Your Royal Highness, Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. We are deeply honored that His Royal Highness, the Amir of the Eastern Province, Prince Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, could be with us for the fourth year in a row.
And we truly appreciate the presence of all our guests – from within the Kingdom and especially those who have traveled a long way.
We always value your partnership and friendship, but we particularly appreciate and remember it during difficult times.
We reunite at the half-way mark in our iktva journey.
As in a football match, this is a chance for all of us in the iktva team to reflect on our first half performance.
And it is a crucial opportunity to inject fresh energy, and re-focus on what we need to do to win the game.
Looking back at the first half, it began with a vision. We realized that without a world-class, localized oil and gas supply chain, we would not only be missing a huge business opportunity but making our future increasingly unsustainable.
We would also be failing a generation of talented young Saudis who want to put their education to work here at home.
And we needed to inject some real urgency.
So we set ourselves an almost impossible challenge – and that is to have 70 cents in every dollar we spend on materials and services spent right here in the Kingdom by 2021. That vision would come to define and drive iktva. A few months after iktva was launched, it was given a huge boost with the launch of Saudi Vision 2030.
It called for a thriving, diversified, highly skilled, economy with digital transformation in order to build multiple economic engines. Other industries would also require world-class localized supply chains.
In other words, iktva and Vision 2030 were deeply aligned.
From the very beginning we realized that three strategies were critical to iktva's success:
• long-term partnerships with our strategic suppliers and manufacturers;
• in parallel, building a thriving SME sector;
• and uniting to overcome the hurdles along the way.
But when we launched iktva in 2015, we knew that if it was seen as creating value only for Saudi Aramco it would never succeed.
It had to be creating value to us and to our partners at the same time. We had to show you that iktva is genuinely about creating more value for your businesses.
We had to show you that helping to make Vision 2030 a reality would generate further business. And you had to see for yourselves why locating where a large share of future business is going to be; building strong, long-term partnerships; transferring technology; and developing local talent makes such commercial and strategic sense.
So iktva began with an inspiring vision, and a totally new mindset.
And with close to half a trillion dollars of capital investment by Saudi Aramco over the next 10 years, you know we have the business. What is more, with iktva now being adapted to many other areas of the economy, and with many supply chains overlapping, the Kingdom's entire industrialization program is now in play.
But where the rubber meets the road is translating those opportunities into genuine results with lasting impact.
And, for me, three areas stand out.
First, we have made huge strides in delivering the economic ecosystem our investors and suppliers need to thrive. The important anchor projects are falling into place.
The King Salman Maritime Complex at Ras Al-Khair is making significant headway.
Meanwhile, the massive King Salman Energy Park shows how we are helping our manufacturers and suppliers to locate here and procure services at the epicenter of the global energy sector.
We are also working hard with all government Ministries and Agencies to make it easier for you and your employees to do business here.
Crucially, we are building the human capital that will bring the ecosystem to life.
For example, we now have 16 national training academies aimed at boosting national capacity, with 14 more to come by 2030. More than 16,000 Saudis have graduated from these academies, with skills to international standards, covering more than 30 disciplines.
These graduates are meeting the needs of the private sector for skilled manpower in areas such as drilling, oil and gas operations, power systems, and also in maintenance, construction, and inspection.
In an increasingly digitized world, that number will grow – for example, to meet demand for data scientists and cyber security experts.
Second, the change in mindset I just mentioned has aligned us in ways we could not have dreamt of before itkva. But it did not happen overnight.
We listened to your concerns (and still do) with regular, two-way engagement.
Now, iktva is increasingly part of everyone's DNA, with major suppliers now asking their own supply chains for their iktva percentages.
Third, and most important of all, we are seeing actual win-win results.
Later today, we will be signing 31 Agreements and MOUs worth more than 27 billion dollars.
If you add that to what we signed at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh last month that is more than 60 billion dollars of business. So the business, and the appetite, are only growing.
And the results are plain to see:
• Since 2015, our suppliers have doubled their local spend on materials and services.
• They have increased their Saudi workforce by 25 percent.
• Training and development of Saudis has increased four fold.
• Our suppliers have enjoyed a 45 percent increase in exports, worth 1.4 billion dollars.
• Iktva has now been included in 50 billion dollars of our procurement.
• And it gives me great pleasure to announce that at the half-way mark in our journey to 2021 we have achieved 51 percent local content.
But 51 percent is not 70 percent, and there are several areas where huge improvements are required if we are to get there.
To those that have started, you need to push even harder. And to those that have yet to start, you need to move quickly.
We want to see true value add, with many more companies conducting their R&D here in the Kingdom – and I mean substantial and meaningful research. We want to see many more companies entering the export market.
And we want to see those anchor projects completed, and a wave of Saudis moving through those national training academies.
Above all, I hear from many of our international suppliers about the new business that has come their way thanks to iktva, and how they have increased their market share.
They now see iktva as the win-win it is.
I want to see and feel that same excitement from our Saudi private sector suppliers, particularly SMEs. Because they are the cornerstone of our success.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time for the second half.
The vision is clear; the enablers are coming together; and you have my personal word on Saudi Aramco's full commitment to iktva.
Let's run faster… jump higher… tackle stronger… and win the game.
Iktva is the hope of a generation that needs to be ready for the jobs of the future and needs all of us to play a leading role in creating them. So when we invest in iktva we are not only investing in win-win business opportunities. We are investing in educated, qualified, and skilled young Saudis… who are willing to work in the roughest and toughest places out there… and only want their nation and their families to be proud of them.
So let's give them that chance, and secure our future, their future, and the future of this great nation.