Fintech lights up Saudi Arabia’s venture space  

Fintech lights up Saudi Arabia’s venture space  
Saudi Arabia has emerged as a prime destination for both regional and global firms eager to tap into its burgeoning market.  Shutterstock
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Updated 22 October 2023

Fintech lights up Saudi Arabia’s venture space  

Fintech lights up Saudi Arabia’s venture space  

CAIRO: With an objective to host 525 fintech companies by 2030, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a prime destination for both regional and global firms eager to tap into its burgeoning market.  

Following the financial sector development strategy unveiled last year, the Kingdom is on track to position itself as a regional hub for the industry. 

On that note, US-based fintech company Tribal Credit has renewed its $150 million debt facility to fuel its expansion into Saudi Arabia.  

Founded in 2016 in Silicon Valley by Amr Shady, Duane Good, Hariraj Jayakumar, Mark Graves, Mohamed El-Kasstawi, and Prasant Sudhakaran, the company offers enhanced financial solutions to small and medium enterprises in emerging markets.  

The company aims to use its debt facility to develop its tech solutions as well as expand to other countries.  

“This funding will equip us with the necessary resources to seize exciting market opportunities ahead,” Shady said.  

“We’re eager to continue our journey of developing innovative tech solutions to help SMEs thrive in emerging markets, especially in Mexico and Saudi Arabia,” he added.  

The debt facility, provided by the global lending firm Partners for Growth, is scheduled to remain in effect until 2025.  

“Tribal Credit has consistently demonstrated strong credit performance even in challenging market conditions. Their continued investment in the credit process, tools, and the team has paid dividends,” says Armineh Baghoomian, managing director, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, co-head of Global Fintech at PFG.  

“In addition, they have innovated and launched financial products that truly meet the needs of SMEs in emerging markets. We’re thrilled to extend our partnership with Tribal and excited to support Amr, Duane and the team as they continue shaping the landscape of financial services,” he added.  

Saudi digital payment company Cashin acquires counterpart  

Saudi-based digital payment solutions provider Cashin has successfully completed the acquisition of Cardless, a prominent name in the Kingdom’s digital payment product landscape.  

The acquisition aims to bolster the firm’s ambitions of incorporating procurement solutions for digital cards within its comprehensive platform.   

This move is in line with the company’s strategy to diversify its services, making a foray into the digital card realm with its Cashin Cards offering.   

This service is anticipated to empower over 20,000 merchants with the ability to issue virtual cards, allowing them to seamlessly integrate these cards into their product offerings and earn commissions via digital wallets, devoid of any credit constraints.  

Omar Al-Ramah, Cashin’s CEO, emphasized that the integration of Cardless is a strategic move, aligning with the company’s mission to cater to the retail sector’s evolving demands.   

He highlighted the value addition stemming from Cardless’s extensive customer database and a decade-long industry experience.  

Cashin is renowned for delivering versatile solutions in the domains of point of sale, digital payments, e-invoicing, inventory management, and more, all fine-tuned to serve diverse retail scales.   

Meanwhile, Cardless has made a mark with its holistic digital payment platform, constantly innovating to simplify payment processes for users.  

Saudi Arabia’s Takadao raises $1.6m  

Saudi fintech startup Takadao has secured $1.6 million in a pre-seed funding round spearheaded by Silicon Valley’s renowned investor, Tim Draper, and saw participation from BIM, Core Vision Ventures, and Prince Sultan bin Fahad bin Salman.  

Originally established in Singapore and headquartered in Riyadh, Takadao was founded by Sharene Lee and Morrad Irsane to offer Shariah-compliant blockchain-based services with a specific focus on savings and loans as well as cooperative life insurance solutions.  

Boasting a community that currently exceeds 10,000 members, Takadao claims to be on a growth trajectory with its user base expanding by approximately 5 percent on a weekly basis.   

Tim Draper’s investment in the Saudi-based startup is a notable first. Draper, with a legacy of transformative investments in companies like Baidu, Skype, and Hotmail.  

“Takadao is one of those companies that you don’t know quite where it’s going to go, but if it succeeds, it’s going to be really impactful and make a big difference in the world and this is a world that I want to live in,” Draper said.  

Moreover, the founders expressed their excitement at having Draper as an investor.  

“Tim Draper is a visionary. Throughout his career, he has shown foresight in anticipating where the world is going to go. He is also humble and embracing of diverse cultures and viewpoints. This is why we’re extremely excited to have him on board,” said Irsane.  

XPANCEO raises $40m to launch AR contact lenses  

The UAE-based deep tech firm XPANCEO has secured $40 million in a seed funding round spearheaded by Opportunity Ventures based in Hong Kong.   

Established in 2021 by founders Valentyn Volkov and Roman Axelrod, XPANCEO is creating next generation technology with its smart contact lenses.  

The company has successfully created and tested three separate prototypes of lenses that enable night vision and zoom, real-time health monitoring, and the ability to see video and graphic content in augmented reality.  

The freshly procured funds are earmarked to expedite the company’s launch of its next prototype which will gather several features into one device.  

“We are targeting, at least, the $790 billion augmented reality and contact lenses market, and creating the first device in the market that will allow us to use all apps and software in a single contact lens interface,” Volkov said.

Global leaders accelerate pace for decarbonization at COP28

Global leaders accelerate pace for decarbonization at COP28
Updated 8 sec ago

Global leaders accelerate pace for decarbonization at COP28

Global leaders accelerate pace for decarbonization at COP28

DUBAI: Capitalizing on the positive momentum from the opening day of the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, global leaders, including heads of state and governments from over 117 countries, gathered at Expo City to set ambitious goals for transitioning toward more ecological and less carbon-intensive economies.  

The boost to the mood was spurred by the announcement on Nov. 30 activating the “loss and damage fund” — a financial mechanism designed to assist countries affected by climate change. This initiative was endorsed last year during COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, with the specific operational details ironed out just hours before the commencement of COP28.  

The operationalization of the “loss and damage fund” appears to have instilled a lot of confidence among participants at COP28, including leaders such as Kenyan President William Ruto, who welcomed the announcement as a sign of progress.  

“We are seeing signs of progress for the first time. The ‘loss and damage fund’ is now being operationalized with real money. The conversation here has changed dramatically. I think there is a renewed commitment to making sure that we match action with what we’ve seen many times,” Ruto told Arab News.  

He mentioned that he is aware of one of the problems associated with past meetings on climate change: there is rarely any follow-up to the lofty statements made during these gatherings.  

“The accusation has been (that) we talk too much and there are no results. But I am very impressed with what I am seeing; there is now tangible progress being made. And hopefully, by the end of this COP, we will not only have significant resources deployed but also serious commitments made,” Ruto said.  

African initiatives  

Even though it ranks at the bottom of the list of continents in terms of carbon emissions, Africa has been at the receiving end of the negative impacts of climate change, especially through cycles of alternating prolonged droughts and flash floods.  

In such a scenario, it is hardly surprising to see a large African delegation at COP28, and many African nations are now taking the lead in speaking up for themselves and launching their own initiatives. For instance, Ruto informed that Kenya was all set to announce a number of new initiatives.  

He added: “We will be launching later today (Friday), with France, an agreement that will give us the opportunity to discuss taxation as a new mechanism for bringing resources for sorting out climate change that is threatening the whole globe. Secondly, we are also having a serious conversation about the Africa Green Industrialization Initiative to unlock the huge potential and opportunities that exist in Africa for green manufacturing, which is, if I may say, the silver bullet for growth into the future.”  

Even on the issue of finance, which has blighted practically every single COP summit, Ruto seemed optimistic. “We need billions of dollars for climate adaptation, which is precisely why we are having a conversation about money already committed, and we are seeing traction in that money being released. That’s number one. Number two, we are looking at an opportunity where we have all agreed on a new international financial architecture that is, again, going to be much more fit for purpose with additional resources, with more money. And then number three, we are looking at new avenues of raising money, including carbon taxation and taxation on industries that will get more people on board,” Ruto said.  

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that the main objective of this COP is to expedite investments in green transition. “The main objectives here seem to be to speed up the investments in energy efficiency, to speed up the investments in the energy transition and also the diminishment of the use of the fossil fuels.”  

There were some substantive declarations on Nov. 30 but Plenković expressed his expectation that, over the course of the next couple of days, as confidence builds, “there will be more money available.” 

For Plenković, besides finance, another key development at COP28 is the global stocktaking that is taking place where various countries make a statement on where they stand currently vis-a-vis their commitments under the Paris Agreement for curbing their carbon emissions. 

“I believe that the exercise of global stocktaking is a necessary requirement for phasing out carbon in a fashion that is timely, intelligent, swift and systematic. I think that the political will is here and that a lot of ambition in order to fulfill, first of all, the Paris Agreement objectives. And I think the awareness has been really raised to the maximum level,” Plenković told Arab News.  

He said that his own country is moving rapidly toward a green transition across various sectors. “Well, we are investing heavily at the local level because, in a global sense, we are not a country that is polluting a lot. Our emissions are very low. On the contrary, they are below the thresholds that we have. But we are doing maximum to increase our investments in energy transition and energy efficiency.”  

The Croatian prime minister emphasized on the tourism sector because his country ranks as the 18th destination in the world in terms of guests, with the arrival of 20 million tourists. This figure is significant for a nation of less than 4 million people. “We put this in the context of global development goals. Therefore, all of our investments are aimed at balancing economic growth, maintaining a protected environment, and reducing emissions,” Plenković said.  

He added that the EU was very deeply engaged with climate change, not just internally but also at a global level. “There is no European Council that passes without climate as an issue and I think that we are really committed to provide as much as we can, both in terms of institutional framework investments and support to the countries that are in need,’’ Plenković explained.  

Funding gap

However, not everyone seemed content with the developments and the pace of change. Miguel Ceara Hatton, minister of environment and natural resources of the Dominican Republic, said he is very concerned about the “loss and damage fund” proving to be inadequate. “We understand that there is not enough money for the 183 countries. If we talk about this, $100 billion is not enough. If we have to change our way of production, consumption and transportation, then we need much more than what is currently there, especially if we are talking about 183 countries,” Hatton told Arab News.  

He added: “This crisis, the climate crisis is occurring at the same time in all countries in the world. So, for that reason, everybody needs money at the same time in order to get the transformation.” 

Hatton felt the problem is that, in the end, each government has to be prepared to finance the changes. “But also, we try to get money from outside of the country, which is not going to be enough. But, in any case, we have to do the transformation. That’s the point, and that is adaptation,” he explained. 

The Dominican Republic currently faces several challenges due to the climate crisis, Hatton informed. “The main problem is that we have a severe growth of Saragossa, a seaweed that is growing due to warmer seas. We also have the issues of transition of our energy and transportation. These are the three main things that we have to resolve in order to advance in the (fight against) climate change,” he said.  

Despite the issues, Hatton said that he stays positive. He added: “Yes, we are optimistic. Yesterday (Friday) was a good day. And I think that we are moving. Not so far, not so quickly. But we are moving very slowly. Very slowly. But I hope to gain speed.”  

The optimism despite challenges was also shared by Dan Smith, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a think-tank that specializes in the study of conflicts and wars around the world.  

“Events like COP are very important. But don’t expect anything to be revolutionized next week, next month, or even next year. Probably in a year’s time when COP29 comes, we will still be saying, look, we have to be more aware of this linkage. We have to do more about it, and we have to grip the problem better. But the awareness is rising,” Smith told Arab News.  

He said the change in policy is visible. For example, more and more UN missions, international agencies, and indeed governments have advised them specifically on the link of climate and security attached to their operations. “So, there is progress. It’s slow. That’s not enough, but it’s something that’s good,” he explained.  

Smith said that there was a direct connection between climate change and conflicts, a hypothesis that his institute has been studying for decades. “I think that maybe 10 or 15 years ago, we believed that there would be a connection between climate change and increased risk of conflict. Today, it is no longer speculation.”  

Unfortunately, he said the hypothesis turned out to be correct, and “it is very clear that there is an increasing number of armed conflicts in which the impact of climate change plays a part in creating the conditions.”  

“It also plays a part in making some conflicts harder to resolve. It makes it difficult sometimes for the UN operations in the way it should, where you have extreme weather events happening. It also offers a chance for the insurgents, the militia, and the jihadists to exploit that, too. Very often they are the first providers that are the first ones to come when there’s a flood, and then they actually increase their recruitment as a result,” he said.  

Despite the positive mood around, for some NGOs (non-governmental organizations) like Terre Policy Centre, a Pune-based environmental policy organization, the real challenge lies in the day after COP28 gets over. “The issue of implementation and activation of all that has been said at the climate summit,” said Vinita Apte, chairperson of Terre Policy Centre.  

“Today (Friday), we heard Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who gave a very good speech about green credit initiatives that India is launching. We have also seen many other leaders make major announcements. I always see people like the presidents and prime ministers come, and they give their statements and then they leave. Little of what is said is implemented and ultimately, it is for the common people around the world to deal with the aftereffects of climate change. But at least the governments should ensure that they help the populations and the NGOs deal with the challenges and provide finance,” Apte told Arab News.  

Climate transition must be more holistic, says Bill Gates

Climate transition must be more holistic, says Bill Gates
Updated 02 December 2023

Climate transition must be more holistic, says Bill Gates

Climate transition must be more holistic, says Bill Gates

DUBAI: An effective transition to net zero requires an interdisciplinary approach that addresses manufacturing, agriculture, electricity and transport, according to tech and philanthropy giant Bill Gates.

In his address at the Business Philanthropy Climate Forum, held alongside the UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, in Dubai, Gates reiterated that while the primary focus in climate discussions tends to highlight electricity and transport solely, climate goals will not be met without a holistic approach.

The priority in the shift must also take into account the most vulnerable members of the global population, who are especially susceptible to the effects of climate change, he explained.

Gates drew examples from farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, urging attendees to take their suffering into account, while calling on support for higher productivity and more resilience in livestock.

Gates said: “We need, for the sake of justice, to help people adjust to the planet that is already warmer ... Our priority in this adaptation work should be those who are most affected. And the majority of those people are farmers in both sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and we can already see the crop loss that they’re suffering and what that means to them. So they need support to have higher productivity.”

COP28: Second day of leaders’ summit at UN climate talks

COP28: Second day of leaders’ summit at UN climate talks
Updated 5 min 43 sec ago

COP28: Second day of leaders’ summit at UN climate talks

COP28: Second day of leaders’ summit at UN climate talks

DUBAI: Leaders of developing nations jumped into Saturday’s second day of a UN climate summit to press rich industrial countries to share their know-how to fight global warming and ease the financial burdens they face — while trumpeting their own natural resources that swallow heat-trapping carbon in the air.

The annual United Nations Conference of the Parties, known as COP28, in the UAE featured about 150 presidents, prime ministers, royals and other leaders who are presenting their plans to cut heat-trapping emissions and mostly seek unity with other nations to avert climate catastrophe that seemed to draw closer than ever in 2023.

READ MORE: Click here for our coverage of COP28


1002 GMT

Philip Joseph Pierre, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia.

Philip Joseph Pierre, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia: “The impacts have been devastating to our region. Loss and damage have struck at the core of our economies and our societies.”

“At one extreme, lives and livelihoods have been lost and the extreme our environment is under siege.”

We will be working to accelerate unabated coal phase-out across the world, building stronger economies and more resilient communities. The first step is to stop making the problem worse: stop building new unabated coal power plants

Special Envoy John Kerry, in announcing that the US is joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance

0955 GMT

Leo Varadkar, Prime Minister of Ireland.

“With the high cost of living and high energy prices, many worry about how much the transition will cost and what it will mean for their jobs and incomes and living standards. These are legitimate concerns and we need to hear them we need to understand where people are coming from and offer reassurance,” said Leo Varadkar, Prime Minister of Ireland.

“Change is difficult but we must do everything in our power to make sure that the transition is just protecting the vulnerable and leaving nobody behind.”

“Today I am announcing a contribution of €25 million to the new loss and damage fund for 2024 and 2025, and we will make further contributions thereafter.”

0949 GMT

Joss Ulisses De Pina Correia e Silva, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde

“It is a political obligation for all countries, for all leaders to make a top priority out of jointly implementing the solutions and the commitments that we have signed up to. And here, time is the critical factor because nature continues on its course reacting to the conditions that human beings create with their actions and their emissions,” Joss Ulisses De Pina Correia e Silva, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde, said in his national statement.

“We encourage there to be a clear and urgent definition of the financing mechanism for loss and damage. We reaffirm also the urgent need to adopt the multidimensional vulnerability index as part of the climate finance criteria.”


$3 billion

Amount that the United States has pledged to the Green Climate Fund. The latest pledge would be additional to another $2 billion previously delivered by the US.

0943 GMT

Dalton Emani Makamau Tagelagi, Prime Minister of Niue.

“Time is up and urgent action is now needed to deliver climate finance for lost and damage,” according to Dalton Emani Makamau Tagelagi, Prime Minister of Niue. “Niue is a net sink and has no responsibility for the causes of climate change. Niue is at high risk of tropical cyclones this season and of drought.”

“My people were living in fear of another catastrophic cyclone. Residents and low-lying coastal areas have slowly moved to higher ground to avoid detrimental impacts from damaging heavy swells.”

0936 GMT

Philip Davis, Prime Minister of Bahamas.

“How long must we now wait to have this new fund capitalized and how long must we wait before we can assess access the funds? Time is the luxury we do not have,” Philip Davis, Prime Minister of Bahamas, said in his speech.

0932 GMT

Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.

“We are facing an existential paradox, the smallest contributors to global CO2 emissions yet among the hardest hit by climate catastrophe. This is not just an environmental crisis it is a glaring testament to the world where profits are prioritized over people and planets,” said Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.

“It is a world where oil and gas conglomerates, shielded by the power of wealthy nations, continue to reap astronomical profits while the survival of nations like ours hangs in the balance.”

0926 GMT

Housain Al-Arnous, Prime Minister of Syria.

Housain Al-Arnous, Prime Minister of Syria: “It is time to work seriously to advance climate action and to accelerate emissions reduction through energy transition and also through using land sustainably and in an integrated manner. It is time to transition to sustainable food systems and to operationalize systems to limit loss and damage.””

Syria suffers from the impact of climate change. This is evident in the declining rainfall and the rise in dust storms and heat waves.”

0914 GMT

Giorgia Meloni, Prime Minister of Italy.

“Italy is doing its part in the carbonization process and it does it in a pragmatic way that means with the technology neutral approach free from unnecessary radicalism,” according to Giorgia Meloni, the Prime Minister of Italy.

“Italy intends to direct an extremely significant share of the Italian climate fund whose overall endowment is €4 billion to the African continent, not however through a charitable approach, because Africa does not need charity, it needs to be put in the condition to compete on an equal footing in order to grow and prosper thanks to the multitude of resources that the continent possesses.”


Pope Francis pleads with COP28 to find breakthrough on climate change

DUBAI: Pope Francis on Saturday called on the UN climate summit to strive for a essential breakthrough agreement to stem global warming that includes the elimination of fossil fuels, saying climate had “run amok.”

The 86-year-old pope had planned to attend the conference but a lung inflammation forced him to remain in the Vatican. His full address was left with delegates and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin shortened it in order to remain within the 3-minute time limit for speeches.

Pope Francis had planned to attend the conference but a lung inflammation forced him to remain in the Vatican. (AFP)

“Sadly, I am unable to be present with you, as I had greatly desired. Even so, I am with you, because time is short,” Francis said in his message.

“I am with you because now more than ever, the future of us all depends on the present that we now choose. I am with you because the destruction of the environment is an offense against God,” he said.

“May this COP prove to be a turning point, demonstrating a clear and tangible political will that can lead to a decisive acceleration of ecological transition,” he said. – Reuters


0909 GMT

Robert Abela, Prime Minister of Malta.

“We are working hard to achieve a 55 percent emission reduction by 2030 as compared to 1990 levels. Malta has also achieved a lot in these past years but we want to be more ambitious and to do much more: Robert Abela, Prime Minister of Malta, said in his speech.

“Having the lowest gross emission per capital among the EU member states means that our efforts need to be sturdier. In the past ten years we have managed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector by 60 percent.”

0902 GMT

Petr Fiala, Prime Minister of Czechia.

“My country support the Paris agreement of the EU climate and energy including the goal of carbon neutral economy by 2050. We are taking steps to stop coal for electricity and heating by 2033. In part this can be achieved by renovating buildings and developing renewable energy sources,” according to Petr Fiala, Prime Minister of Czechia.

“I want to be clear that the success of our wider climate goals is fundamentally dependent on nuclear energy. This is a good thing as nuclear power is both reliable and clean so we should use its benefits.”

0846 GMT

Jonas Gahr Store, Prime Minister of Norway.

Jonas Gahr Store, Prime Minister of Norway: “Norway supports the call for global tripling of renewables and doubling of energy efficiency by 2030.”

0829 GMT

Antonio Costa, the Prime Minister of Portugal.

Antonio Costa, the Prime Minister of Portugal, meanwhile said: “Climate transition in Portugal will present an enormous opportunity. An opportunity for research, development, towards innovation. An opportunity of investment, most of them already engaged, with an amount of €85 billion in the next two decades, representing 35 percent of our GDP.”

0823 GMT

Katrin Jakobsdottir, Prime Minister of Iceland.

“We need to do more to cut emissions, a lot more. We need to accelerate a green energy transition, scale up green solutions, increase nature-based solutions, and make sure those who pollute pay,” Katrin Jakobsdottir, Prime Minister of Iceland, said in her statement.

“But we also need to do less. Our economic systems focus on maximizing production and consumption rather than sustainability and wellbeing. And this needs to change.”

“Iceland supports the phasing out of fossil fuels and subsidiaries of fossil fuels need to end. We should not burn public money to cook the planet, instead we should scale up support for clean solutions.”

0814 GMT

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Prime Minister of Greece.

“We have cut our coal use by over 80 percent. We are growing our economy at a much faster pace than the Eurozone average while reducing emissions. In total, our emissions are down by 43 percent from 2005 as we turn to renewable energy, the best performance amongst European countries,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Prime Minister of Greece, said in his statement.

0802 GMT

Mark Brown, Prime Minister of Cook Islands.

“To put it plainly, the world must fulfill its financial commitments. It is as simple as that. In 2022, the IMF reported that $7 trillion were spent on fossil fuel subsidiaries, yet the global commitment to $100 billion per year to the Paris Agreement continues to struggle for fulfillment,” according to Mark Brown, Prime Minister of Cook Islands.

0753 GMT

Andrej Plenkovic, the Prime Minister of Croatia.

“We need to do much more to curb climate change. However, we are doing the opposite. Half of the CO2 emissions emitted in the last two centuries have been emitted in the past three decades, and they continue to grow,” according to Andrej Plenkovic, the Prime Minister of Croatia.

0749 GMT

Kaja Kallas, the Prime Minister of Estonia.

“Today, digital is enabling our green reform. Estonia’s parliament has adopted a new renewable electricity target of 100 percent by 2030. More than tripling our level of renewable production,” according to Kaja Kallas, the Prime Minister of Estonia.

0749 GMT

Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados.

“We’ve seen this year, one third of the days of the year exceed 1.5°C, this is a death sentence. And the reality is, unless we change course, we are going to see far more lives lost and far more damage done,” Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, said in her speech.

0744 GMT

Evariste Ndayishimiye, President of Burundi.

Evariste Ndayishimiye, President of Burundi, in his country statement, said “Burundi has committed via the Nationally Determined Contributions to protect the environment, to strengthen resilience towards climate change, and to boost food security. This is infused in our national policies and our vision for Burundi. An emerging country by 2040, and a developed country by 2060.”

0733 GMT

Kausea Natano, Prime Minister of Tuvalu.

“Though I applaud the current status of loss and damage (fund) and the inflow of funding supports, it is our hope that the challenge on the accessibility to the fund is limited or is eliminated,” said Kausea Natano, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, in his statement.

0724 GMT

Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco, President of Angola.

“Tackling the issue of climate change is one of the key priorities in all sustainable development programs and strategies in the Republic of Angola. It is a critical concern and one that deserves special attention,” Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco, President of Angola, said.

“We are committed to changing our national energy matrix prioritizing clean energy production sources and we’re doing this through the construction of hydroelectric plants and solar panels parks, which means that more than 65 percent of the current 6,400 MW of energy produced in the country now come from ecological sources.”

0717 GMT

David Choquehuanca Cespedes, Vice President of Bolivia.

“Developing countries have prepared a broad path for developed countries who rely on our resources and yet trample all over us and do not allow us to tread the path with them,” David Choquehuanca Cespedes, Vice President of Bolivia, said in his statement.

“There can be no climate justice climatic without understanding genuine life sciences. There can be no climate justice without recognizing that human intelligence is what is important not artificial intelligence.”


Over 110 countries set to join COP28 deal to triple renewable energy

A pledge to triple the world’s installed renewable energy by 2030 is poised to win support from more than 110 countries at the COP28 climate summit on Saturday, with some pushing to make the deal global by the end of the UN conference.

The European Union, United States and COP28 host the UAE have been rallying support for the pledge as a means to the sharp drop in planet-warming emissions needed this decade to avoid unleashing more severe climate change.

Whether governments and companies will rally the huge investments needed to hit the goal is an open question. While deployment of renewables like solar and wind has been surging globally for years, rising costs, labor constraints and supply chain issues have forced project delays and cancellations in recent months.

Getting the deal into the final UN climate summit decision would also require consensus among the nearly 200 countries present. While China and India have signaled support for tripling global renewable energy by 2030, neither has confirmed it will back the overall pledge – which pairs the ramp-up in clean power with a reduction in fossil fuel use. – Reuters


0708 GMT

Olaf Scholz, the Chancellor of Germany.

“It is still possible for us to reduce emissions this decade and for us to reach a level that would allow us to achieve the 1.5°C goal, however, science tells us that we need to step up the pace,” according to Olaf Scholz, the Chancellor of Germany.

“I would like to present the following three proposals for you today. First, let us make the expansion of renewables our number one priority in energy policy globally. Let us agree on two binding targets here in Dubai, tripling the expansion of renewables and doubling energy efficiency, both by 2030.”

“As long as we still have to rely on gas, we have to ensure that we produce and transport it in as climate friendly as possible.”

“My second point concerns our international cooperation. We need forms in which to develop common solutions for the challenges of transformation.”

“My third proposal concerns solidarity and responsibility. Already in the year 2022, Germany has surpassed its objective of making available €6 billion ($6.5 billion) per annum for international climate finance.”

“I’m also confident that we will also achieve our goal of making available $100 billion per annum for international climate action together with other industrialized countries.”

0658 GMT

Mohammed B. S Jallow, Vice President of Gambia.

“We recognize that transitioning to a low carbon sustainable economy is not only an environmental imperative but also an economic opportunity; therefore, we are still committed to promoting the use of green and clean energy, sustainable agriculture, and eco-friendly technologies,” Mohammed B. S Jallow, Vice President of Gambia, said in his speech.

“This transition will not only reduce our carbon footprint but also create jobs stimulate innovation and improve the quality of our life of our citizens.”

0651 GMT

Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, President of Botswana.

“The government of Botswana has made a decision to increase renewable energy penetration from two percent to 30 percent by 2030,” according to Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, President of Botswana.

“As a developing country, Botswana prioritizes adaptation as it reduces the vulnerability of communities to climate related hazards and in so doing protecting livelihoods and ecosystems as well as enabling them to be more resilient.”

0643 GMT

Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of Suriname.

“As part of the eight Amazonian countries united in the Amazon corporation treaty organization, we are also committed to fight deforestation of the Amazon region. My country and people are forced to adapt to extreme dry and wet weather events which cause losses and damages,” Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of Suriname, said in his national statement.

“At the same time, we must respond to the legitimate demands of our population for economic development and diversification as we do through a balanced approach consisting of developing the natural resources through environment-friendly strategy by sustainable forest management and active protection of biodiversity and also by continued transition to green energy and other green innovations and technologies.”

0633 GMT

Faustin-Archange Touadera, President of the Central African Republic.

“Africa which bears least responsibility in terms of emissions, responsible for just four percent of global emissions, but unfortunately, Africa is a primary victim of the direct impacts of climate change,” according to Faustin-Archange Touadera, President of the Central African Republic.

“Central African Republic has been classed among the five countries which are most threatened by the effects of climate change.”

“When it comes to determining who should pay for the climate bill, the answer is, bearing in mind the gap between developed countries which are the primary polluters and poor countries, it would be logical for the former to finance the mitigation process.”

0617 GMT

Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan.

“For four years now, the country is suffering from floods, droughts, excessive heat high temperatures, and irregular rain patterns. These climate change related factors have negatively affected the livelihood of our people the people are internally displaced,” Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan said in his national statement speech.

“That is causing subnational conflicts between the displaced and host communities. So, peace and security are clearly affected as a result of climate change.”

“We have come to this COP28 with the hope that we, the world leaders, will commit ourselves to the implementation of the provisions of the Paris Agreement.”

“Climate change financing to the less developed countries is very important so that these countries can implement their climate adaptation and mitigation projects,” he added.

0605 GMT

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana.

“We are all now aware that climate change has an enormous impact on the fundamentals required for our survival on earth. It imposes developmental constraints and burdens on are already stretched resources and we, in Ghana are witnessing this phenomenon for ourselves at first hand,” said Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana.

“A few weeks ago parts of my country Ghana were confronted with the severe humanitarian crisis triggered by the spillage of water from our country’s largest hydroelectric dam due to unusually high rainfall patterns.”

“We encourage our international partners to support the V20 loss and damage fund, the global shield against climate risk, and ultimately the UNFCCC loss and damage fund to ensure the availability of robust social safety nets for the developing world during such climate crisis.”

0551 GMT

Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea.

“Africa is one of the regions with the highest rates of carbon capture and oxygen release in the world; yet, paradoxically we are the region which draws the least benefits,” according to Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea.

“In light of that it’s not enough, in our view, for developed countries to simply wring their hands and make empty promises. Rather, they need to fulfill their commitments and obligations under the Paris agreement that we achieved at COP21 and ensure the rollout and implementation of tangible concrete action to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change.”

“We issue an urgent call for renewed commitment at COP28 to provide Africa with adequate transparent and just financing going forward as well as ensuring the requisite transfer of technology.”

Mbasogo faulted developed nations for failing to deliver on their pledges to meet their commitments on financing for climate action and meet their own targets to curb their industries’ emissions.

“Africa is one of the regions in the world that sequesters the most carbon and emits oxygen,” he said.

0544 GMT

Jose Ramos Horta, President of Timor-Leste.

“I urge the WHO to declare a public health emergency of international concern, the highest level of emergency that can be declared by WHO,” Jose Ramos Horta, President of Timor-Leste, said in his speech.


The Israel-Hamas conflict also loomed large in the proceedings with several leaders voicing sympathy for the Palestinians in Gaza as the week-long ceasefire ended, and vigorous efforts to extend the truce collapsed.

Israel bombarded eastern areas of Khan Younis in southern Gaza right after the truce ended.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II speaks during the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government session at the United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (AFP)

“This year’s conference of the parties must recognize even more than ever that we cannot talk about climate change in isolation from the humanitarian tragedies unfolding around us,” King Abdullah II of Jordan said in his speech.

“As we speak, the Palestinian people are facing an immediate threat to their lives and wellbeing. In Gaza over 1.7 million Palestinians have been displaced from their homes. Tens of thousands have been injured or killed in a region already on the front line of the climate change.”



The high-level session was also a day of financial commitments, with host country UAE announcing the establishment of ALTÉRRA, the largest private climate vehicle, and a $30 billion commitment to the vehicle with the aim of mobilizing $250 billion of private-sector investment by 2030.

with agencies

Cooperation with Saudi Arabia central to Japan’s green ambitions

Cooperation with Saudi Arabia central to Japan’s green ambitions
Updated 02 December 2023

Cooperation with Saudi Arabia central to Japan’s green ambitions

Cooperation with Saudi Arabia central to Japan’s green ambitions
  • ‘We are very dependent on other countries,’ Foreign Ministry press secretary says
  • Kobayashi-Terada Maki speaking as COP28 opens in Dubai

DUBAI: Japan must maintain close partnerships with countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE if it is to achieve its goal to be a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, its Foreign Ministry press secretary said.

Kobayashi-Terada Maki made the comments in an interview with Arab News Japan as COP28 opened in Dubai.

“We are very dependent on other countries in terms of energy, and even though we are going to increase energy efficiency, we certainly need means of energy production,” she said.

Japanese companies and entities would be signing cooperation deals throughout the climate summit in the UAE, she said.

Japan is one of the only G7 countries that is close to achieving its environmental goals. Kobayashi-Terada said the country was on track to reach its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent by 2030, compared with 2013 levels, and was working toward its goal of achieving net zero by 2050.

“We are on the right trajectory for really achieving our objectives right now. So that’s what we are very much proud of and we are very confident.”

The Japanese government has put in place a green transformation program, under which it aims raise 150 trillion yen ($1.02 trillion) in private-public investment to help achieve its goals.

“We are also using carbon pricing to subsidize companies that are heavy emitters to support energy efficiency,” Kobayashi-Terada said.

“By 2028, we will charge according to the amount of CO2 emissions for companies who are importing fossil fuels. By 2033, we are also pricing emissions so that the heavy emitters will pay for insurance. We will gradually increase this price so that companies can have incentives to reduce emissions.”

Later this month, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will host the Asia Zero Emission Community, which aims to encourage greater cooperation between Asian countries on reducing emissions.

“We will work together with Asian countries to utilize cutting-edge technology and also provide assistance to develop their capacity,” Kobayashi-Terada said.

Speaking at COP28, Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said his government would increase its lending to the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

“We are going to be the first contributors and we will contribute $10 million,” the press secretary said.

* This article originally appeared on Arab News Japan, click here to read it.

New Lord Mayor of London hails maturity of Gulf economies

New Lord Mayor of London hails maturity of Gulf economies
Updated 02 December 2023

New Lord Mayor of London hails maturity of Gulf economies

New Lord Mayor of London hails maturity of Gulf economies
  • Michael Mainelli, heading to COP28 in UAE, says appointment of new UK foreign secretary will ‘help deepen connections with Saudi Arabia’
  • Mainelli tells Arab News he is ‘extremely impressed at the commitment to net zero’ in both Gulf states

LONDON: Maturation of Gulf states’ economies presents further opportunities to deepen the relationship between the region and the UK, the new Lord Mayor of the City of London told Arab News before departing for COP28 in the UAE.

Just a few weeks into the role and Michael Mainelli was on hand, like his predecessor, to witness yet another British Cabinet reshuffle.

But with the return to frontline politics of former Prime Minister David Cameron, Mainelli is optimistic that this will further strengthen ties with Saudi Arabia, one of several Gulf states to have announced participation in a £30 billion ($37.9 billion) investment pledge into the UK.

“When it comes to that investment it’s enormously welcome, but what I think is great is it shows how Saudi and other Gulf states have really matured their economies,” Mainelli said.

“They’ve gotten a better understanding of what they want to achieve with their sovereign wealth funds beyond just investments and returns, and that includes knowledge transfer. That’s really exciting as it offers two-way transference between us and them,” he added.

“With Cameron’s appointment (as foreign secretary), you get undoubted foreign policy expertise, including in the Gulf, which I think will prove a good move and help deepen connections with Saudi Arabia.”

Pushing the idea of London as a “hub of connectivity” appears central in Mainelli’s year-long tenure, which he said he is serving under the theme “Connect to Prosper.”

Asked where the Gulf figures in this, he replied: “The Lord Mayor typically spends 100 days traveling each year. Of this, three weeks will be in North America, three in Asia, after which a smattering of other countries.

“And then, interestingly, the Lord Mayor will typically spend two weeks of travel around the Gulf each year. This shows you just how important it is as a destination, being right up there with Asia and North America.”

COP28 in Dubai has been designed with a strict focus on carbon, which plays into Mainelli’s “personal ambition.”

While he would be “going in with an open mind,” he said he would also use the event to revive interest in the notion of voluntary carbon markets, which first emerged during COP3 in Kyoto in 1997.

“I believe there’s a lot more work to be done when it comes to carbon markets … but we do need to get these to work,” he added.

“The initial idea was to have emission trading permits and businesses paid to remove carbon from the atmosphere — typically this would involve planting trees or seagrass — with the idea being we reduce our environmental impact by taking it out of the atmosphere.

“But it became subject to a lot of issues, ranging from the difficulty of measuring to ensuring the carbon was sequestered properly, and frankly also issues of fraud and corruption.”

Despite the initial difficulties, Mainelli remains convinced that it is a feasible and practical solution to reducing carbon levels in the atmosphere.

“It’s just the market hasn’t been fully formed and the basis upon which prices are set not properly calculated,” he said.

Of particular concern is what he described as the “final bit,” adding: “Let’s say I pay you to for a ton of carbon offset a year over a 25-year period, which you agree to facilitate through the planting of a forest.

“Now let’s say having planted that forest, a hurricane hits and uproots the trees, or there’s an avalanche, perhaps there’s a parasite, and the trees are destroyed, maybe the soil doesn’t allow them to grow, or maybe at the end of the 25 years you simply chop the forest down.

“Were any of these to happen, then nothing really has been achieved. All that has happened is you’ve deferred 25 years of emissions.”

For Mainelli, the solution to the issue and restitution of carbon markets as a tool in the route to net zero resides in the “appropriate use of insurance,” which he said would put a financial impetus behind the idea and “drive clearer, harder standards.”

Of particular pertinence, he noted, would be the fact that insurers would not insure carbon capture sites without having conducted “sufficient due diligence.”

Insurers “would crawl all over whoever was planning to set up one of these carbon capture sites, and they’d want to know what trees were being used, where seeds were sourced,” he said.

“They’d survey the ground, they’d ask why it was located at the base of a mountain. They’d do all this, and not only would they insure the site, they’d be building knowledge.”

This, said Mainelli, would be pivotal as that increased understanding would serve to improve the means and methods of carbon capture deployed in these carbon markets, leading to standardization.

It is “fairly evident” that the Gulf is determined to find workable solutions to address the climate crisis, he added.

“I spent a week earlier this year in Abu Dhabi, and also spent a week last year in Saudi, really trying to understand the situation on the ground there, and I was extremely impressed at the commitment to net zero in both nations and in other areas,” he said.

Pointing to the 25 substantial hydrogen projects in place in the UAE and the 40 Saudi Arabia has in the pipeline, Mainelli said there is an opening for closer ties with the City of London.

While development of hydrogen production would always be of interest, he said there is also reason to considering the creation of a sufficient transport mechanism for getting this hydrogen out into the world. This, he added, offers “great potential for collaboration.”