1998 News Story

Finance minister in DC for meetings at IBRD and IMF

Saudi Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf today attended the 57th session of the development committee of the World Bank group in Washington DC, and underlined the importance of coordination between the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and other international organizations engaged in development for the benefit of member states, noting that the role of the World Bank in combating poverty includes support of the activities of the private sector by providing assistance to poor countries and by improving the investment atmosphere in order to attract greater direct foreign investment in long-term projects.

Dr. Al-Assaf warned that the flow of short-term financing to developing nations could lead to a financial crisis similar to that which took place in South-East Asia.
In his address yesterday to the interim committee meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dr. Al-Assaf attributed the excellent economic situation existing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the intensive efforts exerted by Saudi officials in line with the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz.  He said that a system of free enterprise prevails in the Kingdom, in addition to flexible systems for trade and investment, and therefore there is a suitable environment for economic growth.  He noted that the Kingdom's private sector has been contributing positively to the acceleration of the process of economic development in the country, and praised the efforts exerted by the state to privatize a number of economic activities.  Dr. Al-Assaf also highlighted the agreement concluded by some of the oil-producing countries which aimed at re-stabilization of the world oil market.
At a reception yesterday held in his honor by the U.S.-Saudi Business Council, Dr. Al-Assaf praised the positive outcome of the Kingdom's economic policy which aims at diversification of income sources and activation of the role of the private sector, and highlighted the investment opportunities that are available.  He went on to comment on the recent decision of the Council of Ministers to privatize the telephone and telecommunications services.  He also expressed appreciation for the positive contribution of the U.S.-Saudi Business Council in enhancing commercial and economic ties between the Kingdom and the United States of America.