Legal market overview in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Middle East and the only G-20 member country in the region. The economy of Saudi Arabia is heavily dependent on oil, with GDP growth being closely connected to oil growth. The outbreak of COVID-19 has significantly impacted the demand for oil and with OPEC production cuts, according to IMF forecasts GDP growth is expected to fall to -2.3% in 2020.

Initially set up in 2016 by the Saudi government, Vision 2030 is a program aimed at diversifying the economy, creating private-sector jobs and strengthening government finances. Key sectors being targeted include tourism, healthcare, education and infrastructure.

Tourism continues to be an important sector for the nation and The Red Sea development is its flagship tourism project. The government has committed a sizeable investment into the development of hotels, resorts and entertainment facilities which should subsequently result in significant job creation. NEOM, another key aspect of Vision 2030, is planned to be an eco-friendly smart-city as well as a key tourism destination.

A number of Magic Circle firms have an affiliated office in Riyadh, as do international players including Baker McKenzie, Dentons, Jones Day and Latham & Watkins LLP. Derayah LLPC – Saudilegal, which does not have an affiliation with an international firm, is a key local law firm.