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Saudi women in real estate: Taking the leap of faith

The real estate industry has long been recognized as a male-dominated domain, with women historically facing numerous barriers when trying to make their mark in this sector.
However, over the years, Saudi women have not only shattered these barriers, but have also emerged as a force to reckon with in the realty realm.
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The narrative in the rest of the Arab world is no different. The region is witnessing an impressive surge in the number of women leading real estate conglomerates, executing multi-billion-dollar projects, and reshaping the urban landscape with their vision and expertise.
According to FIABCI Saudi Arabia, Arab women’s participation in the real estate industry is rising, particularly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Women comprise 34.8 percent of registered real estate brokers, with 4,519 women brokers actively participating in 8,606 transactions valued at $189 million, Dubai Land Department data shows. These women constitute 42 percent of the total workforce within the organization.
Other research by Wamda reveals that female-founded MENA startups received $34.6 million in funding in 2021.
As for the Kingdom, the Saudi Arabia Real Estate Development Fund (REDF) has helped about 73,000 Saudi women become first-time homeowners through mortgage loans.
Sarah AlSuhaimi and Lama AlSulaiman are among the leading examples of women who have made their mark in the Saudi real estate sector.
Sarah AlSuhaimi, the first Saudi woman to chair the Saudi Tadawul Group, the largest Middle Eastern stock market, is spearheading efforts to connect Saudi capital markets globally, aligning with Vision 2030.
Her leadership has significantly influenced real estate development and investment in Saudi Arabia, boosting investor confidence. Her ranking at number 7 on Forbes Middle East’s 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen 2023 underscores her impactful role.
Similarly, Lama AlSulaiman, one of the first Saudi women to be elected to the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce (JCC) board in 2005, became the first woman Vice-Chairwoman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) in 2009.
Her leadership at JCCI, a significant player in Jeddah’s commercial and real estate sectors, earned her recognition as a Young Arab Leader by The World Economic Forum, highlighting her key contributions to the business world.


In a dynamic blend of expertise, empowerment, and enthusiasm, the CityScapeWIRE (Cityscape Women in Real Estate) Riyadh event served as a groundbreaking platform that resonated with women’s role in the real estate sector and their contributions toward it.
On the sidelines of CityScapeWIRE, Al Arabiya English spoke to member of the Advisory Board for CityscapeWIRE and Managing Director of ‘eXp Dubai’, Dounia Fadi, who shared her thoughts on the growing importance of women in the Saudi real estate sector.

According to Fadi, CityscapeWIRE’s aim was quite simple: Inspire, fuel and unite professional women to thrive in the real estate sector. The event aims to support women in the industry through mentorship programs, workshops, think tanks and networking events throughout the MENA region.
“Our digital community is a safe space for women to share [their experiences] and raise questions,” Fadi said.

Emergence of women in real estate sector

Despite the significant progress made by them in various other fields over the years, in real estate, women continued to encounter gender bias, lack of representation, limited access to capital and a skewed work-life balance.
“There are not enough women in leadership roles yet. We are still in the minority and that’s because of multiple factors. We perhaps entered the domain very late. While some women have chosen to take care of their families, many others just didn’t make it,” Fadi explained.
“Our goal is to increase women’s participation and have more of them in leadership roles to balance the equation,” she added.

Success stories and inspiring women

Despite the challenges, many women have achieved remarkable success in the real estate sector.
Mashael bin Saedan, a Saudi businesswoman, has made significant strides in shaping the future of Saudi Arabia’s real estate sector.
Her company, Al-Saedan for Development, was among the three private firms approved by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in 2019 for the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program.
Saedan’s deep involvement in real estate started early due to her family’s history in land development and she has been a trailblazer in promoting female participation in the industry.
She pursued higher education in English-speaking countries to expand her global presence and, rather than taking a job offer abroad, chose to return to Saudi Arabia to make a positive impact here.
From her side, Fadi highlighted the importance of men and women partnership in the real estate sector.
“We’re not saying women must work in isolation. Rather, they can work together with men and bring something better to the table,” she said.
Fadi further said: “For us, watching Saudi women move up the ladder is really a pleasure. As a Muslim and Arab girl visiting Saudi Arabia on a business trip, I still can’t believe what I’m seeing, but it is true, and we are indeed moving forward.”
She added: “I see progress, I see the potential, I see the vision.”
Narrowing the topic down, Al Arabiya English conducted an exclusive interview with one of the prominent female figures in the real estate sphere in the Kingdom Dr Raihan Jomaa. An entrepreneur with a PhD in Leadership Management, Organizational Behavior, and Entrepreneurship, Dr Jomaa shared her remarkable journey in this industry.
In her capacity as a real estate company owner in both Britain and Saudi Arabia, Dr Jomaa emphasized the critical role time plays in achieving success in this industry.
She acknowledged that the quest for work-life balance can sometimes put women at a disadvantage. Nevertheless, she has adopted a time-based approach, viewing this challenge as a significant opportunity.
She advises: “For women aspiring to enter the real estate field, a substantial investment of unpaid time is essential. Time should be their primary focus, with monetary gains as a consequential outcome.”
Recognizing the pivotal importance of women’s involvement in the Saudi real estate sector, Dr Jomaa asserted: “Previously relegated to marketing roles, today, we’ve evolved into developers –all thanks to the trust and confidence placed in us by both women and men.”

Women empowerment in Saudi Arabia

“During CityscapeWIRE, we had nonstop events, including panel discussions mostly featuring women from various backgrounds and sectors, who shared their thoughts on the sector and its challenges,” Fadi said. “We are willing to conduct similar events soon in the Kingdom,” Fadi added.
Women have come a long way in the real estate sector, making their mark as successful professionals, entrepreneurs and leaders.
While challenges persist, the industry is changing, with a growing commitment to diversity and inclusivity. As more women continue to excel in this sector, their contributions are expected to shape the future of this dynamic industry, creating a more level-playing field for generations to come.
Fadi was amazed by the unique networking experience that CityScapeWIRE offered, highlighting the challenges faced by women in the real estate industry, while inviting them to believe in themselves and unveil their true potential.
“Unless you try it, you’re never going to know what your potential is,” she said. “Just start! When you start, the doors start opening and opportunities start coming your way. Ask for what you need and make yourself heard,” she reiterated.
“Just take the leap of faith and get into whatever you like to do, instead of questioning yourself and doubting your abilities,” she commented.
Echoing Fadi’s words, Dr Jomaa said in the real estate sector, a woman’s success hinges on dedicating time and encouraging involvement of men.
She said this is particularly relevant in the light of the robust legislation in the Kingdom, which has created a level playing field for both genders.
Elaborating the point further, Dr Jomaa emphasized: “In the context of Saudi Vision 2030, it is important to trust good governance and leadership, believe in your capabilities and foster collaboration with men, as these are fundamental elements.”
She also advised women to actively participate in conferences and exhibitions while seeking the support of their families, as this is their moment to shine and excel.
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Almarai signs an MoU with the Authority of People with Disabilities to train and employ them.

Almarai Company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Authority of People with
Disabilities to train, qualify and employ persons with disabilities. This came on the sidelines of
the First International Labor Market Conference, organized by the Ministry of Human Resources
and Social Development on December 13 – 14, 2023, at the King Abdulaziz Convention Center
in Riyadh.

The memorandum was signed by the Chief Human Resources Officer of Almarai Company,
Fahad Mohammed Aldrees, and the CEO of the Authority of People with Disabilities, Dr.
Hisham bin Muhammad Al-Haidari.

“This agreement comes within the framework of the company’s social responsibility program, as
Almarai employs more than 500 people with disabilities, which is one of the most suitable work
environments for them.” Fahad Aldrees said. Pointing out that Almarai has the “Silent Line”,
which is one of its production lines that is designated for people with hearing disabilities.

It is worth mentioning that Almarai supports over 300 charity organizations annually across the
kingdom that operate in the field of community development.

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Central Phuket Shopping Center Prepared Surprises This Christmas & New Year 2024

Central Phuket Shopping Center, the luxury lifestyle landmark o Phuket, invites everyone to celebrate Christmas and New Year 2024 in The Great Celebration 2024 Campaign. Joining hands with global partner ‘The Pokémon Company’, Central Phuket bring over Pokémon, the super cute character popular around the world, for all locals and international fans. The special campaign launch presents a procession of cute ‘Pikachu’ alongside with the giant Christmas tree for the first time in Thailand.
This December, Central Phuket prepared many activities for shoppers when visiting Phuket! Experience the “Surprise of the Day” with free Cotton Candy for our little ones, a sweet and fluffy treat, a special gift from Central Phuket. Bring your kids to enjoy this sweet treat every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December. Don’t miss the Christmas Carol that
everyone loves, little Santas spread freshness by singing together in the Christmas Carol activity. Plus, Christmas Live Music, the festival of joy is back! Celebrate Christmas in a luxurious and classy atmosphere, enjoying the music that will bring us joy. Also, there will be Christmas Troop, Santa Claus is coming to town! The Santa troop will spread happiness throughout Central Phuket. Lastly, Cake Workshop, workshop activity with Chef Sebastien’s IRON CHEF Thailand teaching how to make Christmas Vanilla Cake. A special activity for the Christmas season. Moreover, Central Phuket provides special promotion exclusively for international tourists throughout December 23 – January 24 including:

1) Get Free! Tourist welcome discount package valued up to THB 10,000.
2) Receive THB 100 Gift voucher when spending up to THB 2,500 per receipt.
3) Get to buy ‘Happy Holiday Collections’ special price: Pokémon 2-in-1 pillow blanket, tumbler, travel bag set, and keychain. Visit redemption counter for the price.
4) Exclusive for Grab Users get discount code up to 25% off* when traveling to participating Central Shopping Centers.
5) Receive famous Elephant Pants when spending over THB 5,000 in shopping center.
6) Get Free! H&M THB 100 gift voucher when booking any accommodations in Phuket with Agoda. Terms and conditions apply.

Central Phuket is a home of global luxury brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Saint Laurent. Exclusive for this season, Louis Vuitton launches a pop-up store located at Central Phuket. The design is inspired by the story of Damier or Checkerboard, the brand’s signature pattern. This classic pattern was created by Louis
Vuitton and his son Georges Vuitton in 1888 and has always been part of the design of Maison’s iconic items and concepts. Find clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories for men at the Pop-up Store from Louis Vuitton at Central Phuket, 1st floor, from today until 31 March 2024. And with over 500 renowned fashion brands and lifestyle shops ranging from local to international
well-known brands covering all categories, international shoppers will be able to find what they are looking for in Central Phuket.
Central Phuket is located in the heart of one of the world’s most famous beach cities, Phuket and await to welcome both locals and international visitors this holiday. Also, don’t miss one of the most joyful New Year Count Down events in Phuket city at Central Phuket Shopping Center on December 31, 2023.

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Saudi Fund for Development Provides $100 Million Development Loan for the Rogun Hydropower Project

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, signed a new development loan agreement with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Kahhorzoda Fayziddin Sattor, through which SFD is contributing $100 million USD to fund the Rogun Hydropower Project, a landmark initiative that will enhance energy,
food, and water security, and foster sustainable development in the country. The signing was attended by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Waleed Al-Reshiadan, and the Ambassador of Tajikistan to Saudi Arabia, H.E. Akram Karimi, alongside other officials from both sides. SFD’s development loan will help contribute towards a more sustainable and equitable food and water future for Tajikistan, while driving the country’s energy transition and climate resilience. The project aims to contribute to the national energy security and will help advance sustainable
development in the Republic of Tajikistan, by providing the renewable electricity supply to meet local demand and expand electricity production domestically and regionally, producing 3600 MW of energy. The loan agreement will also finance the construction of a 335-meter-tall dam, which will enhance irrigation capabilities and bolster agricultural activities across the country. Additionally, the project will improve flood protection through the construction of four hydraulic
tunnels for diversion and drainage. It will also provide clean and drinkable water to people through desalination, and help advance socio-economic development, by creating both direct and indirect jobs.
Importantly, this project also supports the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); specifically, SDG 2, Zero Hunger, SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy.
On this occasion, the CEO of SFD, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, said: “Today’s signing marks a major milestone in our shared journey towards a more sustainable future. With this landmark development loan, SFD is not just supporting Tajikistan’s energy future, but also its sustainable development and the well-being of its people. The Rogun Hydropower Project is a beacon of
hope for a bright future that is powered by clean, renewable energy. It will propel Tajikistan towards environmental stewardship and prosperity.”

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