Entrepreneurship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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Abraaj plans $533m Saudi investment platform

Imad Abdulsamad   |  January 24th, 2011

Abraaj Capital, a leading private equity firm in the region, has announced plans to initiate a SR2 billion ($533.3 million) investment platform dedicated exclusively to investing in Saudi Arabia.

Abraaj and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Sagia), which serves as the gateway to investment in Saudi Arabia, jointly announced this landmark initiative on the sidelines of the 5th Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF) being convened by Sagia.

The platform will be focused on making investments across a variety of asset classes including private equity, small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs), real estate, and public equities, said Amr bin Abdullah al-Dabbagh, the governor of Sagia and Arif Naqvi, the founder and group CEO of Abraaj Capital.

This will be a pioneering initiative in the region that will seek to access attractive investment opportunities in the Kingdom’s private and public sectors, the duo said.

Despite the global crisis, the fundamental macroeconomic environment in Saudi Arabia continues to remain robust underpinned by favorable demographic trends, reform-oriented policies, and prudent use of hydrocarbon liquidity to ensure long-term sustainable economic growth, they added.

The plan to initiate the SR2 billion investment platform is subject to obtaining necessary regulatory clearances and approvals from all relevant regulators including the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

“We are extremely pleased to announce our intention to launch this investment platform that will capitalize on the favorable macroeconomic landscape and the solid investment opportunities that the Kingdom has to offer,’ said Naqvi.

‘One of the areas this initiative will be active in is to facilitate the growth of small and medium enterprises here in Saudi Arabia,’ the chief executive said.

“As this announcement makes clear, we are fully committed to supporting the promotion of a culture of entrepreneurship in the Kingdom, and shouldering our share of the private sector’s responsibility to help create jobs in our region,” he added.

“Today, the greatest challenge facing the Kingdom, and the wider region, is the imperative of job creation,” Naqvi pointed out.

“Approximately 70 per cent of Saudi population is under 30. The launch of our Saudi-focused investment platform is a compelling private-sector initiative that will help address this demographic imbalance by facilitating expansion opportunities for Saudi-based firms thanks to our financial resources and strategic/operational capabilities across the region.’

‘This in turn will have direct and positive consequences on the social and economic environment in the Kingdom,’ pointed out Naqvi.

‘Saudi is by far one of the largest economies in the region, and offers a wide spectrum of investment opportunities in sectors such as healthcare, infrastructure, education, transportation and logistics, food & beverages, and more,’ he observed.

‘Additionally, the Kingdom’s real estate and public equities markets offer a compelling value-proposition for investors. It’s a market that has great potential,’ he added.

With an investment strategy predicated on “active involvement” in its partner companies, Abraaj not only provides capital and financial expertise to businesses, but also facilitates their growth through its operating/industry knowhow and its network across the Mena and South Asia region.

Abraaj has over 100 investment professionals in 8 offices across the region, including a dedicated team of experienced senior industry executives and advisers who concentrate on operational issues at partner companies.

In addition to providing much-needed growth capital to SMEs in the Kingdom, Abraaj has also agreed with Sagia to develop initiatives that will seek to promote a holistic ecosystem to encourage entrepreneurship within the Kingdom by providing entrepreneurs with access to knowledge workshops, mentorship initiatives and networking platforms

Original Link: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/BANK_192333.html

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