$500m deals signed at Saudi investment forum

Fahd Al-Rasheed, managing director and chief executive officer of KAEC, presented the economic city’s strategic vision at the Time Forum on Wednesday. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 09 November 2017
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$500m deals signed at Saudi investment forum

JEDDAH: King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) signed agreements worth SR2 billion ($533 million) with various companies on the sidelines of the Time Forum on Wednesday.
Time Forum is a platform where KAEC’s leaders can meet with partners from ministries, government agencies, the private sector and other interested parties.
More than 300 investors and leaders from business and government attended the forum, including representatives from international organizations, including the Young Professionals’ Organization (YPO) and a delegation of global leaders interested in the development of major global infrastructure projects.
KAEC’s new deals include an agreement with the General Customs Authority and the Economic Cities Authority (ECA) to establish a deposit and re-export zone in KAEC; an agreement to establish an auto-racing circuit at Lagoona and Marina Dreams; an agreement to establish a gas station; and an agreement to expand the Industrial Valley.
In addition, deals were signed in the real estate development, tourism and leisure, and administrative services sectors.
Time Forum was held under the patronage of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar.
In his address to the attendees, Al-Omar said: “Under Vision 2030, we are creating new growth engines in strategic sectors including transport, health care, ICT, renewable energy, and local manufacturing to drive greater economic diversification in the Kingdom.
“KAEC, which combines a strategic location, strong national and international connectivity, and a robust private-sector mindset, is an important part of our vision for the future.
“KAEC is one of the main development engines in the region and is witnessing rapid growth in a range of promising sectors such as infrastructure, services and facilities.
“The interaction and turnout of local, regional and international companies at the Time Forum shows the strength and attractiveness of the Saudi economy.”
Fahd Al-Rasheed, managing director and chief executive officer of KAEC, presented KAEC’s strategic vision, as well as its latest developments and achievements.
Al-Rasheed emphasized the important role that the Saudi government has played in the success of KAEC through its emphasis on the development of the non-oil economy.
He stressed the value of the public-private partnership model in attracting investors to the promising opportunities offered by KAEC.
Al-Rasheed also highlighted the key role played by the economic city in generating quality employment opportunities for young Saudis.
“At KAEC, we need to focus on the creation of jobs. That is our primary driver. Everything we are doing aligns with Vision 2030,” he said. “The vision is telling us where we are heading and what our pivot should be.”

Speaking to Arab News later in the day, Al-Rasheed revealed KAEC had launched new projects that offered investment opportunities worth more than SR7 billion.
“These are the investments that we are offering to the private sector to develop either entirely on their own or in partnership with us,” he said.
“These are opportunities that we want to develop and we will make sure that every investment we are offering today is delivered and developed.”
Al-Rasheed explained that, so far, KAEC had funded a number of different projects in their entirety but was now looking to establish partnerships with investors because “we believe that, ultimately, a city is built by hundreds of entities.”
He revealed that KAEC had already signed two hotel development deals, including one yesterday, along with “other real estate deals, such as compounds.”
Mohanud Helal, secretary-general of the Economic Cities Authority, said: “We take pride in KAEC’s achievements and we look forward to further growth in all developmental fields.
“Today, economic cities are among the social and economic pillars that attract large companies, embrace small and medium-sized enterprises, and provide residential solutions, career opportunities and modern lifestyles to meet people’s aspirations and the leadership’s ambitions.
“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently highlighted that the government is working with KAEC on 45 programs, showing the enormous support given by the Kingdom’s government to the private sector, which strengthens KAEC’s position on the national economic map.”
SAGIA chief Ibrahim Al-Omar declared that the Kingdom is “the hub of Arab and Islamic countries,” adding that since the launch of Vision 2030, the number of investment licenses SAGIA has issued is up 40 percent compared to last year.
“Investment is the major theme of the vision,” he said. “To increase foreign direct investment in our economy and to increase the contribution of the private sector.”
Talking of SAGIA chief Al-Omar’s focus on facilitating ease of investment in the Kingdom, Al-Rasheed told Arab News, “SAGIA is responsible for the investment environment in Saudi Arabia. We work with them because SAGIA can be a great enabler for us to attract global companies to KAEC.”
Al-Rasheed stated that he had told Al-Omar that KAEC was willing to offer considerable incentives to investors, including “the provision of free office space for five years, education and travel costs for their children, as well as subsidized accommodation.”
“We want to accelerate investment in the city. We have done this already in Industrial Valley, attracting 120 companies,” Al-Rasheed continued. “We believe that with partners we will do things faster and bigger.”


Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 16 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

  • Cabinet OKs air transport pact with Indonesia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Cabinet met to discuss a series of national and global developments on Tuesday, in a session chaired by King Salman.

At the forefront of the agenda was the escalation in tensions between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza border, and the continuing encroachment on Palestinian land by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The Cabinet responded by demanding that the UN Security Council intervene. King Salman also relayed to ministers the outcome of his talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which covered many regional issues.

The minister of media, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah, announced that after reviewing proposals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a decision from the Shoura Council, a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Republic of Korea on granting visit visas had been agreed upon.

The Cabinet approved the amendment of the air agreement on regular air transport between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The Cabinet, meanwhile, praised the progress of the 2025 Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Program, aimed at enhancing farming techniques by promoting sustainable water and renewable energy sources.

They also discussed the framework in Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020 for building a sustainable renewable energy sector, reiterating aims to lead global renewable energy developments over the next decade, and create projects such as the wind-powered plant at Dumat Al-Jandal, as part of the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative.

In a statement, though, Al-Shabanah said: “The Cabinet discussed the announcement made by the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources about the Kingdom’s oil and gas reserves, which highlighted the importance of Saudi Arabia as a secure source of oil supplies in the long term.”

He added, in closing, the Cabinet’s praise for the efforts of Saudi security forces in the tracking and arrest of seven people in Qatif, which foiled a planned terrorist attack.