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Saudi Round-Up: Grand Strides Toward Vision 2030

Weekly Roundups

30 Apr 2024

AstroLabs Team

At eight years into this 16-year growth roadmap, this week’s round-up includes a special focus on the Kingdom’s progress toward Vision 2030 as well as general business and economy, biotechnology, IT, logistics, and tourism.

From April 23 to 29, 2024

Focus on Vision 2030

The annual report for 2023 reveals that 87% of the plan’s 1064 initiatives have either been realized or are on target. A massive 197 out of 243 KPIs were fully realized by the end of 2023, and 176 exceeded expectations.

Tourism is among the most striking successes, with the country welcoming 106 million visitors in 2023. This has made Saudi Arabia the second-fastest-growing tourism destination in the world.

The Saudi hospitality sector is pivotal to the Kingdom’s economic diversification. In response to surpassing its goal to reach 100 million visitors by 2030, Saudi Arabia increased the goal by 50%. It is currently on track, investing in world-class infrastructure, real estate, tourist experiences, and hospitality, driven by Vision 2030 objectives.

According to Ahmed Al-Suwaiyan, Governor of the Digital Government Authority, digital transformation is critical to achieving Vision 2030. Digital transformation improves efficiency and productivity while reducing costs, which benefits governments, citizens, and businesses.

At the halfway point on the journey to realization of Vision 2030, the Kingdom ranks above China, Germany, and the UK for economic competitiveness. According to the International Institute for Management Development, Saudia Arabia reached sixth place worldwide for economic performance, 11th for government efficiency, and 13th for business efficiency.

General Business and Economy

Saudi Non-Oil Exports Up by 4.4%

According to official data from the General Authority for Statistics, the Kingdom’s non-oil exports rose 4.4% in February compared to February 2023. This means the sector is now valued at $5.83 billion, up from $5.58 billion compared to the same period last year.

The uptick can be attributed to rubber and plastic exports, which comprised almost a quarter of all exports, driving economic diversification in line with Vision 2030 objectives.

Global SWF Expects Saudi PIF to Manage $2 Trillion in Assets by 2030

According to Global SWF, which monitors sovereign wealth bodies, the Saudi PIF is poised to have $2 trillion in assets under management by 2030, which moves it from 5th place to 2nd place globally.

Global SWF attributed this advance to the PIF’s focus on direct investments, vital economic sectors, sustainability, and the growing digital economy. The fund has become a prominent force globally as it moves toward becoming the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund by 2030.

Saudi Venture Capitalism is Fueling Entrepreneurs and Innovation

Saudi Arabia’s venture capital achieved an 86% compound annual growth rate between 2019 and 2023. This took venture capital investment in the Kingdom beyond $1 billion and catalyzed entrepreneurship and innovation.

Mohammed Al-Zubi, founder of Saudi VC company Nama Ventures, underscored the vibrant entrepreneurial landscape in the Kingdom, which fosters business innovation and economic growth and invites significant investments, in line with Vision 2030.


ICT Spending to Reach $37.5 Billion by Close of 2024

Speaking at the ICT Indicators Forum in Riyadh on April 24, Jyoti Lalchandani, regional managing director of research company IDC, reported that the Kingdom’s technology market is demonstrating the fastest growth in the MENA region.

The driver behind this growth is a significant technology spending increase, which is predicted to reach $37.5 billion by the close of 2024. Spending on AI, big data, IoT, and cybersecurity is expected to increase, strengthening the Kingdom’s position as a technology hub.

Saudi Biotechnology Sector Should See Double-Digit Growth by 2030

According to US-based consultancy Arthur D Little, the biotechnology market could grow from $1.5 trillion in 2023 to $4 trillion by 2030.

The sector's growth will be fueled by demand for improved healthcare and an investment of 2.5% of GDP into research and development by 2040. This is predicted to add $16 billion to the Kingdom’s economy.


New Law to Enhance Logistics Across the Kingdom

The Saudi Cabinet has approved a land transport law that should simplify procedures, enhance organization, improve safety, and elevate service quality throughout the GCC region.

Saleh Al-Jasser, Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistic Services, underlined the positive effect of investment in road safety, transportation sustainability, and fair competition in alignment with the National Strategy for Transportation and Logistics Services.

Tourism & Real Estate

Tourism Minister Announces 10% Rise in Tourism Figures in First Quarter of 2024

At a panel titled “Vacationomics” at the World Economic Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb underscored the growth of tourism in the Kingdom. The number of tourists increased by 10% in the first three months of 2024, while tourist spending increased by over 17%.

ROSHN Launches ALDANAH Integrated Community

Saudi PIF-owned ROSHN is expanding In Greater Dammam, Eastern Province, developing

2,500 homes across 1.7 million square meters. ALDANAH is ROSHN’s second development in the Eastern Province and its first integrated community.

The project focuses on residences for everyone and is set to provide almost 10,000 inhabitants with a mall, retail centers, primary healthcare, mosques, and six schools.

Al-Khateeb pointed to the near-doubling of tourism revenue from $34 to $66 billion last year and emphasized the tourism sector’s importance for economic diversification and growth.

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