Statement made on 09 March 2011 by Senator Rod Zimmer
Hon. Rod A.A. Zimmer:
Honourable senators, I draw your attention to Mr. Salah Dashti, who is the head advisor of the Hail Economic City holding company, and is a board member and advisor with Al Kharafi Group worldwide.
The Al Kharafi Group is a private Kuwaiti-based group with diverse interests and activities worldwide. Established as a trading company more than 100 years ago, it has since developed into a large multinational company.
Honourable senators, the company has been awarded a number of important projects in Kuwait, the Gulf States, Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and Eastern Europe. With an annual turnover exceeding US$5 billion, the Kharafi Group now operates in more than 25 countries around the world, has more than 120,000 employees, and continues to march ahead with firm commitments to development, growth and progress.
The company is being established by a Saudi royal decree to develop the Hail Economic City, a new city that covers over 156 million square kilometres in size, and is being developed in the northern region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The city is set to be the largest and most modern transportation and logistics hub in the Middle East and North Africa, driving agro-industrial agriculture and food processing, mining and industry, green construction material and other green energy technologies.
The Middle East and North Africa have been going through serious challenges in opening up to the world, succeeding initially, before the current economic crisis, to grab most of the worldwide capital market.
Honourable senators, these challenges have led us to envision that a private sector company can adopt and implement a free market model without — and I stress "without" — governmental restrictions. By using and utilizing tools available in the modern Western market, which can be adapted to the Middle East and North Africa, MENA, we will have a city that allows the free market to flourish and that encourages other cities to take the same steps.
Today, the MENA region is the most attractive region in the world for the underdeveloped but rich. These two elements are the basic ingredients for the establishment of a new free economy city that creates a healthy living environment for millions of people. It is intended to position this company among the leading business and industrial cities in the world, paying special attention to the environment by adopting the highest standards and abiding by strict urban development rules and regulations.
Honourable senators, I am pleased to play host to my dear friend, Mr. Salah Dahshi, in this great adventure we call Canada.