RIYADH: In a major boost to women’s education and employment in Saudi Arabia, IT giant Wipro, along with Saudi Aramco and Princess Nora University (PNU), inaugurated here Sunday night the Kingdom’s first all “Women’s Business Park,” which will create nearly 21,000 jobs by 2025.

The WBP, a joint-venture of PNU and Wipro Arabia, has been supported by Saudi Aramco as strategic adviser and anchor of the initiative.
The accord to set up the WBP was signed Sunday at the inaugural ceremony at PNU, the world’s largest women’s university. The event was attended by a large number of high-ranking Saudi officials, royal family members, diplomats, and top executives. Prominent among them were Minister of Education Ahmed Al-Issa, PNU Rector Huda Al-Ameel, Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser, and Azim Premji, Wipro chairman.
Also present were Prince Turki A. Abdul Rahman, chairman of Wipro Arabia Ltd.; Ahmed Javed, Indian ambassador; Abidali Neemuchwala, Wipro CEO and executive director; Soumitro Ghosh, Wipro president and CEO for India, Middle East & Asia Pacific region; Pandurang Desai, vice president and business head for the Middle East; and Thomas George, business head for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Education Minister Al-Issa congratulated Saudi Aramco, PNU and Wipro for launching this important initiative, which will “go a long way in promoting women’s education and employment in the country.” He thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for exerting “comprehensive efforts to establish world-class facilities for Saudi girls and for imparting skills, training and education for them.”
The minister recollected the contribution of the late King Abdullah to women’s education and said that it was he who inaugurated the new PNU campus in 2008 with the prime mandate to educate Saudi girls.
“In a country where women represent about 60 percent of all university graduates, but less than 15 percent of the country’s workforce, the WBP is poised to be a milestone initiative,” said Huda Al-Ameel.
She said that “the goal of the WBP is to create 21,000 jobs by 2025 and give women a critical role to play in a way that serves the objectives of the nation and to build a knowledge economy.” The WBP is envisioned to provide the largest engineering drafting services, business process services and IT hub in the region for a number of industry sectors including oil and gas, manufacturing, government, health care, telecom and construction.
Referring to the role of Saudi Aramco, Nasser said that “as a strategic consultant to the WBP, we are happy to lend our expertise in the creation of world class facilities to empower Saudi women … This initiative is the result of a successful consortium among three respected entities and we appreciate the efforts involved in creating this first of its kind facility in the Kingdom.”
Spelling out the features of the project with special reference to the presence of Wipro in Saudi Arabia, Wipro chief Premji said: “It is the company’s endeavor to foster an environment that encourages and enables more women to participate in business and tap their leadership potentials … It has been more than a decade since Wipro began its operations in the Kingdom, and localization of the workforce has always been an important aspect of our business strategy here.”
Premji strongly emphasized the services and the expertise offered by Wipro in the Kingdom, terming WBP as a “ground-breaking partnership.” “This is evident from the fact that Wipro today ranks as the second largest IT company in the Kingdom in terms of size,” said the Wipro chief, adding that Wipro Arabia has reported a 30 percent growth in terms of business year on year basis.
The women’s park, covering an area of 200,000 square meters located on the iconic PNU premises, will include entrepreneur incubators, daycare centers and a one-stop coordination center for government transactions.
The first phase of the project will be operational in the existing buildings at PNU this year itself, while the new WBP buildings will be progressively ready starting in 2017.

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