The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the authority for attracting, developing and enhancing international investment in Saudi Arabia, accompanied UAE-based law firm BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP (BSA) in hosting a series of business seminars in the United Kingdom and Ireland, to highlight key investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia.
Titled 'Doing Business in Saudi Arabia', the seminars highlighted the wide range of opportunities and facilities that are available to international investors interested in doing business in Saudi Arabia. These seminars were attended by delegates from British, Irish, Middle Eastern and international companies, who learned about the recent lifting of foreign ownership restrictions in multiple economic sectors, as well as the ongoing reforms to make doing business in the Kingdom easier.
Michael Kortbawi, Partner at BSA, said "the Kingdom is undergoing a major transformation, across a variety sectors, presenting an array of opportunities to prospective investors looking to enter the market. With the introduction of Saudi Vision 2030 and the development of several mega-projects including Neom, a 10,000 square mile super city, entirely powered by renewable energy, the time is ripe for foreign investment. Our aim is to facilitate that process by shedding more light on the various rules and regulations that need to be adhered to, making the process as simple as possible for potential investors."
Saudi Arabia is witnessing strong growth in foreign investment coming into the Kingdom, seeing the value of inward FDI grow 127% year-on-year. Recently, the World Bank ranked Saudi Arabia as the 4th largest reformer within the G20 and noted improvement across four key pillars in its latest Doing Business report.
Michael Smith, GM International for SAGIA, said "Saudi Arabia is undergoing a remarkable economic transformation as part of Vision 2030, and we have seen investment into the Kingdom grow significantly over the last year. We have recently implemented 45% of more than 500 proposed economic reforms, and this has kick-started the momentum around FDI. In addition to lifting foreign ownership restrictions, we have also adopted faster and less complicated business registration procedures and have improved the legal infrastructure to increase transparency and protect all shareholders. The ease with which international investors can enter the Saudi market now is remarkable. Business visas are now issued in 24 hours, and business licenses in even less time."
A number of key points were highlighted at the seminars, ranging from growth figures in the Kingdom, the increasing trend of entrepreneurship, as well as important projects in the pipeline. Abdelsalam El Idrissi from the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, who co-hosted one of such seminars, said "as part of the Chamber, our main aim is to promote trade relations between Arab countries and the United Kingdom. The Saudi market is an extremely attractive one to investors from across the world, and we are positive that such open discussions will go a long way in further strengthening the ties between the countries."