31st March 2021


Saudi Arabia launches $ 1.3 trillion private sector investment boost

Saudi Arabia's largest publicly traded companies, Aramco, and the petrochemical company SABIC, will lead investments of five trillion riyals ($ 1.3 trillion) by the country's private sector by 2030 under a program of economic diversification.

The move, announced Tuesday, aims to mobilize the Persian Gulf state's private sector to help lift the economy out of dependence on oil exports, which still account for more than half of the state's revenue, and develop new ones. sectors to help create jobs for millions of people.

Twenty-four companies including Saudi Basic Industries Corp., Almarai Co., Saudi Telecom Co., and National Shipping Co. have agreed to join the scheme, contributing 5 trillion riyals ($ 1.33 trillion) of national capital spending over the next 10 years Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.

The program is part of investments worth 12 trillion riyals ($ 3.2 trillion) planned for 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in televised remarks. That also includes three trillion riyals ($ 800 billion) from the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and four trillion riyals ($ 1.1 trillion) under a new Saudi investment strategy, of which about two trillion riyals ($ 533 billion) would be foreign investment.

The total amount would increase to 27 trillion riyals ($ 7.2 trillion) with public spending and domestic consumption.

The new plan comes after last year's coronavirus pandemic and oil market turmoil created a double crisis for Saudi Arabia, delaying the 35-year goals of boosting the non-oil economy and reducing unemployment.

"What we are trying to create is growth in Saudi Arabia: GDP growth, more jobs in Saudi Arabia, more revenue for the Saudi government and a better life for the Saudis," the prince said Tuesday during an evening briefing with journalists in Riyadh. "That won't hurt the shareholders of those companies because instead of getting cash dividends, you will get growth in the stock market."

The prince has said that Aramco would sell more shares as part of plans to bolster the sovereign wealth fund PIF, the main vehicle for boosting Saudi investments at home and abroad.

The prince said that PIF is working with other sovereign wealth funds in the region on a fund called "Invest in Saudi" that would be worth between 500 billion riyals ($ 133 billion) and one trillion riyals ($ 267 billion).