Saudi Arabia attracts $18 billion in Foreign Direct Investment

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Saudi Arabia was the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Arab world in 2006, attracting $18 billion, an increase of 51 percent over 2005, according to a report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The report, carried today by Arab News and published last Tuesday, attributed the increase to the region’s strong economic growth and improved business climate and to high oil prices which have attracted increasing amounts of FDI to oil, gas and related industries as well as to telecom, tourism and financial services.

“This year Saudi Arabia made bold business reforms making it one of the world’s leading reformers. Saudi Arabia is now the top ranked economy in the Middle East,” said Jamal Haider, co-author of the bank’s Doing Business Report 2008.“Saudi Arabia has become the number one recipient of foreign direct investment in the Middle East. Inflows have increased from $2 billion to $18 billion in the last two years,”Al-Dabagh said.

The SAGIA chief said the figures would grow more rapidly with the development of the Kingdom’s six new economic cities, and special economic zones that are attracting top global companies with major investment opportunities.King Abdullah bin Abdul-aziz launched four mega-economic cities in Rabigh, Hail, Madinah and Jizan, which are expected to draw SR300 billion in investment and create more than a million jobs.“With Saudi Aramco’s recent expansion of refineries and the building of the Kingdom’s economic cities, foreign investment in the country has become more attractive to investors abroad, mainly due to the liberalization of investment rules in which SAGIA has played a vital role,” said Abdul Rahman Mousa, an investment specialist at SAGIA.


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