Future of sport in Saudi Arabia ‘depends on the public’

Princess Reema bint Bandar, president of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports, responds to CNN anchor Becky Anderson during the event in Jeddah. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 30 April 2018

Future of sport in Saudi Arabia ‘depends on the public’

  • The development of sport in the Kingdom requires a sustainable ecosystem that includes private-sector participation and the support of the population at large: Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki bin Faisal
  • Princess Reema said that the GSA plays an essential role not only encouraging people to have fun in sport but also to improving levels of health and well-being in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The development of sport in the Kingdom requires a sustainable ecosystem that includes private-sector participation and the support of the population at large, said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki bin Faisal, deputy chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA).

The prince was speaking during an event at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club at King Abdullah Economic City on Sunday.

The key discussion on harnessing the power of sports in the Kingdom was held as part of the opening celebration of the Royal Greens club. 

In a wide-ranging conversation, moderated by CNN anchor Becky Anderson, panelists including Princess Reema bin Bandar, president of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports; Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Maritime Sports and Diving Federation; and Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal, president of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation. 

They were joined by world champion golfer Ernie Els and European Tour CEO Keith Pelley.

Prince Abdul Aziz praised the leaders of the federations for expanding the role of sport in Saudi Arabia.

Princess Reema said that the GSA plays an essential role not only encouraging people to have fun in sport but also to improving levels of health and well-being in the nation.

She encouraged the private sector to invest not just in new sports facilities but also in training academies, human capital development and other elements of the sporting ecosystem.

The forum also discussed the role of the private sector in developing sport in the Kingdom and agreed that while it has historically played an important role at a professional level, more could be done at a grassroots level to encourage people to take up a sport.

Prince Abdul Aziz said: “Vision 2030 is about catching up. We do not want to be caught out. This is why we have unlimited support from the king and the crown prince to move forward.”

The prince told Arab News: “We are aware of risks in terms of the spending on these federations. We do not recognize it as a loss. In my career in car racing, I raced under Bahrain’s flag. We want to have an umbrella for all sports so they can be played under the Saudi flag.”

Princes Reema said: “It is not only the actual games that we care about; we care about the tools sold, the shops around the playground and all other cultural and economical factors related to them.”


AI technology to dominate Saudi Arabia’s jobs, says futurist

Ian Khan
Updated 24 sec ago

AI technology to dominate Saudi Arabia’s jobs, says futurist

  • The summit is part of Saudi Arabia’s plan to become a leader in AI technology and drive discussions and partnerships between local and international stakeholders in the AI field

RIYADH: Artificial intelligence (AI) technology will take over most blue- and white-collar jobs in Saudi Arabia’s offices, factories and even hospitals, a top futurist told a forum in Riyadh.
Ian Khan was speaking at the the Futuristic Advancement Forum, which explored the latest technological trends being incorporated into the workplace to lift training and employee performance.
Khan, who is an emerging technology expert, said that the Kingdom was working to advance itself on a global level but that everything had to happen inside the country.
“The youth have to be empowered, people need to see where they are going, there has to be a vision,” he told delegates. He also spoke about how Saudi Arabia was heading into an era where AI technology would take over a majority of blue- and white-collar jobs in offices, factories and hospitals.
“Their jobs are going to be automated … In March, Saudi Arabia is organizing the world’s largest artificial intelligence conference right here in Riyadh. The Kingdom is also pushing toward this direction because AI creates a lot of actions and does other things for us generally.”
The Global AI Summit, organized by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, will bring together stakeholders from the public sector, academia and the private sector. The summit is part of Saudi Arabia’s plan to become a leader in AI technology and drive discussions and partnerships between local and international stakeholders in the AI field.
Khan said there were three types of technology that people should learn about and see how they affected lives and businesses. The first was blockchain technology as it brought a lot of peace of mind. “It brings a lot of satisfaction and a lot of trust to the equation to the challenge that you have in your business, in your organization and that’s what blockchain is all about,” he explained. The second was machine learning that had the ability to provide some sense of freedom from everyday tasks that could easily be done by AI, while the third type was to know and understand more about 5G technology. Khan described it as “a fair technology that makes everything connect together. It’s the glue that binds everything together … it’s a life-changer.”

Other speakers at the event include global and local entrepreneurs, experts and technology specialists such as Dr. Elsa Sotiriadis, author and bio futurist, Dr. Mounira Jamjoom, who is CEO of Emkan Education and the Aanaab e-learning platform, and Sami Al-Hussayen, who is co-founder of RWAQ.org.
Rajaa Moumena, who is founder and CEO of the Future Institute, which is the official sponsor for the event, opened the forum. “Investing, building and developing humans is the best investment for the present and the future,” she said. “To improve thinking, work and ability, to be in the ranks of the developed world.”
She added that success stories always began with a vision and that the most successful visions were built on the youth. Young people were considered to be one of Saudi Arabia’s strengths and they were at the heart of the country’s Vision 2030 reform plan, which was also the inspiration behind the forum and its aim to create a hub for knowledge sharing and ideas exchange on training trends, Moumena said.