RIYADH: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman has reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to diversifying its energy sources, telling the Misk Global Forum 2019 that an expanding renewable energy program will meet the country’s domestic requirements and even allow it to export electricity.
“We are moving ahead with our civil nuclear program,” the minister told the forum’s opening session.
He said the Kingdom’s renewable energy program “will get us into manufacturing and exporting electricity.”
Prince Abdul Aziz added: “We have a new program, a ‘noble’ program, to create a new way of using oil and gas that is different from the conventional ways.”
He told the forum that renewable energy will create jobs for thousands of Saudis and non-Saudis, saying that jobs for both are equally valuable.
“Non-Saudis are important. I was educated by non-Saudis. We should recognize that and not let our nationalism defeat us, and not be ungrateful to them,” he said.
The energy minister said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is providing all Saudis with equal opportunities.
“We know that our women now are enabled, they have an education program,” he said. “We have equal pay for both men and women.”
Prince Abdul Aziz said that social reforms in the Kingdom have turned Riyadh into a “city of joy,” where families had access to a range of entertainment options.
He urged forum participants to learn from their mistakes and never from success. “I am an embodiment of mistakes,” said the prince.
“Even princes have dreams, because they have fathers and grandfathers who had big dreams and we could never let them down,” he said.
“Education, training and resilience are important to keep up and never be broken,” he said, adding: “If I hadn’t had that self-motivation, the notion that you don’t give up, I wouldn’t be here today.
“I am humble enough, serious enough and Saudi enough to say that,” he said. A panelist at the forum, Patrick Pouyanne, chairman and CEO of Total, urged the younger generation not to be afraid of technology, saying that Artificial Intelligence will not take over their jobs.
“There is a beautiful challenge for making it compatible,” he said.
Fellow panelist Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, CEO of the UAE’s Mubadala Investment Co., told the audience that they represented the future.
“Our job as leaders today is to make sure that we provide you with the right opportunities, enabling the youth to succeed,” he said.
“Don’t fight technology, embrace it,” said Al-Mubarak.
In her welcome speech, Shaima Hamidaddin, Misk Global Forum’s executive manager, said that 7,000 participants had registered for the event, making it the largest ever, as well as the most diverse edition with more than 120 countries taking part.
“In every edition of the forum, we look at how to prepare for the future,” she said. “This year we are focusing on work. Everybody is touched by work in some way and that’s why we must rework our work.”