In the pink: Saudis’ love for seafood feeding Norwegian salmon sales

In the pink: Saudis’ love for seafood feeding Norwegian salmon sales
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Updated 01 October 2023

In the pink: Saudis’ love for seafood feeding Norwegian salmon sales

In the pink: Saudis’ love for seafood feeding Norwegian salmon sales
  • Value of fish exports to Kingdom rose to $66.4m in 2022.
  • Norway is world’s second-largest seafood exporter with annual sales of $14bn.

ALESUND: A growing passion for seafood in Saudi Arabia is helping to drive demand for Norwegian salmon, according to an industry official from the European nation.

Ingelill Jacobsen, project manager for emerging markets at the Norwegian Seafood Council, said exports of the fish to the Kingdom rose to $66.4 million last year.

With sales in the first eight months of this year exceeding $44.4 million, Jacobsen said she expected the full-year total to be even higher than in 2022.

Based in Tromso, the NSC is a public company owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. It has played a significant role in driving sales of salmon in the Middle East.

In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of Norwegian salmon to Saudi Arabia totaled just $27 million, though that was itself a 50 percent rise from the previous year.

Norway is the world’s second-largest exporter of seafood. Its sales in 2022 topped $14.1 billion, with Poland, France and the US among the biggest buyers.

In November, representatives from the NSC will take part in the Saudi Food Expo in Riyadh in a bid to promote greater cooperation in the fields of aquaculture and aquaculture technology, according to Jacobsen.

“At the moment, we are managing the Middle East from Norway, but in the future we will appoint a representative to be on the ground in the region,” she told journalists at a media event in Alesund, a port town on the west coast of Norway.

The Middle East is a growing market, with exports of Norwegian seafood to the region hitting SR1.4 billion ($373.3 million) in 2022.

“The Saudi food and health authorities are doing great work with increasing the consumption of seafood to improve the health of the people, reduce obesity and cardiac diseases. For the NSC it would be great to assist in this work,” she said.

“Many Norwegian aquaculture technology companies are now cooperating with the industry in the Kingdom, and there have been several visits both from Norway to the Kingdom and from the Kingdom to Norway.”

She added: “Seafood production (in Norway) is strongly regulated by licenses, biology, animal welfare and sustainability, and we don’t want demand to be a factor that in any way undermines any of these concerns.

“Norway was the first country to successfully farm and then commercialize Atlantic salmon back in the seventies, so we have 50 years of experience in this field.”

After oil and gas, the seafood industry is the second-largest contributor to Norway’s economy.

As well as salmon harvesting, cod farming has been gaining momentum in the country.

During a visit to a cod farm owned by Ode, founder and CEO Ola Kvalheim told reporters about the challenges and opportunities faced by the aquaculture industry.

“As the world needs more healthy and sustainable protein, farming cod is an excellent opportunity to solve both the need for more protein and the need for more sustainable food production,” he said.

“I grew up in a small rural community along the Norwegian coastline, with a long heritage of exporting cod. Before the tremendous success of the salmon, cod was the most important seafood option from Norway. Now we are finally able to successfully farm the iconic Atlantic cod.”

Kvalheim’s farm is located close to Alesund, where the sea conditions are ideal for nurturing the fish.

“These conditions and the cold and nutritious waters are perfect for Atlantic cod,” he said.

“We produce the cod here in a natural habitat with the right temperature and in the right environment. We are focusing on zero emissions using solar panels that produce green energy for use on our farms.

“Boats and equipment run on that green energy, making it eco-friendly production. We are currently producing about 20 million meals of cod per year, next year we will be at 70 million meals,” he said.

Kvalheim said his company’s long-term plan was to become a leading seafood company.

“Initially we had a clear focus on building our organization, our value chain, establishing best in class operations and positioning our product in the market. Based on very strong operations and biology coupled with solid demand for our products, we are now scaling significantly up.”

Jiad Modern Motors opens MG showrooms in Jeddah, Riyadh

Jiad Modern Motors opens MG showrooms in Jeddah, Riyadh
Updated 02 December 2023

Jiad Modern Motors opens MG showrooms in Jeddah, Riyadh

Jiad Modern Motors opens MG showrooms in Jeddah, Riyadh

MG Motor, in collaboration with Jiad Modern Motors, a Mohamed Yousuf Naghi company and the official dealer for MG in Saudi Arabia, has opened its first showroom in Jeddah, followed by a second one in Riyadh. These showrooms are the first of six to open under the newly forged partnership between the British-born automotive brand and Jiad Modern Motors, providing an array of MG’s highly popular automotive offerings and an enhanced customer experience to the people of Saudi Arabia.
The new sales, service and spare parts MG showroom in Jeddah, which opened its doors to the public in early November, is located in the city’s Al-Marwah district. The 1,136-square-meter facility is set to dazzle visitors with its modern and spacious design, showcasing a wide range of MG vehicles that cater to diverse preferences. The Jeddah showroom is equipped with top-of-the-line facilities, including a sales showroom, an after-sales service center with a fast maintenance facility and a genuine MG parts center.
In Riyadh, the MG showroom is situated in the As-Sulimaniyah district. The 833-square-meter facility mirrors its Jeddah counterpart in terms of style, sophistication, and offerings of a comprehensive selection of MG vehicles.


The two showrooms are the first of six to be launched in major Saudi cities by the end of 2023. The third showroom is set to launch in Dammam in the first week of December.

Both showrooms feature MG’s acclaimed range of contemporary models, including the crossover series consisting of the MG ZST, ZS EV, HS and RX5. The brand’s compact sedans — the MG 5, MG 6 and MG GT — are also available for purchase, along with the spacious seven-seater RX8. In addition to these offerings, customers can anticipate the debut of new models such as the MG One, MG HS PHEV and the eagerly awaited MG Whale.
Tom Lee, managing director of MG Motor Middle East, said: “The inauguration of the state-of-the-art showroom in Jeddah and Riyadh, and shortly in Dammam, marks the start of our partnership with Jiad Modern Motors. These facilities are testament to MG Motor’s dedication to providing our Saudi customers with the highest quality products and services. We look forward to continuing to deliver an exceptional customer experience and building lasting relationships with our Saudi customers.”
Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Group Executive Vice President Anees Jamjoom said: “The opening of the new MG Motor showroom in Jeddah and the establishment of the showroom in Riyadh exemplify our commitment to meeting the growing demands of our valued customers in the western and capital regions. These showrooms offer unparalleled sales experiences, an extensive range of high-quality MG vehicles, and exceptional customer service.”
The showroom openings are the latest stage in MG’s remarkable journey in Saudi Arabia, which saw the brand sell more than 30,000 units in 2022 alone. The company plans to continue expanding its presence in the country by not only launching a third showroom in Dammam in the first week of December, but a further three additional showrooms in three more major cities by the end of the year. Coupled with establishing service centers and authorized dealerships in key regions, MG aims to ensure that owners receive better-than-ever service and support.

Saudi HORECA concludes 12th edition in Riyadh

Saudi HORECA concludes  12th edition in Riyadh
Updated 02 December 2023

Saudi HORECA concludes 12th edition in Riyadh

Saudi HORECA concludes  12th edition in Riyadh

Food, beverage and hospitality exhibition Saudi HORECA 2023 held its 12th edition from Nov. 27-29 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.
Held with the support of the Kingdom’s Culinary Arts Commission, the event was colocated with Salon du Chocolat et de la Pâtisserie, a world-famous chocolate showcase that originated in Paris and now graces more than 17 cities worldwide, including New York, Tokyo, and Dubai.
Spanning 30,000 square meters, Saudi HORECA and Salon du Chocolat et de la Patisserie showcased innovative products, the latest technologies, and services from 420 local, regional, and international companies. More than 50,000 trade professionals visited the two shows during the three days, where they had the opportunity to network, discover new possibilities and plan the future of their companies with prominent business owners and industry leaders.
Hicham Al-Rabbah, board member of the organizing company SEMARK Group, and Joumana Damous Salameh, CEO of Hospitality Services, the co-organizing company, both took the stage to present welcoming speeches at the opening ceremony.



Local, regional, and international companies showcased innovative products, the latest technologies, and services at Saudi HORECA and Salon du Chocolat et de la Pâtisserie.

During the event, the jury of the Top Chef program — including Chef Maroun Chedid, restaurateur, and media personality; Chef Robert Chinn, television presenter, restaurateur, and cookbook author; and Chef Mona Mosly, the first Saudi woman to be recognized as a culinary pioneer and judge on The Taste reality cooking show — were honored, in the presence of Bassel Al-Radi, Saoud Al-Rajhi, Nayef Al-Rajhi, Mohammed Al-Ithnayn, Al-Rabbah, in addition to a group of hospitality professionals and several ambassadors.
“We are gathered here together to celebrate the profound impact of three chefs who have reimagined and continue to shape the culinary scene in the Middle East. As judges on the renowned Top Chef TV show, they have not only elevated the profession but have also inspired aspiring chefs to chase their dreams,” said Salameh.
The events also featured exciting competitions, including Hospitality Salon Culinaire, Saudi Barista Competition and Mocktail Zero Competition as well as a chocolate fashion show, pastry show, Salon du Chocolat Junior, and several cake competitions and demos. The jury comprised more than 60 chefs and experts, many of whom were attending from abroad.
Beside the competitions, Saudi HORECA brought together more than 20 keynote speakers for a series of talks to tackle industry-related topics. Panel discussions were held with hoteliers, food experts and tech firms, among others.

COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum mobilizes $5bn in funding to advance climate action

COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum mobilizes $5bn in funding to advance climate action
Updated 02 December 2023

COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum mobilizes $5bn in funding to advance climate action

COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum mobilizes $5bn in funding to advance climate action

The Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum, COP28’s private-sector engagement platform to convene global business leaders and philanthropists, concluded its first day on Friday, with the announcement of a range of transformative climate and nature initiatives, and commitments to mobilize $5 billion in collective funding.

The forum, held across the COP28 Blue Zone and Green Zone, brought together over 1,300 key stakeholders, including heads of state and government, business CEOs, philanthropists and NGO heads, who assembled to help showcase and accelerate progress on climate targets and industry transitions.

The Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum represents a paradigm shift, the first dedicated platform for the private sector and philanthropy to be included in the COP process. The forum included a full-day session in the Green Zone, focused on fostering innovation and driving impact in areas including sustainable climate finance, coral restoration, green technology, energy and industry transition, sustainable food systems, and empowering SMEs.  

The inaugural Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum was formally launched at a royal reception on Nov. 30, held in the presence of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE; King Charles III; and Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, COP28 president.

Addressing the forum, Al-Jaber said: “To fix climate finance, we must leverage the knowledge, resources and power of the private sector to ensure we deliver necessary funding to those in need, particularly in the Global South. COP28 is committed to directing capital from multiple sources to meet the trillions required to attack emissions so we can all shepherd a just, orderly transition.”

COP28 Special Representative for Business and Philanthropy Badr Jafar said: “Business and philanthropy hold great promise to accelerate the achievement of our climate and nature goals. The Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum provides this much-needed inclusive platform for enabling concerted action, breaking down silos across stakeholders and sectors, and connecting private sector leaders from all regions of the world around game-changing outcomes underpinned by the COP28 Action Agenda. Our hope is that future COP presidencies continue to build on this multi-stakeholder platform with a view to harnessing the full potential of private capital and innovation.”

Key visionaries gathered at a panel discussion highlighting the indispensable role of business and philanthropy in addressing the pressing concerns of our environment and moving beyond discussions and toward actions. Speakers at the panel included Brian Moynihan, chair of the board and CEO, Bank of America and chair, Sustainable Markets Initiative; Hana Al-Rostamani, group CEO, First Abu Dhabi Bank; Ruth Porat, president and CIO, CFO, Alphabet and Google; Tony Elumelu, founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation; Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and president, Emerson Collective; and Borge Brende, president, World Economic Forum.

The forum also featured a distinguished panel that discussed blended finance commitments. Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, opened the panel, emphasizing the role of blended finance in securing capital for the green transition. Mark Gallogly, chair of Allied Climate Partners and co-founder of Three Cairns Group, and Tobias C. Pross, CEO of Allianz Global Investors, collectively mobilized $5 billion in funding to unlock $20 billion.

Other esteemed speakers on the day included S. Whipps Jr., president of the Republic of Palau; Dr. Terrance Drew, prime minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis; Helal Almarri, director general, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism; Khaled Huraimel, CEO, BEEAH; Mo Ibrahim, CEO, Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Laurence Lien, founding CEO, Asia Philanthropy Circle; and Tokunbo Ishmael, co-founder of Alitheia Capital. Bill Gates, co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and founder, Breakthrough Energy, led the closing keynote address of the forum, speaking on how climate investment can save and improve the most lives, ending with a call to action for increased private sector action.

For the first time ever as part of the official COP program, a range of private sector initiatives were discussed and announced. The forum is also focused on the need to align country, industry and finance roadmaps, and involving multilateral development banks and international financial institutions to create an enabling environment for private capital.

Blended finance structures

Green Climate Fund, Allied Climate Partners and Allianz Global Investors collectively announced to mobilize $5 billion through several unique blended finance structures, bringing together philanthropies, development finance institutions, and the private and public sectors, to turbocharge the climate transition in emerging economies. This commitment is poised to unlock a staggering $20 billion or more, propelling us forward on the accelerated path toward climate transition.

Climate solutions investment platform

Rishi Kapoor, co-CEO of Investcorp, announced the launch of its new climate solutions investment platform, targeting circa $750 million of growth capital investments to help rapidly scale category leading companies that provide products, services and technologies to support decarbonization and address the impacts of climate change globally. A key aspect of Investcorp’s strategy is the recognition that scaling commercially proven climate solutions will enable broad-based availability of much needed decarbonization products and services at attractive price points for the Global South.

Innovate for Climate Tech

Ahmed Baghoum, CEO of Masdar City, announced the Innovate for Climate Tech Coalition, a global coalition anchored by Masdar City, Tencent and the catalyst and facilitated by COP28 with the vision to support the development and adoption of climate-tech solutions with a special focus on the Global South. The coalition aims to connect and strengthen Global South climate-tech ecosystems, scale solutions globally, democratize access to knowledge and capacity building, and spur further innovation. The coalition has gathered local and international knowledge, program and roll-out partners and continues to expand its network.

First Movers Coalition For Food

Børge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, announced the First Movers Coalition for Food, which will co-develop and aggregate procurement commitments to transform food supply chains. The coalition is convened by the World Economic Forum, and it will bring together businesses, governments, and knowledge partners interested in building marketplaces for more sustainable, inclusive, and healthy food systems. By applying the First Movers Coalition model launched in 2020 to food systems, the coalition is expected to create a combined procurement commitment with an estimated value of $10 billion-$20 billion by 2030 for sustainably produced, low-emission and nature-positive agri-food commodities.

Coral restoration and energy transitions moonshot

Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE, revealed the impact of XPRIZE’s three decades of moonshot competitions, which have catalyzed a force of over 35,000 innovators from 148 countries to collectively invest over $2 billion building solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. The discussion included a showcase of XPRIZE’s current climate and biodiversity moonshots under way, including Carbon Removal, Rainforest, Wildfire and Feed the Next Billion, and previewed XPRIZE’s next moonshot focused on coral restoration.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, King Charles III open COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, King Charles III open COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum
Updated 01 December 2023

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, King Charles III open COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, King Charles III open COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum

For the first time at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of the Parties (COP), the COP28 Presidency of the UAE has launched the inaugural COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum, convening more than 1,000 CEOs and philanthropists from over 80 countries. The forum is being held alongside the World Climate Action Summit. 

Hosted by the COP28 Presidency and the Sustainable Markets Initiative, the forum launched today with a high-level reception in the presence of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE, and King Charles III. 

The forum represents a paradigm shift in the COP process. With its strengths in low-carbon solutions and innovation, delivery and global networks, the private sector has — and continues — to invest trillions of dollars into the transition. With the objective of moving beyond commitments, the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum will showcase global industry-by-industry delivery together with opportunities to accelerate, replicate, and scale, particularly in the Global South.

Private sector actors will join heads of state and government to focus on showcasing private sector progress and joint delivery. 

Dr. Sultan Al-Jabar, COP28 president, said: “For the first time at a UNFCCC COP, and in line with the vision of the UAE, the global private sector has a seat at the table on the first day of COP28. No single party has all the solutions, and COP28 must bridge the trust gap between North and South, East, and West, and build a platform for action through partnership. This is what the Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum represents.”

Badr Jafar, chair of the forum and COP28 special representative for business and philanthropy, said: “There is no time to waste, and no need to wait. The Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum showcases over 20 major actions that CEOs and philanthropists can take now demonstrating accessible ways for private sector leaders to move beyond pledges and declarations and into action and implementation in ways that are suited to their capabilities and competencies.”

Jennifer Jordan-Saifi, CEO of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, said: “Building on the vision of our founder, King Charles III, and the momentum of the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s CEO summits at COP26 and COP27, the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum’s purpose statement amplifies calls from the private sector to be at the table for all future UNFCCC COPs. It is time for a whole new model — one focused on real-world delivery and accelerated results.”

The Sustainable Markets Initiative is the strategic partner for the inaugural forum. Other forum delivery partners include the International Finance Corporation, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Economic Forum, Asian Development Bank, Africa Finance Corporation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Inter-American Development Bank Group, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and XPRIZE.

Other organizations participating in the Nov. 30 reception and also at the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum include: UNFCCC, Food and Agriculture Organization, International Telecommunication Union, World Health Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization, UN Office of Outer Space Affairs, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Caribbean Development Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization.

The UN Council for Trade and Development estimated that $4 trillion is required annually to meet climate and biodiversity targets. To deliver, the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum commits to:

  • Supporting an annual Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum alongside the world leaders’ summit at every UNFCCC COP until at least 2030. This forum will serve as the foundation for the private sector to: enhance alignment of industry, finance and country roadmaps; conduct an annual industry-by-industry assessment on progress; and, raise the bar on ambitions, including alignment with science-based targets.
  • Engaging in private sector diplomacy and the creation of innovative private sector mechanisms to support cross-border transition efforts, including blended finance and trade instruments.
  • Demonstrating the moral courage required as decision-makers to boldly lead the transition to a sustainable, just, and prosperous future.
  • Adopting an authentic sustainable orientation, embedding sustainability in business models, decisions, and actions.
  • Investing in sustainability-aligned research, development, commercialization, technology, and innovation alongside youth and supporting the green, sustainably focused jobs of the future.
  • Aligning country, industry, and financial roadmaps. Moving together, create efficiencies and economies of scale that will enable collective progress and accelerate sustainable transitions.
  • Showcasing game-changing entrepreneurs, technologies and solutions that are emerging around the world. At the same time, remove barriers that are impeding progress in deployment and scale-up of these technologies.
  • Bringing sustainable markets from niche to norm by reimagining mandates, project pipelines, financial structuring, and models of return. In this way entirely new sustainable industries, products, services, and supply chains can be created, while in parallel helping to transition and transform existing systems to a more sustainable trajectory.
  • Building conservation and nature-based solutions into the asset base, supply chains, and disclosures.
  • Addressing market challenges and helping reorient economic subsidies, financial incentives, and regulations in support of global climate, biodiversity, and UN SDG targets across all industries.
  • Adopting common standards, metrics, working definitions and traceability within, and wherever possible, across industries.


Misk Schools students enjoy ‘BTEC in Esports’ lesson

Misk Schools students enjoy ‘BTEC in Esports’ lesson
Updated 29 November 2023

Misk Schools students enjoy ‘BTEC in Esports’ lesson

Misk Schools students enjoy ‘BTEC in Esports’ lesson

The Misk Global Forum in Riyadh, held from Nov. 15-17, showcased the talents and ideas of young leaders, CEOs and entrepreneurs from around the world, but one of the most exciting highlights was the inaugural “BTEC in Esports” lesson, delivered to students from Riyadh’s prestigious Misk Schools.

Esports influencer Brandon Smith flew into Riyadh especially to deliver the lesson on behalf of the region’s leaders in educational esports, EStars. Accredited in the MENA region by Pearson Education, one of the world’s top education providers, the BTEC in Esports program is designed to provide students with the expertise they need to access opportunities in the fast-growing esports sector. The esports industry saw revenues of almost $2 billion in 2022 and has been growing at more than 20 percent per year.

Fittingly, the lesson was delivered in the Riyadh Schools’ Classroom of the Future, which has been designed and built in partnership with EStars. The concept provides a template for reinventing education using the best emerging technologies and teaching practices, to empower students growing up in a very different world.

Misk Schools is the first school in the Kingdom to adopt esports as part of its curriculum, which aims to produce future leaders, ready to embrace the knowledge economy embodied in Vision 2030.

Dr. Steffen Sommer, director general of Misk Schools, said: “Esports encourages young people to work together and play together, which is culturally quite new here. In addition to educating students about a rapidly expanding global industry, the BTEC also hones strategic thinking, teamwork and entrepreneurial skills — essential capabilities for emerging leaders navigating the world.”

The inaugural BTEC in Esports lesson and the Riyadh Schools’ Classroom of the Future were the subject of huge interest at the Misk Global Forum, visited by a number of Saudi dignitaries, ministry officials and VIPs, plus stars such as two-time world champion boxer Amir Khan, professional racing driver Reema Juffali and Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni.

EStars CEO Mags Byrne said: “We are proud to be delivering the BTEC in Esports to students at Misk Schools. EStars aims to provide a pathway to careers of the future for the students of today. Collaborating with such a pioneering partner as Misk Schools has given us a chance to showcase how the BTEC in Esports upskills students to forge careers in the growing esports sector.”

Founded in 2017 in the UK by CEO Byrne, EStars is the global leader in educational esports, providing students with the skills they need to succeed in one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. It has offices in Abu Dhabi from which it covers the Middle East and Africa region.