Saudi industrial sector sees 63% surge in new investments

Saudi industrial sector sees 63% surge in new investments
The report revealed a 13 percent growth in new manufacturing establishments. Shutterstock
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Updated 08 April 2024
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Saudi industrial sector sees 63% surge in new investments

Saudi industrial sector sees 63% surge in new investments

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector experienced a 63 percent increase in new investments in 2023, amounting to a SR15 billion ($3.99 billion) rise compared to the previous year. 

According to the annual report from the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, the cumulative funding last year reached SR415 billion, distributed across 891 projects encompassing both local and foreign ventures. 

Notably, international inflows soared by 85 percent compared to the previous year, underscoring the Kingdom’s growing appeal as a prime destination for global investors.  

The authority, also known as Modon, noted that the developed land area in these industrial cities now exceeds 209 million sq. m., accommodating 6,443 factories and 7,946 industrial, logistical, and investment establishments. 

“We always take pride in creating success stories within and outside the authority; during 2023, Modon’s teams managed to achieve success and manage over 7,900 industrial, investment, and logistical contracts, with growth nearly 10 percent over 2022,” Modon’s CEO, Majed Al-Argoubi, stated in the report.

“In addition, there was an active movement for attracting and facilitating the journey of current and potential partners. Concurrently, the digital transformation index rose by 9 percent to a rate of 85.77 percent, according to a continuous improvement journey for internal procedures tailored for partners and stakeholders,” he added. 

The report also revealed a 13 percent growth in new manufacturing establishments, along with a 6 percent increase in the number of producing factories.  

Furthermore, there are 1,301 ready-to-use factory units and facilities, signifying a significant expansion in the Kingdom’s industrial infrastructure. 

This growth reflects the nation’s growing economic dynamics and its successful push toward manufacturing and technological advancement.  

The authority also inaugurated the Modon Oasis in Yanbu and a new industrial city in Asir last year. Additionally, it completed 48 development projects, with a total investment exceeding SR1.3 billion. 

Moreover, the government agency executed 260 ready-made factories in strategic industrial locales across the Kingdom, with significant private sector involvement, aligning with the Saudi Arabia National Industrial Development and Logistics program. 

The strategy aims to bring supply chains closer to the domestic economy, reducing costs and boosting sustainability.  

Further enhancing the operational capacity of these industrial zones, Modon introduced significant upgrades in utility services. This included the addition of 724 maximum fuse amps of electrical capacity and the expansion of potable water and wastewater services. These upgrades bolster the infrastructure to support increased industrial activity. 

The report also highlighted Modon’s commitment to digital transformation and cybersecurity. It showcased a high level of compliance with information security controls and a substantial number of data exchange operations, reflecting the authority’s dedication to modernizing and safeguarding its industrial sectors. 

Established in 2001, Modon plays a pivotal role in shaping Saudi Arabia’s manufacturing landscape. It oversees 36 industrial cities and various technological oases across the nation, aligning with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to diversify its economy and enhance its global industrial standing. 


Riyadh Airport leads annual audit awards as service quality improves across the Kingdom

Riyadh Airport leads annual audit awards as service quality improves across the Kingdom
Updated 21 May 2024
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Riyadh Airport leads annual audit awards as service quality improves across the Kingdom

Riyadh Airport leads annual audit awards as service quality improves across the Kingdom

RIYADH: King Khalid International Airport secured first place at Saudi Arabia’s annual Aviation Security Audit Awards, with the Kingdom’s terminals achieving an 80 percent overall average in service quality assessments for 2023.

Announced during the Future Aviation Forum held in the Saudi capital, the Riyadh-located facility secured the top ranking based on factors such as operational performance standards, evaluation of airport facilities and services, passenger satisfaction questionnaire, and passenger complaints. 

King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and Abha International Airport collected the second and third awards, respectively. 

The General Authority of Civil Aviation highlighted a 6 percent increase in Saudi airport performance in 2023 compared to the previous 12 months in its Comprehensive Airport Service Quality Assessment Program results. 

The program, one of GACA’s initiatives, aims to evaluate and enhance the quality of services provided to passengers at Saudi airports, improving the travel experience. 

The event was attended by Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Duailej, president of GACA, along with CEOs of airport companies and directors general of Saudi airports.  

In his speech, Al-Duailej emphasized that passenger services and satisfaction are fundamental principles guiding the Kingdom’s airports. He also highlighted the annual event’s role in showcasing its commitment to enhancing service quality, creating competitive airport environments, and promoting continual improvement and development. 

“As part of its regulatory and supervisory role, GACA has taken numerous steps to develop the Kingdom’s aviation system for effective performance,” he said.  

Al-Duailej added that improving the passenger experience and providing services that meet international standards are among GACA’s top priorities, aligning with the objectives of the National Aviation Strategy. 

The president also noted that GACA is continuously working to improve the passenger experience at airports by implementing strict monitoring and supervision standards and indicators. 

He further stated that over 1 million samples of operational performance data have been collected, and feedback from service users and stakeholders has been incorporated into the service development process. 

Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Dahmash, executive vice president for quality and passenger experience at GACA, noted that in 2023, the authority issued around 500 reports under the program.  

These included monthly and quarterly operational performance reports, passenger satisfaction surveys, semi-annual program results reports, and annual program review reports. 

During the event, Al-Duailej launched the ‘Bridges’ program, which aims to empower and connect the Saudi airport sector with local content, starting with 23 investment opportunities valued at SR7 billion ($1.87 billion) by 2030. The program is designed on several strategic pillars to develop national human capabilities. 


STA launches summer program to boost tourism sector

STA launches summer program to boost tourism sector
Updated 21 May 2024
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STA launches summer program to boost tourism sector

STA launches summer program to boost tourism sector

RIYADH: The Saudi Tourism Authority has launched its summer program for 2024 with a lineup of events taking place across seven destinations in the Kingdom. 

According to a press statement, the program launched under the title “Saudi Summer is Next Door” will run for a duration of four months until the end of September. 

The seven destinations included in the summer campaign are Riyadh, Jeddah, AlUla, and the Red Sea, as well as Aseer, Al Baha, and Taif. 

Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s minister of tourism, said that the Kingdom is witnessing rapid growth in the hospitality sector, as it received record-breaking numbers of incoming visitors in 2023. 

“Saudi Arabia is witnessing a transformative period in tourism, driven by our vision to position the Kingdom as a premier global destination. The Saudi Summer Program 2024 is our commitment to showcasing the rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and unparalleled hospitality that Saudi Arabia offers,” said Al-Khateeb. 

According to the UN’s World Tourism Barometer, Saudi Arabia’s number of visitors arriving in 2023 reached 106 million, a 156 percent increase on 2019.

This year’s summer program will also see the return of the Jeddah Season and the launch of the Aseer Season, featuring numerous family activities and events.

“We invite local and international tourists to experience the diversity of our seven unique destinations and take advantage of the exceptional offers and packages designed to create unforgettable memories,” added Al-Khateeb. 

Developing the tourism sector is crucial for Saudi Arabia, as the Kingdom is steadily diversifying its economy by reducing its dependency on oil. 

Saudi Arabia’s National Tourism Strategy aims to attract 150 million visitors by 2030 and increase the sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product to 10 percent from the current 6 percent. 

Commenting on the summer program, Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general of the World Tourism Organization, said: “Saudi tourism is witnessing unparalleled development at all levels, achieving great leaps in recent years. Saudi Arabia has global indicators related to the number of tourists, which has qualified it to top the UN World Tourism list of significant tourist destinations.” 

For his part, Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and board member of STA, noted that this year’s summer program includes more than 550 tourism products and 150 special offers, including discounts on hotel bookings. 

Moreover, the launch of the summer program comes at a time when visiting Saudi Arabia has become more accessible. To accelerate the number of incoming tourists, Saudi Arabia launched the eVisa and made it available to citizens of 66 countries, which made the Kingdom’s visa 20 percent less expensive. 


Saudi Arabia and Australia sign deal to boost trade ties

Saudi Arabia and Australia sign deal to boost trade ties
Updated 21 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia and Australia sign deal to boost trade ties

Saudi Arabia and Australia sign deal to boost trade ties

RIYADH: Trade ties between Saudi Arabia and Australia are set to strengthen after the two countries signed an agreement to improve cooperation across multiple sectors. 

According to a press statement, the memorandum of understanding was inked between the Australia Saudi Business Council & Forum and the Export Council of Australia. 

The agreement will focus on cooperation in industry, mining and food as well as agriculture, technology, and artificial intelligence. 

The deal will increase the opportunities for Australian exporters to collaborate with Saudi entities, enhancing bilateral cooperation. 

The agreement was signed by the President of the Australia Saudi Business Council & Forum, Sam Jamsheedi, and Arnold Jorge, CEO of the Export Council of Australia, during the latter’s visit to the Kingdom with a delegation. 

“Under this strategic partnership, we will seek to work together closely in identifying initiatives that facilitate connections between Australia and Saudi Arabia,” said Jamsheedi. 

According to the UN Comtrade database, Australia’s exports to Saudi Arabia stood at $789.65 million in 2023. 

On the other hand, the Kingdom’s exports to Australia amounted to $702.75 million over the same 12-month period.  

“We will combine our resources and networks to boost the success of collaborations and partnerships between relevant organizations and individuals of our two countries,” said Jorge. 

The Australia Saudi Business Council was formed in 2013 to facilitate the promotion of ongoing and bilateral trade between the two nations.

In November, Saudi-based Abdel Hadi Al-Qahtani and Sons Co. and Australia’s SSS Group signed a $27 million deal to collaborate in the production of scaffolding systems in Saudi Arabia using local resources.

After the deal was signed, Australian Ambassador Mark Donovan told Arab News at the time that the cooperation agreement builds on the existing investment ties between both countries in various sectors, including education, health care, aviation, and services.

“A new and transformed Saudi Arabia is looking for business relationships around the world, and that’s what we’re very pleased to be a part of,” said Donovan at that time. 

In March, Australia’s University of Wollongong procured licenses to open its branches in the Kingdom. 


Top Saudi officials hold discussions with global aviation giants

Top Saudi officials hold discussions with global aviation giants
Updated 21 May 2024
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Top Saudi officials hold discussions with global aviation giants

Top Saudi officials hold discussions with global aviation giants

RIYADH: Supply chain challenges, investment attraction, and modern technology were all discussed by Saudi Arabia’s industry minister and the heads of global aviation companies at the Future Aviation Forum 2024.

Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef held discussions with the president of the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, the president and CEO of Embraer Commercial, and the president of Boeing, at the Riyadh event, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Alkhorayef focused on bolstering cooperation across various segments of the aviation industry in the talks and the discussions highlighted the Kingdom’s opportunities, addressed global supply chain challenges, and explored avenues for investment attraction, technological advancement, and knowledge exchange. 

Meanwhile, the minister toured the pavilions of several global aviation companies, including Airbus, Boeing, and Riyadh Air, participating in the event organized by the General Authority of Civil Aviation at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center. 

Furthermore, he received updates on the latest technologies and recent advancements in the aviation industry and its related sectors. 

On May 20, Saudia Group signed a $19 billion order deal for 105 planes, marking the largest aircraft deal with Airbus in the Kingdom’s history. 

The agreement was made public in the presence of Minister of Transport and Logistic Services Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser and Benoît de Saint-Exupery, executive vice president of sales at Airbus. Saint-Exupery stated that the new aircraft will play a “vital role” in contributing to Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 plan. 

The forum, held under the patronage of King Salman from May 20 to 22, showcases investment opportunities exceeding $100 billion. It aims to achieve the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, transforming the Kingdom into a leading logistics hub in the Middle East and meeting the objectives of the national aviation strategy. 

The event features participation from over 30 ministers, 77 leaders of civil aviation authorities, global airline executives, and 5,000 industry experts and leaders from more than 120 countries. 


Riyadh Air and Saudia agree new joint training programs

Riyadh Air and Saudia agree new joint training programs
Updated 21 May 2024
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Riyadh Air and Saudia agree new joint training programs

Riyadh Air and Saudia agree new joint training programs

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s two national airlines will work together to train pilots, aircraft crews and other aviation employees thanks to a new deal.   

Riyadh Air, the new company announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in March 2023, has reached an agreement with the Saudi Academy – affiliated with the Saudia group, the national carrier of the Kingdom.  

The memorandum of cooperation, signed at the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, represents a turning point in specialized education in the field of aviation for Saudi Arabia’s national carriers, paving the way towards improving the training standards of pilots, aircraft crews and air operations, according to the Saudi Press Agency.  

It aims to develop and adapt talent to enhance the Kingdom’s position as a leader in the global aviation sector. 

This move aligns well with the Kingdom’s firm commitment to enhancing its capabilities in the field of aviation and air transport while providing the necessary tools to develop the sector’s workforce. 

“This strategic partnership with Saudia Academy reflects our firm commitment to nurturing and developing talent and raising standards of excellence in the aviation sector, as we aim, by mobilizing our joint capabilities and specialized expertise in the field, to create a world-class training system that can enable, through it, aviation specialists acquire the knowledge and skills necessary,” Riyadh Air’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Bellew said. 

Moreover, the agreement is set to enable the two national carriers to integrate their expertise and resources to provide training programs covering a wide range of specializations, SPA’s report added.  

These programs will include technical training, aviation basics, and ground operations, as well as management principles, linguistic proficiency, and compliance with regulatory provisions and standards. 

Additionally, the cooperation will extend to specialized executive education and training, aligning with the professional development needs of leaders and decision-makers in the aviation and air transport sector. 

CEO of the Saudi Academy, Ismail Al-Kashi, emphasized the importance of investing in training and development to ensure the highest standards of quality, air safety, and service excellence.   

“The employees are qualified and provided with the necessary knowledge to ensure they provide outstanding performance in the aviation sector, which is witnessing rapid development,” Al-Kashi noted. 

More than 5,000 global aviation industry experts, international airline leaders, and airport executives are expected to convene at the Future Aviation Forum. 

Organized by the General Authority of Civil Aviation, the three-day event features discussions on issues related to the global flight sector, air transport, environmental sustainability in civil aviation, advanced air transport, and enhancing global connectivity. 

The event also aligns with the Kingdom’s ambition to become a leader in the aviation sector within a decade, including securing $100 billion in investments by 2030.