2003 News Story

Fourth Jeddah International Economic Forum

Governor of Makkah Province Prince Abdulmajeed bin Abdulaziz opened the Fourth Jeddah International Economic Forum on Saturday in the presence of guest of honor Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Al-Ragheb. In his address, Prince Abdulmajeed declared that the Forum aims at a new approach necessitated by developments in international economies, notably the era of globalization. Competition, he said, came along with openness to the world and requires new ways to open the doors and facilitate regulations in order to attract investors, with the belief that successful investment projects achieve benefits for the citizens of every nation, represented in the creation of jobs and the raising of living standards. He observed that Saudi Arabia is taking a serious approach in encouraging foreign investments, and has provided official regulations to protect investors' rights. One outcome of this approach is the recent move to privatize twenty public sector undertakings.

Yesterday, the topic of the Forum was 'Competition among Nations: Elements of Success'. In his speech, Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf stressed the ability of the Saudi economy to meet future requirements, founded as it is on principles of economic freedom and adaptability. He noted that the Kingdom is working on implementing a program of comprehensive and economic reform aimed at strengthening the economy and promoting growth and sustainable development.

The Fourth Jeddah Economic Forum wound up its deliberations today with a session on the future of family enterprises. Addressing the session, Professor Taron Khana of the Harvard Business School called for the creation of certain mechanisms to address problems between families and executives, advocating change rather than resistance. Khalid Kanu of the Yousuf bin Ahmed Kanu group in Bahrain noted that the problems facing family companies could be summarized as those involving inheritance, female partnership, impartiality, and the lack of distinction between family affairs and business affairs, suggesting that such problems could be harmonized by strategies such as strengthening partnerships or entering into international contracting agreements.

Addressing the Forum earlier today, President and Senior Executive Director of Saudi Aramco Abdullah Jumaa stressed that the Kingdom's petroleum sector has achieved distinction and competitive ability at the world level on account of its development of locally inventive initiatives which enhance the efficiency of production and export systems to meet local and world demand. He pointed out that a large part of the company's strategy to maintain its global competitive ability depends on its investment in the development of the nation's human resources and in the local private business sector.