After a year of the Covid-19 pandemic’s ravaging effects on the economy, the World Bank has predicted that Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product (GDP) will increase by 3.3 percent, primarily because of the growth registered by the non-oil sector, according to media reports. The GDP in 2021 is projected to reach 2.4 percent.
The GCC countries faced a health crisis and a commodity market shock causing a GDP contraction of 4.8 percent in 2020, aided by the Covid-19 pandemic. Issam Abousleiman, the World Bank’s director for GCC countries told the media that one of the biggest reasons why their economy is bouncing back rapidly is because of rapid vaccine rollout around the world will increase crude oil prices and demand, especially in advanced economies, and reverse the massive GDP contraction the Kingdom recently witnessed.
Oil prices are currently at a seven-year high and after OPEC+ stay put with its decision of raising the production of crude oil by a modest 400,000 barrels per day in November, less than 0.5 percent of the global demand.
Abousleiman told the media, “The non-oil sector is expected to resume its growth trajectory in the medium-term, reflecting stronger private consumption, higher capital spending by the Public Investment Fund under its five-year investment strategy, and a pickup in religious tourism following the lifting of an international travel ban in May.”
Tourism, along with green energy and climate change adaptation as key growth areas as Saudi Arabia, according to Abousleiman it continues to diversify its economy away from oil.