Budgeted government expenditure reached a record SAR855 billion in 2014, driving non-oil exports, which reached SAR206bn in 2013, according to Saudi government officials that attended the ninth Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference, which opened today (Tuesday, May 6).
In addition, investment in housing has also played a key economic role. In response to projections that show the kingdom’s population set to increase from 27.4 million in 2010 to 38.5m in 2030, it is making steady progress on its SAR250bn plan to construct 500,000 houses for Saudi nationals, according to conference attendees.
In another key session, Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan & Chase Co., discussed regulation, the global banking landscape and the importance of competition. Dimon outlined some of the challenges facing different nations in the globalised economy, but expressed optimism about the resilience and potential for future growth of the world economy. “The number of global companies receiving more than $1bn in annual turnover will double very quickly and it will triple in the GCC region.”
Dr Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance, says: “We are targeting key areas of the economy to drive economic growth. Transport and mining projects, along with a sustained focus on job training and development for Saudi nationals, will form the foundation of our economic growth in 2014.”
“While oil and gas will remain a key part of our national economy, we are also heavily promoting economic diversification to promote job creation and unlock the potential of Saudi citizens, especially the youth, who will drive the knowledge-based economy. We have a five-year plan with higher education institutions to promote research and development growth,” adds Muhammad Al-Jasser, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Economy and Planning.
As for the housing sector, Dr Shwaish Al-Dowaihy, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Housing, says increased lending from the private sector can enhance it. “And we are seeing progress in this area,” he says. “The kingdom’s housing programme offers the most advanced electronic system for payment services and I wish to thank the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency for its support in this area.”
According to figures released at the Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference, some 45 per cent of patents in the Arab world now comes from Saudi Arabia. One of the kingdom’s most prominent economic diversification projects is the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority’s construction of four Economic Cities, which is set to generate $150bn in GDP and create 1.3 million jobs by 2020.
Thursday, May 8- 2014 @ 16:16 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.