Who’s Who: Swaied Al-Zahrani, CEO of Saudi Credit Bureau

Who’s Who: Swaied Al-Zahrani, CEO of Saudi Credit Bureau
Swaied Al-Zahrani
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Updated 24 April 2024
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Who’s Who: Swaied Al-Zahrani, CEO of Saudi Credit Bureau

Who’s Who: Swaied Al-Zahrani, CEO of Saudi Credit Bureau

Swaied Al-Zahrani has been the CEO of the Saudi Credit Bureau, also known as SIMAH, since March 2018.

As CEO, Al-Zahrani has guided SIMAH’s short and long-term strategies, ensuring a competitive landscape within the market.

He led major restructuring to enable a future-proof operating model and enhance customer experience. He is focused on improving the governance, risk management, and data management framework and practices.

Al-Zahrani is also a board member of Qarar, a decision analytics company specializing in tailored customer management and lending process automation solutions based in Riyadh, and a board member at Tassnief, the first local credit rating agency licensed by the Capital Market Authority.

He has nearly two decades of experience in the financial sector and is known for his ability to maximize shareholder value through effective strategies, committed to driving innovation and excellence in the financial industry.

Prior to his current role, he worked as chief operations officer at the Social Development Bank in Riyadh from January 2016 to March 2018. He led the bank’s transformation program, focusing on building a new strategy, organizational restructuring, automation and digitalization, customer experience, and risk controls while promoting a savings culture aligned with national strategies.

Al-Zahrani worked for nine years at Al-Rajhi Bank in various domains including IT, business, and banking operations groups, where he participated in major transformation programs.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah.


Saudi Arabia shines at Beijing book fair

Saudi Arabia shines at Beijing book fair
Updated 16 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia shines at Beijing book fair

Saudi Arabia shines at Beijing book fair
  • The award aims to foster cultural cooperation and exchange between the two nations
  • A cultural seminar introducing the award was held on the sidelines of the five-day fair

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has taken center stage as guest of honor at the Beijing International Book Fair, with the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Award for Cultural Cooperation between the Kingdom and China a highlight of the event.
The award, launched in March by the Saudi Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Farhan, aims to foster cultural cooperation and exchange between the two nations. It is divided into two categories: the cultural elite and the youth, and covers various cultural and creative fields.
A cultural seminar introducing the award was held on the sidelines of the five-day fair, which ends on Sunday. Abdul Mohsen bin Salem Al-Aqeeli, secretary-general of the award, and Fu Ji Min, dean of the faculty of languages at Peking University, took part in the seminar.
According to a statement, the award is founded on the values of openness, cultural exchange, diversity, and conscious understanding of human commonalities, and aims to invest in the rich human, symbolic, and material heritage that both countries possess.
The nomination process for the award has begun, and candidates are encouraged to apply.
The Saudi pavilion at the book fair featured a five-day cultural program, including seminars, panel discussions, displays of books, manuscripts, and archaeological artifacts, live traditional performances, and a special Saudi dinner night.
More than 1,600 exhibitors from 71 countries and regions took part in the fair, which showcased 220,000 Chinese and foreign publications.
The Beijing International Book Fair, launched in 1986, and organized by the China National Publications Import and Export Corporation, is believed to be the second-largest book fair globally, behind Frankfurt.


Saudi Arabia marks World Camel Day

Saudi Arabia marks World Camel Day
Updated 22 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia marks World Camel Day

Saudi Arabia marks World Camel Day
  • Camels in the Kingdom are among the country’s most important symbols of heritage
  • The region is known for organizing seasonal races and official camel celebrations

TABUK: Saudi Arabia celebrated World Camel Day on Saturday. The occasion falls on June 22 and is recognized by the UN among its global observances.
Camels in the Kingdom are among the country’s most important symbols of heritage. The Saudi government has given the animal attention and care by dedicating resources to its preservation.
The day focuses on highlighting the animal and historically significant activities associated with it, along with spotlighting medical care, food security, developing camel products, and raising awareness.
Reaffirming the Kingdom’s interest and care in its cultural heritage and ancient traditions, the country has designated 2024 as the Year of the Camel, reinforcing the country’s civilizational, historical, and cultural identity.
The Tabuk region, along with the rest of the Kingdom, participates in caring for and preserving camels. The region is known for organizing seasonal races and official camel celebrations.
It features four tracks: 8 km, 4 km, 2 km, and 1,500 meters in length.


Beehives of Saudi Arabia’s Maysan believed to be over 1,000 years old

Beehives of Saudi Arabia’s Maysan believed to be over 1,000 years old
Updated 22 June 2024
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Beehives of Saudi Arabia’s Maysan believed to be over 1,000 years old

Beehives of Saudi Arabia’s Maysan believed to be over 1,000 years old
  • Located between the Sarawat and Tihamah mountains, the apiaries feature beautiful engineering with remarkable design specifications for honey production

TAIF: Maysan governorate, located in western Saudi Arabia's Sarawat mountain range, showcases stunning archaeological scenes of some of the most important and impressive environmental engineering formations. These include approximately 1,200 beehives that were a major source of daily sustenance for the early inhabitants of the place.

The apiaries in Maysan have become a primary source for the production and sale of Saudi honey, which is deeply embedded in the Kingdom’s culture and trade. These sites date back to ancient history, highlighting the community’s longstanding interest in honey in Maysan.

Abdul Wahab Al-Khudaidi, a history enthusiast, confirmed that the Al-Kharafi apiaries are situated between the Sarawat and Tihamah mountains and are believed to be over 1,000 years old.

The beehives of Maysan are paved with stones in intricate geometric patterns, spanning up to four levels. (SPA)

These apiaries feature beautiful engineering with remarkable design specifications for honey production. The structures are paved with stones in intricate geometric patterns, spanning up to four levels.

The site is difficult to access, requiring navigation through a designated path by an experienced individual. The honeycombs are reinforced with solid stones and columns to support the floors, which are constructed from large, closely positioned stones in balanced shapes.

Al-Khudaidi noted that the ancient beehives in the villages of Maysan and Bani Al-Harith, which are part of Makkah province, are intricately designed with multiple levels and floors nestled between steep, solid mountains.

The hives, dating back over 10 centuries, serve as evidence of the place’s authenticity and deep-rooted history. The famous mountains are a summer resort for visitors and locals, a historical legacy celebrated in their poems, and home to towering forts and castles that highlight the importance of the villages' history.

An ancient tower overlooks the Sarawat mountains in Maysan governorate of Makkah province. (SPA)

The structures testify to the rare profession practiced by the ancestors in beekeeping and honey extraction, producing various types of honey such as Acacia, Summer, and Seyal.

Al-Khudaidi pointed out that the initial apiaries were carefully located between mountain peaks to benefit from the diverse array of local aromatic plants.

These mountains host more than 50 species, including Rue, Basil, Marjoram, Lavender, among other wildflowers.
 


Saudi Arabia concludes participation at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris

Saudi Arabia concludes participation at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris
Updated 22 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia concludes participation at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris

Saudi Arabia concludes participation at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris
  • The pavilion, organized by the General Authority for Military Industries, sought to welcome investors from all over the world

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia concluded its participation in the global defense and security exhibition Eurosatory 2024 in Paris on Friday, where officials sought to boost partnerships with France, the state news agency SPA reported.

The Saudi pavilion participating in the exhibition, which started on Monday, saw wide interaction and a large presence to view the latest achievements, products and developments of the military industries sector in the Kingdom, SPA reported.

The pavilion, organized by the General Authority for Military Industries, sought to welcome investors from all over the world looking to invest in the military industries sector, and the efforts made to develop research and innovation in the sector.

It also reviewed the most prominent policies, legislation and incentives in Saudi Arabia that contributed to stimulating the process of localization and empowerment of the sector, enhancing supply chains and investment opportunities, and the importance of concerted efforts to achieve the military industries sector strategy.

On the sidelines of Eurosatory 2024, the governor of GAMI, Ahmed Al-Ohali, took part in the activities of a Saudi-French Day, where he spoke about building industrial and defense partnerships between Saudi Arabia and France, while the deputy governor of the authority’s empowerment sector, Saleh Al-Aqili, touched on the regulatory framework and organization of local content policy in the Kingdom.

Several meetings were also held at the pavilion with other entities participating in the exhibition, where a number of initiatives and partnerships were instigated.

Many parties from the public and private sectors joined forces to showcase at the pavilion, including the Ministry of Investment, represented by the Invest in Saudi Arabia platform (Invest Saudi), the General Authority for Defense Development, and a number of Saudi national institutions and companies specializing in the field of military industries.

They included the Saudi Arabian Military Industries, Saudia Technic, Life Shield, Scopa, the Arabian International Company, the Saudi Leather Industries Company, the Al-Esnad Military Industries Group, KRMC, and the World Defense Show.

The Kingdom’s military industries are localizing and empowering the sector in “attracting qualitative investments that will effectively contribute to building a prosperous economy and a sustainable industry,” SPA reported.


Saudi Arabia urges all nations to work together to prioritize cybersecurity

Saudi Arabia urges all nations to work together to prioritize cybersecurity
Updated 22 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia urges all nations to work together to prioritize cybersecurity

Saudi Arabia urges all nations to work together to prioritize cybersecurity
  • The Kingdom’s representative to the UN says this is particularly important given the role of cybersecurity in protecting vital national interests and security
  • He tells the UN Security Council the sector has developed rapidly and dynamically, and helped to advance the field domestically, regionally and globally

LONDON: The need for a safe and reliable cyberspace that can help enable growth and prosperity is more urgent than ever, Saudi Arabia said as it urged all nations to prioritize efforts to strengthen cybersecurity.

Abdulaziz Al-Wasel, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, said it was time for the international community to adopt a serious and practical approach, in collaboration with the UN, to unifying international efforts to combat threats. This is particularly important given the role cybersecurity plays in protecting the vital interests of countries and national security, he explained.

His comments came on Thursday during a UN Security Council debate about evolving cyberspace threats under the heading “maintenance of international peace and security,” the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.

Al-Wasel highlighted the work and rapid progress of the Kingdom’s cybersecurity sector, which he said was established as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 plan for national development and diversification. The sector has developed rapidly and dynamically, he added, helping to advance the field domestically, regionally and globally.

The Kingdom began its transformative journey by developing a model for cybersecurity that is based on centralized governance and decentralized operability, he said, and falls under the responsibility of national authorities. The model is distinguished by its comprehensive framework for dealing with all aspects related to cybersecurity, whether legislative, security-focused, economic or developmental.

In 2017, Saudi authorities established the National Institute for Cybersecurity, and the Kingdom’s efforts in the field have resulted in several international achievements, one of the most most notable of which was earning second place globally, and first in the Arab world, the Middle East and Asia, in the International Telecommunication Union’s 2020 Global Cybersecurity Index.

And this week Saudi Arabia topped the global cybersecurity rankings in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2024, which is compiled by the World Competitiveness Center of the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland. In the overall World Competitiveness Index for 2024, the country climbed to 16th place, having ranked 24th in 2022 and 17th last year.

Al-Wasel also noted the launch in 2020 of the Global Cybersecurity Forum in the Kingdom, an international platform that brings together decision-makers from around the world to discuss strategic issues related to cybersecurity. More than 120 countries attended the forum last year, during which the International Cybersecurity Forum Foundation was established, with its headquarters in Riyadh, to aid the enhancement of cybersecurity at an international level.

“The Kingdom is keen to unify regional efforts to cooperate in enhancing regional cybersecurity, which resulted in the establishment of a specialized ministerial committee for cybersecurity under the umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council, based on a proposal from the Kingdom,” Al-Wasel said.

Another proposal by the Kingdom led to the establishment in September last year of the Council of Arab Cybersecurity Ministers, under the aegis of the Arab League, with its general secretariat and executive offices in Riyadh.

The UN welcomed the work of the Kingdom in the sector and said: “Saudi Arabia also provides capacity-building exercises worldwide, with over 40 states and organizations participating in such training.”