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.


Sharqiah Season: What to expect this weekend?

Updated 12 min 40 sec ago
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Sharqiah Season: What to expect this weekend?

RIYADH: A bumper program of entertainment is being lined up in the Eastern Province for the biggest weekend yet of Sharqiah Season.

Concerts, a film festival, and a spectacular air race are just some of the events due to take place in the region as part of attractions for both Saudis and visitors to the Kingdom.

The action gets underway with the fifth annual Saudi Film Festival taking place from March 21 to 26 at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.

Organized by the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts (SASCA) in Dammam, in partnership with Ithra, the movie fest will honor Saudi and Gulf cinema figures and include 10 training workshops and 10 seminars.

The festival aims to promote opportunities for Saudi talent in the film industry and flicks from the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman will be included among screenings.

All participating films will be shown during the event, and there will be a Golden Palm award for best documentary about a Saudi city and best poster (based on audience voting). A winners’ presentation will take place at the closing ceremony, after which the films will be screened at the Ithra center.

Tickets can be purchased via Ithra’s website, with options for single-day, four-day, and VIP passes.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited Red Bull Air Race demo comes to Dammam from March 21 to 23. The event, organized along with the General Sports Authority, will provide spectators with a warm-up taster for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2019 season finale, to be held in Saudi Arabia in November.

The air-racing competition, developed in 2003 and accredited by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), is billed as “the most advanced aerial challenge in existence.”

Using the fastest, most agile, high-performance race planes, pilots fly just meters from the ground and against the clock to complete an obstacle course full of twists and turns. The air spectacular takes off at Dammam Corniche between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Saturday will also see the highly anticipated Color Run come to the South Alkhobar Corniche. The 5-km dash involves participants being doused with colored powder at the end of every kilometer. Runners start dressed all in white and emerge at the end of the run covered in the colors of the General Entertainment Authority’s logo.

The untimed run takes place between 5 a.m. and noon and rest areas offering refreshments and entertainment will be available between stops.

For concert fans the Asharqiah Music Festival will feature performances by major names at Dammam’s Life Park. US rapper Pitbull and Canadian DJ Deadmau5 will take to the stage on March 21, and March 22 will witness performances by Egyptian vocalist Amr Diab, US-Moroccan rapper French Montana, and American singer Akon.

Lovers of regional music are not left out, with appearances by Assala Nasri and Mutrif Al-Mutrif on March 22, and Nabil Shuail and Hatem Al-Iraqi on March 23, all at the Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Center in Al-Qatif.

Sharqiah Season, the first of 11 Saudi seasons of entertainment planned for 2019, will run until the end of the month with more than 83 different events scheduled across nine cities in the region.