Country Focus Data: Saudi Arabia
February 01, 1999
by Emily Wilson
The capital of Saudi Arabia is Riyadh.
Demography: Population 20.1 million, 3.42% growth rate (1997 estimates); Arabic language; Muslim religion.
Geography: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen; desert climate and terrain.
Government: Monarchy. Head of government and chief of state is King and Prime Minister Fahd bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud.
Official agricultural agencies: Ministry of Agriculture and Water.
Economy: Government-private sector mix. The private sector accounts for 40% of gross domestic product, with government controls over major economic activities. With the world's largest oil reserves, Saudi Arabia also is the world's largest oil exporter, and oil revenues account for 35% of G.D.P. Recent declines in oil prices are expected to temper economic growth in the near term. Agriculture accounts for 9% of G.D.P and 5% of the labor force.
G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$10,600, 6% growth rate (1996 estimates).
Currency: Saudi riyal. Fixed exchange rate: 3.7450 riyals per U.S. dollar.
Exports: U.S.$53.1 billion (f.o.b., 1996), petroleum and petroleum products.
Imports: U.S.$25.5 billion (f.o.b., 1996), machinery and equipment, foodstuffs.
Major crops/agricultural products: Wheat, barley, dates and other fruits, poultry.
Wheat: Five-year annual production averaged 1.9 million tonnes in a range of 2.7 million in 1994 to 1.2 million in 1996, while annual domestic use averaged 1.9 million tonnes. From 1986 through 1995, annual wheat exports averaged 1.8 million tonnes, but no wheat has been exported since 1995.
Barley: Five-year annual consumption averaged 5.6 million tonnes, with imports supplying about 77% of total annual use. Virtually all barley is consumed as feed, primarily for sheep, goats and camels.
Transportation: Rail, 1,390 km, 1.435-m gauge; highways, 159,000 km, 67,893 km paved; major ports, Jeddah on the Red Sea, Dammam on the Persian Gulf.