Saudi Crown Prince launches program to help citizens ‘compete with the world’

Saudi Crown Prince launches program to help citizens ‘compete with the world’
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a program to develop human capabilities on Wednesday. (File/SPA)
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Updated 16 September 2021

Saudi Crown Prince launches program to help citizens ‘compete with the world’

Saudi Crown Prince launches program to help citizens ‘compete with the world’
  • Crown prince announced that the program will include 89 initiatives aimed at achieving objectives of Vision 2030
  • The program represents a national strategy aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of human capabilities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has set out new targets for kindergarten enrollment and improvements to universities as he unveiled a plan to help Saudi citizens “compete with the world”.

The new program will focus on enhancing values, developing fundamental competencies and skills of the future, and knowledge development, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced on Wednesday.

The initiative, part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 project, aims to increase kindergarten enrolment from 23 percent to 90 percent, and have two Saudi universities ranked among the top 100 higher education institutions in the world within the next nine years.

“Due to my confidence in the capabilities of every citizen, this program has been developed to meet the needs and aspirations of all segments of society,” the crown prince said.

The program will include 89 initiatives aimed at achieving 16 strategic objectives of Vision 2030. 

The program’s strategy will be built on three pillars: developing a resilient and strong educational base, preparing for the future labor market locally and globally, and providing lifelong learning opportunities.

Prince Mohammed said the program will prepare citizens for “the current and future labor market with capabilities and ambitions that compete with the world.”

Mohamed Ramady, London-based independent analyst, welcomed the announcement, and said: “The launch of this program is long overdue and needed as in the final analysis, it's the quality and capability of societal human capital that differentiates nation's economic progress, and this is installed from the earliest years of education as the program hopes to achieve.”

The reforms announced are needed, however, for the economy to see the effects of these reforms, it will take time. "Reforms are needed to improve the quality of education in order to better prepare Saudi citizens for the workforce. Even if these reforms are successful, it will still be a decade at least before the economic benefits materialise," said James Swanston, MENA economist at London-based Capital Economics.


Saudi investment minister heads Greece delegation to bolster strategic, trade relations

Saudi investment minister heads Greece delegation to bolster strategic, trade relations
Updated 41 min 21 sec ago

Saudi investment minister heads Greece delegation to bolster strategic, trade relations

Saudi investment minister heads Greece delegation to bolster strategic, trade relations
  • Khalid Al-Falih will meet with a number of Greek government officials and top CEOs during the three-day visit
  • He will also attend the Saudi-Greek Ministerial Committee, Saudi-Greek Investment Forum, and Saudi-Greek Business Council

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih will start an official visit to Greece on Sunday to head of a delegation of government officials, representatives of the private sector and businessmen.
The three-day visit aims to expand the strategic partnership and enhance investment and trade relations between the two countries, the ministry announced.

 


During the visit, Al-Falih will meet with a number of government officials and executives of major Greek companies, and will participate in the fifth meeting of the Saudi-Greek Ministerial Committee and the Saudi-Greek Investment Forum.
He will also conclude the work and activities of the Saudi-Greek Business Council, with the participation of the Federation of Saudi Chambers and the Federation of Greek Companies, which aims to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries, address the challenges facing investors and exchange information on available investment opportunities.

 


Saudi Arabia signs cooperation deal with WEF’s UpLink platform

The agreement was signed by Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim and President of the World Economic Forum Borge B
The agreement was signed by Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim and President of the World Economic Forum Borge B
Updated 28 May 2022

Saudi Arabia signs cooperation deal with WEF’s UpLink platform

The agreement was signed by Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim and President of the World Economic Forum Borge B
  • Ministry of Economy and Planning seeks to discuss and study common topics in the field of food security and food waste management

DAVOS: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning on Saturday signed a cooperation agreement with UpLink, the open innovation platform of the World Economic Forum.
The deal aims to “expand the scope of the most innovative solutions which address sustainable development challenges,” the ministry said.
The memorandum was signed by the Minister of Economy and Planning, Faisal Al-Ibrahim, and the President of the World Economic Forum, Borge Brende, in the presence of a number of officials from both sides, on the sidelines of the forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“Through this agreement, the ministry seeks to discuss and study common topics in the field of food security, food waste management, food stability, and climate-smart agriculture, considering the challenges the Kingdom faces in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in both local and global contexts,” the statement added.


Egyptian business leader brands UK-Egypt relations ‘best they’ve ever been’

Egyptian business leader brands UK-Egypt relations ‘best they’ve ever been’
Updated 28 May 2022

Egyptian business leader brands UK-Egypt relations ‘best they’ve ever been’

Egyptian business leader brands UK-Egypt relations ‘best they’ve ever been’
  • A high-level Egyptian government and business delegation visited Britain to attract foreign investment
  • Acting Minister of Health and Population Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said ‘Egypt is now well prepared for foreign investment’

LONDON: Relations between Britain and Egypt are the best they have ever been, with the UK keen to further increase cooperation, Egyptian officials have revealed.

The comments came during a visit to Britain by a high-level Egyptian government and business delegation.

Egyptian Acting Minister of Health and Population Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, said: “We see that Egypt is now well prepared for foreign investment, and well organized when it comes to legislation and opportunities.

“At the same time, we have been ranked through different financial institutions as a place where the future of investment and the future of economy is coming in front of us.”

Abdel Ghaffar, who is also the minister of higher education and scientific research, was on a one-day visit to the UK to highlight some of the opportunities to attract investors from different sectors in health care.

Egyptian Acting Minister of Health and Population Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar was visiting as part of a four-day mission organized by the Cairo-based British Egyptian Business Association. (AN Photo/Hasenin Fadhel)

Speaking on the sidelines of an event organized by the London-based Arab British Chamber of Commerce where he briefed senior executives from the UK health and pharmaceuticals sectors, the minister told Arab News he aimed to spotlight the resilience and capacity of the Egyptian health care system, as well as the gaps needed to be filled by foreign investment.

“We are here to show our commitment as a government, and as a will for opening our hands for investments in different sectors in Egypt,” he added.

With economic activity in Egypt continuing to surge, its government is working to implement legislation for universal health care coverage by 2030, and UK investors could play a crucial role in providing health services and facilities in both urban and rural settings.

Wearing both ministerial hats, Abdel Ghaffar said many lines of communication had been opened in the health and higher education sectors between Egypt and the UK.

He pointed out that the two countries were holding “serious talks” on investing in hospitals, training nurses and physicians, and preparing ophthalmology and dentistry students to take their exams in Egypt. On the education front, he noted that several partnerships had already been established with a number of British universities and more were in the pipeline.

“We are planning to have around 15 new universities ready to operate by September and October this year. For that reason, we need to discuss more with our partners from the UK to encourage in that area,” Abdel Ghaffar added.

The minister was visiting as part of a four-day mission organized by the Cairo-based British Egyptian Business Association and the commercial attache of the Egyptian embassy in London, to promote other opportunities in Egypt too, with several events running in parallel targeting finance and green finance, infrastructure, renewable energy and green hydrogen, and opportunities in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

It was the BEBA’s seventh annual business mission and its biggest by far, its chairman, Khaled Nosseir, said, adding that the delegation included four cabinet ministers — international cooperation, finance, electricity, and energy, and health and higher education — along with vice ministers, heads of authorities, and around 74 business leaders who came from Cairo.

The visit was organized by the British Egyptian Business Association’s and it was its seventh annual business mission and its biggest by far. (AN Photo/Hasenin Fadhel)

Nosseir said they had held meetings, seminars, and events with counterparts, investors, and those interested in dealing with the north African country to address opportunities not only in the Egyptian market, but also other markets in Africa.

Another main highlight of the visit was Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the much-anticipated UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) which will be held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh in November, as the UK hands over the presidency from the previous year.

“Relations between Egypt and the UK, this is the best they have ever been, at least, that I’ve experienced. So, we’re trying to bank on that and really build on that to foster economic relations, trade, and investment,” Nosseir added, describing the response throughout the visit as “very positive” from all sides.

“There’s been a seismic transformation in Egypt over the last six years, and Egypt is not the same as what it used to be, and whatever we try to explain to anybody outside of Egypt what’s happening and the new Egypt, no one can really grasp it, because even for us in Egypt, it’s mind boggling,” he said.


Dur Hospitality plans to open Rixos Jeddah Resort by 2023

Dur Hospitality plans to open Rixos Jeddah Resort by 2023
Updated 28 May 2022

Dur Hospitality plans to open Rixos Jeddah Resort by 2023

Dur Hospitality plans to open Rixos Jeddah Resort by 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Dur Hospitality Co. has purchased Makarem Al Nakheel Village & Resort for $80 million and plans to convert it into the first Rixos resort in Jeddah, said a top executive.

In an interview with Arab News at the Future Hospitality Summit, Hassan Ahdab, president of hotel operations at Dur Hospitality, said that the all-inclusive resort will be open to visitors in one year.

“We plan to have a grand opening of the Rixos Jeddah Resort by the mid or the third quarter of 2023,” said Ahdab.

According to a press statement, the project will restyle and enhance all facilities, including 174 rooms, 73 furnished residential villas and two restaurants, among other amenities.

Hassan Ahdab, Dur Hospitality's president for hotel operations, in an interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh. (AN)

The statement added that the resort would also feature vast green landscapes, sandy beaches with breathtaking views, a marina, and a plaza overlooking the Red Sea.

The hospitality major has also roped in Accor to develop and manage the property.

“We were the first in Saudi Arabia to own, operate, manage, franchise, and even create brands for hotels,” said Ahdab.

The company was instrumental in bringing Marriott International into the Kingdom, the first Marriott outside the USA.

“Our journey started by training and educating our people on the international standards while keeping the Saudi hospitality as part of the DNA of our services,” he said.

He further said: “Dur Hospitality’s main investment is Makkah’s Makarem Ajyad Makkah Hotel. Makarem is a homegrown brand with international standards, but it still carries a lot of Islamic flavors that pilgrims can appreciate.”


Hilton to open 59 more hotels in Saudi Arabia in the next 10 years

Hilton to open 59 more hotels in Saudi Arabia in the next 10 years
Updated 28 May 2022

Hilton to open 59 more hotels in Saudi Arabia in the next 10 years

Hilton to open 59 more hotels in Saudi Arabia in the next 10 years
  • Hilton's top exec for MENA says Saudi Arabia has enormous potential for growth in the hospitality sector
  • Assures that the hospitality chain will work closely with the Saudi Tourism Authority

RIYADH: Hilton Hotels & Resorts will add 59 more hotels across various asset classes in Saudi Arabia in the next five to 10 years. The hospitality group currently has 16 in the region.

In an interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit, Hilton’s managing director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amir Lababedi, said that Hilton will reach 75 hotels within the next five to 10 years and probably exceed that number as well.

“We will surpass 75 hotels in the next five to 10 years because of all the Kingdom’s efforts. These hotels will be spread across a range of asset classes and brands, serving a broad range of demographics,” said Lababedi.

He further added that the Kingdom has enormous potential for growth in the hospitality sector thanks to the wholehearted support offered by the government, including the Tourism Development Fund and the Public Investment Fund.

“The Hilton in Jeddah, Makkah and Medina are properties that are part of the fabric of the tourism industry, right from the start of domestic and international tourism,” Lababedi said.

As a result of Vision 2030, the market has changed in the last few years with regard to tourism and economic development, and Lababedi said that the company would fully support the goals and initiatives of the Ministry of Tourism.

He added that the hospitality chain works closely with the Saudi Tourism Authority to bring its performance engine to support the industry’s growth.

Hilton’s goal is to infuse a sense of local culture into all of its brands.

“We are looking to infuse the Diriyah property with the essence of its history, bringing the story of this unique location to life,” Lababedi added. “And we call these properties the heroes, and it’s part of a shared principle of brand sharing,” he said.

When it comes to hiring Saudis, he said the company needs to hire locals not just because of regulations and Saudization quotas but also because guests appreciate the gesture when a company can bring a local culture into their hotels.

 “We work very closely with the authorities in training and developing Saudis to find a career in hospitality, get them ready for a work-life, and provide them with the basic life skills to go out into the workforce and prepare them for that,” said Lababedi.