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Saudi announces $600mil new investment from startups

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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment announced today, March 29th, that over half a billion dollars in new investments from entrepreneurs have been made in the kingdom.

According to state media, three e-commerce businesses, a health startup, a virtual networking company, and a venture capital fund will spend $608.25 million in the Gulf nation, resulting in the creation of 2,400 employment.

“In Saudi Arabia, the startup scene is thriving, and there is enormous potential for venture capitalists,” Investment Minister Khalid Al Falih said. 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the investments at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Riyadh. However, the companies were not named by the Investment Ministry.

Saudi Arabia has been striving to lure foreign investment to the country under the leadership of Prince Mohammed, with mixed results. The country got $13.8 billion in foreign direct investment in the second quarter of 2021. In the third quarter, that sum plummeted to only $1.75 billion.

Saudi Arabia got $39.46 billion in net foreign direct investment in 2008, however, the sum has mostly decreased since then. It was only $1.42 billion in 2017. According to figures from the World Bank, it has risen to $5.4 billion by 2020.

Because of Saudi Arabia’s dismal human rights record, several foreign investors are hesitant to invest there. In response to the death of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, some companies boycotted the kingdom’s Future Investment Initiative conference in 2018. Some golfers have turned down offers of tens of millions of dollars to compete in a new Saudi-funded competition this year.

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