Saudi Arabia, GEMS launch $800m schools drive

Author: 
FRANK KANE
ID: 
1540399497222646600
Wed, 2018-10-24 19:42

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has launched an $800 million, 10-year
initiative for a network of modern schools across the country in
partnership with GEMS Education, the Dubai-based schools group.
The ambitious plan could eventually provide education for up to
130,000 students across the Kingdom and create jobs for 16,000
people, around 40 percent of them for Saudi citizens.
The partnership was formalized at a signing ceremony on the
sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh,
involving executives from GEMS, and from the investment arm of the
Saudi General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI).
An official statement said: “The partners intend to develop the
network by acquiring and upgrading existing schools, alongside
implementing a sizable construction program of new schools.”
GEMS chief executive Majed Al-Mutairi said: “GEMS Education,
which is among the world’s oldest and largest private education
providers, is a strong supporter of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
The Vision’s focus on opening up public service sectors such as
education highlights a commitment to developing human capital and
allowing the private sector to enable long-term positive change for
Saudi citizens.”
Saad Al-Fadhli, chief executive of Hassana, GOSI’s
asset-management arm, set out the rationale for the program:
“This partnership is driven by our view that the education market
in Saudi Arabia is one of the most attractive growth markets over
the long-term.
“Benefiting from Hassana’s role as a long-term, financial and
strategic institutional investor and GEMS’ international
expertise, both partners expect to create a strong, innovative and
successful education platform in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
The GEMS Hassana education program will play a key role in
delivering the goals of the Saudi National Character Enrichment
Program, with a strong emphasis on national identity, global
citizenship, individual development and personal enrichment, the
statement added.
The partnership is backed by the new initiative Invest Saudi,
launched as part of the National Transformation Plan, to identify,
develop and market the significant opportunities that Saudi Arabia
has to offer for international, regional and local investors,
across all sectors.
This announcement comes against the backdrop of advancing economic
reforms in the Kingdom. This year Saudi Arabia achieved its best
progress in the WEF Global Competitiveness index since 2012, moving
to 39 of 140 economies. In addition, the World Bank ranked Saudi
Arabia second amongst the G-20 countries in implementing economic
reform.
“Opening the education sector for this scale of investment will
ensure this progress continues at pace,” the statement added.

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Source: FS – All-News-Economy
Saudi Arabia, GEMS launch 0m schools drive