The GCC must secure its investment landscape: Report

Saudi Arabia targets 3.3 trillion. dollars of cumulative investment by 2030, says the deputy minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has implemented over 600 economic reforms since the launch of the Vision 2030 plan in an effort to attract SR 12.4 trillion ($3.3 trillion) in cumulative investment and SR 1.8 trillion in foreign direct investment inflows between 2021 and 2030. as part of the National Investment Strategy, said the Deputy Minister of the Investment Ministry.

Speaking to Arab News, Saad Al-Shahrani, acting deputy minister for investment promotion at the Saudi Ministry of Investment, said the Kingdom achieved an 18 percent increase in foreign direct investment in 2020, even as global FDI declined by 35 percent due to the pandemic.

FDI inflows in 2021 increased by 257 percent compared to 2020, largely driven by a SR46.5 billion infrastructure deal Aramco concluded with a global investor consortium in the second quarter of 2021.

Excluding the huge Aramco deal, the Kingdom attracted SR5.3 billion in the second quarter of last year.

Al-Shahrani added that the NIS, launched in 2021, is a plan to make the Kingdom a global hub for business and talent.

Saad Al-Shahrani

During the interview, the minister revealed that the FDI flow in the first quarter of 2022 increased by 10 percent to SR 7.4 billion compared to the same period last year.

He further stated that NIS helped MISA achieve 49 investment deals worth SR3.5 billion in the second quarter of 2022, creating 2,000 jobs in various industries.

“These figures are proof of the good implementation of the government’s strategy and the impact of new reforms, initiatives and investment opportunities,” said the deputy minister.

He added: “The Kingdom has made remarkable progress on many economic and investment indicators, ranking third in the Ease of Protection Index for Minority Investors out of 132 countries for 2021.”

Fastest growing among G-20 countries

The Deputy Minister further noted that the Kingdom achieved first place among 22 countries in the May 2022 Ipsos Global Consumer Confidence Index.

Citing the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook 2022, Al-Shahrani said the Kingdom is now the fastest-growing nation among the Group of 20 countries, with a growth rate of 7.6 percent.

“Saudi Arabia’s regulatory transformation has a direct impact on the underlying economy. Along with healthy demand and investor interest in the oil sector, our non-oil economy has shown strong growth,” he added.

The deputy minister said flash estimates of real gross domestic product growth in the second quarter showed 11.8 percent year-on-year growth, the highest pace since 2011, supported by real GDP growth in oil and non-oil activities from respectively 23.1% and 5.4%.

Industrial production is increasing

Commenting on the rise in the industrial production index, Al-Shahrani said: “The IPI expanded by 24 percent year-on-year in May 2022, with output growing by over 28 percent. These figures are a direct consequence of the government’s active diversification efforts.

He also claimed that the Kingdom would become one of the world’s most competitive economies and attractive investment destinations by 2030.

The deputy minister also noted that digital transactions are increasing in Saudi Arabia, in line with the government’s goal of having 70 percent of all transactions digital by 2025.

“Policymakers have listened to the needs of investors and responded appropriately to create an investment ecosystem that rivals the best in the world,” he continued.

The future of Saudi Arabia is tourism

The deputy minister also conveyed that tourism will soon become one of the main drivers of the Saudi economy as economic diversification efforts continue.

He revealed that the Kingdom has already issued over 3,500 tourism investment licenses, a crucial leap towards achieving 10 percent of the national GDP from tourism by 2030.

Al-Shahrani added that the Kingdom will welcome over 100 million tourists by 2030 and create one million jobs in the sector.

“NEOM, The Red Sea Project, AlUla, Soudah, AMAALA and Diriyah Gate are huge opportunities for investors,” he continued.

The Deputy Minister further disclosed that the Kingdom’s flagship SAUDIA will add 94 new destinations to bring visitors to the Kingdom by 2030.

In addition to tourism, MISA also signs deals with companies from RES, logistics and the pharmaceutical sector, added the deputy minister.

“It is abundantly clear that the headwinds dampening global investor appetite are not blowing in Saudi Arabia’s direction. Government strategy, inspired leadership, talent at every level, well-executed reforms and a clear vision for the future have combined to make the Kingdom an investment powerhouse,” said Al-Shahrani.

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