March 16, 2024

Revitalizing the economy and tourism in Bahrain

Abdullah Al Alami*

Saturday, March 16, 2024


I present the most important recent developments in the Kingdom of Bahrain in the fields of economy and tourism

First, the state succeeded in encouraging local and international companies to generate investments worth $2.4 billion into the national economy.

Second, since the announcement of granting the golden license to strategic projects operating in the Kingdom in April 2023, the number of companies benefiting from this feature has reached 9 major projects that contribute to the creation of 3,000 job opportunities.

Among other factors that helped achieve good results, Bahrain’s gross domestic product grew from $9.6 billion to $44.4 billion between 2002 and 2022.

Bahrain continues to diversify its non-oil economy, such as opening a large solar energy plant and developing financial services which contribute 18.1 percent to the real GDP.

As for tourism, there were concerns due to the lack of new tourist packages, low hotel occupancy rates, and the fate of the medical tourism plan. However, Bahrain is marketing initiatives to attract Gulf and foreign visitors. There is no doubt that tour packages will have a significant impact on stimulating the economy and supporting the initiatives that attract tourists from all over the world.

Furthermore, Manama is developing and adopting new marketing strategies, facilitating the issuance of visas, and activating sustainability practices and financial mechanisms to enhance tourism growth regionally and internationally. There is no doubt that this trend will help create more job opportunities, support innovation, and provide specialized expertise in the tourism sector. Among the upcoming programs, is the development of the master plan for the Al Areen project and Sitra Market. The plan is to attract 40,000 tourists to Bahrain from around the world during the period from November 2024 to April 2025.


* Saudi writer and president of the Arab Society for Human Resource Management

March 11, 2024

Aramco is not just an Oil Company

Abdullah Al Alami*

March 11, 2024

The transfer of 8 percent of Saudi Aramco shares last week from state ownership to companies’ portfolios wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund is not just a random issue. The state remains the largest shareholder in Aramco, as it owns 82.186% of the shares, and the Fund’s share in the giant company becomes 16%, while the company maintains the credibility of its operations. This is not the first time this transaction was performed, in April last year, 4 percent of Aramco shares were transferred from state ownership to a company affiliated with the PIF, and in February, 4 percent of Aramco shares were also transferred to the Fund.

Furthermore, the PIF contributed to the establishment of 93 companies and the creation of more than 644 thousand jobs in several sectors. The process of transferring shares contributes to increasing the fund's assets and returns, which enhances its position and its credit rating. Thus, Saudi Arabia continues to support its national economy, diversify its resources, and provide more investment opportunities, in line with the goals of the Saudi Vision.

One of Aramco's recent achievements is adding large quantities to gas reserves in the Jafurah field. We are talking about 15 trillion cubic feet of gas, and two billion barrels of condensate, in conjunction with applying the highest international standards in estimating hydrocarbon resources. Saudi Arabia is working smart in developing its reserves, which require modern extraction methods, while at the same time, the country is extending its voluntary reduction in oil production of one million barrels per day.

Moreover, the world witnessed the launch of three new successful projects in the Kingdom: (1) Reducing the cost of solar energy to unprecedented levels, making it one of the cheapest forms of energy available globally, (2) Aramco acquiring a 100% stake in the Chilean fuel trading company (ESMAX), and (3) contributing approximately 15% of the Global blue hydrogen production.

Saudi Arabia also focuses on generating jobs and increasing investments. The assets of Saudi banks have exceeded 4 trillion riyals for the first time, and more than 3 trillion dollars of investments have been pumped locally. As for the Saudi digital economy, it grew from $111 billion in 2021 to $123 billion in 2023. All these developments came in conjunction with the Kingdom’s continued raising the competitiveness of advanced companies, employing qualified citizens, and creating and enhancing the non-oil sectors’ income.

Despite the difficult worldwide circumstances due to geopolitical fluctuations, inflation, and high-interest rates, Riyadh is likely to continue launching new projects, building strategic partnerships, localizing knowledge and expertise, and focusing on investing in energy, technology, and infrastructure. In short, the Kingdom's economy continues to grow by 4 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund estimates.

My last words... Saudi Aramco's history and achievements records are not just a passing journey but rather reflect major positive developments throughout the entire country.

Yesterday, Sunday 10 March, Aramco announced its positive full-year 2023 results.


*Saudi Economist 

December 30, 2023

Bahrain…Land of Peace

Abdullah Al Alami*

Dec 30, 2023

I write today about two important topics, King Hamad Global Center for Peaceful Coexistence, and the national and global excellence of the University of Bahrain.

What brought together representatives of different religions in Manama this week under one roof? I mean the Apostolic Vicariate of the Northern Arabian Peninsula, representatives of the Orthodox Churches, the Council of the Ten Commandments, the Baha'i Community, the head of the Hindu community, and representatives of other religions.

It is the event held by the King Hamad Global Center for Peaceful Coexistence in cooperation with the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, under the title “Bahrain... Land of Peace”. Representatives of the various Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Sikh religions, in addition to the Baha'i Social Society, participated in the event.

Everyone here stood praying to make the Kingdom of Bahrain a land of love, and to promote the values ​​of coexistence, tolerance, and dialogue between religions, cultures, and civilizations.

It is the Declaration of the “Kingdom of Bahrain”... the international document to establish religious tolerance and peace.

The second topic is the University of Bahrain being ranked first in the Kingdom. We’re talking about global university rankings for sustainability for the year 2023, and 25th in the world, in education and research.

This is what I call “a great success story”, as the university is keen on sustainability in its strategic plans to improve the administrative, academic, and student affairs aspects. The university also seeks to continue its excellent research on energy, climate change, transportation, and waste management.

The university also excels in water management, scoring 90%, in rationalizing water consumption, recycling water, and combating water pollution on campus.

Thanks to the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives, for reviewing the record of violations in the oversight report for 2022-2023. Also, Bahrain’s gross domestic product increased by 2.5% in the third quarter, Bahrain’s non-oil economy grew by 4.5%, and Manama now leads the Gulf in combating money laundering, and is among the top ten in the world in information technology.

Happy New Year.

Saudi writer

December 18, 2023

Saudi Arabia 2023... Look at the Positive Side

Abdullah Al Alami*

December 18, 2023

As we bid farewell to 2023, I summarize the important achievements in Saudi Arabia and upcoming projects.

Let me start with the five official mega-construction contracts, the value of which is expected to exceed $50 billion. The projects are Diriyah, NEOM, Qiddiya, the Red Sea destination, and Roshn.

As for training, employment, and education, the Human Resources Development Fund has concluded agreements with 5 governmental and private agencies. The objective is to train 50,000 male and female citizens in various developmental sectors in the labor market.

Three Saudi e-schools were established for Saudi students abroad, creating 172,000 jobs, and targeting 6 sectors to contribute to Vision 2030 objectives. In addition, artificial intelligence studies are being developed, and 433 male and female students have graduated from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the highest in its history.

Globally, Saudi Oil Company (Aramco) signed agreements to acquire a 40% stake in Pakistan Gas and Oil Company. More than 60 agreements were also signed with China, with a total value exceeding $26.5 billion, and a memorandum of understanding was signed with Korea to invest in machinery and equipment in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia attracted the attention of visitors to the Kingdom’s pavilion “Artigiano in Fiera” exhibition in Milan, Italy. Also, The Saudi Music Authority celebrated International Arabic Language Day, at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, USA.

Lots were allocated for the Jubail and Yanbu Royal Commission at about 29.6 billion riyals ($7.89 billion). In addition, Saudi Arabia plans to host the International Mining Conference on January 9, as the mining sector revenues rise to one billion and 800 million Saudi Riyals.

Health services also have a share. Saudi Arabia established several hospitals in different regions with a total capacity of 1,100 beds. Three new health centers were also approved for critical radiation and nuclear accident injuries.

To achieve Riyadh’s goal of becoming a global center of financial technology, the number of companies operating in the Kingdom is expected to rise to 230 by 2025, and the percentage of digital transactions will increase to 70%. It is unsurprising that 10 Saudi banks are now ranked at the top of the 100 most powerful Arab banks.

Riyadh plans to raise its tourism share in the Gross Domestic Product to 289 billion riyals ($77 billion). The country established initiatives to attract 88 million tourists and provide 250,000 new jobs during the Riyadh exhibition “Expo 2030.”

Among the recent developments, the NEOM Board of Directors announced the development of packages in “Otamo”, “Leyja” and "Sirana" sites. In addition, “Qiddiya” will attract millions of visitors annually and provide 325,000 new job opportunities.

We seek to increase the number of Co-operative Societies to 467, raising their economic contribution to roughly 2.3 billion riyals, and adding 16 thousand jobs and 300 new services. In addition, credit facilities worth 8.8 billion riyals ($2.34 billion) and insurance coverage worth 6.8 billion riyals ($623.8 million) are currently being invested in the business sector.

Last words... Saudi Arabia was selected to chair the Financial Affairs Committee to provide support to the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan was selected as Chairman of the Committee.

Yes, the last couple of years may not have been too exciting...but let's look at the positive side of a promising future.

*Saudi Economist

November 18, 2023

Saudi Arabia’s expansion in Africa

 Saudi Arabia’s expansion in Africa

Abdullah Al Alami*


The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Africa is approaching a new phase of cooperation. Following the Saudi African summit a few days ago, the Saudi Development Fund signed 14 new loan agreements with 12 African countries, with a value exceeding two billion Saudi Riyals.

For years, Saudi Arabia has sought to secure its vital interests and the security of its borders, by building policies within a calm strategic environment to protect its vital interests. We are talking here about an extension of well-established relations with the Horn of Africa and the Nile Valley regions.

The Red Sea is a vital outlet for the security of the Arabian Peninsula and the west of the Kingdom. Consequently, it is in the interest of the Kingdom and Africa to develop their broad common economic and trade interests.

Saudi Arabia announced the signing of more than 50 agreements with African countries, with a noble goal; to achieve a solid partnership and a promising future for all parties. In addition, this partnership supports the Saudi role in Bab al-Mandab and the Gulf of Aden. This approach also strengthens the solidity of trade and oil partnership between Saudi Arabia and the African continent.

One of the indications of Saudi success in the African continent is the attendance of more than 1,000 specialists and academics, including Saudi, Arab, and African officials, investors of various nationalities, trade unions, and international organizations, at the Saudi-Arab-African Economic Conference.

Let me provide some examples of Arab African investment projects. Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Saudi Minister of Energy, signed 5 memorandums of understanding in areas of energy, between Saudi Arabia and 5 African countries, namely Senegal, Rwanda, Chad, Ethiopia, and Nigeria.

Also, 14 new development loan agreements were signed between the Saudi Development Fund and 12 African countries, with a value exceeding two billion Saudi Riyals. In addition, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Riyadh and Cairo to establish a high-level financial dialogue between the two countries.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has expressed its willingness to pump more than $25 billion in new diversified investments in various sectors and to finance and secure $10 billion in exports in Africa.

This is not all, Saudi Arabia has provided more than $45 billion to support development and humanitarian projects in 54 African countries, in addition to more than $450 million in aid to 46 African countries.

Saudi Arabia is determined to develop cooperation with Africa. This includes new charitable projects and programs with a value exceeding one billion dollars over a period of 10 years.


*Saudi economist

October 26, 2023

What does Saudi Arabia have in common with China, Korea and Singapore?

Abdullah Al Alami

Recent developments in Saudi relations with China, South Korea, and Singapore have important implications.

The Saudi National Housing Company is completing a serious plan to attract Chinese companies to the local market to expand production lines. During the 10th Arab-Chinese Business Conference 2023, Riyadh and Beijing signed important agreements in the sectors of technology, renewable energy, agriculture, real estate, mining, and health care.

An agreement was also signed with the Chinese CITIC Construction Company, a leading firm among the 250 largest international construction companies, and considered a successful global contractor in the field of comprehensive engineering services.

As for relations with Korea, the South Korean Oil Company and Saudi Aramco signed a treaty to store oil and create a joint crude reserve amounting to 5.3 million barrels. An agreement was also signed between the Saudi Public Investment Fund and the Korean Hyundai Motor Company for a car manufacturing project in the Kingdom.

Another important development is the establishment of a partnership council between Riyadh and Seoul, and the signing of 52 memorandums of understanding for government and private agencies, including real estate, water, transportation, tourism, technology, infrastructure, cybersecurity, food, and medical products.

I will conclude with a summary of the agreement between Saudi Arabia and another important country; Singapore, where the relationship between the two countries has reached the level of a “strategic partnership” in defense and security. Among the recent developments, the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia (SAMA) concluded a cooperation agreement with the Monetary Authority of Singapore in financial technology, enhancing and facilitating the practice of activities in international markets.

The most active relationship is in energy, digital economy, logistics, electricity, petrochemicals, and the development of innovative technologies for the use of hydrocarbon resources.

Last word... Despite the continuing pressures and instability of the oil markets, Saudi Arabia continues to activate its efforts to cooperate with friendly countries and reliable financial organizations, to address the challenges facing the global economy in a way that serves all common interests.

* Saudi writer