P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News
Saturday 11 September 2004
Last Update 11 September 2004 12:00 am
JEDDAH, 11 September 2004 — New industrial cities will provide jobs to more than 15,000 women, according to Abdul Rahman Al-Jeraisy, chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CSCCI).
“These women will work on projects which will be floated to businesswomen shortly for investment,” Al-Yaum Arabic daily quoted Jeraisy as saying. He said businesswomen would be provided with all facilities to establish economic projects. “They should employ Saudi women because the main objective of these projects are to find jobs for them,” he added.
He referred to the recommendations made by the CSCCI forum held in Jeddah, which had called for the establishment of women-only industries to manufacture clothes, perfumes and cosmetics.
The forum had also stressed the need for making use of women’s bank deposits, establishment of a national committee for businesswomen and formation of women’s sections at all chambers.
A Saudi investment company has reportedly signed a deal with two Chinese and Malaysian firms to establish the country’s first women’s industrial city in Jeddah at a cost of SR375 million.
Covering an area of 600,000 sq. meters, the new facility will have 83 factories, the Arabic daily said.
The two foreign firms will operate the city and train 10,000 women for two years, it added.
Efforts are also under way to set up a similar industrial city in the eastern city of Al-Ahsa. “We have conducted a feasibility study on the project,” said Ibrahim Al-Barak, director of the industrial city in Al-Ahsa.
The CSCCI chief did not say when the new industrial cities would be launched. The report comes on the heels of a recent Cabinet decision to expand business and job opportunities for Saudi women.
The Cabinet this year adopted a nine-point program that instructs government departments to license women’s businesses “in accordance with the rules and teachings of Shariah.” It also urged government departments serving women to open women’s sections within a year.
Hussa Al-Aun, vice chairperson of the Women’s Consultative Council in the Makkah region, said the Cabinet decision would encourage women to invest some of the at least SR15 billion which they have in bank deposits.