Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates believes young people in Saudi Arabia are key to the country achieving its Vision 2030 reform plan.
The reforms put in place earlier this year by the oil-rich kingdom appear to be taking hold, if we are to go by two major economic announcements this week. The first was the Saudi Arabian central bank’s announcement that gross domestic product will rise by 1.8 percent in 2016, exceeding the 1.2 percent forecasted by the International Monetary Fund.
The second major news came from the Saudi stock exchange (Tadawul) which on Sunday hosted the listing of Riyadh REIT units, the first real estate investment traded fund to be listed on the Saudi capital market and with a capital of half a billion Saudi riyals ($133 million). Read more here.
A report released by Oxford Business group in October reported a noticeably high level of consumer spending. This coincided with new governmental reforms to allow greater foreign ownership of retail projects, which is expected to lead to the development of the retail sector in the kingdom. Read more here.
Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s biggest economy, announced last April a long term economic plan for the kingdom to diversify its sources of revenues and enhance its economic performance in the various sectors by 2030.
It has also cut subsidies for power and water, reduced its ministers’ pay and public sectors’ bonuses, issued new taxes on unused lands and raised a range of government’s fees. Read more here.
The kingdom, like most Gulf states, was badly impacted by the drop in the oil prices. It racked up a record budget deficit of nearly $100 billion last year.
For Zawya’s full Special Coverage on the Saudi Vision 2030 reforms click here.