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Middle East non-oil economy to continue to surge in 2023?

Riyadh Al Najjar said that Middle East CEOs are focusing on advancing their digital transformation

The growth of the Middle East’s non-oil economy will continue to progress well into 2023 as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies continue their diversification efforts, Riyadh Al Najjar, PwC Middle East Chairman of the Board & KSA Country Senior Partner stated.

As per Riyadh Al Najjar, the growth is supported by national visions, industrial strategies, sustainable destinations and tourism initiatives across the region that will boost growth beyond ‘Vision 2030’.

On the 2023 economic outlook for the region, the senior PwC official noted that the year might witness the expected easing of liquidity conditions, an increase in efforts to green the economy, and a step-up in efforts to nationalise the private sector workforce.

Citing the findings of its recent 26th annual global CEO survey by PwC, Riyadh Al Najjar said that Middle East CEOs are focusing on advancing their digital transformation, with 84% of respondents in the region saying they will invest in automation processes and systems, while 66% say they expect to deploy cloud technology, artificial intelligence, and other advanced technology in operations.

“Regional business leaders are focused on transforming their businesses to ensure their resilience in the face of global economic and geopolitical volatility and concerns around longer-term viability,” Riyadh Al Najjar said.

He added that a key pillar of this strategy centres on technology. Investing in technological breakthroughs will bring new efficiencies to businesses, apart from opening new opportunities, with a new-found sustainability mindset.

“Regional leaders are also more mindful of the importance of strengthening supply chains and improving their cost efficiency to ensure fit for future resilience,” Riyadh Al Najjar concluded.

The official’s observations came amid the news of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia achieving a record GDP growth of 8.7% in 2022. The tally, which is the highest the Kingdom has ever registered in over a decade, also resulted in Saudi GDP exceeding USD 1 trillion for the first time.

The report also revealed a positive growth in the country’s non-oil sectors by 5.4% compared to 2021. Transportation, storage and communication sectors led the growth rates in this segment at 9.1%, followed by manufacturing activities (except for oil refining), which registered a ratio of 7.7%.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) identified Saudi as the fastest growing among major world economies in the first quarter of 2022. The Kingdom’s economy grew 2.6% quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of 2022, the highest than any of the 19 countries and the European Union that make up the Group of 20 (G20).

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