INTERVIEW: Nabil Habayeb
Nabil Habayeb, President and CEO, GE Middle East and Africa, talks about building renewable energy in the region.
July 14, 2012 3:00 by kippreport
Does equipment manufacturing for renewable energy occur in the region?
We do not have anything in the region currently, but we do have plans in the region. We do have plans to start manufacturing in the region depending on some of the other projects we have that would be coming. Once we close a couple of the projects, those projects will come with local manufacturing. We will announce it later.
Is it in solar panels or gas turbines?
Our focus is to help create jobs and help drive the needs or bring solutions to the needs of the country. So, when you think about the energy sector there are different products that you can provide. We have announced in Saudi Arabia the manufacturing of gas turbines and we will be announcing further expansions in the kingdom as well. That’s going to double our workforce in the kingdom. And that’s going to help create jobs and we are going to offer training.
You mentioned education. Is there anything happening in the region?
I think at the level we work at; we used to work basically looking at university graduates. We look at the skill sets of the graduates from regional universities in the GCC, you know Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and now Qatar, starting to graduate. Of course, the traditional universities in Lebanon, Cairo, and Jordon, the quality of the talent that is graduating is far better than what it used to be a decade or two ago. So, if you look at what the government spent, it’s increasing the spend on higher education. So you are starting to see results. We just participated in some recruiting in Europe, in the United States. And the people that are graduating, that is GCC nationals graduating from universities outside who want to come back, are coming back with strong credentials and capabilities. In addition, what I see is a lot spent at the elementary and high school to improve the level of people getting into education. For our part, we are participating quite a bit. We are sponsoring students who are graduating from high school that meet certain criteria and put them through universities ourselves, so that eventually they can work with us. We are also working with vocational centers,where people get trained and educated. We are putting training programmes in place to help improve the vocational training centers, so graduates are people we could use and find jobs with other multinationals.