Saudi businessman highlights KAEC’s meteoric rise

Amr M. Khashoggi
Updated 12 December 2017
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Saudi businessman highlights KAEC’s meteoric rise

JEDDAH: A leading Saudi businessman has highlighted the meteoric growth of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC). In an interview with Arab News, Amr M. Khashoggi, vice president of human resources and group affairs at the Jeddah-based Zahid Group, said: “We (the Zahid Group) were the first tenants in KAEC.
“We signed a contract to build a lubricant plant as a joint venture between the Zahid Group and Total. We signed the agreement in Dubai when there was absolutely nothing in KAEC. When the cornerstone was laid by the late King Abdullah, there were Saudi, Emaar, Total and Zahid flags. There was nothing else.”
In the years since, KAEC has expanded beyond recognition — according to the BBC, it will eventually be “a metropolis slightly larger than Washington DC.” The Zahid Group, major investors in heavy machinery, transport, energy and a few other industries, has grown alongside it.
“Once the (King Abdullah) port at KAEC was operational, that was the kick-off and the engine behind greater investment by the Zahid Group in the City,” said Khashoggi, 65.
“That’s why we invested in building a truck assembly plant with Volvo in addition to our collaboration with Total. We also created a logistics hub called Wared Logistics, and we’ll soon be opening our Casper and Gambini’s fine dining restaurant at the new Views Hotel, where we’ll handle all the catering for the hotel expected to open soon at KAEC.”
Khashoggi described the Zahid Group as “firm believers” in KAEC and its mission. He cited the strategic location of the city — with road, sea, land and air connections nearby — and the vision behind it as reasons for that belief.
“There’s also a very good environment for living,” he added. “A lot of young people are going to come here.”
As someone who has lived under the reign of every Saudi king, Khashoggi said there has never been a better time to live and work in the country.
He is bullish about the way the country is developing for the next generation under “a young, vibrant, visionary leader,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“We’ve entered a new era in Saudi Arabia. Vision 2030 is becoming more and more of a reality,” Khashoggi said.
“Saudi Arabia has opened its doors to serious investment from abroad, which will come in hundreds and billions of dollars,” he added.
“The country is moving ahead. We have a very young population. What we need is to provide our young men and women with skills that would map with the job requirement,” he said.
“At Zahid, we have women engineers with high technical skills; they can even operate the enormous Caterpillar equipment, which is very impressive, and starting next June will be able to drive cars on Saudi roads,” Khashoggi added.
“We want to make sure the young people of Saudi Arabia have the necessary skills to match the job requirements. Without that, it will be very challenging for us to create jobs and employ people in sustainable ways.”
Khashoggi was impressed by the youthful dynamism of several speakers he saw at a recent forum at KAEC — including the city’s CEO Fahad Al-Rasheed; Ibrahim Al-Omar, governor of the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA); and Mohanud Helal, secretary-general of the Economic Cities Authority. This has left him convinced “the City is in good hands.”
“We’re a very young country. We’re learning and moving very rapidly. I feel very optimistic about the future,” Khashoggi said.
His message to Saudi youth is simple: “Come and board the bullet train. It’s moving very fast; if you’re not on it, you’ll be left behind.”


Role of Indian engineers in KSA lauded at IEF meet

Updated 17 July 2019
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Role of Indian engineers in KSA lauded at IEF meet

Indian Engineers Forum (IEF) Jeddah Chapter recently held its 13th annual general meeting at Hotel Ramada Continental.

Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia Dr. Ausaf Sayeed graced the event as chief guest and Consul General of India Noor Rahman Sheikh was guest of honor. IEF President Mohammed Sayeeduddin presided over the function.

Expressing appreciation for the activities of the forum, Ambassador Dr. Sayeed recalled its foundation in 2016 during his tenure as consul general of India in Jeddah.

He lauded Sayeeduddin, Amir Khan, Shuja Sheriff and other members and engineers for the activities of the forum and their contribution to the development of Saudi Arabia. Dr. Sayeed highlighted scarcity of water as an acute problem in the world in general and in India in particular. He shared his experience of interacting with engineers in the US, who developed a water condensation machine to extract water from humid air.

Consul General Noor Rahman Sheikh applauded IEF for its services to the engineering community in Saudi Arabia. He highlighted how the excellence of Indian engineers in each sector has impacted society. 

“Our zeal to be the best in whatever we do was demonstrated during last year’s Hajj. The mobile app developed by the Consul General of India is going to help the 200,000 pilgrims expected to come this year,” he said.

Amir Khan, founder and chairman of IEF, said IEF provides a platform for networking, career advancement, community service, and technology exchange. He urged Indian engineers to play a vital role in the development of Saudi Arabia, which he said would help strengthen the relations between India and the Kingdom.

Sayeeduddin thanked Dr. Sayeed for his support in the foundation of IEF. He announced that, having served as founding president for the last 13 years, he is now stepping down and the new president, unanimously elected, will be Khan Mustafa.

Nadeem Ahmed Ali, executive member of IEF, delivered a presentation on digital disruption.

Syed Nasir Khursheed, IEF general secretary, conducted the program.

Indian real estate advisory firm/ institutional channel partner 360 Realtors LLP participated in the event and were the main sponsors. A presentation covering major construction, residential and commercial projects in India was made by S. K. Vivek Kumar, head of international sales, 360 Realtors. Amit Hariyal also delivered a presentation on residential projects across the Indian cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune. 

Abdul Rahman, general manager of TA Infra Projects, expressed happiness to be part of the IEF.

Khader Memon made a presentation titled “Special Investment Plan.”

The chief guest, guest of honor and sponsors were presented mementoes as a token of appreciation by the IEF president and executive committee. This was followed by the release of the annual magazine of the forum, Spectrum 2019, edited by Muazzam Sayeed.

A lively session of quiz was conducted by Munnawar Amafh. 

The event was attended by a number of guests from across the Kingdom, including Abdul Haseeb Hazari, Danish Ghafoor, Siadat Ali Khan, Shameem Kausar and Ahmed Omais.

The program started with a recitation of the Holy Qur’an by Talha Khan. Ashraf Nawaz Qureshi, IEF treasurer, welcomed the guests.

IEF Vice President Abu Bakar Sherkhan introduced the chief guest while Mohammed Shoebuddin, IEF chief coordinator, presented a vote of thanks.