Economic Reform and Political Risk in The GCC: Implications for U.S. Government and Business

The following is a transcript of the eighty-fifth in a series of Capitol Hill conferences convened by the Middle East Policy Council. The meeting was held at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, on July 12, 2016, with Richard J. Schmierer, chairman of the board of directors of the Middle East Policy Council, moderating, and Thomas R. Mattair, Council executive director, serving as discussant. The video can be accessed at

AASIM M. HUSAIN, Deputy Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department, International Monetary Fund

What I thought I'd do today in the time that was allotted to me is talk a bit, first, about what the impact of low oil prices on the GCC economies has been, what policy responses the countries have taken, and what the macroeconomic implications of low oil prices are. Then I will turn quickly to the long-term policy agenda in each of the six countries.

I'm sure almost everyone has heard about the Saudi Vision 2030. That is the one that has gotten the most attention. It's also perhaps the most recent one to be announced. Saudi Arabia is by far the largest economy in the GCC, and in many respects this purports to be a truly transformative set of reforms. But every other country in the GCC also has the analogue of such a vision, so I thought I'd cover that in a very brief pass and talk about the implementation or the related challenges that I see in each case.

English | September 9, 2016



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