Women driving could boost Saudi economic growth

Women driver Saudi

The news that Saudi women can drive by next year was announced last week, and according to a new study, allowing women to drive could boost economic growth by $90 billion by 2030.

Not only will the end to the driving ban help save families money, it will also improve industries from car sales to car insurance. It will also reassure investors that the Kingdom’s push to diversify its economy beyond oil is on track.

The goals of Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Programme (NTP) 2020 aim to reduce the number of expatriate workers and increase the number Saudi citizens in the labour market.

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Currently only 20% of females in Saudi Arabia are working. And many women depend on private chauffeurs to drive them around, making it harder for them to be productive employees.

Khalid Alkhudair, Chief Executive of Glowork, an employment agency serving women, said there were about 450,000 job opportunities open for women in the retail industry, but many couldn’t afford to hire drivers to take them to work.

According to researcher Ziad Daoud, Bloomberg’s Middle East Economist, having greater female engagement in the labour market is likely to provide a substantial lift to the total supply for labour, causing gross domestic product (GDP) to grow faster over the next decade.

SEE ALSO: Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving

The research shows that if 70,000 more women join the workforce this could potentially lift the GDP growth by up to 0.9% a year. If this happens then the Kingdom’s GDP would be around $90 billion larger by 2030 than if the ban had remained in place.

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