Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Saudi Arabia rose by 57 per cent in 2008, accounting for 42 per cent of all FDI into the region, according to the United Nations’ World Investment Report 2009.

The report by the UN’s Conference on Trade & Development found that Saudi Arabia was the top recipient of FDI in the Gulf, followed by the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and then Kuwait. Inflows into Saudi Arabia totalled $38bn.

Although FDI grew substantially in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, it increased only slightly in Bahrain and fell in Kuwait, Oman and the UAE.

According to the report, because of the projects launched by the members of the GCC “their reliance on FDI has increased, not so much for its financial contribution, but for the technology, expertise and management it brings with it”.