Aug. 24, 2015


HE Eng. Khaled Alotaib

Saudi Arabia

HE Eng. Khaled Alotaib

Secretary General of Council, Saudi Chambers (CSC)

TBY talks to HE Eng. Khaled Alotaibi, Secretary General of Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), on opportunities in the market and how the council can help companies take advantage of them.

BIO

HE Eng. Khaled Alotaibi is the Secretary General of the CSC, an umbrella organization uniting all local and sector-related Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Prior to his current role, Alotaibi worked as Assistant Secretary General for Foreign Affairs at the CSC, and also as Director General of Budget at the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs. He is a member of numerous boards, committees, and organizations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He finished his Bachelor’s degree with honors in Civil Engineering at Point Park University, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1981.

What international investment opportunities within Saudi Arabia, and how is the CSC strengthening international business relations with the Kingdom and specific countries and sectors with high growth opportunities?

One of the CSC's main goals is to attract investments to the Kingdom, and thus increase job creation and transfer technology. As a link between Saudi business owners and their foreign counterparts, CSC works to achieve this goal via regional and international conferences, seminars, workshops, and business exchanges between the Saudi private sector and its foreign counterpart worldwide. Business opportunities coinciding with Saudi Arabia's advances in development over the past years allow for more local and foreign investments, given the availability of financial, technological, technical, and organizational elements. Creating partnerships between local investors depends on several factors, including opening up the horizon for potential sectors in the Kingdom and benefiting from the comparative advantages of the private sector, such as the petrochemical and food industries, without disregarding the slowest growth industries, especially ones that are tied to national security. The private sector additionally aims at forming relations with moderate countries that share good ties with Saudi Arabia.

How is the CSC promoting cooperation between the different Saudi chambers?

Our motto at the CSC is, “Cooperation and Integration are Keys to Success." Therefore, we work toward promoting bilateral and multilateral cooperation among the chambers of commerce across the Kingdom under the umbrella of CSC to ensure benefits for all. Our mission extends to include cooperation between general secretariats and national committees, which cover multiple economic activities and sectors. To promote the desired cooperation, CSC relies on holding regular meetings for general secretariats of chambers of commerce, as well as board meetings, which consist of chairpersons of various chambers of commerce.

What is the outlook for the medium-term effect of oil prices on the Saudi economy and the diversification of the Saudi economy?

All the three sectors—government, business, and society—of the Kingdom are aware that oil is not a renewable resource and that, as a global commodity, oil prices fluctuate subject to the forces of supply and demand. Therefore, Saudi Arabia's strategic vision adopted over the years, as well as its national development plans, which are both jointly implemented by the public and private sectors, emphasize the diversification of the production base and revenue sources in order to minimize the risks of increased reliance on a resource that is subject to price changes. The Kingdom takes into account such risks, which were preceded by drastic fluctuations in previous decades. As per the assurance of King Salman bin Abdulaziz in his speech on March 10th, 2015, comprehensive development plans and policies shall remain unchanged despite recent declines in oil prices in global markets. By maintaining the diversification strategy, the medium-term impact of dropping oil prices will not be drastic, given the continued effort on production base diversification. In general, Saudi Arabia's economy will be affected, but the impact relies on the level of diversification in the Kingdom's economic base.

How does the CSC and empower women in the workplace?

Enhancing the skills of the female workforce is key to integrating women into Saudi Arabia's economic development process, both as business owners and employees, which is a natural outcome of these developments. Supply and demand in the Saudi labor market determine the requirements and nature of jobs. Therefore, the CSC has been working on bridging the gap between the two sides of the labor market, and is helping to upgrade the skills of Saudi women to meet the market criteria. This is conducted via various instruments, including a CSC-specialized committee, the National Committee for Women Affairs (NCWA), which was created by a royal decree in 2005. The committee consists of members of expertise whose role is to coordinate with bodies relevant to encouraging private sector institutions to recruit and support Saudi women and get them involved in the national economic development process, and providing the necessary financial support to achieve that. Additionally, NCWA examines existing regulations related to female employment and makes suggestions that have to do with obstacles that may hinder their employment process. To further facilitate this process, the NCWA encourages businesswomen to expand their investments, especially in the SMEs sector, and coordinates with public agencies to create female offices at their establishments.