On track for 2030? Movers and shakers in KSA look ahead

Kingdom tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock)
Updated 26 September 2018

On track for 2030? Movers and shakers in KSA look ahead

  • “The comprehensiveness of Vision 2030 and the wider horizons it addresses positively transform the Saudi citizen’s life to become more integrative and enjoy new prosperity," says Dr. Saad Saleh Al-Rwaita.
  • Cybersecurity has a crucial role to play in accomplishing Vision 2030 objectives, explained Dr. Areej Alhogail.

RIYADH: Saudi Vision 2030 kicked off with the aim of boosting non-oil revenues through capitalizing on current assets, utilizing resources, and starting up new industries.

In order to reach the objectives outlined in the plan, government bodies have launched many initiatives, which have proceeded with the support of the private sector as firms have cooperated through developing their strategic plans, and overcome many challenges. 

The 88th Saudi National Day provides an opportunity not only to celebrate unification, but also to look back on the achievements of Vision 2030 and take stock of how it is paving the way to economic reforms while carving out enhanced influence for its citizens on the world stage.

Here both public and private sector leaders who contribute to the economic transition plan share their thoughts on Vision 2030. 

Homam Hashem, Chief Executive Officer at Kafalah Fund, a financing guarantee program for small- and medium-sized enterprises, commented: ”One of the main objectives of Vision 2030 is to increase the contribution of the SME private sector to 35% of GDP. Small and medium enterprises have a significant impact on raising growth rates by raising financing opportunities and providing ways of success for the advancement of the sector. The program has contributed by raising the ceiling of guarantees for regular guarantees and developing specialized programs for the sectors (tourism, working capital support, and emerging enterprises). It has also attracted new sectors such as businesswomen and promising regions by providing additional incentives and developing many incentives that contribute to support raising local lending rates for small and medium enterprises up to 20% by 2030. The focus was on supporting the sectors that are compatible with the Kingdom's vision 2030 and diversifying the means of support.” 

Dr. Fahad Al-Shathri, Deputy Governor of Supervision at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), said: “In view of the demographic challenges, Saudi Arabia cannot solely rely on the same economic model as during the past five decades, namely oil. Twelve years from now, I would expect the economy to be more dynamic and to have multiple sectors driving growth and job creation, including tourism and logistics. Entrepreneurship will be the central focus for young people in future, inspired by the great accomplishments of their peers. These will be the new drivers of the economy that Vision 2030 is aiming at, and we hope that everyone will strive to contribute to its success.”

As education will play a crucial role in the development of human capital in the Kingdom, we asked Alfaisal University president Dr. Mohammed Al-Hayaza for his take. The former Shoura Council member said: “The Ministry of Education has taken unprecedented measures to ensure that our institutes of higher education are both the best in the region and top-ranked internationally. Vision 2030 has developed job specifications for each field of education, and by utilizing these specifications Alfaisal University is closing the gap between the learning outcomes of higher education and that of the demands of the job market through continued targeted alignment.”

Dr. Saad Saleh Al-Rwaita, Vice-Rector for administrative and financial affairs at Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, commented: “The comprehensiveness of Vision 2030 and the wider horizons it addresses positively transform the Saudi citizen’s life to become more integrative and enjoy new prosperity. 

The Vision will safeguard the Kingdom against dependence on circumstantial changes of the natural resources market and being influenced by external factors that are beyond our control, while empowering the Kingdom to create change and exert influence that surpass the local reality to direct the international compass and take the initiative, particularly in the economic field, in order to guarantee a bright future for the future generations.”

Looking to the real estate sector, Ehab Al Dabbagh, CEO of real estate development firm Ijmal, said the industry was likely to see big changes in future: “Firstly, the demand for housing products would be met. Technology and industrial progression will play a major role in building a variety of eco-friendly housing products. Houses could be ordered through an online application and fabricated in weeks.”

Another vital contributor in Vision 2030 is the food industry. Engineer Abdul-Mohsen Al-Yahya, who founded the chain of fast food restaurants Kudo, and currently an investor in supply and support at the food sector, said: “From my own experience in food services for more than 30 years in Saudi Arabia, I believe that in future the food service sector will continue to grow with more investments, products diversity and quality will increase, while continuing to become an extension of economic growth in Saudi Arabia and a key industry generating employment opportunities.”

Cybersecurity has a crucial role to play in accomplishing Vision 2030 objectives, explained Dr. Areej Alhogail, assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, who sits on the Saudi group of information security, said: “The Kingdom has taken pioneering steps, such as establishing the National Cybersecurity Authority, the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, and allocating scholarships in the field of information security. (These initiatives) will enable the Kingdom to be at the forefront of countries in the field of cybersecurity by 2030, and will protect the local economy, perhaps attracting foreign investments in various fields of information to be the ideal environment of trained local professionals and advanced laboratories and legislation protection.”


Lebanese designer celebrates Saudi Arabia’s hidden treasure through art

Miriam El-Moula says she feels like she was born with art in her DNA.
Updated 18 November 2019

Lebanese designer celebrates Saudi Arabia’s hidden treasure through art

  • Miriam El-Moula marks Saudi Arabia’s culture and heritage through sustainable artworks

RIYADH: Defectless, a six-month-old lifestyle brand, is inspired by revealing hidden beauty. It started by highlighting the diversity of Saudi Arabia’s landscape. Unlocking the once-hidden treasures and memorializing them into contemporary and sustainable art pieces.
“I want to create pieces that are not only aesthetically beautiful, but that tell stories of people and places and inspire human progress,” 24-year-old artist Miraim El-Moula told Arab News.
“That is why I am so inspired by what’s happening in Saudi Arabia and the emergence of these new destinations. These destinations were hidden from the world. Now they are shocking the consciousness of many artists, me included, with the beauty of their nature, heritage, and people. They are worth being celebrated.”
Her designs are from four different regions in Saudi Arabia: Asir, AlUla, the Red Sea, and Riyadh. “That’s what I want to show people, that Saudi is not just a desert country. It is much more,” she said.
Hand sculpted from pure marble El-Moula’s latest creation is the Guardian of AlUla. “To me, the elephant rock is a natural wonder that stood the test of time. It is proof that nature is the ultimate artist.”

I love touching material and matching colors. Creating a new piece of art brings me internal happiness.

Miriam El-Moula

Inspired by the people of Asir and the community of the southern city, she recreated Asir Fortress in a contemporary handcrafted way. “I was inspired: On the one hand, the fortress represents the warriors who dedicated their lives to protect their lands, and on the other, Al-Qat pattern, engraved on it, represents the woman of Asir who enriched this community with their vibrant, colorful art.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Miriam El-Moula’s designs are from four different regions in Saudi Arabia: Asir, AlUla, the Red Sea, and Riyadh.

• Inspired by the people of Asir and the community of the southern city, she recreated Asir Fortress in a contemporary handcrafted way.

• She uses sustainable materials, such as concrete, to replicate the age-old corals. The center is covered with gold making it a beautiful centerpiece.

• A marble tray made out of gold bowls that represent the historic Diriyah buildings — home to the leaders of Saudi Arabia — when conjoined is a representation of the UNESCO heritage site.

“Red Sea Siglia” was created by her inspiration from the marine treasures of the Red Sea. “These coral reefs are 6,000 years old and irreplaceable. They are a gift to mankind that must be celebrated and protected.”
She uses sustainable materials, such as concrete, to replicate the age-old corals. The center is covered with gold making it a beautiful centerpiece.
A marble tray made out of gold bowls that represent the historic Diriyah buildings — home to the leaders of Saudi Arabia — when conjoined is a representation of the UNESCO heritage site.
El-Moula knew from the beginning she wanted to be a designer. As a schoolgirl, she was infatuated with art class and even skipped other classes in school in order to develop her beloved passion.
“I feel like I was born with art in my DNA,” she said. “I love to look at spaces and always have an opinion on how they can look better. I love touching material and matching colors. Creating a new piece of art brings me internal happiness.”
Her first art display will be at Winter of Tantoura in AlUla.