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Saudi Roundup: Financial and Tourism Sectors Spearheading Innovation

Saudi Weekly Roundups

9 Jul 2024

Maha Anwar

Our Saudi Round-Up series gives the most impactful news across KSA at a glance.

From 2 to 8 July 2024

This week’s round-up demonstrates the Kingdom’s growth through technology and tourism, with positive news from the sustainability sector and significant growth in general business and the economy.

General Business and Economy

Private Sector Sees 78% Growth in Business Registrations

The Saudi Ministry of Commerce’s issuance of more than 120,000 commercial registrations marks a year-on-year growth of 78%. In the second quarter of 2024, annual e-commerce records issued increased by 17.47% to almost 40,700 registrations.

The most significant change was seen in logistics, container handling, and artificial intelligence. Cloud computing, arts and entertainment, passenger transportation, pharmaceuticals, mining, and e-gaming also saw more commercial registrations.

Private Sector Workforce Surpasses 11.4 Million

According to the National Labor Observatory, the Saudi private sector employed 11.37 million workers in May, an increase of 30,880 nationals and 1.24% compared to April.

The growth in nationals working in the private sector demonstrates the effectiveness of the Kingdom’s initiatives to stimulate the economy. Reducing unemployment to 7% by strengthening the private sector is a key goal of Saudi Vision 2030.

Saudi Arabia Stability Lauded at London Stock Exchange

Business leaders at the London Stock Exchange’s BMG Economic Forum emphasized the resilience of the Kingdom’s economy, notably its energy sector.

The business experts underscored the commitment and clarity of Saudi Vision 2030, highlighting the Saudi PIF and giga projects, which are driving economic diversification and transformation.

Saudi PIF Achieves 2nd Place in Global Ranking of Sovereign Wealth Bodies

The 2024 Governance, Sustainability, and Resilience (GSR) Scoreboard ranks The Saudi Public Investment Fund 2nd out of 100 sovereign wealth funds.

The report, which measures factors including transparency, responsible investing, impact, and long-term sustainability, shows that the PIF improved its score from 92% last year to 96%. Of all sovereign wealth funds on the list, it deployed the most fresh capital during the last five and a half years.

PIF Revenue Grows 100% to 88.22 Billion

The Saudi PIF’s total revenues more than doubled in 2023, reaching $88.22 billion.

The PIF has approximately $925 billion in assets under management and is a key driver of economic diversification under the Vision 2030 transformation plan.

Saudi Liquidity Reaches Record $753 Billion

The Kingdom’s liquidity has reached its highest-ever level, reaching around $753 billion at the end of May, an annual growth of around 8.6%.

Liquidity levels grew about 1.2% in May compared to April, supporting economic and commercial activity and contributing to the economic diversification goals of Vision 2030.

Riyadh to Be Among Top 15 Fastest-Growing Cities by 2033

Savills Growth Hubs Index projects that Riyadh will be one of the top 15 fastest-growing cities by 2033. It attributes the growth to its 26% population increase and ongoing government investment.

The estimated growth aligns with Vision 2030 objectives, which are driving the city’s transformation into a residential and business hub as part of the Kingdom’s economic diversification.

Sustainability

Kingdom to Turn 3 Million Tonnes of Plastic Waste into Fuel Per Year

The Kingdom expects to process 3 million tonnes of plastic waste annually to create fuel in six governorates.

The plastic waste management project is anticipated to reduce carbon emissions by more than 1,790,000 tonnes per year, which will make a significant contribution to a greener future and the achievements of Saudi Arabia’s environmental sustainability goals.

Technology

AI and Cloud Signups Propel Saudi Tech Sector in Q2

According to the Saudi Ministry of Investment, AI technology registrations surged by 53% compared to the previous year. Cloud computing grew by a massive 43%.

These figures reflect the Kingdom’s growing position as a technology hub and global leader in innovation and digital. Saudi Arabia continues to move toward more flexible and scalable IT infrastructures. Meanwhile, leveraging AI is set to revolutionize sectors, including healthcare, finance, and transportation.

Saudi POS Spending Surges 48% June 23 to 29

POS spending in the Kingdom increased by 48% in the last week of June, growing to $3.29 billion.

According to data from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA), the education sector saw the most significant increase, followed by transportation and POS spending on construction and building supplies.

Tourism

Saudi Tourist Spending Up 23% to $12 Billion

Inbound visitors to Saudi Arabia spent 23% more in the first quarter of 2024 than in the same period last year. According to tourism ministry data, spending by tourists reached $12 billion in the first three months of this year.

In February, the Ministry of Tourism announced 106 million visits to Saudi Arabia in 2023, surpassing the country’s goal of 100 million annual visitors by 2030. Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb emphasized that the government would invest more than $800 billion into giga-projects, including Neom, Qiddiya, Diriyah, and Red Sea, to boost the tourist industry.

The Kingdom continues to grow and transform its urban, cultural, and economic landscapes with dynamic leadership, innovative companies like Neom, and support from the Saudi PIF. Bookmark us and come back next week for the latest news shaping Saudi Arabia.

Contact a Saudi business setup consultant today to start your expansion journey to the Kingdom.

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