Statement by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the Conclusion of her Visit to Saudi Arabia

Press Release No. 12/36
February 4, 2012

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today in Riyadh at the conclusion of her visit to Saudi Arabia:

“It has been a great pleasure to visit Riyadh, where I have had the privilege of meeting H.M. King Abdullah and discussing with him recent economic developments in the region and the global and local economic situation. We also exchanged views on the important and constructive role that Saudi Arabia continues to play in supporting economic development in the region, including its contribution to advancing economic integration.

“I conveyed to King Abdullah the IMF’s appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s important role in supporting the global economy, including its commitment to stabilize the oil market and its active participation in both international financial institutions, such as the IMF, and global economic policy discussions in the context of the G20. This constructive global and regional engagement reflects Saudi Arabia’s role as a leader in not only the oil market but also the region and the global economy. I had the opportunity to hold discussions with H.E. the Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Assaf, and H.E. the Governor of the Central Bank Fahad Abdullah Al Mubarak on the economic priorities and outlook for the Kingdom. I also had productive meetings with the private sector and civil society representatives, including women leaders.

“The Saudi economy has navigated the global financial crisis well. Strong economic policies in the preceding years, together with prudent supervision of the financial sector, allowed the government to boost expenditure to support demand during the crisis, and to limit the direct impact on the financial system. Saudi Arabia’s policies had an important positive impact on the region and the global economy. Saudi Arabia has made significant progress in social development and is now close to the G20 average for most indicators. However, challenges still remain. Access to housing and job creation are clear priorities and initiatives are underway in both these areas.

“In my discussions, I commended the Saudi authorities for their progress in preserving financial stability despite the difficulties experienced in global financial markets, and we discussed the next steps in deepening financial markets to provide more support for growth. Accelerating private-sector growth that can generate employment opportunities for Saudi nationals entering the labor market will be key.

“I have reiterated to the Saudi authorities the IMF’s readiness to help in areas of its expertise through constructive policy dialogue tailored to the needs and circumstances of the Saudi economy.”



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