Saudi military industries 'to contribute 95 billion riyals to GDP by 2030'

Saudi Arabia is forging ahead with plans to develop a domestic defence sector

Military drones are displayed at Saudi Arabia's first World Defence Show, north of the capital Riyadh. AFP
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Saudi Arabia spent 5.1 billion riyals ($1.35 billion) to boost its military over the last two years, an industry official said on Monday.

Ahmed Al Ohali, governor of the General Authority for Military Industries, said the sector aims to provide 100,000 job opportunities by 2030, including “40,000 direct jobs for young men and women”.

Speaking at a forum in Riyadh on Monday, Mr Al Ohali said the military industries sector is expected to contribute 95 billion riyals to country's the GDP by 2030.

Meanwhile, Osama Al Zamil, Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, said 2023 would see “a strong start” to the kingdom's national industry strategy. The strategy “aims to triple the GDP”, he added.

Authorities spent 3.3 billion riyals — nearly one billion dollars — on incentives for research and development in the military industry in 2021 and 2022.

That included 1.8 billion riyals allocated to companies in the sector including Saudi Arabian Military Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund, launched in May 2017 under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Walid Abukhaled, SAMI’s chief executive, said the company will focus on unmanned systems, radars and cybersecurity in the coming years.

SAMI's revenue rose from $20 million in 2020 to $605 million last year. It aims to localise 50 per cent of total military spending by 2030. In the last five years, SAMI signed 13 global joint ventures with top international defence companies including Boeing, Airbus, General Dynamics and others.

Updated: December 12, 2022, 12:53 PM