Ministry of Culture plans to export architectural ideas designed in Saudi, says commission CEO – Arab News
RIYADH: The Ministry of Culture is taking the lead in making Saudi Arabia an exporter of architectural and design services as part of the Kingdom’s diversification strategy to grow creative industries, said a senior ministry official.
According to Sumayah Al-Solaiman, CEO of the Architecture and Design Commission at the Ministry of Culture, the commission is working toward uplifting the architectural and design services sector across the entire value chain.
“Rather than importing architecture and design services, we can actually get to a point where we export some of the services based on our strong record,” Al-Solaiman told Arab News in an exclusive interview.
As part of its national strategy to preserve and maintain rich Saudi architectural heritage, the commission is empowering new and acclaimed architects and designers through educational opportunities and apprenticeship channels.
“In recent years, Saudi architecture graduates have left the sector and entered adjoining fields. We want to bring them back and utilize their talent and training,” said Al-Solaiman.
In a bid to promote the distinct Saudi architectural flavor, the commission launched King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism.
Founded in December 2021, the charter draws its inspiration from an ambitious creative experience and seeks to capture the essence of Salmani Architecture, an architectural style that is modern and futuristic, yet embodies the authentic local architectural heritage.
The charter focuses on capturing the lessons learned from King Salman’s reign as the governor of Riyadh and ensuring that it is reflected in the identity of the capital city.
It aims to create memorable buildings and spaces, bringing them to life through a set of guidelines that encourage the integration of cultural and national identity into contemporary designs while meeting the needs of local communities.
“It’s very human-centric and driven by communities. It’s very forward-looking in innovation and quite sustainable because it ensures that we do not just use fewer resources, but enhance existing ones,” Al-Solaiman explained.
Al-Solaiman said 22 of the 33 initiatives the commission set will be completed by the beginning of 2023.
The Architecture and Design Commission was established in February 2020 as one of 11 commissions under the Ministry of Culture to regulate the sector, including encouraging practitioners, organizing seminars and stimulating creative thinking in the sector.
“This relates to the development of talent. It relates to regulations and making sure that we have the best regulatory environment for architecture and design to thrive,” she said.
Al-Solaiman is also keen on localizing a lot of jobs in the architecture and design sector. She wants to make the sector more attractive for Saudis so that their participation could improve employability and keep the wheels of the economy turning.
“This means looking into minimum wages and many things related to work policies,” Al-Solaiman said.
In fact, the commission’s initiatives have begun paying dividends. Firms working with the Saudi giga-projects are seeking local talent that possesses the cultural and local knowledge required for these projects to succeed.
There is also an avid interest in sustainable development, which also happens to be one of the commission’s strategic objectives. It is currently in the process of launching the Architecture and Design Sustainability Task Force and Summit, which will bring together people to discuss and implement some of the initiatives.
“When we talk about sustainability, it doesn’t become like an add-on or a nice to have, but something that we understand as essential and drive a lot of decision making in the sector itself,” she concluded.
As part of its efforts, the commission ensures that only architects and designers are qualified to practice their profession.
DUBAI: State-backed digital bank Wio announced on Tuesday it had launched in the United Arab Emirates and would focus initially on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while eyeing an eventual public listing.
Wio, which calls itself a “platform bank,” has three main business lines: digital banking apps, embedded finance and banking-as-a-service, the provision of banking through third-party distributors.
Wio is 65 percent owned by Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ and Alpha Dhabi, 25 percent by Etisalat and 10 percent by First Abu Dhabi Bank. The UAE central bank in February gave it initial approval to begin operations.
“SMEs have a lot of pain points that have been under-catered to historically for many reasons. And we believe that starting by being close to them and understanding them is very important,” Wio chairman Salem Al Nuaimi told Reuters in an interview.
“Finding funding for them in different ways is something which we will have to do.”
Wio chief executive Jayesh Patel said the bank could provide its own funding to SMEs, which it would serve with its Wio Business division, and also help them find other financing options.
Setting up Wio Business was currently the core focus, said Al Nuaimi.
Patel said Wio was in talks with businesses, including a regional e-commerce player, to distribute its services.
It planned to expand its offerings to retail customers “in the next few quarters.” Wio would also look at potential acquisitions in the region as it sought to become the Middle East’s leading platform bank, the chairman said.
Al Nuaimi said Wio was well-funded thanks to its shareholders, so did not need an initial public offering of shares to raise funds, but nonetheless said one would likely happen at some point.
“I think here in the UAE there is a good market that has been and will continue to grow for listed companies. And so I think eventually we will get there,” Al Nuaimi said.
“There’s no timeline for an IPO,” he added. “The timeline is to get things done right.”
HOUSTON: Oil prices fell 2 percent on Tuesday, reversing earlier gains as US consumer prices unexpectedly rose in August, giving cover for the US Federal Reserve to deliver another hefty interest rate increase next week.
Brent futures for November delivery fell $2.05, or 2.2 percent, to $91.95 a barrel by 11:38 a.m. ET (1638 GMT). US crude was down $1.73, or 2 percent, to $86.05 per barrel.
The consumer price index gained 0.1 percent last month after being unchanged in July, the US Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.1 percent fall.
Fed officials are set to meet next Tuesday and Wednesday, with inflation way above the US central bank’s 2 percent target.
“The Fed may have to raise rates quicker than expected which could cause a ‘risk back off’ sentiment in crude and further strength to the dollar,” said Dennis Kissler, senior vice president of trading at BOK Financial.
Oil is generally priced in US dollars, so a stronger greenback makes the commodity more expensive to holders of other currencies.
Renewed COVID-19 curbs China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, also weighed on crude prices.
The number of trips taken over China’s three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday shrank, with tourism revenue also falling, official data showed, as COVID-linked restrictions discouraged people from traveling.
Both contracts rose by more than $1.50 a barrel earlier in the session, supported by concerns over tighter inventories.
“The oil market’s structural outlook remains one of tightness, but for now, this is offset by cyclical demand headwinds,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.
The US’ strategic petroleum reserve fell 8.4 million barrels to 434.1 million barrels last week, the lowest since October 1984, according to government data on Monday.
US commercial oil stocks were forecast to have risen 800,000 barrels during the same week, analysts forecast in a Reuters poll.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Tuesday stuck to its forecasts for robust global oil demand growth in 2022 and 2023, citing signs that major economies were faring better than expected despite headwinds such as surging inflation.
DUBAI: Emirates Airlines is adding a fifth weekly flight to Algiers beginning Oct. 7. The airline will use a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to fly between the Algerian capital and Dubai on Fridays. This is in addition to its existing flights on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday each week.
Emirates said it remains the only airline that offers private, enclosed first-class cabins on flights to Algeria, providing premium customers with an industry-leading onboard experience.
In addition to increasing the number of seats available for passengers each week, the fifth weekly flight will provide businesses with 30 to 40 tons of cargo-hold capacity, the airline added, further opening global trade lanes through increased import and export opportunities.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Debt Management Center has closed the issuance of SR1.7 billion ($453 million) SR-denominated sukuk in September.
With a total amount of bids received reaching SR7.3 billion, the sukuk offering was divided into three tranches, NDMC said in a statement. 
The first tranche has a size of SR201 million to mature in 2027, while the second one amounts to SR700 million, maturing in 2032. Lastly, the third is sized at SR800 million and it will mature in 2037. 
DUBAI: Dubai’s crown prince on Tuesday launched an initiative aimed at boosting key economic sectors in the city and creating new opportunities for growth.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said the research and development program would provide a comprehensive framework for innovation in Dubai, the Emirates News Agency reported.
Outlining the city’s top priorities in research and development, innovation, legislation, and projects investment, the scheme will also identify areas for increased domestic spending and private-sector participation.
The program is in line with Dubai’s vision of developing knowledge- and innovation-driven solutions to the most pressing local and global challenges, as well as increasing the productivity of existing sectors by providing new paths for economic growth. It also identifies significant radical changes and ways to address them.
It will seek to provide a roadmap and comprehensive governance model, set priorities for research and development, funding, and investments, increase the city’s research and development expenditure, and maximize private-sector involvement.
The crown prince said: “Maximizing the private sector’s engagement in R and D is crucial to achieving our future goals in Dubai. Major economies and leading global cities have made great strides throughout history due to their focus on research and development.
“Therefore, boosting scientific and technological research is pivotal to achieving Dubai’s vision for the future economy.”
He added that it was important to leverage Dubai’s growth potential in the sector by encouraging international companies to conduct research and development in the city, adopting innovative ideas and methodologies, and promoting the knowledge-based economy and advanced technologies.
A newly established research and development council will monitor the progress of the program’s targeted objectives in accordance with UAE national strategies to boost innovation.
The program will also create a comprehensive approach for establishing funding procedures, facilitating investment opportunities and related collaborations, and supporting key innovative projects.
Throughout the city, the main areas of focus will be on health and well-being, environmental technology, smart built infrastructure, and space and augmented human-machine intelligence.
The adoption of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, the internet of things, blockchain, robotics, drones, and 3-D printing, will support the program’s initiatives in those areas.


Leave a Comment