Saudi Arabia likely to be one of world's fastest growing economies in 2022: IMF

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Saudi Arabia is likely to be one of the world’s fastest-growing economies this year, owing to its pro-business reforms and recovery from the pandemic-induced recession, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday.

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – one measure of how an economy is faring – is expected to reach 7.6 percent in 2022, the IMF said on Wednesday, the fastest growth the country has seen in almost a decade according to a report by the monetary body.

“Saudi Arabia is taking impressive steps to improve the business environment [in the country], attract foreign investment and create private-sector employment,” IMF economists Amine Mati and Sidra Rehman wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

“These initiatives, combined with governance and labor market reform, have made it easier to do business (a business can be registered in just three minutes), increased the number of industrial facilities, and raised female participation in the labor force,” they added.

The country’s implementation of its Vision 2030 – plans by Saudi Arabia to diversify its economy to reduce its dependence on oil-related income – will help liberalize the country’s economy and “pave the way for more stable growth” Mati and Rehman said.

The proportion of Saudi women in the work force has also doubled in the past four years to 33 percent, driven by transport subsidies of up to 80 percent for taxi fares, incentives for female hiring and great childcare support, the economists said.

“Saudi Arabia’s economic outlook is strong,” said Mati and Rehman, adding that maintaining the Kingdom’s “long-term prosperity depends crucially on sustaining the reform momentum.”

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