Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

La terapia de shock de Arabia Saudita

BEIRUT – Arabia Saudita basa hace mucho tiempo el crecimiento económico y el desarrollo en el petróleo, que el año pasado supuso unas tres cuartas partes del total de las exportaciones del país y cerca del 90% de la recaudación fiscal. Pero el reciente derrumbe de precios puso de manifiesto lo que ya tendría que haber estado claro mucho antes: Arabia Saudita, como las otras naciones de Medio Oriente con abundancia de gas y petróleo, necesita un modelo de desarrollo más diversificado.

Desde que el petróleo empezó a abaratarse, a mediados de 2014, Arabia Saudita experimentó una veloz caída del crecimiento del PIB, además de menos liquidez y crecimiento del crédito. Los superávits fiscal y de cuenta corriente se transformaron en déficits. Este año, se prevé que ambos déficits alcancen el 13% y el 6,4% del PIB, respectivamente.

Además, a pesar del crecimiento pasado, la riqueza nacional real del país disminuyó. Lo mismo que en el resto de la región, no hubo una transformación eficiente de los ingresos petroleros en capital humano, infraestructura y capacidad de innovación, necesarios para generar crecimiento de la productividad y diversificar la actividad económica. Así que además de adaptarse a la “nueva normalidad” de los precios del petróleo, Arabia Saudita debe diseñar un modelo económico totalmente nuevo que resuelva los obstáculos estructurales a la productividad y el crecimiento.

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