Sustainability the watchword for Riyadh Economic Forum

Updated 07 July 2019

Sustainability the watchword for Riyadh Economic Forum

  • Panel discussion focused on a study detailing the role of balanced economic development

RIYADH: The Riyadh Economic Forum held a panel discussion on a study detailing the role of balanced economic development in “Reverse Migration and Sustainable and Comprehensive Development in the Kingdom” at the chamber’s headquarters on Saturday. 

The head of the team supervising the study, Dr. Rushud Al-Kharif, explained that it aimed to identify the obstacles that prevent the achievement of balanced displacement rates of young workers from small towns to big cities.

It also aimed to improve the quality of life in smaller urban centers through an analytical survey of different regions, based on the comparative advantage of each region and determining their industrial and service resources.

He added that the importance of the study stemmed from addressing the problem of migration, resulting from imbalanced development, due to the large size of the Kingdom.

He also pointed out that because of this issue, cities expanded vertically and horizontally at a faster rate than at any previous time in the history of Saudi Arabia in light of population increases, putting pressure on services and resulting in social and security problems.

The seminar provoked lively discussion regarding the study and how to reach effective solutions.

The chairman of the board of trustees of the Riyadh Economic Forum, Hamad Al-Shuaieer, stressed that the “effects of reverse migration, and plans to achieve balanced development between big and small cities,” was an important guide for the future of the Kingdom as it seeks to diversify its economy away from over-dependence on oil in line with Vision 2030.


Saudi Arabia confirms no change in Israel travel rules

Updated 43 min 47 sec ago

Saudi Arabia confirms no change in Israel travel rules

  • Foreign minister says Israeli passport holders are still unable to visit the the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has confirmed that Israeli citizens are still unable to visit the Kingdom.

Foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the policy has not changed despite Israel saying on Sunday that its passport holders could now travel to the country for religious and business visits.

“Our policy is fixed,” Prince Faisal told CNN. “We do not have relations with the state of Israel and Israeli passport holders cannot visit the Kingdom at the current time.”

His comments come as Donald Trump prepares to unveil his Middle East peace plan on Tuesday. An agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would be key to improving relations with Arab countries, most of which have no diplomatic ties with Israel.

“When a peace agreement is reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis, I believe the issue of Israel’s involvement in the region will be on the table,” Prince Faisal added.

Israel’s interior minister said on Sunday that Israelis - if invited and permitted by Saudi authorities - would be allowed to travel there for religious reasons on pilgrimage or for up to nine days for business reasons such as investment or meetings.

Israelis, mostly Muslims going on pilgrimage, do visit the Kingdom, but usually with special permission or using foreign passports.

Saudi Arabia, along with most Arab countries have no official diplomatic relations with Israel, and citizens of those countries are not able to travel to Israel nor Israelis to those countries.

However, relations between Israel and Gulf states have improved in recent years, particularly over a shared stand against Iran and its aggressive policies in the region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month that he welcomed Israel’s warming ties to Arab countries in the region.

In 2018, Netanyahu visited Oman and met the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

*With Reuters