20,000 women benefit from Saudi Arabia’s Wusool program

11/06/2021

RIYADH: The number of Saudi female employees to benefit from the Human Resources Development Fund’s (Hadaf) transportation program has topped 20,000.

Under the Wusool program women can receive an 80 percent discount on the cost of each trip to work. The ceiling of support was increased to SR1,100 ($293) a month for those with a monthly wage not exceeding SR6,000, and SR800 for workers earning between SR6,001 and SR8,000.

The initiative aims to reduce transport costs for Saudi female workers in the private sector by providing them with subsidized high-quality, safe, and secure travel-to-work services, in partnership with taxi companies, through licensed smart apps.

The scheme, designed to increase the participation of women in the labor market and provide job stability, covers 13 regions of the Kingdom and women working in the private sector can visit http://wusool.sa to register.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Needy families in Mauritania and Nigeria benefit from KSrelief surgery projects

11/06/2021

KSrelief continues its voluntary medical campaign for open heart surgery and catheterization in Mauritania. (SPA)

20 open-heart surgeries and 39 cardiac catheterization surgeries performed so far in Mauritania
152 surgeries done in Nigeria by Srelief, in cooperation with Al-Basar International Foundation
NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), in cooperation with the Muslim World League (MWL), is supporting Mauritania’s medical sector through a voluntary medical campaign offering specialist heart surgery.

Since the beginning of the campaign, the volunteer medical team has successfully performed 20 open-heart surgeries and 39 cardiac catheterization surgeries — a procedure used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular conditions.

The project is one of several humanitarian projects being implemented by the Kingdom in the country.

The project aims to treat patients from low-income families.

In Nigeria, KSrelief, in cooperation with Al-Basar International Foundation, carried out 152 surgeries, examined 1,006 patients, distributed 376 glasses and provided 842 prescriptions as part of a campaign to combat blindness.

The campaign benefits families and individuals of limited income.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi-based interfaith group KAICIID presents work at Global Horasis Meeting in Portugal

Time: 10 June 2021

AICIID Secretary-General Faisal bin Muammar at the Global Horasis Meeting in Portugal. (SPA)

RIYADH: The King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) took part in the activities of the 2021 Horasis Extraordinary Meeting in Portugal.

The meeting, which was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, saw the participation of policymakers, business people and organizations concerned with dialogues and human values.

KAICIID was represented by its secretary-general, Faisal bin Muammar, who, in his speech, stressed the importance of committing to the promotion of the role of religious institutions and leaders to address the challenges facing the world, shedding light on the coronavirus pandemic, which was the focus of this meeting, its lengthy prevalence, long-term repercussions and the shape of the world after recovering from it.

He reviewed the efforts KAICIID had made over the past year to address the challenges of the pandemic and activate the role of religious values and dialogue in resolving the crisis, which has claimed many lives, doubled poverty rates and increased economic and social pressures, as a result of the preventive and quarantine measures that were taken to limit the spread of the pandemic.

Bin Muammar stressed the importance of “including religious institutions and improving their ability to support policymakers and face the global challenges that could be long-lasting.”

Held every year, the Global Horasis Meeting is attended by politicians, heads of state and business leaders worldwide to share insights on cooperation, impact, innovation and sustainable growth.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Jameel family committed to making world a better place

Time: 08 June 2021

Participants at last year’s Startups Investment Forum organized by MIT Enterprise Forum Saudi Arabia and Bab Rizq Jameel, an initiative of Community Jameel.

Marking 75 years of commercial operations — and three quarters of a century of associated philanthropy — the Jameel family has reinforced its commitment to driving positive change and thereby realizing the potential of people, business and communities — the guiding principles pioneered by the business’ founder, the late Abdul Latif Jameel, since its beginnings in the mid-1940s. In doing so, the Jameel family has underlined its ongoing contribution toward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

A new animated video illustrates numerous achievements of the globally diversified family business Abdul Latif Jameel, their global investment arm JIMCO, and the family’s philanthropic and community activities, including Bab Rizq Jameel, Art Jameel, Community Jameel Saudi, and Community Jameel.

In 2015, UN member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, creating a shared blueprint for global peace and prosperity. Acknowledging that governments alone cannot accomplish these ambitious goals, the Jameel family has built diverse and wide-ranging alliances based on respect, shared values, and a mutual vision of creating tangible impact toward achieving the SDGs.

Mohammed Jameel KBE, chairman and chief executive of Abdul Latif Jameel, founder and chairman of Bab Rizq Jameel, and founder and chairman of Community Jameel Saudi and Community Jameel, said: “I am proud of the way in which we do business, and of our commitment to continuous improvement. Through this commitment we aim to make the world a better place for all by investing in the infrastructure of life. With this in mind, I believe we can contribute to the 17 SDGs, but for some, we can have a more immediate and direct impact, and it’s here that we place our emphasis.

“We continue to invest in a range of exciting areas, such as the future of mobility, renewable energy, energy storage, water projects and health-tech. Likewise we continue with our philanthropic efforts to make a significant difference in addressing some of mankind’s greatest global challenges.”

Fady Jameel, deputy president and vice chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel, chairman and founder of Art Jameel, and vice chairman of Bab Rizq Jameel, Community Jameel Saudi and Community Jameel, said: “It is clear that to create the future we want and need, private capital, both directly and in public-private partnerships, has the ability to create positive real-life impact. Whether this impact is created by achieving commercial goals or through philanthropic work, these pursuits can be followed in a manner in which the world can truly prosper.”

Hassan Jameel, deputy president and vice chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel, and vice chairman of Bab Rizq Jameel, Community Jameel Saudi and Community Jameel, added: “Collaborative partnerships are the key to achieving the ambitions of the SDGs. Our aim is to partner with philanthropic organizations and invest in companies that share this commitment to driving transformational impact and reach these global goals.”

Alongside Bab Rizq Jameel, Art Jameel, Community Jameel Saudi, and Community Jameel and other philanthropic partnerships, the family continues its activities to address some of humanity’s most pressing challenges, which are aligned toward achieving the UN’s SDGs. This effort includes working with leaders, community organizations, art foundations and youth to improve the quality of life around the world.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia making giant strides toward sustainable solutions

Time: 06 June 2021

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Over the past 5 years, the Kingdom has taken great strides in ‘go green’ initiatives that include everything from recycling to waste management. (Photos/Supplied)
Saudi Arabia making giant strides toward sustainable solutions


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Photo/Supplied
Saudi Arabia making giant strides toward sustainable solutions


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Photo/Supplied
Saudi Arabia making giant strides toward sustainable solutions


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Kholud Al-Fadhli. (Supplied)

Saudi Arabia outperformed 172 countries in preserving and protecting natural environments
JEDDAH: Within Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program is a plan to address environmental issues and implement sustainable solutions. Over the past five years, the Kingdom has taken great strides in “go green” initiatives that include everything from recycling to waste management.

Earlier this year, five national environmental centers, and an environment fund, were approved by a royal decree, as part of a national plan to regulate institutional structures in the environment sector, with climate change and sustainability two of the most important environmental challenges that Saudi Arabia faces.
Under the theme of “Generation Restoration,” Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Mansour Al-Mushaiti stated that the Kingdom was going to great effort to restore and protect ecosystems through various campaigns over the next decade.
The ministry has launched 17 initiatives to protect the environment, as well as developing meteorological services as part of the 2020 National Transformation Program.
Al-Mushaiti added that work is underway to establish a climate change center, in addition to stopping the cultivation of crops with high water needs and the introduction of environmentally friendly and water-efficient technologies, amid 64 further initiatives within the national environment strategy.
With the goal of becoming a zero waste city, Madinah municipality has partnered up with Bee’ah, a UAE company created in 2007 and considered one of the leading companies for sustainable solutions in the Middle East, to provide waste management solutions.
With projects spanning from environmental consulting to renewable energy, technology, sustainable transportation and training and development, Bee’ah has expanded into the Kingdom and has been awarded three contracts for waste management services in Madinah, encompassing 70 percent of the city and serving 1.2 million people. Services will include solid waste collection and transportation services, disinfection and sanitization of waste bins, training sessions, workshops, and awareness campaigns.


Kholud Al-Fadhli, principal of Green Leaves PlayGroup, is 11 days into creating the largest map of the world out of plastic bottle caps, and hopes to beat a previous Guinness World Record by 250 square meters.
“We are proud that Bee’ah have been tasked with deploying its world-class city cleaning and waste collection solutions for Madinah last year, and we are developing a comprehensive roadmap for waste management services to make Madinah the cleanest city in the Middle East,” Mohamed Al-Hosani, CEO of Bee’ah KSA, told Arab News.
Al-Hosani said the Kingdom is making excellent headway to promote sustainable development and to protect its environment.
Earlier this year, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative aimed at reducing carbon emissions by 60 percent, increasing 50 percent of its energy capacity from renewables by 2030, and planting 50 billion trees in the Middle East.
He said the Kingdom has made a number of commitments under Vision 2030 and the G20 Summit in Riyadh last year outlining their approach to sustainability.

FASTFACTS
• Saudi Arabia ranks first globally on the Species Protection Index.

• The Kingdom ranked first in the ‘Tree cover loss’ index and ‘Wetland loss’ index.

• Work is underway to establish a climate change center in the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the leading environmental sustainability solutions provider in Saudi Arabia, Naqaa Solutions, has introduced a new sustainable product: The Reverse Vending Machine (RVM).
The RVM can be utilized to collect specific recyclables while also providing incentives. Beverage containers alone take up to 50 percent of the capacity in a standard trash bin, making the RVM ideal for schools, universities, shops, supermarkets and stadiums.
These compact machines are free-standing and take all polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and aluminum containers. The RVM was created primarily to provide an easy way for the public to recycle, and was created in full compliance with European environmental directives to automatically separate and compact drink containers.
“Now more than ever before, Saudi Arabia under the ambitious leadership is heading toward sustainability in every aspect, and conserving the environment is part of achieving Saudi Vision 2030 and improving quality of life,” Mouna Eusman, co-founder of Naqaa Solutions, told Arab News.
“Our work in Naqaa is to keep up (with) and accelerate the transition to a sustainable future following the blueprint developed by the government,” she added.


Kholud Al-Fadhli, principle of Green Leaves PlayGroup, is 11 days into creating the largest map of the world out of plastic bottle caps, and hopes to beat a previous Guinness World Record by 250 square meters.
Caroline Chaptini created the world’s current largest bottle cap mosaic on May 30, 2020 in Miziara, Lebanon, measuring 196.94 square meters.
“It is an exciting idea for the Kingdom to break that record,” she said, with more than half of the map already made up of nearly 300,000 multi-colored bottle caps.
“With World Environment Day, I would like to shed light on the importance of taking care of our Earth in so many ways. I chose to collect plastic,” she told Arab News.
The idea came to her three months ago when she created a campaign to collect plastic bottle caps.
“This was for my circle of family and friends and suddenly the circle grew and it made me create a campaign to encourage people not to throw away their bottle caps, but to collect them and send them to me as I’m trying to break a world record by using these numbers of bottle caps to create a map of the world,” she said.
“I wanted to challenge myself to complete this map. I told everyone it is a good deed to recycle and once I’m done with the map, I will send all the bottle caps to Mawakeb Al-Ajer, a charity organization in Jeddah, where they will send them to recycling factories, and the factories benefit from their charity programs. It’s a self-challenge; (an) environmental and charitable goal.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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The Place: Sharm Al-Jizzi, a beautiful beach on the northern Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia

05/06/2021

The beach offers its visitors the opportunity to discover the splendor of its rocky and sandy terrains and picturesque seascapes
Located in the south of Duba, Saudi Arabia, the beach of Sharm Al-Jizzi is known for its purity and tranquility.

It is one of the most beautiful beaches on the northern Red Sea coast, where locals looking for calm and comfort go on weekends and public holidays.

The beach offers its visitors the opportunity to discover the splendor of its rocky and sandy terrains and picturesque seascapes.

The rich environmental wonders of the area contain a host of treasures and landmarks, just waiting to be discovered.

This article was first published in Arab News

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KSA Fashion Commission backs luxury designs with 100 Saudi Brands program

04/06/2021

The program will help build 100 Saudi brands that are able to compete regionally and internationally. (Screenshot)

The authority invited those wishing to take part in the program to register before June 20
The program offers a one-year package of training and guidance programs

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Fashion Commission has launched the “100 Saudi Brands” program, which aims to support the business development of 100 Saudi designers and luxury brands, providing Saudi fashion products with international competitive standards.
The authority invited those wishing to take part in the program to register via the website https://saudi100brands.com before June 20.
The program offers a one-year package of training and guidance programs, and includes sessions for groups and individuals, along with virtual and physical training workshops to develop competitive business advantages in the Saudi fashion industry.
Course topics will include brand review and mentoring, training in defining brand concepts, sales performance strategies, public relations and marketing strategies, methods for finding and identifying particular clients, innovations, technology and leadership skills.
The program’s stages include activities presented to the consumer to encourage sales in the local market, the first of which will be held in Riyadh in December, the activation of electronic sales outlets in January, and a campaign targeting wholesales in order to activate international sales in February.
The program will help build 100 Saudi brands that are able to compete regionally and internationally, within the framework of the Fashion Commission to develop the fashion sector in the Kingdom in all its legislative and regulatory aspects, and to support and empower its workers, including creators and investors.

This article was first published in Arab News

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KSrelief signs deals to boost Yemen food security

04/06/2021

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi non-oil business activity expands at quickest pace since Dec. 2017

Time: 03 June 2021

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics reported a Y0Y increase in the non-oil economy in Q1. (Argaam)

Export orders increased at the fastest rate since 2015
Hiring was largely flat in May

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian non-oil business activity expanded at its fastest rate since December 2017, as new business and export orders increased, according to a survey released on Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose for the second month in a row, from 55.2 in April to 56.4 in May. A score above 50 indicates expansion, while below 50 points to contraction.

While activity is recovering from the pandemic slump, the impact has not yet been felt in recruitment; hiring increased for the second month in a row, but the pace slowed.

As pandemic restrictions begin to loosen, 30 percent of companies said they had seen an increase in business activity, and export orders increased at the fastest rate since 2015.“Most firms continued to operate with unchanged workforce numbers, suggesting a focus on boosting productivity back to pre-COVID levels,” said David Owen, an economist at IHS Markit. “On the plus side, inventories were increased at the quickest pace in a year-and-a-half as firms prepare for a further recovery in demand over the coming months.”

Last month, a “flash estimate” from the Kingdom’s General Authority for Statistics (GAS) showed that the non-oil economy grew by 3.3 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, its first positive outcome on an annualized basis since last March.

Despite the robust performance from the non-oil sector, real gross domestic product was 3.3 percent down year-on-year.

“The year-on-year change was the result of the sharp decrease in the oil activities of minus 12 percent due to ongoing crude oil production cuts agreed by OPEC+ since May 2020,” GAS said.

In addition to cuts agreed by OPEC+, the oil producers’ alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, the Kingdom decided on an extra voluntary cut of one million barrels of oil per day last February.

Jason Tuvey, analyst at London-based Capital Economics, said: “With oil output cuts now being eased and the vaccination program gathering pace, the economic recovery should get back on track over the rest of this year.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Princess Reema highlights strong Saudi-US ties during key webinar

Time: 01 June 2021

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States Princess Reema Bint Bandar said that her goal is to unlock the Kingdom’s untapped potential, uplifting citizens and opening the country to the world socially and economically, as well as culturally.

She made these remarks carried by The Washington Diplomat, a US-based premier source of news and information for the global diplomatic community, recently during an online event, a part of the “Women in Global Leadership” webinar series.

The event, which was moderated by Susan Sloan, author of “A Seat at the Table: Women, Diplomacy and Lessons for the World,” offered a rare peek into the life and worldview of Princess Reema, who is considered to be one of the most powerful women in the Middle East.

Princess Reema, who made history by becoming Saudi Arabia’s first female ambassador, is the daughter of Prince Bandar bin Sultan. She grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia, while her father served as the Kingdom’s ambassador from 1983 to 2005.

Sharing her thoughts about her role model and the experience of her early life in the US, Princess Reema said: “My father remains, I think, the model of a Saudi diplomat. During his 23-year tenure I grew up in the United States. I was immersed in the culture of the US,” she said.

She added: “I’m lucky to have experienced life in both countries because it prepared me not only to work in the kingdom and bring dreams and aspirations of things I saw here but also allowed me to represent my nation.”

Princess Reema as an experienced diplomat emphasized her bipartisan approach with regard to American politics said: “The people I went to school with are now senators and congressman, CEOs, leaders of their countries. But the America I grew up in was not a diplomatic world, because my father did not include us in that.

“We didn’t know who was a Republican and who was a Democrat. We knew them as family,” Bandar said, admitting a shocking revelation: her family was fans of the Dallas Cowboys, not the Redskins, she added.

The Saudi ambassador to the US also talked about how unmindful she was about her Arab background while growing in the US, pointing out she still relishes memories of those times.

“I remember the onslaught of the cicadas. I remember ‘Hands Across America’ and the best of the music and the culture of the 1980s,” Princess Reema said Bandar, adding that she didn’t even know there was an Arab community in the Washington metro area until the age of 15. “My memories of America are memories of joy.”

She said things changed dramatically in the US after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which caused some misgivings but our bilateral relations were too strong to be affected.

“Our partnership has been tested at times,” said Princess Reema, adding: “When I took up my diplomatic post, my father took me aside, and he told me that today’s times are different. He advised me to keep in mind every day what’s at stake, and the responsibility I had to oversee, preserve and strengthen a relationship not bound by any single administration, or defined by any single issue.”

Vowing to further strengthen Saudi Arabia’s relations with the US, Princess Reema said: “It is my goal to explain to the American people why this alliance between our two nations is even more important now than ever before.”

Unfortunately, she said, American views of Saudi culture are often misunderstood, leading to stereotypes and negative publicity — especially when it comes to the country’s abysmal human rights record, its treatment of women, and its strict interpretation of Islam.

“We can’t wait for change to happen. We have to make it happen,” Princess Reema said. “In Saudi Arabia, we’re transforming faster than anyone had ever imagined, and that reform process is real, and it’s here to stay.”

Dismissing concerns over Saudi Arabia’s relations with the current US administration led by President Joe Bide, the Saudi ambassador said: “I very much look forward to working with the Biden administration.”

Princes Reema during the webinar also highlighted the Kingdom Vision 2030, a strategic framework to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy and improve health, education, infrastructure and tourism.

“If we’ve done our job right, after 2030 you’re going to see a country that has a diversified economy, having stepped away from fossil fuels,” she said.

She also referred to Neom, a $500 billion futuristic urban project to house more than a million people on a 10,200-square-mile piece of desert in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

“Neom is the city of the future. That doesn’t mean we’ll have robots walking around, but a clean lifestyle,” Princess Reema said.

“Our future doesn’t have to be bleak. As we’ve seen with COVID-19, all this digital revolution has done is isolate us from each other. Coexistence with people and nature is really what we need.”

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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