KSA, Philippines mark 50 years of diplomatic ties

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman during the former’s state visit to the Kingdom in 2017.
Updated 11 June 2019

KSA, Philippines mark 50 years of diplomatic ties

On June 12, the Philippines commemorates the 121st anniversary of its independence. The theme of this year’s national day celebrations is “Courage of the Nation, Compassion for the People.” It highlights the bravery, patriotism and collective sacrifices of the Filipino people in the struggle for the country’s independence, from the past’s colonial experience to today’s challenges to nation-building including poverty, threats to national security, and many more.

The 121st Philippine Independence Day anniversary coincides with the 50 years of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia, which can best be described as “thriving, productive and mutually beneficial.”

Since the 70s up to today, the Kingdom has been a top destination for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Currently, there are an estimated 800,000-plus OFWs working in Saudi Arabia, contributing to the Kingdom’s socio-economic development and the Philippines’s phenomenal economic growth in recent years. In this regard, the Philippines is grateful to the government of Saudi Arabia for opening new channels to safeguard the rights and welfare of foreign migrant workers, including the establishment of a call center hotline, which includes Filipino as a language in the system; the establishment of Labor Disputes and Household Violations Settlement Committees in all areas and provinces of the Kingdom; and the establishment of the Support Protection Office by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development as a means to provide protection, welfare and support to household workers in the Kingdom, among others. 

Besides being the Philippines’ top source for its oil needs, Saudi Arabia remains a significant economic partner of the Philippines. 

In 2017, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia further enhanced their relations through various initiatives and agreements entered into during the successful state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to the Kingdom in April of that year. The relationship has since diversified to include other areas, including peace and security. Today, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia are active partners in the global fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

The Philippines and Saudi Arabia are both guided by long-term national visions. In the case of the Philippines, the vision is enshrined in the AmBisyon Natin 2040 — a 25-year vision for development planning for the Philippines, which will guide its government toward the achievement of the vision and aspiration of a prosperous, predominantly middle class society where Filipinos enjoy a strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life by the year 2040 or earlier. 

On the other hand, the Kingdom has Saudi Vision 2030 under which it envisages the Saudi economy to be less dependent on oil, with more opportunities for non-oil industries, as well as a more open policy for foreign investors and tourism that will spur growth and development in the country by 2030. The Philippines hopes for the success of Saudi Vision 2030 and stands ready to support it anyway it can.

Huawei ICT Competition opens to students in KSA

Updated 28 October 2020

Huawei ICT Competition opens to students in KSA

Huawei is now running the 4th edition of its flagship annual ICT competition in Saudi Arabia to support the next generation of leaders for an intelligent world, in line with government national plans and strategies.

The Huawei ICT Competition underpins technology utilization and aims to support socioeconomic development by bolstering the overall ICT ecosystem through local talent. Such individuals can in turn help the Kingdom achieve its national development plans and ambitious visions for more sustainable knowledge-based economies. This year’s competition is being held in partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT).

From October to December, thousands of undergraduate students are expected to participate in the competition, which is being held virtually for the first time due to physical distancing measures. All university students in the Kingdom can take part in this competition.

Ibrahim bin Nasser Al-Nasser, general director of the Digital Innovation Center at MCIT, said: “The ICT sector is a significant national industry promoting Saudi Arabia’s global competitiveness and economic strength. Private sector programs like the Huawei ICT Competition are highly valued in supporting these ambitions, developing indigenous innovation overall while nurturing a supportive environment for the ICT sector in particular.”

Faisal bin Ayyad Al-Otaibi, director general of HR at Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia, said: “Empowering the Kingdom’s youth with global knowledge and new skills plays a key role in the future of socioeconomic growth. Huawei is committed to expanding the ICT value chain in Saudi Arabia through local talent and building open ecosystems ... Moreover, by offering participants access to online exchanges and learning, we can create more equal opportunities for quality education, enabling more people to benefit from the digital economy.”

Zhao Liuqing, minister counselor for economic and commercial affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Saudi Arabia, added: “Saudi Arabia has long been our partner in many endeavors, and we value this relationship immensely. By working together on initiatives such as talent development and the evolution of the ICT sector, we can create new value for both of our societies.”

The training and competition tracks for this year — held under the theme “Connection, Glory, Future” — focus on advanced technologies such as 5G, AI, cloud computing, and data storage, facilitating connections between international talent.

This year will also see the introduction of the Huawei Innovation Competition, held in parallel to the ICT competition. It focuses on supporting undergraduate students and teachers in using innovative technologies such as AI, cloud computing, and big data to create valuable and meaningful applications for society.

Winners of the regional competitions will receive a certification, future learning opportunities, a $20,000 cash prize, and more.

In the past years, over 7,100 students from across the Kingdom applied for the Middle East ICT Competition from leading colleges and universities. The competition was supported by ministries, various ambassadors, and academic chancellors from some of Saudi Arabia’s top-ranking universities. 

Three teams participated in the ICT competition, and traveled to China to compete at Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China, where they came in third place in the competition.