Recent initiatives by the Saudi government and other GCC governments clearly demonstrate the need for economic diversification in the region. Fluctuating oil prices and the growing youth demographic in the region have given a new impetus to efforts to develop new economic sectors. The Gulf is already producing highly educated, highly skilled graduates for the government, the professions and the service sector. Vocational training will also be necessary if a manufacturing base is to be grown. For that, foreign direct investment will also need to be encouraged.
In pursuing market reforms (and, in particular, in introducing indirect taxes – VAT and excises – and in removing subsidies) the GCC Governments must use every channel and means to listen to public concerns, and then fashion purposeful public information and education through direct communication and all media outlets.