Removal of temporary mataf bridge underway

Updated 17 April 2016

Removal of temporary mataf bridge underway

MAKKAH: Almost half of the temporary bridge on the mataf, the circumambulating area around the Kaaba, has been removed, according to the technical committee overseeing the expansion of the Grand Mosque.
Wael Al-Halabi, a member of the committee, was quoted as saying by a local publication on Friday that most of the work took place over 11 days recently.
The aim is to ensure the bridge and its gates are dismantled safely, he said.
Al-Halabi said Saudi engineers were among the staff members working to ensure that pilgrims can circumambulate the Kaaba safely while the work is taking place.
More than 14,000 engineers, technicians and workers have been working on the project to increase the capacity of the mataf. After completion, it will accommodate about 105,000 worshipers per hour.
The project includes central air conditioning, ventilation, lighting, sound systems, clocks and surveillance cameras.
Pilgrims will be able to perform the tawaf, circumambulation of the Kaaba, on the first floor and terrace. All the upper floors will be connected with escalators.
Al-Halabi said the expansion of the mataf was just one element of the work taking place at the Grand Mosque.
Once completed, the entire SR80-billion project would see around 1.5 million more worshippers accommodated, he said.

High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

Updated 18 June 2019

High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

  • 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.