MODERNIZING SAUDI SOCIETY
THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF THE VISION 2030 PROGRAM
THE VISION 2030 PROGRAM OF THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA PUTS GREAT EMPHASIS ON THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY. “WE BELIEVE IN THE IMPORTANCE OF A VIBRANT SOCIETY. MEMBERS OF THIS SOCIETY LIVE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ISLAMIC PRINCIPLE OF MODERATION, ARE PROUD OF THEIR NATIONAL IDENTITY AND THEIR ANCIENT CULTURAL HERITAGE, ENJOY A GOOD LIFE IN A BEAUTIFUL ENVIRONMENT, ARE PROTECTED BY CARING FAMILIES AND ARE SUPPORTED BY AN EMPOWERING SOCIAL AND HEALTH CARE SYSTEM,” THE PROGRAM SAYS.
COURTESY OF THE EMBASSY OF THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
THE OPENING CEREMONY
On the occasion of the visit to the United States in March 2018 by a delegation led by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the New York Times wrote that the Crown Prince was “pressing what he has described as a transformative economic agenda, to wean the kingdom from reliance on oil and diversify its economy through public infrastructure investments and development of an entertainment industry – including theme parks along the lines of Six Flags and Disney.”
tourist destination, near the largest Saudi city in terms of population, will allow it to target eight million visitors from around Riyadh and about 45 million visitors from the Arabian Gulf region. Saudi sources say the youth demographic will be a main contributor to Qiddiya’s success since two-thirds of the Saudi population is under the age of 35. Therefore, the project aims to satisfy the recreational, social and cultural needs of the country’s current and future generations.
Entertainment city Six Flags will actually be part of an entertainment city on which construction is set to begin early next year. It will be a city almost as big as Las Vegas located near the capital, Riyadh. Called Qiddiya, it is one of three Saudi giga-projects, on top of Neom and the Red Sea project, launched by Crown Prince and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund, Mohammed bin Salman. The project targets local, regional and international tourists and will be Saudi Arabia’s pre-eminent entertainment, sports and cultural destination that embodies the Saudi identity. It is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 square kilometers, surpassing Walt Disney World’s 110 sq kms in Florida. Qiddiya is 40 kilometers away from the center of Riyadh city. It bears the name of the area, and it has spectacular views of mountains, valleys and deserts. The presence of this
Redirecting tourism spending The project includes theme parks; entertainment centers; sports amenities capable of hosting international competitions; training academies; desert and asphalt tracks for motorsport enthusiasts; water and snow-based recreation; outdoor and adventure activities alongside nature and safari experiences; and an array of historical, cultural and educational activities and events. Qiddiya will help diversify national income sources as it is forecast to contribute up to SR 17 billion (close to USD 5 billion) of GDP by 2030. This project will also contribute to the real estate development of the area, offering 4,000 residential units by 2025 and 11,000 by 2030. It expects to attract residents who want to buy second homes at Qiddiya for weekends and vacations. Saudis spend USD 30 billion on tourism abroad every year. By providing new entertainment options for citizens and
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residents of Saudi Arabia, this project aims to redirect some of the overseas tourism spending back into the Kingdom. This project will offer people opportunities to explore and experience without the need to travel to other countries. It supports Vision 2030’s objective to increase spending within the Kingdom on culture and entertainment activities, from about 3% of household income to 6%. By 2030, the number of annual visitors to Qiddiya is expected to reach 17 million in the entertainment sector, 12 million in the shopping sector and two million in the hospitality sector. For a healthier society The project aspires to improve the quality of local life not only through entertainment, but also by providing around 57,000 jobs for citizens and opening new opportunities for the private sector in various industries. It will also serve the Kingdom’s goal of elevating Riyadh to one of the world’s top 100 cities to live in. Qiddiya’s facilities will enable citizens and residents to engage in a wide variety of sports, falling within Vision 2030’s theme of having a healthy society and increasing the ratio of individuals exercising at least once a week from 13% of the population to 40%. The vision also aims to help youth excel in sport, developing leaders in selected sports regionally and globally. The first phase of the project will officially open in 2022, with its final phase ending in 2035.
Princess Nourah University The education of women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has received a great deal of attention and this has allowed Saudi women to make definite strides towards achieving their ambitions and unveiling their uniqueness in different fields. One can see examples of Saudi women in the fields of culture and specialized research, examples who are respected and acknowledged in international arenas and in the various fields of science, proving their success and their worthiness that rivals that of their peers in other advanced countries. The Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) is one of the products of the attention given to the higher education of women. This attention started early, when the General Presidency for the Education of Girls established the first college for women in 1970. The inauguration of more colleges followed, reaching 102, ranging from university colleges to intermediary colleges and community colleges. These were distributed over 72 Saudi cities and served 600,000 students. In Riyadh alone, there are six colleges: the College of Education for Liberal Arts Disciplines, the College of Education for Scientific Disciplines, the College of Education for the Development of Teachers, the College of Social Services, the College of Home Economics and the College of Fine Arts.
In 2006, a royal order was issued for the establishment of the first university for women in Riyadh, under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education. This included the six colleges located in Riyadh, in addition to a number of new colleges established for the purpose of women's education and development in the Kingdom. In 2008, the university was honored with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud placing the cornerstone for the university campus. The King, at that time, changed the name to Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University – Princess Nourah was the sister of the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the late King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman.
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