Over the past decade “economic diversification” has grown into a cause célèbre in the Gulf. Countries were warned of impending economic doom, as the world would gradually – but inexorably – move away from oil and gas as a principle source of energy.
Diversification of oil and gas-dependent economies remains an important goal in the Gulf, but it is easier said than done. Some of these efforts have borne fruit, like the expansion of Aluminum Bahrain and the development of a number of petrochemicals projects in Saudi Arabia. But most ‘diversification’ projects are only diversification up to a degree. Most such projects remain highly energy-dependent and are not major generators of local employment. (CONTINUED - 2493 WORDS)