Frankfurt-based fintech to launch Shariah-compliant crypto token – Arab News





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RIYADH: Caiz Development GmbH, a fintech company headquartered in Frankfurt, is ready to start trading as the world’s first shariah-compliant cryptocurrency, said its CEO.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Joerg Hansen explained that Caizcoin is a shariah-based crypto token that will enable the Islamic world to join the blockchain future with added value, such as transparency and morality, in its network.
“We are already registered and have launched Caizcoin on five exchanges,” said Hansen.
Caizcon was supposed to start trading on Oct. 10 but held it back indefinitely because of the volatile markets.
“We haven’t actively started trading because we think the markets are too choppy now. We promised the community that we would not go into pure speculation because we’re a long-term project and want long-term people to come in and be with us,” he said.
So, the company has decided to launch them at a good time. Moreover, since the cryptocurrency is technically available on these exchanges, it is just a matter of time before the company starts trading.
In a presale movement, Caizcoin sold around 13 million coins to investors. Hansen refused to disclose the amount collected in the presale phase as part of the nondisclosure agreement.
Hansen added: “At the end of the day, this will be payment tokens used for payments, not speculation. So, it is our goal to make it very stable and reliable. But, of course, it should rise in the long run.”
According to Hansen, Caizcoin offers a wallet that allows users to transfer assets internationally in the shortest possible time with no limit on how long one can hold the assets in their wallet and the flexibility to withdraw at any time.
This feature makes the product very cost-effective and globally available. “To enable the remittance case is probably the most important and biggest use case for this,” said Hansen.
Moreover, Caizcoin will not charge interest payments or apply transaction costs for a selected amount.
“Free and anonymous transactions are made possible up to a selected amount,” added Hansen.
Intending to target more Muslims on his platform, Hansen decided that the firm would not engage in partnerships with any industries prohibited in Islam, such as alcohol and gambling or be involved with risky or speculative instruments.
“Because every coin is linked to the value of the precious metal, any form of speculation is minimized. Also, the company doesn’t allow mining. So there’s no decentralized business; we will only have verified and KYC wallets. So that already tells you we will be a permitted system,” explained Hansen.
He further said: “Another thing we cannot do is staking, though we’re currently working with one of the exchanges on an Islamic alternative for staking.”
The crypto company is also developing new products to supplement its offerings and improve its cash flow.
CAIRO: 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.
CAIRO: UAE-based fintech startup Pemo, an all-in-one expense management platform, is planning to start operations in Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of 2023.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Ayham Gorani, co-founder and CEO at Pemo, said that the company plans to broaden its footprint across the Gulf Cooperation Council and Egypt.
“We are preparing for our launch, and we aim to begin operations in Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of 2023,” said Gorani.
Founded in April 2022, the platform solves spending and reconciliation challenges for finance teams in small and medium enterprises.
“We feel incredibly welcomed and very encouraged by the remarkable effort that Saudi Arabia has demonstrated toward boosting the fintech sector,” added Gorani.
Pemo aims to support the Kingdom’s digital economy strategy in line with the Saudi Central Bank’s vision to modernize the fintech sector.
The company believes the Fintech Strategy Implementation Plan under the Saudi Vision 2030 Financial Sector Development Program Financial Sector Development Program will have a far-reaching impact on the industry.
“This will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect on the nation’s overall economy, boosting Saudi fintech companies to create nearly 18,000 jobs by 2030,” said Gorani.
The fintech sector is one of the world’s most funded and fastest-growing industries, with the Kingdom planning to triple the number of its fintech companies by 2025.
“Our platform builds operational efficiencies in the spend management processes of SMEs, and many of our clients are, in fact, fintech companies,”
The company raised $12 million in a seed funding round in May and launched its virtual and physical card, Pemo Card, in partnership with Visa.
The cards allow companies to distribute and decentralize their corporate spending by empowering employees to make purchasing decisions within parameters set by department heads or management teams.
“Many companies now prefer using virtual cards for certain services, such as online subscriptions and purchases, as well as media buying on social platforms. So, we want to ensure we’re catering to their business needs and make processes as seamless and easy as possible,” Gorani added.
The company plans to onboard 1,000 companies on its platform in the upcoming months while empowering its customer experience through its virtual cards.
CAIRO: Global tech provider Lenovo plans to strengthen its presence in Saudi Arabia, thanks to Vision 2030’s digitalization agenda promoting technology in all sectors.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Marwan Bsat, general manager of Levono Saudi Arabia, said that the company is committed to being a technology partner to support the Saudi youth as well as Vision 2030.
“Our efforts to bring new products and advanced services into the Saudi market will greatly contribute to the ongoing digitization in different Saudi sectors,” Bsat said.
As the pandemic played an important role in the digitization of the economy with the inception of remote working, Lenovo aims to provide the right resources to support the implementation of the rising hybrid-work model.
“We will continue to seize the opportunities driven by accelerated digital transformation and hybrid working while successfully navigating a range of industrywide challenges,” he added.
Bsat stated that the quality of devices used by hybrid-working employees would greatly impact productivity, focus, the ability to work on the go and comfortability, which can influence employee well-being.
“With 83 percent of IT decision-makers actively preparing for a hybrid model, equipping people with the technology they need is the key to unlocking productivity,” Bsat explained. 

“At Lenovo, we have the products, solutions, and services to meet the needs of employees and support the three pillars of an enabled flexible workforce security, collaboration and productivity.”
The company realized the unpredictable disruption in the industry with the pandemic but managed to leverage a global crisis to its advantage.
“Our long-term outlook, however, remains positive. The hybrid work model is here to stay, fueling strong and long-term demand for smart devices and IoT infrastructure, as well as intelligent applications and services,” he said.
Moreover, Bsat added that building a perfect student environment is one of the company’s goals to support the learning sector in the Kingdom, stating that academic success “starts with the device students are studying and learning on.”
In a class of its own
Lenovo is providing students with the solution to improve their academic performance with its smart learning features that Bsat explained are “designed to help students get the best out of the at-home learning experience, without compromising comfort or privacy.”
“Whether it’s for the virtual classroom at home or the schoolroom, Lenovo has the solutions for effective electronic learning, including secure laptops, smart tablets and all-in-one PCs, monitors and accessories,” he added.
Hybrid working and education are well-known factors in empowering the youth, but Lenovo discovered another rising trend to strengthen its position among the Saudi population, which is the booming esports sector.
Although esports has been around for a while, the pandemic and the accessibility to technology devices have brought to light the sector’s importance, with teams and tournaments being established with multimillion-dollar investments.
Staying ahead of the game
Being the market leader of personal computers in the Kingdom with almost 30 percent market share, Lenovo aims to provide the right tools to support the gaming industry of all ages.
“Whether it’s young girls, boys, working parents or even people over 60, we’ve worked with all of these communities over the years, recognizing their love for gaming and giving them platforms on which to thrive,” Bsat stated. 

At Lenovo, we have the products, solutions, and services to meet the needs of employees and support the three pillars of an enabled flexible workforce security, collaboration and productivity.
Marwan Bsat, general manager of Lenovo Saudi Arabia
With around 70 percent of its population under 30 years of age, the Kingdom can play a significant role in global esports as it already has approximately 20 million active gamers.
“As with any competitive sport, esports helps students develop discipline, teaching new skills and building engaged communities. But more than that, esports can foster an inclusive community largely independent of physical ability, gender, location and other factors,” Bsat said.
The company has been supporting the esports industry in the Kingdom for the past few years by organizing competitions and tournaments and sponsoring local teams.
“As part of our efforts over the last few years to increase the visibility and opportunities for gamers, we hosted the first ever Legion Cup in 2019, sponsored local gaming teams, and pushed the boundary for girl gamers in the region,” he said.
“All of these have helped gamers to share their experiences and create a lasting impression amongst their peers and thrive,” he added.
“Above and beyond that, we are the first brand in the region to launch an online dedicated Arabic community for gamers in the region. The Legion Community is a platform which allows gamers to connect with like-minded players and share experience and expertise on gaming,” Bsat added.
He explained that with the right technology, Saudi players could compete in global esports competitions and be open to professional opportunities.
The company aims to utilize all the mentioned sectors in 2023 by maintaining its leading market share.
“We aim to deliver the latest and greatest innovations to all sectors in the Kingdom while also at the same time supporting the digital transformation initiatives set out by the government,” Bsat added.
The company will also leverage its strong synergies with its business groups, Lenovo Infrastructure Business Group, Mobile Business Group and Services and Solutions Group, to provide innovative, tailored solutions to the public and private sectors.
“Digitalization, intelligent transformation and hybrid work models continue to accelerate and drive long-term opportunities. At Lenovo, we are looking at what comes beyond devices. This is where the strength of our other business groups really come to life and gives us our competitive edge,” Bsat said.
He also stated that the company reached the highest non-PC revenue mix in its history this year, shifting its mindset to “solutions-based outcomes rather than purely hardware.”
“At Lenovo, we are dedicated to assisting intelligent technologies in empowering everyone as organizations and consumers traverse the evolving hybrid realm of work, learning and entertainment,” he added.
CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s artificial intelligence and robotics sector is set to contribute over $135.2 billion, equivalent to 12.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2030, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The world is entering a phase where automation is taking over the traditional ways of business, and the Kingdom has also been pulling out huge initiatives to support the implementation of robotics into its economy.
The average annual growth of AI and automation contribution to the Kingdom is expected to reach 31 percent each year from 2018 to 2030.
Ahmed Baharoon, AI consultant and co-founder of Inc Robotics, a Saudi-based robotics provider, told Arab News that the Kingdom is supporting the adoption of robotics across industries. However, the challenges in automating their operations persist.
“The government is driving initiatives such as the automation of 4,000 manufacturing plants within the next five years, and the Kingdom’s logistical strategy launched last year lists the use of robotics and AI in smart cities, including NEOM and The Line,” Baharoon said.
He highlighted that robotics could significantly reduce costs in many sectors and utilize human labor for better purposes.
“That contributes to smooth customer service, a positive image for the company and better employee experience. Having a robot can enhance the customer experience and create great moments that can be used to enhance brands and present them in a fun way,” he added.
The advantages of automation and robotics are only present when companies are willing to take the risk of abandoning traditional ways and paying more now to reduce costs in the future.
Baharoon added that robotics companies in the Kingdom need to start educating businesses about the benefit of automation to reduce costs and encourage a leap into AI.
“Companies look for guidance to ensure their investment is not going to be in vain,” he said, adding that robotic providers need to understand the automation process and develop a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis for their clients.
He stated that the future of the business would revolve around robotics, much like mobile phones and the internet which were once perceived as luxury items until they became a general necessity.
The apprehension of robotics does not concern only large companies. Baharoon states that even startups in the Kingdom should take the risk and present automation ideas to gain investment interest rather than thinking they are ahead of their time.
“Startups in the Kingdom present some of the most innovative solutions in the region. However, many of them do not like to present bold ideas out of fear that they would not get funded,” he added.
Baharoon advised small and medium enterprises to start introducing innovative automation solutions aligned with the government’s interest in investing in the future of the industry.
Saudi-based venture capital firms are already showing interest in the robotics industry as Aramco’s investment subsidiary Prosperity7 recently invested $150 million into Chinese startup Jaka Robotics. The Kingdom has also seen Saudi Excellence Co. partner with US-based robotics company Nala Robotics to establish the country’s first AI-powered robotic cloud kitchen.
Research Products Development Co., owned by the Public Investment Fund, is also adopting robotic solutions to enhance its offshore oil operations. The company aims to launch a robot to inspect pipeline leaks under the water and is working with Saudi Arabian Oil Co. to develop a prototype by the end of 2022.
The Kingdom’s interest in robotics is also rising, with large cooperations investing in automation and AI as part of their operations. The market is set to increase rapidly in the next few years.
According to a report by PwC, the Middle East could attract up to $125 billion investments in robotics by 2025, specializing in manufacturing technology hardware solutions.
“We estimate that the market for industrial and service robots in the region could reach $4 billion by 2025 and that industrial internet of things devices could reach $1.5 billion. As a result, competition among countries to stake claims on tech segments, gain first-mover advantage and attract global tech companies looking to establish a regional foothold will be fierce,” the report stated.
Moreover, the UAE has already started to support entrepreneurs in developing robots with its newly launched Dubai Robotics and Automation Program led by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the crown prince of Dubai.
The program, launched on Sept. 21, will provide over 200,000 robots to raise efficiency and productivity levels in multiple sectors and create a futuristic competitive economy.
Major international companies are also heading to Saudi Arabia to invest in robotics and AI as the Kingdom aims to establish 400 startups in the field, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
Robotics investments are expected to surpass $150 million in the next two years, with the development of smart cities and digitalization rising in the Kingdom.
DUBAI: Over a third of Middle Eastern employees worry that their jobs will be replaced by new technologies over the next three years, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey released in
June 2022.
According to PwC Middle East’s Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022, 32 percent of the employees said their companies use technology to improve the workplace, slightly higher than the global survey average.
However, around 41 percent of the surveyed people were worried about new technologies replacing their jobs over the next three years.
So, the question that may arise in their minds is: Will robots take over jobs? Short answer, no.
Scott Nowson, the artificial intelligence leader at PwC Middle East, told Arab News how these fears are unfounded because more use cases will emerge as technology advances. As a result, more value will be gained from investing in robotics, designing new experiences and envisioning new ways to live and work.
“As this happens, the knock-on effect will be that more people are required to train the robots, demonstrate how a task is to be done and create the rules that the robot should follow,” he added.
What they are up against
According to Nowson, robots will not displace most jobs soon or in the long run. While some jobs will be automated, there will be an increased demand for people to work in other areas, which means more job opportunities, he added.

Nowson said that most robots are purely functional and capable of performing only one task. Today’s most advanced robots include Boston Dynamics’ range — robots that can navigate uneven woodlands and dance.
“There has been no negative impact on job opportunities, except on the industrial level, which has not been widely adopted in the regional market,” Doaa Sulaiman, robotics director of Proven Robotics, told Arab News.
“Technology will free us from routine toil and give us the freedom to redefine work in ways that are more constructive and useful to society,” she added.
Despite doubters, technology has created millions of jobs and makes up 10 percent of the US’ gross domestic product, according to Sulaiman.
Proven Robotics, based in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, works with customers who require robotics for visitor management, process automation and acceleration of functions that require a robot instead of a human. These companies and entities range from banking and healthcare to education and events.
“Other companies are government offices that need to organize the check-in process for their buildings and facilities,” she added. Adding to the robotics world is Ameca, an AI-powered humanoid robot that will interact with Dubai’s Museum of the Future visitors.
The AI-powered Ameca, manufactured by the UK-based Engineered Arts, is described as a perfect platform for human-robot interaction. Her “smooth, lifelike motion and advanced facial expression capabilities mean Ameca can strike an instant rapport with anybody,” the manufacturer’s website said. According to a statement, the humanoid robot Ameca is considered the “most advanced” in the world.
The new-age workforce
Anas Batikhi, the managing director of health tech firm Santechture, believes that such technologies will ultimately shift focus to developing workforce talent and investing in people skills development rather than process improvements.
The company uses AI through its software solutions to help healthcare professionals administer, document and bill patients intelligently.
Communication and technological understanding is critical, said PwC’s Nowson.
The fact that 53 percent of respondents in the region reported limited opportunities to learn from colleagues with advanced technological or digital skills is concerning, he added.
It is difficult for companies to use AI and robots as the technology is not fully understood, primarily because traditional management thinking is skeptical toward change and lacks innovation when it comes to medium- and long-term investments, according to Batikhi.

Therefore, if robotics is to be introduced at scale to any workforce sector, there must be a better understanding and awareness of its impacts. Most importantly, opportunities for education and additional skills must be provided for all, Nowson said.
Over the past two years, businesses have started to seriously look at robots and robotics solutions as contributing to business processes instead of just for show, Sulaiman said.
“AI is changing how we work,” she said. Tech companies are creating jobs and opportunities for employee growth by adapting to these technologies, Sulaiman added. AI now automates repetitive tasks so employees can focus on more critical tasks.
While AI technologies have improved and advanced many functions everywhere, including office processes, airports and facilities, physical robots still have a long way to go, Sulaiman said.
For handling everyday robot processes, it is considered a vital training aspect and a skill that most entities, especially universities and schools, are adding to their resource pools, Sulaiman added.

“A unique curriculum has been added to pregraduate and postgraduates studies, with many graduation projects now focusing on robots and robotics,” she said.
There are many ways available for Proven Robotics clients to adopt robotics solutions in their operations, from welcoming visitors and making boardroom reservations to delivering mail and food.
Therefore, Nowson concluded that the intention behind robotics and AI is to augment humans, not replace them.
Companies are always looking for ways to automate new tasks at work, and robotics is just one example.
In dangerous physical environments, automation reduces the risk of human life, but it can also reduce burnout in an office setting, Nowson said.
“Even if a task is 99.9 percent identically repetitive, there will always be a need for a human for the remaining 0.1 percent,” he concluded.

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