Saudi Arabia is targeting $3 trillion of investment into the kingdom in the next nine years, with the Public Investment Fund and other local and international firms playing a key role, according to its investment minister.
The kingdom is striving to be “the most investor-friendly” destination and increase the participation of the private sector to “our large and growing economy, to 65 per cent”, Khalid Al Falih told the Future Minerals Forum on Wednesday.
To achieve this, Saudi Arabia is working to draft an investment law that will address the needs of both domestic and international investors, Mr Al Falih said. “It will be a global best-in-class law, it will be enacted this year, sooner than later,” he added.
Highlighting the role of international investors in supporting the growth of Saudi’s economy, Mr Al Falih said they “not only bring in the capital but bring in that know-how and best practices” which benefit Saudi partners and the economy.
Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, is diversifying away from oil as part of its Vision 2030 programme. The kingdom is developing projects across sectors including real estate, petrochemicals, transport, hospitality and industries to attract investment and boost employment.
The Public Investment Fund is injecting billions of dollars into the economy to spur growth. The fund will inject $40bn on an annual basis in 2021 and 2022, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said last year.
Among other reforms, the kingdom also approved new privatisation and agriculture laws as well as a mining law that came into effect in January last year.
“The kingdom will be – in terms of its regulatory system and judicial system – one of the best places to do business. We are already good by the way international investors and domestic investors have been finding investing in the kingdom to be stable, predictable and secure, but we are not happy with being very good and we want to be the best. And we believe that our regulations and reforms are taking us in that direction,” Mr Al Falih said.
Saudi Arabia issued 478 new foreign investor licences in the first quarter of 2021 – the highest number since records began in 2005.
The kingdom also plans to build more internal railway network to jump-start its investment in the infrastructure sector, Mr Al Falih said.
“New rail will criss-cross the kingdom and add to the network we already have,” he told the forum.