Integrated Logistic Bonded Zone inaugurated
In Oct 2018, the Integrated Logistic Bonded Zone (ILBZ) at King Khalid international airport was inaugurated. The zone will deploy new intelligent logistic solutions for attracting international companies to provide their services from this zone, such as light maintenance, assemble lines, light manufacturing, and quality assurance tests.
Solar project awarded
In 2018, the first solar power project to produce 300 MW of power in Al Jouf was awarded to ACWA Power. The project is part of the National Renewable Energy Programme which aims to produce 9.5 GW of renewable energy by 2023. It will generate enough electricity to power around 40,000 homes.
Jeddah airport opening
In 2018, the soft opening of the new King Abdul Aziz Airport in Jeddah was announced. By Q1 2019 the number of gates in use is expected to increase from 6 to 46, creating jobs in both the aviation and tourism sector, while improving support for passengers coming to Hajj and Umrah.
A key part of the Kingdom’s efforts to fully digitize the services of the judiciary, e-agencies have been rolled out to enhance service provision so that customers, for example, no longer have to obtain powers of attorney in person.
Empowering consumers on solar power
The Electricity and Cogeneration Authority has empowered electricity consumers to operate their own, small-scale solar power (
Saudi government efficiency
In 2018, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Saudi Arabia seventh worldwide in the efficiency of government spending index, a rise of five positions and a key measure of global competitiveness.
Connecting 700K homes
Over the first half of 2018, more than 700,000 homes in urban areas were connected to fibre optic networks.
Fintech Saudi launched
In 2018, SAMA launched Fintech Saudi, an initiative to develop the Kingdom as a hub for financial technology and contributing to the support of financial inclusion and the rise of digital transactions. SAMA has since approved its first two financial technology licenses.
Road safety increased
Along with a number of Ministries, the NTP has helped to increase road safety in order to achieve a key 2020 target. During 2016-2017, fatalities and injuries were reduced by 33%.
Connecting patients to doctors
In March 2018, the Kingdom announced Sehah, an application allowing patients to engage with physicians remotely. It provides communication with the doctor either face to face or via text message. In 2018, the application enabled more than 1.5 million medical consultation.
5K Mineral deposits discovered
The Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) has identified 5,300 sites rich in minerals which, when fully utilized, are expected to create 90,000 jobs and generate US$67 billion annually.
The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, established in 2018, institutionalizes the Kingdom’s international humanitarian, development and philanthropic aid in line with standards set by the OECD, the United Nations and international transparency principles.
Deficit falls 84% in Q2 2018
Saudi Arabia’s budget deficit fell by 84 percent to SR7.4 billion in the second quarter of 2018 and non-oil revenue increased by 42% compared to the same period the previous year. Savings in spending during the first quarter of 2018 totaled SR12 billion.
King Salman Energy Park (SPARK)
A world-class industrial park developed and operated by Saudi Aramco is targeting the localization of the energy manufacturing and services supply chain and is expected to create by 2035 US$6bn GDP annually and 100,000 direct and indirect jobs of which a large portion for Saudis. Construction of Phase 1 infrastructure has already started with a target completion 2021.
KSA joins MSCI
In 2018, the Saudi stock exchange joined the MSCI Emerging Market Index. It is estimated that the kingdom’s inclusion in the FTSE Russell and MSCI indexes could lead to passive and active inflows of between US$30 billion and US$45 billion.
New tariffs to drive renewable projects
As of January 1, 2018, the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA) announced a threefold increase in the electricity tariff designed to solidify the business case for renewable energy projects.
Center for Industry 4.0 launched
Out of five planned, one center for Industry 4.0 has been already established at KACST and currently expanding its activities and capabilities to meet the targets and objectives of Industry 4.0 strategy within NIDLP
Car manufacturing city
Saudi Arabia is developing a car manufacturing city which aims to attract Saudi and foreign investments, increase exports, provide job opportunities, and contribute to economic diversification as part of Vision 2030 Vision.
5000+ events in 2018
In 2018, the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) calendar featured more than 5,000 live events hosted across 56 cities, including musicals, family shows, stand-up comedy and live performances from some of the biggest names in global music.
Upgrades to SIDF
The Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) has taken significant steps to enable industrialization in the Kingdom, including streamlining and enhancing the loan application and evaluation process, introducing and adopting various e-solutions for core business processes and support services, launching the SME Scale-up debt program, and increasing SIDF’s capital from SAR 65 to 105 Billion to increase its funding capacity.
Database to spur renewable investment
A public database of more than 100 local companies operating in the renewable energy sector (wesupplyrenewables.com.sa) was established, designed to encourage private sector investment in the renewable energy sector.
National Renewable Energy Program award
The National Renewable Energy Program was named Best Public Procurement Project at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply awards in June 2018.
More Saudis exercising
The number of Saudi citizens aged over 15 who exercise at least once a week has risen from 13 percent to 23 percent in 2018, helping the General Sport Authority’s (GSA) beat its interim Vision 2030 target of getting 20 percent of Saudis over 15 exercising by 2020.
Port & customes processes streamlined
As a result of increasing automation, import and export processes are being streamlined, with a 54% reduction in import dwell times at ports (from 14 to 6.4 days), a 60% reduction in clearance time (from 4.8 to 1.9 days) and a very significant reduction in the documents required for both imports and export (from 12 to 2 and from 8 to 2 respectively).
Tamouh Elite launched
In February 2018, the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in partnership with ELITE of the London Stock Exchange Group launched "Tamouh Elite", a program to promote the growth of "promising" companies in Saudi Arabia.
First 3D house built
The Ministry of Housing has recently built the first house using 3D printing technology as part of new building technology initiative. The project aims to encourage the private sector to leverage technology in housing project.
SIDF capital increased
The capital of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) has been increased by SR6bn (US$1.6bn) to help finance the kingdom’s industrial sector including entry into new industries.
Saudi Aramco signs $5B deal
In 2018, Saudi Aramco and Total SA announced plans to build a US$5 billion petrochemical complex near their refinery in Jubail to tap growing demand in the Middle East and Asia. The project is expected to create 8,000 jobs.
Desalination record achieved
A new record in desalination was registered by the Guinness book for the world’s largest producer of desalinated water, with a capacity of 5 million cubic meters daily.
130% increase in QFI licenses
The number of foreign investment licenses granted in Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of 2018 increased by 130%.