Saudi Arabia has seen slowdown in FDI due to coronavirus - investment minister

RIYADH/DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has experienced a slowdown in foreign direct investment (FDI) this year due to the global disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Investment Minister Khalid al Falih said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at a G20 press briefing, as Saudi Arabia holds the G20 presidency this year.

Falih said it was natural for Saudi Arabia to see a slowdown in foreign direct investment given the retrenchment of trade and investment globally, caused by the coronavirus crisis.

"Saudi Arabia is not isolated from the global community so we have experienced a slowdown," he said in response to a question on FDI this year.

Foreign direct investment to Saudi Arabia rose to $3.5 billion in the first nine months of 2019 from $3.18 billion a year earlier. Falih did not provide a figure for this year.

The Saudi government has made attracting greater foreign investment a cornerstone of its Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy of the world's largest oil exporter away from oil revenues.

Falih said domestic investment, however, was boosting "platforms for future growth," and mentioned mega projects that are central to Saudi Arabia's economic transformation plans.

"All of these developments currently led by the PIF (Public Investment Fund) and national institutions are going to be magnets attracting FDI from around the world," Falih said.




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