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

  • Many young Arabs who dream of living and working in Europe are not only interested in earning better incomes
  • To maintain our identity, we need to modernize our work environment

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.


The ‘hanging villages’ atop Assiri mountains bare marks of early civilization

Updated 33 min 38 sec ago
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The ‘hanging villages’ atop Assiri mountains bare marks of early civilization

  • The region opens a new window for visitors seeking tourism in this area, given its attractive nature, between high mountain lands, covered in Juniper trees

JEDDAH: In the northern region of Assir, 180km away from its capital Abha, the dark mountains overlooking the Wadi Khat did not pose a challenge for ancient human civilization that had settled, during a period in time, on its highest tops.
These civilizations created villages on the top of mountains that were full of life.
The Saudi Press Agency, during a tour of the region, has reached these villages after it launched a trip from Abha toward the touristic coastal route linking the city and Taif, crossing to the destination via “Tela” between the highlands of Sarra and Tihama.
The region opens a new window for visitors seeking tourism in this area, given its attractive nature, between high mountain lands, covered in Juniper trees, steep slopes and various agricultural terraces.
Amid the crossing, foggy weather, and nearly touching the clouds atop these mountains, the distance shrinks between the turns and slopes, to reveal the corners of this historic location, creating a clear panoramic picture of the region’s landscapes.
The details also include the efforts of the Saudi leadership in constructing roads and tunnels, building bridges and paving roads to serve the residents of the area.
A group of residents joined SPA on its trip to the so-called “hanging villages”, riding a 4x4 vehicle to be able to truly appreciate the destination; a village called Al-Sumaid.
An old resident of the village said he is looking forward to road and pavement construction in the area, in order to reach the old village, as well as maintenance efforts from rain and torrential rains, in line with the Saudi leadership’s vision to develop tourism.
Resident Abdul Rahman Al-Sumadi also spoke to SPA about the ancient village, which includes many old houses, palaces and castles that standstill on top of the mountains. The buildings embrace many archaeological artifacts and rock inscriptions that confirm its ancient history.
The agricultural terraces surrounding the village were a source of living for inhabitants of the region at the time, as well as raising goats and cows.