Investment Minister Khaled Al-Falih revealed that the Kingdom intends to launch special economic zones in 2021, pointing out that foreign direct investment in the Kingdom increased by 12% in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period a year ago.Al-Falih said in a press conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit chaired by Saudi Arabia, yesterday (Saturday): “Vision 2030 to diversify the sources of the economy away from oil has become more popular today than ever before, and the Kingdom is emerging from the Corona virus pandemic with a strong economy and a solid private sector, and I am happy. To say that foreign direct investment, which is my focus, recorded an increase of 12% in the first half compared to last year. In his response to Al-Arabiya’s question, he explained that the beginning of next year will witness the launch of an investment strategy with target numbers. Quantitative growth will be accompanied by the pursuit of qualitative growth. He stated that this trend in attracting foreign investments comes after investments in Saudi Arabia were dominated by the character of hydrocarbons and heavy industries, which are a fundamental pillar of the Kingdom’s economy.
He noted that the next phase will focus efforts on investments that are smaller, but have greater impact, such as cloud computing, renewable energy, artificial intelligence, tourism, quality of life, logistical structure, and others. He mentioned that the G20 this year has done what has not been done previously to confront the Corona pandemic, explaining that $ 21 billion has been allocated to support efforts to find a vaccine for Covid-19 disease. He stated: “The global economy will shrink less than previously expected, but 11 trillion. A dollar allocated to help the global economy face the challenges that do not stop at the pandemic alone. And he considered that Saudi Arabia has proven successful in dealing with the Corona pandemic due to its rational decisions, describing the pandemic as having demonstrated the disparity of countries in dealing with crises. The Minister of Investment stressed the importance of the G20 summit this year, which is preparing the world for the future to face challenges such as the pandemic. He added, “The Trade Organization indicated that 12 countries are aiming to reduce customs duties, and the IMF has improved its expectations about the performance of the Saudi economy in 2020.” He stated that the recent oil crisis is not the first that Saudi Arabia has overcome. Riyadh will host, today and tomorrow, the G20 leaders’ summit, the first of its kind in the Arab world. It is noteworthy that the summit seeks to find an international consensus on the economic issues on the agenda. The summit agenda includes a number of issues, the most important of which are energy, climate, digital economy, health care and education.