RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is still providing international opportunities despite the ongoing “deglobalization” trend, according to the CEO and Managing Director of Riyadh-based Saudi joint stock company the Saudi British Bank, Tony Cripps.
Speaking during a discussion titled “In Conversation: Promoting ESG – Greening the Economy” during the second day of the Financial Sector Conference in Riyadh, Cripps argued the two drivers pushing the Kingdom towards national independence are resilience in light of the COVID-19-prompted supply chain disruption and the transition towards decarbonization.
Cripps went on to argue that as Saudi Arabia boosts its economy, it will need the support of international firms.
He used the example of a green hydrogen plant being built in the Kingdom as “a combination of multinational corporations”, adding: “It's wrong to describe it as deglobalization, it is building national infrastructure but that means everyone should be able to participate as nobody can build everything domestically.”
Cripps also noted that the Kingdom is currently looking at best practices from across the world and this is making things happen at a faster pace thanks to a clear plan that can easily be broken down.
“So, there is the taxonomy and then financial services companies creating products which customers can use easily, a regulatory framework that incentivizes or penalizes depending on which way you want to look at it or both, and then lastly for customers to understand the risks,” the CEO said.
Organized by Saudi Arabia’s Financial Sector Development Program partners, which are the Ministry of Finance, the Capital Market Authority, and the Saudi Central Bank, the Financial Sector Conference is taking place at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center in Riyadh.
Speaking on the event’s opening day, the Kingdom’s Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan said Saudi Arabia has already achieved remarkable results as it seeks to establish a sustainable future away from its dependency on oil.
He said the Kingdom has already become one of the fastest-growing financial markets in the world, with assets of the Saudi banking sector increasing by 37 percent since 2019, reaching SR3.6 trillion ($960 billion) by the end of 2022.