Saudi Arabia, EU discuss ways to develop clean hydrogen

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, and Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson visited Saudi Arabia to further strengthen cooperations in clean hydrogen. (Photo/Yazeed Alduwihe)
Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, and Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson visited Saudi Arabia to further strengthen cooperations in clean hydrogen. (Photo/Yazeed Alduwihe)
Short Url
Updated 07 March 2023
Follow

Saudi Arabia, EU discuss ways to develop clean hydrogen

Saudi Arabia, EU discuss ways to develop clean hydrogen
  • Timmermans told Arab News: “For the European Union, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner, and one of the areas where this strategy needs to be made concrete is in energy and specifically in the energy transition

RIYADH: The EU’s Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans and European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson have held discussions with government officials from Saudi Arabia to further develop cooperation on the production of clean hydrogen.

Timmermans and Simson also met Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman during their visit to Riyadh on March 5-6.

Timmermans told Arab News: “For the European Union, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner, and one of the areas where this strategy needs to be made concrete is in energy and specifically in the energy transition, and in all of this green hydrogen will play a crucial role.




Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, and Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson visited Saudi Arabia to further strengthen cooperations in clean hydrogen. (Photo/Yazeed Alduwihe)

“Europe needs a lot of clean hydrogen in the future. The Kingdom has a lot of ambitions in developing clean hydrogen [and] that means there is a lot of scope for intensive cooperation.

“There is a strong realization on both sides that the climate crisis is an existential crisis to humanity that doesn’t need explanation, and that is something that is well understood.”

He said that a plan was in place for the two parties to meet regularly to gauge the progress being made.

He added: “We are absolutely pragmatic in our approach. We cannot say there is only one solution or one silver bullet to address the climate crisis; we need to use every technology, every approach, and every way forward that humanity can invent, and some of this is being invented here [in Saudi Arabia], some of it is being invented in Europe… and in cooperating more closely we can benefit from each other’s progress.

“If I look at the EU and Saudi Arabia, the youngest generation across the board are very much convinced that we need to act on this, and we are fortunate to see also the leadership in Saudi Arabia being very conscious of this, and committed, so it gives us a good opportunity to work together.”

Simson told Arab News that the visit was 18 months in the making and was initially to be held following the Kingdom’s hosting of the G20 but was postponed due to the pandemic.

She said: “The aim of our visit was to offer our trusted long-term partners cooperation beyond the fossil fuels.

“Last year we had to diversify away from one supplier from Russia, and by doing so we have not given up our commitment to decarbonize our energy market.

“That means that very soon we need to find alternative suppliers for renewables, mainly renewable hydrogen.

“Our companies have shown interest to start importing green hydrogen from the region, first in the form of ammonia.

“For example, the NEOM project is already sold out, so that shows from the European side there is a clear and strong interest.”

The two officials attended a workshop at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center during their visit. It highlighted initiatives aimed at reaching net zero by 2060.

 


World tourism leaders meeting in Riyadh highlight need for investment in people

World tourism leaders meeting in Riyadh highlight need for investment in people
Updated 27 September 2023
Follow

World tourism leaders meeting in Riyadh highlight need for investment in people

World tourism leaders meeting in Riyadh highlight need for investment in people
  • Experts and leaders from around the world agreed that investment in talent was crucial to creating a sustainable sector
  • In 2020, more than 62 million jobs were lost globally due to the pandemic, many of those being in the tourism and hospitality industry

RIYADH: Global tourism officials meeting in Saudi Arabia have highlighted the importance of investing in people to safeguard the future of the sector.
With the industry getting back on track following the coronavirus pandemic, renewed efforts are being made to promote careers in tourism and hospitality.
Experts and leaders from around the world, gathered in Riyadh for the UN World Tourism Organization’s World Tourism Day, agreed that investment in talent was crucial to creating a sustainable sector.
Speaking on Wednesday during a panel session titled “Investing in Our People,” Indonesia’s deputy minister for tourism product and events at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Rizki Handayani, said: “Human capital development is the most important aspect that plays key roles in the success of sustainable, or green tourism.
“We really need to put our efforts into the development of our human capital, their skill, their knowledge, as well as their capability and entrepreneurship.”
In 2020, more than 62 million jobs were lost globally due to the pandemic, many of those being in the tourism and hospitality industry. Saudi Arabia has since managed a return to work for 80 percent of the sector’s employees. But for many, job security fears are holding them back.
Haitham Mattar is managing director for the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia at IHG Hotels and Resorts, the largest operator and employer in Saudi Arabia with more than 18,000 rooms in around 40 hotels.
He said: “It is now a critical task for both the government and private sector to re-instil the confidence in giving employees job security, but also financial certainty.”
While employment in hospitality can offer fast-tracked career opportunities, and international work, many people were now looking for flexibility, work-life balance, and well-being with jobs in areas such as hotels and airlines.
One of the biggest challenges currently being faced by companies was providing education and training for future employees. But CEO of Sommet Education, Benoit-Etienne Domenget, said globally these were not among the key investment areas.
“For too long, our community players of hospitality, tourism, and travel have considered human capital as a commodity,” he added.
Delegates at the session debated the need for expanded education beyond hospitality skills to ensure content was locally relevant and through the encouragement of entrepreneurial mindsets.
Christine Bockelmann, dean of Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, said: “From a study in Portugal, we know that 50 percent of all people who have an education in tourism do not subsequently work in this field, so we have a problem with the attractivity of the jobs in this area.
“Education is very important and sustainability, and prosperity is very important. My key point is that we have to create a connectivity between these three topics,” she added.
 


Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director

Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director
Updated 27 September 2023
Follow

Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director

Women’s empowerment is vital to success, says UNWTO executive director
  • UNWTO announces winners of Women in Tech Startup Competition: Middle East
  • The competition saw 143 applicants from across Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Syria

RIYADH: The UN World Tourism Organization on Wednesday, World Tourism Day, announced the winners of its Women in Tech Startup Competition: Middle East, being held in Riyadh.
Launched in March to celebrate International Women’s Day, the competition sought women-led startups with innovative approaches to provide services and solutions with a positive social impact.
The competition saw 143 applicants from across Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Syria.
The winner of the Social Impact Category was Saudi national Nouf Al-Hazmi, CEO of Plastus Biotech, which specializes in making PHA biodegradable bioplastic by re-purposing organic waste.
Al-Hazmi said: “They’ve only selected four from all over the world … It’s huge. It means a lot to us, for young Saudi women and women around the world.”
Plastus Biotech’s concept falls in line with the Kingdom’s circular carbon economy goal for 2030 and the carbon neutrality agreement of 2060.
She said: “There are many opportunities. We can replace so many products that are fossil-based with more sustainable products that are actually carbon negative, and everyone will benefit.”
The winner of the Tourism and Travel Experience category was Kirti Chandel, chief product officer at SparkleHaze, for creating an enterprise-based, artificial intelligence assistant speaker named Woo-Hoo, as an in-room voice assistant for hospitality.
Chandel says Woo-Hoo creates a personalized experience for guests while remaining sustainable and easy to use.
She said: “We are boosting green hospitality. We are moving away from all the different devices that are used in hotels that are more cluttered. So, we combine them into one single form factor and also, we are digitizing your compendium menu. So, all the paper that is there within the room is gone.”
The winner of the Future Tech Category was Serbian national Zeljana Babic, CEO of Xenios Academy, an AI-powered training program with the mission to help hospitality businesses boost revenue by investing in employee training.
She said: “I feel extremely empowered. I feel very humbled. I am still shocked. To be honest. This might be one of the happiest moments of my professional career …
“We cannot invest in hospitality without investing in people and without investing in their education. And only once we do that, they will be able to provide services to their guests.”
The winner of the Events and Community category was Menna Ayad, CEO of Fosha, an AI-powered app for booking personalized experiences in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Executive Director of UNWTO Natalia Bayona said that Saudi Arabia is “booming when it comes to tourism.”
Bayona is a frequent visitor to the Kingdom and has collaborated with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Education to boost the tourism industry.
She said: “I have to say that … (Saudi Arabia) has those values — the values of investment in people through education, investment in the planet through a better futuristic city for the next generations, and of course, investing in prosperity, in youth, and in technology and innovation.
“I have been working a lot with the ministry to foster education to create together a strategy of human capacity development and to strengthen the power of partnerships again with the private sector for innovation and technology and investments.”
Bayona said that the Financial Times’ joint report with the UNWTO reported that Saudi Arabia has been growing its foreign direct investment by 80 percent. “That’s crucial and that’s really strong because that means that the country is really into investment and diversifying the economy through tourism.”
With tourism being the top employer of women and youth, Bayona says staying committed and being part of a positive community makes all the difference.
“The most important thing is that I have to be thankful to my bosses,” she said, crediting her employers for empowering and trusting her. “And at the end of the day, that’s what matters. Because of course you can be talented, and you can have a very bright curriculum, but if you are not empowered, you are not (going) anywhere.”
 


Saudi development program restores sports facilities in Yemen

Saudi development program restores sports facilities in Yemen
Updated 27 September 2023
Follow

Saudi development program restores sports facilities in Yemen

Saudi development program restores sports facilities in Yemen
  • Projects aim to support sport activities and strengthen social integration in Yemen

RIYADH: The Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen has launched four projects to restore and upgrade sports club facilities in Aden governorate, Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The launch ceremony was attended by Nayef Al-Bakri, Yemen’s minister of youth and sports, as well as Aden Gov. Ahmed Lamlas and other officials.

The projects aim to support sport activities and strengthen social integration in Yemen.

Previously, the program renovated Martyr Ali Asaad Muthanna Sports Hall in Aden, as well as 31 basketball and volleyball courts in other governorates. It also organized a celebration after the Yemeni national junior football team won the West Asia Confederation championship in 2021.

So far, the program has funded 229 development projects and initiatives in Yemen.
 


Saudi delegation attends international public prosecutors conference in London

Saudi delegation attends international public prosecutors conference in London
Updated 27 September 2023
Follow

Saudi delegation attends international public prosecutors conference in London

Saudi delegation attends international public prosecutors conference in London
  • Event in London examined strategies for countering transnational crimes

RIYADH: A Saudi delegation led by Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mua’jab participated in the 28th Annual Conference and General Meeting of the International Association of Prosecutors, which took place in London from Sept. 24-27.

The four-day event, which gathered public prosecution delegations from around the world, was themed “The Changing Nature of Crime in the 21st Century: Challenges and Responses.”

It examined strategies for countering transnational crimes, including terrorism and human trafficking, mutual legal aid procedures, and criminal extradition requests.

Al-Mua’jab met with his British counterpart Victoria Prentis, and Max Hill, director of public prosecutions, to discuss judicial cooperation, Saudi Press Agency reported. He also held bilateral meetings with a number of public representatives to propose ways to collaborate to improve judicial work mechanisms, emphasizing the Kingdom's expertise in digitizing criminal justice procedures.

Al-Mua’jab also met with UK Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the UN Lord Tariq Ahmad to review relations between the two countries.
 


Saudi Arabia announces inaugural Riyadh School for Tourism and Hospitality

Saudi Arabia announces inaugural Riyadh School for Tourism and Hospitality
Updated 27 September 2023
Follow

Saudi Arabia announces inaugural Riyadh School for Tourism and Hospitality

Saudi Arabia announces inaugural Riyadh School for Tourism and Hospitality
  • The facilities will then move to a larger campus in Qiddiyah scaled at 5 million square meters (50 million square feet) in 2027
  • The project will cost over USD1 billion to build

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, announced the inauguration of the Riyadh School for Tourism and Hospitality At the 2023 United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) World Tourism Day celebrations in Riyadh.
“Yesterday I was so touched with the Secretary General (of UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili) to visit the schools and meet with the students… This school is a gift from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the world because it will be open to everyone to enjoy the best training in tourism and hospitality,” Al-Khateeb said during the announcement.
The facilities will then move to a larger campus in Qiddiyah scaled at 5 million square meters (50 million square feet) in 2027. The project will cost over USD1 billion to build.
The school initiative hopes to shape the future of industry education by attracting the brightest minds and employing cutting-edge technologies in an innovative facility.
It will offer a lead vocational and academic study program that places students at the heart of its curriculum, and provide a rich, diverse, and global learning experience through real-world practice.
Last year, the Ministry revealed alongside Pololikashvili, that they will be sending 100,000 Saudi talent every year for training across the globe throughout a five-year period, equipping them with the skills to work in the tourism and sustainability sector. “We will extend it to the next 10 years,” Al-Khateeb said.
“We are committing USD100 million every year to train them…Those who come back will work in the private sector and I’m encouraging them and other groups of investors to also join the government in investing in talent,” Al-Khateeb said.
While the Saudi industry lost over 60 million jobs due to the pandemic, the Kingdom is investing over USD800 billion in the sector and working to create 1 million jobs across the next 10 years, and is expecting international arrivals to double by 2032.
Al-Kateeb said: “It’s easy to put policies and procedures and systems (into place), but the most difficult thing that you need to have is the people…We need to have enough young people to join our industry today and I believe we need to double them in the future.
“We’re trying to make our sector, work in travel and tourism, as attractive and we need to make it a career for life for people to come and stay, and progress, and prosper throughout their life.”
The Kingdom continues its ambitious journey to become a global tourism hub by 2030 by investing in human capital, and the school is one of its latest initiatives to achieve the goal.
The 2023 WTD, held from Sept. 27-28, will explore potential avenues of collaboration between world tourism leaders by placing people, sustainability, and prosperity at the forefront of its discussions under the theme “Tourism and Green Investments.”