Saudi Arabia ‘could be gateway to Middle East for Brazilian products’, Jeddah business group told

Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, center, and other officials at the celebration of “75 Years of Achievements” of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday. (Photo supplied)
Updated 28 February 2019

Saudi Arabia ‘could be gateway to Middle East for Brazilian products’, Jeddah business group told

  • 12 million Arab expatriates in Brazil a perfect market for exported goods — Arab-Brazil Chamber of Commerce chief Tamer Mansour
  • Mansour was speaking during the JCCI's celebration of "75 Years of Achievements"

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia can become a commercial gate for Brazilian products coming to the Middle East, according to a speaker at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (JCCI) 75th anniversary celebrations.

The sessions, held on the sidelines of the celebration, highlighted topics related to the role chambers can play in enhancing the private sector and potential opportunities for local and international investors.

During the first session on Wednesday, “The Role of Chambers of Commerce in Developing the Private Sector,” the secretary-general of the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Tamer Mansour, focused on the need to diversify the exchange of trade between Saudi Arabia and Brazil. He said that the Kingdom could serve as a logistics hub for transferring Brazilian products into the Middle East. According to Mansour, the 12 million Arab expatriates in Brazil provided a perfect market for exported goods.

Malaysia has also worked on developing business by focusing on establishing chambers in different countries to enhance connections. President of Kuala Lumpur International Chamber of Commerce Dato’ Hashim Saleh underlined efforts in exchanging trade with Saudi Arabia in sectors such as oil and gas, engineering and IT. He added that they sought to collaborate with the Kingdom in the food safety sector. 

CEO of the General Entertainment Authority Amr Banaja said in the third session addressing the tourism and entertainment sectors that their primary role was to please citizens and create jobs for local youth. In addition, he noted that the sector is expected to create 200,000 jobs by 2030. He added that in 2018 they had organized 140 events compared to 87 events in 2017.

On Tuesday, under the patronage of King Salman and in the presence of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized a celebration of “75 Years of Achievements.”

The event, held at Jeddah Exhibition Center, was attended by Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed, Makkah Deputy Gov. Prince Badr bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi, as well as businesspeople, government officials and private-sector representatives.

Dr. Al-Qassabi recalled his memories of working with the JCCI, saying that the chamber witnessed many developments and comprehensive renaissance at all levels. “The chamber’s mission upon its founding was to unite businesses and enhance business atmosphere and quality of life,” he said.

Speaking at the second session, “Public-Private Partnership and the Pole of Constructing Companies,” Jeddah Mayor Saleh Al-Turki said that the contracting sector was a promising sector, but wondered if it was ready to be part of the development.

He noted that they had held meetings to evaluate the risks in new projects. “I was surprised that 90 percent of ministerial projects are delayed because of contractors,” Al-Turki said. “I’ve told contracting companies several times not to get involved in projects that they cannot complete.” 

Al-Turki said that he contacted these companies but their response was “weak.” He added that 40 percent of Jeddah projects are stumbling, the gardens are in a miserable condition and environment protection is absent. In response to this condition, he said, they would not offer any contracts next year if contractors remain as they are.

Khalid bin Saleh Al-Mudaifer, the deputy minister of energy, industry and mineral resources, said Saudi Vision 2030, which focuses on youth, includes some 500 initiatives that aim to enhance the private sector and increase its contribution to the GDP from 40 percent to 65 percent.

“These initiatives aim to enhance the private sector’s role in shaping the Kingdom’s economy and to promote private-sector financing by more than 40 percent,” he said. 

There were many promising opportunities, such as the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, one of the most prominent for achieving the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, as well as initiatives to promote local content of contracts and renewable energy projects, he said.

Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium opens in Riyadh for the first time

Updated 21 min 31 sec ago

Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium opens in Riyadh for the first time

  • Since their arrival, the international artists have enjoyed tours of the city, including to Al-Masmak Fortress, as well as newer landmarks such as Kingdom Tower
  • The symposium will run until March 22

RIYADH: The first Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium kicked off in Riyadh on Monday morning in the capital’s Diplomatic Quarter, featuring the works of 23 artists from 18 different countries.
Participants of note include South Korean sculptor So Dong Choe, Mexican artist Carlos Monge, and Japan’s Yoshin Ogata. The symposium’s three Saudi participants are Ali Al-Toukhais, his nephew Talal Altukhaes, and Mohammad Althagafi.
Altukhaes, an organizer as well as a participant, told Arab News that the goal of the symposium was to create an environment in which artists could share techniques, collaborate with one another, and promote a sense of camaraderie.
The sculptors will assist each other in creating their artworks despite the language barriers between them, but Altukhaes told Arab News that words were not as important as demonstrations of technique, given most of the sculptors would wear ear protection to guard against the constant buzz of heavy machinery anyway.
Since their arrival, the international artists have enjoyed tours of the city, including to Al-Masmak Fortress, as well as newer landmarks such as Kingdom Tower. “Everyone is happy, you can see it in their smiles as they’re working,” Altukhaes said.
Ogata expressed how happy he was to be in Saudi Arabia for the first time, and that he was enjoying the new experience. “It’s a nice place. The dry climate is a little different to what I’m used to, but the heat is something I’m accustomed to. It’s always a pleasure to work with other sculptors — I usually work alone in my studio back home, so I enjoy seeing everyone here together, and being able to watch them work.”
New Zealander Anna Korver, covered from head to toe in white dust, grinned as she told Arab News how excited she was to be part of the symposium.
“It’s my first time in Saudi Arabia, and I was always curious about what it would be like. I had no idea what to expect when I first came, but I’ve been having a great time so far. The symposium is perfect. It is great to work with people who really know what we need as artists — we have all the assistance we need.
“My work is always sort of a narrative about women, and I often like to use the dress form as a symbol of femininity. I’ve chosen to incorporate the hijab into my design. It should give a feeling of lightness when it’s viewed.”
Al-Toukhais, who has had work displayed all over the Arab world, said the secret to becoming an excellent sculptor was patience and commitment. “Sculpting is not for those who are looking for instant gratification, or to become famous overnight. You have to have passion, and drive, but most of all you have to be patient.”
Dr. Fahd bin Mushayt, the executive chairman of the General Authority of the Embassies, thanked the minister of culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah, for sponsoring the event. In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, he added that more than 20 masterpieces would be produced by the end of the collaboration.
The symposium will run until March 22.