Robust manufacturing sector is key to Kingdom’s prosperity

Robust manufacturing sector is key to Kingdom’s prosperity

July 25, 2010 at 07:07am
Akram Hamad

Saudi Arabia’s vision is to become one of the most competitive economies in the world, and this can be achieved only by diversifying its revenue streams. In a country with some 60 percent of the population in the 15 to 64 years age group, and the population growing at about 2 percent annually, clearly, the need for creating new job opportunities cannot be overstated.

How can we create new jobs? How can we address the pressing societal issue of unemployment?

Saudi Arabia has robust economic indicators with about 60 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) generated from the industrial sector. However, it accounts for only about 21 percent of the workforce. On the other hand, the services sector, which contributes about 36 percent to the GDP, employs nearly 70 per cent of the total labor. While services offer a wider playing field, the sector has not been able to address the unemployment challenge in the Kingdom. This leaves room for industries, with a focus on manufacturing and small & medium enterprises.

Creating a robust manufacturing sector is not an easy process. Its development requires collaborative effort and knowledge-sharing with a strong focus on public private partnerships. In order to provide what is needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry, the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Commerce & Industry has invested SR50 billion and is finalizing plans to launch the National Industrial Strategy to guide and implement the process.

GE is partnering in this strategic development shift and has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Commerce & Industry where they will work together to explore manufacturing opportunities in Saudi Arabia, not only for the Kingdom but also for local and export markets.

The result will create new jobs and drive ancillary industries, will drive innovation and research & development thereby contributing to the overall social and economic prosperity of the Kingdom.

Posted by Akram Hamad, Regional Executive – GE Corporate; a detailed version of the above was published recently.

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