By Gavin Gibbon
Over 24 deals agreed including $1bn agreement between Saudi Aramco and Spanish outfit Tubacex
Saudi Arabia signed more than 24 deals worth $15 billion on the opening day of the country’s Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh.
Wide-ranging agreements were struck at the event, dubbed 'Davos in the desert', with international outfits from the United Kingdom, America, Brazil and Norway, among others, in sectors such as manufacturing and technology.
Saudi Aramco secured a $1 billion deal with Spanish company Tubacex, while a $700 million investment agreement was inked between the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and Modular Middle East, a prefabricated building company. A $200m deal was agreed between SAGIA and Shiloh Minerals, where the British company will develop its production capacity and invest in upstream mining in the kingdom.
Ibrahim Al-Omar, governor of SAGIA, said: “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.
“Under Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is undergoing an ambitious program of economic reform, and the world is taking notice.”
Over 6,000 delegates and around 300 global investment chiefs and policymakers attended the third annual forum including bosses of HSBC, Blackstone, BlackRock, Colony Capital and Evercore.
A large delegation from the US was part of the audience, including its energy and treasury secretaries and senior White House advisor Jared Kushner.
According to Invest Saudi’s Fall 2019 Investment Highlights report, which was launched on the sidelines of FII, over 250 overseas businesses were granted investor licenses in the third quarter of this year - a 30 percent increase over the same period in 2018.
The 2019 Global Competitiveness Report, published by the World Economic Forum, revealed that Saudi Arabia has moved up three positions to the 36th place, globally, through its efforts to diversify the Kingdom’s economy.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia also climbed 30 places in the World Bank’s Doing Business report, rising to 62nd place and becoming the most improved economy globally.