While many Gulf nations were already working to diversify their economies prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the subsequent economic downturn and collapse in oil prices has meant that governments in the region have had to reassess and – in some cases – accelerate their strategic plans. The implementation of social distancing measures and travel restrictions has impacted activity across all sectors in the region. With economies operating under capacity and global travel severely curtailed for much of the year, there has been a significant drop in demand for – and subsequently the price of – oil, a major source of income for a number of Gulf economies. For example, oil accounts for around 45% of GDP in Saudi Arabia and 75% of government revenue in Oman. This oil dependency partly explains why Gulf economies are collectively projected by the IMF to contract by 6.6% in 2020, compared to the […]