Saudi Arabia, Spain mean business

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi, right, signs a cooperation agreement with Spanish Secretary of State for Trade Marisa Poncela Garcia in Riyadh.(SPA)
Updated 09 February 2018
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Saudi Arabia, Spain mean business

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Spain agreed to increase the volume of investment in key sectors at the second session of the Saudi-Spanish Joint Committee this week.
The committee was co-chaired by Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi and visiting Spanish Secretary of State for Trade Marisa Poncela Garcia.
Spanish Ambassador Alvaro Iranzo told Arab News on Thursday: “The joint committee held the second session in Riyadh and the two sides discussed bilateral cooperation and issues and common interests in accordance with the joint cooperation agreement that was signed by the two countries in Madrid on Feb. 22, 2007.”
He said that according to the agreement the joint committee meeting is to be held alternatively in Madrid and Riyadh. The first meeting was held in Madrid in 2014.
Iranzo said that the Spanish secretary of state for trade left Riyadh on Wednesday after a very “successful meeting” during which the two sides discussed bilateral trade relations and the promotion of trade and economic relations, as well as mutual investment opportunities in commerce, investment, economy, energy, industry, mining, science, technology, water, agriculture, finance, housing and tourism.
“Many aspects of bilateral relations were discussed with both sides keen to further enhance economic and technical cooperation in line with Vision 2030,” he said.
The two leaders stressed the importance of building cooperation in the private sector with exchange visits of business delegations, identifying export and investment opportunities, sharing expertise in the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and enriching the experience of entrepreneurs from the two countries.
“Companies from the Kingdom doing business in Spain and Spanish companies working in Saudi Arabia will be encouraged to help further enhance bilateral cooperation,” the envoy said.
Saudi companies SABIC and Alfanar had made a huge investment in Spain with big factories set up, he said. “We are exploring various ways in which both countries can assist each other in both public and private sectors,” he said.
Delegations reviewed the volume of trade exchange between the two countries and expressed a desire to further expand and diversify commercial business.
Iranzo said the volume of trade between the countries “stands at €5.5 billion ($6.8 billion),” and “we have scope to further increase the volume of trade.”
“Saudi Arabia is passing through an exciting time with Vision 2030, and Spain is willing to be a partner in development for a positive change and for national transformation,” he said.
“We have stocks of investment, we have good people-to-people contact and we wish to take it to new highs with our part in this transformation program.”


Women’s Bowling Championship 2018 wraps up in Jeddah

Dr. Razan Baker, 3rd left standing, with participants at the Third Women’s Bowling Championship 2018, in Jeddah on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 36 min 54 sec ago
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Women’s Bowling Championship 2018 wraps up in Jeddah

  • Sixty-three competitors, many of them amateurs, participated in the competition which consisted of four rounds

JEDDAH: The first Women Bowling Championship in Saudi Arabia took place in October in three cities, Riyadh, Alkhobar, and Jeddah, where it finished at Ice Land Bowling Center on Saturday. Gada Nemer, 42, from Riyadh, who came first in the competition, told Arab News: “I participated in all three tournaments, in Riyadh, Alkhobar, and today in Jeddah. I won first place in Alkhobar too. “I am not a professional bowler, but I used to bowl with my kids. Two of them bowl on the national team. I am very glad to have the chance to participate in these tournaments, and look forward to future ones.”
It was the first tournament of its kind in the Kingdom, as the country is rapidly developing sporting facilities for women and increasing women’s involvement in sports by making reforms that have included allowing physical education for schoolgirls and opening female-only gyms. Sixty-three competitors, many of them amateurs, participated in the competition which consisted of four rounds. All competitors took part in the first round, 33 made it into the second round and 16 qualified for the third.
Participants were between 11 and 56 years of age. Nemer received a cash prize of SR5,000 ($1,335) and those in second and third place received SR3,000 and SR2,000 respectively.
The last round had the best three competitors competing for first place with Nemer winning first prize, followed by Meshael Alabdulwahed (second) and Wissam Al-Harbi (third).

Growing interest
Bowling is still a growing sport for women in Saudi Arabia. The first female bowling team officially registered in the Saudi Bowling Federation, and the Eastern Province bowling team is only seven months old, according to Dr. Razan Baker, member of the board of directors and head of media and women’s participation at the federation.
Baker told Arab News: “We were surprised by the excitement of the participants. The numbers were beyond our expectations.
“Many participants would like to become professional bowlers. With this high turnout I expect bowling centers to start supporting new female bowling teams.”
Abeer Abdulmalik, from Al-Qassim, participated in the tournament. Although she is new to bowling, she made it to the third round.
“I never bowled before in my life, and I did not prepare myself for the game. I am surprised and happy with what I scored, although I was hoping to be in the final round,” she told Arab News. “I would like to take part in future championships.”
Aminah Khan, who participated in the tournament with her two sisters, told Arab News: “I came here for fun, and to try my luck before I go to my midterm exam.”
Khan did not make it to the second round, but said she would start working to improve her skills and take bowling more seriously as a sport.
The championship was organized by the Saudi Bowling Federation, the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, and General Sports Authority, and in partnership with Arab News as the exclusive English media partner for the event.