Saudi Arabia climbed three places in the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Competitiveness Report rankings/Bloombergby Kudakwashe Muzoriwa
Invest Saudi said that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Saudi Arabia rose to $3.50 billion in Q3 2019 compared to $3.18 billion a year ago.
Saudi Arabia opened several key sectors to 100 per cent foreign ownership, including manpower recruitment services, recruitment agencies and ofﬁces as well as audio-visual media services, real estate brokerage services and road transportation services.
The Kingdom had opened other sectors such as healthcare, education as well as wholesale and engineering services segments to full foreign investment two years earlier.
In a report, Invest Saudi, the state entity in charge of promoting foreign investment, said that a total of 1,131 of foreign companies were created in 2019, a 54 per cent increase from 2018, adding that this was the biggest rise in 10 years.
Of the 1,131 investor licences issued in 2019, 69 per cent were full foreign ownership and 31 per cent accounted for joint venture partnerships with local investors.
In October 2019, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority signed 23 MoUs valued at $15 billion on the opening day of the third annual Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh with the forum acting as a vital opportunity for connecting local and international investors with hundreds of emerging opportunities and projects in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has implemented a series of sweeping reforms to improve the business climate in the Kingdom and support new investments in 2019. Invest Saudi stated that these efforts have helped Saudi Arabia improve its ranking in several high-proﬁle international reports and indices.
In May 2019, the Shura Council approved the premium residency scheme for skilled foreign workers. The ‘Saudi green card’ scheme oﬀers two types of permits, the permanent residence and temporary residence, and allows residency holders to beneﬁt from a host of attractive rights and privileges.
In 2019, the Gulf region sharply improved in the World Economic Forum’s ease of doing business rankings this year and the most improved countries over the previous year were the UAE, Saudi Arabia as well as Bahrain and Kuwait.
Saudi Arabia climbed three places in the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Competitiveness Report rankings, becoming the world’s 36th most competitive economy of 141 surveyed.