Saudi Arabia kicked off the third Future Investment Initiative yesterday with 23 investment deals worth $15 billion (Dh55.1bn), across energy, transport, oil and gas, petrochemicals and manufacturing sectors as the kingdom continues to open up its economy for foreign direct investment.
The agreements signed on the sidelines of the three-day summit, the kingdom's annual investment conference in Riyadh, reflect the potential that Saudi Arabia offers to investors from across the world, as it continues to open up its economy for FDI, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority said on Tuesday.
The deals build on the positive momentum that Saudi Arabia has seen so far this year in terms of inward investment, it added.
“As Saudi Arabia welcomes investors and decision-makers from across the globe to this annual global investment platform, the agreements exchanged here today reflect the strength and diversity of the economy,” said Ibrahim Al Omar, governor of Sagia. “Under Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is undergoing an ambitious programme of economic reform, and the world is taking notice. The indicators are clear: Saudi Arabia is not only open for business, it’s the economy of the future.”
Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's biggest economy, has been going through a transformation of its economy under Vision 2030, an overarching social and economic agenda driven by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. Weaning its economy off oil, part-privatising state entities and opening its non-oil sector for investment are among the key pillars of Saudi Arabia's reform programme.
This month, Saudi Arabia climbed 30 places in the World Bank's Doing Business 2020 report, becoming the most improved economy globally.
A slew of deals were announced by Sagia, including a $700m investment by Modular Middle East to set up a prefabricated building facility in the kingdom, a $300m investment from Chinese shopping platform OneDeal for a new distribution hub and a $200m deal with the UK’s Shiloh Minerals to develop production capacity in the kingdom. Deals were also signed by Saudi Aramco with APQ for a $600m joint venture, with Dassault for a $200m collaboration around data analytics and smart systems, and with GE-owned Baker Hughes for $230m worth of co-investments and developments around artificial intelligence and digital transformation.
Other deals signed by the kingdom's Industrial Clusters authority include feasibility studies into a $250m local vaccine production plant with Instituto Butanan, a $110m pharmaceutical plant with Eurofarma and a $100m wind energy facility with Aeris.
A deal was also finalised between Acwa Power and Air Products for the $11.45bn Air Product Qudra project.
According to Invest Saudi's Fall 2019 investment highlights report, which was launched on the sidelines of FII, more than 250 overseas businesses were granted investor licenses in the third quarter of the year, a 30 per cent increase on the same period last year.
More than 809 new foreign companies have established operations in Saudi Arabia, 67 per cent of which are for full foreign ownership investments. In January, the kingdom said it plans to spend 100bn riyals (Dh97.9bn) this year and next as part of a new industrial strategy aimed at weaning Saudi Arabia's economy off oil, creating 1.6 million jobs and attracting as much as 1.6 trillion riyals in investment by 2030.