A total of 1,131 new international companies set up operations in Saudi Arabia in 2019, marking a record year for foreign investment. The kingdom registered a 54 percent increase compared to 2018, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Sunday.
The details were released by Invest Saudi, an entity of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, SAGIA, in its Investment Highlights Winter 2020 report.
The report states strong growth comes from long-standing and strategically-important Saudi partners such as the United States and the United Kingdom, with 100 UK companies and 82 US companies setting up in 2019 compared to 24 for both countries in 2018.
India, Egypt, Jordan and China were also among the top countries represented, with India’s share of the market increased dramatically from 30 companies established in 2018 to 140 in 2019, driven by high-profile royal visits to the country in February 2019. In addition, other top countries from 2018, Jordan and France, were well-represented in 2019.
Ibrahim Al-Omar, Governor of SAGIA, commented, “Guided by Saudi Vision 2030, our country is undergoing a remarkable economic transformation. The continued prosperity of the Kingdom depends on sparking innovation, attracting foreign investors and empowering the private sector. The positive growth numbers that we have seen in the final quarter of 2019 – and indeed throughout the entire year – represent a significant milestone on the road to 2030.”
Leading growth sectors include construction, manufacturing and ICT, as demand in these industries increases alongside infrastructural development and progress of the Kingdom’s giga projects driving forward in line with Vision 2030. During 2019, 193 new construction, 190 manufacturing and 178 ICT companies were established, compared to 111, 113 and 111 established in the three sectors in 2018 respectively.
Saudi Arabia was ranked the world’s top improver and reformer by the World Bank, climbing 30 places in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report.