GE to build first desalination plant using clean energy in Saudi Arabia

14/06/2021

The plant will include solar energy units generating 20 MW of power to reduce grid electricity consumption. (Supplied)

  • Located 140 km west of Madinah, near the town of Ar Rayyis on the Red Sea coast of the Kingdom, Yanbu-4 will utilize reverse osmosis technology to supply potable water

JEDDAH: GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions has won a deal from Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Ltd. to build a turnkey substation that will power the Yanbu-4 independent water producer plant.

This is the first integrated, seawater reverse osmosis project in the Kingdom that uses clean energy. Scheduled to be operational in 2023, Yanbu-4 will have a capacity of 450,000 cubic meters per day of freshwater to be supplied to households in Makkah and Madinah.

Located 140 km west of Madinah, near the town of Ar Rayyis on the Red Sea coast of the Kingdom, Yanbu-4 will utilize reverse osmosis technology to supply potable water.

The plant will include solar energy units generating 20 MW of power to reduce grid electricity consumption throughout the desalination process, as well as water storage tanks designed to maintain a capacity of two operational days.

Seoungsan Seo, project director of Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Ltd., said: “We are honored to be playing a critical role in such an innovative project and to be partnering with GE’s Grid Solutions, who have a strong track record of delivering infrastructure projects in the Kingdom.”

Developed as a build-own-operate contract by the Saudi Water Partnership Co. as part of a consortium comprising ENGIE, Nesma and Mowah, the plant will be operated and maintained by ENGIE with a concession term of 25 years.

A consortium of GE’s Grid Solutions and Al-Sharif Group will provide the full turnkey solution for Yanbu-4 including a 380-110 kV gas-insulated switchgear substation. The substation will provide Yanbu-4 the power required by each load center at the plant.

Bernard Dagher, president and CEO of GE’s Grid Solutions for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, said: “The Yanbu-4 project is a major milestone in the development of the Kingdom’s water infrastructure. As a renewable energy-driven project, it meets the vision of the Saudi leadership to promote environmental sustainability, while meeting the growing demand for freshwater supply in the cities of Makkah and Madinah. This win confirms our ability to be a trusted partner in the infrastructure growth of the Kingdom, including in the delivery of turnkey substations for desalination plants.”

 

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia in second place for adopting and integrating CSR practices in MENA region

Time: 22 March 2021

A picture taken on December 16, 2020 shows newly constructed towers in Ryadh, the Saudi Arabian capital and main financial hub. (AFP)

The survey found that there is a reasonable level of CSR awareness as well as a moderately positive attitude towards the concept in Saudi Arabia, with results finding 41 percent of respondents familiar with CSR

JEDDAH: A new study has shown that Saudi Arabia has emerged as a leading country in adopting and integrating corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices.
Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, a major regional communications agency in partnership with YouGov, an international research and data analytics group, published the first regional CSR survey report, ranking the Kingdom second in adoption and integration of CSR in businesses. Egypt topped the list.
Some 219 C-suite executives and corporate leaders from across the region were picked due to their contribution to their respective sectors, including government, aviation, automotive, banking and finance, construction and real estate, healthcare, and transport. The respondents were asked a series of CSR-related questions that were revisited in the midst of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
With CSR increasing in the corporate world — making a significant impact in the Kingdom’s business landscape — the survey found that CSR is a necessity, not a mere luxury. Policymakers with an understanding of how firms adopt CSR issues are improving policy formulation as it is being considered a key component in the culture of corporate governance and the regulatory frameworks and guidelines.
The survey found that there is a reasonable level of CSR awareness as well as a moderately positive attitude towards the concept in Saudi Arabia, with results finding 41 percent of respondents familiar with CSR. Of the executives surveyed, 90 percent possessed an intrinsic understanding of the scope of CSR and 58 percent deemed it integral for their business.

HIGHLIGHT
With CSR increasing in the corporate world — making a significant impact in the Kingdom’s business landscape — the survey found that CSR is a necessity, not a mere luxury.

“The UAE and the Kingdom emerged as leaders in CSR implementation and incorporation, and while familiarity with CSR regionally has always been of note, the report consolidated how the value of giving is ingrained in the region on a cultural level and not an attribute that needed to be adopted,” said Ahmad Itani, founder and CEO of C&B and chairman of PRCA MENA.
Stephan Shakespeare, CEO of YouGov, said: “This report represents a milestone that underpins the emphasis on CSR across regional sectors and industries. We are delighted and proud to unveil the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s leading regional position in the integration of CSR. The demonstration of responsible business practices towards employees, stakeholders and customers was apparent throughout the findings, and we look forward to the continued growth of CSR across the MENA region to influence and inspire its global counterparts.”
For job seekers, an organization being socially responsible matters. It was marked as an important criterion — Saudi Arabia showed the highest average of executives (70 percent) who agree or strongly agree that CSR activities are important when considering opting for a job or rejecting it. Overall, 92 percent of executives in the Kingdom are upbeat about the impact of CSR.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia, Google partner in plan to ‘level-up’ Mideast

18/10/20

Lino Cattaruzzi, managing director for Google in MENA. (Supplied)

  • The program includes cloud training for local businesses, as well as workshops on advanced digital skills, such as a machine learning platform that will teach about 140,000 developers with a focus on women

DUBAI: Several Saudi ministries have teamed up with tech giant Google to launch a set of projects aimed at helping the Kingdom’s economic strategy and digital transformation.

Google said the initiatives will focus on Saudi Arabia and the MENA region and will boost economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic. The program, named “Grow stronger with Google,” will include a comprehensive list of digital tools, grants and training opportunities to support local businesses and job seekers across the region. In the Kingdom, Google will target the retail, tourism and technology sectors, including Saudi Post, which will list 100,000 local entities on the company’s digital platform and train employees in online marketing.
“We are proud to partner with Google in this initiative to bring value to Saudi nationals, residents and local businesses, especially SMEs through bringing them together using the Google ‘My Business’ platform,” said President of the Saudi Post Anef Abanomi.
“Through this partnership we aim to list up to 100,000 businesses in the first phase in line with Saudi Post’s strategic transformation objectives to improve quality of life and help SMEs achieve their e-commerce and digitization goals,” he added.
Lino Cattaruzzi, managing director for Google in MENA, said in a press release: “During the pandemic, online tools have been a lifeline for many in Saudi Arabia. Making the most of the online opportunity can help Saudi people, businesses and communities and in the wider region bounce back stronger.” He said the program will equip businesses and individuals in the Kingdom with digital skills, especially in sectors that have been most affected by the pandemic, such as retail and tourism.

HIGHLIGHT

In the Kingdom, Google will target the retail, tourism and technology sectors, including Saudi Post, which will list 100,000 local entities on the company’s digital platform and train employees in online marketing.

The tech giant has also partnered with several Saudi bodies — including the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Ministry of Tourism — to implement the programs. One project is set to train 50,000 students and businesses in digital marketing.
“We remain fundamentally optimistic about the future of this region, and we’re confident that by working together with local partners, we can boost recovery and build on the rapid acceleration of tech adoption we’ve seen during the crisis,” Cattaruzzi said.
The program also includes cloud training for local businesses, as well as workshops on advanced digital skills, such as a machine learning platform that will teach about 140,000 developers with a focus on women.
Google said it wants to help 1 million people and businesses throughout the MENA region learn digital skills and grow businesses by the end of 2021.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Modest fashion app launched for Saudi shoppers

21/07/20

The label, launched in 2018 in the Kingdom, will introduce its application to other GCC countries by the end of 2020. (Instagram)

DUBAI: Fashion label Leem has started a new mobile application for shoppers in Saudi Arabia this week.

The label, launched in 2018 in the Kingdom, will introduce its application to other GCC countries by the end of 2020.

Leem, which has stores across the Middle East, offers modern yet conservative designs that include wide-leg trousers, large sweaters, elegant dresses, oversized tops and more.

The brand promises that all the orders placed will be delivered within three to five business days, with free delivery offered on standard orders.

Leem will soon add premium services such as same-day and next-day delivery to their platform, which is currently available on Apple and Android devices via the App Store and Google Play Store.

A number of fashion brands have either gone digital or closed down during the pandemic.

In April, luxury modest wear e-tailor The Modist announced it will stop operating, and in June, UAE-based Al Tayer Group announced that e-tailer Nisnass will close down from July 16.

This article was first published in Arab News

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New law to cut red tape in the business world

Time: 15 July, 2020

A proposed new Saudi corporate law, a draft of which has gone out for public consultation, marks a paradigm shift to a new and innovative path that will encourage the rapid growth of the corporate sector and enable it to keep pace with the latest developments.

One of the aims of the new law is to cut out many of the bureaucratic procedures that currently dampen the enthusiasm of people who want to establish companies, and red tape that has no place in the modern business world — for example, eliminating restrictions on company names, allowing the use of innovative titles derived from the purpose of the company.

Among the most prominent and significant features of the proposed law is the introduction of a new kind of company — the simple joint-stock company, established by one or more founders without a minimum requirement for capital. The new law is also flexible about different scenarios for managing the company — by a general manager or one of the board of directors. The company’s management mechanism and the majority required to implement decisions are subject to the founding agreement, as are the types of shares and debt instruments that may be issued.

The new law also offers amended solutions that can help companies to overcome any financial difficulties they may face, especially during this particularly challenging time. For example, if a financial loss represents half the capital value of a limited liability company, it need not immediately cease trading, as is currently the case; although of course, concerned parties may still petition the competent judicial authority to dissolve the company.

A committee will be established at the Ministry of Trade, comprising a minimum of three members at least one of whom is a specialist in the law and related regulations, to consider possible offenses and related penalties.

The new law includes and replaces some provisions of previous law related to companies, which it supersedes. Any provisions in previous laws that contradict the new law will be canceled when the new law is approved. Consolidating the laws that govern such a vital sector as business and commerce will assist the public perception of companies, address the needs of businesses and their owners, and develop and improve the entire sector.

The completion and implementation of this new law in coordination with all the relevant parties is a challenge; successfully completed, it will make procedures and regulatory requirements easier, stimulate the attraction of capital investment, and help to revitalize the economy.

• Dimah Talal Alsharif is a Saudi legal consultant, head of the health law department at the law firm of Majed Garoub and a member of the International Association of Lawyers. Twitter: @dimah_alsharif

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