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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As hydrocarbons producers reap sustained revenue from high global prices, national oil companies (NOCs) in the Gulf are accelerating investment in carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS); hydrogen; and other green energies to make their activities less carbon-intensive and support the energy transition.

As part of plans to expand and diversify its global trade partners, the GCC has launched negotiations with the UK on a free trade agreement that is expected to bolster the bloc’s economy, help attract investment and provide greater opportunities for local businesses.

Following delays, the long-awaited GCC Railway looks likely to be revitalised, a move that could transform trade and connectivity across the Gulf.

Food production in the GCC has long faced obstacles ranging from water scarcity to a lack of arable soil – factors that are being exacerbated by climate change.

Nations in the MENA region have been intensifying efforts to increase their food security, with Russia's invasion of Ukraine the most recent geopolitical event to underline the fragility of global supply chains, as well as the importance of agricultural self-sufficiency.

The GCC chemicals and petrochemicals industry demonstrated considerable resilience in the face of Covid-19 and oil price fluctuations.

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