Environment Ministry launches ‘Harvest Season’ campaign to promote local fruits

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture on Wednesday launched an awareness campaign called “Harvest Season” to promote locally produced fruits and raise the efficiency of its marketing system to support Saudi farmers. (SPA)
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Updated 10 July 2024
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Environment Ministry launches ‘Harvest Season’ campaign to promote local fruits

  • Initiative aims at raising awareness of the importance of produce
  • ‘Campaign aims to educate the public about health and nutritional benefits,’ says spokesperson Saleh Bindakhil

RIYADH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture on Wednesday launched an awareness campaign called “Harvest Season” to promote locally produced fruits and raise the efficiency of its marketing system to support Saudi farmers.
The Saudi Press Agency reported that the launch was part of efforts aimed at raising awareness of the importance of eating local fruits; promoting a healthy lifestyle by buying local produce; and spreading knowledge of agricultural products.
Saleh Bindakhil, the ministry’s official spokesperson, said: “The campaign aims to educate the public about the health and nutritional benefits of various local fruits that are available in different seasons during the year, and to achieve a set of goals that are in line with the ministry’s policies and strategies and the objectives of Vision 2030.”
Bindakhil added that “Harvest Season” also aimed to support the production of local goods; enhance their quality and safety; increase awareness of agricultural produce and the health benefits of eating local fruits; help the marketing of local products; and support local farmers, while increasing their income in accordance with Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to improve the standard of living and raise the quality of life.
He acknowledged the great support enjoyed by the agricultural sector from the leadership, which had contributed to enhancing the sustainability of local crop production and increased the sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product to SR100 billion.
This support has directly contributed to increasing and strengthening the rates of self-sufficiency in a number of fruits and agricultural crops, including dates, figs, cantaloupes, watermelons, grapes, mangoes, and pomegranates.


Saudi economy minister in talks with IMF managing director

The Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning met with Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF's managing director. (SPA)
Updated 19 July 2024
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Saudi economy minister in talks with IMF managing director

  • Talks focused on global and regional growth prospects amid the latest economic developments, in addition to reviewing the main developments and trends in the local economy

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal bin Fadel Alibrahim met with Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

Talks focused on global and regional growth prospects amid the latest economic developments, in addition to reviewing the main developments and trends in the local economy. They also looked into strengthening cooperation between the Kingdom and the IMF.

The meeting was attended by Ammar Nagadi, vice minister of economy and planning; Rakan Alsheikh, deputy minister for policies and economic planning at the Ministry of Economy and Planning; Yaser Faquih, general director for the economic research and insights department at MEP; Hattan Mounir bin Samman, general supervisor for international organizations at MEP; and Ismail Salloum, executive director of Saudi Arabia’s National Infrastructure Fund.

 

 


Design hopefuls from across MENA draw up plans to nurture nature

Updated 11 min 55 sec ago
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Design hopefuls from across MENA draw up plans to nurture nature

  • From fashion to furniture, Ithra challenge seeks ideas to protect biodiversity

DHAHRAN: Promising designers from the MENA region are preparing to outline their solutions to some of the world’s most pressing nature-related problems as part of an annual creative competition hosted by the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

As part of Tanween, Ithra’s Season of Creativity, Tanween Challenges selected 80 designers from a pool of applicants to take part in the six-day challenge, with a July 20 deadline to deliver a tangible product or solution.

Designers across a range of disciplines will be aiming “to harmonize human activities with the planet’s biodiversity in an era where nature is affected by elements such as technological advancements, growing inequalities, and urbanization,” Sultan Al-Badran, creative programs developer at Ithra’s Idea Lab, said.

Each of the challenges will involve 20 participants, either as individuals or in teams. Competitors will also be offered workshops and talks with experts in their chosen disciplines to ensure they have the tools to tackle their challenge briefs.

Tanween Challenges asked designers to craft practical solutions in the key areas of urban development, graphic design, furniture, and fashion. Event partners include NYXO, Albawardi Group, AM Unique by NamtHajja, and Vanina.

Ithra said in a statement that the competition seeks solutions that “nurture all forms of life, supported by a cross-disciplinary blend of expertise to tackle these complex issues courageously and innovatively.”

The four categories are:

- Pavilion Design Challenge asks participants to reimagine how people can coexist with their environment — and each other — more harmoniously amid rapid urban development and industrial activities that have compromised air quality and contributed to pollution that affects people’s health and the health of natural habitats within their cities.
 
- Graphic Design Challenge asks designers to develop visual communication to transform complex data into insights that will lead to a sustainable future, countering current threats to biodiversity and ecological balance.
 
- Participants in the Furniture Design Challenge will design public spaces that prioritizes people without neglecting the needs of other species that share the environment. Designers have been asked to answer the question: How can we create urban spaces that promote cohabitation between humans and other species?
 
- Fashion Design Challenge looks to provide answers to problems associated with the fashion industry, such as overproduction, overconsumption and the dominance of fast fashion — issues that have not only harmed the environment but also erased much of the culture that was once celebrated in fabric form.
 
One winning project from each challenge will be selected for commercial production. Successful projects will be displayed as part of a design exhibition at the Tanween Conference in November at Ithra’s headquarters.


Saudi Central Bank says unaffected by global tech outage

Updated 19 July 2024
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Saudi Central Bank says unaffected by global tech outage

  • SAMA said it adheres to the highest internationally recognized standards for operational, cybersecurity practices

RIYADH: The Saudi Central Bank, or SAMA, assured the public on Friday that its national payment and banking infrastructure systems were unaffected by the worldwide tech outage that disrupted industries, from travel to finance.

A software update by global cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike appeared to have triggered system problems that grounded flights, forced some broadcasters off air and left customers without access to services such as healthcare or banking.

SAMA emphasized that it adheres to the highest internationally recognized standards for operational and cybersecurity practices.

This includes rigorous protocols for its systems and national payment networks, as well as those connected with other financial institutions.

The bank further highlighted its commitment to regularly updating precautionary measures to ensure the effectiveness of business continuity plans and the resilience of banking and payment systems.

These measures are aimed at enhancing infrastructure safety and service efficiency, it said.

Although CrowdStrike said it had rolled out a fix for the problem, experts have questioned how easy it would be for millions of users to patch their damaged systems.
 


Saudi Shoura Council speaker discusses parliamentary relations with Bahraini counterpart

Updated 16 sec ago
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Saudi Shoura Council speaker discusses parliamentary relations with Bahraini counterpart

  • Al-Saleh said that the Kingdom is the backbone of the region given its initiatives to support Arab and national security in regional countries

MANAMA: Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh met with his Bahraini counterpart Ali bin Saleh Al-Saleh in Manama. The meeting was part of an official visit by the Saudi speaker to Bahrain, and was held in the presence of the Bahraini Council of Representatives Speaker Ahmed bin Salman Al-Musallam.

The Bahraini Shoura Council speaker welcomed Al-Sheikh and his accompanying delegation, and praised the active and strategic role of the Kingdom in supporting stability and peace in the region, in addition to its keenness to support all efforts to promote Arab and Islamic issues.

Al-Saleh said that the Kingdom is the backbone of the region given its initiatives to support Arab and national security in regional countries.

 


Nahj launches innovative summer training program to empower youngsters

Updated 19 July 2024
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Nahj launches innovative summer training program to empower youngsters

  • Initiative aims at a unique internship

JEDDAH: Nahj, a nonprofit organization, has recently launched its Summer Training Program to empower youngsters, which is set to run until Aug. 15 in Riyadh and Jeddah.

The initiative aims to create a unique internship and training experience, in collaboration with leading companies such as Mrsool, Najm, and Care Hospitals, covering diverse sectors including healthcare, law, business development, engineering, and technology.

Nahj is to select between 70 and 100 top students, focusing on those at high school and those under 20, and match them with companies based on their interests, skills, and CVs. The program aims to guide students toward their desired career paths by providing experience and insights.

Rakan bin Bader, CEO and founder of Nahj, said: “As a young leader, I understand the importance of exposing young trainees to market demands. Vision 2030 places a significant emphasis on the role of youth in driving our country’s future.

“This unique chance excites me and motivates me to create opportunities for youth development and empowerment. By equipping young people with the necessary skills, we can prepare them to become great leaders who will contribute to our community and help realize this ambitious vision.”

Bader spoke of the key objectives of the initiative, emphasizing the need to bridge the gap between education and employment, provide practical training, and enhance the skills of young professionals.

He added: “We aim to equip them with the necessary tools to meet market demands and become successful leaders. By offering hands-on experience and mentorship, we hope to inspire and empower the youth to contribute positively to the Kingdom’s development.

“Our ultimate goal is to support Vision 2030 by creating a generation of well-prepared, capable, and innovative young leaders who will drive our nation’s progress.”

While addressing the challenges facing young professionals in Saudi Arabia, he highlighted the misalignment between educational outcomes and market needs.

He explained that although the educational system is robust, there is often a gap between academic knowledge and the practical skills required.

He added: “There is a growing emphasis on innovation, entrepreneurship, and the development of digital skills. The government and private sector are increasingly investing in programs and initiatives that support youth empowerment and career readiness.”

Jenan Kamal, chief operating officer and co-founder of Nahj, said: “One of the main challenges, particularly from an operational perspective, is selecting a limited number of students from a pool of highly qualified and experienced applicants.

“To address this, we partnered with multiple companies to increase the number of available seats. Additionally, we set high standards and implemented a rigorous application process to ensure we selected the best of the best.”

Kamal added: “We expect this program to lead change in both the private and public sectors, advocating for greater youth empowerment for those under 20.

“By raising expectations and setting a higher bar for young people, we aim to align with Vision 2030’s goals, fostering a culture of excellence and innovation among the youth.”

Rozana Al-Banawi, the founder of Qeema, the first Arabic personal financial coaching group, said: “Our program offers students a unique opportunity to enhance their understanding of startup culture, fintech, and personal financial coaching. By focusing on the intersection of these fields with well-being, research, and data, we aim to equip students with both soft and technical skills relevant to various professions.

“Emphasizing the development of a growth mindset, leadership, teamwork, self-discipline, and emotional intelligence, our program provides a practical, real-world learning experience. It encourages students to explore their motivations, expand their networks, and understand workplace complexities, ultimately fostering long-term benefits and personal growth.”

Danah Al-Jarboua, a high-school student entering 12th grade, shared her aspirations and expectations for the Nahj/Mrsool internship.

She said: “As I approach graduation, clarity in my career path is crucial. (I am) interested in industrial engineering (and) this program offers me the opportunity to explore and gain practical experience in a field that captivates me. It will help me discern if industrial engineering aligns with my ambitions, and illuminate the path ahead.

“Through practical assignments and mentorship, I aim to bolster my problem-solving, project management, technical, teamwork, and communication skills.

“These insights will not only guide my academic decisions but also fortify my college applications and lay a strong foundation for my future career.”

Bayan Kamal, a driven business intern with aspirations in marketing, reflected on the impact of the internship program, saying: “My career path is firmly set on marketing, and this internship has reaffirmed my direction by providing invaluable hands-on experience and strategic insights into marketing strategies.

“Through managing and engaging with audiences on social media platforms, I aim to enhance my social skills and public-speaking abilities, crucial for effective communication in marketing roles.

“This program offers me early exposure and practical knowledge that will undoubtedly give me a competitive edge in my future career. I look forward to showcasing my acquired experience and skills, setting a strong foundation for my journey in marketing.”

Bader is optimistic regarding the future of career development and talent acquisition in Saudi Arabia.

He said: “We are moving towards a more dynamic and inclusive job market. Emphasis on continuous learning, upskilling, and reskilling will become crucial. Companies are recognizing the value of investing in young talent and creating environments that foster growth and innovation.

“By leveraging technology and embracing new educational models we can ensure that young professionals are well prepared to meet future demands and contribute significantly to the Kingdom’s progress.”