Doha, May 24 (QNA) – A discussion session, held today within the framework of the Third Qatar Economic Forum, focused on how can GCC countries maximize their global competitiveness in a dynamically shifting economic order.
The discussion session was attended by HE Minister of Finance Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, HE Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan, in addition to HE Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva.
At the beginning of the session, HE Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari welcomed his Saudi counterpart, saying that he was pleased to see many Saudi ministers present here, adding that this indicates the strong relations and partnership between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar as well as the unity of the GCC countries.
HE the Minister of Finance added that there were many reasons to say that this region of the world is promising, highlighting the State of Qatar’s role in this regard.
His Excellency noted the successful organization of a major sporting event such as the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, saying that Qatar organized a mega event in the world of football. It was a message addressed to the whole world as the eyes of the whole world turned towards us during November and December last year, he said, adding that Qatar promised and fulfilled its promise as it presented the best edition of the World Cup, the most successful version and it was the first environmentally friendly World Cup. Everyone in Qatar and media appreciated the efforts made to organize the event, he noted. This indicates the prestige of this region of the world and that it is capable of hosting a major sporting event, and this is a great indication of the ability of this region to play its role .. and there are indeed many advantages in this region, His Excellency said.
He added that Qatar builds on the principle of sustainability. Qatar has its National Vision 2030 and it also has a vision and endless ambition which is to “secure the future through the sustainability of systems and the sustainability of the Qatari economy. This is a continuous work and it is always a challenge for us.”
Regarding the Qatari financial system, he noted that Qatar have developed a long-term monetary policy framework including how to deal with the surplus, which part of it goes to Qatar Investment Authority and others go to the debt and to reserve and at the same time includes details of financing the deficit which will mitigate any emergency problems. Here, we remember the year 2020 with the challenges it brought to the world alike, he said.
On whether the United States of America’s default on its financial obligations is a cause for concern in the region, he said: “I do not think that default will happen. This discussion we are used to.. As long as the American economy is growing at a good pace, and commodity prices are denominated in dollars, I do not see a major change in the near future.”
For his part, HE Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Jadaan praised Qatar’s development, expressing pride in the qualitative economic, developmental and social advancements the Qatari people have achieved, while expressing pride in Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in addition to the way it was organized.
His Excellency said that these achievements are a source of pride to the entire Gulf region and serve as a model to be followed by regional countries.
HE the Saudi Minister of Finance said that this region is promising in the fullest sense of the word, despite being located near areas of geopolitical conflicts. Al Jadaan noted that regional economic policies are implemented based on long-term visions and that no efforts were spared in order to coordinate within the Gulf region to arrive to where these economies are today.
He said that aside from regional countries being famous for their infrastructure, numerous ports, and buzzing airports due to the region being a crossroad between three continents, regional countries continue to invest in infrastructure, technology, and human capital, in order to increase their competitiveness, adding that the aforementioned description does not only apply to the Gulf region, rather it may also include the Middle East region more broadly, whose economic growth and diversity in addition to its regionally coordinated diverse approaches serve as a model to be followed. His Excellency said that despite all this, future generations must be trained and the pace of growth accelerated.
In response to a question about economic diversification, HE Minister of Finance said that the Kingdom is focusing on diversifying the economy and modernizing the educational system in order to keep pace with developments and train students on skill-sets needed in materializing plans and the economic diversification program.
Al Jadaan said that the Saudi economy is growing steadily, achieving the largest growth rate within the Group of 20 countries last year, standing at 5.4 percent, adding that the Saudi economy is expected to achieve a growth rate of 5.8 percent this year. He also indicated that the private sector’s employment rate has increased significantly, and that the female employment rate has risen by 6 percent, which are all performance indicators.
For her part, HE IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva ruled out a rapid shift in the status of the US Dollar as a global reserve currency, attributing that to the strength of the US economy despite the slow decline of the US Dollar from 70 percent to just under 60 percent of global reserves. This decline is understandable, given that other currencies exist as well, such as the Euro and the Australian Dollar, which are currencies of powerful countries, she said.
HE IMF Managing Director expected global inflation levels to decline in 2024. As for a question about IMF’s warning to the United States that raising interest rates may cause a global recession, she responded by saying that a rise in inflation rate has been seen but it is now declining, indicating however that inflation is caused by food prices that have not declined as should be, which means that central banks have to keep carry on with their current policies because if they cut interest rates early, inflation will be a problem for a longer period in the face of growth. (QNA)