In a panel discussion on the sidelines of the Saudi cultural week in Moscow which is being held from October 4-8, Houda Al Helaisi, Shoura Council member, said that both Russia and Saudi Arabia are witnessing an important development due to the historic visit of the King of Saudi Arabia for the first time ever.
“The results of this visit were the outcome of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s visit to Russia earlier. What we are seeing represents the solid future of our bilateral relations in various fields,” said Helaisi.
Basma Omair, Saudi businesswoman and Chief Executive Director of Alsayedah Khadijah Bint Khuwailid Lobbying Center, said that Saudi Arabia is having rich economic opportunities and that women play a major role in the Saudi economy.
“Women are playing a big role in the Saudi economy and we have gained this as our heritage since the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has taught us that women can do business. Our icon was Khadijah bin Khuwailid, who was running her business with Syria at that time”.
On the right track
Saleh Al Khathlan, vice president of the Riyadh-based National Society for Human Rights, said that both countries “are on the right track”.
“Our two countries are key players in regional stability and in energy as well. Both have reached an agreement to stabilize the prices of oil and have succeeded. After falling for more than two years, prices have started to rise and this was due to their mutual coordination.”
Al-Khathlan added that Saudi Arabia and Russia need each other. “We are the two major oil producers and our cooperation is a must to stabilize the market.”
For her part, Shoura Council member, Noura Al Yousef, said that Saudi Arabia started focusing on some pillars to boost its economy based on 2030 Vision.
“We are coordinating with all ministries concerned to boosting our small and medium size businesses (SMEs) to create more jobs by supporting innovation,” said Al Yousef.
She added that “(SMEs) contribute only 20 percent of the Kingdom’s GDP while in advanced economies, the ration is up to 70 percent. We are working on increasing the contribution of SMEs to GDP from 20 percent to 35 percent.”
Increasing role of women
Al Yousef pointed out the the vision of 2030 hinges on lowering the rate of unemployment from 11.6 percent to 7 percent, and to increase women’s participation in labor force to 30 percent up from 22 percent.
Saudi Arabia is also seeking to rise from our current position of 25 to the top 10 countries on the Global Competitiveness.
With regard to military equipment, she said that Saudi Arabia is targeting localizing more than 50 percent of military industries by developing a spare parts, armored vehicles and ammunition.
Regarding oil and gas sectors, Al Yousef pointed out that the localization will reach 75 percent instead of the current 40 percent levels.
“We are also working on increasing the FDI to 5.7 percent of the GDP, up from 3.8 percent in addition to increasing the contribution of the private sector to 65 percent of the GDP up from 40 percent,” said Al Yousef.
She concluded her statement saying that the share of non-oil exports in non-oil GDP will increase from 16 percent to 50 percent by 2030.