Saudi Vision 2030 ‘will boost competitiveness,’ WEF says

Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh landscape at night. (Reuters)
Updated 25 August 2018
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Saudi Vision 2030 ‘will boost competitiveness,’ WEF says

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LONDON: Countries across the Middle East are struggling to create diverse opportunities for their youth, according to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) Arab World Competitiveness Report.
However, a number of countries are innovating and creating new solutions to previously existing barriers to competitiveness, the report noted.
Saudi Arabia has committed to significant changes to its economy and society as part of its Vision 2030 reform plan, while the UAE has increased equity investment in technology firms from $100 million to $1.7 billion in just two years.
Bahrain is piloting a new flexi-permit for foreign workers to go beyond the usual sponsorship system that has segmented and created inefficiencies in the labor market of most GCC countries.
The report found that, despite huge improvements in infrastructure and technology adoption, government-led investment in the Arab world has not been sufficient to encourage private sector participation on a wide scale.
The WEF report, written in conjunction with the World Bank Group, outlines recommendations for Arab countries to prepare for a new economic context, better education opportunities and increased social mobility.
“We hope that the 2018 Arab World Competitiveness Report will stimulate discussions resulting in government reforms that could unlock the entrepreneurial potential of the region and its youth,” said Philippe Le Houérou, IFC’s CEO.
“We must accelerate progress toward an innovation-driven economic model that creates productive jobs and widespread opportunities.”
The report states that the way toward less oil-dependent economies for the Arab region is through robust macroeconomic policies that facilitate investment and trade, promotion of exports, improvements in education and initiatives to increase innovation among firms.


Workshop focuses on how to improve transport for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims

Updated 20 September 2018
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Workshop focuses on how to improve transport for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah recently organized a workshop for the development of the administrative and operating systems for supervisors and public operators of pilgrims’ transportation.
The workshop, which was held at the Hilton Hotel in Jeddah, was under the patronage of the Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten and was inaugurated by his Deputy Dr. Abdul Fattah bin Suleiman Mashat.
Sectors working in the transportation of pilgrims as well as international and local experts on crowd management and public transportation systems took part.
The event formed part of the Ministry’s initiatives in the National Transformation program 2020. It discussed the challenges facing supervisors and operators in the transportation of pilgrims and made recommendations on how to overcome challenges and improve the administrative and operating systems in cooperation with the whole Hajj services system. It also showcased the best international practice in public transportation.
Included was a briefing on the monitoring of initiatives by the Vision 2030 Achievement Office as well as presentations on the work of the Ministry’s pilgrims’ transportation agency, future projects, the urgent projects that were put in place for the last Hajj season and a detailed explanation of National Transformation initiatives. Those who attended the workshop also had the opportunity to learn about the technology the agency uses in its operations.