Saudi Arabia recorded SAR122bn ($33bn) in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in 2022 under a revised methodology for calculating the figure.

The new methodology – which received support from both the IMF and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) – was launched in October last year after 18 months of development.

It analyses individual financial statements as opposed to only calculating the accumulation of flows based on estimates, and new backdated annual FDI totals based on this approach have now been released.

The revised FDI inflow in 2015 was SAR64bn, in 2016 was SAR111bn, in 2017 was SAR27bn, in 2018 was 71bn, in 2019 was SAR32bn, in 2020 was SAR30bn and in 2021 was SAR100bn.

The revised balance of FDI stock, meanwhile, in 2015 was SAR413bn, in 2016 was SAR508bn, in 2017 was SAR514bn, in 2018 was SAR562bn, in 2019 was SAR576bn, in 2020 was SAR585bn, in 2021 was SAR670bn and in 2022 SAR775bn.

Announcing the release of the figures, the Saudi Press Agency said: “As part of the process of updating the data under the new methodology, the work team made diligent efforts to analyse the data of more than 10,000 individual foreign companies analysing more than 70,000 financial statements, from 2015 to 2022.”

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Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih said: “Investors are entering the fast-growing Saudi market with confidence due to its size and strategic position, which provides an excellent platform to access growth opportunities across the Middle East and beyond.

“The updated data, produced under the new methodology, along with our investor outreach programmes, will allow us to respond to and calibrate the investment environment to attract and retain even more investors.”

Saudi Arabia has been on a path to pull in more FDI from abroad as the government in Riyadh ramps up plans for Neom, the major new urban development in the country.

At the end of October, Neom launched its strategic investment arm called the Neom Investment Fund (NIF). The fund is meant to attract hundreds of billions of dollars to support the buildout and development of the city’s 14 priority sectors.