Scholarships to upgrade skills of Saudi work force

Updated 12 February 2013
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Scholarships to upgrade skills of Saudi work force

The extension of the King Abdullah Scholarship to a further five-year period will boost the Saudization program by developing local human resources, according to Said Al-Shaikh, senior vice president and group chief economist of the National Commercial Bank (NCB).
Al-Shaikh was speaking at the launch of the Business Optimism Index (OPI) — Saudi Arabia Q1 by Dun & Bradstreet SAME Ltd. at the NCB headquarters in Riyadh.
Rohan Nagpal, general manager of Dun & Bradstreet SAME Ltd., presented the OPI, while Al-Shaikh made his comments and answered questions from the press.
“Availability of skilled labor is the leading concern for both the hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon sector businesses,” Al-Shaikh said.
He said vital sectors such as health, banking and IT could employ skilled nationals.
Nagpal commended the initiatives taken by the Saudi government to develop the skills of the local youths.
The government is keen to promote education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
He also said that such education should be linked to the local industry so that the demand for skilled youth could be supplied to the job market.
The BOI survey revealed that Saudi Arabia’s hydrocarbon sector optimism has improved in Q1 2013 as all parameters have gained from the previous quarter’s level.
The BOI for level of selling prices has gained 8 points to 13 in Q1 2013 compared to 5 in Q4 2012.
The BOI for the net profits stands at 58, which is 10 points above the score in Q4 2012. The hiring outlook of the sector has also improved; the BOI for the number of employees parameter has gained 7 points to 47 in Q1 2013.
In terms of factors impacting business operations, sentiments have improved in the current quarter when compared to the previous quarter.
According to BOI, the Kingdom’s real GDP growth during 2012 was 6.8 percent, supported by a 7.6 percent growth in manufacturing, 10.3 percent in construction, 8.3 percent in the trade and hospitality sector, 10.7 percent in transport and communications and 4.4 percent in the finance, insurance, real estate and business services segment.
“Aggressive public sector expenditure remains an important growth catalyst for Saudi Arabia, especially the construction sector, with billions of dollars in contracts awarded by the government. The transport sector is also booming, especially rail infrastructure — with projects worth $ 24 billion in the pipeline,” the report said.
The survey also revealed strong optimism levels for the nonhydrocarbon sector businesses in Q1 2013.
The composite BOI for the nonhydrocarbon sector stands at 55 compared to 47 in Q4
2012 and all six parameters have recorded an improvement.
The transport and communications sector holds the least optimistic outlook for Q1 2013.


Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

Updated 26 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

  • Kingdom is home to three quarters of region's foundations
  • Combined asets of global foundations is $1.5 trillion

Nearly three quarters of philanthropic foundations in the Middle East are concentrated in Saudi Arabia, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Hauser Institute with funding from Swiss bank UBS, also found that resources were highly concentrated in certain areas with education the most popular area for investment globally.

That trend was best illustrated in the Kingdom, where education ranked first among the target areas of local foundations.

While the combined assets of the world’s foundations are estimated at close to $1.5 trillion, half have no paid staff and small budgets of under $1 million. In fact, 90 percent of identified foundations have assets of less than $10 million, according to the Global Philanthropy Report. 

Developed over three years with inputs from twenty research teams across nineteen countries and Hong Kong, the report highlights the magnitude of global philanthropic investment.

A rapidly growing number of philanthropists are establishing foundations and institutions to focus, practice, and amplify these investments, said the report.

In recent years, philanthropy has witnessed a major shift. Wealthy individuals, families, and corporations are looking to give more, to give more strategically, and to increase the impact of their social investments.

Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have become increasingly high profile — but at the same time, some governments, including India and China, have sought to limit the spread of cross-border philanthropy in certain sectors.

As the world is falling well short of raising the $ 5-7 trillion of annual investment needed to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, UBS sees the report findings as a call for philanthropists to work together to scale their impact.

Understanding this need for collaboration, UBS has established a global community where philanthropists can work together to drive sustainable impact.

Established in 2015 and with over 400 members, the Global Philanthropists Community hosted by UBS is the world’s largest private network exclusively for philanthropists and social investors, facilitating collaboration and sharing of best practices.

Josef Stadler, head of ultra high net worth wealth, UBS Global Management, said: “This report takes a much-needed step toward understanding global philanthropy so that, collectively, we might shape a more strategic and collaborative future, with philanthropists leading the way toward solving the great challenges of our time.”

This week Saudi Arabia said it would provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid in Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The UAE also this week said it had contributed $192 million to a housing project in Afghanistan through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.