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Investing in Saudi Arabia

Your guide to foreign inbound investment in the Kingdom

A growing economy

The growth and importance of Saudi Arabia’s economy is widely recognised and it is becoming increasingly attractive to foreign investors. It is the largest economy in the Middle East, with a GDP of SAR 2.9 trillion (US$ 782 billion) in 2018, and it aims to be one of the largest economies in the world over the coming decade.

Domestic transformation

The Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Programme promise change for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s economy and wider society. Central to the Vision 2030 is the diversification of Saudi Arabia’s economy, moving from a public sector-based, oil-dependent economy towards a more balanced economy with a thriving private sector. The ambition is to increase the private sector’s contribution to approximately 65 per cent. of the country’s GDP, up from its current contribution of approximately 40 per cent., with an increase in non-oil government revenue from SAR 163 billion (US$ 43 billion) to SAR 1 trillion (US$ 270 billion). Domestic private sector growth is to be boosted with a comprehensive privatisation programme driven by the National Center for Privatization & PPP (NCP) and the development of domestic industry sectors.

Global ambitions

Saudi Arabia is increasingly integrated in the world economy, a trend which has accelerated since the country joined the World Trade Organisation in 2005. The Kingdom is investing significantly in developing international partnerships and trade links and is attracting foreign inbound investment and expertise. This is supported by a strengthening legal and regulatory framework as set out in more detail in this guide. Many of the changes in this area demonstrate Saudi Arabia’s evolution towards global commercial rules and standards. Complying with international business standards and treaties will continue to help inbound and outbound investment succeed, which is especially important in an era of cross-border regulatory scrutiny and political anxiety about foreign investments into strategic sectors.

This guide analyses how Saudi Arabia’s economy and laws are evolving to support foreign inbound investment.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority has recently made changes to its licensing procedures, in an effort to modernise the application process, in turn making the process of investing in Saudi Arabia much easier and more transparent.

Omar El Sayed, Banking & Finance Partner


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Investing in Saudi Arabia: Your guide to foreign inbound investment in the Kingdom

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Created in conjunction with Zamakhchary & Co.

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