PIF launches Contractor Financing Program for Saudi firms 

PIF’s Aseer Investment Co. announces launch of operations in region

RIYADH: The Asir region is poised to emerge as a premier tourist destination, thanks to a new operation launched by the investment firm of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. 

During the Public Investment Fund’s second Private Sector Forum, Prince Turki bin Talal, chairman of Aseer Investment Co., unveiled the company’s ambitious plans as it embarked on its operational journey.

“Today, with the commencement of our operations, we pledge to work tirelessly with our partners to make Asir the number one tourist destination in the Kingdom,” said Prince Turki, who is also the governor of the Asir region.

Osama Al-Othman, CEO of AIC, revealed in an interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the event that his company is going to be investing in 12 sectors including tourism and the ecotourism system such as sports, adventure, and entertainment.

“We’re going to also, in a later phase, invest in education, health care, and infrastructure,” he said.

Al-Othman added: “We’re going to announce our first wave of investments, which consist of several investments. We have the private sector with us as a partnership, and we’re going to announce that jointly. At this stage already, I can tell you that they are all in the tourism sector.”

The CEO disclosed that the investments are expected to create between 14,000 and 18,000 job opportunities in Asir and contribute to up to 6 percent of the non-oil gross domestic product within 10 years.

Prince Turki said during the forum that the collaboration would increase the country’s GDP, and the number of jobs in the private sector.

The strategy, named “Al-Qimam and Al-Shiam” — the first of its kind among the regions in the Kingdom — aims to achieve the desired economic growth, according to the governor.

Prince Turki explained the reason behind the name of the strategy at the Real Estate Future Forum in January and stating that the crown prince named the Asir strategy ”Al-Qimam and Al-Shiam” because it is “distinguished by its originality and nature.”

Talking about the private sector, Al-Othman said: “Partnering with the private sector, it is built in our DNA.”

He added: “The way we look at the private sector, it is not only as a partner, those are strategic partners to us. I pick a strategic partner from the private sector that would help achieving our common objective, which is the prosperity of the Kingdom.”

Furthermore, the CEO also revealed that Asir region’s international airport located in Abha has “just been approved to go into an upgrade to be a 13 million capacity airport.”

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