Zain KSA expands 5G network reach to 64 cities

After launching the first zero-emission 5G network worldwide, Zain KSA announced the expansion of its 5G services to cover ten additional cities, including Al-Aflaj, Al-Lith, Al Qunfudhah, Al Badayea, Samtah, Shaqra, Al Khobar, Duba, Al Bukayriyah, and Rabigh. These cities now enjoy high-speed 5G digital services.The network expansion is a testament to Zain KSA’s commitment to delivering the latest digital services across the Kingdom and ensuring the best user experience while enhancing Saudi Arabia’s digital competitiveness. It also supports Zain KSA’s strategic goal of accelerating the nationwide digital transformation and improving the quality of life for more communities by providing high-speed digital services that unlock new prospects for service integration and innovation.Zain KSA Engineering Executive General Manager, Eng. Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al-Najidi stated, “In addition to growing our network and expanding our services, at Zain KSA, we are committed to enhancing access to the best and most innovative digital services for everyone in the Kingdom, including individuals and enterprises. We aim to deliver highly reliable connectivity that reinforces Saudi Arabia's digital transformation, helps narrow the digital divide, and improves the quality of life, aligning with Saudi Vision 2030 objectives. In our commitment to harnessing technology for sustainable development, we have been accelerating green technology collaborations as part of Zain KSA’s overarching ESG strategy. Through a flagship partnership with Red Sea Global, Zain KSA will build the world’s first zero-emission 5G network at the Six Senses Desert Dunes resort in the Red Sea. The solar-powered network utilizes 100% renewable energy from over 750,000 solar panels with purpose-designed towers and state-of-the-art 3D printing technology to deliver three main objectives: environmental protection, reducing emissions through clean energy, and minimizing visual distortion. The project will contribute to localizing the ICT industry and reducing its carbon footprint by more than 278 million tons annually by 2030, and achieving Net Zero by 2060.” The 5G network expansion complements Zain KSA's growing portfolio of bespoke 5G applications and pioneering solutions in artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented reality, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing services, and other emerging technologies.

KSA launch marks milestone as Yabi concludes seed funding round of USD 8mln

With Al Wafra Al Thaniya (Wafra II) joining the prominent list of existing investors, Yabi closes its USD 8 million Seed round. The round focuses on product development and pushes growth into regional markets.Yabi by Souqalmal was launched in Saudi Arabia this November, boasting a localised personal finance masterclass platform. Driven by its firm belief in localisation for true value creation when it comes to personal finance, Yabi launched in both English and Arabic in the Kingdom, offering two new classes every month, all delivered by Saudi market experts. Yabi is now fully live in two markets UAE and KSA.Yabi's commitment to the KSA market goes beyond the tailored content, as the startup has a presence on the ground, allocating dedicated resources to lead the market penetration. The objective is to increase financial literacy through B2B relationships by encouraging companies to bring financial literacy as part of their employee well-being program.“Saudi Vision 2030 is inspiring, and its impact will set an unprecedented growth. Yabi and Saudi Vision 2030 share a common goal: to increase financial literacy and saving levels across the Kingdom.Financial literacy and the involvement of individuals in the economy are top priorities for the public and private sectors. ~30% of Saudis are considered financially literate today (report by SAMA) and the savings ratio was 1.6%1 of annual disposable income (2018). Those are evidence of some of the gaps we want to fill.Additionally, the Saudi Vision 2030 has within its targets to reach 70% of household ownership and to increase the national saving levels closer to the global average of 10%. Moreover, the Saudi government is working towards achieving its National Savings and Financial Literacy Strategy, which aims to help individuals make better financial decisions and increase the access and use of personal financial tools. This is a crucial moment for Yabi and the Kingdom to work towards the financial well-being of their citizens and residents.” says Ambareen Musa, Chief Executive Officer of Yabi.“Spreading financial literacy and financial awareness is key to allowing individuals to live their lives happily and to their fullest potential. While technology has improved our lives in many aspects, it also brought a negative impact on financial behaviours. Yabi is at the forefront of using tech to empower individuals by spreading essential financial knowledge. Wafra II believes that any future for fintech must include efforts to spread financial awareness. Therefore, its investment in Yabi to bring its platform to the Saudi market aligns with its core purpose to play a role in raising the level of financial education, build up investments and savings and therefore contribute to Saudi Arabia’s digital GDP.” says Salah Kashoggi, Managing Director of Al Wafrah Al Thaniya.Yabi corporate pipeline is promising and expected to add more names to the already prominent list of adopters, which includes Al-Futtaim, Careem, Chalhoub and Al Ghurair, to name a few.1 According to a report by Forbes Middle East on the analysis of household savings in Saudi Arabia.

Democrance expands footprint in Saudi Arabia

Democrance, the global InsurTech firm with a mission to make insurance accessible and affordable for those who need it most, today announced a bold expansion strategy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia following the launch of the company’s Riyadh HQ.Supported by investment from Wa’ed Ventures, the Kingdom-based venture capital arm of Saudi Aramco, and long-time partner Global Ventures, the move is designed to support Saudi Arabia’s economic aspirations. Democrance’s Saudi expansion aligns with the principles of the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP), a critical part of Saudi Vision 2030 that collaborates with bodies such as the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) and the Capital Market Authority (CMA) to enhance the country’s financial sector industry.“The FSDP plays a crucial role in shaping the Kingdom’s FSI sector,” said Hussain Almarhoon, Founding Managing Partner of HALA Ventures and Chairman of the newly created regional HQ, Democrance KSA. “Democrance’s mission to bring insurance to underserved markets and communities makes us an ideal contributor to the program and a key partner in the realization of Vision 2030. Our commitment to the country and the people of Saudi Arabia is absolute and unwavering.”“Achieving financial inclusion is a global mission and one that is incredibly important to spread in the region. Democrance has shown great potential to elevate available insuretech products, and we are excited to partner with them on their journey to diversify and digitize insurance solutions ” said Mazen Alasnag, Head of Venture Growth at Wa’ed Ventures.“Global Ventures partners with entrepreneurs that leverage disruptive technologies to build industry-changing and sustainable businesses,” said Medea Nocentini, Senior Partner, Global Ventures. “Democrance exemplified this when we first decided to invest and has continued to do so two years later on its mission to reshape the frontier market of InsurTech. It is fitting that the company’s next chapter will be written in Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom transforms its FSI sector.”Democrance helps insurers increase their digital sales and access new customer segments. With its B2B white-label SaaS technology platform, insurance products and digital sales channels can be launched in a few weeks, without impacting any legacy IT system. P&C, Life and Health insurance products are currently supported on the platform.“The global insurance sector is in the midst of a dramatic surge in digital transformation,” said Michele Grosso, Co-Founder and CEO of Democrance. “Democrance has emerged as the leading B2B InsurTech firm in Saudi Arabia by aligning with SAMA’s vision and that of broader government efforts on Vision 2030. Some of the largest insurers in Saudi Arabia count themselves among our clients because they have seen the value in our mission to digitize insurance processes and increase the sector’s penetration in all levels of society, from digital millennials to low-income families.”Outside of Saudi Arabia, Democrance is active in 15 other markets in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

Elaf Group officially opens Joudyan Red Sea Mall Hotel

Elaf Group, a leader in the hospitality and tourism sector with more than four decades of expertise in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, announced the official opening of the Joudyan Red Sea Mall Hotel. This luxurious 5-star hotel represents a significant milestone in the group's journey, reaffirming its commitment to establishing new standards for the hospitality experience, enhancing the quality and efficiency of hotel services, and elevating the comfort of guests and visitors in the Kingdom of Hospitality.The grand opening ceremony of the Joudyan Red Sea Mall Hotel was a remarkable occasion, graced by the presence of Dr. Abdulraouf Mannaa, Chairman of the Board of Elaf Group and Dr. Adel Ezzat, CEO of Elaf Group, along with members of the Board of Directors, partners, and senior officials. The launch of the new hotel is in line with the group’s commitment to supporting the goals of the “Saudi Vision 2030”, aimed at strengthening the role of the tourism sector as a vital economic contributor and enhancing private sector participation in Saudi Arabia's development journey. This strategic step is a testament to the Elaf Group's ongoing efforts to diversify and expand its investment portfolio, tangibly contributing to enhancing KSA's competitiveness and reinforcing its position in the tourism and hospitality sector. The official opening of Joudyan Red Sea Mall hotel is a result of strenuous efforts to achieve the main goal of the Elaf Group to become the preferred brand for Saudi hospitality. The group's commitment to upholding the highest standards in the sector aims to support and empower the national tourism ecosystem, solidifying the principles of excellent hospitality and modernity by establishing a robust and comprehensive value chain. The development also holds significance as it comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is preparing to attract 100 million tourists and 30 million pilgrims by 2030. It offers an invaluable opportunity to provide exceptional experiences to guests, visitors, and pilgrims with cutting-edge facilities and high-quality services that exceed their expectations.Dr. Abdulraouf Mannaa, Chairman of the Board of Elaf Group, said: “We reiterate our commitment to expanding our presence in Saudi Arabia and introducing more hotel facilities to cater to the rising demand for hotel services. Our distinctiveness lies in our commitment to providing exceptional hospitality experiences, paying meticulous attention to the smallest details, and our relentless passion for enhancing our services and elevating the experiences we offer. The inauguration of this exceptional hotel mirrors our vision to enhance visitor experiences in the realms of Hajj, Umrah, hospitality, and tourism in the KSA to unprecedented levels. We are confident that these endeavors will contribute to the realization of the goals set out in ‘Saudi Vision 2030’ by promoting the growth of the tourism sector and its role in diversifying the KSA’s economy.”Dr. Adel Ezzat, CEO of Elaf Group, said: “The Joudyan Red Sea Mall Hotel is a unique addition to our series of hotels spread across Saudi Arabia. The hotel boasts a strategic location in the heart of Jeddah, providing breathtaking views of prominent landmarks, including the Red Sea Mall, and the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Circuit. It promises an unforgettable Saudi hospitality experience. The hotel offers exceptional services and a variety of options for luxurious rooms and suites, as well as outstanding facilities including restaurants. The fitness center is equipped with state-of-the-art sports equipment, and the hotel pool provides a serene atmosphere with elegant design for a truly relaxing and comfortable experience.”The Joudyan Red Sea Mall hotel boasts a dedicated and highly skilled team, available round the clock, and committed to ensuring an exceptional guest experience. The hotel comprises 155 rooms and suites, which include 132 rooms and 23 suites, as well as an exclusive executive suite as well as one executive suite, in addition to guest rooms specially equipped for people of determination. With its comprehensive amenities, top-notch services, and unmatched comfort, the hotel caters to a wide range of guest preferences. Guests can savor a variety of dining options at Noori Café, Lounjoy Lounge, and the Sunsera Restaurant. Additionally, the hotel features spa and wellness centers for men and ladies, a sports club to offer a range of treatments and services, as well as sauna and steam rooms.The new hotel also features a fully equipped meeting room, making it ideal for holding business conferences, seminars, and other events. The ballroom is distinguished by its elegance and spaciousness, providing a complete destination for weddings, galas, and other special occasions.

MBC and Saudi Culture Ministry to launch TV channel

Jeddah: Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, and MBC GROUP Chairman, Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, have officially entered into a landmark agreement aimed at unveiling a cutting-edge television channel dedicated to celebrating Saudi cultural heritage. The collaboration underscores the commitment to elevating the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a regional cultural epicenter and realizing the aspirations set forth by the Saudi Vision 2030 initiative.Scheduled for launch in September, the upcoming channel will be seamlessly integrated into the MBC satellite package and the popular online platform This novel initiative aims to engage not only the intellectual elite but also a wider audience, offering around-the-clock interactive programming that showcases the Kingdom's rich cultural legacy.This new channel is set to fortify Saudi Arabia's presence on the global stage, particularly within the realm of innovation, by introducing a plethora of distinctive programs spanning literature, poetry, theater, cinema, fashion, and culinary arts. Designed to captivate both local and international viewers, the channel will serve as a bridge that connects cultures and fosters a deeper appreciation for the multifaceted facets of Saudi culture.Beyond its television offering, the agreement encompasses the launch of a digital media platform with a specialized focus on crafting engaging video content tailored for online platforms. Moreover, the platform will curate and disseminate a wide range of content, including articles, podcasts, and documentaries, designed to expand the horizons of local content creators. This strategic move will facilitate meaningful collaborations between content creators and domain experts, amplifying their impact and reach.The establishment of this culturally enriching channel comes at an opportune time, coinciding with the Kingdom's remarkable journey towards a cultural renaissance spurred by the Saudi Vision 2030 framework. As Saudi Arabia's next generation eagerly embraces rapid technological advancements, the channel is poised to inspire and nurture creativity, providing an invaluable platform for the expression and preservation of cultural heritage.Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, "This partnership marks a significant step towards the realization of our cultural ambitions and the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030. Through this channel, we aim to strengthen our global cultural footprint, celebrate our heritage, and foster cross-cultural understanding."MBC GROUP Chairman, Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, shared his excitement about the venture, saying, "We are proud to join hands with the Ministry of Culture in this transformative endeavor. By creating a dedicated channel for Saudi cultural heritage, we are embracing our role as cultural catalysts and contributing to the Kingdom's cultural narrative on a grand scale."As the launch date approaches, anticipation is growing for the unveiling of this groundbreaking channel that is poised to shape the future of Saudi cultural engagement and contribute to the ongoing realization of Saudi Vision 2030.