Saudi Arabia had a bad 2016. Only in the second year of King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud’s rule, the kingdom faced low oil prices, deteriorating economic conditions at home, a quagmire in Yemen and a resurgent Iran. The US Congress accused it of complicity in 9/11. Now the kingdom faces the uncertainty of a new US administration unlike any of its predecessors. Salman fired his labor minister in the beginning of December. The normally careful Saudi press castigated the minister for growing unemployment, which is reported to be over 12% now. That is probably an understatement. The media suggested that this rise in unemployment will undermine the chances for the success of the king’s much ballyhooed Saudi Vision 2030. Vision 2030 promises Saudi Arabia will no longer be dependent on oil revenues by 2030, an incredibly ambitious promise.
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