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Saudi Round-Up: Increased UK-Saudi Synergies, and Opportunities in Strategic Sectors

Saudi Weekly Roundups

21 May 2024

Maha Anwar

This week’s round-up highlights the beginning of the Future Aviation Forum, with additional news across aviation, fintech, healthcare, industry and manufacturing, real estate, technology, sustainability, and tourism.

From 14 to 20 May 2024

General Business and Economy

Riyadh’s Grade A Office Rentals Increase By 5% in First Quarter of 2024

According to global real estate firm Savills, prime rental real estate in the Kingdom saw a 5% growth in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.

This year, almost three quarters of Savill’s inquiries regarding property originated from overseas and more than a third of inquiries were from corporations in the US, reflecting the growing confidence in Riyadh’s economic and strategic potential.

Exponential Growth for Saudi’s Venture Capital Sector

Among the most notable players in Saudi Venture Capital is Saudi Venture Capital Co., which has recently invested $30 million in US-based investment firm General Atlantic.

Saudi Arabia’s thriving venture capital sector is buoyed by the country’s strong economic diversification strategy, and the effects of its successes are felt across continents.

Saudi Has Developed 60 Initiatives in Partnering With the UK

According to the Kingdom’s Minister of Commerce, Majid Al-Qasabi, trade between the two countries has increased by a third since 2018, reaching more than $99.12 billion. British investment into the Saudi economy surpassed $5.47 billion in 2022.

The UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden noted that there are yet more opportunities for future collaboration, including healthcare and drawing on Saudi’s significant expertise in artificial intelligence.

Aviation

Future Aviation Forum to Help Attain Vision 2030 Objectives

The Future Aviation Forum held in Riyadh from May 20 to May 22 is themed “Elevating Global Connectivity” and is set to highlight the growing innovation and success of the Saudi aviation sector.

The event is attracting industry experts, leaders, and officials from around the globe and should incentivize investment in Saudi aerospace. Saudi aviation aims to generate $100 billion by 2030.

Kingdom Completes Largest Ever Aviation Deal

Saudia Group’s $19 billion order of 105 additional Airbus aircraft marks the largest aircraft deal the Kingdom has ever seen.

Director General of Saudia Group Ibrahim Al-Omar noted that such expansion was necessary to meet growing demand as Vision 2030 attracts more travelers every year.

Saudi Aviation Industry Projected to Create 35,000 Jobs by 2030

Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistic Services Saleh Al-Jasser spoke of the significance of the aviation sector at the Future Aviation Forum’s opening ceremony on Monday.

According to Saudi’s first-ever “State of Aviation” report, the sector contributed $21 billion to the GDP in 2023, aiding Saudi’s economic transformation and helping to fulfil Vision 2030 objectives.

Fintech

SAMA Approves Hala Debt-Based Crowdfunding

Saudi-based Hala Payments Co., which offers inbound and outbound payment services to 50,000+ merchants, is the 11th firm licensed to operate this kind of business in the Kingdom, making 62 authorized finance companies in Saudi Arabia.

Healthcare

AI and Tech to Continue Saudi Healthcare Transformation

On day two of the GREAT Futures Conference in Riyadh, Saudi and UK experts noted that artificial intelligence and technology could have a massive positive impact on Saudi’s rapidly-evolving healthcare sector.

CEO of the Health Sector Transformation Program Dr. Khalid Al-Shaibani, underlined how the Kingdom has prioritized digital health to enhance healthcare and stimulate the economy.

Industry and Manufacturing

Saudi White Cement Market Poised for Significant Growth from 2024 to 2028

According to Amr Nader, CEO and co-founder of cement consultancy A3&Co, the Kingdom’s cement industry is expected to maintain its global leadership.

This is thanks in part to projects like NEOM and Qiddiya increasing demand for high-quality cement and in part due to digital innovation and maturity, which will help the sector meet decarbonization targets.

Real Estate

Saudi Legislation Changes to Grow Real Estate Sector

The Kingdom has demonstrated its prioritization of the real estate sector with 18 pieces of legislation, outlined during the Saudi Exhibition for Real Estate Development and Ownership (SEREDO) held in Jeddah.

The initiative aims to drive sector growth and grow its contribution to GDP in line with Vision 2030. Real estate contributed 5.9% to GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023, which was a 12.1% contribution to non-oil activities.

Technology

Saudi Center for Space Futures to Support $2 Trillion Global Space Economy

Saudi Arabia’s Center for Space Futures is set to foster collaboration between space industries, commercial firms, and the public sector to accelerate space technologies and develop the growing space economy, which is projected to reach about $2 trillion wordlwide by 2035.

Saudi ICT Spending Reaches $11 Billion

According to new data from the Kingdom’s Digital Government Authority, Saudi Arabia’s ICT spending increased by 20% in the last year to reach $11.16 billion.

The increased investment has had direct, positive results on the digital economy through enhanced government services and high-quality health and social development for a better quality of life.

Sustainability

Arab Energy Fund Signs $200 Million Deal with Dussur to Invigorate Greenfield Energy

The Arab Energy Fund’s $200 million funding deal with Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Co. is set to accelerate and facilitate financing for greenfield projects promoted by Dussur.

The deal echoes the Kingdom’s continuing economic diversification and will maximize Dussur’s positive effect on the economy.

Key Minerals for Energy Transition Market Expected to Reach $770 Billion by 2040

According to the International Energy Agency, more investments are required to achieve net-zero emissions mid-century. Thus, the market size for the key minerals required for the energy transition is expected to reach $770 billion by 2040.

Investment in mining is critical to the country’s sustainability objectives because energy transitions necessitate a resilient and diversified supply of critical materials.

Tourism

Baheej Reveals Yanbu Waterfront Development

Baheej Tourism Development Co. showcased a new waterfront development project in Yanbu.

The development is a collaboration between PIF-owned ASFAR and the Tamimi-AWN Alliance and will provide a gateway to the Red Sea Riviera to enhance tourism while combining culture, regional development, and luxury hospitality.

The Kingdom continues to facilitate opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs across its main sectors. Bookmark us to stay up to date with the latest market developments and deals throughout the Kingdom.

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