3,000 jobs lined up for Saudi women at outsourcing center

Updated 16 September 2014
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3,000 jobs lined up for Saudi women at outsourcing center

The first all-female business process outsourcing (BPO) service center in the Kingdom, which was inaugurated in Riyadh on Sunday, will aim to provide 3,000 local jobs to Saudi women in the next three years in line with nationalization efforts.
The BPO center was jointly opened by Saudi Aramco, General Electric (GE) and Indian IT services company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
Aramco and GE were the first clients of the center, which spans 3,200 square meters.
Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, Prince Saud bin Khalid, deputy governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Aramco president and CEO, John Rice, GE’s vice chairman, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO and managing director of TCS, and various dignitaries from government entities and business executives attended the official opening ceremony here.
Supported by the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF), the center has begun operating with around 300 employees that have been trained in communication and presentation skills, corporate etiquette, global culture and basic computer programs, such as Microsoft Office and Excel.
About 100 of these new employees are fresh graduates, while the rest have two to three years of experience.
Fresh graduates were selected from educational institutions in the Saudi capital, including Princess Nora bint Abdulrahman University, the largest university for women in the world, King Saud University (KSU) and Imam University out of 1,200 candidates interviewed for the jobs.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Al-Falih said: “Being the first all-female BPO service center in Saudi Arabia, this joint effort will bring significant value in diversifying the economy and society and will help address the challenge of creating jobs for talented and skilled female graduates by establishing a more diverse work force and boosting competitiveness.”
Echoing the sentiment, Rice observed: “The newly opened BPO center is proof of our commitment to support the Kingdom’s priorities around human capital development and the creation of employment opportunities for talented Saudi women.”
He described it as a new model for business customers to achieve higher operating efficiency in the Saudi market.
Expressing his delight, Chandrasekaran underlined, “skills, talent and technology converge here at the Kingdom’s first all-female BPO center, marking a new era for the information technology and BPO industry in the Kingdom.”
The center, which will undoubtedly reduce female unemployment rates (pegged at 34 percent in 2013), has already achieved a more than 70 percent nationalization rate.
The opening of the center was announced in September last year, with specialized services in finance, accounting, human resources, material supply and library services, in order to enhance operational efficiency for customers.


Exclusive: UAE mogul Khalaf Al-Habtoor calls for a boycott of US firms, execs. who pulled out of Saudi investment summit

Updated 15 October 2018
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Exclusive: UAE mogul Khalaf Al-Habtoor calls for a boycott of US firms, execs. who pulled out of Saudi investment summit

JEDDAH: In an Op-Ed column written exclusively for Arab News, UAE business tycoon Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor has called for an Arab boycott of US companies and executives who have pulled out of Saudi Arabia’s upcoming Future Investment Initiative (FII) summit, or decided to freeze ongoing dealings with the Kingdom. 
A number of media companies, including Bloomberg, New York Times, CNN and CNBC have announced pulling out of the partnerships with the FII summit happening on Oct. 28 in Riyadh. This was in the aftermath of the mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, more than 10 days ago, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. 
Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement with his disappearance, and has sent a team to assist Turkish investigators to find out what happened to the Saudi. 
Khashoggi’s vanishing has caused many to blame Riyadh, given he had recently become a vocal critic of its leadership in a number of columns for The Washington Post, while living in the  US. 
Pulling out of the FII media partnerships, or executives, such as Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi  cancelling their attendance, is unjustified, argued Habtoor, considering the investigation into the journalist’s whereabouts is ongoing.
The Emirati businessman also takes on London-based Virgin Group founder Richard Branson who suspended his negotiations on tourism projects in Saudi Arabia as well as discussions with the country’s Public Investment Fund.
“The Saudis’ Gulf Cooperation Council allies, as well as Egypt and Jordan, must stand shoulder to shoulder with Riyadh to show those companies they are not welcome to operate within our borders. They should be boycotted. Together we must prove we will not be bullied or else, mark my words, once they have finished kicking the Kingdom, we will be next in line. Now is the time to prove our loyalty and transparency toward each other,” the businessman said.
Al-Habtoor said he was “shocked” that the US Congress is pressurizing President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East when the truth has not even been determined. He also condemned US media, government officials and lawmakers for rushing to judgement on an active investigation. 
“Last week, Saudi basked in America’s friendship. A single individual goes off the radar and Riyadh is targeted with warnings and threats from America’s political, financial and business sectors. Considering that the investigation is not yet over, if this is not gross overkill, then what is?” He said.