Saudi Arabia pledges technical support to Lanka in desalination projects

Sri Lankan Minister for City Planning and Water Resources Rauf Hakeem exchanges mementos with Minister of Water, Environment and Agriculture Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Mohsen Al-Fadhli in Riyadh on Tuesday. (AN photo)
Updated 15 March 2017

Saudi Arabia pledges technical support to Lanka in desalination projects

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has pledged to support Sri Lanka by offering its expertise in the desalination sector, Rauf Hakeem, Sri Lankan minister of city planning and water resources, told Arab News.
Hakeem met with his counterpart, Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Mohsen Al-Fadhli, minister of water, environment and agriculture, in Riyadh on Tuesday.
“It was a useful and cordial dialogue with the Saudi minister where Saudi Arabia would offer technical support and advice on desalination projects that would be undertaken by the Sri Lankan government,” Hakeem said.
The talks were also attended by Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim.
Hakeem said his ministry has already called tenders for desalination plants for projects in Jaffna, the northern part of the island. He said his government also intends to carry out similar desalination projects in areas like Hambantota and Kalpitiya, which are located in arid zones.
He said that Al-Fadhli has extended an invitation to a technical team from his ministry to visit the desalination plant in Jubail. “Such visits will enrich our experience in the relevant sector,” he said.
Saudi Arabia has the largest desalination plant in the world. The total length of supply pipeline is 7,000 km. It serves about 60 percent of domestic use in the Kingdom, making Saudi Arabia the largest producer of desalinated water in the world.
Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) carries out the transmission of drinking water to the beneficiary regions using a very long pipeline network with pipes ranging between 8 and 80 inches in diameter. The water is pumped through 47 pumping stations to a total of 224 water tanks, with a total capacity of 11.6 million cubic meters, in addition to 16 blending stations to mix the desalinated water with the underground water, and eight other terminal stations. Its electricity co-generation capacity has reached 7,500MW and is considered one of the major electricity producers in the country.
Hakeem explored the feasibility of joint cooperation between the Kingdom and Sri Lanka during his meeting with Abdullah Al-Abdul Karim, deputy governor for planning and development, Saline Water Conversion Corp.
Hakeem also met with Yousef Al-Basam, vice chairman of the Saudi Fund For Development and discussed the possibility of obtaining micro-credit for SMEs in Sri Lanka.
Earlier, financial lending for several projects on the island had been provided. They include $140 million for a road construction project and for the refurbishment of the Epilepsy Hospital in Colombo.
In addtion, financing came as additional funding for the procurement of equipment for the ongoing Epilepsy Hospital Project, in which $20 million has been provided to construct a fully equipped state-of-art hospital for epilepsy patients. The 10-story hospital building consists of an operation theater, Intensive Care Unit, High Dependency Unit, 242-bed male and female wards, an auditorium for capacity building for the countrywide medical staff.
The additional financing of $12 million is mainly to procure equipment including device ray CT, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, physical therapy devices, medical furniture.

TheFace: Dr. Lama S. Taher, the successful fashion designer whose one dream was not enough

Dr. Lama S. Taher (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 20 April 2018

TheFace: Dr. Lama S. Taher, the successful fashion designer whose one dream was not enough

  • Lacking in financial assistance but armed with grit, perseverance and passion, a young Saudi woman fashion designer launches her own brand while pursuing further studies, and succeed in both

I was born and raised in Riyadh and moved to London in 2004 to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree, followed by a Master’s degree in Mental Health.

Eight years ago, when I started on my Ph.D. in Psychology, I felt compelled to go into fashion design. Armed with grit, perseverance and passion, I took the plunge and launched my own brand, LUM, in May 2010.

I had no financial assistance and no fancy business plans — but I believed in it. No one else did, except my older sister who stood by me.

In spite of its humble beginning, the brand was well-received in the Kingdom and the Gulf region. But my father, a physician, was not convinced. I placed a bet with him, vowing to make substantial sales and revenue within one month. On July 1, 2013, I won that bet, making him my number one supporter.  In 2016, I achieved my academic dream, obtaining a Ph.D. in psychology at City University London.  

But it was not easy. Enduring sleepless nights and homesickness, I persevered to meet high academic demands. Meanwhile, the LUM business continued to flourish.

People asked why a successful fashion designer would pursue a doctorate in psychology. I was constantly asked to pick one — but my heart was in one and my mind was in another. 

Few believed I could achieve both. At times, I too doubted myself.

Today, I am an assistant professor at Dar Al Hekma University in Jeddah, supervising award-winning researchers. I am also a Saudi designer and manager of a successful fashion brand sold in the GCC, New York and Los Angeles.  I share my story to empower women to pursue their dreams, to believe in themselves, to fight for what they want.

People still ask: “Why both?” 

I reply, smiling: “Because one dream was not enough.”