Foreign direct investment into Saudi Arabia grew 127 percent in 2018
A set of seven investment principles unveiled by Saudi Arabia last month will form a “vital” part of the kingdom’s efforts to attract foreign investment, according to Khaled Tash, the deputy governor for marketing and communication of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
The principles include ensuring equality between Saudi and foreign investors, ensuring the protection of investment within the kingdom’s laws, enabling sustainability and transparency when addressing investor complaints and providing equal investment incentives and non-discriminative criteria for eligibility.
Other principles state that the kingdom will implement appropriate social and environmental regulations, facilitate access procedures for foreign workers and their families and ensure the transfer of knowledge.
“It’s something new. We always had the rules and regulations, but what the investment principles are trying to achieve is make sure there is an overarching kind of guidance on the economic reforms and on the regulations,” Tash said.
The seven principles, Tash added, have been designed to “provide the guidance by which all government entities need to ensure that their rules, regulations and processes adhere to them.”
“Each of the seven principles is actually closely benchmarked to a global best practice or a target that we have agreed with the World Bank or the WEF (World Economic Forum),” he added.
Tash also noted that Saudi Arabia recorded a 127 percent increase in FDI in 2018, along with a 99 percent increase in new investor license requests and an 100 percent increase in requests to increase investments from current investors.
“We’re seeing that kind of growth momentum across the board, but our ambitions are much higher,” he said. “Doubling is not enough for us. We’d like to go more.”