Saudi team highlights Kingdom’s evolving global growth strategy - GulfToday

Saudi team highlights Kingdom’s evolving global growth strategy


Picture used for illustration purpose. File

Saudi Arabia’s smart city NEOM offers a new model for environmentally-friendly and sustainable urban design, both for the Kingdom and the world, Saudi’s Climate Envoy told the World Economic Forum (WEF).

During a panel session titled ‘The Evolution of Urban Life’, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Climate Envoy for Saudi Arabia, said: “[The Line] will revolutionize the way people look at cities and urban planning. NEOM is an attempt to create a city that is environmentally friendly, sustainable, that has a very high quality of life, that has virtually no traffic.”

Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, Minister of Investment, participated in a session called ‘Reshuffling Value Chains’. He described how Saudi Arabia’s supply chain initiatives will leverage the Kingdom’s resources, infrastructure, and location to enhance local and global supply chain resilience.

“In Saudi Arabia, we launched the Global Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (GCSRI), to not only strengthen our resilience but also enable the Kingdom to become part of the global multi-hub system, while playing to our strengths.”

During a session titled Deployment in the Industrial Metaverse,  Abdullah bin Amer Alswaha, Minister of Communications & Information Technology, said: “The current 2D world that we live in today is not fit for purpose in the 21st century.

“I’m a big advocate of the metaverse, which is going to be the next wave of how immersive experiences work for consumers, enterprises, and industry. We are bringing together academics, innovators, policymakers and regulators into a sandbox to make sure that they have a safe environment to innovate.”

 Faisal F. Alibrahim, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Economy and Planning told the WEF audience the Kingdom is set to surpass projected growth rates for 2023.

“Saudi is becoming the global growth story. We had the strongest growth in the G20 last year and if you look more closely at the 8.5 percent GDP growth figure, you will see that our non-oil activities and our private sector grew at a very high rate,” he said.

Earlier, Alibrahim addressed a panel on global tax reform, where he said: “Under Saudi Vision 2030, we have been focusing on detaching ourselves from traditional sources of revenue, with our economic diversification, to think about more long-term sustainable revenue generation, but also diversifying our sources of growth.”

In addition to the panel sessions, the Ministry of Economy and Planning for Saudi Arabia joined forces with WEF’s open innovation platform UpLink to launch a challenge designed to enhance food security in countries with arid climates. The Food Ecosystems and Arid Climates Challenge is a global call for technology solutions to food insecurity.

Saudi Arabia’s bid for Expo 2030 is not a one-off investment, explained the head of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, Fahd Al-Rasheed, it would rather be one “in the future of our citizens, resident and visitors.”

“We’re thinking about the legacy of the site itself and how it can be used. It cannot be just built and then everybody packs their bags and leaves. It has to be used beyond us. So, we’re thinking about the design of the buildings and we have that in this site masterplan in a way that we can use them for the future of work, the future of education and re-skilling,” he said.

Speaking at a fireside chat with award-winning broadcaster Emma Crosby at a special event on the Davos promenade on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, Al-Rasheed highlights that the Expo 2030 infrastructure will come naturally given the work already being done regarding Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s Vision 2030.

His vision, however, for the expo is not solely in the look and feel of the site, but rather in its legacy. “Our legacy from Expo 2030 is not going to be a building. It has to be mass engagement, and at a scale never seen before,” he explained.

“It is literally the largest event in the world, and so what we committed to is the following; not only are we going to get 30, 40 million people to the site, which is fantastic… it’s a record. We’re going to get a billion people to interact with it on the Metaverse and we are now translating that vision into reality.”

This virtual expo will cater to those who wouldn’t be able to fly over to the kingdom’s capital, but the chief executive that it will be more than just a virtual tour.

“You’d give a billion persons the opportunity to actually come and see it, and that would be the first win,” he said, “The second win is they would actually come in and do something experiential about water use and energy use, learn something and apply it in their home. That will get you mass impact.”

“And third, maybe even transact, do a job virtually, or meet somebody or a company, get an investment, etc.. So again, it has to be useful to everybody for it to be used.”

Even then, achieving an onsite presence of over 30 million is a feat not yet seen before, with the Dubai Expo 2020 attracting 26 million visitors over the span of 6 months.


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