JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has contributed to the accelerating pace of reforms and improving competitiveness, the governor of the Saudi Arabian Investment Authority (SAGIA) told a meeting.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the OECD Working Group for the Middle East and North Africa, Ibrahim Al-Omar said the Kingdom was demonstrating “great mobility as it rapidly develops and modernizes the country’s investment systems and procedures, a process that will enhance its position on the international investment map and increase the competitiveness of the Saudi economy.”
He said Saudi Arabia had many advantages in international trade and investment, “such as its important strategic location linking three continents and forming an ideal bridge between East and West, as well as the presence of diverse natural resources and a youthful workforce, nourished with generous government support of education and training.”
He said the government’s efforts in education would raise the level of young national talent and equip them with the skills necessary to meet the challenges faced with global competition.
Referring to reports issued by organizations such as the World Bank that placed the Kingdom fourth among the Group of 20 countries (G-20) in terms of the scope of economic reforms.
He said the reforms had advanced the country’s investment environment and “generated positive expectations by the International Monetary Fund on the Saudi economy and its growth rates over the next few years.”
Meanwhile Mohannad Shehadeh, Minister of State for Jordanian Investment, told the annual meeting that the Middle East and North Africa region was facing challenges in providing job opportunities to a large and growing number of job seekers.
Shehadeh said that the essential next steps would involve investing in the world, integrating global value chains, stimulating local investment, and expanding partnerships with the private sector.
He said this was especially the case given that the region holds “one of the most important keys to global trade through the rich resources and immense potential created by its geographical location bridging Eastern and Western markets.”
He said it was important to be optimistic about the commercial and investment capabilities of the MENA region.
And he said he was confident that the region would progress quickly towards a comprehensive and sustainable future, with good job opportunities and conditions for young people.
Speaking at a later discussion focused on investment regulations and policies, Deputy Governor of Investment Climate, Dr Ayed bin Hadi Al-Otaibi, said Saudi Arabia had submitted a new model for a unified agreement for Arab capital investment, which had been unanimously approved.
He said the role of government was central in providing the legislative structure and legal frameworks that contributed to the growth in inter-regional investments of the region’s countries.
Al-Otaibi said governments needed to intensify bilateral discussions between the business sector and other institutions in the region.
He said joint business councils needed to expand to help target private sector investments towards areas that would enable economic integration between countries, leveraging each country’s comparative advantage.