Oxagon CEO to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Hope to Redefine Concept of Industrial Cities

Oxagon industrial city is located in NEOM in northwestern Saudi Arabia. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Oxagon industrial city is located in NEOM in northwestern Saudi Arabia. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Oxagon CEO to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Hope to Redefine Concept of Industrial Cities

Oxagon industrial city is located in NEOM in northwestern Saudi Arabia. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Oxagon industrial city is located in NEOM in northwestern Saudi Arabia. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Oxagon industrial city is hoping to redefine the concept of industrial cities in the world.

 

‘Located in NEOM, a region in northwestern Saudi Arabia, it is aiming to confront some of the world’s most pressing industrial challenges with the least impact on the environment and planet. This is a representation of NEOM’s vision to redefine livability, business, and conservation.’

 

Oxagon CEO Vishal Wanchoo told Asharq Al-Awsat that industrialists will be able to decrease their carbon footprint by using renewable energy at a 100% through operations that will be activated at the appropriate time to confront the challenges imposed by traditional industrial locations.

 

Oxagon, he stressed, embodies NEOM’s approach in changing the concept of the traditional industrial city and looking towards establishing a new model that revolves around man and innovation and consolidates values of sustainability to act as a gateway to advanced and clean sectors and industries at NEOM.

 

Oxagon boasts a strategic location on the Red Sea, he added, citing the NEOM port that will act as the main trade gateway to northwestern Saudi Arabia.

 

Moreover, he said industrial companies that are seeking to expand their operations and establish factories in Oxagon will be encouraged to adopt the best sustainable practices followed by NEOM.

 

This will help drive the circular economy, he explained. This can be achieved through the application of four strategies: design, industry, utilization and recoupment.

 

‘This approach will support the highly advanced marine port and integrated supply chain network. It will allow manufacturers at Oxagon to directly and transparently reach markets in NEOM, Saudi Arabia and the whole region in a way that can be more sustainable than moving goods by road or air, Wanchoo went on to say. The CEO explained that each container coming into Port of NEOM could save up to one tonne of CO2 emissions, compared to on-land transportation.’

 

Moreover, he revealed that plans are in place to build a system of research and innovation that will make Oxagon the optimal destination for innovators and entrepreneurs where they can be empowered to innovate and manufacture their products and put them on the market in NEOM or abroad.

 

NEOM port will act as a vital link in the direct connection with global markets, he said. This will boost the competitiveness of the region and help the growth of the Kingdom’s economy.

 

Manufacturing at Oxagon will help in social and economic development across NEOM, he stressed.

 

Industry at NEOM will be based on the fourth industrial revolution and the development of talents. This will allow companies to develop sustainable products and services.

 

At the end of the day, everything taking place at Oxagon supports NEOM’s ambitions and is aligned with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Wanchoo added.

 

Moreover, he stressed that the city’s location on the Red Sea provides a perfect opportunity for industrial companies seeking to expand their operations to enter new ones. They will also benefit from Saudi Arabia’s strategic location as an entry point to main and greater markets and provide faster contacts with local and international markets.

 

Wanchoo said what Oxagon was doing was radically different from what traditional industrial cities were doing.

 

He explained that it is working on empowering an industrial model that beats with the development of its society. “This encourages us to provide a high quality of living standard for residents and workers alike,” he added. Oxagon will provide a vibrant social environment for talents, researchers, experts and entrepreneurs.

 

He revealed that work is underway on the expansion of NEOM port that will serve the world’s largest vessels. The port is expected to have a capacity of over 1.5 million containers by 2025.

 

The year 2026 will witness the first phase of the construction of the first permanent residential compound in NEOM and Yotel Hotel will open its doors in Oxagon.

 

NEOM has also started building the world’s largest green hydrogen plant in Oxagon and it will enter production in 2026.

 

The plant will be a major player in creating job opportunities and bolster local production, added Wanchoo.

 

“The size, scale, and ambition of Oxagon is complex,” he added. “That is why we are keen on forging partnerships with companies from around the world to ensure that our vision is translated into reality.”



UAE, Oman Establish $35 Bln Investment Partnerships

FILE PHOTO: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman attend a state visit reception at Qasr Al Watan, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates April 22, 2024. Ryan Carter/UAE Presidential Court/Handout via REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman attend a state visit reception at Qasr Al Watan, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates April 22, 2024. Ryan Carter/UAE Presidential Court/Handout via REUTERS
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UAE, Oman Establish $35 Bln Investment Partnerships

FILE PHOTO: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman attend a state visit reception at Qasr Al Watan, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates April 22, 2024. Ryan Carter/UAE Presidential Court/Handout via REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman attend a state visit reception at Qasr Al Watan, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates April 22, 2024. Ryan Carter/UAE Presidential Court/Handout via REUTERS

UAE and Omani companies have signed deals worth 129 billion dirhams ($35.12 billion) in sectors including energy and transport during the Omani ruler's visit to the United Arab Emirates.

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman witnessed the announcement of several memoranda of understanding and agreements aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries to achieve further growth and prosperity.

The announcement was made as part of the official visit of Oman’s Sultan to the UAE.

The agreements were dominated by a 117 billion dirham industrial and energy "megaproject" grouping wind, solar projects and green metals production.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA), Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), Emirates Steel Arkan (ESA), OQ Alternative Energy and Oman Electrical Transmission Co were among the companies involved, the ministry statement said.

Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund ADQ also signed an agreement to set up a 660 million dirham technology-focused fund with the Oman Investment Authority, while the UAE and Oman signed an 11 billion dirham agreement to connect the countries by rail.

“The agreements represent a major milestone in our bilateral ties, as they pave the way for us to leverage our collective strength to realize our shared vision of advancement and prosperity," UAE Minister of Investment Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi said.


Mawani Adds East Africa Shipping Service to King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam

Mawani added a new shipping service to East Africa to King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam.
Mawani added a new shipping service to East Africa to King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam.
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Mawani Adds East Africa Shipping Service to King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam

Mawani added a new shipping service to East Africa to King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam.
Mawani added a new shipping service to East Africa to King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam.

The Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) has added a new shipping service, East Africa Express, by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), to King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam.
It will connect the Kingdom to the ports of East Africa, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
This move aligns with Mawani's efforts to boost investment and logistics services in the Kingdom, and support the National Transport and Logistics Strategy (NTLS), which aims to strengthen the Kingdom's position as a vital link connecting three continents and a global logistics hub.
The new shipping service links King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam with Mundra Port in India, Qasim Port in Pakistan, and Abu Dhabi and Jebel Ali Ports in the UAE through regular weekly trips, offering a capacity of up to 11,000 TEUs.


World Bank Explains to Asharq Al-Awsat Saudi Growth Forecast Surge for 2025

Roberta Gatti, Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region at the World Bank (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Roberta Gatti, Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region at the World Bank (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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World Bank Explains to Asharq Al-Awsat Saudi Growth Forecast Surge for 2025

Roberta Gatti, Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region at the World Bank (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Roberta Gatti, Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region at the World Bank (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The World Bank is forecasting a 5.9% growth for Saudi Arabia’s economy in 2025, surpassing previous estimates. This surge is fueled by heightened non-oil activities and anticipated increases in oil prices, as explained by Roberta Gatti, Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region at the World Bank.

The bank now expects the Kingdom’s economy to expand by 5.9% next year, a significant increase from its earlier prediction of 4.2%. It also forecasts a 4.8% growth in the non-oil private sector in Saudi Arabia this year.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Gatti explained that the higher forecast for Saudi Arabia’s economy next year relies on two main factors:

Firstly, boosting non-oil activities through loose fiscal policy, large investments (especially public ones), and strong private spending, all while keeping inflation low with generous subsidies.

Secondly, expecting a significant rise in oil production in 2025 due to current trends and extending oil production cuts until mid-2024, leading to a 5.9% GDP growth.

Economic Shocks and Debt Impact

Discussing a report about conflict and debt in the MENA region, Gatti highlighted how conflict exacerbates major weaknesses in the region, notably the surge in debt compared to GDP.

Over the past decade, most regional economies saw their debt levels rise, a trend accelerated by the pandemic.

By 2023, debt had climbed to 88% of GDP in oil-importing countries, up from 81% in 2013. Importantly, debt levels are much higher for oil-importing nations, averaging 88% of GDP in 2023 compared to 34% for oil-exporting ones.

Gatti stressed the importance of transparency in debt management, particularly for oil-importing nations. She also underscored the need to address off-budget expenditures, which are not officially recorded.

She warned that financial adjustments made to handle high interest payments might not fully tackle the increasing debt burdens resulting from off-budget spending. This is especially pertinent for oil-importing countries in the MENA region, Gatti noted.

Oil-exporting nations face the task of broadening their economic and financial sources due to shifts in global oil markets and rising demand for renewable energy.

Gatti explained that uncertainty in the MENA region, already higher than in other emerging markets and developing countries, intensified after October 7 (the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas) and remains higher than in those regions.

While noting that the report assumes no escalation in conflict, she cautioned about its lasting effects.

As per Gatti, studies show that debt patterns after conflict differ from other disasters. Debt tends to rise after nearly any natural disaster, and GDP growth drops in the disaster year. But growth rebounds in the following years.

After armed conflict, debt spikes significantly, like in any disaster. However, economic recovery post-conflict doesn’t happen, meaning government actions after fighting may not boost economic growth. This means pre-existing debt vulnerabilities could worsen if conflict escalates in the Middle East and North Africa.


Oil Prices Stabilize, Middle East Tensions Remain in Focus

FILE PHOTO: A maze of crude oil pipes and valves is pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, US June 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A maze of crude oil pipes and valves is pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, US June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo
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Oil Prices Stabilize, Middle East Tensions Remain in Focus

FILE PHOTO: A maze of crude oil pipes and valves is pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, US June 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A maze of crude oil pipes and valves is pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, US June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo

Oil prices edged higher on Tuesday, after falling in the previous session, as investors continued to assess the risk from geopolitical concerns in the Middle East.
Global benchmark Brent crude oil futures traded 27 cents higher at $87.27 a barrel by 0308 GMT, and US West Texas Intermediate crude futures also gained 26 cents to $82.16 a barrel.
Both benchmarks fell 29 cents in the previous session on signs that a recent escalation of tensions between Israel and Iran had little near-term impact on oil supplies from the region, Reuters reported.
"The unwinding of geo-political risk premium has dented crude oil prices recently as supply was not disrupted meaningfully," said Sugandha Sachdeva, founder of Delhi-based research firm SS WealthStreet.
But the evolving geopolitical landscape remains critical in steering crude oil prices, she said.
"While there are no indications of an imminent full-scale war between the countries involved, any escalation in tensions could quickly reverse the current trend," Sachdeva added.
ANZ analysts echoed the sentiment and highlighted US approval of new sanctions on Iran's oil sector that broaden current sanctions to include foreign ports, vessels and refineries that knowingly process or ship Iranian crude.
Also, EU foreign ministers agreed in principle on Monday to expand sanctions on Iran following Tehran's missile and drone attack on Israel, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
"The geopolitical backdrop is still very fraught with so many risks at the moment, so clearly we're going to see a lot of volatility until there's a lot more clarity around it," the ANZ analysts said in a podcast.
Israeli troops fought their way back into an eastern section of Khan Younis in a surprise raid, residents said on Monday, sending people who had returned to abandoned homes in the ruins of the southern Gaza Strip's main city fleeing once more.
Investors are waiting for the release of the US gross domestic product figures and the March personal consumption expenditure data - the Fed's preferred inflation gauge - later this week to assess the trajectory of monetary policy.
US crude oil inventories are expected to have increased last week while refined product stockpiles likely fell, according to a preliminary Reuters poll of analysts.
"Sticky US inflation figures, hawkish statements from key Fed officials, and rising US inventories are all acting as constraints on crude oil price growth," Sachdeva said.


Saudi Diriyah Company Announces 'Zallal' in the Bujairi District

Upon completion, the project will feature two low-rise office buildings, offering a combined leasable area of approximately 6,000 square meters, alongside 12 mixed retail and F&B outlets spanning around 8,000 square meters. (SPA)
Upon completion, the project will feature two low-rise office buildings, offering a combined leasable area of approximately 6,000 square meters, alongside 12 mixed retail and F&B outlets spanning around 8,000 square meters. (SPA)
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Saudi Diriyah Company Announces 'Zallal' in the Bujairi District

Upon completion, the project will feature two low-rise office buildings, offering a combined leasable area of approximately 6,000 square meters, alongside 12 mixed retail and F&B outlets spanning around 8,000 square meters. (SPA)
Upon completion, the project will feature two low-rise office buildings, offering a combined leasable area of approximately 6,000 square meters, alongside 12 mixed retail and F&B outlets spanning around 8,000 square meters. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah Company unveiled on Monday details of Zallal, its inaugural major versatile commercial office and retail project, slated to debut in the first half of 2025 in the Bujairi District.

Upon completion, the project will feature two low-rise office buildings, offering a combined leasable area of approximately 6,000 square meters, alongside 12 mixed retail and F&B outlets spanning around 8,000 square meters, said the company in a statement.

The project has garnered enthusiastic interest from potential tenants, with advanced leasing negotiations currently underway with numerous companies and organizations.

Zallal's strategic location adjacent to the popular Bujairi Terrace positions it to benefit from the proximity to a venue already drawing thousands of visitors daily. Situated near the recently concluded Diriyah Art Futures and the forthcoming Bab Samhan Hotel, the offering promises a dynamic environment for both visitors and tenants.

Diriyah Company's Group CEO Jerry Inzerillo said: “We have been thrilled by the overwhelmingly positive response to Zallal from the commercial sector, and we are currently in advanced negotiations with international and local companies eager to capitalize on the prime location in the heart of Diriyah and the diverse array of accessible retail, F&B, and office spaces available."

"With construction well underway, Zallal sustains the exhilarating momentum at Diriyah and, upon completion, will capitalize on the daily influx of visitors to Bujairi Terrace, emerging as the latest completed precinct in our rapidly evolving master plan,” he added.

Visitors and staff will enjoy the convenience of an easily accessible, 1,400-space basement car park beneath Zallal, featuring direct links to Wadi Hanifah, Al Imam Abdulaziz bin Muhammad ibn Saud Road, and public transportation. Coach drop-off points for tourists and visitors will ensure a seamless arrival experience in a pedestrian-friendly environment.

Among the companies currently engaged in leasing negotiations are esteemed international brands venturing into Saudi Arabia for the first time, locally grown enterprises, and innovative Saudi concepts.


Saudi PIF, stc Group Sign Agreements to Form Region’s Largest Telecom Tower Company

The new merged entity will boast approximately 30,000 mobile tower sites and will become one of the largest tower companies globally with estimated annual revenues of approximately $1.3 billion. (SPA)
The new merged entity will boast approximately 30,000 mobile tower sites and will become one of the largest tower companies globally with estimated annual revenues of approximately $1.3 billion. (SPA)
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Saudi PIF, stc Group Sign Agreements to Form Region’s Largest Telecom Tower Company

The new merged entity will boast approximately 30,000 mobile tower sites and will become one of the largest tower companies globally with estimated annual revenues of approximately $1.3 billion. (SPA)
The new merged entity will boast approximately 30,000 mobile tower sites and will become one of the largest tower companies globally with estimated annual revenues of approximately $1.3 billion. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Saudi Telecommunications Company (stc Group) announced on Monday the signing of definitive agreements whereby PIF will acquire a 51% stake in Telecommunication Towers Company Limited (TAWAL) from stc Group.

TAWAL is the largest telecommunications infrastructure company in Saudi Arabia and one of the largest in the region, with an enterprise value of $5.85 billion per the agreement.

Subsequently, PIF and stc Group will consolidate TAWAL and Golden Lattice Investment Company (GLIC) – in which PIF holds a majority shareholding – into a new merged entity, forming the largest regional company in the telecommunication infrastructure sector, said a PIF statement.

The combined new entity will be owned 54% by PIF and 43.1% by stc Group, with GLIC minority shareholders owning the remaining issued share capital.

The transactions are expected to be completed in the second half of 2024 after obtaining all required regulatory approvals and satisfying other necessary conditions under the agreements.

Head of MENA Direct Investments at PIF Raid Ismail said: “Today's announcement is a significant milestone for the telecommunications industry in Saudi Arabia and the wider region. By bringing together the assets of GLIC and TAWAL, we will establish a consolidated platform on which the telecommunications sector can flourish and give people a better experience to best connect communities and businesses.”

“It is also in line with PIF’s strategy and the Saudi Vision 2030. Fast, reliable and accessible connectivity is a key enabler of growth and a cornerstone for the society, and these agreements mark a major stride towards a more interconnected digital future,” he stressed.

Group Chief Investment Officer of stc Group Motaz Alangari said: “These agreements are part of stc Group’s continuous endeavor to grow and maximize value in the most sustainable manner, by recycling capital while retaining ownership in strategic value-added assets to benefit from the return on these assets and enable expansion into new domains.”

“Today’s announcement is in line with stc Group’s strategy and the pivotal role that the group is playing in accelerating the digital transformation of society and the economy in Saudi Arabia and the region,” he went on to say.

“Combining TAWAL and GLIC is a stepping-stone to consolidating the Saudi tower market and driving further efficiencies and operational excellence to deliver superior experiences and value for customers,” he added.

The new entity is expected to significantly enhance consumer experience and network coverage, as well as improve connectivity and mobile internet speeds by consolidating Saudi Arabia’s tower assets. It will also deliver operational efficiencies, help drive wider innovation in the telecommunication sector across the region and globally, and support development of a more efficient and frictionless business environment.

The agreements mark PIF and stc Group’s ambition to integrate and strengthen the Saudi telecommunication infrastructure sector to unlock its consolidated potential. This follows TAWAL’s acquisition of infrastructure assets in Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia, making it the region’s largest independent tower company.

The new merged entity will boast approximately 30,000 mobile tower sites and will become one of the largest tower companies globally with estimated annual revenues of approximately $1.3 billion.

Today’s announcement aims to ensure the resilience and international competitiveness of a critical national digital infrastructure asset and aligns with the goals of Vision 2030. It also builds on PIF’s and stc Group’s strategy to enhance Saudi Arabia’s innovation capabilities as a globally competitive hub for the technology, media and telecommunication sector.


Saudi Aramco in Talks to Acquire 10% Stake in China's Hengli Petrochemical

Saudi Aramco entered into discussions with China’s Hengli Group Co., Ltd. regarding the potential acquisition of a 10% stake in Hengli Petrochemical Co., Ltd. (SPA)
Saudi Aramco entered into discussions with China’s Hengli Group Co., Ltd. regarding the potential acquisition of a 10% stake in Hengli Petrochemical Co., Ltd. (SPA)
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Saudi Aramco in Talks to Acquire 10% Stake in China's Hengli Petrochemical

Saudi Aramco entered into discussions with China’s Hengli Group Co., Ltd. regarding the potential acquisition of a 10% stake in Hengli Petrochemical Co., Ltd. (SPA)
Saudi Aramco entered into discussions with China’s Hengli Group Co., Ltd. regarding the potential acquisition of a 10% stake in Hengli Petrochemical Co., Ltd. (SPA)

Saudi Aramco, one of the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals companies, said on Monday that it has entered into discussions with China’s Hengli Group Co., Ltd. (Hengli Group) regarding the potential acquisition of a 10% stake in Hengli Petrochemical Co., Ltd. (Hengli Petrochemical), subject to due diligence and required regulatory clearances.

Aramco and Hengli Group signed on Monday a memorandum of understanding regarding the proposed transaction, which "aligns with Aramco’s strategy to expand its downstream presence in key high-value markets, advance its liquids-to-chemicals program, and secure long-term crude oil supply agreements", said Aramco in a statement.

Hengli Petrochemical, a controlled subsidiary of Hengli Group, owns and operates a 400,000 barrel per day refinery and integrated chemicals complex in Liaoning Province, China, and several plants and production facilities in Jiangsu and Guangdong Provinces.

Aramco Downstream President Mohammed Al Qahtani said: "This MoU supports our efforts to grow our global downstream footprint. We continue to explore new opportunities in important markets, as we seek to progress in our liquids-to-chemicals strategy."

"We look forward to forging new partnerships and are excited by the prospect of expanding our presence in the important Chinese market," he added.


Digital Transformation, Technical Development Boost Profitability of Saudi Tech Firms in 2023

Tech companies will continue to see their profits grow thanks to their efforts to raise their operational efficiency. (SPA)
Tech companies will continue to see their profits grow thanks to their efforts to raise their operational efficiency. (SPA)
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Digital Transformation, Technical Development Boost Profitability of Saudi Tech Firms in 2023

Tech companies will continue to see their profits grow thanks to their efforts to raise their operational efficiency. (SPA)
Tech companies will continue to see their profits grow thanks to their efforts to raise their operational efficiency. (SPA)

Financial analysts have linked the growth of net profits of Saudi application and technology services companies by 22 percent during 2023 with the Kingdom’s significant digital and technical transformation since the launch of its Vision 2030.

They explained that the sector’s companies are likely to see their net profits increase thanks to the implementation of digital transformation plans, the growth of the Kingdom’s digital indicators, and the high demand from government and private agencies to provide integrated digital solutions in the field of transformation to e-government.

The five applications and technology services companies listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) achieved a 22 percent growth in their net profits by the end of 2023, compared to the previous year. They increased to SAR 2.68 billion ($700 million) in 2023, from SAR 2.2 billion ($600 million) in 2022.

According to the financial results announced in the Saudi financial market, the revenues of the tech sector during 2023 reached about SAR 20 billion ($5.2 billion), with a growth rate of 29 percent over the previous year.

In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Economic Analyst and CEO of G.World, Mohamed Hamdy Omar said the Saudi applications and technical services market offered many opportunities for growth in the sector, thanks to the Kingdom’s digital transformation plans.

These plans have encouraged the rise of modern digital and technical services and the launch of many companies operating in the sector.

He noted that the implementation of digital transformation procedures will lead to “a clear rise in the revenues of application and technology services companies in the coming years, in parallel with the growth in the Kingdom’s digital indicators and improvement in the quality of the digital infrastructure, and interest in introducing emerging technologies into the services of government and private agencies.”

Financial Analyst Tariq Al-Ateeq said applications and technical services companies will continue to see their net profits grow during the current year as a result of the sector’s continued efforts to raise its operational efficiency, provide new digital and technical activities, and focus on development, marketing and technical investment services.


World Energy Congress Convenes in Rotterdam, Saudi Arabia to Host 27th Edition

The World Energy Council announcing Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as the official host of the 27th World Energy Congress to be held 26-29 October 2026 (Saudi Ministry of Energy)
The World Energy Council announcing Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as the official host of the 27th World Energy Congress to be held 26-29 October 2026 (Saudi Ministry of Energy)
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World Energy Congress Convenes in Rotterdam, Saudi Arabia to Host 27th Edition

The World Energy Council announcing Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as the official host of the 27th World Energy Congress to be held 26-29 October 2026 (Saudi Ministry of Energy)
The World Energy Council announcing Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as the official host of the 27th World Energy Congress to be held 26-29 October 2026 (Saudi Ministry of Energy)

More than 7,000 international energy stakeholders will gather in Rotterdam on Monday to attend the 26th edition of the World Energy Congress, the world’s most prestigious, inclusive and influential energy event.
The Congress is the most visionary and truly inclusive world energy leadership convening. It will bring together 18,000 attendees, including 7,000 delegates, 70 ministers, C-suite executives, NGOs, experts and academia, entrepreneurs and young energy leaders to reflect on the role of connected energy societies in driving forward global energy transitions.
Co-hosted by the World Energy Council and the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and taking place from 22-25 April 2024, this edition celebrates 100 years since the Council's formation.
Angela Wilkinson, Secretary General of World Energy Council, said that the World Energy Congress is the most significant convention of visionary and practical leadership in energy, gathering the diverse needs and interests of energy ecosystems from all corners of the world.
She added that joined by new platinum sponsors, Aramco and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy, the congress is confident it will be an important moment in resetting strategic conversations on energy transitions and redesigning energy for the benefit of people and the planet.
Wilkinson also said that both Aramco and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy will bring important perspectives to the dynamic conversations and collaborative charge forward from one of the world’s most important energy regions currently engaged in its own transformational energy journey.
For his part, Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser said there is no doubt that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a critical priority for the world.
“But along with reducing emissions, equally important are energy security, energy affordability and economic development. Aramco is very much committed to supporting all of these goals,” he added.
Last November, the World Energy Council announced Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as the official host of the 27th World Energy Congress to be held 26-29 October 2026.
The award follows a highly competitive bidding process open to all the Council’s 70+ national member committees representing more than 3,000 organizations across the entire energy ecosystem.
The World Energy Congress has helped drive energy transitions forward for more than a century by bringing together stakeholders representing energy interests from all corners of the world.
“Saudi Arabia is pleased to have been awarded the opportunity to host the 2026 World Energy Congress at this important moment in global energy,” said Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, Minister of Energy and Chairman of the Saudi Arabia member committee.
In Rotterdam, the program of the 26th World Energy Congress will revolve around five core topics central to progressing a clean and inclusive energy transition: navigating new energy maps, refueling the future, humanizing energy by engaging people and communities in making global energy transitions happen, pathfinding with the world energy trilemma by connecting energy security, affordability and sustainability and closing the gaps by enabling faster, fairer and more far-reaching energy transitions.
Also, leading the program will be a truly diverse group of experts from across industry, government and civil society, with over 260 confirmed speakers, 200+ being C-suite.
Wilkinson also stated that it is neither easy nor enough to translate net zero roadmaps into reality against a backdrop of new energy insecurity concerns and the increasing damages that climate change is inflicting on the earth’s natural life support system.
She added that it is important to develop a shared and deeper understanding of the role of increasingly diverse energy systems in enabling a safe operating space for humanity. It is urgent to involve more people and communities and identify leading practices in inclusive implementation.
According to the World Energy Council’s Secretary General, “The best way forward is to support diverse regions in leading with and learning from each other and appreciate the diversity of place-based, clean and just energy transitions.”

 


Saudi Arabia Offers Attractive Digital Infrastructure for Health Companies

Saudi Minister of Health Fahd Al-Jalajel during the opening of one of the new branches of Magrabi Hospitals in Makkah. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Health Fahd Al-Jalajel during the opening of one of the new branches of Magrabi Hospitals in Makkah. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Arabia Offers Attractive Digital Infrastructure for Health Companies

Saudi Minister of Health Fahd Al-Jalajel during the opening of one of the new branches of Magrabi Hospitals in Makkah. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Health Fahd Al-Jalajel during the opening of one of the new branches of Magrabi Hospitals in Makkah. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Arabia’s health system has become an attractive investment environment for the private sector at the local and international levels, thanks to the government’s rapid restructuring moves, a solid digital infrastructure and the adoption of modern technologies, including artificial intelligence.
Saudi Minister of Health Fahd Al-Jalajel recently stated that by 2024, the Health Holding Company will take over all health clusters, as part of the privatization plan that seeks to bring a significant change in health services according to a modern care model.
These efforts aim to establish a system capable of facing current and future health care challenges and reducing operational costs for beneficiaries in the Kingdom.
The health sector privatization plan also contributes to improving the quality of health services and ensuring their financial sustainability, and stimulates companies to adopt the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence.
The CEO of Magrabi Hospitals and Centers, Mutasim Ali Reda, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Kingdom is witnessing a radical transformation in the health care sector, in line with the goals of Vision 2030, with the aim of promoting a dynamic society and a strong economy.
He stressed that this transformation focuses on improving access to health care, modernizing facilities and equipment, and enhancing the role of private investment in the sector.
Reda noted that strengthening the primary care system is an important step towards achieving more equitable health services and ensuring that every individual enjoys rapid access to medical treatments.
This objective not only contributes to reducing overall health costs, but also improves patient safety and the quality of healthcare, he underlined.
The CEO of Magrabi Hospitals added that the private sector plays a pivotal role in advancing the Kingdom’s efforts towards achieving its national health goals and ensuring comprehensive access for all to high-quality health care services.