Careem targets to employ 20,000 captainahs by 2020

Time: June 23, 2018

The drivers – referred to as captainahs – will begin working with Careem from June 24 as part of the company’s ongoing mission to simplify and improve lies in the region. This service will start working in the three major cities (Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam) in the first phase to be expanded to include all cities within a short period.

Careem CEO Mudassir Sheikha said “we are delighted to welcome these pioneering women to Careem and in line with Careem’s commitment to create job opportunities across the wider Middle East region, 2018 will see a new focus begin on attracting women to sign up to the platform.”

Careem is creating between 60,000-to-70,000 jobs per month across all cities of operation and Mudassir Sheikha added “we’ve set a longer-term target of having 20,000 females signed up region-wide by 2020.”

Careem’s GM of Saudi Arabia Abdulla Elyas said “following the announcement in Saudi Arabia in September 2017 that women would soon be allowed to drive, we opened our door to female captains (captainahs) and invited them to come and sign up to Careem and receive the initial training. We have been overwhelmed by the response, with some 2,000 women already having taken part in sessions from our operational, safety and technology teams.”

Careem recognizes that up until now, the industry has largely ignored women and the potential they might have to earn an income through our platform. It’s been a wake-up call and we are now investing our time and focus into deep diving into this issue.

This year Careem set up a Women’s Female Captain Committee to tackle this issue and better understand what barriers might exist for a woman wanting to come and drive for us, and to understand what it takes for us to provide a conducive environment for them to flourish.

Abdulla Elyas added “driving for a ride-hailing company provides the chance to be your own boss, earn an additional income and work your own hours, so it’s particularly geared towards the needs of working mothers. To date, Careem has welcomed women in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan and the UAE and registered some 2,000 women in Saudi Arabia ahead of the decree coming into effect – we are thrilled to welcome new captainahs to our Saudi fleet.”

Currently around 70% of Careem’s passengers in the Kingdom are female and Careem has been particularly beneficial for females who did not have safe and reliable transport before the introduction of the service in Saudi Arabia. People in Saudi have referred to there being a time before, and a time after Careem, so great has the impact been in enabling women to move around the country without the need to be driven by a male family member.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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Middle East Legal Awards 2018 – Regional Law Firm of the Year (Large Practice): Al Tamimi & Company

Time: June 21, 2018

Finalists: Afridi & Angell (Highly Commended); BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates; Hadef & Partners.

Dubai-based Al Tamimi & Company lifted the Regional Law Firm of the Year prize for a second consecutive year in recognition of its growing dominance in the Middle East.

A recent strategic expansion saw Al Tamimi become the first law firm in the region to establish a dedicated tax practice to help clients with the introduction of VAT in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, while an investment push in its three Saudi Arabia offices has also elevated it to the largest law firm in that country.

The firm’s commitment to client relationships has seen it introduce a campaign to improve the client experience and ensure its culture of responsiveness is consistent across all jurisdictions.

It has also heavily invested in IT and knowledge management during the past 12 months, with the introduction of a new CRM tool and document automation. And it has continued to broaden its CSR and pro bono initiatives, most notably through a partnership with SOS Children’s Villages International to support the development of a village in Iraq.

“Al Tamimi continues to build on their successes – which in itself is a challenge – in a distinctive and concrete manner,” said a judge.

This article was first published in Legal Week

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Boycott: Saudi Arabia’s Almarai to Replace Centrale Danone?

Time: June 19, 2018

As Centrale Danone, a subsidiary of the giant French dairy company Danone, has begun to count its losses with the ongoing boycott against it, the Middle East’s leading food and beverage manufacturer and distributor, Almarai, has emerged as an attractive future investor in the country.

The Saudi company is expected to open its first subsidiary by the end of 2018 or early in 2019.

The company has reportedly bought land belonging to the headquarters of Centrale Danone in the kingdom, according to Moroccan news site Hespress.

For years, many Moroccans expressed their wish to have Almarai dairy product brands in Morocco due to their “high quality.”

Founded in 1977 in Saudi Arabia, Almarai is a partnership between the Irish agri-foods pioneer, Alastair McGuckian, and Saudi prince Sultan bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Kabeer. Almarai is now the world’s largest vertically integrated dairy company.

Almarai, headquartered in Riyadh, produces dairy, yoghurt, pastries, infant formula, and more than 1.2 billion liters of milk per year. It employs more than 4,700 workers.

The decision may have been within the framework of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to boost economic partnership with Morocco by increasing the volume of direct foreign investment.

Will Morocco say goodbye to Centrale Danone?
Almarai’s decision to invest in the dairy sector in Morocco coincides with the ongoing boycott targeting Centrale Danone, the leading dairy brand in Morocco.

The decision also poses questions of whether it will be the end of an era for the dairy firm, formerly known as Centrale Laitière, which has extended its roots in the kingdom since 1949.

On April 20, Moroccans launched a boycott against three major companies at once, Afriquia (gasoline), Sidi Ali (mineral and soda water), and Centrale Danone, in protest against the high prices set by these companies.

The boycott campaign has caused major revenue loss for Centrale, as it recently announced that it had a net loss of MAD 150 million in the first half of 2018.

This article was first published in Morocco world news

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Vista Entertainment Solutions powering Saudi Arabia’s new cinema ticketing sector

Time: June 19, 2018

VISTA Entertainment Solutions Ltd, a Vista Group company, has successfully deployed the Vista Cinema software suite in the first Saudi Arabian cinema venues and is delighted to announce that it is the first cinema management software providing fully integrated reporting to the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM) portal.

One of the most highly-anticipated news stories of 2018 was the return of cinemas to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after a 35-year ban. Vista Entertainment Solutions led the way supporting AMC Entertainment and the Development & Investment Entertainment Co., a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, to open the country’s first commercial cinema on the 18th of April.

Jason Cole, vice president, mergers & acquisitions and international procurement at AMC Theatres, says: “The spirit of cooperation and collaboration with Vista on the Saudi opening was nothing less than amazing. AMC would not have been able to accomplish so much in so little time without such a committed and innovative partner.”

Less than two weeks after the Kingdom’s first public cinema screening, VOX also opened its doors to a four-screen multiplex in Riyadh Park. The region’s largest exhibitor is utilizing Vista’s cutting-edge technology across their cinemas in the Gulf region to bring a seamless cinematic experience to their moviegoers.

Cameron Mitchell, CEO of VOX Cinemas, said: “Following our collaboration in our existing markets, Vista was the obvious choice of technology partner as we move forward with our investment of $533m (SR2bn) to open 600 screens across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the next five years.”

Kimbal Riley, CEO of Vista Group, said: “We thank the Saudi government and our partners at AMC and VOX for the faith they have placed in us. We’re committed to supporting other leading industry players seeking new opportunities in this exciting growth market and we’re delighted with the contribution we have made thus far.”

Mischa Kay, managing director, Vista EMEA, said: “We’re excited to have played a part in such a historic milestone in Saudi Arabia. Our industry-leading cinema management software fully supports Arabic as an operational language and is integrated into the portal of the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM), with whom we worked very closely to provide accurate reporting.”

Vista Entertainment Solutions Ltd (“Vista Cinema”) is the world leader in cinema management software solutions with installations in more than 90 countries around the world and an estimated 38% global market share in the Large Cinema Circuit market. The Vista Cinema software product line comprises multiple modules, integrated and scalable, suited to cinema exhibitors operating 20+ screens and 100s of cinemas. Vista Cinema is headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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Franklin Templeton gets QFI status in Saudi Arabia

Time: June 18, 2018

LONDON: US fund manager Franklin Templeton is to allow foreign investors to invest directly in Saudi Arabian stocks for the first time, after announcing that its funds have been granted Qualified Foreign Investor status by market regulators.

The firm’s increased commitment to Saudi Arabian stocks follows the steady easing of restrictions on foreign investors by regulators in the Kingdom, as part of capital markets and economic reforms within the country.

The Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA) announced measures to ease restrictions on foreign investment in the local stock market from this January and allowed eligible foreign enterprises to acquire a larger stake of up to 10 percent of any issuer’s shares, up from 5 percent.

“Bold fiscal reforms, including steps to reduce its reliance on oil, will put the Kingdom’s economy on more sustainable footing over the long-term,” said Bassel Khatoun, managing director, frontier and MENA, Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity.

“At the same time, impressive capital-market reform is culminating in classification upgrades by key index providers. Finally, social reform continues unabated, leading to new investment opportunities across the economy. As a firm, we are excited to be part of these positive developments.”

Saud stocks are expected to be upgraded to emerging market status by index provider MSCI on Wednesday, following a similar upgrade by fellow index provider FTSE Russell at the end of March.

Around $3 billion in foreign flows has come into the market already in 2018, taking total foreign investment in local equities to around $9 billion.

Franklin Templeton forecasts such upgrades will attract additional foreign investment flows of around $35 billion. The upcoming IPO of Saudi Aramco, expected in the next year or so, will bring in $50 billion in foreign investment depending on valuation, the firm predicted.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Alstom starts test runs of Riyadh Metro

Time: June 11, 2018

Alstom has started carrying out dynamic tests of Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Metro Project at the Line 4 Depot Test Track in Riyadh.

The company will test the overall railway system, including power supply, signalling systems and rolling stock.

Owned by Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA), the Riyadh Metro Project comprises six lines, amounting to 176km with 85 metro stations.

Alstom, which is operating as part of the FAST consortium, is responsible for delivering an integrated metro system for lines 4, 5 and 6.

The service includes 69 Metropolis-based trains, the Urbalis signalling system, the Hesop energy recovery station and tracks.

“We are proud to conduct the tests in Riyadh in order to deliver a state-of-the-art metro to our customer Arriyadh Development Authority, the inhabitants and visitors of Riyadh.”

The 36m-long Metropolis-based trains are composed of two cars and feature three different classes – first, family and singles.

Equipped with air conditioning, ergonomic seating arrangement, LED lighting and a passenger information system, the driverless trains are designed to provide a comforting travelling experience to the passengers.

Alstom Middle East and Africa senior vice-president Didier Pfleger said: “This test run is a significant milestone for Alstom and for the project.

“We are proud to conduct the tests in Riyadh in order to deliver a state-of-the-art metro to our customer Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) and the inhabitants and the visitors of Riyadh.”

All train operations, including the speed of the vehicles, will be guided by a signalling system to facilitate smooth service.

All stations of the metro system will also be air-conditioned and equipped with platform screen doors.

The passengers will be provided with real-time information about the service through screens and loudspeakers at the station platforms, as well as onboard.

This article was first published in Railway-technology

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Virgin Mobile KSA wins Best Mideast Co Award

Time: June 06, 2018

VIRGIN Mobile was awarded the annual Middle East G-Summit event organized by Genesys last April 10 at the Armani Hotel Dubai for the Best Digital Experience for Customers and Achieving Better Results based on Genesys Technology. Virgin Mobile KSA was crowned as the leading company in the Kingdom that puts its customer at the forefront and in the center of its interest. The award was received by Imad al-Din Bazari, Director of Digital Marketing at Virgin Mobile KSA. The event is considered as one of the most important annual events to honor the companies that offer the best customer experiences based on the advanced techniques of Genesys.

Virgin Mobile KSA always strives to provide the best service to its customers by extending new opportunities and offering the highest standards in customer service focused on customer satisfaction, while continually working towards enhancing the customer experience. The award came after the CITC announced at the end of 2017 that Virgin Mobile KSA was the telecom operator with the lowest number of customer complaints among its competitors in 2017, confirming the company’s commitment to support and promote “Customer Experience” as one of the key pillars to ensure rewarding experiences for its customers.

Fouad Halawi, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia, said: “In the light of continuous and rapid developments, the digital transformation has left a positive impact on our society, leading us to find effective solutions to keep pace with these changes and provide the best innovative services that match the aspirations of our customers. I congratulate every member of our team for this great achievement.” — SG

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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Why Saudi Arabia’s Women Drivers Are Important for Uber

Time: June 04, 2018

Saudi Arabia issued a driver’s license to a woman for the first time in the country’s history on Monday. As a precursor to ending the world’s only ban on women drivers, the country gave 10 licenses to women today in the country’s capital city Riyadh. Women across the nation will be able to take the driving tests beginning June 24.

This radical change means that Saudi women will soon be able to take charge of their own transportation. The impact of this is important for ride-hailing companies like Uber, which prior to the ban had a customer base that was 80% female customers, according to CNN.

But as women become able to drive themselves, they will also be able to drive for the ride-hailing. Careem, Uber’s largest Saudi competition, plans to hire 10,000 women drivers, according to The Week. The company may also debut a feature that allows women and families to request a female driver.

Uber announced that they will open new facilities to recruit new female drivers, says The Week. The company will also make sure that training and vehicles are available to those women hired.

Antonio

@AntonioArellano

A monumental moment in history:

Today Saudi Arabia issued the first drivers license to a woman.

Uber, the sector-disrupting ride hailing app based in San Francisco, is on a mission for growth. Since its founding in 2009, the company has grown to dominate 77% of the ride-hailing market. Last quarter, it raked in $2.5 billion in profits. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says the company will continue to chase that growth by investing in autonomous vehicle technology, food delivery, and electric bikes.

Another part of Uber’s growth strategy is a focus on the Middle East and Indian markets, where they compete with local companies like Careem. In 2016, Uber secured $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund. And a move to hire female drivers in Saudi Arabia will further cement their place in the market, and perhaps conduct damage control on the company’s reputation that the culture is hostile to women and irresponsible with sexual harassment claims.

This article was first published in FORTUNE

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Abdul Latif Jameel

Time: June 02, 2018

Abdul Latif Jameel Company Ltd (عبد اللطيف جميل, abbreviated ALJ) is a Saudi Arabia-based diversified business active in 30 countries, with a focus on the Middle EastNorth Africa and Turkey (MENAT) region.[1] In addition to a core business of automobile sales, manufacturing, assembly, and engineering, ALJ has operations in the areas of consumer financial services, real estate development, power generation, environmental services and consumer retail.[2] It is one of the largest privately held companies in Saudi Arabia.[3]

History[edit]

The company was founded by Abdul Latif Jameel and began operations as a gas station in Jeddah in 1945. It began importing Toyota Land Cruiser automobiles in 1955 and became Toyota’s sole distributor in Saudi Arabia. Through its partnership with ALJ, Toyota became one of the most popular automobile brands in Saudi Arabia, with a market share periodically reaching as high as 40 percent.[3]

ALJ acquired a solar power business from the Spanish firm Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) in 2015. FRV’s portfolio included a controversial solar farm in MoreeAustralia, which The Australian reported may benefit from up to AUD 168 million in government subsidies.[4] The solar portfolio also includes three solar farms in Jordan that generate 435 million kWh annually.[5]

In 2016, ALJ announced plans to invest $2 billion of its own funds over the next five years, to include power generation projects and an expansion of its core motor vehicle business.[6]

Management[edit]

The company is owned and controlled by the Jameel family, which Forbes ranked as the fourth-richest family in the Arab world as of 2017, with a total estimated net worth of $2.2 billion. The founder, Abdul Latif Jameel, ran the company from its formation until his death in 1993, when his son, Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel, became chairman and president.[7] Mohammed’s middle son, Hassan Jameel, serves as deputy vice chairman.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ “Our Locations”Abdul Latif Jameel. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  2. Jump up^ “Welcome to Abdul Latif Jameel® – Opening new doors”Abdul Latif Jameel. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  3. Jump up to:a b “Abdul Latif Jameel: A Saudi-Japanese success story”english.alarabiya.net. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  4. Jump up^ “Solar farm defends itself over its renewable energy subsidies”www.theaustralian.com.au. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  5. Jump up^ “Abdul Latif Jameel Energy to power over 120,000 homes in Jordan”Arab News. 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  6. Jump up^ “Saudi conglomerate Abdul Latif Jameel plans to invest $2bn over next five years”The National. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  7. Jump up^ “The Arab World’s Richest Families 2017 – Forbes Middle East”Forbes Middle East. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  8. Jump up^ “FBCG: Governance and succession planning crucial in family businesses”Family Business Council – Gulf. April 3, 2018. Retrieved May 4, 2018.

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Alhamrani Universal showcases new payment solutions

Time: May 17, 2018

Saudi integrated payments solutions, electronic banking services and security solutions, Alhamrani Universal (AU) recently participated in MEFTECH Payments 2018 for the first time. The longest running banking and financial technology event in the MENA region was held at the Intercontinental Hotel Riyadh from May 9-10, providing a platform for companies to network and showcase their products and services.
AU CEO Tarirq Abdat said: “We are delighted to be taking part in this exhibition for it is an opportunity to reaffirm and project our position as leading payment solutions provider beyond our well-established market here in Saudi Arabia. Building on our contributions in the finance and retail sectors, I believe that an event with such resonance and reputation will allow us to present the brand to other geographies.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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