Women’s Economic Forum opens in Riyadh

The forum brings together up to 1,000 business leaders, entrepreneurs, diversity champions and policy-makers from across the Kingdom to advance women in leadership. (AN photo by Khaleed Alkhames)
Updated 20 March 2018
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Women’s Economic Forum opens in Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is opening a new page in its history, Sophie Le Ray, founder of the WIL Series, said as she opened the Women’s Economic Forum in Riyadh on Monday.
Le Ray said that the GCC countries were creating jobs and making it easier and more socially acceptable for women to join the workforce. Saudi Arabia was opening a new page in its history, making remarkable social changes and highlighting its determination to move forward to a more prosperous future, she said.
“The empowerment of women is one of the keys to the modernization objectives set out in the ambitious Vision 2030 and National Transformation Program,” she said.
“Economic performance, innovation, creativity and the economic landscape of the Arab world will be transformed by the skills, talents and labors of women.”
Ten years ago, this inaugural forum was held in Dubai, only attended by women, she said. “Ten years later, we have both genders from all over the world to discuss and champion diversity. It’s a community which is captivating everyone.”
“Empowering women and moving toward a more inclusive society is just smart economics. We are past the point of just conversation, today is about action,” she said.
With 900 people registered to the attend the forum, the attendees were looking forward to hearing from the panel of speakers. A student studying at Dar Al-Hekma University flew in from Jeddah to attend. “I’m very excited to attend and learn,” she said.
She said that she looked forward to finishing her B.A, then masters, and the hopefully would open her own company.
Hadley Gamble, a reporter for CNBC, said: “Men must be our allies; we can work together and change this dynamic and narrative.”
She added: “We can’t understate the importance of what Mohammed bin Salman did.”
Yasser Mufti, vice president, strategy and market analysis at Saudi Aramco, said: “Aramco has made much progress in gender diversity. I went back to marketing, in Aramco Trading, and became a CEO. There was a significant change, one third of the floor were women; we had 170 female employees in Dhahran in various sectors.”
“Seize the opportunity you are given” is the crucial piece of advice that he has given to women and also male counterparts. “With determination you will succeed, and inshallah make Vision 2030 a reality.”
“This can’t be about quotas, it’s about empowering women and hiring women and putting them in management positions. Hire the right people for your team. We have a lot of educated women and it’s going to be tough to choose. We are going to need our male allies to come to the floor and help us with that.”


Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

Updated 25 April 2018
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Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

  • The Privatization Program is one of 12 key elements of the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
  • The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs on Tuesday approved the Privatization Program that is one of 12 key elements of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals, attracting the latest technologies and innovations, and supporting economic development.

It encourages both local and foreign investment in order to enhance the role of the private sector, with government entities adopting a regulatory and supervisory role. The aim is to increase the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40 percent to 65 percent by 2030. 

The program will aim to reach its objectives through encouraging the private sector to invest in establishing new schools, universities and health centers, while the government pursues its organizational and supervisory role in health and education.

The privatization program aims to benefit from previous success stories, with the private sector’s collaboration in the development of infrastructure, and its involvement on a large scale in sectors such as energy, water, transport, telecommunications, petrochemicals and finance.

The program sets out a series of objectives in three areas: Developing a general legal framework for policies related to privatization; establishing organizational foundations and dedicated institutions to execute the policies; and setting a timescale for their delivery. 

The Council of Economic and Development Affairs is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.