclaimed architects and designers through educational opportunities and apprenticeship channels.

“In recent years, Saudi architecture graduates have left the sector and entered adjoining fields. We want to bring them back and utilize their talent and training,” said Al-Solaiman.

In a bid to promote the distinct Saudi architectural flavor, the commission launched King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism.

Founded in December 2021, the charter draws its inspiration from an ambitious creative experience and seeks to capture the essence of Salmani Architecture, an architectural style that is modern and futuristic, yet embodies the authentic local architectural heritage.

The charter focuses on capturing the lessons learned from King Salman’s reign as the governor of Riyadh and ensuring that it is reflected in the identity of the capital city.

It aims to create memorable buildings and spaces, bringing them to life through a set of guidelines that encourage the integration of cultural and national identity into contemporary designs while meeting the needs of local communities.

“It’s very human-centric and driven by communities. It’s very forward-looking in innovation and quite sustainable because it ensures that we do not just use fewer resources, but enhance existing ones,” Al-Solaiman explained.

Al-Solaiman said 22 of the 33 initiatives the commission set will be completed by the beginning of 2023.

The Architecture and Design Commission was established in February 2020 as one of 11 commissions under the Ministry of Culture to regulate the sector, including encouraging practitioners, organizing seminars and stimulating creative thinking in the sector.

“This relates to the development of talent. It relates to regulations and making sure that we have the best regulatory environment for architecture and design to thrive,” she said.

Al-Solaiman is also keen on localizing a lot of jobs in the architecture and design sector. She wants to make the sector more attractive for Saudis so that their participation could improve employability and keep the wheels of the economy turning.

“This means looking into minimum wages and many things related to work policies,” Al-Solaiman said.

In fact, the commission’s initiatives have begun paying dividends. Firms working with the Saudi giga-projects are seeking local talent that possesses the cultural and local knowledge required for these projects to succeed.

There is also an avid interest in sustainable development, which also happens to be one of the commission’s strategic objectives. It is currently in the process of launching the Architecture and Design Sustainability Task Force and Summit, which will bring together people to discuss and implement some of the initiatives.

“When we talk about sustainability, it doesn’t become like an add-on or a nice to have, but something that we understand as essential and drive a lot of decision making in the sector itself,” she concluded.

As part of its efforts, the commission ensures that only architects and designers are qualified to practice their profession.


TASI sheds 98 points; Aramco’s Luberef IPO to raise $1.32bn: Closing bell  

TASI sheds 98 points; Aramco’s Luberef IPO to raise $1.32bn: Closing bell  
Updated 9 sec ago

TASI sheds 98 points; Aramco’s Luberef IPO to raise $1.32bn: Closing bell  

TASI sheds 98 points; Aramco’s Luberef IPO to raise $1.32bn: Closing bell  

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index shed 98 points on Sunday as investors shied away from the market due to uncertainties in the global economy, triggered by ongoing geopolitical tensions and soaring inflation.  

The Tadawul All Share Index, known as TASI, was down 0.91 percent to 10,723, while the parallel market Nomu slipped 14 points or 0.99 percent to 1,485.  

Of the 219 companies listed on TASI on Sunday, 31 advanced, while 176 declined.  

According to the data from Tadawul, the total trading turnover closed at SR2.9 billion ($770 million) on Sunday.  

The most crucial announcement that came during the early hours of trading on Sunday was from Saudi Aramco Base Oil Co., also known as Luberef, which decided to raise up to SR4.95 billion from its initial public offering.  

According to a statement, Luberef will sell nearly 30 percent of the firm’s issued share capital, or 50.045 million shares, at between 91 and 99 riyals each.  

The final share price is expected to be unveiled next Sunday, with subscriptions for individual investors running from Dec. 14 -18.  

A date is not yet been finalized for shares to begin trading on the Tadawul exchange. 

Saudi Aramco owns 70 percent of Luberef, while Saudi investment bank Jadwa holds the remaining 30 percent.  

According to the statement, Jadwa Investment is selling the entire stake it acquired in 2007 from Exxon Mobil Corp. 

SNB Capital, Morgan Stanley, HSBC Holdings Plc and Citigroup Inc. are managing the IPO for Luberef.  

On Sunday, share prices of Allied Cooperative Insurance Group, rose 7.09 percent to lead the gainers, followed by the Power and Water Utility Co. for Jubail and Yanbu, known as Marafiq which went up 2.56 percent.  

Aramco, the largest player in the Saudi oil market, was down 0.30 percent at the end of Sunday’s trading session. 

The top fallers were Theeb Rent a Car Co., Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co., Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Co., and Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication Co.  

In the banking sector, Alinma Bank and Al Rajhi Bank went down 2.37 percent, and 0.12 percent respectively.  

In the food and beverage sector, Almarai Co. went up 0.37 percent. 


OPEC+ maintains status quo on output amid fresh price cap on Russian oil 

OPEC+ maintains status quo on output amid fresh price cap on Russian oil 
Updated 28 min 27 sec ago

OPEC+ maintains status quo on output amid fresh price cap on Russian oil 

OPEC+ maintains status quo on output amid fresh price cap on Russian oil 

RIYADH: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and its allies, known as OPEC+, has agreed to roll over its existing output policy, just a day after the Group of Seven nations decided to put a price cap on Russian energy supplies.  

The decision was made at the 34th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, which was held virtually, on Dec. 4, 2022.  

Earlier in October, OPEC+ had agreed to cut output by 2 million barrels per day, which equals to about 2 percent of world demand, from November until the end of 2023.  

Mohammed Al Suwayed, CEO of investment advisory company Razeen Capital, said OPEC+ is being cautious about committing to any production cut while the EU price cap for Russian oil is going into effect this week. "We might see a different decision by the next meeting after the assessment of the Russian oil price cap implications." He added. 

OPEC+'s decision to adopt a wait-and-see approach appears to be a very well-thought-out decision, according to Hassan Balfakeih, the former chief oil demand analyst at OPEC Secretariat.

He added: "Given the growing uncertainty in the oil markets on both the supply and demand side, OPEC+'s decision to adopt a wait-and-see approach appears to be a very well-thought-out decision. Among these are the hazy price-cap policy for Russian oil, the global gloomy economic outlook, a rise in COVID-19 cases in China, and fluctuations in demand throughout the winter season in the western hemisphere."  

OPEC+'s key ministers will next meet on Feb. 1 for a monitoring committee while a full meeting is scheduled for June 3-4.

On Friday, G7 nations and Australia agreed to put a price cap on Russian oil at $60 a barrel, a price higher than where Russia already sells most of its crude, ultimately aimed at maintaining Russian oil flowing to global markets.  

Post the EU decision, a senior Ukrainian presidential aide said that the price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil agreed to by the G7 countries and Australia should be lowered to $30 per barrel, Reuters reported.  

“This was everything that was proposed by the McFaul-Yermak group, but it would be necessary to lower it to $30 to destroy the enemy’s economy quicker,” Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, wrote on Telegram.  

Meanwhile, Russia said that it will not accept the price cap imposed by G7 countries and Australia.  

“We will not accept this ceiling,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russian news agency Tass reported.  

Kremlin also noted that Russia will not send its oil under the energy cap proposed by G7, and added that the country is analyzing how to respond to these fresh sanctions.  

Leonid Slutsky, chair of the Russian lower house’s foreign affairs committee, told the Tass news agency that the EU jeopardized its own energy security by setting a price cap on Russian seaborne oil.  

He also added that the EU's decision is violating the market's laws. Amid these developments, Russia seems confident regarding the demand for its oil.  

In comments published on Telegram, Russia’s embassy in the US criticized the move by the G7 and made it clear that the country will continue to find buyers for its oil.  

“Regardless of the current flirtations with the dangerous and illegitimate instrument, we are confident that Russian oil will continue to be in demand,” the Russian embassy said.  

(With inputs from Reuters)


Saudi Arabia clears 725 industrial projects worth $265bn in 9 months to build domestic capacity 

Saudi Arabia clears 725 industrial projects worth $265bn in 9 months to build domestic capacity 
Updated 04 December 2022

Saudi Arabia clears 725 industrial projects worth $265bn in 9 months to build domestic capacity 

Saudi Arabia clears 725 industrial projects worth $265bn in 9 months to build domestic capacity 

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has issued permits for 725 industrial projects worth an accumulated SR1.37 trillion ($265 billion) in the first nine months of 2022, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources.  

This comes as the Kingdom is pushing to develop domestic industrial and manufacturing sectors as part of its strategy to diversify away from the oil-based economy.  

In September alone, the ministry issued permits for 79 industrial projects estimated to be SR3.1 billion with up to 1,882 licensed workers, the data revealed.  

While national investors accounted for 84 percent of the projects in September, 16 percent were foreign-owned or joint ventures with foreign nations.  

Moreover, as many as 68 factories started production in September with a volume of investment of SR3.5 billion. The data revealed that the commencement of those factories also generated up to 4,219 jobs during September.  

By the end of September, the total number of industrial projects in the Kingdom hit 10,728, up from the 10,192 recorded same period a year earlier, according to data.  

In August 2022, the MIMR announced that the Kingdom issued permits for non-oil industrial projects worth an accumulated SR4.1 billion, MEED reported.  

Some 115 licenses were issued for non-oil industrial projects — 20 percent higher than those granted in July.  

Toward the end of August, the total number of industrial units in the Kingdom reached 10,707.  

Until September, the licensed projects covered several small and medium industries, including metals, chemicals, home appliances, paper, etc.  

Saudi Arabia is set to become the world leader in sustainable metal production as the Kingdom explores its mining potential, according to Khalid Al-Mudaifer, vice-minister for Mining Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources. He further emphasized that the economic diversification was in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030. 

Speaking at the Mines and Money conference earlier this month in London, Al-Mudaifer said that minerals are indispensable to the energy transition from hydrocarbons to renewables.      

“Decarbonization – the net-zero transition – cannot happen without minerals and metals: a lot of minerals and metals. We need to scale up discoveries, and we need to scale up production,” said Al-Mudaifer.  

The vice-minister added that mineral and metal supply chains need to become more resilient to meet rising demands and noted that the ongoing geopolitical tensions have exposed the vulnerabilities in the sector, which may result in “cost spikes of some minerals by 350 percent.”


Saudi traffic drives Dubai Airports’ recovery post pandemic, says CEO   

Saudi traffic drives Dubai Airports’ recovery post pandemic, says CEO   
Updated 04 December 2022

Saudi traffic drives Dubai Airports’ recovery post pandemic, says CEO   

Saudi traffic drives Dubai Airports’ recovery post pandemic, says CEO   

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia played an important role in the Dubai Airports' recovery post the pandemic as the Kingdom drove significant traffic growth between the two countries, according to the airport’s top official.  

Saudi Arabia accounts for 18 percent of Dubai Airports' total traffic, CEO of the airport Paul Griffiths revealed in an exclusive interview with Arab News, adding that most of the growth since the pandemic has been between the two countries.  

He added: “With more and more airports opening direct services between Dubai and Saudi Arabia, I think the prospects for further growth are still considerable.”   

Dubai Airports has gone through several transitional stages during the management of the pandemic, according to Griffiths.  

Highlighting some of the challenges that the airport faced, he pointed out that the key was to get people to recover and actually travel again while assuring them of their health and safety. Also, it was important to assure them that the rules for travel are going to be consistent. The CEO explained that this applies to complying with all their health regulations including being tested and vaccinated.    

But now, he said, they have a new challenge which is the “resource challenge.” “The challenge is to get everyone re-engaged to make the whole commerce of the world function professionally again. So that has been very difficult over the past few months in particular,” Griffiths added.  

Despite this, Dubai in particular has recorded a strong recovery in the post-pandemic period.   

He explained this comes as the emirate was able to swiftly get people back into jobs and train them in an attempt to function quickly while, at the same time, other parts of the world were still challenged in providing the appropriate level of resources needed for the operational requirements that they have.  

Dubai Airports, in specific, is 100 percent back to the number of people in the right jobs required, according to Griffiths. Moreover, he added that point-to-point traffic numbers to the city were 119 percent over and above pre-pandemic levels in December 2021, reflecting very strong traffic recovery.  

“We have virtually doubled the amount of traffic.  We are going to end the year with about 68.2 million. We have revised our forecast several times in the opposite direction and the prospects are actually now very good,” he revealed.  

As of today, an estimated 6 million travelers are currently coming through Dubai Airports on a monthly basis. The CEO said this figure is expected to further rise and potentially reach the 7.8 million recorded before COVID-19.  

Dubai’s added value is mainly attributed to the high investment in the emirate as well as its geographic location, according to Griffiths.  

As a result of high investment in the emirate, he said the number of people that now want to come and visit Dubai increases year on year, usually, in double digits.  

Highlighting the emirate’s unique geographic location, he pointed out that Dubai is within four hours flying time of a third of the world’s population and within eight hours flying time of two-thirds of the world’s population.  

Speaking on technology and its continuous development, the CEO stressed that airport experiences will be much quicker and more seamless in the future.  

“I think we’ll remove a lot of the processes we go through, like immigration and security. That’s not to say they won’t be there, but we just won’t see them because they’ll be done behind the scenes,” he explained.  

Dubai Airports has become a primary international airport in the world, with it being ranked the largest airport by international passenger traffic for the past six to seven years, he concluded.  


GCC stocks finished November lowest in a year as TASI continues to be under 11K level

GCC stocks finished November lowest in a year as TASI continues to be under 11K level
Updated 04 December 2022

GCC stocks finished November lowest in a year as TASI continues to be under 11K level

GCC stocks finished November lowest in a year as TASI continues to be under 11K level

RIYADH: The equity markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council region were dragged to the lowest in one year in November 2022, as Saudi Arabia’s main index slipped 6.6 percent below the 11,000 mark, according to a report by Kamco Invest.

TASI slipped below 11,000 on Nov. 21 and has been hovering under that mark since then.

In November, Arabian Drilling Co. topped the TASI chart with a gain of 18.0 percent followed by Abdul Mohsen Al-Hokair Tourism and National Co. for Learning and Education with gains of 17.4 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively.

On the decliners’ side, Middle East Paper Co. topped with a fall of 26.8 percent followed by Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. and Fitaihi Holding Group with declines of 24.9 percent and 24.3 percent, respectively.

In the report, Kamco Invest noted that Oman was the best-performing market in November with a gain of 5.7 percent, followed by Kuwait and Abu Dhabi where stocks rose 3.6 percent and 1.3 percent respectively.

According to the report, the steep decline in November also affected the GCC markets' year-to-date performance, with the index closing the month in red for the fourth time this year.

“Saudi Arabia was the only market in the GCC that closed November 2022 with a year-to-date decline of 3.4 percent,” said Kamco Invest in the report.

The report added: “Abu Dhabi continued to lead in the region with a year-to-date gain of 24.3 percent followed by Oman and Kuwait with healthy gains of 11.7 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively.”

According to the Kamco Invest report, almost all the sectoral indices closed in the red during the month of November.

The report further pointed out that capital goods, hotels, restaurants and leisure, and real estate indices showed marginal positive performance during the month while the rest of the benchmarks receded.

The pharma and biotech index was the worst-performing index during November as it registered a decline of 10.6 percent followed by the consumer durable and apparel and materials index with declines of 10.4 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively, the report added.

The report went on to point out that the utility index in the GCC region also witnessed a decline of 9.6 percent during November.