Construction tops list of Saudi Arabian Sagia's licences in Q2 2019

New foreign ownership and investment laws drive demand for Sagia licences, with UK, India, and US among top investors

Foreign investment is on the up in Saudi Arabia.
Bloomberg
Foreign investment is on the up in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Sagia) said it had granted 291 foreign investor licences in Q2 2019 – of which the most licences were provided to construction companies – with the total number doubling over Q2 2018 in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic reforms programme, which includes more than 300 items such as opening economic sectors to foreign investment and allowing 100% foreign ownership in some new sectors.

Sixty-one licences were granted within the construction sector, while the information and communications technology (ICT) and manufacturing sectors respectively receiving 51 and 45 licences.

The UK, India, and the US were among the top investors in Saudi Arabia in Q2 2019, respectively receiving 45, 29, and 23 licences from Sagia, which also noted investor interest from Jordan, Egypt, the UAE, and China.

Two=thirds of Sagia’s foreign investor licences in Q2 2019 were given for companies with full foreign ownership.

Saudi Arabia has already implemented 55% of its 300 identified economic reforms, with ease of obtaining investor licences being one of its priorities to boost foreign investment in the kingdom, where gigaprojects such as Neom, The Red Sea Project, and the Qiddiya entertainment city are currently under way.

Obtaining a foreign investor licence from Sagia now requires two documents and can be processed in three hours, compared to previous requirements that included 12 documents that would need three days to process.

Commenting on Sagia’s Q2 findings, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Commerce and Investment, Majed Al Qasabi, said: “These figures demonstrate the clear momentum we are seeing in foreign investment in Saudi Arabia.

“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.”

Sagia’s governor, HE Ibrahim Al Omar, added: “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.

“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,” he added, according to Saudi Arabia’s state news agency, SPA.

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