Jeddah: Saudi Arabia will allow foreign investors to take 100 per cent ownership of companies in its health and education sectors, the head of the kingdom’s investment authority said.

It is the latest move by the country to gradually ease ownership restrictions on foreign firms, which have previously been required to set up a joint venture with a local partner.

“We are opening up education centres to have ownership 100 per cent, all types of education even from primary school. This is something new for Saudi,” Ebrahim Al Omar, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), said.

In the health sector, the ministry will “just be a regulator and not a service provider anymore”, said Omar. This will open up $180 billion (Dh660.6 billion) of investment opportunities in that sector over the next five years, he said.