Saudi Arabia is increasing pressure on international firms to shift their Middle East hubs to the kingdom. Starting on January 1, 2024, the Saudi government and state-backed institutions will stop signing contracts with foreign companies that base their Middle East headquarters in any other country in the region, according to a statement from the Saudi Press Agency, attributed to an official source. The move is intended to limit “economic leakage” and boost job creation, the unidentified official said. The decision is the latest measure designed to encourage firms to beef up their presence in Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh, supporting a broader plan to diversify the economy of the world’s largest crude exporter. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed a $800bn strategy to double the size of the city and turn it into a global hub. While earlier steps included incentives to move, Monday’s announcement is an implicit threat — setting up firms to lose out on billions of...read more...