Finance options enhance investment in Saudi real estate sector, say experts at Riyadh forum

Finance options enhance investment in Saudi real estate sector, say experts at Riyadh forum
Majid Al-Hogail, Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing delivers a speech at the opening of the 2nd edition of Future of Real Estate Forum in Riyadh on Monday. (SPA)
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Updated 25 January 2023
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Finance options enhance investment in Saudi real estate sector, say experts at Riyadh forum

Finance options enhance investment in Saudi real estate sector, say experts at Riyadh forum
  • Specialists in Saudi housing at the three-day event underlined the necessity of investing in the sector through various financing alternatives, based on the capabilities and demands of customers

RIYADH: The second Real Estate Future Forum concluded in Riyadh on Wednesday following the participation of 30 states and 100 speakers representing public and private sectors, along with leading economics experts, investors, and decision-makers, both local and global.

Specialists in Saudi housing at the three-day event underlined the necessity of investing in the sector through various financing alternatives, based on the capabilities and demands of customers. 

Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing Majid Al-Hogail said that in-kind registration was one of the main priorities of the real estate sector’s comprehensive strategy, adding: “It is directly linked to the reliability and investment attractiveness of the real estate sector.”

He noted that 2022 had witnessed radical developments and major transformations “as well as the launch of a single entity in charge of registration of property, which is the General Real Estate Authority, in addition to issuing the law of property registration and its implementing regulations.”

The forum addressed several themes, such as the role of the emirates, governorates, ministries and secretariats in aligning to empower the real estate sector, and regional efforts and their impact on the growth of the sector.

The forum also focused on the future of real estate investment, and regulations.

Mansour bin Madi, CEO of the Real Estate Development Fund, said that the individual real estate finance market grew significantly, reaching SR674 billion ($179.5 billion) from January to November 2022, up nearly 130 percent from SR287 billion in 2017.

This reflected the success of the housing plan, one of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 programs.

Bin Madi added that the Real Estate Development Fund’s initiatives are supported by “best global standards” digital governance, citing the execution of more than 10 million digital operations through 43 e-services, as well as the fund’s programs and services with more than 103 e-services.

He noted that the private sector’s role in providing finance and land support to citizens had become more effective, citing the sustainability of the finance market and support programs as a result of the signing of more than 150 strategic agreements with the private sector, which contributed to providing solutions.

Noffel Al-Salama, CEO of the Housing Program, explained that the scheme had various problems and needed “a major overhaul of its system, whether related to the provision of real estate supply or essentially financial alternatives.”

According to Al-Salama, the housing sector accounts for more than 60 percent of the real estate industry and requires development in terms of developer empowerment, reorganization, and law to deliver the housing units demanded by citizens.

Al-Salama indicated that the program nevertheless provides housing solutions that meet the needs and aspirations of Saudi families and that “one of the most important of them is to facilitate the acquisition procedures with an immediate entitlement to direct access to finance through the pertinent regulation to reach the desired targets and achieve growth in terms of control of legislation and government directives.”

Entrustment and Liquidation Center CEO Hussein Al-Harbi said that the body is responsible for encouraging cooperation between government and judicial bodies, as well as working to empower and support the private sector involved in judicial and governmental liquidation operations.


OIC calls for end to human rights ‘double standards’

A displaced Palestinian man rests next to a tent at a camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip Dec. 10, 2023. (Reuters)
A displaced Palestinian man rests next to a tent at a camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip Dec. 10, 2023. (Reuters)
Updated 10 December 2023
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OIC calls for end to human rights ‘double standards’

A displaced Palestinian man rests next to a tent at a camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip Dec. 10, 2023. (Reuters)
  • IPHRC voiced concerns after joining worldwide events to mark Human Rights Day 2023 on Dec. 10, the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

RIYADH: The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has condemned what it describes as double standards in applying human rights norms globally in light of the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.

The IPHRC voiced its concerns after joining worldwide events to mark Human Rights Day 2023 on Dec. 10, the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In a statement, the commission said that after more than two months of Israeli aggression in Gaza, and more than 17,000 civilian casualties, the international community is failing in its responsibility to act on credible accounts of war crimes being committed by Israeli forces.

The commission urged the international community to intervene for an immediate and lasting ceasefire in the enclave.

It also described Israeli orders for civilians in Gaza to evacuate without basic necessities as a violation of International humanitarian law.

The commission voiced concern about human rights violations affecting millions worldwide, and cited the deteriorating conditions for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, persistent violence and discrimination against Muslims in India, and the continued plight of Palestinians and Kashmiris under oppressive regimes.

The IPHRC called for an end to double standards in applying human rights norms globally, and reaffirmed its commitment to promoting good governance, the rule of law, and safeguarding fundamental freedoms.

It also highlighted the need for technological equality and equitable development for OIC member states and other developing nations, and urged the international community to prioritize bridging the technological divide, saying that developing countries face disparities in accessing cutting-edge technologies.

The commission urged member states to adopt innovative, rights-based approaches to address economic, social, and cultural challenges.


Korean Embassy hosts ‘Soul of Korea’ art exhibition in Riyadh

Korean Embassy hosts ‘Soul of Korea’ art exhibition in Riyadh
Updated 10 December 2023
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Korean Embassy hosts ‘Soul of Korea’ art exhibition in Riyadh

Korean Embassy hosts ‘Soul of Korea’ art exhibition in Riyadh

RIYADH: The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Riyadh is hosting the “Oasis/Minhwa Exhibition” at the city’s Ahlam Gallery, which highlights the work of Cho Miyoung.

The event, which also boasts the title “The Soul of Korea,” aims to share the beauty of Korean painting while evoking feelings of peace and serenity.

The works of art set out to promote cultural and mutual understanding through the beauty of Korean folk paintings that detail the various aspects of the country’s art.

Park Joon-yong, the South Korean ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told Arab News: “Cultural exchanges can enhance the ties between the two people and can expand into other fields of cooperation.”

The ambassador highlighted the pivotal role cultural exchange plays in strengthening mutual understanding, cooperation, and bilateral relations between countries such as Saudi Arabia and Korea.

He added: “(Through the exhibition) we are able to affirm that our two people have a friendly sentiment towards the other.

“It is a very good asset for our two people; our two countries also cooperate in many other areas as well.”

The ambassador added that last year the embassy showcased other areas of Korean art, which included hosting a video arts exhibition and one featuring ceramic painting.

He added: “This year we changed the art genre into folk painting. Folk painting is closer and more intimate for the Korean people.”

A diverse group of guests attended the opening of the exhibition, including Saudis, Koreans, Emiratis and Omanis, among others.

Cho told Arab News that through her art she was utilizing the Korean painting tradition of “minhwa” to showcase the healing power of nature.

Traditional folk art was used to wish for the health and good fortune of the family and prevent any harm being inflicted upon them.

The artist said that she had been inspired by the nature and people of Korea, and in staging the event she had seen the many cultural similarities between Saudi Arabia and Korea.

She added: “I am seeing the similarities, not the differences (in culture and people).

“I have been really touched by the way Saudis have greeted me and I feel their welcoming vibrations.”

The opening ceremony also witnessed a staff member at the Korean Embassy guiding guests through breathing exercises to promote health and well-being.

The exhibition is open to the public until Dec. 14.


Dialogue group honors 70 graduates in Lisbon

Dialogue group honors 70 graduates in Lisbon
Updated 10 December 2023
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Dialogue group honors 70 graduates in Lisbon

Dialogue group honors 70 graduates in Lisbon

RIYADH: The International Dialogue Center, or KAICIID, recently honored new graduates from its Fellows Programme, including Arab and African cohorts.

The ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal, was attended by KAICIID Secretary-General Zuhair Al-Harithi along with ambassadors and diplomatic representatives from various countries.

KAICIID honored 70 fellows from 37 countries. Training workshops, dialogue sessions, and journeys to various religious sites in Lisbon preceded the graduation ceremony.

The fellows’ dialogue initiatives were showcased, reflecting their commitment to creating bridges for mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence.

KAICIID fellows also shared lessons learned during the implementation phase of initiatives.

Al-Harithi praised the fellows' dedication during a year of work and collaboration.

He said that KAICIID is proud of its graduates’ creativity and achievements, and views their initiatives as proof of their ability to foster peace and prosperity in their local communities.

The Fellows Programme is a year-long training scheme designed to build a network of leaders committed to fostering interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

Since its launch in 2015, it has equipped hundreds of fellows from 86 countries with the dialogue skills needed to tackle challenges such as hate speech and violent extremism.

Fellows can be part of international or regional cohorts, including the Arab region, Africa, Europe, South and Southeast Asia and Latin America.


NEOM CARE’s to support innovators in food industry

NEOM CARE’s to support innovators in food industry
Updated 10 December 2023
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NEOM CARE’s to support innovators in food industry

NEOM CARE’s to support innovators in food industry

RIYADH: NEOM CARE’s, a collaboration between NEOM, the innovation hub in northwest Saudi Arabia, and CARE’s, a global project founded by chefs Norbert Niederkofler and Paolo Ferretti, recently unveiled its sustainable gastronomy and food security manifesto. The launch occurred at Niederkofler’s new three-Michelin star establishment, Atelier Moessmer, in Bruneck, Italy.

The manifesto aims to create an enduring impact on the future of food in Saudi Arabia. It serves as a framework for sustainable practices in NEOM, the Kingdom, and globally. Focused on fostering food innovation and talent development, the manifesto outlines six key principles: people and leadership, facilities, water and energy, food supply, circular economy, and communications.

The NEOM CARE’s Award complements the manifesto, recognizing and celebrating the next wave of food industry professionals driving innovation and sustainability globally. This international award honors those making a significant positive impact across agriculture, food, and gastronomy.

The Award Council, co-chaired by Niederkofler and Juan Carlos Motamayor, executive director of the NEOM food sector, will define award categories, criteria, and selection methods.

Renowned members include three-star chef Dominque Crenn, ETH Zurich’s Prof. Sacha Menz, marine conservationist Mariasole Bianco, Prof. Rod Wing from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology’s Center for Desert Agriculture, award-winning culinary historian Maricel Presilla, and NEOM Hotel Development’s executive director, Chris Newman.

Motamayor said: “The NEOM CARE’s partnership is ushering in a new era for the global food and gastronomy scene, aligned with NEOM’s commitment to fostering innovation and sustainability. The manifesto will serve as a global guideline for food professionals worldwide, establishing a standard that contributes to the realization of sustainable food security.

“Through the NEOM CARE’s Award, and with the guidance and support of the council members, we aim to instil knowledge and inspire a new generation of culinary talent to implement sustainable practices, driving a lasting positive change in the Kingdom and beyond.”

Niederkofler said: “We are proud to launch the NEOM CARE’s manifesto, inspiring a new generation of talent to adopt sustainability and innovation in their professional careers. The manifesto, alongside the NEOM CARE’s Award, celebrates food professionals from around the world who share our passion and commitment to achieving food security through innovative and sustainable practices.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration with NEOM as we strive to build a unique culinary identity based on creating healthy dishes from fresh, local, and sustainable produce.”

The NEOM CARE’s partnership strengthens NEOM’s commitment to promoting sustainable practices, fostering innovation, and developing a new generation of culinary talent that prioritizes sustainability to contribute to food security solutions.


Manga Productions reveals first trailer of Grendizer U

Manga Productions reveals first trailer of Grendizer U
Updated 10 December 2023
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Manga Productions reveals first trailer of Grendizer U

Manga Productions reveals first trailer of Grendizer U
  • ‘Grendizer’ is a robot anime that follows Duke Fleed, who decides to fight King Vega and his army using the Grendizer to save the earth
  • The anime is considered a fan favorite by 56% of people aged 40 and older, according to a YouGov survey conducted by Arab News Japan

DUBAI: Saudi production company Manga Productions has released the highly-anticipated first official trailer of the upcoming ‘Grendizer’ series titled ‘Grendizer U,’ which is set to be released in 2024.

Created by Go Nagai, ‘Grendizer’ is a robot anime that follows Duke Fleed, who decides to fight King Vega and his army using the Grendizer to save the earth. It is considered a fan favorite by 56% of people aged 40 and older, according to a YouGov survey conducted by Arab News Japan. 

Manga Productions is a Saudi animation production company that focuses on developing animations and video games.

The company released a short teaser for the show in August, which revealed that the anime will be directed by Mitsuo Fukuda, who previously worked on ‘Future GPX Cyber Formula,’ and written by Ichirō Ōkouchi, who previously worked on ‘Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.’

The official trailer, which was released on Sunday, introduces the voice actors for the first time. Miyu Irino, who is known for voicing Haku in Studio Ghibli’s ‘Spirited Away,’ will play the main protagonist, Duke Fleed, while Hiro Shimono, who voiced Dabi in ‘My Hero Academia,’ will play Kouji Kabuto. 

The original soundtrack will be composed by Kohei Tanaka, the co-composer of ‘One Piece.’ Japanese rock bands GLAY and BAND-MAID will be performing the opening and ending songs of the show, which has fans on social media more excited.

Dr. Essam Bukhary, CEO of Manga Productions, expressed his excitement on X for the upcoming anime, saying, “This series marks a significant milestone as Manga Productions takes on the global distribution and licensing responsibilities for events…presenting a unique opportunity among Arab and Middle Eastern companies.”

“With our skilled team and exceptional talents, we eagerly anticipate achieving international success and introducing Grendizer U to our global audience,” he added.

Fans of the show are posting positive reviews on social media regarding the trailer and are anticipating the appearance of the character Mazinger.

Manga Productions has also collaborated with Microids, a French video game company, on a Grendizer video game titled UFO Robot Grendizer: The Feast of the Wolves,’ which was released on November 15 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.

The two companies released an Arabic version of the game. Alain MILLY, Microids’ Vice President of Publishing and former videogame journalist, told Arab News Japan that this is the first time they release a video game in Arabic. “Manga Productions helped us a lot, and they managed all the Arabic translations and voiceovers in the game. We are managing the integration, and it is a little tricky sometimes as it is the first time we are producing a game in Arabic,” he told Arab News Japan.

Originially published in Arab News Japan