Saudi Arabia concluded its first World Defense Show in Riyadh with a record $7.9 billion (SAR 29.7 billion) in deals, the organizers announced in a media statement on Wednesday.
The four-day-long event saw 600 exhibitors in the defense and security sectors from 42 countries.
The next edition of the show has been planned for March 2024, according to the same statement.
Suliman Almazrous, CEO of the National Industrial Development And Logistics Program (NIDLP) told Al Arabiya English that the event has “successfully achieved an ideal equation – quantity and quality of exhibitors” which showcases the Kingdom’s marked efforts to promote the local opportunities it has to offer.
One of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals is to have 50 percent of defense spending localized.
In light of these goals, the World Defense Show was organized by the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) to realize the future of Saudi’s defense requirements.
Ahmad al-Ohali, Governor of GAMI in a media statement said, “the networking, knowledge sharing, and commercial relationships established through the World Defense Show platform will spur a new era of investment and growth for Saudi Arabia’s defense and security industry bringing us closer to achieving our target of localizing more than 50 percent of the Kingdom’s military expenditure by 2030.”
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the event on Sunday and toured the purpose-built site north of capital several times.
Interoperability was a big theme of event and exhibitors displayed technology from air, land, sea, and space defense systems to support it.
Daily panel discussions explored the various current and future technology available in defense, while a Control and Command center simulated handling security threats.
On International Women’s Day, the event dedicated the March 8 commemoration to promote and highlight women in defense. Notable dignitaries including Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the US, Phebe Novakovic, CEO of General Dynamics; and Marion Blakely, former President of Rolls-Royce North America who all delivered keynotes at the event.
Our International #WomenInDefense program featured keynotes, panel discussions, and networking events, celebrating the essential role of women in the industry. Watch highlights here 👇#WDS2022 #WID #IWD2022 @GD_LandSystems pic.twitter.com/F45oWc4JuU— World Defense Show معرض الدفاع العالمي (@WDS_KSA) March 9, 2022
Meanwhile, the youth of the nation were also given a platform to “kickstart and progress their careers” through panel discussions and hands-on activities with many of the defense showcases at the event, according to a statement from the organizer.
Through inspirational panels, hands-on interaction with the latest tech, and more, today's 'Future Talent Program' at #WDS2022 provided young #defense professionals with invaluable experience to kick-start and progress their careers.— World Defense Show معرض الدفاع العالمي (@WDS_KSA) March 9, 2022
Here's what they had to say 👇 pic.twitter.com/621cTL1Rum