First Day of Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference Welcomes 1,600 financiers and investors from around the World;
Ministers Outline Plans to Support Saudi Vision 2030 On-Stage
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: More than 1,600 leading financiers, investors and business people met in Riyadh today at The Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference to hear from senior government ministers about Saudi Arabia’s strategy for sustainable economic development.
The Kingdom has introduced the bold new Saudi Vision 2030 roadmap, a far-reaching plan to move the economy to beyond oil by driving diversification and delivering growth through investment.
Saudi Arabia’s plan focuses on job creation and raising US$100 billion in non-oil revenue every year by 2030. Among the key aspects of the plan are the creation of a sovereign wealth fund, supported initially by the part-privatisation of Saudi Aramco; greater transparency and the reduction of energy subsidies; and a new visa programme to encourage long-term expats to keep their salaries within the Kingdom.
Senior minsters took to the stage at The Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference to explain how they plan to support Vision 2030 and the key steps that are already being taken.
In his opening keynote address H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance, praised the strong financial policy of the Kingdom and the important role it played in facing the challenges and consequences of the sharp decline in oil prices in the past two years. He said: “Our financial policy helped us boost domestic demand and strengthen the government’s financial position by building financial reserves and reducing debts to less than two percent of the Gross Domestic Product.” H.E. Dr. Al Assaf also praised the strong Saudi banking system and companies and their contribution to supporting domestic credit growth and investment, pointing out that the economic activity has continued to grow at a good rate, reaching 3.4 percent in 2015 driven by strong growth in non-oil sectors.”
Speaking about Vision 2030, H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf said: “This comprehensive vision aims at optimising our social, demographic, geographic and economic benefits and will contribute to the transformation and diversification of the Kingdom’s economy.”
Labour market reforms will also play a key role in delivering sustainable employment opportunities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The unemployment rate among Saudi nationals aged 30 or under averaged 29 percent in 2015. Increased collaboration between the private and public sectors will play a key role in providing improved job opportunities in the future.
Another key topic at The Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference was the update from The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), and the progress made to date in its opening to Qualified Foreign Investors (QFIs). On stage the CMA and Tadawul announced changes to settlements, short selling and thresholds.
Experts analysed the potential impact of these changes on KSA’s investment picture along with the impact of the proposed sale of the government stake in Aramco and its units on the stock market,
In all, participants in the day’s conference expressed their excitement about the potential for development being created by the wave of reforms taking place in the Kingdom.
Ahmed Alhatti, Chairman of Cayan Group, who was a contributing panellist on the “Saudi Macro Economic Outlook’ discussion, said: “All the attendees at the first day of The Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference have been impressed and enthused by the Kingdom’s strong vision for economic development. The event has also provided an important opportunity to discuss key issues with national and international financial institutions, to support investors’ demand to find sustainable investments that deliver long-term value.”
This year’s Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference runs until 4 May at the Al Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh. For more information on the Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference, visit http://www.euromoneyconferences.com/saudi.