Saudi minister discusses space cooperation with UK and India counterparts at WEF

Saudi minister discusses space cooperation with UK and India counterparts at WEF
Grant Shapps with Abdullah bin Amer Al-Swaha and Mohammed Al-Tamimi (SPA)
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Updated 20 January 2023

Saudi minister discusses space cooperation with UK and India counterparts at WEF

Saudi minister discusses space cooperation with UK and India counterparts at WEF

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s minister for communications held talks with the UK’s business minister on the growing cooperation between the two countries on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

Abdullah bin Amer Al-Swaha met with Grant Shapps – also responsible for Britain’s energy and industrial strategy - in Davos, and the pair discussed the expansion of the strategic partnership in the fields of science, technology, and space, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

As well as meeting with the UK minister, Al-Swaha also held talks with Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Indian federal minister for railways, communications, electronics and information technology.

The pair discussed strengthening the strategic partnership between Saudi Arabia and India in the areas of technology, innovation, and digital entrepreneurship.

The two meetings were also attended by Mohammed Al-Tamimi, the Saudi governor of the Communications, Space & Technology Commission.

The meetings came after Bandar Alkhorayef, the Saudi minister of industry and mineral resources, appeared on a panel with Shapps at the Future Minerals Forum held in Riyadh earlier in January.

The pair agreed that immediate collective action is required to combat climate change and achieve net-zero emissions during a discussion titled “Lands of Opportunity: Enabling Mineral Development in Africa, Western and Central Asia.”

Shapps said that there is significant scope for cooperation between the UK and Saudi Arabia in the clean-energy sector, and emphasized the importance of international collective action to achieve global goals related to the transition.


Dubai’s international passenger arrivals climb 97% to reach 14.36m in 2022 

Dubai’s international passenger arrivals climb 97% to reach 14.36m in 2022 
Updated 15 sec ago

Dubai’s international passenger arrivals climb 97% to reach 14.36m in 2022 

Dubai’s international passenger arrivals climb 97% to reach 14.36m in 2022 

RIYADH: International passenger arrivals in Dubai reached 14.36 million in 2022, up 97 percent from 7.28 million in 2021, the latest government data showed.  

The figures from Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism indicate that the emirate is closing in on its pre-pandemic visitation levels when 16.73 million international passengers arrived in Dubai in 2019.

“The remarkable rise in international visitation in 2022 supports the ambitious goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to double the size of the emirate’s economy by 2033,” said the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.  

He added: “The tourism and travel sector contributes significantly to the leadership’s aim of making the emirate a model for excellence in the global economy.”  

Al Maktoum further noted that Dubai is emerging as a greater catalyst for the growth of global tourism and travel connectivity in the years ahead.  

It should be noted that the latest data from the UN World Tourism Organization shows global tourist travel went down by 37 percent in 2022 compared to 2019. 

The Middle East, however, showed the strongest relative increase in 2022, with arrivals climbing to 83 percent of pre-pandemic figures.  

Dubai exceeded both global and regional barometers of recovery with visitors to the city reaching 86 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2022.  

“While the global economy remains in a state of flux, Dubai has emerged as a clear leader in the tourism industry. The robust performance is a testament to Dubai’s growing role at the vanguard of global tourism recovery,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.  

Almarri added: “The effectiveness of our strategies and initiatives gives us the confidence to tap new growth opportunities in the global travel and business sectors over the next few decades.”  

Meanwhile, the hospitality sector in Dubai also achieved significant growth in 2022, as the average occupancy for the hotel sector last year stood at 73 percent, up from 67 percent in 2021, news agency WAM reported.  

This figure is just short of the 75 percent occupancy in the pre-pandemic period of 2019. 

Dubai’s hotel inventory at the end of December 2022 comprised 146,496 rooms at 804 hotel establishments, compared to 126,120 rooms available at the end of December 2019 across 741 establishments. 


Saudi British Bank meets with Hong Kong delegation to elevate investment opportunities  

Saudi British Bank meets with Hong Kong delegation to elevate investment opportunities  
Updated 06 February 2023

Saudi British Bank meets with Hong Kong delegation to elevate investment opportunities  

Saudi British Bank meets with Hong Kong delegation to elevate investment opportunities  

RIYADH: Top officials from Saudi British Bank met with a high-level business delegation from Hong Kong to discuss cross-border business and investment opportunities between Saudi Arabia and the special administrative region of China.  

According to a press release, the Hong Kong business delegation that reached Riyadh on Feb. 5 was led by CEO John Lee Ka-chiu. He was accompanied by Peter Lam, chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, as well as top businessmen and executives.  

The meeting also included a panel discussion between distinguished leaders of Saudi Arabia’s business community and officials from government institutions to discuss points of cooperation and explore investment and trade opportunities that will enhance the economic development plans in the two countries and increase the volume of trade exchange.  

“As countries around the world have to contend with the challenges of climate change, war and inflation, many are looking for new markets and new technology to restart their growth,” said Lam.  

He added: “Especially for Hong Kong, we are excited about the opportunity to leverage the strong ties between Saudi Arabia and Mainland China around the Belt and Road (which enters its 10th year) and ride on long-term national development plans across the two nations, such as the Mainland’s 14th Five Year Plan and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.”  

Tony Cripps, managing director and CEO of SABB said that Hong Kong’s vital position as a financial hub which is a fundamental part of China’s Greater Bay Area and Belt Road strategies makes it a key player in the rapid build-up of business ties with the Kingdom.  

“SABB, together with our international partner and shareholder HSBC, is ideally positioned to support both inbound and outbound trade and investment between these important partners,” said Cripps.  

After arriving in Riyadh on Sunday, Lee said that he will meet top executives of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. during the visit, and added that he would highlight what Hong Kong had to offer as an international financial center.  

“Saudi Aramco’s businesses are very diversified with its different subsidiaries. I will try my best to encourage them to come to Hong Kong for participation, including listing in the city,” said Lee, as reported by the South China Morning Post. 


Chinese FM, central bank governor to attend debt roundtable in India, says IMF MD

Chinese FM, central bank governor to attend debt roundtable in India, says IMF MD
Updated 06 February 2023

Chinese FM, central bank governor to attend debt roundtable in India, says IMF MD

Chinese FM, central bank governor to attend debt roundtable in India, says IMF MD

RIYADH: China's finance minister and its central bank governor will attend a roundtable with other creditors and some borrowing countries in February in India, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a CBS' 60 Minutes interview on Sunday. 

"China has to change its policies because low-income countries cannot pay," she said. 

"What we are working towards is to bring all creditors, the traditional creditors from advanced economies, new creditors like China, Saudi Arabia, India, as well as the private sector, and put them around the table with the debtor countries." 

Georgieva said last month the first such gathering will take place on the sidelines of a meeting of Group of 20 finance officials in India. 

Georgieva, the first person from an emerging market economy to head the International Monetary Fund, has said debt relief was critical for heavily indebted nations to avoid cuts in social services and other repercussions. 

"China is going to participate at the level of minister of finance and the governor of People's Bank of China," she told 60 Minutes. 


Oracle to invest $1.5bn in Saudi Arabia, plans cloud region in Riyadh 

Oracle to invest $1.5bn in Saudi Arabia, plans cloud region in Riyadh 
Updated 20 min 11 sec ago

Oracle to invest $1.5bn in Saudi Arabia, plans cloud region in Riyadh 

Oracle to invest $1.5bn in Saudi Arabia, plans cloud region in Riyadh 
  • The Kingdom is a very high priority for Oracle, says top official

RIYADH: Aiming to meet the growing demand for its cloud services, Oracle plans to open a third public cloud region in Saudi Arabia, the company’s senior vice president, technology cloud, Middle East and Africa, told Arab News in an exclusive interview. 

“Saudi Arabia is a very high priority for Oracle right now,” said Nick Redshaw. “We’re seeing unprecedented growth in the region, which is tremendous and LEAP 2023 will reiterate our commitment to that unprecedented growth with what we think are unprecedented investments and expansion and innovation into the Kingdom and the region.” 

Oracle unveiled its expansion plans at LEAP 2023 International Technology Conference, which is taking place in Riyadh from Feb. 6-9.

Redshaw added: “Oracle is going to invest $1.5 billion in Saudi Arabia to meet the unprecedented acceleration of cloud computing and demand that we’re seeing in the Kingdom. We are also going to expand our first (public cloud) region in the Kingdom, which is in Jeddah, to provide incremental capacity to service the current demand. 

“In addition, we are opening a new public cloud region in Riyadh.”

The opening of the new region in the Saudi capital will “take our total to six across the Middle East and three regions in the Kingdom,” the official said. 

He said the Riyadh region will primarily service the expanding requirements of the Kingdom’s eastern region and Oracle’s government clients who are predominantly based in Riyadh. 

The cloud region in Riyadh will join the existing regions in Jeddah and the futuristic city of NEOM. 

This investment was earlier included in a memorandum of understanding that was signed during Oracle CEO Safra Catz’s recent visit to Riyadh in the presence of Haytham Al-Ohali, vice minister at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. 

“The aim here is to help the government and businesses take advantage of all the latest innovation in the cloud and digital transformation that we can deliver,” said Redshaw. 

As part of the MoU, Oracle will work with MCIT and the Communications and Information Technology Commission to establish a commercial and operational model for an additional cloud region in Saudi Arabia that is aligned with the Saudi government’s requirements and local data residency regulations. 

Meeting unprecedented demand 

“We’re seeing an unprecedented rise in cloud computing across the whole region, particularly in Saudi Arabia,” said Redshaw. 

Indeed, according to IDC — a global provider of market intelligence — public cloud spending in Saudi Arabia will increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 26.8 percent over the coming years to reach $3.1 billion in 2026, spurred by organizations looking to leverage the power of the cloud to modernize their critical business applications and become cloud native. 

Redshaw continued: “I anticipate it to grow even more rapidly over the next few years.” 

With regard to the rise of cloud adoption, he said, it’s all about organizations wanting to transform. 

“Cloud adoption is making them more cost-efficient, more secure, more agile, more flexible as businesses as they capitalize on cloud,” he explained. “You’ve got the Kingdom’s demand going up, cloud transformation going up, and then really innovating as businesses on top of that to take advantage of it.” 

Creating job opportunities 

Asked how the new initiatives are likely to impact the job market, Redshaw explained, that since the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 is continuing at a fast pace, it is enabling businesses to transition to the new digital environment and take advantage of technology to drive business outcomes and innovation. 

“Whether it’s Jeddah or Riyadh, what we’re doing is providing the capability to take advantage of that demand which is very strong,” he said. 

Redshaw went on to list a couple of measures that Oracle is taking within the Kingdom to foster and promote talent.

“One is around skills enablement and building capability, both in businesses, in engineering, in startups,” he said. “We have a number of programs running where we bring in young individuals, train them, educate them, and then they can go back into the broader technology market and take advantage of that innovation.” 

He also mentioned the Oracle Academy where educators from around the globe work with institutions in the Kingdom to build learning programs.  

“In addition, we have innovation hubs we’ve built — in Riyadh and the UAE as well,” he continued. “This is where people can meet. We put experts in there. They can brainstorm, train and figure out how to take advantage of all the technology.” 


Read More: Oracle opens Riyadh tech hub


Oracle headquarters campus in Silicon Valley, Redwood City, CA, USA. (Shutterstock)

Focus on sustainability 

Underscoring its ongoing focus on sustainability, Oracle is committed to powering all its cloud regions worldwide with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. 

Several Oracle cloud regions, including regions in the North and South Americas, and all 10 regions in Europe, are already powered by 100 percent renewable energy, which enables customers to run their computing services more sustainably and with a lower carbon footprint. 

To further advance its commitment to sustainable operations, Oracle recycled 99.9 percent of its retired hardware in 2022. 

“We’re very proud of the sustainability plan that we have and everything we roll out, we roll out consistently worldwide, including Saudi Arabia,” informed Redshaw. 

He added: “We stand committed to our goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy in all the next-generation cloud regions by 2025 and that would include Riyadh, Jeddah, and all the ones we are bringing on board in the region. We also do a lot around the hardware recycling, so that’s our continued effort to reduce e-waste.” 

“We also decreased the amount of waste sent to landfill in Oracle-owned buildings by 25 percent per square foot since 2015,” Redshaw continued. “In addition, we do a lot of work around responsible sourcing and by 2025 the aim is that 100 percent of our key suppliers will also have an environmental program in place.” 

Not surprisingly, according to him, Oracle is well on its way to achieving its aim of net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Redshaw concluded by saying that they apparently found that 95 percent of businesses believe they make more progress toward sustainability and social goals with the help of artificial intelligence. 

“When you look at technological capability and how people take advantage of it and innovate, there’s a lot you can do with data and AI to actually make your business more sustainable as well,” he said. 
 


Oil Updates — Crude up; IEA chief says price caps hit Russia’s export revenue  

Oil Updates — Crude up; IEA chief says price caps hit Russia’s export revenue  
Updated 06 February 2023

Oil Updates — Crude up; IEA chief says price caps hit Russia’s export revenue  

Oil Updates — Crude up; IEA chief says price caps hit Russia’s export revenue  

RIYADH: Oil prices inched up in early trade on Monday after falling around 8 percent last week to more than three-week lows as jitters over major economies outweighed signs of a demand recovery in China, the world’s top oil importer. 

Brent crude futures crawled up 24 cents, or 0.30 percent, to $80.18 a barrel at 08.30 a.m. Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 12 cents, also 0.16 percent higher, to $73.51 a barrel. 

Last Friday, WTI and Brent slid 3 percent after strong US jobs data raised concerns that the Federal Reserve would keep raising interest rates, which in turn boosted the dollar. 

Price caps hit Russia’s export revenue by about $8 billion in January: IEA 

Price caps on Russian oil likely hit Moscow’s revenues from oil and gas exports by nearly 30 percent in January, or about $8 billion, from a year ago period, International Energy Agency chief Fatih Birol said on Sunday 

He said the growth in global oil demand this year will come from China and that may need the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, to look at their output policies. 

“And now this year Chinese economy is rebounding...this is putting upward pressure on the demand,” he said referring to the ‘exploding’ demand for jet fuel in China. 

Germany’s Scholz says Berlin is preparing wind power roadmap: Bild 

Berlin is preparing a roadmap for speedy wind power plant constructions to achieve a planned roll-out of renewable energy to meet climate goals for 2030, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a newspaper interview on Sunday. 

Germany aims to cut 65 percent of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 compared with 1990 and to become carbon-neutral by 2045. 

“By 2030, there will be an average of four to five onshore wind turbines on land every day,” Scholz, a Social Democrat, told the Bild am Sonntag. 

“Every month, there will be a discussion with the states on how far they have progressed. Anything that is not done on time must be made up for,” said the Chancellor. 

The energy crisis, brought about by the war in Ukraine, has shown Germany’s resilience amid supply shocks, he said. 

But beyond that capability, more innovation and modernization of Germany’s export-geared manufacturing industry was necessary. 

Once the expansion of wind and solar power was progressing in full swing, Europe’s biggest economy would become less dependent on imports of fossil fuels such as gas, coal or crude oil, he said. 

Berlin has approved measures to speed up the wind and solar power roll-out as well as that of offshore wind. 

In total, Germany should have access to 360 megawatts of green electricity capacity by 2030. 

(With input from Reuters)