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Saudi Arabia fastest-growing G20 economy, amid low unemployment rate - IMF

September 7, 2023 at 6:50 pm

In this photo International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen in Washington D.C., United States on April 11, 2023 [Celal Güneş / Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia is the fastest-growing economy amongst G20 nations, with its unemployment rate having hit a record low, a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated.

According to the IMF report, released yesterday, Saudi Arabia’ overall economic growth reached 8.7 per cent last year due to a number of factors, including strong oil production and 4.8 per cent in non-oil GDP “driven by robust private consumption and non-oil private investment”.

In that non-oil growth, the primary sectors were reportedly wholesale trade, retail trade, construction and transport, with the IMF report predicting that the momentum of the non-oil growth would continue rising throughout this year.

The main exports of the Kingdom were stated to be wheat, dates, dairy products, eggs, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables and flowers to international markets, and with dates having specifically moved to distribution in global humanitarian aid rather than a traditional part of the Saudi staple diet.

Read: Saudi Arabia to use windfall to boost non-oil economy

The report also highlighted the drop in unemployment within the Kingdom, with the  total rate of unemployment having dropped to 4.8 per cent by the end of 2022, down from nine per cent during the Covid-19 pandemic.

That figure especially represented an increase in Saudi employees within the Kingdom’s private sector, as well as the return of expatriate workers to above pre-Covid levels, primarily in the construction and agricultural sectors.

Saudi Arabia’s progress in its structural reform agenda was also praised by the IMF Executive Board, particularly the improvement in female participation in the labour force and improvements in the regulatory and business environment, all of which encouraged “positive progress” and higher investment into the private sector.

Other areas highlighted in the report included the inflation rate in the Kingdom, which has remained low and is expected to ease further, as well as the banking sector which remains “strong”. It also noted the advancement of Saudi Arabia’s Green Initiative (SGI), the implementation of which aims to reach the Gulf State’s target to reduce net emissions.

Read: Unemployment in Saudi Arabia is either a crisis of wealth or mismanagement