IMF Chief: Saudi economy a bright spot amid global crises

MoU inked to establish IMF regional office in Riyadh

October 03, 2022
The Ministry of Finance signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IMF with regard to setting up of IMF’s regional office in the Kingdom.
The Ministry of Finance signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IMF with regard to setting up of IMF’s regional office in the Kingdom.

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Monday that the performance of the Saudi economy is a bright spot amid global crises. She pointed out that the global economy has become bleak, saying, “we are going through difficult times.”

Georgieva made the remarks during the 117th meeting of the Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) here on Monday. The meeting was chaired by Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan. On the sidelines of the meeting, the Ministry of Finance signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IMF with regard to setting up of IMF’s regional office in the Kingdom.

The IMF chief stressed her keenness to discuss prospects of economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia. The IMF expects that Saudi Arabia would become one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with its gross domestic product (GDP) posting a growth rate of 7.6 percent this year. Georgieva expected that the GCC countries would achieve a growth rate of 6.5 percent this year, and the momentum of economic growth in the Gulf region would continue.

At the end of the two-day visit to Riyadh, the IMF chief said in a statement that her visit has been instrumental in further deepening the cooperation between the IMF and Saudi Arabia as well as other GCC states, especially in responding to the global series of shocks, including food insecurity.

“I congratulated the authorities on Saudi Arabia’s strong economic performance and impressive progress in implementing their Vision 2030 reform agenda, notably the doubling of the share of women in the labor force in just four years. Maintaining the reform momentum to further diversify the economy will be pivotal for longer-term prosperity,” she said while noting that this was an area of strong agreement echoed in her meetings with Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Saudi Central Bank Governor Fahad Al-Mubarak, Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim, and top officials of the Public Investment Fund.

“I also held inspiring discussions with impressive Saudi women who have played a leading role in reducing inequalities and supporting Saudi Arabia’s economic growth. In all our discussions, I welcomed the critical role Saudi Arabia plays on the international level, and in particular its role in supporting countries in the region and vulnerable countries more broadly that have been impacted by multiple shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic and now Russia’s war in Ukraine,” she said, revealing that she had productive discussions with the Saudi side about the existential threat of climate change and the vital importance of an orderly energy transition.

Georgieva thanked Saudi Arabia for inviting her to participate in the annual meeting of GCC finance ministers and central bank governors. “Discussions at today’s meeting were exceptionally constructive. We agreed on the need to continue dialogue on the ongoing economic reforms in the region and to enhance our coordination efforts to support countries in the region and tackle global crises,” she pointed out.

“As part of the GCC meeting, I also participated in a high-level panel on tackling food insecurity together with Saudi Finance Minister Al-Jadaan, Mauritania’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Promotion of Production Sectors Ousmane Kane, Executive Director of the World Food Program David Beasley, and Islamic Development Bank President Muhammad Al-Jasser. The event was co-hosted by Saudi Arabia, reflecting its leadership role in addressing this critical challenge,” she said.

The IMF chief underscored the increasing urgency for an effective and coordinated global response and additional financing to support low‑ and middle‑income countries facing food insecurity. “I am therefore grateful for the Arab Coordination Group’s recent announcement to provide an initial $ 10 billion to alleviate the global food supply crisis and am extremely pleased that several GCC countries are planning to make further pledges soon,” she said.

Georgieva said that her visit marked another important milestone in IMF’s partnership with the region. “We are taking our cooperation to a new level by establishing an IMF regional office in Riyadh. It will spearhead engagement with regional institutions, strengthen relationships with country authorities, and help expand the IMF’s capacity development activities—which will make it one of the largest contributors globally,” she said while extending her thanks to Saudi Arabia for its generous commitment to investing in building capacity in countries across the region.

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