Kingdom asserts its position as global economic powerhouse

Kingdom asserts its position as global economic powerhouse
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Kingdom asserts its position as global economic powerhouse
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Kingdom asserts its position as global economic powerhouse
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Kingdom asserts its position as global economic powerhouse
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Updated 24 September 2014

Kingdom asserts its position as global economic powerhouse

Kingdom asserts its position as global economic powerhouse

Saudi Arabia marks the 84th National Day today celebrating its unprecedented strides in cultural, educational, social, health, economic and industrial sectors under the wise leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
Ever since its foundation under the strong leadership of King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud in 1932, Saudi Arabia has been marching to greater heights of progress and prosperity.
It plays a significant role in the comity of nations being a member of G20, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League.
King Abdullah, who ascended the throne in August 2005, has been the driving force behind the Kingdom’s unprecedented progress.
His pioneering initiatives have contributed to the empowerment Saudi women.
There are 30 female members now in the Kingdom’s 150-strong Shoura Council.
He allowed women to participate in municipal elections as voters and candidates.
Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University in Riyadh, the largest women-only center of higher learning in the world, is another example of his support for women.
Saudi Arabia has become a modern state with advanced infrastructure facilities including state-of-the-art airports, seaports, highways, flyovers, railways, desalination plants and power stations.
According to Economic and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Jasser, the government has spent nearly SR2 trillion on infrastructure projects.
The new five-year development plan (2015-2020) aims at further boosting the Kingdom’s economic growth and creating more jobs for its citizens.
“We have been focusing on transfer of modern technology from advanced countries to accelerate the country’s development in all sectors,” the minister points out.
“Our long-term plan is to develop a knowledge-based economy to make knowledge the main engine of growth, developing human and material resources,” Al-Jasser says.
“We want to nationalize knowledge and this requires huge investment on human resource development,” the minister said, adding that allocations for the current five-year plan amounted to SR1.4 trillion.

Regional powerhouse
While working to accelerate its economic and social progress, Saudi Arabia has been playing a big role in regional and international politics, especially to reinforce peace and stability in the Middle East.
The Arab Peace Initiative, aimed at finding a just and lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, was proposed by King Abdullah in 2002, when he was crown prince. Riyadh has been extending its unwavering support to the Palestinian cause and calls for an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Saudi Arabia stood firmly with the Syrian opposition when they revolted against Bashar Assad’s regime that massacred its own people. The Saudi National Campaign for the Care of Syrians has been supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey providing them with tents, health care and relief supplies.
When the so-called Islamic State militants posed a big threat to global peace and stability, Saudi Arabia gave the warning bell.
“If you did not act now to stop terrorism it would hit you sooner or later,” King Abdullah told world leaders.
The Kingdom later hosted a summit in Jeddah bringing together US Secretary of State John Kerry and 11 foreign ministers from Middle Eastern countries to form an international coalition to crush IS militants and other terrorist groups.
Four days later Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal told a Paris meeting that the anti-terror war should continue for at least 10 years.

Victim of terrorism
Saudi Arabia has been a major victim of terrorism for the past several years.
Al-Qaeda militants carried out a series of bombings in the country since May 2003, killing many people including police officers, civilians and expatriate workers.
Riyadh has won international applause for its campaign against terrorists including Al-Qaeda sympathizers.
It has uncovered several terror cells in various parts of the country and arrested hundreds of suspected terrorists.
It also provides counseling to militants to change their minds and make them useful citizens.
Saudi Arabia has given $100 million to the International Counterterrorism Center at the UN as part of its efforts to fight terror, and urged all countries in the world to support the center to eradicate terrorism.
King Abdullah proposed the center while opening the first international counterterrorism conference in Riyadh in 2005.

Interfaith Dialogue
King Abdullah initiated an intercultural and interreligious dialogue among followers of different faiths as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to promote global peace and stability.
The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) was established in Vienna in 2012 at the culmination of the Kingdom’s efforts to promote dialogue among faith communities.
“This is a historic day. We hope the center would contribute to bringing people closer and settle their disputes peacefully,” Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said while addressing the center’s opening ceremony in the Austrian capital.
Saudi Arabia has been making continuous efforts to strengthen Arab and Islamic unity and solidarity.
According to a survey conducted by the Organization of Arab People and Parliaments, King Abdullah tops the list of personalities who have succeeded in uniting the Arab people.
This is not the first time King Abdullah has topped the list of Arab political personalities.
In 2013, he was chosen the most influential personality of the year by Forbes Magazine.
The world-renowned Al-Azhar University conferred on King Abdullah an honorary doctorate degree recently in recognition of his services to Islam and Muslims.
Al-Azhar Chancellor Ahmed Al-Taib said the decision to honor the Saudi leader was taken unanimously following a proposal made by Osama Al-Abd, the university’s former president.
“The council’s decision comes in appreciation of the keen interest shown by King Abdullah to resolve the challenges facing the Arab and Muslim worlds,” Al-Taib said.
“The decision springs, not from sycophancy, but from our genuine appreciation of the stances taken by King Abdullah,” he said.

Service to pilgrims
Saudi Arabia’s efforts in the service of the millions of pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah as well as for the development of the two holy mosques and cities need not be overemphasized.
The two holy mosques in Makkah and Madinah are currently witnessing expansion projects to accommodate more pilgrims and worshippers.
The projects are expected to cost nearly SR200 billion.
Two full-fledged pilgrim cities will be established at the entrances of Makkah and Madinah.
“It will be a smart city equipped with the most advanced facilities and systems,” said Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar while speaking about the pilgrim city in Makkah.
“The city will be designed to become an outstanding landmark in Makkah. All residential and administrative services will be made available for pilgrims in the city, which will be linked with the Grand Mosque and the center of Makkah with a public transport system,” the minister added.
The pilgrim city in Madinah will be set up on 1.6 million square meters along Hijrah Road with modern facilities and public transport systems to house 200,000 faithful who come for Haj and Umrah.
“King Abdullah has instructed the Finance Ministry to implement the project,” said Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman.
The project includes a railway and bus station, offices of government agencies and a 400-bed hospital.
A number of hotels and furnished apartments will be constructed as part of the world-class city.

Economic progress
King Abdullah launched new economic cities in Rabigh, Madinah, Hail and Jazan to realize balanced growth for the Kingdom’s regions.
The King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh has already attracted more than 70 national and international companies.
The twin industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu have attracted world-class industries involving investment worth billions of dollars.
The Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu was established as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to diversify its revenue resources and reduce dependence on oil and gas.
“The commission has been able to attract investments valued at more than SR915 billion in its industrial cities,” said an official report, adding that 604 industries have been set up in its facilities.
The commission contributes 13 percent of the Kingdom’s annual GDP and 65 percent of the industrial GDP. Its industries account for 85 percent of the country’s total non-oil exports.
King Abdullah has made remarkable efforts to strengthen the country’s education sector.
During his era, the number of public universities in the Kingdom rose from seven to 25.
More than 200,000 students have benefited from the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program, which allowed them to pursue their higher studies in reputable international universities.
King Abdullah’s government has also given utmost importance for the care of youth and sports.
The King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, which was opened in May, 2014, is an architectural splendor in the city. Its bulbous outline, adorned with Arabian-style exterior design, appears like a jewel rising out of the sand.
“In recognition of the importance of sports, its benefits and role in the progress of humanity, and out of keenness on the welfare of Saudi youth, we have decided to establish the King Abdullah Sports City,” King Abdullah said in a 2009 royal decree.
King Abdullah has ordered the establishment of 11 new stadiums in the Kingdom’s different regions.
Saudi Aramco will start building these stadiums in January 2015 and each stadium will have a capacity to accommodate 45,000 spectators.

Amnesty for expats
Last year King Abdullah issued an amnesty allowing the country’s millions of expatriate workers to correct their residency and labor status.
Expatriates from different countries made use of the amnesty before its Nov. 3, 2013 deadline.
The Indian Embassy said more than 1 million Indians have legalized their status as of October 2013 with 466,689 renewing their iqamas, 359,997 transferring sponsorships and 355,035 changing job titles.
On this National Day, Saudi Arabia has achieved new milestones in its development march.
The government’s public spending drive, allocating billions of riyals for educational, health and infrastructure projects, has not only accelerated the country’s progress but also created more jobs for its citizens.
Saudi Arabia has won an important place in the world thanks to its moderate policies and the charismatic global figure of King Abdullah.
According to one author, “no Saudi leader has transformed Saudi Arabia to the extent that King Abdullah has.”
He institutionalized dialogue, empowered women, curbed extremism, adopted prudent foreign policy, brought transparency and growth to the financial system, and promoted education.