Saudi Arabia celebrated its National Day on Monday, September 23 and the Saudi Ambassador to Australia Mesaad bin Ibrahim Al-Suleim used the opportunity to emphasise the importance of the Kingdom's Vision 2030, a goal to create a vibrant society in which all citizens can fulfill their dreams, hopes and ambitions to succeed in a thriving economy.
The Ambassador described it as one of the most important decisions, launched to make optimal use of the huge capabilities and resources that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoys, and noted that the Vision will become a pioneering and successful global model on all fronts.
Ambassador Al-Suleim also stressed the significance of Australia's contribution towards the Vision, in being an active partner since its announcement. The Kingdom aspired for larger participation from Australian companies in the Saudi markets to take part in investment opportunities.
With respect to Australia's participation in the huge projects of Vision 2030, Ambassador Al-Suleim mentioned the strong partnership between Australia and the Kingdom in the aviation sector, and referred to the cooperation between the Australian College of Aviation and the International Aviation Technical College in Riyadh to provide training programs for Saudi citizens in the field of aircraft maintenance, towards preparing them to enter the workforce with the biggest international and domestic airlines.
Foreign investments in the Kingdom
Ambassador Al-Suleim emphasised the great significance of the Saudi economy in the world. He said that the Saudi economy is one of the largest economies in the region, since the open markets of the Kingdom create a large competitive advantage. The various investment opportunities and its efforts to diversify its economy, generate optimism when it comes to foreign direct investment (FDI). The rate of FDI that flowed to Saudi Arabia in 2018 alone increased by about 127 per cent from the previous year. Furthermore, due to the stable economic factors in the Kingdom, its consumer confidence exceeded the regional rate.
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On the other hand, the clear growth in private credit and debt as well as the increased public spending in infrastructure and other projects, have created tremendous opportunities across the Middle East. These factors combined resulted in tangible developmental achievements.
Economic relations with Australia
Ambassador Al-Suleim stated his satisfaction with the economic relations between the Kingdom and Australia. He said the Kingdom, given its strategic location as a commercial crossing point between East and West, is an entry point for global economy and a gateway for regional markets.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Australia are important partners in many international organisations strengthening their ties, including the G-20, which will be hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2020.
The Kingdom's exports to Australia, most notably basic metals industries and plastic, amounted to more than $604 million AUD. Meanwhile, Australia's exports to the Kingdom amounted to $745 million Australian dollars, most notably food products.
In addition, the bilateral investments between the two countries has developed quite significantly.