EASY COME

Saudi Arabia 2018-19 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

Increasing the contribution of SMEs, enhancing the ease of doing business, and boosting automation are but three of the commerce and investment ministry's many ambitious goals to shake up the economy and meet its ambitious Vision 2030 goals.

Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi
BIOGRAPHY
Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi has been the Minister of Commerce and Investment since 2016. He received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Portland, a master’s in civil engineering management from UC Berkeley, and a doctorate in engineering management from the University of Missouri. Previously, he was an assistant professor of industrial engineering at King Abdulaziz University. He has served as secretary general of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an advisor to the Crown Prince’s Court, and, most recently, as Minister of Social Affairs. He sits on the boards of several Saudi charities.

How do you envision moving Saudi Arabia up in the global rankings for the ease of doing business and encouraging a more diversified business landscape?

Encouraging entrepreneurship is an important avenue to diversify the Kingdom's economy, and the Ministry of Commerce & Investment has equipped itself with various new subsidiaries, programs, and taskforces to drive this ecosystem. Facilitating and easing practicing business is one of the most important objectives of the Trade and Investment System, whose aim is to make the Kingdom one of the top 10 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index according to the World Economic Forum. It also aims to enhance the Kingdom's economic position by improving the business environment and raising the economic evaluation in accordance with the World Bank's report on the ease of doing business. We are also working to increase SMEs' economic contribution as key drivers of economic development and diversity. The goal is for them to contribute 35% to GDP by 2030, in addition to creating job opportunities, supporting innovation, and boosting exports.

What are your primary objectives for the coming years?

The Trade and Investment System is working on a number of initiatives that fall within the objectives of the National Transformation Program 2020 and Vision 2030. The most important of these is the facilitation of practicing and starting up a business, improving and developing the retail sector through the improvement of the quality of stores, having automation in their work, and endeavoring to raise SMEs' contribution to GDP, in addition to attracting direct and value-added foreign investments.