Introduction to Economic Diversification in the GCC Region

  • Asharf Mishrif
Part of the The Political Economy of the Middle East book series (PEME)


This chapter provides an analytical review of the current economic diversification strategies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. It argues that diversification has been successful in the energy sector through investment in upstream and downstream industries, as well as energy-intensive industries such as petrochemical, aluminium and fertilisers, where GCC has comparative advantage. However, these countries have yet to expand in non-hydrocarbon industries to build vibrant, diversified economies that can withstand the effects of oil price shocks. Analysis of the six national diversification strategies reveals that those with less proven oil and gas reserves are more enthusiastic than others in diversifying their economies. The continuity of the allocation state model and dominance of the public sector are major challenges of diversification, and if GCC countries are to implement successful diversification, they must support and increase the role of private sector in economic development.


Diversification Oil Private sector GCC National visions Development 


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Copyright information

© Gulf Research Centre Cambridge 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asharf Mishrif
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s College LondonLondonUK

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