August 11, 2017

Changes in Saudi Arabia Since the Announcement of Its Vision 2030 Initiative

The following is a guest post by Haton AlFreidi.

On April 25, 2016, a long-term national transformation was announced by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud. Under the name “Vision 2030,” the Saudi Arabia government aims to develop and enhance the society, economy, and country. By 2030, Saudi Arabia’s government thrives to have:
  1. A Vibrant Society: who cares about their heritage and its tourism, spend more on cultural and entertainment activities, increase awareness about sport and exercise along with increasing its facilities, and have Saudi cities ranked the top in worldwide through empowering societies economically and having the highest healthcare standards.
  2. Thriving Economy: by increasing entrepreneurship opportunities, lowering nation’s unemployment, raise the ratio of females in workforce, increase private sector participation, increase non-oil exports, and increase local and foreign investments.
  3. An Ambitious Nation: By increasing families’ income, have more than one million volunteers, and become one of the leading countries in E-Government.
The vision not only aims to change the country, but to change a very conservative society. This will be difficult. Even though Saudi Arabia’s government aims to achieve its vision by 2030, many of what was listed has already been implemented on different aspects. With the help of social media, many people are now more open to accepting change and differences. This helped the government to attain the vision in less time than expected. Some of the changes include: 
  • New governmental ministries formed for sports, tourism, and local activities and events. And the existing ministries are restructured to be more involved in electronic interaction with citizens, monitor and improve their services, and pay more attention to citizens satisfaction.
  • Sports was offered in the country's private school only, but now they are required in all schools whether public or private. Obtaining permits to open gyms became encouraging by the government as a result of decreasing obesity and chronic diseases.
  • Empowering women is one the main aspects the government is heavily focusing on. Many laws and requirements are being issued to support women legally, socially and especially in the workforce.
  • Finally, in a step of improving public services, airports and healthcare entities are being privatized by the government to enhance the quality of the facilities and the services provided to citizens.
To many Saudi's, especially the younger generation, the vision is not only a governmental plan, but a vision that many has implemented and started working toward achieving its goals. The vision to us, young generation, represents change, hope, growth, development, competition against developed countries, and a better place to live in. For years, Saudi Arabia did not have a long-term plan for a better future. Oil was the main resource and the main focus. Therefore, having a vision for the first time motivated Saudis to work with the government in attaining the vision goals, and seek more opportunities for improvement.

Haton AlFreidi is a Research Analyst at ROI3, Inc. in Seattle, Wash. Born in Saudi Arabia, Ms. AlFreidi received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration in Finance and International Studies from Seattle University. She may be contacted at

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