IMF chief Georgieva lauds Saudi economy amid global crises

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Saudi Arabia is “becoming a bright spot for the world economy”, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said during a WEF panel in Davos, lauding the country’s progress on reforms such as its Vision 2030.

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Georgieva appeared on a panel that looked at how the Kingdom’s economy is navigating global challenges including energy insecurity and supply chain fragmentation, driven by events such as the Russia-Ukraine war which has contributed to rising inflation and food prices across the world.

But despite global economic turmoil, Georgieva said she was impressed with the Saudi economy, which the IMF said last year leads its world economic growth outlook projections for 2023 out of all Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries.

“When I visited Saudi Arabia, I was incredibly impressed by the progress that the country has made in implementing Vision 2030 and becoming a bright spot for the world economy,” she said. “And that is happening in a particularly difficult time for the world.”

“We have experienced the unthinkable events, the pandemic, war in Ukraine and the consequences in terms of energy and food prices skyrocketing, creating cost of living crisis for hundreds of millions of people,” she added.

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 aims to reduce the country’s dependance on income from oil revenues by creating futuristics places such as NEOM, and investing in burgeoning sectors such as e-sports and gaming.

To boost the gaming industry, last year, for instance, Saudi Arabia announced plans to invest 142 billion riyals ($38 billion) in gaming companies through state-owned company Savvy Games Group.

Luxury island Sindalah, part of the NEOM development is also set to open in 2024. Saudi Arabia on Wednesday unveiled a new video showing rapid progress being made on the piece.

As well as praising the country’s change in fiscal policy, Georgieva also lauded the country for the actions being taken to address food and energy insecurity, its increase of the percentage of females in the workforce, as well as investments it is making to secure economic stability in the future.

Saudi Arabia’s female labor participation reached 37 percent in 2022.

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