Royal visit highlights the half a million Saudis living in Egypt

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi visiting the Suez Canal in the city of Ismailia, east of Cairo, on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 06 March 2018
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Royal visit highlights the half a million Saudis living in Egypt

CAIRO: With its renowned universities, coastal resorts, historic and cultural connections, and famed hospitality, Egypt has become home to a large number of Saudi citizens.
Ghada Mohammed Bashir, a 32-year-old Saudi dentist said she came to the country with her mother in 2004 to study because the universities are internationally accredited and affordable.
Unlike most expatriate students, she did not live in a single building with her classmates, but moved to a modern city 50 km outside of Cairo.
“Each of us chose the most suitable place to live, and most of us lived in the city of 6th October,” she told Arab News.
Despite our great love of the neighborhood of Mohandessin, it was not suitable for students who want calm and comfort.”
“As for places to go out,” Ghada said, “malls in Egypt are wonderful, most notably the Mall of Arabia in the 6th of October.”
The visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Egypt this week has highlighted the community of half a million Saudis living in Egypt.
The Saudi embassy in Cairo says one of the main reasons so many Saudis visit the country is that there are no restrictions on movement within Egypt. “There is freedom of movement between cities.”
Sharm El-Sheikh, a tourist city by the Red Sea, holds a special place in the heart of Ghada and most Saudis living in Egypt. “It is wonderful, magical and safe,” Ghada said.
Traffic congestion and the greed of some hawkers were the only things that made life in Egypt difficult, she said.
“We realized that some vendors in the tourist areas would suddenly raise their prices when they heard the Saudi dialect, and from then on either ourselves or our Egyptian neighbors would accompany our study colleagues and friends to talk to these sellers.”
“Some of our study colleagues have returned to Saudi Arabia and wish to return to Egypt because they lived a simple and enjoyable life,” Ghada said. “Some of them stayed to work and study in Egypt, like myself. I graduated and am working, and am married to an Egyptian. Yes I miss Saudi Arabia, but I do not feel alienated.”
The Saudi Embassy has also advised those wishing to travel or stay in Egypt: “Your awareness of the rules and laws of the host country and the commitment to Islamic morals and ethics are the best way to preserve the honorable image of the Kingdom and the teachings of our true religion.”
Dr. Ziad Al-Otaibi, a businessman who has been living in Egypt for 11 years, said he had met people from many social classes. He sees Egypt as a brother country, or a second homeland, especially for Saudi society in general. “The Egyptians are a hospitable people who welcome us and deal with us in a wonderful way,” he said. Al-Otaibi said he has not faced any difficulties while living in Egypt.
Last February Saudi youths organized “Bikers,” a motorbike race starting in Jeddah and ending 850 kilometers away in the coastal city of Alexandria. Participants said they did not experience any difficulties in setting up the event and raised the Saudi flag next to the Egyptian one under the eyes of the Alexandrian residents, who lined up on both sides of Stanley Bridge to watch the rally.
Mohammed Salah, one of the Saudis who participated, said: “I am in Egypt to emphasize that terrorism has no place among the Arab peoples and will not divide them, and to support Egypt, which has regained its strength and prestige among countries.”
“Egypt is the mother of the world to us and to all peoples, and no one can reduce all the years of culture and history between the two countries. No traitor can destabilize the trust between the two countries.”


High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

Updated 18 June 2019
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High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

  • Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners

TOKYO: More than 300 government, investment and industry leaders on Monday took part in a high-level gathering aimed at further boosting business opportunities between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) welcomed key figures from the public and private sectors to the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, held in Tokyo.

Hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the conference focused on the creation of investment opportunities in strategic sectors of the Kingdom. Delegates also discussed key reforms currently underway to enable easier market access for foreign companies.

Speaking at the event, Saudi Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, said: “Today’s forum is a testimony to the success of the strategic direction set by the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive private-sector involvement, both by partnering with public-sector entities.”

SAGIA Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar said: “At SAGIA, we have been working on creating a more attractive and favorable business environment in Saudi Arabia, which is making it easier for foreign companies to access opportunities in the Kingdom.”

Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners. It is the Kingdom’s second-largest source of foreign capital and third-biggest trading partner, with total trade exceeding $39 billion.

JETRO president, Yasushi Akahoshi, said: “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 has made great progress since it was first announced. Under this strategic initiative, the number of cooperative projects between our two countries has nearly doubled, from 31 to 61, and represents a diverse range of sectors and stakeholders.”

Since 2016, the Saudi government has delivered 45 percent of more than 500 planned reforms, including the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership rights, enhancing legal infrastructure and offering greater protection for shareholders.

As a result, the Kingdom has climbed international competitiveness and ease-of-doing-business rankings, with foreign direct investment inflows increasing by 127 percent in 2018 and the number of new companies entering Saudi Arabia rising by 70 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2019.