Private investment boosts Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification plans

LONDON, Feb. 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As is the case with many other Gulf states, economic diversification is high on Saudi Arabia’s list of priorities. To escape its oil dependence, the Kingdom has launched an initiative dubbed “Vision 2030,” focusing on boosting private sector participation in the economy.

Broadening revenue streams in a country where the petroleum sector represents more than 90 percent of GDP will not be easy however. Among a number of government proposals, efforts will concentrate on attracting foreign capital into Saudi Arabia by relaxing the rules on foreign ownership of public equity shares. Social reforms, including the recent decision to end the ban on women driving, will also help the country to tap into the immense potential of its workforce.

Although public sector institutions surely have a role to play in weaning Saudi Arabia off its oil dependency, so too does the private sector. As one of the country’s leading investment firms, MASIC has proved essential for supplying the capital that many businesses, particularly SMEs, need in order to grow.

As explained by CEO Ihsan Bafakih in an article for World Finance magazine, MASIC has offered strategic support to its portfolio companies across industries ranging from real estate to agriculture. The company thus provides a significant boon to Saudi Arabia’s steadily growing private sector.

With MASIC increasing liquidity in the domestic market and the government in Riyadh encouraging greater foreign investment, there is genuine optimism that Saudi Arabia can meet its diversification aims by 2030, if not before.

“It’s remarkable to reflect on the pace of change in the Kingdom over the last year; development is happening at a breath-taking speed,” Bafakih writes in World Finance. “Consequently, the Saudi landscape will likely be significantly different in ten years’ time. With more competition in industries, less reliance on oil, more foreign ownership and women in the workplace, the possibilities for the Kingdom are endless.”

For more about MASIC and the role that it is playing in Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification, check out an exclusive article by CEO Ihsan Bafakih in latest edition of World Finance, available in print, on tablet and online now.

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World News Media
Elizabeth Matsangou
Editorial Department
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