Saudi Arabia: thousands of govt projects set to boost investment

The second day of the forum, focusing on youth employment, tackled the issue of business reform

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Saudi Arabia has made available 18,000 government projects that will spur millions in investment opportunities, deputy governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Khaled Alohali announced Wednesday at the Jeddah Economic Forum.

Alohali emphasized the projects will contribute to accelerated economic growth and development of the country in the coming years.

In the session entitled “The need for business climate reform,” Alohali said it was important to bring international technology into the kingdom to aid Saudi Arabia in building its economy, and cited the success of this in the 1950s and 1960s when the country grew its petrochemical industries.

Sheikh Hussein A. Al-Banawi, Chairman & CEO of Banawi Industrial Group said the key to push the economy forward was to establish deeper ties between the private and public sector. Al-Banawi also specifically mentioned decreasing bureaucracy and limiting regulations and barriers to allow businesses to flourish.

Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin from Columbia University talked about the need for more competition to encourage investment and discussed the importance of fostering creativity. He pointed out that 92 percent of business ideas emerged from individuals, underlining that there should be incentives for entrepreneurial business development.

The Jeddah Economic Forum (JEF) started in 2000 and has now become the “Davos of the Middle East,” acting as a hub for economics and businessmen from around the globe to discuss key issues facing the world today. Delegates of the conference represent over 60 countries from across six continents.

This year’s forum will explore “Growth through Youth,” addressing the challenges and opportunities surrounding sustainable job creation among young people. Discussions will focus on growing the industries of tourism and transportation infrastructure to meet the growing demand for jobs among youth.

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