The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a fast-growing, business-friendly and popular location for foreign investors. In 2009, KSA attracted $35.5 billion of foreign investment, producing a cumulative stock of $147.1 billion.
Saudi Arabia is a major economic player: it's one of the world's largest economies (GDP of $649 billion); its GDP is growing by 3.59 a year; it is a member of the G-20 'Group of Twenty' leading industrialized and rapidly developing economies; and it is a member of the World Trade Organization.
Saudi Arabia has the largest industrial output in Middle East-North Africa (MENA) and the 14th largest globally. Its services sector is thriving too, particularly in areas such as tourism, education and retail.
Saudi Arabia is located at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia. It provides easy access to more than 400 million consumers in MENA, assisted by its long-held membership of, and active participation in, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Greater Arab Free Trade Area.
Outward-looking and pro-trade, KSA is the largest exporter in MENA and the 16th largest globally. It has an annual current account (trade in goods and services) surplus of $164.8 billion, the third-largest in the world. Its surpluses is 23.2% of GDP.
Saudi Arabia offers investors:
- The largest market in Middle East-North Africa (30 million consumers and income per head of $21643)
- A young, fast-expanding population
- An open, progressive, pro-business economy
- An efficient, 'light touch' regulatory environment
- Readily available investment capital, from private and public investors and funds
- Rapid household formation (increasing by a third to 6.1 million by 2015), creating strong, rising demand for consumer durables such as cars and home appliances
Saudi Arabia benefits from economic stability and low inflation. In 2007, the Milken Institute named KSA as the best country in the world for 'macroeconomic environment', ahead of 121 others.
Saudi Arabia also offers strong, stable government with consistently large budget surpluses, a stable banking system and a stable currency, the Saudi Riyal. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency central bank has $416 billion of official reserves - the world's fifth largest - giving the country a substantial fiscal buffer.
The Saudi government welcomes and encourages foreign private-sector investment, both generally and in the specific sectors being targeted by the Industrial Clusters program.
The Government is committed to continued economic liberalisation. Privatised and deregulated sectors already include electricity, telecoms, airlines and railways.
See chapters 9 (labour market), 11 (financial and monetary affairs), 12 (industry) and 14 (trade) of the Statistical Yearbook 2009, produced by KSA's Central Department of Statistics & Information and Ministry of Economy and Planning: