Riyadh in race with top global cities to hire new talent, says mayor

Special Riyadh Mayor Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf speaks to Arab News at the Human Capability Initiative taking place from Feb. 28 -29 in the Saudi capital. AN photo by Huda Bashatah
Riyadh Mayor Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf speaks to Arab News at the Human Capability Initiative taking place from Feb. 28 -29 in the Saudi capital. AN photo by Huda Bashatah
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Updated 29 February 2024
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Riyadh in race with top global cities to hire new talent, says mayor

Riyadh in race with top global cities to hire new talent, says mayor

RIYADH: The Saudi capital finds itself in global competition with cities like New York and Tokyo for a skilled workforce, according to its mayor.

With a population exceeding 7 million, the city is experiencing an ongoing transformation as it becomes a hub for attracting talent and boosting entrepreneurship.

In an interview with Arab News at the Human Capability Initiative taking place from Feb. 28 -29, Riyadh Mayor Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf said: “Competition for talent is no longer regional or local. It’s global. We’re competing with New York, with Tokyo, with Paris, with Chicago. So it’s a global competition.”

He added: “Riyadh is going through massive changes. It’s historic in its scale, in its scope, and its impact. We realize in Riyadh that the trigger behind all of this is having the right workforce, having the right talent, having the right engine behind what we are doing.”

The mayor delved into the city’s strategic framework, saying: “We have designated a lot of efforts in the city to attract and to retain and to develop the right workforce, which is aligned with the theme of what happens today.”

Speaking of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, he said it is not an endpoint but a milestone in the longer trajectory.

Prince Faisal revealed that designated programs look at attracting, retaining, and developing the workforce with specific projects and key performance indicators.

“For us, this is the key enabler that will unleash everything else that’s happening in the city,” he commented.

Reflecting on the global landscape, Prince Faisal highlighted the importance of job opportunities as a catalyst for attracting a skilled workforce.

“If you look at attracting the right workforce and attracting talent, there are multiple layers to that. The main trigger is job opportunities. Usually, talent moves for job opportunities and for this the current changes and the transformation, the current vision is taking care of it. We have an abundance of the right jobs for the right caliber,” he remarked.

Furthermore, the mayor outlined the fundamental factors that individuals consider when deciding on a location for relocation or settling down, saying: “You think about safety, housing, education, and health. And in all four aspects, there are concrete efforts to build on the good foundation that we have in the city today and to take it to the next level.”

He added: “The second layer is the quality of life where people would like to go for the necessities, but they will stay because of the quality of life.”

Discussing doubling the capital’s inhabitants number, Prince Faisal said: “It’s not a goal in itself. It’s an assumption that’s based on our sort of plans and details,” adding: “I think reaching 15 million (inhabitants) is not a goal in itself, but it’s an assumption based on historical trends.”

He explained that in the past 40 to 50 years, the number of inhabitants in Riyadh has been doubling almost every 10 years, which occurred without anticipation.

“What we’ve done this time is saying, OK, we’ve doubled for the past decades, let’s assume we’re going to double again in the next decade and work for that to provide infrastructure, provide and boost the economy, work on projects to accommodate for that,” he said.

In a panel titled “Shaping places, shaping our future to attract talent and foster innovation” at the forum, the mayor shared perspectives on the city’s trajectory and strategies for nurturing talent and innovation.

Prince Faisal also provided insights into the recruitment process, emphasizing the significance of competency as a baseline requirement, saying: “Every candidate and person and CV that you look at passes the filter of competency, or else you wouldn’t even see the CV.”

He added: “Once you see and you meet that person, they’re competent, there is no question about that, so you look for added layers.”

The top official explained further: “What I personally look for are two things. One, I look very clearly at culture. I think culture is very important in organizations. I think it is what makes or breaks successful organizations.”

He added: “Number two, that I really look for are soft skills. We agreed that every person that you meet is competent, but what distinguishes an executive from a leader are soft skills.”

The mayor underscored the importance of passion and purpose in one’s career trajectory, highlighting that it is “very important to love what you do,” because it’s “very critical to operate in a space where you enjoy.”

Discussing global tendencies affecting the workforce, Prince Faisal highlighted that “there are multiple trends that are impacting the workforce in general, one of them is AI, but others, such as transportation, such as globalization, those and many more. Those are all trends that are changing the narratives and trends of workforces. What’s happening is that talent has a much wider pool to choose from.”

Prince Faisal highlighted Riyadh’s unique blend of tradition and modernity, offering a compelling proposition for prospective talents.

He said: “We are a global city, but with roots, with cultural heritage, with traditions. And I think that combination and that juxtaposition together is what creates a competitive advantage for Riyadh.”

The Human Capability Initiative seeks to enhance and elevate capabilities universally while delving into opportunities across diverse domains such as skill development and the future of work, as well as education, talent, and technology.

The event will also bring together policymakers, thought leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs to catalyze international collaboration and maximize resilience while exploring opportunities and promoting innovative policy design and solutions.

The forum is hosting 7,000 participants from more than 70 countries, according to the mayor.


ADNOC to boost production target by 2030

ADNOC to boost production target by 2030
Updated 27 May 2024
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ADNOC to boost production target by 2030

ADNOC to boost production target by 2030

RIYADH: The Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. plans to boost its local manufacturing target for critical industrial products to 90 billion dirhams ($24.5 billion) by 2030 in a bid to strengthen the UAE’s industrial sector and expand local manufacturing capabilities.

ADNOC made the announcement at the “Make it in the Emirates” forum, adding that the new target is part of its expanded In-Country Value program, which aims to drive an additional 178 billion dirhams back into the UAE economy by 2028. 

“This expanded initiative will support the UAE’s economic diversification, attract local and international investors, and provide high-skilled private sector jobs for UAE nationals. Additionally, it will stimulate entrepreneurial growth and drive sustainability in ADNOC’s supply chain,” said Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, minister of industry and advanced technology, and ADNOC managing director and group CEO. 

This expanded initiative will support the UAE’s economic diversification, attract local and international investors.

Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, UAE minister of industry and advanced technology

The company said its previous 2027 target of 70 billion dirhams worth of products was “delivered ahead of schedule” following the award of two contracts for metal pipes and valves worth 16.8 billion dirhams to local manufacturers.

The contracts include 8.8 billion dirhams for metal pipes to PM Piping Petroleum Equipment, Ajmal Steel, and the Emirati-owned Al Gharbia Pipe Co.; and 8 billion dirhams for mechanical valves to Samamat, Camtech Manufacturing, Tisco Valves Manufacturing, PTPA, MT Valves and Industries.

ADNOC’s expanded ICV program also aims to provide a micro, small and medium enterprises accelerator program to enable Emirati businesses and local mSMEs to conduct business across ADNOC’s supply chain.


Saudi Arabia’s Sports Boulevard doubles its existing investment fund to $533m  

Saudi Arabia’s Sports Boulevard doubles its existing investment fund to $533m  
Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s Sports Boulevard doubles its existing investment fund to $533m  

Saudi Arabia’s Sports Boulevard doubles its existing investment fund to $533m  

RIYADH: Private sector participation in the Sports Boulevard project is set to increase as the foundation behind Riyadh’s largest linear park plans to double its investment fund to SR2 billion ($533 million). 

In a press release, the Sports Boulevard Foundation announced its partnership with Ajdan Real Estate Development Co. and Albilad Capital to add an additional SR1 billion to the private real estate investment fund “Sports Boulevard Real Estate Fund 1.” 

This increased funding will be utilized to bolster private sector participation within the Arts District, one of the destinations within the Sports Boulevard project. 

The Sports Boulevard Development Co. will continue to hold the majority of units in the fund, while Ajdan Real Estate Development Co. will serve as a developer and primary investor, and Albilad Capital will act as the fund manager. 

This partnership underscores the collaborative effort behind the expansion, signifying a strategic alliance aimed at creating a vibrant urban space that enhances Riyadh’s cultural and economic landscape.  

The project aims to develop a mixed-use lifestyle destination consisting of residential, retail, office, and entertainment components.  

Covering a land area of over 39,000 sq. m. at the heart of the Arts District, the total combined built-up site spans approximately 240,000 sq. m., boasting over 100,000 sq. m. of net leasable area.   

The design of this destination draws inspiration from the Sports Boulevard Design Code, influenced by the Salmani Architectural Style. This ensures a dynamic and immersive lifestyle experience for both residents and visitors. 

Situated at the intersection of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Road and Prince Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Awwal Road, it offers expansive public spaces, recreational areas, and cycling-friendly tracks. 

Covering an area of 184,000 sq. m., the project extends beyond private development parcels, providing ample space for recreational activities and pedestrian-friendly pathways, efficiently linked to the promenade and cycling bridge. 

Sports Boulevard, a mega project launched by King Salman bin Abdulaziz in 2019, and supported by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, spans over 135 km on Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Road.  

It features safe green pathways for pedestrians, cyclists, athletes, and horse riders, connecting Wadi Hanifah in the west to Wadi Al Sulai in the east. 

Additionally, the project includes over 4.4 million sq. m. of greenery, open spaces, and up to 50 multidisciplinary sports facilities. It also hosts several unique destinations and investment zones, totaling an area exceeding 3 million sq. m. 


Closing Bell: Saudi benchmark index edges down to close at 11,831

Closing Bell: Saudi benchmark index edges down to close at 11,831
Updated 27 May 2024
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Closing Bell: Saudi benchmark index edges down to close at 11,831

Closing Bell: Saudi benchmark index edges down to close at 11,831

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index slipped on Monday, losing 19.42 points, or 0.16 percent, to close at 11,831.22.  

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR5.8 billion ($1.5 billion) as 110 stocks advanced, while 108 retreated.   

On the other hand, the Kingdom’s parallel market Nomu also slipped 189.65 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 26,448.54. This comes as 30 stocks advanced while as many as 34 retreated.  

Similarly, the MSCI Tadawul Index also dropped 2.67 points, or 0.18 percent, to close at 1,470.41.    

The best-performing stock of the day was Saudi Paper Manufacturing Co. The company’s share price surged 4.89 percent to SR75.10.  

Other top performers included CHUBB Arabia Cooperative Insurance Co. as well as Middle East Specialized Cables Co., whose share prices soared by 3.96 percent and 3.46 percent, to stand at SR34.10 and SR32.85 respectively.  

On Nomu, Osool and Bakheet Investment Co. was the top gainer, with its share price rising by 9.22 percent to SR48.   

Other best performers on Nomu were View United Real Estate Development Co. as well as Al-Modawat Specialized Medical Co., whose share prices soared by 6.53 percent and 6.20 percent to stand at SR79.90 and SR150.80, respectively.  

Additional top gainers included Almujtama Alraida Medical Co. and Bena Steel Industries Co.  

On the announcement front, Saudi Basic Industries Corp., known as SABIC, received all necessary approvals from relevant authorities to complete the acquisition of its subsidiary Saudi Iron and Steel Co., also known as HADEED, by the Public Investment Fund. 

In a statement on Tadawul, SABIC announced that it has satisfied all transaction-related conditions to complete the SR12.5 billion acquisition announced earlier in September 2023. 

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia aluminum producer Al Taiseer Group Talco Industrial Co. is listing a 30 percent stake on the Tadawul stock exchange following an initial public offering, setting the final offer price at SR43 per share. 

The company is selling 12 million shares and has completed the book-building process for institutional investors, which saw a coverage of 68.5 times the total offer shares, according to Alinma Investment Co., the lead manager and financial adviser to the issuance. 

The book-building process for retail investors will run for two days starting on May 28. During this time, they can subscribe to a maximum of 10 percent of the shares. The final share allocation is set for June 2. 


Saudi Arabia focused on promoting energy efficiency: top official

Saudi Arabia focused on promoting energy efficiency: top official
Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia focused on promoting energy efficiency: top official

Saudi Arabia focused on promoting energy efficiency: top official

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s budding energy efficiency sector has witnessed notable growth, with the number of licensed service providers reaching 55 by the end of 2023, says a top official. 

As the Kingdom strives to reduce its carbon footprint, with recently amplified goals to achieve net-zero by 2060, the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center is working to aide the nation in realizing these ambitions, Nasser Al-Ghamdi, the CEO of the center noted. 

In his inaugural address at the Saudi ESCO forum, the top executive stressed the entity’s role in raising awareness about energy efficiency. He highlighted that 26 universities nationwide have adopted energy efficiency topics and courses in their curricula.

“Since the inception of the center, we have launched various initiatives that will help in reducing energy consumption,” Al- Ghamdi said.

Among these undertakings, the body has succeeded in launching and implementing more than 200 training programs in the field of energy efficiency, the CEO added. 

The executive emphasized that the center has strived to create the necessary ecosystem for suppliers and their beneficiaries in this “promising market” to ensure the quality of energy-efficiency service providers.

He added that this will be achieved through the application of a licensing system for those interested in investing in this field after meeting the technical requirements necessary to provide the service. 

Highlighting the role that the fledgling sector is playing in achieving net-zero goals, the CEO said: “The sector, which is considered relatively new, is helping companies and enterprises and buildings in finding solutions to efficiently use energy, including financing and managing solutions and projects. These companies also contribute energy consumption analysis and knowing opportunities for companies to improve their consumption.”

Due to the absence of energy efficiency activities in the commercial sector, one of the highest energy consumers in the Kingdom, accounting for 15.7 percent of total consumption of facilities in the nation, the body launched a pilot project to improve this field. 

The initiative aims to improve conditions in the commercial sector by raising business owners’ awareness of opportunities, as implementing energy auditing projects is expected to improve overall efficiency.


Yanbu Royal Commission teams up with Skytower Investments for industrial projects development

Yanbu Royal Commission teams up with Skytower Investments for industrial projects development
Updated 27 May 2024
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Yanbu Royal Commission teams up with Skytower Investments for industrial projects development

Yanbu Royal Commission teams up with Skytower Investments for industrial projects development

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Yanbu governorate is poised to see the development of several industrial projects following an agreement between its Royal Commission and Skytower Investments Ltd. 

The memorandum of understanding, signed by the commission’s CEO, Abdul Hadi Al-Juhani, aims to develop industries in the petrochemicals sector, specialized chemicals, renewable energy, and other manufacturing divisions. 

This MoU signing is part of the Royal Commission’s ongoing efforts to attract more local and international investments to Yanbu Industrial City in promising sectors, aligning with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030 programs. 

Headquartered in Riyadh, STI is an investment firm specializing in renewable technology, green manufacturing, supply chain, and green power production. 

“This is a result of significant development over the past nine months by both teams paving the way for more international manufacturing and localization projects landing in Yanbu,” Skytower said in a tweet on X. 

It added: “This agreement will pave the way for more international manufacturing and localization projects landing in Yanbu, an industrial heartland with complete industry infrastructure and extensive manufacturing experiences.” 

In April, STI signed a four-party joint agreement with Chinese automaker Chery Automobile Co., the Ministry of Investment, and the National Industrial Development Center.  

This collaboration, driven by Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, signifies a crucial step toward future economic opportunities and the well-being of the Saudi people. 

In August 2023, the Kingdom’s untapped southern region took a significant step toward welcoming international travelers.  

Cruise Saudi and the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu signed an MoU to unlock the region’s tourism potential. This strategic partnership was aimed at positioning the southern region as a captivating tourist destination, fostering growth in the travel sector and contributing to the region’s economic advancement. 

Formalized during the MASAREB ceremony held in Jazan, the agreement encompassed a spectrum of efforts, from knowledge transfer to mutual alignment on ventures aimed at establishing the destination and yielding a positive local impact. 

STI is a global partnership between NGOs, green businesses with advanced eco-friendly technology, sustainable manufacturing, and Saudi’s national sustainable economic development authorities.

Their aim is to develop practical plans for industry decarbonization, economic revitalization, technological advancement, and carbon-neutral technology.