Accelerated judicial performance sees Saudi Arabia surge in global rankings

The World Bank’s report said the recent reforms showed “a forward path to creating more jobs for Saudi youth and women, and creating sustainable, inclusive growth.” (SPA)
Updated 19 November 2019

Accelerated judicial performance sees Saudi Arabia surge in global rankings

  • The WEF report made special reference to Saudi Arabia’s progress in “technology governance”

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Justice has credited its widespread reforms to the Kingdom’s legal infrastructure for Saudi Arabia’s exemplary performance in world rankings in two major international reports released recently.

Following what the World Bank called “a record number of business reforms” in the past year, the organization’s Doing Business 2020 report ranked Saudi Arabia as the top country for improvement in the global business climate. And in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index, the Kingdom was placed 36 out of more than 140 countries monitored.

The WEF report made special reference to Saudi Arabia’s progress in “technology governance,” defined as the speed at which national legal frameworks were adapting to digital business models. In this metric, the Kingdom ranked third — second only to the US and Germany.

The World Bank put Saudi Arabia 62 globally in its “ease of doing business” scoring, with an overall result of 71.6 out of 100. The organization remarked that the Kingdom had made significant strides in eight World Bank focus areas.

“Our work towards streamlining the start-up, and day-to-day functioning within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — of enterprises of all scales, both foreign and domestic — has payed enormous dividends in the nation’s economic development, as can be seen in the reports from the World Bank Group and the World Economic Forum,” said the Ministry of Justice in a statement.

The World Bank’s report said the recent reforms showed “a forward path to creating more jobs for Saudi youth and women, and creating sustainable, inclusive growth.” In Saudi Arabia, it now costs only 5.4 percent of income per capita to start a business — a figure a third that of the regional average of 16.7 percent. Also, owing to reforms in protections for minority investors, Saudi Arabia now ranks third globally in this metric, performing on a par with New Zealand and Singapore, which the World Bank considers the two easiest places in the world to do business.

Registering new properties in Saudi Arabia has also become easier. The country is now ranked 19 by the World Bank in this area. The Ministry of Justice recently developed an electronic platform for complaint arbitration for property stakeholders, and implemented an initiative to digitize title deeds. And thanks to other reforms, it now takes just 36 hours to register property transfers in Saudi Arabia, placing the country third in the world in this metric.

When dealing with construction permits, Saudi Arabia stands in 28 position. To build a warehouse, for example, businesses can use a new online platform to obtain the necessary permits, at a cost of just 1.9 percent of the building’s value — which is half the regional average of 4.4 percent.

WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index also witnessed marked improvements from Saudi Arabia. The index monitors institutions, policies and other factors that determine national productivity. As well as being ranked third in the world in technology governance, Saudi Arabia was praised by the WEF for “making strides to diversify” its economy.

“We are happy to see that the reforms taking place in the legal sector are reflected in those global reports,” said the ministry.

“We hope that with our continuous efforts and upcoming plans, we will see more achievements and more global recognition.”
 


Arab coalition cleared of rights violations in Yemen

Updated 5 min 31 sec ago

Arab coalition cleared of rights violations in Yemen

  • JIAT reiterates its commitment of transparency while presenting its findings

RIYADH: The Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) of the Arab coalition for Yemen has investigated four cases that were reported in the media. It found that the rules of engagement had been followed by the coalition for Yemen in each case.
The JIAT reiterated its commitment of transparency while presenting its findings in the submitted cases, and it revealed details in a professional and fact-based way.
Addressing a press conference in Riyadh on Wednesday, JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour said: “In one case, it was claimed that a military vehicle of the Houthi militia was targeted in front of a restaurant in Zabid, Hodeidah governorate, on Jan. 3, 2018.”
He said the JIAT investigated the incident and reviewed all documents, including procedures and rules of engagement, daily mission schedule, after-mission report, satellite images, provisions and the principles of International humanitarian law and its customary rules, as well as an assessment of evidence. It found that on the alleged date, the coalition forces did not carry out any aerial missions in Zabid, and that the nearest military target that was hit by the coalition on the date of the claim was in Al-Khokhah directorate, about 41 km away from Zabid.
Referring to another case, he said it was claimed that coalition forces had targeted the Mothalath Ahim market in Hajjah governorate on July 4, 2015.

FOURCASES

• In one case, it was claimed that a military vehicle of the Houthi militia was targeted in front of a restaurant in Zabid, Hodeidah governorate, on Jan. 3, 2018.

• In second case, it was claimed that coalition forces had targeted the Mothalath Ahim market in Hajjah governorate on July 4, 2015.

• In third case, it was claimed that the coalition forces had targeted a house in Talan, Kushar, directorate of Hajjah governorate on March 10, 2019.

• In fourth case, it was claimed that a house was targeted in Midi directorate of (Hajjah) governorate on April 22, 2018.

The JIAT investigated the incident and found that Mothalath Ahim, which is 16 km from the international borders of Saudi Arabia, was at the time of the military operation under the control of the Houthi armed militia and the former president’s forces.
Intelligence reports confirmed the discovery of a ballistic missile inside a hangar in a semi-isolated location. There were gatherings of Houthi armed militia and the former president’s forces, and military vehicles at Mothalath Ahim, which was considered a legitimate military target, based on Article 52, Paragraph 2 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions. Moreover, the coalition forces took all feasible precautions by studying and defining the target’s environment, using a guided bomb that was commensurate with the target, and minimizing collateral damage while achieving the desired military advantage of the military based on Rule No. 17 of the customary international humanitarian law.
In another case it was claimed that the coalition forces had targeted a house in Talan, Kushar, directorate of Hajjah governorate on March 10, 2019.
Al-Mansour said the coalition forces units had detected through reconnaissance a vehicle carrying Houthi armed militia fighters. It was confirmed by ground elements that the fighters got out of that vehicle and entered a building in Jabal Talan, which was considered to be a legitimate military target.
In fourth case, it was claimed that a house was targeted in Midi directorate of (Hajjah) governorate on April 22, 2018.
The JIAT investigated the incident and found that the coalition forces observed gatherings of Houthi militias and a ballistic missile launcher in the area of operations concealed in an isolated area. The coalition forces therefore carried out an air mission against these two targets. The JIAT found that coalition forces had not targeted a civilian house in Midi directorate as alleged.