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Saudi FDI inflow up but still far short of target

Saudi finance minister Mohammed al-Jadaan Reuters/Ahmed Yosri
Saudi finance minister Mohammed al-Jadaan
  • Net FDI up 16% in Q4 2023
  • Total for year SAR46bn
  • Target by 2030 is SAR375bn

The net inflow of foreign direct investment into Saudi Arabia was just over SAR13 billion ($3.5 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2023, up 16 percent on the previous period, government data said this week. 

The data, released by the General Authority for Statistics, puts the total net inflow for 2023 at SAR46 billion, which lags far behind the SAR375 billion a year that has been set as a target by 2030. 

The FDI total is also much lower than the SAR123 billion for 2022. That figure was the result of an upwards revision from SAR30 billion after the government said in November it had adopted a new methodology

The corrected 2022 number – almost $33 billion in US dollars – would rank Saudi Arabia 10th amongst G20 economies last year and far ahead of the UAE’s total of just under $23 billion. 

It was not clear why the FDI figure appears to have slipped in 2023. 

The government has adopted a new commercial code to make the court system easier to use for foreign companies. New regulations require businesses to establish regional headquarters in the country for access to government contracts of SAR1 billion or more. 

In January the government also announced a premium visa for owners of property worth at least SAR4 million ($1.07 million). 

The economy contracted 0.8 percent in 2023 due to an ongoing Opec+ policy of oil output cuts in an effort to prop up global oil prices. But the non-oil economy has grown and now accounts for 50 percent of GDP.

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