Experts to discuss cybersecurity issues at Riyadh forum

Under the patronage of King Salman, the National Cybersecurity Authority is organizing the event on Oct. 2 and 3. File
Under the patronage of King Salman, the National Cybersecurity Authority is organizing the event on Oct. 2 and 3. File
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Updated 18 March 2024

Experts to discuss cybersecurity issues at Riyadh forum

Experts to discuss cybersecurity issues at Riyadh forum

RIYADH: Top decision-makers and entities will convene to discuss pivotal issues in the digital realm at the fourth edition of the Global Cybersecurity Forum in Riyadh, scheduled for October.

Under the patronage of King Salman, the National Cybersecurity Authority is organizing the event on Oct. 2 and 3, centered around the theme “Advancing Collective Action in Cyberspace.” 

The objective is to bolster international cooperation on critical digital issues, attracting elite participants and prominent global entities in the cybersecurity domain.

This year’s forum will build on the principles and objectives established during previous events, contributing to the enhancement of international cooperation in cybersecurity and stimulating economic and social development in this field, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The conference will feature several dialogue sessions focusing on key areas, including addressing cyber disparities and understanding online behavior and social dynamics in the digital world to foster integration. 

An additional topic will include how to bridge social gaps between communities, organizations, and nations.

Additionally, talks will delve into the cyber economy, exploring how it can spur development by cultivating markets in the sector. 

Participants will explore strategies for harnessing emerging technologies to propel progress and innovation.

The forum acts as a global platform that gathers decision-makers, government officials, businesses, cybersecurity experts, academics, and nongovernmental organizations. It operates in accordance with the strategic objectives of the GCF Institute to strengthen cybersecurity globally, foster economic and social development, and coordinate with and support relevant international initiatives.

A forum recently held in Geneva, organized in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s UN Mission, emphasized collaborations in addressing challenges and opportunities in cyberspace.

The event on Jan. 23, organized by the GCF, drew over 60 diplomats, UN representatives, and NGO officials. They participated in the GCF Institute’s endeavors to foster global dialogue, research, and initiatives related to cyberspace.

In his opening speech, Abdulmohsen Majed bin Khothaila, ambassador and permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN, underscored the GCF as a symbol of the Kingdom’s commitment to strengthening global cybersecurity efforts. 

He highlighted that the GCF reflects Saudi Arabia’s resolve to unify international cybersecurity endeavors and promote initiatives that foster peace, prosperity, and positive socio-economic impact worldwide.

Trump Organization announces deal to build Dubai tower

Trump Organization announces deal to build Dubai tower
Updated 10 sec ago

Trump Organization announces deal to build Dubai tower

Trump Organization announces deal to build Dubai tower

DUBAI: The Trump Organization on Thursday announced a deal to partner with a Saudi developer to build a high-rise tower in the UAE business hub of Dubai, its latest project in the Gulf.
Trump Tower Dubai will target “the Dubai luxury market,” real estate developer Dar Global said in a press release, adding that the location and design would be unveiled by the end of the year.
The development will include a Trump hotel and branded residential units, said Dar Global, the international subsidiary of Saudi developer Dar Al-Arkan.
The announcement came a little over two weeks after Dar Global announced a separate deal with the Trump Organization to build a high-rise tower in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah.
It is also developing a Trump hotel and luxury villas in the capital of neighboring Oman, with completion expected in 2028, according to the firm’s website.
Former President Donald Trump entrusted the management of his real estate empire to his sons after taking office in 2017, although he held onto his shares in the Trump Organization.
His foreign business dealings prompted critics to sound the alarm about possible conflicts of interest, including in a 2022 Congressional report that found the foreign governments of six countries — the UAE among them — spent more than $750,000 at a Trump-owned hotel in Washington while trying to influence his administration in 2017 and 2018.
Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee in this year’s presidential election, cultivated close ties with Arab Gulf states during his term, choosing Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip.
“We are proud to expand our presence in the region further through the launch of our iconic Trump Tower Dubai,” Eric Trump, the former president’s son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said in a statement.

UAE energy startups secure $30m in H1: IEA data

UAE energy startups secure $30m in H1: IEA data
Updated 1 min 23 sec ago

UAE energy startups secure $30m in H1: IEA data

UAE energy startups secure $30m in H1: IEA data

RIYADH: Investor confidence in UAE’s energy startups surged as they secured $30 million in the first half of 2024, surpassing the $24 million raised throughout 2023, an analysis showed.

In its latest report, the International Energy Agency revealed that companies in energy storage and batteries received the largest share of total financing, accounting for approximately 33.3 percent, followed by solar energy firms at 25 percent.

This increase in funding for startups in the renewable energy sector highlights the UAE’s efforts to accelerate its energy transition journey, aligning with its goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The IEA report revealed that UAE wind energy firms accounted for 8.3 percent of the overall financing received in the first half of this year, while companies operating in other renewable and clean energy technologies collectively made up the remaining 33.3 percent.

The report also noted that the total number of startup companies operating in the UAE’s energy sector reached about 54 by the end of 2023.

Of these, 21 companies are in the renewable sector, followed by 12 firms in energy storage and batteries.

The IEA added that nine startups in the UAE are working in the energy efficiency industry, while another 12 are operating in other energy-related sectors.

Beyond energy initiatives, UAE startups are also focusing on developing technologies to tackle critical challenges such as water security.

In May, Airwater Co., an air-to-water technology firm, announced a strategic investment from Abu Dhabi-based venture capital firm Tau Capital, for an undisclosed amount, indicating sustained investor interest in innovative solutions from the region.

The investment will enable Airwater Co. to expand its manufacturing, infrastructure, and distribution capabilities, with a particular focus on scaling large-scale commercial and industrial atmospheric water generation facilities, as stated in a press release.

Bill Murray, managing director of Tau Capital, stated: “Airwater Co.’s tech-focused approach to water security exemplifies the type of transformative innovation which we at Tau Capital believe is essential for sustainable global development.”

This followed another investment in December 2023, when UAE-based Zeroe secured seed funding from the VOYAGERS ClimateTech Fund, bringing the total raised to $2.3 million.

The funding was aimed at enabling Zeroe to expedite the development of its AI-integrated SaaS platform, which optimizes carbon emission calculations, aiding companies in their transition to net-zero in a more efficient and cost-effective manner, according to a press release.

“We’re excited to be VOYAGERS’ second investment in the region, and we believe this investment confirms our push to be a leading solution in supporting organizations to measure emissions and access sustainable finance,” said Farouk Jivani, co-founder and CEO of Zeroe, in a statement release at that time.

Overall, the UAE was the top-funded ecosystem in the region in the first half of 2024, with 91 startups raising $455.5 million across different sectors, according to a report by Wamda released in July.

In terms of the energy sector, the IEA report noted that US startups received a total funding of $2.29 billion in the first half of this year, closely followed by China at $1.98 billion during the same period.

France received $633 million in funding for startups in the first six months of this year, while companies in India were financed with $248 million.

The IEA revealed that its analysis is based on data from Crunchbase, which references about 3.5 million startups worldwide, including 72,000 energy-related companies.

Lilium agrees deal to supply electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft to Saudia

Lilium agrees deal to supply electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft to Saudia
Updated 15 min 20 sec ago

Lilium agrees deal to supply electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft to Saudia

Lilium agrees deal to supply electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft to Saudia
  • Saudia will receive the first vehicle in 2026

MUNICH: German aerospace company Lilium NV is making its debut in Saudi Arabia with a groundbreaking deal to supply up to 100 electric vertical take-off and landing jets to Saudia, the Kingdom’s first national carrier.

The formalization of this agreement comes after a framework deal was initially arranged in late 2022, making Saudia the first airline in the region to invest in sustainable air mobility.

The Saudia Group and the German developer of fully electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft have entered into an agreement to purchase 50 confirmed Lilium Jets, with an option for an additional 50 aircraft. 

Thursday’s signing ceremony took place at the German firm’s headquarters in Munich, attended by Arab News and key industry stakeholders.

CEO of Lilium, Klaus Roewe, underscored in his speech the significance of this partnership, stating: “It (the deal) signals a transformation and a readiness to shape the future.”

In an interview with Arab News on the sideline of the event, he described Saudia as a very important customer because it’s a “very high-ranking, high-class airline, a very demanding airline.”

Roewe added: “On the other side, it’s also representing a country which we believe is the perfect mirror of what Lilium wants to do, because Lilium is definitively the most advanced, the most innovative product.” 

The CEO went on to say that Saudi Arabia’s ambitions for its tourism and aviation sectors as outlined by the Vision 2030 economic diversification plan show a focus on sustainability and innovation.

“We believe it’s a perfect match between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Lilium,” said Roewe.

Saudi Arabia will receive the first plane in 2026. 

The aircraft’s operations will be approved and conducted in accordance with the quality and safety standards of the General Authority of Civil Aviation, and it will be operated and managed through Saudia Private Aviation.

Ibrahim Al-Omar, the director general of Saudia Group, expressed his enthusiasm for the milestone, saying: “Our partnership with Lilium supports the ambitious goal of Vision 2030 by transforming the future of aviation in Saudi Arabia and beyond.”

He added that starting in 2026, the arrival of the first Lilium Jet will help transport 330 million travelers, providing faster and more efficient connections that exceed industry standards and expectations. This development is set to play a crucial role in key areas such as hygiene, entertainment, and business travel.

The director general said that the group is committed to leading aviation innovation with this collaboration with Lilium being “just the beginning.”

He added: “We will continue to explore new heights, offering the best to our guests and positively impacting regional and global aviation.” 

The German ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Michael Kindsgrab, highlighted in his address the transformative potential of this collaboration in advancing decarbonization and sustainability goals under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

“One of the most important areas of this new cooperation is decarbonization and sustainability,” he said, adding: “This is truly a revolutionary concept, and we are very happy that Saudi Arabia, Saudia in this case, is at the forefront of launching this new technology.”

The ambassador said that this is a big event for Saudi Arabia and for Germany, with economic relations between two countries – with their shared focus on transformation, decarbonization and ecology – being some of the biggest common denominators in this relationship.

Roewe’s praised the collaboration between Lilium and Saudia, and said: “Our teams have been working together intensively after signing of the MoU in late 2022, and we received outstanding support and trust in the process for which we are enormously grateful and thank you for that.”

Saudia aims to integrate these electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft into its fleet, revolutionizing domestic air transport with efficient, zero-emission solutions. 

The Lilium Jets, designed for regional high-speed travel with zero CO2 emissions, align with Saudi Arabia’s focus on sustainability and innovation under Vision 2030.

Lilium has the capacity to produce up to 80 aircraft per year. The aircraft features a 14-meter-long wing and an 80-meter-long body, with a maximum flight altitude of 3,000 meters. 

It boasts an operating distance of up to 175 kilometers and can reach speeds of 300 kms per hour. The airplane’s battery is recharged, not swapped, requiring 30-40 minutes to reach 80 percent capacity. 

The German ambassador to the Kingdom further elaborated on the economic implications of the deal, stating: “Today, we open another chapter for green mobility and green energy. This is truly a revolutionary concept, and we’re very pleased that Saudi Arabia, represented by Saudia, is at the forefront of launching this new technology.”

Saudia’s commitment to leading aviation innovation through its collaboration with the German firm sets the stage for continued exploration and advancement in sustainable aviation. 

The airline will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of air transport in the Middle East and beyond, reaffirming its position as a global leader in the aviation industry.

With this strategic initiative, Saudia and Lilium are poised to set new standards for sustainable aviation, driving forward the vision of a greener and more interconnected world through cutting-edge technology and collaborative partnerships.

Saudi Arabia’s Tharwah to expand footprint with $13m proceeds from Nomu offering: CEO

Saudi Arabia’s Tharwah to expand footprint with $13m proceeds from Nomu offering: CEO
Updated 18 July 2024

Saudi Arabia’s Tharwah to expand footprint with $13m proceeds from Nomu offering: CEO

Saudi Arabia’s Tharwah to expand footprint with $13m proceeds from Nomu offering: CEO

RIYADH: Saudi-based human resources firm Tharwah is planning to use the anticipated SR50 million ($13 million) raised from its Nomu listing to fund its expansion plans, according to its CEO.   

In an interview with CNBC, Abdullah Al-Zahrani explained that the company aims to allocate more than 80 percent of the proceeds to support its horizontal and vertical expansion in the Gulf region, noting that the company recently opened offices in the UAE and Egypt.  

This follows Tadawul’s statement released earlier this month, in which Value Capital Co., in its capacity as the financial adviser and lead manager on the potential offering of Tharwah, announced the firm’s intention to present 705,735 ordinary shares, representing 15 percent of its offerings. It was also revealed that the company’s shares would be listed on Nomu.  

This move falls in line with the firm’s goal to become a leading expert center in human capacity development by delivering best-in-class solutions that meet global standards while considering local understanding.  

Al-Zahrani said it also aligns well with Saudi Arabia’s promising consulting market and the company’s consistent approach to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.  

During the interview, the CEO said that the company implemented over 90 projects with government agencies and the private sector, which was worth an accumulated SR150 million during the last period.

Al-Zahrani added that since the beginning of 2024, the volume of existing contracts has reached 30, totaling SR90 million.  

It is anticipated that the company will grow by more than 20 percent this year.  

He also revealed that Tharwah’s market share has reached 7 percent in the human capital consulting sector and it is targetting to further boost it during the coming period, expecting revenues to reach SR90 million by the end of 2024.  

The CEO said that the coming period after listing will focus on growth, in addition to having a strategy for dividends after supporting the expansion plan and then reaching the balance stage that enables the company to make dividend distributions.  

Established in 2012, Tharwah is a Saudi firm specializing in Human Capital Advisory Services. Its goal is to enable clients to empower their human capital to achieve their strategic objectives.

Suez Canal revenue drops as some shippers shun Red Sea 

Suez Canal revenue drops as some shippers shun Red Sea 
Updated 18 July 2024

Suez Canal revenue drops as some shippers shun Red Sea 

Suez Canal revenue drops as some shippers shun Red Sea 

RIYADH: The Suez Canal’s annual revenue dropped by almost a quarter in its latest financial year as some shippers switched to alternative routes to avoid attacks by Iran-aligned Houthis in the Red Sea. 

Osama Rabie, the head of the Egyptian canal’s authority said on Thursday revenues fell to $7.2 billion in its 2023-24 financial year from $9.4 billion the year before. 

Since November, the Houthis have been attacking commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean to show support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas in its fight against Israel. 

Rabie said the number of ships using the canal fell to 20,148 in 2023-24 from 25,911 the year before. 

The Suez Canal is a key source of foreign currency for Egypt, and authorities have been trying to boost its revenues in recent years, including via an expansion in 2015. 

The canal is vital for global trade, handling a large portion of goods like oil and gas, with its tolls and services crucial to Egypt’s income, supporting infrastructure, jobs, and economic stability. 

About 15 percent of world shipping traffic transits via the Suez Canal, the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia. 

A statement issued by the Egyptian Cabinet in May revealed that the Suez Canal Economic Zone had secured 144 projects worth $3.2 billion between July 2023 and April 2024, down from $4.9 billion recorded between July 2022 and May 2023. 

This happened as there was a 50 percent drop in Suez Canal trade and a 32 percent decrease in trade through the Panama Canal during the first two months of 2024 compared to the previous year, as reported by the International Monetary Fund in a March blog post. 

At that time, Walid Gamal El-Din, chairman of the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, disclosed that out of the 144 projects in its industrial zones and ports, 67 had received final approvals, with 77 securing initial approvals. 

He added that more than 25,000 direct and indirect job opportunities would be created upon the completion and operation of these projects. 

Furthermore, the chairman disclosed that the implementation rates of investment projects within the industrial zones had reached 77 percent, while those in ports had reached 71 percent. 

(With inputs from Reuters)