Mohanud A. Helal, secretary-general of Saudi Arabia’s Economic Cities Authority

Muhannad bin Abdul Mohsin Hilal. (Supplied)
Updated 28 July 2019

Mohanud A. Helal, secretary-general of Saudi Arabia’s Economic Cities Authority

  • Hilal began his career at the Saudi Embassy in Washington
  • He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in management information systems

Mohanud A. Helal has been the secretary-general of Saudi Arabia’s Economic Cities Authority (ECA) since 2010.

Helal is a distinguished Saudi government executive with extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. 

For more than nine years as the secretary-general of the ECA, he has been instrumental in strengthening the profile of the organization by successfully overseeing the planning and development of several economic cities and King Abdullah Port, the Kingdom’s most visible example of a public-private partnership.

Helal’s role in the development of the operational model for King Abdullah Port has been instrumental as the port has gained international recognition for its rapidly expanding capacity, the business/industrial support environment developing around it and its state-of-the-art capabilities to handle the world’s largest vessels.

In addition to his role at the ECA, Helal’s responsibilities center on maximizing the tangible benefits of public-private sector cooperation in Saudi Arabia. As CEO of Cadre, Helal oversees a unique alliance between the government-owned company and the Ministry of Labor & Social Development that facilitates the issuance of work visas to investors within the Kingdom’s economic cities.

Helal began his government career with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) as vice president of operations in 2008. 

Before that, he spent over eight years at Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever. He joined the company in the customer development section and, after filling various strategic operational and business development roles, became its customer marketing director for Saudi Arabia.

Helal has participated in numerous leadership programs throughout his career and has actively engaged in many key governmental committees, allowing him to hone his expertise in the public-private domain.

He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration, followed in 1998 by a master’s degree in management information systems, from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Helal recently headed an ECA delegation that visited the Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) complex in Los Angeles, where, it was announced, the two would investigate the possibility of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) hosting a hyperloop test track, research and development complex and a manufacturing facility.

The move follows an agreement between the ECA and VHO to carry out a feasibility study into KAEC’s Center of Excellence, which is expected to create 6,000 jobs in advanced technologies.

The study will explore joint development opportunities for hyperloop technologies that can be commercialized on a large scale, develop Saudi expertise in the field and speed up establishment of innovation complexes in the Kingdom.

“The ECA is constantly seeking strategic partnerships and initiatives to allow our economic cities to contribute to the ambitious objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” said Helal.

GCC summit calls for greater economic integration among Gulf countries 

Updated 10 December 2019

GCC summit calls for greater economic integration among Gulf countries 

  • Heads of the delegations land in Riyadh before the 40th Supreme Council meeting gets under way
  • King Salman tells the summit that the GCC has overcome many crises in its history

RIYADH: The GCC summit called for greater regional economic integration as the meeting chaired by King Salman came to a close in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The final statement, read by GCC General Secretary Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, called for finalizing legislation for financial and monetary unity by 2025, according to the meeting's final communique.

The statement also called for boosting military and security cooperation to maintain regional security.

The 40th Supreme Council meeting was chaired by King Salman, who met the heads of each delegation as they landed.

They included the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Oman's Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers Fahd bin Mahmoud Al-Said and Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

In his opening remarks, King Salman said the GCC had managed to overcome many crises that the region has faced.

At a preparatory meeting on Monday, Gulf foreign ministers approved the nomination of former Kuwaiti Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf as the next secretary-general of the GCC.

His term will begin in April 2020 following the end of Al-Zayani’s term.