UAE seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia

Updated 06 December 2017

UAE seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: The UAE is seeking to forge a closer alliance with Saudi Arabia through the creation of a joint co-operation committee between the two countries.
The committee, which would be staffed on the Emirati side by representatives of federal and local government bodies and sectors, “is assigned to co-operate and co-ordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interests of the two countries,” a statement from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The committee was announced in the form of a resolution by the UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
“The committee shall have the powers necessary for carrying out and executing its work,” the statement added.
It will be jointly chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces, and by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, UAE deputy prime minster and minister of president affairs.
There was no official confirmation from the government of Saudi Arabia at the time of publication.
Coming on the first day of the summit of Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries in Kuwait, the UAE announcement prompted speculation that a new alliance was being created to rival the GCC at a time of acute strain within the 36-year-old alliance.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, backed by Egypt, have accused fellow GCC member Qatar of funding terrorism in the region and acting as an ally of Iran as it seeks to expand its power regionally.
The countries, known collectively as the Anti-Terror Quartet, have boycotted Qatar since the summer by cutting trade, transport and financial links.
The Kuwait summit, normally attended by heads of state, consisted of ministers from five of the six member countries, with the exception of Qatar, which was represented by its emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani
There were unconfirmed reports that the summit would only last one day rather than the scheduled two.
Ghanem Nuseibeh, regional expert and founder of the think tank Cornerstone Global Associates, said of the planned UAE/Saudi alliance: “It will not necessarily replace the GCC but it will cover more areas on a more practical level than what the GCC was able to achieve.
“The effectiveness of the GCC as a block has significantly eroded over time and this new alliance will undoubtedly make up for this,” Nuseibeh added. Anthony Harris, former British ambassador to the UAE and Saudi diplomat, said: “I think the rest of the GCC, especially Oman and Kuwait, would like to see the GCC continue and they hope for some sort of move by Qatar to lessen the tension.”
He added: “This reinforces a trend in closer cooperation between Abu Dhabi and Riyadh which has been growing ever since Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi crown prince.
“By my calculations KSA and the UAE have nearly 40 million inhabitants, while the other four GCC states have about 12.5 million in all. So it makes sense for the two largest economies to forge ahead,” Harris added.
Nuseibeh said: “This alliance is a formalization of the ties between the UAE and KSA that have been strengthening over the past few years. It will create greater alignment between both countries at all levels and in multiple sectors and will also positively affect the private sector and ordinary citizens of both countries.
“On a political level, it will strength the positions of both countries as they deal on the international arena, speaking with a united voice.”
The UAE and Saudi Arabia already cooperate significantly in military affairs and in foreign policy, especially in Yemen. A joint trading block would, in theory, be able to negotiate trade agreements more easily than the more cumbersome mechanism of the GCC.

Saudi Arabia plans to create 561,000 jobs under new digital employment initiative

Updated 24 April 2019

Saudi Arabia plans to create 561,000 jobs under new digital employment initiative

  • Qiwa program aims to achieve the Vision 2030 goal of reducing unemployment rate to 7 percent

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has revealed ambitious plans to create more than 561,000 private-sector jobs by 2023 as part of a new digital era for the Kingdom’s labor market.

Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmad Al-Rajhi made the announcement at the launch of the Qiwa online platform, which aims to combine all the country’s employment services under one electronic roof.

Through digitalization, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development hopes to not only boost job opportunities for Saudi men and women, but also improve workplace efficiency and productivity, and attract international investment.

Al-Rajhi said: “The ministry has entered into partnerships and agreements to settle more than 561,000 job opportunities in the private sector until 2023,” and the minister added that 45,000 Saudis had entered the labor market in the last three months.

The new labor force platform will consolidate employment-related e-services already offered to job seekers, employees and employers and plans are in the pipeline to plug a further 71 services into the system.

The Qiwa program aims to provide Saudi government officials with a data mine of statistical information to tackle business challenges facing employers and employees, help create new job opportunities, and achieve the Vision 2030 goal of reducing the country’s unemployment rate to 7 percent. Another key objective is to strategically enhance the Kingdom’s business environment to make it more attractive to local and international investors.

A ministry statement issued to Arab News, said: “The Qiwa platform will have an impact on motivating investors. It will also re-engineer policies and procedures for all services provided to individuals and enterprises on a strong platform that will make a quantum leap in the business world and turn the Saudi market into an attractive market for opportunities and potential for competencies.

“The services are provided in both Arabic and English in order to enable foreign investors to benefit from the services of a strong platform,” the statement added.

The e-services include programs to encourage Saudis to access jobs in their locality by improving the workplace environment and making it more appealing to men and women.

The Kingdom’s public sector is quickly adapting to international standards and labor market demands by digitalizing services, while the ministry is using the latest business management methods to help public organizations increase the competency and productivity of workers while creating a competitive labor market that can partner with the private sector.