Interview with Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki, General Secretary of Saudi India Business Network

As you are General Secretary of Saudi Indian Business Network (SIBN) for K.S.A. please elaborate what is SIBN?

The Saudi Indian Business Network (SIBN) as the name implies, is a professional organization that groups together entrepreneurs, senior executives and professionals from Saudi Arabia and India.

SIBN works under the Patronage of Consulate General of India, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. H.E. Ahmad Javed, Ambassador of India, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a Patron of SIBN and H.E. Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh, Consul General of India, Jeddah, K.S.A. is a Vice-Patron of SIBN. The Saudi-India Business Network aims to be the nodal point for high-level interaction between the business communities of India and Saudi Arabia.

The SIBN aims to act as an informal interface to promote trade and commerce, business alliances, joint ventures and investments between India and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on a bilateral basis.

The SIBN aims at introducing Indian Companies to the vast opportunities that exist in the Kingdom and to aid them in projecting their expertise and strengths in various disciplines for
prospective alliances with business & trade organizations operating in Saudi Arabia. It also aims to provide a reciprocal interface for business and trade organizations established in Saudi Arabia to explore business opportunities in India.

In short, SIBN aims to play a catalytic role in exploiting the vast potential that exists between the two countries.

How was your Journey from Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki to General Secretary of  SIBN? What challenges you face?

My journey from Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki to General Secretary of Saudi Indian Business Network (SIBN) is very tough, hardworking, competitive and challenging. It is very easy to get a position but it is very difficult to justify it. Doing anything for the first time generally, face challenges. But I really didn’t face any major challenges because of the great support from a Commercial section of Consulate General of India, Jeddah. I had huge support from Consul General of India, H.E. Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh as well during his tenure SIBN reaches to new heights since its inception. I also received good support from the SIBN managing committee and members.

If you work with honestly, sincerely, transparently with passion you can get success very easily. As a General Secretary of SIBN here our organization are ever ready to assist Saudi businessmen wishing to do business with India or invest in India. Consul General of India, H.E. Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh is even considering issuing a 5-year business visa to allow for free movement for Saudi businessmen to India.

As you are General Secretary of SIBN so what do you think of the current business relations between Saudi Arabia and India?

The Saudi-Indian relation has received a special thrust especially after the visit of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016. India and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting the centuries-old economic and socio-cultural ties. Saudi Arabia today is our 4th largest trade partner (after China, USA, and UAE) and is a major source of energy as we import around 19% of our crude oil requirement from the Kingdom. In terms of imports by Saudi Arabia, India ranks 7th and is a source of around 3.7 % of Saudi Arabia’s total imports. Private sector Indian investment in Saudi Arabia is increasing. According to Saudi Arabia
General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and Saudi investment in India is also growing. India and Saudi Arabia should increase trade delegations visits between two countries by organizing more trade fairs, seminars and more interactions between both Indian and
Saudi Arabian commerce ministries.

Recently you have received honor of outstanding contribution for organizing trade events? Can you share with us your experience?

Being the General Secretary of SIBN, Indeed it’s been the pleasure for me to receive the honor of outstanding Contribution from H.E. Ahmad Javed, Ambassador of India, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
& Patron of SIBN and H.E. Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh, Consul General of India, Jeddah, K.S.A. & Vice-Patron of SIBN, under the patronage of Consulate General of India, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for organizing Trade Events, Seminars, Symposiums, Indian Food Festivals, Incredible India, Make in India, Made in India, India @ 70 states programs, Trade delegations to India more than 30 times and Promoting Business Relations between two countries Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & India, which I have contributed as a honorary service to my country. I feel very happy that my services are recognized. My special thanks for H.E. Saud Al Sati, Ambassador to India, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia and Mr. Ahmad Issa Alduhaim, Saudi Commercial Attaché to India, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia for their full cooperation and support to SIBN.

As you are appointed Vice-President of Indian Importers. Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IICCI) for K.S.A. please elaborate what is IICCI?

The Indian Importers Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IICCI) represents the interest of more than 200,000 direct and indirect members through its heterogeneous membership and combines the entrepreneur spirit and business acumen of owners with management skills and expertise of professionals to set itself apart as a Chamber with a difference. The Chamber’s focused vision is imports, investment and industry. Imports will lead to investments by the overseas companies, leading to investments (FDI). The Chamber would like to empower Indian entrepreneurs through the knowledge that will be a catalyst of growth in the barrier technology leading to the global market. Chamber’s mission is to create a wide area network worldwide which will create a web of business, contacts and the free flow of information. It also connects Government to Private and Private to Government and Private to Private for economic interest and disputes. It is the only Chamber which has its independent legal cell which includes a very specialized cell on Foreign Direct Investment which is a one-stop shop for any foreigner who wants to invest a India. Besides, it has a research wing which produces unique reports on various subjects.

How Indian Trade Show is different from Saudi Arabia Trade Show?

The trade shows in India is having more exhibitors than Saudi Arabia and there is no exhibitors’ representation from Saudi Arabia in Indian trade shows. The trade shows in Saudi Arabia is well
organized with a lot of exhibitors from India participating in Saudi trade shows. India should promote FDI in Saudi Trade shows and Saudi Arabia should promote SAGIA in Indian Trade shows so that both countries Businessmen’s can benefit from it by investing in each other countries. India and Saudi Arabia can organize Indo-Saudi trade Expo in India and in Saudi Arabia so that it can be a common platform for both countries to promote their trade.