SAGIA’s Sixth Global Competitiveness Forum Gets Underway in Riyadh

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 24, 2012 --( Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abulaziz Al-Saud has stressed the need to increase investment opportunities in the Kingdom. Inaugurating the Sixth Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF) in Riyadh on Saturday night, King Abdullah described investments as Saudi Arabia’s engine of development.

The King’s inaugural address was delivered by Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry, at the Four Seasons Hotel at the Kingdom Tower. GCF is organized by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), and will include three days of keynote speeches and intense discussions by government and business leaders on a wide range of topics related to entrepreneurship and competitiveness.

King Abdullah said Saudi Arabia gives utmost importance to improving the lives of citizens through sustainable development and by strengthening the private and public sectors. “This creates new job opportunities as well as increases the number of businesses and the country’s GDP,” he said.

The King noted that Saudi Arabia’s efforts have earned the country the number one ranking in the region in terms of the ease of doing business in the region and 17th in competitiveness.

He pointed out that the theme of this year’s Forum is Entrepreneurship. The Forum will help to create new institutions and strengthen existing private and public sector organizations through creative ideas and new opportunities that emerge from the event. Stressing the importance of the youth as a vital segment of the national economy and social development, the King reiterated the government’s support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the youth and creation of new job opportunities.

Addressing the inaugural function earlier, Fahad Hamaidaddin, Chief of Marketing and Competitiveness Initiatives at SAGIA, said the success of the Forum reflected the improving image of the investment environment in the Kingdom and the country’s international reputation. He said GCF has grown to become the “Davos of the Middle East.”

Hamaidaddin said SAGIA has been hosting the annual forum to achieve several objectives such as the development of new ideas and visions related to competitiveness with the involvement of global and local leaders and thinkers. He stressed the role of GCF in bringing new thought and entrepreneurial initiatives not only to the private sector, but also government organizations. The event benefits from the participation of advisory organizations, local and international academic organizations and government agencies that deal with entrepreneurship.

He noted that SAGIA had leveraged GCF to launch important initiatives such as the Saudi Fast Growth 100, Responsible Competitiveness Index, the Saudi-Oxford program for developing executive leadership and programs to promote a culture of creativity and innovation.
The inaugural function was also addressed by Abdullah Al Uzaib, CEO of GCF, who explained the choice of entrepreneurship as the main theme of the event this year. “We have chosen this theme because entrepreneurship plays a key role in improving the competitiveness of the national economy and in enhancing the performance of the government and private sectors,” he said.

Nearly 2,000 delegates are attending GCF 2012, including hundreds of business leaders from around the world who will share their insights and opinions on entrepreneurship.

About SAGIA:
SAGIA, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, was established in 2000 as part of the new foreign investment law in Saudi Arabia. SAGIA supervises the attraction of foreign investment into the country, and manages Saudi Arabia’s competitiveness agenda in an effort to improve the country’s business environment. As a result of the efforts of SAGIA’s National Competitiveness Council, and the Saudi Government as a whole, Saudi Arabia is now considered the 8th largest recipient of FDI with inflows of 35 Billion USD in 2009, 11th Easiest Place to Do Business according to the World Bank-IFC’s Doing Business Report, and the 21st most competitive country in the world according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.

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For more information:
May Bin Dayel

Alef International:
Ibtihal AlSamaraie

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority
Said Hasanieh
May Bin Dayel
Alef International:
Ibtihal AlSamaraie