Paris Hosts Summit for a New Global Financing Pact

Paris, the capital of France, is hosting a global summit on Thursday and Friday under the theme “New Global Financing Pact” (Reuters)
Paris, the capital of France, is hosting a global summit on Thursday and Friday under the theme “New Global Financing Pact” (Reuters)
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Paris Hosts Summit for a New Global Financing Pact

Paris, the capital of France, is hosting a global summit on Thursday and Friday under the theme “New Global Financing Pact” (Reuters)
Paris, the capital of France, is hosting a global summit on Thursday and Friday under the theme “New Global Financing Pact” (Reuters)

The summit for a New Global Financing Pact, held in Paris for two days starting on June 22, gathers 50 heads of state and government, along with numerous ministers, high-ranking officials from international organizations, global financial institutions, and civil society organizations.

It is considered one of the largest forums worldwide, second only to the United Nations.

The international summit was launched by French President Emmanuel Macron in 2022.

It represents an expansion of a similar initiative proposed by Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of the Caribbean island of Barbados, known as the “Bridgetown Initiative.”

The purpose of this initiative was to facilitate access to international financing sources for the countries most affected by climate change, enabling them to confront the environmental challenges faced by nations and islands primarily.

On the sidelines of the G20 Summit, Macron announced the organization of the current summit for a New Global Financing Pact, initially aimed at “exploring all means and methods to enhance international solidarity.”

However, the primary objective later expanded to encompass addressing the consequences of climate change, global crises, and discussing key issues related to the reform of multi-party development banks, debt crisis, poverty, health, innovative financing, international taxation, and Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).

As the gap widens between countries in the North and the South, this summit comes into play.

Its presumed objective is to provide the means to respond to the growing needs of most Southern countries in combating poverty and dealing with climate change, which leads to desertification, migration, wars, and environmental disasters.

The broader goal, which no one expects to be achieved in this summit, is to restructure a more just international financial system instead of the one established by the West following World War II.

According to the French presidency, the summit will examine the “restructuring” of financial institutions born out of “Bretton Woods” in the US, specifically referring to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will participate in the summit. The presidents of Egypt, Tunisia, and Mauritania are also attending the summit.

Other Arab countries are represented at the ministerial level or through their diplomatic missions in Paris.

Among the notable attendees are the Secretary-General of the UN and the Presidents of Switzerland, South Korea, South Africa, Brazil, and several African countries.

Also present are the Prime Minister of China, the German Chancellor, the Italian Prime Minister, the President of the EU, and the President of the European Commission.

The US is represented by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Notably absent from the summit is Russia, which was not invited to participate.



IMF Praises Saudi Arabia’s Unprecedented Economic Transformation

Efforts to diversify the economy have started to bear fruit: IMF (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Efforts to diversify the economy have started to bear fruit: IMF (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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IMF Praises Saudi Arabia’s Unprecedented Economic Transformation

Efforts to diversify the economy have started to bear fruit: IMF (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Efforts to diversify the economy have started to bear fruit: IMF (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised Saudi Arabia’s significant economic changes under the “Vision 2030” national transformation plan, noting improvements in public finances and business regulations.
An IMF mission expected non-oil growth in Saudi Arabia to reach around 3.5% in 2024, crediting careful economic policies and major reforms.
The mission also highlighted record-low unemployment rates and controlled inflation in the country, and welcomed recent updates to funding requirements aligned with “Vision 2030” goals.
The IMF released a concluding statement at the end of its official staff visit to Saudi Arabia.
In the statement, the IMF said: “Saudi Arabia’s unprecedented economic transformation is progressing well.”
“Prudent macroeconomic policies, transformative changes—including through fiscal reforms and in the regulatory business environment—and strong domestic demand have helped prop up non-oil growth. Inflation remains contained.”
“Spending reprioritization and recalibration of major spending programs are ongoing. Efforts to diversify the economy have started to bear fruit.”
“Building on these successes, it will be important to sustain the non-oil growth momentum, maintain financial sector stability, continue mitigating risks of overheating, reverse declining total factor productivity and ensure inter-generational equity.”
Economic Activity Remains Robust
According to the IMF, real non-oil growth decelerated from 5.3% in 2022 to a still robust 3.8% in 2023, driven mostly by private consumption and non-oil investment.
While non-oil growth for Q1-2024 indicates some moderation in economic activity— the IMF staff estimated that the output gap remains in positive territory, close to 2% of the non-oil potential GDP.
The statement also noted that the Saudi economy weathered the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East well, thanks to minimal trade and financial exposures to the affected regions and uninterrupted shipments.
Unemployment Rate Reached Historic Lows
In 2023, the Saudi economy added over one million jobs, primarily in the private sector. The overall unemployment rate for Saudis dropped to 7.7% in the last quarter of 2023—inching closer to the 2030 Vision objective of 7%.
Labor force participation rates have remained at historically high levels but relatively flat over the past year for both men and women, albeit with the women’s rate still comfortably exceeding the Vision 2030 goal of 30%.
Headline Inflation Has Decelerated Rapidly
After peaking at 3.4% in January 2023, year-on-year inflation receded to 1.6% in April 2024, helped by an appreciating nominal effective exchange rate.
However, rents are growing at a brisk rate of about 10% amid inflows of expatriate workers and large redevelopment plans in Riyadh and Jeddah.
Wholesale prices have also edged up recently, reflecting an increase in input costs. So far, some uptick has been observed in the wages of high-skilled workers.
Additionally, the current account surplus narrowed significantly.
The decline in the current account surplus from 13.7% of GDP in 2022 to 3.2% of GDP in 2023 mainly reflected lower oil exports and strong growth in investment-related imports.
These were partly mitigated by a record surplus in the services balance, including a 38 percent surge in net tourism income.
The Saudi Central Bank’s (SAMA) holding of net foreign assets reached $423.7 billion in April 2024, which was slightly above the end-2023 level.
Reserves remain ample, representing 15.6 months of imports and 208% of the IMF’s reserve adequacy metric by end-2023.