WASHINGTON – Saudi Arabia is one of the top 20 most competitive economies in the world, according to the annual Global Competiveness Report released this week by the World Economic Forum. The Kingdom was ranked 17th, up from 21st last year. The World Economic Forum examined the business operating environments and competitiveness of more than 130 economies worldwide.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has made the Saudi economy one of his top priorities since his ascension to the throne. King Abdullah’s efforts to open the economy to foreign investment, expand the job market and improve the quality of the education system have made the Saudi economy stronger than ever.
“This is a testament to the initiatives King Abdullah has undertaken to ensure that Saudi Arabia is a leader in the global economy,” said Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir. “It is clear that King Abdullah’s commitment to diversify and privatize the Saudi economy is working.”
Given the finite nature of Saudi Arabia’s natural resources and the historical importance they have played in the nation’s development, the Kingdom has taken precautions to expand its economic base to minimize its reliance on oil. The International Monetary Fund expects Saudi Arabia’s non-oil sector to grow by 5.4 percent this year.
The Kingdom has also worked to open its economy to foreign investment. Since joining the World Trade Organization in 2005, Saudi Arabia has become the largest destination for foreign direct investment in the Arab world. In 2010, Saudi Arabia ranked 8th in the world in attracting direct foreign investment according to a report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.