London Asharq Al-Awsat- The World Bank recognized Saudi Arabia Today as one of the world’s top reformers in its annual ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report.
Recent reforms in Saudi Arabia improved the Kingdom’s position from 38th to 23rd out of 178 countries in the World Bank rankings.
The report ranks Saudi Arabia as the best place to do business in the entire Middle East and Arab World, ahead of Kuwait (40th) and the UAE (68th). The report also ranks Saudi Arabia ahead of advanced economies such as France (31st) and Austria (25th). Commenting on the improvement, Jamal Haidar, co-author of the Doing Business Report 2008 said, ‘This year Saudi Arabia made bold business reforms making it one of the world’s leading reformers. Saudi Arabia is now the top ranked economy in the Middle East. We expect these reforms will continue to position Saudi Arabia as a business-friendly economy.’
Driven by King Abdullah’s vision for economic reform Saudi Arabia has become the number one recipient of foreign direct investment in the Middle East. Inflows have increased from $2 billion USD to $18 billion USD in the last two years. These figures are expected to increase with the development of Saudi Arabia’s Economic Cities.
The Saudi economy — which remains largely reliant on energy revenues — has boomed in recent years on record world oil prices. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter, but is trying to diversify its economy, especially in petrochemicals.