quotes Why Saudis are feeling good

20 January 2023
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Updated 20 January 2023

Why Saudis are feeling good

In a world that has of late offered up very little good news, it is heartening to see the remarkably successful trajectory taken by Saudi Arabia over the past six years.

In 2016, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced an ambitious vision for the development and transformation of the Kingdom. The results are already beyond what anyone could have hoped for.

In addition to healthy economic growth, the development of the non-oil sector and the tremendous contribution made by the women of Saudi Arabia have been particularly notable.

Saudi society has evolved with confidence and assurance. Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has described the country as “a bright spot for the world economy and in its own region.” Saudis are feeling good.

And that feeling is also backed up by numbers, with Saudi Arabia’s economic growth running at 8 percent last year and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan predicting that the nation’s growth could this year be the highest in the world.

Many countries have been suffering from painfully high global inflation rates of around 8 percent this past year, but Saudi Arabia has successfully protected its population by maintaining an inflation rate of only 2.6 percent.

Oil-sector growth was strong, but the non-oil sector also posted a very healthy growth rate of 6 percent in 2022, while the private sector grew to supporting 2.2 million jobs, a record high for the Kingdom.

Not only are Saudis meeting the goals set out for their country in Vision 2030, but they are also exceeding them.

Saudi Arabia is in the business of building a more peaceful, more ecological, and more stable world for all, not only for Saudis. The Kingdom shows the way by doing, not just by promising.

The most remarkable and meaningful transformation for the Saudi economy and its society has been the tremendous upsurge in female participation in the workplace, racing past the 2030 goal of 30 percent to attain 37 percent of the labor force.

The talented women of Saudi Arabia have risen to the challenge in record time, contributing immensely not only to the growth of the country’s economy but also to a new confidence and pride felt throughout society.

Saudi men, of course, have also played their part, with the male unemployment rate down to 4.8 percent, its lowest ever.

The Saudi leadership has established the framework for this success, pursuing ambitious projects such as already investing almost $200 billion in renewable energies, and earmarking 2.5 percent of gross domestic product for annual investment in research, development, and innovation.

These ambitions are also benefiting other countries, as will Saudi Arabia’s non-terrestrial networks program that aims to deliver internet from space to the 2.7 billion people in the world who still do not have access to it.

When considering megaprojects such as NEOM and The Line — the Kingdom’s carless cities of the future running entirely on renewable energies — it is hard not to think of humanity’s most lasting civilizational achievements, for example the Pyramids of Giza or Rome’s Colosseum.

But Saudi Arabia is not only building cities of the future, it is also building bridges of peace and stability in the present, as outlined by Prince Faisal at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland this week.

He noted the Kingdom’s ongoing role in delivering oil market stability, and importantly, how it was reaching out for peace in Yemen, between Israel and Palestine, and with Iran.

Saudi Arabia is in the business of building a more peaceful, more ecological, and more stable world for all, not only for Saudis. The Kingdom shows the way by doing, not just by promising.

Looking back over the past six years, it is tremendous to see what the nation has accomplished in such a short time. Saudi Arabia has grown in confidence, pride, and assurance, and every Saudi Arabian gets to feel it daily.

Looking around the country, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology has obtained 100 ground-breaking patents a year, and Aramco has become the most highly valued company in the world, with an ambition of turning Saudi Arabia into the world’s leading hydrogen power, saving hydrocarbons for uses other than for burning.

There was a time when Saudis would travel abroad for hospital treatment; symbolically, today, Saudis who find themselves abroad travel back to the Kingdom for the highest standard of hospital care.

This is the new dignity and pride of Saudis, obtained by a wise and ambitious leadership, a confident and cohesive society, and the no-nonsense diligent implementation of the nation’s dreams and concept of compromise.

Saudi Arabia is setting the stage not for the future, but for the present, to the benefit of future generations. Its people are dreaming with their eyes open and seeing the light even in darkness.

Hassan bin Youssef Yassin worked with Saudi petroleum ministers Abdullah Tariki and Ahmed Zaki Yamani from 1959 to 1967. He headed the Saudi Information Office in Washington from 1972 to 1981 and served with the Arab League observer delegation to the UN from 1981 to 1983.