Saudi Arabia’s Economy: A Brief History

Up-arrow amidst coins and currencies symbolizing the growth of Saudi economy.
Saudi Arabia’s economy continues to grow despite global economic turmoil.

Indeed, Saudi Economy has a captivating story to tell, with its rich history and ambitious plans for the future. To begin with, in this pre-introduction, we invite you to join us on a fascinating journey through time, as we explore the origins of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its economic milestones, and the vision that propels it forward. Get ready to embark on an adventure filled with insights into the past, present, and future of this Middle Eastern powerhouse. In particular, we will explore the economic milestones that have shaped the country and the vision that propels it forward.

  1. Introduction
  2. Brief History of Saudi Arabia
  3. History of GCC
  4. Saudi Currency History
  5. Saudi Arabia and Middle East Economy
  6. Saudi Arabia’s Current Economy
  7. Saudi Arabia’s Future Economy
  8. Conclusion
  9. FAQs

Table 2: Article


Welcome to a fascinating journey through the history of Saudi Arabia and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC). To begin with, we’ll explore the rich history of Saudi Arabia and the GCC. Then, we’ll delve into the history of the Saudi currency. Finally, we’ll discuss the Middle East economy’s relation to Saudi Arabia. Finally, we’ll look at the current state and future prospects of the Saudi economy. Let’s move on!

Brief History of Saudi Arabia

Early history

Saudi Arabia’s history dates back thousands of years, with ancient civilizations leaving their mark on the Arabian Peninsula. Human settlements trace back to the Dilmun civilization around 3000 BCE.

The unification

In 1932, King Abdulaziz Al Saud founded the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after unifying the various regions of the Arabian Peninsula under his rule.

The discovery of oil

After the discovery

The Oil was discovered in 1938. The Saudi economy was transformed and the country became a global powerhouse. In 1939, oil exports began, laying the foundation for the country’s rapid development and immense wealth.

History of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC)

Formation and objectives

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates established the GCC in 1981. Its main objectives are to foster cooperation and coordination among member states in various fields, including economic, political, and security matters.

GCC achievements

Throughout its history, the GCC has successfully implemented several initiatives aimed at promoting economic integration, such as the establishment of a customs union, a common market, and the adoption of a single currency proposal.

Saudi Currency History

The early coins

Before the establishment of the Saudi Riyal, various coins were used in the Arabian Peninsula, including the Ottoman Kurush and the Indian Rupee.

The establishment of the Saudi Riyal

The Saudi Riyal replaced the Hejaz Riyal as the country’s currency when it was officially introduced in 1935. Moreover, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) established in 1952 oversees the nation’s monetary and fiscal policies.

Saudi Arabia and Middle East Economy

Oil and gas industry

Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Middle East, primarily due to its vast oil and gas reserves. Thus, the country is the world’s largest oil exporter and has played a significant role in shaping the region’s economy. The oil and gas industry has been the backbone of the Middle East’s economic growth. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has been a major influencer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Diversification efforts

Recognizing the need to diversify their economies, Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, have been investing in non-oil sectors to reduce dependence on oil revenues. For instance, these efforts include investing in tourism, technology, renewable energy, and other industries.

Saudi Arabia’s Current Economy

Economic reforms

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has embarked on a series of economic reforms aimed at diversifying its economy, creating jobs, and attracting foreign investment. As a result, the country has opened up various sectors to foreign investment and implemented measures to improve the business environment.

Non-oil sectors

As part of its diversification efforts, Saudi Arabia has been focusing on developing non-oil sectors such as tourism, entertainment, and technology. The country has also made significant investments in renewable energy, with ambitious plans to become a major player in the global renewable energy market.

Saudi Arabia’s Future Economy

Vision 2030

Vision 2030 is Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plan to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil revenues. Launched in 2016, the plan sets out a roadmap for the country’s development, focusing on areas such as economic diversification, social development, and infrastructure investment.

Challenges and opportunities

While Saudi Arabia faces significant challenges in achieving its Vision 2030 goals, the country’s vast resources, strategic location, and commitment to reform provide it with numerous opportunities for growth and development.


In conclusion, Saudi Arabia’s rich history, influential role in the GCC, and ever-evolving economy make it an important player in the Middle East and the global stage. As the country continues to work towards achieving its Vision 2030 objectives, it will undoubtedly face challenges, but it also possesses great potential for growth and prosperity.


  1. When was the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia founded? The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by King Abdulaziz Al Saud.
  2. What is the GCC and when was it established? The GCC is the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, established in 1981 by Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
  3. What currency is used in Saudi Arabia? The currency used in Saudi Arabia is the Saudi Riyal (SAR).
  4. What is the main driver of Saudi Arabia’s economy? The main driver of Saudi Arabia’s economy is the oil and gas industry, although the country is actively working on diversifying its economy.
  5. What is Vision 2030? Though, vision 2030 is an ambitious plan launched in 2016 to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy, reduce its dependence on oil revenues, and foster social and infrastructure development. In addition, the plan aims to increase the participation of women in the workforce and promote cultural and recreational activities.


  1. “Economic effects of low oil prices in Saudi Arabia” by A. Alqahtani and M. Alqahtani published in the Journal of Economics and Finance (2020) 1.
  2. “Resilience of Saudi Arabia’s Economy to Oil Shocks: Effects of Economic Reforms” by A. Alshehry et al. published in the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (2021) 2.
  3. Economic Diversification Trends in the Gulf: the Case of Saudi Arabia” by M. Al-Shehri et al. published in the Journal of the Knowledge Economy (2021).
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By Finley Econo-Expert

Finley Econo-Expert is a freelance writer and blogger who covers current news and topics related to economics, finance, business and personal development. She has a passion for sharing her insights and analysis on the latest trends and issues that affect people’s lives and well-being. She also writes motivational blog series that aim to inspire and empower her readers to achieve their goals and dreams. Finley Econo-Expert believes that everyone can learn something new every day and that knowledge is power. She hopes to educate and entertain her audience with her engaging and informative content.

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