Women-only industrial cities welcomed

Updated 01 September 2012

Women-only industrial cities welcomed

Saudi businesswomen are voicing their approval of the latest plan by the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON) to begin building the first of many women-only industrial cities throughout the Kingdom.
“The plan to create women-only industrial cities is a positive step that will mutually benefit Saudi women and the Kingdom,” Basmah Omair, executive director of the Khadijah bint Khwailid Businesswomen’s Center at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) told Arab News.
She said there are many talented women with no opportunity to show the world their potential, but with the creation of women-only cities, will have a chance to establish businesses in the greenfield industrial sector.
The creation of the first industrial city in Hofuf is expected to create between 3,000 and 5,000 jobs for women in the Eastern Province alone, with similar estimates for each of the cities that follow.
Many businesswomen agree the women-only industrial cities will help skyrocketing unemployment rates among Saudi female graduates.
According to a study published in June by Booz & Company, 78.3 percent of Saudi female graduates are unemployed, a number which includes as many as 1,000 graduates with Ph.Ds The employment rate for women is 14.4 %, the lowest in the GCC region.
“I see the establishment of women-only cities as a positive sign for the many Saudi women who have graduated over the past few years and have been unable to find employment and use their education,” Wafa Balubaid said. The new cities are expected to focus on developing manufacturing companies in clothing, cosmetics, perfume, carpentry, and furnishings.
The idea to create women-only industrial cities was first proposed in late 2003 by a group of prominent businesswomen and welcomed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
“The aim is to provide jobs to Saudi women who have completed their secondary education, with admin positions going to university graduates,” Hussa Al-Aun, a cocreator of the project told Arab News previously. The new cities will also include training centers to teach women how to work in factories.
New women-only cities are to be established near Riyadh and Jeddah and be fully operational by 2020, according to Saleh Al-Rasheed, acting director general of MODON.

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.