Sudan’s PM vows to take steps to boost Saudi investment

Sudanese PM Abdalla Hamdok met with Saudi businessmen at the Council of Saudi Chambers in Riyadh. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 08 October 2019

Sudan’s PM vows to take steps to boost Saudi investment

  • Single-window system to be introduced for investors

RIYADH: Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok met with Saudi business owners on Monday at the headquarters of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC).
The meeting was attended by Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, Saudi Minister of State for African Affairs Ahmed Qattan, Sudanese Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Badawi, Sudanese Minister of Industry and Trade Madani Abbas, CSC Chairman Sami Al-Obaidi, Saudi Ambassador to Sudan Ali Jafar, Sudanese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Abdul Azim Al-Karouri and executives of major Saudi companies.
Hamdok praised the strategic relations between Saudi Arabia and Sudan. He thanked King Salman and the government for their keenness to ensure that Saudi-Sudanese relations are at the best level and that trade increases.
“We look forward to cooperating with Saudi Arabia in the fields of agriculture, industry, services, infrastructure and energy.”
The prime minister stressed that Saudi investors are ambassadors, and the success of their businesses will reflect a bright image and increase the confidence of international investors in Sudan.
Hamdok announced that a Saudi-Sudanese economic forum will be held to discuss promising investment opportunities and increase cooperation between the two countries.
Al-Fadhli said that the Kingdom and Sudan have capabilities and resources that can provide promising investment opportunities in many economic sectors.
“We are counting on the role of the private sector to maximize the gains and provide solutions to the obstacles that prevent the depletion of goods, services and investments between the two countries so that government agencies can overcome them,” he said.

FASTFACT

• The volume of reciprocal trade stood at about SR4.6 billion ($1.2 billion) in 2018.

• Sudan was Saudi Arabia’s seventh most important Arab trading partner in 2018.

• Saudi investments in Sudan have grown considerably over the past years.

The chairman of the CSC stressed that relations have developed in the fields of trade and investment, pointing out that the volume of reciprocal trade stood at about SR4.6 billion ($1.2 billion) in 2018, making Sudan the Kingdom’s seventh most important Arab trading partner.
Al-Obaidi said: “Saudi investments in Sudan have grown considerably over the past years, with the service sector accounting for the highest proportion of these investments at 49.5 percent, followed by the agricultural sector at 32.5 percent and the industry sector accounting for 28 percent.”
Al-Badawi said the single-window system for investors and the unified federal tax system will be implemented soon to avoid conflicts between Sudan and other nations.
Al-Badawi added that the build-operate-transfer system is the appropriate investment system for Sudan in the field of infrastructure projects.
Abbas said that Saudi investors have greater experience and their proposed solutions to investment obstacles in Sudan are in line with the country’s Emergency Economic Recovery Plan.


Global stars shine at Saudi leisure forum

Updated 14 October 2019

Global stars shine at Saudi leisure forum

  • “It (Saudi Movies) will bring Saudis closer to the world and the world closer to Saudi,” Shahrukh Khan 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia took another step toward establishing its place on the global entertainment map with a major industry event in Riyadh on Sunday.

The Joy Forum19 brought together entertainment promoters and pioneers from around the world, along with global stars such as Indian actor and film producer Shah Rukh Khan; Hong Kong martial artist, actor, film director Jackie Chan and Belgian actor and martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme.

The event was organized by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), which signed several important agreements on the day, including a financing guarantee program for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Participants are ushered in on the first day of the Joy Forum19 event in Riyadh. (AN photo by Noor Nugali)

“Our message is for both, locally and internationally. Me and my generation suffered a lot, we had lots of time on our hands,” GEA chairman Turki Al-Sheikh said at the event.

“Today you are witnessing things we have never had in Saudi Arabia. We have 300,000 visitors to our events, and our sales have hit 80 percent.

“Saudi Arabia has never seen anything like Riyadh Season, we have over 400 sponsors, which is unprecedented.”

Al-Sheikh announced that the authority had named a stadium after singer Mohammed Abdo, the “Artist of Arabs,” and another after Abu Baker Salim, the father of Khaleeji music. 


READ MORE: Three MoUs signed at opening day of Joy Forum19 in Riyadh



Drunken master

The actors expressed what it meant to be movie stars and how wide-reaching their influence could be.

Jackie Chan recalled that when he was a new actor, he often acted like a drunken fighter until he realized that he has a responsibility towards younger fans. 

Jackie Chan: no longer a "drunken master". (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

“All over the world I keep drinking and fighting (in films).  I realized that I made drunken master cool — so I stopped,” he said. One of Chan's most popular movies was the 1978 action comedy martial arts film "Drunken Master".

“When you’re 20 you don’t have this inner thought — anything that makes the audience laugh you do, but later on especially (when I went) to Africa so many years ago — they started doing the drunken style — the children look up to me. So, I realized we have a responsibility to the children so all those years I corrected those actions: no dirty comedy words or action,” he said.

He attributed his awareness in being responsible for the content he produces to the fans. “I’m really thankful to the fans in making me a good actor.”

Chan spoke about his experience in acting martial arts in both the United States and Asia. “I realized we have two different markets one for America another for Asia. They are totally two different things.”

The safety measures the US takes for stunts is very impeccable making sure of the wellbeing of the actor comes first. However, in Asia it’s a different story, “In Asia when I want to do a stunt, I roll, jump (and then go to the) hospital, he said laughingly.

“It’s so difficult sometimes in the USA so many rules- Jackie Chan movies: NO RULES!” he said and received applause from the audience.

 

Good start

Jean Claude Van Damme gave a shout out and a big thank you to all his “brother and sisters from Saudi Arabia,” He said he got a royal treatment fit for “Kings and Queens”. He went on to reveal that his hotel room at the Ritz Carlton Riyadh was so big he could easily “roller-skate” in it.

Jean Claude Van Damme: "Let's do a movie together". (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

“I’m honored to be invited here. I know it’s your first time to do this event, but I know it will have a very bright future and I hope next year you will invite more people,” he said.

He said he may not be a “good talker” but expressed his joy at being in Saudi Arabia saying. “I’m happy to be here and I hope to have more connection later with the audience.”

Van Damme remarked how that in every country in the world you have treasure actors and movies with different cultures, “In the Middle East I don’t know what the taste will be, but I know they love American, Asian and Indian movies. They have a broad taste. (Saudi Arabia) should do a movie with all of us together!”

 

Crossing barriers

Sharukh Khan emphasized the importance of every country telling their story through movies; “As long as we are telling the story in whatever language it doesn’t matter. Cinema crosses all barriers.”
 

Shahrukh Khan: "I'd audition for a Saudi movie". (AN photo by Noor Nugali)

With the opening of Saudi Arabia to the world and Cinemas, he said, “I can’t wait to talk about the Saudi films...It will bring Saudis closer to the world and the world closer to Saudi.”

“The stories that you tell should talk about goodness and people should be engaged with the content and it should bring them together. People want to laugh and sadly have to cry, to be entertained and to feel.”

Sharukh noted that Saudi Arabia has started to make movies and he’s watched the King Faisal movie, "Born a King". 

“You’ll always find gems in all movie industries and I think there’s are gems in Saudi and as a matter of fact one of the things I’d like to do is audition for a Saudi movie … Please give me an opportunity!” he said, eliciting a thunderous applause from the audience.


Red carpet

Abdulaziz AlMuzaini, co-founder and CEO of the Saudi Arabian Myrkott Animation Studio; gave a heartfelt thanks full of gratitude to King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, saying: “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have dreamed of this moment or this panel.”

Some of the celebrities invited to the event walk the red carpet. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

Lebanese actor Wahid Jalal, who was the voice of Long John Silver in Treasure Island, came onstage for the opening of the event. “Children love heroes and they try to imitate them,” he said. 

He also delighted the crowd by performing Silver’s famous laugh.

Some of the celebrities who walked down the red carpet were American actor Jason Momoa, star of Aquaman; Amr Adeeb, Balqis Fathi, Yusra, Boosy Shalabi, Lojien and Aseel Omran, Mohammed Hamaki, Nawal AlZoghbi, Talal Salama, Ahlam Al-Shamsi, Hussain AlJismi, Suad Abdulla, Ibrahem Alharbi, Tariq Alali and Abdulnaser Darweesh.

The gala dinner hosted 500 guests and was a private event, but the red carpet captured the essence of where Saudi is moving to culturally.