Saudi finance minister pledges greater transparency to lure investors

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan believes increased financial transparency is vital to attract foreign investment. (Reuters)
Updated 26 October 2017

Saudi finance minister pledges greater transparency to lure investors

LONDON: Saudi Finance Minster Mohammed Al-Jadaan told the Future Investment Initiative conference on Wednesday that increased financial transparency was vital to attract foreign investment. He also said it was a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program to diversify the economy and make it less reliant on oil revenue.
He was speaking at a panel discussion in response to a question from panel host, John Defterios of CNN, who said people did not realize that the economic numbers coming from KSA today were far more informative than in yesteryear.
In response, Al-Jadaan said: “If we are expecting investors to partner with us to take advantage of opportunities to move the economy to 2030, we need to make sure we are giving them what they need, which is predictability, more transparency, more information and the sharing of data. We want to help their business, and give them an assurance about what we are doing.”
The panel heard that Saudi Arabia had moved to quarterly reports on GDP and published more information than ever before on bank and foreign exchange reserves.
Al-Jadaan said the private sector was the key driver of “where we want to go, and without it we will not be able to achieve what we have set out (in Vision 2030).”
He added: “We now have an enhanced regulatory framework that enhances transparency and predictability for the private sector. That leads to more stability.”
Al-Jadaan also reiterated support for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s statement to the conference on Tuesday, in which he promised to make Saudi Arabia, as it was before, “a country of moderate Islam.”
Defterios said over the past 24 hours several CEOs had told him those comments represented a shift, “a green light to go into a moderate, moderating open economy; it removes the uncertainty about whether there is an open-door policy in KSA.”
The finance minister said of Vision 2030: “It is saying we are open for business. We are welcoming and we are embracing our traditions and values as Muslims, and we will continue to do so.
“Islam is not radical, Islam is not extremist, Islam is moderate. We are making sure our society embraces the real Islam, the real values and real culture that you are seeing at this event today.”
He also said: “Vision 2030 is not about economic reform alone, it’s about social reform, it is about changing the lives of people in Saudi Arabia and the region.”
The aim was to make the Kingdom a catalyst for stability in the area. “We are at the center of the Islamic and Arab world. We need to make sure we utilize it for the benefit of our own good and also for the region,” said Al-Jadaan.


Four Saudi students to compete at international science and engineering fair

Updated 6 min 39 sec ago

Four Saudi students to compete at international science and engineering fair

  • Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition
  • The four women from Jeddah were winners at the Kingdom’s National Olympiad for Scientific Creativity

RIYADH: Four Saudi students will represent the Kingdom at a major international science and engineering fair in the US later this year.

The four women from Jeddah were winners at the Kingdom’s National Olympiad for Scientific Creativity. They will be competing against more than 1,700 students from 77 countries at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) for more than $5 million in awards and scholarships.

The Saudi students traveling to Arizona in May are Dan Mohammed Al-Yafei and Tharaa Tariq Al-Dabbagh, who won an award at the olympiad in the field of science and the environment, and Lana Fahd Al-Abbasi and Zeina Tariq Maimani, who won in the field of physics and astronomy.

Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition and is an opportunity for young minds around the world to share ideas and showcase cutting-edge projects.

Intel ISEF says the winners are selected on their creative ability, scientific thought, as well as the thoroughness, skill and clarity shown in their projects.

Former Intel ISEF participant Wud Al-Saadoon won first place in the finals of the Kingdom’s National Olympiad for Scientific Creativity after working extensively on her project. She discovered her passion for science when she was in third grade, passing all aptitude tests for elementary, intermediate and high school and registering in Mawhiba enrichment programs starting from elementary school to high school.

“These programs allow students to enrol temporarily in a Saudi university,” she told Arab News. “This is how I participated as a high school student in the second olympiad program before I enrolled at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.”

She specialized in renewable chemical energy and made a special device which won her third place in a local competition.

She then qualified for Intel ISEF, where she won fourth place in the field of chemical energy last year.