Vision 2030 has helped Saudi economy’s accelerating pace of reforms, conference told

Governor of the Saudi Arabian Investment Authority (SAGIA) Ibrahim Al-Omar said the Kingdom was demonstrating mobility. (Arab News)
Updated 01 December 2018
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Vision 2030 has helped Saudi economy’s accelerating pace of reforms, conference told

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.


China’s car sales decline deepens, road ahead bumpy

Updated 14 min 22 sec ago
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China’s car sales decline deepens, road ahead bumpy

  • ‘Car sales in January continued to decline, and there was no sign of improvement’
  • China has been grappling with slowing economic growth as well as the fallout of trade frictions with the US

SHANGHAI: China’s automobile sales in January tumbled 15.8 percent from a year earlier, the country’s top auto industry association said on Monday, as the world’s largest auto market hits the skids with the slump in sales extending to the seventh month.
China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said in an emailed statement to Reuters that sales dropped to 2.37 million vehicles last month. This follows a 13 percent drop in December and a 14 percent fall in November.
“Car sales in January continued to decline, and there was no sign of improvement. We estimate that February wholesales will also drop sharply” said Xu Haidong, CAAM assistant secretary general.
“The reason for the sales drop is still the slowing overall economy, and consumption decline in small and medium-sized cities” Xu said.
China has been grappling with slowing economic growth as well as the fallout of trade frictions with the United States, forces which contributed to its auto market contracting for the first time in more than two decades last year.
Beijing is now trying to persuade consumers to loosen their purse strings and has pledged to provide subsidies to boost rural sales of some vehicles and purchases of new energy vehicles.
“Q1 sales were good last year, so this year the industry expects to have negative growth in the first quarter” Yale Zhang, head of consultancy AutoForesight, said, but he predicts sales to gradually pick up in the next three quarters.
Industry executives also say China’s car sales in January and February tend to be affected by the Lunar New Year holiday, as consumers hold off on their car purchasing decisions around the festival.
The holiday’s dates change annually but tend to occur in either month. It took place in the first week of February this year.
China’s sales of new energy vehicles, however, continued to buck the trend, totaling 95,700 in January, a year-on-year increase of 140 percent, CAAM said.