His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs – may God protect him – confirmed that the Saudi Vision 2030 programs were able – with the help and grace of God – to achieve exceptional achievements and addressed structural challenges within just five years.
The Council of Economic and Development Affairs reviewed what the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 has achieved after five years since its launch.
The review was divided into three pillars, namely:
First: a vibrant society
The council was briefed on the achievements made, to raise the quality of life including facilitating access to emergency health services within 4 hours and reducing the annual road accident death rate to 13.
The council also reviewed the most prominent achievements in the housing sector, where homeownership increased to 60% compared to 47% five years ago.
Furthermore, the Council also reviewed Saudi Arabia’s achievements regarding archaeological and heritage sites, which had a direct impact on registering new Saudi sites in the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
In 2020, the Kingdom raised the number of heritage destinations that can be visited to reach 354, up from 241 in 2017.
The Council also touched upon the efforts exerted to strengthen the Saudi identity, through increasing the number of intangible cultural heritage elements registered in the UNESCO to 8 elements and raising the number of urban heritage sites registered in the National Cultural Heritage Register to 1,000 sites in 2020.
Nevertheless, Vision 2030 managed to raise the Kingdom’s capacity to receive and accommodate pilgrims to the holy sites. This was done by expanding the services at the Two Holy Mosques and shorten the process of obtaining an Umrah visa to only 5 minutes, down from 14 days.
The Kingdom also started the issuance of an Electronic Tourist Visa, which will facilitate visiting Saudi Arabia’s tourist destinations and monuments. This falls in line with the Kingdom’s plan to revitalize the tourism sector and raising its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while developing various tourist destinations and creating job opportunities for male and female citizens. The Kingdom’s tourism sector has become the fastest-growing sector in the world, with a growth of 14%.
Sustainability and protection of the environment
The Council reviewed the progress made to ensure sustainability and protect the environment, including the establishment of seven royal natural reserves in 2018 and 2019 to preserve plant and animal species, as well as reaching milestones in the production of desalinated water.
Saudi Arabia reduced carbon dioxide emission by 28 million tons annually, after the replacement of thermal technologies and the expansion in the use of environmentally friendly technologies.
Second: Prosperous economy
The Council reviewed the initiatives aimed to provide a business-friendly environment in the Kingdom to boost its business potential and broadens the economic base.
The initiatives also included launching major projects that contribute to the well-being of society, create jobs and attract international investments, the most important of which are: NEOM, Qiddiya, Red Sea projects, and others.
The council also reviewed financial sector achievements such as the fact that the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) joined the emerging market indices MSCI and Standard & Poor’s Dow Jones, which made it easier for foreign investors to invest in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Concerning energy, the Council reviewed the major achievements made since the launch of Vision 2030. Saudi Arabia founded the OPEC Plus grouping of nations, reached a historic achievement in 2020 represented by the largest reduction in oil output in market history.
The decision contributed to restoring stability in global markets which were severely impacted by coronavirus pandemic.
The Council reviewed the contributions of the vision programs in creating an environment conducive to developing skills and continuing to invest in education and training. Saudi Arabia raised the total number of universities and colleges to 63.
The Council followed up on what was achieved in the field of localizing military industries, as the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 programs were able to raise the rate of localization in the sector to reach 8% by the end of 2020 after it was 2% in 2016.
Third: Ambitious Nation
Under Vision 2030 the Kingdom aims to improve regulations and services, and expanding communication channels between government agencies, and citizens and the private sector.
Moreover, the council reviewed the leaps made in the judiciary, as the rate of enforcement courts’ completion increased to 82%, The rate of personal status courts’ achievement increased to 59%, along with strengthening the specialized judiciary system, the activation of litigation at two degrees and the activation of electronic litigation, as the number of judicial sessions held between 2015 and 2020 reached more than 10 million sessions, compared to 2.7 million judicial sessions from 2009 to 2014.
Restructuring some of the current programs, and creating others to keep pace with the requirements of the next phase, such as establishing the “Health Sector Transformation” program, which aims to restructure the health sector; To be a comprehensive health system to achieve the vision aspirations.