Pascal Roger, head of Business France Saudi Arabia details the socio-economic transformations of the country had his say to Ecomnews Med during the Middle East event organised by the institution in Paris on November the 15th.
The petroleum burden into the Saudi Economy
With a 1,7% annual growth, Saudi Arabia is undergoing real changes. In 2016 the country recorded a 646,4 billion dollars divided between only 32 millions of inhabitants. Saudi Arabia is the second largest petroleum reserves and the fifth largest natural gas reserves. Considered as an energy superpower country, it is often been said about the economy that it has to be more diversify although natural resources are valued at 34,4 trillion dollars ( 2016 ). Petroleum still contributes to 55% of the GDP and account for 92% of the Saudi revenues.
How to diversify the business?
The diversification plan invested 47 billion dollars in the petrochemical sector. In the future, Saudi Arabia relies a lot on real estate sector, which is a fast-growing market. The unemployment rate is officially situated around 12% although a journalist from Reuters agency situated it around 30 to 40%. But the core business development is coming through foreign investments into the country.
Business France is at that stage playing a crucial role for French Companies to settle in. For Pascal Roger, Business France in Saudi Arabia is following: « the 2030 vision and the opportunities of the transformation plan. We do accompany the transforming kingdom because certain challenges of the kingdom are great opportunities for our French companies ». Digital development is a great example of the French possibilities into the country.
Does Digital development a future plan?
Indeed for the Pascal Roger point of view: « The new technologies are seen in Saudi Arabia as a vector of efficiency for the state, for the E-government, for the digitalisation and a lot more to save although this is a rich kingdom ». The new technologies are also a social vector: a dose of individual freedom into an organic society. Women and young people can benefit from new technology and by the same way contributing to the economic diversification.
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