SAGIA Strives To Meet 10×10 Vision Deadline

RIYADH: With just 11 months remaining until the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) has to meet the deadline to fulfill its revolutionary 10×10 economic vision, the organization is pushing forward in helping the Kingdom upgrade its regulatory regime to provide an optimal business environment.

“Achieving a top 10 rank in terms of competitiveness will present significant challenges, but will make a lot of difference to the Kingdom,” said SAGIA chief Amr Al-Dabbagh on Monday.

Founder and CEO of Dell Inc. Michael Dell, who had commended Saudi Arabia’s business growth, technology adoption and commitment to education initiatives, shared the same sentiments.

“The Kingdom is setting an example for fast-growth nations around the world,” he said.

He was speaking as a keynote speaker on the third day of the Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF), organized by SAGIA in Riyadh on Monday.

Referring to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report, Al-Dabbagh said that foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in the Middle East have traditionally been concentrated in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Turkey.

“Saudi Arabia has become the 14th largest recipient of FDI in the world,” he said, adding that competitiveness-enhancing reforms had contributed significantly to improving the Kingdom’s scores.

Employment regulation, he said, remains one of the most consistently debated topics of reform.

The governments need to balance labor market flexibility with worker protection, a task even the most successful countries find challenging, said a SAGIA report released at the forum. The research also referred to manpower in the Gulf.

The report claimed the freedom granted to employers concerning flexible hiring and firing practices needed to be reasonable, noting that lax regulations can allow bosses to harass their workers or pay them less than they are worth.

Dell emphasized the critical role of IT while referring to the sector’s growth. He said entrepreneurial thought-leadership would help organizations remain competitive and achieve long-term success.

“IT has become a strategic enabler of sustainable competitiveness for businesses, communities and nations,” he said, adding that the technology can play a key role in helping an organization develop and sustain its strengths while simultaneously creating new growth opportunities in response to changing market conditions.

Referring to the growth of the IT sector in Saudi Arabia, Dell described how today’s computing advancements are driving competitive advantage across industries, including science and education.

“IT has become one of the most important competitive differentiators in top learning institutions, and the intellectual discovery and breakthrough research it can help enable is important to a nation’s base of knowledge capital and its long-term prosperity,” he said.

Many other speakers attended the GCF sessions yesterday and shared their experiences on a range of topics that included rising cost pressures and changes required for sustainable healthcare.

Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman received several speakers and GCF guests on Monday. Prominent personalities in the fields of business, economy and politics from around the world are attending the forum.

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