Jobs for Saudis is key for economy, says IMF

Christine Lagarde says job creation for nationals, access to housing should be priorities

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. (AFP/Getty Images)

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. (AFP/Getty Images)

The creation of new jobs for Saudi nationals in a growing private sector is the key for the kingdom's economy in the future, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.

Following a visit to Saudi Arabia, Christine Lagarde said job creation and access to housing were "clear priorities" for the country.

In a statement, she said: “In my discussions, I commended the Saudi authorities for their progress in preserving financial stability despite the difficulties experienced in global financial markets, and we discussed the next steps in deepening financial markets to provide more support for growth.

"Accelerating private-sector growth that can generate employment opportunities for Saudi nationals entering the labor market will be key," she added.

Lagarde said the Saudi economy had navigated the global financial crisis well, allowing the government to boost expenditure to support demand during the crisis.

She added that Saudi Arabia’s policies had had "an important positive impact on the region and the global economy".

However, she said challenges still remained in the kingdom.

"Access to housing and job creation are clear priorities and initiatives are underway in both these areas," the IMF chief said, adding that the organisation was ready to help with its expertise.

During her visit to the kingdom, Lagarde met with King Abdullah and discussed with him recent economic developments in the region and the global and local economic situation.

"We also exchanged views on the important and constructive role that Saudi Arabia continues to play in supporting economic development in the region," she said.

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Posted by: Hamad S

tourism and other service industry can the biggest crater and employer but they are still ignored by the monetary policy makers specially the finance ministry in Saudi Arabia. Generally service industry such as tourism is labor intense and require many people.
I Saudi Arabia support the development of Tourism industry with a fund and land assignment, 100's of small and medium enterprises and grow very fast to meet the growing demand for tourism service and therefore create jobs and bring income to local communities and people will be able to buy and build houses.

Posted by: Ibrahim Alomim

Christine Lagarde did not come up with something new. Any ordinary Saudi citizen is well aware of the statistics of unemployement in his country. He can see that in his own household, relatives, or neighbors. The question is how and when will we see the level of unemployement in a rich country with vast resources rolling down: A good question to be thrown at the private sector especially.

Posted by: Billy

When throwing the question to the private sector about employing more Saudi Nationals perhaps you can at the same time throw this question to the Saudi Nationals looking for employment - are you ready to put in a hard days work for the same pay as everyone else, without any preferential conditions, be prepared to have your performance measured and with promotion totally dependant on merit/performance? If the answer to this is yes ( which I highly doubt ) then unemployment amongst the local population will quickly drop. If not ( which I suspect to be the case ) then the situation will not improve as the government is saturated and cannot offer enough employment to fix this matter alone. This is a two sided problem in which the Saudi Nationals themselves have a big part to play. The private sector cannot do it alone.

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