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.