Eight years of development, reforms

Updated 12 May 2013
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Eight years of development, reforms

The Kingdom has taken gigantic developmental steps in record time, covering all sectors since the ascension of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to the throne, according to Prince Muqrin, second deputy premier and adviser and special envoy of King Abdullah.
“The king has taken many reform decisions, aiming to provide a good standard of living for citizens over the past eight years. Through his wisdom and leadership, King Abdullah has strengthened the status of the Kingdom at regional and global arenas, making it play great and influential roles in regional and global events,” Prince Muqrin said in a statement on the eve of the national celebration marking the eighth anniversary of the pledge of allegiance.
The president of the Allegiance Commission, Prince Mishaal, said King Abdullah spared no efforts in providing services to his country and his people.
“We congratulate ourselves and the Saudi people on this blessed day marking the eighth anniversary of the pledge of allegiance to the king,” Prince Mishaal said.
In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh, president of the Council of Senior Scholars and General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta, said: “Perhaps foremost among the great achievements of King Abdullah is the expansion of the Two Holy Mosques and the improvement of pilgrim services in a way unparalleled in the history of the Two Holy Mosques.”
Expressing his thanks and extending his greetings on behalf of the people of the Makkah Province, Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal said the king achieved an exceptional position among the Saudi leadership in the present age by holding fast to the humanitarian values enshrined in the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
“He showed the world that Islam is a religion of progress and civilization, and the greatest evidence of this is the king’s efforts to conduct interfaith dialogues,” the prince said.

Pivotal role in global arena
Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal stressed the role of the king in enhancing the international status of the Kingdom, highlighting its political, economic and cultural contributions with special emphasis on the need for peace and development.
“King Abdullah has achieved his ambitious visions and translated them into a number of great initiatives to maintain international peace and security and promote development,” Prince Saud said in a statement.
He said the king strengthened the status of the Kingdom as an economic power through its membership in the Group of 20, in addition to the king’s initiative for setting up the counterterrorism center.

Wise statesmanship
Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman said the king’s wise statesmanship has enabled the Kingdom to achieve great progress in all fields, including politics, economy, science and social issues.
“The king’s goal is to achieve progress in all parts of the Kingdom by evenly distributing developmental and social projects,” the prince said.
Minister of State and Member of the Council of Ministers Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, commander of the National Guard, said: “Anyone who looks at the past years will notice the positive changes and progress that have put the nation on the threshold of a new era of economic and social development.”
Pakistani Ambassador Mohammed Naeem Khan conveyed felicitations on his own behalf and on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan, “to our Saudi brethren” on the occasion.
“It is an occasion of celebration for Pakistanis as much as it is for our Saudi brothers. Their Pakistani brothers inside the Kingdom and in Pakistan join them on this festive occasion,” he said in the message.
The ambassador said that King Abdullah has always had a special love for Pakistan and its people, having visited Pakistan on five occasions. He visited it as crown prince in 2003 and then in 2006 after he ascended the throne. “The Pakistani public will never forget the spontaneous and generous way in which King Abdullah went all out to help Pakistan when it was struck by natural calamities such as earthquake and floods,” he said.

 

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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.