The Business Year

Saudi Arabia 2021

PUBLISHED August 2021


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This publication is the result of months of on-the-ground research at a time of unprecedented upheaval. Not only was Saudi Arabia already in the midst of an economic revolution aimed at diversifying away from oil and gas, but COVID-19 also upended the very way business is conducted, putting to the test many of the digitalization initiatives carried out in recent years. The pandemic thus served as a validation of many of Saudi Arabia’s internal reforms. It also created massive opportunities for some of the nation’s up-and-coming businesses. In this 246-page publication, we show how technology completely changed the Kingdom during the pandemic. Things will never be the same.

It covers finance, payments and fintech, IT and digitalization, industry, water and energy, aviation and defense, transport and logistics, construction and real estate, agriculture, health, education, and tourism. It also features dozens of interviews, including:

  • Fahad Almubarak, Minister of State & Member of the Saudi Arabian Council of Ministers, Saudi Arabia’s G20 Sherpa, Saudi Central Bank Governor
  • Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources
  • Ahmed Alzahrani, Deputy Minister of Human Resources, Skill and Training
  • Ahmed Ibrahim Al Bassam, CEO, El Seif Engineering Contracting
  • Abdullah bin Sharaf bin JamaanAl-Ghamdi, President, Saudi Data & AI Authority (SDAIA)
  • Rashed Al Qaood, Director General, The National Center for Performance Measurement (Adaa)
  • Ihsan Bafakih, Governor, State Properties General Authority (SPGA)
  • Waleed Al Mogbel, CEO, Al Rajhi Bank
  • Ahmed Al Enezi, CEO, stc pay
  • Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al Deghaither, CEO, Zain KSA
  • Muneer Bakhsh, CEO, GDC Middle East
  • Hisham bin Saad Aljadhey, CEO, Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA)
  • Nasser Abanmi, CEO, ARASCO
  • Maliha Hashmi, Executive Director, Health Wellbeing Biotech NEOM Deputy Chair, NEOM COVID-19 Leadership Taskforce


The publication also features a range of articles and analysis, including:

  • Business reform
  • Budget and spending
  • Digitalization and government reform
  • Local manufacturing
  • Oil prices
  • Airlines and logistics
  • Food supply
  • COVID-19 response
  • Winter Tantora