The Business Year

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Having been struck by the dual challenge of fluctuating oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia required cool heads to help lead the nation through crisis. Fortunately, these individuals were at hand.

Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan

Minister of Finance

These are unprecedented times that demand swift, strong, and significant global action. G20 members have injected over USD7 trillion into the global economy to protect jobs, businesses, and economies, and billions have been allocated to the hunt for vaccines, research, and development, protection of frontline health workers, and addressing trade issues on vital goods. Our efforts must continue and be amplified. Ministers and governors are committed to using all the available policy tools to support the global economy, boost confidence, maintain financial stability, and prevent deep and prolonged economic effects. As mandated by the extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit, today ministers and governors endorsed a G20 Action Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan sets out our commitments to specific actions to drive forward international economic cooperation as we navigate this crisis and look ahead to a robust and sustained global economic recovery. Our aim is to support the necessary health response and measures to increase our collective health resilience for the future, preventing a liquidity crisis from turning into a solvency crisis and a global recession becoming a global depression.

Khalid Al Falih

Minister of Investment

I am glad that FDI, my area of focus, in the first half was reported to have increased by 12% compared to the year before. Over the last three years, our FDI performance and licensing for foreign investors are improving, and there is great appetite despite the concerns with COVID-19 and its after effects. There are new laws that make investment more transparent and certain and bring stability to investors. Our intellectual property regulations are improving, and a bankruptcy law has been rolled out. A mining law was also issued. The government has launched the largest mining exploratory program that will provide a wealth of data for those interested in the mining sector. Our tourism sector has been opened with 500,000 keys as just one sector, as hospitality and tourism will be available for investors. As Minister of Investment with my team in the ministry, we are excited about the opportunities and all these openings taking place as we speak, whether it is in digital, healthcare privatization, tourism, culture, and so forth. All these set us apart, as we emerge from this difficult extraordinary year though they bring us great confidence. The Kingdom has once again proven its ability to withstand shocks.

Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef

Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef

As a government official, the most important thing is how we were able to coordinate all the efforts. There were many committees created that filtered or consolidated in higher committees. There was one specifically for the economy that I was a part of, and it had all the ministers who oversaw areas on the economic side. The beauty is the ability to bring all these heads together and make them look at one thing. That is how we reduced the negative consequences on the economy and ensured that the essentials were available. The affected sectors received assistance. We realized from the beginning the biggest impact would be on cashflow, so we addressed everything in this manner from the start. At the level of industry and mining, we started by rescheduling and delaying payments for all loans for SMEs in 2020. This was granted without any discussion, so they did not even need to apply. All medium-sized companies in essential sectors such as food, drugs, and supply chain also received this automatically. Other medium and large companies had to apply, as we needed to assess their individual issues. We also monitored if these initiatives were actually being utilized effectively, as we designed different initiatives of different types.

Abdullah Al-Swaha

Minister of Communications and Technology

When talking about shaping new frontiers, I am pleased with the leadership of my colleagues in the Data and AI Authority, who have led the track successfully in which we drove consensus among the G20 nations to agree on the OECD principles for trustworthy AI. How can AI be inclusive by leaving no one behind, and how can it be used for the good of humanity by being human centric with full transparency so that we know who is using and who owns the data, with robustness and security to make sure the next time we sit in an autonomous car, we expect it to function the way it should. If I talk about accountability, we need to make sure there is clear responsibility and accountability at the algorithm level, system level, data level, and data scientist level to ensure AI continues to be for the good of humanity. If we look at these successes and the accomplishments of what my G20 peers have realized, I am fully confident that we are back on track to realizing the opportunities of the 21st century by being laser focused on empowering people, safeguarding the planet, and shaping new frontiers powered by connectivity, big data, and AI to help the world switch from survival mode to thriving mode.



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