This section emphasizes the Kingdom’s efforts in developing its economy through domestic and foreign investment opportunities in accordance with Vision 2030 aimed at empowering investors through the use of unified platforms dedicated to facilitating investment processes and services for businesses conduction. It also provides research options related to the Saudi market, while taking into consideration the risks of investment during COVID-19 and the regulations and legislations of investment laws, agreements and terms and conditions.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia cares about its economy and prosperity. It aims to be an attractive and stimulating investment destination for continuation and expansion, so a ministry concerned with investment has allocated one of its most essential tasks to empowering investors to access investment opportunities and providing them with facilities, flexibility, and other services.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia advanced 29 ranks in the “Doing Business 2020” report issued by the World Bank. In addition to conducting more than 555 reforms to better serve investors leading to a reduction in the time required to start a business from 15 days to 30 minutes only. The Kingdom also increased the number of SMEs in 2020 to more than 626,000.
The Kingdom is keen to identify and develop investment opportunities and stimulate local investment by providing investors with facilities and services. The Ministry of Investment takes the lead in developing the investment environment in the Kingdom and helps the local investor through:
- Conducting economic analyses of the market, whether by providing various and standard information or providing and developing reports and case studies, sharing this information on databases, and assisting in feasibility studies.
- Building partnerships and linking with commercial and industrial entities and with local companies for potential partnerships.
- Preparing field visits to the investor, preparing logistics and reservations, and coordinating meetings with government agencies and related parties.
- Providing all assistance related to starting work from searching for a suitable location, providing legal advice, and coordinating with the competent authorities.
- Offer incentives.
- Facilitate doing business.
- Addressing operational problems for investors.
The Kingdom provided protection to the private sector through the bankruptcy law and its bylaws, which is intended to enable debtors to reconcile their financial issues and resume their activities while maintaining creditors’ rights. It was established by the Bankruptcy Commission to improve the security of doing business in the Kingdom and raise the awareness of the business community. The commission has achieved the following:
• Issued and developed legal standards, models and documents stipulated in the Law and its Implementing Regulations, in coordination with the stakeholders.
• Managed 99 administrative liquidation procedures.
• Examined 17 complaints on the open bankruptcy procedures as per the Law requirements.
• Issued licenses to 94 bankruptcy trustees, as well as 56 experts, which can be viewed through the commission’s website.
• Established a bankruptcy register that can be viewed through the commission’s website
Taqdeer was established to facilitate the procedures for estimating vehicle damages, shortening the proceedings, accelerating the compensation process, and rendering service to insured vehicles.
the National Program to Combat Commercial Concealment
The Kingdom launched the National Program to Combat Commercial Concealment, developing 47 initiatives to combat commercial concealment, mandated the provisions of electronic payment solutions to all retail sector activities, launched campaigns to raise community awareness of the dangers of the commercial concealment, developed an index to identify suspected commercial concealment in collaboration with Saudi Data and AI Authority, developed regulations to correct the status of violators within 180 days from the date the updated law was effective and contributed to the development of municipality requirements for a number of activities in which commercial concealment is widespread.
As part of the NTP’s efforts to combat commercial concealment, a new Anti-Commercial Concealment Law was developed and approved by the Council of Ministers in August 2020.
Commercial Franchise E-platform
The Kingdom launched the Commercial Franchise E-platform, which contributes to the support and development of the SMEs sector in the Kingdom and contributes to the prosperity and sustainability of the industry by creating new horizons for investors and entrepreneurs to develop and expand their businesses.
The Kingdom issued the Commercial Franchise Law, which contributed to enabling companies to access local markets, providing several job opportunities, increasing GDP, improving the commercial and investment environment, increasing SME’s contribution to the economy, and raising the quality of services and commodities offered in the Kingdom.
The launch of the Biban Forum
The launch of the Biban Forum, which is held in several cities around the Kingdom, is dedicated to creating a suitable environment for SMEs by providing the necessary information for establishing emerging businesses and ensuring its growth. This is highlighted by +417,000 visitors, +11,000 counseling sessions, +895 sponsors and service provides, and +1,800 workshops.
The Kingdom launched the “Thakaa” Library, which is an e-library that provides workshops, manuals, and other resources for various types of entrepreneurs and owners of SMEs in the related sectors. This contributed to supporting and motivating those interested and those who have shown initiative in the field of entrepreneurship to raise the efficiency of enterprises.
The launch of the “Invest Saudi”
The launch of the “Invest Saudi” platform as one of the most prominent channels to introduce the investment environment and competitive advantages of the Kingdom. This platform contributed to the advancement of 29 positions in the ‘Doing Business 2020” issued by the World Bank and raised new foreign investments in the Kingdom by 54% in 2019 in comparison to 2018.
Defective Products Recall Center
The Kingdom launched the Defective Products Recall Center, Istida, to create a fair business environment and recall defective products by providing services dedicated to following up on consumer complaints about manufacturing defects and products issued locally and internationally. This launch contributed to recalling about 2 million vehicles and 500K defective commodities, promoting consumer safety and ensuring and maintaining their rights, raising the level of services provided to the consumer, supporting communication channels with citizens and businesses, and regulating after-sale services.
Based on the Kingdom's Vision 2030, the most important goals are to raise the economic level and diversify income sources. The Saudi government has worked to encourage foreign investors to invest in Saudi Arabia. It has put in place regulations and controls for the foreign investor (here) to ensure that the desired goals are achieved, and investors' rights are preserved.
Foreign investment licensing regulations
- A work permit in the Kingdom is necessary for a foreign investor to obtain a business start-up license.
- The Ministry is responsible for promoting investment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, setting up foreign investment regulations, and following them up, in addition to facilitating the entry of investors into the Kingdom and issuing their licenses.
- There are different types of investment licenses available, each with its requirements, such as the minimum acceptable capital and foreign capital ceiling.
- Potential investors can apply for a license through the Ministry of Investment portal.
Direct access to the Saudi market
A foreign investor can directly access the Saudi financial market through the "Qualified Foreign Investor Program" offered by Tadawul as part of its programs for developing the financial sector in Saudi Arabia. This program has been modified to ease registration requirements and expand the range of qualified investors.
For more, you can visit this page or view the information note for Qualified Foreign Investors.
Investing in the Kingdom's Vision 2030
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through its Vision 2030, seeks to raise the country's economy and diversify sources of income. The Kingdom launched packages of economic reforms to create distinctive job opportunities, start to benefit from the main strategic assets in the Kingdom, and push the wheel of economic growth towards diversification. It includes providing and developing investment opportunities, stimulating local investment, and attracting foreigners by providing investors assistance and incentive programs.
The Kingdom developed reforms aimed at facilitating and automating procedures, one of which reduced the total requirements of investment licenses by 54%. Additionally, the launch of the Private Sector Feedback Platform and the Public Consultation Platform were main contributors to these achievements. Furthermore, the enabling of real estate ownership transfer was made possible within 60 minutes and a reduction in the number of restricted chemicals was achieved by 73% to facilitate import procedures.
Whether local or foreign, the investor can view all the available opportunities classified by sector (through this service) provided by the Invest in Saudi platform and learn many information and numbers that help him make his decision.
The Kingdom established reforms dedicated to the promotion of women’s engagement in economic development by setting an equal age for both genders, preventing gender discrimination in terms of wages, occupation, work field and hours, and enabling women to incorporate and practice commercial business without obtaining prior consent.
To facilitate the start of the investment activity, the Kingdom was keen to help investors by taking their hands step by step to starting a commercial activity. It provided them guidance and advice on starting a business in terms of the laws and licenses that must be obtained. The beneficiary can access the Meraas platform, as this platform collected all electronic government services with one page, from issuing licenses, providing services, and so on.
The government also assisted investors by providing financial support, employment support, tax support, and many other services through the Investor Services portal.
The Kingdom’s ranking improved in the UNACTAD B2C E-commerce Index through the issuance of the E-commerce Law, which targets supporting and developing the activities of e-comemrce to keep pace with global technological developments and the growth in the field of e-commerce. The law contributed to an increase in e-shops registered in the “Maroof” platform by 45% at the beginning of 2020.
The establishment of the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority, Monsha’at, assisted in the launch of business accelerators in several regions of the Kingdom, in addition to launching entrepreneurship complexes and common workspaces in the Kingdom. The authority also launched “Thakaa” smart library, developed the commercial franchises, launched the e-platform of Commercial Franchise Center, established two business incubators at the Chamber of Commerce in Al-Kharj and Hail operated by the private sector, and grew the SME sector by 37% compared to 2016.
The Kingdom launched business accelerators, which included intensive programs to accelerate the growth and expansion of emerging small and medium enterprises by providing a package of services and resources within specific periods of time, resulting in the development of the entrepreneurial environment and stimulation of innovation, launching 5 specialized accelerators, supporting and stimulating small and medium enterprises, and benefiting +200 enterprises.
The Kingdom launched start-up hubs and shared workspaces through the Small & Medium Enterprises General Authority, which authorizes enterprise owners to establish the hubs and benefit from incentive programs offered by Monsha’at. This contribution is showcased by 159 licenses and the average time to obtain a license is 2 working days.
A government program under the Saudi Business Center, Meras Platform is dedicated to facilitating procedures and services provided for conducting business. It provides all governmental and private sectors with the necessary services required to start your own business in a day, in addition to providing high quality integrated services via online and physical One-Stop-Shop centers. For more details click here.
Senaie platform is a unified platform for service providers and a gateway to empowering investors. The platform offers unique privileges throughout the investment process while ensuring continuous communication and periodic follow-up of projects. Senaie also allows potential investors to stay up-to-date with new investment opportunities that may peak their interest. The services offered include the ability to request an industrial license, employment support, customs exemption and chemical clearance. For more details click here.
Research related to the Saudi market
To attract foreign investors, the Kingdom opens its market to upgrade the relevant global indicators and reports. The Saudi government worked to monitor the market by conducting research, evaluations, and progress development. These efforts to find out about defects and address them and know the investors' strengths and motivations. The Saudi government established the National Competitiveness Center with the aim of developing and improving the competitive environment in the Kingdom, by studying, identifying and analyzing the obstacles and challenges facing the public and private sector, proposing solutions, initiatives and recommendations and following up on their implementation, by following the best methods and practices that lead to enhancing the Kingdom's competitiveness locally and internationally. (You can see the concept of competitiveness here)
To find out the public's opinions, the private sector, and government agencies regarding laws or regulations and the like issued by government agencies related to the economic and development environment, the government has launched a "survey platform" to make amendments or facilities, monitor data, etc.
The Kingdom established the National Competitiveness Center, Tayseer, which was launched as an initiative to improve and develop the competitive environment and enhance the Kingdom’s ranking in the relevant global indicators and reports. These objectives have been met by carrying out and completing more than 555 reforms to serve investors. The legislative and regulatory reforms established by the Kingdom can be emphasized by the endorsement of 7 basic principles for the investment policy in the Kingdom, the issuance of the Commercial Mortgage Law and its bylaws, the issuance of the new bankruptcy law and its bylaws, the issuance of the Commercial Courts Law and its bylaws and the establishment of the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration.
It was also keen to provide an effective communication channel between government agencies and the private sector. Receiving their views and challenges related to regulations is highly valuable, legislation and procedures to contribute to decision-making to improve the business environment in the Kingdom, so it created a private sector visualization platform for this presentation.
Government investments aim to achieve the goals of Vision 2030, acting as a primary driver of the economy and investment in the Kingdom. It also forms the structure of national economic transformation towards positive and sustainable change in the Kingdom, as it eagerly seeks to lead the development renaissance of the local economy, localize technology and knowledge, expand investment portfolios from international assets, invest in global sectors and markets through the formation of strategic partnerships and launching several initiatives that contribute to achieving the goals of Vision 2030.
The Public Investment Fund program was launched in the fourth quarter of 2017, with the aim of strengthening the fund's position and making it an essential arm for achieving the Kingdom's Vision 2030, as a leading economic catalyst for the Kingdom and an effective component of the booming economy.
The Public Investment Fund program seeks to enhance the economic and investment sustainability of the Kingdom through four direct objectives through which it designs and develops its initiatives according to a number of investment pillars, which are launching promising local sectors, developing local real estate projects, launching and supporting major projects, as well as increasing assets Global Fund and Diversification.
Since its launch, the Public Investment Fund program has been able to achieve many great achievements, including maximizing the fund's assets, increasing the total return for shareholders, expanding the establishment of local companies in various fields, and launching a number of major national projects, which contributed to the creation of hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, to as well as increasing the Fund's participation in the non-oil GDP.
The Public Investment Fund program continues its ambitions at a steady pace towards doubling the fund’s assets under management to a cumulative 4 trillion Saudi riyals by the end of 2025 to be one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world and the preferred investment partner, thus consolidating its position in shaping the future of the global economy.
During the next stage, the program continues to enhance the role of the Fund as one of the main pillars of the Kingdom's Vision 2030, according to an ambitious strategy to empower the private sector and launch promising sectors, as it commits to pumping at least 150 billion into the local economy annually into new projects locally until 2025, and aims to raise the percentage of the local content of the fund and its subsidiaries to 60% and the cumulative creation of more than 1.8 million jobs by the end of 2025. The fund and its subsidiaries aim to contribute to the non-oil GDP with a cumulative value of 1.2 trillion Saudi riyals by the end of 2025.
The fund has adopted its ambitious strategy to contribute to achieving its goals, and to reach a set of unique achievements of its kind at the level of sovereign funds around the world.
By creating new and promising sectors, generating direct and indirect job opportunities, and establishing and establishing companies through meticulously drawn-out mechanisms.
To view the fund's strategy, click here
Description of Initiative:
Recent studies have shown a significant impact of digital technologies on the fund’s performance. For example, the funds application of effective knowledge systems achieve profits of approximately 10-15 percentage points from assets under management, as the real sector balances change. It launched several essential initiatives to achieve development, and based on those developments, this initiative comes with the goal of making the fund a pioneering side in terms of providing the digital capabilities, ensuring the system of the pioneering wealth boxes and the broad investment management market, so that this will benefit from the ability to achieve the required competences.
• Completing the application of the infrastructure by establishing a data center for the fund, and launching a number of systems supporting information technology operations, such as the enterprise resource planning system (ERP), the project management system (EPM), and other information systems.
• Establishing a Recovery Disaster IT Center to build disaster management and business continuity capabilities.
• Preparing the technical infrastructure for disaster management and business continuity that is concerned with ensuring business continuity.
• Raising the level of efficiency and effectiveness in performance by automating some administrative procedures and operational processes.
• Progress in improving the basic systems and implementing the self-service system for suppliers, the system for purchasing contracts and services, and the system for tracking and documenting files of the Fund.
Public Investment Fund as a Fast-Growing Institution
Description of Initiative:
This initiative comes with the aim of spreading a common and unified culture in a fast-growing institution, to promote alignment between the Fund's common values, objectives, behaviors and practices.
• The success of the Graduate Development Program, which trained more than 160 graduates from the Fund’s Academy in cooperation with the best universities and educational institutions such as the University of Berkeley in California and the “AMT” Institute, which provided four specialized training courses including, the investment track, and the real estate projects track.
• Providing continuous internal and external courses for the Fund’s employees in cooperation with the best training institutions, such as Berkeley University in California, London Business School and Harvard Business School, where the Fund provided training courses for more than 700 internal employees. Additionally, 689 external training courses were provided in cooperation with the best labor training institutions.
• Choosing the fund as one of the top 5 educational work environments in the government sector in the Middle East and North Africa region, according to LinkedIn, due to its efforts in training and development programs.
The initiative is expected to create a basis for the appropriate way of working in the fund, and enrich the employees' perception, behavior, and general understanding, as it enhances their sense of belonging, and will contribute to attracting and managing the best talents.
Investments During Covid-19 Pandemic
The spread of Coronavirus has affected many countries, and its impact on the economy has been tremendous. The Kingdom was keen to fight the virus and reduce the losses resulting from it with every effort possible, and the economy and investment had a share of these efforts. The government has helped affected project owners and workers by providing material assistance amounting to 120 billion Saudi riyals to reduce the private sector's financial and economic impact. For more details, you can visit this page.
Launched "Invest Saudi" which contributed in issuing 1,278 foreign investment licenses in 2020.
According to their field, the Ministry of Investment has allocated a reference for affected investors to ensure business continuity during the pandemic. In it, the contribution of all sectors was collected to ensure business continuity and reduce losses.
- Renewal of Residence Permit (Iqama) of the Investor
- Issuing a Main Commercial Register (Register a Business)
- Buying Investment Opportunity Specifications
- New sports Investment Request
Regulations and legislation
- Investment principles and policy in the Kingdom
- Bilateral agreements between states and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- Laws and Regulations
- Terms and conditions for using the Ministry's electronic services
- Most Frequently Asked Questions - Qualified Foreign Investors
- The rules governing qualified foreign financial institutions' investment in listed securities - Capital Market Authority
- Investment sectors in the Kingdom
- Business environment