Germany supports Saudi Arabia's economic plan: Envoy

German Ambassador Dieter W. Haller
Updated 21 April 2017
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Germany supports Saudi Arabia's economic plan: Envoy

RIYADH: German Ambassador Dieter W. Haller said on Thursday that Germany supports the Kingdom in realizing its Vision 2030 by offering high-tech products and know-how.
The German envoy made the announcement as he addressed more than 150 representatives of companies, business chambers and government ministries during the German Breakfast and Catalog Show at a local hotel in the Saudi capital on Thursday.
The event has been held for 13 years and has a long tradition of helping establish bilateral trade relations, which amounted to almost €8 billion (SR32 billion) in 2016.
Oliver Oehms, of the German Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs (GESALO), said, “This is the largest catalog show in many years, which demonstrates the importance of the business relations between our two great countries.”
Oehms said that German firms could offer high-tech products and know-how to add to the diversification of the economy and strengthen the role of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Haller said that Vision 2030 is a most ambitious blueprint for a modern and diversified economy that is not only resource-based, but also above all knowledge-based, adding that this makes Germany well-positioned to support Vision 2030 since it’s knowledge-based.
He also said that he had met with Ahmed Fahd Al-Fuhaid, governor of the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC), to discuss ways to enhance joint cooperation in the field of vocational training.
“In visiting this country, I was so impressed by the competence and energy of the young generation. There’s enormous potential among them,” he said.
He also underscored the fact that it’s in Germany’s interest to keep its links with Saudi Arabia, citing sustainability aspect in energy efficiency.


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 27 min 6 sec ago
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”