General Electric Company (GE) has signed a cooperation framework agreement with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the body that facilitates inward investments to the Kingdom, to pilot GE’s innovative technologies within the Economic Cities in the Kingdom being promoted by SAGIA. This agreement is another milestone in GE’s goal to be a trusted partner in the Kingdom’s vision for sustainable economic growth.
GE’s path-breaking research and development (R&D) and manufacturing initiatives in Saudi Arabia will help address the key challenges of water scarcity, energy efficiency and affordable healthcare faced by the Kingdom. Apart from GE’s in-house R&D efforts, these initiatives are also developed in partnership with leading educational institutions such as the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) and other leading R&D entities in the Kingdom. GE has also signed recently a major agreement with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to drive manufacturing and co-investments in the industrial sector of the Kingdom.
His Excellency Amr Al-Dabbagh, Governor and Chairman of the Board of SAGIA, said: “The Economic Cities are being envisaged as growth engines that maximize investment potential and deliver huge advantage to businesses in the Kingdom. They also highlight our vision to become one of the most competitive economies in the world. One of the key pillars of the Economic Cities is the minimum negative environment impact they cause and the maximum energy efficiency and sustainability they assure. GE’s R&D and manufacturing initiatives complement our vision to develop modern metropolises that will uphold our goals of sustainable development.”
GE will partner with SAGIA in providing sustainable development support in three key areas – healthcare, power and water. This complements the ecomagination and healthymagination initiatives of GE.
Ecomagination is GE’s corporate initiative to invest in and develop technologies that address challenges such as the need for cleaner, more efficient energy, reduced emissions and abundant sources of clean water. Healthymagination is GE’s vision for the future to continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality and efficiency.
Nabil Habayeb, President & CEO, GE Middle East and Africa, said: “With nearly 70 years of active engagement with various private and public sector stakeholders in the Middle East region, especially Saudi Arabia, GE is highlighting its commitment to partner in the long-term future of the Kingdom through the agreement signed with SAGIA. The Economic Cities, led and facilitated by SAGIA, are socio-economic catalysts and will become the hubs of the Kingdom’s growth in the next decade.”
He added: “Through the framework agreement, we will pilot our path-breaking initiatives in three core areas that touch all human life – power, water and healthcare. In developing new initiatives that drive sustainable development, we are also actively engaging the academic community of the Kingdom through KFUPM and other leading R&D institutions. This will in turn involve Saudi students and researchers, who can have the opportunity to be part of impressive growth initiatives of the Kingdom.”
Following of the piloting of GE’s new technologies, they will be adopted by the Economic Cities in due course. Among the key initiatives are developing smart grid solutions tailored to meet the requirements of the Smart City concepts followed by the Economic Cities. This will contribute to strong savings in energy use and will be supported by the piloting of smart appliances.
GE will provide SAGIA with healthcare guidance on modern technology choices and provide access to the latest technologies, building on its healthymagination outlook. The company will also share its competencies in MBR technology in wastewater and water treatment thus addressing the water demand from the new cities. GE will also pilot the latest automation solutions developed for industrial projects.
In addition, the pillars of the agreement also include best practice sharing using lean six sigma technologies and performance efficiency solutions. GE will also support the development of new energy policies in the Economic Cities in coordination with the concerned government authorities, and development of policies in other areas including strengthening of investment incentives.
SAGIA is leading four Economic Cities in the Kingdom, envisaged as full-fledged cities that will be home to five million people. Developed at a cost of over US$60 billion, these mega projects – King Abdullah Economic City, Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Mousaed Economic City, Knowledge Economic City and Jazan Economic City – will contribute an estimated US$150 billion to Saudi Arabia’s GDP by year 2020, according to SAGIA. The cities will also create job opportunities for 1.3 million people in addition to driving the growth of all sectors of the economy.
GE has been associated with Saudi Arabia for over seven decades, and supplied the first turbine for the Kingdom’s first refinery. GE has expanded its presence in the Kingdom through public-private partnerships and a strong footprint of facilities in service repair support and customer training centers in oil & gas, energy, water, aviation and healthcare, which serve the region. With around 800 GE employees, Saudi Arabia has the largest GE workforce in the Middle East.
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