The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected Saudi Arabia’s real GDP growth at 2.1 percent this year, noting that the real non-oil GDP growth recovery is expected to reach 3.9 percent in 2021.
Real oil GDP growth is projected to reach -0.5% in 2021, according to the OPEC+ agreement output levels.
Further, the IMF forecast the Saudi deficit to decline to 4.2 percent of the GDP this year.
The statement underscored the positive results of the Saudi economic reforms, projected continuation in the economic recovery, an expected decline in the unemployment rate and inflation.
It also highlighted the success of the Saudi government's swift and decisive containment measures to limit COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The statement further commented on the effective role of fiscal policies, and financial sector, and employment initiatives launched by the government and the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) that helped cushion the impact of the pandemic on individuals and the private sector.
This coincides with the great progress in implementing the vaccination campaign during recent months.
The IMF also lauded the Kingdom's strong economic fundamentals supported by Vision 2030, which helped establish robust governance and cooperation between ministries and entities.
In light of this, it highlighted the progress made by the "Etimad" platform in strengthening government financial management.
In addition, it commended the impressive pace of equity and debt market reforms taken by the Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA) and the National Debt Management Center, which contributed to increasing capital raising options for companies and investment opportunities.
Regarding Saudi women's employment in the labor market, the statement praised the wide steps taken by the government, as estimations show that the rate of Saudi women in the total workforce has increased by 13 points to exceed 33 percent during the past two years.
In addition, it welcomed the Saudi Arabia Green Initiative and its potential in boosting growth and employment, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Ministry of Finance welcomed the IMF statement.
Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan said that the statement reaffirms the success of the Kingdom's government in achieving positive results and tangible successes during the most challenging year for the whole world.
"Such results have been achieved despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, fluctuations in oil prices, sharp economic fluctuations, decline in global demand, receding growth and other challenges that the Saudi government has risen to.
“The continued implementation of Vision 2030 programs, plans and goals has enabled the Kingdom to introduce many economic and structural reforms that demonstrate the efforts in developing the financial sector and achieving fiscal sustainability that enhances the Saudi economy's strength despite all the challenges,” Jadaan added.