Iraq urges Saudis to invest in agricultural projects

Iraqi Agriculture Minister Falah Al-Lahibi speaking at a meeting with Saudi businessmen in Riyadh on Wednesday. To his right is Sami Al-Obaidi, vice chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers. (AN photo)
Updated 20 July 2017

Iraq urges Saudis to invest in agricultural projects

RIYADH: Iraq’s agriculture minister on Wednesday urged Saudi businessmen to invest in mutually beneficial agricultural projects in his country.
Falah Al-Lahibi was addressing members of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) at a meeting chaired by its Vice Chairman Sami Al-Obaidi at the council’s headquarters in Riyadh.
Al-Lahibi, leading an Iraqi delegation, urged Saudi businessmen to learn about his country’s promising investment opportunities in the agricultural sector.
The meeting, attended by Iraqi Ambassador to the Kingdom Rushdi Al-Ani, discussed ways to strengthen bilateral economic and trade relations, and reviewed investment opportunities in both countries.
Al-Lahibi reviewed Iraq’s agricultural sector, its economic importance and its investment potential.
He said there are promising opportunities due to the availability of water, fertile land, expertise and labor, as well as the geographic proximity between the two countries. He added that investing in Iraq is now safe as security has stabilized.
Welcoming Al-Lahibi, Al-Obaidi expressed Saudi interest in investing in Iraq. He called for joint efforts to increase bilateral trade and investment in viable ventures in the agricultural sector, which is an important way to diversify sources of income in the Kingdom, in line with Vision 2030.

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 1 min 13 sec ago

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

AD DIRIYAH: The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years ... I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place ... and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract. 

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”