Advertising

Saudi Arabia’s oil addiction and Vision 2030: A Win-Win Situation

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Ruba A. Al-Jarallah |

Saudi Arabia wants to transform its economy under the “Vision 2030”. The kingdom would be prepared for a future that is less dependent on oil revenue over the next decade by ending its “addiction to oil” with reforms.

These reforms were announced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the end of April 2016; which include creating the world’s largest Sovereign Wealth Fund, privatizing the state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco, cutting energy subsidies, expanding investment and improving government efficiency. The Future Investment Initiative conference was held in October 2018 in Riyadh.

The key strategic objectives of the NTP focus on educating students to address national development requirements and labour market demands and increasing the private sector participation in the education sector.

Despite the International propaganda and efforts to jeopardize the conference after Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi’s case, it was a successful event. With a hall full of executives and heads of states from the Middle East and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia kicked off the second chapter of its Future Investment Initiative with 25 preliminary agreements for deals worth $50 billion. Which is expected to raise $400 billion at the end of this year.

Notwithstanding, some analyst think that this reform wouldn’t work, and it wouldn’t be just the kingdom that pays the price. Their narrative is based on the historical facts about the Kingdom and emphasizing that it will fail in its development due to cultural reasons.

They build their argument that the Saudi society torn apart by class, caste, ethnicity, religion and gender inequality. Women face severe discrimination in personal rights, i.e. sexual and reproductive choices and access to public services i.e. education, health facilities, and family planning services.

Read more: Oil price climbs after Saudi Arabia announces production cuts

The Vision 2030 is criticized based on current Saudi Arabia socio-culture situation. Critiques forget that Saudi Arabia has focused on health, education and gender equality for the last few years. Saudi Arabia has the largest healthcare sector in the GCC and it accounts for 48 percent of total government spending on healthcare in the region.

The plan is to privatize public hospitals and to bring them under specialized healthcare companies. This would improve services and rationalize spending in this sector. Thus, the efficiency of healthcare is expected to boost by 25 percent by 2021 and the average life expectancy is targeted to be increased from 74 years to 80 years till 2030.

Things evolve with the passage of time. At the core of vision 2030, there is a wishful list of social development aims and goals to be achieved by the year 2030.

Additionally, the Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program “NTP” set out a motivated roadmap for education reform. The key strategic objectives of the NTP focus on educating students to address national development requirements and labour market demands and increasing the private sector participation in the education sector.

Hence, the success of the Vision depends in large part on reforms in the education system that generates a better basis for employment of young Saudis. This program would support the kingdom to diversify its economy and create dynamic job opportunities through its commitments to education, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Read more: ‘Price of Oil May Climb to $60 By Year End’ Saudi…

The kingdom wants to increase small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribution to GDP from 20% to 35%, by lowering the rate of unemployment from 11.6% to 7% and bring the country in the top 10 countries on the Global Competitiveness Index till 2030.  By 2030, the kingdom aims to have at least five universities amongst the top 200 world universities rankings.

It is prime objective to raise the Kingdom’s position from 26 to 10 in the Social Capital index till 2030. For gender equality and women rights, the kingdom has taken remarkable steps. Firstly, the ban on female drivers is lifted. Furthermore, the kingdom is also interested to increase women’s participation in the workforce from 22% to 30%.

Read more: Unprecedented power grab could come to haunt Mohammed bin Salman

Things evolve with the passage of time. At the core of vision 2030, there is a wishful list of social development aims and goals to be achieved by the year 2030.

We cannot ignore these developments. It’s too early to predict the failure of the Kingdom’s Initiatives on the basis of its current social culture position. These initiatives should be appreciated at all levels, as a modern Kingdom is the wish of Western and non-Western countries from years. Thus, the success of the vision would be the win situation for Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.

Ruba A. Al-Jarallah is Ph.D. fellow at Canfield University, United Kingdom and has vast research experience on issues related to Gulf countries. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Continue reading

Ertugrul star Cengiz Oskun ties knot

Co-actors from the series, Nurettin Sonmez (Bamsi), Engin Altan( Ertugrul), and Cavit Cetin Guner (Dogan) attended the wedding ceremony.

Stepping towards brighter future for the Pakistan’s economy!

Ministry of Finance issued a report titled ‘75 years- Economic journey of Pakistan’ which explains the story of Pakistan’s...

JS Bank partners with VISA to offer cashback on purchases

The first-of-a-kind cashback allows customers to get an instant cashback within 24 hours of the purchase.