Saudi Arabia unveils fintech program to boost financial innovation 

Saudi Arabia unveils fintech program to boost financial innovation 
Saudi Central Bank Governor Ayman Al-Sayari launched the initiative alongside the Capital Market Authority Chairman Mohammed El-Kuwaiz.
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Updated 18 December 2023
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Saudi Arabia unveils fintech program to boost financial innovation 

Saudi Arabia unveils fintech program to boost financial innovation 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has launched a new financial technology program called Makken to support and develop the sector in the Kingdom. 

Saudi Central Bank Governor Ayman Al-Sayari officially launched the initiative on Dec. 17 alongside the Capital Market Authority Chairman Mohammed El-Kuwaiz.

This program is an extension of the ongoing efforts by the bank, also known as SAMA, and the CMA to support and develop the fintech ecosystem and falls under the umbrella of the Financial Sector Development Program. 

Makken aims to empower 150 emerging fintech companies over three years, directly contributing to enhancing the growth journey of this promising sector and elevating it. 

During the launch ceremony, Al-Sayari highlighted the Kingdom’s notable progress across various sectors, with fintech as one of the fastest-growing areas. 

He emphasized the continuous efforts and dedication to stimulate digitization and innovation in the financial sector. 

Al-Sayari said: “We are witnessing rapid growth in the activities of fintech companies, reaching 207 companies by the end of November 2023, compared to 147 companies at the end of 2022, representing a remarkable 40 percent growth.” 

He added: “Since the beginning of the year 2023, around 3,000 direct jobs have been created in the fintech sector, bringing the total number of jobs in the sector to more than 5,000 by the end of the third quarter of this year.” 

Al-Sayari also mentioned key developments, including the launch of SAMA’s Open Banking Lab in early 2023 and the current work on releasing the second version of the regulatory framework for open banking payment services. 

The SAMA governor said that 16 documents, including instructions and regulations, have been issued and updated by the Saudi Central Bank and the Capital Market Authority to support fintech and digital transformation in the financial sector of the Kingdom.

The number of transactions through point-of-sale services in the Kingdom in the first 11 months saw a 23 percent increase to 8.1 billion compared to 6.6 billion in the year-ago period. 

The value of the transactions between January and November rose 5 percent to SR560 billion ($135.68 billion) from SR509 billion in the corresponding period last year.  

Al-Sayari concluded by expressing optimism about the continued advancement of the fintech sector in Saudi Arabia. 


Zain KSA introduces first 100% Saudi-made fleet tracking solution for businesses 

Zain KSA introduces first 100% Saudi-made fleet tracking solution for businesses 
Updated 6 sec ago
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Zain KSA introduces first 100% Saudi-made fleet tracking solution for businesses 

Zain KSA introduces first 100% Saudi-made fleet tracking solution for businesses 

RIYADH: Saudi telecom provider Zain KSA has become the first operator in the Kingdom to offer a 100 percent domestically-made fleet tracking system for businesses.   

The new system is expected to empower businesses in Saudi Arabia to make informed decisions through comprehensive reports generated from precise data collection. 

The launch of the system, entirely made in the Kingdom for the business sector, integrates cutting-edge tracking devices that are locally designed, manufactured, and assembled under the country’s “Saudi Made” program, the company said in a statement. 

The telecom company further explained that the monitoring solution is a comprehensive cloud-based platform, providing businesses of all sizes with tools to optimize logistics operations, enhance travel routes, and minimize fuel consumption. This, in turn, reduces carbon emissions, preserves the environment, and fosters sustainability. 


Saudi Arabia and Spain strengthen collaboration in urban infrastructure and renewable energy sector

Saudi Arabia and Spain strengthen collaboration in urban infrastructure and renewable energy sector
Updated 16 min 33 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia and Spain strengthen collaboration in urban infrastructure and renewable energy sector

Saudi Arabia and Spain strengthen collaboration in urban infrastructure and renewable energy sector

RIYADH: Saudi-Spanish collaboration is set to flourish in the fields of urban infrastructure development, renewable energy, and engineering technology after a high-level meeting in Madrid. 

During a three-day visit from April 15-17, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs, and Housing, Majed Al-Hogail, met with executives from leading Spanish companies to explore collaboration opportunities. 

The tour is part of the Kingdom’s broader initiative to foster international partnerships that enhance its urban and infrastructure capabilities, the Saudi Press Agency reported.   

Al-Hogail’s engagements included a discussion with Pablo Bueno, CEO of TYPSA, focusing on potential collaboration in the fields of infrastructure solutions, energy efficiency, and sustainable urban development.   

They discussed activating a circular economy in buildings and infrastructure and creating new asset management platforms and engineering value solutions.  

Additionally, the minister met with José Vicente, CEO of Indra, one of the leading engineering technology and consulting firms, to discuss digital transformation in municipal services.   

This collaboration aims to enhance the quality of services provided to Saudi citizens and residents and foster innovation.  


New air route strengthening Saudi-China connectivity has inaugural flight

New air route strengthening Saudi-China connectivity has inaugural flight
Updated 17 April 2024
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New air route strengthening Saudi-China connectivity has inaugural flight

New air route strengthening Saudi-China connectivity has inaugural flight

RIYADH: With the inaugural flight of China Southern Airlines landing in Riyadh on April 16, Saudi Arabia and Beijing are further enhancing air connectivity.

The Chinese airplane arrived at the King Khalid International Airport at night, carrying approximately 247 passengers, achieving a load factor of 86 percent, according to Al-Ekhbariya Channel.

The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation previously announced the licensing of China Southern Airlines to conduct regular weekly passenger and freight flights from Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen to Riyadh during the summer season of 2024. 

This includes four passenger and commercial flights and three cargo flights commencing on April 16.


Turkiye will take steps to strengthen economic program, Erdogan says 

Turkiye will take steps to strengthen economic program, Erdogan says 
Updated 17 April 2024
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Turkiye will take steps to strengthen economic program, Erdogan says 

Turkiye will take steps to strengthen economic program, Erdogan says 

ANKARA: Turkiye will take steps to strengthen its medium-term economic program and the three main priorities are to increase public savings, prioritize investments and accelerate structural reforms, President Tayyip Erdogan said. 

Speaking on Tuesday evening after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan said his economic team had made preparations for such steps to strengthen the program, MTP, and, “hopefully we will share them with the public very soon.” 

“We have three main priorities in strengthening the MTP. These are to increase public sector savings, prioritize investments, and accelerate structural reforms.” 

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz said both the finance ministry and the budget authority were carrying out studies on public sector savings, with more than 15 articles being worked upon. 

“We mean not only reducing expenditures, but making existing expenditures more efficient, prioritizing them, and making them contribute more to the economy’s competitiveness, efficiency and social welfare,” state broadcaster TRT reported him as saying. 

Erdogan also said on Tuesday evening that economic growth will approach 4 percent this year with a positive impact from exports, and forecast that the current account deficit will be 2.5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the year. 

Official data on Wednesday showed that Turkiye’s current account deficit stood at $3.265 billion in February, less than a Reuters forecast for a deficit of $3.7 billion. 

Central Bank Governor Fatih Karahan told a panel in Washington on Tuesday that Turkiye is on track to reach its 36 percent inflation target by the end of the year after peaking at around 75 percent in the coming months. 


Saudi Arabia launches new program to boost wheat, barley productivity 

Saudi Arabia launches new program to boost wheat, barley productivity 
Updated 17 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia launches new program to boost wheat, barley productivity 

Saudi Arabia launches new program to boost wheat, barley productivity 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s wheat and barley production is set to strengthen, thanks to a new program aimed at inventorying 903 plant genetic resources from fruit trees.

The process of PGR entails collecting and documenting the genetic material of plants valuable for both present and future generations. 

It is integral to agro-biodiversity, covering crops, livestock, and related species, and serves as the cornerstone of food, agriculture, and nutritional security.

Launched by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the implementation of the new program is based on three axes, according to a statement.

The first includes inventory, purification, and evaluation of local varieties, while the second entails cooperation with international bodies. Meanwhile, the third axis includes implementing a regional breeding program.

This move falls in line with the ministry’s vision to achieve sustainability of the environment and natural resources, ensuring water security, contributing to food protection, and improving the quality of life in the Kingdom.