FaceOf: Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi, new minister of labor and social development

Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi. (SPA)
Updated 04 June 2018

FaceOf: Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi, new minister of labor and social development

  • The new labor minister is one of the young sons of Sulaiman Al-Rajhi, a well-known Saudi businessman.

Saudi Arabia announced a major Cabinet reshuffle on Saturday with a heavy focus on culture and religion, as the Kingdom undergoes a major image overhaul.
The shake-up is the second significant government change since the appointment of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in early 2015. The crown prince serves as deputy prime minister under his father, King Salman.
Ahmed bin Suleiman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rajhi has been appointed the minister of labor and social development.
The new labor minister was born in 1967. He is one of the young sons of Sulaiman Al-Rajhi, a well-known Saudi businessman.
Al-Rajihi is the Kingdom’s 18th labor minister. He holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran city.
He is the chairman of the Board of Saudi Chambers, in addition to Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is also the first deputy chairman of the federation of GCC Chambers. Al-Rajihi also chairs the executive boards of a number of companies. He holds the position of chairman of the board of directors of Triomada Plastic International Co., Saudi Company for MFG. Carpet Materials (Mattex), Saudi Manufacturing Industries Holding Co., Vision Green, and AEP.
His previous experience includes being the CEO of the National Industries Group from 1997 to 2010, chairman of the Board of Directors of Al-Arab Contracting Co. between 2003 and 2011, chairman of the Industrial Committee at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Riyadh from 2008 to 2012.
He was a member of the board of directors of the Industrial Cities Authority from 2011 to 2014, and a member of the board of directors of Advanced Petrochemical Manufacturing Co. from 2005 to 2013.
Al-Rajhi’s appointment as the labor minister comes as an indication of the government’s interest in partnering with the private sector in line with Vision 2030.

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 December 2018

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years ... I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place ... and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract. 

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”