International defense experts to speak at second World Defense Show

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International defense experts to speak at second World Defense Show

Senior figures and mentors from industry primes and small to medium-sized companies are confirming daily. (Supplied)

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Updated 06 January 2024

International defense experts to speak at second World Defense Show

International defense experts to speak at second World Defense Show

  • Top executives from BAE Systems, Boeing, General Dynamics Land Systems, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, and Saudi defense entities set to speak at World Defense Show 2024
  • Dedicated content theatres in three halls — Defense Technologies, Future Innovation and Space Arena — will host people, technology and capability-focused discussions
  • Senior figures and mentors from industry primes and small to medium-sized companies are confirming daily

Updated 06 January 2024

Arab News

Riyadh: The second World Defense Show is preparing to begin in February, revealing some of the industry titans and senior government figures who will address the show’s visitors and exhibitors over four days.

Under the patronage of King Salman, WDS 2024 will be held between Feb. 4 to Feb. 8 in Riyadh. It will host the exclusive Future Defense Leadership Forum on preview day, followed by four days of interactive industry discussion and demonstration in the main conference room and across dedicated content theaters, in three of the exhibition halls.

“We are delighted to confirm an exciting program of industry-leading international and regional speakers, who will address visitors and exhibitors in people, technology and capability-focused discussions,” said Andrew Pearcey, CEO, World Defense Show.  

“World Defense Show is not just an exhibition of ground-breaking technology, the event offers a chance for the leaders in the field of defense to convene for the shared purpose of addressing the challenges facing the industry and the world. WDS’s role as an enabler of global collaboration will extend beyond the event itself, providing a platform for countries to engage in international cooperation,” he said.

The Future Defense Leadership Forum at the World Defense Show 2024 will begin with an address by Ahmad Abdulaziz Al-Ohali, governor of the General Authority for Military Industries. This event, attended by high-level government and private-sector delegates from the global defense industry, is set to delve into national policy, technology and innovation, offering insights into both Saudi and global perspectives on defense and security challenges over the next decade.

The forum will feature a series of keynote addresses, including “Enhancing KSA’s Investment Ecosystem” by Khalid Al-Falih, minister of investment, and a discussion on “Defense Force Readiness” by General Fayyadh Al-Ruwaili, chief of the general staff of the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces.

Ahmed Al-Khateeb, chairman of SAMI, will address “Security and Stability in the New Saudi Era,” underscoring the importance of innovation and adaptation in defense technology.

The forum will also host key panel discussions. “The People Challenge: Attracting, Upskilling and Retaining the Right Talent for the Defense sector” will bring together Prof. Haluk Gorgun, president of the Defense Industry Agency in Turkiye; Walid Abukhaled, CEO of SAMI; Sulaiman Albabtain, CEO and chairman of SOFON Industries; and Eric Beranger, CEO of MBDA.

Another significant panel, “Innovating at the Speed of Relevance: Managing the Defense Technology Challenge,” will feature Dr. Faleh Al-Sulaiman, governor of GADD; Dr. Charles Woodburn, CEO of BAE Systems; Stephanie C. Hill, president of rotary and mission systems at Lockheed Martin; and Pierre Eric Pommellet, chairman and CEO of Naval Group.

The second day will be held under the theme of “Innovation,” hosting leading industry figures such as Rob Merriweather, technology director, BAE Systems, and Chris Brown, vice president, strategy and global business development, general dynamics, leading a panel on achieving innovation goals across the industry.

On the topic of environmental sustainability in the defense industry, Tim Cahill, president, missiles and fire control, Lockheed Martin, will discuss exploiting innovation across the battlespace along with General (retd) Tom Middendorp, chairman, International Military Council on Climate and Security, and former chief of defense of the Netherlands. Nichola Bates, managing partner at Aerospace Xelerated and head of global accelerators and innovation programs, Boeing, will provide insight on defense innovation units to foster collaboration with startups.

Technology development is in the spotlight on Day 3, with Major Gen. (rtd) Adam Findlay, former commander, special operations for Australia, addressing civilian-military technology development and cooperation, and Sir Stu Atha, director of training strategy, BAE Systems, providing insight on the future of human machine interface, and Stephanie Hill, president, rotary and mission systems, Lockheed Martin, discussing transforming aerospace and defense for the 21st century.

The International Women in Defense program makes a return, too, building on the huge success of the program in 2022, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar.

The event will also feature Heidi Grant, vice president of defense, global growth and engagement at Boeing Defense, space and security, who will be joined by national diversity champions and industry figureheads including Maj. Gen. Adel Al-Balawi, head of the Armed Forces Education and Training Authority, Saudi Arabia.

On Day 5, the Future Talent program will recognize the importance of nurturing and developing the next generation of defense professionals. The session will be opened with a keynote address by Yousef bin Abdullah Al-Benyan, minister of education, setting the stage for discussions on the future of human capital in defense. 

The excitement around the theaters continues to build, with further senior management and mentors from industry primes confirming daily.

Related

Non-oil shipments to India, Singapore drive Saudi Arabia’s export growth

Non-oil shipments to India, Singapore drive Saudi Arabia’s export growth

Updated 06 January 2024

Non-oil shipments to India, Singapore drive Saudi Arabia’s export growth

Non-oil shipments to India, Singapore drive Saudi Arabia’s export growth

  • Kingdom’s merchandise exports reached a seven-month high in October totaling SR104.31 billion

Updated 06 January 2024

Dayan Abou Tine

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s merchandise exports reached a seven-month high in October totaling SR104.31 billion ($27.8 billion), data released by the General Authority of Statistics showed.

Representing a marginal increase of 0.014 percent compared to September, the change is attributed to a rise in non-oil shipments from the Kingdom. Data also shows an uptick in non-oil exports to India and Singapore.

This sector, excluding re-exports, saw a 9 percent increase during the period, amounting to SR18.25 billion and making up 17.5 percent of the total external trade from Saudi Arabia.

Re-exports, which refer to goods that are transshipped through Saudi Arabia to their final destinations, declined by 14 percent during this period, reaching SR3.78 billion.

Oil shipments, constituting a 78.9 percent share of the Kingdom’s total exports in October, decreased by 1 percent, reaching SR82.28 billion. This decline aligns with Saudi Arabia’s ongoing voluntary oil output cuts of 1 million barrels per day as part of the policy adopted by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, aimed at stabilizing the global crude markets.

The overall trade volume in October reached SR178.21 billion, marking a one-year high and a 7 percent increase from the figures recorded in September. The growth was primarily driven by a 17 percent increase in merchandise imports, which totaled SR73.91 billion for the month.

The surge in Saudi imports is due to the expansion of shipments categorized as electrical components, mechanical devices, sound, and television equipment, constituting 22 percent of the total and reaching a value of SR16.49 billion in October. 

Singapore experienced substantial growth in non-oil shipments, surging by 147 percent from September and totaling SR1.24 billion. (SPA)

Additionally, transportation and vehicle equipment played a key role in the Kingdom’s import growth, making up 19 percent of the total at SR14.36 billion.

Despite a 26.5 percent decrease in trade balance from September, the Kingdom reported a surplus of SR30.4 billion.

Key export partners

China continued to maintain its status as the primary export destination for the Kingdom, with exports totaling SR19.55 billion, reflecting a 2.1 percent increase compared to the previous month.

Non-oil exports to China accounted for 13.1 percent at SR2.56 billion, marking an increase from the previous month’s 12 percent. Notably, chemical products, plastic, and rubber contributed significantly and made up approximately 82 percent of this trade.

Japan secured second position, with Saudi exports totaling SR12.26 billion. This reflects a 7.8 percent increase from the previous month, with non-oil products accounting for only 1.3 percent.

Exports to India, the third-leading export destination, increased by 2.5 percent during his period, totaling SR10.19 billion. It is noteworthy that the South Asian country’s non-oil export share increased from 15 percent to 19 percent during this period at SR1.92 billion.

Similar to China, non-oil exports to India predominantly consisted of chemical products, plastic, and rubber, constituting 78.4 percent.

Exports to South Korea amounted to SR10.03 billion, with non-oil products accounting for 3.8 percent of the total.

The UAE secured fifth place with exports totaling SR5.1 billion. However, it maintained its status as the leading non-oil destination, surpassing China with figures reaching SR3.81 billion.

Non-oil shipments to the UAE comprised a 75 percent share of the total shipments, and they consisted mainly of machinery, mechanical and electrical equipment, chemical products, plastic, and rubber.

Singapore, despite being the 14th export destination, experienced substantial growth in non-oil shipments, surging by 147 percent from September and totaling SR1.24 billion.

In October, the prime minister of Singapore visited Saudi Arabia, and both nations agreed to enhance their relations to a strategic partnership, focusing on trade, investment, energy, and climate initiatives. Preceding this, in September, a Saudi trade delegation, led by Commerce Minister Majid Al-Qasabi, visited Singapore for three days to strengthen economic ties.

Key import partners

China contributed to 20 percent of the Kingdom’s imports, followed by the US at 12 percent, the UAE at 7 percent, and India at 5 percent.

Saudi Arabia’s imports from China totaled SR14.87 billion, a 16 percent rise from the previous month, emphasizing the strong economic ties between the two nations. However, Saudi Arabia maintained a trade surplus of SR4.68 billion with the Asian country.

Imports from the US reached SR8.82 billion, reflecting a 64 percent increase. The majority of these imports comprised industrial equipment and vehicle components. There was a noticeable growth in imports of arms and ammunition from the US, experiencing an increase of 509 percent.

According to the US-Saudi Business Council: “The trade relationship between the two countries continues to evolve as Saudi non-oil exports grow beyond downstream petroleum industry products to metals and industrial manufactures while the US remains the Kingdom’s second-largest source of goods across a highly diversified export profile.”

Imports from the UAE saw an 11 percent increase, reaching a total of SR5.11 billion. Pearls and jewelry comprised 22 percent, while mineral products constituted approximately 36 percent of the total imports.

Related

Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector set to thrive on innovative production principles

Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector set to thrive on innovative production principles

Updated 06 January 2024

Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector set to thrive on innovative production principles

Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector set to thrive on innovative production principles

  • Adoption of advanced technologies positions Saudi industries as global leaders in manufacturing

Updated 06 January 2024

Miguel Hadchity

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is looking to adopt pioneering manufacturing techniques as it seeks to turn its industrial sector into a key driver of growth, according to a top analyst.

Karim Shariff, Middle East head of advanced manufacturing services practice at Bain & Co., told Arab News the Kingdom’s objectives include enhancing productivity, resilience, and environmental stewardship.

With a vision to increase the number of factories to 36,000 by 2035, including 4,000 which will be fully automated, Saudi Arabia is poised to create a dynamic and innovative production landscape.

The adoption of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and robotics, positions Saudi industries as global leaders of this revolution.

Shariff said: “Saudi has active programs under the leadership of the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources,  the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, and other entities to encourage the adoption of the highest standards of advanced and clean manufacturing principles and support the private sector to build and operate facilities that can be competitive at regional and global levels.”

He added: “To fully reach the highest standards of excellence, this transformation should not just focus on top mind improvements such as greater use of robots and more autonomous factories but a real systems-based approach that combines automation, digitization, circularity, and talent.”

The Kingdom’s industrial sector is experiencing sustained growth, with investments in manufacturing reaching $132 billion since the launch of the economic diversification strategy Vision 2030 in 2016.

A significant highlight of this resurgence is the adoption of Industry 4.0 principles, which involves the integration of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and robotics to create more efficient, flexible, and interconnected systems.

This technological leap aims to enhance efficiency and productivity, steering the nation away from oil-centric economic models.

The move is already paying off, with Saudi Arabia’s manufacturing activity surging by 18.5 percent in December 2022, signaling a robust embrace of these transformative technologies. 

The Kingdom’s industrial sector is experiencing sustained growth, with investments in manufacturing reaching $132 billion since the launch of the economic diversification strategy Vision 2030 in 2016.
(SPA)

In order for the Kingdom to continue on this trajectory, Shariff said there needs to be a “fundamental shift” in the manufacturing landscape across Saudi Arabia, with the adoption of Industry 4.0 principles being a “clear path to building a thriving manufacturing ecosystem.”

He added: “Government would need to sharpen policies on workforce talent development, energy efficiency, and many others to ensure the right stick and carrot approach to enable the right pace of transition.”

The expert noted that a differentiated approach would be necessary to ensure new factories at onset are established with the right standards.

Furthermore, universities and education institutes need to have a view of the talent gap that needs to be filled to ensure the right curriculum and training for upcoming graduates.

Saudi Arabia is not relying purely on domestic innovations to boost the sector as the Kingdom is using international collaborations, particularly with Türkiye, to signify a forward-looking approach to diversifying industrial expertise. 

The Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar Alkhorayef, has previously highlighted potential international partnerships in food security, health, military, and the aircraft industry, emphasizing the importance of technological advancements in these fields.

The National Industry Strategy, a key component of Vision 2030, aims to make the industrial sector globally competitive and sustainable.

By fostering innovation, optimizing domestic products, and promoting global partnerships, Saudi Arabia aims to elevate the industrial sector’s contribution to gross domestic product by SR900 billion ($230 billion) by 2030.

Local content development is a pivotal aspect of this strategy, with a target to raise the share of locally manufactured products and services to 60 percent by 2025.

Shariff said: “The gap to aspiration for the Saudi manufacturing sector and lessons learned from benchmarks suggest this transition will require significant coordinated efforts.”

In a bid to encourage local consumption, the Saudi Export Development Authority initiated the “Made in Saudi” program in 2020. 

To fully reach the highest standards of excellence, this transformation should not just focus on top mind improvements such as greater use of robots and more autonomous factories but a real systems-based approach that combines automation, digitization, circularity, and talent.

Karim Shariff, Middle East head of advanced manufacturing services practice at Bain & Co.

This move has already yielded positive results, creating a surge in the domestic manufacturing landscape.

Over 2,000 new licenses have been issued for various projects, contributing to the establishment of 193,000 new jobs within the industrial sector.

The Saudi mining industry, a robust contributor to this transformation, has granted over 1,300 new licenses and attracted investments exceeding $32.4 billion.

The Kingdom’s commitment to upgrading mining laws and issuing new licenses reflects its ambition to position the mining sector as the third pillar of national industry, with estimated mineral wealth reaching $1.35 trillion.

Future Outlook

The Saudi government’s commitment to attracting foreign investment through incentives and localized production requirements underscores its dedication to economic resilience and growth.

Investment initiatives, such as the Industrial Development Fund and the development of specialized economic cities, further amplify the trajectory of industrial growth.

The collaboration between the public and private sectors, exemplified by initiatives like Operation 300bn in the UAE, ensures a cohesive approach toward digital transformation, ultimately contributing to the growth of the manufacturing sector.

The future of Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector holds immense promise, driven by strategic planning, international collaborations, and a steadfast commitment to technological advancement.

Related

Riyadh will welcome world to Expo 2030 with a renaissance in digital innovation, says Saudi minister

Riyadh will welcome world to Expo 2030 with a renaissance in digital innovation, says Saudi minister

Updated 06 January 2024

Riyadh will welcome world to Expo 2030 with a renaissance in digital innovation, says Saudi minister

Riyadh will welcome world to Expo 2030 with a renaissance in digital innovation, says Saudi minister

  • Minister of Communications and IT Abdullah Al-Swaha said the event will serve as a bridge to connect the world through science, innovation and culture

Updated 06 January 2024

Arab News

RIYADH: The Saudi minister of communications and information technology, Abdullah Al-Swaha, said on Saturday the Kingdom’s commitment to hosting Expo 2030 reflects its desire to be a global leader in efforts to empower people, protect the planet and help shape new horizons.

The event will serve as a bridge to connect the world through science, innovation and culture, he added, with the full support of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who have been instrumental in driving the country’s growth and prosperity.

“Saudi Arabia’s hosting of this important event is the result of the crown prince’s support for this file to enable the Kingdom to be the focus of the world’s attention, and serve as a unique platform that opens horizons for the future and welcomes the world with its solid heritage, digital and innovative renaissance, and diverse culture,” Al-Swaha told the Saudi Press Agency.

He added that initiatives by the Kingdom in the fields of technology, innovation, space and sustainability have put Riyadh in a pioneering position to help achieve a better future for all.

He emphasized the importance of international connections and cooperation in efforts to find solutions to the most pressing challenges the world faces, in particular those related to sustainable development, climate action, and growth, and said Riyadh Expo 2030 aims to address them comprehensively.

Al-Swaha also highlighted the leadership role the Kingdom has taken in the field of artificial intelligence through the establishment of the region’s first Generative Artificial Intelligence Accelerator, and the deep technology business incubator The Garage, the largest of its kind in the region.

“Today, we have an opportunity to lay the foundation for our global future economy, as we enter the era of generative artificial intelligence at a time when the Kingdom has distinguished itself among the G20 countries by adopting an ecosystem-based approach,” he said.

The minister added that several significant digital accomplishments by the Kingdom have garnered global recognition in the past year. For example, it ranked third in the World Bank’s GovTech Maturity Index, and took fourth place globally in terms of readiness for digital regulations according to an International Telecommunication Union report titled “Global Digital Regulatory Outlook 2023.”

RIYADH: The Saudi minister of communications and information technology, Abdullah Al-Swaha, said on Saturday the Kingdom’s commitment to hosting Expo 2030 reflects its desire to be a global leader in efforts to empower people, protect the planet and help shape new horizons.

The event will serve as a bridge to connect the world through science, innovation and culture, he added, with the full support of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who have been instrumental in driving the country’s growth and prosperity.

“Saudi Arabia’s hosting of this important event is the result of the crown prince’s support for this file to enable the Kingdom to be the focus of the world’s attention, and serve as a unique platform that opens horizons for the future and welcomes the world with its solid heritage, digital and innovative renaissance, and diverse culture,” Al-Swaha told the Saudi Press Agency.

He added that initiatives by the Kingdom in the fields of technology, innovation, space and sustainability have put Riyadh in a pioneering position to help achieve a better future for all.

He emphasized the importance of international connections and cooperation in efforts to find solutions to the most pressing challenges the world faces, in particular those related to sustainable development, climate action, and growth, and said Riyadh Expo 2030 aims to address them comprehensively.

Al-Swaha also highlighted the leadership role the Kingdom has taken in the field of artificial intelligence through the establishment of the region’s first Generative Artificial Intelligence Accelerator, and the deep technology business incubator The Garage, the largest of its kind in the region.

“Today, we have an opportunity to lay the foundation for our global future economy, as we enter the era of generative artificial intelligence at a time when the Kingdom has distinguished itself among the G20 countries by adopting an ecosystem-based approach,” he said.

The minister added that several significant digital accomplishments by the Kingdom have garnered global recognition in the past year. For example, it ranked third in the World Bank’s GovTech Maturity Index, and took fourth place globally in terms of readiness for digital regulations according to an International Telecommunication Union report titled “Global Digital Regulatory Outlook 2023.”

Related

Saudi Arabia’s venture ecosystem boosts MENA funding

Saudi Arabia’s venture ecosystem boosts MENA funding

Updated 06 January 2024

Saudi Arabia’s venture ecosystem boosts MENA funding

Saudi Arabia’s venture ecosystem boosts MENA funding

  • MENA startups raised $2.2 billion across 488 deals in 2023

Updated 06 January 2024

Nour El-Shaeri

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia has solidified its position as a top destination for venture capital funding in the Middle East and North Africa thanks to a record-breaking end to 2023.

In December, the region witnessed an unprecedented influx of startup funding, amounting to $1.15 billion, according to Wamda’s monthly report in collaboration with Digital Digest.

This figure marks an 825 percent increase year-on-year and a 55 percent rise month-on-month. Significantly, $700 million of this sum was attributed to the debt round raised by the UAE-founded and now Saudi-headquartered fintech, Tabby.  

Excluding this substantial debt round, MENA startups raised $456 million in December alone, an 18 percent increase on November and a 253 percent rise on the same month of 2023.  

Overall, 2023 saw startups in the region secure $3.98 billion across 498 deals.

While this represents a marginal increase of less than 1 percent from 2022’s $3.95 billion raised over 802 deals, the picture changes when debt rounds are discounted.  

Excluding these, MENA startups raised $2.2 billion across 488 deals in 2023, compared to $3.45 billion across 786 deals in 2022, showing a significant 36 percent fall in deal value and a 38 percent drop in transactions.

The year 2023 also saw a 256 percent increase in the amount of debt raised compared to the previous year, totaling $1.77 billion.  

December’s deal-making activity demonstrated growth with 60 transactions recorded, a jump from November’s 49 deals.  

This increase was driven largely by an upswing in grants concentrated in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon, and the graduation of 19 startups from the Sanabil 500 Startup accelerator program and Techstars Riyadh. 

Saudi Arabia maintained its lead as the top destination for venture capital funding for the second consecutive month, primarily due to large-sized transactions by Tamra and Tabby. Egypt was a distant second, and the UAE came in third. 

Dutch travel tech company Jedo has acquired the Jump-in app, bolstering its market presence in the Kingdom and expanding its user base. (Supplied)

Fintech emerged as the dominant sector, with 25 deals exceeding $1 billion in funding, including Tabby’s debt round. Clean tech followed, with substantial funding rounds for Saudi Arabia-based secondhand e-commerce marketplace Soum and UAE’s Zeroe.  

Other sectors like health tech, educational tech, logistics, and mobility also attracted significant investor interest. Early-stage deals, primarily from accelerators, dominated the deal volume.  

Funding was notably skewed towards male-led startups, with less than 1 percent of deal value going to mixed founding teams or female-founded startups.

Key developments in December included four acquisition and merger deals, such as Pure Harvest’s acquisition of Red Sea’s production facility in Saudi Arabia and Maxab’s merger with Wasoko.  

In light of the UN climate change conference, COP28, held in Dubai, clean tech-focused initiatives gained momentum, including an accelerator program by PepsiCo, SABIC, AstroLabs, and a substantial climate tech fund from Investcorp.

As the MENA region continues to grow as a hub for innovative startups, Saudi Arabia’s leading role in this surge of investment activity is clear.  

The Kingdom’s thriving startup ecosystem and its ability to attract large-scale funding are pivotal in shaping the future of entrepreneurship and technology in the region.

Dutch travel tech Jedo expands to Saudi Arabia  

In a significant step towards global expansion, Dutch travel tech company Jedo has acquired the Jump-in app, marking its strategic entry into the Saudi market.  

The acquisition is a pivotal move for Jedo, significantly bolstering its market presence in the Kingdom and expanding its user base.  

By integrating Jump-in app’s unique capabilities, Jedo plans to digitize trip planning by embedding artificial intelligence technologies. This approach aims to offer more personalized and engaging travel experiences to users.

Jedo’s strategy involves close collaboration with key stakeholders, including Plug and Play and local tourism authorities in Saudi Arabia.  

This partnership is set to leverage technologies’ potential in reshaping the country’s tourism sector, catering to both local and international travelers with authentic and tailored experiences.

The Jump-in team is expected to play an instrumental role in shaping Jedo’s operational strategies in the Kingdom, as well as forging new partnerships and alliances.

With a dual focus on enabling Saudi residents to explore their own country and providing international visitors with genuine Saudi experiences, Jedo is dedicated to adapting and refining its platform to align with the cultural and consumer preferences of the Saudi audience.

The Jedo team is currently concentrating on customizing the platform to resonate more closely with the distinct characteristics of the Saudi market.  

UAE’s Phoenix Group acquires 25 percent of Lyvely

Phoenix Group PLC, a UAE-based firm specializing in cryptocurrency mining and blockchain, has expanded its portfolio by acquiring a 25 percent stake in Lyvely, a platform focused on social networking and content monetization.  

Founded in 2016 by Bijan Al-Izadehfard and Munaf Ali, Phoenix has been actively pursuing opportunities to diversify and enhance its presence in the digital landscape.  

The acquisition of a stake in Lyvely is aligned with this vision, offering a new avenue for growth.  

Lyvely, established in 2020 by Farah Zafar and Dave Catudal, is a UAE-born platform that has carved a niche in assisting content creators to monetize their online presence effectively.  

It also offers consumers unique and personalized experiences, bridging the gap between creators and their audiences.

Lyvely received an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Cypher Capital in August. This investment is earmarked for the development of a cryptocurrency token, signaling the company’s foray into the world of digital currencies and further expansion in the online content sphere.  

The partnership between Lyvely and Phoenix Group opens new areas of collaboration for both companies, offering new opportunities for growth in the digital content market.

Related

Saudi FDI inflows rise 29% amid ongoing economic reforms

Saudi FDI inflows rise 29% amid ongoing economic reforms

Updated 05 January 2024

Saudi FDI inflows rise 29% amid ongoing economic reforms

Saudi FDI inflows rise 29% amid ongoing economic reforms

  • Efforts include the National Investment Strategy, the regional headquarters program, and tax incentives

Updated 05 January 2024

Dayan Abou Tine

RIYADH: As a result of ongoing economic reforms, Saudi Arabia recorded a 29.13 percent surge in foreign direct investment inflows in the third quarter of 2023, compared to the previous three months.

FDI inflows, which refer to the total amount of capital and investment into Saudi Arabia from foreign investors or entities, totaled SR7.99 billion ($2.13 billion), a rise from SR6.2 billion recorded in the previous quarter, data from the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, showed.

By contrast, the Kingdom’s total investment in foreign countries dipped by 8 percent during the same period and amounted to SR17.21 billion.

This rise in FDI coincides with Saudi Arabia’s implementation of substantial legal, economic, and social reforms to attract greater external funding.

These efforts encompass various initiatives, such as the introduction of the National Investment Strategy, the launch of the regional headquarters program, and newly introduced tax incentives, including zero levies, for foreign companies.

Regarded as a crucial enabler of Vision 2030, this new strategy aims to propel the growth and diversification of the Kingdom’s economy. 

As outlined in Vision 2030, this involves elevating the contribution of FDI to the gross domestic product to 5.7 percent and positioning Saudi Arabia among the top 10 economies in the Global Competitiveness Index by 2030.

Furthermore, in February 2021, the Saudi government expressed its intention to restrict contracts with foreign companies without regional headquarters in the Kingdom. A year later, guidelines were issued to encourage companies to establish such bases in Saudi Arabia.

The Ministry of Finance later set January 2024 as the deadline following which the government agencies would face limitations in conducting business with companies operating without their regional headquarters in the Kingdom.

Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih, in a November interview with Bloomberg, stated that the number of licenses issued to companies for the establishment of their regional headquarters surpassed the Kingdom’s target of 160 by the year end. Over 200 international firms from various sectors, including energy, technology, health care, and hospitality, have now set up bases in Riyadh, he added. 

Noted firms that relocated to the Kingdom include Northern Trust, Bechtel, and Pepsico from the US, and IHG Hotels and Resorts, PwC, and Deloitte from the UK.  

From Jan. 1 onward, the Investment Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the General Authority for Foreign Trade, will create a list of companies without headquarters in the Kingdom. This list, to be updated regularly, will be accessible on the unified electronic portal for government procurement. As a result, such companies will only be considered for government projects under exceptional circumstances.

The ministry also announced a zero income tax policy in December 2023 for foreign entities relocating their regional headquarters, effective from the license issuance date. This incentive incorporates no levy on corporate profits for 30 years.

According to the investment minister, the tax exemptions will provide these firms with increased stability and strengthen their ability to plan for the future and expand their business within the region.

“The tax incentive gives multinational companies operating in the region yet another reason to make Saudi Arabia home to their regional headquarters, on top of other benefits such as relaxed Saudization requirements and work permits for the spouses of RHQ executives,” the minister stated, as reported by the Kingdom’s official news agency.

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multipurpose site for ROV ,drone services,mineral ores,ingots,agro commodities-oils,pulses,fatty acid distillate,rice,tomato concentrate,animal waste -gallstones,maggot feed ,general purpose niche -consumer goods,consumer electronics and all .Compedium of news around the world,businesses,ecommerce ,mineral,machines promotion and affiliation and just name it ...

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