Saudi Arabia exceeds UN targets for humanitarian work overseas

The total assistance provided to Yemen during the past three years amounted to more than $1.543 billion. (AP)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia exceeds UN targets for humanitarian work overseas

  • Saudi Arabia has played a leading role in providing humanitarian aid and relief work by assisting many needy countries to alleviate human suffering and provide vulnerable populations with a decent life: Al-Rabeeah
  • Al-Rabeeah emphasized the Kingdom’s efforts to host refugees as their numbers reached 561,911 Yemenis, 262,573 Syrians and 249,669 from Myanmar

JEDDAH: The head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) announced details of the Kingdom’s humanitarian efforts, which have exceeded targets set by the UN.

Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of KSRelief, said Saudi Arabia’s gross official development assistance (ODA) amounted to $65.9 billion between 1994 and 2014, representing 1.9 percent of the Kingdom’s Gross National Income (GNI) — a percentage that is higher than the United Nations’ target of 0.7 percent of GNI dedicated to ODA.

He added during a meeting with French journalists in Paris: “Saudi Arabia has played a leading role in providing humanitarian aid and relief work by assisting many needy countries to alleviate human suffering and provide vulnerable populations with a decent life.” 

He stressed the Saudi leadership’s keenness to promote humanitarian work, highlighting that King Salman had inaugurated KSRelief on May 13, 2015, to serve as an international body for providing humanitarian assistance and to unite the Kingdom’s foreign-relief efforts under one organization.

“The total assistance provided to Yemen during the past three years amounted to more than $1.543 billion.”

Houthi militias continue to disrupt humanitarian efforts, target residential neighborhoods and humanitarian staff, use children as soldiers, and use anti-craft weapons in civilian areas, he said.

“The Houthi militias have targeted Saudi cities with 133 ballistic missiles and thousands of military projectiles that have killed 107 innocent civilians and injured 870 others in addition to causing damage to 39 schools, 18 mosques, and five hospitals,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah emphasized the Kingdom’s efforts to host refugees as their numbers reached 561,911 Yemenis, 262,573 Syrians and 249,669 from Myanmar. Refugees make up 5.26 percent of the Kingdom’s residents.

Al-Rabeeah said the Kingdom had contributed to humanitarian education projects in 32 countries around the world, highlighting that 132 projects worth more than $5 billion were being implemented, benefiting two million people and 393,000 students.

Earlier, Al-Rabeeah met with members of the Arab Group at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

During the meeting at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, he said the programs involved building educational facilities, teaching students, granting scholarships, providing teaching tools and supplies, and training teachers. The total cost of the programs was $5.212 billion. The Center also provided additional educational projects in nine countries worth $93 million.

He also explained that the center coordinates the transport of aid with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and with the coalition forces in Yemen through the Office of the Military Coordination, to ensure the rapid licensing of commercial and humanitarian vessels. 

“From the beginning of the Yemeni crisis to this day, 22,000 licenses have been issued, whether for vessels, land convoys or aircraft,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah also revealed that a project to provide a residential complex with health centers and schools for Yemeni refugees in Djibouti will be launched soon.

He added that KSRelief was also closely monitoring the suffering of Rohingya refugees in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh. 

He pointed out that the center also recently agreed to undertake a project to provide education for the children of Rohingya refugees in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

The members of the UNESCO Arab Group praised the efforts of the Kingdom, represented by the work of the center, in providing humanitarian relief and aid to needy people in several countries.


Saudi hires ex-Canary Wharf executive for Red Sea tourism project

Updated 50 min 33 sec ago
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Saudi hires ex-Canary Wharf executive for Red Sea tourism project

  • Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project has been registered as a standalone company
  • The venture will be will be headed by John Pagano, former director of London’s Canary Wharf business zone

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project, a vast tourist development aimed at opening the economy, has been registered as a standalone company and will be headed by a former director of London’s Canary Wharf business zone, the country’s sovereign wealth fund said on Sunday.
In July, the Saudi government revealed plans to develop resorts on some 50 islands off the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast and said the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, will make initial investments and seek partnerships with international investors and hoteliers.
The Red Sea Project, part of an ambitious strategy to open the economy and ease social restrictions, will be built between the cities of Amlaj and Al-Wajh, will offer a nature reserve, heritage sites and diving in coral reefs. It will break ground in the third quarter of 2019 and complete its first phase in late 2022.
PIF has two other major initiatives: NEOM — a $500 billion business and industrial zone extending into Egypt and Jordan — and Qiddiya, a multi-billion dollar entertainment resort that will be 2-1/2 times the size of Disney World.
“The Ministry of Commerce and Investment has registered The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) as a closed joint-stock company wholly owned by PIF,” a statement emailed to Reuters said.
John Pagano, the former managing director for development, of the Canary Wharf Group in London, has been appointed as chief executive officer, it said.
The Red Sea Development Co. will create a special economic zone with its own regulatory framework, visas on entry, relaxed social norms, and improved business regulations, the statement said, adding this will enable it to develop and deliver a world-class international tourist destination.
The fund, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is believed to have assets totalling about $183 billion and is set to receive a cash injection next year after the share sale of state oil giant Saudi Aramco.
The crown prince has said more than half of the proceeds from that sale would be reinvested domestically to develop promising Saudi non-oil sectors.