While presenting at the “Saudi Arabia’s vision for 2030,” Mohammed bin Salman, the deputy crown prince of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia finally revealed what life after all the oil had been leeched may look like. Saudi Arabia has made a name for itself as the most powerful of the countries in the Middle East and as the world’s highest oil exporter. On Monday, it unveiled what seemed like an ambitious plan to diversify into areas other than oil export and to become one of the biggest economies in the developed world, something that has been put on the back burner for a very long time.
In an interview with Al Arabiya Television, the deputy prince expressed his concern over the strange and dangerous addiction that everyone in the country had developed for their oil resources. He claimed that this has been the reason for the underdevelopment of many other sectors these past years. The plan is to create a demand for non-oil revenues in Saudi Arabia, boosting them to as much as $266 billion by the year 2030, which is a sixfold increase. He also aims to sell part of Aramco, the national oil company on the stock market and with those funds, create a public fund of the order $1.9 trillion for local and international investments.
With oil making up almost 87% of Saudi Arabia’s revenues, the kingdom has suffered since the price collapse in world crude oil since 2014. In order to try and keep its head above water, the kingdom has cut subsidies and borrowed billions from the World Bank in an attempt to balance its ledger. According to an estimate by the International Monetary Fund, the kingdom will need to sell it at a minimum of $86 or twice the current market price, as opposed to its current price of $10 a barrel, which is the cheapest in the world.
The 2030 vision aims to provide the private sector a grander role, thus boosting its share in the economy by 65%. A majority of Saudi nationals work in government sectors and earn 1.7% more than their non-native private sector counterparts. By providing more job opportunities in the private sectors, the kingdom will be able to decrease the rate of unemployment by at least 4%, as the government will not be able to keep up with the increased job demand by itself. Further cuts on subsidiaries, international scholarships and a planned increase in tourism are all on the agenda.
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