Jarmo Kotilaine, Chief Economic Advisor of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and Vice President of the Bahraini Tamkeen Fund, said that Gulf countries, led by Saudi Arabia, have been able to confront the coronavirus pandemic and turn it into a new opportunity to lead economic change through innovation and solutions for digitization and governance.
More projects are being implemented on the basis of public-private partnerships, and services are being increasingly assigned to the private sector. Fiscal consolidation will lead to the emergence of smaller and more efficient public sectors, and the end result will be more flexible economies supported by productivity, Kotilaine told Asharq Al-Awsat.
He said Saudi Arabia has shown exceptional resilience during the epidemic thanks to its strong development vision, in addition to the large investments, in parallel with building capabilities for the future.
Saudi Arabia has also shown agility in policy innovation by controlling budgets and proactively developing new sources of capital for investments,” Kotilaine emphasized, adding that the Kingdom is in a stronger position to push growth forward than it was before the epidemic.
The senior economic advisor, who recently published a book on the Gulf economy and the needed reforms titled “Experiences of Resilience,” explained that Gulf economies were well prepared to deal with the challenge of the pandemic, partly due to the previous experience with the MERS, in addition to the strong healthcare infrastructure and high levels of global digital connectivity.
He stressed that openness was still very important to achieve prosperity in the future, with the need to develop the region’s advantage as an international center for trade, along with the importance of attracting talent and capital.