Employment, Infrastructure, Education and Sustainable Growth are Top Priorities for Government – Minister of Finance
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia : The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s new leadership is prioritising investment in order to achieve sustainable growth and deliver a number of key strategic goals, according to H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of Finance, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in remarks made at the opening of Euromoney Saudi Arabia 2015.
The 10th Anniversary Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference saw more than 1,900 pre-registered delegates in Riyadh to learn more about the development of Saudi Arabia’s economy and its financial sector, as well as the opportunities available to private finance in this new era.
H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf said that the Kingdom is successfully managing the economic challenges caused by fluctuations in oil prices and was continuing to invest in infrastructure, education, health and social service programmes in order to meet key targets.
H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf said: “The Kingdom’s economy has witnessed very strong growth rates over the last five years, at an average of 5% annually, thanks to the on-going expansion of the non-oil industries and our strategy of diversification. This has helped significantly to minimise the impact of fluctuations in the oil sector on the Kingdom’s overall economic performance. The government’s continuous effort to develop partnerships with the private sector is proving fruitful, as this establishes a favourable environment for investments, helping the private sector achieve 6-8% growth across non-oil sector businesses over the last five years.”
Thanks to on-going public investment, supported by the dynamic private sector, the Kingdom is set to build on its position as the leading regional economy. In particular, support for the SME sector will help drive growth in the future, as well as creating employment opportunities for the young people of Saudi Arabia.
In his comments, His Excellency noted the strong performance of the Kingdom’s banking sector, which continues to show good liquidity, profitability and capital.
Also speaking on the first day was H.E. Mr. Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Chairman, Capital Market Authority, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who spoke about the plans in place to open the US$ 590 billion Saudi stock market to foreign investors on 15 June.
The Saudi Capital Market Authority is set to publish the rules regulating direct foreign investment on 4 May 2015, which will come into effect on 1 June 2015. The move is set to make Saudi Arabia one of the biggest emerging market indexes available to investors, and has been warmly received by the financial sector – the market is currently up more than 17 percent in 2015.
H.E. Mr. Mohammed Al-Jadaan, explained that Saudi Arabia is seeking gradual growth from the Qualified Foreign Investors (QFI) initiative, and is looking to encourage institutional investors.
Also representing the Kingdom on the first day of the Conference were Ziyad Mohammed Al-Shiha, President and Chief Executive Officer, Saudi Electricity Company and Tariq Al-Sudairy, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Jadwa Investment.
Joining them were keynote interviews with Jean Lemierre, Chairman, BNP Paribas and Yahya Alyahya, Chief Executive Officer, Gulf International Bank, and Chairman, Gulf International Bank (UK) Limited.
Saudi Arabia has been taking steps to liberalise its economy and strengthen its investment credentials in recent years, and the Kingdom has seen a number of significant changes in government ministries and major enterprises in 2015.
For the international financial community, the Kingdom remains one of the most exciting opportunities for development, and this year’s Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference – which focuses heavily on practical opportunities for private finance – is providing an essential insight.
For more information, visit www.euromoneyconference.com/ saudi.html.
About Euromoney Conferences:
Euromoney Conferences (www.euromoneyconferences.com) is the leading organiser of financial events in both developed and developing markets. Euromoney runs large-scale events in the major financial capitals of the world and in selected Middle Eastern countries – notably Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait and now Qatar. Euromoney Institutional Investor plc was founded in 1969, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation in excess of $2bn.