$141bn FDI: Kingdom leads in Middle East


09/02/2014 08:34 AST

Saudi Arabia is in top position when it comes to drawing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the entire Middle East, having attracted $141 billion during the past five years.

Revealing this, Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said: “These investments, together with government spending of $718 billion, were instrumental in spurring economic growth.”

The minister made these remarks as he opened a meeting of the Saudi-British Business Council in London.

Al-Rabiah underscored the growing trade exchange between the two countries, which touched a staggering $16 billion in 2012.

Saudi exports to Britain rose by 60 percent to cross $3.7 billion, the minister said, while highlighting the facilities and incentives offered by the Saudi government to foreign investors. Lord Astor, British undersecretary of state for defense, praised the strong Saudi-British relations.

The highlight of the meeting was the signing of three agreements between private companies specialized in real estate, education and solar energy.

Saudi Arabia is seen as one of the fastest growing G-20 countries in recent years.

The increase in oil revenues has successfully been used to support growth in the nonoil sectors.

The Kingdom has been strengthening its private sector to satisfy demand for jobs from young citizens and reduce its dependence on oil exports.

Recent data made available from Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) revealed that its net foreign assets climbed to a record high of SR2.688 trillion ($716.7 billion) in December, up 10.7 percent from the previous year.

Saudi Arabia’s M3 money supply growth slowed to 10.9 percent year-on-year at the end of December from 13.5 percent in the previous month.

Bank lending growth to the private sector also decelerated to 12.5 percent in December, the weakest clip since February, 2012, from 13.8 percent in November.

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