Arab Economic Outlook in Light of International Changes
4 – 5 September 2023.
Hilton Hotel Riyadh – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
During the second half of the twentieth century, the Arab region witnessed radical changes after the discovery of oil and gas, whether directly in the countries in which huge reserves of these two commodities were discovered, and received huge financial surpluses from exporting them, or indirectly in other Arab countries that benefited in employment, investment, tourism, trade, and remittances.
However, in return for these benefits, the Arab oil and gas exporting countries relied excessively on these two commodities, as they constituted the main source of financial flows, government revenues, bank deposits, and market liquidity. Despite some efforts, many Arab oil-producing countries did not succeed, until recently, in achieving significant economic diversification, which had made them vulnerable to global economic and financial cycles. In parallel, the situation was not better in other Arab countries that relied heavily on one economic sector, specifically the services sector, which made their economies vulnerable to political and security shocks. In light of this, some Arab countries have succeeded in achieving good and sustainable economic growth rates for decades, which translated into high per capita income and development levels, while other Arab countries lagged behind in development, income, and living standards, where the adopted economic policies and prevailing governance had the main role in this regard.
Most Arab countries – oil exporters and importers – are currently witnessing the adoption of deep and comprehensive economic reforms, development, and transformation policies, and the implementation of diversification measures to mitigate the reliance on one economic sector and increase the ability of national economies to withstand shocks, enhance resilience and their ability to generate job opportunities, in addition to developing the governance levels. On top of these economic transformations are the “2030 Vision” adopted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which aims to transfer the Saudi economy from oil dependence to economic diversification based on expanding the production base, industrialization, increasing the economic role of the financial sector and financial technology, and the shift to digitization in various economic sectors.
The economic measures adopted by the Arab countries come in light of the important changes that the globe is witnessing, especially the international geopolitical complexities, the failure to meet commitments to reduce carbon emissions, the exacerbation of climate risks and global warming and their repercussions on growth and development, the fourth industrial revolution and the unprecedented acceleration of digitization and the transformation to a digital economy. While these factors may pose challenges for Arab economic transformation and development, they pave the way for unprecedented opportunities for economic diversification and resilience. These opportunities are represented by achieving a resilient, diversified, green, and digital Arab economy that leads to enhancing the well-being of Arab citizens.
Accordingly, the Union of Arab Banks will hold its Arab Banking Conference for the year 2023, in Riyadh – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on March 8 and 9, 2023, under the title “Arab Economic Outlook in Light of International Changes”, to represent a high-level Arab platform that gathers Arab economic and financial decision-makers, in order to shed light on transformation paths and economic reform measures adopted by various Arab countries, how to align them with international conditions and climate challenges, and how to benefit from digitization in diversification. The conference also aims to discuss the policies required for economic advancement and development, with a focus on the Saudi Arabia experience.
Topics of Discussion
– Arab economic transformations and the adopted policies for economic diversification.
– Arab economic reforms and the transition to resilient economies capable of withstanding shocks.
– “2030 Vision” and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s experience in economic development and transformation.
– Climate risks and the repercussions of global warming on Arab economies and financial sectors.
– Digital transformation in the financial sectors and the role of financial technology in economic diversification.
– Sustainable finance and the contribution of the Arab private sector in financing development.
– Elements of transition to a green Arab economy.
– Shedding light on the challenges facing Arab economic recovery and advancement.
– Highlighting the emerging economic and social opportunities in light of climate change.
– Setting priorities to build a base for economic diversification.
– Solidifying the Arab banking and financial sector to allow it to continue its role in supporting national economies
– Benefiting from the “2030 Vision” and the Saudi experience in economic transformation.
– Discussing the role of financial technology in the transition to a digital economy.
– Highlighting the necessities of transition to a green Arab economy.