The expansive power of being authentically local

Updated 07 November 2019

The expansive power of being authentically local

When I began my career, “localization” meant manufacturing in-country, for that country. The common wisdom was that localization could create efficiencies and foster closer ties with local customers. Important rationale to be sure, and beneficial to the local economy, but not necessarily sustainable or scalable. Today, I’m seeing something far more inspiring in countries like Saudi Arabia: Companies that take an authentically local approach, building skills and making lasting investments that can support their local partners in becoming part of a global supply chain, while at the same time cementing their own commitment to the local ecosystem. Authentically local to me means, perhaps paradoxically, investing sustainably with an eye on the global market.

Take what we do in the Eastern Province as an example. The GE Manufacturing & Technology Center (GEMTEC) campus in Dammam supports power generation needs for the entire Kingdom, but it also has extended its cutting-edge capabilities to global markets. The GEMTEC campus serves more than 70 customers in 40 countries, and also features the GE Saudi Advanced Turbines facility, GE’s joint venture with Dussur that can manufacture GE H-class turbines, the world’s most-efficient. Further, research at the Hot & Harsh R&D Lab, also part of the campus, has resulted in 20+ patents that will benefit customers on four continents. This would not be possible without state-of-the art facilities and long-term, authentic investment in building local skills, as well as a strong local-to-global supply chain. 

The World Bank estimates that a 1 percent increase in a country’s participation in the global value chain has a more than 1 percent increase in that country’s per-capita income growth, and that companies with increased global value chain participation tend to employ more women than their in-country counterparts. Because of its strong local economy and the ability of its companies and workers to participate in global supply chains, Saudi Arabia is working toward achieving its own goals, while also enabling other countries to achieve theirs. For GE, that is the expansive power of being authentically local. 

 

Rachel Duan is president and CEO of GE Global.


Line-up for FIKR17 conference in Saudi Arabia announced

Updated 13 November 2019

Line-up for FIKR17 conference in Saudi Arabia announced

The Arab Thought Foundation has announced the agenda of this year’s annual conference, FIKR17, in partnership with King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture “Ithra”, held under the theme “Towards a New Arab Thinking.”
The conference will be held in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia between 2-5 December 2019.
FIKR17 will bring together high-level officials, politicians, intellectuals, and media personalities led by Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, President of the Arab Thought Foundation, and Arab League Secretary General Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Over the course of FIKR17, these thought leaders will provide deep understanding and paths to solutions for key questions facing the Arab World and its future, including:

  • What are the challenges of technology, science and modern approaches to knowledge?
  • Where are we currently from renewing our societies and social concepts?
  • Where does the Arab individual stand within the international system, and how does he tackle the subject of globalization while defending an interactive identity that is open to the world?
  • Where are Arab intellectuals in their attempts to renew the Arab thought, and in building a renewed philosophy capable of making contributions to the global effort of contemporary thought?

Conference Program Details
Monday, December 2: FIKR17 will open with a formal ceremony at 7:00 pm, including a speech by Professor Dr. Henry Awit, Director General of the Arab Thought Foundation, followed by a speech from the representative of “Ithra”, the Lead Partner of the conference. It will also include speeches by Arab League Secretary General Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit and HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, President of the Arab Thought Foundation.
Tuesday, December 3: FIKR17 will start with an opening session titled “Arab Thought and Innovation Prospects,” followed by the first general session entitled “Today’s world…tomorrow’s world: transformations, challenges, and visions”.
In addition, four specialized sessions will be held under the following headlines:. Delivering new educational policies to help build a new Arab Thought, The role of social and human sciences in renewing Arab Thought, New perspectives on the concepts of state, citizenship and participation, Pluralism and the culture of tolerance and social peace.
Wednesday, December 4: The conference will continue with four specialized morning sessions covering the topics of ” Towards a new understanding of growth, Industry and manufacturing:analysis of pillars for development, Digital Economy, The role of civic society in renewing Arab Thought.
In the afternoon, the second general session will be held on the “4th Industrial Revolution” followed by reports on youth discussion groups.
Thursday, December 5: The conference will conclude with detailed reports on the specialized sessions. At 12:00 pm, the third general session titled “Arab Intellectuals and Their Role in Arab Thought Renewal” will be held, followed by the closing remarks.