The changing political situation in the Middle East poses challenges for the economies of the region, and some see none more vulnerable to collapse than Saudi Arabia's. Yet as this study demonstrates, the fundamentals of the Kingdom's economy are relatively robust, as over three quarters of GDP is accounted for by the non-oil sector, and impressive modern industries have been established, notably in petrochemicals. The financial system functions well, and despite substantial government debts, there is low inflation and currency stability. The private sector increasingly drives the economy, although job creation has been insufficient to prevent rising youth unemployment. The development challenges Saudi Arabia faces are similar to those of other middle-income countries, and three decades of diversification have made the economy less unique than it was in the oil boom years of the 1970s.

chapter 1|5 pages


chapter 2|14 pages

Which development paradigm?

chapter 3|19 pages

Government economic policy

chapter 4|17 pages

Oil, gas and petrochemicals

chapter 5|19 pages

The banking sector and financial markets

chapter 7|17 pages

Employment issues

chapter 8|15 pages

Employment conditions in SABIC

chapter 9|13 pages

The role of the private sector

chapter 10|26 pages

The electricity industry