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DSEI 2021: Saudi Arabia continuing to build on engagement opportunities for foreign suppliers

Saudi Arabia is continuing to promote inward investment and contracting opportunities in its defence industry, His Excellency Ahmad Abdulaziz Al-Ohali, Governor of the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI), told Janes during the DSEI 2021 trade show in London.

“We have identified that we have up to 74 supply chain opportunities that branch into hundreds of billions of dollars of opportunities worldwide,” Al-Ohali said. “This represents a green-field environment for people who want to invest and who want to join our journey.”

The formal release of the Industrial Participation Program (IPP) in 2020 has allowed the country to codify its requirements and engagement with foreign suppliers, linking offset obligations to defence procurements. The focus on growing Saudi industry has been a key aspect of the IPP as part of efforts to grow the country's sovereign capabilities.

According to Al-Ohali, “I really think we have redesigned it and restructured it in a way which really provides opportunities not only for Saudi Arabia, but also for the suppliers. [It] gives them incentives and opportunities to participate. For us, it also gives us more transparency. So for now there is more clarity between the technology provider, local industry, and the end user.”

“Procurement programmes act as enablers for us to be able to localise industry or build their capabilities in Saudi Arabia ... and we are utilising these procurements to ensure that we embed the requirements for technology transfer with manufacturing plants, or even services and maintenance. These are now embedded within the contract: What are our needs? What are the obligations, liabilities, and benefits?” Al-Ohali said.

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