$500m deals signed at Saudi investment forum

$500m deals signed at Saudi investment forum
Fahd Al-Rasheed, managing director and chief executive officer of KAEC, presented the economic city’s strategic vision at the Time Forum on Wednesday. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 09 November 2017

$500m deals signed at Saudi investment forum

$500m deals signed at Saudi investment forum

JEDDAH: King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) signed agreements worth SR2 billion ($533 million) with various companies on the sidelines of the Time Forum on Wednesday.
Time Forum is a platform where KAEC’s leaders can meet with partners from ministries, government agencies, the private sector and other interested parties.
More than 300 investors and leaders from business and government attended the forum, including representatives from international organizations, including the Young Professionals’ Organization (YPO) and a delegation of global leaders interested in the development of major global infrastructure projects.
KAEC’s new deals include an agreement with the General Customs Authority and the Economic Cities Authority (ECA) to establish a deposit and re-export zone in KAEC; an agreement to establish an auto-racing circuit at Lagoona and Marina Dreams; an agreement to establish a gas station; and an agreement to expand the Industrial Valley.
In addition, deals were signed in the real estate development, tourism and leisure, and administrative services sectors.
Time Forum was held under the patronage of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar.
In his address to the attendees, Al-Omar said: “Under Vision 2030, we are creating new growth engines in strategic sectors including transport, health care, ICT, renewable energy, and local manufacturing to drive greater economic diversification in the Kingdom.
“KAEC, which combines a strategic location, strong national and international connectivity, and a robust private-sector mindset, is an important part of our vision for the future.
“KAEC is one of the main development engines in the region and is witnessing rapid growth in a range of promising sectors such as infrastructure, services and facilities.
“The interaction and turnout of local, regional and international companies at the Time Forum shows the strength and attractiveness of the Saudi economy.”
Fahd Al-Rasheed, managing director and chief executive officer of KAEC, presented KAEC’s strategic vision, as well as its latest developments and achievements.
Al-Rasheed emphasized the important role that the Saudi government has played in the success of KAEC through its emphasis on the development of the non-oil economy.
He stressed the value of the public-private partnership model in attracting investors to the promising opportunities offered by KAEC.
Al-Rasheed also highlighted the key role played by the economic city in generating quality employment opportunities for young Saudis.
“At KAEC, we need to focus on the creation of jobs. That is our primary driver. Everything we are doing aligns with Vision 2030,” he said. “The vision is telling us where we are heading and what our pivot should be.”

Speaking to Arab News later in the day, Al-Rasheed revealed KAEC had launched new projects that offered investment opportunities worth more than SR7 billion.
“These are the investments that we are offering to the private sector to develop either entirely on their own or in partnership with us,” he said.
“These are opportunities that we want to develop and we will make sure that every investment we are offering today is delivered and developed.”
Al-Rasheed explained that, so far, KAEC had funded a number of different projects in their entirety but was now looking to establish partnerships with investors because “we believe that, ultimately, a city is built by hundreds of entities.”
He revealed that KAEC had already signed two hotel development deals, including one yesterday, along with “other real estate deals, such as compounds.”
Mohanud Helal, secretary-general of the Economic Cities Authority, said: “We take pride in KAEC’s achievements and we look forward to further growth in all developmental fields.
“Today, economic cities are among the social and economic pillars that attract large companies, embrace small and medium-sized enterprises, and provide residential solutions, career opportunities and modern lifestyles to meet people’s aspirations and the leadership’s ambitions.
“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently highlighted that the government is working with KAEC on 45 programs, showing the enormous support given by the Kingdom’s government to the private sector, which strengthens KAEC’s position on the national economic map.”
SAGIA chief Ibrahim Al-Omar declared that the Kingdom is “the hub of Arab and Islamic countries,” adding that since the launch of Vision 2030, the number of investment licenses SAGIA has issued is up 40 percent compared to last year.
“Investment is the major theme of the vision,” he said. “To increase foreign direct investment in our economy and to increase the contribution of the private sector.”
Talking of SAGIA chief Al-Omar’s focus on facilitating ease of investment in the Kingdom, Al-Rasheed told Arab News, “SAGIA is responsible for the investment environment in Saudi Arabia. We work with them because SAGIA can be a great enabler for us to attract global companies to KAEC.”
Al-Rasheed stated that he had told Al-Omar that KAEC was willing to offer considerable incentives to investors, including “the provision of free office space for five years, education and travel costs for their children, as well as subsidized accommodation.”
“We want to accelerate investment in the city. We have done this already in Industrial Valley, attracting 120 companies,” Al-Rasheed continued. “We believe that with partners we will do things faster and bigger.”


Pakistan keen on greater economic interaction with Saudi Arabia: Pakistan president

Pakistan keen on greater economic interaction with Saudi Arabia: Pakistan president
Updated 56 min 51 sec ago

Pakistan keen on greater economic interaction with Saudi Arabia: Pakistan president

Pakistan keen on greater economic interaction with Saudi Arabia: Pakistan president
  • Strong relationship gains its strength from common religious and cultural values

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have always enjoyed cordial relations.
This strong relationship has been nurtured by successive generations of leadership on both sides and gains its strength from common religious and cultural values and a shared desire for international peace and global development.
Saudi Arabia is held in great reverence by the people of Pakistan and there exists a deep affiliation with the Kingdom, as it is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
There also exists a complete synergy for shared development between the two countries. Pakistani engineers, construction experts and labor have played a leading role in building the infrastructure of modern Saudi Arabia.
Similarly, Pakistani doctors, bankers, entrepreneurs, academics and financial experts have played a premier role in developing the institutional infrastructure of Saudi Arabia.
The visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Pakistan in early 2019 ushered in a new area of economic cooperation.
We wish to have greater economic interaction with Saudi Arabia and also look for enhanced trade between the two countries. I am sure the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia will open further avenues of mutual cooperation and broaden understanding on issues of mutual interest.
Pakistan looks forward to the further strengthening of strategic cooperation, trade and investment.
It also looks for cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become a major challenge for the world including Muslim countries.
Long live the Pakistan-Saudi friendship!

• Dr. Arif Alvi is the president of Pakistan.


Pakistan and Saudi Arabia together ‘can play key role in countering Islamophobia globally’

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia together ‘can play key role in countering Islamophobia globally’
Updated 53 min 44 sec ago

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia together ‘can play key role in countering Islamophobia globally’

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia together ‘can play key role in countering Islamophobia globally’

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan enjoy strong fraternal relations, rooted in shared Islamic heritage and traditions.
Pakistanis have a special regard for the Kingdom due to its position as the custodian of Islam’s holiest places, whilst political, economic and military ties are also robust.
Islamabad supports Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, which is a strategic framework to harness the strengths and potential of the Kingdom for a great future.
The Saudi Green Initiative is an important initiative aligned with our mutual pledge to counter climate change.
Pakistan would be happy to share experience, knowledge, and lessons from our own Clean Green Pakistan initiative, which is a notable success story.
Both countries share a common desire to uphold and promote Islamic solidarity and I am confident that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia together can play a significant role in countering the rising menace of Islamophobia.
Pakistan looks forward to further strengthening and diversifying our ties in mutually beneficial areas, especially in the media, as it is an important tool to promote our shared cultural and societal values.


• Fawad Chaudhry is federal minister of information and broadcasting.


Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to sign climate deal during Imran Khan’s visit

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to sign climate deal during Imran Khan’s visit
Updated 07 May 2021

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to sign climate deal during Imran Khan’s visit

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to sign climate deal during Imran Khan’s visit
  • Khan said that Pakistan would be happy to share its knowledge and experience of climate change initiatives with the Kingdom

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s climate minister on Thursday said his country and Saudi Arabia will sign a landmark climate deal on Friday during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Kingdom.
Khan will embark on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday at the invitation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
In meetings with the Saudi leadership, Khan will cover all areas of bilateral cooperation including economics, trade, investment, environment, energy, job opportunities for the Pakistani workforce, and the welfare of the diaspora in the Kingdom.
In a letter to the crown prince in March, Khan said while Pakistan and Saudi Arabia already maintain close cooperation on climate-change issues at multilateral forums, “a meaningful and structured bilateral engagement can help advance our shared vision and create mutually beneficial opportunities for partnership.”
Khan added that Pakistan would be happy to share its knowledge and experience of climate change initiatives with the Kingdom.
“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are all set to sign a landmark green deal which will lay the grounds for a sustained collaboration,” Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam told Arab News from Riyadh.
“The memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be signed in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will actually be a marriage of two overlapping green visions put forward separately by the two leaders which represent the aspirations of a young populace across the two friendly countries.”
The crown prince last month called the leaders of Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and Sudan to discuss a massive regional tree-planting project.
The Saudi Green Initiative is part of the crown prince’s Vision 2030 plan to reduce its reliance on oil revenues and improve quality of life.
The ambitious initiative, unveiled at the end of March, will see Saudi Arabia planting 10 billion trees in the coming decades and working with other Arab states to plant another 40 billion, reduce carbon emissions, and combat pollution and land degradation.
According to a copy of the Pakistani-Saudi green agreement seen by Arab News, its aim is to help the two nations “meet their aspirations to consolidate the basis of the joint work in the various fields of environmental protection and preservation and control of its pollution, so as to meet the needs of present and future generations, in order to achieve sustainable development in both countries.”
The two nations will exchange opinions, information, experiences, documents, studies and publications in the fields that fall within the framework of the MoU.
Aslam said the deal will include setting future targets for the use of clean, renewable energy, and the expansion of national parks and protected areas, with the employment of young people in a National Parks Service.
The agreement said the countries will, according to available resources, bear the financial costs of implementing their respective obligations mentioned in the MoU unless otherwise agreed.
“The duration of this MoU is five years, automatically renewable for similar periods unless one party notifies the other, in writing and through diplomatic channels, of its intention not to renew or terminate the MoU,” the draft said. “Such notice should be given at least six months before the date the MoU ends.”
During Khan’s Saudi visit, “the two sides will also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest,” Pakistan’s Foreign office said in a statement. “A number of bilateral agreements / MoUs are expected to be signed during the visit.”
Khan will also meet the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the secretary-general of the World Muslim League, and the imams of the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah. Khan “will also interact with the Pakistani diaspora in Jeddah,” the Foreign Office said.
Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa is already in Riyadh. On Wednesday, he discussed defense cooperation with Lt. Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, the Saudi military chief of staff.
During the meeting with Al-Ruwaili, Bajwa emphasized the need to further enhance military cooperation between the two nations in the interests of regional peace and security.


Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief

Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief
Updated 07 May 2021

Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief

Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, received Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Prince Khalid said in a Tweet, early on Friday, that the pair had discussed “defense relations and affirm our two countries’ goal to preserve regional peace and stability.”

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will begin a three-day visit to the Kingdom on Friday.
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are expected to sign a landmark climate deal during the visit, according to Pakistan’s climate minister.
In meetings with the Saudi leadership, Khan will cover all areas of bilateral cooperation including economics, trade, investment, environment, energy, job opportunities for the Pakistani workforce, and the welfare of the diaspora in the Kingdom.


Hundreds of volunteers serve worshippers at Makkah’s Grand Mosque as Ramadan nears end

Hundreds of volunteers serve worshippers at Makkah’s Grand Mosque as Ramadan nears end
Updated 07 May 2021

Hundreds of volunteers serve worshippers at Makkah’s Grand Mosque as Ramadan nears end

Hundreds of volunteers serve worshippers at Makkah’s Grand Mosque as Ramadan nears end

JEDDAH: The culture of volunteer work is an important part of Muslim society throughout the year but especially during Ramadan. This is a time of deep faith during which positive behavior and selfless acts are encouraged.

Nowhere is this more evident during the holy month than in the halls of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, where volunteers from the public and private sectors and charities work tirelessly to maintain it and serve pilgrims from around the world.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, represented by the General Administration for the Coordination of Voluntary Work, said it has been working to recruit these volunteers and provide them and staff at the mosque with the training they need to ensure that their work is carried out in accordance with all the precautions that are in place protect the health and safety of pilgrims.

It has made efforts to spread the culture of volunteer work, improve its effectiveness and increase volunteer opportunities by adopting the latest methods and best supportive practices. By the beginning of Ramadan, 132 volunteers were working at the mosque each day.

The presidency said that some of the most important volunteer activities include helping elderly and disabled people to move through the mosque, organizing prayer rooms and corridors, monitoring security cameras at the entrances, and ensuring that social distancing rules are followed.

The Saudi Red Crescent Authority has also stepped up its voluntary activities during Ramadan, and has deployed throughout the mosque medical and emergency teams equipped with the latest medical equipment and supplies.

The authority revealed that 500 of its volunteers are working at the mosque during Ramadan, and added that during the last 10 days of the holy month it aims to increase the number of hours of voluntary work. It also provides buses to transport volunteers from Jeddah and within Makkah to the Grand Mosque.