World leaders take centerstage in high-level COP28 event

Update World leaders take centerstage in high-level COP28 event
1 / 2
Participating world leaders and delegates pose for a family photo during the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (Handout via Reuters)
Update World leaders take centerstage in high-level COP28 event
2 / 2
The COP28 conference notched an early victory on Thursday with the launch of a long-awaited fund to address growing loss and damage from natural disasters. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 02 December 2023
Follow

World leaders take centerstage in high-level COP28 event

World leaders take centerstage in high-level COP28 event
  • UAE ruler announces the establishment of a $30 billion fund for global climate solutions

DUBAI: More than 130 world leaders take centerstage as they address the United Nations climate conference in Dubai over the next two days to deliver national statements.

The high-level segment of COP28 would hear from heads of states and governments, including UAE President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah, Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

READ MORE: Click here for our coverage of COP28

-----

1305 GMT




Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkiye, speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit on Dec. 1, 2023. (AP)

“When it comes to combating climate change, even though our historical responsibility of global greenhouse emissions is less than 1 percent, we’re taking significant steps with our own means,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkiye, said in his speech.

“We plan to reach the net zero emissions target by the year 2053, we have doubled our emission reduction target for the year 2030.”

“Within this scope, by the end of this year, we expect to have mitigated 66.6 million tons of equivalent carbon dioxide,” he added.

“The share of renewables in our installed power generation capacity has been increased up to 55 percent. With this rate, Turkiye currently ranks the fifth in Europe and the twelfth in the world in terms of installed renewable energy capacity.”

“In regard to geothermal energy capacity we are ranked the first in Europe and fourth in the world. And when it comes to hydropower, Turkiye ranks the second the Europe and ninth in the world.”

1238 GMT




Santiago Peña Palacios, President of Paraguay.

“In my country Paraguay, all energy is clean. 100 percent is clean and renewable,” according to Santiago Peña Palacios, President of Paraguay.

1230 GMT




to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan.

“We were the first country in the region to have ratified the Paris Agreement and adopted a carbon neutrality strategy by 2060,” according to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan.

“The resulting new environmental code of Kazakhstan will drive comprehensive adaptation of green technology in almost every sector in our economy.”

“There is extraordinary potential for wind and solar power in my country as well as green hydrogen. We will continue to work closely with our partners to unlock it,” he said.

“As the world’s leading exporter of uranium, providing 43 percent of global supply, Kazakhstan plays a crucial role in carbon free electricity generation on a global scale. As the world decarbonizes in the coming decades, critical minerals including rare earth metals will become indispensable, Kazakhstan is poised to become a major supplier of these transition minerals.”

“To build a momentum on climate action in central Asia, we decided to convene a regional climate summit in Kazakhstan in 2026 under the United Nations’ auspices.”

1218 GMT




Mohamed Cheikh El-Ghazouani, President of Mauritania.

“Climate change today is a battle for all of us, we either all win or all lose,” Mohamed Cheikh El-Ghazouani, President of Mauritania, said.

“It is clear to all, that this solidarity is still not to the required level, it is therefore essential to improve finance for environmental transformation and to provide support to developing countries without adding to their debt.”

1211 GMT




Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of Congo.

“I take this opportunity to reiterate the Republic of Congo’s steadfast commitment and determination to play an active role in the global effort to combat climate change,” Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of Congo, meanwhile said.

1205 GMT




Umaro Sissoco Embalo, President of Guinea-Bissau.

“Our coastal communities face rising sea levels and their harvests are impacted by increasingly unpredictable weather patterns and we face a loss of biodiversity,” according to Umaro Sissoco Embalo, President of Guinea-Bissau.

1202 GMT




Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe

“We are offering diverse opportunities for carbon trading in the energy sector though investment in solar, wind, and geothermal power generation,” Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe, pitched in his speech.

1159 GMT




Gitanas Nausėda, President of Lithuania.

“At first, Lithuania made a strategic decision to seek energy independence. We have built our own LNG terminal which decreased prices and turned Lithuania into a regional gas hub,” Gitanas Nausėda, President of Lithuania, said in his speech.

1156 GMT




Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of Tanzania.

“At this COP28, we seek to mobilize the pot to increase the use of clean and affordable cooking fuel and technologies across Africa, especially for women,” Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of Tanzania, said at the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government session at the United Nations climate summit.

1150 GMT




Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

“Last September, at the climate action summit in New York, we called for concrete action. Now in Dubai we have to deliver,” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, told the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government session at the United Nations climate summit.

“The European Union has peaked already, we have reduced emissions and we are on track to overshoot our target for 2030.”

1137 GMT




Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE. (Abdulrahman Fahad Bin shulhub/AN)

“We work today for tomorrow, and we cooperate for the generations of the future,” Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, said in his speech.

“We were the first to pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. We have allocated $163 billion for expansion of renewables and to transition towards renewable energies,” he added.

1130 GMT




Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan, at the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government session at the United Nations climate summit on Dec. 1, 2023.

“We commend the global initiative of the UAE in combating climate change and its significant contribution to green development,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan, said in his speech.

“Transition to a green economy and achieving carbon neutrality are the key strategic objectives of new Uzbekistan… We intend to organize a conference in Uzbekistan in 2024, on the topic of climate migration” in cooperation with the United Nations.”

1116 GMT




Kenyan president William K. Ruto speaks during the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government session at the United Nations climate summit on Dec. 1, 2023.

“As we convene here in Dubai, we must appreciate that the presence of almost 200 nations speaks volume about the magnitude of this event and what it stands for,” according to Kenyan president William K. Ruto.

“The long-standing adversarial dynamic between global north and global south proves practically counterproductive. This division has hindered our ability to unite and leverage our collective strength, and robs us of tremendous opportunities. Yet, in the face of a threat that endangers the health of our planet, and our very existence, we must find in collective action a force that neutralizes and transcends these divisions. Climate change does not respect artificial distinctions, traditional boundaries or old antagonisms. Instead, it should unite us against a shared borderless challenge,” according to Ruto.

“Turning Africa into a green powerhouse is not just essential for the continent, it is also vital for global industrialization (and) decarbonization.”

1114 GMT




Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei speaks during the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government session at the United Nations climate summit on Dec. 1, 2023. (AFP)

“Climate change has emerged as our generation’s most urgent challenge, threatening our existence,” according to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei.

“We aim to plant half a million trees by 2035, expanding our carbon think further,” the Brunei leader said.

1101 GMT




Jordan’s King Abdullah II speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit on Dec. 1, 2023. (Abdulrahman Fahad Bin shulhub/AN)

“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.”

“As we meet here today to talk about inclusivity in climate response, let’s be inclusive of the most vulnerable: Palestinian civilians impacted by the war on Gaza, populations around the world affected by conflict and poverty,” he added.

“In a region already on the front lines of climate change, the massive destruction of war makes these environmental threats of water scarcity and food insecurity even more severe,” he said, in a clear reference to fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza that resumed on Friday after a seven-day truce.

1055 GMT




Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi speaks during the high-level Segment session at the United Nations climate summit on Dec. 1, 2023. (Abdulrahman Fahad Bin shulhub/AN)

“COP28 is taking place amid dangerous and grave political challenges that are no less dangerous than climate change,” Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said at high-level session at the United Nations climate summit.

“Egypt is well aware of the importance of reinforcing collective work to address the challenge of climate change and to guarantee eco -friendly development to preserve planet earth for coming generations.”

1041 GMT




Dennis Francis, president of the UN General Assembly, speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit on Dec. 1, 2023 in Dubai. (AP)

“The Paris agreement remains the best answer to the effects of the climate crisis,” according to Dennis Francis, President of the United Nations General Assembly.

“Progressive transformative action is needed now, to stabilize the atmospheric temperature and to insure sustainability of the planet and the human civilization,” he said during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit.

“I am pleased to announce that I will convene the first ever general assembly sustainability week at UN headquarters in New York in April 2024.”

“This week will consolidate several high level already mandated events, promoting sustainability in transport, tourism and infrastructure sectors,” Francis added.

“We need to not only be risk informed but also resilient at every level and across all stakeholders, thus leaving no one behind.”

1032 GMT




Narendra Modi, India’s Prime minister speaks at the COP28 High-Level Segment National Statements event. (Reuters)

“Thanks to our collective efforts, today the world is convinced that for the welfare of humanity, everyone’s interest must be protected and everyone’s participation is essential,” Narendra Modi, India’s Prime minister, said at the COP28 High-Level Segment National Statements event.

“We have set targets to bring our emission intensity down to 45 percent by 2030, we have decided that we will increase the share on non-fossil fuel to 50 percent and we shall continue to move ahead in achieving our goal of net zero by 2070.”

“We have together recognized that there’s a need to take climate finance commitment from billions to several trillions. We do not have much time to correct the mistakes of the last century, over the past century a small section of humanity has indiscriminately exploited nature, however entire humanity is paying the price for this,” he said.

“Friends, we do not have much time to correct the mistakes of the last century. Over the past century, a small section of humanity has indiscriminately exploited nature. However, entire humanity is paying the price for this, especially people living in the global south.”

“We must resolve that every country shall fulfil the climate targets it is setting for itself and the commitments it is making.”

Modi also offered to host the UN’s COP33 climate conference in 2028. Speaking at COP28 talks in Dubai, Modi said every country must fulfil their climate targets and “work in unity.”

“Today the entire world is watching us. Mother Earth is looking toward us to protect her future. We have to succeed,” he said.

“From this platform today, I propose that India will host COP33 in 2028.”

Modi has sought to raise India’s profile on the world stage as leader of the planet’s most populous country, which hosted a G20 summit this year.

0920 GMT




President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil speaks during an opening ceremony at the COP28 UN Climate Summit on Dec. 1, 2023. (AP)

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, home to most of the world’s biggest natural carbon-capture zone on land, the Amazon rainforest, said “the planet is tired of climate agreements that were not fulfilled” and he said he has had enough of “eloquent and empty speeches.”

“In the north of Brazil, the Amazon region suffers one of the most tragic droughts of its history. In the South, we are facing tempests and hurricanes that lead to a lot of destruction and death,” he said.

Lula, who a year earlier was treated like a rock star after his defeat of right-wing Jair Bolsanaro, called for climate justice for poorer nations that didn’t cause the problem and railed against $2 trillion spent on weapons last year when the money should be spent on fighting hunger and climate change, not wars.

He said Brazil will stop Amazon deforestation by 2030.

“No country will solve their problems alone. We are all obliged to act together beyond our borderlines. Brazil is willing to lead as a role model,” he said. “The world is already convinced of the potential of renewable sources of energy. Now is the time to face the debate about the slow-motion pace of the decarbonization of the planet, and to work towards an economy that will be less reliant on fossil fuel. We have to do it, and in a way that is urgent and fair.”

0850 GMT




King Charles III speaks during an opening ceremony at the COP28 UN Climate Summit on Dec. 1, 2023 in Dubai. (AP)

Britain’s King Charles III is praying that the UN’s COP28 climate talks will be a “critical turning point” in the fight against global warming, he told world leaders in Dubai on Friday.

“I pray with all my heart that COP28 will be another critical turning point toward genuine transformational action,” he told the World Climate Action Summit, held in parallel with COP28.

“We are seeing alarming tipping points being reached.”

“It worries me greatly that we remain so dreadfully far off track,” the King added, after the UN’s first official progress report in September found that the world remained dangerously off course.

“In your hands is an unmissable opportunity to keep our common hope alive,” said the British monarch, wearing a light suit with pink shirt and blue tie.

The lifelong environmentalist spoke at COP26 in Scotland in 2021 but did not attend the last conference in Egypt.

The British monarch also said that “unless we rapidly repair and restore nature’s unique economy, based on harmony and balance, which is our ultimate sustainer, our own economy and survivability will be imperiled.”

“I have seen across the commonwealth and beyond, countless communities which are unable to withstand repeated shocks triggered by climate change.”

0830 GMT




UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the opening ceremony of the high-level COP28 event in Dubai. (AP)

“We are miles from the goals of the Paris Agreement – and minutes to midnight for the 1.5°C limit. But it is not too late,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his speech.

“You can prevent planetary crash and burn. We have the technologies to avoid the worst of climate chaos, if we act now,” he said.

“The global shift to renewables is inevitable. The only question is how much heating our planet will endure before it happens,” Guterres added. “I urge countries to speed up their net zero timelines, to get there as close as possible to 2040 in developed countries and 2050 in emerging economies.”

“Climate chaos is fanning the flames of injustice,” Guterres said. “Global heating is busting budgets, ballooning food prices, upending energy markets, and feeding a cost-of-living crisis. Climate action can flip the switch.”

Guterres, a long-time critic of oil, gas and coal use that is causing climate change, fired his strongest shots yet against the industry, saying, “we cannot save a burning planet with a firehose of fossil fuels.”

In a direct contradiction to fossil fuel-aligned nations and even the presidency of the talks, he said the only way to limit warming to the goal set in 2015 requires eliminating oil, coal and gas use, saying “not reduce, not abate, phase out.”

“I urge governments to help industry make the right choice – by regulating, legislating, putting a fair price on carbon, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and adopting a windfall tax on profits.”

“Developed countries must show how they will double adaptation finance to $40 billion a year by 2025, as promised, and clarify how they deliver on the $100 billion, as promised,” Guterres said. “The climate challenge is not just another issue in your inbox. Protecting our climate is the world’s greatest test of leadership. I urge you to lead,” he added.

0815 GMT




UAE President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan speaks during an opening ceremony at the COP28 UN Climate Summit on Dec. 1, 2023 in Dubai. (AP)

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said that the UAE has set a national goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. He highlighted the country’s strong commitment to climate action, emphasizing decades of effort in diversifying the economy and advancing capabilities in renewables.

“The UAE is committed to a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030. To date, we have invested $100 billion in financing climate action, focusing on renewable and clean energy. We are also committed to investing approximately US$130 billion over the next seven years,” he said in his speech

“We are finding practical ways to accelerate the world’s transition to low-emission economy,” the UAE leader said, and noted that the lack of financing has long been one of the biggest obstacles to advancing climate action globally.

Sheikh Mohamed also announced the establishment of a $30 billion climate fund for global climate solutions.

The fund is designed to bridge climate finance gap and aims to stimulate $250 billion of investment by 2030, he said.

-----

Participating world leaders pose for a family picture at the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (AFP)
Participating world leaders pose for a family picture at the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (AFP)
Participating world leaders and delegates arrive for the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (Abdulrahman Fahad Bin shulhub/AN)
Participating world leaders and delegates arrive for the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (Abdulrahman Fahad Bin shulhub/AN)
Participating world leaders and delegates arrive for the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (Abdulrahman Fahad Bin shulhub/AN)
Participating world leaders and delegates arrive for the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (Abdulrahman Fahad Bin shulhub/AN)
Participating world leaders and delegates arrive for the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (Abdulrahman Fahad Bin shulhub/AN)
Participating world leaders and delegates arrive for the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (Abdulrahman Fahad Bin shulhub/AN)
Participating world leaders and delegates arrive for the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (AFP)
Participating world leaders and delegates arrive for the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (AFP)
Participating world leaders and delegates arrive for the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (AFP)
Participating world leaders and delegates arrive for the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (AFP)
Participating world leaders and delegates arrive for the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (Abdulrahman Fahad Bin shulhub/AN)
Participating world leaders and delegates arrive for the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (Abdulrahman Fahad Bin shulhub/AN)
Participating world leaders and delegates pose for a family photo during the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (AFP)
Participating world leaders and delegates pose for a family photo during the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (AFP)
Participating world leaders and delegates pose for a family photo during the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (AFP)
Participating world leaders and delegates pose for a family photo during the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Dec. 1, 2023. (AFP)

The COP28 conference notched an early victory on Thursday with the launch of a long-awaited fund to address growing loss and damage from wilder weather and rising sea in vulnerable countries.

Initial pledges have been made to the fund to officially put it into operation, with a $100-million contribution from the UAE matched with the same from Germany.

Britain gave just over $50 million, while the United States offered $17.5 million and Japan $10 million.

The European Union and its member states later confirmed a further $145 million, bringing the total to more than $420 million so far.

Delegates however face two weeks of tough negotiations on an array of issues that have long bedeviled climate talks, starting with the future of fossil fuels.

Saudi Arabia is hosting the third edition of the Saudi Green Initiative Forum on Dec. 4, alongside UN’s COP28 event, to highlight its dedication to build a greener future at a time of multibillion dollar giga-projects.

 

 

The SGI forum will gather influential figures, climate experts and thought leaders to present their insights and recommendations for tackling climate change as well as showcase the initiative’s achievements and plans.

with agencies


Egypt begins process for privatization of airports

Egypt begins process for privatization of airports
Updated 04 March 2024
Follow

Egypt begins process for privatization of airports

Egypt begins process for privatization of airports
  • Egypt is due to set an international tender for operating Egyptian airports, which include Cairo International Airport

RIYADH: Egypt began the executive process for offering the management and operation of Egyptian airports to the private sector, a Cabinet statement said on Monday.

Egypt is due to set an international tender for operating Egyptian airports, which include Cairo International Airport, the country’s Civil Aviation Minister Mohamed Abbas Helmy has said.

Egypt is set to transition the management and operations of critical logistics and transportation entities to the private sector, starting with the aviation industry. 

In November 2023, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly declared that seaports, dry ports and airports would be offered to private sector management in the near future. 

Madbouly highlighted a strong commitment to fostering partnerships with private entities in the stewardship and operational aspects of mass transit systems.

An integrated strategy has been formulated by the Egyptian Transport Ministry, in collaboration with global corporations, to begin localization of the industry. 

In July 2023, Egypt’s efforts to bolster its private sector and empower small and medium enterprises received $533.7 million in support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as it undertakes massive privatization and restructuring measures for the public sector.  

Under the umbrella of Egypt 2022-2027 strategy, launched by the Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat in March 2022, the EBRD approved development financing worth $400 million for the National Bank of Egypt to support SMEs, focusing on regional companies led or owned by young entrepreneurs.  

The bank also approved funding worth $100 million for Banque Misr to improve financing for SMEs in a way that promotes inclusive and sustainable growth. In addition, it aims to increase funding to SMEs in areas with limited access to financial services.

The EBRD also approved another funding for the Mediterrania Capital IV Fund at a value of €30.2 million ($33.7 million).


NHC signs deals to revolutionize Saudi real estate sector with innovative technologies

NHC signs deals to revolutionize Saudi real estate sector with innovative technologies
Updated 04 March 2024
Follow

NHC signs deals to revolutionize Saudi real estate sector with innovative technologies

NHC signs deals to revolutionize Saudi real estate sector with innovative technologies

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Housing Co. signed two agreements at LEAP 2024, aiming to support real estate activities in the Kingdom by crafting unique business intelligence solutions.

The deal were signed with data science company Quant and Paseetah Tech Solutions to empower technologies in the real estate market to enhance services provided to customers interested in making investments, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The chief of solutions sector, Rayan Al-Aql, represented the National Housing Co. in signing the agreement, while Quant CEO Ahmed Bukhamseen and Omar Al-Omar, CEO of Paseetah Tech Solutions, represented their respective companies.

The agreements aim to enable modern technologies in the real estate sector by leveraging information owned by the NHC to contribute to creating unique solutions serving the market.

This includes generating more accurate real estate analytics, supporting innovation in data analysis, and creating real estate indicators that enhance the market’s reliance on data in property decisions. This facilitates informed decision-making for investors and buyers, the SPA reported.

NHC is showcasing its services and technological achievements at the LEAP conference currently underway in Riyadh. 

These achievements have benefited over 10 million people across eight government digital platforms. 

The company has also documented more than 9 million residential and commercial lease contracts, achieved over 6.5 million downloads for the “Sakani” application, operated and developed the “Balady” platform under the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, among other technological accomplishments associated with the digital platforms operated and developed by the NHC.

Earlier in February, the National Housing Co. announced that it would build a total of 3,800 homes after forging six partnership agreements worth SR2 billion ($533 million). 

These deals, which were signed with several real estate developers, aim to build residential units in the Riyadh southwestern community of Al-Asalah, with prices starting from SR475,000, according to the Saudi Press Agency. 

SPA added that this initiative is part of a comprehensive program of urban development spearheaded by the NHC aiming to revolutionize the housing landscape by introducing innovative concepts and integrated services, ultimately enhancing the quality of life across all sectors of society.


Saudi Arabia named ‘most improved country overall’ in US Chamber of Commerce IP Index

Saudi Arabia named ‘most improved country overall’ in US Chamber of Commerce IP Index
Updated 04 March 2024
Follow

Saudi Arabia named ‘most improved country overall’ in US Chamber of Commerce IP Index

Saudi Arabia named ‘most improved country overall’ in US Chamber of Commerce IP Index

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has received recognition as “the most improved country overall” in the 12th edition of the US Chamber of Commerce International Intellectual Property Index. 

Released on March 2, the report emphasizes the several achievements of the Kingdom, with Vice President of Middle East Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce Steve Lutes telling Arab News that Saudi Arabia has made significant strides in the technology sector over the past year.

“Specifically, I think this year the Kingdom did sign on to some important international treaties and they’ve made some other progress on both the enforcement side and some other of the indicators,” Lutes said on the sidelines of the LEAP 2024 conference.

“The Kingdom moving up in ranking gives more confidence to investors,” he added. 

Lutes went on to say that the body aims to encourage partnerships with the business community, government, and academia in Saudi Arabia to drive the establishment of a diversified, knowledge-based economy aligned with Vision 2030.

The US Chamber of Commerce considers over 50 indices when ranking countries, Lutes added. 

“Some of this looks very marginal. But really, when you think about it from an economic perspective, these are very important drivers because these are the sorts of things that companies look at. Is my IP going to be safe? Is it going to be protected? Are rules going to be enforced? And that’s where you get the investment in value and innovation,” said the vice-president.

The Kingdom allocates a total of $2 million across all funding rounds dedicated to artificial intelligence companies and over $3 billion proportional to gross domestic product with a ranking position of 31 in the Global AI index.

“We’ve been looking at this as governments around the globe start to grapple with the regulatory frameworks for artificial intelligence. The Chamber commissioned a report that was largely targeted toward a domestic audience and had some policy recommendations in that,” said Lutes.

A report by the European Centre for International Political Economy and the US Chamber of Commerce, titled “The Opportunity of Artificial Intelligence: Boosting Productivity and Growth in Saudi Arabia,” will be released in March.

The study will include a breakdown covering the benefits of AI for the Kingdom, endowments and digital industry structures, and AI policies going forward. 

“It has some sector-by-sector analysis where we think it can be the most impactful. In my mind, though, the biggest message is for policymakers,” Lutes said, adding: “One of those is investing, for example, in human capital. You have to have the workforce that’s ready to take on these technologies and bring it to government processes, to business processes and see it diffuse. So, when it comes to the sectors, I think, you know, healthcare and education are two that are highlighted in particular as having the most upside.”

Lutes added this is his first time attending LEAP, which is now in its third edition, and the Chamber has been collaborating with the Ministry of Communications and the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence. 

“We are at the LEAP Conference and IP is so fundamental to that. So, kudos to the Kingdom this year. And I guess our message is let’s not rest on our laurels. Let’s continue to work together to see if we can continue to see the Kingdom climb in that index as well,” he concluded. 

LEAP, held in Riyadh from March 4-7, is an annual premier tech event founded in 2022 by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. It convenes leading professionals from the sector to deliberate on the industry’s future and the innovative opportunities ahead.


Riyadh forum explores Saudi-Brazil business, trade ties

Riyadh forum explores Saudi-Brazil business, trade ties
Updated 04 March 2024
Follow

Riyadh forum explores Saudi-Brazil business, trade ties

Riyadh forum explores Saudi-Brazil business, trade ties
  • South American country ‘an important trading partner’ for the Kingdom, says envoy
  • Joint council launched after Brazilian president’s visit late last year

LONDON: The Saudi-Brazilian Business Forum in Riyadh was attended by more than 150 investors from both countries on Monday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The event, hosted by the Federation of Saudi Chambers and Brazil’s Lide Group, aimed to improve business and trade ties.

Dr. Faisal Ghulam, Saudi ambassador to Brazil, delivered a speech at the forum in which he praised the strong economic relations between the two countries built over 55 years.

He described Brazil as “an important trading partner” for the Kingdom. Annual trade between the two countries stands at $8 billion.

Ghulam lauded the establishment of a Saudi-Brazilian coordination council following President Lula da Silva’s visit to the Kingdom late last year.

Saudi Vision 2030 is providing Brazilian investors with significant opportunities, paving the way for improved trade ties, said Luiz Fernando Furlan, chairman of Lide’s board.

The newly established council will “work to advance the partnership, overcome challenges, and facilitate visas for the business communities from the two countries,” said its Chairman Mishal bin Hithlain.

Lide chief Joao Doria called on the Brazilian business community to explore the “great investment opportunities” available in the Kingdom through Vision 2030.

The forum covered key sectors at the heart of trade between the two countries, including aviation, energy, logistics, mining, agriculture, real estate and healthcare. It was the first event hosted by Lide after the firm opened offices in Riyadh.

The company’s Saudi representative, Malik Al-Qahtani, pledged to serve the business sectors of both countries and improve the ease of operations for Saudi and Brazilian investors.


Saudi aviation professions localization plan enters 2nd phase

Saudi aviation professions localization plan enters 2nd phase
Updated 04 March 2024
Follow

Saudi aviation professions localization plan enters 2nd phase

Saudi aviation professions localization plan enters 2nd phase

RIYADH: The number of Saudi flight attendants and fixed-wing pilots is set to increase as the localization plan for the Kingdom’s aviation sector enters its second phase.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services, has announced the implementation of the second phase of localizing licensed aviation professions in private sector establishments employing five or more individuals in targeted aviation professions.

In the second phase, the HRSD has specified the professions targeted, setting a 60 percent target for flight attendants and a 70 percent ratio for fixed-wing pilots, contingent on employees in the aviation professions obtaining the professional accreditation certificate from the General Authority of Civil Aviation.

The Ministry of Transport has reiterated its commitment to overseeing the implementation of the program’s second phase. It aims to enable private sector establishments to leverage all support and employment programs offered by the Human Resources and Social Development System to aid in the recruitment and retention of national talent.

The HRSD has issued procedural guidelines explaining the details of the decision, its implementation, and the support and employment programs provided to private sector establishments.

Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the Saudi Airport Exhibition, held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center in December 2023, Mervat Sultan, president of the Women in Aviation Middle East Chapter, noted a significant boom, with an increase in airports, establishment of new airlines, and a rising number of tourists. 

She added that the aviation industry in Saudi Arabia is “becoming bigger and bigger and would be leading the industry in the next 20 years.”

In 2022, Ahmed Al-Rajhi, minister of HRSD, issued a notification nationalizing a number of professions and economic activities — including licensed aviation professions, opticians, and periodic inspection activity, as well as postal service outlets and more. 

The decision to localize licensed aviation professions was announced to be implemented in two phases. The first one became effective on March 15, 2023.

In line with its Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is undertaking an ambitious initiative to empower its citizens and boost their global competitiveness.