UNLOCKING POTENTIAL

Saudi Arabia 2019-2020 | ECONOMY | VIP INTERVIEW

NIDLP aims to achieve inclusive development of the industrial sector, including developing promising and competitive industries and increasing their share of GDP and the job market.

NIDLP was established with a wide-ranging mandate to attract USD453 billion in FDI by 2030. Can you further detail your mandate and main strategies?

NIDLP seeks to transform Saudi Arabia into a leading industrial powerhouse and a global logistics hub in promising growth sectors with a focus on Industry 4.0. There are 34 governmental entities working together with NIDLP to implement more than 300 initiatives. We also seek to improve the competitive environment by providing the necessary enablers such as better policies and regulations, financial enablement, infrastructure and industrial land development, special economic zones, R&D support, and export development. NIDLP also aims to leverage the country's unexploited natural resources, which are estimated at around USD1.33 trillion, take advantage of demand in the region to stimulate new industries, and transform the economy into a model based on PPPs. When we designed our initiatives and strategies, we took into consideration the geographic diversity and human and natural resources distribution of the country to make our program an effective tool in field planning and ensuring balanced development between the different regions.

NIDLP has four priority sectors: industry, mining, energy, and logistics. Can you elaborate on the rationale behind the selection of these industries?

NIDLP aims to achieve inclusive development of the industrial sector, including developing promising and competitive industries and increasing their share of GDP and the job market. In terms of mining, NIDLP aims to develop the sector and increase its contribution to the national economy. The program covers all stages of the value chain, from exploration to mining and intermediate industries. Saudi Arabia has well over USD1.3 trillion of untapped potential that can be activated with USD120 billion of investment in the mining value chain. In the energy sector, NIDLP aims to enhance power supplies and prices, with the ultimate objective being achieving fiscal balance while maintaining the Saudi economy's competitiveness and improving the competitiveness of the electricity sector through restructuring and exploring power exportation opportunities. In addition, we aim to increase the share of renewable energy. For logistics, NIDLP seeks to position the Kingdom as a global logistics hub, focusing on three key components: creating an export platform, developing a regional distribution platform, and establishing an efficient internal distribution network to enable industry and service supply chains. All those components aim to improve infrastructure, transport networks, and logistics standards in order to develop freight and passenger services, turning KSA into an international logistics hub capable of leveraging its geographical location. Our plan to improve our transportation and logistics infrastructure is backed by USD35 billion in investments. Overall, by 2030, NIDLP targets to add some USD453 billion in private-sector investment, contribute USD320 billion to GDP, add 1.6 million new jobs, and generate USD266 billion growth in exports and re-exports.

How do you envision moving toward Industry 4.0?

To accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 in the manufacturing sector, a comprehensive program has been launched with a total capital of around USD1.4 billion. The program covers different initiatives, including building the enabling network and connectivity, establishing capability centers for Industry 4.0, funding and developing factories to become model factories for Industry 4.0, and supporting R&D and entrepreneurship in Industry 4.0 technologies. Our strategy is based on six pillars: providing financial incentives to support and encourage investors to adopt Industry 4.0; allocating a funding program of approximately USD800 million to accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0; establishing Industry 4.0 capacity centers that will hold training and capacity development and collaborating with universities and colleges to standardize expertise and the transfer of knowledge; promoting education and training the local workforce with advanced skills; conducting awareness campaigns for all sectors of NIDLP; and providing a new legal framework, appropriate infrastructure, and adequate standards for cybersecurity and other axes to ensure the stability and continuity of the transformation toward Industry 4.0.