Crown prince’s four years of outstanding performance
On the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the pledge of allegiance to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia and its citizens recall the ambitious achievements made during the past four years, which have been the catalyst for the Kingdom to progress in all aspects of life.
During the past four years, the crown prince has demonstrated strong leadership in finding successful and distinct solutions to many of the difficult issues that were assigned to him. These issues included combating corruption, solving the longstanding housing problem in the Kingdom, empowering women and reducing unemployment, etc.
The strategic vision and farsightedness of the crown prince have helped him manage and lead the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 brilliantly. This is very clear when one looks at the gigantic achievements made during the first years of the vision’s life since its launch in April 2016. For example, on the economic front, non-oil revenue has increased by almost 122 percent in the past five years, from SR166 billion ($44.3 billion) in 2015 to SR369 billion in 2020. This remarkable progress is due to the increase in revenues generated from industries and services-related activities, such as tourism and entertainment, and also due to controlling government spending and revenue collection.
The Saudi stock market has witnessed significant development by joining several global financial indices, such as MSCI, S&P’s Dow Jones, and FTSE Russell for emerging markets. This has contributed to many positive developments related to the goals and objectives of the Financial Sector Development Program.
It is worth mentioning that the Public Investment Fund (PIF), chaired by the crown prince, won the “Fund of the Year 2020” award from Global SWF. PIF’s award was based on its global impact, coupled with its contribution to the development of the Saudi economy through its investments in promising and innovative sectors.
During the past four years, significant steps were taken under the Vision 2030 program to reduce the unemployment rate, to reach 7 percent or better by 2030. To achieve this target, a work platform was launched, which was designed to help reduce joblessness by providing work opportunities and increasing the participation of women workers in the private sector.
The business environment in the Kingdom has witnessed significant improvements in the past four years. The Kingdom is ranked first in the world for business environment reforms, according to the World Bank’s report on the ease of doing business.
In the area of combating money laundering, Saudi Arabia has succeeded in introducing a wide range of anti-money laundering initiatives, and in recognition of its efforts, it was granted permanent membership of the Financial Action Task Force during its session in Orlando in June 2019. This was the first membership granted to an Arab country.
Last but not least, the Kingdom has achieved first place in digital competitiveness at the G20 level during the past three years. Additionally, it has achieved a ranking of nine in the digital capabilities index, according to “The Competitiveness Report” issued by the World Economic Forum.
I believe that during the past four years, the Kingdom has witnessed many achievements that were guided and orchestrated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
These achievements have placed Saudi Arabia among the fastest-growing countries in the world and the first in terms of the rapid pace of reforms. This, in turn, has reflected positively on the quality of life for both the citizens and the residents living in the country.
• Talat Zaki Hafiz is an economist and financial analyst. Twitter: @TalatHafiz