Saudi Crown Prince invites Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Kingdom

Prince Mohammed and the Archbishop viewed fragments of a Qur’an manuscript found in a Birmingham University library.
Updated 09 March 2018
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Saudi Crown Prince invites Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Kingdom

LONDON: The Archbishop of Canterbury has been invited to visit Saudi Arabia by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Arab News has exclusively learned from senior sources at the Saudi Embassy in the UK and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The sources told Arab News a “very positive and very pleasant” meeting took place between the Crown Prince and the Archbishop in London yesterday.

Earlier this week, Prince Mohammed said that all Coptic Christians were welcome in Saudi Arabia, during a tour of Cairo’s main Cathedral.

The Crown Prince met Archbishop Justin Welby in Lambeth Palace, where they spoke for an hour.

“The Crown Prince made a strong commitment to promote the flourishing of those of different faith traditions, and to interfaith dialogue within the Kingdom and beyond,” a Lambeth Palace statement said.

Prince Mohammed and the Archbishop viewed fragments of a Qur'an manuscript found in a Birmingham University library in 2015, thought to be among the world’s oldest. They also viewed a selection of early Christian and Jewish texts.

On the second full day of his landmark visit to the UK, some of the biggest corporate names from Saudi Arabia and the UK announced deals worth SR8 billion ($2.13 billion).

As CEOs from both countries gathered at a forum in London’s Mansion House, 18 agreements were signed between them.

During the three-day visit, the countries have set out plans to build £65 billion ($90.29 billion) of trade and investment ties.

Among the new partnerships, a preliminary agreement was signed between Saudi Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell.

Other deals covered sectors including health, investment, innovation and energy.

The Crown Prince also met British finance minister Philip Hammond at the Saudi embassy in London as well as members of the British parliament from different political parties.

The Crown Prince’s visit also coincided with International Women’s Day.

Hoda Al-Helaissi, a member of the Shoura Council, told an event at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank that empowering women is “crucial” to transforming Saudi Arabia.

“A country’s true development can only come about... when it uses 100 percent of its human resources, male and female,” she said.


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 52 min 56 sec ago
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.