Two Saudi Aramco executives were among the speakers at the Global Competitiveness Forum held recently in Riyadh.
The forum, which had the theme "Competitive Sectors," focused on the role governments and large businesses can play in driving competitiveness while emphasizing the potential for particular industries like health care, life sciences, transport, education, information and communications technology and services.
Many of these sectors have taken on increased relevance in the Saudi economy as oil prices continue to lag.
During a panel titled "Low Oil, High Growth: Prospering in a Low Oil Era," Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser said that during the downturn, his company has a responsibility to keep the Saudi economy strong by directing its capital to other local industries.
“We are making it a requirement for our business partners to ensure that 70 percent of content for any projects and deliverables are made in Saudi Arabia ... resulting in 500,000 jobs created in the long term,” he said.
The company launched its In-Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTVA) program in December to help accomplish this goal.
Nasser also said Saudi Aramco will continue exploring opportunities to produce wind and solar energy.
Saudi Aramco Executive Director of Human Resources Huda Al-Ghoson said Saudi Aramco is also keen to support competitiveness by supporting skills training for local workers. Al-Ghoson was part of a panel titled "Bridging the Skills and Innovation Gap for More Productive Sectors."
“Closing the skills gap requires effective and sustainable partnerships with academia, the private and public sectors, suppliers and other stakeholders," Al-Ghoson said. "For any organization to achieve success in this area, its HR strategy must be supported by a dynamic employment value proposition a corporate culture of performance, innovation and excellence, and a holistic long-term investment in human resources development from hire to retire."
The Global Competitiveness Forum was first held in 2007 to begin a national discussion on improving competitiveness using information technology.