The International Monetary Fund in its recent report on Saudi Arabia informed that the country whilst reconsidering the speed at which it is taking steps towards austerity, it is nevertheless avoiding slowing down its economy, to notably not increase its unemployment rate. This report holds that although the budget deficit is shrinking, it is doing so at a high cost to the economy. Before adding that : “Riyadh has been cutting spending while raising taxes and fees to curb a huge state budget deficit caused by low oil prices. Last December it published a plan to eliminate the deficit, which was a record $98bn in 2015, by 2020.” Tourism in Saudi Arabia as a palliative equivalent to oil exports related revenues has been reiterated as such for very long but was never taken this seriously.
It is to be noted that with the prospects of oil prices remaining low for the foreseeable future and the global economy possibly opting out of anything to do with fossil fuel type of energy soon . . . .
A new Saudi Arabia will gradually be emerging as this seems to be the word that is the leitmotiv of the young and fresh at the helm prince MbS (Mohammed bin Salman). This latter’s elevation to heir to the crown at the age of 31 that was already showing in quiet and unheard of boldness is now blatantly in full sight. Would this possibly generalise to a whole generation of leaders in the country’s life and take it towards modernity? Would a radical reform program as embodied in the prince’s “Vision 2030” generate a new self-sufficient country living in good harmony with its neighbours and for this purpose would it need all that accumulated wealth from oil related revenues since its advent in the 30s to be ploughed in to generate conditions that are perhaps propitious to another vision? Or would all this just lead to more clinging to Tradition, survival endurance and frictions of all sorts as restricted OPEC oil output and US shale oil production seem to be the other leitmotiv of the time.
Limited Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia is a fact that is acknowledged throughout the world, but it is also well known that the situation of women in their everyday life generally as well as in their representation in all socio-political and economic institutions in that country would perhaps be understood relatively differently. For that, we published […]
After the shock and sorrow come the questions as put by The Mirror online this morning. The Mirror goes on :
Were there failings by the security services?
Are we doing enough to detect and monitor those at risk of being radicalised?
AMEinfo came up with this formidable vision of next year titled 16 events that will shape 2017; we could not help but reproduce it here all for the benefit of our readers. All comments are welcome but we would advise to address direct to AMEinfo with nevertheless a copy to MENA-Forum.
AMEinfo, is a well known and reliable middle east online medium of information.
Historically as per Wikipedia, AMEinfo.com was initially Arabian Modern Equipment Est., incorporated in Abu Dhabi, in February 1993 by Saif Al-Suwaidi and Klaus Lovgreen. The first version of the AME Info CD-ROM database of 125,000 companies was developed and compiled late 1996 and sold some 10,000 copies.
The listing of the events as proposed by AMEinfo summed up thus.
Many events of 2016 will have repercussions spilling over into 2017
Positive impacts include Saudi Vision 2030, OPEC deal
The fallout of Trump’s presidency, JASTA law, Italy referendum, etc. remain to be seenThe year 2016 was eventful, to say the least, with the world shaken by several momentous events whose repercussions will spill over into 2017. [. . .]
We have recently heard of the Saudi government considering an initial public offering for its ARAMCO. This set off speculation about the world’s first trillion-dollar-plus company which indeed is more than 10 times Exxon-Mobil’s size in that it pumps over one-tenth of the world’s crude. Now, Saudi is planning a $10 billion bond issuance. Indeed with the fall of prices of oil, the kingdom’s budget got evidently restricted to not known before ‘small times’, despite the recent and flashy rise in the price of a barrel.
This story from The Irish Times illustrates well the Saudi’s frivolity with respect to their diminishing petro-dollar earnings,
Saudi Arabia plans $10bn bond issue
Country is seeking funds to shore up public finances that have been hit by the drop in oil prices to about half their 2014 levels
Oil rose to the highest in more than a year on Monday after Saudi Arabia expressed optimism that OPEC would work out a deal and Russia voiced its support.
BBC News asked in a TV programme one evening of February 5th, 2016 this question: Will Saudi Arabia’s plans for a new city be successful? The show went on to elaborate how Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) is one of the most ambitious construction projects in the world and that would have made sense at a time when oil was $100+ a barrel. A premise of an answer could be found to a certain degree in the location of this new town, i.e. on the western seaboard as opposed to the oil rich eastern one. McKinsey published this article written by the same Fahd Al-Rasheed interviewed by the BBC’s Stephen Sackur in the above mentioned programme. Slight but noticeable different stance could be discerned. Learn from the past, build for the future: Saudi Arabia’s new city on the Red Sea By Fahd Al-Rasheed To build a city from scratch, create a solid economic foundation. Three millennia ago, Akhenaten began construction of the Egyptian city of Amarna—perhaps the first example of planned urban infrastructure in recorded history. Within a decade of Akhenaten’s death, Amarna was abandoned—ancient evidence that building infrastructure and convincing people to use it are two fundamentally different challenges. Building an economic infrastructure King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) is the world’s largest privately funded city. Located about 100 kilometers north of Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea, KAEC is a public–private partnership