Saudi women driving set to boost economy more than Aramco IPO

By September 9, 2018News

The driving ban lifted on Sunday in Saudi Arabia proved a momentous move for the nation, not only socially but economically. Economists are expecting the move to increase the Kingdom’s income as much as selling shares in Saudi Aramco.

The lifted ban is expected to generate as much as $90 billion to economic output by 2030, with the benefits extending the beyond that date. Saudi Aramco, with the most optimistic valuation would generate around $100 billion.

“Lifting the ban on driving is likely to increase the number of women seeking jobs, boosting the size of the workforce and lifting overall incomes and output,” according to Ziad Daoud, Dubai-based chief Middle East economist for Bloomberg Economics.

“But it’ll take time before these gains are realised as the economy adapts to absorbing growing number of women seeking work.”

“With only 20% of females in Saudi Arabia economically active, the country even lags behind its neighbours in the Gulf, where participation averaged 42% in 2016,” said Daoud.

“Recognising this, the Saudi administration made raising the female participation rate one of its main targets in the National Vision 2030 program, designed to modernise Saudi society.”

Even adding 1 percentage point to the Saudi participation rate each year could add approximately 70,000 women to the labour market annually, said Daoud.