Saudi economic forum opens new horizons for young people (Al-Shorfa)

The Jazan economic forum highlighted the importance of young investors, who are expected to have a strong influence on the kingdom’s economic future. [Sultan al-Barei/Al-Shorfa]

Young investors took center stage at a recent Saudi economic forum. The event, held February 25th and 26th in Jazan under the theme “Investment Partnerships”, gave participants a chance to explore investment opportunities.
Recommendations included highlighting the importance of young investors, who are expected to have a strong influence on the kingdom’s economic future.
Government officials and businessmen from Saudi Arabia, Arab nations and beyond attended the event, along with investors and economists.
One participant, economist Dr. Jamil al-Jarallah, presented a working paper on young people and how their potential should be optimized through talent and capacity building.
Al-Jarallah said the forum’s eight sessions focused on economic development in Jazan, “especially in relation to developing and maximizing human resources”.
The last session highlighted the role played by young people in developing the investment climate and the importance of improving training methods, he said.
Al-Jarallah outlined actions that are being taken to achieve these goals. Technical training centers affiliated with 37 colleges, in collaboration with a number of global companies, will provide training for 13,000 young people in 50 different specialties.
“This step will help match young talent with the most suitable jobs,” he said, adding that more information on resources and investment could be found on a Jazan Economic City online portal, which was launched at the close of the forum.
“Job creation and opening economic doors for youths has other benefits,” al-Jarallah continued. “Opening these doors is considered the most effective way to confront the radical ideas that terrorist organizations try to impose on young people’s minds.”
“Having a bright future and keeping busy with small to medium projects will safeguard youths and prevent these organizations from taking advantage of widespread unemployment or poverty. These new prospects also create a stronger relationship between young people and their country, as partners in its development,” he added.
Strengthening investment ties
Mahmoud al-Aiyedh of the Jazan Chamber of Commerce and Forum Trustee Committee, said the goal of the forum was to strengthen investment ties amongst the public and private sectors.
“This will diversify the economy by attracting a new host of foreign and local investments from all sectors, which will develop the economy of the kingdom in general and Jazan in particular,” al-Aiyedh said.
Jazan, he added, has an important role in attracting investment due to its economic capabilities, Red Sea location and connection via international highway, which make it a gateway to local and international markets.
Business sectors represented at the forum included tourism, energy, mining, renewable manufacturing, transportation, health, construction, real estate and scientific research.
Dr. Muhsin al-Qahtani, a lecturer at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, spoke to al-Shorfa about Jazan’s economic potential. He highlighted the economic city and port, as well as natural resources such as mountains and islands, which have yet to be tapped into for investment purposes, and noted that Jazan was home to 5% of the Saudi population and 6.5% of the kingdom’s labour force.
These features would “raise the investment and economic capacity for the kingdom if they are ideally utilized”, he said.
Al-Qahtani said, “Saudi efforts to diversify economic resources are due to its interest in safeguarding its economy against drops in global oil prices”.
Other recent economic forums in Saudi Arabia have focused on this issue and the importance of giving access to young people through supporting and financing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), he said.
This would bring up a “new generation of Saudi investors and businessmen who constitute a new pillar and have a strong influence on the economic future of the kingdom”, Al-Qahtani said.