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Chapter | Trade & Investment from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

Firming oil prices have brought about an improvement in Saudi Arabia’s trade balance in 2018. The government’s longer-term ambition, however, is to protect itself from the uncertainty of the energy market by diversifying the export base away from hydrocarbons. The Kingdom’s newly formulated economic strategy also aims to boost foreign investment, thereby reducing the economy’s dependence on public spending. Both of these objectives are being pursued through a cross-government effort that is reshaping Saudi Arabia’s business environment. The changes being made to the legislative and regulatory frameworks that govern trade and investment bode well for economic growth in the long term, although concrete results in the short term have yet to be secured. This chapter contains an interview with Ibrahim Al Omar, Governor, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority.

Chapter | Economy from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

A welcome improvement was seen in the Kingdom’s economic fortunes in 2018, with GDP growth of 1.2% in the first quarter marking the first expansion of the national economy after five consecutive quarters of contraction. Overall, the economy grew by 2.2% for the year, compared to a contraction of 0.7% in 2017. Firming oil prices have enabled the government to produce two record-breaking budgets for 2018 and 2019, and the private sector is poised to benefit as the projects outlined in the nation’s ambitious development strategy begin to take shape with its help. Saudi Arabia’s long-term goal of securing enough private investment to shift the nation’s primary engine of growth away from state spending, however, remains a work in progress. This chapter contains interviews with Turki Al Hokail, CEO and Board Member, National Centre for Privatisation; Ajlan Abdulaziz Alajlan, Chairman of the Board, Ajlan & Bros, and Chairman, Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Husameddin Al Madani, Director-General, National Centre for Performance and Measurement.

Chapter | Country Profile from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and the 13th-largest nation in the world, with an area of approximately 2.15m sq km, covering 80% of the Arabian Peninsula. Home to an estimated 15% of the world’s proven oil reserves and the single-largest economy in MENA, Saudi Arabia is a key player both regionally and globally. Established in September 1932, in recent years the Kingdom has poured its considerable financial resources into a series of large-scale economic development, diversification and modernisation initiatives. Saudi Arabia has attracted international attention for the momentum of its socio-economic transformation, taking place under the auspices of the Vision 2030 development blueprint. This chapter contains a viewpoint from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and an interview with Prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud, Governor, Makkah Province.

Chapter | Table of Contents from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

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Chapter | Utilities from The Report: Qatar 2019

In the two decades since it first began exporting liquefied natural gas, Qatar’s economy and population has expanded rapidly, increasing demand for electricity and water. A report published in 2015 noted that the utilities sector accounts for most of Qatar’s natural gas con¬sumption. From 2007 to 2017 the country’s annual consumption of natural gas doubled from 24bn cu metres to 47.4bn cu metres, according to BP’s “Sta¬tistical Review of World Energy 2018”. In 2018 the country set the goal of boosting annual LNG output by 43% to 110m tonnes by 2024, the demand for which is expected to surge in the medium term given a number of major infrastruc¬ture projects in the pipeline, including a metro rail network and the planned city of Lusail.

Chapter | Energy from The Report: Qatar 2019

For over a decade Qatar has been the world’s lead¬ing supplier of liquefied natural gas, and by 2024 the country aims to boost output by 43%. While much of Qatar’s growth in the decades after independence in 1971 was fuelled by crude oil, natural gas gained prominence in the 1990s. In 2018 Qatar announced it would leave the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which it joined as one of the first members in 1961, in order to focus on gas. Qatar’s ambitions signal it will be in a strong position moving forward as worldwide demand for natural gas increases. In addition, Qatar is taking steps to proactively develop its solar power generation. This chapter contains an interview with Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani, CEO, Qatargas.