5th MENA Construction Summit spotlights sustainable project delivery

The summit focussed on the effective delivery of key regional construction projects on time, in budget and with elevated standards of sustainability and efficiency.
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Updated 25 May 2024
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5th MENA Construction Summit spotlights sustainable project delivery

The fifth MENA Construction Summit 2024, the region’s premier event bringing together key construction industry stakeholders, was held last week at Hilton Riyadh Hotel and Residences. The summit, organized by MEED and Enso Events Solutions, focussed on the effective delivery of key regional construction projects on time, in budget and with elevated standards of sustainability and efficiency. Riyadh Region Municipality was the diamond partner for the MENA Construction Summit 2024.

Inspired by ambitious national visions, construction spending is surging across the MENA region, driven by huge master plan developments and Saudi Arabia’s giga-projects program. The convergence of a number of factors, however, including the need for intricate supply chain management, urgency due to time-sensitive roadmaps, simultaneous execution of multiple projects and funding complexities, has forced a rethink of the traditional approach to project delivery.

Under the theme “Reimagining Project Delivery,” more than 600 attendees from over 150 companies gained actionable insights into the latest trends, research, innovations, opportunities, and challenges driving improvements in productivity, quality, reliability, cost-savings, waste reduction, and energy efficiency — and how these methods can be employed in ground-breaking projects across the region.

In the opening keynote fireside chat, Fahad Al-Solaie, deputy mayor for digital transformation and smart cities, Riyadh Municipality, was interviewed by Dr. Abdulrahman Albawardi, assistant professor at King Saud University, in the session titled “The Transformation of Riyadh City under Saudi Vision 2030.” Al-Solaie discussed innovative and sustainable urban planning strategies for the Riyadh Municipality, in line with the giga- and mega-projects, and the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

Al-Solaie said: “To support the city development, the municipality is planning to enable aerial management of construction projects using drones with AI capabilities, which will enhance project delivery efficiency and assist in monitoring the project staff safety on the project site.”

Later in the morning, the keynote leaders panel session provided a deep dive on the opportunities and complexities of smart city development, and the need for a holistic approach that addresses social, economic and environmental sustainability. Panelists included Hani Rizkallah, president — KSA infrastructure at Bechtel; Dr. Hossam Abdel Gawad, vice president of technology and innovation at SETS; Dr. Mohammed Al-Surf, founder and president of Sustainability Professionals of Saudi Arabia; and Sherief Elabd, director — industry and innovation strategy at Oracle.

Sessions were delivered by more than 30 speakers in a series of engaging formats, including insightful keynote presentations, interactive panel discussions, and networking sessions designed to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange.

All parts of the broader construction ecosystem were represented at the summit including government stakeholders, project owners and developers, contractors, architects, engineers, consultants, digital technology specialists, material suppliers, equipment and software service provider solution companies.

“We are excited to bring together construction industry leaders and experts at the MENA Construction Summit 2024 to change the way we look at project delivery of major construction projects across MENA,” said Ed James, head of content and research MEA at MEED — GlobalData. “By sharing knowledge, best practices, and innovative solutions, we aim to catalyze positive change.”


e& enterprise launches customer service center in Riyadh

Updated 12 June 2024
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e& enterprise launches customer service center in Riyadh

e& enterprise has announced the launch of a new Contact and Customer Experience Center in Riyadh. Aligned with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the new facility is designed to take customer experiences to new heights while significantly contributing to the local economy by creating more than 1,500 new jobs at various levels.

The launch took place during a ceremony held by the company on Sunday, in the presence of Deputy Governor of the Communications, Space and Technology Commission Raed Al-Fayez and Deputy Minister Assistant of Future Jobs and Capabilities Safa Alrashed. E& enterprise’s CEO Tariq Alangari welcomed the dignitaries and media representatives to the event.

The new center is a byproduct of e& enterprise’s commitment to advancing the Kingdom’s digital transformation. Equipped with the latest communication technologies, NOC control and high-readiness data centers, the facility meets the Kingdom’s stringent cybersecurity requirements. It adheres to the highest standards of quality, security, and business continuity, ensuring unparalleled customer service.

Tareq Alangari, CEO of e& enterprise, said: “We are thrilled to announce the launch of the new Contact and Customer Experience Center in our continuous efforts to support the digital transformation journey of the Kingdom’s government and private entities, providing them with completely new digital experiences. At e& enterprise KSA, we’re committed to Saudization and the professional development of local talents, contributing to achieving the digital ambitions and goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

e& enterprise’s Contact and Customer Experience Center in Riyadh will be staffed by experts in customer experience and contact center management with technical and practical certificates specialized in quality management, customer, and beneficiary experience. The new facility will also focus on creating a suitable environment for national competencies and promoting investment in the business outsourcing, call centers, and control sector. 

e& enterprise began its operations in Saudi Arabia in 2020 and has since expanded by acquiring several regional and local companies. e& enterprise KSA serves customers in five different sectors: cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, customer experience and call centers, and financial technology.

HelpAG, the cybersecurity arm of e& enterprise, localizes cyber control services for companies and governments through specialized strategic consulting. In cloud computing, e& enterprise acquired the majority stake in Bespin Global, providing digital transformation solutions with expertise in eight countries, including Korea and Japan.

In fintech, Beehive, the first licensed P2P lending platform in the MENA region acquired by e& enterprise in 2023, connects SMEs with investors using innovative technologies and offers Shariah-compliant options. Meanwhile, in IoT, e& enterprise provides advanced IoT services for smart cities, sustainability platforms, and industrial automation. As for customer experience, the company’s engageX platform enhances customer journeys with AI and CPaaS services, supported by skilled contact center personnel.

e& enterprise is a subsidiary of the e& group, which is present in more than 32 countries through various business pillars in communications and information technology. They empower institutions and individuals in the government and private sectors to achieve digital transformation through the latest technology solutions. Committed to driving the Kingdom’s digital revolution, e& enterprise plays a vital role in advancing the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.


Saudi Arabia embraces fitness: GymNation sees record sign-ups

Updated 12 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia embraces fitness: GymNation sees record sign-ups

GymNation, a homegrown GCC fitness brand, has announced record-breaking demand from Saudi residents, ahead of the official opening of its first six gym locations in the Kingdom in August.

More than 120,000 people initially registered their interest in the four Jeddah and two Alkhobar locations, with the first phase of 12,000 memberships selling out in under 72 hours, breaking all previous pre-opening sales records for a gym brand in the Middle East. 

Already the UAE’s largest gym brand, GymNation’s launch into Saudi Arabia aligns directly with the ambitions of Vision 2030 and building a strong, happy, and fulfilling society as the foundation for economic prosperity. With physical, psychological, and social well-being at the heart, Vision 2030 aims to promote a society where everyone enjoys a high quality of life, a healthy lifestyle and an attractive living environment.

Loren Holland, founder and CEO, GymNation, said: “The unprecedented number of memberships we have sold in just three days shows the huge demand and interest from citizens and residents in improving their physical and mental health across the Kingdom. At GymNation, we want to provide a far better gym experience at a much more affordable price point than is currently available from the existing operators. We are an inclusive brand that provides a welcoming environment for everyone regardless of ability, shape or size.”

“Our pipeline of new locations across Saudi Arabia is incredibly strong and with the support of our investment partners Tricap Investments and Ruya Partners, we are looking forward to an exciting period of growth and having a similar positive and disruptive impact on the Saudi Arabia fitness scene by breaking down affordability and accessibility barriers, like we did in the UAE.”

The Saudi Sports for All Federation recently launched its 2024 summer campaign, “Move Your World,” to help people engage in physical activities. GymNation’s launch supports the federation’s aims to raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity and help people overcome barriers to healthy living habits.

As the region’s “movement partner,” GymNation will play a leading role in improving the health and well-being for everyone in Saudi Arabia, by making going to the gym less intimidating, more affordable, more accessible and fun for everyone.

 


OKAM unveils new identity to mark 45th anniversary

Updated 11 June 2024
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OKAM unveils new identity to mark 45th anniversary

OKAM, a food distribution company in Saudi Arabia, celebrated its 45th anniversary in a special ceremony at the Lazurde Ballroom in Park Hyatt Jeddah. The event was held under the theme “Legacy of Excellence,” and saw the launch of the brand’s new identity reflecting the company’s leadership in the market.

The highlight of the ceremony was the unveiling of the company’s new logo, which symbolizes OKAM’s focus on delivering high-quality products, with the letter “O” shaped as a 3D box, embodying its dependability, efficiency, and consistency, and reflecting its continuous approach to excellence.

In his speech during the ceremony, Chairman of the Board Saeed bin Omar Kassem Alesayi said OKAM is celebrating four and a half decades of dedication and achievement, not only as a leading company in the field but also as an integral part of Saudi society. He highlighted the company’s constant keenness to enhance the trust of its customers, consumers, and strategic partners by adhering to the highest quality standards and continuing to provide diverse products, contributing to the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 in enhancing food security and achieving self-sufficiency.

Ibrahim Hail Saeed Anam expressed his pride and appreciation for what OKAM has achieved. He said the success would not have been possible without the dedication and sincerity of all those who contributed to building this long-standing company, including employees, customers, and agents. Anam said that OKAM is currently in advanced stages and at the forefront of leading companies in its field.

Meanwhile, CEO of OKAM Nageeb Al-Aghbari gave an overview of the company’s journey and achievements over the past decades. He affirmed OKAM’s ongoing commitment to providing the best for its customers and partners and said that the new identity reflects the company’s ambitious future vision.

Marketing Director Faisal Jamal Rajab said OKAM’s new identity is the result of intensive efforts aimed at reaffirming OKAM’s leading position in the Saudi food distribution sector. “The new logo, with its modern design and profound connotations, embodies OKAM’s unwavering commitment to quality and excellence, and reinforces its position as a trusted partner for all customers and consumers,” he said.

OKAM is one of the most prominent national companies that have contributed to the development of the food import and distribution sector in Saudi Arabia, offering a wide range of high-quality food products to its customers across the Kingdom. The company is committed to applying the latest technologies and best international practices in its operations to meet the evolving needs of the market.


Naif Alrajhi Investment & Miskan launch real estate company

Updated 11 June 2024
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Naif Alrajhi Investment & Miskan launch real estate company

Naif Alrajhi Investment Group, a real estate investment and development group, announced the signing of a strategic partnership agreement with Miskan, a real estate development company of Alfanar Group, to establish Aral Real Estate Development with the goal of implementing real estate development megaprojects.

Naif Saleh Alrajhi, chairman and CEO of Naif Alrajhi Investment Group, and Talal Hisham Al-Mutlaq, executive manager of Miskan, signed the strategic partnership agreement at the Fairmont Ramla Serviced Residences, one of Naif Alrajhi Investment’s hospitality projects in Riyadh.

Chairman Alrajhi said: “This partnership coincides with and achieves the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, to build an ambitious nation with a prosperous economy, and from here came the integration between both companies’ expertise in developing integrated real estate projects services. We intend to establish a new real estate development concept to construct residential cities that promote the formation of lively communities, which is one of the most significant streams of the national economy’s sustainable development. We also seek to create quality real estate project types.”

Meanwhile, Al-Mutlaq said that major projects that address the demands of the expanding market will be implemented as a result of this partnership, and that the establishment of a new company marks a significant turning point toward realizing the shared objectives of innovation and growth in the real estate development sector. “We are confident that this partnership will contribute to achieving quality projects that keep pace with the Kingdom’s aspirations within Vision 2030,” he added.

Aral Real Estate Development will develop large-scale infrastructure and superstructure projects for residential cities, promoting urban development and transformation in the Kingdom. This includes creating self-sufficient residential communities, recreational tourist resorts, commercial projects, and logistics cities that align with the vision of Saudi Arabia.


ROSHN, Keswat Farah set new Guinness record

Updated 11 June 2024
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ROSHN, Keswat Farah set new Guinness record

ROSHN Group, Saudi Arabia’s leading national real estate developer and PIF-owned giga-project, and charity Keswat Farah have set a new Guinness World Records title for clothes donations to charity.

The latest donation drive, which ran during Ramadan, received more than 1.5 million pieces of clothing from the Saudi public.

Over three and a half thousand volunteers from Keswat Farah, the Saudi public, and ROSHN employees gave more than 70,000 hours to collect and arrange all the donations during the first half of this year, with the latest drive achieving a Guinness World Record title for the single largest donation made in one go.

The donation campaigns are a major part of ROSHN’s YUHYEEK Social Responsibility Program.