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MOCI to initiate $16bn industrial strategy
Saudi Arabia moves to diversify away from oil, fostering partnerships with major foreign industrial companies.
April 30, 2010 9:27 by Katherine Azmeh
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce & Industry (MOCI) and the General Electric Company (GE), on Wednesday announced a strategic partnership aimed at building a sustainable economy through a focus on industrialization, research and education, and creating new jobs for Saudi nationals. This partnership marks GE’s “company to country” approach in Saudi Arabia to become a trusted partner in the Kingdom’s developmental goals.
Further strengthening its 70-year relationship with the Kingdom, GE signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the MOCI at the Saudi-American Business Opportunity Forum, held in Chicago to highlight the economic collaboration between Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The MoU underscores the commitment of GE to contribute to the Kingdom’s sustainable growth and competitiveness by investing and sharing competencies, technology and knowledge transfer, and creation of skilled industrial and technical jobs in energy, health care, transportation and water, in alignment with the National Industrial Strategy of Saudi Arabia.
The MOCI is responsible for driving economic diversification through industrialization, and will launch the $16 billion national industrial strategy in May 2010 to strengthen the Kingdom’s manufacturing sector and double the industrial output of the GDP.
Through the MoU, GE will lay the framework for a comprehensive partnership to explore manufacturing opportunities in the Kingdom for local and export markets. Both will also potentially partner on international development projects, working with donor and government funding organizations, with a focus on Africa and the Islamic world. In addition, GE will provide expertise in the establishment of a world-class export development fund for the ministry as well as stress-testing the national industrial strategy prior to the national launch.
Minister of Commerce & Industry Abdullah Zainal Alireza said: “Saudi Arabia is today one of the most competitive economies in the world, supported by a strong pool of skilled and talented manpower, energy reserves and a thrust on economic diversification. Industrialization and innovation are the watchwords in this growth strategy.”
Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco, president & CEO of GE International, said: “As one of the world’s fastest growing economies and the largest economy in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia is focused on diversification and sustainable development initiatives that support the Kingdom’s growing population. The Kingdom’s multipronged development approach emphasizes education, research and industrialization – areas where GE can make a tangible difference.”
GE has been associated with Saudi Arabia for over seven decades, and supplied the first turbine for the Kingdom’s first refinery. GE has expanded its presence in the Kingdom through public-private partnerships and a strong footprint of facilities in service repair support and customer training centers in oil and gas, energy, water, aviation and health care, which serve the region.
The forum brought together leading entrepreneurs, top US and Saudi government officials, and civic leaders to enhance cooperation in a range of sectors including energy, finance and investment, agriculture and information technology.