The Saudi economy is considered a very attractive destination for investors considering the impressive capabilities; and investment programs it enjoys, as the Kingdom plays a leading role in stabilizing global energy markets. In addition to its key role in assisting developing countries.
The Kingdom's GDP ranks 16th among the G20 countries; 13th in global trade; 9th among the G20 in terms of area; 18th in terms of population; and 3rd globally in its investment funds.
Besides its vital and influential contribution to international efforts to achieve global economic stability; Saudi Arabia plays an important role in shaping a global economic system that contributes to achieving the group's goal of encouraging strong, balanced, and sustainable growth; within the framework of preserving the interests of all developed and developing countries alike.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic that paralyzed the global economy, which coincided with the Kingdom's presidency of the (G20) in 2020, Saudi Arabia was able to lead the summit, seen in its the decisions and initiatives launched by the country's wise leadership that made it lead the world towards economic recovery from the repercussions of the pandemic.
Among the initiatives launched to reduce the enormous negative effects on the economies of developing and poor countries was the adoption of a $12bn program to support global efforts to address the impact of the pandemic.
In addition, it approved taking exceptional measures to support the economies of developing countries by pumping more than $11tn to support individuals and companies, in addition to the expansion of social protection networks.
During its presidency of the G20 last year, the Kingdom provided $500mn to support global efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, though supporting the initiative to accelerate the availability of tools to combat COVID-19 to increase the rate of vaccine manufacturing in low- and middle-income countries and to ensure fair distribution of diagnostic tools, vaccines, and medicines for countries in need, as these efforts began to bear fruit this year under the Italian presidency.
Moreover, The G-20 also launched, in its meetings during KSA's presidency, the initiative to suspend debt service payments for the poorest countries, which contributed to giving 73 poor countries financial space to spend on social, health, and economic aspects, to confront the pandemic, as this initiative continued until the end of the year 2021 during the Italian presidency of the Group.
Locally, various initiatives were launched to stimulate the economy and support the private sector as part of the Kingdom contribution to the rapid response to the pandemic challenge, leading to a 5.4% growth of the non-oil GDP during the first half of 2021, supported by a 7.5% growth of the private-sector GDP, during the same period, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
The International Monetary Fund expects the Saudi economy to grow by about 2.8% in 2021.
The Saudi economy is resilient and is one of the fastest economies to recover from the repercussions of the pandemic, according to international indicators, as the Kingdom ranked second globally, equal with China in the Nikkei Japan's index of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic out of 121 countries, and 13th out of 184 countries in the GCI global index, adopted by the World Health Organization.
In addition, these underlined the stability of working conditions at the beginning of the second half of 2021, and the improvement of indicators of new orders in production, employment, and inventory of purchases, and the continued achievement of the Saudi trade balance in surplus in June 2021 amounting to SR38.69bn; the highest in 17 months, bringing it since the beginning of the year to SR170.7bn; and the results of foreign direct investment flows for 2020 indicate a growth of about 20%.
Globally, the Kingdom has made economic successes and great development in the legislative system by issuing more than 770 reforms that had a significant impact on improving the competitiveness of the business and the investment environment of the Kingdom, which contributed to the Kingdom's advancement from 26th to 24th place in the Global Competitiveness Yearbook 2020 report.
The Kingdom also advanced in the "Women, Business Activities and the Law, 2021" report from 70.6 degrees in 2020 to 80 degrees out of 100 in 2021, as the employment rates of Saudi women in the private sector reached 31.3% and jumped to 41% in the government sector.
The Saudi Stock Exchange "Tadawul" also advanced to become one of the top 10 financial markets around the world, and the Kingdom advanced to 12th place in the Availability of Venture Capital Index, 3rd globally in the Protection of Minority Investors Index, 1st in digital competitiveness at the G20 level, and 1st in Internet speed on the fifth generation.
The Saudi private sector, as well, continued its strong role and performance as an effective strategic partner in the process of achieving comprehensive development and implementing the aspirations and goals of the Kingdom's Vision 2030, seen in the record growth achieved by the non-oil private sector by 11.1%, the best growth rate in a decade.
The domestic private sector developed significantly and marked an increase in its work environment and a significant increase in its small, medium and large projects.
This is in addition to an increase in the Public Investment Fund's efforts to enhance the contribution of the private sector by launching a series of mega projects such as: establishing the city of NEOM and launching "The Line", and kickstarting other giant projects such as: Amaala, the Red Sea, and Qiddiya, and the establishment of many giant companies to develop economic sectors that will contribute to the expansion and diversification of the economic base.
It also witnessed the launch of promising sectors such as tourism, entertainment, sports and energy; as well as the large support programs launched by the state; as part of its vision to stimulate the growth of the sector; including the private sector stimulus program and the allocation of SR200bn to support the private sector. In addition to supporting the sector during the pandemic period.
In 2021, the Saudi economy witnessed qualitative traffic; during which many initiatives were launched, including the launch of Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Salman, deputy prime minister and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA), the national investment strategy.
This strategy is one of the main empowerment tools to achieve the goals of the Kingdom's Vision 2030. It will also contribute to the growth of the national economy and diversify its sources.
This will eventually lead to achieving many of the objectives of the Kingdom's Vision 2030; including raising the private sector's contribution to the GDP to 65%; and promoting foreign direct investment contributions to 5.7% of the GDP; increasing the non-oil exports share from 16% to 50% of non-oil GDP; reducing the unemployment rate to 7%; and advancing the Kingdom to be among the top ten in the global competitiveness index by 2030.
The national investment strategy aims at empowering investors, providing investment opportunities, providing financing solutions, and enhancing competitiveness. Besides, contributing to increasing the effectiveness of the partnership between the public and the private sectors.
The investment represents an essential and pivotal driver in the economic growth; and sustainable development under the umbrella of the Kingdom's Vision 2030; as investments exceeding SR12tn will be poured into the local economy by 2030; (SR5tn will come from the initiatives and projects of the "Shareek" program); SR3tn earmarked for local investment from the Public Investment Fund; and SR4tn of investments by various national and international companies, under the umbrella of the national investment strategy).
The economy will receive around SR10tn of government spending through the state's General Budget over the next 10 years. In addition to SR5tn of private consumption spending for the same period; totaling this spending to nearly SR27tn until 2030 (equivalent to $7tn).
The national investment strategy aims to raise net foreign direct investment flows to SR388bn annually. Besides, increasing domestic investment to about SR1.7tn annually by 2030. The investment ratio to the Kingdom's GDP will rise from 22% in 2019 to 30% by 2030; which will contribute to the growth of Saudi economy to become one of the largest 15 economies in the world.