Oil in Saudi Arabia Reza/Getty Images

La voie de la réforme de l'Arabie saoudite

BEYROUTH – Près de deux ans après la chute brutale des prix du pétrole, les principaux producteurs mondiaux sont confrontés à la perspective d'ajustements importants qui auront des conséquences économiques, sociales et politiques. Alors que ces ajustements seront sûrement extrêmement difficiles, surtout pour les pays à revenus intermédiaires comme l'Arabie saoudite (qui n'ont pas les mêmes fonds massifs que les Émirats Arabes Unis, par exemple), ils représentent pour ces pays une occasion importante de rechercher des moyens plus productifs d'organiser leur société.

L'Arabie saoudite a apparemment relevé ce défi. Cette semaine, ce pays a publié son projet Vision 2030 qui cherche à assurer une croissance durable à long terme. Le projet a été à la fois salué et critiqué pour son ambition, illustrée par l'objectif de transformer le royaume en la 15ème plus grande économie du monde au cours des deux prochaines décennies : une économie caractérisée par une main-d'œuvre qualifiée, des marchés ouverts et une bonne gouvernance. Un des principaux moyens que l'Arabie saoudite entend réaliser consiste à diversifier son portefeuille d'actifs, en vendant des parts du géant pétrolier, l'entreprise publique Aramco, pour créer un fonds souverain.

Mais Vision 2030 ne parvient pas à résoudre un problème crucial : la faible participation au marché du travail. Seulement 41% de la population en âge de travailler exerce actuellement un emploi, par rapport à une moyenne de 60% dans les pays de l'OCDE. Ceux qui travaillent sont employés dans une large mesure par des organismes publics aux effectifs pléthoriques. Ce problème est la principale cause d'inefficacité de l'économie saoudienne. Et y remédier sera la plus difficile des tâches.

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