Argentina welcomes Crown Prince’s G20 visit

An image grab from a handout video released by the Saudi Broadcast Authority on November 28, 2018 shows Argentinian Foreign Minister Jorge Marcelo Faurie (L) welcoming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) at an airport on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2018
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Argentina welcomes Crown Prince’s G20 visit

  • Argentine ambassador to Saudi Arabia said the two countries have forged closer ties
  • Marcelo Gilardoni spoke of his country’s preparations for the leaders’ summit, which the Kingdom will host in 2020

RIYADH: A senior Argentine diplomat on Wednesday welcomed the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, expressing his country’s willingness to work closely with Saudi Arabia to maintain momentum in bilateral ties.

Marcelo Gilardoni, the Argentine ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said the two countries have forged closer ties in different sectors. “Our countries have been working closely on increasing bilateral cooperation in different areas such as trade, investment, agriculture, tourism, research and education,” he added.

After a tour that stopped in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Cairo and Tunis, the Crown Prince arrived in Argentina on Wednesday to attend the summit of G20 leaders, which will be opened by Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Friday.

Diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Argentina were established back in 1946, Gilardoni pointed out. “Since then, there have been several exchanges of official and state visits, as the ones made to Riyadh by president Raul Alfonsin in 1986 and president Carlos Saul Menem in 1992.

“The then Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz visited Buenos Aires in 2000 on the occasion of the inauguration of the King Fahd Islamic Cultural Center.”

The envoy spoke about preparations for the summit made by Argentina during its presidency, which began on December 1, 2017. “Since then Argentina held 50 meetings on different governmental levels on 15 different topics … Being Argentina, a federal republic, all the different encounters have been held all over the country, in different cities from north to south, east to west, in order to show Argentina to the world.”

Asked about the agenda of the G20 summit, Gilardoni said that “the G20 presidency of Argentina has mainly focused on education as an asset for future labor, its impact on growth and social and economic inclusion.”

The agenda also includes food security and “the importance of building infrastructure, not only physical, but also digital, in order to make the world more competitive for growth.”

On the question of other countries’ participation in the summit, he noted that “Argentina has invited Chile and the Netherlands to attend the summit, as every year the country which holds the G20 presidency invites countries to attend the meeting at its own discretion.”

He explained that Spain is a permanent invited guest to G20 meetings. “Countries which chair key regional groups – such as the African Union (AU), the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) – are generally invited to the summit.”

This year these regional groups will be represented by Rwanda, Singapore and Senegal, respectively. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has also been invited by Argentina for this year’s G20 and is represented by Jamaica.

Saudi Arabia, a member of the G20 group, will host the summit in 2020. Accordingly, the Kingdom will lead the work and the program of the group for that year and head its meetings.


Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. (Supplied)
Updated 12 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

  • The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021
  • SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is fast catching up with the world’s ever-growing energy and technology scene ahead of 2030. In fact, the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) may soon prove a global destination for energy industry investors.

The new energy city mega-project is being developed by Saudi Aramco, which received authoritization to embark on the initiative in the summer, and is operated, managed and maintained in partnership with the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON). 

With projections that the megacity will create more than 100,000 jobs, it is considered one of the most up-and-coming energy parks in the world.

SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower.

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. 

The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021, while the final phase of the project is set for completion in 2035. With all this on track, the 50-square-kilometer project is poised to be a magnet for foreign and domestic investment. 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday. (SPA)

What’s more, Aramco’s espousal of SPARK will also help businesses indulge in technological development, manufacturing and exports channels and build a world-class energy supply chain. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Energy Minister and Aramco Chairman Khalid Al-Falih declared SPARK a special economic zone (SEZ) in which businesses can enjoy exclusive benefits. 

“We are looking forward to collaborating with our first anchor partners at SPARK,” said Saudi Aramco President and CEO, Amin Nasser.

SPARK has already attracted investment from foreign and local companies to produce and manufacture goods and services. The first phase of the project is expected to cost about $1.6 billion. 

The park is set to attract industrial investors in the water, power, petrochemical and wastewater sectors, among others. 

Facilities at SPARK will also help investors bridge gaps in local production back home, increasing competition in the long run. 

“This energy city is exciting because it brings together a multitude of businesses,” Mark McCollum, president and CEO of Weatherford Corp, told SPARK.

“We firmly believe that collaboration and cooperation among service companies and individual providers to the energy sector is vital in breaking new ground.”

The King Salman Energy Park is also set to promote small and medium-sized enterprises. With focus on energy production, it also provides opportunities for investment in residential and commercial real estate projects.

Nasser said that the “King Salman Energy Park will spur a new era of growth for one of the Kingdom’s already thriving sectors. What’s more, it will serve as a central gateway to the region’s economies since Aramco is at the heart of the global oil and gas industry.”