Austrade road show focuses on health, mining, dairy in Riyadh

Australian Trade Commissioner Mark Morley,center, seen with other participants of the Austrade road show in Riyadh on Wednesday.
Updated 16 March 2017
0

Austrade road show focuses on health, mining, dairy in Riyadh

RIYADH: Australia’s dynamic health, mining and dairy sectors were in focus during a road show held here Wednesday to help boost investments from Gulf and North African countries.
“We want to cooperate with the Kingdom in bilateral trade and investment in line with the Saudi Vision 2030,” Australian Trade Commissioner Mark Morley told Arab News here at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel.
The road show, which began in Kuwait, will end in the United Arab Emirates during this leg of the tour.
Morley said Australia’s mining companies have much to offer the MENA region in terms of developing a broad range of projects beyond the energy sector. “Australia is one of the world’s leading mining nations, with particular expertise in the mining technologies and services that help to keep the world’s mines operational,” he said, pointing out that there are some 100 Australian miners attached to Ma’aden.
Ma’aden (Saudi Arabian Mining Co.) is a diversified mining company, active in gold-based metals mining and infrastructure industry. Ma’aden was formed as a Saudi joint stock company in 1997 to facilitate the development of Saudi Arabia’s mineral resources. It is the largest mining company in Saudi Arabia.
“At a time when many nations in the MENA region are exploring the potential of their mineral deposits, this represents a good opportunity to talk about needs and capability,” he said.
Through a series of high-profile forums, targeted roundtables and meetings, AU MENA will provide introductions between Australian companies and key government officials, industry stakeholders, and projects in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Another focus, he said, was how Australian health care service firms can help MENA countries cope with growing demand.
“Australia’s proven expertise in health care is well-positioned to assist the MENA region as the public and private sector work to develop a local medical tourism industry and try to prevent the spread of lifestyle illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” he noted.
Bilateral trade between Australia and the Kingdom is around 2 billion Australian dollars, in favor of Australia, he added.
By 2020, spending in the GCC alone on health care will reach $69 billion. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be a shortage of 15,000 physicians and 1.8 million nurses and midwives.
”So, the need to enhance skill levels in the health care sector also offers clear opportunities for Australian education and training providers,” he said.
This year, AU MENA will also encompass a program for Dairy Australia. Peter Myers, international trade development manager of Dairy Australian, said the Australian dairy industry has had a healthy relationship with the GCC market, with 11 percent of total dairy exports making its way into the region. Fifty-seven percent of the GCC’s total dairy consumption was met through imports.


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

Updated 24 April 2018
0

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

  • Qiddiya Project is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom
  • The first phase will be completed by 2022

RIYADH: Saudi King Salman will launch the construction of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh Wednesday, authorities said, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects as the Kingdom seeks to diversity its oil-reliant economy.
The 334-square kilometer project in Qiddiya, southwest of Riyadh, would rival Walt Disney and include high-end theme parks, motor sport facilities and a safari park, officials say.
The facility highlights a “relentless effort to develop giga-projects that will help achieve many direct and indirect economic returns,” project official Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi was quoted as saying in a government statement on Monday.
Qiddiya chief executive Michael Reininger said he expects the project will draw foreign investors in entertainment and other sectors, but did not specify the total cost of construction.
Such projects are the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a self-styled liberal change agent who is the chief architect of the sweeping “Vision 2030” reform program.
Saudi Arabia has dazzled investors with several plans for hi-tech “giga projects,” funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund, but some skeptics question their viability in an era of cheap oil.
The Kingdom has unveiled blueprints to build NEOM, a mega project billed as a regional Silicon Valley, in addition to the Red Sea project, a reef-fringed resort destination — both worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Analysts say the projects could create funding pressures at a time when the government faces a yawning budget deficit and growth in the Kingdom’s non-oil economy is only slowly gathering pace.
The reform stems partly from an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom has been reeling from an oil slump since 2014.
Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighboring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain.
In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) announced it will stage more than 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double the number of last year, and pump $64 billion in the sector in the coming decade.