By Sam Bridge
More than 13 government and private sector entities convene in Riyadh to sign $2 billion in new petrochemical investments
Representatives of more than 13 government and private sector entities from Saudi Arabia and across the globe have convened in Riyadh to sign over $2 billion in new petrochemical investments.
The investments build on the positive momentum that Saudi Arabia has seen this year in terms of inward investment. According to Invest Saudi’s Fall 2019 Investment Highlights report, over 250 overseas businesses were granted investor licences in Q3, up 30 percent on the same period last year.
A total 809 new foreign companies have established operations in Saudi Arabia, 67 percent of which are for fully foreign ownership investments. This represents the highest number of foreign investor licences issued by SAGIA since 2010.
Ibrahim Al-Omar, governor of SAGIA, said: “Our country is undergoing a significant economic transformation. The petrochemicals sector provides exciting opportunities for international investors as we look to draw on the expertise and experience of the private sector in transforming the industry.
"This meeting – and the MoUs that have been exchanged today – reflect our increasing focus on promoting opportunities and facilitating international partnerships to drive the growth of this strategic sector. We are very pleased to welcome these industry giants to Saudi Arabia as we build the future of the petrochemicals sector in the kingdom.”
Agreements signed and exchanged at the meeting include SAGIA & BASF's deal aimed at evaluating and assessing opportunities in Saudi Arabia; a deal with SNF to evaluate the establishment of a polyacrylamide plant; a deal with Mitsui & Co for an ammonia commercial production project in Jubail and an agreement with Shell to build a residue upgrading catalyst manufacturing facility in Jubail Industrial City, subject to regulatory approvals.
The investments come alongside a broad series of economic reforms, which are enabling rapid growth in foreign investment in Saudi Arabia.
According to the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum, 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 2020 report, rising to 62nd place and becoming the most improved economy globally.