Oman’s Sultan Haitham: A role model of public service

Oman’s Sultan Haitham: A role model of public service
Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said became Oman’s new ruler on Jan. 11, 2020, at the age of 65, just a day after Sultan Qaboos’s death. (Oman News Agency)
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Updated 11 July 2021

Oman’s Sultan Haitham: A role model of public service

Oman’s Sultan Haitham: A role model of public service
  • Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said was once seen as the continuity candidate, yet he has already made his mark as sultan
  • He launched several business ventures and held a number of government posts before becoming sultan in Jan. 2020

DUBAI: Before he became sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said was widely seen as the continuity candidate when he was named the preferred successor to his cousin and ruler of almost 50 years, Qaboos bin Said. Yet he has already made his mark on the Gulf sultanate.

He became Oman’s new ruler on Jan. 11, 2020, at the age of 65, just a day after Sultan Qaboos’s death, bringing with him proven business acumen and long experience in government service at a ministerial level.

Continuity meant staying the course with Oman’s foreign policy and development agenda, at a time of heightened regional tensions, low oil demand and, of course, the gloom of the coronavirus pandemic. And yet, in only his first months in power, Sultan Haitham has delegated more responsibilities to

his ministers and reformed the line of succession.

He was born in Muscat on Oct. 13, 1954 to the prominent Al-Said family and went on to study diplomacy at the UK’s University of Oxford, graduating in 1979.

Sultan Haitham is married to Ahad bint Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Busaidiyah, who, following a debut appearance at the Bait Al-Barakah Palace on International Women’s Day, 2020, is regarded as something of a role model and style icon in the Arab world. The royals have two sons and two daughters.




Sultan Haitham is married to Ahad bint Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Busaidiyah. (Oman News Agency)

Having launched several business ventures with his brother Talal, the sultan went on to hold a number of posts in government, first as a diplomat, serving as undersecretary for political affairs at the foreign ministry from 1986 to 1994, then as minister of heritage and culture for 18 years.

He was also head of Oman’s Vision 2040 agenda, overseeing the sultanate’s development plans with a keen eye for creating opportunities for young Omanis.




An image grab taken from Oman TV on January 11, 2020, shows Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, following a swearing in ceremony as Oman's new leader, after the death the previous day of Sultan Qaboos, on January 11, 2020. (AFP/Oman TV)

In January, Sultan Haitham announced that Oman would appoint a crown prince for the first time. His eldest son, Dhi Yazan bin Haitham, will thus become the sultanate’s first crown prince. The announcement came on the first anniversary of the sultan’s assumption of power.

A second decree established a new law for the parliament, the Council of Oman. It defined the council’s capabilities, membership conditions and their rights and duties, and regulation of everything related to the council’s affairs.

In May, Sultan Haitham directed the government and the private sector to create more than 32,000 jobs to support self-employed Omanis and business owners. The initiative was part of government efforts to boost employment and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The order also included stipends to create a planned 15,000 private-sector jobs for the next two years and government subsidies for those entering the workforce for the first time.

Sultan Haitham’s arrival in Saudi Arabia marks a historic opportunity to cement economic ties during a time of significant change in the region.


Saudi Arabia registers 5 COVID-19 deaths, 59 new cases

Saudi Arabia registers 5 COVID-19 deaths, 59 new cases
Updated 27 September 2021

Saudi Arabia registers 5 COVID-19 deaths, 59 new cases

Saudi Arabia registers 5 COVID-19 deaths, 59 new cases
  • The Kingdom says 78 patients had recovered from the virus in the past 24 hours
  • Over 41.7 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered to date across KSA

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia confirmed five new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,704.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 59 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 546,985 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 244 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh and Jeddah with 10 cases each, followed by Hafar Al-Batin with four, and Madinah and Makkah confirmed three cases each.
The health ministry also announced that 78 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 536,028.


Over 41.7 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date through 587 centers.
The ministry renewed its call on the public to register with the Sehhaty app to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs reopened one mosque after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing it in Al-Jawf after one person tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed and reopened after being sterilized to 2,031 within 230 days.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 232 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.76 million.


Ambitious plans unveiled for luxury new Saudi mountain resort

Ambitious plans unveiled for luxury new Saudi mountain resort
Updated 27 September 2021

Ambitious plans unveiled for luxury new Saudi mountain resort

Ambitious plans unveiled for luxury new Saudi mountain resort
  • Oppenheim Architecture has created 48 villas and 12 hotel rooms for the site designed to protect and preserve the environment and highlight the region’s cultural heritage

JEDDAH: Ambitious plans have been unveiled for a new resort in the Saudi mountains designed to blend modern architecture into the natural landscape.

The Red Sea Development Co. project, one of the Kingdom’s most ambitious regenerative tourism schemes to date, will see luxury accommodation built into rocky outcrops commanding stunning valley views.

Developers behind the Desert Rock resort adopted a design philosophy of building with the land, not on the land.

John Pagano, chief executive officer at TRSDC, said: “We wanted to create a destination that allows guests to experience Saudi Arabia’s untouched beauty. Desert Rock will provide guests with uninterrupted spectacular views while preserving the natural landscape for future generations to enjoy.”

Oppenheim Architecture has created 48 villas and 12 hotel rooms for the site designed to protect and preserve the environment and highlight the region’s cultural heritage.

“We have drawn inspiration from the surrounding environment, while providing unparalleled luxury, allowing guests to connect with nature and create memorable experiences,” added Pagano.

Materials excavated from the site will be used to create the infrastructure, with stone going into interior and exterior walls and floors, and sand and gravel being used for concrete aggregate.

Construction began in July, and the resort has been designed to reduce energy consumption and regenerate native flora. Water retention and distribution systems will be used throughout the site, with harvested rainwater creating a more green, flourishing wadi. The first hotel guests are due to check in at the end of next year.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the Red Sea Project in July 2017. Elements of the first phase of the flagship scheme are set to open in 2022. Upon full completion in 2030, the project will comprise 50 hotels offering up to 8,000 rooms and 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

The destination will also include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment and leisure facilities, and an international airport.


Biden’s national security adviser Sullivan travels to Saudi Arabia, UAE

Biden’s national security adviser Sullivan travels to Saudi Arabia, UAE
Updated 27 September 2021

Biden’s national security adviser Sullivan travels to Saudi Arabia, UAE

Biden’s national security adviser Sullivan travels to Saudi Arabia, UAE

RIYADH: US President Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is traveling to Saudi Arabia on Monday to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the Associated Press. 

Sullivan will also visit the United Arab Emirates as part of his regional trip. 

 

 


Riyadh Season 2021 coming to a desert near you

Riyadh Season 2021 coming to a desert near you
Updated 27 September 2021

Riyadh Season 2021 coming to a desert near you

Riyadh Season 2021 coming to a desert near you
  • The Riyadh Season is expected to provide a mixture of exclusivity and modernity, turning the Saudi capital into a preferred destination for visitors

JEDDAH: Under the slogan #Imagine_more, Riyadh Season 2021 begins in less than a month and offers events and activities for all.

Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the board of directors of the General Entertainment Authority, on Saturday announced the launch of the 2021 Riyadh Season on Oct. 20. It will cover an area of 5.4 million square meters across 14 districts in the capital city.

Al-Sheikh said that after the success of Riyadh Season 2019, this year’s events would be organized by Saudi teams.

The season will host 7,500 events, including 70 Arab concerts, six international concerts, 10 international exhibitions, 350 theater performances, 18 Arab plays and six international plays, in addition to one free-wrestling championship, two international matches, 100 interactive experiences, 200 restaurants and 70 cafes, all catering to a range of tastes and age groups.

Nour Fahed, who visited Riyadh’s last season in 2019, told Arab News how excited she was to be attending this year’s events. “I went to the Riyadh Season twice and I was overwhelmed with the things that I saw,” she said. “I could not believe my eyes and I was proud that my country is making international events like this.” 

Hams Nabeel, who went to Riyadh for a business trip during the season, said: “I tried some of the exotic pop-up restaurants in the season, but my favorite activity was going to the Winter Wonderland theme park. I liked how I saw and met so many foreigners and I am aiming for another adventure this year.”

Another guest, Majid Al Assiri, said that he made the most of the activities on offer during the last Riyadh Season, visiting Winter Wonderland, the boulevard, Diriyah festivals, MDLBEAST. “It will be a fantastic season, especially now that people already have an idea of what to expect from last season,” he said.

“Not to mention the second season of MDLBEAST: 2019 was a blast, it was cold because but the experience itself is unique and the first of its kind,” Assiri said. 

The Riyadh Season is expected to provide a mixture of exclusivity and modernity, turning the Saudi capital into a preferred destination for visitors. It will also contribute to achieving national goals such as raising the level of the entertainment-sector industry, creating job opportunities, growing economic returns and attracting foreign investment.

More details will be announced at a press conference on Oct. 4.

Decoder

RIYADH SEASON

Riyadh Season is the biggest part of Saudi Seasons, a series of themed entertainment, artistic, sporting and cultural events held throughout the Kingdom to boost tourism and business opportunities, and providing jobs for Saudi nationals. Riyadh Season 2021 alone will host 7,500 events, according to the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA).


Who’s Who: Loay Mashabi, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services

Who’s Who: Loay Mashabi, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services
Updated 27 September 2021

Who’s Who: Loay Mashabi, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services

Who’s Who: Loay Mashabi, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services

Loay Mashabi has been the deputy minister for logistic services at the Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services since April 2021.

He has also been a board member of Saudia Cargo from August 2021 and a board member of Saudi Exports from June 2021.

Prior to his current position, Mashabi was the deputy governor for planning and development at Saudi Customs from September 2019 to March 2021.

He served as the chief operating officer of the Al-Soudah Development project, later known as Al-Soudah Development Co., at the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, from February 2019 to August 2019.

From January 2017 to December 2018 Mashabi was general manager at LogiPoint Services, previously known as Isnad, the operator of the largest bonded and re-export zone in Saudi Arabia located at Jeddah Islamic Port.

From September of 2013 to December 2016, he worked as general manager at Petroleum and Energy Logistics and Services Co.

His professional career began in September 2006 at Saudi Aramco as a petroleum production engineer, and he continued to work as a senior production engineer at the oil giant until April 2013. This strong foundation in a well-governed giga-company helped to shape his career and he later moved to PETROGISTIX.

Mashabi received his master’s degree in business administration from the London Business School, a constituent college of the University of London, UK (2016-17).

He has a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia (2002-2006).

Mashabi was issued a petroleum engineering certification from the Society of Petroleum Engineers in December 2012.