Saudi Arabia-based execs optimistic about 2019

A vast majority of C-level executives in Saudi Arabia said they believe Saudi Arabia will meet its Vision 2030 goals
Saudi Arabia-based execs optimistic about 2019
According to the survey, 82 percent of business leaders said they were confident that the kingdom would successfully achieve the targets laid out in Vision 2030.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Wed 13 Feb 2019 09:30 AM

A majority of C-suite executives in Saudi Arabia are optimistic about the country’s long-term economic prospects, according to a new survey from Oxford Business Group.

According to the survey, 82 percent of business leaders said they were confident that the kingdom would successfully achieve the targets laid out in Vision 2030.

The survey also revealed that 15 percent of respondents believe that manufacturing will drive non-oil growth in the short to medium term, compared to 12 percent who said tourism.

Additionally, 62 percent of executives said that their expectations for local business conditions over the next 12 months are ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’.

A year after the implementation of value-added tax (VAT) in Saudi Arabia, four-fifths of business leaders said they thought the kingdom’s tax climate was competitive or very competitive on a global scale, with less than 10 percent describing it as uncompetitive or very uncompetitive.

Many executives expressed concern that external factors could affect the country’s economic plans, with 65 percent identifying regional political volatility as the event most likely to weight on the local economy, compared to slowing demand growth in China (13 percent) and multiple Fed rate hikes (7 percent).

OBG’s Middle East director, Billy Fitzherbert, said that while 2018 was disappointing, “there is optimism that the fortunes of emerging markets will fare better in 2019.”

“One thing that comes up again and again in our meetings with local businesspeople is the sense of renewed dynamism within the Kingdom, spurred by a large demographic of highly educated young nationals – 70 percent of the population in Saudi Arabia is under the age of 30. These young people are being reflected at the management level, too,” he said. “There is no denying that the winds of change that swept through Saudi Arabia in 2016 are still blowing strong.”

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