King Salman: Five years of remarkable achievements

01/12/19

  • Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of King Salman’s ascension to the throne.

The Kingdom has made remarkable and unprecedented political, social, economic and developmental achievements since King Salman started his rule on Jan. 23, 2015.

These achievements, which are mainly the pillars of the Vision 2030 reform program, have demonstrated that the Saudi leadership is committed to its pledge to build a state for the future and to cement its position in the G20.

Under his leadership, King Salman — supported by his crown prince and a young management team — has overseen noticeable and speedy evolution in key sectors including finance, tourism, entertainment, housing and energy, among others.

The restructuring of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) was one of the most notable achievements in the country’s finances.

By changing its mandate from a local investment vehicle focusing on conservative instruments within the money market asset class, the PIF has gone through major transformation to become a significant sovereign wealth fund powerhouse targeting quality, long-term, trophy and strategic investments worldwide.

As for tourism, Saudi Arabia inaugurated several major projects, such as the King Salman Park, Sports Boulevard, Green Riyadh, Riyadh Art and Diriyah Gate Project (DGP).

With the e-visa initiative, tourism will witness a speedy growth coupled with cross-country festivals throughout the year in cooperation with newly created government agencies for activities in sports, entertainment and culture.

The unique DGP was unearthed to be a cultural and lifestyle tourism destination, especially after it gained UNESCO’s certification as World Heritage Site. Starting from next year, the Kingdom is expected to witness the highest growth rate in tourism until 2030.

Obviously, the most remarkable and impactful achievement during King Salman’s rule was the gradual preparation for Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering. It started in 2016 when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that the Kingdom will sell less than 5 percent of Aramco’s shares by offering it to the public. As of last Thursday, the retail tranche has been oversubscribed by 1.7 times with received bids for its shares totaling $44.3 billion. The institutional tranche will be concluded on Dec. 4.

Since the start of his rule, King Salman has applied a leadership style known in our corporate textbooks as “management by objectives.” His era was guided by a roadmap called Vision 2030, which specified these objectives with target dates for their achievements. Not only has his era paved the way for economic prosperity benefiting national and international investors, but it will also give the future generations national and international entrepreneurs.

• Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the Chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view

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UAE, Saudi Arabia using culture as a cohesive force

Time: November 29, 2019

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left) gets a warm welcome Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (R) upon his arrival in Abu Dhabi. (SPA)

Relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia are cemented in a long history of mutual understanding and shared vision. This week’s visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman further consolidates the brotherly ties between the leadership of both countries and strengthens cross-border exchange.

The spirit of a shared common history is clearly reflected in the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council’s vision, where the national strategies of both countries — Saudi Vision 2030 and UAE Vision 2021 — are aligned.

Our unique model of cooperation is looked upon with great admiration as our bond reflects the vision and determination of our founding fathers. This solid foundation has brought our ancestors together through a shared history, language and traditions. Keeping these relations strong was a priority for Sheikh Zayed, who continuously worked with Saudi Arabia to support and bolster the two countries’ relations.

With the constantly evolving UAE-Saudi bilateral ties, culture remains a focal point for the two countries. There is a common understanding that unity paves the way for and achieves a better future for our people through security and prosperity. Our visionary leaders are committed to playing a pivotal role in investing in cultural initiatives and reviving features of authentic and shared Arab identity. During the last decade, cultural relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia have taken a quantum leap forward, strengthening the ties in various fields relating to the arts, literature and heritage.

The UAE’s own national ambitions align closely with those of Saudi Arabia, as both nations strive to build a framework that is founded in support and cultural diplomacy to combat violence and disruption in society

Noura Al-Kaabi

This cross-cultural exchange was further strengthened through participation in major events such as Janadriyah, Souq Okaz, the Misk Art exhibition, Riyadh International Book Fair and, more recently, Al-Burda Exhibition, which reflects on the importance of preserving and documenting heritage and promoting dialogue and knowledge exchange. We believe in the power of culture to act as a cohesive force and a diplomatic tool to promote inclusivity, spread positive change, and cultivate a peaceful environment for future generations.

The UAE’s own national ambitions align closely with those of Saudi Arabia, as both nations strive to build a framework that is founded in support and cultural diplomacy to combat violence and disruption in society.

It is in these two countries where culture exchange happens in the social spaces of the majlises over the aromatic smell of Arabic coffee. In a landmark victory at the UNESCO Executive Board last week, Saudi Arabia and the UAE earned a platform to showcase the living heritage of falconry, generosity, and understanding that is present in the Gulf. This shared moment of success reflects the wide acknowledgement of our prominent efforts in the fields of culture, science and education.

This achievement will enable us to press on our joint efforts aimed at promoting our cultural agendas and supporting our respective organizations’ mandate. What further brings us together is our sense of responsibility to shape the future for our next generations, both locally and internationally, through relevant platforms.

This significant accomplishment adds further impetus with the Saudi delegation’s visit. The exchange of memorandums of understanding with Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan is a continuation of the path that our ancestors have laid since the establishment of our diplomatic ties. We are committed to continuing to establish, support and safeguard global cultural heritage, while ensuring the preservation of the unique and authentic Arab traditions and values.

• Noura Al-Kaabi is the UAE’s minister of culture and knowledge development.

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Saudi flag emblazoned on world’s tallest tower to honor Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman UAE visit

Time: November 28, 2019 

Stand at 829 meters high, Burj Khalifa was light in the colours of the green Saudi flag with the white Arabic calligraphic and sword. (Dubai Media Office)
  • Opened in 2010, the tower is one of Dubai’s iconic landmarks and is usually lit up to celebrate various occasions

DUBAI: The Saudi flag was emblazoned on the world’s tallest tower to celebrate the official visit of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.

Stand at 829 meters high, Burj Khalifa was light in the colours of the green Saudi flag with the white Arabic calligraphic and sword.

Opened in 2010, the tower is one of Dubai’s iconic landmarks and is usually lit up to celebrate various occasions. Earlier this week the tower was lit in orange to mark “Elimination of Violence Against Women Day.”

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sparks online style storm with Barbour jacket

24/11/19

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attended the E-Formula in Riyadh wearing a Barbour jacket. (SPA)
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wore a Barbour jacket that effectively sent the Internet into overdrive
  • The outerwear item by the British heritage house even sparked its own Twitter hashtag

DUBAI: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was photographed attending the Formula E races in Riyadh on Friday and for the occasion donned a navy-colored Barbour jacket worn over a crisp white thobe that immediately sent the internet into overdrive.

The outerwear item by British heritage brand Barbour sparked its own Arabic hashtag on Twitter — that translated to “Crown Prince’s jacket”— with many taking to the social media platform to admire the look.

بدر العساكر Bader Al Asaker

@Badermasaker

سمو الأمير في

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
6,690 people are talking about this

sAra🔬♋️@1993_725

Really the biggest advertisement you could ever have 👍🏼♥️

View image on Twitter
20 people are talking about this

“What a magnificent jacket,” wrote one user on Twitter.  Another chimed in, “Really the biggest advertisement you could ever have.” Indeed, a royal co-sign from the crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not to be understated.

19 people are talking about this

In fact, some people even went as far as purchasing the same quilted jacket just 24-hours after it was spotted on the royal, posting screenshots of receipts of their purchase on their Twitter accounts.

One user shared a photograph of the jacket, simply writing “Got it.”

MBS accessorized the Barbour Chelsea sports jacket with a pair of Tom Ford aviator sunglasses and black Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 trainers that further lent an athletic twist to the otherwise casual ensemble.

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Saudi crown prince meets S. Korean defense minister

Time: November 21, 2019 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives South Korea’s National Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo in Riyadh on Wednesday. (SPA)

RIYADH: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received South Korea’s National Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo in Riyadh.

During the meeting, the two sides reviewed ways of enhancing cooperation between the Kingdom and South Korea in the field of defense.

They affirmed the importance of cooperation between the two countries in serving international and regional security and stability.

The meeting was attended by Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman, as well as a number of senior Saudi and South Korean officials.

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince organizes flights to carry Al-Hilal fans to Japan for Champions League final

Time: November 14, 2019

Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh. (Supplied)
  • Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh
  • The crown prince’s decision comes as a result of his support for Saudi Arabian football in the AFC championship

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has ordered four planes to transport Al-Hilal fans to Japan to support the club in their AFC Champions League final second leg match against the Urawa Red Diamonds.

Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh. The return leg is in Saitama, near Tokyo on Nov. 24.

The Saudi Press Agency said the crown prince’s decision comes as a result of his support for Saudi Arabian football in the AFC championship and to boost the morale of the team to seal the title.

The Saudi General Sport Authority have begun to coordinate with Al-Hilal’s administration to arrange for transporting fans to Japan.

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Riyadh Agreement between Yemen sides draws international praise

Time: November 07, 2019

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (C-L) walking alongside Yemen’s President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi (C) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (C-R) as they attend a peace-signing ceremony between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and the southern separatists in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
  • The US ambassador commended King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for their role in bringing the parties together

DUBAI: World leaders and diplomats welcomed the signing of the Riyadh Agreement between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) that was signed earlier this week.

The new arrangement – signed in Saudi Arabia – calls for an equal number of ministries between each of the STC and supporters of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The negotiations began in August in the Saudi city of Jeddah after infighting threatened the unity of a coalition comprising STC forces and Hadi loyalists, which for years had been battling the Iran-allied Houthi militias.

“We are hopeful that the parties will use this critical opportunity to work together to end the conflict and to achieve the peace and stability that Yemen’s people deserve,” US Ambassador John Abizaid to Saudi Arabia said in a statement on Thursday.

The US ambassador commended King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for their role in bringing the parties together “to restore unity in shared efforts to end Yemen’s long and destructive conflict.”

British Ambassador Michael Aron also praised the Mohammad bin Salman, calling the signing of the agreement a “significant achievement secured by the efforts of the Crown Prince.”

“It is also a big step towards a comprehensive political settlement in Yemen. We welcome it and urge both parties to implement it in the timescales stipulated,” the UK envoy added.

Yemen’s UN envoy Martin Griffiths also described the deal as an “important step” for collective efforts to advance a peaceful settlement to Yemen’s conflict.

“Listening to southern stakeholders is important to the political efforts to achieve peace in the country,” he said in an online statement.

“I am grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for mediating successfully this agreement and for their strenuous diplomatic efforts,” Griffiths said.

Saudi Deputy Defence Minister, Prince Khalid Bin Salman, praised the efforts of the warring sides to end their dispute.

“They have put the Yemeni people’s interests over any other consideration,” Prince Khaled tweeted.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammad Al-Nahyan praised Saudi Arabia’s role in “in bringing about the Riyadh Agreement,”

“We sincerely wish that peace and prosperity prevail and that Yemenis enjoy security, stability and development,” the crown prince said.

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Saudi crown prince meets Indian PM Narendra Modi

Time: October 30, 2019 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed an agreement on Tuesday. (SPA)

RIYADH:  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Riyadh on Tuesday.

They reviewed the distinguished, friendly relationship between the two countries and looked at ways in which it can be further developed. They also discussed recent regional and international developments, and how the reactions and policies of the two nations might be coordinated.

At the end of the meeting, the crown prince and the prime minister signed an agreement to establish a Saudi-Indian Strategic Partnership Council.

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Putin, Saudi crown prince chair first meeting of Saudi-Russian Economic Committee

15/10/19

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 14, 2019. (Reuters)
  • The speeches dealt with areas of cooperation between the two countries and common opportunities to enhance bilateral cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin chaired the first meeting of the Saudi-Russian Economic Committee in Riyadh on Monday.
At the beginning of the meeting, the crown prince stressed the importance of continuing cooperation and building strategic partnerships between the two countries, discussing many opportunities and joint investment and production projects in line with Vision 2030.
President Putin noted in his speech at the meeting that the major Saudi-Russian participating companies play a key role in the economy between the two, praising the successful cooperation between the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the Saudi Public Investment Fund, stressing the role of the crown prince in the establishment of this partnership.
Afterwards, Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, chairman of the Saudi side of the Saudi-Russian Economic Committee, delivered a speech in which he affirmed the Kingdom’s readiness to achieve the desired objectives of future plans and joint projects, praising the RDIF for opening a branch in Riyadh, the first outside Russia.
The CEO of the RDIF, Kirill Dmitriev, chairman of the Russian side of the committee, noted the cooperation and keenness of both countries to develop and work through the committee to strengthen economic ties.
More speeches were delivered by heads of Saudi and Russian companies, including Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco, Andrei Guriev, CEO of PhosAgro, Yousef Al-Benyan, CEO of SABIC and Musa Bazhayev, president of Alliance Group.
The speeches dealt with areas of cooperation between the two countries and common opportunities to enhance bilateral cooperation.
At the end of the meeting, the minutes were signed by Dmitriev and Prince Abdullah.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Russian sovereign fund chief hails ‘outstanding’ potential for cooperation with Saudi Arabia

07/10/19

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forthcoming visit to Saudi Arabia “shows the growing role Russia is playing in the Middle East”
DUBAI: There is “outstanding potential for cooperation” between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund told Arab News on Sunday.

Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said the forthcoming visit to the Kingdom this month by Russian President Vladimir Putin “shows the growing role Russia is playing in the Middle East.”

Dmitriev spoke after he was honored by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last week with the Order of King Abdul Aziz, which is given for outstanding services to the Kingdom and is the leading Saudi national honor.

“To belong to the order is the highest distinction and honor in the Kingdom,” Dmitriev said.

“Relations between our countries are developing intensively in all areas of bilateral cooperation, and I am extremely grateful for such a high recognition of the efforts of RDIF.”

Dmitriev is only the second Russian citizen to receive the award, after President Putin himself. It was given “in recognition of his contribution to strengthening cooperation between the Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.”

RDIF and Saudi Arabia have been involved in $2.7 billion of joint investment in energy, industrial and infrastructure projects since the Russia-Saudi Investment Fund was set up two years ago.

When the Kingdom welcomes President Putin on a state visit this month, further multimillion-dollar deals are expected to be announced in petrochemicals, agriculture and energy services.

This article was first published in Arab News

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