PIF invests in DigitalBridge to set up data centers across Saudi Arabia and GCC

PIF invests in DigitalBridge to set up data centers across Saudi Arabia and GCC
According to a company press release, the partnership will prioritize investments in the data center sector and other segments of digital infrastructure in line with PIF’s strategy. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 24 May 2023

PIF invests in DigitalBridge to set up data centers across Saudi Arabia and GCC

PIF invests in DigitalBridge to set up data centers across Saudi Arabia and GCC

RIYADH: The Gulf Cooperation Council region will soon emerge as a data center development hub, with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund investing in a new partnership with global asset manager DigitalBridge. 

According to a company press release, the partnership will prioritize investments in the data center sector and other segments of digital infrastructure in line with PIF’s strategy. 

The note added that the fund’s strategy aims to enable sectors and increase local content by establishing partnerships with the private sector.   

The fund will leverage DigitalBridge’s expertise in investing, building and operating digital infrastructure to support the continued advancement of the Kingdom’s digital economy. 

“We see significant opportunity for continued growth in the sectors in which we specialize and look forward to leveraging our capabilities and expertise to capitalize on the long-term opportunities across this important region,” said Marc Ganzi, CEO at DigitalBridge, in a press statement. 

The investment will aim to localize technologies and support knowledge transfer to develop and operate hyper-scale data centers and database servers in the Kingdom and GCC region.
“As a global leader in digital infrastructure, we are pleased to partner with PIF to further enable the digital infrastructure buildout in Saudi Arabia and across the GCC countries,” Ganzi added. 

Earlier this year, PIF subsidiary Saudi Downtown Co. joined hands with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to develop digitalization projects. 

Saudi Downtown Co. aims to build and develop digital infrastructure and communication technologies in 12 cities in the Kingdom. 

These initiatives are part of the fund’s five-year strategy launched in 2021 to inject $40 billion worth of investment into the domestic economy.  

DigitalBridge is a US-based digital infrastructure firm specializing in investing and operating cell towers, data centers, fiber, small cells and edge infrastructure. 


Riyadh, Brasilia ink energy collaboration deal  

Riyadh, Brasilia ink energy collaboration deal  
Updated 11 sec ago

Riyadh, Brasilia ink energy collaboration deal  

Riyadh, Brasilia ink energy collaboration deal  

RIYADH: Energy collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Brazil is poised to strengthen after a key agreement was inked during the visit of the president of the South American country to the Kingdom.  

The deal aims to establish a comprehensive framework for cooperative efforts across various fields, including oil and gas, petrochemicals, and electricity. It will also cover renewable energy, hydrogen, energy efficiency, and the carbon cycle economy.  

According to the Saudi Ministry of Energy, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attended the agreement signing at the Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh.

The deal was signed by Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and Brazilian Minister of Mining and Energy Alexandre Silveira.

Dubai’s COP28 to advance ‘everybody’s interests,’ says Kerry

Dubai’s COP28 to advance ‘everybody’s interests,’ says Kerry
Updated 9 min 7 sec ago

Dubai’s COP28 to advance ‘everybody’s interests,’ says Kerry

Dubai’s COP28 to advance ‘everybody’s interests,’ says Kerry

RIYADH: The UN Climate Change Conference 2023, known as COP28, aims to progress global interests, according to US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.

In a pre-conference media briefing held a day prior to the event, scheduled in Dubai from Nov. 30 - Dec. 12, Kerry emphasized the conference’s dedication to making substantial strides in addressing the challenges posed by climate change.

“I have hopes that we are going to make more progress here (in COP28). There is no misunderstanding among the delegations that are coming here that this needs to be very serious and productive,” Kerry said.

Kerry emphasized the universal importance of the conference, remarking, “We intend to do our best to advance the interests of everybody on the planet.”

He continued by stressing a key concern, emphasizing the worldwide challenge posed by methane, which accounts for nearly half of global heating.

Kerry also highlighted the US’ significant investments in reducing methane emissions, noting collaborative efforts with other global leaders, including China.

Moreover, Kerry underscored the crucial role of Africa in advancing environmental resilience, acknowledging the continent’s significant contributions to global climate change mitigation efforts.

“Africa is among the hardest hit. It is the least contributor to the problem, so I think we all sense a very special relationship there. That is why, President Biden launched the Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience that will help half a billion people in developing countries, especially Africa,” he said.

Announced at COP26, the Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, endorsed by Biden, brings together the diplomatic, development, and technical expertise of the US to help more than half a billion people in developing countries adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change by 2030.

“We intend to be a strong partner for African countries or adapting countries to climate impact,” Kerry added.

He underscored the existence of vast financial resources, amounting to trillions of dollars, which are currently underutilized or “sitting on the sidelines.”

He attributed this underutilization to various factors, including perceived risks and other market perceptions that hinder the mobilization of these funds toward critical climate initiatives.

His comments highlight the need for a concerted effort to unlock these substantial financial reserves, directing them toward sustainable development and climate resilience in regions most needing such funding.

“We look forward to working with the World Bank for some of the new finance structures that are going to make it much more possible to develop alternative renewable energy choices,” he said.

“I think that COP28 Dubai is going to produce a pretty healthy menu of possibilities on the finance front,” Kerry added.

Can COP28 grab the world’s attention? 

Can COP28 grab the world’s attention? 
Updated 14 min 37 sec ago

Can COP28 grab the world’s attention? 

Can COP28 grab the world’s attention? 
  • Meeting comes at a time when global attention is fixated on regional conflict 

RIYADH: Around 200 heads of state, and diplomats will gather in Dubai later this week for the COP28 climate summit. This occurs at a time when global attention is fixated on the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. 

While a ceasefire has been extended for a few more days, there are concerns that the ongoing global noise and chaos, intensified by the war since it began on Oct. 7 and the continued conflict in Ukraine, may overshadow the pivotal need to address climate change. 

The two-week COP28 begins on Nov. 30 and is convened annually by the UN COP, which stands for “Conference of the Parties,” referring to nations that agreed to a climate change framework by the UN in 1992. This marks the 28th year of its occurrence. 

“The UAE has called for the protection of civilians and stressed that the immediate priority is to end the violence,” a COP28 spokesperson told Arab News.  

“In coordination with the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), we remain confident that COP28 will focus on delivering tangible outcomes in the global fight against climate change. We will provide an environment that enables attendees to focus on the pressing issue of climate action and the collaborative efforts required to address it effectively.” 

While the impact of the conflict in Gaza on the world economy has been minimal thus far, a prolongation of the war, as termed by the IMF, could cast a “new cloud” over the economic outlook.  

This would have a direct impact on oil prices and global economic growth, thus entailing a negative influence on richer nations’ ability and desire to assist developing countries grappling with climate-related challenges. This includes nations in the Middle East, such as Iraq, and a range of African countries, among others. 

Several notable guests, including King Charles III, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, are expected to attend. Although originally scheduled, Pope Francis, in what would have been a first for a pontiff, had to cancel last minute due to poor health.

However, some other crucial world players have chosen not to attend. US President Joe Biden announced that he would sit out the world leaders’ summit scheduled for this Friday and Saturday, coinciding with the opening of COP28. The White House did not provide an explanation for his absence, although Biden has participated in the global conference over the past two years. 

The World Climate Action  “signifies the importance for world leaders to implement and transform key climate-related decisions into concrete actions and credible plans, continue raising ambition, building up from previous Conference of the Parties, and keep the high-level commitment on climate change issues,” the UN said on its website. 

The US is one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, making its attendance crucial as a major contributor to human-caused climate change. The White House will be represented at COP28 by a climate team, including Special Envoy John Kerry, National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi, and Clean Energy Adviser John Podesta. 

Biden had also pledged to visit Africa before the end of the year, but that trip doesn’t seem to be materializing either. The conflicts in Ukraine and in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, along with domestic challenges back home, have deeply engaged the US President.  

Biden has referred to climate change as the “ultimate threat to humanity.”  Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also not be attending COP28. 

UN climate negotiations require unanimous support from all participating countries for any deals to pass, making the task of finding consensus exceptionally challenging. 

Tensions, state analysts, are likely to arise at the upcoming summit in Dubai, hosted by the UAE, the world’s fifth-largest oil producer.  

The UAE has been at the forefront of normalization with Israel and has also been providing humanitarian aid in Gaza through field hospitals and treating Palestinian victims at hospitals in the UAE. 

“The greatest worry over the past few years has been a sequence of global events, from COVID-19, the Ukraine war and now the war in Gaza, which all have had the potential to overshadow and distract from action on climate change, which is obviously critically important even while all these other crises are happening,” David Waskow, international climate director, World Resources Institute, told Arab News. 

Despite the noise, Waskow said he saw some slivers of light on the horizon in the last few weeks with the US-China joint statement “on enhancing cooperation to address the climate crisis.”  

The announcement came shortly before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, where President Biden and President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines. 

“This clearly demonstrated how climate was on the agenda for them, not just on their radar,” said Waskow.  

Why is this important?  

China and the US are the world’s two biggest polluters. China is the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, producing 12.7 billion tons of emissions annually. The US is the second-largest producer of carbon dioxide gas in the world, currently at 5.9 billion tons annually. 

Both countries are also the world’s green tech powerhouses. If both countries can come to an agreement to curb their greenhouse gas emissions, it would constitute a significantly impactful step toward the world’s ability to address climate change and, consequently, global warming. 

“The climate issue still has real salience geopolitically,” adds Waskow. “The large number of heads of state attending COP28 speaks to the level of input that countries are giving to the climate issue.” 

While Waskow, like others, acknowledges the burdens of the world’s conflicts overshadowing the critical issue of climate, he believes that the events and attendees showing up to the event can “cut through the noise to ensure that climate is given the priority it requires.” 

After the tensions over last year’s COP held in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh, some remain skeptical about how COPs can make a difference in addressing the urgent issue of climate change, particularly concerning crucial matters of loss and damages that involve the ability of the world’s most vulnerable countries to repair damage from climate breakdown.  

The question of who will finance the repair remains paramount, and these important questions are once again on the table this year in Dubai. 

Waskow emphasizes the importance of keeping in context and perspective what COPs can achieve. 

“I believe they’re one of our levers among many levers that need to be pulled,” he added. “Sometimes I think people see COPs as a panacea event where some agreement will be reached and that will move everything forward in some dramatic way.” 

What COPs do, he continues, is something very specific: they move the conversation forward. 

“I’ve thought of it in terms of climbing a mountain,” he emphasizes. “COPs provide a compass, a magnifying glass, so you can see clearly on the map what needs to be done. That is clearly the case with the issue of fossil fuels this year.”

Special lending mechanism helping boost investment in Jazan region

Special lending mechanism helping boost investment in Jazan region
Updated 48 min 44 sec ago

Special lending mechanism helping boost investment in Jazan region

Special lending mechanism helping boost investment in Jazan region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Jazan region is attracting investments thanks to the lending mechanisms offered to regional investors, according to the assistant minister of industry and mineral resources for planning and development.

In a panel titled “Strategic directions for investment in the Jazan region” during the Jazan Investment Forum 2023, Sami bin Mohammed Al-Hamoud explained that Jazan is among the regions receiving generous government support and financing solutions in an attempt to boost investment and development.

This falls in line with the Kingdom’s strategic decision to develop the region as a special economic zone catering to the logistics industry.

“What distinguishes the lending mechanisms for investors in the Jazan region is that the region is one of the regions where 75 percent of the cost of these projects is covered, compared to some other regions,” Al-Hamoud said.

“The Industrial and Logistics Development Program has worked over the past years to prepare about 190 hectares as industrial areas, equipping approximately 250 factories,” he added.

Al-Hamoud added that the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, with its supervision of Jazan City for Political and Transformational Industries, offers a wide range of investment opportunities today.

Also speaking during the discussion, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Investment for Investment Development Saleh bin Ali Al-Khabti said: “In the Ministry of Investment, we have a target of more than SR12 trillion ($3.19 trillion) for fixed capital formation. This means that we will not forget Jazan, but the pressure on it will increase due to the presence of more than 22 sectors working to develop opportunities there,” Al-Khabti stressed.

“We attract qualitative investments that open new supply chains through our work in various countries,” he added.

Taking place on Wednesday, the forum 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.  

Visitors will have the opportunity to delve into Jazan’s rich heritage, explore monuments dating back to 8,000 BC, and learn more about the area’s importance as an agricultural site with diverse crops.  

Throughout 2022 and 2023, Saudi Arabia’s southwestern region attracted over SR1 billion in investments, gaining ground as a commercial district.

Closing Bell: Saudi main index rises to close at 11,103

Closing Bell: Saudi main index rises to close at 11,103
Updated 57 min 46 sec ago

Closing Bell: Saudi main index rises to close at 11,103

Closing Bell: Saudi main index rises to close at 11,103

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose on Wednesday, gaining 2.13 points, or 0.02 percent, to close at 11,103.05.

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR4.26 billion ($1.01 million) as 119 of the listed stocks advanced, while 96 retreated. 

Similarly, the Kingdom’s parallel market Nomu also rose 450.85 points, or 1.83 percent, to close at 25,082.06. This comes as 30 of the listed stocks advanced while as much as 19 retreated.

On the other hand, the MSCI Tadawul Index slipped 0.58 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 1,430.21.

The best-performing stock of the day was Anaam International Holding Group. The company’s share price surged 9.09 percent to SR0.96.

Other top performers include Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances Corp. and Al-Baha Investment and Development Co., whose share prices soared by 8.25 percent and 7.14 percent to stand at SR37.40 and SR0.15, respectively.

In addition to this, other top performers included National Agricultural Development Co. and Saudi Fisheries Co.

The worst performers were Naseej International Trading Co. as well as Lumi Rental Co., whose share prices dropped by 3.57 percent and 3.16 percent to stand at SR54 and SR94.90, respectively.

Moreover, other worst performers include Development Works Food Co. and National Co. for Learning and Education.

On the announcements front, Meyar Co. announced that it had obtained financing from the Italian Export Credit and Insurance Agency “SACE-Rome” to purchase new production lines from the Italian company SIMEM S.P.A.

Meanwhile, Saudi Cable Co. announced the signing of a tripartite agreement to transfer the debt of Al-Rajhi Banking and Investment Co. and Tathmeer Investment Co.

According to a statement, it is expected that this agreement will have a positive financial impact on the company in general and on the Financial Restructuring Proposal, particularly in the first quarter of 2024.