Riyadh: Following the announcement of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Saudi Arabia by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) has announced the unveiling of its ‘KAEC Special Economic Zone’ (KAEC SEZ). The announcement was made at the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authorities’ (ECZA) SEZ Investment Forum, which took place at the Ritz Carlton Riyadh.

The forum saw the attendance of dignitaries and business leaders from across the Kingdom and abroad, highlighting the promising development opportunities available to investors within KAEC SEZ. The event also witnessed the launch of three additional SEZs within Saudi Arabia.

Strategically located at the heart of the Red Sea in Makkah province, the 60 km2 KAEC SEZ is regulated by the ECZA and focuses on key sectors including auto assembly, FMCG, ICT and pharmaceuticals. The zone is also in close proximity to several prominent African & emerging markets, allowing investors to easily connect with existing global supply chains, world-class infrastructure and King Abdullah Port, which was ranked #1 as the world’s most efficient port in 2022 by the World Bank. The zone is also situated near KAEC’s Industrial Valley, which features more than 115 multinational companies utilizing the hub’s leading manufacturing and global logistics services.

With the support of ECZA, KAEC SEZ is set to attract a diverse range of industries and help achieve significant objectives including local content development, job creation and the expansion of Saudi Arabia’s non-oil export industries,” commented Emaar The Economic City’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Fahad AlSaif. “KAEC SEZ will also focus on expanding into emerging sectors such as electric vehicles, marine industries and cloud computing. With investor-friendly regulations, the SEZs are set to attract major companies and industry leaders with KAEC SEZ serving as a gateway for global trade.”

“As Saudi Arabia continues to diversify its economy, the launch of SEZs is a targeted effort to support domestic growth into new industries,” said King Abdullah Economic City’s Chief Executive Officer, Cyril Piaia. “Regulated by a unified body, KAEC SEZ has a beneficial role in establishing an attractive business environment for FDIs and helping facilitate the onward flow of exports into KSA and other markets. By leveraging the world-class infrastructure present within KAEC, the KAEC SEZ is certain to function as a key economic driver and enabler of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.”

“The creation of KAEC SEZ will actively support objectives to build a localized end-to-end electric vehicle cluster with KAEC IV’s services being activated in the process,” highlighted Majid Matbouly, Head of KAEC Industrial Valley. “These ground-breaking SEZs will also establish an enabling business ecosystem, attract industrial expertise and bring the latest innovative technologies to further amplify local value chains across the Kingdom.”

The forum witnessed the signing of several agreements to establish the Saudi vehicles and transport export zone within KAEC. The agreements were signed by Dr. Abdulaziz Yousef Al-Babtain, Chairman of Himma Company, with the aim of establishing a complex for trading auto parts, logistics services, light manufacturing and assembly for the benefit of regional markets.

Furthermore, Mr. Nihad Rajab, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SIAC Construction Company, signed an MOU with KAEC to establish a destination for building materials, which will complement PIF’s efforts to develop corporate projects. This project aims to establish an integrated supply chain to keep pace with the growing demand for construction materials across the Kingdom.

During the forum, H.E. Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment, delivered a speech highlighting the role of the SEZs in helping to actualize domestic agendas including the Global Supply Chain Resilience Initiative and the National Investment Strategy, which aims to increase the value of the Kingdom’s net industrial exports to approximately $149 billion by 2030.

The Kingdom's SEZs will play a vital role in diversifying the economy, localizing industries and attracting investment from around the world. By integrating with the base economy, SEZs provide opportunities for local businesses to thrive, consolidating the Kingdom's position as a leading economic power regionally and globally.

About King Abdullah Economic City

King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) is an emerging destination centrally located on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia. Located a short distance north of Jeddah, KAEC is a 185 square kilometer city anchored by King Abdullah Port—recently named by the World Bank as the most efficient port in the world—and KAEC Industrial Valley, which is focused on logistics and light manufacturing. Over 100 multinational and Saudi companies have already made their home in KAEC, engaging in diverse activities ranging from advanced logistics to automotive, pharmaceuticals, FMCG, packaging, and building materials manufacturing. KAEC is directly connected to the Haramain high speed railway network and the Saudi National Highways grid, making the city a key node along the Red Sea economic corridor.

KAEC also offers a modern leisure and tourism district which includes over 40km of pristine coastline, several hotels and the award-winning Royal Greens international tournament golf course. In 2021, the city welcomed over 1 million visitors, and has developed a range of lifestyle residential communities for its growing population of full-time residents and second home owners.

With its strategic location, advanced infrastructure and investor-friendly regulation, KAEC is a ready-made platform for Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiatives. The city serves as a testbed for new government initiatives, has been host of pioneering national events, and is a preferred site for large-scale, strategic projects across many key sectors. A prime example of the country’s commitment to private-public partnership, KAEC is actively contributing to national objectives embodied in Vision 2030, from attracting foreign direct investment to developing the tourism sector, promoting sports, entertainment and the arts, creating new jobs, and growing non-oil exports through companies operating in its Industrial Valley.

KAEC welcomes third party investors, real estate developers and operators to realize their projects and ambitions in the city and accelerate its development. Emaar, The Economic City (EEC) is the master developer of the city and acts as the master planner, primary infrastructure developer, enabler and facilitator of KAEC. EEC is a Tadawul-listed public joint stock Saudi company established in 2006 and is 25% owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

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