Arab leaders welcome China’s cooperation for development at Riyadh summit

Special Arab leaders welcome China’s cooperation for development at Riyadh summit
Xi expressed hope that the summit would “lead to a brighter future,” adding that China sought “comprehensive cooperation” with Arab states to serve Chinese-Arab common interests. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 10 December 2022

Arab leaders welcome China’s cooperation for development at Riyadh summit

Arab leaders welcome China’s cooperation for development at Riyadh summit
  • China will work with Arab countries to support development, food security, health, energy and the environment
  • President Xi Jinping reaffirms Chinese support for the establishment of an independent state of Palestine

RIYADH: Arab countries wish to enhance cooperation with China and look forward to a new phase of partnership, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman said at the inaugural Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development on Friday.

The event was one of two conferences held back to back on the last day of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s three-day state visit to Saudi Arabia.

“The Kingdom is working on enhancing cooperation (with China) to serve international stability,” the crown prince said in the presence of Arab leaders and Xi, who referred to the summit as a historic moment in relations between the Arab countries and China.

Addressing the gathering of leaders, the crown prince, who chaired the summit on behalf of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, said: “We welcome you to the first Arab-Chinese summit aimed at raising the level of joint cooperation among the member states of the Arab League and China, in a way that serves the common interests of our countries.”




Xi said both China and Saudi Arabia must focus on economic development and strengthen cooperation based on mutual gains. (KSAMOFA)

He added: “We look with great interest at the steady growth and rapid technological progress achieved by China, which has made it one of the world’s leading economies.

“The convening of this summit establishes a new phase for advancing the relationship between our countries and strengthening partnership in areas of common interest.”

For his part, Xi expressed hope that the summit would “lead to a brighter future,” adding that China sought “comprehensive cooperation” with Arab states to serve Chinese-Arab common interests.

He described the Riyadh summit as a development in the history of Chinese-Arab relations that promises a brighter future amid cooperation between China and Arab states.

The Saudi crown prince said the Kingdom especially values the cooperation of, and partnerships with, the participants of the summit in the context of the Middle East Green Initiative.

Together with the Saudi Green Initiative, the MGI was launched by the crown prince last year as part of efforts to reduce regional carbon emissions.

“We are aware of the challenges posed by climate change and we believe in the need to find more sustainable and comprehensive solutions, while maintaining the levels of growth of the global economy, as we aim to reach carbon neutrality,” the crown prince said.

“We appreciate the role of China in putting forward a number of valuable initiatives, the most important of which is the Friends of Global Development Initiative, which matches many aspects of Saudi Arabia’s priorities toward supporting sustainable development and promoting food security.”

Appreciating China’s position in supporting the two-state solution in dealing with the Palestinian issue and the Arab Peace Initiative, the crown prince said: “Saudi Arabia affirms the need for a just and permanent solution to the Palestine issue in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, in a way that guarantees the Palestinian people’s right to establish an independent state on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

In his speech, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi highlighted the significance of Arab-Chinese ties, saying coordination with China must be increased to resolve regional and international crises.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he stands with China against the “malicious campaigns” it is facing. He also condemned what he called Israel’s attempts to alter the Arab identity of Jerusalem, and demanded that Israel be held accountable for its violations.

Moving on to Syria and Libya, the Saudi crown prince said that the Kingdom attached great importance on doubling efforts aimed at finding political solutions to the current crises, and to ensuring security, stability and prosperity in the two countries.

Reaffirming the Kingdom’s support for efforts aimed at a comprehensive political solution in Yemen, he commended Beijing’s solidarity with Saudi initiatives in Yemen.

Speaking about the long history of Chinese-Arab relations, Xi said: “The friendship continues with its roots in the depths of history, where they met and got to know each other through the old Silk Road.




Saudi crown prince said the Kingdom especially values the cooperation of, and partnerships with, the participants of the summit in the context of the Middle East Green Initiative. (AFP)

“The friendship persisted through the struggles for national liberation, and economic globalization, and continues to uphold rights and justice in a changing and volatile world.

“The spirit of Chinese-Arab friendship of solidarity, synergy, equality, mutual benefit, inclusiveness and mutual benefit were developed through it.”

Making a strong pitch for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Xi said: “The Palestinian cause concerns peace and stability in the Middle East and puts the moral conscience of humanity at stake.

“The historical injustice suffered by the Palestinian people cannot continue. We look forward to the establishment of an independent state that does not accept rejection, and the international community must consolidate faith in a two-state solution.”

Xi reaffirmed that the Chinese side steadfastly supports the establishment of an independent and fully sovereign state of Palestine on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in addition to supporting Palestine’s attainment of full membership at the UN.

He said China will continue to provide humanitarian aid to the Palestinian side with the aim of supporting it to carry out livelihood projects, in addition to increasing donations to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

“China and the Arab states trust each other and have brotherly feelings,” Xi said.

“We share unwavering support for issues related to the vital interests of the other side. We unite and progress together on the cause of achieving renaissance and solidarity in the spirit of one team against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He said that during the last 10 years the volume of trade exchange had exceeded $300 billion; the balance of mutual direct investment amounted to $27 billion.

More than 200 projects had been implemented within the framework of cooperation in building the Belt and Road Initiative, which has eventually benefited nearly 2 billion people.

He added: “The Chinese side is keen to deepen mutual strategic confidence with the Arab side and exchange firm support for the efforts of the other side to preserve the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity.

“The two sides adhere jointly to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, the application of true multilateralism, and the defense of right and the legitimate interests of developing countries.”

Xi said both China and Saudi Arabia must focus on economic development and strengthen cooperation based on mutual gains. He pointed out that the Chinese side supports the Arab side in finding political solutions to thorny issues and in building a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security system in the Middle East.

He highlighted China’s keenness to work with the Arab side to implement joint actions over the next three to five years, covering eight areas: development, food security, health, green development and innovation, energy security, dialogue among civilizations, youth rehabilitation, and security and stability.

He added that Islamophobia and extremism must be confronted.


Saudi startup outlook to be explored at LEAP2023 

Saudi startup outlook to be explored at LEAP2023 
Updated 17 sec ago

Saudi startup outlook to be explored at LEAP2023 

Saudi startup outlook to be explored at LEAP2023 

RIYADH: Unique challenges that startups in the Kingdom face when trying to secure funding will be the subject of a panel discussion on the final day of the LEAP 2023 conference on Thursday.

“The Road to Success: The Journey of Saudi Pre-seeds Starting to Get Funded” will also explore the outlook for startups in Saudi Arabia over the next five years.

Elina Idrisova, regional director of Digital Transformation, who will be part of the panel, told Arab News that the sessions will be about “how government is supporting these initiatives in order to accelerate the transformation and technology adoption.” 

Successful Saudi software startup Elevatus will be included in the discussion. 

Idrisova said that accelerators in Saudi Arabia are actively supporting and mentoring early-stage startups to help secure funding.

The Kingdom is planning to invest more than $25 billion to expand the technology ecosystem, the regional director said.

She said that the session will also discuss ways Saudi startups can attract global investors and scale worldwide.

“I also want to highlight the exceptional support of accelerators and programs such as Venture Studios and different university research centers, which help startups to get more deep research and to understand the market well, to get to know how to conduct the right assessments and to create the product that’s really needed by the market,” she said. 
 


Saudi fund backs employment opportunities for Hail graduates 

Saudi fund backs employment opportunities for Hail graduates 
Updated 08 February 2023

Saudi fund backs employment opportunities for Hail graduates 

Saudi fund backs employment opportunities for Hail graduates 
  • The agreement was signed by Turki Al-Jawini, director general of the fund, and Rashid Al-Sharif, president of the University of Hail
  • Turki Al-Jawini: We look forward to contributing to the development of the skills and capabilities of the Kingdom’s citizens

RIYADH: The Saudi Human Resources Development Fund and the University of Hail have signed a cooperation agreement to support graduates of the future “with the aim of increasing their competitiveness in the labor market and raising the employment rate.”

The agreement was signed by Turki Al-Jawini, director general of the fund, and Rashid Al-Sharif, president of the University of Hail, on the sidelines of the Liaqaat Hail Forum, which was held under the patronage of Prince Abdulaziz bin Saad, the governor of the Hail region.

A statement from the fund said the agreement was a strategic partnership “to achieve their common goals of training, qualifying and employing the university graduates and students expected to graduate, of both sexes, and job seekers, in an effort to develop their skills and provide them with individual and basic skills and experience, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

The fund provides financial and training support under the agreement, along with incentives to the employment office at the university and its employees, through programs such as “Subol,” the vocational development and guidance platform; “Doroob,” the national e-training platform; “Tamheer,” the on-the-job training program; and “Taqat,” the national labor portal.

Al-Jawini said: “We are keen on holding forums that will develop and empower national capacities, ensuring sustainable employment and motivating the private sector to contribute to Saudization. This will contribute to raising Saudization rates and supporting the participation of national cadres in various fields and specializations of the labor market.

“We look forward to contributing to the development of the skills and capabilities of the Kingdom’s citizens, enabling them to find job opportunities, and to invest optimally in human capital, in compliance with the directives of our wise leadership, and in line with development plans to support the national economy.”


KSrelief launches charity campaign to help those affected by quake in Turkiye and Syria

The Supervisor-General of KSrelief Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah launches the charity campaign in Riyadh on Wednesday. (KSrelief)
The Supervisor-General of KSrelief Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah launches the charity campaign in Riyadh on Wednesday. (KSrelief)
Updated 08 February 2023

KSrelief launches charity campaign to help those affected by quake in Turkiye and Syria

The Supervisor-General of KSrelief Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah launches the charity campaign in Riyadh on Wednesday. (KSrelief)
  • A total of SR25 million ($6.7 million) had been donated to the campaign at the time of writing
  • The confirmed death toll from the world’s deadliest quake in more than a decade has passed 11,000

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center launched a charity campaign on Wednesday to help those affected by a devastating earthquake which hit southeast Turkiye and northern Syria on Monday.

The confirmed death toll from the world’s deadliest quake in more than a decade has passed 11,000.

The campaign was launched via KSrelief’s Sahem Platform, and the center will work with several Saudi agencies and ministries to support the affected and injured in Syria and Turkiye.

Donations can be made through the Sahem app and website, or via transfers to a bank account designated to the campaign.

The Supervisor-General of KSrelief Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said the campaign includes the implementation of various programs, including the launch of an air-bridge during the coming hours to deliver shelter, health, food, and logistical aid to those affected.

Rescue, rapid intervention, and emergency medical teams will travel to the afflicted countries and will work with Saudi volunteer teams to alleviate the suffering of those who have been afflicted by the quake, Al-Rabeeah explained.

He added that shelter, food, and health materials will be provided according to the humanitarian need identified by assessment teams.

A total of SR25 million ($6.7 million) had been donated to the campaign at the time of writing, Al-Ekhbariya reported.


New deal to boost Saudi creative sector

New deal to boost Saudi creative sector
Updated 08 February 2023

New deal to boost Saudi creative sector

New deal to boost Saudi creative sector
  • KPMG, Al-Mashtal enter strategic partnership to nurture young talent for sustainable creative economy
  • Al-Mashtal strives to impact not just the community, but the creative economy as a whole in leading incubations and programs on a national level and beyond

RIYADH: KPMG Professional Services and Al-Mashtal Community House and Creative Incubator recently announced a strategic partnership, marking a new era of collaboration between two industry leaders that signals a promising future for Saudi Arabia’s creative sector.

The nature of KPMG’s involvement is to provide professional support for Al-Mashtal in growing their business not only creatively but sustainably. Al-Mashtal will also act as a liaison between entrepreneurs and KPMG specialists and mentors to transform their passion into a viable and actionable business.

Ebrahim Baeshen, office managing partner at KPMG, told Arab News: “Our role here comes to ensure that they (Al-Mashtal) succeed not only by introducing a great idea, or a great product, but by making it sustainable.”

As a creative and community house, Al-Mashtal is dedicated to nurturing the talents of young and emerging Saudi creatives to harness a sustainable creative economy within the region.

Sohaib Zafir, CEO of Al-Mashtal, told Arab News: “Corporations aren’t generally concerned with creative ventures, but KPMG have a great interest in creating social impact within communities.”

The partnership with Al-Mashtal is just one of the initiatives under KPMG’s IMPACT plan, which aims to maximize the influence of environmental, social, and governance on communities to maintain a culture of support and progress.

“Through that program, we have different initiatives … at times we fund, we give money to charity, at times we help by giving lectures, by building materials similar to (Al-Mashtal) and help them by bringing our experts to educate entrepreneurs, to teach them and let them know how to manage a business and do all these things,” Baeshen said.

The incubator has slowly become a hub for local creatives to gather, share ideas, and present various creative initiatives through their hosting of consistent panel discussions, networking sessions, music performances, and more.

It also recently partnered with the Saudi Design Festival to bring the “Brand Your Neighborhood” design challenge. The initiative allowed local creatives to build urban branding and design concepts in Riyadh, Jeddah, and the Eastern Province.

Through Al-Mashtal’s incubation programs that take an educational approach to helping entrepreneurs develop their startups, KPMG will be providing consultations on professional skills, like financing and accounting, and personal soft skills, such as negotiation and pitching.

Al-Mashtal strives to impact not just the community, but the creative economy as a whole in leading incubations and programs on a national level and beyond.

“Our goal isn’t to become legends or be the best, but rather move the sector along. Al-Mashtal will become more than happy if we have competitors, because that creates sustainability within the industry,” Zafir said.

The creative house has been gradually setting the blueprint for drafting the infrastructure of creative incubation within the Kingdom. It acquired the first creative incubation business license in the Kingdom.

KPMG and Al-Mashtal first collaborated in 2021 on a project that proved fruitful for both parties. Baeshan said: “We know great things about Al-Mashtal because we started with them … it’s a great success story even for us to see them succeeding in what they're doing.”


100 Saudi chefs, baristas attend hospitality event in Jeddah

100 Saudi chefs, baristas attend hospitality event in Jeddah
Updated 08 February 2023

100 Saudi chefs, baristas attend hospitality event in Jeddah

100 Saudi chefs, baristas attend hospitality event in Jeddah
  • Local and international food and beverages and hospitality-related companies from 30 countries attend the three-day event

Jeddah: More than 100 young Saudi chefs and baristas are competing at this year’s hotels, restaurants, and catering event at the Jeddah Dome.

HORECA is the biggest annual hospitality exhibition in the region, having previously taken place in Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, and Riyadh.

Local and international food and beverages and hospitality-related companies from 30 countries are attending the three-day event that opened on Tuesday.

President of the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association, chef Yasser Jad, told Arab News that this year’s competition, organized by the World Association of Chefs’ Societies and the Saudi association, would not only be focusing on international dishes but also Saudi traditional cuisine.

Jad said: “Through this competition, we seek to identify and promote the popular dishes that are part of the Kingdom’s culinary culture.”

HORECA is hosting the Hospitality Salon Culinaire, in which more than 150 chefs compete in various categories, and the Saudi Barista Competition with around 50 entrants aiming to win the best barista award.

At the opening ceremony, Saud Al-Rajhi, chairman of the Saudi Event Management and Marketing Co., told Arab News: “After the huge success of HORECA for 11 consecutive years in Riyadh, we are proud and honored to introduce HORECA Jeddah for the first time. In addition, we are also bringing to Jeddah the Salon du Chocolat.”

He pointed out that HORECA provided a platform for key buyers to network with investors, retailers, distributors, and stakeholders.

“The three-day event marks an important step forward for Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning hospitality sector and evolving restaurant and cafe scene. We have around 6,000 brands and we are expecting around 30,000 visitors,” he said.

Mohammed Al-Attas, founder and managing partner of Gaiat Hub, a procurement platform for business supplies, credited the Saudi government for helping put the hospitality industry back on its feet.

“The Saudi market is becoming a very encouraging market for all international companies due to the mega projects, the great business environment for foreign investors, the change of Saudi lifestyle, and more,” he said.