Al-Kuwari: Mission impossible? Genuine economic development in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries


The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is considered one of the most important regional entities in the world. It provides a framework for stability regarding world oil and gas supplies and facilitates great wealth from oil and gas exports. After more than thirty years of promises from GCC countries, however, how does oil and gas wealth impact actual economic development, particularly in the non-oil economy and private sector? This study highlights the existence of economic development in the GCC states in three aspects: the current demographic structure, economic growth and diversification, and the role of private sector development. The analysis shows that an unbalanced population structure causes a great drain on national income and turns the national population into a minority in some of the GCC states. Furthermore, the GCC countries’ economy still depends heavily on oil revenue, resulting in public sector domination. As a result, the private sector is underdeveloped and still does not exert significant influence on economic development. The study concludes that, in spite of the declaration of the GCC articles of association regarding the link between development and integration, the GCC is still far from demonstrating real long-term development.

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