GEMS Education and Hassana Investment Company – a Saudi asset management firm that is part of the General Organization for Social Insurance – have penned an $800 million deal to build a network of new schools across the kingdom, it was announced on Wednesday.
According to a statement, the joint venture is a first of its kind in Saudi Arabia and “will open up the Saudi education sector to foreign investment.”
The partnership was announced on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh. Officials said the educational network will be able to accommodate up to 130,000 students and create jobs for 16,000 people, around 40 percent of whom are expected to be Saudi nationals.
“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,” Hassana chief executive Saad Al-Fadhli said.
“Both partners expect to create a strong and successful education platform in Saudi Arabia.”
Additionally, GEMS KSA CEO Majed Al Mutairi said that the company 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 developming human capital and allowing the private sector to enable long-term positive change for Saudi citizens,” he said.
Al Mutairi added that “the education sector, acknowledged as a major catalyst for change, will help create a new generation of Saudi citizens with a global perspective that is strongly rooted in the Kingdom’s culture.”
At the FII conference, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) also announced a series of MoUs worth $2.4 billion, including a $1.6 billion deal between NMC Health and Hassana to develop medical facilities in Saudi Arabia.
The joint venture will become one of the largest private healthcare operators in Saudi Arabia and is expected to employ up to 10,000 employees over the next five years.
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