Shoura Council approves IMF regional office in Saudi Arabia

A session of the Shoura Council is attended by members. (Supplied)
A session of the Shoura Council is attended by members. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 January 2023

Shoura Council approves IMF regional office in Saudi Arabia

A session of the Shoura Council is attended by members. (Supplied)
  • A draft of an MoU on combating corruption, drawn up between the Saudi Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority and the National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand, was passed by the council

RIYADH: The Saudi Shoura Council on Tuesday held its 18th ordinary session in Riyadh under the chairmanship of deputy speaker, Mishaal bin Fahm Al-Salami.

During the meeting, the council discussed several draft memorandums of understanding and agreements.

Members approved a draft MoU between the Saudi government and the International Monetary Fund on the establishment of an IMF regional office in the Kingdom and support for the fund in capacity development.

A similar preliminary accord between the Saudi General Authority for Competition and its Egyptian counterpart organization on increased cooperation and combating monopolistic practices was also agreed.

In addition, a draft of an MoU on combating corruption, drawn up between the Saudi Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority and the National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand, was passed by the council.

Other draft memoranda approved by members included two between the governments of Saudi Arabia and South Africa for cooperation in the fields of social development, and maritime transport, an agreement with Egypt on fighting crime, and another on the Kingdom’s mutual recognition with Morocco of halal certificates for local products.

 

 


KAUST develops innovative wastewater treatment in Saudi Arabia

KAUST develops innovative wastewater treatment in Saudi Arabia
Updated 44 min 13 sec ago

KAUST develops innovative wastewater treatment in Saudi Arabia

KAUST develops innovative wastewater treatment in Saudi Arabia
  • Universities, industrial partners can work together to solve problems, says VP

JEDDAH: The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology has completed its innovative mobile plant project for wastewater treatment, after five years of research at the university’s water desalination and reuse research center.

The project is a result of the efforts and partnerships between KAUST and the National Water Company.

The technology is the first of its kind in the Kingdom, as it treats wastewater and converts it efficiently into reusable water for areas that are not connected to the central sewage network.

In September last year, KAUST and the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, or MODON, teamed up to tackle wastewater treatment. (Supplied)

It can reduce energy demand by 50 percent, and produce treated water of similar or even better quality than that produced by conventional biological treatment processes.

It is expected that this technology will have a significant impact on underserved areas of the Kingdom by creating new job opportunities that support Saudi youth and offer them the chance to make use of their talents.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The mobile plant treats wastewater and converts it efficiently into reusable water for areas that are not connected to the central sewage network.

• It can reduce energy demand by 50 percent, and produce treated water of similar or even better quality than that produced by conventional biological treatment processes.

Kevin Cullen, vice president of innovation at KAUST said: “Developing a reliable wastewater treatment service is one of the biggest challenges we face today.”

Cullen also pointed out that the ecosystem of deep tech startups at KAUST has become so developed that it has enabled the university to build strong partnerships with the government and established companies, which work together to bring these startups closer to the market.

In September last year, KAUST and the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, or MODON, teamed up to tackle wastewater treatment.

Cullen said: “The relationship between KAUST and MODON is an excellent example of how universities and industrial partners can work together to solve real challenges in our society and in a city like Jeddah where we need to increase wastewater treatment capacity.”

MODON has been piloting a new wastewater bioreactor technology at scale at their industrial city in Jeddah.

During this partnership, Peiying Hong, an associate professor at KAUST, developed a new, zero-energy technology that may hold the key to transforming wastewater sustainability and recycling.

MODON, which operates significant infrastructure throughout the Kingdom for environmental services including wastewater treatment plants, has selected Hong’s technology to pilot on-site at its first industrial city in Jeddah.

Cullen explained: “This technology not only processes wastewater more efficiently using a decentralized treatment model, it can be done in an energy-neutral way providing sustainability for the future.”

 


Massive turnout for LEAP tech conference in Riyadh proves to be a mixed blessing

Massive turnout for LEAP tech conference in Riyadh proves to be a mixed blessing
Updated 11 sec ago

Massive turnout for LEAP tech conference in Riyadh proves to be a mixed blessing

Massive turnout for LEAP tech conference in Riyadh proves to be a mixed blessing
  • For two days in a row, attendees have braved Riyadh’s rush-hour traffic and capacity crowd to gain admission
  • Event has proved a great opportunity for investments, partnerships, meetings and networking with people in tech

RIYADH: Such has been the overwhelming popularity of this year’s LEAP23, a four-day annual tech conference hosted in the Saudi capital Riyadh, that organizers were forced to close the doors to new attendees on Tuesday after the venue reached maximum capacity. 

Held at the Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center, the event’s second edition has seen a massive turnout, as some of the biggest names in the tech world showcase their products and discuss new industry trends.

For two days, students, entrepreneurs and startup owners have braved Riyadh’s rush-hour traffic and large crowds to gain admission — a challenge one attendee described as “a logistical nightmare,” as more than 250,000 registrations were recorded on the first day alone.

Amal Al-Khalid, 24, traveled from the Eastern Province to take part in one of two contests — the Rocket Fuel competition and Alibaba Cloud hackathon — with a SR6 million ($1.5 million) prize pool aimed at rewarding Saudi-based startups and boosting cloud technologies.

“I came with the intention of checking out the competition with my three colleagues as our startup is focused on providing water treatment solutions for domestic use,” she told Arab News on the sidelines of the event.

“Our idea came up as we kept hearing about the problems with the quality at home. I knew it was going to be crowded as many members of our entrepreneurial community spoke of LEAP for months, but I did not expect to see crowds of this kind.”

The Rocket Fuel competition, supported by the National Information Technology Development Program and the Misk Foundation, aims to help new businesses, highlight entrepreneurial projects, and build innovative solutions that address technical challenges.

As many as 90 local startups will compete for a chance to be one of 15 awarded a share of SR4 million, with a top prize of almost SR940,000. The event is a great opportunity as far as investments, partnerships and meetings are concerned, to say nothing of connecting with new people in tech from around the world.

Several young tech entrepreneurs were drawn by the prospect of competing in the contests and the chance to network on the LEAP23 sidelines. However, the event’s enormous popularity appeared to overwhelm the available facilities.

“User journeys were not planned out correctly,” Ghaliah Al-Sukait, an experience and planning development manager, told Arab News.

“Only the main pathway had ushers organizing the human traffic. All the other pathways were disorganized and not clear. The distribution of booths did not allow for smooth transitions from one space to the other, but rather created even more traffic.

“Given the huge anticipated footfall, there should have been multiple entrances and exits to the space to allow users to move freely. Instead, there was only one main entrance (for regular tickets) and one main exit at the opposite side, forcing users to walk through the entire space within the traffic.

“The exit was positioned far away from the parking, leading users to walk through the parking after an already long walk through the space. This resulted in increased frustration from users.”

Roads to and from the venue were also packed, with attendees spending hours stuck in traffic.

“Having left my house at around 1 p.m., and there was a lot of traffic, it took me over an hour to get there,” one visitor from the US told Arab News.

“It was a mess with the traffic. The venue was large. It’s at least a 2-3 mile walk because it’s so huge and overwhelming, though nice. But there were no legends or maps to tell you where to go. They (the crowd) were just standing there,” she added.

LEAP23 will run until Feb. 9, and features an exhibitor and convention line-up of transformational talent, a product showcase of advanced and generative technology potential, and a celebrity guest list of billionaire entrepreneurs, business magnates, sporting heroes, and musical icons-turned futurists and financiers.

On Monday, the conference announced more than $9 billion in investments to support future technologies, entrepreneurship, and tech startups to enhance the Kingdom’s position as the largest digital economy in the Middle East and North Africa region.
 


Saudi Cabinet affirms full support for Iraq’s stability, security

King Salman chairs weekly Council of Ministers meeting at Irqah Palace in Riyadh. (SPA file photo)
King Salman chairs weekly Council of Ministers meeting at Irqah Palace in Riyadh. (SPA file photo)
Updated 54 min 34 sec ago

Saudi Cabinet affirms full support for Iraq’s stability, security

King Salman chairs weekly Council of Ministers meeting at Irqah Palace in Riyadh. (SPA file photo)
  • Kingdom’s chair of Digital Cooperation Organization until 2030 hailed
  • Major conferences this week assuring nation’s global leadership role

RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday affirmed the Kingdom’s support for the Iraqi government’s efforts to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity for its people.

At the start of the session, chaired by King Salman at Irqah Palace in Riyadh, ministers were briefed on the recent talks between Saudi Arabia and several other countries. These were held to ensure regional and global development, cooperation and stability.

Minister of State and Acting Minister of Media Issam bin Saad bin Saeed said that the Cabinet addressed several reports on regional and international conferences hosted by Saudi Arabia during the week. He said these events were held to secure partnerships and investment that would further boost the nation’s leadership role on the global stage.

The Cabinet also welcomed the election of Saudi Arabia as chair of the executive council of the Digital Cooperation Organization, a post it will hold until 2030. This highlights the Kingdom’s pioneering role in technology and the digital economy, and would assist in building mutually beneficial relations and pacts with member states that would ensure a promising digital future for everyone.

The Cabinet also discussed the latest regional and international developments, and stressed that Saudi Arabia supports those nations affected by Monday’s earthquakes, which resulted in deaths, injuries and missing people.

 

 


Saudi king, crown prince offer condolences on death of Musharraf

People attend the funeral prayer of Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf, in Karachi. (AP)
People attend the funeral prayer of Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf, in Karachi. (AP)
Updated 07 February 2023

Saudi king, crown prince offer condolences on death of Musharraf

People attend the funeral prayer of Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf, in Karachi. (AP)
  • Musharraf was buried in his hometown of Karachi on Tuesday after he passed away in hospital in Dubai on Sunday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday sent cables of condolences to the President of Pakistan Arif Alvi after the passing of former President Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf was buried in his hometown of Karachi on Tuesday after he passed away in hospital in Dubai on Sunday.

He had been living in self-imposed exile in Dubai since 2016 after suffering a rare organ disease.

The king and crown prince prayed for the deceased and offered their condolences to his family and the people of Pakistan.


Saudi king, crown prince direct operation of air bridge after Turkiye quake

Emergency team members search for people in a destroyed building in Adana, Turkey, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. (AP)
Emergency team members search for people in a destroyed building in Adana, Turkey, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. (AP)
Updated 07 February 2023

Saudi king, crown prince direct operation of air bridge after Turkiye quake

Emergency team members search for people in a destroyed building in Adana, Turkey, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. (AP)
  • The assistance provided stems from the keenness of the Saudi leadership to support those affected by the devastating earthquake in Syria and Turkiye: KSrelief chief

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday directed the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center to operate an air bridge to help earthquake victims in Syria and Turkiye.

A magnitude 7.8 quake hit Turkiye and neighboring Syria early on Monday, toppling thousands of buildings including many apartment blocks, wrecking hospitals, and leaving tens of thousands of people injured or homeless.

The bridge will help provide health, shelter, food, and logistical assistance to mitigate the effects of the earthquake on people in Syria and Turkiye.

The king and crown prince also ordered the organisation of a charity campaign through KSrelief’s Sahem Platform.

The assistance provided stems from the keenness of the Saudi leadership to support those affected by the devastating earthquake in Syria and Turkiye, the Supervisor General of KSrelief Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said.

He added that various food, shelter, and medical aid will be provided in support of rescue efforts.

Search teams and aid poured into both Turkiye and Syria on Tuesday as rescuers working in freezing temperatures dug through the remains of buildings flattened by a powerful earthquake. The death toll soared above 6,200 and is still expected to rise.