Saudi Arabia’s financial support to UNRWA lauded

In this Jan. 31, 2014, file photo, released by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), shows residents of the besieged Palestinian camp of Yarmouk, queuing to receive food supplies, in Damascus, Syria. (AP)
Updated 02 December 2018

Saudi Arabia’s financial support to UNRWA lauded

  • Abu Houli said Saudi Arabia has donated more than $160 million to UNRWA in 2018

JEDDAH: Ahmed Abu Houli, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and head of the Department of Refugee Affairs, has lauded the Saudi pledge to support the budget of UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.
Saudi Arabia has reportedly pledged to contribute $63 million for projects to be implemented in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan.
“The additional financial support provided by Saudi Arabia will contribute to the continuation of UNRWA’s vital services, in its five areas of operation for nearly 5.9 million Palestinian refugees,” Abu Houli said, in a statement issued on Saturday.
This Saudi decision will motivate other donors to pledge more funds to support UNRWA to compensate for the cuts in US aid, he said.
Abu Houli said Saudi Arabia has donated more than $160 million to UNRWA in 2018. UNRWA had counted on a budget of $1.2 billion for 2018 but faced a gap of $446 million when the Trump administration announced it was cutting support. UNRWA responded to its “unprecedented” financial pressures by seeking support across UN member states and raised an additional $382 million, bringing the shortfall for the year down to just $64 million.

High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

Updated 18 June 2019

High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

  • Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners

TOKYO: More than 300 government, investment and industry leaders on Monday took part in a high-level gathering aimed at further boosting business opportunities between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) welcomed key figures from the public and private sectors to the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, held in Tokyo.

Hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the conference focused on the creation of investment opportunities in strategic sectors of the Kingdom. Delegates also discussed key reforms currently underway to enable easier market access for foreign companies.

Speaking at the event, Saudi Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, said: “Today’s forum is a testimony to the success of the strategic direction set by the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive private-sector involvement, both by partnering with public-sector entities.”

SAGIA Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar said: “At SAGIA, we have been working on creating a more attractive and favorable business environment in Saudi Arabia, which is making it easier for foreign companies to access opportunities in the Kingdom.”

Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners. It is the Kingdom’s second-largest source of foreign capital and third-biggest trading partner, with total trade exceeding $39 billion.

JETRO president, Yasushi Akahoshi, said: “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 has made great progress since it was first announced. Under this strategic initiative, the number of cooperative projects between our two countries has nearly doubled, from 31 to 61, and represents a diverse range of sectors and stakeholders.”

Since 2016, the Saudi government has delivered 45 percent of more than 500 planned reforms, including the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership rights, enhancing legal infrastructure and offering greater protection for shareholders.

As a result, the Kingdom has climbed international competitiveness and ease-of-doing-business rankings, with foreign direct investment inflows increasing by 127 percent in 2018 and the number of new companies entering Saudi Arabia rising by 70 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2019.