Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s decision to weaken the link between hydrocarbons and economic growth, and pursue a policy of diversification has seen a wide range of projects come to fruition in the last several years. While at present the Covid-19 pandemic and the unprecedented plunge in oil prices are causing significant short-term uncertainty, the reforms that have been put in place in recent years should stand the Kingdom in good stead over the longer term.

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In which areas did small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face the most pressing pandemic-related challenges, and how were those issues mitigated?

With the current semester winding up, many higher education institutions in the Gulf are already planning an expanded offering of courses for the next academic year – with a focus on supporting the needs of the region’s post-pandemic economy.

More than a year after the initial onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Gulf banking sector is seeing an increase in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), as lenders continue to deal with the economic fallout.

As industries around the world increasingly turn towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies to support their recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, focus is sharpening on sustainable construction in the Middle East.

With Saudi Arabia announcing plans to raise $55bn through its privatisation programme, Gulf countries are stepping up efforts to stimulate private investment in public assets and projects, with a view to strengthening state finances, spurring diversification and driving their respective Covid-19 recoveries.

With Saudi Arabia's flagship Red Sea tourism project securing $3.8bn in green financing, various governments in the Gulf region are looking to new, alternative tourism models to drive their pandemic recoveries, with an emphasis on ecological options and "staycations".

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