The UAE has emerged as the second largest foreign investor in Saudi Arabia after Japan but is set to top the list with the completion of the giant Economic City project (pictured above) in the Kingdom, according to official statistics.
During 2004-2006, the UAE’s cumulative investments in neighbouring Saudi Arabia totalled around $5.84 billion (Dh21.4bn), nearly 20 per cent of the total actual foreign direct investments (FDI) in the world’s dominant oil power, showed the statistics released by the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (Sagia).
Japan was the largest foreign investor in the Kingdom, pumping around $6.053bn into energy, industry and other sectors during that period.
France was the third largest, with a capital of around $4.11bn, followed by the United States, with $1.99bn and Canada with $1.94bn. Other key investors in Saudi Arabia are Malaysia with around $1.44bn, Bahrain with $1.35bn, China $1.10bn, Russia with around $1.09bn, the Netherlands with $871 million and Britain with $851m.
Sagia, which was created seven years ago to attract foreign capital within ongoing reforms, put total FDI in the Kingdom at $28.33bn during that period.
But it noted that the UAE is set to top foreign investors in Saudi Arabia following the approval of a SR100-billion ($26.5 billion) King Abdullah Economic City last year.
The City, to be built in the Red Sea port of Jeddah, is the largest private sector initiative ever undertaken in the oil-rich country.
In terms of projects licensed by Sagia, the UAE becomes the dominant foreign investor in Saudi Arabia, with a total committed capital of SR122.9bn, nearly 41 per cent of the overall FDIs licensed by the Saudi authority since it was established by a royal decree in April 2000.
Detailed statistics showed Sagia has licensed 3608 international projects with a total value of SR292.657bn until the end of June.
Other major foreign investors include the British Virgin Islands, Germany, Lebanon, Syria, Cayman Island and Bermuda. A breakdown showed the services sector has received the lion’s share of the foreign direct investment, with a total investment from international firm reaching SR150bn.