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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COP26 has focused the world’s attention on the need for a more sustainable economic model that ensures profits and growth are not achieved at the expense of ecological health and social well-being.

With a population larger than the other five GCC countries combined, Saudi Arabia accounted for more than 50% of the region’s food imports prior to the pandemic, and 80% of food consumed in the Kingdom came from abroad.

Plastic waste is prominent among the multiple, interlinked environmental challenges currently facing the world. Emerging markets have a significant role to play in addressing the issue, both as leading plastic consumers, and in that they are often disproportionately affected.

Oliver Cornock, Oxford Business Group's Editor-in-Chief, recently spoke with John Brash, founder and CEO of Brash Brands, who shared his views on the current economic trends in GCC countries – with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia – that include ambitious innovation and diversification plans; investments in talent and education; support for SMEs and start-ups after the crisis, as well as progress in agricultural sustainability.

The ongoing UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow has underlined how increased adoption of low-carbon energy sources will be key to reducing global emissions. While it is not without its detractors, many agree that nuclear power has a role to play in this.

With connectivity being widely recognised as a key driver of the post-coronavirus economic recovery, GCC countries are poised to benefit from the expansion of their 5G networks.

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