‘Saudi defense sector to contribute $61.6bn to GDP by 2020’

Saudi Arabia announced a military budget of SR191 billion in 2019. (
Updated 18 March 2019

‘Saudi defense sector to contribute $61.6bn to GDP by 2020’

  • 2.52 million private sector jobs would be generated in public administration and defense by 2028
  • Cybersecurity was one of the fastest growing segments in the sector

RIYADH: The Saudi defense industry will experience strong growth in the next decade, according to a report.

The report titled “Defense, Security, and Aerospace,” which was published by the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council (USSABC), said the sector was expected to contribute SR231.27 billion ($61.6 billion) to the national gross domestic product by 2020 and that 2.52 million private sector jobs would be generated in public administration and defense by 2028.

The report also said cybersecurity was one of the fastest growing segments in the sector.

“Historically, the Saudi defense sector has proven lucrative for foreign defense contractors given that the country is among the leading arms importers with growing domestic capabilities,” Abdullah Jum’ah, co-chair of the USSABC and former CEO of Saudi Aramco, told Arab News on Monday.

“In the coming years, we expect the Kingdom to progress toward the localization objectives of the Vision 2030 reform plan while still expanding opportunities for the private sector across training services, cybersecurity, and command and control segments,” he added.

US firms have supplied the largest number of defense articles to the Saudi armed forces, the report said.

Saudi Arabia announced a military budget of SR191 billion in 2019, the report said, with defense and military accounting for 17.3 percent of the Kingdom’s total SR1.11 trillion spending plans.

The report is one in a series of in-depth publications from USSABC that highlights new economic trends and opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

Previous reports have focused on industries of strategic growth for the Kingdom such as healthcare, infrastructure development, and labor localization.


‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

Footballing great Thierry Henry thrills fans as he signs 10 footballs on stage and tosses them to the audience. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 34 min 41 sec ago

‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

  • Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds

DHAHRAN: Stepping onto the Tanween stage in front of a sold-out venue full of cheering fans, footballing great Thierry Henry was quick to say how “hyped” he was to meet his Saudi supporters.
As a guest and speaker at Tanween Season, the former Arsenal striker and French international faced a busy schedule on Saturday after arriving at King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.
First, he had a “meet and greet” with fans, many wearing Arsenal shirts, which was quickly followed by a discussion of the theme for this year’s event, “Play.”
After two young footballers from Riyadh performed a series of tricks that included balancing a football on one leg, then kicking it in the air to land on their backs, Henry said: “I would have broken my back trying to do that. It’s not easy.”
On his second visit to Saudi Arabia — the first was to Riyadh last year — Henry said that he was impressed by this year’s Tanween theme since he had seen firsthand the results of a children’s quality-of-life program at Tanween.
“What I liked most was to see the smiles on the faces of those children when I was walking around the impressive building. Being able to dream is key for me, but seeing how the youngsters were interacting, and how happy they were with their families walking around, was just priceless,” he said.
Growing up, Henry’s father played an important role in his development. The footballer did not miss a beat when answering that his father was his idol. “My dad was the hardest man to please; to put a smile on his face was the hardest thing to do,” he said.
Although the footballer grew up in a “not so great” Paris neighborhood, he considered it an enriching cultural experience. “It was great for me at the time because it allowed me to travel, although I wasn’t really traveling,” he said.
France’s colonial history meant he was exposed to different cultures early in his life.
“If I going upstairs to have couscous, to the second floor to have Senegalese food, or to eat with the Portuguese downstairs, it allowed me to travel, staying where I was,” he explained.
During his talk Henry showed that his Arabic extends to common niceties such as “shukran,” “afwan” and “alsalamau alaikum.”
Having an impact on the English Premier League and his role in Arsenal’s record-breaking era almost two decades ago are more important to him that being considered the world’s best striker, he said. As for his favorite stadium, Henry was quick to choose Highbury.
Offering advice to younger Saudis in the audience, Henry urged them to face their problems calmly and cleverly.
“Don’t run away. Face it and don’t be scared to fail. Come back again, but smarter,” he said.
Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds. That revealed that he has always admired Muhammad Ali as the greatest, Messi is his current favorite football player and winning the World Cup was the most memorable moment in his career.
After the talk, Henry thrilled the crowd — a reminder of his playing days — by tossing 10 footballs to lucky fans who cheered as he left the stage.