The CEO of Zamil Industrial Investment Company, Abdulla Al Zamil, has kicked off the seventh annual Arabian Business Forum calling for increased regional investment in downstream industries to create jobs for young GCC nationals.
Al Zamil, boss of one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest companies, said the region can no longer to continue to rely on an oil-based economy amid changing geopolitical policy.
“Refineries and petrochemicals do not create enough jobs, only 7 percent goes to oil refinery and petrochemicals. The focus is clear in my opinion, the government in Saudi Arabia and Gulf should be investing in downstream industries,” he said.
He cited the example of a US$15bn refinery, which recently launched in Saudi Arabia, creating only 1,000 jobs.
A decade-long population boom means the Saudi government can no longer afford to reduce unemployment by creating public sector jobs.
The future of Saudi Arabia and creating jobs lies in alternative energy and manufacturing, added Al Zamil.
“The world will no longer depend on this region’s crude oil and regional governments have seen it coming, Saudi Arabia in particular,” he said.
“In a nutshell I think for the next ten to 20 years two things will happen; [there will be a] concentration on downstream industries and the other is the concentration of creating a base for alternative energy manufacturing supply chain,” he said.