Armed forces exhibition ‘will revolutionize Saudi industry’

Maj. Gen. Attiya Al-Maliki speaks during an interview with Arab News in Riyadh. (AN photo)
Updated 31 January 2018
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Armed forces exhibition ‘will revolutionize Saudi industry’

RIYADH: The forthcoming Armed Forces Exhibition for Diversification of Local Manufacturing (AFED) will revolutionize the Saudi military industry, said Maj. Gen. Attiya Al-Maliki of the Ministry of Defense in an interview with Arab News.
AFED, which will be held from Feb. 25 to March 3 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, will be attended by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Al-Maliki stressed the exhibition’s importance and the doors of opportunity that it will open to local companies.
Al-Maliki, spokesman of the exhibition, said the event is unique because it presents requirements for the beneficiaries, whether military or otherwise.
Workshops and seminars will be held at during AEFD to present obstacles and how to overcome the challenges with proposals for the industries.
Al-Maliki stressed that local factories have capabilities and that their aim is to globalize the Saudi industry, working from the inside first. “We strive to have international companies using our local products outside the Kingdom,” he said.
During the last exhibition in 2016 only 10 international companies participated, he said. “This year over 50 international companies and factories are participating, and more want to participate as well, but all the seats have been taken and are full. They are astonished.”
Al-Maliki revealed: “In the past, international companies believed that Saudi did not have competency and skills, but after attending our previous exhibition they said: ‘I’m surprised that Saudi purchases from abroad and not locally’.”
Al-Maliki pointed out that the exhibition was launched in 2010 for the purpose of developing the industry. He said: “Military products were imported from abroad. Saudi did not take a look at the local products and depended on global companies to supply us.
“We need to know the capabilities of the Kingdom, and to give them a chance.”
In 2016, it was a major turning point: Local companies proved to be competent and provided the much-needed products. This year, he claimed, will be the biggest exhibition yet.
Al-Maliki pointed out that when hearing of AFED, many people “believe the companies are exclusive in showcasing only military needs, but that is not correct. In truth, we use products that are used both for military and civilian needs. The Ministry of Health is also a participant and its needs will be met through this exhibition as well. Most of the manufacturing needs will be met in this exhibition.”
Is there a possibility that Saudi Arabia will be able to localize its manufacturing industry, and be self-sufficient? Al-Maliki said: “I am very optimistic about all the progress. With Vision 2030 many local factories are enthusiastic about producing high-quality items.
“I believe that in 18 years we will be able to produce 50 percent of our needs, Inshallah, due to the enthusiasm of the manufacturers and the awareness of the consumer.”
Registration is still open to companies wishing to participate. Visitors may attend from Feb. 26 to March 3.


Riyadh book fair hears lecture on Bahrain culture industry

Updated 21 March 2019
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Riyadh book fair hears lecture on Bahrain culture industry

  • Professor Diaa Al-Kaabi presented a survey of all aspects of Bahraini culture, from the early 19th century until the present day
  • She also highlighted the role of prominent Saudis in the founding of major cultural institutions in Bahrain

RIYADH: Riyadh International Book Fair on Wednesday hosted Dr. Diaa Al-Kaabi, who gave a lecture on the role of culture in Bahrain, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The academic, who is a professor at the University of Bahrain, highlighted the role of prominent Saudis in the founding of major cultural institutions in Bahrain. She named Muqbel Al-Zukair, and the families of Al-Gosaibi, Al-Bassam, Al-Ajaji, Al-Mashari and others, as pioneers.
She also mentioned the cultural agreement that was signed in 1974 between the Kingdom and Bahrain as the first such agreement signed between the two Gulf states.
Al-Kaabi presented a survey of all aspects of Bahraini culture, from the early 19th century until the present day. She highlighted major trends in Bahrain’s cultural industry, and the role of societies, theaters and universities, as well as state institutions, in promoting the nation’s culture to an international audience.
She addressed the beginnings of the cultural movement under Sheikh Issa bin Ali, which she considered as the founding of the country’s cultural consciousness. 
It heralded the age of enlightenment in Bahrain, which was part of the modern Arab Renaissance starting from the early nineteenth century, she said.
Al-Kaabi concluded her lecture by stressing that culture, if nurtured, could be a pillar of economic development as it provided many job opportunities and its revenues were high. 
Bahrain is the guest of honor at the fair, which runs until March 23.
A Bahraini pavilion will host 13 cultural events including poetry nights, seminars and children’s programs over the course of the fair. In total, more than 900 global publishing houses are set to participate, with 500,000 books and publications on display, and up to a million visitors expected to attend.