Severe deterioration in oil prices in 2014 called attention to implementing broad-based economic diversification strategies in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). GCC leadership acknowledged that their annual state budgets have been highly dependent on oil revenue. All GCC countries took broader economic reforms programs into consideration and established “Vision” documents to outline the strategies of how to attain diversification, improve and develop the private sector toward economic growth and provide more jobs to the locals so that dependency on foreign workers is reduced over time. In 1995, the Sultanate of Oman was the first, announcing Oman Vision 2020; then in 2008, Bahrain introduced the Economic Vision 2030, and Qatar developed Qatar National Vision 2030. After that, in 2010, Kuwait presented Kuwait Vision 2035 and UAE developed UAE Vision 2021. Last, Saudi Arabia, in 2016, delivered its Vision 2030 strategy. A few of the following documents, like Oman’s and Kuwait’s, have been modified over time with additional reforms. All the “Vision” documents have maintained the same short- to long-term development strategies so that the GCC countries can quickly progress towards globalization with well-equipped and competitive national economies. Currently, low oil prices have enforced the idea and prioritized the need to diversify and reduce reliance on oil exports. This has also helped push forward visions for economic reform and highlighted the need for these reforms, in turn helping the visions receive a much more positive response.
This chapter highlights vision statements about sustainable economic development plans for GCC countries. The vision pillars of every state have been addressed in detail and present a detailed comparative study. Under the shadow of the economic development visions of the Gulf Cooperation Council, this chapter encompasses a regional economic outlook, renewable energy market analysis, employment of GCC nationals and progression of women in sustainable development, which is the most crucial ingredient to enhance any economy. It also simultaneously contrasts how each state is operating and what gaps there are to close. We present a comparative analysis of global competitive index, institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation. This study reveals a detailed comparative analysis and serves as a benchmark in the field about how to attain sustainable economic development of Gulf Cooperation Council countries.