Saudi Arabia’s diversification away from oil to take centre stage at conference

Oil price news
Oil price news

Saudi Arabia’s diversification away from oil will take centre stage at the forthcoming Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF).

Oil skimming $30 has forced the Kingdom to reduce its economic reliance on the commodity.

“Volatile oil prices present an economic challenge worldwide, not just in Saudi Arabia. However, they also represent an opportunity for countries to drive innovation and sustainable growth by directing investment to other key competitive sectors,” HE Abdullatif Al-Othman, Governor of the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA).

“We have to be proactive, not reactive. Non-oil sectors are already playing a substantial role in the country’s development, contributing almost SR164 billion in revenues in 2015, an increase of almost 30 percent from 2014. It is imperative that we continue this growth.”

The Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF) will be held in Riyadh on January 24-26.

Its theme, Competitive Sectors, will discuss strategies of developing a sustainable, mixed economy not overly reliant on oil. With key inputs from business and political leaders, academics and analysts from the private and public sectors in Saudi Arabia and the wider world, GCF 2016 will be outlining visions for specific non-oil sectors that directly impact economic growth, focusing on developments in health care and life sciences, transport and logistics, finance, manufacturing, education, ICT and the services industries.

The forum coincides with the publication of Saudi Arabia’s roadmap to reducing its reliance on oil, the National Transformation Plan.

Amongst the business experts taking part, GCF 2016 will welcome two of the world’s most influential businesswomen – Maryllin Hewson, the CEO of Lockheed Martin, and Indra Nooyi, chair of PepsiCo – who among other topics will be discussing the important role that Saudi women have to play in building a sustainable economic future for the Kingdom.

“We look forward to welcoming input from the many expert delegates we have coming from across the world on how to support sectors that can help countries maintain sustainable growth in an increasingly competitive economic environment,” said Al-Othman.