The UAE pumped more than $5 billion (Dh18.36bn) into Saudi Arabia last year to emerge as the largest Arab investor and one of the top capital exporters to the world's dominant oil power, according to official figures.
The foreign direct investment (FDI) by the UAE in the kingdom stood at nearly $5.8bn last year, the largest FDI flow by an Arab country, showed the figures released by the Kuwaiti-based Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation (IAIGC), a key Arab League institution.
The capital was more than double the total FDI channelled by the UAE into other Arab countries last year and nearly 45 per cent of the total investments received by Saudi Arabia from other Arab League members.
Other key recipients of UAE capital last year were Libya, which got about $1.94bn, Lebanon, which received nearly $1.1bn, Egypt, with about $748 million and Morocco, which attracted nearly $620m. Syria and Tunisia got $211.9m and $109.6m respectively.
Total capital funnelled by the UAE into its fellow members in the Cairo-based Arab League stood at about $10.7bn to emerge as the largest Arab capital exporter to other League members.
The UAE's FDI flow into Saudi Arabia accounted for nearly 45 per cent of the total capital of nearly $12.9bn received by the kingdom from other Arab countries in 2008, said IAIGC, which groups most Arab countries. The UAE investments in Arab countries last year also accounted for more than a third of the total inter-Arab FDI of nearly $34bn.
A breakdown of investment figures showed Kuwait was the second-largest regional capital exporter to other Arab states, investing about $6.59bn.
It was followed by Egypt, which invested nearly $3.5bn, Oman, with about $2.6bn, Lebanon with nearly $2.2bn and Saudi Arabia, with $2.1bn.
IAIGC gave no breakdown for the UAE's FDI in Saudi Arabia but the Dubai-based Emaar and Etisalat telecommunication operator are the largest investors in the Kingdom, covering economic cities and the GSM provider Mobily.
During 2004-2007, the UAE was the second largest foreign investor in Saudi Arabia after Japan but it is expected to top the list with the completion of the giant Economic City project, according to official Saudi data.
In terms of projects licensed by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Sagia), the UAE becomes the dominant investor in the kingdom, with a total committed capital of SR122.9bn (Dh120.52bn), nearly 41 per cent of the FDI licensed by the authority since it was established in April 2000.Global Arab Network
This article by Nadim Kawach, Emirates Business 24|7.