Vision 2030: A recipe for economic growth


Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman has inaugurated NEOM the biggest developmental project in the world. In his address to the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh last month, he said: “70 percent of Saudis are under the age of 30. In all honesty, we will not waste 30 years of our lives being dragged into extreme ideas, we will destroy them, now and here.”

That statement sheds light on a problem that Saudi society has suffered from, which is an interpretation of Islam that swept into Saudi society in the 1980s (hence, the 30 years the Crown Prince mentioned).

As a young Saudi, these words mean much: seeing my country undertaking a mission to self-modernize, prosper and face all challenges with such confidence, ambition and openness led by a young population, and, more importantly, a young Saudi-educated Crown Prince.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never witnessed such social, economic and political precedents. Socially, the Kingdom’s population is more educated, demanding and interactive than at any prior time. Saudis outrank their Arab peers in traveling, studying abroad, enrolling in universities and in using social media. Their enthusiasm to experience and hunger to accomplish are tremendous. Moreover, having lived under less moderate interpretations of Islam, Saudis realize that it is time to declare war on such interpretations and never again allow them to hijack their dreams, passions and future. For that, Saudis  — they and only they  —  are now taking the step forward to reintroduce themselves to the global world which has for decades failed to get to know them.

Economically, Saudi Arabia had launched Vision 2030 whose objectives include diversification of the economy, consumer-based models and less dependency on oil. With a young population and political stability, the Vision provides a recipe for economic growth and an opportunity for foreign investors to enter the Kingdom’s multi-industry, growing market model.

Politically, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince is as young as 32 years old and as popular as the social and economic reforms he has made. In practice, that translates to political stability, youth leadership, reforming and long-term clarity.

In sum, Saudi Arabia recognizes where to begin, how to begin, and why to begin and it has all the resources to do so.

Abdullah Ali Alhenaki

The author is a Saudi student studying at a university in California.