Driving change: Saudi Arabia gears up for women motorists

Saudi Arabia’s historic decision to allow women to drive from June has been cheered inside the Kingdom and abroad. (AFP)
Updated 10 May 2018
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Driving change: Saudi Arabia gears up for women motorists

  • Five Saudi universities have launched driving schools for women
  • The first motor insurance center for women in the Kingdom officially opened for business on May 1, 2018

JEDDAH: No sooner had the announcement been made in September 2017 that Saudi women would be free to drive in Saudi Arabia from June 2018 than many of world’s largest car manufacturers began to target them with advertisements.

In addition, driving schools for women were set up in the Kingdom for the first time, while motor insurance companies made plans to target the new female market, and ca maintenance workshops for women are being offered.

Five Saudi universities have launched driving schools for women: Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Tabuk University, Taif University and Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University.

The Saudi Driving School, at Princess Nourah University, the first for women in the capital, was launched in partnership with the Emirates Driving Institute in Dubai, an established driving school in the region.

The first motor insurance center for women in the Kingdom officially opened for business on May 1, 2018. The Salama Insurance office, at Salama Tower in Jeddah, is run by an all-female staff.

“The company has many initiatives in employing females, where we have integrated departments managed 100 percent by Saudi female employees, such as the contact center management in the men’s section,” said Salama CEO Omar Al-Ajlani at the grand opening. “Today’s initiative adds a lot to the business as we became the first company to open a specialized women’s center to take into account the privacy of women in Saudi Arabia.

“When a claim is received by the company, we will automatically get the client’s information from Najm insurance services or from the General Department of Traffic, then adjustments will be made until compensation is transferred.”

Al-Ajlani added that “having a female center will allow women freedom and comfort to deal with employees who understand that women are new to this process. Banks and telecoms companies have had female branches for many years but this is the first time an insurance company has opened a female branch.”

Mirfat Halawani, a section manager in the new office, said: “After receiving the accident report from the client, it will take five days to cover the damage caused by the insured vehicle.”

Sultan Al-Ghamdi, a claims manager, said: “This initiative will allow women to manage their car claims in a safe and facilitating environment.” 

 


Forum aims to boost Saudi-Japan trade ties

Updated 30 min 44 sec ago
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Forum aims to boost Saudi-Japan trade ties

  • 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.