COUNTRY-SPECIFIC FORUMS

2nd Saudi-German Forum for Sustainable Business

Report

Under the leadership of EMA President Christian Wulff, the economic delegation consisted of 28 participants. Dammam and Jeddah were stations from the 28th to the 31st of January. The trip was marked by the Saudi Vision 2030, which was published in April 2016, and served the purpose of establishing contacts between German and Saudi companies. Saudi Arabia's visit was preceded by German-Saudi economic events organized by the EMA in Hamburg.

In Dammam, the visit to the Asharqia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which presented its task spectrum and explained the possibilities for investors in the Eastern Province. The German Ambassador Dieter W. Haller and Oliver Oehms from AHK Riyadh issued statements, and Dr. Hatem Samman from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) – www.sagia.gov.sa - explained the simplified investment rules. During company visits to Linde SIGAS and DIWYDAG Saudi Arabia Co. Ltd., a Member of STRABAG Group in Jubail Industrial City, there were useful insights into the work of these two companies. Employees stood trellises on the company's staircase before the inauguration of the new office building of DYWIDAG in Jubail with ribbon cutting by Christian Wulff. Commercial Area Manager Alexander S. Wagner and Technical Director Bernhard Schmitt described both the company's history as a member of the STRABAG Group, one of the largest construction companies in the world, as well as the business segments of the future and answered  questions from the delegation participants. 

Jeddah's activities were focused on the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), including the existing infrastructure such as the port, residential areas, hotels, etc. The Port Development Company (PDC), founded in 2010, is the owner and developer of the King Abdullah Port, , They explained about the infrastructure of the harbor in front of the huge harbor model. Stephan Weber, Director Corporate PMO succeeded in giving the participants, in the short time available, an insight into the approximately 100 projects planned and realized, impressing them with the complexity and dynamics of urban development. Anyone who has seen the original EMAAR Masterplan from KAEC, presented at the Jeddah Economic Forum 2008, can only be amazed at what is happening here - on a terrain that consisted of desert only less than a decade ago.

For the future, the importance of academic education has been emphasized in the "Vision 2030". Saudi Arabia already has a large number of excellent universities, most of the university lecturers are from abroad, mainly from the USA. Research plays a major role and there is already considerable research results, eg in the field of renewable energy. In KAEC there is the famous King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The challenging academic offering in KAEC is now expanded by a unique college: the Prince Mohammed bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship (MBSC). The "Vision 2030" has defined a gap between the qualifications that previous college graduates brought with them and the actual requirements on the labor market, and that is the reason for the new college. It is under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud, also second deputy. Prime Minister and Defense Minister, as well as the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation and KAEC. It proudly announces the cooperation with the US Babson College and Lockheed Martin, a leading group of companies. "We want the college graduates to strengthen the SME sector through innovation and creativity and that these young people can realize their own entrepreneurial plans and contribute to economic growth," said Fahd Al Rasheed, KAEC Group CEO and Managing Director As well as Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the College. The college started operation at the beginning of 2017, because of the innovative concept it is currently attractive target of visitors from home and abroad. Take the access to college through the Bay La Sun Hotel & Marina. The EMA delegation was able to feel the academic energy in the auditorium and went with the certainty of witnessing the implementation of a major initiative for the private sector in Saudi Arabia.

Company visits in the Jeddah area took place at IKEA, Liebherr and DHL. Chats with employees on the margins of the factory inspections expressed the satisfaction of the workers with their jobs and their identification with the company. The decision-makers were also satisfied with the development of the company and the personal environment. During all company visits, it became clear how pleasant the work on site is and how well the companies master important current topics such as Saudization, etc.

On the occasion of the visit to the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce, the participants were witnesses to numerous contracts signed between the Chamber, the AHK and individual Saudi private contractors, including a company owner who stood for the many women who benefit from improved conditions. Participants took advantage of the opportunity to meet with the Chairman of the Saudi-German Business Council (SGBC), Sheikh Khalid Juffali, with Consul General Holger Ziegeler and members of the German Economic Circle of Saudi Arabia (DWSA).

The delegation trip took the interest of the two English-language daily Arab News and Saudi Gazette. For example, Arab News headed on January 30, 2017 on page 2: "Asharqia Chamber, And emphasized that, according to SAGIA's statistics, more than 400 German companies invested more than USD 8 billion. The following day, on the first page of Saudi Arabia's business section, half a page was published with the title "German business team". With a detailed report on the visit to the Asharqia Chamber and the inauguration at DYWIDAG.

Text: Barbara Schumacher