Saudi Arabia tackles global food insecurity by investing in innovation   

Saudi Arabia tackles global food insecurity by investing in innovation   
The Kingdom’s ministry signed a cooperation agreement with UpLink in May of 2022. (File)
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Updated 28 February 2023

Saudi Arabia tackles global food insecurity by investing in innovation   

Saudi Arabia tackles global food insecurity by investing in innovation   

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia aims to tackle global food insecurity by supporting the government’s investment in innovation, revealed a top official of the Ministry of Economy and Planning.  

Hosam Rowaihy, the head of the Decision Support Unit and Senior Advisor to the Minister of Economy and Planning, addressed this at the national launch of the Food Ecosystems in Arid Climates Challenge at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. 

Run by UpLink, an open innovation platform of the World Economic Forum, the challenge is a global call for food entrepreneurs who are generating innovative solutions to achieve food security amidst intensified droughts and desertification. 

“The Ministry of Economy and Planning's partnership with UpLink is an opportunity to create and support a network of innovators that will build unique solutions,” said Rowaihy.   

The Kingdom’s ministry signed a cooperation agreement with UpLink in May of 2022 to “expand the scope of the most innovative solutions which address sustainable development challenges,” the ministry said at the time.   

Rowaihy noted that as the pandemic takes a toll on global hunger, the Kingdom redirects its focus on tackling the issue of food insecurity and malnutrition around the world.   

“As of 2022, 828 million people are affected by hunger worldwide, 2.3 billion are food insecure, and 3.1 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet,” said Rowaihy.   

Given Saudi Arabia's climate context and the challenges that come with it, he stressed that the Kingdom holds its position as a major innovation accelerator, dedicating resources to empower and support entrepreneurs who are determined to tackle the global challenge of food insecurity.  

For the world to reach Zero Hunger, Rowaihy pointed out that “innovative approaches must be implemented along with the investment in today’s youth, who are able to bring novel solutions with agility and speed.”   

Meanwhile, the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadley reviewed the latest developments in the food sector.  

This comes as Saudi Arabia’s private sector also has a vital role in providing the stocks and availability of supply in the markets, which led to overcoming the implications of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis on global food markets. 

Al-Fadley addressed the private sector’s role in developing local stocks of feed inputs like maize, soybeans and barley, as well as the sector’s stimulation mechanisms.   

The minister underlined the vitality of consistency and cooperation between the involved entities to ensure the continuance of availability and quality of food commodities.   

Riyadh Air to use AI for green flight routes in fight against climate change

Riyadh Air to use AI for green flight routes in fight against climate change
Updated 27 September 2023

Riyadh Air to use AI for green flight routes in fight against climate change

Riyadh Air to use AI for green flight routes in fight against climate change

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s newest airline will use artificial intelligence to track the least carbon-emitting flight routes, according to its chief operating officer. 

Speaking during a panel discussion at the UN World Tourism Day 2023, held from Sept. 27-28 in the Saudi capital, Riyadh Air’s Peter Bellew discussed how the company was putting sustainability concerns at the center of its development. 

The airline, announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in March, has ordered 72 Boeing 787s, described by the executive as “the most carbon efficient aircraft there is out there.” 

He added: “We’re going to track in a unique way every single step and every part of our business (to see how) we can reduce our carbon emissions, how we can improve fuel usage, how we can use artificial intelligence to assist us and the optimal flight paths, flight routings, and all those things together.” 

The national carrier acknowledges its advantage as a startup without legacy systems and emphasizes its commitment to sustainability. 

The airline will also use IT systems to track each crew member’s carbon index, encouraging eco-friendly practices. 

Additionally, they are exploring environmentally conscious systems at airports, including electric and hydrogen-powered ground equipment. 

“This is going to be the center of the largest generation of green and blue hydrogen on planet Earth, and we’ll be able to take that through into our maintenance or repair our overhaul, and our engineering facilities,” Bellew said. 

He mentioned the airline’s aim to use eco-friendly hydrogen energy by 2030, aligning the carrier with prospective sustainability principles. 

“I hope that by 2030, they’ll all be powered by clean green hydrogen energy, and then you’ve got the whole Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (sustainability principles) that we can do with what’s on board the aircraft in terms of the management of the waste, to all our buildings and everything,” he added. 

Overall, the airline sees these initiatives as an opportunity to lead by example and foster positive change in the industry. 

Bellew stressed the advantages of being a new airline in today’s technology-driven era, considering it a remarkable opportunity to leverage the latest advancements in data utilization and AI. 

Moreover, Ahmed Daoud, executive director of innovation at the Royal Commission for AlUla, mentioned that the city has developed a blueprint or a plan for involving entrepreneurs and startups in the region to focus on significant growth through environmentally conscious practices. 

This model is “not only sustainable but regenerative and creates wealth and opportunities for local communities,” Daoud said. 

He also added: “That also allows us to continue to invest in our local environments as well.” 

Saudi Arabia has become the first country to back a call for $1 trillion in annual investment into the global startup ecosystem from G20 countries during the Startup20 engagement group’s summit in India this year. 

Daoud outlined a strategic approach to leveraging a global entrepreneurial ecosystem to benefit a young tourist destination. 

He said: “We create synergies between a broader global entrepreneurial ecosystem making investments directly now, not from a venture capital or corporate venture capital perspective, that’s not our position, but in terms of creating symbiotic relationships where we can compete as a nascent tourist destination, by leveraging these advanced solutions that are being developed on the S side of the SME spectrum.” 

He further explained that this approach is being applied to local startups within Saudi Arabia, and there are plans to expand this model to include businesses from the global entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

“We’re investing heavily in expanding that model to a global entrepreneurial ecosystem as well,” Daoud continued. 

Riyadh Air's Chief Operating Officer Peter Bellew.

WTO is held under the theme “Tourism and Green Investments” to encourage global collaboration in exploring opportunities to strengthen the tourism industry’s resilience and push the sector toward an investment-led and environmentally conscious future. 

During the two-day event, tourism CEOs will deliver keynote comments, while panel discussions will focus on three UNWTO essential themes: people, planet, and prosperity. 

Participants will learn about the power of tourism and its role in integrating cultures, preserving the environment, and creating a more peaceful and connected world. 

Saudi Arabia will hand over the chair to Georgia, who will host the event next year. 

PIF-backed Lucid opens first international EV plant in Saudi Arabia

PIF-backed Lucid opens first international EV plant in Saudi Arabia
Updated 27 September 2023

PIF-backed Lucid opens first international EV plant in Saudi Arabia

PIF-backed Lucid opens first international EV plant in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Lucid Group, backed by the Public Investment Fund, on Wednesday opened its first international manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Economic City.

As Lucid’s second Advanced Manufacturing Plant, AMP-2, and first international plant, the facility will produce Lucid’s groundbreaking electric vehicles for Saudi Arabia and export to other markets.

Through the development of electric transportation, Lucid will support the Saudi Green Initiative’s imperative to ensure that 30 percent of new car sales in the Kingdom are electric by 2030.

“We are delighted to make history today in Saudi Arabia by opening the country’s first car manufacturing facility, which will produce our award-winning electric vehicles and support the country’s vision for a more sustainable and diversified economy,” said Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO, Lucid Group.

The AMP-2 facility received significant support from the Ministry of Investment, the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, and KAEC.

“As Saudi Arabia charges toward its Vision 2030, our facility will pave the way for the country’s electric automotive industry and the expansion of the supply chain, and with the support of the Saudi Government, we are proud to drive local talent development in the technology industry. We look forward to delivering Saudi-assembled cars to customers in Saudi Arabia and beyond.”

The AMP-2 facility has begun semi-knocked-down assembly and is expected to have an annual capacity of 5,000 cars. The initial operation re-assembles Lucid Air vehicle “kits” that are pre-manufactured at the company’s US AMP-1 Manufacturing Facility in Casa Grande, Arizona.

Lucid aims to transition AMP-2 to complete build unit production after the middle of the decade, with an additional annual capacity of 150,000 cars.

The plant’s strategic location near Jeddah will also act as a catalyst to further grow and expand the newly established domestic supply chain, creating demand for local suppliers and fostering long-term growth.

“Today is a proud moment for all of us at Lucid as we play a part in Saudi Arabia’s history and create long-term economic value for the country. Earlier this year, we were thrilled to introduce the first and most advanced electric vehicle, the Lucid Air, to the Saudi Arabia market,” said Faisal Sultan, vice president and managing director of Middle East, Lucid Group.

“The opening of our facility today marks the beginning of our production operations to assemble our world-class Lucid Air. AMP-2 in KAEC, in addition to our existing AMP-1 facility in Arizona, gives us the ability to efficiently fulfill the recently signed agreement with the government of Saudi Arabia to purchase up to 100,000 vehicles over a 10-year period, with an initial commitment to purchase 50,000 vehicles and an option to purchase up to an additional 50,000 vehicles over the same period.”

The facility opened at a high-profile event in the presence of PIF Gov. Yasir Al-Rumayyan.

Closing bell: TASI edges up 1.5% to close at 11,077  

Closing bell: TASI edges up 1.5% to close at 11,077  
Updated 27 September 2023

Closing bell: TASI edges up 1.5% to close at 11,077  

Closing bell: TASI edges up 1.5% to close at 11,077  

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index closed at 11,076.94 points on Wednesday, marking an increase of 158.70, or 1.45 percent.  

Simultaneously, the parallel market Nomu closed at 22,632.26, recording a rise of 225.43 points or 1.01 percent, while the MSCI Tadawul 30 Index also edged up 18.21 points to settle at 1,420.52, an increase of 1.3 percent.  

By the day’s end, the main index recorded a trading value of SR5.7 billion ($1.5 billion) with 180 stocks advancing and 38 declining. On the other hand, Nomu reported a trade volume of SR33.3 million.  

Elm Co. was the top performer on the main index with a 10 percent increase to close at SR781.20. Sinad Holding Co. also closed in green with a 7.22 percent increase to settle at SR12.18.  

Al-Rajhi Co. for Cooperative Insurance was amongst the top performers with a 6.33 percent increase to close at SR151.20.   

Al Alamiya for Cooperative Insurance Co. and Al Moammar Information Systems Co. were also on the list with an increase of 5.52 and 5.46 percent, closing at SR17.58 and SR143, respectively.  

Conversely, the newly listed Lumi Rental Co. recorded the largest dip. It declined by 2.9 percent on the third day of its trading to SR83.6.   

Abdulmohsen Alhokair Group for Tourism and Development and Arabian Drilling Co. also experienced setbacks, with their shares dropping SR2.22 and SR189.80, reflecting declines of 2.63 and 1.86 percent, respectively.   

Losses were also reported for Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co. and National Agricultural Development Co.  

Nomu’s top performer was Advance International Co. for Communication and Information Technology, which saw an 18.48 percent jump to SR5.77.  

Molan Steel Co. and Edarat Communication and Information Technology Co. also recorded notable gains, with their shares closing at SR8.18 and SR380.20, marking an increase of 16.86 and 15.21 percent, respectively.   

National Building and Marketing Co. and Gas Arabian Services Co. fared well too.  

On Nomu, International Human Resources Co. was the worst performer, declining by 6.95 percent, to close at SR4.55.  

Other underperformers included Sure Global Tech Co. and Paper Home Co., whose share prices declined to SR72 and SR178.80, a drop of 4 and 3.87 percent, respectively.  

Ghida Alsultan for Fast Food Co. and Professional Medical Expertise Co. also dipped during the day to settle at SR66.20 and SR68, respectively.

Sipchem gets nod for blue ammonia plant in Saudi Arabia 

Sipchem gets nod for blue ammonia plant in Saudi Arabia 
Updated 27 September 2023

Sipchem gets nod for blue ammonia plant in Saudi Arabia 

Sipchem gets nod for blue ammonia plant in Saudi Arabia 

RIYADH: In a significant development, Sahara International Petrochemical Co., known as Sipchem, has received the green light from the Ministry of Energy to kickstart the establishment of a blue ammonia plant in Saudi Arabia. 

The plant, slated to be situated within Jubail Industrial City, will have an annual production capacity of 1.2 million tons, according to the company’s statement.  

Blue ammonia is known for its low carbon footprint, and Sipchem plans to use advanced energy and feedstock technologies for efficient operations. 

The facility, slated to be situated within Jubail Industrial City, is primed to churn out a staggering 1.2 million tons of ammonia annually, marking a notable stride in sustainable industrial practices.  

Blue ammonia is known for its low carbon footprint, created from natural gas as a feedstock while capturing and storing the CO2 emissions produced in its manufacturing. 

Sipchem expressed its commitment to implementing the latest advancements in energy and feedstock technologies to ensure maximum operational efficiency.  

This initiative aligns with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which emphasizes supporting and empowering national companies in the sector. 

Sipchem holds assets valued at $6.3 billion and a market capitalization of around $5.3 billion. It’s listed on Tadawul and part of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. 

The company witnessed strong demand for its products in Europe in the second quarter of 2022, driving a 4 percent increase in half-year sales.

Saudi Arabia grants Chinese firms licenses to practice logistics activities 

Saudi Arabia grants Chinese firms licenses to practice logistics activities 
Updated 27 September 2023

Saudi Arabia grants Chinese firms licenses to practice logistics activities 

Saudi Arabia grants Chinese firms licenses to practice logistics activities 

RIYADH: Several Chinese firms will now be able to practice logistics activities in Saudi Arabia thanks to licenses granted amid the signing of several new joint agreements.  

Saudi Transport and Logistics Services Minister Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, accompanied by a high-level delegation, held a series of meetings on the sidelines of the opening of the Global Sustainable Transport Forum with leaders of major companies in the Chinese capital, Beijing, to propel partnership in the sector.  

This falls in line with the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics Services, which aims to further cement Saudi Arabia’s position as an international logistics center and a hub connecting three continents.    

The meetings were held with officials from KERRY, Sinotrans Almajdouie, and JDL. Also in attendance were leaders from Alibaba Cainiao Group, J&T Express, and iMile.

During the discussions, the minister listened to matters related to the companies, including expected challenges and how to further facilitate their business in the Kingdom.

In addition, Al-Jasser and acting chairman of the Saudi Public Transport Authority, Rumaih bin Mohammed Al-Rumaih, signed an agreement with Alibaba Cainiao Group to provide short address services.

These are unique codes used when the traditional location finder information is too long.

Saudi Arabia’s eco-friendly transport plans are a vital part of the Kingdom’s drive to reduce global carbon emissions by 4 percent, said a government official on Tuesday.    

Speaking at the forum earlier this week, Al-Jasser stressed that sustainability is a fundamental element of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.  

The minister underscored Saudi Arabia’s commitment to environmental responsibility had been seamlessly incorporated into the transport and logistics sector through the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics.      

The plan includes reducing carbon emissions per person by 2 percent annually, increasing sustainable mobility, electrifying transportation, and implementing them across the logistics value chain.  

According to Al-Ekhbariya, the minister also emphasized that cooperation, innovation, and the exchange of best practices create the foundation for achieving common goals.