French investments in Saudi Arabia top $21.3bn

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has emerged as one of the top destinations for French investment, estimated at more than SR80 billion ($21.3 billion) according to a new report.
It comes amid a raft of expected partnerships between the pair with Saudi Aramco set to sign eight deals worth $10 billion, Al-Arabiya reported on Monday.
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) released new data to coincide with the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to France.
“The growing interest of French companies in the Saudi markets comes in response to the development of Saudi-French relations politically and economically, boosted by the deep-rooted ties of both countries,” said SAGIA.
The visit by the crown prince to France follows trips to the US and UK as the Kingdom looks to strengthen ties with key trading partners as it drives through a social and economic reform agenda.

There are 179 French licensed projects in Saudi Arabia, covering a range of sectors. Most of these licenses were issued in the services sector, followed by the industrial space, SAGIA said.
The report highlighted ongoing reforms that are being driven by Saudi Vision 2030 — including speedier business registration with investment licenses issued as quickly as four hours.
“France is among the targeted countries to attract specific investments that would contribute in diversifying the Kingdom’s production base,” SAGIA said.
Saudi Arabia wants to make it into the top 20 countries listed in the Global Competitiveness Report by 2020, rising to a top 10 ranking by 2030.
“Major economic reforms are bringing more and more investments in the Kingdom,” said Mohammed Al-Khunaizi, a member of the Shoura Council.
He added: “France has been keen on investing in Saudi Arabia, a move which will bring technology and wealth, and create jobs for the country’s youth.
“The Kingdom’s strategic partner is a technologically advanced country, and the relationship with France will help the country grow technologically in a big way,” said the Shoura member.
Saudi-French relations date back to King Faisal’s visit in 1967, when the two sides first set about building stronger ties. Saudi-French relations have grown from strength to strength in the following five decades.

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