By Innovation-sa on May 8, 2018 in News

The Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA), unveiled the $34.6 billion Quality of Life Program 2020, an initiative to promote entertainment, health, sports, education and other activities that contribute to the quality of life, job creation, as well as to encourage investment opportunities and diversification of economic activities, while raising the status of Saudi cities among the best cities in the world.

The Quality of Life Program 2020, is one of the Vision Realization Programs 2030 approved by the Council of Ministers as part of the modernizing drive led by Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman.

The program aims at raising at least three Saudi cities to the list of top 100 cities in the world to live in by 2030 by developing strong infrastructure in the major cities, providing comprehensive services to the population to meet their living needs, providing a social framework that enables citizens and residents to interact, offering high-quality and diverse lifestyle options, encouraging people to interact and ensuring their participation in activities and events.

The government will spend more than SR50 billion to support the program until 2020, while investments available to the private sector are around SR23.7 billion for the same period through 220 initiatives adopted by the program till 2020.

Moreover, the program aims to achieve non-oil GDP growth in related sectors by 20 percent per year till 2020, while the contribution of local content in the relevant sectors will hit 67 percent by 2020. The initiative aims to create more than 300,000 new jobs by 2020 and generate a non-oil revenue of SR1.9 billion.


By Innovation-sa on May 8, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia’s Public Transport Authority (PTA) published regulations for licensed female cab operators while providing transportation services to families, according to reports from Al-Madina newspaper.

Female chauffeurs providing family transportation services must be a Saudi national with a legal driving license and free from criminal records and any contagious disease.

The female cab drivers of family transportation service should only operate in the city where the license was issued, and violators will be fined SR 500.

A penalty of SR 5,000 will be issued if a Saudi female chauffeur carries male passengers in the absence of an adult female passenger or if the driver is a non-Saudi woman.

Moreover, if a male passenger or a child is allowed to sit in the front seat of the vehicle providing family transportation service, a penalty of SR 2,000 will be imposed.

Meanwhile, vehicles used for family transportation service should satisfy the 11 specifications mentioned in the by-laws. The vehicle should not be more than 5 years old, its color and appearance should adhere to the specifications published by the authorities, it should be at least a 7-seater, it should have efficient air-conditioning, a tracking device is mandatory for each vehicle, there should be an identification screen, and each vehicle should have electronic point-of-sale machine for accepting electronic payment.


By Innovation-sa on May 1, 2018 in News

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman officially launched Qiddiya on Saturday in a glittering ceremony in the presence of Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund, as well as several princes, ministers and a distinguished audience of 300 dignitaries from around the world.

Qiddiya project, the Kingdom’s first entertainment, sports and the cultural destination is set to open in 2022. Located 40 km away from the heart of Riyadh, Qiddiya will span over an area of 334 square kilometers making it almost triple the size of Disney World in Florida.

The highlights of Qiddiya will be the Six Flags theme parks, motorsports, vacation homes as well as arts and cultural events. The new entertainment hub is expected to attract more than 17 million visitors by 2030.

Qiddiya CEO Michael Reininger invited investors, creators, and operators from around the world to explore what a one-of-a-kind project like Qiddya has to offer. “We will seek the best to help us, as we invent a new entertainment experience for all residents and visitors to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Reininger also noted that Qiddiya already has some 50 direct employers and hundreds of local suppliers and global advisors and the number is expected to reach 55,000 by 2022.

Qiddiya is one among the three major initiatives announced by PIF recently, the others being NEOM – a $500 mega investment and business special zone – and a Red Sea project, which includes a nature reserve, coral reef diving and heritage sites on around 50 islands.

Economically, Qiddiya is one of the many measures taken by the Kingdom to diversify the Kingdom’s oil-dependent economy to cultural, entertainment and hospitality industries. Meanwhile, Qiddiya will also redirect billions of riyals spent every year by Saudis on foreign tourism back to the Kingdom by creating top-notch entertainment options for them within their country.


By Innovation-sa on April 26, 2018 in News

The emir of Makkah and advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, issued a ministerial decree that Saudi citizens, both men, and women, employed in the private sector in all governorates across the province must wear traditional Saudi attire at workplaces.

He also assigned the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, the Ministry of Commerce and Investment and representatives of the emirate to continuously check if the new decision is effectively implemented in the region, especially in shops and commercial centers.

The ruling came after the emir’s inspection team noticed two Saudi men working in shops in Taif dressed in clothes different from the traditional Saudi attire due to dress code implemented by their company, explained Sulthan Al-Dosary, spokesman of the emirate, regarding the emir’s directive.

“The emir then constituted a committee to carry out studies about the reasons why companies were forcing Saudis to wear non-Saudi dresses. The emir’s directive came in line with the recommendations of the committee,” he added.


By Innovation-sa on April 23, 2018 in News

The Saudi Arabian stock market escalated to a 32-month high as Tadawul All-Shares Index (TASI) closed trading at 8,050.30 points on Monday.

TASI rose to more than the psychologically important 8,000-point mark for the first time since August 2015 and analysts credited this surge to the confidence investors gained from higher oil prices and easing anxieties in the region after US-led strikes on Syria.

Since January 2018, TASI has shown a positive growth gaining 11.4 percent as the Kingdom is preparing for the biggest IPO in its history by selling up to 5 percent of Saudi Aramco.

Muhammed Zidan, market analyst at Thinkmarket in Dubai believes that it is the combination of positive factors that pushed investor sentiment higher. “Oil prices are holding high above $70 a barrel while geopolitical tensions have eased after Saturday’s US strike on Syria”, he added.

He further explained that all indications showed an upsurge in funds flowing into the Saudi Arabian market since the global FTSE Russell index granted it secondary emerging market status last month.


By Innovation-sa on April 23, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia is on the run to achieve its dream economic transformation plan, Vision 2030, and is undertaking several reforms to diversify its economy and one major focus is on the tourism and entertainment sector.

A panel of experts who are set to meet at the Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference on 2-3 May 2018 noted that entertainment and culture will be the most sought-after investment sector in the Kingdom within a few years.

The Conference, held in association with the Ministry of Finance, will study how the growth of this new sector has contributed to the Kingdom’s economy, employment opportunities and investment prospects for foreign investors.

The Kingdom has already set aside $64 billion for the growth of arts, tourism, and entertainment over the next 10 years and expects a boom in the entertainment and cultural sector.

Established in 2016 to revolutionize the Kingdom, the General Entertainment Authority has already had a transformative impact on the Saudi Arabian economy and culture by hosting more than 2,000 successful events like jazz festivals, operas, Saudi Fashion Week and even monster truck rallies in just one year.

As the 35-year old ban on cinemas came to an end as part of the Kingdom’s liberalization drive, international entertainment companies have begun to establish their presence in the Kingdom to operate cinemas. In addition, globally renowned amusement park companies like Six Flags have announced their grand entry to the Kingdom in a few years adding to the growth of entertainment sector in the Kingdom.

Victoria Behn, Euromoney Conference’s Director of the Middle East and Africa, stated “There is international interest in the growth of Saudi Arabia’s cultural sector both from a social perspective and also as a significant investment opportunity. It has provided one of the most visible signs of change taking place in the Kingdom and is also a fascinating case study in the financial contribution that arts and entertainment can make to an economy”.

The addition of entertainment investment to the Conference’s agenda this year in addition to sessions on debt and equity capital markets, small and medium businesses, real estate, and the state of the wider global economy in 2018, reflects both the growing diversity of the Saudi economy as well as Euromoney Saudi Arabia’s comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the regional financial sector.


By Innovation-sa on April 15, 2018 in News

As part of Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman’s Paris visit, 20 economic pacts worth $18 billion were signed between Saudi Arabia and France, reported Al Arabiya TV.

MoUs were inked between Saudi And French companies in several sectors including energy, petrochemicals, trade, aviation, water treatment, tourism, health, agricultural and cultural activities.

State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco entered into a major agreement with French petrochemical giant Total. The first deal worth $7.2 billion is to establish a new petrochemical complex in collaboration with SATORP, and the other is a trade agreement worth $3 billion.

Another agreement was signed in the aviation sector between Saudi Arabia’s Fly NAS and General Electric-Safran to establish a $5.5 billion joint venture between General Electric and Saudi-based Safran for manufacturing plane engines.

In addition, Saudi Crown Prince and French President Macron discussed a “strategic partnership” that could lead to a contract when Macron visits Saudi Arabia by the end of 2018.



By Innovation-sa on April 8, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia will open its first cinema in over three decades on April 18 in Riyadh, after the ban on cinema was lifted last year as part of the Kingdom’s liberalization drive.

Last year, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) partnered with US movie exhibition company AMC Entertainment Holdings to explore and invest in cinema business in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information granted a license to AMC Entertainment to open 40 cinemas across 15 Saudi cities over the next five years.

“AMC plans to open the Kingdom’s first cinema theatre in Riyadh on April 18,”, the information ministry’s Centre for International Communication said in a statement.

The cinemas will not be segregated by gender like several other public places in the Kingdom and the first screening will be Marvel’s superhero movie “Black Panther”, a source told Reuters on Wednesday.

To serve a population of more than 32 million, most of whom are under the age of 30, Saudi Arabia plans to set up around 350 cinemas with more than 2,500 screens across the Kingdom by 2030.

The reforms are part of an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom reels from an oil crash since 2014 and cinemas are expected to generate a revenue of more than $1 billion in ticket sales annually.

By Innovation-sa on April 8, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) signed an agreement with globally renowned amusement park company, Six Flags, to design and develop a Six Flags-branded amusement park in Riyadh amid wide-ranging social reforms in the Kingdom.

Six Flags will design, develop and license the Six Flags brand for Qiddiya, the Kingdom’s first entertainment, sports and cultural spot, which is located 40 km away from the center of Riyadh and is set to open in 2022.

The deal will probably include three parks, the first of which will open in 2020 or 2021, Executive Chairman Jim Reid-Anderson said. In addition to the park in Qiddiya, the others, each costing around $300 to $500 million to construct, are set to be built in Jeddah and at a resort elsewhere in the western Red Sea coast.

“Qiddiya, a key project within the Kingdom’s entertainment sector, will play an important role in the development of Saudi Arabia’s economy and the realization of the ambitions of Vision 2030. The first Six Flags-branded amusement park in the Kingdom forms another part of the development of the sector which will help to create jobs and opportunities for young Saudi people.”, stated PIF about the deal.

“We see great potential in the Saudi Arabian market and look forward to collaborating with PIF to create a world-class entertainment destination for Saudi Arabia’s young and dynamic population”, David McKillips, President of Six Flags International Development Company commented on the agreement.


By Innovation-sa on April 3, 2018 in News

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD) confirmed that around 83 percent of jobs in shops selling women’s accessories and dress have been feminized and nationalized.

The Ministry’s official spokesman Khalid Aba Al-Khail informed that field inspectors have been organizing inspection tours in malls, commercial centers, and shops across the country to evaluate the extent to which the ministry’s decision to feminize and nationalize jobs in shops selling women’s accessories have been put into action. Of the 96,000 establishments inspected, over 79,300 establishments have adhered to the government’s decision while 16,400, which is around 17 percent, have not.

The field inspectors discovered 13,300 violations during their examinations. 31 percent of the violations, representing 4,200 cases, failed to Saudize jobs while 55 percent (7,300 cases) violators failed to feminize jobs in their establishments.

Earlier in November 2017, the third phase of feminization and Saudization of jobs in shops involved in the sale of women accessories was launched. It included shops selling perfumes, shoes, stockings, bags, ready-made garments, kiosks selling women’s accessories, stand-alone shops selling wedding gowns, abayas, garments, child-care and pharmaceutical items.