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SAUDI ARABIA - Economy

Hussein Abdulkader

Secretary General, Federation of Saudi Chambers (FSC)

Bio

Hussain Abdulkader obtained his bachelor’s degree in Sociology from King Abdulaziz University and a diploma in human resources management from the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is currently Secretary General & Assistant Secretary-General for Executive Affairs at the Federation of Saudi Chambers. He is also a member of the board of directors of the International Chamber of Commerce, the board of directors of the Global Compact Initiative, a member of the Executive Leadership Committee of the Federation of Gulf Chambers, and a member of the board of directors of GS1 Saudi Arabia.

"FSC is considered a representative of the private sector; it seeks to raise the contribution of the private sector up to 65% of the GDP in 2030."
How does Federation of Saudi Chambers support Vision 2030?

FSC is considered a representative of the private sector; it seeks to raise the contribution of the private sector up to 65% of the GDP in 2030. Driven by the sponsorship of the private sector and the great development efforts put in to increase its vital contribution to the structure of the national economy, FSC—in close cooperation with the chambers of commerce—contributes effectively to achieving the goals set by Vision 2030, especially with its follow up of the outstanding performance of the private sector and its goal to expand its role to better serve the purposes of development and participate in bringing about structural change in the structure of the Saudi economy. To best support Vision 2030, FSC has implemented a transformation plan based on empowering the private sector, raising its competitive capabilities, and enhancing its engagement in giant projects such as NEOM, Qiddiya, and the Red Sea Company. FSC also effectively contributed to enhancing foreign investments to the Kingdom by introducing the investment opportunities and programs of Vision 2030. It also played a vital role in enhancing the international competitiveness of the national economy. In partnership with the concerned authorities, the federation seeks to overcome many procedural obstacles and support the national transformation. In addition, MoUs were concluded between FSC and several programs of Vision 2030, such as the pilgrim service program, with the aim of empowering the private sector and enhancing its economic contribution.

What measures and plans did FSC undertake to enhance the economic growth of the Kingdom?

Based on the new law of the federation, one of the key goals is to play a vital role in promoting economic growth through several strategic themes; some key goals include exempting new enterprises from subscription fees for a three-year period, which contributes to supporting SMEs. FSC has also played a vital role in overcoming the procedural obstacles facing private-sector establishments, which contributed to promoting growth, in addition to facilitating the payment of the private sector dues to the Kingdom. Combined together, this contributed to enhancing the growth of upcoming enterprises and developing competitive capabilities. FSC also concluded a MoU with the Export Development Authority to enable the private sector to export abroad, which is certainly reflected directly in achieving growth for the private sector. When comes into play, this means achieving economic growth at the level of the Kingdom.

What investment opportunities would you like to highlight inside the Kingdom to attract international investors?

Objectively, since the launch of Vision 2030, the Kingdom has become an attractive beacon of investment opportunities and a global investment destination as a result of the improvement of its investment environment, strengthening the economy, with a high population growth rate and a huge consumer market, in addition to the strategic location of the Kingdom as it links three key continents. The programs of Vision 2030 have generated many huge feasible investment opportunities. The National Investment Strategy was also launched, aiming to significantly increase the volume and quality of investments in vital and traditional sectors that include green energy, technology, healthcare, biotechnology, transportation, and logistics, as well as other cross-cutting matters such as innovation, start-ups, and entrepreneurship. The strategy is based on the following four pillars: promoting and encouraging investments and business opportunities in the economic sectors through target programs; increasing investments by strengthening the relationship between different investors in the investment law; enhancing financing options and creating new financing tools and platforms; and adopting the best laws and regulations to increase transparency and promote a healthy and sound competitive environment. The important aspect of the strategy is that it integrates with the previously announced programs of Vision 2030, such as the Public Investment Fund Program, the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, the Privatization Program, the Financial Sector Development Program, and the Quality-of-Life Program, in addition to other national strategies. Strategically, the private sector will be the main driver for achieving the objectives of the Strategy. Therefore, FSC highlights the importance of the role of the private sector in achieving the objectives of the strategy and is currently working in line with achieving these objectives. The sectors that should be taken into consideration for future investors are the sectors that are in line with Vision 2030 programs and initiatives that the Kingdom has prioritized and harmonized because it is enjoying a rise in growth at the present time.

How do you evaluate the current performance and future development of the Saudi business community?

The Saudi private sector is a key driver in implementing and achieving the ambitions and aspirations of Vision 2030 to increase the private sector’s contribution to the GDP from 40% to 65%, improve the contribution of FDI to the GDP from 0.7% to 5.7%, and raise the contribution of SMEs to the GDP to 35% to other targets. As a result of supporting and stimulating government policies, the growth of the private sector in the Kingdom along with its contribution to the economy has significantly improved over the past years. This is evident through several changes and key indicators best reflected in the rise in competitiveness in the private sector as a result of improving the infrastructure of the business sector. Thus, the proportion of non-oil exports of total exports increased by 143% from 2011-2020, while the number of companies also increased by 40% in 2016-2020 to reach 626,669 companies. This also included the rise in entrepreneurship due to the Kingdom’s efforts to improve the business culture in the private sector by encouraging innovation and creativity. As a result, the Kingdom ranked 12th globally and third regionally in the Availability of Venture Capital indicator according to the 2020-2021 Global Competitiveness Report. Equally important is the increase in partnership between the public and private sectors, whereby many initiatives and programs were launched to strengthen this partnership, the most important of which is the Partner Program. This aims to increase local private-sector investments to SAR5 trillion to help achieve the main objectives of the private sector for Vision 2030. The program will also contribute to creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and adding SAR2 trillion to the GDP by 2025. The Saudi business sector and its institutional bodies represented by the Federation of Saudi Chambers and chambers of commerce, as partners of government agencies in the economic development, were highly prepared and ready to make more supporting efforts and attract investments, as they played a proactive role once Vision 2030 was launched; they have worked to accomplish many initiatives to raise the contribution of the private sector to 65%, as well as harmonize the plans and strategies of the federation and the chambers of commerce with the objectives of Vision 2030 in coordination with the Vision Realization Offices (VROs) in the government entities and investing opportunities in various sectors and promoting the opportunities provided by Vision 2030 through commercial delegations, investors, and international partners. FSC has also worked to maximize the benefits of the Saudi private sector from investment opportunities and programs of Vision 2030, the Public Investment Fund, and programs to support local content in major companies. FSC has also launched the 2030 Opportunities Initiative. It has identified the investment opportunities in the Pilgrim Service Program, the Privatization Program, the National Transformation Program, the National Industrial Development Program and Logistics Services, the Financial Sector Development Program, and the Quality-of-Life Program. 6

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