July 28, 2021
The future of economic growth in the GCC is looking better than some analysts expected in the depths of the downturn in 2020. What may be different in this recovery compared to previous economic crises in the Gulf is a more limited fiscal policy space, and more variance among GCC countries in their ability to rebound with smart stimulus. As the global economic recovery now strengthens oil demand, taking advantage of this interim period of the global energy transition will mean accelerating government spending in areas where it can make a long-term impact on productivity growth and increased labor force participation among citizens in the private sector, especially women. Some governments will be able to accelerate productivity, including using highly skilled foreign labor and favorable long-term residency regimes, and others will be simply treading water to satisfy immediate demands of their populations.