Saudi Arabia’s New Minister of Commerce and Investment, Dr. Majed bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, will meet with business and private sector leaders today at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.
The private roundtable discussion is part of the U.S.-Saudi CEO Summit initiative which is a partnership between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce. This roundtable is another in a series of events to promote closer ties between the U.S. and Saudi private-sectors. It will provide an opportunity for top Ministry officials, representatives from the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA), and U.S. business executives to discuss issues important to the U.S.-Saudi commercial and trade relationship.
The new minister, who replaced Dr. Tawfig Alrabiah on May 7th, 2016 in a cabinet shakeup, has a lengthy resume blending U.S. education and Saudi business experience. Al-Qasabi has a PhD in engineering management from the University of Missouri and two Master’s degrees, also in the field of engineering and one from U.C. Berkley. Al-Qasabi completed his undergraduate studies in civil engineering at the University of Portland, Oregon.
The Minister formerly served as Secretary General of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry for four years, between 1998-2002.
According to the Minister’s resume, he has close ties to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman. Minister Al-Qasabi served as an advisor at the Crown Prince’s Court from 2010-2014 and served as Chief of Private Affairs for the Crown Prince between 2014-2015, the position held by King Salman before the passing of King Abdullah in January 2015.
The Ministry of Commerce and Investment was formerly known as the the Ministry of Commerce and Industry before the changes announced in May that brought in Al-Qasabi as minister.
Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Plan (NTP) outlined seven strategic objectives for the new Minister’s team, and three are related to entrepreneurship and the development of SMEs. The Kingdom set a goal to establish 104,000 new entities by 2020 as a key performance indicator, and also hopes that about half of Saudi workers by 2020 will be working for SMEs, rather than the public sector.