Competition has intensified in recent months between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in attracting foreign companies’ investments, especially regarding companies with regional headquarters in the Middle East.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia – the region’s largest economy and the world’s largest oil exporter – said it aimed to revitalise its so-called “Vision 2030” economic plan to diversify its oil-dependent economy.
In 2019, Saudi Arabia ranked 62nd place in the Doing Business 2020 report among the 190 best economies in the world, while the UAE ranked 16th place.
The UAE government recently announced that it sought to establish its technology sector while: “Moving away from slow industries such as real estate and construction.” The UAE has been dominating regional trade for years, in addition to its economic capital city of Dubai as a regional hub for nearly all large multinational companies.
According to the World Bank’s official data, in 2020, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to Saudi Arabia amounted to some $4.7 billion, while Dubai’s amounted to $6.7 billion.