What are the next steps for the Saudis Regional Headquarters program?

In a move that underscores its commitment to becoming a regional investment powerhouse, Saudi Arabia has unveiled a joint initiative aimed at enticing multinational groups (MNGs) to establish their regional headquarters (RHQs) within the Kingdom. The initiative, a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, is aligned with Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 plan, which seeks to fortify the nation’s strategic standing in the Middle East investment landscape.

The heart of this initiative lies in KSA Cabinet Decision 377/1444, a regulatory framework designed to govern contractual relationships between Saudi governmental agencies and MNGs with existing RHQs located outside the Kingdom. Under the terms of this decision, an MNG is deemed to lack an RHQ presence in Saudi Arabia if two conditions are met:

(a) The MNG already maintains an established RHQ in the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
(b) The MNG does not appear on MISA’s roster of MNGs currently lacking RHQs in the Kingdom.

These stipulations suggest a targeted approach by Saudi Arabia to attract MNGs that do not yet have a foothold in the MENA region or those that have not yet captured MISA’s attention in terms of their presence within the Kingdom.

As the Saudi government looks to attract multinational groups to the Kingdom, Marco De Leo, managing partner of BonelliErede’s Dubai office, considers what they should be mindful of.