Profile: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

A Saudi student takes a selfie with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Updated 22 June 2017
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Profile: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

RIYADH: Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday was elevated to the position of crown prince and deputy prime minister, and will maintain his post as minister of defense.
Born on Aug. 31, 1985, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the son of King Salman, received his education at Riyadh schools where he ranked among the top 10 students in his class. He received his bachelor’s degree in law from King Saud University (KSU), where he graduated second in his class.
Prince Mohammed gained international experience in corporate governance and international finance. He began his political career as a consultant to the Experts Commission under the Saudi Cabinet.
On Dec. 15, 2009, Prince Mohammed bin Salman was appointed special adviser to then-Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who at the time was governor of Riyadh province.
He was also a special adviser to the chairman of the board for the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah), and then became supervisor of the crown prince’s office.
In March 2013, by royal decree, Prince Mohammed was appointed head of the crown prince’s court with the rank of minister and special adviser to then-Crown Prince Salman. On April 25, 2014, he was appointed as a state minister and member of the Cabinet.
His long history of philanthropic initiatives earned him many awards. In 2011, he established the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation (MiSK), which enables young Saudis to learn, develop and progress in the fields of business, literature, culture, science and technology, and sociology.
Following the demise of King Abdullah in 2015, King Salman ascended to the throne and appointed Prince Mohammed as deputy crown prince, second deputy premier and minister of defense. He has also served as chief of the Royal Court, and chairs the powerful Council for Economic and Development Affairs.
Last year, the crown prince moved into what he described as his most important role: Transforming the Kingdom’s economy and reducing its dependence on oil revenues.
On April 25, 2016, the Saudi government unveiled Vision 2030, including a series of developmental, economic and social programs. The same day, Al Arabiya News Channel aired an exclusive interview with Prince Mohammed. During the interview, the crown prince pledged to end the Saudi economy’s dependence on oil revenues by 2020. Prince Mohammed also discussed measures to lift subsidies on the Kingdom’s wealthy citizens and assist the country’s poor.
The measures, as part of Vision 2030, will be implemented on everyone, “including princes and government ministers,” Prince Mohammed said. “This is a promise.”
In an interview with prominent news outlet Bloomberg earlier in April 2016, Prince Mohammed discussed the Kingdom’s soon-to-be unveiled National Transformation Plan (NTP) 2020, part of Vision 2030.
At the time, he told Bloomberg that the Kingdom would dramatically expand its Public Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund, to reach around $2 trillion in assets. The sale of around 5 percent of Saudi Aramco’s shares would be placed into the fund, he added. “What is left now is to diversify investments,” he said. “So, within 20 years, we will be an economy or state that doesn’t depend mainly on oil.”
In a second, even longer interview with Bloomberg later that month, Prince Mohammed further expanded on his plans to transform the Kingdom’s economy. The interview also highlighted the prince’s personal life — his long hours, fluency in English, love of reading books by Sun Tzu and Winston Churchill, and his choice to have just one wife.
The crown prince has represented King Salman abroad, traveling to Beijing, Moscow and Washington, where he met President Donald Trump in March.
In an interview with Al Arabiya, former US President Barack Obama described him as “extremely knowledgeable, very smart” and “wise beyond his years.”
Last year, Prince Mohammed visited Silicon Valley to sell his vision of market-oriented reforms and a transformation of the Kingdom’s economy and society.
In recent years, Prince Mohammed has become the government’s face of reform, modernization and change. In the Kingdom, where around 60 percent of the population is under 30, the young crown prince is widely seen as an icon in the push toward socio-economic reforms.


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.