Saudi Arabia issues 115 permits for new industrial units with $1bn investments: Data

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Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources issued 115 industrial licenses with investments worth SR4 billion ($1.06 billion) in August 2022, official data showed.

The data from the ministry revealed that the number of industrial units across the Kingdom reached 10,707, up from 10,685 in July 2022.

In August 2021, the number of industrial facilities across Saudi Arabia was 10,159.

According to the data, 68 factories became operational in August 2022, with an investment volume of SR2.3 billion.

Forty-one licenses were issued to industrial units in the Riyadh region followed by 26 in the Eastern Province and 22 in the Makkah region.

In the Madinah region, eight new factory licenses were issued in August, and it was followed by the Qassim region with seven, four in Asir, three each in Tabuk and Hail regions and one license for a factory in the Jazan region.


Saudi Arabia issues 90 industrial licenses in June

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The Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources issued 90 new industrial licenses in June, which were distributed over five industrial sectors.

Industries associated with the manufacturing of non-metallic minerals bagged 18 licenses followed by food products with 14 and 12 permits were issued for the manufacturing of fabricated metal products.

Nine licenses were issued to manufacture rubber and plastic products while seven permits were issued for the production of chemicals.

A report issued by the National Center for Industrial and Mining Information indicated that the total number of industrial licenses issued by the ministry since the beginning of this year amounted to 501.

The number of existing and under construction factories in the Kingdom until the end of the same month reached 10,675, with investments amounting to SR1.361 trillion ($361 billion).

The report also showed that with the issuance of new licenses the volume of investment in June alone amounted to more than SR2 billion.

It also indicated that small enterprises acquired most of the new industrial licenses during the same month with a rate of 83.33 percent, followed by medium enterprises with 14.44 percent, then micro-enterprises with 2.22 percent.

It also showed that the new industrial licenses were distributed over 11 administrative regions, topped by the Riyadh region with 32 licenses.

The number of jobs provided by the industrial sector during the month of June reached 5,706, of which 3,245 went to Saudis, and 2,461 to expatriates, according to the report.


PIF has complete plan to expand its assets to between $2-3tn by 2030: Al-Rumayyan

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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has a complete plan in place to grow the fund’s assets to between $2 to $3 trillion by the end of this decade, said its Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, as the Kingdom steadily progresses towards achieving its goals outlined in Vision 2030.

In an interview given to the Thmanyah podcast, Al-Rumayyan said that any company established by PIF aims to be offered for subscription in the Saudi market. He added that the number of the fund’s subsidiaries reached 85, with 50 companies founded by the PIF.

Al-Rumayyan, however, skipped a question regarding PIF-owned firms to be listed on the market in the next 12 months.

According to data released by Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute in April, PIF is currently in the fifth spot among the largest sovereign funds in the world with assets valued at $620 billion.

“We want to reach $1 trillion by 2025. And we are almost now less than $700 billion, we need close to $400 billion to reach this size of assets,” said Al-Rumayyan.

He added: “We have a complete plan from now till 2030, on how to reach a trillion and reach between $2 to $3 trillion, and His Highness Crown Prince is determined to reach it.”

During the interview, Al-Rumayyan revealed that PIF created 400,000 jobs in the last five years, and added that the fund aims to create another 1.8 million jobs in the next five years.

He also pointed out that PIF has placed entertainment and sports among its strategic sectors, and added that investments in the electronic games sector will be one of the best choices in terms of returns.

Al-Rumayyan further added that the PIF made over 40 percent profits from SR35 billion worth of investments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PIF executive noted that local content is targeted to reach 60 percent of the projects and added that PIF is a driver of the Saudi economy, which should invest in new sectors, of which the local content is part.

He also added that the fund is paving the way for private sectors to mark their presence in the cinema industry, with six companies already operating in the market.


Saudi esports federation chief says Kingdom has huge potential in market

Saudi Arabia has huge potential in the esports market given its location between east and west, the chairman of the board of Directors of the Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) said Monday.

Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, speaking about the Kingdom’s e-sports strategy recently launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also said Saudi youth would play a role in its development, considering more than 21 million young people are interested in gaming.

Prince Faisal’s comments came during a tour that included Singapore and South Korea, during which he participated in the All That Matters Conference in Singapore and the World esports Summit in South Korea.

The conferences involved a large number of senior executives from around the world in the world of Web3, music, sports, games, digital and marketing.

During the tour, which aimed to introduce the Saudi strategy and its objectives, Prince Faisal touched on the sectors that it aims to develop — including new technologies and devices, the esports production sector, the governance and regulations sector, in addition to infrastructure and attracting and developing talents.


E-commerce startup MaxAB pulls in $40m in pre-series B round

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Egypt-based B2B e-commerce startup MaxAB raised $40 million in a pre-series B funding round to expand to Morocco as well as grow its fintech solutions.

Established in 2018, the company offers underserved traditional retailers the ability to connect with food and grocery suppliers with a wide range of embedded finance solutions.

The company will be able to strengthen its presence in Egypt and advance into Morocco as well as expand into Saudi Arabia by 2023, TechCrunch reported.

“We are thrilled to have gained the recognition and financial backing of world-class investors, adding to the reception and support we receive from the retailers and suppliers we serve,” CEO and co-founder Belal El-Megharbel said in a statement.

The round saw participation from DisruptAD, the British International Investment, 4DX Ventures, Flourish Ventures, Beco Capital and Africa Platform Capital.


Black sand reserves promise a shining future for Egypt


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said on Wednesday that the government is committed to the protection of workers in black sand reserves.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Egyptian Black Sand Co.’s complex in Kafr El-Sheikh, he highlighted the state’s commitment to ensuring there is no negative health impact on the workers in the complex.

El-Sisi said the idea for the project to explore the potential of the reserves emerged five years ago, and the feasibility studies took three years. The president said the project is available to the private sector for investment, adding that private companies should form groups compatible with one other in order to complete the project within two years.

The project is part of Egypt’s efforts to maximize the use of the country’s natural wealth, said Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly during a Cabinet meeting. He invited private sector institutions to establish factories focused on black sand, “which would take advantage of the country’s existing wealth.”

Black sand is rich in valuable minerals including ilmenite, zircon, magnetite, rutile and garnet, which can be used for a number of industries, such as textiles and renewable energy.

The project consists of four parts: An artificial lake with a total surface area of 83,000 square meters and a depth of 5 meters; the Tahya Misr dredger (a Dutch-made electric dredger with a dredging rate of 2,500 tons per hour); a floating plant with a total area of 2,800 square meters; and a site to collect yellow sand and impurities.

The Egyptian government discovered its black sand reserves over 90 years ago but was unable to utilize them.

The inauguration of the project was well received by the media and experts in various fields.

Ahmed Sultan, an associate expert at the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies, elaborated on the properties of Egyptian black sand and its various uses, such as in the manufacture of ceramics, car bodies and aircraft structures.

Egypt’s reserves of black sand cover 1.3 billion cubic meters in 11 sites along 400 km.


Riyadh, Beijing work to further strengthen economic ties

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Saudi Arabia and China are working together to strengthen their already well-established strategic ties, as the Kingdom’s minister of industry and mineral resources hold meetings with key Chinese officials in Beijing.

Bandar Alkhorayef on Wednesday held talks with China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen during which they discussed ways to boost economic collaboration and trade ties, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The top officials also discussed investment opportunities in several economic sectors including mining.

The Saudi minister highlighted the Saudi Arabia’s progress in the field of industries and mining. He also briefed his Chinese counterpart about the existing opportunities in the Kingdom in various sectors.

Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Salem, president of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, also attended the meeting.

Earlier, Alkhorayef met with China’s Minister of Natural Resources, Wang Guanghua, and Li Jinfa, chairman of the Geological Survey of China. They explored opportunities and challenges in the mining sector and discussed ways to enhance joint collaboration to foster growth in the mineral industry in the region.

Additionally, the Saudi minister held talks with Peng Qiming, president of the Mining Association, and Gi Honglin, president of the China Nonferrous Metal Industry Association. These meetings centered on mutual interests and efforts aimed at promoting economic growth and infrastructure development in the mining sector between the two countries.

Furthermore, Alkhorayef held discussions with the CEO of the Chinese Norinco Group, Chen Defang. The two parties discussed enhancing cooperation, exchanging expertise, and sharing experiences. Norinco Group has joint ventures in several petroleum and chemical industries with Saudi Aramco.

The minister also toured various companies and factories located in different Chinese cities as part of his trip

The visit is to further strengthen the economic partnership between Saudi Arabia and China in the industrial and mining sectors. It also allows the two sides to review their qualitative investment opportunities. Moreover, the move highlights the Kingdom’s initiatives to advance these two strategic sectors.


Saudi Arabia issues 136 industrial licenses in August 2023

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Saudi Arabia’s economic activity gained momentum with the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources issuing 136 industrial licenses in August compared to 102 in July.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the food product manufacturing sector received 29 permits, followed by the non-metallic mineral industry with 21.

Moreover, the rubber and plastics industry obtained 15 permits, and 12 licenses were issued in the paper production sector.

The SPA report added that the ministry issued 795 industrial licenses between January and August. The number of factories during this period reached 11,110, taking the total investments made by these firms to SR1.489 trillion ($400 billion).

The SPA report further noted that investment volume in August for new licenses stood at SR1.6 billion.

Small enterprises accounted for 83.09 percent of the total licenses issued in August, followed by medium enterprises with 16.18 percent and micro-enterprises with 0.74 percent.

The report added that national factories held the most significant chunk of the total licenses at 76.47 percent, followed by foreign establishments and joint-investment firms with 16.18 percent and 7.35 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, 87 factories started production in August, with an investment of SR1.5 billion. Of these plants, 79.31 percent were national factories, 12.64 were foreign establishments and 8.64 percent were joint investment firms.

Meanwhile, the ministry issued 36,293 certificates of origin in August, up from 34,926 in July.

The initiative is seen as a part of the ministry’s efforts to boost exports across various sectors.

A certificate of origin is a pivotal document in international trade, validating that the exported goods are on a nationality basis.


King Salman orders extension of Citizens Account Program

King Salman has ordered the extension of the Citizens Account Program and provision of extra support to its beneficiaries for a full year, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The decision, made after recommendations from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is expected to ease the financial burden on the most vulnerable in Saudi society amid a changing economic landscape, the report said.

The additional support is itself an extension of a previous directive issued by the king in July 2022.

The Citizens Account Program was established to protect Saudi families from the impact of economic reforms.


Saudi Film Commission launches 4th training program with 150 workshops around Kingdom

Saudi Arabia’s Film Commission will launch the fourth edition of the Filmmakers Program later this month, as it continues to develop Saudi talent in the industry.

Previous editions of the program included more than 62 training courses and trained more than 2,430 people, the Saudi Press Agency said on Monday.

In this version of the program, the commission aims to train 4,000 people, both beginners and professionals, and implement 150 training workshops in 13 regions of the Kingdom.

The commission said it will also launch the first version of the Kader Program, which will provide professional field training opportunities for up to 50 filmmakers, allowing trainees to develop cinematic tools in multiple specializations within the industry over 21 days.

The Kader initiative will be held in cooperation with international production houses and will be included in existing cinematic projects.

Through its programs and initiatives, the Film Commission seeks to provide professional training opportunities and strengthen communication between filmmakers and industry experts.