Modern corporate building in Saudi Arabia

El reino más allá del petróleo

RIYADH – En las últimas semanas, el gobierno de Arabia Saudita ha emprendido una revisión de políticas estratégicas sin precedentes que podría tener ramificaciones para cada aspecto de la vida social y económica del país. Se espera que todos los detalles se den a conocer en enero, pero ye es evidente que el reino –la novena economía más grande del mundo- necesita de manera desesperada una reforma de amplio alcance.

Existen dos razones por las cuales el cambio se ha vuelto urgente. La primera es la estrepitosa caída de los precios del petróleo a nivel mundial, de estar por encima de 100 dólares por barril a mediados de 2014 a cotizar por debajo de 40 dólares hoy. Considerando que las exportaciones de petróleo representan casi el 90% del ingreso del gobierno, la presión sobre las finanzas sauditas se ha intensificado. El equilibrio fiscal ha oscilado de un excedente pequeño en 2013 a un déficit de más del 21% del PIB en 2015, según proyecciones del Fondo Monetario Internacional.

La segunda razón es demográfica. En los próximos 15 años, unos seis millones de jóvenes sauditas alcanzarán la edad de trabajar. Esto ejercerá una enorme presión sobre el mercado laboral y potencialmente duplicará su tamaño.

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