Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Ministry of Health have joined forces to pinpoint potential investment opportunities in areas of medical equipment manufacturing, medicine production and healthcare services, among others. Nasser al-Tuwyan, spokesman for SAGIA, said the six-point plan aims to send the pharmaceutical industry’s contribution to the gross domestic product from 3.2 per cent now to more than five per cent over a span of ten years from now. It also seeks to deliver high-quality medical services, boosting the efficiency of current services, and achieve self-sufficiency of medical cadres, doubling job opportunities in this sector and hit a Saudisation (naturalization of jobs) ratio of 40 per cent in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals domain, according the spokesman, who was speaking to Al-Eqtisadiah. The ambitious plan aims to reduce the Arab country’s imports of pharmaceuticals and medicines to less than 70 per cent and procure top-of-the-line medical equipment to ultimately produce key medicines. However, some local industry sources aired concerns related to fierce competition by global manufactures, lengthy licensing and the lack of specialized expertise and insufficient spending on scientific research.

France inks $11b deal with KSA

RIYADH — France announced on Tuesday a number of deals worth 10 billion euros ($11.4 billion) with Saudi Arabia during a visit by Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

“France-Saudi Arabia: 10 billion euros in contracts,” he wrote in a tweet. The deals cover energy, health, food, satellites and infrastructure, according to the prime minister’s office.

Earlier, Saudi and French enterprises alike presented investment opportunities to a large audience of business and community leaders at the second Saudi French Business Opportunities Forum in an effort to bolster a strategic partnership between France and Saudi Arabia.

The investment plan in the transportation sector, prepared by the Ministry of Transport in cooperation with the Saudi Arabian General Authority for Investment (SAGIA), also identified 36 promising investment opportunities potentially worth up to $25 billion. They include manufacturing of buses and train coaches, spare parts and technical support services in the establishment of infrastructure work, operations, maintenance and training.

SAGIA’s Executive Director for Investment Development Faisal Bafarat, speaking at a session on promoting sustainable economic growth revealed there are 194 projects in the Kingdom partly or fully-owned by French companies with a total capital of about SR75 billion.

CEO of Business France Muriel Penicaud presented reasons to invest in France, referring to France’s high level infrastructure, openness to invest, competitive set up costs, productive workforce, its aim for innovation, its growing Gulf presence.