The deputy governor of Saudi Arabia's investment authority says the country faces challenges attracting foreign investment outside its oil and gas sectors, but that several initiatives in place are helping to change investors' perceptions.

Prince Saud al-Faisal told The Associated Press in an interview Monday that one of those steps is a plan to open the Saudi stock exchange to direct investment by foreigners.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority is tasked with attracting a wide variety of investments as the country races to create urgently needed jobs for millions of young Saudis.

Though foreign direct investment inflows to Saudi Arabia have been on a five-year decline and oil prices stand at a six-year low, al-Faisal says strong financial reserves will help keep the economy growing.