Saudi Arabia a ‘land of opportunities’ says commerce minister

Dr. Majed Al-Kasabi told delegates at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Saudi Arabia is a land of opportunity with a great chance of attracting investment. (Screenshot/FII)
Updated 01 November 2019

Saudi Arabia a ‘land of opportunities’ says commerce minister

  • Al-Kasabi pointed out that the Kingdom is rich in natural resources and ideally located
  • The commerce minister went on to cite various megaprojects that the Kingdom has undertaken

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is a land of opportunity with a great chance of attracting investment in new sectors of its economy, the minister of commerce and investment, Dr. Majed Al-Kasabi, told delegates at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh on Thursday.

During the session “What’s next for Asia: Will a newly prosperous supercontinent overtake a waning West?” Al-Kasabi was part of a panel that included Ju Zhao, chief investment officer of China Merchants Bank and Raamdeo Agrawal, chairman & cofounder of India’s Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd.

Al-Kasabi pointed out that the Kingdom is rich in natural resources and ideally located to act as a connector between Africa, Asia and Europe.

“As you know, Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the area. Saudi Arabia is a G20 member. It (was ranked as) a top reformer and a top improver in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report. (That is) a testimony to the promise that we have taken to improve business and fight bureaucracy,” he said.

He added that Saudi Arabia has “a unique mix” of competitive advantages: A robust business environment, and an increasingly young population, with 80 percent aged 45 or younger. But the “most important” advantage the Kingdom has, he said, is “our DNA.”

“Saudis are hospitable and generous to our visitors and investors,” Al-Kasabi said. “Saudi Arabia is a land of opportunities, especially when coupled with the unleashing of sectors like mining, health, tourism, entertainment, culture, and logistics. All of this makes Saudi Arabia a land of opportunities for the future.”

The commerce minister went on to cite various megaprojects that the Kingdom has undertaken as part of Saudi Vision 2030 and claimed that Saudi Arabia’s “rich blend of sun, sea and sand and archaeological sites,” make the country unique. All of which, he said, combined to provide an unprecedented opportunity for investors.

Both Zhao and Agrawal were keen to promote their own countries’ credentials for investors too. Zhao stressed how much China had developed in recent years, becoming “the main partner in energy and oil with Saudi Arabia” and diversifying its economy to rely on different sectors, rather than depending on a single source.

Echoing Al-Kasabi, Agrawal described India as “a land of opportunities” too. From its independence in 1947, he said, it took India 60 years to reach a trillion-dollar GDP. By 2025, the country hopes to be a five-trillion-dollar economy. “We want our economy to be the best in the world,” he said.

Al-Kasabi was bullish about the new Asian economic partnership, pointing out that 60 percent of the world’s population live in Asia, and that Asia is responsible for 40 percent of world GDP. “Amazingly, 64 percent of global cargo traffic comes from Asia, while 48 percent of global international students are from Asia,” he continued, adding that nearly 40 percent of global travelers were also from Asia.

Al-Kasabi went on to describe China’s economy as “iconic,” and paid tribute to Japan, Singapore, and India, which he called “matured and developed economies,” while referring to Vietnam and Bangladesh as “the newcomers.”

“Then there is the Middle East, where Saudi Arabia fits as a connector between Africa and Europe and Asia,” he said. “The Middle East and Saudi Arabia could be a global connector and a hub to Africa and Asia and Europe.”


Saudi-backed electric car breaks through 500 miles range barrier

Updated 12 August 2020

Saudi-backed electric car breaks through 500 miles range barrier

  • Lucid Motors announced independent range verification of 517 miles on a single charge for its forthcoming Lucid Air all-electric sedan

 

LONDON:A Saudi-backed electric vehicle has broken through the 500 mile range barrier from a single charge.
Lucid Motors, in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is a major investor, on Wednesday announced independent range verification of 517 miles on a single charge for its forthcoming Lucid Air all-electric sedan.
The results confirm that the Lucid Air is the longest range electric vehicle to date, the car maker said in a statement.
So-called “range anxiety,” where drivers fear being stranded without power in their cars, is a major factor for electric vehicle manufacturers in convincing people to make the switch from traditional gasoline-fueled vehicles.
“Range and efficiency are widely recognized as the most relevant proof points by which EV technical prowess is measured,” said Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson. “A few years ago we revealed our alpha prototypes of the Lucid Air and promised over 400 miles range; a reflection of our technology at that time. In the intervening period we have achieved a series of technological breakthroughs, culminating in an unsurpassed degree of energy efficiency.”
The PIF agreed a $1 billion investment deal with Lucid Motors two years ago to develop the car at a factory in Arizona.
The production version of the Lucid Air will debut in an online event on Sept. 9, 2020. In addition to the vehicle’s final interior and exterior designs, new details about production specifications, available configurations, and pricing information will also be shared.
Customer deliveries of the Lucid Air, which will be produced at Lucid’s new factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, will begin in early 2021.