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January 9, 2024
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Saudi Arabia leads MENA region in venture capital fundraising

TLDR:

  • Saudi Arabia has secured the top position in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for venture capital (VC) funding in 2023, accounting for 52% of total capital deployed in the region.
  • The funding deployed into Saudi Arabian startups grew by 33% in 2023 compared to 2022.

Saudi Arabia has emerged as the top destination for venture capital (VC) investment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. According to MAGNiTT, a Mena-based venture data platform, the country accounted for 52% of the total capital deployed in the region in 2023, up from 31% in 2022. This historic achievement reflects the development taking place in the kingdom’s economic and financial sectors in line with Saudi Vision 2030, the country’s long-term development plan.

The Saudi Arabian venture capital scene has seen significant growth, with funding deployed into Saudi startups increasing by 33% in 2023 compared to 2022, according to investment company SVC. SVC is a subsidiary of the SME Bank, one of the development banks affiliated with the National Development Fund. The company aims to stimulate and sustain financing for startups and SMEs in the country. The increasing attractiveness of the Saudi market has enhanced its competitive environment and consolidated the strength of the kingdom’s economy.

The CEO of SVC, Dr Nabeel Koshak, attributes Saudi Arabia’s leading position in venture capital investment to various governmental initiatives launched to stimulate the VC and startups ecosystem. These initiatives include the development of the legislative and regulatory environment for the ecosystem, as well as the emergence of active investors from the private sector and innovative entrepreneurs. Dr Koshak also stated that funding deployed into Saudi startups grew 21 times in 2023 compared to 2018 when SVC was launched.

Saudi Arabia’s success in attracting venture capital investment demonstrates the country’s commitment to diversifying its national economy and achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030. The kingdom’s position as a leading economic force in the region and its membership in the G20 and BRICS groups further solidify its standing on the global stage.

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