Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman has called upon Saudi and foreign businessmen to invest in the region’s industrial, tourism and development sectors to accelerate the pace of its economic growth.
He made this call while opening the Madinah Investment Forum on Tuesday. He also announced the establishment of Namaa Madinah Company and the formation of a board of investment.
“In order to realize Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s economic development vision, we announce the establishment of Namaa as an independent company owned by the state,” the governor told the gathering.
He said the company would launch a package of programs that enhance the role of small and medium enterprises, which constitute 90 percent of companies registered in the region. The company will prepare a comprehensive program for the “Made in Madinah” initiative in collaboration with relevant partners in order to enhance the value and quality of products produced in the region, he said.
He said the investment board would discuss all matters related to investment opportunities and investment environment in the region.
He commended the government’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the partnership with the private sector being a key player in boosting the national economy. He applauded the efforts to take advantage of the attractive investment environment in the Kingdom, particularly in Madinah, which is considered one of the most important regions in the Kingdom in terms of attracting investment.
Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Thunayan, president of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, also spoke at the opening session. He commended Prince Faisal’s efforts to accelerate the region’s development and his support to the commission that oversees development of the twin industrial cities.
He added: “The Royal Commission is pleased to participate in the forum. Our participation comes as a continuation of the commission’s keenness to strengthen Madinah’s economy.”
Saleh Al-Rasheed, director general of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority, spoke on behalf of Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, emphasizing that Madinah is the fastest growing city.
He referred to prominent development projects in the region, including expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque, the Haramain Railway, the expansion of Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Airport, the industrial city, and the Knowledge Economic City.
The chairman of the Madinah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mohammed Al- Khatrawi, called on investors to take advantage of the opportunities in the region.
Speaking at a session of the forum, Alaa Naseef, CEO of the Royal Commission in Yanbu, highlighted investment opportunities at Yanbu Industrial Park.
“The projects in Jubail and Yanbu make about 65 percent of all the industrial investments in the GCC countries. Yanbu is the world’s third largest hub for oil refining. Total investments in the city stand at SR202 billion,” Naseef said.
Kamal Al-Qabli from the Madinah Chamber, stressed the need to train Saudis in three various aspects of construction through specialized technical institutes. “We should also help them find jobs in the public and private sector projects, and provide them with loans at easy terms to help them start their SMEs,” he said.
He added: “The construction sector is one of the most vibrant in the economy. It contributes more than most other sectors to the GDP. For this year alone it accounts for 16.5 percent of the total budget. It offers great job opportunities for our young people.”
Rayyan Hammad presented a paper that outlined investment models for Madinah while Basim Shaikh of Taibah University’s College of Medicine, spoke about the importance of Prophetic medicine and the need to conduct more research on it.
Farid Al-Maimani presented a paper of Madinah dates. He said dates account for 19 percent of the Kingdom’s agricultural output. “We have 23 million palm trees in the Kingdom and account 14 percent of its total output. Dates are the basis of many industries,” he said, urging businessmen and businesswomen to invest more in the region’s agriculture.