Double act: Arts, education projects to reinforce UK-Saudi cultural ties

Art projects to help Vision 2030. (Misk)
Updated 09 March 2018
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Double act: Arts, education projects to reinforce UK-Saudi cultural ties

RIYADH: The UK and Saudi Arabia will work on a series of ambitious arts and education projects to help Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman carry out his Vision 2030 reform program, a British official has revealed.
Amir Ramzan, the British Council’s country director for Saudi Arabia, told Arab News the UK is committed to strengthening its cultural ties with the Kingdom by improving academic and career opportunities for young Saudis.
Britain already runs a language-training program that teaches English to 30,000 students across Saudi Arabia. Now it wants to promote new initiatives, including a Saudi-based British film festival and a UK Education Week to improve relations between universities in the two countries.
Ramzan said the British Council’s “biggest contribution” in the months and years ahead “will be to support the skills development of young people and enhance their career opportunities.”
As part of these efforts, a delegation from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage will travel to the UK later this year to learn about British art. The trip will mark the second stage of a cultural exchange. A British delegation visited Saudi Arabia last November.
According to Ramzan, the UK has trained more than 100 Saudi sports teachers — half of them women — and dozens of Saudi teaching assistants. He said the continued development of cultural and vocational projects would help Saudi Arabia reduce its reliance on foreign workers by improving the skills and education of young people in the Kingdom, a key aim of Vision 2030.
There are now more than 9,000 Saudi students in the UK, the largest contribution to Britain’s student population by any Gulf Cooperation Council member.


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 22 September 2018
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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.