Khalil Hanware, Arab News
Publication Date: 
Fri, 2007-06-01 03:00

RABIGH, 1 June 2007 — Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Governor Amr Al-Dabbagh presented yesterday SAGIA’s vision 10 X 10 for the Kingdom to become one of the top 10 most competitive nations in the world by 2010.

During a media briefing at the King Abdullah Economic City Center (KAEC) here, Al-Dabbagh said: “SAGIA is committed to enhancing the investment potential of the Kingdom, solve problems, if any, that are faced by regional and international investors and establish a national center that will ease and encourage investments into the Kingdom.”

SAGIA and the Tadawul-listed company Emaar Economic City (EEC) hosted over 40 international and local media representatives on a visit to the project site here organized by General Electric Co. (GE) as part of its “Build the Middle East” tour.

“Our vision is to attract international investors to achieve rapid and sustainable economic growth in Saudi Arabia, capitalizing on the Kingdom’s main strengths as the global capital of energy and as major hub between East and West.”

He added: “Investment is the oxygen of economy. Without investment there is no growth, there is no job creation. We need to inject sufficient amount of investments into the economy to increase economic growth and only then we can create jobs and deal with the problem of rising unemployment.”

“Our mission is to position Saudi Arabia among the top 10 most competitive nations by 2010 through the creation of pro-business environment, knowledge-based society and by developing economic cities,” Al-Dabbagh said. The King Abdullah Economic City is an embodiment of Saudi Arabia’s drive for economic diversification and expansion. The other economic cities are planned in Madinah, Hail and Jizan with two more cities are expected in Tabouk and Dammam.

He said: “Kingdom, under the guidance of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, has adopted several key measures to achieve our objective. The founding of economic cities is one of the strategic initiatives in this direction. We are also committed to developing a strong power, transport and industry base, which will serve as a platform for economic cities to thrive and create a favorable growth environment for international investors.”

He also highlighted the role of GE in establishing long-term development partnerships with the region and its innovative technologies and solutions that contribute to developing various economic sectors.

GE is focusing its growth strategies in Saudi Arabia through effective public and private partnerships in high-growth areas, and is prioritizing overall social development through value-added initiatives. Emaar Economic City Chief Executive Officer Nidal Jamjoom made a detailed presentation on KAEC, the investment opportunities offered by the project and a timeline for the project’s completion.

He said: “KAEC will meet the highest international standards in project execution, create a new platform for regional and international standards in project execution and create a new platform for regional and international investment through its six zones. The project has already gained global attention and investor response has been strong.”

Jamjoom added: “The King Abdullah Economic City is expected to usher in a new era of economic prosperity in the Kingdom and has the potential to create one million job opportunities.”

Jamjoom said: “The emergence of a world-class port on Saudi Arabia’s west coast will be a historic turning point not only for the Kingdom, but for the entire world. Through KAEC’s seaport, Saudi Arabia will gain the distinction of being among the few nations that traverse two global shipping routes: The Mediterranean/Red Sea route and the Arabian Gulf/Far East route. With the Saudi Landbridge project creating a direct road-and-rail link between KAEC and the port city of Dammam on the Gulf, Saudi Arabia becomes a strategic intermediary for trade between Europe, Asia and Africa.”

John G. Rice, vice chairman of GE, showcased the regional growth of the company and its efforts in meeting the needs of emerging economies in the region and preparing them for the future. He said that GE is focused on building sustainable foundations in the region through effective public-private partnerships in sectors ranging from oil and gas to infrastructure, health care, aviation, security and finance.

SAGIA is the prime facilitator of KAEC, a 168-million sq m project, located on the Red Sea coast offering easy access to Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah. King Abdullah Economic City has six key components: the seaport, industrial zone, central business district, resort district, educational zone and residential communities.

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