Allah has chosen this blessed land to hold the two Holy Mosques. This land has been and remains a centre of spirituality for Muslims and an inspiration for human thinking. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has honoured me with the assignment of governor of Makkah Al-Mukarramah province three years ago. My main focus has been to make Makkah one of the most modern and beautiful cities in the world as well as to create an inspiring example for Arabs, Muslims and the entire world.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is living a thriving renaissance. The government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques works diligently to modernise Makkah as well as other areas in order to bring them up to date technologically. Today, we are working to achieve the goal of becoming among the leading societies in the world. To make this happen the government has developed a five-year plan, which includes its strategic vision for the region of Makkah, and provided the necessary funds and resources. The strategy we are adopting focuses on human and urban development. Our strategy originates primarily from the Kaaba, which is the basis of all development as the centre of Makkah and the qiblah of Muslims (direction to which they turn in their prayers five times a day).
The Makkah area development and advancement project is launched on the basis of three references: the system of the provinces, the five-year plans of the government, and the regional planning and development for the province. Therefore, it was necessary to put work strategy and implementation mechanisms that achieve the objectives of these references.
The strategy depends on several foundations, the most important of which is the Kaaba as I mentioned before, as well as to elevate the development of the human being in the region in order to be described as “the strong and honest”, so that he would be able to raise the standard of services offered to the guests of Allah and facilitate their movement and residence with efficiency. The other important foundation is to make Makkah an honourable and inspiring model for Saudi Arabia, the Islamic world and the whole world, God willing.
The Makkah strategy also depends on a parallel and balanced sustainable development between the human being and place, on the one hand, and all the municipalities, cities and towns, on the other. The success of the project is subject to the serious and effective partnership between the pubic and private sector, the role of which has to increase at this critical phase.
The strategy further depends on being in synch with the transitional period – from the third world to the first – that Saudi Arabia is going through in the economic, social, scientific and construction fields.
Hence, and based on these foundations, the strategy for the development and advancement of the region has four focal points: the human being, the place, the government sector, and the private sector.
With regards to the human being, the strategy aims to raise the quality of education and training; raise the standard of those working in Hajj and Umrah services; build positive concepts and directions in the human being and develop him socially; provide cultural, social, entertainment and sport services; and prepare the young people of both genders and qualify them to bear responsibility, and empower those who qualified to be leaders in the public and private sectors.
As for the place, the strategy addresses several factors. It aims to provide sufficient, pure water sources, treat water leakage and waste, and connect water to the consumer; develop a comprehensive infrastructure system; raise the efficiency of medical services in quantity and quality; develop the public transportation facilities; treat the unplanned neighbourhoods and turn them into model neighbourhoods; and protect, document and develop public lands and utilise them.
For the government sector, the goal is to empower and activate the regional council and local councils to play their role; raise the level of government performance; and put an integrated coordination map for the role of the municipalities in the economic activities.
And finally for the private sector, there are also several goals. The Makkah strategy aims to spread and activate the culture of social responsibility in individual and private-sector institutions; activate the role of the private sector in the development of the education and training sectors; and enrol the private sector in the region’s developmental projects by no less than 40 per cent. It also aims to motivate the establishment of small and medium-size projects and develop them; promote Makkah as an international marketing brand; and improve the investment environment in the Makkah region to become the best choice for investment.
The Makkah governorship is serious about implementing this strategy, starting at home with its own staff and organisational structure. Through a series of fast-outcome initiatives, such as establishing e-government, launching a campaign on proper behaviour towards hajjis and Umrah visitors, and improving the living conditions of people at unplanned neighbourhoods, we aim to elevate the performance of our staff and services.
A campaign to promote dignified behaviour
In 2008 a media and public relations campaign was launched to influence the behaviour of employees working in Hajj and Umrah services, as well as the people in contact with the pilgrims and Umrah visitors, to instil in them the values and virtues of integrity, kindness and tolerance that seem to have diminished under the pressures of life today.
|Major developments in key infrastructure: Both residents and pilgrims are set to benefit from large-scale civil engineering feats designed to make life easier|
Makkah Award for Excellence
In line with the objective of motivating citizens to raise the level of their performance and quality of work and give credit to those who deserve it for serving the province, the Makkah Award of Excellence was established in 2008. The award, organised by The Makkah Board of Culture, is to encourage creativity and innovation in serving the country and its citizens.
The award aims to increase competition and creativity by giving recognition in eight selected fields. The categories are: Excellence for Hajj and Umrah Services; Administrative Excellence; Economic Excellence; Cultural Excellence; Community Excellence; Architectural Excellence; Environmental Excellence; and Scientific and Technical Excellence. More categories could possibly be added in the future. A panel of specialised judges decides the winners.
The winners for 2009 and 2010 received their awards in grand ceremonies held in Jeddah acknowledging their contributions and outstanding achievements in the respective fields. Interestingly, in both years the winner for Scientific and Technical Excellence were women. The other winners were prominent figures who have served their community with their financial and social contributions and projects, enriched its culture and advanced its prospects.
A non-stop workshop
Visitors to Makkah today will be impressed by the non-stop workshop of construction and development. We are building the place and not forgetting about building the human being at the same time because the cornerstone of any renaissance is the human element.
Our dream for Makkah is taking shape. It is not a mirage in the desert or an outlandish aspiration, but a real, heart-pounding rhythm of progress seen and heard rising up from the sands.
Starting in Jeddah, the gateway to Makkah, at the arrival point of the airport, the guests of Allah are guests in our homes, and Arabs are known for their hospitality and generosity. We are privileged and honoured to receive them and serve them to make their spiritual journey as comfortable and inspirational as possible.