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Saudi Arabia, e-commerce giant Amazon sign agreement to boost SME growth

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Saudi Arabia’s investment arm has signed an agreement with the tech and e-commerce giant Amazon, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday.

The new MoU is expected to boost opportunities for small and medium enterprises across the Kingdom, SPA reported.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment (MISA) will also repotedly form a joint committee that will focus on “development of skills, technology and infrastructure, supporting knowledge and trust in online shopping and e-payments,” according to the same report.

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The signing took place in the presence of the Minister of Investment, Khalid bin Abdulaziz al-Falih, and the Vice President of Amazon for the Middle East and North Africa, Ronaldo Mouchawar.

The Minister of Investment Eng. Khalid al-Falih said: “In line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, our partnership with Amazon will open growth opportunities for SMEs and address the main challenges facing the sector, creating job opportunities across the Kingdom by harnessing new technologies,” WAM reported.

The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan includes provisions to develop digital infrastructure with the aim of improving quality of life and attracting investment.

Saudi Arabia and Amazon sign an MoU at MISA’s offices in the presence of the Minister of Investment, Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, and the Vice President of Amazon for the Middle East and North Africa, Ronaldo Mouchawar on March 19, 2022. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia and Amazon sign an MoU at MISA’s offices in the presence of the Minister of Investment, Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, and the Vice President of Amazon for the Middle East and North Africa, Ronaldo Mouchawar on March 19, 2022. (SPA)

Building and enabling local talent is another focal point of the MoU.

Ronaldo Mouchawar, Vice President for Amazon MENA said: “This partnership underscores our commitment to the Kingdom and our customers in it, and will contribute to accelerating the growth of the e-commerce sector, as well as enabling businesses to take advantage of the great growth opportunities that the Kingdom offers.”

Last year, Amazon announced a major expansion in Saudi Arabia that it says will create at least 1,500 new jobs across the Kingdom in 2021.

The online retail giant plans to increase its storage capacity in the country by 89 percent with eleven new buildings.

By the end of the year, Amazon says its storage capacity will reach more than 867,000 square feet – the equivalent of more than ten football fields.

The expansion will also increase the geographical area Amazon is able to deliver to by around 58 percent, according to a statement.

The company has had a presence in Saudi Arabia for several years, buying up souq.com in 2017.

It officially launched in June of 2020 when user information on souq.com was transferred to amazon.sa. Amazon Prime was launched in Saudi Arabia in January 2021.

Al Arabiya English’s Marco Ferrari contributed to this report.

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