Reform program stimulates investment in Saudi Arabia


RIYADH – Saudi Arabia’s National Licensing Reform Program was in the spotlight at the World Bank’s Spring Meetings on Friday as SAGIA showcased how it has helped to cut red tape and boost international investment.

Saudi Arabia is witnessing strong growth in foreign investment coming into the Kingdom. Last year, Saudi Arabia saw the value of inward FDI grow 127% year-on-year.

The National Licensing and Reform Program (NLRP) has played an important role in the improvements in the operating environment that have helped to attract increased levels of investment.

Through the Program, the number of licensing requirements in Saudi Arabia has reduced by more than half and the NLRP has already successfully eliminated or modified more than 60% of over 5,500 licenses selected for reform.

Commenting on the reforms, Ibrahim Al Omar, Governor, SAGIA, said: “We have developed strong momentum in inward investment over the last year – and the wide-ranging licensing reforms we have implemented have been an important part of catalyzing that investment.”

“Saudi Arabia is undergoing a major economic transformation as part of Vision 2030 – our future prosperity depends on innovation, foreign investment and private sector growth, but the licensing regulations in place were acting as a barrier to realizing these ambitions. To tackle this, we combined international best practice with an approach tailored to the local context in order to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and make it easier to understand and comply with

those that remain.”

Saudi Arabia is undergoing a series of social and economic reforms that aim at realizing the Kingdom’s economic potential under Vision 2030.

The World Bank recently ranked Saudi Arabia as the 4th largest reformer within the G20 and noted improvement across four key pillars in its latest Doing Business report. — SG