Saudi Arabia at Davos

Most leaders from around the world at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos shared their plans about trade and development in their country and Saudi Arabia was no exception but t managed to stand out for a very special reason. Unlike most leaders that were sharing their plans, Saudi Arabia had already put their plans in motion ad shared more information about what is being called Vision 2030.

Vision 2030 is an ambitious long-term plan that has already started showing the positive effects for the people of Saudi Arabia. After only a year of its implementation, the reform has accomplished notable feats which were discussed at Saudi Arabia’s panel.  The aims and progress of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program of social and economic reforms were talked about in detail which included topics like more freedom for women, impacts on jobs, reduction in corruption, better economy and government bureaucracy.

With some of the most prominent figures in Saudi Arabia getting together and talking about the reform in depth truly made it feel like that they know what they’re doing. The circle of people consisted of:

  • Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud
  • Vice-President for Development and Planning at Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, Mohammed Al-Jadaan
  • Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance Majid Al-Kasabi
  • Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Commerce and Investment Stephen Schwarzman
  • Chief Executive and Co-founder of Blackstone and Mohammad Al Tuwaijri
  • Minister of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia

Saudi ministers reassured foreign investors at the World Economic Forums, stressing their commitment to fighting corruption, creating a transparent investment environment and progressive ideals for their economy. They stressed that compared to last year backs are much more willing to fund projects further encouraging the foreign investors to enter the Saudi market, confirming that “quality and price will determine your success.”

“Investors have pumped record capital into the Saudi stock markets in recent weeks, after having it previously declined with the Kingdom’s anti-corruption campaign,” said Jadaan.

The spike in investors was stated due to being because of the reduced corruption and increased transparency and were positive for both the national economy and the investment environment ending on a statement saying that Saudi Arabia is not the same as it was 5 years ago both economically and socially.

“We are working on reforming government work and licensing system to make investors feel more welcome in Saudi Arabia. We also want to assure investors that the law is above everyone and it will be applied in a clear and transparent manner.”

He stressed that the project had brought more alignment within the government: “We have one target and we know where we are going.”

Saudi Arabia even went as far as to share an estimate about how much damage they have prevented to the economy by taking preventive measures and rooting our corrupt individuals that will save them notable Financial assets in the future. As part of an anti-corruption purge, many prominent figures in Saudi Arabia were arrested while many fled to western countries to which Jadaan responded with saying “Those arrested in the campaign are suspected of embezzling the equivalent of $100 billion in public funds,” he said.

Moving away from the improving economic condition of the Kingdom, the ministers continued to talk about the improving social conditions for its resident especially women. Under the new rule, Women are to be given much more rights and as was pointed in the statement made at Davos, women will now be able to work as baristas at Starbucks as well. This means that women overall will have much more freedom to choose jobs along with the freedom of driving which proves that Saudi Arabia slowly but surely becoming more progressive while staying true to its Islamic roots.

This progressive act is further reinforced by Jadaan who reiterated that Vision 2030 will not only diversify the economy but also reform it to reduce the reliance on the government spending and instead gain income from areas such as entertainment, tourism and growth in the private sector which opens many more possibilities for jobs.

“In the past, we missed a culture of planning, looking ahead and anticipating events,” Qasabi said.

“Now, every ministry has set goals that are going to be achieved, according to a deliberate process,” he continued.

To make investing emerging business and projects in Saudi Arabia for International investors, the kingdom will also introduce a variety of laws to make the investment environment somewhat lenient.

“The first thing that Saudi Arabia has done in this context is to reform regulatory laws and introduce laws such as bankruptcy, mortgage, and franchise laws, which will soon be announced,” he said.

He also noted Saudi Arabia’s intention to facilitate investment through easing administrative work, privatization and combating corruption.

“We are working to stimulate the private sector and small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said.

Overall, the Saudi Kingdom is on the fast track to a major reform both economically and culturally which by the looks of it seems to be for the better of the entire Gulf region.

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