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[ July 24, 2019 by Fatima Dhanani 0 Comments ]

Virtual Forge, an Onapsis company proudly joins the Government DX Summit as Gold Sponsor

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Virtual Forge, an Onapsis company has joined the Government DX Summit as Gold Sponsor. The event, which is organized by BII World is scheduled on 5th & 6th November 2019 at the Intercontinental Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The high-profile summit brings together tech leaders and policy makers from government authorities along with digital drivers of the Saudi Vision 2030 driving digital initiatives to transform Saudi Arabia into a world-class digital powerhouse. This includes insights on demographics, analysis, best practices, business models and the available tools and technologies that transforms contemporary government services in the region.

Visit Virtual Forge on their booth and get to know more about ERP and SAP security solutions. In their speaking slot Andreas Gloege will show the attendees how they can protect their most sensitive data. And how to reduce the risk of security vulnerabilities in SAP applications.

Source: Zawya

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[ July 24, 2019 by Fatima Dhanani 0 Comments ]

Saudi Aramco to Restart Preparations for Mega IPO

Saudi Arabia is restarting preparations for a potential initial public offering of oil giant Aramco, months after putting the planned listing on hold, people familiar with the matter said.

Aramco, the world’s most profitable company, recently held talks with a select group of investment banks to discuss potential roles on the offering, according to the people. Detailed work on the IPO may pick up speed later this year or early next year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

The revived IPO plan will still face significant hurdles, including the ability of the kingdom to achieve the $2 trillion valuation it’s been seeking for the company. Demand for the share sale would also likely be affected by lower oil prices as well as growing concerns among top institutional investors about pouring money into fossil-fuel companies that contribute to climate change.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also keen to list Aramco in New York, but advisers are wary of opening up the company to the risks of U.S. litigation. Prince Mohammed has insisted that the IPO will still take place in 2020 or 2021.

On Hold
After working with banks for more than two years, Aramco formally put the IPO plans on hold last year and instead decided to buy a $69 billion stake in local chemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp. Aramco is planning to wait until the Sabic acquisition is completed before conducting the IPO, one of the people said.

Aramco, officially known as Saudi Arabian Oil Co., was originally working with Evercore Inc., Moelis & Co., HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley on the planned share sale. It wasn’t immediately clear if all the banks had been approached again or if some new firms are also being considered.

No final decisions have been made, and the timeline for the share sale could still change, the people said.

The IPO project was first announced in 2016 as the cornerstone of the Vision 2030 plan to modernize the Saudi economy, with a target of listing in the second half of 2018. The kingdom wants to raise a record $100 billion from selling a 5% stake in Aramco, which would make it the biggest IPO in history and a windfall for any banks that win a role.

‘Start Planning’
The IPO was “never fully suspended,” though Aramco had been working on the Sabic acquisition and on raising capital, oil minister Khalid Al-Falih said following a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies in Vienna on Tuesday.

“Now that all these issues have been cleared — the Sabic transaction, the bond offering which was extremely successful — we believe we are ready to start planning for the IPO of Aramco,” Al-Falih said, declining to comment on the time frame beyond saying that the company is aiming for a listing in 2020 to 2021.

In April, Aramco sold $12 billion in bonds, which was one of the most oversubscribed debt offerings in history and the energy giant’s first major step onto the global financial stage. The strong demand for Aramco’s debut bond offering was so robust it allowed the energy giant to borrow at a lower yield than its sovereign parent.

Political Fallout
The debut also forced Aramco to share financial data and operational secrets with investors — information that had been held closely since the company’s nationalization in the late 1970s.

The success of the deal was a contrast to the unease bankers showed toward the kingdom last year in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a former Saudi insider-turned-critic who had moved to the U.S. In June, a United Nations expert assigned to investigate the killing recommended probing Prince Mohammed’s possible involvement.

Click here to read more about the Saudi purchases of treasuries under Trump.

The political fallout from the assassination had led to a number of bankers, including JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon to skip a high-profile summit in Riyadh in 2018. Less than six months later, Dimon himself touted the bond deal at a lunch in New York.

Source: www.Bloomberg.com

[ June 13, 2019 by Fatima Dhanani 0 Comments ]

Vision 2030 enables Saudi Arabia’s public sector to drive digital transformation

Riyadh to host Government DX Summit on 5-6 November 2019

Government DX Summit is Saudi Arabia’s most diverse digital transformation conference taking place on 5 – 6 November 2019 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The summit emphasizes on driving digital initiatives to achieve Vision 2030 and beyond. It addresses the significance of the Vision’s theme focusing on achieving government operational excellence as a pillar to drive digital transformation. It is set to host some of the most influential government tech and strategic thought leaders, investors and entrepreneurs addressing the digital journey and how achieving operational excellence in the public sector matters to citizen’s satisfaction and economic prosperity.

Under the leadership of the Saudi Government, Vision 2030 was created to fulfil a roadmap for economic growth and national development. Dr. Adnan Mustafa AlBar, Vice Chairman of the Jeddah Municipality City Council mentions: “With the leadership of the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman who has a clear vision and is driving the whole country’s transformation, the Saudi Vision 2030 has effectively open doors to the world promoting the Kingdom as the next big digital powerhouse not just in the Arab and Islamic world, but it has become a global digital identity.”

Speaking about the conference Dr. Adnan Mustafa AlBar said: “The Government DX Summit is a key event to attend where you will learn and discuss with local and international experts in Government Digital Transformation and how Saudi Arabia is effectively achieving the vision and the NTP plan.”

Dr. Fatmah Baothman, Doctor of Artificial Intelligence with King Abdulaziz University from the College of Computing and Information Technology highlights: “The adoption of artificial intelligence will bring massive reforms to Saudi Arabia’s digital journey to achieve Vision 2030. Over 82% of Saudi businesses will have AI deployed by 2020. We have seen a paradigm shift in the acceptance of AI and RPA since 2017 where over 94% of Saudi businesses did not favour its adoption to the current analysis forecasted for 2020 showing 82% are favouring the adoption of AI and RPA with 95% intending to embrace AI implementation until 2025. AI is no longer a doubt instead it is now the new norm of urgency to embrace it. By 2030, AI will contribute over US$ 320 Billion to the Middle East’s GDP with Saudi Arabia to gain over US$ 48 Billion from AI. The public sector will be one of the major achievers with AI adoption and its strategy. The Government DX Summit is the ideal platform to know more about Saudi Arabia’s role in transforming into an AI-powered society. There is a global responsibility to develop an AI model for improving the world. We need to define the mission for all humans supported by a vision of technology. This must attend summit will highlight key factors about achieving the Vision 2030 to drive digital transformation across the Kingdom.”

Bringing his experience to the conference’s speaker roster, Eng. Mohammed Mahnashi, Information Technology Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Saudi Arabia mentions: “By 2021, the global DX investments are forecasted to reach US$ 5.9 trillion where Saudi Arabia is ambitiously working along the adoption of the National Transformation Program to execute Vision 2030 creating new digital technology investment opportunities. I will be speaking at the Government DX Summit and we will provide a holistic view of the digital technologies that Saudi Arabia will reap benefits from and what are to be invested in the country to prosper into an ironic digital economy. I urge professionals from across the world not to miss this high-profile must attend conference.”

Saudi Arabia vows to revolutionize their financial systems by using Blockchain to integrate the system across the government entities as per the Vision 2030. “With the Vision 2030 as our key adoption to prosper Saudi Arabia as a rich digital economy in the world, the implementation of a Blockchain strategy is key to ensure an efficient financial services culture across all industries in the Kingdom. Representing the healthcare sector, the adoption of blockchain in the health industry globally is expected to hit US$ 5.61 billion by 2025. Saudi Arabia’s healthcare industry will reap massive benefits with blockchain. Saudi Arabia is committed to establish a Blockchain Laboratory by 2020 to bring new ideas and solutions to develop and enhance government procedural services which leads to improving citizen services with blockchain technology. At the conference, we will be discussing about creating a blockchain laboratory and how that will benefit Saudi Arabia in its digital transformation journey.” Dr. Mustafa Hasan Qurban, Chief Information Officer at the King Fahd Military Medical Complex (KFMMC) shares his views about the industry and the conference.

The summit aspires to bring together over 300 global dignitaries and decision makers to discuss the latest generation of government and smart cities. The conference is an international platform for organizations to discuss and share the new era of organizational transformation, new governance policy and trends by providing strategic understanding initiatives for organizational leadership and operational excellence.

The summit hosts a group of world class speakers representing Ministry of Education, Ministry of Civil Service, General Authority for Statistics, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology – Egypt, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications – Estonia, Information & eGovernment Authority – Bahrain, Cabinet Office – Government Digital Service – United Kingdom, Secretary State for Justice – Portugal, MonshaatSA, Capital Market Authority, National Housing Company, King Saud University, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and others, bringing diversity and a domain inclusive roster addressing futuristic technologies in government.

Commenting on the occasion, Fahd Ali the Director of the Government DX Summit said: ”This summit enables our efforts in providing government entities, enterprises, entrepreneurs and start-ups with a platform to explore endless opportunities and draw inspiration from the several success stories from all over the world, and hence further positioning Saudi Arabia as a world-class innovation hub. We are exceptionally electrified with the response from the public and private sector that recognizes the event as their home to declare their successes and the way forward to deal with digital transformation”.

From simplifying and automating across government operations; and revolutionizing IT and embracing agile ways of working, the Government DX Summit explores these opportunities and more with over 40+ visionary speakers, visionary keynotes, fireside chats, a cyber tech panel, international case studies, and a host of unique features across the event.

-Ends-

Source: Zawya

[ March 9, 2019 by Fatima Dhanani 0 Comments ]

Saudi Arabia to set up new platform to drive digital transformation

Saudi Aramco and the Saudi Information Technology Company signed an agreement to set up a joint venture firm that will develop a platform to invest in high potential growth companies in the information, communication, and technology sector, the company said on Tuesday.

Saudi Information Technology Company is an organisation which aims at revitalising the kingdom’s digital infrastructure, cybersecurity, software development, and Big Data and analytics with the hands of capable and qualified Saudi human capital.

According to the statement, the focus of the new JV will be on opportunities with significant potential for local value creation, with the target market being Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries, said a statement from Saudi Aramco.

The joint venture will also develop a platform for investing in high potential growth companies in the information, communication and technology sector with strategic importance to Saudi Arabia, it added.

“The joint venture with Saudi Information Technology Company will provide training and employment to Saudi nationals, as well as support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises active in the ICT sector in Saudi Arabia and the GCC market,” said Saudi Aramco VP for Information Technology, Yousef Al-Ulyan.

Dr. Saad Alaboodi, Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Information Technology Company, said that through the joint venture the two organisations are exploring promising opportunities that will “drive the transformative leap of the digital resilience and technological advancement of the Kingdom and the region.”

“This does not only afford Saudi Information Technology Company a position to pioneer the transformation for realising Vision 2030 and lead the investment in national human capital and future technologies, but also speaks to the unique culture of service that the company provides to its clients and its mission to empower national capabilities with training and employment,” he added.

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[ March 9, 2019 by Fatima Dhanani 0 Comments ]

Aramco and DEWA sign MoU to foster collaboration in digital transformation and operational excellence

The MoU will also provide a framework to assess potential collaborations and ventures in new energy and smart grid applications, digital transformation, and operational excellence.

“We look forward to our partnership with DEWA as it is an important step to achieve our shared objectives and goals that aim at identifying new opportunities within our business for deployment of new energy, smart grid and digital applications. Through this partnership, we are pursuing an exchange of experiences and the best practices that will help both parties to leverage technology solutions and accelerate business growth and drive innovation in the energy sector.

“The MoU will help our efforts in digital transformation in the energy industry by applying effective technologies to enable operational efficiencies. The collaboration with DEWA will complement Saudi Aramco’s ongoing energy and technology initiatives,” said Abdulkarim Al-Ghamdi, vice president, power systems, Saudi Aramco.

Through this partnership, we are pursuing an exchange of experiences and the best practices that will help both parties to leverage technology solutions and accelerate business growth and drive innovation in the energy sector.

“This MoU supports the vision of the wise leadership in both the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and contributes to achieving integration across all vital sectors through joint efforts to support national and regional goals and common interests, anticipate the future and adopt innovation to enhance sustainability of development. The collaboration with Saudi Aramco supports regional efforts to enhance the energy, water, smart transformation, smart grids, energy efficiency and sustainability sectors,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.

The collaboration with Saudi Aramco supports regional efforts to enhance the energy, water, smart transformation, smart grids, energy efficiency and sustainability sectors.

Saudi Aramco is deploying smart control systems as part of the intelligent Power Center currently under construction. The centre aims to enhance the effectiveness of power generation, transmission, distribution, and asset management through the implementation of latest real-time power management technologies.

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[ March 9, 2019 by Fatima Dhanani 0 Comments ]

Saudi Arabia Affirms Leading Position In Digital Transformation In Effort To Drive Global Economy In Argentina’s G20 Summit

With a high-profile delegation headed by His Excellency Eng. Abdullah Al-Swaha, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is taking part in the preparatory meetings of ICT ministers and experts for the G20 Summit to be held late this year in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The meetings began in the province of Salta with the Digital Economy Task Force meeting on 21-22 August, and to conclude with the Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting today and tomorrow, 23-24 August. The latter is to prepare recommendations for the G20 Leaders’ Summit and will issue a joint declaration on the outcomes.

Saudi Arabia’s participation in the G20 (Group of Twenty), which includes the world’s 20 most powerful economies, is particularly important due to its active role in the G20, accounting for 80% of the total world trade, around 90% of world GDP, and about two-thirds of the world’s population.

The Kingdom’s G20 membership is an international recognition of its great economic importance as well as its political and economic weight, elevating it to the level of advanced countries in the world.

Given the significance of digital transformation in the G20 Summit’s agenda as one of the pillars of the global economy, the Kingdom is proud to be a member of this group to support international collaboration for bridging the digital divide, highlighting its honorable standing in the digital world and remarkable achievements in digital transformation.

The Kingdom took the initiative and launched its Digital Transformation Program as one of the principal programs to achieve the Vision 2030, aiming at building a digital government, a digital economy with an industry based on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and a digital society, with a view to create a vibrant environment, a thriving economy and a better future.

Through its digital transformation program, the Kingdom has supported the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Saudi society to reach the desired digital society as well as to develop public services, build and develop the digital infrastructure needed to develop and promote the IT sector, empower users, accomplish digital transformation through developing a strong digital base characterized by digitization of sectors and open data, embedding innovation in government services to make the Saudi Government at the vanguard of the most innovative governments globally, by providing high-value digital services in a smooth and easy way that saves effort, time and money to users, improves government services and interlinks them, together with the ability to collect required data as quickly as possible, and to avoid duplication and rationalize government spending.

As an extension of its constant efforts, the Kingdom has not overlooked digital culture and launched ‘FekraTech’ platform, a platform that began addressing challenges in the health sector out of 4,000 ideas, resulting in 15 entrepreneurial models that address current and future challenges in digital health. In addition, ‘Digital Saudi’ platform has been launched. It is overseen by the National Committee for Digital Transformation and aims to ensure the highest economic and social impact of digital transformation projects and initiatives in all sectors of the Kingdom, in partnership with the private sector and entrepreneurs, thus connecting the Kingdom digitally and upgrading the services and platforms, developing digital skills and raising the participation of the private sector and entrepreneurs in the implementation of digital transformation projects, in order to create active digital society, effective e-government, and competitive digital economy.

In the digital government, the Kingdom has made many achievements through several important digital programs and initiatives to serve users in the highest performance and trustworthiness. One of those programs is the Maras program, which has contributed to accessing more than 40 e-services, reducing transaction time from 81 days to 24 hours, registering more than 90,000 operations to date. Another program is Etimad, the largest electronic financial interlinking platform, dealing with more than 450 government facilities using its portal. There is also Absher program, which helped linking over 130 government services to be used by citizens, reducing passport renewal from 8 days to 1 day, implementing more than 20 million transactions to date, and delivering documents within one day, besides others.

For the area of digital health, through the introduction of smart and connected hospitals, clinics, telemedicine, telecare and the mobile app ‘Sehhi’, the Kingdom could cut down physical doctor visits by 50% and reduce waiting times from months to weeks, and in some cases to 5 minutes.

The digital economy contributes to making Saudi Arabia a global economic power, by increasing investments to accelerate the development of the infrastructure in order to empower the society and the business sector. In this regard, the Kingdom has increased the Internet speed by 300%, 4G coverage by 90% and fiber-optic coverage by 7%, with the aim to support digital economy and its role in transforming digital products into commodities, reducing financial costs, enhancing transactional transparency, and reinforcing competitiveness by promoting access to information and speed of implementation, in addition to its role in creating more job opportunities for the Saudi youth by boosting innovation and SMEs.

As part of its commitment to stimulate innovation and achieve regional and global leadership in technology, the Kingdom organized the 2nd edition of ‘Hajj Hackathon’, the biggest technology challenge in the Middle East that destroyed the former record and was listed in the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest hacKathon. It aimed to attract world’s leading programmers to innovate technical solutions that contribute to enriching and improving the experience of Hajj pilgrims. It featured thousands of programmers of males and females as well as 18,000 people interested, and the winning projects of applications will be selected to be developed into real pilot entrepreneurial projects funded by technology incubators and accelerators in the Kingdom.