Saudi Arabia pledges $20m for Rohingya refugees

KSRelief officials visit Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to assess their needs. (SPA)
Updated 24 October 2017
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Saudi Arabia pledges $20m for Rohingya refugees

GENEVA: Saudi Arabia pledged $20 million in aid to Rohingya refugees at Monday’s Rohingya Refugee Crisis Pledging Conference in Geneva.
The conference was co-hosted by the EU and Kuwait, and organized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
It reportedly aimed to raise $434 million to provide life-saving assistance to more than 1 million displaced people who have fled violence in Myanmar in the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis.
Dr. Yahya Alshammari, director of Public Partnerships and International Relations at the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief), said the Kingdom’s donation would help “alleviate the pain and suffering of the Rohingya minority, especially the most vulnerable groups like women and children.”
He called on the UN and all peace-loving countries around the world to pressure the government of Myanmar to respect its commitment to human rights, end the forced displacement of the Rohingya, and allow refugees a safe and dignified return to their homes.
Alshammari said that Saudi Arabia was among the first countries to intervene in the current crisis by sending a team from KSRelief to support refugees in Bangladesh and by collaborating with IOM to provide urgently needed aid.
But, he added, the Kingdom has a long history of supporting the Rohingya, donating $66 million over the past 10 years, and welcoming more than 300,000 Rohingya in the last 40 years, which he claimed made Saudi second only to Bangladesh in the number of Rohingya refugees taken in.
“Since its unification by King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia has always been keen on supporting needy communities and countries and providing them with aid,” Alshammari said.
“The Kingdom has become a leading global supporter of humanitarian and development work, and the Rohingya crisis has received the attention and generous support of Saudi Arabia throughout history.
“Rohingyas in Saudi Arabia receive free education and free health care and none of them lives in refugee camps,” he added.
He also commended Bangladesh for receiving around 600,000 refugees from Rakhine State in the last two months.

Education aid
In Riyadh, the King Abdullah International Foundation for Charity and Humanitarian Works announced the launch of an $11.5 million initiative — in partnership with UNICEF and the Islamic Development Bank Group — that will help educate more than 76,000 Rohingya children in refugee camps over the next five years, at least.
Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, executive chairman of the foundation, stressed that education is a fundamental right of all children.
“Investment in minds, through education and training, is a long-term investment that will empower communities to find effective solutions to reduce poverty and help build a better future for everyone in a world of understanding and tolerance,” he said.


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.