Saudi Arabia issued 5 new foreign investor licenses a day in Q2

September 11, 2019

RIYADH — SAGIA announced Wednesday that 291 new foreign investor licenses were issued in Q2 2019, more than double the number issued in the same period last year and the equivalent of five new licenses a day.

This growth followed a series of social and economic reforms that aim at realizing the Kingdom’s economic potential under Vision 2030.

Within two years, Saudi Arabia has implemented 55% of more than 300 economic reforms identified, such as opening up a wide range of economic sectors to foreign investment, including allowing 100 percent foreign ownership in a range of new sectors.

Recent reforms have also simplified the investment process. Obtaining a foreign investor license from SAGIA now requires two documents and can be processed in three hours — reducing the requirement from twelve documents, which would take three days to process.

The growth in licenses in Q2 2019 was broad based, with increases across all ten main sectors. The sectors accounting for the most licenses were construction (61 licenses), ICT (51 licenses) and manufacturing (45 licenses), with significant investment also seen in the professional, scientific and technical sector, wholesale and retail trade, administrative and support services and hotels and restaurants.

The United Kingdom (45 licenses), India (29 licenses) and the United States (23 licenses) were the leading sources of new investors, while there were significant investors from countries within the Arab world (Jordan, Egypt and UAE).

There was also continued investor interest from countries, which have been the focus of Saudi economic outreach, including China, where SAGIA hosted a major investment forum earlier this year.

Two thirds of the new foreign investor licenses in the period were for ventures with full foreign ownership, reflecting the impact of recent reforms to enable full foreign ownership across a number of sectors.

“These figures demonstrate the clear momentum we are seeing in foreign investment in Saudi Arabia,” said Majed Al Qasabi, minister of commerce and investment.

“We continue to pursue further reforms to make it easier for international investors to play a role in our economic transformation in the years to come — bringing jobs, growth and opportunity to Saudi citizens.”

“As a G20 economy, Saudi Arabia’s rapid reform provides a real opportunity for international investors and we are seeing clear evidence that they are responding to it,” said Ibrahim Al Omar, governor, SAGIA.

“As we speak to investors across the world, we hear real excitement across a wide range of new sectors, and we look forward to hearing from more businesses about how we can help them to access the Saudi opportunity.” — SG

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