Belgium becomes first country to appoint female envoy to KSA

Dominique Minuer. (Courtesy photo)
Updated 20 December 2017
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Belgium becomes first country to appoint female envoy to KSA

RIYADH: Belgium has become the first country to appoint a female diplomat as its ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Dominique Minuer, a veteran diplomat currently serving as ambassador to the UAE, has been named by the Belgian Foreign Ministry as the next envoy to head its diplomatic mission in the Saudi capital.
“The Belgian government has made the decision to move Minuer from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh by the middle of next year,” said Siegfried Peinen, deputy chief of the mission at Belgian Embassy, on Tuesday. “Minuer is likely to arrive in early summer after submission of the diplomatic credentials to the host government,” he said.
Belgium’s public broadcaster VRT said that move is “an international first” which also responds well to a series of social and economic reform measures undertaken by the Kingdom recently.
Yekaterina Majering Mikadze, a Georgian diplomat appointed in 2010, previously had responsibility for Saudi Arabia, but was based in Kuwait and covered a number of neighboring countries. When Georgia later opened an embassy specifically for Saudi Arabia in 2015, it appointed a male ambassador in Riyadh.
The Kingdom and Belgium have been close allies. On the commercial front, the two countries have forged closer ties. Belgian imports from Saudi Arabia have increased by 40 percent from $1.7 billion in 2014 to $2.5 billion last year. On the other hand, Saudi exports of commodities to Belgium increased from $3.8 billion in 2015 to $4.2 billion in 2016. The two sides have shown a keen interest in forging closer investment ties.


Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. (Supplied)
Updated 9 min 21 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

  • The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021
  • SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is fast catching up with the world’s ever-growing energy and technology scene ahead of 2030. In fact, the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) may soon prove a global destination for energy industry investors.

The new energy city mega-project is being developed by Saudi Aramco, which received authoritization to embark on the initiative in the summer, and is operated, managed and maintained in partnership with the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON). 

With projections that the megacity will create more than 100,000 jobs, it is considered one of the most up-and-coming energy parks in the world.

SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower.

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. 

The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021, while the final phase of the project is set for completion in 2035. With all this on track, the 50-square-kilometer project is poised to be a magnet for foreign and domestic investment. 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday. (SPA)

What’s more, Aramco’s espousal of SPARK will also help businesses indulge in technological development, manufacturing and exports channels and build a world-class energy supply chain. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Energy Minister and Aramco Chairman Khalid Al-Falih declared SPARK a special economic zone (SEZ) in which businesses can enjoy exclusive benefits. 

“We are looking forward to collaborating with our first anchor partners at SPARK,” said Saudi Aramco President and CEO, Amin Nasser.

SPARK has already attracted investment from foreign and local companies to produce and manufacture goods and services. The first phase of the project is expected to cost about $1.6 billion. 

The park is set to attract industrial investors in the water, power, petrochemical and wastewater sectors, among others. 

Facilities at SPARK will also help investors bridge gaps in local production back home, increasing competition in the long run. 

“This energy city is exciting because it brings together a multitude of businesses,” Mark McCollum, president and CEO of Weatherford Corp, told SPARK.

“We firmly believe that collaboration and cooperation among service companies and individual providers to the energy sector is vital in breaking new ground.”

The King Salman Energy Park is also set to promote small and medium-sized enterprises. With focus on energy production, it also provides opportunities for investment in residential and commercial real estate projects.

Nasser said that the “King Salman Energy Park will spur a new era of growth for one of the Kingdom’s already thriving sectors. What’s more, it will serve as a central gateway to the region’s economies since Aramco is at the heart of the global oil and gas industry.”