Foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia reaches $1.4 bln in Q2 2021: Ministry

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Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Saudi Arabia has reached $1.4 billion in the second quarter of 2021, the investment ministry said on Sunday.

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FDI rose 56 percent year on year, the ministry added.

The Kingdom has pushed to increase FDI in recent years as part of the Vision 2030 plan to end reliance on fossil fuels.

Riyadh is aiming for $100 billion in annual FDI by 2030.

To be consistent with its GDP target, the $100 billion goal means the economy would have to expand by 150 percent to reach $1.75 trillion by 2030.

Saudi authorities say much of the plan is still in its initial phases, which consist mostly of regulations and planning, and money will increasingly start pouring into the kingdom over the next few years.

Saudi Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih said the FDI numbers were already improving.

“We are fixing the system, we are preparing the deals, we are engaging companies,” he told Reuters. “A lot of our transactions are being prepared.”

In the first half of 2021 - excluding the leasing of Saudi Aramco's (2222.SE) oil pipelines - FDI rose 33 percent from the same period in 2020 and was already above targets for this year as a whole, he said.

At Saudi Arabia's annual “Davos in the Desert” Future Investment Initiative last month, several memoranda of understanding were signed and a national infrastructure fund was launched.

In a sign of its desire to attract more investors, Saudi Arabia issued a new law decreeing that foreign firms must set up their regional headquarters in the country by the end of 2023, or risk losing out on government contracts.

Saudi authorities announced at the investment forum that they had licensed 44 international companies to set up regional headquarters in the capital Riyadh.

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