Skip to Main Content


A Guide to Saudi Arabia Politics: 7. Information on the economy


Arabian economy is widely recognized as an oil-based economy. The country is rich
in natural resources, especially petroleum reserves (almost 16% of world’s
reserves), which boots the economy significantly. Oil sectors accounts for 80%
of budget revenues, 45% of national GDP, and 90% of export. Currently, Saudi
Arabia tries to diversify its revenues, therefore, encourages the development
of private sector. Almost 6 million foreigners constitute the basis of Saudi
labor force, whereas Riyadh is trying to reduce unemployment among young Saudi
citizens. The country’s GDP is $718,5 billion, which is the 20th in
the world. The GDP growth rate slowed down after the Arab Spring – 8,6% in
2011, 5,1% in 2012, and 3,6% in 2013. The GDP per capita equals to that of the
European countries - $31,300 per person, however, unlike other developed countries,
the majority of GDP is produced by industrial sector – 62.5% in comparison
20-30% in the developed countries. The services sector is being developed
throughout the decade and now holds 71,9% of country’s labor force. The
national reserves make $739.5 billion, which is the 4th world’s
result (CIA). Despite the declining oil revenues Saudi Arabian 2014 budget
provides significant investments in country’s infrastructure, education, and
health. In 2013 one could observe an 11% drop in oil revenues from $1,140
billion to $1,017 billion, however, this drop was compensated by increase (14%)
from non-oil sources, which shows constant transformation of the Saudi economy