Saudi National Day celebrations to feature 27 major events in 17 cities across Kingdom

Exciting preparations are under way to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s 87th National Day. (AN photo by Imran Haider)
Updated 22 September 2017
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Saudi National Day celebrations to feature 27 major events in 17 cities across Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has made extensive arrangements to celebrate its 87th National Day in a fitting manner throughout the Kingdom.
On Wednesday, the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) announced that elaborate preparations were being made to unveil 27 diverse festivities across 17 cities within Saudi Arabia to mark the National Day.
Celebrations will begin on Thursday and run through Monday, starting from Jeddah. They will also be held in Dammam, Riyadh, Hail, Alkhobar, Jazan, Abha, Onaiza, Tabuk, Sakaka, Jubail, Yanbu, Hafr Al-Batain, Hofuf, Madinah and Najran.
During a press discussion on Wednesday at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, it was revealed that programs and events are in line with Vision 2030. Citizens and expatriates will have the opportunity to enjoy a chain of related events, which will highlight the country’s achievements through an eclectic combination of sports events, cultural shows, fireworks and concerts
To light up Saudi Arabia’s horizon with high technology, the GEA has organized laser shows and vibrant firework displays.
There will be aerobatics and animated smoke shows in the sky, all displayed in harmony alongside a variety of the country’s national music.
The Kingdom Tower in Riyadh will be lit up against the night skies with a display of fireworks and the largest HD projection on a tower in the world.
To depict the country’s culture, the GEA will be presenting an operetta “National Epic” at the King Fahd Stadium, highlighting the history of Saudi Arabia; holograms will dance on the water signifying the stories of the Kingdom’s rich culture and history.
A festival in Madinah — “A Nation’s Smile” — will combine the story of the country with a historical past and a brighter future
Eleven Saudi and Gulf music artists will entertain the audience at the Al-Johara Stadium in Jeddah. The participating artists will include Mohamed Abdo, Majed Al-Mohandes, Aseel Abu Baker, Abdulmajeed Abdullah, Tala Salamah, Abadi Al-Johar, Hussein Al-Jasmi and Abdullah Al-Rowaished.
Other events lined up during the five-day celebrations include car festivals, sports and folklore shows, bazaars, fashion shows, dancing fountains, parades, hot air balloon rides and even the Jungle Book play. Organizers will harness high-end technologies including 3D shows, LEDs and HD projections — the results promise to be magnificent.
The GEA is a government-sanctioned body based on the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program. The authority looks to develop, promote, regulate and fund a competitive entertainment infrastructure in the Kingdom, partnering with both government bodies and the private sector to achieve these ambitions.
Five days in the Saudi calendar that will make history should not be missed. The GEA said a full program of all its activities are available at www.Roznamah.sa.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 1 min 37 sec ago
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.