Human Capital and the Future of the Gulf

Extensive efforts to develop human capital are under way in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf, and they are increasingly setting expectations for how people ought to behave socially and economically that are in tension with how they are expected to behave politically. The tensions created by governments’ conflicting aims can produce frustration, a sense of entitlement, or apathy among young people entering the labor force, each of which poses different potential political challenges for governments. Navigating this tension—or finding ways to create space for genuine innovation and risk taking within that constrained political context—will be among the most important strategic challenges for the region’s leaders and people in the next 10 years.