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 Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al Jadaan speaks at the Euromoney conference

Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al Jadaan speaks at the Euromoney conference



SMEs ‘key to Saudi Vision 2030 success’

SMEs contribute just a fifth of GDP in the kingdom, compared with as much as 70 per cent in some advanced economies, reflecting the scale of the opportunity

June 2018

Encouraging external investment, boosting transparency and growing the small business sector are key steps to ensuring the success of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategy, said experts at the Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference in Riyadh.

In his opening keynote interview, Ibrahim Al-Omar, governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Sagia), outlined some of the key steps the Authority is taking to stimulate foreign investment.

The authority has significantly simplified licensing processes in recent years and made review and approval processes more efficient. It is also working hard to increase transparency for investors. According to the Governor, more than 400 reforms have been identified, and almost 40 per cent completed already.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has everything for an investor to succeed, but there is risk. Sagia is developing an online portal to share all relevant information about investment opportunities, market information and incentives,” said Al-Omar.

In the day’s second keynote interview, Abdulaziz AlRasheed, Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, Ministry of Economy and Planning, outlined steps being taken to ensure that economic growth delivers higher employment.

“The employment challenge is one of the most important issues facing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and we are looking to resolve it in parallel with economic diversification. We are encouraging greater participation by women in the economy and are already seeing the number of women in work increasing,” he said.

Saudi Arabia’s SMEs General Authority (Monsha’at) was set up to facilitate access to funding, forge links with industry incubators and simplify complex regulatory and administrative procedures to foster a more business-friendly climate.

In a keynote interview, Saleh Al-Rasheed, governor of Monsha’at, said promoting a culture of entrepreneurship would be a priority for the Kingdom as it diversifies its economy.

“We need to create the right culture that enables venture capitalists and investors to support SMEs and start-ups,” said Al-Rasheed. “We have initiated several key initiatives to encourage the development of a start-up culture in Saudi Arabia.”

Encouraging the growth of SMEs is a top-level priority, and steps are being taken to provide small businesses with more opportunities to access national procurement and government bids.

According to panelists at the event, small- and medium-sized enterprises contribute just a fifth of GDP in the Kingdom, compared with as much as 70 per cent in some advanced economies, reflecting the scale of the opportunity.




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