The much anticipated 2030 Vision for Saudi Arabia prepared by the Council of Economic and Development Affairs has received the endorsement of the Council of Ministers on Monday 25 April 2016. The 2030 Vision sets forth a comprehensive programme for the socio-economic progress of the Kingdom based on certain key pillars such as the Kingdom’s status in the Islamic world, its determination to become a global investment powerhouse and its strategic geo-political position in the region. Overall, the Vision 2030 promises a better Kingdom for its citizens and residents.
From the perspective of foreign direct investment in the Kingdom, the key areas that are identified as of strategic importance, and should therefore be of interest to foreign investors, are:
(a) manufacturing for localising renewable energy and industrial equipment sectors;
(b) mining sector where incentives for and benefit from exploration are promised;
(c) gas production and national gas distribution network development;
(d) tourism, leisure and entertainment sector;
(e) privatisation of government services and increase of private sector’s contribution in the national GDP through public private partnership in telecommunication, IT, healthcare and education sectors;
(f) renewable energy (solar and wind) projects with a target of developing a generation capacity of at least 9.5 GW by 2030 and localisation of the value chain including research, development and manufacturing;
(g) real estate, particularly housing development to increase the housing ownership; and
(h) retail sector with modern trade and e-commerce will be incentivised to attract both regional and international retail investors and by easing restrictions on ownership and foreign investment.
In addition to the foregoing, the Kingdom will be focusing on increasing the capacity for religious tourism, such as Umrah from the current level of 8 million visitors an ambitious target of 30 million every year by 2030. This vision alone is set to increase economic activities in the cities of Mecca and Medina to a significant extent.
Rehabilitation of economic cities and establishment of special economic zones are also on the agenda for 2030 Vision, however further details are expected to be covered in later developments in this context.
Overall, the 2030 Vision is proposed to be based on the principles of transparency, inclusivity, organisation, productivity, education and work-life balance with emphasis on developing a better future for the people.
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