Leaders thank Kingdom for hosting first Saudi-African Summit to boost ties and promote stability

Heads of state pose for a family photo at the Saudi-African Summit in Riyadh. (SPA)
Heads of state pose for a family photo at the Saudi-African Summit in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Updated 10 November 2023

Leaders thank Kingdom for hosting first Saudi-African Summit to boost ties and promote stability

Leaders thank Kingdom for hosting first Saudi-African Summit to boost ties and promote stability
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tells them there is a desire to enhance cooperation in a way that can contribute to regional and international security and peace
  • African leaders welcomed the opportunity to forge closer ties with the Kingdom, with many highlighting the benefits this can have for political and economic stability

RIYADH: Leaders from more than 50 countries gathered in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Friday for the first Saudi-African Summit. 

The one-day event aimed to further develop relations and cooperation between the Kingdom and nations in Africa, and promote strategic partnerships.

Jasem Albudaiwi, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, said the summit takes place during a time of serious developments in the region. This was also highlighted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his opening speech to the event, in which he referred to the desire of the Kingdom and African countries to enhance cooperation in a way that can contribute to regional and international security and peace.

Condemning Israel’s military offensive and targeting of civilians in Gaza and the continuing violations of international humanitarian law by Israeli forces, the crown prince stressed the need to end the war and the forced displacement of Palestinians, and create the conditions required for stability and peace.

More than 11,000 Palestinians, nearly half of them children, have been killed by Israeli assaults in the Gaza Strip, according to the Gazan health ministry, since Hamas launched its surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, chair of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, said that Saudi Arabia always seeks to establish strategic partnerships with other countries, particularly African states, to enhance investment opportunities and improve political and economic stability.

Sudan will remain supportive of the Saudi-African partnership, he added, as he expressed gratitude for the Kingdom’s continuing concern for Sudan’s security, stability and unity.

The president of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohammed Al-Menfi, said the Saudi-African Summit would help to build bridges of economic cooperation, “given the Kingdom’s immense capabilities and prestigious status.”

Alassane Ouattara, the president of Ivory Coast, said the summit reflected the Kingdom’s solid commitment to supporting the development of African countries. He also called for a cease-fire in Gaza and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians based on a two-state solution.

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said his country works with Saudi Arabia to secure opportunities that can boost stability and prosperity. He thanked the Kingdom for supporting economic reforms and political stability in Somalia, to help tackle numerous challenges the country faces, including drought, and enhance counterterrorism efforts. He also addressed the conflict in Gaza, calling for an immediate cease-fire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.

Ismail Omar Guelleh, the president of Djibouti, praised the Kingdom for taking the initiative to host the summit, which he said reflects Saudi Arabia’s prominent position in the region and the international community, its political weight, and its great economic influence.

It represents a role model for efforts to keep pace with development initiatives on the African continent, he added, and plays a pivotal role in promoting development in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea Basin.

Azali Assoumani, president of the Comoros, said: “The world is undergoing many important conflicts, with thousands losing their lives and many societies living in fear and poverty. Our country’s economy faces a food crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 virus.”

He highlighted the importance of working with intermediaries to help guarantee security and restore hope, and said the Kingdom and African countries have the potential to create an environment in which Africa and its people can benefit from enhanced economic opportunities that provide technological resources and strengthen partnerships.

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan praised Saudi Arabia’s efforts to establish strong partnerships with nations on the African continent, build joint economic initiatives, and harness the potential of the human resources on both sides. She emphasized the importance of investing in human capital, especially youth, as a road map for development and prosperity.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, the president of Mauritania, said the summit will help to promote greater cooperation. It will also help to unify African and Arab positions in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who are being subjected to inhuman crimes including the killing of children and women, he added.

The Kingdom’s religious status, geostrategic location, international influence, and its leading role in supporting sustainable development mean that it is an important partner, especially for African countries, Ghazouani said.

He also commended Saudi Arabia for its leading role in developing major projects and initiatives such as the Middle East Green Initiative, and affirmed his country’s support for the Kingdom to host Expo 2030.

Niger’s prime minister, Ali Lamine Zeine, underlined the importance of enhanced economic cooperation with the Kingdom and the creation of new opportunities for Saudi investors in his country. He highlighted the difficulties his country faces and the relentless efforts being made to address them, enable investment in natural resources, improve relations with neighboring countries, and create an ideal economic zone for attracting investors.

William Ruto, Kenya’s president, thanked the Kingdom for its investments in Africa and called on Saudi economic and commercial authorities to support African institutions and take advantage of the continent’s capabilities to enhance cooperation.

The president of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, confirmed his country’s desire to support relations between Saudi Arabia and African countries. He thanked the Kingdom for its investments in, and support for, his country, and said he appreciates the significant role Saudi Arabia plays in combating poverty in Africa, along with its help in seeking solutions to current international conflicts.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the president of Zimbabwe, underlined the significance of the summit as the first gathering of its kind to address challenges and work to improve economic balance, and pointed out that the Kingdom is a valuable partner for efforts to achieve stability and peace on the African continent.

He also expressed his concern over the situation in Gaza, including the violations of international humanitarian law and the rights of Palestinians, and called for the revival of a political process to bring about permanent peace in the region.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame said Saudi Arabia and African countries share geographic proximity and rapidly growing relationships, and the goals of the summit were to address economic challenges, facilitate trade and boost investment.

Wavel Ramkalawan, the president of the Seychelles, described the summit as an opportunity to address important issues. He said the Kingdom is a strong partner on which Africa can rely to transfer knowledge of ambitious industries that can help to confront the challenges of climate change, and work with to explore other areas of cooperation, as represented by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to provide unique opportunities to enhance trade, promote and support economic growth and investment.

Guinea’s president, Mamady Doumbouya, stressed the importance of international relationships as the world faces global difficulties and challenges, including food and humanitarian crises, and the threats posed by terrorism and climate change.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the president of Nigeria, hailed the bonds that have helped enhance relations between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and underlined his country’s commitment to attracting business and investments by implementing policies, protecting rights, and strengthening ties with the Kingdom as a strategic partner for regional growth.

He also expressed concern about the current situation in Gaza, praised the Kingdom’s commitment to protecting the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and stated Nigeria’s support for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

The president of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera, emphasized the importance of efforts to enhance cooperation, investment and development opportunities between Saudi Arabia and African nations, along with investment in national resources and preserving the environment.

Lazarus Chakwera, the president of Malawi, said the Kingdom is a strategic partner for efforts to create exceptional and diverse agendas for investment financing in African nations that aspire to achieve good financial results and strong economic returns from their partnerships with Saudi Arabia.

Malawi has enormous potential in mining, energy and other fields, he added, with a wealth of human resources at its disposal.

Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema said his country continues to seek ties that can help boost the benefits that come from increased wealth, individually or collectively, to achieve prosperity for the entire world.

“Africa has potential for future global energy supplies, green energy and the green economy,” he added, as he praised the Kingdom’s great work in developing green cities and building relations that benefit African countries.

Evariste Ndayishimiye, the president of Burundi, said the summit presents an opportunity to enhance relations between his country and not only Saudi Arabia, but the African continent, by forming fruitful partnerships through the Saudi Fund for Development, especially in the fields of infrastructure, housing, energy, mining, and tourism, among others.

Filipe Nyusi, Mozambique’s president, said his country is rich in natural resources and seeks to improve its infrastructure to help achieve development and growth, including investments in the fields of energy, health and education. The nation is confident that its partnership with the Kingdom will have positive and fruitful results for both sides, he added.

Adama Barrow, president of The Gambia, said: “The Saudi-African Summit confirms the commitment to developing African political and economic ambitions.”

It will produce results that can help ensure the Kingdom and African nations enjoy the benefits of commercial investments and economic sustainability, he added. He also noted that his country offers investment potential in the field of tourism, and development of the digital economy is among its priorities in efforts to achieve the objectives of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and to attract more direct investments.

The chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, said this inaugural summit was needed to help develop effective plans to advance and expand relations at a steady, systematic pace.

“We should have consultations to take joint actions and decisions, and the partnerships between the African continent and the Kingdom should be based on a specific agenda for the next decades,” he added.

Faki also addressed the Palestinian issue, saying: “We are required to develop a very urgent practical plan that embodies the stance of Africa, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Arab world, guaranteeing the rights of the Palestinian people to freedom, dignity, independence, security and stability, for all countries and peoples of the region.”

Saudi center maps 246 areas to fight desertification

Saudi center maps 246 areas to fight desertification
Updated 6 sec ago

Saudi center maps 246 areas to fight desertification

Saudi center maps 246 areas to fight desertification

RIYADH: The National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification has completed a significant step in its fight against desertification: the first phase of a project to assess the state of land degradation across the Kingdom, resulting in the creation of 246 detailed maps.

These maps provide valuable insight into desertification trends and the current state of land degradation in different regions, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The center’s teams conducted extensive studies to better understand the processes of desertification and land degradation and to identify effective strategies to combat them.

The project combined cutting-edge technologies and traditional methods to gather data, including geographic information systems, remote sensing techniques, and field surveys.

Fieldwork included collecting soil samples for analysis, studying plant life at designated sites, and analyzing satellite imagery.

The center has launched the second phase of the project, starting in the Riyadh region. During this phase, it will focus on identifying areas most vulnerable to desertification, classifying the causes and types of land degradation, and conducting further field surveys to gather more detailed data.

Arab innovators shine in space exploration contest

Arab innovators shine in space exploration contest
Updated 35 min 47 sec ago

Arab innovators shine in space exploration contest

Arab innovators shine in space exploration contest
  • Saudi Space Agency awards 10 winners in arts, botany, engineering

RIYADH: The Saudi Space Agency wrapped up its Space Madak competition on Tuesday by awarding 10 winning contestants prizes for their arts, botany and engineering projects.

Hailing from seven Arab countries, the winners were revealed at a ceremony hosted by the agency at the Communications, Space and Technology Commission headquarters in Riyadh.

The event marked the first anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s “Journey to Space” mission and was attended by the agency’s CEO Mohammed Al-Tamimi, officials, experts, and ambassadors from the winning students’ countries.

The competition, engaging ambitious Arab students, showcased their enthusiasm for space exploration and skills development.

The panel of judges comprised scientists, experts and space enthusiasts.

Following rigorous evaluation rounds, the top 10 contenders were chosen for their exceptional contributions.

In the arts category, winners included Yamen Al-Zaabi from Jordan, Preeti Sami from Egypt, Jawaher Farhan from Bahrain, Rafqa Mansour from Lebanon, and Aline Al-Issa from Saudi Arabia.

Sadan Al-Dosari from Saudi Arabia, Hooriya Basheikh from Morocco, and Fatima Al-Khabouriah from Oman won in the botany category.

Engineering-category winners were Abdulrahman Qattan from Saudi Arabia and Yara Reda from Syria.

The ceremony celebrated the winners and acknowledged the creative endeavors of more than 50 finalists, chosen from a pool of 80,000 submissions vying for prizes totaling SR500,000 ($133,320).

The winning projects will be showcased on the International Space Station, offering an opportunity to advance research, development, and innovation in space exploration while enriching Arab contributions in this field.

The competition represents a significant milestone in the Saudi Space Agency’s mission to support research, development, and innovation within the domain of space exploration.

With a focus on nurturing creative thinking among Arab students, the initiative aims to ignite curiosity about space and inspire breakthroughs in this burgeoning field.

The space mission, carried out by astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni, included 14 pioneering scientific experiments.

According to a press release issued by the agency, the mission was a part of the “Saudi Toward Space” program, aligning with the Kingdom’s focus on research, development and innovation driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Al-Tamimi praised the achievements of the SSA-HSF1, or Saudi Space Agency-Human Space Flight 1, mission. This was a major milestone in the Kingdom’s journey toward leadership in the space sector.

He said there were 14 research experiments conducted in microgravity, yielding valuable contributions to research, development and innovation.

Al-Tamimi said the mission helped foster national expertise and enhance cooperation with leading international institutions.

He added that the agency remained committed to supporting innovative projects.

Manga International launches in Tokyo to showcase Saudi creativity on global stage

Manga International launches in Tokyo to showcase Saudi creativity on global stage
Updated 46 min 47 sec ago

Manga International launches in Tokyo to showcase Saudi creativity on global stage

Manga International launches in Tokyo to showcase Saudi creativity on global stage

RIYADH: In a move to bolster its international presence, Manga Arabia, a subsidiary of the Saudi Research and Media Group, announced the launch of Manga International at a ceremony in Tokyo, Japan.

The event drew in prominent officials and media representatives from Saudi Arabia and Japan, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

This expansion follows a series of successful partnerships and agreements with major Japanese manga publishers, such as Kodansha, Shueisha, Kadokawa, Shogakukan, and Hakusensha.

Manga Arabia has a strong track record in the Arab world, having launched two manga magazines — one for children and another for young adults — in both print and digital formats.

The company reaches over 8 million users in 195 countries, with a print distribution network of 220 points in the Arab world, selling over 400,000 copies monthly.

SRMG CEO Jomana Al-Rashid highlighted the significance of this international foray.

“We are strategically expanding through partnerships with leading manga companies and establishing a legal framework equipped with cutting-edge technologies,” she said.

“This will not only generate financial returns but also nurture an educational environment catering to the immense global demand for this content,” Al-Rashid added, emphasizing how this geographic and cultural expansion will help combat content piracy and intellectual property theft.

Manga Arabia and Manga International CEO Essam Bukhary said: “Through the art of manga and creative industries, we have achieved remarkable success in the Arab world, earning the trust of our Japanese and international partners. Now, under the umbrella of SRMG, Manga International seeks to leverage our pioneering experience and development in global markets.”

Bukhary elaborated on plans to translate and produce a range of comic stories targeting international audiences.

He added that the expansion signifies a qualitative leap for Saudi and Arab creativity on the world stage, aligning with Manga Arabia’s vision of empowering imagination, nurturing and developing Arabic content, and delivering it to a global audience across all demographics and generations.

Building on this commitment, Manga Arabia has already translated several of its comic stories into English, Chinese, and Malay for international markets.

Collaborating with the Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission, it has also adapted a selection of Saudi novels into manga format, aiming to reach diverse audiences and present Saudi literature and culture through the lens of manga.

Saudi Arabia, Japan to collaborate on original anime, gaming content

Saudi Arabia, Japan to collaborate on original anime, gaming content
Updated 21 May 2024

Saudi Arabia, Japan to collaborate on original anime, gaming content

Saudi Arabia, Japan to collaborate on original anime, gaming content
  • Officials in Tokyo discuss localizing Japanese media through translation
  • Kingdom will host this year’s Esports World Cup in July

TOKYO: Saudi and Japanese officials are exploring plans to localize gaming and digital entertainment offerings in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Arabia-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum’s digital entertainment roundtable discussed Saudi efforts to build a local gaming industry, which includes localizing Japanese games for the Saudi market, collaborating with esports tournament organizers and investing in digital entertainment.

Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Abdullah Al-Swaha and Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih attended the event in Tokyo, with the former giving a short speech during the opening.

Prince Faisal bin Bandar Al-Saud, vice chairman of Savvy Games Group, was also part of a panel discussion at the event.

The forum focused on promoting cultural exchange by creating content that appeals to both Japanese and Saudi audiences.

Officials discussed how to localize Japanese manga and anime by translating content through Saudi publishers, who will in turn distribute the content throughout the Middle East.

They also agreed to explore co-publishing agreements to create new and original content.

Saudi Arabia’s gaming sector is expected to grow to $1.3 billion in value over the next two years, with 58 gaming companies operating in the Kingdom. About 67 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population (about 24.8 million people) are active video game players.

The Kingdom will host this year’s Esports World Cup in July, which features about $60 million in prize money.

Saudi Arabia has previously collaborated with Japanese companies on entertainment, providing the Kingdom with expertise and cutting-edge technologies to improve the digital entertainment industry.

This article originally appeared on Arab News Japan

Saudi Cabinet: Crown prince reassures council of King’s health

Saudi Cabinet: Crown prince reassures council of King’s health
Updated 51 min 27 sec ago

Saudi Cabinet: Crown prince reassures council of King’s health

Saudi Cabinet: Crown prince reassures council of King’s health

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman assured Ministers of King Salman’s good health during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, state news agency (SPA) reported.

The king underwent medical tests at royal clinics at the palace earlier on Sunday after he suffered from a high temperature and joint pain, SPA said. 

He was diagnosed with lung inflammation and prescribed a course of antibiotics as treatement at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah.

The crown prince also briefed the council on the outcomes of the Council of the League of Arab States session, emphasizing the Kingdom's commitment to Arab issues, joint action development, regional security enhancement, and defending Arab interests.

Minister of Information Salman bin Youssef Al-Dosari stated after the session that the council discussed recent state activities, particularly efforts to strengthen regional and international cooperation.

The council affirmed the Kingdom's commitment to international cooperation in combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and corruption.

The Saudi cabinet also granted authority to the Minister of Energy, Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman, to finalize a memorandum of understanding with Pakistan on energy cooperation. 

The Saudi also cabinet approved of the Kingdom's accession to an international agreement on wetlands of international importance, particularly as habitats for waterbirds.