By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Saudi Arabia


Saudi_Arabia_map_527x286px Saudi+Arabia+flag King+Salman+bin+Abdulaziz+al-Saud
Saudi Arabia
King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Saudi Arabia country datafile
Country overview
Government contacts

Country data

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015f
Nominal GDP ($bn) 429.1 526.8 669.5 734.0 748.5 777.9* 805.2
GDP per capita ($) 16.095 19,113 23,594* 25,139 24,953 25,401 25,778
Real GDP growth (annual change, %) 1.8 7.4 8.6 5.8 4.0 4.6* 4.5
Government revenue (% of GDP) 36.0 41.6 47.5 50.3 46.5 45.3* 43.2
Government total expenditure (% of GDP) 40.1 36.4 35.5 35.5 37.8 40.0* 41.6
General government gross debt 14.0 8.4 5.4 3.6 2.7 2.6* 2.5
Current account balance (% of GDP) 4.9 5.8 3.6 3.6 3.0 3.2* 3.3
Inflation 4.0 5.8 3.6 3.6 3.0 3.2* 3.3
Population (millions) 26.7 27.6 28.4* 29.2 30.0 30.6 31.2
Unemployment (%) 5.4 5.5 5.8 5.4 5.5 na na
Click to see full economic data (2005 - 2019 forecast)
Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database; Last updated: February 2015; *=Estimate

Doing business in...

Regulation: Foreign firms that establish branches in Saudi Arabia must deposit capital in a local bank

Doing business in Saudi Arabia Subscription

Hazem Midani from Jumana House explains the legal issues foreigners face when setting up a company in the kingdom

Saudi Industrial Property Authority industrial cities Subscription

Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) was established in 2001 to develop industrial cities across Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia: A kingdom open for business

Welcome to MEED’s guide to doing business in Saudi Arabia. It is almost a decade since MEED first published a business guide to the region’s biggest economy and much has changed.

Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia Subscription

Not only is Jubail the largest industrial city in the kingdom, it is the biggest industrial centre of its type in the world

Saudi Arabia

Islamic law in Saudi Arabia Subscription

Hesham al-Homoud, partner and head of corporate & commercial for Saudi Arabia at UAE-based law firm Al-Tamimi & Company, explains the implementation of sharia in the kingdom

Riyadh housing units 2011-2015

Accommodation in Saudi Arabia Subscription

Finding accommodation for expatriate workers and their families can be tricky in Saudi Arabia

Education: Children in the kingdom start school when they are six years old

Schools in Saudi Arabia Subscription

According to UAE firm Alpen Capital, Saudi Arabia was home to 37,145 state schools and 3,255 private schools in 2009, but only nationals and naturalised Arabs are permitted to attend government institutions

Housing rental prices in Eastern Province 2010-2011

Eastern Province Subscription

Along with Dhahran, Al-Khobar and Dammam make up the vast majority of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province


Medina province Subscription

Located along the Red Sea coast, Medina province contains Saudi Arabia’s fourth-largest city and the second-holiest site in Islam, its capital city Medina

Saudi Arabia government ministries Subscription

Contact details for Saudi Arabia government ministries

Gulf projects index

Information providers for Saudi Arabia Subscription

Middle East media


Female visitors to Saudi Arabia Subscription

Recent years have seen a gradual relaxation in the rules governing women doing business in Saudi Arabia, with women playing a far more prominent and significant role in the kingdom’s economy than ever before.

Healthcare in Saudi Arabia Subscription

In early 2011, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud announced plans to spend SR16bn ($4.3bn) on five medical cities to be built across the kingdom

Renewables target

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy Subscription

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-Care) was established by royal order in April 2010

Economic city: Kaec has been designed with a focus on the port, logistics, light industry and service sectors

King Abdullah Economic City Subscription

The $27bn King Abdullah Economic City (Kaec) was launched in December 2005, the first of six economic city projects planned for the kingdom

Jizan Economic City Subscription

Jizan Economic City (JEC) is located in the southwest of the kingdom and is the most remote of all the cities planned by the government

Yanbu, Saudi Arabia Subscription

Located on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, 350 kilometres north of Jeddah, Yanbu is more remote than Jubail on the east coast, but is of almost equal strategic importance to the kingdom

Ras al-Khair Minerals City, Saudi Arabia Subscription

Ras al-Khair, also known as Mineral Industrial City, lies 60 kilometres north of Jubail and is being developed by the Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu (RCJ&Y)

Industrial cities in Saudi Arabia Subscription

The diversification of the Saudia Arabian economy has been a strategic objective for Riyadh since the 1970s

The end: A firm may be liquidated if it no longer has the minimum number of two partners required by law

Dissolving a company in Saudi Arabia Subscription

Reed Runnels from law firm Omar Alrasheed explains how to wrap up a business in the kingdom

Saudisation Subscription

The proportion of Saudi nationals working in the private sector dropped from 17 per cent to just 10 per cent over the decade leading up to 2010

Taxes in Saudi Arabia Subscription

Yasser al-Khalaiwi from Saudi law firm Omar Alrasheed & Partners answers key questions about taxes in the kingdom

Saudi Arabia's economy Subscription

As the world’s largest oil exporter, it is unsurprising that Saudi Arabia’s economy is dominated by hydrocarbons income

Ruler:  King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Government structure in Saudi Arabia Subscription

The modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by King Abdulaziz al-Saud in 1932

History of Saudi Arabia Subscription

The modern state of Saudi Arabia is relatively young

Map of Saudi Arabia

Basic information on Saudi Arabia Subscription

The total area of Saudi Arabia is 2,149,690 square kilometres, making it the largest country on the Arabian Peninsula

Trends & analysis

Corporate legal battle

The AH al-Gosaibi debt default Subscription

22 April 2015 | By

The largest corporate financial scandal that shook Saudi Arabia

Abdelmalek al-Houthi

Yemen crisis – main players Subscription

22 April 2015 | By

A guide to the major actors in the ongoing Yemen conflict

Global oil production

Oil price still not ready for recovery Subscription

21 April 2015 | By

Opec optimism unfounded while global market remains oversupplied

Saudi Arabia says the Yemen insurgency is being fuelled by Iran

Regional powers collide in Yemen Subscription

21 April 2015 | By

Fears of growing Iranian influence are behind Saudi Arabia’s military operation

Middle East contracts March 2015

Middle East contracts awarded: March 2015 Subscription

15 April 2015

Over $6bn of contracts awarded in March in the Middle East

Largest defence budgets 2014

Joint Arab force gains traction Subscription

14 April 2015 | By

Critics warn that a pan-Arab military force runs the risk of becoming a Sunni-led regional superpower unless properly governed

Saudi banking sector loan growth

Lending slowdown concerns persist in Saudi Arabia Subscription

14 April 2015 | By

Banks begin posting first-quarter results

Estimated Hydrocarbons production of top three producers

US remained world’s top oil and gas producer in 2014 Subscription

9 April 2015 | By

America is also top petroleum liquids producer after overtaking Saudi Arabia in 2013

Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne

MEED board report, April 2015 Subscription

8 April 2015 | By

Key events and trends in the region over the past month and their impact on the outlook for the Middle East and North Africa

Jizan is about to get a lot busier as the refinery and the power plant planned for Jizan Economic City are due to start their project execution phases in 2015 and early 2016

Jizan moves into the spotlight Subscription

7 April 2015 | By

Riyadh and Saudi Aramco are committed to building a more prosperous future for Jizan Province, which shares borders with Yemen

King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Saudi Arabia: Yemen conflict tests new king

7 April 2015

A regional coalition is deploying airstrikes in Yemen

Saudi King Salman's opening few months have certainly been eventful

King Salman’s next move Subscription

7 April 2015 | By ,

King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud is making his mark in terms of Saudi Arabia’s approach to foreign policy, but balancing this with domestic spending remains a challenge

Religious tourism

Tourism potential remains untapped Subscription

6 April 2015 | By Dominc Dudley

The Saudi authorities have long said they are keen to attract more tourists and draw attention to the country’s heritage sites. So far, however, little is being done to expand the industry

Unemployment among Saudi nationals and non-nationals

Riyadh’s demographic challenge Subscription

6 April 2015 | By James Gavin

The government will have to find a way of accommodating the concerns of a younger generation that is more independent-minded than its elders

Flights at Saudi international airports

Kingdom invests in aviation sector Subscription

6 April 2015 | By James Gavin

Saudi Arabia is trying to keep pace with its GCC neighbours in the airports sector, with a series of expansions planned

US oil production

The impact of US shale oil on the Middle East Subscription

6 April 2015 | By

Cheaper production could spell disaster for many of the region’s conventional oil fields

Saving Yemen: It is likely the Saudi-led coalition will feel a ground invasion is necessary

A litmus test for Saudi policy Subscription

31 March 2015 | By Peter Salisbury

King Salman’s strategy for Yemen has the potential to mark a major shift in the history of the region


Medical cities make progress Subscription

31 March 2015 | By Bernadette Ballantyne

With a series of major contracts about to be awarded, Saudi Arabia’s five state-of-the-art medical cities are moving from design to construction


Saudi Arabia retreats from renewables Subscription

26 March 2015 | By

Saudi Arabia is the most irradiated country on Earth, but it is slashing plans for the world’s biggest solar power programme


Saudi Arabia Building Project of the Year Subscription

24 March 2015

Jabal Omar Project Phase 1

Filter Saudi Arabia analysis by sector

Market presentations

Dubai creek

Managing the Boom: The Outlook for the Middle East Subscription

23 July 2014

Opportunities and challenges for businesses in the region created by the new projects boom

Qatar metro

Webinar: GCC metro and rail projects Subscription

12 September 2013

MEED’s analysis and forecast presentation on the metro projects in the region

Middle East Outlook 2013

A region in transition: Middle East outlook 2013 and beyond Subscription

18 August 2013

Insight and analysis on the economic and projects outlook for the Middle East

Project Finance

Webinar: Middle East project finance outlook Subscription

17 June 2013

Market constraints to continue, with deals flowing to most stable markets in the region

Mena renewables 2013

Webinar: MENA Renewable Energy Subscription

12 May 2013

In this presentation, MEED discusses the trends and prospects for renewable power in the region

After the Uprisings webinar

After the Uprisings: The outlook for business in the Middle East in 2013 and beyond Subscription

4 March 2013

A webinar on the region’s business environment, providing current data and exclusive expert analysis drawn from MEED’s team of experts

Top 100 projects 2012

Top 100 projects: The Middle East market gains momentum Subscription

3 February 2013

This webinar examines projects market trends in the region and forecasts which countries and sectors will grow in 2013


Amgad Husein Subscription

28 January 2015

Amgad Husein is partner at Dentons Saudi Arabia

Rayed Abdullah al-Ajaji Subscription

7 January 2015

Rayed Abdullah al-Ajaji is president at Universal Metal Coating Company (Unicoil) Saudi Arabia

Ismail Shar Al-Sulby Subscription

7 January 2015

Ismail Shar al-Sulby is general manager, Long Products Business Unit at Sabic Metals

Sami al-Louzi Subscription

20 July 2014

Sami al-Louzi is partner in Riyadh and Dubai at Latham & Watkins

Harj Rai Subscription

20 July 2014

Harj Rai is partner in Riyadh and Dubai at Latham & Watkins

Craig Nethercott Subscription

20 July 2014

Craig Nethercott is partner in Riyadh and Dubai at Latham & Watkins

See all Saudi Arabia biographies

Top 10 projects


Rank Project Name Sector Contract value ($m)
1 Riyadh Light Rail Transit (Riyadh Metro): Lines 1 & 2 Transport 9,450
2 Haramain High-Speed Rail Network: Phase 2 Transport 8,396
3 Riyadh Light Rail Transit (Riyadh Metro): Lines 4, 5 & 6 Transport 7,820
4 Riyadh Light Rail Transit (Riyadh Metro): Line 3 Transport 5,942
5 King Abdulaziz International Airport: Phase 1: New Terminal: Package 1 Transport 4,034
6 Housing Development: Phase 2 Construction 3,600
7 Abraj Kudai in Mecca Construction 3,500
8 Rabigh Power Plant Extension: Phase 6 Power 3,400
9 King Abdulla bin Abdulaziz Project: Riyadh Security Forces Medical Complex Construction 3,350
9 King Abdulla bin Abdulaziz Project: Jeddah Security Forces Medical Complex Construction 3,350
Click through to the full data table on Saudi Arabia's biggest projects in construction
Click through to MEED's Q4 2014 Top 100 Projects report
Source: MEED Projects; Data compiled: April 2015; All projects are in construction

Project awards

Saudi construction awards

ABV Rock to replace Binladin on medical city Subscription

21 April 2015 | By ,

The healthcare city will contain three hospitals and related medical and residential facilities


Aramco awards final major Jizan package Subscription

20 April 2015 | By

$20bn refinery and power plant complex in southwest of Saudi Arabia ready to enter construction phase

El-Seif wins $1.4bn Saudi housing deal

El-Seif wins $1.4bn Saudi housing deal Subscription

15 April 2015 | By

Local contractor will build 2,800 villas

Steel production

United Iron & Steel starts Abu Dhabi plant construction Subscription

12 April 2015 | By

Two phases of galvanised steel operation expected to cost AED1bn

Medina in Saudi Arabia

US consultant wins Saudi metro deal Subscription

2 April 2015 | By

Firm is working on metro lines across the region

Jeddah in Saudi Arabia

Jeddah appoints UK firm for transport plan Subscription

31 March 2015 | By

City-wide transportation planning contract awarded to UK firm

Aramco awards construction deal to Arabtec

Aramco awards construction deal to Arabtec Subscription

24 March 2015 | By

Arabtec Construction wins contract to build 380 villas

Talgo secures Saudi rail deal

Talgo secures Saudi rail deal Subscription

22 March 2015 | By

Trains will be used on Riyadh-Dammam line


Aramco awards engineering contract Subscription

16 March 2015 | By

Three companies selected for six-year Maintain Potential Programme scheme

Combined cycle power plant

Japanese firm wins Saudi electricity order Subscription

3 March 2015 | By

Yokogawa Electric will provide distributed control systems

Projects trends

Gulf projects index

Gulf index sees biggest fall in months Subscription

21 April 2015

Only three countries post expansions in value

Gulf projects index

Bahrain makes biggest gains Subscription

14 April 2015

Iran and Qatar also expand, but fail to lift Gulf Projects Index

Gulf projects index

Mass declines on Gulf index Subscription

6 April 2015

Iran leads slump in region, with Bahrain and Iraq only countries to record gains

More Gulf Projects Index articles

News & comment

Kevin Baxter

Saudi Aramco welcomes Jizan investors

23 April 2015

Acwa Holding and Air Products will build world’s largest industrial gas complex

Saudi Arabia says the Yemen insurgency is being fuelled by Iran

Saudi Arabia-led coalition resume Yemen bombing Subscription

23 April 2015

Houthi rebels targeted hours after reports that forces had ended military operations

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi

Saudi Arabia expected to place $1bn South Korean order Subscription

23 April 2015

National shipping company expected to order 10 vessels to transport liquid hydrocarbon products

Renewable energy

Renewables market hotspots taking off

23 April 2015

Excitement over Egypt, but Saudi Arabia’s plans remain unclear

Steel industry

Middle East steel production rose in March Subscription

22 April 2015

Marginal increase driven by higher output in the UAE and Saudi Arabia

Riyadh reluctantly joins Isis air strikes

Saudi-led coalition ends Yemen airstrikes Subscription

22 April 2015

Riyadh to focus on finding political solution to Yemen crisis


The real work at Jizan starts now

21 April 2015

The execution phase will offer up some huge challenges at the extremely complex scheme

The US Navy sent the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its escort cruiser, USS Normandy, from the Gulf into the Arabian Sea on 19 April. A Pentagon spokesman denied reports the ships were on a mission to intercept Iranian arms shipments to Yemen

US increases involvement in Yemen conflict

21 April 2015

Washington shows force against Iran as two sides close in on nuclear deal

Jubail Industrial City

Still no decision for Sabic petrochemicals plant Subscription

21 April 2015

Contractors have resubmitted prices after clarification meetings for plant in Saudi Arabia

Debt settlement

AH al-Gosaibi to offer improved settlement to creditors Subscription

21 April 2015

Creditor meeting to be scheduled in coming weeks

Haramain planned rail line

Contractor warned about Haramain railway delays Subscription

21 April 2015

Saudi Railways Company demands alternative emergency plan

Mena project finance volumes

Project finance deals rise in first quarter Subscription

21 April 2015

Increase is not a sign of an improving market, bankers say

Saudi construction awards

ABV Rock to replace Binladin on medical city Subscription

21 April 2015

The healthcare city will contain three hospitals and related medical and residential facilities

Tadawul rises in anticipation of foreign investment

Tadawul on target to open to foreign investors by June Subscription

20 April 2015

Final rules will be approved by early May


Aramco awards final major Jizan package Subscription

20 April 2015

$20bn refinery and power plant complex in southwest of Saudi Arabia ready to enter construction phase

Filter Saudi Arabia news by sector

Interact-Widget Twitter LinkedIn Facebook Twitter Apple Android Newsletters

MEED events

Saudi Mining & Minerals 2015 Symposium

Saudi Mining & Minerals 2015 Symposium

26 - 29 October 2015 | Designed to highlight the full spectrum of opportunities within the entire value chain of the mining industry in Saudi Arabia

More MEED events