Saudi Economic Developments Challenge Business Councils’ Capacity to Keep Pace

Saudi flags along a commercial street in the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi flags along a commercial street in the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Economic Developments Challenge Business Councils’ Capacity to Keep Pace

Saudi flags along a commercial street in the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi flags along a commercial street in the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Amidst Saudi Arabia’s push for economic diversification, the localization of emerging industries, the adoption of green energy technologies like ammonia and hydrogen, climate-conscious initiatives, and the integration of artificial intelligence, experts stress the vital importance of business councils affiliated with the Federation of Saudi Chambers to assume a proactive role.

Their task involves not only keeping pace with the ever-evolving modern economic and industrial landscape but also spearheading the necessary adaptations to effectively respond to transformative developments.

Experts stressed the importance of business councils adopting a strategic plan to attract top investments, form successful partnerships, produce high-quality products that can compete globally, and draw on innovative experiences from various fields, especially in aerospace and technology.

“Business councils play a crucial and primary role in fostering economic and trade relations, facilitating investment flows between Saudi Arabia and other countries,” affirmed Shura Council member Fadl al-Buainain.

“Additionally, they enhance mutual cooperation and contribute to translating commercial and investment opportunities into tangible and high-quality partnerships,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“The more business councils receive the support and guidance of leadership, the more effective their role becomes in overall development,” explained Buainain.

“Saudi Arabia is keen on enhancing the role of the private sector through joint business councils, with increasing support in line with the government’s vision to strengthen strategic partnerships with friendly countries.”

“These councils are envisioned as a bridge for development and investment flows, aligning with a comprehensive vision.”

Buainain further highlighted that within the private sector, there are large companies in which the government holds the majority of ownership. As a result, economic decisions intertwine with sovereign developmental decisions, ultimately serving the public interest.

Regarding the new trends that business councils are expected to focus on, Buainain emphasized the importance of exploring opportunities for green economic development.

He highlighted that this is one of the Kingdom’s main objectives, noting that there is a package of initiatives, including financial investments exceeding SAR 700 billion ($186.6 billion).

According to Buainain, this means expanding investments in two main areas: first, enhancing energy sources to ensure supply sustainability and market stability, and second, promoting green economic development that safeguards the environment and human health.

These efforts are directed towards achieving long-term carbon neutrality.

Buainain also highlighted that the completion of the green hydrogen plant project, which is the world’s largest green hydrogen project with a cost of $5 billion, will enable the Kingdom to export clean fuel in the coming years.

He emphasized that diversifying economic sources is the primary goal of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, stating that hydrogen production is a significant part of his strategy.



Saudi Energy and Economy Ministries Launch Carbon Capture, Utilization Challenge with UpLink

The Saudi flag. Asharq Al-Awsat
The Saudi flag. Asharq Al-Awsat
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Saudi Energy and Economy Ministries Launch Carbon Capture, Utilization Challenge with UpLink

The Saudi flag. Asharq Al-Awsat
The Saudi flag. Asharq Al-Awsat

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Economy and Planning (MEP) and Ministry of Energy (MoEnergy), in collaboration with UpLink, have launched the Carbon Capture and Utilization Challenge which seeks innovative solutions that accelerate the circular carbon economy.

The challenge was launched during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in a main session titled ‘SDG 13 and Interlinkages with Other SDGs – Climate Action’ held on July 10.

The challenge encourages startups to submit distinct solutions that drive carbon reductions through sustainable systems transformation, including carbon capture technologies, novel carbon utilization applications, and industrial integration.

The initiative emphasizes the importance of carbon capture and utilization (CCU), highlighting the crucial role innovation plays in driving a sustainable and economically prosperous future and the important role of carbon removal in reaching net-zero goals by mid-century.

“The climate change issue and sustainability is a global issue,” Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said. “It cannot be attended to in regional scopes or as a smaller territorial thing. It has to be global.”

He stated that the Kingdom seeks to enhance its efforts to achieve its ambitious goal of reaching net zero by 2060 through the Circular Carbon Economy Framework, which not only reduces the impact of carbon emissions, but also values carbon as a resource with real economic value, rather than pollutant.

He also indicated that the Kingdom, in line with this vision, and in order to exploit the economic value of carbon worldwide, has launched, in partnership with leading organizations, a global carbon capture and utilization challenge.

The Minister stressed that Saudi Arabia, by adopting such challenge, is leading influential changes in efforts to confront climate change, as this challenge represents an opportunity for individuals and organizations to transform tomorrow’s challenges into today’s solutions, through joint efforts and pioneering innovations.

Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Alibrahim said: “The Kingdom is keen on a just, orderly, and pragmatic energy transition and is working towards the advancement of the circular carbon economy framework.”

“Through this challenge, related to innovation inside the circular carbon economy, we look forward to seeing new solutions that would help push innovation forward,” he said.

He encouraged all innovators and companies to come up with “out-of-the-box solutions.”

Submissions will be evaluated on factors such as scalability, commercial viability, technological readiness, and fundraising success.

Winners will be recognized as top innovators and form part of the UpLink Innovation Ecosystem, a curated program for founders, CEOs, executive directors, and other leaders. They will also share a cash award of up to CHF 300,000 and receive technical, business, and operational support to scale their ideas.