French firms keen on establishing regional HQ in Saudi Arabia, says Al-Falih

The strategy program will create 35,000 jobs for Saudis

  
Saudi Arabian Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih, speaks during a virtual meeting of B20 at the Saudi Business Group summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 26, 2020.

Saudi Arabian Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih, speaks during a virtual meeting of B20 at the Saudi Business Group summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 26, 2020.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
 
PARIS: Saudi investment minister on Sunday revealed that a French construction company will join 40 other global companies in establishing their regional headquarters in Riyadh.

Khalid Al-Falih, however, did not name the company. Talking to Al-Arabiyah News Channel, the minister said the French renewable energy firms are keen on investing in the Kingdom. Companies such as Total, Engie, EDF, are working extensively to secure new projects in Saudi Arabia, Al-Falih said.

Earlier in 2021, the Kingdom introduced a policy to stop signing contracts with foreign companies from 2024 unless their regional headquarters are based in the Kingdom.

It is part of the Riyadh Strategy 2030 plan announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative forum in January.

The rule includes agencies, institutions and government-owned funds. It aims to incentivize foreign companies that deal with Saudi Arabia’s government to base themselves in the Kingdom.

Al-Falih said Total plans to open petroleum distribution stations, and charging units (stations) for electric vehicles going forward.

This is in addition to Total’s previous investments in one of the largest industrial projects in Jubail, along with Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Co. project and Amiral complex — with investments exceeding SR30 billion ($8 billion), the minister said.

Al-Falih also told the news channel that several educational agreements were signed during his trip to Paris.

The Royal Commission for Riyadh City has set a target to attract up to 500 foreign companies to set up their regional headquarters in the capital over the next 10 years, with 24 already confirmed, and as part of the initiative the crown prince aims to double Riyadh’s population.

According to studies, the strategy program will create 35,000 jobs for Saudis and help pump up to SR70 billion ($18.67 billion) into the national economy by the end of the decade.

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