JEDDAH: A new generation of Saudi photographers are counting on the power of social media to showcase the beauty of the vast Kingdom.
Online platforms have been a melting pot of images taken by photographers traveling the country – from sandy beaches in the east and west, to mountains in the north and south, and green oases in the desert – discovering the beauty of every region one image at a time.
Fahad Al-Mutairi, 22, started @thesaudigate on Twitter to promote Saudi Arabia’s “hidden magic” to the burgeoning travel market.
“I want to be part of the future somehow – that’s why I started Saudi Gate and this is what motivates me to keep going,” he told Arab News.
Many other photographers who have traveled abroad have the same view.
Faisal Fahad Binzarah, 41, said: “I have to work on several projects and go to places I have never been to before. I remember thinking, where was this all my life? I never thought I would find such a gem in Saudi Arabia. “
Binzarah said he was looking for a dramatic scene and trying to “capture the overall feeling of the place.”
He said: “The photos I took were not unique, the uniqueness came from the place. I am only a bearer of beauty and nothing else.
• Fahad Al-Mutairi, 22, started @thesaudigate on Twitter to promote Saudi Arabia’s ‘hidden magic’ to a burgeoning tourist market.
• Al-Mutairi said that about a third of @ thesaudigate’s followers are international, and they are usually surprised by what they see.
“As a photographer, I try to capture the right object at the right time, but often I feel the beauty is not represented,” he said.
Al-Mutairi said that about a third of @ thesaudigate’s followers are international, and they are usually surprised by what they see.
“Often they are amazed but also very happy because after looking at the pictures they know that there is a part of the world they have to explore.”
Hadi Farah, 28, a Lebanese photographer now living in the Kingdom, said he had traveled extensively in Saudi Arabia and “always felt a sense of welcome and comfort.”
“I think tourism is directly influenced by photographers. Every time I post something, I receive inquiries with people asking if this is really in Saudi Arabia or whether I accidentally entered the wrong name.
“Unfortunately, people thought it was just a desert and nothing else. So by posting photos of these places we educate them about possibilities and attractions they think never existed, ”he said.
Binzarah agreed, saying: “As yet undiscovered places are attractive to professional photographers, because they are always looking for a challenge, and I think this sparked their interest in going to these places and exploring.”
he added that “although the desert may not be new to the Saudi population, it will appeal to people living in greener countries.”
Saudi Arabia, as a land of ancient civilizations, is very attractive to archaeologists and tourists who are interested in history, Binzara said.
Farah described the beauty of nature in various places, saying: “We associate beauty with life, and in our minds where there is green there is life, but we forget that there is also life in rocks and sand, and it is rich in history. . So, keep in mind that the beauty of AlUla is different from other areas. “
Technology also has a big impact. Photographers are now using drones to reach places that were once too dangerous or remote, and the resulting images shed new light on the power of photography and the beauty of landscapes.
“Being on social media gives us an impetus to do better,” said Binzarah. “If there isn’t a community or people to interact with, it gets boring.”
He added: “This is a personal journey and one for each person to find Saudi Arabia one image at a time.”
Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary general of the City Economic and Special Zones Authority
A recent royal order approved Nabil Khojah as general secretary of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority.
Khojah received a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the College of Industrial Management of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in 1996.
Nearly three years ago, he was in a leadership program designed for senior executives, Harvard Business School (HBS).
Khojah, who has been CEO of Mosanada Logistics Services since 2019, brings extensive experience in the logistics industry to his role.
For four years starting in 2008, he worked as managing director at Exel, a joint venture between DHL and the Al-Olayan Group, a multinational company with an actively managed global investment portfolio.
Between 2012 and 2018, he served as chief executive officer at Saudia Cargo, one of the Middle East’s leading cargo and ground cargo carriers. His responsibilities include reporting to the company’s board of directors and overseeing businesses with an extensive global network.
He has also held leadership positions at Unilever KSA and the Royal Saudi Air Force.
From 2001 to 2003, he worked for Unilever, where he held a range of more senior positions, including business systems manager, supply chain manager and logistics department, and market demand planning manager. For three years starting in 2003, he served as regional manager for logistics and imported products in Dubai.
Khojah then moved to DHL as general manager for transportation and logistics, then became general manager of the company at its headquarters in Saudi Arabia.
RIYADH: The personal computing device (PCD) market, which consists of desktops, notebooks, workstations, and tablets, recorded strong growth in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in the last quarter of 2020, according to a new industry report.
“The Saudi Arabian market experienced an overall growth of 7.1 percent in PC and notebook shipments in Q4 2020,” said Isaac Ngatia, a senior research analyst at American research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).
“This is driven by the continuing demand for computing devices especially for homeschooling.”
In the PC market, the consumer segment grew 9 percent quarter-on-quarter, while the commercial segment grew 3.9 percent, he added.
The Royal Ministry of Education stressed the need for digital platforms so students can virtually attend classes during the pandemic. Every child and teacher now needs his or her own device, whereas previously they might be able to share it with peers or students.
Ngatia said there is a high demand for notebooks. They feature a better user experience for learning purposes than tablets, which saw a 6 percent decrease in sales quarter-over-quarter.
“The demand for PC devices remains strong in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, with end users still needing these devices to work remotely or study from home,” said Fouad Charakla, IDC’s senior research manager for client devices in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.
Turkey, by far the region’s largest single PCD market, saw the highest year-on-year growth, nearly doubling in shipments, Charakla said. The market’s recovery from the slowdown in consumer demand seen in Q4 2019 is the main driver of growth in Turkey.
“Massive education deals totaling more than 150,000 tablets have also been shipped to the country, further accelerating market growth,” he added.
Each of the other major markets in the region, including Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the UAE, are all experiencing growth from year to year, with strong demand seen in both the commercial and consumer segments.
“On the other hand, sharp declines have occurred in Egypt and Kenya, especially as these markets have witnessed a massive education deal in Q4 2019 that was not repeated in Q4 2020,” said Charakla.
In the PC segment, Lenovo posted strong year-on-year growth which propelled it to the top of the MEA PC market for the first time. HP has experienced a sharp drop but is still in second place. Dell has remained almost flat from year to year to stay in third place.
In tablet sales, Samsung is in the top spot, supported once again by large-scale educational delivery, this time in Turkey. Lenovo more than doubled its tablet shipments to second place, while Huawei also experienced growth to third place.
DUBAI: Last week it was announced by the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia that Burak Cakmak had been appointed to head the Royal Fashion Commission, one of 11 agencies under the Royal Ministry of Culture, to help develop the country’s burgeoning fashion industry.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to join the team at the Fashion Commission to lead the implementation of this ambitious strategy to build a strong fashion industry in Saudi Arabia,” said Cakmak, former Dean of Fashion at Parsons School of Design in New York, to Arab News.
“Saudi Arabia has all the key elements to build a successful fashion industry today. With a tradition and legacy to inspire, its creative community is passionate about building new businesses and a young, fashion-conscious population engaged in fashion retail and social media. Saudi (Arabia) is well positioned to become a major influencer in the region and globally, “he added.
In his new role as CEO of the Fashion Commission, Cakmak will be in charge of a range of tasks, including supporting and empowering talents, professionals and entrepreneurs in the local fashion industry, developing and regulating the fashion sector and encouraging finance and investment. .
“One of my main areas of focus is identifying opportunities for the Saudis to create fashion solutions that are innovative, technology driven, sustainable and aligned with global consumer expectations of the 21st century,” said Cakmak about some of the changes he wants to implement in his new role.
“As we build and grow a relatively new industry in this country, we need to make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the West of the past century. That means we need to focus on building new business models that are able to manage social and environmental impacts, (and that are) transparent and innovative in how they engage consumers. “
Apart from managing and developing the fashion sector in Saudi Arabia, Cakmak also hopes to put a positive spotlight on the Kingdom’s developing fashion scene.
“At the moment there is not enough information available about the creativity that is going out of the Kingdom around the world,” he said. “The country’s rich heritage and craft, as well as the designers, with traditional and modern styles in Saudi fashion, are a good starting point for us to start shaping perceptions around the Saudi creative industry.”
In the last two years alone, Saudi Arabia has rolled out a series of changes that can be linked to Vision 2030, a plan that focuses on modernizing Saudi culture, diversifying its economy away from oil, attracting new global investment and supporting local small businesses. . One area that shows real potential is the country’s fashion sector.
“Recent initiatives around tourism and a deeper focus on diversifying the local economic sectors have been a great catalyst in stimulating the fashion industry,” said Cakmak.
Indeed, the country’s fashion sector is on the rise rapidly. In recent years, the country hosted its first Fashion Week in Riyadh in 2018, the Dubai-based Arab Fashion Council opened an office in Riyadh and Saudi fashion designers are getting more recognition than ever because they laid the foundation for it. a real and fast growing fashion industry.
“Mohammed Khoja’s brand, Hindamme, produces jackets embroidered with the words ‘June 24 2018’ – the date women in Saudi started driving, which were acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London as part of their permanent fashion collection. Meanwhile at the end of last year, the Saudi brothers – Sarah and Siham Albinali – Lurline, were declared second runners-up in the Vogue Arabia Fashion Prize. And one of Mohammed Ashi’s creations was worn on the red carpet by Oscar-nominated director and screenwriter Ava DuVernay at the 2017 Academy Awards, ”recalled Cakmak, highlighting some of the many success stories from Saudi Arabia.
But despite the growing interest and support from events like Arab Fashion Week, many brands struggle with a lack of access to the capital and resources needed in a functioning fashion ecosystem. Cakmak hopes to change him in his new role.
“A brand can only be successful if they are able to combine creativity with a good business strategy,” he explained, adding “I am working with the Fashion Commission team and the Ministry of Culture to ensure we create the right infrastructure to develop the industry. First and foremost, we want to support fashion entrepreneurs with the right regulatory framework relevant to the fashion industry. As we assess the local fashion ecosystem, we identify areas for new job opportunities and fashion businesses that can be created locally to support the burgeoning fashion industry in Saudi Arabia. “
Cakmak received his bachelor’s degree at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey in 1997.
His career in the fashion industry began in 2000, serving as the senior manager of social responsibility for Gap Inc. After eight years, he moved to London and was hired by European conglomerate Dry to lead sustainability strategy for luxury group brands – including Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga – as the company’s first sustainability director.
She was appointed dean of fashion at Parsons School of Design in 2016, where she is on a mission to educate the next generation of fashion creatives about the importance of environmental and social responsibility.
With a strong background of 15 years in sustainability, Cakmak hopes to make the topic the main focus of his new role in Saudi Arabia.
“As the Fashion Commission, we want to bring the latest tools to measure and report on the impact of sustainability to local brands and share knowledge on how to build more sustainable business models for the fashion industry,” he said.
“Made in KSA will be a major focus for creating a short supply chain where we can drive on-demand production and mass customization to minimize returns and remaining inventory for the industry,” he added of his strategy to minimize the impact of the supply chain mode in the Kingdom.
As for its long-term goals in the Saudi fashion sector, Cakmak only wants to position his country as a key player in the global fashion industry.
“Working closely with the Fashion Commission team, the Ministry of Culture and all other relevant government entities, I hope to provide incentives and infrastructure to achieve this goal,” he said.
“I have worked with fashion businesses around the world and have a good understanding of the opportunities and challenges they face. I also have a good view of the latest developments in the industry, and access to a global network of experts that we can use to shape the future of fashion in the Kingdom. I am very happy to be a catalyst to bring such positive change to this country. “
Draghi is the right person for the job in Italy – and that’s the problem
The American poet Robert Frost knows the nature of his country’s founder well. George Washington, in Frost’s clever estimate, “is one of the few in all world history who has not been carried away by power.” In Ron Chernow’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, “Washington: A Life,” he explains that, over and over, the first US president created the performing arts from retirement. Whether he turned over his military commission to Congress after the end of the Revolutionary War or voluntarily left the presidency after eight hugely successful years (rather than sticking around forever), Washington, in his actions, made it clear that no one, not even him, was indispensable. Because he instinctively knows that it is institutions, not men, that ultimately govern successful countries. As Chernow recounts, Washington served as an important transitional figure for rule of law and not men, making the urgent need for someone like Washington unnecessary. On the surface, Italy’s new Prime Minister Mario Draghi is doing a pretty good imitation of Washington. Draghi, 73, former head of the European Central Bank, is credited with saving the euro itself. It is absolutely impossible to think of another Italian who has the credibility that Draghi has, both within his country and with other European leaders. Like Washington, Draghi appears to have returned to power out of an overblown sense of responsibility, rather than an impulse to brag Also, like the general, Draghi has made it clear that he does not want to stay in power for long, hoping to leave at the time of the next Italian parliamentary elections on June 1, 2023. Like Washington, Draghi’s self-abuse has proven to be popular politically with his compatriots. A recent survey in La Repubblica found that 85 percent of Italians agree with Draghi leading the new government. Indeed, relying on Draghi’s popularity and reputation, he was able to form a very wide-ranging government, with the right-wing Brothers of Italy being the only major Italian political party that was disparaged to join the new team. As a sign of his unique prestige, Draghi was able to lead to government the populist Five Star Movement and the right-wing League, as well as more established parties such as the center-right Forza Italia and the center-left PD. Literally no one else is capable of this.
It would be impossible to think of another Italian who had the credibility that Draghi had.
Dr. John C. Hulsman
But given the eerie government entrance tray, Draghi’s impressive popularity is not expected to last long. Beyond somehow and quickly rectifying the failures of an elite generation of Italian governance, Draghi is tasked with efficiently vaccinating the country, and assuring – by the end of April – that highly skeptical Northern Europeans have plans to spend a huge € 209 billion. ($ 255 billion) set aside for that in the pandemic relief fund. But of all Italy’s problems – like the Labors of Hercules – the sclerotic economy is perhaps the worst. At the end of February, Italy’s official unemployment rate was 9 percent, with youth unemployment at 30 percent. A total of 440,000 Italians will lose their jobs by 2020. It is estimated that foreclosures of Italian businesses will increase by 73 percent this year. Likewise, Italy’s debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio is expected to rise to 160 percent like Everest. All of this happened at a time when Italy’s real economy was in freefall, with GDP down 8.8 percent in 2020. There is only one way out of this, and the presence of Draghi who personally governs the economy is key for Italy to emerge from the policy puzzle: How could an economically sluggish person spend more money, which he doesn’t have, to save himself? In 2019, Draghi gave a speech that gave an immediate answer. He accepted that the level of government debt would be very high in the future. The key, then, is to ensure that Italian bond rates remain low enough to pay off this mounting debt. Risking all his considerable credibility, Draghi said the economic situation could be sustained only if “good debt is used for productive purposes”, rather than Italy simply issuing “bad debt for unproductive purposes”. And who is making this important macroeconomic difference? Who can convince the market that they know the difference? Draghi, and only Draghi, of course. Here is the problem, the point at which the new Italian prime minister serves as a kind of anti-Washington. If America’s founding fathers provided sufficient personal credibility and time for the new republican institutions to strengthen and stabilize, how can we say the same about Draghi’s term? Given Italy’s deep-rooted institutional inertia, what will follow in its footsteps? Rather than serving as a bridge to Italy’s rebirth, Draghi’s tenure tends to be nothing more like a bridge to nowhere, after which the same impeccable and very no different politicians who brought Italy into this reform were initially bent back to power. Draghi is an extraordinary man right now, but he is not an institution. That is precisely the problem.
Dr. John C. Hulsman is president and managing partner of John C. Hulsman Enterprises, a leading global political risk consulting firm. He is also a senior columnist for City AM, the City of London newspaper. He can be reached via chartwellspeakers.com.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by the authors in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the point of view of Arab News