Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Practical Insights on Investing in Saudi Arabia

Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) recently published commentary from my colleague Amgad Husein and I on investing in Saudi Arabia. The editorial discusses the investment environment of Saudi Arabia—the Middle East’s most significant economy—and includes practical advice on the Saudi licensing process. The below excerpts discuss the significant economic rewards that can result from long-term investment in Saudi Arabia. The full article is available here.

Saudi Arabia features regularly at or near the top of lists of countries ranked in order of ease of doing business, both in the Middle East and across the world. But all too often, those interested in doing business with the Middle East choose to trade, or invest, elsewhere in the region. There are many reasons, but the most important is that Saudi Arabia doesn’t need to sell itself – or at least feels it doesn’t need to, due to the size of its economy, the range of its trading relationships, its political weight and its importance for the security and stability of the whole Middle East.

Opportunities for investment in Saudi Arabia abound. With 25% of the world’s proven oil reserves, Saudi Arabia’s importance as the world’s foremost producer seems certain to endure for decades, if not centuries. Even as the US moves away from its traditional dependence on Middle Eastern oil, other countries are raising their requirement for hydrocarbons and petrochemicals from the Middle East, creating demand that will more than make up for a gradual US switch to domestic supply. That demand promises to provide Saudi Arabia with the financial resources it will need for decades to come, to address the increasingly sophisticated needs of a rapidly growing and better educated population.

Riyadh has the funds to finance major projects in diverse sectors, including mining and gas exploration, solar power, construction, pharmaceutical and life sciences, education, and the development of entire “economic cities” in the Arabian desert. As the Saudi government continues to improve and modernize its infrastructure, it is not unusual for companies to win billion-dollar contracts to provide goods or services to government bodies. At the same time, the presence of banks and wealth management firms has expanded rapidly in recent years, tapping into the nation’s private wealth. New high-rises and residential towers, hospitals and schools continue to be built, giving way to opportunities in the construction, healthcare, education and other fields.

Click here to access the full article at Mees.com.

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