Crown Prince Naif patronizes opening of 1st conference on forensic medicine sciences

Saudi finance minister announces study to build facility for SMEs

Saudi banks offer $80b to finance SMEs facilities

Saudi Arabia’s royal air force concludes Red Flag drill in U.S.

Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior will patronize the 1st International Saudi Conference on Forensic Medicine Sciences to be organized in Riyadh on March 11-14 by Saudi Society for Forensic Medicine in collaboration with King Fahd Security College.

The College's Director-General, Major General Dr. Fahd bin Ahmed Al-Shaalan has expressed his thanks to and appreciation of the Crown Prince for his patronage of this international conference and unlimited support for the College. He disclosed that 22 countries will participate in the Conference, including the United States of America, Britain, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Canada, France, Finland and some Arab countries.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf met this week with Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde currently visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

During the meeting, they exchanged views on economic, financial, regional and global situations, as well as the Fund's roles in resolving the financial crisis faced by the European Union and its efforts to address it.

Dr. Al-Assaf informed IMF Director on economic situations in the Kingdom as a result of fiscal and monetary policies implemented by the State, and the most important expenditure programs adopted by the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in the areas of education, health and infrastructures to achieve sustainable development in the Saudi economy, as well as the national policy implemented to employ national manpower in the private sector.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Minister of Finance Dr. Hamad Al-Bazai and a number of officials.

Assaf had said Saudi Arabia pledged $500 million for a $2-billion Arab League fund to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and create jobs for citizens in Arab countries.

Speaking to reporters after attending a meeting of the Arab Economic and Social Council, he said the Saudi contribution accounted for 40 percent of the amount deposited in the fund's account.

The fund is aimed at revamping faltering economies in the region amid fears of protests over high unemployment, rising prices and rampant corruption.

The pledge was made in a document to be adopted by the economic summit opening on Wednesday in the Egyptian Red Sea resort. This is "a commitment to provide job opportunities for Arab young people to empower them to participate fully in their societies," stated the document labeled as the summit's final communiqué.

Arab diplomats said Kuwait also promised to pay $500 million to the fund while the remainder will come from 11 other member states.

Thamer Al-Anni, an Arab League official, said a special fund will be set up within weeks to operate as a bank that provides short and medium term loans to young Arabs who want to start their own small enterprises.

"This will be for business with a small capital around $20,000-$50,000," he said. He said priority will be given to less developed countries such as Djibouti, Sudan and Yemen.

Al-Assaf said the Kingdom has established an investment company to carry out agricultural projects abroad including Arab countries. He hoped that countries received agricultural investments would enact necessary regulations to protect them.

He said the council had a taken a number of resolutions related to establishing a railway linking Arab countries. “We have also discussed plans to establish an electricity power grid linking Arab League countries,” the minister said.

On the other hand, an amount of SR300 billion is to be allocated by Saudi banks to finance mini-projects as part of efforts to promote the Kingdom’s SMEs, the Jeddah-based Arab News reported.

This was stated by Nabeel bin Abdullah Al-Mubarak, general manager of small and medium enterprises in the Saudi Credit Bureau (SIMAH), at a seminar in Riyadh, the newspaper disclosed.

The Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized the event in association with SIMAH.

Al-Mubarak said SMEs need easier access to credit and described the 'Taqyeem' (Assessment) scheme, to be launched next month, as a critical step to develop SMEs.

Pilot Major General Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Shaalan, Head of Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) Operations, has inspected the Saudi Air Force group participating in (Exercise Red Flag 5) and (Green Flag 2) in Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada of the United States of America.