His Excellency the Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, Dr. Ahmad bin Abdulkarim Al-Kholifey, extended his highest congratulations to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of his accession to power, pointing out that this occasion is an important anniversary for the Saudis who are proud of their leadership. Wise and an opportunity to express loyalty and renew the covenant to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. His Excellency praised the wise leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques during the past years, which led to a number of achievements centered on the Saudi citizen and achieving welfare and sustainable economic development.
His Excellency pointed out that under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the Kingdom continued to achieve a number of economic achievements, with GDP at constant prices growing by 2.4 percent in 2018, against a contraction of 0.7 percent in 2018. In 2017, the Kingdom maintained the elements of monetary and financial stability and exchange rate stability while maintaining a comfortable level of foreign exchange reserves. Moreover, the banking sector continued to achieve high levels of capital adequacy and good credit growth, which contributed significantly to the support of mortgage lending, which grew by 21 percent in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the same period of the previous year. The contribution of SME financing increased to 6.2 percent of total financing. This year, the Kingdom became a member of the FATF after completing the mutual assessment process, becoming the first Arab country to join the group, which is a recognition of the Kingdom's measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
His Excellency the Governor stressed that SAMA will continue to play its role in maintaining monetary and financial stability and support the realization of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 by seeking to achieve its objectives, which are a major part of the objectives of the financial sector development program, to contribute, God willing, in the development led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
We ask Allah the Almighty to perpetuate the security and stability of this country, to reconcile the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and his Crown Prince for the good of this country, and to help our soldiers stationed in the southern border.