Saudi delegation attends global economic meetings in Washington

April 17, 2011

Finance ministers, central banks governors and other economic officials of member states of the Group of 20 (G-20) met in Washington on April 14. The Saudi delegation to the meeting was led by Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf and included Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) Dr. Mohammed Al-Jasser; Deputy President and Managing Director of the Saudi Development Fund Yusuf Al-Bassam; and a number of other senior officials. The summit’s agenda included discussions on global economic developments, frameworks for balanced and sustainable growth, reforming the world’s monetary system and following-up on the implementation of the G-20’s resolutions on financial regulatory reforms and the fluctuation of basic commodity prices.

On April 16, the Saudi delegation also attended the 23rd meeting of the International Monetary and Finance Committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington. Addressing the Committee, Dr. Al-Assaf discussed the economic situation in the Kingdom, the current state of the global economy, and the role of the International Monetary Fund in confronting global financial challenges.

In terms of fiscal policy, the Minister of Finance stressed the strength and safety of the Saudi banking sector, which enjoys high profitability and financial solvency. Furthermore, he noted that the royal decrees recently issued by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz aim to provide temporary subsidies to the unemployed and to increase spending on housing programs that will strengthen the social safety network. Dr. Al-Assaf noted that the continuing strong performance of the Saudi economy, supported by large governmental investments in infrastructure projects and the social sector, has contributed to the increasing of IMF forecasts for Saudi economic growth this year.

As for developments in the energy markets, the Minister of Finance reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to strengthening the stability of the oil market, for the benefit of producers and consumers alike, and supporting global economic growth. He commended the growing cooperation between oil producers and consumers, pointing specifically to the signing of the Charter of the International Energy Forum in Riyadh last February.

Finally, the Saudi delegation attended a meeting of the Development Committee of the World Bank, held in Washington on February 16 and 17. Delivering a speech, Dr. Al-Assaf stressed the impact of high food prices on global food security and called for the protection of the poor. He highlighted Saudi efforts in this regard, including the government’s partnership with the Saudi private sector for investment in food production in other countries, an initiative that has already begun to yield positive results. The Finance Minister also noted that the Kingdom helps poor countries increase the size of their agricultural lands and contributes to regional and international development institutions.