Modern corporate building in Saudi Arabia

O Reino para além do Petróleo

RIADE – Ao longo das últimas semanas, o governo da Arábia Saudita tem estado envolvido numa revisão sem precedentes de políticas estratégicas que poderá ter ramificações em todos os aspectos da vida social e económica do país. Espera-se que os detalhes completos sejam anunciados em Janeiro, mas é já claro que o reino, a décima-nona maior economia do mundo, está a precisar desesperadamente de uma reforma de longo alcance.

Há duas razões para que a mudança se tenha tornado urgente. A primeira é a queda dramática dos preços globais do petróleo, de acima dos 100 dólares por barril em meados de 2014 para os menos de 40 dólares de hoje. Sendo as exportações de petróleo responsáveis por quase 90% das receitas do governo, a pressão sobre as finanças Sauditas tem sido intensa; o saldo fiscal passou de um pequeno excedente em 2013 para um défice de mais de 21% do PIB em 2015, de acordo com projecções do Fundo Monetário Internacional.

A segunda razão é demográfica. Nos próximos 15 anos, perto de seis milhões de jovens Sauditas chegarão à idade activa, exercendo enorme pressão sobre o mercado laboral e duplicando potencialmente a sua dimensão.

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