Saudi Arabia to establish special desk to facilitate Pakistan’s IT firms’ registration

Saudi Minister of Communication and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha and Pakistan’s caretaker IT Minister Umar Saif sign a MoU in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Updated 02 October 2023
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Saudi Arabia to establish special desk to facilitate Pakistan’s IT firms’ registration

  • Development coincides with signing of MoU to bolster cooperation in field of digital sciences

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to create a dedicated desk to streamline the registration of Pakistani IT companies seeking to establish themselves in the Kingdom, announced Pakistan’s caretaker IT Minister Umar Saif on Sunday.

This development coincided with the signing of a memorandum of understanding in Riyadh between the two nations to bolster bilateral cooperation in information technology.

According to a statement by the Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh, the agreement focuses on accelerating digital transformation, fostering innovation and advancing digital infrastructure.

The MoU, signed by the Saudi Minister of Communication and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha, stated that both countries will encourage small and medium-sized enterprises and startup ecosystems. 

They plan to collaborate on initiatives related to the transfer of businesses and the exchange of information on accelerators and incubators for emerging technology. 

On an official visit to the Kingdom, the Pakistani minister held meetings with several high-profile officials.

“We’re looking at opportunities for our startups to come here and raise investments from Saudi investors. These startups have raised over $800 million in just the last two years and are now at a point where they’re about to take off. I think each of these startups has the potential to become a billion-dollar company,” Saif told Arab News. 

He announced his “incredibly productive meeting” with Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih on social media platform X. “He (Al-Falih) has instructed (the Ministry of Investment) to establish a special desk for Pakistani IT companies to get registered in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and to grant (them) licenses to operate in KSA,” said Saif.

The Pakistani minister added: “I think there are huge opportunities for investment in Pakistan. We met with a lot of investors today (Sunday) and could meet with a few more with the PIF (Public Investment Fund) and STC to explore how they could come and be part of the telecom infrastructure, connectivity and payment systems in Pakistan.”  

Furthermore, Saif mentioned that the Saudi minister of communication tasked him with identifying the top 100 Pakistani talents globally — individuals potentially poised to win Nobel Prizes and establish billion-dollar companies.

“There is certainly a commitment to now forge these partnerships and relationships beyond the call of duty,” said the Pakistani minister.

Furthermore, he emphasized the significance of chip manufacturing, which involves producing semiconductor chips in various electronic devices. This area of interest is mutually vital for both countries.

“The Kingdom has put together a lot of resources and facilities for the fabrication of semiconductors. We can do it, but we don’t have the resources. However, we certainly have the technical expertise to collaborate on this,” he said.

The minister concluded the interview by highlighting Pakistan’s substantial lithium reserves, recognizing their potential for lithium-ion battery production, which could play a crucial role in future sustainable energy solutions.

“We don’t have the resources to put our facilities to convert our lithium reserves into lithium-ion batteries and products,” he commented, adding that this is “an area in which there could be deep collaboration between the two countries.” 

According to the embassy’s statement, the two nations will collaborate to explore how entrepreneurs and businesses can harness technology investments and venture capital. 

Their primary objective is strengthening their digital economy connections by assessing and certifying companies for collaborative opportunities within their information and communication technology markets.

Furthermore, the agreement will facilitate cooperation in e-governance, smart infrastructure, e-health, e-education and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain. 

Both countries will enhance their digital infrastructure, including fiber optic networks, data centers and cloud computing resources. 

The agreement also encourages engagement in each other’s international events and fosters information exchange between their public and private sector entities involved in IT development and electronics.


Inter-Arab trade at $700bn: Union of Arab Chambers

Updated 29 February 2024
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Inter-Arab trade at $700bn: Union of Arab Chambers

  • Secretary-general attends World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi
  • ‘The Arab region’s presence in such events aids in shaping policies for freer global trade’

SAO PAULO: Inter-Arab trade stands at $700 billion, constituting 10-11 percent of global trade, the secretary-general of the Union of Arab Chambers said on Thursday during the 13th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi.

In an interview with Emirates News Agency on the sidelines of the event, Khaled Hanafy highlighted the potential for increased trade, expanded business opportunities, job creation and economic growth across the Arab world through standardization, improved logistics and private sector engagement.

The UAE’s strategic positioning and robust infrastructure make it a preferred hub for international businesses seeking access to international markets, Hanafy said.

Its hosting of prestigious events such as COP28 and the WTO Ministerial Conference underscores its global leadership, communication prowess and influence in international forums, he added.

“The Arab region’s presence in such events aids in shaping policies for freer global trade,” Hanafy said, adding that the conference strengthens the UAC’s position as a representative of the Arab private sector within the WTO, potentially leading to observer status in key technical committees.

This, he said, would empower the UAC to exert greater influence on decisions shaping international trade flows.

The Arab world’s private sector contributes over 75 percent of the region’s gross domestic product, roughly equivalent to $3 trillion. This sector also plays a vital role in employment generation.

Hanafy emphasized the need for even greater private sector involvement in trade to foster business growth and achieve sustainable development across Arab nations.

He championed the UAC’s role in fostering trade cooperation within the Arab world, encompassing both commercial and investment activities.

Hanafy also advocated for the establishment of the Arab Common Market, outlining essential principles for achieving economic unity across the region.

This was the official debut of the Arab private sector at a WTO Ministerial Conference.

With unprecedented access granted to businesses at the event, representatives from regional chambers of commerce seized the opportunity to voice their concerns and aspirations.

Hanafy emphasized the significance of this inclusion at a roundtable event on the sidelines, saying: “This is the first time the Arab private sector is welcomed. The Arab private sector must be here.

“This is a great opportunity. There’s an objective: We want to see the Arab private sector have a larger role.”

Promoting economic cooperation and integration across the Arab world, the UAC unites chambers of commerce, industry and agriculture from the 22 Arab League member states.

It supports governmental and civil society initiatives to strengthen regional economic ties in commerce, industry, agriculture, finance, investment and services.


Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector focussing on small investors, minister says

Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim AlKhorayef. (@BAlkhorayef)
Updated 29 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector focussing on small investors, minister says

  • AlKhorayef said that the ministry has a financing program with simple conditions for small investors and entrepreneurs

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector has recently focused on small investors, the Kingdom’s Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim AlKhorayef has said.

Speaking to Al-Ekhbariya TV, the minister said that the ministry has a financing program with simple conditions for small investors and entrepreneurs.

The minister indicated that the business model of industrial cities, like the MODON oasis in Al-Ahsa, created a new opportunity for a certain type of investor and industry.

He added that most of the spaces in the industrial cities will be made up of ready-built factories, as this will largely reduce the financial burden on the investor, shorten the construction period, and facilitate obtaining the necessary licenses.


Ministry of Economy and Planning signs MoU with Saudi National Institute of Health

Representatives of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning and the Saudi National Institute of Health sign a MoU.
Updated 29 February 2024
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Ministry of Economy and Planning signs MoU with Saudi National Institute of Health

  • MoU aims to develop and align the strategic direction of national development priorities and economic policies in line with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi National Institute of Health, the ministry announced on Thursday.

The MoU aims to develop and align the strategic direction of national development priorities and economic policies in line with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.

It also aims to enable the decision-making process through the preparation of methodologies and studies, the ministry said.

As part of the MoU, scientific and hands-on experiences will be exchanged and both parties will prepare studies and research related to their work in order to improve quality.

They will also organize joint workshops and training courses to enhance capabilities and skills, and benefit from the infrastructure and public facilities of both parties.


Diriyah Co. CEO lauds Saudi efforts to empower youth

Updated 29 February 2024
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Diriyah Co. CEO lauds Saudi efforts to empower youth

RIYADH: Leadership and empowerment insights took center stage during a workshop at the Human Capability Initiative, with industry leaders delving into the future of Saudi Arabia’s workforce. 

In a “What If?” talk at the Riyadh event, Jerry Inzerillo, group CEO of Diriyah Co., addressed young Saudis, urging them to dream big and sharing insights from his own journey. 

He said: “Please dream big. There was nothing in between you and your dreams that you cannot accomplish.”  

Inzerillo emphasized the importance of self-esteem and dignity in leadership, signaling a departure from traditional hierarchical models toward more inclusive and empowering approaches. 

Praising the visionary leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Inzerillo expressed gratitude for the unprecedented support provided to initiatives like the Human Capability Initiative.  

Inzerillo commended the substantial investment in training and development facilitated by the crown prince, highlighting its significance in equipping the next generation with the skills necessary to navigate the challenges of an ever-evolving technological landscape.  

“In a 50-year career, I’ve never had the training and development budget that the crown prince has given us,” he remarked. 

“We are marching forward to 2030; we are marching positively. We believe in ourselves and those who will help us on our mission.”  

Inzerillo said that as of yesterday, they had 2,419 employees, with 85 percent of the staff being Saudi. 

“Now, 39 percent of our Saudi staff are women superstars. And those 39 percent of my Saudi women superstars boss me around on a daily basis more than the 61 percent of the boys.”  

The CEO shared his impressions of the young Saudi talent present at the event and said: “In New York, we have a saying, when you’re very excited, you have goosebumps. That’s the way I feel right now. Because just being backstage for a moment, and seeing all of the young talented Saudis, to me it’s like a thunderbolt of energy.” 

Inzerillo concluded with a resounding call to action, reminding every individual of their potential to contribute to the realization of Vision 2030. “Every single individual is capable of contributing to Vision 2030 and should.”  


Siemens inaugurates electrical equipment facility in Jeddah

Updated 29 February 2024
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Siemens inaugurates electrical equipment facility in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Multinational technology company Siemens unveiled its new electrical equipment factory in Jeddah in the presence of the Kingdom’s Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Alkhorayef.

In partnership with its Saudi partner, Arabia Electric Ltd Equipment Co, the firm inaugurated the facility on Feb. 29 at the Modon Oasis in Jeddah.

The 6,000 sq. m factory produces electrical equipment such as substation automation systems, communication and protection panels, and other products for the utility, oil and gas, infrastructure, and petrochemical industries.

The facility will operate with a 120-person workforce.

In an interview with Arab News, the minister of industry highlighted that establishing factories by major international companies in the Kingdom indicates the country’s capability to accommodate diverse industries. Moreover, he underscored that “Saudi Made” branding will soon adorn Lucid automobiles.

“Saudi Arabia remains committed to its strategy as we have created a favorable environment for industrial investment, allowing industry investors to strengthen their capabilities within the Kingdom. This endeavor goes beyond serving the local market, aiming to expand exports to both the region and worldwide,” Alkhorayef said.

He added that the country industry clusters in Saudi Arabia can be divided into two types: “One is the industrial zones and the Modon Oases, like this one here in Jeddah. We are also working closely with several industries that need to exist in clusters to create a sort of integration between them, such as the car manufacturing cluster. We have previous experience in such clusters, like the ones of petrochemicals in Jubail and Yanbu.” 

He revealed that they are planning to establish a food manufacturing cluster in Jazan as well as a mineral industry cluster in Ras Al-Khair in the country’s Eastern Province.

Commenting on the inauguration of the Siemens factory in Jeddah, Alkhorayef congratulated the German company for establishing the facility.

“This move by Siemens serves as proof that the opportunities in Saudi Arabia position it as a significant hub for manufacturing companies,” he remarked, emphasizing that the electricity sector stands out as one of the largest divisions experiencing substantial growth.

The minister elaborated, stating: “We will persist in attracting numerous investments, leveraging capabilities previously imported from outside the Kingdom, and even exporting products developed within the country.”

Alkhorayef concluded his interview with Arab News by asserting that Saudi Arabia is earnestly prioritizing nationalization.

He highlighted that the country’s industrial strategy capitalizes on its inherent strengths, including robust domestic demand and abundant raw materials such as oil, gas, petrochemicals, and minerals.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s strategic geographical location further enhances its appeal to both local and international companies.

Ahmad Hawsawi, CEO of Siemens in Saudi Arabia, said that the company is proud to contribute to the Kingdom’s journey toward an innovative and sustainable future.

“Our new factory in Jeddah is not just a manufacturing facility; it’s a hub of innovation designed to meet the Kingdom’s growing demands for energy solutions. By deploying Siemens’ cutting-edge technologies, Saudi Arabia is set to witness unparalleled improvements in the efficiency and resilience of its energy systems.” Hawsawi said.

Eltje Aderhold, consul general of Germany, said that she is “very proud” of this cooperation between Saudi Arabia and her country.

“This project represents the good development of cooperation between Germany and Saudi Arabia, and it is a sign that we are building our future together,” she said, adding that German companies and their Saudi partners are increasingly coming together.

Aderhold further said that Germany is “very much interested in working with its Saudi partners toward Vision 2030, investing, transforming new, clean energy, protecting climate and developing new technologies.” 

The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Vice Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources for Industrial Affairs Khalil Salamah, along with executives from the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority and the National Industrial Development Center.

Additional firms in attendance included the Saudi Electricity Co., Aramco, and SABIC, as well as Ma’aden, EA Juffali & Brothers, and other prominent government and private sector companies.

Khaled Juffali, chairman of Ebrahim A. Juffali and Brothers Group, and also a member of the Arabia Electric Equipment Co. board and Siemens in Saudi Arabia, said: “We are thrilled to open our new facility in Jeddah, which represents our strong belief in the potential of Saudi Arabia’s economic development plan.

"Our commitment goes beyond investment in infrastructure; we are here to build partnerships, support talent development, and contribute to the Kingdom’s sustainability goals according to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.”