The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) awarded on Monday six new licenses to global energy companies, with an estimated total investment value of more than SAR 900 million ($239.9 million), Deputy Governor of SAGIA Ibrahim al-Suwail told Al Arabiya.
French company Engie was awarded a license to develop a solar energy project. It was also given a separate license to support its work in the Kingdom. The four other permits were awarded to Egyptian-Saudi solar energy company Orbits, Sweden’s Roxtec, Cyrprus-headquartered EEG, and US-based Lime Energy, which specializes in energy efficiency services.
The licenses will be handed out at the 24th World Energy Congress, one of the largest gatherings of energy professionals and decision makers in the world, taking place from September 9-12 in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Al-Suwail told Al Arabiya that Saudi Arabia’s cash inflows from foreign direct investments (FDIs) increased by 24 percent in the first quarter of 2019.
Saudi Arabia in recent years has taken several steps towards easing business regulations for foreign, as well as national investors. Work visas, for example, can now be processed in less than 24 hours. The reforms come as a continuation of its Vision 2030 program, aimed at diversifying the economy and reducing dependence on oil revenues.
Saudi Arabia has improved its 2019 Ease of Doing Business (EODB) score by 1.62 percent from last year, climbing to the 92nd spot among 190 economies, according to the World Bank.