IMF given green light to establish regional office in Riyadh 

IMF given green light to establish regional office in Riyadh 
The move is expected to foster greater coordination on economic policies and reforms. Shutterstock
Short Url
Updated 20 March 2024
Follow

IMF given green light to establish regional office in Riyadh 

IMF given green light to establish regional office in Riyadh 

RIYADH: The path is now clear for the International Monetary Fund to establish its regional headquarters in Riyadh, following the final approval from the Saudi Cabinet.

Presided over by King Salman, the Cabinet session held in Jeddah on March 19 endorsed the initial agreement between the government and the IMF, while clearing various other decisions and approvals.

This came less than a month after the Kingdom’s Shura Council supported the same agreement in its 21st session on Feb. 26, before submitting it to the highest level for final endorsement.

This move is anticipated to enhance coordination on economic policies and reforms, thereby contributing to enhanced regional stability and growth, as reported earlier by the Saudi Press Agency.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding between the Kingdom’s Ministry of Finance and its Egyptian counterpart to conduct a high-level financial dialogue.

The Council of Ministers also approved an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Sierra Leone in the field of air transport services.

An MoU between the Kingdom’s Food and Drug Authority and Indonesia’s Halal Product Guarantee Agency for cooperation in ensuring the quality of products was endorsed by the Cabinet at the session.

Furthermore, March 27 of each year was designated to be the official day for the Saudi Green Initiative, which aims to plant 10 billion trees with the goal of reducing temperatures by at least 2.2 degrees Celsius and improving air quality.

Additionally, the Council of Ministers authorized the minister of tourism, who also serves as the chairman of the Saudi Tourism Authority, or a delegate, to conduct negotiations and, if necessary, finalize an MoU with a Korean counterpart.

This agreement is aimed at enhancing collaboration in the domains of travel industry promotion and marketing between STA and the Korea Tourism Organization.

The Cabinet also reviewed several public matters listed on its agenda, including annual reports from the General Authority for Survey and Geospatial Information, the Technical and Vocational Training Corp. and the National Archives Center as well as the Real Estate Development Fund. 


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 min 57 sec ago
Follow

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 locally 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.

Saad bin Abdulrahman Al-Sadhan, chief business and wholesale officer at Zain KSA, said: “We are proud to be the first telecom and digital services provider to offer an integrated solution designed and developed in the Kingdom, aligning with our sustainability strategy of supporting local content.”

He added that their achievement aligns with the aspirations of the country’s leadership and Vision 2030 in enhancing the digital economy and localizing technology.

He also emphasized his company’s commitment to building an integrated technological ecosystem aiming at leveraging digitization and automation to serve and empower the productive, service, and logistical sectors across the Kingdom.

The executive further said that their fleet management method is a direct result of this commitment, and they take immense pride in being at the forefront of companies providing 100 percent national digital solutions.

The firm said in its release that by offering real-time GPS tracking, its system enhances road safety and security across the transportation and logistics sectors, empowering decision-makers with crucial insights through comprehensive reports based on accurate data.

It added that the system allows for informed decisions that boost operational efficiency and save costs.


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 22 min 10 sec ago
Follow

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.  

Al-Hogail also held a meeting with Pedro Fernandez Alen, president of the National Construction Confederation, to discuss collaboration opportunities and share insights on Vision 2030’s strategic objectives for the housing sector. The discussions highlighted the significant Spanish investments in Saudi Arabia, which exceed $3 billion, with a substantial portion directed toward real estate ventures.

The minister underscored the robust growth in Saudi Arabia’s housing sector, noting the provision of housing solutions for 1.5 million families over the past five years. He highlighted the delivery of approximately half a million housing units and the launch of major residential developments. With plans to add more than 300,000 housing units by 2025 and aiming for nearly one million units by 2030, these efforts are set to further boost the Kingdom’s attractiveness for domestic and international investments.

Al-Hogail also pointed out the significant contribution of the real estate sector to the Kingdom’s non-oil gross domestic product, which reached 12.2 percent, while the construction and building sector contributed 11.3  percent by the third quarter of 2023.

Concluding his visit, Al-Hogail will preside over the Saudi-Spanish Business Forum, organized by the Council of Saudi Chambers and Saudi-Spanish Business Council.


New air route strengthening Saudi-China connectivity has inaugural flight

New air route strengthening Saudi-China connectivity has inaugural flight
Updated 48 min 42 sec ago
Follow

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.

Ayman Aboabah, CEO of Riyadh Airport Co., informed the media channel that depending on peak seasons, the new route could achieve a utilization rate of up to 90 percent. He emphasized that this reflects substantial demand for the updated passage.

Aboabah also said that another station is scheduled to be operational by June and that plans are in place to attract three to four additional carriers in the coming year.

The CEO added: “We are truly very proud to inaugurate the return of the first Chinese carrier to the Kingdom, operating two weekly flights, transporting 1,140 passengers between Saudi Arabia and China. In fact, this marks the beginning of a series of carriers we are collaborating with under the Air Connectivity Program and with Chinese carriers.” 

In February, top officials from both countries convened for a high-level meeting in Beijing, focusing on investment opportunities, technology transfer, and enhancing economic cooperation. 

The Saudi delegation, led by Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, president of GACA, visited the Asian country to convene a joint round table meeting, exploring cooperation in connectivity and discussing partnership aspects across various areas. 

During the visit, the Kingdom’s representatives emphasized the substantial investments in the sector and reiterated Saudi Arabia’s openness to further opportunities.  

This aligns with GACA’s goal of modernizing the airport system and supports the Kingdom’s tourism sector target of attracting 150 million visitors by 2030. 

In August 2023, the Kingdom’s flag carrier, Saudia, launched its first direct flight between Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport.

That move was in line with the Saudi Aviation Strategy, which recognizes the need to increase air connectivity with key markets such as China while accommodating increasing demand from international tourists seeking to discover the Kingdom. 

Before the Jeddah—Beijing route was launched, passengers visiting China from Saudi Arabia could only visit the southern city of Guangzhou.  

Saudia announced at that time that it would operate two flights from Jeddah to the Chinese capital every Monday and Friday, adding that passengers from Riyadh could also travel directly to Beijing every Sunday and Wednesday. 


Turkiye will take steps to strengthen economic program, Erdogan says 

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

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 39 min 10 sec ago
Follow

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. 

Moreover, the commencement of the program involved the application to register five varieties of soft bread wheat and durum pasta wheat, including three local varieties and two new ones to the Kingdom. 

Additionally, the program encompassed the identification of 52 promising strains of soft wheat and 45 promising strains of durum wheat, which are currently in the final evaluation stages for this season. The ministry anticipates that a significant number of these strains will be selected and registered next year. 

Furthermore, a total of 215 genetic resources of field crops and 17 genetic resources of vegetable crops were also identified. 

In addition, the Seed and Seedling Center disclosed that out of the 903 plant genetic resources, 159 are located in Jazan, 252 in Al-Baha, and 130 in Asir. Moreover, 247 resources are found in Eastern Province, 50 in Riyadh, and 65 in Medinah. 

This underscores the comprehensive genetic fingerprinting being conducted for all genetic resources in the Kingdom, including wheat, barley, coffee, sesame, and others.  

This will help to identify similarities and differences between samples of a single variety at the molecular level, document genetically distinct samples, standardize the name of the local variety, and publish the outputs in international offices. 

The ministry also disclosed the establishment of a database of genetic resources from field and horticultural crops, which includes all associated data and characteristics.