Saudi SMEs at the forefront of the 4th industrial revolution: report 

Saudi SMEs at the forefront of the 4th industrial revolution: report 
The report shed light on the Kingdom’s Future Factories program, dedicated to adopting the best global practices of the fourth industrial revolution. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 06 September 2023
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Saudi SMEs at the forefront of the 4th industrial revolution: report 

Saudi SMEs at the forefront of the 4th industrial revolution: report 

RIYADH: Small and medium enterprises in Saudi Arabia are poised to lead the industrial sector into a new era driven by advanced digital technologies, as outlined by the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Kingdom.   

A report from the think tank underscored the pivotal role SMEs play in the sector and highlights key initiatives currently fostering digital transformation.   

It noted how cutting-edge digital technologies are revolutionizing advanced manufacturing, facilitating connectivity, automation, and artificial intelligence, which, in turn, are boosting production efficiency, productivity, and business resilience.   

Moreover, the report shed light on the Kingdom’s Future Factories program, dedicated to adopting the best global practices of the fourth industrial revolution, as a major driver behind the sector’s digital transformation.    

It also recognized the Knowledge-based Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Network program and the National Productivity program as game-changing strategies currently in place.  

Co-authored by the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, the World Economic Forum, and Arthur D. Little, it emphasized that SMEs, which operate with constrained resources, require targeted support to develop.  

“The digital transformation of SMEs is crucial for the economic growth and competitiveness of Saudi Arabia,” Al-Badr Foudeh, Saudi deputy minister for industrial development at the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, said.  

He also commended the report for providing insights and recommendations on how to leverage fourth industrial revolution technologies.  

“SMEs play a vital role in the national economy, and it is crucial that they are empowered to adopt and benefit from digital technologies,” Basma Al-Buhairan, managing director of C4IR KSA, said.  

The report further highlighted that SMEs should receive significant support as their impact is as critical as larger enterprises.  

“Digital technology is fundamentally altering the way industries operate, and SMEs should not be left behind. By embracing key enablers such as creating a skilled workforce, increasing access to finance, and upgrading infrastructure, SMEs can overcome challenges and reap the benefits of the digital revolution,” Amer Chahine, senior principal at Arthur D. Little, Middle East, explained. 


Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone ink aviation regulatory agreement at ICAN 2023 

Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone ink aviation regulatory agreement at ICAN 2023 
Updated 04 December 2023
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Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone ink aviation regulatory agreement at ICAN 2023 

Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone ink aviation regulatory agreement at ICAN 2023 

RIYADH: Air transport services linking Saudi Arabia and Sierra Leone are set to strengthen following the signing of a deal aimed at establishing regulatory frameworks between the two nations. 

The agreement was inked by the Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Services Saleh Al-Jasser, and Alhaji Fanday Turay, Sierra Leone’s minister of Transport and Aviation, on the sidelines of the 15th International Conference on Air Services Negotiations in Riyadh.  

This move aligns with the principles of the Chicago Convention on international civil aviation, the Saudi Press Agency reported.  

The bilateral agreement between the two nations complements the International Civil Aviation Agreement, known as the Chicago Convention, signed in 1944. The treaty regulates international civil aviation, ensuring fair and equal opportunities for all parties involved. 


COP28: UN climate event mobilizes over $57bn in first four days

COP28: UN climate event mobilizes over $57bn in first four days
Updated 04 December 2023
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COP28: UN climate event mobilizes over $57bn in first four days

COP28: UN climate event mobilizes over $57bn in first four days

DUBAI: The UN’s climate action summit has mobilized over $57 billion from various sectors in just four days of the event, with financial pledges and commitments covering finance, health, food, nature and energy.

On climate finance, the UAE announced on opening day a $30 billion catalytic fund, ALTÉRRA, with an emphasis on unlocking private finance across the Global South.

The COP28 host-country also partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to contribute $200 million for ‘Food Systems, Agriculture Innovation and Climate Action,’ focused on agricultural research, scaling agricultural innovations and funding technical assistance.

It also announced a $150 million pledge for water security.

The World Bank meanwhile announced an increase of $9 billion annually to finance climate-related projects.

In a historic move, the Climate Loss and Damage fund was finally operationalized with about $750 million pledged in the first 48 hours of COP28 to help vulnerable nations cope with the impacts of climate change.

In addition, $3.5 billion has been announced to replenish the Green Climate Fund; $2.7 billion was pledged for health; $2.6 billion for food systems transformation; $2.6 billion to protect nature; $467 million for urban climate action and $1.2 billion has been committed for relief, recovery and peace.

On energy, $2.5 billion was mobilized for renewables and $1.2 billion for methane emission reduction. In addition, $568 million was pledged to drive investments in clean energy manufacturing.

Meanwhile, eight new declarations have been announced that will help transform every major system of the global economy including food systems, health and renewable energy.


Saudi Arabia’s real estate supply reservations more than double

Saudi Arabia’s real estate supply reservations more than double
Updated 30 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s real estate supply reservations more than double

Saudi Arabia’s real estate supply reservations more than double

RIYADH: Citizens in Saudi Arabia are gaining greater access to residential units as the real estate supply reservations surged 110 percent year on year in November to reach 12,503, according to new figures.     

The Kingdom’s National Housing Co. announced that residential units were sold at competitive prices starting from SR250,000 ($66,649) compared to the previous year’s rates, in which the lowest contract amounted to SR321,000 per residential unit, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

This falls in line with the Gulf country’s plans and strategies to launch several extensive residential projects in order to achieve a balance between population growth and rapid urban expansion.    

This also comes as the rise in population density has led to increased demand for housing, meaning the Kingdom is working to boost the real estate supply to meet this need, aligning with a sustainable urban approach. 

This rapid increase in reservations is mainly attributed to launch of a number of residential projects in various regions, the most prominent of which is the inauguration of the Al-Fursan Suburb in Riyadh which aims to provide the largest real estate supply with a high level of quality and luxury. 

Other projects include the Sadayem Suburb which was launched in Jeddah along with many housing schemes in distinctive locations within the main cities. 

In fact, the number of residential projects reached 46 during 2023, thereby cementing Saudi Arabia’s innovative model for real estate development. 

National Housing Co. is the leader and enabler of the real estate development sector and the largest major developer of suburbs and residential communities in the Kingdom characterized by quality of life. 

The company pumps more than 300,000 housing units into eight suburbs and six residential communities on an area of ​​​​more than 120 million sq. meters, accommodating more than 1 million citizens. 

It seeks to find solutions to secure supply chains with high quality and more sustainable construction materials, as part of the company’s keenness to increase the real estate supply with residential options according to international standards. 

All the firm’s efforts are directed to achieving the goals of the housing program by raising the percentage of residential ownership for Saudi families to 70 percent by 2030. 


Riyadh Air partners with Turkish Airlines to offer wide range of benefits for travelers 

Riyadh Air partners with Turkish Airlines to offer wide range of benefits for travelers 
Updated 04 December 2023
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Riyadh Air partners with Turkish Airlines to offer wide range of benefits for travelers 

Riyadh Air partners with Turkish Airlines to offer wide range of benefits for travelers 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s nascent flag carrier Riyadh Air has signed a strategic memorandum of understanding with Turkish Airlines to offer a wide range benefits for travelers using the carriers.

Under the deal, passengers of both airlines can enjoy the convenience of a comprehensive interline and codeshare agreement, allowing for smooth connections across the networks of both Turkish Airlines and Riyadh Air, according to a press statement.  

Another feature of this cooperation agreement is the offering of a loyalty program, which allows passengers to earn points or credits on codeshare flights operated by either airline. 

The press statement added that these benefits will be offered to travelers after Riyadh Air launches operations in mid-2025 and is subject to regulatory approvals by relevant authorities.  

The signing ceremony took place on the sidelines of the 15th International Conference on Air Services Negotiations, which is affiliated with the International Civil Aviation Organization, being held in Riyadh.  

“This agreement is another very significant step in the evolution of Riyadh Air as we partner with the world’s largest global airline by destinations served,” said Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas. 

He added: “Bilateral agreements with established network airlines are extremely important to Riyadh Air and there are significant benefits to this partnership, our passengers can enjoy greater connectivity to the world and deeper access to Turkiye, while an increased flow in volumes of tourism, religious and business travel into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is anticipated.”  

Strengthening the aviation sector is very crucial for Saudi Arabia, as the Kingdom is aiming to become a global tourism hub, aligned with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.  

Through its National Tourism Strategy, Saudi Arabia aims to attract 150 million tourists to the Kingdom by 2030.  

“This memorandum of understanding is more than a collaboration; it’s a bridge between Turkiye and Saudi Arabia, further strengthening our ties,” said Levent Konukcu, chief investment and technology officer at Turkish Airlines.  

He added: “It’s also an opportunity to expand our reach and offer our guests more choices and convenience. We believe this partnership will not only benefit our customers but also contribute significantly to the tourism and business sectors of both countries.”  


CEOs discuss key issues at Saudi Insurance Authority’s 1st meeting

CEOs discuss key issues at Saudi Insurance Authority’s 1st meeting
Updated 04 December 2023
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CEOs discuss key issues at Saudi Insurance Authority’s 1st meeting

CEOs discuss key issues at Saudi Insurance Authority’s 1st meeting

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s insurance sector is set to see significant cooperation between companies and shareholders after the Kingdom’s Insurance Authority held its first CEO meeting. 

The meeting came within the framework to strengthen relations between insurance companies and industry leaders to advance the sector.  

During the gathering on Dec. 3, Abdulaziz Al-Boug, chairman of the authority’s board, emphasized the IA’s keenness to work with insurance companies as partners in a bid to further develop the sector, according to a report by the Saudi Press Agency.  

He also added that the authority is focused on regulating the sector, stimulating growth and innovation, enhancing competitiveness, and increasing the sector’s efficiency and contribution to the economy.  

Al-Boug highlighted the insurance sector’s significant role in protecting the national economy, properties, and upholding the rights of policyholders including individuals, companies, and government entities.

Effective risk management and creating an attractive investment environment are also key focus areas.  

Naji Al-Tamimi, the IA’s CEO, stressed the importance of united efforts and transparency between the authority and active companies in the sector.   

The authority’s objectives include regulating and supervising the insurance sector in Saudi Arabia, raising public awareness, ensuring the protection of all contractual parties and beneficiaries, and contributing to the sector’s financial stability and development.  

The meeting marks the beginning of a new phase for the Saudi insurance industry, with plans to review and develop all insurance-related systems and regulations.   

This approach is expected to create a competitive and flexible market, ensuring sector stability, increased investments, and a diversity of insurance products that reflect positively on end-users and align with global standards.  

In August, the Saudi Cabinet, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, approved the establishment of the IA.  

“The Cabinet’s decision to establish the Saudi Insurance Authority underlines the Kingdom’s commitment to building and developing a world class insurance sector — one set apart by established best practices and international standards,” Adel Al-Eisa, media spokesperson for insurance companies in Saudi Arabia told Arab News in September.   

He added: “The launch of the authority marks the latest step taken by the Kingdom to regulate, supervise, control, support and enhance the Saudi insurance sector, and enhancing its effectiveness.”