Blog #2: Saudi Socio-economic Changes

Vision 2030

This website was created by the Saudi government in 2016 after to the declaration of the Saudi development plan, also called Vision 2030.It contains various lengthy PDFs explaining the objectives and how they are attainable within the imposed time frame. The website could be browsed with 4 different languages, Arabic, English, Japanese, and Chinese.

“My first objective is for our country to be a pioneering and successful global model of excellence on all fronts, and I’ll work with you to achieve that.” said king Salman Al Saud, the current king of Saudi Arabia. Vision 2030 is a governmental developing plan consisting of a set of economic, cultural, and political objectives. The vision is divided to two major programs that aim to strengthen the country internally and externally. First program is National Transformation Program, this program focuses in enhancing the role of the private sector in the country, as well is evaluating and posting the current performance of the governmental sector. Second is the Fiscal Balance Program, it highlights the necessity to generate non-oil revenue, and developing the financial governance, increasing the economy competitiveness, and improving social welfare system to cover more of the needy people. If correctly implemented, those reforms are supposed to bring many positive changes to the kingdom. For instance, the vision aims to guarantee people better quality of life that includes having all necessities, in addition to having improved cultural and entertainment opportunities.



Although very ambitious, all the objectives that are mentioned in the vision 2030 website  are fairly attainable. I think most of them are very connected to each other, for example, privatization could open up better hospitals which supposedly would lead to improving the health system and increase the life expectancy from 74 to 80 as the vision suggests. All the changes that have been implemented or proposed since the beginning of the Arab Spring including this proposal are a wise way to calm down the masses and avoid any possible internal conflict. Foreign press continues attacks on Muslims, in addition to the government tendency to polish its picture and minimize the stereotypes and criticisms about the country is another factor that I think added to the urgency of such developmental programs. Furthermore, diversifying the economy is an essential step is such changing world, instead of solely depending on oil. 


On a Common Currency for the GCC Countries

This paper was written by Esteban Jadresic and published by the International Monetary Found in December 1, 2002. It talks about a proposed common currency for the Gulf Countries. The paper provide details on the opportunities and limits of such unified currency. It also show the pros and cons of the proposal, which is helpful to understand the approximate 35 year delay on implementing the proposal.


Influenced by the European Union experiment with the Euro, the Gulf Cooperation council in 1982 suggested creating a common currency for the GCC members. There are numerous benefits of the unified currency that stimulated the attention of the Gulf governments. First of all, it could make the GCC as one economic block that has its weight in the face of global economic blocs like the European Union. Second, the movement of people in addition to the circulation of goods would be facilitated by such currency due to the elimination of customs barriers which would also encourage intra-trade and tourism between the member countries. A notable positive side of the proposed currency is that it should help creating non-oil based economic opportunities. On the other hand, a common currency require giving up the countries economic independence and make them more susceptible to shared hazards.


The positive side of the Unified currency seems bigger than the negative one; but this might not be the opinion of the authorities. After examining the issue,I strongly suggest having a common currency because it could open new horizons and free the region from the “oil curse”. However, the idea seems far from reaching right now because today Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain all cut off the diplomatic relationships with Qatar and the event are shocking and worth watching.

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