Uncertain prospects for sovereign wealth funds of Gulf countries

Julien Maire (former PIIE), Adnan Mazarei (PIIE) and Edwin M. Truman (Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard's Kennedy School)

Policy Brief
21-4
February 2021
Photo Credit: 
REUTERS/Abdel Hadi Ramahi

Among the best-known sovereign wealth funds (SWFs)—government-owned or controlled investment vehicles—are those funded by hydrocarbon revenues in the member economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which comprises all the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf except Iraq, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. This Policy Brief compares the GCC SWFs with each other and with other funds in terms of their transparency and accountability on the fifth SWF scoreboard, available here. Several factors, including the decline in oil prices in recent years, have slowed the growth of the GCC’s SWFs. This slower growth could further diminish their governance and transparency standards, which are already weaker than those of other SWFs. Efforts to improve their governance and accountability will be important to garner public support for these SWFs.

Data Disclosure: 

The data underlying this analysis are available here [zip].

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