Saudi Women to be Recruited in Leading Posts in Civil Aviation

Riyadh- President of General Authority of Civil Aviation Abdul Hakim bin Mohammed Al Tamimi asserted that Saudi women will be able to reach leading positions in GACA soon.

During a meeting with GACA’s employees, Tamimi said the General Authority for Civil Aviation has been among the entities that provided work opportunities for women, and proved their high efficiency and ability, and given them a key role in licensing procedures for airlines or employees.

He also praised women’s ability to accomplish many missions usually practiced by men in the civil aviation sector, noting that on the personal level, he has six daughters, and he is keen to empower women so they can play a prominent role in the service of the country and its development, and vitally contribute to the Kingdom’s future.

The President of the General Authority for Civil Aviation expressed great confidence in the Authority’s employees and staff, and said he is eager to work to enhance their abilities and qualification so they can properly proceed their work and reach leading positions in the authority.

He pointed out that GACA focuses on training its staff in line with the highest international standards in order to empower it and develop it as soon as possible.

Tamimi talked about the authority’s plan concerning the separation of the legislative and the operational bodies; the legislative side will be only concerned in the civil aviation aspect, while the operational side will be independent.

He also stressed the Authority’s eagerness to achieve the objectives of the «National Transformation Program 2020» and «Saudi Vision 2030», highlighting the importance of the civil aviation sector and its primordial role in the national economy.

Finally, Tamimi explained that the Authority in keen to finding the best work environment for better achievement and performance, along with a successful communication among leaders and employees.

GACA’s president encouraged employees to directly communicate with him about any problem or complaint. He urged them to exert efforts and devote capacities to implement the objectives of the Authority.

Saudi Finance Minister: Significant Progress in Implementing Economic Reforms

Riyadh- In a speech at the Saudi Investment Forum hosted by J.P. Morgan in New York on Tuesday, Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan lauded the Kingdom’s economic policy and its pivotal role in achieving the Saudi Vision 2030 in the light of the remarkable transformation witnessed by the Kingdom. He drew attention to the comprehensive reforms in various sectors in the Kingdom, including modernization and diversification of the economy in order to reduce dependence on oil.

Jadaan said the Vision represents a very clear roadmap for the Kingdom’s destination.

The finance minister stated that the business community in the Kingdom has begun to reap the fruits of these reforms through a more stable working environment and greater confidence for investors.

This is evidenced by the successful issuance of international and local debt securities in the Kingdom, he said, adding that the initial offering of international sukuk (Islamic bond) in April attracted great attention from international investors with an over-subscription reaching more than $33 billion against the actual issuance of $9 billion, which is the largest offering for sukuk in the world.

He stated that there has been significant progress achieved by the Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program of 2020 towards the Kingdom’s stated goal – a balanced budget through financial reform.

“The steps being taken by the Kingdom are not merely an austerity, but rather a focus on raising the efficiency of expenditure and supporting the purchasing power of low and middle income segment of the Saudi society through the ‘Citizen’s Account’ in order to assist them in addressing correction initiatives of energy price, in addition to supporting the private sector,” he added.

Jadaan unveiled plans to further deepen and expand Saudi capital markets. “We will move ahead with the privatization program and will continue to encourage the growth of private businesses so as to achieve ambitious goals,” the minister concluded.

STC CEO: Redesigning our Strategy, Shifting Away from Traditional Areas

Dubai — Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has depended on a new strategy that focuses on growth via new areas and not the traditional telecommunications areas, said STC CEO Dr. Khalid al-Bayari, adding that this strategy includes the digital content, digital financial services, and the information technology in addition to the limited geography.

Bayari stated that new investments will be centered in the region. “The whole point is that our investments meet with new services,” he said, clarifying that any company that doesn’t adopt the new conditions will face troubles.

On the sidelines of STC participation in GITEX, Bayari told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Our strategy is inspired by the Saudi Vision 2030.” He added that STC works on restructuring skills in which it intends to launch an academy that focuses on building new digital capabilities for the youths. “I think this will have a direct impact on the Saudi Vision 2030,” he noted.

“We have a venture investment fund that is the greatest venture fund in the region and it emphasizes on the new economy, especially that in our region we have a problem in funding the youths who present ideas and projects. I think the fund will fill a gap in this regard and help us find other resources and an additional income for the company” he added.

Further, the company is holding serious discussions to provide financial services through the mobiles.

Back to the strategy, Bayari said: “We deal with the challenges facing the traditional telecommunications sector but STC focused on a growth strategy, which is part of an acquisition of companies operating in specific fields.”

Aramco, Saudi Public Investment Fund to Found ‘Super Contractor’


London – Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Saudi Aramco are planning to set up a “super contractor” in partnership with local and international contractors.

MEED reported on Saturday that Aramco, PIF, a local contractor and an international contractor, will each own a 25 percent stake in the new entity.

Among the companies interested in this partnerships are: Al-Muhadib Contracting, El-Seif Engineering Co., Al-Rashid Trading & Contracting Co., and Nesma & Partners Contracting Co.

According to MEED, the new entity will replace distressed contractors, particularly Saudi Binladin Group and Saudi Oger, which have suffered financial difficulties in recent years and have been forced to scale back their operations.

The new entity is expected to take over major projects announced by the Public Investment Fund such as the Red Sea Project and Jeddah Downtown.

The new company will be responsible for the construction projects, which were assigned to Aramco. The construction sector will be separated from the mother company, and it is expected to recruit about 15,000 employees and employees.

Aramco plans to sell about 5 percent of the giant oil company, the cornerstone of Saudi Vision 2030, as a major reform plan led by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, aimed at diversifying the Saudi economy away from oil.

Aramco has signed five memorandums of cooperation with Russian hydrocarbon giants during the Russian-Saudi Investment Forum. The agreements include: a trilateral MoU with the Saudi Public Investment Fund and Russian Investment Fund, for direct investments in the energy and industry sectors.

A MoU with the Russian Energy Giant Gazprom (cooperation in the field of Gas), and another memorandum with LITASCO (cooperation in trade); a MoU with Gazprom (for cooperation in the field of technology, research, and development); and finally, an agreement with Sibur and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) (for strategic marketing of petrochemicals). These MoUs will allow all parties to jointly assess the potential for joint investments and marketing in petrochemical projects in both countries.

Sibur, biggest petrochemicals company in Russia, and the RDIF, inked on Thursday a memorandum of understanding with Aramco on the possible cooperation opportunities in Russia and Saudi Arabia.

In a statement, Sibur said both companies are planning to assess perspectives of the Russian and Saudi petrochemical markets, and to likely expand the cooperation in this sector.

Dmitry Konov, chairman-Mgmt Board at Sibur Holding said: “This partnership with one of the biggest Saudi petrochemicals companies will allow Sibur to develop its expertise and sales, along with studying the Middle Eastern market.”

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday that Sibur would sign a $ 1.1 billion deal to build a plant to produce gas chemicals in Saudi Arabia.

IMF Commends Saudi Reforms within Vision 2030

Washington, Riyadh — Timothy Callen, IMF Mission Chief for Saudi Arabia, lauded the reforms implemented by Saudi authorities within Saudi Vision 2030 from “adjusting fiscal policy to the realities of lower oil prices,” enhancing the business environment and increasing transparency.

Callen also praised the kingdom’s permission for women to drive, noting that it is a great step in the field of encouraging recruiting, productivity and women participation in the labor force.

In a news conference on the outcomes of Article IV Consultations with Saudi Arabia and the issuance of Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), lead researcher Mostafa El-Sayed and Timothy Callen asserted that the Saudi authorities succeeded in adopting reforms that led to the decline of the deficit in a high rate.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan welcomed the report that clarifies the positive impact of economic reforms performed by the kingdom within Saudi Vision 2030.

IMF staff commended Saudi Arabia’ efforts to enhance non-oil revenue and welcomed its plan for further energy price reforms. They welcomed recent improvements in the fiscal framework and fiscal transparency, as well as the findings of the Financial System Stability Assessment report that showed banks are well regulated and supervised.

They also mentioned the good progress being made in identifying and removing obstacles to private sector growth, but stressed that increasing the employment of Saudi nationals in the private sector was essential.

According to the report, non-oil growth is projected to pick up to 1.7 percent in 2017. The fiscal deficit is projected to narrow substantially in the coming years. It is expected to decline from 17.2 percent of GDP in 2016 to 9.3 percent of GDP in 2017, and to just under 1 per cent of GDP by 2022.

Saudi Arabia Signs Deal to Purchase S-400 Air-Defense System


Moscow — Saudi Arabia has agreed to purchase Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, the TOS-1A, the AGS-30 and the Kalashnikov AK-103.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between Russia’s state company for exporting military products Rosoboronexport and state-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries as well as other agreements.

Under the guidance of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the two parties signed these agreements, which are expected to play a pivotal role in the growth and development of the military systems industry in Saudi Arabia.

The MoU focuses on localizing the manufacturing and sustainment of advance armament systems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in line with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.

Educational and training programs for Saudi citizens will also take place according to the agreement, to ensure the sustainability and development of the military industries sector in Saudi Arabia.

These agreements are expected to have tangible economic contributions and create hundreds of direct jobs. They will also transfer cutting-edge technologies that will act as a catalyst for localizing 50 percent of the Kingdom’s military spending as targeted by Vision 2030; which was launched by the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia announced in March establishing a new national company for military industries, Saudi Arabian Military Industries, which represents a significant component of Vision 2030 and a transitional point in the development of military products and services that meet the highest international standards.

The strategic target of the company is to become among the top 25 military industry companies worldwide by 2030 to transform the kingdom into a strong partner in the military sector on the world level.

It is expected to contribute to the GDP with more than QAR14 billion (USD3.733 billion).

Saudi Economy on New Threshold of Growth following Diversification of Investments


Riyadh – The mega projects in Saudi Arabia announced by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) have become a new frontier on the country’s investment map.

These mega projects, announced by one of the world’s biggest investment funds, carry great opportunities for investment, diversification of the economy, creation of thousands of jobs for Saudi youth, localization of the tourism industry and enhancement of their contribution to the GDP.

These major developments come at a time when Saudi Arabia is preparing to launch the Future Investment Initiative (FII), which is a pioneering new global investment event that will connect the world’s most powerful investors, business and intellectual leaders and public officials with groundbreaking innovations that are defining the future.

The initiative, which is hosted and organized by PIF in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, will be sponsored by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and its activities will be launched from the Kingdom’s capital, Riyadh, between October 24 and 27.

In this context, PIF announced that it is preparing to launch “Rou’a Al Haram” (Haram Vision), a development company set to increase capacity for pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Holy Mosque performing the annual Hajj or Umrah.

“Rou’a Al Haram” will act as a catalyst for developing the areas around the holy sites and improving the quality of services in the local hospitality sector.

The company’s establishment is in line with Vision 2030, which aims to provide an opportunity for the largest possible number of Muslims to perform the Hajj and Umrah and to enrich and deepen their experience through the development of the two Holy Mosques. The number of people visiting Makkah for the pilgrimages is expected to reach more than 30 million by 2030.

“Rou’a Al Haram” will raise the level of development in the areas surrounding the Grand Holy Mosque, making it among the best examples of development worldwide.

In addition, it will support job creation and investment as part of a wider plan to diversify the national economy.

Initial preparation works are currently underway, with construction due to start in 2018. The first phase of the project is anticipated to be launched in 2024.

The projects will create around 160,000 job opportunities by 2030, with an estimated annual contribution to GDP of eight billion Saudi riyals.

In addition, PIF announced the establishment of the “Rou’a Al Madinah” company, which will deliver projects designed to increase capacity for pilgrims and visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque, while also enriching spiritual and cultural experiences across the holy city of al-Madinah.

Preliminary estimates indicate that the total number of annual visitors to al-Madinah will increase to 23 million by 2030.

The company aims to develop a 1.3 million square meter site no more than 1,000 meters away from the east wing of the Prophet’s Mosque.

The project will see the development of 500 new housing units and 80,000 hotel rooms, increasing hotel capacity to receive 240,000 guests per day, in addition to increasing the number of prayer areas to accommodate 200,000 worshipers per day.

53,000 Square Meters of Land in Makkah to Be Sold at Auction

Muslims pray at the Grand mosque ahead of the annual Haj pilgrimage in Makkah, Saudi Arabia August 29, 2017.

Makkah- Makkah would witness next Thursday a real-estate auction on three lands of a total space of around 50,000 square meters and worth more than one billion riyals (USD266 million) — the three lands are located inside the central region.

The first land is located at King Khalid Road and is 13076.68 square meters, while the second is located near King Abdul Aziz Road and is of a total space of 6093.70 square meters. As for the third, it is of 34651.14 square meters near Qatari mosque.

Abdul Salam Qadi Flatah, a real estate agent in the implementation court at the Ministry of Justice, said that this auction goes in tandem with the constructional revolution approach and the economic revival taking place in Makkah following a successful pilgrimage season.

Flatah affirmed that the state has provided variable privileges for the investors in the central region, knowing that possession was previously restricted to citizens. This backs Saudi businessmen and goes in line with the Saudi Vision 2030.

He assured that the real estate sector in Makkah will start its recovery period after it was facing a low supply. Flatah said that putting up the lands for sale will urge investors to seize the chance, reviving most of the sectors in Makkah in the upcoming period, especially real estate and retail.

The direct supervision of Makkah Region Development Authority on most of the development projects (more than 10,000 square meters) is among motives attracting real-estate investment in the central region, Flatah pointed out.

Saudi Arabia: Women to Drive after Community Persuaded

Similar to other historic decisions, some are petrified of announcing them, supporters anticipate in boredom while conservatives persistently warn of such moves. Once the clock ticks and the time is adequate to take the decision, the fear of people vanishes.

This is what happened when King Salman issued a reformatory decision in allowing women to drive as part of an overall process, which began on the first day of his leadership in January 2015, to empower Saudi women.

Saudi passwords are always on time. This has been the case in the past two years and nine months during which great decisions have been taken. Many were intimidated by them and probably warned of them, but surprisingly decisions were issued in remarkable flexibility.

I don’t agree with those who describe this decision as political in the first place. Any political decision on a community-linked cause first needs a suitable environment for it to be accepted based on
cultural and intellectual consensus.

Had it been purely a political decision, it would have been implemented long time ago. The problem throughout the past period was that some movements continued to exploit the matter and exaggerate the consequences of issuing such a decision.

When removing the aura around those who spread such ideas, the Saudi community appeared pragmatic, and it was supported by the stance of the Council of Senior Scholars that saw no problem in permitting women to drive.

Therefore, we can’t deny the huge organized work done during the previous period to provide an adequate environment in which the community accepts the decision. I don’t think the surprise is in issuing the decision itself – the development taking place in Saudi Arabia indicates that women getting behind the wheel is absolute.

Because the social reform is on track in Saudi Arabia without any slowdown and because the historic moment was set to come even if late, the woman in the kingdom now drives a car after a reform-based decision by the Saudi leadership that has not stopped making drastic changes politically, economically and socially within a short period.

Why do we say finally? Because the Saudi community has finally got rid of previous stages’ consequences that had led to delays in taking such a decision. During the past three years, the Saudi community has proven its readiness to develop and accept community reforms that were considered prohibited for long decades.

Besides the social and economic benefits of this step in Saudi Arabia and its contribution in a comprehensive project to empower women as part of the economic and social reform process, the topic of allowing women to drive, which used to be stirred while discussing any political issue on every occasion, has now been dropped.

We can say that this decision is better than dozens of billions of dollars worth media campaigns in the West. Its positive outcome won’t be restricted to one day, month or year but the kingdom will yield its positive influence for several years to come.

When launching the Saudi Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman answered a question on the matter of women driving cars saying that he relies on the society’s wish between granting the women this right or not.

He later noted that future decisions are built on social change. True, when the change happened, society witnessed a long-anticipated historic decision. The password was: social change; this is the magical equation and real power for the launching of a new Saudi Arabia that was once mentioned by Mohammed bin Salman: “In case the Saudi people were convinced, then skies are the limits of our ambitions.”