Saudi Arabia announces national plan to stimulate urban policies by 2025

Saudi Arabia announces national plan to stimulate urban policies by 2025
The comments were made at the Global Smart City Forum. AN
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Updated 12 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia announces national plan to stimulate urban policies by 2025

Saudi Arabia announces national plan to stimulate urban policies by 2025

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia plans to stimulate urban policies to ensure coordinated services for residents by 2025 as part of its efforts to boost quality of life, says top minister. 

Speaking during the opening remarks of the first Global Smart City Forum held in Riyadh, the Kingdom’s Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing Majid Al-Hogail, announced that this will come as Saudi Arabia is set to build a national model named the Digital Twin.

The minister underscored the significance of Vision 2030 as a transformative journey for Saudi Arabia, emphasizing its role in instilling passion, hope, and ambition among citizens and outlining its strategy for urban development.

 We also continue, with great ambition, to build one of the most prominent national applications and models, the Digital Twin, which is transforming the way we plan and operate our cities,” Al-Hogail said.

He continued: “By 2025, we will be able to simulate the impact of our urban policies, plan for emergencies and disasters, and connect more agencies and residents in the joint design of cities with us.”

The minister described the progress made by Saudi cities in the field of smart technology and urban development, saying: “Our goal is for at least 10 Saudi cities to be among the top 50 global cities by achieving the factors of governance, sustainability, and interaction with the population, meeting their aspirations, and achieving high prosperity for them.” 

He added: “Last year, four of our vibrant cities were classified within the Smart Cities Index. This exceptional journey toward transformation has enabled us to benefit from technology, artificial intelligence and data to make a real and tangible impact in municipalities.”

Showcasing an example of utilizing technology to improve city services and infrastructure, Al-Hogail stated that in Jeddah a waste management solution was developed using emerging technical innovations such as the Internet of Things to plan and monitor operations effectively.

“The result is that we reduced violations related to waste and hygiene by 25 percent to reach a cleaner city to avoid the disruption of residents resulting from the movements of cleaning crews in Dammam on the Arabian Gulf coast,” he said.

The minister continued: “We have provided an application that manages more than 20,000 parking spaces, through which access to the most crowded areas has been facilitated to achieve a seamless experience for residents to find available parking spaces.”

Additionally, Saudi Arabia reduced traffic congestion on the roads leading to major conference venues in Riyadh by 36 percent last year, compared to 2022, according to Abdullah Al-Ghamdi, president of the Saudi Data and AI Authority.

During the opening remarks, Al-Ghamdi underlined that this is driven by the government’s effort to utilize the national smart city platform.

“We gather today and tomorrow to achieve three main objectives and vision sustainable smart cities of the future, enhance governance, smart city initiatives globally for the government, stimulate businesses to invest in building smart solutions,” Al-Ghamdi stated.

Adding: “In the year 2023, the combined efforts of the government entities utilizing smart city has contributed to a 36% reduction in traffic congestion of the roads network leading to the venue of a major conference in Riyadh, in comparison with the 2022.”

He also noted that algorithms and models were developed to detect visual pollution in streets using weekly footage of the Kingdom’s main cities.

This initiative, which was undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Municipality, aimed to sustain urban scenery and improve the overall quality of life.

“During the last Hajj season, in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, we supported traffic and cloud management in one of the world’s most challenging event scenarios with several advanced analytics and AI solutions,” Al-Ghamdi said.

“This resulted in reducing the waiting time at the entrance gate of Makkah region significantly,” he continued.


ACWA Power, IRENA join hands to accelerate global renewable energy transition

ACWA Power, IRENA join hands to accelerate global renewable energy transition
Updated 18 April 2024
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ACWA Power, IRENA join hands to accelerate global renewable energy transition

ACWA Power, IRENA join hands to accelerate global renewable energy transition

RIYADH: In a bid to add impetus to the adoption of clean energy sources worldwide, Saudi utility firm ACWA Power has signed a deal with the International Renewable Energy Agency, said a press release issued on Thursday.

The Saudi-listed firm said that the partnership aligns with its mission to provide sustainable energy solutions and seeks to accelerate the adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy across the globe. 

ACWA Power will work closely with IRENA to share crucial insights on infrastructure investment in renewable energy, green hydrogen advancement, solar energy, smart grids, and the intersection of energy and water, the press release said. 

The Saudi-listed company also announced its participation in various IRENA initiatives, such as Green Hydrogen, Collaborative Frameworks, Project Facilitation, the Alliance for Industry Decarbonization, the Utilities for Net-Zero Alliance, and the Coalition for Action.

As per the deal, ACWA Power and IRENA will investigate avenues to mobilize finance and investment for renewable energy projects, while also supporting infrastructure for the development, storage, distribution, transmission, and consumption of renewables. 

Moreover, collaborative workshops and seminars will be arranged to exchange best practices, enhance skills, and promote awareness of the energy transition among youth, professionals, and the public using IRENA’s platforms and programs. 

ACWA Power CEO Marco Arcelli said the partnership with IRENA marks a significant milestone in his company’s journey toward a sustainable energy future.

“By combining our strengths and resources, we are prepared to drive meaningful change and accelerate the transition to renewable energy on a global scale,” he said.

The CEO added that through collaborative partnerships and innovative solutions, ACWA Power remains committed to advancing the widespread adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy, shaping a brighter and more sustainable future for generations to come.

IRENA Director General Francesco La Camera commented: “We have less than a decade left to secure a fighting chance for a 1.5°C world. Accelerating the renewable-based energy transition needs industry leaders and this deal between IRENA and ACWA Power stands for the growing commitment of global industry to act on decarbonization.”

He added: “We need to act together to accelerate the sustainable use of renewables and green hydrogen across the globe.”


Closing Bell: TASI ends the week in green with trading turnover at $2.18bn

Closing Bell: TASI ends the week in green with trading turnover at $2.18bn
Updated 18 April 2024
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Closing Bell: TASI ends the week in green with trading turnover at $2.18bn

Closing Bell: TASI ends the week in green with trading turnover at $2.18bn

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose on Thursday, gaining 36.37 points, or 0.29 percent, to close at 12,502.35.

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR8.19 billion ($2.18 billion) as 130 stocks advanced, while 90 retreated. 

The MSCI Tadawul Index also increased by 5.98 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 1,575.11.

The Kingdom’s parallel market, Nomu, followed suit and gained 305.77 points, or 1.16 percent, to close at 26,418.75. This comes as 33 stocks advanced, while as many as 27 retreated.

The best-performing stock on the main index was Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co., as its share price rose by 7.69 percent to SR30.80.

Allianz Saudi Fransi Cooperative Insurance Co. also performed well as its share price saw a 6.79 percent increase to close at SR20.16.

This comes as Abu Dhabi National Insurance Co. completed a strategic acquisition of a 51 percent stake in Allianz, according to the Emirates News Agency, WAM.

ADNIC Chairman Mohamed Al- Nahyan told WAM: “The connection between the UAE and Saudi Arabia is deep, mutually beneficial and ever-growing. At ADNIC, we see Saudi Arabia as a high-potential market which perfectly aligns with our overall growth strategy, and we are looking forward to unlocking new possibilities for growth and success.”

Other top performers include United Cooperative Assurance Co. and Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances Corp. whose share prices soared by 5.68 percent and 5.51 percent, to stand at SR11.16 and SR14.16 respectively.

The worst performer was Alkhaleej Training and Education Co., whose share price dropped by 5.27 percent to SR33.25.

On the announcements front, Saudi mining giant and Public Investment Fund subsidiary, Saudi Arabian Mining Co., known as Ma’aden, announced the launch of single stock options in a statement on Tadawul. 

SSOs will enable local and international investors to effectively hedge and manage portfolio risks as well as diversify products available for trading in the market. 


Saudi minister calls for ‘decisive financial policies’ to counter global economic uncertainties

Saudi minister calls for ‘decisive financial policies’ to counter global economic uncertainties
Updated 18 April 2024
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Saudi minister calls for ‘decisive financial policies’ to counter global economic uncertainties

Saudi minister calls for ‘decisive financial policies’ to counter global economic uncertainties

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s finance minister on Thursday stressed the need for “decisive financial policies” across the world to navigate through uncertain economic conditions.

Speaking during the Spring Meetings 2024 of the IMF held in Washington, D.C, Mohammed Al-Jadaan noted that such a decisive approach would bolster resilience and sustainability amid the ongoing uncertainties.

He was attending a meeting of finance ministers and governors of the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan region with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

“I also participated in the Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable, where I highlighted the importance of enhancing Comparability of Treatment by establishing a clear and fair framework that ensures equitable treatment among all creditors,” Al-Jadaan said in a post on X.

Additionally, the minister participated in the second G20 finance ministers and central bank governors’ meeting held under the Brazilian presidency in Sao Paulo. He emphasized that effective climate action required a holistic approach.

He said that can be achieved “by integrating diverse sectors acknowledging the diversity of solutions to address climate challenges, including using innovative technologies to manage emissions.”

Al-Jadaan also met with Jose Vinals, chairman of Standard Chartered Bank, to discuss the regional and global economic outlook.

He also met with Spanish Minister of Economy, Trade, and Business, Carlos Cuerpo to discuss ways to enhance relations between the two countries.

Moreover, Al-Jadaan held talks with Jean Lemierre, chairman of Bank BNP Paribas, the global head of Official Institutions Coverage, Laurent Leveque, and the head of Debt Capital Markets, Alexis Taffin.

They discussed progress made in Saudi Arabia, as well as issues related to attracting investment and alternative financing.


Magrabi opens new complex in Makkah

Magrabi opens new complex in Makkah
Updated 18 April 2024
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Magrabi opens new complex in Makkah

Magrabi opens new complex in Makkah

RIYADH: With a new branch in Makkah, Magrabi Hospitals and Centers are expanding to more Saudi cities to meet the growing demand for specialized ophthalmological and dentistry care.

Minister of Health Fahad Al-Jalajel inaugurated the medical complex and one-day surgery center in the holy city, accompanied by Magrabi Hospitals and Centers CEO Mutasim Alireza, the Group’s Deputy CEO and Cheif Operating Officer Abdulrahman Barzangi, and several officials and dignitaries.

Al-Jalajel underscored that the opening reflects the Kingdom’s commitment to enhancing the quality of its healthcare services and transitioning toward a more comprehensive and integrated medical system.

He further stated that this initiative is a vital component of the Health Transformation Program, a foundational aspect of Saudi Vision 2030, which has achieved significant milestones and advancements in the medical sector under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Following the official inauguration, the minister toured the complex’s facilities, noting its significance as a notable project and a valuable contribution to the Kingdom.

Alireza said: “This specialized medical complex underscores our commitment to being at the forefront of healthcare for ophthalmology and dental services and continuing our mission to offer specialized medical services that meet community needs with the utmost quality and safety.” 

In March, Magrabi Ophthalmology and Dentistry Hospital Dammam officially opened its doors in Al-Shaala, marking an achievement for medical care in Saudi Arabia.

The Magrabi Dammam health facility is the largest specialized center in the region and provides sub-specialized services, meeting the highest quality standards and leveraging the latest global technologies.


UAE records 64% surge in trademark registrations

UAE records 64% surge in trademark registrations
Updated 18 April 2024
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UAE records 64% surge in trademark registrations

UAE records 64% surge in trademark registrations

RIYADH: The UAE recorded an annual 64 percent surge in trademark registrations, amounting to 4,610 in the first quarter of 2024, official data showed.

The figures, released by the nation’s Ministry of Economy, reveal the notable increase from 2,813 signups in the same period of 2023. 

March emerged as a particularly prolific period, with 2,018 new brands reported.

The trademarks registered during this time span a wide range of key sectors, including smart technology, transportation, food and beverage and pharmaceuticals as well as medical devices, finance, real estate, and more. 

The preceding months of January and February collectively accounted for 2,592 trademarks, further highlighting sustained growth and momentum in registrations.

As the country continues to position itself as a global business hub, trademark registrations serve as a crucial indicator of economic vitality and innovation-driven growth.

In a release on X, the ministry noted on April 17 that it has: “Worked on developing the trademark registration service, using the latest technologies and innovative solutions to achieve higher efficiency and better interaction with clients.”

The UAE’s adherence to international treaties and agreements further strengthens its trademark registration regime. 

By adhering to agreements like the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS, the UAE facilitates international trademark registration and enforcement, empowering businesses to broaden their operations across borders.

The nation has further established mechanisms for enforcing trademark rights and combating infringement. 

These include civil remedies, such as damages, injunctions, and seizure of infringing goods, as well as criminal penalties for trademark counterfeiting and piracy.