Global IT services company Crayon to invest in Saudi Arabia’s AI sector

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Updated 25 September 2022

Global IT services company Crayon to invest in Saudi Arabia’s AI sector

Global IT services company Crayon to  invest in Saudi Arabia’s AI sector

RIYADH: Norway-based Global IT services company Crayon is fully invested in the future of Saudi Arabia’s artificial intelligence sector as its CEO forecasts the industry will contribute to 12.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2030.

During the second Global AI Summit held in Riyadh, Ziad Rizk, the CEO of Crayon Middle East and Africa, told Arab News that the Kingdom is an ideal location for the company to incubate its operations to meet the demand of the entire MEA region.

“Around $360 billion will be spent on AI across the Middle East and Africa. But specifically, when you look at the Kingdom, we believe that AI will represent around 12.4 percent of the total GDP by 2030,” Rizk told Arab News.

“Accordingly, this is where we are investing ahead of the curve, trying to lead and to support the Kingdom’s journey in that direction,” he added.

HIGHLIGHTS

• CEO of the company forecasts the industry will contribute to 12.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2030.

• The Kingdom is an ideal location for the company to incubate its operations to meet the demand of the entire MEA region, he says.

• Crayon also announced the opening of its Regional Digital Transformation office in Riyadh during the event.

• The company, which helps customers understand software assets and utilize and reduce software costs, already has over 4,500 customers across the MEA region.

Rizk explained that the company will support the sector through multiple areas by leveraging its global expertise in the Kingdom, as well as establishing a local talent pool in collaboration with the government and universities.

“The third pillar is to work with the startup community and the scale-up companies that are really on the cusp of growing exponentially, and helping them branch out beyond the Kingdom, across the Middle East and Africa region,” he added. Crayon also announced the opening of its Regional Digital Transformation office in Riyadh during the event.

Founded in 2002, the company, which helps customers understand software assets and utilize and reduce software costs, already has over 4,500 customers across the MEA region.

Rizk said that Crayon’s existing customer base in Saudi Arabia consists of large businesses and entities ranging across sectors like oil, electricity and aviation.




Ziad Rizk, the CEO of Crayon Middle East and Africa. (AN Photo)

Lauding the Saudi market, Rizk stated that their customers in the Kingdom were high in expertise as well as agile in pursuing their ambitions. Rizk believes that startup companies will play a huge role in boosting the Kingdom’s AI sector and the company is planning to support them.

“The startup community is really good at identifying a key technical problem, and then putting a lot of focus on solving it, but these companies face challenges on the business side, and this is where we engage with them,” he said.

Crayon was awarded the global partner of Data & AI in 2019 by Microsoft as well as Partner of the Year for Saudi Arabia in 2021.

The company has also seen 180 percent growth year over year and Rizk is expecting this to continue for at least three years.


Deals worth over $27bn available for Saudi businesses with leading national firms

Deals worth over $27bn available for Saudi businesses with leading national firms
Updated 16 sec ago

Deals worth over $27bn available for Saudi businesses with leading national firms

Deals worth over $27bn available for Saudi businesses with leading national firms

RIYADH: Saudi companies are being encouraged to tap into investment deals and contracts worth more than SR100 billion ($26.62 billion) with two of the Kingdom’s biggest firms.

Representatives from the Saudi Electricity Co. and the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation — also known as SABIC — unveiled various opportunities for firms in the Kingdom to work with them during workshops organized by the Federation of Saudi Chambers, according to Saudi Press Agency.

The Saudi Electricity Co. set out its strategy for the localization of the electricity industries, known as ‘Bena’, which aims to encourage and support local manufacturing.

It also includes three initiatives: to raise the percentage of localization in the company's projects; increase the purchases of materials from national factories; and identify investment opportunities required to be localized.

The firm indicated the volume of future demand for or purchases and contracts is expected to reach SR100 billion.

SABIC explained that the investment opportunities under the umbrella of its Nusaned initiative to enhance local content, contributed to supporting economic development with more than $1 billion of gross domestic product.

The company approved 43 investment opportunities, with the total investment opportunities amounting to 351 opportunities.

The number of investors has reached 183, while the number of feasibility studies has hit 74.

 


Recycling in Saudi Arabia to pull in $32bn income by 2035: minister

Recycling in Saudi Arabia to pull in $32bn income by 2035: minister
Updated 12 min 51 sec ago

Recycling in Saudi Arabia to pull in $32bn income by 2035: minister

Recycling in Saudi Arabia to pull in $32bn income by 2035: minister

RIYADH: Recycling in Saudi Arabia will generate an annual income of SR120 billion ($32 billion) by 2035, according to the minister of environment, water and agriculture.

Speaking at an event organized by the Riyadh Economic Forum, Mansour Al-Mushaiti said the forecast is based on estimates made by the National Center for Waste Management.

Al-Mushaiti also used his speech to flag up a study by the World Bank which warns the cost of the annual environmental burden on the economy comes in at SR86 billion a year, of which SR8 billion comes from poor waste management.

The minister talked-up the Kingdom’s sustainability policies, including the Crown Prince’s pledge to plant 10 billion trees in the coming decades.

He also flagged up the move to zero carbon neutrality by 2060, as well as seeing 94 percent of waste recycled by 2035 instead of being taken to landfills.


Saudi, Oman investment ministers visit clean energy facility at Alfanar Industrial City in Riyadh

Saudi, Oman investment ministers visit clean energy facility at Alfanar Industrial City in Riyadh
Updated 30 September 2022

Saudi, Oman investment ministers visit clean energy facility at Alfanar Industrial City in Riyadh

Saudi, Oman investment ministers visit clean energy facility at Alfanar Industrial City in Riyadh

RIYADH: Investment ministers from Saudi Arabia and Oman were given a tour of one of the largest private industrial cities in the Middle East in a move to highlight the Kingdom’s clean energy projects.

The Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid bin Abdulaziz AlFalih and his Omani counterpart Qais bin Muhammad AlYousef visited Alfanar Industrial City in Riyadh, where they met leading figures from the company

Amer AlAjmi, executive vice president of Alfanar Development, gave a presentation focusing on the firm's clean energy projects around the world, as well as the full range of services and products the company offers and information about Alfanar’s investment portfolio. 

During the tour, the ministers were shown the women’s section, which began in 2003 with four women, and currently has more than 700 female Saudi employees.

Abdulsalam AlMutlaq, chairman of Alfanar, said: “This visit at the level of ministers from Saudi Arabia and Oman, and in the presence of officials from both parties, comes from their belief in the role of the private sector as a successful partner in localizing the industry and promoting local content in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

He added: “Alfanar Company has a distinguished experience and accumulated experience gained over the years in the localization of the energy industry, as it had a leading role in the infrastructure work, as well as transferring the techniques of manufacturing electrical and construction products to the Kingdom, in order to invest in the development of clean energy projects around the world.”


Oil could slow declines as supply risks return to fore: Reuters poll

Oil could slow declines as supply risks return to fore: Reuters poll
Updated 30 September 2022

Oil could slow declines as supply risks return to fore: Reuters poll

Oil could slow declines as supply risks return to fore: Reuters poll

BENGALURU: A recent oil price decline could slow in the last quarter of the year and into 2023 as focus shifts from concerns over a recessionary hit to demand to tightening global supply, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

A survey of 42 economists and analysts forecast benchmark Brent crude would average $100.45 a barrel this year, and $93.70 in 2023, down from estimates of $103.93 and $96.67 respectively in August, but well above current levels.

Brent is currently trading around $90, far short of the $120-$130 range reached earlier this year following Western sanctions on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, pulled down in part by the dollar’s ascent and expectations of an economic slowdown.

UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo said recession fears may impact prices only in the very short term, with the focus shifting to supply issues thereafter.

“The EU ban on Russian waterborne crude and refined products is likely to result in supply disruptions in Russia and the end of the SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) sales will remove further supply from the market,” Staunovo added.

The Ukraine crisis will continue to be decisive, especially following the EU's near-total ban on Russian crude from December, analysts said.

“We think that supply side issues will be worse than demand side issues unless there’s a severe global recession like the global financial crisis in 2008/09,” SEB analyst Ole Hvalbye said.

Also likely compounding supply risks, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, or OPEC+, could announce an output cut on Oct. 5.

Analysts estimated global oil demand would reach about 101-102 million barrels per day in 2023, after averaging 98.5-101.5 million bpd this year, with the market also closely monitoring China’s COVID restrictions.

“Global oil demand forecasts should be written in pencil as the global economy has too many variables that no one has a handle on,” said Edward Moya, senior analyst with OANDA.

The poll forecast US crude to average $95.73 a barrel in 2022 and $88.70 next year, versus the $99.91 and $92.48 consensus last month, but well above current price levels around $80.
 


EU to cut power use, levy energy companies

EU to cut power use, levy energy companies
Updated 30 September 2022

EU to cut power use, levy energy companies

EU to cut power use, levy energy companies

BRUSSELS: EU ministers on Friday agreed cuts to peak-hour power consumption and windfall levies on energy companies in an urgent effort to bring down sky-high energy prices, according to AFP.

The decision, announced by the Czech Republic in its role holding the EU presidency, aims to mitigate energy costs sent soaring by Russia’s war in Ukraine and as the northern hemisphere winter looms.

European households and businesses are already staggering under surging energy bills, fueling record inflation that in the eurozone has hit 10 percent.

Extra drama has been injected with several unexplained leaks this week of Russia-Germany undersea gas pipelines, Nord Stream 1 and 2, that were widely seen as “sabotage.”

The EU ministers’ agreement came a day after Germany — the bloc’s export powerhouse that had long been dependent on Russian gas — announced a €200 billion  ($195 billion) energy aid package to shield its consumers.

Other EU countries have deployed smaller-scale national measures with the same aim, but several demanded European-level concertation, in part to clamp down on energy-buying competition between EU peers.

The two measures adopted were proposed by the European Commission.

The EU executive believes it can raise €140 billion from the levies on non-gas electricity producers and on energy majors that are raking in outsized profits from the global energy demand.

Its plan to cut power usage foresees a reduction of “at least five percent” during peak hours, according to a commission document seen by AFP.

Missing from the announced measures, however, was an idea espoused by 15 EU countries — among them France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta and Poland — for a price cap on imported gas.

The energy crisis, which had been brewing even before the war in Ukraine, took on greater magnitude when Russia severely curtailed natural gas supplies to Europe in retaliation for Western sanctions over its invasion.

Energy prices in the EU are calculated on the basis of the most expensive source, in this case gas, which has gone up around fivefold over the past year.

Several EU ministers went into the meeting wanting a gas price cap to be discussed.

“There is big disappointment that in the proposal that is on the table there is nothing about gas prices,” Polish Climate Minister Anna Moskwa said.

“This maximum price for gas would be supported by the majority of European countries” and “cannot be ignored,” she said.

But Germany resisted, fearing that a price cap would simply see liquefied natural gas shipments avoid Europe and sent to more lucrative markets, worsening the supply crunch for the EU.

The European Commission shares those concerns, although EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson said there needed to be a way to target just Russian gas — which arrives in the EU by pipeline, not in LNG form.

“We have to remove the incentives that are there for Russia to manipulate these volumes, and the answer is clear: We have to offer a price cap for all Russian gas.”

She and other participants, including Irish Climate Minister Eamon Ryan, said that, for a gas price cap to be effective other major buyers such as Japan and South Korea needed to cooperate with the EU.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that, while Berlin was open to the idea of a price cap on Russian gas “as a sanction,” the broader application being called for was “treacherous.”

He insisted that “we need to bring down consumption” as a priority, and “we must not allow insufficient gas to reach Europe.”

While the measures agreed Friday were steps in the right direction, the Bruegel think tank in Brussels had warned in an analysis they were “not sufficient.”

“A more comprehensive plan needs to ensure that all countries bring forward every available supply-side flexibility, make real efforts to reduce gas and electricity demand, keep their energy markets open and pool demand to get a better deal from external gas suppliers,” it said.

Further EU measures were likely to be discussed at an informal summit in Prague next week, and another EU energy ministers’ meeting on Oct. 11 and 12.

“We need to go further on these issues and come to a rapid conclusion,” French Energy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said.