Attendees at a recent conference held in London and hosted by Arab-British Chamber of Commerce were privy to some of the ‘game-changing’ investment opportunities available in Saudi Arabia as the kingdom opened up to global investments.
Speaking at the forum titled ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, Carlos Adams of Ernst and Young, the multinational professional services firm, said that there were many reasons to invest in Saudi Arabia, including a young, educated population, an integrated infrastructure, and “loads of game-changing investment opportunities.”
Ernst and Young is working with Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the entity that oversees investments in the kingdom, to promote global investments in the kingdom.
Elaborating on the Kingdom’s plan to create industry-specific hubs throughout Saudi Arabia, Mr. Adams said that this would help better focus foreign investment.
He also added that SAGIA could make the process easier for new investors into the Kingdom, including by arranging site visits and helping to understand the best areas to locate a new business. Pointing out that SAGIA also provided assistance to ensure that new companies had the right licenses and permits, Mr. Adams noted that the services offered by SAGIA allowed for “a seamless integration into a great investment opportunity.”
Describing the Vision 2030 reform plans as an investment opportunity, Mr. Adams stressed that these expanding investment opportunities and the geographical location of Saudi Arabia made it a prime opportunity for investors. Saudi Arabia, he said, is known for being not only an investment powerhouse but also a hub connecting three continents, which means it is uniquely placed for investors.
The EY consultant said SAGIA was achieving these goals through privatization programs, ‘localization’ by getting more Saudis involved in projects and foreign companies using local talent, as well as giga and mega projects, which he said were “on an enormous scale.”
Regarding the ease with which one could invest in Saudi Arabia, the consultant said there were programs “to stimulate the investment environment for the private sector and to provide the necessary guarantees for the preservation of rights.” He added that commercial visas could be obtained within 24 hours, through some of the government programs.
“Companies have a great opportunity to go and set up and take advantage of the incentives that the Kingdom has to offer but also to take advantage of the growing young, educated and more connected population,” he said.