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Saudi economic zones attract initial $13bn investments

Person, Human, Clothing Reuters/Ahmed Yosri
Saudi Arabia's minister of investment Khalid Al Falih said the SEZs would strengthen its standing as a 'premier global investment hub'
  • Investments across maritime, mining, manufacturing logistics and tech
  • Four special economic zones formally granted licences

Four special economic zones launched last month by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have attracted nearly $13 billion from investors.

Discussions are under way for another $31 billion.

Investments so far cover the maritime, mining, manufacturing and logistics and technology sectors, it was announced on Monday at a forum in Riyadh.

The four zones – King Abdullah Economic City, Ras Al-Khair, Jazan and Cloud Computing – were formally issued their special economic zone (SEZ) licences at the event.

Khalid Al Falih, minister of investment and chairman of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority (ECZA) board, said the SEZs would strengthen Saudi Arabia’s standing as a “premier global investment hub” and provide businesses with a “launchpad to drive their international growth”.

ECZA secretary general Nabil Khojah confirmed that the zones had already attracted billions in investment “with more to come”. 

The four SEZs complement the Riyadh Integrated Special Logistics Zone, which was launched in 2022.

The zones offer competitive corporate tax rates, exemption from customs duties on imports, production, machinery and raw materials, and 100 percent foreign ownership. 

Unveiling the zones last month, Crown Prince Mohammed said they would create thousands of jobs and contribute billions to the kingdom’s economy.

Last year Saudi Arabia set up an agency to attract more foreign investment. The Saudi Investment Promotion Authority’s work is a key part of the Vision 2030 plan to transform the oil exporter’s economy and reduce reliance on hydrocarbon revenues.

The kingdom’s National Investment Strategy seeks to attract more than $3 trillion in investment into the domestic economy by 2030 and aims to bring in more than $100 billion in foreign direct investment annually by the turn of the decade.