Irish minister visits Arab News

Updated 20 March 2013
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Irish minister visits Arab News

Jan O’Sullivan, Irish minister for housing and planning, along with Dr. Niall Holohan, Irish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Daniel Cunningham, Irish commercial attaché, paid a short visit to Arab News yesterday. Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi, editor in chief of Arab News and Sayidaty welcomed the delegation.
Al-Harthi and Arab News editors discussed housing, tourism and employment issues in Saudi Arabia and Ireland with the Irish delegation. The meeting was held at the AN Jeddah office.
This is the second visit for O’Sullivan to Saudi Arabia. She was a guest panelist at the Jeddah Economic Forum and spoke about the role of government in delivering on housing needs.
“It was a very interesting forum and I think it was very prestigious, especially when it spoke of domestic issues citing international examples,” she said. “We all have our own experiences and perspective and I was trying to give the Irish side of things because we have a large building space and consequently, have developed ample expertise in this domain. We have also learned to take into consideration the needs of the population before embarking upon building projects which may then go to waste.”
The editor in chief of Arab News asserted that there has been a significant change in the Kingdom in the last few years, as the government has refocused on tourism.
“We were very conservative about tourism and have become aware of the importance of tourism and Islamic tourism to be specific,” he said. “The tourism authority is very active and they are conveying this message to the community and trying to encourage them to explore Saudi Arabia. We shall hopefully see it opens to the public in the near future.”
O’Sullivan said that planning and knowledge of people's preferences as to where to live is the first step to solving the impending global housing crisis.
“There is a special boom in Jeddah and Riyadh where the number of projects has increased in conjunction with the number of people. This has paved the way for living preferences,” she said. “With this in mind, planning will become more systematic and better suited to meet the needs of individuals.”


FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Updated 22 August 2018
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FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi has been the president of the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) since his appointment to the post in May 2016.

On Monday GASTAT announced this year’s Hajj statistics, revealing detailed information on the number of pilgrims (which amounted to 2,371,675) performing Hajj this year, their genders, nationalities and whether they arrived through air, land or seaports.

The president conveyed his gratitude to all government and security entities that helped the authority to collect data, and praised the 450 GASTAT researchers who worked to compile the information and deliver it to the public.

He said that the collected data would help facilitate better experiences and easier pilgrimages for future programs, and better services for pilgrims — from social to health, and transportation to security and food.

Altekhaifi received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from King Saud University in 1992, a master’s degree in statistics from Colorado State University in 1996, and his applied statistics and research methodology Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado in 2001.

He worked as a manager of a financial program at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh from 1993 to 2005. For two years after that, he was a project director at the EIS department in Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants.

In 2007, Altekhaifi was appointed a manager of the research department at the Capital Market Authority, before becoming assistant deputy minister for development in November 2011. 

In June 2015, he was the director general of the Central Department of Statistics and Information. He served as the acting president of GASTAT in February 2016, before being appointed president on May 2016.