Marcopolis presents the Saudi Arabia Report focused on the investments, doing business, economy and other topics featuring interviews with key executives. The sectors under review in this issue are industry, real-estate, ICT, investments, banking sector, telecom sector and many more.
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Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl, President and CEO of Advanced Electronics Company (AEC), a leading manufacturing company operating in military, telecom and industrial sectors, stresses the importance of knowledge economy for Saudi Arabia.
"We would be fooling ourselves by claiming that diversifying the economy is an easy task; it undoubtedly is very complex and difficult, because it does not depend on one ingredient only. There are so many ingredients that you have to put together in a synchronized manner to make it happen."
"The issue of a knowledge-based economy is clearly a very critical one for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The beauty of knowledge-based industries lies in their heavy reliance and dependence on human resources. If you look at the composition of the population in the Kingdom, more than 60% of the population is less than 30 years old. We have a very young population, which is one of the most crucial requirements for the development of a knowledge-based economy."
"Furthermore, the Kingdom has been heavily investing in the educational sector. Different universities are being built in addition to reinforcing existing universities and their capabilities. There is major focus on vocational training, technical training, and so on. All these initiatives aim to build a population of youth that is ready to move into a knowledge-based economy."
"In addition, we need to have the know-how—and here lies the opportunity for international companies. There is a great opportunity for international companies to look at this market, which is the largest market in the whole Middle East, and observe the trends and developments within the country. The know-how, which many prominent international companies have, combined with the human resources that exist in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is an opportunity for all interested. By implementing major programs and creating indigenous in-country capabilities, these international companies may develop differentiating factors vis-à-vis their competitors in terms of capturing the majority of the programs in the future."
"On the other hand, there are many challenges related to the diversification process. There are many stereotypes, for instance about the Saudi population—there are discussions about the level of discipline, the level of commitment, the level of knowledge, the depth in education, etc. However these stereotypes are being reinforced by the environment. Our experience in AEC is that you have to create the right productive environment. It has to be a fully-disciplined environment that is fair in its treatment of all its employees, so there is no favouritism—which is counter to many cultural issues in the Middle East—in attracting new employees, or in the development of employees within the organisation, and that basically all your growth is based on merit. If you create an environment like this, the Saudis will be able to demonstrate that they are extremely productive, highly efficient and effective in what they do, and also extremely intelligent."
"AEC is a profit-making organisation; we are not a charity, we are a business. We would' be able to rely on 75% of Saudis working in this organisation if they were not showing good results. We build a very good environment. It's like cooking a great dish; we try to identify our ingredients—human resources and partners who supply us with the technology—and put them together in a way to make it successful and create a productive environment."
Interview with AEC: Advanced Electronics Company Moving Saudi Arabia Closer to Knowledge Economy
Advanced Electronics Company (AEC) is a regional pioneer in the development of advanced electronics, serving local, national, and international clients in the defense, security, telecom, manufacturing, systems integration, and repair and maintenance sectors.
AEC designs, develops and produces electronic products and systems for civil, military and industrial customers. It also offers a variety of products and solutions including industrial systems, energy systems, telecommunication systems and cultural products. In addition, it provides modification, upgrade, maintenance and repair services for electronic products and systems, apart from providing logistical support services. The company serves utilities, security, power and energy, oil, gas, petrochemical, and manufacturing industries. AEC is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
AEC is a gateway to highly specialized services and market opportunities, offering:
access to world-class engineering, information and communication technology (ICT)
complete solution deployment capabilities.
easy and rapid access to other regional markets, customers, and distribution networks.
AEC possesses in-depth understanding of the dynamics and structure of the Saudi and international electronics markets. Through its superior technical and engineering capabilities, AEC has forged close working relationships with many renowned international original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
AEC has demonstrated excellence and proven leadership in the Military, Telecom & Industrial business sectors, and prides itself on its excellent end-to-end customer support, reliability and ability to deliver on time and to budget.