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National Day of Saudi Arabia 2022: King Salman paves way for a modern country

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia celebrates its National Day on September 23rd, the day when King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud started the foundation and unification of the Kingdom. On September 23rd 1932, a royal decree was issued uniting all parts of the modern Saudi state under the name the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Nowadays, the celebration of the National Day has even more sense and importance due to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the concept of achieving a breakthrough in all areas, especially in the economy, and promoting Saudi Arabia among the advanced and leading countries.



The Kingdom’s Economy Between Past and Future


To celebrate National Day, we look at the changes that Saudi economy has undergone since Vision 2030 was launched, and dependence on oil as the main source of trade has been diversified towards other strategies as the country’s source of income.


 Oil Sector Growth


The oil sector has accounted for over 40% of the Kingdom’s budget revenues, about 45% of GDP, as well as 90% of export revenues. With the rise in oil revenues, the Kingdom has reached a budget surplus. This supported the Saudi government in increasing expenditure on training, education, infrastructure development, and salaries. In the 1970s, the Kingdom’s GDP per capita was 1.858% due to oil sector growth. Government initiatives have become an important part of the Kingdom’s oil history. Thus, the Saudi government established the Ministry of Petroleum to regulate the oil sector. At the same time, Saudi Aramco was founded, which is now considered one of the world’s largest oil companies. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has also sought to cooperate with other oilproducing and exporting countries. Along this path, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was initiated. OPEC seeks to unify its member countries’ oil policies to achieve sufficient revenue for oilproducing countries and investors. Oil exports have been some of the most important pillars on which the Kingdom’s economy depends. However, due to changes in the business environment, uncertainty in the Middle East and around the world, and fluctuations in oil prices, an urgent need arose for the Saudi economy growth and expansion. This prompted the Kingdom to develop Vision 2030 aimed at diversifying its sources of income.


 Liberation from Control Over Oil



Vision 2030 aims to boost non-oil revenues six-fold, from an estimated $43.5 billion to $267 billion annually. In addition, one of the most important strategic goals of Vision 2030 is to expand non-oil exports by increasing non-oil GDP from 16% to 50%. Vision 2030 has prompted the Kingdom’s leadership to focus on financial incentives and the promotion of local industries to create an environment that extends business potential, broadens the economic base, and provides employment opportunities for all Saudis. The Kingdom aims to improve its position to become one of the world’s 15 largest economies and a huge solar energy network.


Saudi Export Development Authority


One of the most important strategic goals of Vision 2030 is to stimulate non-oil exports. This encouraged the Kingdom’s leadership to create the Saudi Export Development Authority, a body tasked with realizing Vision 2030 goals, increasing the Kingdom’s non-oil exports, and bringing Saudi products to the global market. The strategic goals pursued by the Export Authority have six objectives, including, “Improving the efficiency of the export environment, raising knowledge of export practices, and raising export readiness.” Furthermore, the Authority seeks to promote the creation of export opportunities, enhance the appearance of Saudi products, and expedite exporters’ relationships with importers, and potential partners.



King Salman’s Projects to Turn the Kingdom into A World Destination



The Kingdom has achieved an economic reinforcement during the reign of King Salman since he took office in 2015. This included the development and implementation of many mega-projects that will change the concept of tourism and economy in the region, which will make the Kingdom an important destination for the global community. These projects reflected Vision 2030 by developing the Kingdom’s domestic product, improving the business environment, as well as increasing investment, quality, and wealth.


 Jeddah Economic City


Jeddah Economic City, with a 5.3 million square meter area, includes residential and administrative units and apartments, hotels, offices, tourist attractions, diplomatic centers, and entertainment venues. The project also includes the Tower of Jeddah, which will be classified as the tallest Tower globally at 1,000 meters, surpassing the UAE’s Burj Khalifa, which reaches 828 meters. Jeddah Tower is worth $1.4 billion on 2.6 million square feet, with 252 floors. The tower is expected to include a branch of the five-star Four Seasons hotel, 97 hotel apartments, work offices on seven floors, and 325 apartments.




NEOM is part of the Kingdom’s megaprojects spanning three countries: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan. NEOM, with a total area of 26,500 square kilometers, stretches from the north and west to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba for 468 kilometers, surrounded on the east by mountains with a height of 2,500 meters.


Project infrastructure includes modern energy and water supply, agricultural industry, education, health, media, and transport sectors through developing smart technologies following the latest international standards.


Al Qiddiya –


The Largest Entertainment City in The World Al Qiddiya project aligns with the Kingdom’s vision of focusing on the entertainment sector. This project will become the largest entertainment, cultural, and sports city in the Kingdom and the world. It will be built in the Qiddiya desert area and occupy 334 kilometers, located 40 kilometers from Riyadh’s center.


The estimated infrastructure cost for the project is SAR 30 billion. The first phase is planned to be completed by 2023. Al Qiddiya will include four main sectors: entertainment, motorsport, sports, housing and hospitality. The project aims to attract Saudi citizens to domestic tourism, diversify income sources by increasing the revenue from the tourism sector, revitalize both the real estate and contracting sectors, and create thousands of new jobs for city residents.


The Red Sea as A Global Tourist Destination



To make the Red Sea a popular tourist destination, a project has been launched to develop exceptional tourist resorts located on over 50 natural islands between Umluj and Al Wajh, covering 34,000 square kilometers. The first phase will be completed by the last quarter of 2022. This project is expected to make a huge contribution to the tourism sector of Saudi Arabia. It will open the Red Sea gates to the world, allowing travelers without entry visas to explore the diversity of flora and fauna of the region. It will also serve as unique health, recreation, and entertainment center



Excellent Residence System


Saudi Arabia has provided a new special residency program similar to the green card system in other countries. This aimed to attract highly qualified expats and open doors for tourism from all countries with an approved tourist visa system.



 Saudi Arabian Military Industries


The Saudi government intends to create a holding company for the military industry. Launched in May 2017, Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) is the Kingdom’s new national defense industry organization that is a sustainable platform for providing military products and services.


Housing Sector


The Saudi government is working to reorganize the housing sector to help increase the ownership of the Saudis. It is also possible to own real estate for non-Saudis if they are licensed to engage in any professional, vocational, or economic activity.


Increase in The Number of Pilgrims


The Kingdom aims to increase the number of pilgrims annually from 8 million to 30 million by 2030. This goal should be achieved by developing transport system, infrastructure, and increased investment in the land surrounding the Grand Mosque of Mecca.

Al Haramain Train


Al Haramain train is considered one of the most important projects developed during the reign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman. It is the largest public transport project in the Middle East. Designed to facilitate passenger travel, especially during the Umrah and Hajj seasons, the direct journey takes only 120 minutes from Makkah to Madinah. The project’s capacity is 60 million people per year, with 35 trains with a capacity of 417 people on the train.



The project includes five passenger stations in Madinah, Jeddah, King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, King Abdullah Economic City, and Makkah.


Avenue Riyadh


Avenue Riyadh is expected to become the largest commercial complex in the world with a leasable area of about 400 thousand square meters, which will include five commercial, residential, and hotel towers worth SAR 6.5 billion. It will expand retail, tourism, hospitality, transportation, manufacturing, and logistics sectors of the Kingdom, by creating job opportunities. The project includes over 1,300 stores in addition to multi-purpose towers, including 3 to 5-star hotels with over 2,200 rooms, showrooms, residential apartments, conference and corporate rooms, as well as commercial offices.


Endless Support Programs for Saudi


Women Saudi women enjoy tremendous support under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who have contributed to improving women’s social status and achieving a greater balance for the country’s development.


  • A woman traveling without the consent of her guardian:


The Council of Ministers has passed a resolution allowing women to travel abroad and obtain a passport without a guardian’s prior permission for Saudi women aged 21 and over.



  • Saudi women appointment to leading positions within and outside the Kingdom:


  1. Her Royal Highness Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States of America. 2. Dr. Iman bint Habas Al-Mutairi as Assistant to the Minister of Trade and Investment 3. Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al Muqrin as Permanent Representative of the Kingdom to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • The appointment of women to the judiciary for the first time
  • Raising the retirement age for women to 60 years:

The Kingdom sought to improve the status of women and their equality with men. Thus, according to the latest decisions taken in this context, the Social Insurance Institution has raised the retirement age for working women in the public and private sectors from 55 to 60 years, similar to men, with full retirement salary, unless a woman voluntarily applies for early retirement.


 Equal Pay


The Ministry of Labor and Social Development Initiative has developed an equal work environment for women as one of the most important undertakings to increase GDP contribution and improve the Kingdom’s classification of women’s employment. As reported by human resources specialists, control over women’s work in institutions provides for equal pay for equal work. The ministry has also set working hours for women at night for various activities until 23:00, except for industrial work until 18:00, and some activities in which women can work at any time of the night, such as working in hospitals and case of emergency.


Support Programs


The Kingdom’s wise leadership provided working women with every means of support to create suitable working conditions. The government’s role is not limited to providing job opportunities but goes beyond that to support them at work. Through the Al-Qurra program, which supports the children of a working woman, women increase their participation in the labor market while confident in the care given to children. In addition, women can apply for the Wusool program, which covers 80% of travel costs, with a maximum amount of SAR 800 per month with fixed monthly beneficiary participation of SAR 200. The support period for up to 18 months.





 This period gradually decreases as follows:


  • 80% from the beginning of the first month to the end of the sixth month • 60% from the beginning of the seventh month to the end of the twelfth month • 40% from the beginning of the thirteenth month to the end of the eighteenth month. Support programs also include the SANED initiative for unemployed Saudi citizens. SANED is committed to caring for male and female citizens, and their families if one of them become unemployed due to circumstances beyond their control to ensure a decent life for all during the transition period between the previous job and the new assignment. The amount of the subsidy is 60% of the wages registered in the insurance. The Kingdom also supports women through the Hafiz program, which provides training opportunities for women job seekers. It offers an integrated support system through training and continuing education and monthly financial aid they receive to find work.


 Driving Women


This achievement has provided Saudi women with the right they have always demanded. A royal decree authorized the issuance of driver’s licenses to women in the Kingdom. Women were able to confidently enter the labor market after the approval of the Vision 2030. In 2019, according to a report released by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, women’s contribution to the labor market increased to 25%. This increase is the result of many initiatives that have been presented to women to support their work.


Women Participation


Vision 2030 aims to increase women’s participation in the labor market from 22% to 30% and reduce the unemployment rate among Saudis from 11.6% to 7%.



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