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.
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.
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
- Ministry of Investment
- Ministry of Commerce
- Public Investment Fund
- Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce
Last Modified Date: 19/10/2021 - 10:11 AM Saudi Arabia Time