Kareem Shamma, Qiddiya Investment Co. executive

Kareem Shamma
Updated 22 May 2019
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Kareem Shamma, Qiddiya Investment Co. executive

  • Shamma has spent decades working in the Gulf Cooperation Council states
  • Shamma holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s in concrete structures from Imperial College London

Kareem Shamma has recently been appointed as the chief development officer of the entertainment, sports and cultural destination of the Qiddiya Investment Co. (QIC).

Qiddiya, which is due to open by the end of 2022, is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030. It is located around 40 km from the center of the capital.

Shamma has spent decades working in the Gulf Cooperation Council states, with periods in Bahrain and the UAE, as well as in the UK. He started his professional life in Saudi Arabia, where he spent several years as an engineer working on Riyadh’s ring road network, including the construction of a number of its bridges and underpasses.

Shamma was the CEO of Bawabat Al-Shamal Real Estate Co. WLL (BASREC) in Qatar for seven years, between 2012 and 2019. He was responsible for delivering one of the region’s largest entertainment, hospitality and retail projects at the time.

He was regional director of URS Scott Wilson in Bahrain for two years between 2009 and 2011. He also worked for other companies in Bahrain. Shamma holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s in concrete structures from Imperial College London.

“I spent my early career in the Kingdom developing key infrastructure, as the capital city grew and the Kingdom developed. To come back a second time and work on this extraordinary project is a chance of a lifetime,” Shamma said of his new role.

Qiddiya’s chief administration officer, Abdul Aziz Al-Remaihi, said: “We welcome Kareem back to Riyadh. He has a wealth of experience that will help us to create the capital of entertainment, sports and the arts here in the Kingdom.”


Forum aims to boost Saudi-Japan trade ties

Updated 18 June 2019
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Forum aims to boost Saudi-Japan trade ties

  • 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.