Saudi Arabia is one of the world´s top 20 economies, the largest in the MENA(Middle East and North Africa) region, and the most influential of the ArabianPeninsular states.Ruled since its inception in 1932 by the House of Saud, it´s a highly conservativecountry founded firmly on the principles of Islam.Exploitation of its oil in partnership with international energy companies hasbrought Saudi Arabia prosperity and modernization.
Under the role of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, who succeeded to thethrone in 2005, Saudi Arabia has maximized its earnings from the oil sector to fundfurther growth. At the same time, a range of major economic, social, education,health, and infrastructure projects have been initiated.
The private sector is playing an increasingly large role in the Saudi economy, andnow accounts for 48% of GDP.The non-oil sector of the economy is growing faster than the oil sector, withconstruction, transport and communications sectors expanding at double-digitrates.Since becoming a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2005, SaudiArabia has improved its regulatory regime, opening up to foreign investors in keysectors, such a banking and telecommunications.Saudi Arabia is strategically placed, offering access beyond the Middle East andAfrica to markets in the European Union, Eastern Europe, and the Commonwealthof Independent States, as well as to the South Asian subcontinent an the Asia-Pacific region.
Last year, oil from Ghawar and Saudi Arabia´s other giant oilfields was pumped intothe global energy market at a record rate.Recently years have seen economic activity exceeding the average pre-crisis level.The private sector is being encouraged to “start leading the way” to ensurebalanced growth.Oil dominates the Saudi economy, accounting for 90% of Saudi Arabia´s totalexport earnings, 80% of government revenue, and 45% of GDP.However, while hydrocarbons will remain the economic mainstay for theforeseeable future, an increasing proportion of the oil output is being directedtoward domestic uses, such as fueling the increased power generation required tosupport the kingdom´s ongoing economic boom.
Saudi Arabia´s private medical care has been an area of strong growth since theCooperative Health Insurance Act of 1999 provided medical insurance to all Saudiprivate-sector workers, expatriate employees and their families.Studies are planned on the possibility of implementing health insurance for twonew groups: Saudis who are travelling abroad for tourism or business, and touristsvisiting the country. The target is to increase the number of insured to 11 million.Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) is flying high, making astute decisions and adoptingthe right strategies to become a world leader in the industry. It is also focusing onhow tot enhance customer satisfaction by introducing various attractive services.Saudia has played a significant role in the kingdom´s social, educational, economic,commercial and industrial development.
Saudia plays a key role in transporting millions of pilgrims who come to thekingdom for Haij and Umrah (the greater and lesser pilgrimages every year).At present the air traffic in the kingdom is focused on four airports: King AbdulazizInternational Airport in Jeddah, King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, KingFahd International Airport in Dammam, and Prince Muhammad bin AbdulazizInternational Airport in Madinah.Turning the desert into a green oasis: Saudi Arabia has big plans to become 100%powered by renewable and low-carbon forms of energy as the government movesahead with its commitment to invest in renewable energy, nuclear power, andother alternatives to fossil fuels.Also creating a greener future, the Saudi Paper Manufacturing Company (SPMC) isa fully integrated paper enterprise focused on recycling, manufacturing andconverting paper, which is determined to become the most sustainable business inthe kingdom: there is a lot of waste paper and that is not good for theenvironment.
Today, the country offers investors the high-capacity, high-quality infrastructureneeded to help businesses grow. Saudi Arabia has more than 34.000 miles of pavedroads link all parts of the kingdom, ensuring the efficient movement of naturalresources, raw materials, products and people.In recent years, the Saudi government has launched a massive $624 billioninvestment program for infrastructure and industrial projects through to 2020.The country is undergoing a massive program of economic growth and industrialdiversification as it plans its future progress. The Saudi Arabian General InvestmentAothority (SAGIA), created by the government in 2000, is at the forefront of thisdevelopment. They are working with leading environmental institutions to ensurethat the four economic cities are developed with minimum negative environmentalimpact and maximum energy efficiency and sustainability.Tourism has adopted an increasing amount of economic importance in SaudiArabia in recent years, with the kingdom´s government devoting enormousattention to restructuring the sector.Read the Country Report here