Saudi Arabia launches national defense company

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Updated 18 May 2017
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Saudi Arabia launches national defense company

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced Wednesday the creation of a new national military industries company.
Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) will manufacture products and provide services across four business units: Air Systems, which includes maintenance and repair of fixed-wing aircraft as well as manufacturing and repair of unmanned air vehicles; Land Systems, which includes manufacturing and repair of military vehicles; Weapons and Missiles,  including ammunition; and Defense Electronics, which includes radars and sensors as well as communication systems and electronic warfare.
Wholly government-owned, SAMI aims to become one of the world’s top 25 defense companies by 2030. It will directly contribute around SR14 billion to the Kingdom’s GDP in 2030, invest over SR6 billion in research and development by 2030, and create over 40,000 jobs, many of which will be in the engineering and technical fields.
By partnering with universities, SAMI will provide students with apprenticeships and careers in cutting edge technologies, which were previously unavailable in the Kingdom.
In line with Vision 2030, SAMI will contribute to diversifying the Saudi economy for the 21st century by reducing dependence on oil, while protecting and strengthening national security.
 “While the Kingdom is one of the world’s top five spenders on security and defense overall, only around 2 percent of our military procurement is domestic,” said Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who also serves as minister of defense.

The deputy crown prince emphasized that SAMI will be a major contributor in achieving the goals set out in Vision 2030, which states that 50 percent of Saudi Arabia’s military procurement spending will be localized.
SAMI’s four business units complement the Kingdom’s future military requirements and build on existing local capabilities. SAMI will establish companies through joint ventures with global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), as well as cooperating with local military companies. It will consider creating new business units, to ensure the company is aligned with the latest developments in the military industries sector.
The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund has a diverse portfolio made up of approximately 200 investments, of which around 20 are listed on the Tadawul, the Saudi Stock Exchange. As well as its listed holdings, PIF also has unlisted equity investments, international investments, real estate holdings, and loans, bonds and sukuks.
Since oversight of the PIF was transferred from the Ministry of Finance to the Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA), the Fund has been undertaking a phased transformation program to implement a redefined strategy and mandate.
This includes expanding the management, investment and middle and back office teams, enhancing the governance structures, engaging with the diverse portfolio and implementing the investment strategy, which is closely aligned with Vision 2030. A new board has been appointed, chaired by Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


Muslim World League, Vatican boost religious ties

Updated 16 min 59 sec ago
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Muslim World League, Vatican boost religious ties

  • Accord emphasizes the need for promoting dialogue in a world that has become more versatile in terms of race, religions and cultures
  • Two parties obliged to work toward strengthening religious and spiritual ties between Christians and Muslims

JEDDAH: Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue at the Vatican, have signed a cooperation agreement on achieving common objectives.

Tauran praised the efforts of the MWL in leading initiatives to strengthen relationships and build bridges between religions. 

“It is not my intention to present a list of the many initiatives implemented by this organization, but I am fully aware of the relentless efforts exerted to make it through its various programs, really reflect the true meaning of its name, a link, not only among Muslims but also with believers of other religions, especially Christians, to achieve common goals,” he said.

This agreement represents the culmination of the previous cooperation agreement signed between the MWL and the Pontifical Council, following the secretary-general’s visit to the Vatican last September, during which Al-Issa met with the pope and Tauran, adding to the recent visit of the cardinal to the Kingdom.

Under the terms of this, the two parties agreed to establish a standing work committee to be headed by the cardinal and Al-Issa. 

A coordinating committee composed of two members from each side shall also be set up to meet annually to prepare for meetings. The joint committee shall convene every two years, with its meetings held alternately between Rome and a city chosen by the MWL.

The agreement emphasized the need for promoting dialogue in a world that has become more versatile in terms of race, religions and cultures. 

It also called for strengthening religious and spiritual ties between Christians and Muslims, and establishing fruitful relationships based on respect and peace between them.

It highlighted the role of the Pontifical Council in promoting constructive relations with believers of other religions, and the distinctive role of the MWL at the level of Muslim nations in terms of interfaith dialogue.