Saudi Arabia launches national defense company

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Updated 18 May 2017

Saudi Arabia launches national defense company

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced Wednesday the creation of a new national military industries company.
Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) will manufacture products and provide services across four business units: Air Systems, which includes maintenance and repair of fixed-wing aircraft as well as manufacturing and repair of unmanned air vehicles; Land Systems, which includes manufacturing and repair of military vehicles; Weapons and Missiles,  including ammunition; and Defense Electronics, which includes radars and sensors as well as communication systems and electronic warfare.
Wholly government-owned, SAMI aims to become one of the world’s top 25 defense companies by 2030. It will directly contribute around SR14 billion to the Kingdom’s GDP in 2030, invest over SR6 billion in research and development by 2030, and create over 40,000 jobs, many of which will be in the engineering and technical fields.
By partnering with universities, SAMI will provide students with apprenticeships and careers in cutting edge technologies, which were previously unavailable in the Kingdom.
In line with Vision 2030, SAMI will contribute to diversifying the Saudi economy for the 21st century by reducing dependence on oil, while protecting and strengthening national security.
 “While the Kingdom is one of the world’s top five spenders on security and defense overall, only around 2 percent of our military procurement is domestic,” said Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who also serves as minister of defense.

The deputy crown prince emphasized that SAMI will be a major contributor in achieving the goals set out in Vision 2030, which states that 50 percent of Saudi Arabia’s military procurement spending will be localized.
SAMI’s four business units complement the Kingdom’s future military requirements and build on existing local capabilities. SAMI will establish companies through joint ventures with global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), as well as cooperating with local military companies. It will consider creating new business units, to ensure the company is aligned with the latest developments in the military industries sector.
The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund has a diverse portfolio made up of approximately 200 investments, of which around 20 are listed on the Tadawul, the Saudi Stock Exchange. As well as its listed holdings, PIF also has unlisted equity investments, international investments, real estate holdings, and loans, bonds and sukuks.
Since oversight of the PIF was transferred from the Ministry of Finance to the Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA), the Fund has been undertaking a phased transformation program to implement a redefined strategy and mandate.
This includes expanding the management, investment and middle and back office teams, enhancing the governance structures, engaging with the diverse portfolio and implementing the investment strategy, which is closely aligned with Vision 2030. A new board has been appointed, chaired by Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

Updated 06 June 2020

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

MADINAH: Hundreds of thousands of worshippers attended the first Friday prayers to be held at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah since the gatherings were suspended to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The green light for the resumption of the prayer meetings came as part of a plan to gradually reopen the Kingdom’s mosques while ensuring worshippers and visitors adhered to preventive measures.

A ban on access to the Rawdah remained in place and only groups of worshippers numbering up to a maximum of 40 percent of the mosque’s capacity were being allowed entry.

Precautionary measures also included the allocation of specific doors for the entry of worshippers, the installation of thermal cameras, removal of all carpets so that prayers could be performed on the marble, sanitization of the mosque’s floors and courtyards, periodic opening of domes and canopies to ventilate the mosque, and the removal of Zamzam water containers.

The Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will be closed after evening prayers and reopened one hour before dawn prayers. Parking lots will operate at 50 percent capacity and a media awareness campaign has been launched to highlight safety procedures at the holy site.

Medical teams have also been stationed at the main entrances to the mosque in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom, worshippers also flocked to perform Friday prayers at mosques amid strict health measures.

On May 31, Saudi authorities reopened all mosques for prayers, except in Makkah, as part of the Kingdom’s plan for a gradual return to normal life.

Last week the minister of Islamic affairs, dawah and guidance said that the country’s mosques were ready to welcome back worshippers, following his field trips to check that necessary preparations had been made.

All worshippers must still maintain a distance of 2 meters between rows, wear masks to enter a mosque, and Friday sermons and prayers have been limited to a maximum of 15 minutes.