05 May

Focus On Key Investment Opportunities in Makkah Region

Makkah Region

MAKKAH Economic Forum, a two-day event in Makkah Region, will begin on Sunday (May 6) at the Jeddah Ritz-Carlton under the theme, ‘From Vision to Performance — Invest in Makkah’.

Organized under the aegis and in the presence of Prince Khaled Al Faisal, advisor to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and governor of the Makkah Region, and Deputy Governor Prince Abdullah Bin Bandar, the forum features nine sessions focusing on the most important themes of Vision 2030 with the participation of 60 prominent local, regional, and international speakers and experts.

The forum also features business incubators that facilitate meetings between project sponsors and startup projects. The forum’s sessions discuss five themes of Vision 2030: Haj and Umrah, Industry, Logistic Services, Tourism and Entertainment.

Dr. Hesham Al-Faleh, chairman of the Forum’s Executive Committee, said the forum’s sessions tackle the challenges and highlight the most successful practices and experiences in order to increase the private sector’s contribution and attract more foreign investments to enhance growth and raise contribution of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in economic development. The sessions will particularly explore the investment opportunities available in the Makkah Region.

“The directives of Prince Abdullah Bin Bandar, chairman of forum’s supervisory committee, stressed the significance of the forum in achieving its strategic and economic objectives. Prince Abdullah ordered that a project follow-up office, a full government service centre and a partnership and initiative unit should be formed to enhance partnerships between the private and public sectors, facilitate procedures and identify immediate solutions,” he said.

The workshops chaired by Prince Abdullah recommended the Forum to focus its first edition on highlighting the investment opportunities available in Makkah Region. They highlighted the government efforts to achieve the sought-after transformation in the Kingdom to make it a pioneering investment powerhouse and achieve the Vision 2030 objective to increase private sector contribution to the GDP from 40% to 65%.

The Forum aims to shed light on the Kingdom’s intensive efforts to improve the legislative climate for investment and increase the volume of international trade as well as open up the Saudi economy to the world. It will also highlight the Makkah Emirate’s efforts to improve the level of services. It seeks to create a conducive investment environment for the success of initiatives which will be implemented in partnership between the private and public sectors, while ensuring that all obstacles to success is eliminated.

The opening session of the Forum features a session on ‘Dialogue with Minister’, which give investors a chance to discuss a number of investment and economic issues with ministers. The Forum also includes sessions on improving the level of national industries, shedding light on the structural reforms required to stimulate the private sector, encourage investment in industries, and highlight experiences of Asian, European and other countries in developing their manufacturing capacity over the decades. It will offer an opportunity to draw the roadmap to localise renewable energy and industrial equipment sectors and enhance their competitiveness.

A session on ‘Logistics’ will look at how Saudi companies can increase exports of their products via industrialization, exports and re-exports, with focus on the Singaporean experience. The discussion will offer an opportunity to chart potential strategies to enable Saudi Arabia to compete with other established regional logistics hubs.

Three sessions have been devoted to the topic, ‘Improving Quality of Life’, focused on the aspects of health, education and sustainability, ways to promote culture and entertainment, and create a thriving sports culture. The experiences of countries such as Sweden, Spain, and the United States, will offer opportunity to learn from the Swedish model of fostering a high quality of life, the American success in building a thriving entertainment sector, and the Spanish example in building a thriving sports industry and encouraging participation in sports.

A session on ‘Enriching the Haj and Umrah Experience’ will take place in two parts with the first one looking at how Saudi Vision 2030 can meet the evolving needs of pilgrims, and the second exploring ways to enhance the pilgrim experience through investments in the transport and hospitality sectors. It will also explore the lessons that the Kingdom can learn from the Malaysian success story in the ‘halal’ tourism market.

The day will also feature a session of the Forum on the topic, ‘Investment and Tourism’, which will help identify the necessary reforms that Saudi Arabia must take to foster a business and investment climate that allows for a thriving tourism industry. It will look at opportunities to address the skills gap in the Saudi tourism industry, and explore the role of technology in boosting the sector. The session will highlight how Switzerland developed its successful tourism industry, and what Saudi Arabia can learn from the Swiss model.

The list of prominent speakers includes a number of pioneer leaders in industry, tourism, and economics sectors. Prominent among them are: Khalid Al-Salem, director general, MODON; Dr. Rumaih Bin Mohammed Al-Rumaih, president of Public Transport Authority; Fahad Al Sukait, advisor to the secretariat, Saudi Council of Ministers; Ahmed AlHakbani, governor of General Customs Authority; Abdulhakim Bin Muhammad Al Tamimi, president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation; and Husain M Alotaibi, president of Saudi Geological Survey.

Experts and speakers are participating from local and international companies such as Mizuho Bank, Frost & Sullivan, Kuehne Nagel, Citibank, Thinkwell Group, the Producers Group, King’s College London, Islamic Tourism Centre of Malaysia, Crescent Rating in Singapore, AccorHotel Group, International Federation for IT in Travel and Tourism, Wamda Capital, Global Entrepreneurship Research Network, National Commercial Bank, King Abdullah Economic City, Tatweer Company, the National Housing Company, Jabal Omar Development Company, and Makkah Valley Company. — SG

This Article is Originally Published by saudigazette.com.sa

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