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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blended finance structures

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

Climate solutions investment platform

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

Innovate for Climate Tech

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

First Movers Coalition For Food

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

Coral restoration and energy transitions moonshot

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


stc Group renews title sponsorship of Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

stc Group renews title sponsorship of Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Updated 26 February 2024
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stc Group renews title sponsorship of Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

stc Group renews title sponsorship of Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

stc Group, an engine of digital transformation, and Formula 1 have announced a multi-year extension of their strategic partnership.

The agreement will see the group continue as the title sponsor of the Formula 1 stc Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and transform the race experience with high-speed connectivity through its fifth-generation networks.

stc Group will usher in the technology of the future at the Formula 1 stc Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with fixed mobile 5G communication towers and 5G Internet speeds of up to 1.5 gigabytes per second. These cutting-edge digital offerings will connect racers, teams and fans under the theme “limitless drive.”

Olayan Alwetaid, stc Group CEO, said: “The extension of our strategic partnership with Formula 1 will take the Formula 1 stc Saudi Arabian Grand Prix into the future. We look forward to continuing to provide seamless, world-class connectivity at the race this year under the theme ‘limitless drive,’ and we are proud of our support for Formula 1 over the last three years.

“With our suite of innovative products and solutions, stc Group is driving digital transformation across different sectors. The extension of this partnership reinforces our commitment to delivering world-class connectivity at major events and ultimately connecting the world through technology.”

Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Formula 1, said: “Formula 1 fans at the race weekend in Jeddah can expect high speeds on the track and fantastic fan experience off it. As we continue to grow our sport around the world, the support of high-quality technology partners is invaluable, so we are delighted to extend our relationship with stc.”

The race will take place in the city of Jeddah for the fourth time from March 7-9.


New Murabba Company earns industry recognition at Restatex

New Murabba Company earns industry recognition at Restatex
Updated 26 February 2024
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New Murabba Company earns industry recognition at Restatex

New Murabba Company earns industry recognition at Restatex

New Murabba Development Company concluded its participation in the Restatex Riyadh Real Estate Exhibition 2024, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest real estate conferences. The event was held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center from Feb. 18-21.

The company’s participation was marked by its Chief Executive Officer Michael Dyke receiving the prestigious “Partner Shield” award from Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing Majed bin Abdullah Al-Hogail. The recognition underscores the critical role of real estate development in achieving Vision 2030’s goals. It acknowledges New Murabba Development Company’s significant contributions to the success of Restatex and its ongoing efforts to advance the Kingdom’s real estate sector.

As one of the largest real estate exhibitions in the Kingdom, Restatex served as a platform for showcasing cutting-edge developments, innovations, and technologies that are reshaping the sector. New Murabba Development Company’s presence reflected its importance in contributing to real estate transformation, and its alignment with the Kingdom’s goals of attracting investment and diversifying the economy.

The company engaged attendees with its ambitious vision of serving as a model for future urban development, and driving Riyadh’s evolution in line with Saudi Vision 2030. Visitors at Restatex also had the chance to learn more about the Mukaab, an iconic landmark within New Murabba downtown that will feature the latest innovative technology, and will be one of the largest built structures in the world at 400 meters in height, width, and length.

CEO Dyke said: “Receiving the ‘Partner Shield’ award is a great honor and signifies New Murabba Development Company’s unwavering commitment to supporting Vision 2030’s goals. We believe that real estate development plays a crucial role in diversifying the Kingdom’s economy by creating new jobs, attracting investments, and fostering sustainable growth.”

New Murabba Development Company’s participation in Restatex, alongside the CEO’s award, marks a significant step forward in its mission to revolutionize urban development. Through its collaborative, innovative, and human-centric approach, the company aims to establish a new paradigm for sustainable and inclusive urban development worldwide.


In a first for KSA, Huawei deploys Wi-Fi 7 for education

In a first for KSA, Huawei  deploys Wi-Fi 7 for education
Updated 26 February 2024
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In a first for KSA, Huawei deploys Wi-Fi 7 for education

In a first for KSA, Huawei  deploys Wi-Fi 7 for education

King Faisal School, a leading institution in the education sector, and Huawei Saudi Arabia have signed an MoU to revolutionize educational technology through the deployment of the Kingdom’s first Wi-Fi 7 installation for educational purposes.

The collaboration signifies a landmark initiative aimed at transforming the Saudi educational landscape, aligning with the goals outlined in Vision 2030. This strategic partnership will usher in a new era of innovative learning experiences, empowering students with digital skills and fostering a dynamic educational environment. The partnership will mark a significant step forward in the school’s digital future, supporting the whole school strategy approved by Chairman of the Board Prince Bandar bin Saud bin Khalid Al-Saud.

The MoU was signed by Prince Mansour bin Saad Al-Saud, chairman of the school’s steering committee, and Deputy CEO of Huawei Saudi Arabia Gibbs Wang, in the presence of senior officials from both entities, at KFS in the Diplomatic Quarter.

Prince Mansour said: “Education plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of our nation, and our collaboration with Huawei to launch the country’s first Wi-Fi 7 installation for education is a testament to our commitment to providing world-class education in line with Saudi Vision 2030. This partnership will enable us to harness the power of technology to create innovative learning experiences for our students.”

CEO of Huawei Saudi Arabia Eric Yang said: “We are proud to partner with King Faisal School in this unique program that will set new benchmarks in educational technology. By leveraging Huawei’s expertise in ICT solutions, we aim to empower students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the digital age. We look forward to seeing the positive impact of this collaboration.”

Under the terms of the MoU, Huawei will provide comprehensive support to KFS, spanning multiple domains. This includes assessing KFS’ current ICT infrastructure and recommending enhancements to facilitate network upgrades, secure data storage, and efficient management systems. Additionally, Huawei will implement smart classroom solutions, integrating interactive whiteboards and digital learning platforms alongside advanced technologies like AI, IoT, and cloud computing into the curriculum to prepare students for the digital future.

These solutions will be powered by Huawei’s industry-leading, innovative Wi-Fi 7 technology, which will allow KFS students and staff to enjoy the ultimate connectivity experience. It will improve the internet access experience for users and provide Wi-Fi services with higher speed, lower latency, and more secure connections.

Moreover, KFS staff will benefit from professional development programs focusing on ICT skills, digital pedagogy, and technology management, while workshops and seminars will be organized for students to promote Huawei technology and foster innovation. Joint initiatives to promote sustainability in ICT practices and support for student-led innovation projects will also be launched, leveraging Huawei’s expertise and resources. Furthermore, Huawei will provide ongoing technical support and maintenance services to ensure the robust performance of the ICT infrastructure at KFS, incorporating regular updates and upgrades to keep pace with the latest technological advancements.

KFS is renowned for providing the highest standards of education with qualified and well-trained educators from around the world. Specializing in various majors, KFS teachers undergo continuous training workshops and programs to remain up-to-date and deliver a rigorous educational program.


DARCO showcases latest projects at Restatex exhibition

DARCO showcases latest projects at Restatex exhibition
Updated 25 February 2024
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DARCO showcases latest projects at Restatex exhibition

DARCO showcases latest projects at Restatex exhibition

 

DARCO Real Estate Company was the diamond sponsor of the recently concluded Restatex Riyadh Real Estate Exhibition 2024. This sponsorship is part of the company’s continued support for the prominent movement witnessed in the real estate sector in the Kingdom in light of Vision 2030, which has given top priority in its programs and initiatives to housing projects and enabling citizens to obtain suitable housing. 

DARCO’s pavilion stood out during the exhibition, where it unveiled a number of projects, including DARCO Al-Awal Project being implemented in Safa District in Jeddah. The project consists of 20 residential buildings, which include 184 housing units, and features private facilities including gardens, outdoor seating areas, and recreational areas.

During the exhibition, the company also presented a number of other projects in Riyadh and Jeddah such as DARCO Diamond, DARCO Valley, DARCO Oases, and DARCO Hills.

It also announced the launch of DARCO’s sister company Dawam for after-sales services and property management. Dawam will provide its services to DARCO’s clients according to the best standards that ensure sustainability.

During the exhibition, DARCO signed a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding with major financial institutions, suppliers, and supply chains to provide the best real estate products to customers through the easiest financing methods.

DARCO’s CEO Dr. Omar Al-Qahtani said: “At DARCO, we are committed to actively participating in exhibitions that contribute to the growth and development of the real estate sector in the Kingdom, of which we consider ourselves a part. We impact and are influenced like others in this vital sector. Therefore, we are keen to showcase our latest and most important projects through this exhibition, such as DARCO Al-Awal Project, which will be completed in the coming months as a model that demonstrates DARCO’s vision and standards for implementing its projects.”

Regarding the launching of Dawam, Al-Qahtani said the new company will work on improving customer experience in after-sales services and addressing many of the shortcomings that were particularly evident in projects with common benefits among residents. The launch of Dawam reflects DARCO’s extensive experience in its field, necessitating the need for a specialized company that provides after-sales services to customers.


Geidea reinforces leadership in Saudi fintech with key appointments

Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh, Independent Member of Geidea
Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh, Independent Member of Geidea
Updated 25 February 2024
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Geidea reinforces leadership in Saudi fintech with key appointments

Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh, Independent Member of Geidea

Geidea, a frontrunner in the fintech sector, has announced the joining of three industry leaders to its team in Saudi Arabia. The announcement reflects Geidea’s commitment to spearheading fintech innovation with seasoned talent and reinforces Saudi Arabia as its core market. 

Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh has been appointed to the board of directors as an independent member. Al-Sheikh brings to Geidea more than 30 years of groundbreaking leadership experience in finance, technology, and innovation. He played an instrumental role in driving the development of the Saudi financial system, in particular the national payment ecosystem since its establishment by the Saudi Central Bank. Moreover, he took an active role throughout his career in various working groups linked to the G20, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.

Ziyad Al-Eisa has been appointed to the Geidea board of directors and as the CEO of Geidea in Saudi Arabia, one of the three markets where the company operates and assumes a leading position in both market share and innovative product offerings. Al-Eisa is a results-driven business leader with a forward-thinking approach demonstrated through a long track record working in various entities, such as the Saudi Central Bank, Al-Rajhi Bank, and the Saudi Investment Bank. Prior to that, Al-Eisa served as the CEO of Neoleap and Bayan Credit Bureau, a Saudi Central Bank-regulated company offering integrated corporate credit reporting services in Saudi Arabia.

Omar Yassine has been appointed as a senior adviser to the executive chairperson of the board of directors at Geidea. He has a wealth of professional experience in leading financial institutions in the Kingdom. He has developed a strong track record in digital transformation, strategy development, profit maximization, and business transformation. Most recently, Yassine was the CEO of digital ventures and payments at the Saudi National Bank, where he worked for more than 14 years, assuming various leadership roles, including group chief digital officer, head of retail banking, and head of the remittance division.

Abdulla Al-Othman, founder and executive chairperson of Geidea, said: “Our roots in Saudi Arabia have always been a source of strength and inspiration, propelling us to lead innovation and disruption within the fintech sector. Welcoming Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh, Ziyad Al-Eisa, and Omar Yassine to Geidea marks a significant milestone in our journey. Their extensive experience and visionary leadership are perfectly aligned with our mission to revolutionize payment technology, making it more accessible, affordable, and intuitive for all clients. As we continue to expand our reach and impact, I am confident that their contributions will enable us to achieve unprecedented success, both in Saudi Arabia and internationally.”