For most of us living in the Middle East, the past decade has been no less than a roller coaster ride. As we coped with the financial crisis of 2008 and the market started to recover, major economies like the UAE and KSA took a bold and ambitious stand to make the region a powerhouse. We have seen globalisation transform the region while welcoming new businesses, entrepreneurs, media, artists and talents from across the globe. It is a success story that changed so many lives.
The Middle East region has seen the launch of the most ambitious visions that have snowballed into transformation at a hyper speed. Such as the UAE Vision 2021, KSA’s Vision 2030, Qatar National Vision 2030, Egypt’s Vision 2030, and many more initiatives launched to support the growth of the region’s economy. They are powerful national transformation visions with the conviction to facilitate exponential growth.
The UAE launched a very ambitious vision to position the country on the global map and make it a business hub. And today, we all can see the position the country has acquired on a global scale. With the launch of The Fifa World Cup, Qatar has aggressively positioned itself as a sports hub with an investment of about $200bn to host the world for the most awaited sports tournament.
With the launch of KSA’s Vision 2030, the country rolled out plans to revamp each sector, announced investment, liberalised business regulations and developed infrastructure as it embarked on a journey to bring widespread and long-lasting change.
Six years since the launch of the Vision, the Kingdom has seen a quantum leap across sectors. With international businesses expanding their operations into the capital, an overhaul of infrastructure, the launch of more green initiatives and pledges from the government, a significant boost in tourism, the launch of e-services for operational processes, increased focus on digital payment solutions and financial instruments, uptake in sports activities by residents, the e-commerce boom and so much more has already been accomplished.
One of the key pillars of the Vision is to create a vibrant society for its citizens and residents. In order to create a thriving society, the leadership of the country has been pushing forward across each avenue to establish and expand an international market within the country itself, allowing it to compete on a
One of the biggest projects launched recently by KSA is Jeddah Central, with a total investment of SAR 75bn, as one of the many milestones in enhancing the community living in Saudi Arabia to make Jeddah one of the most attractive residential hubs across the world. The project is expected to achieve an estimated added value of SAR 47bn for the Kingdom’s economy by 2030.
In 2022, Savvy Games, owned by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF), announced a $38bn investment in gaming companies intending to develop the growing gaming and e-sports industry in the Kingdom. The country’s greatest asset is its population, 60 per cent of which is below the age of 35. According to a report published by Boston Consulting Group, there are 23.5 million gamers in the country. That is about 67 per cent of the young population. Gaming has become more mainstream in recent years and in a bid to compete on an international level, Saudi Arabia is ramping up its participation with investments and global partnerships.
The international market has been pushing the cause and benefits of electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions significantly. The global population has unified in its purpose to reverse climate change and is getting involved in the conversation and making this transformation a ground reality. Bolstering its commitment to diversifying the economy and, more importantly, reducing carbon emissions, the Kingdom recently announced the launch of its own electric vehicle brand in partnership with Foxconn. By 2026, the country aims to manufacture and export more than 150,000 electric cars.
With multiple initiatives launched over the years and billions of dollars committed to investment, Saudi Arabia has opened up a whole new consumer market, attracting people from all over the world. The business climate is ripe and yielding, but the ongoing societal changes make a case for themselves. With a majority millennial and Gen Z population, access to the latest technology, 96 per cent smartphone and internet penetration, a scalable economy and sustained development initiatives, the Kingdom is charting its course to global competitiveness making it a magnet for investment.