SAUDI ARABIA: TOILING TO ESCAPE A FUTURE BOUND BY OIL

ABDULAZIZ ALABDULRAZZAQ WRITES – The persistent decline in oil prices has led many oil-producing countries to think of ways to reinvent their economies. Saudi Arabia is one of them, with its Vision 2030, first introduced in 2016.  

Vision 2030 will be built on three pillars: a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation. To this end, the Kingdom has made commitments to increase the number of Umrah visitors from 8 million to 30 million annually. Plans are also underway to establish the largest Islamic museum in the world as well as to increase the number of Saudi heritage sites. 

A thriving economy can be achieved through the diversification of the Saudi economy and the creation of dynamic job opportunities. To encourage entrepreneurship, the government will refocus its efforts on small- and medium-sized enterprises by offering financial assistance. Part of Vision 2030 is to ensure that between 20 and 35 percent of the country’s GDP comes from the SMEs.

The government also plans to emphasize education by modernizing the curriculum and improving the standards of education at all levels. The Kingdom hopes to have at least 5 of its universities rank among the top 200 in the world.           

This Vision is important in helping Saudi Arabia become a sustainable economy. It will require a lot: For example, it must create more jobs for many Saudis; the overstaffed public sector can no longer sustain the huge workforce, so a vibrant private sector will be instrumental to the future of the Kingdom.  

Vision 2030, it is hoped, will modernize and expand not just the Kingdom itself, but its public image  across the globe. 

 

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