Twelfth Jeddah Economic Forum begins

March 4, 2012

Under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah opened Saturday evening the Jeddah Economic Forum 2012, entitled “Beyond Horizons, Today We Build Tomorrow's Economy.” An estimated 3,000 local and international business leaders, political leaders, intellectuals and journalists are expected to participate in the three-day forum, which will discuss “the need for greater connectivity to achieve sustainable economic growth.”

Addressing the opening ceremony, Minister Al-Rabiah said that the Jeddah Economic Forum has become a distinct platform hosting an elite group of experts from the Kingdom and abroad. Recalling the previous years of the global crisis, he said the strength of the Saudi economy had been amply demonstrated and that the measures and programs adopted by the Kingdom have been effective in overcoming the crisis that shook the whole world.

Dr. Al-Rabiah pointed out that economic reforms undertaken by the Kingdom have been reflected by the economic environment and statistics that indicate the increase of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 28% in 2011 in comparison with 2010, due to the growth of the petroleum sector by 40%. He added that with regard to foreign trade, revenues amounted to SR 1.3 billion ($347 billion) in 2011, an increase of 37% compared to the previous year, and are expected to increase by 14% next year. He noted that imports amounted to SR 320 billion ($85.3 billion) in 2011, an increase of 2% from 2010, indicating that the economic balance achieved a surplus of SR 315 billion ($84 billion), increasing by 59%.

JEF Director Dr. Lama Al-Sulaiman said that for the first time since the event’s inception in 2000, “A ministerial session would precede the opening under the title ‘Cooperation for the Sake of the Pioneers.’” Dr Al-Sulaiman added that Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah and Minister of Labor Adel Faqih will participate in panel discussion on cooperation between the two ministries to help businessmen launch their projects, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).