The Report: Saudi Arabia 2018

  • ID: 4471035
  • Country Profile
  • Region: Saudi Arabia
  • 406 Pages
  • Oxford Business Group
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  • ACWA Power
  • Capital Market Authority
  • Ma’aden
  • Saline Water
  • Saudi Business Machines
  • Saudi Red Bricks
  • MORE

Key initiatives include a privatisation programme which would see the divestment of a number of state-owned giants, such as the partial listing of Aramco, the creation of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund and the increased participation of women in the job market. The Kingdom has played a key role too on the international stage in 2017, becoming the first country to host President Trump, a visit which resulted in renewed trade and investment commitments on both sides.

Meanwhile, the country’s importance as a trading hub continues to grow thanks to both the various infrastructural upgrades that are taking place to its ports and airports, as well as its geographical advantage as a connector of three continents and its proximity to the Red Sea - through which 10% of world trade travels.

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  • ACWA Power
  • Capital Market Authority
  • Ma’aden
  • Saline Water
  • Saudi Business Machines
  • Saudi Red Bricks
  • MORE


  • Setting sights: The Kingdom moves ahead with plans for economic diversification under the Vision 2030 banner
  • Money management: Activity among the region’s sovereign wealth funds picks up
  • Viewpoint: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
  • Interview: Prince Saud bin Nayef Al Saud, Governor, Eastern Province
  • A widening reach: GCC member states look to strengthen global trade ties
  • Social shifts: Entertainment activities to expand and social restrictions to ease as the Kingdom looks to modernise its economy
  • Beyond oil: Privatisation of key state assets and strengthening of the sovereign wealth fund to diversify economic growth


  • More than a modest proposal: A series of reforms and privatisations to boost non-oil revenue
  • Interview: Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al Saud, President, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology
  • On the plus side: Fiscal reforms could see the Kingdom achieve a budget surplus
  • Interview: Abdullah Al Sagheir, Acting Governor, General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises
  • Interview: Ahmed S Al Rajhi, Chairman, Riyadh Chamber
  • Private affair: Ambitious privatisation of public assets targets diverse sectors
  • Concerted effort: Lower oil prices have helped increase Saudiisation rates
  • At the forefront: Sovereign investment fund assets to double under new roadmap
  • Starting young: Supporting nascent start-up culture among the youth population


  • Branching out: The state seeks diversification at home and increased links abroad
  • Interview: Ibrahim Al Omar, Governor, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority
  • Revised rulebook: A new Companies Law and updated corporate governance policies strengthen the business environment
  • Interview: Saleh Al Solami, Secretary General, Saudi Exports Development Authority


  • Showing resilience: Retail loans and stability ratios stay strong despite tightening liquidity and lower revenues
  • Viewpoint: Ahmed Alkholifey, Governor, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority
  • Going with the flow: Liquidity constraints ease with internal adjustments and external financing
  • Interview: Rania Nashar, CEO, Samba Financial Group
  • Strong results: Sharia-compliant banks maintain steady performances
  • Interview: Soren Nikolajsen, Managing Director, Alawwal Bank
  • A digital touch: Mobile banking uptake brings greater reach and innovative offerings


  • Encouraging signs: Market developments and a potential MSCI reclassification are tempering the effects of low oil prices and uncertainty
  • Interview: Mohammed El Kuwaiz, Chairman, Capital Market Authority
  • Interview: Sarah Al Suhaimi, Chair, Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul); and CEO, NCB Capital
  • The short of it: Introduction of short-selling on the Saudi Stock Exchange is set to add liquidity but raises questions
  • Interview: Majed Najm, CEO, HSBC Saudi Arabia


  • Other options: Positive economic outlook enhances venture capital and private equity opportunities
  • Changing the game: The GCC’s first parallel equity market is expected to support business growth
  • Interview: Khaled Al Aboodi, CEO, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector
  • Start me up: Promoting entrepreneurship and technology start-ups is a top priority


  • Protecting a nation: Various lines grow out of necessity and government rulings
  • Vital signs: Compulsory coverage has boosted the segment, and new regulations stand to change the market make-up
  • Interview: Abdulaziz Al Boug, CEO, Tawuniya
  • A new lease on life: Policy providers are considering new ways to improve take-up of life insurance, an underdeveloped line of business


  • Grand plans: Sustained focus on raising pilgrim numbers and expanding beyond religion-oriented tourism
  • Interview: Osama Al Bar, Mayor of Makkah
  • More room: Development of Al Faisaliah to ease pressure on Makkah and Jeddah


  • Jack of all trades: Investment across the board to help meet Vision 2030 objectives
  • Interview: Mazen Batterjee, Vice-Chairman, Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • A trip to the coast: Red Sea targeted for development of new entertainment offerings


  • A shift in priorities: The Kingdom is expanding its global refining capacity and branching out into renewable energy and international operations
  • Interview: Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary-General, Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
  • Vital investment: Developing the natural gas industry to diversify the domestic energy mix
  • Interview: Abdallah Al Subaiyyal, President and CEO, Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company
  • Turning east: The Kingdom strengthens ties with export markets in Asia
  • A historic listing: Preparations under way for the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco


  • The path to privatisation: The Kingdom works to meet rising demand for energy and water
  • Cold comfort: New air conditioning technology set to generate significant savings for the Kingdom
  • Interview: Ziyad Al Shiha, President and CEO, Saudi Electricity Company
  • Interview: Ali Alhazmi, Governor, Saline Water
  • Conversion Corporation
  • A sustainable future: Developing renewable energy potential is key to the kingdom’s economic ambitions
  • Interview: Thamer Al Sharhan, Managing Director, ACWA Power
  • Atomic growth: Initiatives and investments could see nuclear power generation take root


  • Roadmap for progress: Greater private sector participation to benefit the sector
  • Interview: Khalid Al Mudaifer, President and CEO, Ma’aden
  • Links in the chain: Investment in local suppliers and renewable energy is poised to provide greater employment opportunities
  • Interview: Mohammed Al Badr, Managing Director, Saudi Chemical
  • Interview: Khalid Al Amoudi, CEO, Saudi Red Bricks
  • Mined the gap: Economic diversification is set to favour mining development
  • All together: Developing industrial clusters is expected to increase efficiency and promote cohesion in the downstream segment
  • Innovation and expansion: Mega-complexes and mutual agreements are encouraging the development of petrochemicals production
  • Significant backing: The government is providing expanded financial services to support manufacturing development
  • Making deals: A number of high-profile bilateral agreements and international investments are reviving investor confidence
  • Getting the goods: The trade, manufacture and export of fast-moving consumer products appear set to expand with diversification efforts


  • Evolving defence: Diversification efforts drive localisation of arms manufacturing
  • Interview: Ahmed Al Khateeb, Chairman, Saudi Arabian Military Industries; and Advisor to the Minister of Defence
  • Partner up: Cooperation with the private sector is giving the industry a boost


  • Economic enabler: Mobile penetration rates remain high as competition increases
  • Interview: Abdullah Alswaha, Minister of Communication & Information Technology
  • Head start: Investment in young technology firms is in line with goals to diversify the economy
  • Interview: Prince Naif bin Sultan bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Kabeer, Chairman, Zain Saudi Arabia
  • Increased mobility: Smartphones and apps play an increasingly salient role in the daily lives of citizens
  • Interview: Essam Alshiha, CEO, Saudi Business Machines
  • Broad appeal: The rollout of expanded broadband is progressing rapidly, though fixed connections are far outnumbered by mobile subscriptions
  • Expansion on the horizon: Favourable forecast for the Kingdom’s e-commerce market
  • Future methods: Ground made towards achieving Saudiisation targets and enhancing digital channels for customers
  • Digital arms: Government initiatives help drive national digitisation evolution
  • A secure footing: Call for government legislation as cloud services intake grows


  • Switched on: Authorities focus on reshaping the media landscape
  • Interview: Ghassan Al Shibl, Board Member and Managing Director, Saudi Research and Marketing Group
  • Tuned in: Streaming services capitalise on demand


  • Far and wide: Plans are in full swing to move people and goods more efficiently around the Kingdom
  • On track: An expanding rail network benefits both traveller movement and freight operations
  • Interview: Nabeel Al Amudi, Minister of Transport
  • Interview: Rumaih Al Rumaih, President, Public Transport Authority
  • Making room: Airports and airlines are expanding capacity to accommodate growing demand
  • Unified procedures: The Kingdom joins international agreements to standardise logistics
  • Interview: Saleh bin Nasser Al Jasser, Director-General, Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Soft improvements: Ports begin to adapt digital systems and streamline processes
  • Moving the masses: Large cities across the country plan and implement public transport projects


  • Turning a page: Building activity picks up as the government launches new projects
  • Catalyst for growth: Introduction of a white land tax could engender a more active real estate market
  • Interview: Majed Al Hogail, Minister of Housing
  • Interview: Khalid S Aljasser, CEO, Arabian Centres
  • Suite success: Tourism drives hotel supply
  • From vision to reality: Investment under Vision 2030 bodes well for construction
  • Large-scale ambitions: Extensive development plans for cities in the west of the country unveiled


  • Forward thinking: Modernising the education system is central to long-term development goals
  • Interview: Ahmed Aleissa, Minister of Education
  • Skills for work: Focus shifts towards aligning the education system with the needs of business
  • A digital future: New emphasis on digital learning


  • The right prescription: Work is under way to optimise the use of hospitals and clinics
  • Interview: Dr Haitham Alfalah, CEO, King Saud Medical City
  • Looking inwards: The pharmaceuticals industry has ramped up domestic production in recent years
  • Device-driven expansion: Advances in technology are leading to significant changes across hospitals and health care facilities


  • Travel renaissance: The Kingdom prepares for higher numbers of domestic and international visitors
  • Interview: Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairperson and President, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH)
  • Meeting expectations: The niche segment of corporate events and conferences gains traction
  • Prioritising hospitality: Developing local human resources is integral to success


  • By both books: The tax regime stems from law and supporting regulations, as well as religious duty
  • Viewpoint: Riyadh Al Najjar, Country Senior Leader, PwC Saudi Arabia


  • Regulatory updates: New legislation geared towards attracting foreign investment and enhancing job opportunities for Saudi nationals
  • Viewpoint: Fahad Abuhimed, Managing Partner, Abuhimed Alsheikh Alhagbani Law Firm


  • Rest easy: Accommodation options
  • Listings: Helpful telephone numbers
  • Facts for visitors: Useful information for travellers
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  • ACWA Power
  • Alawwal Bank
  • Arabian Centres
  • Capital Market Authority
  • General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises
  • HSBC Saudi Arabia
  • Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector
  • Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology
  • King Saud Medical City
  • Ma’aden
  • NCB Capital
  • Riyadh Chamber
  • Saline Water
  • Samba Financial Group
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority
  • Saudi Arabian Military Industries
  • Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority
  • Saudi Business Machines
  • Saudi Chemical
  • Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH)
  • Saudi Electricity Company
  • Saudi Exports Development Authority
  • Saudi Red Bricks
  • Saudi Research and Marketing Group
  • Tawuniya
  • Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company
  • Zain Saudi Arabia
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