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Davos: Saudi Arabia Renews Commitment to Fostering Equitable Investment Environment

Davos: Saudi Arabia Renews Commitment to Fostering Equitable Investment Environment

Friday, 26 January, 2018 - 10:30
A Davos logo is seen before the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland January 15, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Saudi ministers reassured foreign investors on Thursday, stressing their commitment to fighting corruption and creating a transparent investment environment.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan encouraged foreign investors to enter the Saudi market, confirming that "quality and price will determine your success."

Saudi philanthropist and entrepreneur Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, Trade and Investment Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, and Blackstone Group CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman, attended the session moderated by CNBC anchor Hadley Gamble.

“Investors have pumped record capital into the Saudi stock markets in recent weeks, after having it previously declined with the Kingdom's anti-corruption campaign,” said Jadaan.

He referred the spike to investors recognizing that the anti-corruption crackdown was in favor of transparency and accountability and were positive for both the national economy and the investment environment.

The Kingdom today is different, not as it was five years ago, Jadaan remarked.

“We are working on reforming government work and licensing system to make investors feel more welcome in Saudi Arabia. We also want to assure investors that the law is above everyone and it will be applied in a clear and transparent manner."

Commenting on the campaign against corruption, Jadaan said it aims to create an equitable and transparent investment environment.

"Those arrested in the campaign are suspected of embezzling the equivalent of $100 billion in public funds," he said.

Jadaan reiterated that Vision 2030 will reform and diversify the economy to liberate the country from its dependence on government spending and instead gain income from areas such as entertainment and tourism. It also is reforming socially, legally and culturally.

He stressed that the project had brought more alignment within the government: “We have one target and we know where we are going.”

"In the past, we missed a culture of planning, looking ahead and anticipating events," Qasabi said.

“Now, every ministry has set goals that are going to be achieved, according to a deliberate process," he continued.

Qasabi also talked about increased investment, describing it as a "reaction" to a welcoming investment environment.

"The first thing that Saudi Arabia has done in this context is to reform regulatory laws and introduce laws such as bankruptcy, mortgage and franchise laws, which will soon be announced," he said.

He also noted Saudi Arabia's intention to facilitate investment through easing administrative work, privatization and combating corruption.

"We are working to stimulate the private sector and small and medium-sized enterprises," he said.

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