Saudi reforms encourage investment in Kingdom: Davos panel

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Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan said that since the “significant economic and social reform,” the GDP of Saudi Arabia grew 2.3 percent in 2018. (World Economic Forum / Greg Beadle)
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Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri speaking during the "Next Steps for Saudi Arabia session. (World Economic Forum / Greg Beadle)
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Robin Niblett, Chatham House, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, finance minister, James Gorman, Morgan Stanley, Sarah Al-Suhaimi, Saudi Stock Exchange, Patrick Pouyanné, Total, and Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, Minister of Economy and Planning at the "Next Steps for Saudi Arabia" session. (World Economic Forum/Greg Beadle)
Updated 27 January 2019

Saudi reforms encourage investment in Kingdom: Davos panel

  • Morgan Stanley’s CEO James Gorman welcomed the social reforms, calling them essential progress to provide the backbone for the economic reforms
  • Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri said to attract investors into Saudi Arabia needed to improve its infrastructure

DAVOS: Leading Saudi officials took center stage at the World Economic Forum on Thursday to drive home the message that a revitalized economy and increased foreign investment could not happen without the social reforms of Vision 2030.
Permitting women to drive, the reintroduction of cinemas and other entertainment, and renewed fiscal discipline were all driving foreign investors’ interest in Saudi Arabia, they said.

Economy and Planning Minister Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri said Saudi Arabia had to improve its infrastructure and provide evidence of it to warrant confidence — and he promised both.
“All you’re going to see in the next couple of years is evidence,” he said, but Saudi citizens had to feel the benefits too. “Unless we provide for the local market … our credibility is at stake.” 
The minister said unemployment had been steady for the past two years, but with 350,000 people entering the job market each year the government was exploring how to convert the money spent on social protection into a job creation fund. 

But it was also important to retain a diverse labor market, with the skills that expatriate workers bring, he said. “We cannot say Saudization is the solution. We need to have a labor market that is mixed.” To that end, the government had ordered a top-to-toe overhaul of the education system “from kindergarten to future jobs.”




Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri speaking during the "Next Steps for Saudi Arabia session. (World Economic Forum / Greg Beadle)

Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan said the Kingdom was determined to impose fiscal discipline, and its gross domestic product had grown by 2.3 percent last year compared with a 0.7 percent contraction in 2017.
He conceded there was some skepticism when the government pledged in December to reduce its budget deficit while announcing its biggest-ever spending of $295 billion. 
“There were some raised eyebrows … but we ended 2018 exactly where we thought we would be,” he said.
Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chair of the Saudi Stock Exchange, echoed his optimism, and said improvements in the Kingdom’s financial system had improved its ranking as a place to invest.
“One of the main objectives was to join the global community. We do consider ourselves to be the access for international investment into the Middle East and especially the GCC,” she said.
Five megaprojects in infrastructure, water and health care had been awarded to the private sector in the past three months “and there are more to come in the next four months.”


Mohammed Al-Shammasi, CEO of Derayah Financial

Updated 6 min 35 sec ago

Mohammed Al-Shammasi, CEO of Derayah Financial

  • Al-Shammasi graduated with honors from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals and went on to take several management and leadership programs in Harvard Business School, Duke University and INSEAD Business School

Mohammed Al-Shammasi has been the CEO of investment solutions company Derayah Financial since September 2016. Al-Shammasi has worked in the fields of financial services, strategy, corporate governance and investment for more than 16 years.

Previously, Al-Shammasi was the company’s chief investment officer, responsible for Derayah Financial’s overall investment activities covering multiple asset classes.

Before joining Derayah Financial, he was head of investment management at NCB Capital. Prior to that job, he was a portfolio manager at Riyad Bank.

Al-Shammasi graduated with honors from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals and went on to take several management and leadership programs in Harvard Business School, Duke University and INSEAD Business School.

Recently, Derayah Financial added forex contract trading services to its offerings. Through the recently launched Derayah Global and Derayah Global Plus services, customers can buy and sell, follow real-time prices in international markets, and create follow-up lists for shares, option contracts, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

“Our platform allows eight types of selling and buying orders and provides real-time securities prices with the possibility of creating follow-up lists and viewing a series of options and all available contracts. We offer significant capital facilities, and our professionals are always 

there to answer customers’ questions and provide advice,” Al-Shammasi said at the launch of the new platforms.