Our round-up of Middle East financial news includes notes on the Saudi-isation of insurance selling in the Kingdom, Algeria's financial difficulties, Morocco's plans to float its local currency, Egyptian inflation, and the DIFC's efforts to attract Trust and Foundation business.
Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030: key points
Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and the son of King Salman, announced "Vision 2030" on 25 April - an ambitious plan for economic and social development in the Kingdom.
The Vision is divided into three sections addressing social, economic and administrative themes. Of the 33 individual headings in the Vision, 14 deal with the Saudi economy, 11 with social issues, and 8 with a variety of adminstrative themes. The Vision also describes 13 government programmes that have been initiated to implement the Vision (although it is made clear that these 13 do not comprise a complete list).
A schematic of the table of contents is attached below. The full Vision (in English) can be seen here.
Examples of specific goals from the plan include:
- Increase the share of non-oil GDP from 16% to 50%
- Increase the contribution of the private sector to GDP from 40% to 65%
- Facilitate the listing of private and government owned companies, including Aramco, on the local stock market
- Impove the quality of Umrah services so that 15 million muslims will be able to perform the Umrah annually from 2020 (compared to 8 miilion in 2015), and be satisfied their their experience. By 2030, the plan is to enable 30 million to perform the Umrah annually.
- Increase the number of individuals exercising at least once a week from 13% to 40%
- Increase average life expectancy from 74 years to 80 years
- Increase women's participation in the workforce from 22% to 30%
- Restructure the King Abdullah Financial District
- Raise the non-profit sector's contribution to GDP from less than 1% to 5%.
The vision sets numerous benchmarks for success that are based on international indicators. For example: "Raise our ranking in the Government Effectiveness Index from 80 to 20"; "Raise our global ranking in the Logistics Performance Index from 49 to 25 and ensure the Kingdom is a regional leader"; "Rise from our current position of 25 to the top 10 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index".
The Vision was trailed as a plan for reducing Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil revenues, and it does address that, but it is much broader than that, addressing the evolution of Saudi society. For example, one of the Vision's commitments is to provide "meaningful entertainment for citizens", accompanied by a desire to see "more than 450 registered and professionally organized amateur clubs provision a variety of cultural activities and entertainment events" by 2020.
The Vision certainly cannot be accused of lacking ambition, and with so many specific benchmarks to measure performance, it's progress and ultimate success will be easy to judge.
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