RIYADH: Four new investors have set up companies in Saudi Arabia per day in the first quarter of 2019, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) has revealed.

In a special report released on Wednesday, the authority also said that 267 new foreign investors were issued licenses in Q1 of this year, permitting them to operate in the country in a bid to “promote a competitive business environment in the Kingdom.”

The figures mark a 70 percent increase when compared to Q1 2018.

Commenting on the reforms Ibrahim Al-Omar, Governor of SAGIA, said: “Guided by Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, our country is undergoing a remarkable economic transformation. The continued prosperity of the Kingdom depends on sparking innovation, attracting foreign investors and empowering the private sector. The positive growth numbers that we have seen in the first quarter of 2019 represents a significant milestone on the road to 2030.”

The leading growth sectors include education and healthcare, following the recent lifting of foreign ownership restrictions in these industries. During Q1 2019, nine new education-related companies were established, compared to just one in Q1 2018.

A joint venture with UAE-based NMC Healthcare was established to acquire and develop a pan-Saudi network of health care facilities with a capacity of up to 3,000 beds and total investments up to SAR6 billion ($1.6 billion) over the next five years.

Other sectors that saw strong growth in Q1 of this year include the construction industry, which saw 39 new foreign investors receive business licenses, compared to only 22 in Q1 2018.

There was also strong growth from long-standing and strategically important Saudi partners such as the US and the UK.


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