Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

Saoedi Arabië’s shocktherapie

BEIROET – Saoedi Arabië is lange tijd afhankelijk geweest van olie voor zijn economische groei en ontwikkeling. Vorig jaar nam de olie ongeveer driekwart van de totale export-inkomsten van het koninkrijk voor zijn rekening, en ongeveer 90% van de overheidsinkomsten. Maar de recente ineenstorting van de olieprijs heeft onderstreept wat al langer duidelijk had moeten zijn: Saoedi-Arabië heeft net als de andere landen in het Midden-Oosten die rijk zijn aan olie en gas een gediversifieerder ontwikkelingsmodel nodig.

Sinds de olieprijs halverwege 2014 begon te dalen heeft Saoedi-Arabië een scherpe daling van de bbp-groei ervaren, evenals een lagere liquiditeits- en kredietgroei. Begrotingsoverschotten en overschotten op de betalingsbalans zijn veranderd in tekorten. Dit jaar zullen beide tekorten naar verwachting respectievelijk 13% en 6,4% van het bbp bedragen.

Bovendien is, ondanks de groei in het verleden, de reële nationale rijkdom van het koninkrijk gedaald. Zoals ook elders in de regio werden de olie-inkomsten niet efficiënt omgezet in menselijk kapitaal, infrastructuur en de innovatieve capaciteit die nodig is om productiviteitsgroei te bewerkstelligen en de economische activiteit te diversifiëren. Daarom moet Saoedi-Arabië, behalve zich aanpassen aan het “nieuwe normaal” op het gebied van de olieprijzen, een radicaal nieuw economisch model ontwerpen dat de structurele belemmeringen voor de productiviteit en de groei te lijf gaat.

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