Saudi Arabia’s industrial factory count surges past 11,000 in 2023

Saudi Arabia’s industrial factory count surges past 11,000 in 2023
In August 2023 alone, the number of factories witnessed a 3.76 percent increase, reaching 11,110, compared to 10,707 in the same month the previous year. Shutterstock
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Updated 03 October 2023
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Saudi Arabia’s industrial factory count surges past 11,000 in 2023

Saudi Arabia’s industrial factory count surges past 11,000 in 2023

RIYADH: Amid Saudi Arabia’s ongoing industrial expansion, the number of factories in the Kingdom increased to 11,000 this year, a substantial increase from 8,800 in 2019, according to a government official.    

Speaking at the Industrial Sector Enablers’ Forum, organized by the Riyadh Chamber, Mohammed Al-Swailem, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources for industrial services, revealed that the Kingdom is targeting 36,000 establishments by 2035, in alignment with the national industrial strategy.   

In August 2023 alone, the number of factories witnessed a 3.76 percent increase, reaching 11,110, compared to 10,707 in the same month the previous year.   

The forum, held in collaboration with the ministry and represented by the Industrial Committee, aims to highlight the identified potentials that will empower the industrial sector to achieve its objectives within the framework of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.  

Al-Swailem emphasized that the forum’s objectives include enabling the industrial sector to actively contribute to economic development. 

Furthermore, Abdullah Alkhorayef, chairman of the Industrial Committee at the Riyadh Chamber, highlighted that the forum is an integral part of the chamber’s initiatives to foster communication with sector officials, offering a platform to address pressing concerns and work collaboratively on solutions. 

He commended the identification of industrial potentials, recognizing them as a top priority for achieving economic development. 

The forum was attended by several officials from the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources and encompassed discussions on various industry potentials.  

These talks covered topics such as enhancing competitiveness, ensuring the sustainability of industrial enterprises, and fostering export development. 

Moreover, the forum underscored the mission of the Industrial Services Agency, the significance of the Future Factories Program, and the objectives of the industrial councils. 

In February, Deputy Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Osama Al-Zamil announced Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plan to boost the number of factories by 50 percent over the next five years, with an injection of SR1.4 trillion ($370 billion) into the industrial sector. 

He reiterated this goal during the launch of the Sanaei platform at the second edition of the LEAP technical conference in Riyadh, reaffirming the Kingdom’s long-term vision to ultimately see the current number of such facilities reach 36,000 by 2035.


Singaporean businesses look to benefit from exchange of expertise with Saudi Arabia 

Singaporean businesses look to benefit from exchange of expertise with Saudi Arabia 
Updated 3 min 1 sec ago
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Singaporean businesses look to benefit from exchange of expertise with Saudi Arabia 

Singaporean businesses look to benefit from exchange of expertise with Saudi Arabia 
  • Countries agreed to strengthen cooperation during Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong’s visit in October  
  • Big delegation accompanying the PM showed ‘high level of interest’ in Saudi Arabia, envoy says 

SINGAPORE: Singaporean businesses are looking to benefit from increasing cooperation with Saudi Arabia following a series of new agreements under their recently forged strategic partnership. 

The two countries agreed to strengthen relations in October, during an official visit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Riyadh and his meetings with Saudi leadership. 

Coinciding with Lee’s trip was the arrival of a delegation of ministers and business leaders in the Kingdom for a meeting of the Saudi-Singapore Joint Committee 

“The large number of ministers and officials as well as the accompanying business delegation by the Singapore Business Federation showed the high level of interest and engagement by Singapore with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Abdullah Mohammed Al-Madhi, the Saudi ambassador to Singapore, told Arab News earlier this week. 

“We were very honored to be able to welcome and show them many sectors of the Saudi economy. A very special program was prepared for Prime Minister Lee and his delegation. They included several non-traditional stops outside Riyadh that can also present business opportunities, such as Tabuk, Dammam and NEOM.” 

During the trip, the Singaporean premier and his top-level delegation — comprising Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng, and Social and Family Development Minister Masagos Zulkifli — made a historic trip to Madinah. 

It was Lee’s first visit to the second-holiest city in Islam after Makkah. 

“Prime Minister Lee was also able to share in our culture and heritage by visiting the culturally important sites around the city of Madinah to view the Prophet’s Mosque and Quba Mosque — thought to be the first mosque in the world. Then the delegation went on to AlUla for many other heritage sites,” Al-Madhi said. 

With Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Singaporean prime minister agreeing to upgrade relations to a strategic partnership, Singaporean businesses see opportunities likely to come from the move.  

“This allows for the deepening and expansion of mutually beneficial relations in all fields, enhancing investment, trade and economic cooperation,” Shamsher Zaman, chairman of the Middle East Business Group at the Singapore Business Federation, told Arab News. 

“Both countries stand to benefit from the exchange of opportunities and expertise between Singapore and Saudi Arabian companies in areas highlighted such as trade and investment, green energy, digital economy, and public sector development.” 

The Singapore Business Federation led a group of 32 business leaders to witness the developments and opportunities in Saudi Arabia first-hand. 

“The vibrant transformation we witness in Saudi Arabia today is driven by the nation’s young agents of change, with 63 percent of its population under the age of 30 years old. The rapid pace of development can be seen and experienced throughout Saudi Arabia, as the country is rapidly building towards Vision 2030,” Zaman said. 

“The transformation is predicated on developing its social and education sectors, and Singapore is a key partner in working together towards developing the human capital and its education sector, built upon Singapore’s experience and expertise in these fields. We are increasingly seeing Singaporean companies in education and human capital development, which are keen to bring expertise to Saudi Arabia and be a part of this transformation.” 

Seven memoranda of understanding were signed to facilitate investment opportunities during the Saudi-Singapore Joint Committee’s Oct. 17 meeting, reflecting the “continuous commitment of both countries, paving the way for more future collaborations to come,” Zaman said. 

“The recent, third, SSJC meeting reaffirms the strong bilateral relations between both countries and underscores the benefits of working together in areas of mutual interests in connectivity, digital economy and innovation, as well as energy and industry,” he added. 


UN chief ‘deeply regrets’ collapse of Gaza truce

UN chief ‘deeply regrets’ collapse of Gaza truce
Updated 21 min 40 sec ago
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UN chief ‘deeply regrets’ collapse of Gaza truce

UN chief ‘deeply regrets’ collapse of Gaza truce

GENEVA: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday he regretted that military operations had resumed in Gaza after the collapse of a week-long truce between Israel and Hamas.
“I deeply regret that military operations have started again in Gaza,” Guterres wrote on the X social media platform.
“The return to hostilities only shows how important it is to have a true humanitarian cease-fire.”


Innovative private sector must play its part in energy transition, urges Commonwealth sec-gen 

Innovative private sector must play its part in energy transition, urges Commonwealth sec-gen 
Updated 27 min 53 sec ago
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Innovative private sector must play its part in energy transition, urges Commonwealth sec-gen 

Innovative private sector must play its part in energy transition, urges Commonwealth sec-gen 

RIYADH: The private sector can no longer be on the periphery of energy transition efforts, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has insisted on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference. 

Speaking at the Business Philanthropy Climate Forum — a first-of-its-kind event held alongside COP28 in Dubai — Scotland appealed directly to commercial enterprise leaders to use their capital, talent and innovative capacity to tackle global warming.  

The event brought together over 1,300 CEOs and philanthropists, as well as 250 foundation heads from 55 countries, with the aim of facilitating a paradigm shift toward collaborative, action-oriented participation.  

Addressing the forum, Scotland said: “The idea that the private sector is peripheral to such a profound crisis cannot be the standard.  

“The private sector is exposed to the impacts, and it is central to the solution, not just through the provision of capital, but through your capacity to innovate.” 

During his inaugural address, Jafar Badr, chairman of the BPCF, stressed that governments, businesses and philanthropists cannot continue to operate in silos, adding that the private sector must fulfill its crucial role in ensuring a just transition. 

Referring to the breadth of nationalities and organizations at the event, Jafar said: “This unprecedented scale and diversity sends a clear and powerful signal that the private sector is ready to engage. And in doing so, business and philanthropy will become the connective tissue between COP presidencies.” 

He added: “This powerful partnership can facilitate consistent progress towards Net Zero, no matter which way the political winds are blowing in capitals around the world.” 


Climate change is a sickness only global leaders can cure, UN chief tells COP28

Climate change is a sickness only global leaders can cure, UN chief tells COP28
Updated 41 min 41 sec ago
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Climate change is a sickness only global leaders can cure, UN chief tells COP28

Climate change is a sickness only global leaders can cure, UN chief tells COP28

RIYADH: Climate change is a sickness only global leaders can cure with policy changes and effective actions, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has asserted.

Addressing the world leaders at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, in Dubai he highlighted the Earth’s challenging times, marked by unprecedented emissions, wildfires, and droughts, culminating in 2023 being the hottest year in recorded human history.

He urged immediate action to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, including limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5-degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, emphasizing the necessity of global cooperation, leadership, and political will. 

“Polar ice and glaciers are vanishing before our eyes, causing havoc the world over: from landslides and floods to rising seas. But this is just one symptom of the sickness bringing our climate to its knees. A sickness only you, global leaders, can cure,” said Guterres.  

“We are miles from the goals of the Paris Agreement — and minutes to midnight for the 1.5-degree limit. But it is not too late. You can prevent planetary crash and burn. We have the technologies to avoid the worst of climate chaos — if we act now,” he added.  

The secretary-general asserted that climate goals could be materialized only if humans stop burning of fossil fuels immediately.  

“The science is clear. The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels. Not reduce. Not abate. Phase out — with a clear timeframe aligned with 1.5 degrees,” said Guterres. 

He added that governments and fossil fuel companies have many things to do to combat the negative impacts of climate change.  

“I have a message for fossil fuel company leaders. Your old road is rapidly aging. Do not double down on an obsolete business model. Lead the transition to renewables,” added Guterres.  

He continued: “I urge governments to help industry make the right choice by regulating, legislating, putting a fair price on carbon, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and adopting a windfall tax on profits.” 

Guterres highlighted the disproportionate impact of climate change on developing countries, emphasizing the insufficient support from developed nations.  

“Climate justice is long overdue. Developing countries are being devastated by disasters they did not cause. Extortionate borrowing costs are blocking their climate action plans. And support is far too little, far too late,” he said.  

The UN chief stressed that the Global Stocktake must commit to a surge in finance, including for adaptation and loss and damage. “Developed countries must show how they will double adaptation finance to $40 billion a year by 2025 as promised and clarify how they deliver on the $100 billion — as promised.” 

For his part, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the president of the UAE, said that this year’s COP28 is crucial as the world grapples with numerous challenges, notably the severe impacts of climate change.  

He highlighted the UAE’s commitment to a sustainable future, emphasizing the country’s target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

“The UAE has an established record in climate action. When we committed to host COP28, we pledged to bring the world together to unite, work and deliver. We are finding practical ways to accelerate the world’s transition to low-emission economy,” said Al-Nahyan.  

During his speech, Al-Nahyan also announced the establishment of a $30 billion fund by the UAE for global climate solutions.  

“The lack of readily available and affordable climate finance has long been one of the biggest obstacles to advancing climate action globally. Therefore, I am pleased to announce the establishment of a $30 billion fund for global climate solutions.”  

He said this fund is specifically designed to “bridge the climate finance gap,” ensuring availability, accessibility, and affordability at scale.   

Speaking at the same event, Charles III, King of the UK, said that the world is seeing “alarming tipping points which is being reached.” 

“I pray with all my heart that COP28 will be another critical turning point toward genuine transformational action,” said the King.


Ex-PM Khan’s court-ordered public trial to begin tomorrow in state secrets case

Ex-PM Khan’s court-ordered public trial to begin tomorrow in state secrets case
Updated 58 min 9 sec ago
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Ex-PM Khan’s court-ordered public trial to begin tomorrow in state secrets case

Ex-PM Khan’s court-ordered public trial to begin tomorrow in state secrets case
  • At last hearing on Nov. 28, judge ruled the trial would continue in jail but family, media and public would be allowed access
  • Case relates to cipher between Washington and Islamabad Khan says was proof that US orchestrated his ouster as PM

ISLAMABAD: The jail trial of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, with media and members of the public allowed access for the first time, will begin tomorrow, Saturday, at Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail in a case in which the ex-premier is accused of leaking state secrets.

A special court established to hear what has popularly come to be called the cipher case had been conducting the trial inside the Adiala prison in Rawalpindi city since Khan was indicted on the charges last month and after the government said he could not be moved to a courtroom for hearings due to security reasons. However, the Islamabad High Court ruled last week that holding Khan’s trial inside jail premises on security concerns was illegal, and ordered it restarted in an open court.

The trial began afresh from today, Friday, but Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a close aide who has also been indicted in the case, were not produced before the special court when the hearing began because a law ministry notification sanctioning their trial had not been submitted until well into the hearing. 

The proceedings broke for recess and when they resumed, the judge said the law ministry’s notification had arrived and adjourned the hearing till Saturday. 

“Another blatant attempt to slow the process when [law ministry] notification could have been issued yesterday,” a PTI media manager told reporters on Friday.

Khan, who is the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, is being held at Adiala jail where he is serving a three-year sentence in a separate case in which he was convicted in August of failing to disclose assets earned from the sale of state gifts while he was PM from 2018-2022. 

Khan is also accused in a number of other cases, including the cipher case, which relates to an alleged diplomatic correspondence between Washington and Islamabad that Khan says was proof that his ouster as PM in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence in April 2022 was part of a US conspiracy to remove him. Washington has repeatedly denied Khan’s accusations.

Khan, arguably the most popular politician in the country, has not been seen in public since he was arrested in August. Prior to that, he regularly addressed his millions of followers via social media and held massive public rallies and protest marches.

Khan had also been appearing in courts prior to his August arrest protected by his personal security guards. But he has also sought exemptions from personal appearances, often citing threats to his safety.

The former premier says all cases against him are “politically motivated” and aimed at keeping him and his party out of politics ahead of general elections, due in February.