SAMI’s new ‘Center of Excellence’ to be up and running by 2025

Special SAMI’s new ‘Center of Excellence’ to be up and running by 2025
SAMI CEO Walid Abukhaled speaking to Arab News (AN)
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Updated 23 February 2023

SAMI’s new ‘Center of Excellence’ to be up and running by 2025

SAMI’s new ‘Center of Excellence’ to be up and running by 2025

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to create hundreds more jobs in the defense sector as Saudi Arabian Military Industries' new ‘Land System Center of Excellence’ becomes operational in the next two years, the company’s CEO told Arab News.

Speaking exclusively on the sidelines of the International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi, Walid Abukhaled said the latest project by the company is designed to boost the defense industry in Saudi Arabia.

“What we announced is the design phase of the facilities. We have got board approval, we have got the support, and we are moving forward with our plan,” he said. 

The SAMI CEO said the latest center will focus on developing land system vehicles including four-by-fours, six-by-sixes, and eight-by-eights.

The center is part of the drive to make SAMI one of the top 25 defense companies globally by 2030 – an ambition that is increasingly likely thanks to the support from the leadership of the Kingdom, according to Abukhaled.

Last year, the firm joined forces with global firm Lockheed Martin to begin work on a Composites Manufacturing Center of Excellence to boost Saudi Arabia’s aerospace manufacturing capabilities.

During the interview, he expressed his gratitude to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and said that his Vision 2030 is the driving factor behind SAMI’s growth. 

“Only after four years of operationalizing SAMI’s operation, we managed to be one of the top 100 defense companies in the world. We are number 96. Company number 100 is Embraer which was established in 1969. Our ultimate objective is to be a top 25 defense company by 2030,” said Abukhaled. 

He added: “We have a clear roadmap. The target is 2030, absolutely. And the challenge, can we beat it? Can we beat the date and make it happen before 2030?“ 

According to Abukhaled, the government, the military and all the armed forces are working together to help SAMI achieve this target. 

He further noted that SAMI has hired some of the best local talents, along with international experts who have first-hand knowledge about the defense sector, and this has played a crucial role in determining the success of the company in a very short period of time. 

The SAMI CEO added that the firm is eyeing 50 percent of localization in defense spending by 2030. 

He further pointed out that space is going to play a crucial role in enhancing the communication system in the defense sector. 

“Space will play a key role in communication. And under our advanced electronic divisions, we have communication systems, and that communication can happen through space, or through a normal waveform, ground to ground. So, we are working on how to communicate with satellites, and that will be under our advanced electronics division,” he said. 

Abukhaled revealed that SAMI is also working on new technologies like artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicle technology to further grow in the defense sector. 

“We have a chief technology officer. There is a function called emerging technologies, where the main objective and purpose is to look at the trends in technology and look 20 and 30 years ahead. So, absolutely there is a focus on advanced technology,” said Abukhaled. 

He added: “Autonomy is not an option any more. It is coming. That is the future. Airplane will fly without pilots. Ships will sail without a captain, and for land vehicles, you will not need drivers. The machines have proven that they can. They are more reliable and they do not make mistakes. Of course, you need to put the right option in them to make it reliable.” 

Key sectors need $13.5tn investment by 2050 to become carbon-neutral: WEF

Key sectors need $13.5tn investment by 2050 to become carbon-neutral: WEF
Updated 18 sec ago

Key sectors need $13.5tn investment by 2050 to become carbon-neutral: WEF

Key sectors need $13.5tn investment by 2050 to become carbon-neutral: WEF

RIYADH: A total investment of $13.5 trillion is needed to ensure a carbon-neutral future by 2050, particularly in the production, energy and transport sectors, according to the World Economic Forum. 

In its report titled “Net-Zero Industry Tracker 2023,” WEF said that decarbonizing the industrial and transport sector is crucial to achieving a greener future, as these industries emit 40 percent of global greenhouse emissions. 

Roberto Bocca, the head of the Center for Energy and Materials at the WEF, said considerable investments are needed in the industrial and transport sector to achieve net-zero targets within the stipulated timeline. 

“Significant infrastructure investments are required, complemented by policies and stronger incentives so industries can switch to low-emission technologies while ensuring access to affordable and reliable resources critical for economic growth,” said Bocca. 

According to the report published in collaboration with Accenture, the $13.5 trillion in investments is derived from average clean power generation costs of solar, off-shore and on-shore wind, and nuclear and geothermal.

It also accounts for electrolyzer costs for clean hydrogen and carbon transport, as well as storage costs.

The report comes in the same week the 2023 UN’s Climate Change Conference is set to begin, which calls for “dramatic climate action” to close an “emissions canyon.” 

In addition to increasing capital expenditures to decarbonize existing industrial and transport asset bases, further investment is needed to build a clean-energy infrastructure, WEF added in the report. 

“It is imperative that action is taken soon to both decarbonize and improve energy efficiency; otherwise, unabated fossil-fuel demand in the key industry sectors, which have grown 8 percent on average the past three years, will increase very significantly by 2050,” added Bocca. 

Bocca highlighted that global collaboration among industrial leaders, embracing the usage of fuels like hydrogen, and implementing carbon capture, utilization and storage systems will help combat the issues surrounding emissions. 

The report added that carbon pricing, tax subsidies, public procurement and the development of strong business cases can support mobilizing necessary investments in the industrial and transport sectors. 

WEF and Accenture also stressed the need for public-private partnerships to ensure a sustainable future. 

“Collaboration between the public and private sectors is critical to a successful energy transition, and technology can be a key enabler in both managing affordable and reliable access to clean energy and addressing the incremental cost of decarbonization,” said Muqsit Ashraf, who leads Accenture Strategy.

He added: “Additionally, business model innovations can also help stimulate demand and accelerate industrial decarbonization – achieving net-zero objectives and a resilient energy transition.” 

CBUAE and People’s Bank of China renew currency swap agreement, sign MoU 

CBUAE and People’s Bank of China renew currency swap agreement, sign MoU 
Updated 28 November 2023

CBUAE and People’s Bank of China renew currency swap agreement, sign MoU 

CBUAE and People’s Bank of China renew currency swap agreement, sign MoU 

RIYADH: The UAE and China have entered into a renewed currency swap arrangement facilitated by agreements that aim to advance technical and technological cooperation between the two nations. 

The understanding, which will renew the currency swap between the Central Bank of the UAE and the People’s Bank of China, bears a nominal value of 18 billion dirhams ($4.9 billion) over the next five years. This deal aims to enable the provision of liquidity in local currency into the financial markets. 

This agreement is expected to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of settling financial and trade transactions between the two nations. 

Both banks also signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance collaboration with central bank digital currency development and strengthen cooperation between CBUAE and the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China in the field of financial technology. 

The MoU will allow information to be shared on best practices and regulations pertaining to digital currencies and will support the implementation of cooperative undertakings, such as Project mBridge, a multi-central bank digital currency platform that facilitates quick and secure cross-border trade payments.

“The renewal of the currency swap agreement between our two countries and the MoU with our partners in China reflect the depth of the relationship between the UAE and China, embodying the Central Bank’s commitment to solidifying the partnership with our Chinese counterpart in financial, trade and investment fields,” Khaled Mohamed Balama, governor of CBUAE said. 

Additionally, the MoU includes cooperation in training and skills development for specialists on both sides and the exchange of bilateral visits to discuss matters of common interest. 

Last week, the Dubai Financial Market, in collaboration with Nasdaq Dubai and the Shanghai Stock Exchange, signed an MoU to advance joint products, including indices and electronic fund transfer initiatives. 

This step marks a significant development in fostering financial collaboration between exchanges. 

Saudi economy to rebound in 2024: Riyadh Capital

Saudi economy to rebound in 2024: Riyadh Capital
Updated 28 November 2023

Saudi economy to rebound in 2024: Riyadh Capital

Saudi economy to rebound in 2024: Riyadh Capital

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s economy is expected to “rebound” in 2024, according to an analysis by Riyadh Capital.

The bank’s “Saudi Economic Chartbook” for the fourth quarter of 2023 outlines a projected continuation of solid growth for non-oil activities, facilitated by a progress-driven financial policy emphasizing an increase in investment spending, leading to the foreseen advancement in 2024.

For 2023, the document estimates non-oil activities to grow by 5.1 percent while projecting a 4.9 percent boost for 2024.

The bank notes that the Kingdom’s economy is expected to consolidate in 2023 due to oil production cuts in the last 12 months.

The decline in crude output in 2023 is expected to gradually reverse over the course of next year, leading the body to forecast an oil sector GDP contribution of 3.6 percent in 2024.

For 2023, the fiscal deficit is estimated at SR82 billion ($21.9 billion), corresponding to 2.1 percent of GDP.

Meanwhile, the 2024 deficit is projected to narrow to SR43 billion or 1.1 percent of GDP, primarily due to gradually higher oil and non-oil revenues.

Closing Bell: Saudi main index inches up to close at 11,101

Closing Bell: Saudi main index inches up to close at 11,101
Updated 28 November 2023

Closing Bell: Saudi main index inches up to close at 11,101

Closing Bell: Saudi main index inches up to close at 11,101

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rebounded on Tuesday, as it gained 20.18 points or 0.18 percent to close at 11,100.92.

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR4.87 billion ($1.30 billion) as 108 of the listed stocks advanced, while 103 declined.

Saudi Arabia’s parallel market Nomu also performed well on Tuesday, with the index gaining 371.89 points or 1.53 percent, closing at 24,631.21.

The MSCI Tadawul Index too edged up 0.36 percent to close at 1,430.79.

The best-performing stock of the day was Wafrah for Industry and Development Co. The company’s share price soared by 5.36 percent to SR41.30.

Other top performers were Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Services Group and Yamama Cement Co., whose share prices surged by 3.73 percent and 3.53 percent, respectively.

The worst performer in the main index was Alamar Foods Co., as its share price dipped by 3.90 percent to SR113.20.

The positive performance of Nomu was driven by Fad International Co., which debuted on the market today. The company’s share price surged by 30 percent to SR109.20.

In the parallel market, Future Care Trading Co.’s share price edged up by 10.10 percent to SR25.50.

On the announcements front, the Saudi exchange said that Armah Sports Co. will be listed and start trading on Nomu on Nov. 30.

Al-Moammar Information Systems Co., also known as MIS, revealed that it was awarded a contract worth SR81.6 million by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice to offer technical support.

In a Tadawul statement, MIS said that there were no related parties involved in the deal.

Meanwhile, Knowledge Tower Trading Co. announced that it purchased land that spans 1,148 sq. meters in Riyadh’s Malaz neighborhood at a value of SR6.3 million.

In a statement to Tadawul, the company said that the purchase would be financed through company sources and added that the land would be developed as an income-generating investment.

Jazan Investment Forum to showcase Saudi ‘food basket’ region

Jazan Investment Forum to showcase Saudi ‘food basket’ region
Updated 28 November 2023

Jazan Investment Forum to showcase Saudi ‘food basket’ region

Jazan Investment Forum to showcase Saudi ‘food basket’ region

RIYADH: Global investors will get a chance to explore Jazan’s economic opportunities through Saudi Arabia’s southwestern region’s investment forum, which is scheduled to kick off on Nov. 28.   

The Jazan Investment Forum 2023, held under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to introduce economic advantages in the logistics and agriculture sectors.  

In addition, the event will shed light on the environmental and climatic diversity of the region, particularly Farasan Island, according to the Saudi Press Agency.  

It added that visitors will have the opportunity to delve into Jazan's rich heritage, explore monuments dating back to 8000 BC, and learn more about the region’s importance as an agricultural site with diverse crops.   

Gov. of Jazan Prince Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz extended his deepest gratitude to the crown prince for patronizing the forum. The event is organized by the Jazan Chamber in cooperation with the region’s governing department and the Jazan Region Development Strategic Office, along with several relevant government and private agencies. 

The governor emphasized that the forum aims to serve as a platform for attracting direct and high-quality investments to the Jazan region, adding that it will act as a gateway to engage with relevant authorities to enhance the working environment and foster strategic investment partnerships for comprehensive growth and sustainable development in the region.  

The two-day forum will feature a dialogue session where various ministers will discuss investment in Jazan, the region’s competitiveness, and its future aligned with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

The aims are to enhance the investment and development environment and create new opportunities.  

Additionally, topics covering Jazan’s crucial economic role in attracting significant global investments to the region are also on the agenda.  

Furthermore, the governor reviewed the importance of the forum and its activities, as well as the various investment opportunities available in different economic, agricultural, and tourism fields.

He also highlighted the ultimate care and interest the region receives from the leaders as part of their overall keenness to develop services in all regions of the country.   

It is noteworthy that Jazan attracted over SR1 billion ($266 million) in investments in 2022 and 2023, gaining ground as a commercial region.  

The amount secured in the last two years represents 40 percent of the municipality’s total investments over the past 20 years, the SPA reported. 

While the region had a competitive edge with its vast coastline conducive to maritime and oil industries, it was the strategic decision to develop as a special economic zone catering to the logistics industry that gave it the upper hand. 

Besides hosting the third-largest ports in the Kingdom, the coastal region is also home to a refinery, which is one of the largest refining stations in the world. 

Moreover, the rapid development of infrastructure in the region was another crucial factor that led to the spurt in investment over the last two years.