ICD to develop Islamic finance in Uzbekistan

The agreement was signed during ICD’s official visit to Uzbekistan.
Updated 17 June 2019

ICD to develop Islamic finance in Uzbekistan

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) signed an agreement to assist Kapitalbank, a private commercial bank in Uzbekistan, with technical advisory services for the establishment of a new Islamic banking window.
The agreement was signed during ICD’s official visit to Uzbekistan as part of its mandate to explore development opportunities in the member countries and strengthen ICD’s advisory footprint in central Asia, especially in Uzbekistan.
ICD will assist Kapitalbank in areas of Shariah, accounting, information technology, marketing and communication, HR and legal aspects combined with an on-site extensive theoretical training and supported by on-job training in Islamic banks.
Ayman Sejiny, CEO of ICD, said: “We are happy to sign the agreement to support Kapitalbank and share our expertise through the Islamic Financial Institution Program, developed for and with our partners to advise and assist in developing and reinforcing the Islamic finance industry in the member countries.”
Oleg Kim, acting chairman of the management board, representing Kapitalbank, said: “We believe that the launching of the Islamic window in the bank will allow mobilizing funds of the population who, because of their religious beliefs, did not use traditional banking services. In addition, legal entities will receive access to Shariah-compliant funding. So through Islamic banking, financial inclusion can be promoted and bring a larger pool of savings in the local and global economy.”


stc supports research and innovation with new partnerships

Updated 03 December 2022

stc supports research and innovation with new partnerships

stc Group, the region’s leading digital enabler, participated in the recent Sustainable Partnerships Conference held in Riyadh, where it signed a number of partnership agreements with several Saudi universities, to support research and innovation projects in the technical field in the Kingdom.

Foremost of its partnerships signed at the event is that with King Saud University. It includes the establishment of a chair for scientific research in the field of artificial intelligence, aiming to find solutions to technical challenges facing the private sector.

stc also joined forces with the Saudi Telecommunications Engineering Society, Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University, and Taif University. The aim is to develop the communications sector by innovative means, develop engineering communications, and raise the scientific and professional level of communication engineers in the Kingdom. The partnerships will also contribute to the digital transformation of the universities’ services and projects.

During his session, stc Group Chief Strategy Officer Abdullah Abdulrahman Alkanhl highlighted the group’s pioneering role in encouraging research and innovation through several of its initiatives, including the InspireU program, which the group launched in 2015, to support emerging entrepreneurs and university students. The program succeeded in graduating 75 startups that provided more than 600,000 direct and indirect jobs. The group also supported direct investments in the research and innovation area through venture capital funds, with its contribution of $500 million to STV Fund.

“We recently elevated the value of investment to $800 million,” added Alkanhl.

stc Group believes the partnerships will encourage the exchange of scientific and technical knowledge as well as support the development of educational programs, joint research projects and innovative activities such as competitions and hackathons. Moreover, stc seeks to enrich the registered intellectual property content.

“The signed partnerships stand out as one of the main elements for achieving our goals in sustainable development in the field of research and innovation, as our strategy revolves around enabling more vibrant sectors in the Kingdom. This will facilitate and accelerate the process of digital transformation because of its positive impact on public interest, whether on individuals, society or the business sector,” said Alkanhl.

The two-day conference, held under the theme “Research and Innovation Towards A Prosperous Economy” was part of an initiative spearheaded by the Ministry of Education to foster ties between Saudi universities and the industrial and development sectors. More than 50 cooperation and research partnership agreements were signed between universities and various sectors at the event.


Thakher Development inks deal with Banque Saudi Fransi

Updated 03 December 2022

Thakher Development inks deal with Banque Saudi Fransi

Thakher Development Company, the master developer of the upcoming Thakher Makkah project, has signed an MoU with Banque Saudi Fransi, under which the company’s customers can avail a range of different financing solutions, including off-plan financing. The move is in line with Thaker’s constant efforts to fulfill its customers’ needs and aspirations by delivering optimal solutions, services and products.

The MoU was signed by Karim Hashem, vice president for finance and investment at Thakher, and Attaf Faiz Ramadan, regional branch network manager at Banque Saudi Fransi.

“We are proud of this cooperation with Banque Saudi Fransi that shows and asserts confidence in the development work carried out by Thakher,” said Hashem.

He added: “It also comes in the context of the partnerships that Thakher has with financing agencies and other companies to provide the best options and products for its customers and to achieve best results in line with Saudi Vision 2030.”

FASTFACT

The move is in line with Thaker’s constant efforts to fulfill its customers’ needs and aspirations by delivering optimal solutions, services and products.

Meanwhile, expressing his pleasure over the signing of the MoU with Thakher, Ramadan said: “The MoU comes as part of Banque Saudi Fransi’s efforts and keenness to strengthen the economy and provide various financing solutions that suit all customers’ needs, as well as to support and develop the real estate sector to achieve the objectives of Vision 2030.”

Thakher Makkah supports the ambitious vision of Saudi Arabia, which aims to host 30 million Umrah performers and 6 million pilgrims by 2030.

The project spans an area of more than 320,000 square meters. Upon completion, it will include around 100 land plots for hospitality, residential, commercial, and service-related purposes. Residential and hotel apartment units will be available in various categories, and the units will also be available for ownership.

Among the international hotels that will open in Thakher Makkah are Radisson Hotel, Park Inn by Radisson, and Novotel Hotel, which will be the largest in the world in terms of the number of rooms.

The second phase of Thakher Makkah is expected to be completed by 2024.

Thakher Development Company aims to change the real estate development scene in Makkah. The company’s vision is to contribute to the sustainable development of Makkah and to become the preferred destination for visitors to the holy city.

The Thakher Makkah project will provide 15,000 direct jobs and 18,000 indirect jobs, while the total value of the project is estimated to be SR26 billion ($6.93 million).


Digital innovation driving KSA healthcare transformation

Updated 28 November 2022

Digital innovation driving KSA healthcare transformation

Royal Philips, a global health technology company, has announced the publication of its Future Health Index 2022 report: “Healthcare hits reset: Priorities shift as healthcare leaders navigate a changed world.” Now in its seventh year, the FHI 2022 report, based on proprietary research from almost 3,000 respondents conducted across 15 countries, explores how healthcare leaders are harnessing the power of data and digital technology as they look to address their key challenges coming out of the pandemic.

The report provides a clear indication of strong momentum in innovation within Saudi Arabia’s healthcare system. Expanding patient care, unlocking the power of digital health, and leveraging strategic partnerships have emerged as top priorities for Saudi Arabia in its journey toward Vision 2030. 

“Over the past two years, pressure on the healthcare industry has been unrelenting. Today, as we emerge from the pandemic, we see healthcare leaders embarking on a reset — refocusing on several new and existing priorities, from addressing staff shortages to extending care delivery, to leveraging big data and predictive analytics, as they navigate new realities in medical management. Telehealth and digital health records have emerged at the forefront of driving technology-led transformation in healthcare in Saudi Arabia,” said Mohamed Sindi, CEO of Philips Healthcare Saudi Arabia. 

The FHI 2022 Saudi Arabia report highlighted three priorities for healthcare leaders as they strive to further expand access to care and deliver better patient outcomes:

Expanding care through digital health technologies

In the post-COVID-19 world, people continue to demand care beyond the hospital walls, making it necessary for healthcare leaders to continue to invest in technology and focus on enabling their workforce to support this. With many digital health tools already implemented, broader innovation is at the top of leaders’ priority list. One-fifth (22 percent) of Saudi leaders cite extending care delivery beyond the hospital walls as a top priority today and 26 percent expect to prioritize it in three years’ time. Digital and telehealth investments by healthcare leaders will also reduce staff workloads, thus improving staff retention and satisfaction, which is an important priority for 23 percent of leaders with 29 percent expecting it to remain a priority for the next three years.

Driving efficiency through innovation and partnership

With digital health now firmly embedded in healthcare delivery, it is imperative for healthcare leaders to unlock the next level of data utilization that will improve the efficiency of care delivery. The FHI Saudi Arabia 2022 research revealed that healthcare leaders are nurturing strategic partnerships with health technology companies for access to various kinds of expertise. Thirty-three percent of leaders seek partnerships that provide support in healthcare management services, as well as data analysis, 32 percent want partnerships that support technology integration, while 29 percent seek support in shaping a strategic vision.

Investments in AI for improved care delivery 

Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and predictive analytics help to identify trends, optimize processes, and reduce costs. Saudi Arabia is on par with the European average when it comes to the use of predictive analytics, with 48 percent of healthcare leaders currently utilizing or in the process of adopting such technologies. More than three quarters of respondents believe that predictive analytics can improve staff experiences as well as patient outcomes. One in four (26 percent) of Saudi Arabia’s healthcare leaders say that improving tech infrastructure in their facilities is the most important priority if they are to fully unlock the power of data. 

Saudi Arabian healthcare leaders are also committed to AI-based technologies, with 46 percent investing in these technologies this year and 66 percent planning to invest in 2023.


With move to EZDubai, Mumzworld eyes regional expansion

Updated 28 November 2022

With move to EZDubai, Mumzworld eyes regional expansion

EZDubai, a fully dedicated e-commerce free zone strategically located in Dubai South’s Logistics District, has welcomed Mumzworld, the largest online baby shop in the Middle East, which will be expanding its operations. A signing ceremony to announce the expansion was attended by Mohsen Ahmad, CEO of the Logistics District — Dubai South; Mona Ataya, CEO of Mumzworld; and other senior executives from both entities.

The new facility will span 8,152 square meters and will be located in a rapidly expanding free zone for major e-commerce players and last-mile service providers. The move is expected to further strengthen Mumzworld’s footprint and bolster its operations for continued hyperscale. EZDubai will support Mumzworld in running an effective fulfillment center through bonded and non-bonded activities to expedite inventory turnover. This will assist the company in managing, optimizing and creating new warehouse operations to support its aggressive regional and global growth strategy. 

Ahmad said: “Mumzworld, the pioneering online marketplace in the Middle East, is a wonderful addition to our portfolio. Our continued efforts aim to create an excellent environment for such specialized companies and boost the region’s e-commerce sector. The new fulfillment center will significantly expand Mumzworld’s capacity to continue to deliver best-in-class customer demand and satisfaction, enabling the company to deliver products quicker, especially with our proximity to last-mile partners.”

The new facility seeks to optimize every consumer touchpoint and elevate the e-commerce industry by consistently providing customers with a distinctive, personalized, practical, and seamless experience. In addition to fostering long-lasting relationships with customers, this effort will push the boundaries of innovation and improve operational excellence and efficiency to save costs.

Ataya said: “This new built-to-suit fulfillment center at Dubai South represents an important milestone for Mumzworld. The brand is at an important point of hypergrowth, and our partnership with EZDubai will further consolidate our path forward. The facility is strategically located and effectively enabled to allow us to cater to growing customer demands and continue to provide an exceptional online shopping experience in the region.”

The state-of-the-art facility and enablers within this locale will allow us to continue our aggressive expansion plan across the region more seamlessly and efficiently.”

The 920,000-square-meter, purpose-built e-commerce hub in Dubai South is designed to attract the world’s leading e-commerce companies and create a benchmark with its infrastructure. The e-commerce zone, which was launched in 2019 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, aims to promote the emirate’s position as a hub for global e-commerce.


SCE, Schneider sign deal to expand engineering training

Updated 27 November 2022

SCE, Schneider sign deal to expand engineering training

Schneider Electric, a global leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Council of Engineers to launch an accredited training program to build digital skills across energy and automation systems.

Both partners will provide specialized training courses for SCE’s membership. Doing so will create highly skilled professionals, strengthen the economy, and ensure that one in five private sector engineering jobs are held by Saudis.

“As the world moves toward a green power transition, we are committed to working with regional partners to ensure today and tomorrow’s generation of engineers has the skills and technologies they need for a new era of energy management. The Saudi Council of Engineers is one such trusted partner in this endeavor as we focus on delivering top-quality training within the Kingdom,” said Mohamed Shaheen, cluster president, Schneider Electric, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Abdulnasser Saif Al-Abdullatef, secretary-general of the SCE, said: “We are committed to promoting engineering within Saudi Arabia and upgrading its standards with a view to enhance the level of engineering talent and encourage innovation and creativity in the field. Our collaboration with Schneider Electric builds on our commitment and strategic efforts in this regard. Through a concerted and collaborative top-quality training in the Kingdom, we hope to build the next generation of engineers in Saudi Arabia.”

The MoU builds on a collective vision to enhance the capabilities of engineering and technical talent across the country, as well as to facilitate an exchange of engineering expertise and knowledge that will play a key role in the successful delivery of the Kingdom’s ambitious construction pipeline.

Schneider Electric aims to drive digital transformation by integrating world-leading process and energy technologies, end-point to cloud connecting products, controls, software and services, across the entire lifecycle, enabling integrated company management, for homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure and industries.