What have been the major highlights in the past year, and what will be the strategic focus of the PPA for 2019?
2018's main highlight was the establishment of a new entity, Al Raidah, focused on the real estate sector. The new team is working on an aggressive strategy, seeking partnerships with international property management companies. There are 7,000 units ready for rent in the central, western, and eastern regions, along with 2,500 units scheduled for completion in 1Q2019. In Jeddah, we have around 74 buildings that will be released gradually by contractors in 4Q2019. Our focus for 2019 will be register returns on investment to capitalize on the set of initiatives undertaken in the past year. Indeed, we recently restructured and engineered the whole company with new asset allocation, and our efforts have been recognized by the international security organization in Geneva with two awards. So far, we have achieved 90% of our objectives in terms of investments, as witnessed by the 10 KPIs we recently released, with another 10 ready to be released as well. From a technology and services point of view, we have achieved 60% of our targets, and by the end of 2019 we will implement 80-85% of our overall strategy.
How are you restructuring the work done for the government?
Undoubtedly, in 2018 we saw a great deal of progress. At present, we have many development programs, such as the association program with the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) through which we have hired and trained more than 50 female workers for a wide variety of jobs that require high skills, such as law, finance, and technology. We are also proud of managing IDC, which we have been working on for the past four to five years. We also opened the Crown Plaza Hotel in Al Raidah Digital City, whose rooms are fully occupied.
What trends have you observed in Saudi Arabia's economy, and what do you foresee for 2019?
PPA has a great opportunity to become one of the main investors in PPPs. We hope the government will come up with more PPPs over the years so we can bid and win some of them. We are interested in utility companies and the evolutions they are undergoing, as it is an area of focus. In the healthcare sector, we are looking to build a medical city in Jeddah through Al Raidah, which is currently reviewing the proposals that we are looking at. Modern government projects increase investors' appetite, both foreign and local. This market has a great future with the inclusion of more entrants in the capital markets, whether through an active or passive approach, and for 2019, we foresee many changes when it comes to the size and shape of capital investments. We are the biggest pension agency in the region, and we look forward to where the country is going.