10 Useful Saudi Government Apps You Need On Your Phone


The Saudi Arabian government is trying hard to digitalize governmental procedures to make it easier and more accessible to its citizens and residents. We have already become so dependent on the MOI and MOL websites that we can’t imagine life without them. The mobile version of those two are remarkable as well.

The Saudi government is now taking a step further one app at a time, to bring government services literally right to your fingertips. Here’s a look at some of the most useful from the current crop. Just an FYI, not all applications in this list are from the ministries, they also include those that are made by government funded public universities as well. Nor are they all dedicated to government services either.

Kollona Amn

amnPlatforms: iOS & Android

The objective behind the app is that it seeks to enable all citizens and residents of the country to play the role of a police informer. See any incident that you think needs police intervention? Just take a photo or shoot a video and send it through the app – it will reach the authorities immediately.



absherPlatforms: iOS & Android

Through this app you will be able to use all major MOI functions literally from your phone. The design and interface is commendable and so are the functions available on the application.



mawgefPlatforms: iOS & Android

The government has developed many paid parking lots across the country; this bilingual app made by the National Parking Company helps making the already easy process even easier. From locating paid parking lots and booths to tracking the status of your vehicles and managing your eWallet accounts – all done through this app.

Locator – National Address Maps

locator-national-address-mapsPlatforms: iOS & Android

Developed by the Saudi Post, the app resembles the main interface for national addresses in Saudi Arabia. You can use GPS to track and register your address. You can also find out the closest Saudi Post office to you.

My Prayers

my-prayersPlatforms: Android

Tracking your location through GPS, the My Prayers app gives accurate prayer timings. It also comes in with a built in compass to help you identify the Qibla. The app was made by King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology.


manasikanaPlatforms: iOS & Android

The app aims to facilitate a pilgrim’s stay in the Holy Cities. Developed by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the app comes loaded with features. Among them include instant translation service, emergency numbers, currency conversions, GPS tracking systems and offline maps. That’s not all, the app even has a feature that allows you to update your family and friends every time you reach a pre-set destination, be it Arafat, Mina or Muzdalifah etc.

The Ministry of Health

the-ministry-of-healthPlatforms: iOS & Android

The ministry of health runs many applications; this one in particular is like an amalgamation of all its different apps into one. Through the app users will be allowed to make a complaint regarding any health practice, will be reminded of vaccinations and receive updates on the latest news pertaining to health standards in the Kingdom.

Ayat – Al Quran

ayat-al-quranPlatforms: iOS & Android

Developed by the King Saudi University, Ayat is one of the most popular Islamic apps in the world. It has a beautiful interface that makes one feel like they are flipping through pages of a mushaf while reading the Quran. Or if you’d like you can always just select the reciter and listen to the audio of whichever surah you please. Also noteworthy is the line by line translation that the app offers.

Maak – KSA Gov Apps

maak-ksa-gov-appsPlatforms: Android

This app is operated under the e-Government program, Yasser. This particular app contains a detailed list of several apps developed by Saudi governmental agencies. Just scroll through the categories and you will be shown the various apps that have been developed for that particular category.


najmPlatforms: iOS & Android

Met with a car accident? This easy-to-use app allows you to register the accident and assigns the nearest Najm investigator to you. The app is one of the highest rated Saudi government applications on the Play Store.


Explore KSA, Offbeat, Travel Around Saudi

This Female Expat Spent 5 Years Travelling Around Saudi – Her Photos Are Surreal


Presenting Saudi Arabia through a western expat’s lens.

Leah Schmidt who hails from the USA is an English Language teacher who has lived in Saudi Arabia for 5 years. Her passion for photography and traveling has brought about a beautiful photographic collection of Saudi Arabia that is a visual treat.

Her travels led her to almost all provinces around the Kingdom. Schmidt’s photographs have even been published in Saudia Airlines in flight magazine, Ahlan wa Sahlan.

Though she has left Saudi Arabia and is back to her home country, she leaves behind these memorable photos. You can see more of her photos on her Instagram page wanderlust_express

Leah Schmidt

Leah Schmidt


Explore KSA, Online Magazine, Travel Around Saudi

Saudi Arabia’s Oldest Cities that are Still Inhabited


History aficionados – get your bags packing.

1. Taif

06-dr-august-2017-80-92-3The city’s rich history is often overshadowed by its breathtaking landscapes and ‘un-deserty’ weather. Alongside Makkah, Taif was a major pilgrimage center in the pre-Islamic era. The entire city used to be walled and at that time just like today, Taif was known for being agriculturally rich.

A famous historic fair called Souq Okaz took place annually in the northern part of Taif. The fair saw traders coming in from all around the peninsula trading bedouin crafts such as rugs, tents, agricultural produce, pottery, jewelry, perfumes, and various spices. The spectacle also saw renowned poets converging here to display their talents. In recent years the Saudi government has restarted the festivities of Souq Okaz.

2. Dumat Al Jandal

06-dr-august-2017-80-92-5Located in the northern part of Saudi Arabia, this city is referred to in early texts as Adummatu by the Assyrians; they described it as the capital of an Arab Kingdom. Dumat Al-Jandal is perhaps most famous for being the capital of 5 famous Arab queens close to 3000 years ago.

Standing on the incense route frankincense, myrrh, spices, precious stones, pearls, silk, fine textiles, animal skins and gold all passed through Dumat Al-Jandal. At its peak, Dumat Al-Jandal was one of the most important trading cities in Northern Arabia.

Visitors to the city today can stroll through an ancient part of the city called Al Der District that dates back to the mid-Islamic era. This district was actually built upon ruins of other dwellings that are believed to be from over 2 millennia ago.

3. Jeddah

06-dr-august-2017-80-92-4There are various opinions on when the city was first inhabited, some claim it to be one of the earliest in the world as it is customarily associated to be the place where Hawa (AS) the wife of Adam (AS) is believed to have been buried. Others believe that the city was inhabited after the collapse of the Marib dam in Yemen in 115 BC and then there are others that trace its origins to the Stone Age.

Nevertheless, it was a hamlet at most and it rose to prominence only after entering the fold of Islam. Caliph Uthman (RA) turned the hamlet into a port city and throughout its history, it served as a port of arrival for a majority of pilgrims coming to the Holy Cities.

4. Makkah

06-dr-august-2017-80-92-8Muslims around the world believe that Makkah was first settled by Prophet Ismail (AS), his descendants and tribes from Yemen. The Kaaba was a major place of worship even in pre-Islamic times. Apart from pilgrimage, Makkah found itself on the lucrative spice route and grew to prominence becoming a major trading center in Arabia, surpassing places like Palmyra and Petra.

After the birth of Islam and its rapid spread across many regions around the world, the number of pilgrims arriving in Makkah surged.  Though Makkah never became the capital of any Islamic Kingdom or Caliphate, the rulers under whose realm Makkah existed during various periods, however, contributed generously to the upkeep of the Grand Mosque and the city in general.

5. Tayma

06-dr-august-2017-80-92-6The caravan city of Tayma was famous during the Iron Age as it was mentioned in the 8th century BCE by the Assyrians and was once the home of the Babylonian King Nabonidus.

The modern town is built on top of about one-third of the ancient settlement at Tayma, which has an estimated area of some 950 hectares. Historic high walls stand as visible reminders of the ancient occupation of the city.

6. Madinah

06-dr-august-2017-80-92-7Earlier known as Yathrib, the city’s history dates back to more than 2,600 years ago. It was inhabited by Jewish and Arab tribes, the latter migrated to the city starting from the fourth century onwards. Some reports suggest that the residents of Yathrib paid taxes to the Persian Empire as they along with other parts of the Hejaz were under Persian rule.

After the arrival of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) whom the city welcomed with open arms, Madinah saw what is believed to be one of the earliest ever documented constitutions that is now referred to as the constitution of Madinah. It is from Madinah as its base that Islam spread from the borders of China in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

7. Unaizah

06-dr-august-2017-80-92-11Dating back to the pre-Islamic era, Unaizah was mentioned in numerous Arabian poems including those of celebrated Arabian poet Imru Al Qais. After the arrival of Islam, it acted as a stopping point for pilgrims coming to Makkah from Mesopotamia and Persia.

Its rich architecture and hospitality even baffled western travelers. Amin Al Rihani, the famous traveler has likened it to Paris, calling it the “Paris of Najd.”

8. Tarut Island

06-dr-august-2017-80-92-12Shrouded in mystery, the historic island continues to intrigue visitors even after close to 7,000 years of existence, making it one of the oldest cities not only in Arabia but in the entire world as well. Tarut Island was at the heart of the Dilmun Kingdom and played a crucial role in maritime trade in the Arabian Gulf.

It then passed into the hands of multiple rulers and was once even ruled by the Portuguese. A fort which is believed to be made by the Portuguese still stands on the island as its major attraction.

9. Najran

06-dr-august-2017-80-92-13Within the boundaries of Najran, lies an ancient city called Ukhdood that stands in existence from 7th century BC, which makes it well over 2,500 years old.

The city, contemporaneous with those of Egypt and Mesopotamia once had grandiose palaces, rich residents and was a major trading hub that sat in the midst of a labyrinth of valleys and hills. This town is shrouded in mystery as very little is known about its social and cultural aspects even today.

This place is believed to be the town that is referred to in the Noble Quran in Surah Al Burooj (chapter no. 85). In the Quran, the residents of the town were cursed as they were bystanders to a massacre that took place wherein the true believers were being thrown into a fiery trench.

10- Tabuk


Photo Credit: sauditourism.sa – Taima

The earliest settlers to the city are believed to have arrived around 1500 BC. It remained a small oasis town for the centuries that followed right until it became part of the state of Al Ayaneyean a thousand years later after which it started to flourish.

Tabuk then went into vagueness again and not much was written about until the birth of Islam in Arabia. It was in Tabuk that a decisive expedition took place that displayed the strength of the growing Muslim forces to the vassal states of the Byzantines and Tabuk was integrated into the growing Muslim Empire.  A mosque where the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) prayed during this expedition still exists in Tabuk to this very day.


Explore KSA, Historic Saudi, Online Magazine

Ash Shanana Tower – The Storyteller


History found in places where one least expects them.

Al Qassim has always been acknowledged for its large volume of date production and the illustrious people that the land has given birth to, but behind the limelight of those two subtly lies the region’s history.

A prime example of its history is in the form of Ash Shanana tower, which is located just 7 km from the center of the city of Al Rass in Al Qassim’s heartland. Standing at a height of 27 meters, the conical tower has become a mini-tourist landmark.

Built as a watchtower, the structure is largely made of a mixture of mud and straws from palm trees. The mixture is believed to have been left to dry under the sun following which one layer after another was added to complete the tower.

Historians have multiple opinions on when the tower was actually built with reports ranging from anywhere in between 1699 AD to 1817 AD. So by even the most conservative of estimates, it is at least 200 years old.

But what’s most remarkable about it is that it there have been so many battles fought in and around it and it has somehow managed to survive through them all. Most of these battles were between the Saudi State and the allies of the Ottomans. During one such battle, the tower was under massive artillery fire and it is believed that due to this it has reduced from its original height of 45 meters to the nearly 27 meters that it stands as of today.

The last of such battles to take place was in 1904 AD between King Abdulaziz’s forces and his adversaries from central Arabia. Despite all the battles that happened around it, Ash Shanana tower has literally stood the test of time and it stands with stories of numerous battles to tell to curious travelers.


Business, Business Talks

9 Incredible Facts About The Largest Saudi Arabian Public Company – SABIC

Photo Credit: arabianoilandgas.com

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) is an integral part of the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030, and plays an important role in aiming to reduce the country’s reliance on crude oil exports.

It is a global leader in chemicals, industrial polymers, fertilizers and metals, and is the largest public company in the country according to Tadawul.

However, not many know the magnitude of its operations. Read on to discover some interesting facts…

1. In 2016, SABIC’s annual revenue hit a whopping SR 132.8 billion. That’s more than the nominal GDP of Nepal!

2. In the same year, SABIC ranked at number 247 on Fortune 500’s annual ranking of corporations worldwide as measured by revenue. And in Forbes 2000 annual ranking of the largest public companies in the world in 2016, it stood at 113.

Photo Credit: pressreleasefinder.com

Photo Credit: pressreleasefinder.com

3. It currently operates in over 50 countries, employing over 40,000 people from across the globe.

4. SABIC holds over 10,640 global patents – the largest number held by a company in the Arab world.

5. The company was founded by the government in 1976 to use by-products of oil extraction to produce value-added commodities like chemicals, polymers and fertilizers. The Saudi government retains 70% of the company’s shares and the remaining 30% are publicly traded on the Saudi stock exchange.

Photo Credit: fortune.com

Photo Credit: fortune.com

6. Headquartered in Riyadh, SABIC mainly operates in chemical, polymer, agri-nutrients and metal sectors, and is one of the biggest exporters in the entire Gulf region.

7. SABIC has acquired numerous international companies over the years which fueled its rapid rise. Companies included DSM’s petrochemical business in Europe, Huntsman Petrochemicals’ UK operations and General Electric’s plastic division.

8. SABIC is the world largest producer of MTBE, mono-ethylene glycol, polycarbonate, granular urea, polyphenylene and polyether imide; and it is also the third largest manufacturer of polyethylene and polypropylene.

9. In 2016, its total cash and cash equivalents stood at SR 40.76 billion – this is more than the total foreign exchange reserves held by an entire country like Greece.

SABIC official
Gulf Base
Fortune 500



11 Facts You Need To Know About The Kingdom’s Prized Jewel Saudi Aramco

Photo Credit: BidnessEtc

Saudi Aramco is going for an IPO in 2018 and that announcement created waves from Tokyo to New York, all vying to get the stock listed on their exchange.

After all, everyone wants a piece of what is by many estimates the largest company on the planet.

The Saudi Aramco listing is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy unveiled by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that seeks to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy, create millions of jobs over the next few years and bring about various other developments that will drive the country forward to becoming a global powerhouse.

Since the buildup surrounding the company is growing as the months for the IPO are coming closer, we thought that now would be a good time to feed you some facts on the Kingdom’s prized ‘jewel’.1

1. The company’s valuation is estimated to be between 2 and 3 trillion US Dollars.

In terms of market value, that’s about four times the value of Apple.

22. The IPO, which seeks to sell only 5% of Saudi Aramco, expects to bring in $100 billion as per a report in Reuters.

Making it the biggest ever IPO by a huge margin.


3. Today, roughly one out of every eight barrels of oil in the world is produced by Saudi Aramco.

Amounting to almost 12% of global production.

Photo Credit: bloomberg.com

Photo Credit: bloomberg.com

4. The company was founded in 1933 by Standard Oil of California (now Chevron).

After gaining a concession from King Abdulaziz to search for oil.

Photo Credit: saudiaramco.com

Photo Credit: saudiaramco.com

5. They went through four years of fruitless searching.

Finally, in 1938 they struck oil in commercial quantities in Dammam well number 7. This started the oil boom in the country and Aramco went on finding oil in huge quantities across the Kingdom in the subsequent years.

Photo Credit: sirismm.si.edu

Photo Credit: sirismm.si.edu

6. It wasn’t always called Aramco.

It was known as the California-Arabian Standard Oil Company at the time of its inception, then its name changed to the Arabian-American Oil Company before finally changing to Saudi Aramco.

7-800x-17. The estimated oil reserves held by Saudi Aramco are around 261 billion barrels.

That’s more than the entire oil reserves of North America.

Photo Credit: hydrocarbonprocessing.com

Photo Credit: hydrocarbonprocessing.com

8. The Far East region is where the majority of Saudi Aramco’s crude oil is exported.

China alone buys about 1.4 million barrels per day.

Photo Credit: offshoreenergytoday.com

Photo Credit: offshoreenergytoday.com

9. It has a total workforce of over 65,000.

Around 81% of which are Saudis.

Photo Credit: arabianbusiness.com

Photo Credit: arabianbusiness.com

10. It is estimated that either directly or indirectly Aramco creates work for about 200,000 people.

The company has plans to increase the figure to over 500,000 as it plans to expand to other related sectors.

Photo Credit: alriyadh.com

Photo Credit: alriyadh.com

11. The oil giant operates the world’s largest onshore oil field, the Ghawar oil field.

It also operates the Safaniya Field, which is the world’s largest offshore oil field.

Truly, no company in the world compares to Saudi Aramco. It is in a league of its own.



10 International Restaurant Chains That We Need In Saudi Arabia

Photo Credit: nordsee.com

The country is brimming with international restaurant franchises, but we are still craving more. Here’s a few we wish could open up soon!

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Photo Credit: chipotle.com

Photo Credit: chipotle.com

Why we need it? Because Saudi Arabia loves Mexican food.

Specializing in tacos and burritos, it’s a surprise this fast casual restaurant is not already operating in Saudi Arabia considering it has a massive fan following worldwide. The concept of the restaurant is simple – create your own dish from a wide selection of meat and healthy toppings.

Panera Bread

Photo Credit: eatthis.com

Photo Credit: eatthis.com

Why we need it? In just 25 years, it has 2000+ branches; there must be something good about it, right?

The fast casual bakery/café’s offerings don’t just look scrumptious – the food is healthy as well! In 2008, Health magazine ranked it as North America’s healthiest fast casual restaurant. Panera Bread aims to change the typical ‘order at the counter’ experience, and has already clocked $1 billion in digital sales.


Photo Credit: empirenews.net

Photo Credit: empirenews.net

Why we need it? It is the third largest hamburger chain in the world.

It may just be a typical fast food burger joint, but sometimes that’s all you’re in the mood for. The country is packed with such chains, and Wendy’s is the one we’re craving. And it seems the wait is coming to an end – we hear an outlet is opening later this year!

Bonefish Grill

Photo Credit: bonefishgrill.com

Photo Credit: bonefishgrill.com

Why we need it? Amazing seafood backed with equally amazing customer service.

The place is a treat for seafood lovers – they grill most of their items on wood! One of their signature dishes is the Bang Bang Shrimp cooked in a rich creamy chili sauce which will take your palate on a rollercoaster ride. Sadly the chain hasn’t expanded outside of the US but we absolutely love it and hope it opens here soon!

Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Photo Credit: menuism.com

Photo Credit: menuism.com

Why we need it? A one-stop shop to pander all your Italian desires.

The restaurant boasts of offering traditional Italian cuisine – the founding family’s delectable recipes have been passed down from generation to generation. From classic pasta to Tuscan steaks, Carrabba is the place to be to experience authentic Italian cuisine.


Photo Credit: nordsee.com

Photo Credit: nordsee.com

Why we need it? A fast food restaurant chain that specializes in seafood – who doesn’t want that?

Nordsee is a favorite amongst Germans, and its popularity is slowly spreading across. Europe and the Middle East. Though it is a fast food chain, its setting is more of a casual dining one. A meal here will make you nostalgic and remind you exactly why you love seafood!

Toast Box

Photo Credit: marinabaysands.com

Photo Credit: marinabaysands.com

Why we need it? Because we need more awesome breakfast joints…

Toast Box is a reflection of Singaporean coffee shops from the 70s where a typical breakfast of Nanyang coffee and freshly toasted kaya bread will take you down memory lane. The chain launched in 2005 with the aim of bringing that era back and became an instant hit. Toast Box has a presence across Southeast Asia, and we hope to see it in the Kingdom soon.


Photo Credit: steers.uk.com

Photo Credit: steers.uk.com

Why we need it? For the love of flame-grilled burgers…

South Africans swear by the franchise and it is preferred over international burger joints in the country. Unlike other fast food chains, Steers burgers are all flame-grilled. The restaurant’s popularity has recently picked up amongst burger aficionados and is now venturing into new locations across the African continent.


Photo Credit: oporto.com.au

Photo Credit: oporto.com.au

Why we need it? It gives other fast food joints in Australia a run for their money.

Oporto is Australian but serves Portuguese – the blend of these two cultures has resulted in mouthwatering food and is hugely popular in Australia. It’s a fast food chain but doesn’t use processed, frozen meat – and their finger licking sauces are another story altogether.

Pollo Campero

Photo Credit: campero.com

Photo Credit: campero.com

Why we need it? It’s the Al Baik of Latin America.

The Guatemala founded Pollo Campero is a chicken lover’s haven. Apart from the regulars that you’d expect at a chicken-based restaurant chain, what sets it apart are the traditional Latin American sides like plantains and yucca fries.



A Guide To Buying Gold In Saudi Arabia


Small trinkets or ornate wedding jewelry –a guide to it all.

Many visitors to Saudi Arabia, including those on a religious pilgrimage, inevitably end up buying the yellow sparkling metal.  After all, there isn’t sales tax or VAT that is charged in Saudi Arabia and on top of that locally designed and manufactured gold is sold at cheaper rates than one would find in many other gold jewelry hubs.

Whether you’re an investment savvy investor who wants to invest in gold ingots or a blithe shopper who wants to buy gold in forms of articles of jewelry , these tips can help you with your search for gold in Saudi Arabia. What’s more is that you don’t have to be in a specific city to purchase gold; almost a major cities in the country have enough of the glitzy metal to pander to your wishes.

Jewelry? Investment? Or an investment that you can wear around your neck?

Based on the purpose, potential buyers can be divided into these 3 broad categories.jewelry-618429_960_720

  • Jewelry:

If you want to buy gold solely for jewelry purposes then buying 18 or 21 karat gold jewelry would do just fine.  An 18 karat jewelry item though of lesser value and lesser purity in terms of gold is actually sold at much the same price to that of the 21 karats one. This is mainly due to the complexity of design, as even thin 18 karat gold chains are much sturdier and thereby help in producing complex designs without weighing more. Plus, 18 karat ones seem less glitzy and are favorites amongst the youth, who don’t want the bling and the flashiness that a bright yellow 21 karat brings with it. There is also white gold that is becoming increasingly popular in the country.

  • Investment:

Most gold shops sell gold coins and gold bars that are made of 24 karat gold. Some even come with a 999.9 purity standard. These bullions can weigh from anywhere between 1 gram to 1 kilogram. Investors can just hold on to these coins or bars and wait for the gold prices to increase and then sell it to make a profit or they can always save it for a rainy day as gold is a very liquid and relatively stable investment.  Bullions issued by internationally recognized brands such as Valcambi and PAMP  are available in Saudi Arabia. Some Middle Eastern based jewelry brands like Malabar Gold and Joy Alukkas also sell their own branded bullion coins and bars through their outlets in the country.

  • An investment that you can wear around your neck:


Photo Credit: eremnews.com

For this purpose, it is recommended to buy 21 or 22 karat gold that has little or no stones in it. Depending on the design the prices vary; Saudi or Bahraini designs are cheaper than Indian or Italian designs. At the time of resale, the design, premium or the number of stones doesn’t matter, all that matters is the final weight and the purity of the gold.

Where To Buy?
Souks are better than malls in terms of prices. However, in terms of high-end jewelry and precious gemstone based ornaments, it is the malls that offer the best variety. Every major city in Saudi Arabia has its own gold souk, Kandarah in Jeddah, Batha in Riyadh and so on and so forth.

Bargaining on gold?
Yes, yes and yes. You will not find any shop willing to negotiate on the gold rate, what you will find, however, is that they will be willing to negotiate on the making, wastage and premium charges.  If they don’t budge you can always go to another seller who is willing to cut into his margins. After all, competition is cut-throat in the souks.

Know the Gold Rate
It definitely helps in haggling with the shopkeeper and may also help in deciding on when to purchase based on historical values and forecasts in case you are looking into gold as an investment. You can check the day’s rate on websites like Goldrate24.com or Livepriceofgold.com

When To Buy?
Gold prices are volatile. To minimize the variances in rates one should buy gold on Saturday or Sunday, as it is during these days that gold is not being traded on international exchanges.

Say No To Credit Cards
Cash or via a MADA debit card is the way to go. Credit cards charge extra fees that the store will not be ready to bear, so expect your price to magically increase if you are planning to pay by credit card. Someone has to bear the costs that the credit card companies charge and it’s not going to be the gold seller – well not in Saudi Arabia.


Offbeat, Spirituality

This Boy Giving A Speech In Makkah’s Grand Mosque Is Something You Don’t Wanna Miss


Garnering hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook, this video is probably the cutest thing you’ll see all day.

It shows a young boy giving a speech to an audience in the Grand Mosque. He seems to have gathered a good-sized following around him while he was giving it. The speech he gave is based on Prophet Muhammad’s final sermon that has many lessons for humanity.

The video was posted on Facebook by the Australian Muslim.




Saudi Arabia’s Most Prolific CEOs

Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org

While we see a lot of international CEOs in the news for their work, many Saudi CEOs some despite managing some of the largest companies in the region have deliberately kept a low profile. But things are changing slowly with social media coming into the foray and the world’s eyes geared on Saudi Arabia.

Our Saudi Arabian CEOs have stepped up to the challenge and have no less inspiring stories than their international counterparts.

Some CEOs from our list run big multinationals with various branches across the globe well as others run local companies hardly operating outside their hometown, but they all make for someone to look up to for the younger generations.

Amin H. Nasser – Saudi Aramco

Photo Credit: arabnews.com

Photo Credit: arabnews.com

He is the current CEO of what is by many means the largest company in the world. After graduating from KFUPM in 1982 with a B.S. degree in Petroleum Engineering, Nasser joined Aramco and has been with the company ever since. From starting off his career in the oil-production department and working in drilling and reservoir management to managing a production department Nasser has donned many hats before making his way to the top.

Prince Waleed Bin Talal – Kingdom Holdings

Photo Credit: thenational.ae

Photo Credit: thenational.ae

No list of Middle Eastern CEO’s can be completed without Prince Waleed Bin Talal. His success story has inspired millions and the causes that he supports have already started to bear fruits. From building the tallest building in the world to donating most of his wealth to charity, Prince Waleed is one of the most influential people in the Arab world.

Kamal Bahamdan – SAFANAD


Photo Credit: english.alarabiya.net

Photo Credit: english.alarabiya.net

Bahmdan is not the conventional CEO types, he actually is an Olympic bronze medalist who heads a mojor investment firm, SAFANAD. He hails from a prominent business family and through SAFANAD he has invested in a wide variety of assets, the most famous of which is the education company K12 Inc.


Bahamdan’s journey to the Olympic podium a long one, he actually was part of four summer Olympic events, before earning a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. His first major victory was the team and individual gold that he won at the 2004 Pan Arab Games and he hasn’t stopped pursuing either of his passions since.

Asya Alashaikh – Tamkeen

Photo Credit: arabnews.com

Photo Credit: arabnews.com

Her company is one of the first in the kingdom to offer CSR consultancy and related services. Formed in the year 2006, Tamkeen offers their clients all the tools they need to embed CSR values in their core principals. Prior to the formation of the company Alashaikh has years of experience behind her working for NGOs from around the country. In addition to her role as CEO of Tamkeen, she serves as Vice President of the National Consultants at the Council of Saudi Chambers.

While we see a lot of international CEOs in the news for their work, many Saudi CEOs have kept a low profile despite managing some of the largest companies in the region. But things are changing slowly with social media coming into the foray and the world’s eyes geared on Saudi Arabia. Our Saudi Arabian CEOs have stepped up to the challenge and have no less inspiring stories than their international counterparts.

Some CEOs from our list run big multinationals with various branches across the globe well as others run local companies hardly operating outside their hometown, but they all make for someone to look up to for the younger generations.

Amr F. Zedan – Zedan Group

Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org

Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org

After graduating from the University of the Pacific in America with a degree in engineering, Zedan joined his father’s engineering business, Zedan Consultants. He was instrumental in turning the firm into an energy group providing a wide range of services.  Zedan is also a professional polo player and has won many regional polo cup events.

Fahd Al-Rasheed – Emaar Economic City

Photo Credit: arabianbusiness.com

Photo Credit: arabianbusiness.com

He currently heads one of Saudi Arabia’s most ambitious projects, the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) which has planned investment estimate of around $100 billion. He also oversaw the development of the King Abdullah Port, which is one of the largest ports on the Red Sea. Al-Rasheed is also the Founding Chairman of the Red Sea Foundation, which is a think-tank that supports the development of the Red Sea region. His Alma mater includes prestigious institutes like Stanford Business School and Harvard. In 2011, he was also honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan – SABIC

yousef-abdullah-al-benyanApart from his role as CEO in SABIC, Al-Benyan sits on the boards of many Saudi companies like SAFCO, Yansab and the GPCA. Al-Benyan is a SABIC veteran who has been with the petrochemical giant for almost 20 years. He served in various posts in SABIC’s international branches before he was named CEO.

Lubna Olayan  – Olayan Financing Company

Photo Credit: fortune.com

Photo Credit: fortune.com

She was featured in Forbes Most Powerful Women list and is one of the most influential leaders in the Arab World.  Her firm is one the largest private investors in the Saudi and regional stock markets. A trailblazer from the start, according to reports in the Saudi press, she was the only woman in a 4,000-strong workforce for 18 years. She has numerous firsts to her name including that of being the first woman to be elected to a board position in the country and the first woman to deliver a keynote address at a major Saudi Arabian conference.