Episode transcript The transcript is generated automatically by Podscribe, Sonix, Otter and other electronic transcription services.
Hello everyone. Welcome to the 5 Minutes Podcast. And today is a different podcast because I'm recording straight from my room in Riyadh. The Global Project Management Forum in Saudi Arabia has just finished, and I want to share with you my impressions of this event the target audience of this episode is not those who attended because those who attended, saw pretty much the same thing I saw. But I'm talking to those who have never been to Saudi Arabia that knows very little about the kingdom and that did not have the chance to understand what is happening here in terms of transformation. Most of the time, when we think about project management in Saudi Arabia, probably the first thing that comes to our mind is oil, right? It's oil. And how you make better oil projects, how you, I would say, make better upstream projects, how you build better platforms, how you optimize things. And this is absolutely amazing. However, what I saw here was nothing related to that. What I saw was a massive transformation in the country and a massive transformation that any of you listen to me. We will see that it's not only those living in Saudi Arabia or the Saudi Arabian citizens. No, no, I'm talking about all of us. And why? Because the kingdom decided to really make such a transformation and in such an aggressive way because we are talking not aggressive.
I'm saying absolutely positive way. And aggressive means very tight deadlines. They want to get this done by 2030. And this is touching in every single aspect of the society. It's not just about, okay, let's implement technology or let's build, you know, huge sinks or huge buildings. No, no, it's above and beyond that. So the first thing is to reduce the dependency on oil. So one of the things that you may be surprised, as I was when I heard for the first time, is to become a touristic hub. There are projects on the coast of the Red Sea that are planning to make magnificent resorts and all sorts of infrastructure that will join, for example, the beach and the resort and the weather at the same time with historical sites recognized by UNESCO and all these aspects. So this is absolutely an incredible thing. Thinking about that a couple of years ago, tourism was not recognized for you to get in the country. And this drives me to the second thing, a massive transformation project in terms of technology. So the government is now transforming everything into electronic everything now is pretty much done online. From your recipe at the hospital to your driver's license all sorts of documents that you may need are all electronic.
And just to give you an idea, 3 to 4 years ago for me to get a visa to come here when I came in 2018, it took me weeks. I'm saying I would guess something like between five or six weeks to get. And I have to answer many questions. What is your business? What is your plan? What are you doing here? In order to get the visa today, you can get a visa in a matter of minutes, minutes, and everything online. And this is not something that happened in ten years. We are talking during this COVID time, just during this COVID time. And this is just an example. For example, I saw the report in the past, usually, 19% of the females were active working. This number grew to 33%. This is not, of course, there is still a way, but from 19 to 33, it's a relevant growth in a society where women were not used to being part of the workforce in the past as they are today. Even at the event today, we can see this many women in leading positions and this is a change in the mindset. Imagine when people, international people come and these will shape probably a different society and a different way of working. And that extrapolates just the dependence and the reliability on oil and the dependency on oil.
On the mega-project side, we are talking here not about the mega-project of $10 billion. We are not talking about a mega project like, you know, an oil refinery or massive airport here. When we talk about the Mega or Giga Project, we are talking about a $100 billion project. Let me. Hundred. I have never, ever seen any project at this size. Take a look at NEOM.COM. NEOM is a hub for logistic technology living, and it will be the largest floating. The octagon will be the largest floating structure just at the opening very close to the Suez Canal. That will shift completely the dynamic of that region. And this is one out of maybe ten, 15 massive projects that come from every single aspect of society. And why I'm saying this in a project management podcast, because this event that happened today was the first event in Saudi Arabia directly related to project management, because there is a need there is a desperate need for competent project managers to deliver this. And this is, for me, one of the biggest benefits of all of this, because all of them they will bring, of course, they will move the society forward. They will make the lives of people better here. But at the same time, they will produce knowledge and they will create a society that is able and capable of delivering more and more challenging projects.
And these are, for me, the role of project management and I think the success of this and we will see very soon is not Vision 3000 or Vision 2500 is Vision 2030. It's tomorrow. It's eight years down the line with several. So we will all see this very soon and we will all see and understand the results. And this can be a massive example of the use of project management and bringing project management from, I would say, the basement from something periphery in the society and governments to something inside the core of the delivery of every single government, every single entity on earth. And this is for me, something very exciting because our ability to transform these ideas into reality will make a lot of difference. And I'm sad that many of you did not have the chance to see and participate, taking a look at the numbers and the challenges I saw. But I hope that in these 5 to 7 minutes, I could share with you some of these insights. Take a look at this Vision 2030 and also NEOM. And you will understand exactly what I'm talking about. I hope you enjoy this podcast and see you next week with another 5 Minutes Podcast.