Saudi Arabia seeks more than $425 billion in investments for massive infrastructure program
Foreign direct investment (FDI) will be pivotal to realizing the crown prince’s Vision 2030 ambitions, economists say. But it’s been falling steadily since 2008— that year saw a high of $39.5 billion in FDI, dropping nearly every year and chalking a mere $1.4 billion in 2017, according to the UN. Obstacles remain in the form of skills shortages and lower oil prices, as well as growing international concern over the unpredictability and repressive tactics of the kingdom’s powerful young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Still, with a booming youth population and access to a massive regional market, numerous international investors — including BlackRock’s Larry Fink and the Blackstone Group’s Stephen Schwarzman, among others — remain committed to the kingdom and say they see significant long-term potential.
When asked whether low oil prices would impact what Saudi Arabia is trying to do, Al-Amoudi replied: “Not in the short-term, no.”
“I think it obviously puts constrains on the budget but that doesn’t mean we are going to be expanding as much as we can… Even in a low-oil price environment, we still see that we can do a lot with what we have,” he said.