The countries of the GCC – the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain – continue to be reliant on natural resources as a primary source of fiscal revenue. Their citizen populations expect a range of social services and patronage from the state and its ruling families. Pressures of population growth and expectations of intergenerational equity have put economic policy at the centre of state capacity.
There is new momentum to resolve, or at least begin to shift public policy to address inefficiencies like subsidies, spur private sector and non-oil growth, and create alternate sources of government revenue. The momentum accelerated with a sharp decline in global oil prices in late 2014.
Castlereagh’s Gulf Monitor provides an insight into key developments in economic diversification, monetary and fiscal policy, social policy and foreign relations in line with the collective ambitions of GCC states to change their economies, yet preserve their systems of governance.
Also housed on this page is the Market Watch collection by Karen E. Young, who has followed and mapped closely the GCC states’ policy response since 2015. It is an authoritative guide to understanding policy formation, reaction and hydrocarbon reliance in the GCC in the last five years.
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Investors hoping for a slice of the world’s biggest, and most profitable, corporation will have to wait a while longer after Saudi Aramco again decided to hold off plans to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) over an acceptable valuation. However, Aramco will eventually privatise a stake in the company to equity investors – a central component of its Vision 2030 economic diversification programme – potentially paving the way for further oil and gas IPOs from the region.
Gulf Monitor | Rachna Uppal | Aramco IPO
GCC countries are seeking outward-looking solutions to guarantee their food security. Supported by government initiatives, private agribusiness companies are buying land across the world to secure agricultural goods from cereals to meat, particularly in destinations closer to home in South Asia and East Africa. However, the new phase of investments is laden with risks that must be delimited through strong bilateral ties.
Gulf Monitor | Daniel Moshashai | Agriculture
Two years on from the outbreak of the Qatar crisis, the blockade has provided Doha with an opportunity to rebrand itself and focus on its development goals and diversification plans as written in its National Vision 2030. Drawing on off the record conversations in London and Doha in April 2019, this analysis offers a unique perspective on the government’s handling of the crisis, and on the sustainability and challenges of the roadmap and wider vision.
Gulf Monitor | Sanam Vakil | Qatar Vision 2030
Government bonds are a popular remedy to budget deficits across the Gulf Cooperation Council states right now
Education is costly, and in the Gulf, it is becoming a very important component of private sector economic activity.
Economic liberalization tends to bring with it social, if not always political, openings. By definition, liberalization challenges existing orders.
Migrant labor has been an inherent part of economic development.
Egypt is at the ideological center of the ongoing dispute between Qatar and its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council members Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Qatar has lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization against the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain for blocking its air traffic and increasing the costs of basic food and medicine imports.
On the heels of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to visit Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
The isolation of Qatar is but one example of how the politics of the Gulf Arab states are getting in the way of economic diversification and transformation.
The past week has witnessed an unprecedented escalation of tensions among the Gulf Cooperation Council states, culminating with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain severing ties with Qatar.