JEDDAH: The Kingdom issued 30,000 commercial registrations to women during the first four months of 2021, according to the news website Al-Arabiya, citing information from the Saudi Commerce Ministry.
The registrations were across a number of fields including wholesale trade, retail, motor vehicle and motorcycle repair, along with accommodation, catering and construction.
In order to receive a commercial registration, applicants must be at least 18 years old, not be a government employee, and have a capital of at least SR5,000 ($1,333.34). Applicants also have to use the Absher smartphone app in order to use electronic government services.
Fees are $53 per year, plus additional fees from the Chamber of Commerce depending on the type of activity.
This year’s early surge follows a trend from 2020, when more than 100,000 registrations were issued for the entire year.
In March, a report by Moody’s rating agency claimed that rising female participation in the Saudi labor force could boost non-oil growth and improve average household incomes in the Kingdom.
The country’s latest labor market survey in February showed that women’s participation rose to 31.3 percent in the third quarter of 2020, up from 26 percent at the end of 2019. While the number is still one of the lowest in the world, the Kingdom is making progress as that figure is almost double what it was five years ago.
Under the Vision 2030 goals, Saudi Arabia aims for female participation in the labor force to be at 30 percent by 2030, a target it has exceeded ahead of schedule.
At the same time, global consulting firm KPMG published its “Female Leaders Outlook” for the first time in the Kingdom. The survey was conducted in 2020 and included 675 female leaders from 52 countries, including Saudi Arabia.
“Coronavirus is an accelerator for digitalization and has ignited change in many areas,” said Kholoud Mousa, the first female partner in KMPG in Saudi Arabia based in Jeddah.
“It could be seen as a catalyst for gender diversity, especially in the mid to long term.”
According to the survey, 47 percent of Saudi female leaders said they do not expect the pandemic to slow progress on diversity and inclusion. While 23 percent said introducing workplace quotas for women was a positive move, which was more than double the global average.
Looking to the future, 66 percent of female leaders in the Kingdom said they were confident about their company’s growth prospects over the next three years.