Saudi Arabia attracted $1.65bn in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in Q2 2023, the country’s Ministry of Economy and Planning said on Thursday.

That is 21.2% lower than the value recorded in the same period last year, according to Reuters.

News about poor FDI inflows came after Saudi officials launched the Neom Investment Fund (NIF) on Tuesday (24 October), with the aim of pulling in investors to support the development of the planned city.

The government in Riyadh has been looking to attract more money from abroad to invest in different industry sectors and diversify away from fossil fuels.

Saudi Arabia continues to be Middle East and Africa’s (MEA) second most popular destination for FDI, just ahead of South Africa, a report published by GlobalData in May 2023 indicated.

Around 242 greenfield FDI projects were recorded in the country last year, 0.4% lower than in 2021. However, that still accounted for 10.0% of all FDI projects in the MEA region at the time.

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Overall, the country came seventh when ranked against the number of FDI projects per million people in 2022 (6.96), below Israel and ahead of Kuwait.