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.
1. Introduction 2. Which development paradigm? 3. Government Economic Policy 4. Oil, gas and petrochemicals 5. Banking sector and financial markets 6. International trade and GCC economic relations 7. Employment issues 8. Employment conditions in SABIC 9. The role of the private sector 10. The electricity industry