During the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) announced its partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to host the Global FDI Summit in Riyadh in October, as Saudi Arabia hosts the G20.
Aimed at identifying and facilitating long-term solutions to challenges affecting FDI and global economic growth, the Global FDI Summit 2020 will include a series of open and candid discussions between leading decision-makers representing corporate entities, government agencies and civil society organzations. The Summit will take place alongside a broader program of G20 meetings taking place in the Kingdom under Saudi Arabia’s G20 Presidency.
Commenting on the launch of the Summit, His Excellency Eng. Ibrahim Al Omar, Governor of SAGIA, said: “FDI has the potential to transform economies by fostering competition and sharing expertise – but the full potential is not currently being realized. Saudi Arabia has seen highly encouraging growth in foreign direct investment throughout 2019. This therefore presents the perfect opportunity to bring together key decision makers from across the economy at the Global FDI Summit 2020 to identify the key challenges and establish solutions to stimulate FDI on a global scale.”
According to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, the Kingdom saw an uptick of 10% in FDI during the first three quarters of 2019 – its largest increase in a decade – despite cross-border investment remaining largely flat last year globally.
Al Omar continued: “We are delighted to be partnering with UNCTAD on such an important event – I know that their expertise and research will be a vital part of its success. Together, we look forward to generating tangible, usable outcomes that break down the barriers hindering the growth of FDI, unlock untapped sectors, and drive economic growth for the benefit of all nations.”
James Zhan, Senior Director of investment and enterprise division at UNCTAD, said: “Saudi Arabia has seen FDI increase for two consecutive years. The achievement is remarkable against the backdrop of global FDI decline to its lowest level of the past decade. It reflects the strong investor confidence in the country and the success of reforms under Vision 2030. UNCTAD is pleased to jointly organize with Saudi Arabia’s General Investment Authority the Global FDI Summit in Riyadh in October, which provides an excellent opportunity to showcase Saudi Arabia’s efforts at shaping the future global investment landscape during its G20 Presidency.”
The announcement was made during the Invest Saudi Gala Dinner at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, at which more than 100 leading policy makers and business and financial sector leaders were in attendance.
Ahead of Davos, SAGIA announced in its latest Investment Highlights report that 2019 marked a record year for foreign investment in Saudi Arabia, with more than 1,100 new international companies establishing operations in the Kingdom in 2019 – 54% more than in 2018 and three times more than in 2017. It was also revealed that in the first nine months of 2019, FDI in Saudi Arabia grew 10% compared to the previous year.
This growth reflected the strong momentum generated by a broad series of economic reforms which saw the Kingdom ranked the world’s top improver and reformer by the World Bank, climbing 30 places in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report – more than any other country.