Riyadh, September 7, 2022:
His Excellency the Minister of Finance, Mohammed bin Abdullah AlJadaan, inaugurated today the “Euromoney Saudi 2022" Conference, which is organized by Euromoney Conferences in partnership with the Financial Sector Conference, under the slogan “Institutionalization of Investment and Finance", in the presence of a number of Their Excellencies the Ministers and Heads of Sectors of the financial system, and a number of officials and specialists in the financial and economic sectors at the local and international levels.
During his speech at the inauguration of the conference, His Excellency explained that hosting this important event "comes in conjunction with continuing to reap more positive results from the comprehensive reforms that our country has witnessed over the past years achieving the objectives of the programs of the Kingdom's Vision 2030." He noted that "in spite of the several challenges the world has faced over the past few years, the Saudi economy has emerged stronger than ever, as the non-oil economy grew by 5.4% in the second quarter of 2022 in real terms compared to the same period in the previous year. The GDP also grew by 11.8%."
According to the International Monetary Fund for 2022, The GDP growth for the Kingdom is expected to reach 7.6%, and the Kingdom is the only G20 country that the International Monetary Fund has upgraded its forecast for its growth twice in 2022, with the expected continued high rates of GDP growth for 2023 and in the following years.
He added: “The challenges faced by the world, including the Kingdom, during the past two years have proven the effectiveness of the Kingdom's vision, especially in the face of shocks. The Kingsom was able to deal with these challenges thanks to the huge infrastructure investments that enabled business continuity, in addition to the speed of response and decision-making, which contributed significantly to providing the right support at the right time, including launching stimulus packages and activating support tools for the citizens and the private sector, believing in its importance. The Kingdom aims to raise its contribution to the GDP to 65% by 2030."
AlJadaan indicated that the Kingdom is still continuing to implement the vision programs, and is continuing its reforms and expanding the economic base, noting that in terms of developing an advanced financial market (one of the pillars of the financial sector development program), a link is established with Euroclear, the provider of post-trading services through the Securities Depository Center Company (Edaa). He added that the Financial Sector Development Program launched a financial technology strategy that seeks to keep pace with the rapid development in financial technology and achieve qualitative leaps in the field of financial services that keep pace with the continuous development in business and services. Adding that the strategy seeks to increase the number of financial technology companies operating in the Kingdom to 230 by 2025, and to increase the share of non-cash transactions to 70% by 2025, pointing out that venture investment in the Kingdom achieved, during the first half of 2022, a growth of 244% compared to the first half of 2021, exceeding the total funds invested in Saudi startups in the whole of 2021, with record investments amounting to two billion and 190 million Riyals.
In terms of housing, the Finance Minister indicated that the rate of household ownership in the Kingdom increased from 47% in 2016 to more than 60%, through the development of support mechanisms in partnership with the private sector.
In terms of maintaining the sustainability and stability of public finances and economic growth rates, he explained that the financial sustainability program contributed to controlling the deficit rates and strengthening the Kingdom's financial position to face shocks, in addition to introducing many structural reforms in the process of preparing the country's general budget and and raising spending efficiency.
AlJadaan stressed that the sustainable economy and green transformation have a special place in Vision 2030, pointing that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is moving forward at an accelerating pace towards facing the challenges of climate change, as it made clear commitments to achieve zero emissions neutrality by 2060. A package of initiatives has also been launched that will contribute to reducing carbon emissions by more than 278 million tons annually, in addition to increasing the production capacity of renewable energy with the aim of saving 50% of electricity production inside the Kingdom, implementing programs to raise energy efficiency and investing in clean hydrocarbon technology projects. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also announced investments worth more than 700 billion Riyals to contribute to the development of the green economy, create quality job opportunities, and provide huge investment opportunities for the private sector, in accordance with the Kingdom's Vision 2030 and Green Saudi Initiative.
His Excellency AlJadaan noted the decrease in the unemployment rate among Saudis to its lowest level, reaching about 10.1% during the first quarter of 2022, compared to about 11.0% during the fourth quarter of the year 2021, and this rate is the lowest during the past ten years. The Kingdom's government has been able to control inflation rates at much lower levels than most countries of the world. The average inflation rate until July of this year was about 2.1% compared to the same period last year, thanks to the policies adopted by the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques under the direct supervision and guidance of the leader and inspirer of Saudi Arabia's Vision, the Crown Prince.
The conference discussed six main topics, including: “Saudi Arabia's economy in the context of global outlook", “climate change and ESG", “the role of ESG in the Kingdom's economy", “institutionalizing the real estate market, housing, logistics, tourism and hospitality and REITS", digitizing financial services, and developing investment capital in the Kingdom. The conference reviewed the latest trends in the regional and global financial markets by bringing together senior financial policy and decision makers to draw a future picture of the Kingdom's economy for the post-Covid-19 pandemic.
During the conference, a number of key interviews were conducted with: His Excellency the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, Majid bin Abdullah AlHogail; His Excellency the Chairman of the Board of the Capital Market Authority, Mohammed bin Abdullah AlQuwaiz; the President of Mercer in Asia, the Middle East and Africa (AMEA), Renee McGowan; and the Ambassador, Advisor and Co-founder of Seven Investment Management, Justin Urquhart Stewart.
The Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference is a vital platform that reflects the reality of the Kingdom's economy in light of the developments the country is witnessing, and hosting it this year coincides with the Kingdom's transformation into an investment center in the region.