KEY AUTHORITIES

Saudi Arabia 2020 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

PPO and ECA act as an accelerator for the realization of Vision 2030 by bridging the gap between the private and public sectors and helping the government diversify the economy in the long run.

Majed H. Al Saadi
BIOGRAPHY
Majid H. Al Saadi became Managing Director of PPO in 2017 following the establishment of the organization. Al Saadi has extensive experience in the IT industry, previously working at Microsoft. In October 2019, was appointed CEO of the Investment Business Solutions department of SAGIA.
Imad Hashem
BIOGRAPHY
Imad Hashem is the former Vice Secretary General of the Economic Cities Authority and was recently appointed Secretary General of Jeddah Chamber. He has over 22 years of diverse business experience, leading organizations across different industries including special zones, real estate development, luxury retail, FMCG, manufacturing, and consultancy.

Can you elaborate on the main mandate and activities of PPA?

MAJED H. AL SAADI Since its formation, PPO has been able to stimulate the private sector by facilitating the implementation of 18 strategic projects that have a substantial socioeconomic impact and are expected to play a major role in stimulating the national economy. The contribution of these projects during the 2018-2023 period may reach SAR26 billion in investment, leading to the creation of around 10,000 temporary jobs and 7,000 direct, sustainable jobs. We forecast this to boost Saudi exports and reduce our dependence on imports. Equally important, foreign investors will bring with them technology and know-how, lifting the local industry and supporting strategic sectors. PPO operates in a fast-paced environment; our team receives, evaluates, and resolves cases within a timely manner. We complement all governmental entities, meaning we do not attract investment or issue licenses. We look at issues and consider the most appropriate way to present them to the public sector so that they can be resolved in the most effective and efficient manner. We have made a name for ourselves by helping the government solve landmark cases involving multiple ministries. We work hand-in-hand with investors to resolve their major issues.

What role do the economic cities play in Saudi Arabia's transformation?

IMAD HASHEM When the project was announced in 2005, the economic cities were meant to contribute to the acceleration of the socioeconomic development of Saudi Arabia by attracting investment, creating jobs, and improving the quality of life and business standards. Moreover, diversifying the economy and establishing strategic cluster sectors are at the center of the economic cities plan, especially in the development of the Kingdom as a key global logistics hub. The government is clear about pushing, supporting, and further developing economic cities and special economic zones, and this is visible through the announcement of new megaprojects. The size and structure of such projects are different, but these are well defined zones that will enjoy specific regulatory or financial advantages compared to the base economy.

What are your strategic priorities and ambitions, and what is your message to global investors?

MHAS Within a short time, we have gained the maturity that gave us a view of what needs to be done to support the private sector. We consider ourselves a trusted entity that can advise other public-sector entities on the necessary adjustments or new regulations covering certain areas, for example in the digital sphere. In the coming years, the public and private sectors will collaborate on several megaprojects; this is where we come in at the forefront to provide concierge services. We seek to assure foreign and international companies that with Vision 2030, everyone will get the treatment they should and deserve, and there is a team of experts serving investors to remove obstacles so they can proceed with their investments. By listening to more problems, we will be able to find more great solutions.

Why should investors invest in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC)?

IH KAEC is a mega, well-equipped platform that serves the local Saudi market and neighboring countries. King Abdullah Port, the second-largest in Saudi Arabia and one of the fastest-growing ports in the world, the Haramain High-Speed Railway station, and the wide highways network form the core of the project's value proposition. Moreover, educational institutions such as Prince Mohammad Bin Salman College, Tayaran, and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology complement the value proposition by building of a diversified pool of human capital. Notably, KAEC has established infrastructure as a result of SAR42 billion in investments from the private sector. Everything one needs to establish a business or factory is here.