Riyadh – MENA Herald: More than 300 business leaders from over 20 countries today convened in Riyadh for the Global Supplier Forum by GE (NYSE: GE) held under the patronage of HRH Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Second Deputy Premier and Defense Minister. The event discussed the significant opportunities for building a high-value supply chain with Saudi Arabia as a strategic international hub.
Under the theme, ‘Partners for Transformation,’ the event complemented the strategic goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to promote international collaborations and strengthen public-private partnerships as part of the Kingdom’s transformational economic and industrial diversification initiatives. This supports a core pillar of the vision to transform the Kingdom’s ‘unique strategic location into a global hub connecting three continents, Asia, Europe and Africa.’
As a key ‘Partner for Transformation’ of Saudi Arabia, GE organized the global event in the Kingdom to help develop high-value supply chains locally through its own international suppliers, and also highlight to them the opportunities for inward investments and partnerships. GE’s suppliers from the US, Europe, Asia and the MENA region are attending the event. The Forum also demonstrated GE’s strong manufacturing competencies in Saudi Arabia, and how its global suppliers can partner in localized manufacturing, a core priority of the government today.
The Forum closely followed GE announcing new strategic partnerships and localization initiatives that support the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030. They support economic & industrial diversification in the Kingdom, the creation of quality jobs for Saudi nationals, human capital development as well as productivity and efficiency enhancement across the energy, aviation, healthcare and digital sectors.
GE Global Supplier Forum featured three panel discussions addressed by high-ranking government officials, senior leaders of Saudi Arabia’s flagship government entities and senior executives of global businesses.
Delivering the opening remarks, GE’s Vice Chairman John Rice said: “Organizing our Global Supplier Forum in Saudi Arabia underlines our deep commitment to support the Kingdom in building strong, global competencies in manufacturing and industrial diversification. Saudi Vision 2030 has set a roadmap for the transformation of the Kingdom, and the Forum enables leading global businesses to understand the opportunities in Saudi Arabia and establish their local presence. This will help build robust supply chains, especially in high-growth industries, creating more jobs for Saudi nationals and building the small and medium enterprises sector.”
Welcoming the audience, Hisham Al-Bahkali, GE’s President & CEO for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, said: “All through our eight decades of presence in the Kingdom, we have consistently focused on being the ‘Partner for Transformation.’ From supporting the first wave of industrialization to now ushering in the digital industrial economy, we work with our partners to strengthen the Kingdom’s economic competitiveness. For the first time, we have our entire team of global suppliers here in Saudi, and we want to highlight to them the tremendous opportunities for localization of their business. This will enable us and our suppliers to be closer to our clients while creating long-term economic value.”
HE Dr. Majid Alkassabi, Minister of Commerce & Investment, said: “This global event has tremendous potential in building a robust global supply chain with Saudi Arabia as a strategic hub. The Kingdom offers a competitive investment and trade environment, which is being further enhanced under Saudi Vision 2030. We are creating a growth platform for international businesses to strengthen their operations from here, and to benefit from the unprecedented opportunities in diverse sectors. The GE Supplier Forum serves as a platform for global businesses to understand the transformational growth strategies that are implemented in the Kingdom.”
Eng. Saleh Al Rasheed, Director General of Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON), said: “Saudi Vision 2030 sets a clear roadmap for economic and industrial diversification in the Kingdom. MODON has been playing an increasingly major role in leading the industrial transformation of the Kingdom with our focus on creating dynamic industrial cities that create jobs for Saudis, strengthen the value supply chain and drive industrial diversification. As the Industry Partner of the GE Global Supplier Forum, we are looking to interact with leading global industries and to highlight the competitive strengths of the Kingdom to serve as a hub for manufacturing in diverse business sectors.”
The opening high-level panel discussion on ‘Saudi Arabia Vision 2030: Growth, Diversification & Transformation of the Economy,’ was addressed by HE Dr. Majid Alkassabi, Minister of Commerce & Investment; HE Dr. Muhammed Al-Jasser, Chairman of the Board, Energy Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA); HE Eng. Mohammed Al-Mady, President, Military Industries Corporation (MIC); HE Dr. Saleh Bin Hussein Al-Awaji, Chairman of the Board, Saudi Electricity Company (SEC); and HE Dr. Alaa Nasif, CEO, Royal Commission Yanbu. They discussed the key pillars of Saudi Vision 2030 and the ongoing development plans that drive economic and industrial diversification.
An industry panel discussion on the ‘Building Saudi Arabia’s Industrial & Manufacturing Supply Chain Ecosystem,’ was addressed by HRH Prince Saud bin Khalid Al-Faisal, Deputy Governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA); Eng. Saleh Al-Solami, Deputy Minister of Industry; Eng. Abdulaziz Al-Abdulkarim, Vice President, Procurement & Supply Chain Management of Saudi Aramco; Eng. Sultan Bin Battal, Senior Vice President – Corporate Strategy, Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC); and Eng. Rasheed Al-Shubaili, CEO of Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Company (SAIIC). The panelists discussed the core components needed to building a localized industrial ecosystem – from the right qualified talent, training of Saudi nationals, the newest technologies including digital industrial solutions and the creation of a high-value local supply chain.
The final panel was another thought-provoking session on the ‘Deep Diving into Saudi Arabia’s Industrial Sectors: Support, Opportunities & Challenges’ and on what it really takes to be successful. The panelists included: Brigadier General Eng. Ateyah Al-Malki, Director General for Military Industrial Localization; Eng. Saleh Al-Rasheed, Director General of Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON); Eng. Khaled Al-Salem, President of National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP); and Abdulkarim Al-Nafie, Director General of Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF). They provided invaluable insights to businesses and investors seeking to establish and expand their operations in the Kingdom including aspects of financing and talent acquisition, among others.
GE also hosted a ‘Saudi Industry Exchange’ session, another first-of-its-kind program that facilitated productive networking sessions between Saudi government officials and industry leaders. Dedicated ‘desks’ were set up by entities including the Ministry of Defense; the Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources; MODON; NICDP; Royal Commission of Yanbu; SABIC; SAGIA; Saudi Aramco; SEC and SIDF, among others. The visiting business delegates had the opportunity to meet and interact with representatives of these entities to gain an in-depth understanding on the investment and industrial environment of the Kingdom.
Dr. Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Al-Zamil, President of Council of Saudi Chambers, delivered the closing keynote address.
As part of the Global Supplier Forum, MODON is organising a site tour for the visiting delegates to various industrial clusters and entities in the Kingdom. Reflecting the directives of the Saudi Vision 2030 to promote cultural tourism to the Kingdom, Saudi Tourism Authority organized an array of cultural activities for the visitors.
The Global Supplier Forum supports GE’s long-term growth plans for the Kingdom including its goal of doubling its workforce to 4,000 by 2020, and doubling its Saudi supplier base to 300. The event provided a robust platform for various international businesses that work with GE across diverse businesses to gain a better understanding of GE’s footprint in the Kingdom and its various partnerships.
With a presence of over 80 years, three offices and seven facilities, Saudi Arabia accounts for the largest GE workforce in the Middle East with over 2,000 employees driving the Aviation, Healthcare, Oil & Gas, Power & Water and Transportation businesses.