FaceOf:  Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim Al-Harqan, Saudi Shoura Council member

Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim Al-Harqan
Updated 06 December 2018
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FaceOf:  Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim Al-Harqan, Saudi Shoura Council member

Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim Al-Harqan is a member of the Saudi Shoura Council, also known as the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia. It is the formal advisory board in the Kingdom. 

A Shoura Council member since 2013, Al-Harqan has supported the drafting of numerous laws to the king for approval.

On Wednesday, Al-Harqan presided over a special panel discussion at the conclusion of the e-Parliament Conference in Geneva. 

During the discussion, organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Al-Harqan gave a presentation on the role of information technology in facilitating the work of MPs. 

Some of the topics discussed included the recognition and identification of citizens’ opinions about the use of artificial intelligence systems that can be provided without the need for traditional manual tools, such as voting booths.

 Al-Harqan earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from King Saud University in 1986. 

He acquired several years’ experience as an agricultural engineer, as well as serving as the director of national training for the Ministry of Agriculture before earning his master’s degree in computer sciences from the American University in Washington in 1995. 

On returning to the Kingdom, Al-Harqan continued his work under the Ministry of Agriculture, serving as the director of the information system unit. 

In 2003, while working as an information technology adviser at the World Bank, Al-Harqan completed his Ph.D. studies in computer sciences from George Washington University, in Washington DC.

Prior to serving on the Saudi Shoura Council, Al-Harqan was the director of the Bader Program for Technology Incubators at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. 

In 2008, he served as chairman of the National Policy Development Committee for Patronizing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Kingdom.

In 2013, Al-Harqan was appointed chairman of the Council of Sponsors of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, as well as a member of the committee studying private-sector reluctance to invest in Saudi inventions.


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.”